The first time I caught Useless Eaters live, I was floored. There was this rambunctious quality wrapped up in a poppy punk realm. But, as time has progressed, Seth has tightened his ship and broadened his sound, leaving us this time with a sharp bit of rock that lurks in the dark. Perhaps it’s the bass line here, working beneath the shredding guitar or maybe it’s that vocal delivery that seems to come from the narrator in your favorite B-movie. Regardless, I’m always down to listen to what the group has to offer, which for now, is the brand new album, Bleeding Moon, which Castle Face Records will release on October 7th.
According to his press cohorts, Seth Sutton is taking cues from Jay Reatard, at least in regards to the musical side of life. Never sure of when our time is up, Seth aims to release as much music with Useless Eaters as is humanly possible. On the newest record from the group, Hypertension, you can see the hurried force coming through; there are incredible gems, but some areas could definitely use a nice little polishing.
Hypertension opens with “A New Program,” which might not have been the best choice in the long run. It’s a decent song, but it doesn’t quite have the punch to kick down the doors of your eardrums and suck you right into the record. It’s a good thing “Moody Bitch” follows with it’s off-kilter vocals and whirling guitar/drum skirmishes. This is where those that have caught Useless Eaters live expected things to start, though at this point, you still might be looking for a finished version.
The previously released “Addicted to the Blade” is where things begin to take form, with an angular guitar cutting its way through from the get-go. There’s even some mild tension building guitar noodling in the middle of the track that really adds to the punch of this track; it’s clear why this tune was so successful as a 7″ single. You put that together with “Black Night Ultraviolet,” which trickles in at the sixth spot, and you’ve got two great standouts. On the latter number, I dig the relaxed feel to the delivery of the vocals, as well as the simplicity of the lyrics. These are probably the two brightest moments throughout Hypertension, though that is just one man’s opinion.
If you buy the vinyl, you’re going to notice the different leaning of the B-Side; it contains a much more metallic/electronic approach to it. Unfortunately, the vocals are often obscured, and again, you can’t help but wish for an improved quality in the recordings. For instance, “Shapes of a Mannequin” could really be a huge success, but there’s this odd echo on the vocals that really creates an affecting audial distance. And personally, I’d like to see the guitars sharpened just a hint, as I completely dig what’s being played.
In the end, Hypertension seems precisely as its definition would indicate: an extreme state of psychological stress, but that comes from a listeners standpoint, and not that of Useless Eaters. I’m stressed and frustrated because I can hear great songs lurking throughout my repeated listens, but they just hide on the very edge of greatness, then shy away to a realm of mediocrity. Sometimes it’s best not to rush through your ideas, letting them hang about a bit while you clean them up. Hopefully the next effort improves on that aspect, and if so, it could be a solid hit.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Addicted-To-The-Blade.mp3]
Download: Useless Eaters – Addicted To The Blade [MP3]
Knowing the history of Useless Eaters, particularly the ties to Jay Reatard, one would expect a more brash sound from the newest single from the group. But, that’s not quite the case, as the core songwriter Seth Sutton seems determined to create a blossoming tension, as you’ll notice in the way the song climbs via the guitar in the first few minutes. I definitely appreciate the steadied sound here, allowing the music to creatively evolve, rather than just hit you in the face forcefully. You can find this tune on the group’s upcoming record, Hypertension, which hits stores on February 19th via Jeffery Drag Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/a6-black-night-ultraviolet.mp3]
Download:Useless Eaters – Black Night Ultraviolet [MP3]
Both Nu Sensae and Useless Eaters have had a good year, especially in my musical ears, so I’m pleased to present you with one of the tunes from their split 7″, which comes to you via Volcom Entertainment’s Vinyl Club. It’s a limited pressing, and I suggest you get your hands on this rarity. The tune I wanted to highlight is the Useless Eaters side of the release, which shows a more sprawling version of the band, rather than their precision punk rock. It’s coated in reverb, giving the listener a bit of distance between the heavy jam and the vocals. Give it a good listen.
Feel like today could get too poppy if I don’t throw something deliciously heavy on the mix, so I’m glad I got my new Useless Eaters 7″ today. The band just recently released their Addicted to the Blade single, and it looks like they’ve already got other things in the mix, but let’s focus on this jam. There’s a bit of an echo in the vocals, giving off a dark vibe to the stomping rhythm of the track…and it all leads into the great chorus that makes the song an absolute winner. Oh, and did I mention they blew us away recently when they played with Ty Segall? All things point towards the positive for this group, so go and order your copy of the single from Tic Tac Totally![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Addicted-To-The-Blade.mp3]
Download:Useless Eaters – Addicted To The Blade [MP3]
First up for show coverage is the four band line-up at The Mohawk headlined by Ty Segall. After the recent recorded collaboration, it was only natural for White Fence to back up Ty. Along for the ride were Memphis band Useless Eaters and one of my local favorites Rayon Beach.
Click through and play a little Where’s Waldo with the crowd pics…
|Date||Friday, May 25th|
|Tickets||$10 from Transmission|
Tons of great shows on Friday night, but the one you’ll find me hitting up is Ty Segall and White Fence over at the Mohawk. Ty’s got to be one of the busiest people in the business, releasing his latest album, Hair, with White Fence just this past month, then turning around to release another as the Ty Segall Band in just a bit. Garage rock and glory are all his. It’ll be interesting to see if Tim from White Fence plays a solo set, or if he’s just going to rock with Ty the whole night, or if they’ll trade back and forth. You can also catch some great acts opening the night up, with Rayon Beach and Useless Eaters kicking things off the right way. It’s going to be a rock n’ roll fueled night, but this is your friendly reminder to not talk at the show, please.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02-I-Am-Not-A-Game-1.mp3]
Download: Ty Segall & White Fence – I Am Not A Game [MP3]