Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Atlas Moth--A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky

For those of you who don't live in America, I have to let you know that America is under attack.  You see, a sinister heat wave unlike anything we've ever seen before is literally baking us like an elite group of chicken pot pies.  We, the citizens of the United States of America, are being turned into tasty, crunchy, flaky treats by something that scientists are calling "Summer," and since Americans stopped learning things around the time that I was a senior in high school, everybody is flummoxed at this sudden development.  When will summer end?  What will we do with the legion of dead bodies that litter our streets?  Where can I drive my luxury sedan without getting icky dead people guts all over it?!?

Help me, Science!

It's seriously a lot of fun to listen to people here in Austin during the summer.  Most summer conversations consist of how there isn't enough rain and that it's too hot to do anything.  I came from a place called Bakersfield, California, the land of two inches of rain a year and temperatures so hot in the summer that we rival Phoenix, Arizona for "most unbearable summer weather."  Except in Bakersfield, the only thing to do in the summertime is play a little game that my friends and I have playfully named "Get a D.U.I."  Most of Bakersfield has won that game at this point, and as proof of that, I offer to you the last time I went to visit, when my wife and I were going out to dinner (at 3 p.m.) with my Granny and saw a D.U.I. checkpoint set up on the street right behind her condo, which is right off of one of the major surface streets that runs through the city.

It was a Wednesday.  At 3 p.m.  And people were being pulled over and given blood tests.  And failing.

I don't really miss Bakersfield.

Having grown up in this kind of urban malaise, one would be perfectly justified in thinking that I would be totally into Sludge, what with the dirty atmosphere and riffs channeled through fingers that are coursing with heroin.  But I'm really not; I have been forthright about my disdain for and befuddlement over for Eyehategod.  And I'll tell you straight that I've never liked Buzzov*en or Winter or any of the big-name sludge bands that people inexplicably trumpet as all-time greats.  I guess that playing bad riffs poorly and having amateurish production makes bands great.  Now I know.

However, I would like to express my appreciation for a kind of sludge that I like to call "shiny sludge."  I love shiny sludge.  I think that most people know what kind of bands I'm talking about here, but for those of you who might be a little confused, I'm talking about the Neur-Isis sound.  I'm talking about the crawling, shimmery riffing that comes with clean parts and time drops and keyboards sometimes.  I love that kind of shit, and I don't care how false or ungrim that makes me.

You see, sludge is like the aural equivalent of a glass of toilet water mixed with used motor oil.  I'm sure that it's something that certain people can deal with, but not me.  I prefer my sludge to look more like a tall glass of whiskey and Sprite; gross looking, and an acquired taste for sure, but supremely satisfying.  Do most people cringe at the idea of my sludge?  Absolutely, but those people are all peons, and they like to imbibe sonic Bud Light (Lady Antebellum, Arcade Fire et al), which has no taste and gives you no feeling in return.  They fear us and our raw power, and hide it under making fun of us for knowing so much about Star Wars and video games.

And my sludge ends up in the toilet rather than coming from it, which I also think of as a redeeming quality.

So that brings me to The Atlas Moth.  The Atlas Moth fall within what I consider the parameters to be called a Neur-Isis sludge band.  They're progressive, the use clean guitars and clean singing from time to time, and they're so fucking heavy that they make a school bus full of this nation's screaming, obese children look like a styrofoam cooler filled with photos of reasonably-sized children in comparison.  They're heavy the way that Kevin James was in that crappy show The King of Queens; not enough to be horrifying, but light years beyond what's normal, and somehow endearing*.  But I think The Atlas Moth don't have one incongruously hot wife (hey, Leah Romini.  Send me an email sometime), and I doubt they have the same kind of wacky adventures.

They could have a black friend, though.  I think everybody should have a black friend.

The Atlas Moth with their black friend, no doubt discussing something witty and ribald.  I wish I had a black friend.
A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky is a great album by a great band.  It's heavy and crunchy and angry and kind of not sometimes, and if you're a winner with a cool haircut, like I am, you can find it on Spotify for your listening pleasure.  And if you're not on Spotify, I think my unjustified feelings of superiority just got a little more justified.

*I'm only joking about that Kevin James crack.  Kevin James and The Atlas Moth are both unsettlingly heavy, which makes regular people hate and fear them.  If you don't believe me, watch TBS at any time to see Kevin James or check out The Atlas Moth live.  And normal people are absolutely horrified of both Kevin James and The Atlas Moth, and fear them like the Frankenstein monster.+

+This is NOT an invitation to chase Kevin James into a windmill with a torch and pitchfork, but I'd understand why you did it if you did.

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