So I grab my new Pernicious Knifs CD (11 Songs, aka Almond Extract) and reach for my bottle of Crystal Light Cherry Pomegranate Immunity On The Go drink. I go to shake the bottle (as per instructions), and the drink sprays everywhere because I didn't fashion the lid down properly. I'm sprinkled with what looks like blood all over my "house T" (a T-shirt specifically used to wear around the house). I pause, partly to assess the mess I have made, partly to say a few expletives. I glance at the CD, a D.I.Y.-stamped cover I'm holding in my hand opposite the drink. The cover features a curved-bladed knife (the most dangerous of all blade types — designed to kill) with 13 drips of blood around its periphery. I count the drops of Crystal Light on my shirt. You guessed it, 13! This is of no coincidence — this is mystic! Meant to happen!
Are those planets that are all in a line up there?
Titled Almond Extract according to their MySpace.com profile (or maybe 11 Songs, depending on where you look), these 11 songs are long-awaited songs. I'm glad I was patient, or at least appeared patient. These Knifs have been around for what seems like a lifetime, and this CD is much overdue.
I heard an early premixed version of this release at a friend's house, and I actually considered stealing it for myself. Fans of the Knifs' "gigs" (that's what musicians call "jobs") will recognize many of these songs from their live sets, like the thematic "Fast New Shoes," the sonically abrasive "Mondojet" and, my personal fave, the fist-pounder "Rubbish." But newcomers are in for a treat too. Why? Cause it rocks, and that is rare these days. Recommended for fans of Television, Love and The Monkees as well as those Nuggets enthusiasts/losers. (myspace.com/perniciousknifs)
The Pernicious Knifs host a CD release party at The Comet in Northside Thursday. The show is free and begins promptly at 9:30 p.m. (Shawn Abnoxious)
'The Process' of Acceleration
Impressive Newport-based rockers A Decade to Die For unleash their tight new EP, The Process, Friday at The Mad Hatter in Covington. The Upset Victory, Legal In Vegas, Savior Say I and One Small Step For Landmines also perform.
A Decade to Die For (heretofore known as ADTDF) has been at it for just a couple of years, and their bio says they formed with the goal of "writing catchy songs we love to play." I'm assuming they love to play the songs on The Process, and they definitely succeeded in making songs as catchy as Monkey Pox. Fans of so-called Emo acts like Thursday and Taking Back Sunday (the best of that bunch, in my humble opinion) will really dig ADTDF.
But there's much less of a "paint-by-numbers" quality to the band's music than others attempting this mix of urgent melody and big, angular Rock. The songwriting and arrangements are less predictable and the "whine" and "scream" aspects are blissfully non-existent. Songs are intertwined with interesting little tangents, like light, synth décor, a little acoustic guitar here, a little drum machine interlude there.
But mostly the quartet brings the Rock with power and grace. The vocals aren't particularly distinctive, but they are incredibly commanding and confident and perfect for the band's soaring sound, which is loaded with high-ceilinged choruses that beg to be sung along with. To say The Process is "anthemic" is like saying Prince's early music was "sexy" — the "anthem" quality is inherent and imprinted deep into each tracks' DNA.
Then there's the entangled guitar work, as the band's two guitarists add to the already full sound with interesting interplay. Their riffing is so precisely in tune with each other, it often sounds like one big, glorious monster riff. Behind them, the rhythm section works a forceful but dynamic backdrop that is less "anchor" and more "motor."
A Decade to Die For has made an album that wouldn't be out of place on Fueled by Ramen or The Militia Group or even a major (though I'd say it's too good for those fools). For such an early-in-its-career release, The Process sounds as pro, well-put-together and accomplished as bands that have been together for (ahem) a decade. (adecadetodiefor.com)
More Local Notes
· Fantastic Indie folkers The Sheds celebrate their second anniversary Saturday at the Southgate House with guests The Impossible Shapes, Gentleman Caller and The Turnbull ACs. The trio — which has released four albums, all available for free at theshedsmusic.com — is also taking a break from performing, effective immediately. No return-to-action plan is in place yet, but the group promises to be back
· Jazz singer Lavieena Campbell has put together "Women in Jazz," a showcase at the Woodlawn Recreation Center Saturday at 8 p.m. Inspired by a similar event in Austin, Tex., Campbell has recruited singers Dawn Woods and Ms. Jaz for the event, while The Bruce Menefield Quartet provides the music and the Winton Woods High School Jazz Band kicks things off. For tickets, call 513-771-7713.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com