And then there are records like this.
While you’re seriously hurting yourself with the Gnod or you’re trying to figure out when Jonathan Wilson’s new album will break your balls, you will realize that the Subsonics, the Atlanta band active for more than 20 years, have just released their eighth album.
Press play and immediately you’ll feel your head becoming empty and the pressure relieving.
I mean the pressure of your life, with its commitments, deadlines, mortgage payment and every other pleasures that we invent to fill our days. All this things – I was saying – will disappear, swept away by the “zero degrees” rock n ‘roll of Subsonics. Count to three and you’ll find yourself listening to songs that seem to be scraps collected from the ground on the sidewalk of Max’s Kansas City or CBGB’s. Lou Reed is still alive and well, nobody shot Andy Warhol yet and people like Jonathan Richman are starting to play around. These are the coordinates that the Subsonics follow with their lo-fi and no-noise garage: a clean electric guitar, a bit of organ, when needed, a minimal drum-kit and an alien voice between Tom Verlaine and Gordon Gano. And then there are the melodies: they’re light, naive and able to push every complexity to the surface. Sometimes they are irresistibly silly, other times they’re nocturnal and romantic, but of a ragged romanticism, other times as rock n ‘roll as Buddy Holly would have liked. There’s no need to indicate one or another song: shoot them straight together, all lined up.
You will want to play the record back again. And then again.
You will remember what you’re talking about when you’re talking about rock n ‘roll attitude.
You will remember that the history of our music owes a lot to underground heroes like Clay Reed, singer and author of Atlanta trio’s songs, who is bringing on his personal experiment for many years: making easy what the others make complicated.
Originally published in italian on July 22 2018
Republished in english on November 05 2018