Molars
18May/14

Respice Finem, pt. 10,000

tondals

The Blood Brothers - Love Rhymes with Hideous Car Wreck

The Blood Brothers - Camouflage, Camouflage

The Blood Brothers - Ambulance vs. Ambulance

The Blood Brothers - Metronomes

The Blood Brothers - Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon

The Blood Brothers - Crimes

The Blood Brothers - The Salesman, Denver Max

The Blood Brothers - Street Wars - Exotic Foxholes

The Blood Brothers - Giant Swan

With the announcement this week that the Blood Brothers would be reuniting for a show at FYF Fest in L.A., I realized there is a possibility that I might be able to see a band that I've been listening to for more than a decade play an actual show. Blood Brothers are one of my favorite bands, though it must be said I came late to the game--I only started listening to them with Crimes, and that was mostly due to Yancey Strickler's evangelism on his old, pre-Kickstarter blog, Get Up Stand Up. Peacock Skeleton with Crooked Feathers was the first song of theirs I ever heard, and I was sold after one listen. To celebrate the temporary (?) reformation of Blood Brothers, I thought I'd put together a little mix of some of their songs that I like best. This is definitely not a career survey, as it's pretty heavy on Crimes and Young Machetes, but these songs are, I think, probably among their most approachable and most developed--i.e., if you've never listened to Blood Brothers before, this is a gentle way to ease yourself into their discography (this mix relies more on their 'softer' songs, though not many of their songs can really be called 'soft'.). Also below is a little thing I wrote about Giant Swan, back in '06 or whenever, which is still probably my favorite Blood Brothers song (and one of my favorite songs ever, truth be told).

'Giant Swan' not only achieves a nice synthesis between the noisy/hard aspects of the band and their more adventurous tendencies, but it also features some heartbreakingly gorgeous lyrics- and that's what really got me. The closest touchstone I can some up with is probably Delmore Schwartz's (unbearably sad and beautiful) short story "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities"- 'Giant Swan' is framed in a similar way, with the narrator watching a play about his own life, and the whole song is seeping this sort of weird regret and shame (it's almost like embarrassment at being/having been alive), which the Blood Brothers explore with their customarily grisly enthusiasm. E.g.: "all the girls you wished you'd fucked make a guest appearance", "your mouth is cheap and your hair is shoddy", "strip down to your vulgar skeleton", "a pound of cocaine under the bed where the call girls perform their services". And then there are other phrases, oddly affecting, that take a different tack entirely: "if your heart's a diamond, what's the fucking price?", "the sun's like a painting of your whole life/you scratch at the canvas, but you can't get inside", and towards the end of the song, the devastating "all the things you wished you'd said are buried with your X'ed out head" (the band is very good at getting at the kernel of things that are unpleasant or uncomfortable).

Musically, 'Giant Swan' is reminiscent of the "Crimes" B-side 'Metronomes', with a kind of slinking, vampy mood dominating the beginning of the song (that bass is perfect). Johnny Whitney's vocal performance is what makes the track though- he coos, screams, croons, gasps, shades each word with a hundred different tics and quavers. Oh, and that breakdown- 3 minutes in, there's a minute of anguished, twisted, wrought music that's more exhilarating than anything I've heard in a while. "Young Machetes" is full of moments like the ones in 'Giant Swan', where the band switches from gruesome to poetic imagery, often in the space of a syllable or two, and manages to make abrasively melodic, sandpapery, catchy songs.

[BUY SOME BLOOD BROTHERS ALBUMS]

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  1. Hey there!

    My name is Angelo Malka, vocalist of Psicotropicais and I always read your posts on Molars and think they meet up my taste and my bands taste, congratulations, your posts about Blood Brothers and dam and Alden were really good ones.
    I’m sending this e-mail coz my band made a recent version of Arcade Fire’s Tunnels from the first album Funeral and I’d like to send it to you, so maybe if you are interested you can post on your website.

    Hope you enjoy it!

    cheers, Malka

    links:

    Soundcloud:
    soundcloud.com/psicotropicais/tunnels-arcade-fire

    4 shared so you can download it:
    4shared.com/mp3/SDvvQYPIba/Psicotropicais_-_Tunnels__Arca.html?

    Facebook:
    facebook.com/psicotropicais

  2. Hey just discovered your blog, and so it goes, just discovered the blood brothers too! Liking both. Thanks for sharing the cool new music!


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