Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review #98: Draft Beer, Not Students (2007)


Year: 2007
Genre: Punk Rock
Post-Punk, Psychedelic, Noise
Label: Wrong Island
46 Minutes (Long)
My Rating:

"Draft Beer, Not Students" is a split live album featuring the Sonitus Revolution and Bionic Senses. The Sonitus Revolution is a psychedelic funky punk band from Wantagh, New York that formed in 2005. Bionic Senses is a noisy avant-garde music unit from Portland, Oregon (founded by Duffy Wrong Island of Grrrl Friend). The two bands are considerably different in style, but both share the spirit of punk and were during this point label-mates on Wrong Island Records. The contents of this album are taken from a live performance (presumably in Portland) in 2006.

1. Sonitus Revolution - "Borderline"
The band briefly introduces itself ("we are the Sonitus Revolution") -- then they begin. A studio version of this song can be found on the band's sole album, "There Is No One Way to Dance", so if you want to hear this song in even better quality, download that record (it's free). The song has a pretty simple riff and a typical punk rock beat. Great rockin' solo halfways through the song.

2. Sonitus Revolution - "Clap On"
Starts with the singer talking about how his car got totaled and then proceeding to say "Fuck the Police." Drumming-wise, this one's a bit more energetic and thrashy than the song before it. The beat is more dense here, though there is a periodic pause between the crashing drums that is filled by the simple *ching* noize. Another good solo two-thirds through. You hear some guy yell "YEAH!" during this part. Not sure if it's coming from the audience or the band. Yeah hear the same guy yell "YEAH!" in the EXACT SAME tone of voice and everything. I shit you not. Just kinda funny.

3. Sonitus Revolution - "Violent Education"
Jay makes a joke about "throwing himself into things". This one's got a really funk-flavored bassline, at least in the beginning. It's really cool -- kind of reminds me of the Minutemen. Did I mention that Jay Briggs's voice sounds a lot like D Boon's? Well, it does. During the chorus section, the guitar just does sort of an upward ascension of notes -- it sounds really cool and triumphant... sort of like an uprising in a great war of rock n' roll. There's a brief slip-up on the drumming at one point in the song. The "YEAH!" guy makes a return after the song finishes.

4. Sonitus Revolution - "Laius"
Definitely the best one on this whole album. Easily one of the greatest songs of the past decade ever. This song actually sounds just about identical to the version on the studio album, so I'm wondering if they either just used the studio version on this album, or used the live version on that album. It's a bit better in quality than the other songs, either way. There's actually an even better-sounding recording (re-recording?) of this song on a compilation called "Save Our Heads For the Future", released by the Dinosaurs in Vietnam 'zine in 2009. Anyways, about the song. Starts with just the guitar riff -- the guitar sounds so fucking awesome, here. I don't know what the effect's called, but it sounds awesome either way. The bass slowly coaxes its way in, and then the rhythm guitar gets a tone dirtier as the drums pound, climaxing into the mean beat. This song just makes me wanna dance, it's really that good! Nice solo, nice funky bass. What I love is the part where it goes into an instrumental bass-dominated section, and then it really revs up again when the main riff and the thumping drums come throbbing back in. Great song. The "YEAH!" guy can briefly be heard at the very end, but he is obscured by the rest of the crowd clapping.

5. Sonitus Revolution - "Pavement"
This song begins with Jay telling the audience that the next song will "make their bowels explode", much to a certain woman's dismay. Well, this is probably my least favorite song, here. I just really don't like it. It's driven by a certain bassline, but unfortunately it's not very charming. There's some lead-guitar as well, which is pretty good. Ends in a real noisy section, and then the crowd begins to clap. That's the end of the Sonitus Revolution's half of the performance. Now, on to the mayhem of the Bionic Senses!

6. Bionic Senses - "Neon-Boy-Toy"
The band introduces itself, and the song begins. The guitar uses heavy metal-ish wah-wah effects, along with a buzzing, noizy layer of fucked-up rhythm in another ear. Just over seven minutes long.

7. Bionic Senses - "The Genius of the Crowd" (by Charles Bukowski)
Basically a continuation of "Neon-Boy-Toy", with Duffy doing a reading of "The Genius of the Crowd", by Charles Bukowski, an American writer and poet who lived during the 20th Century. This one is really good, the words are really compelling -- Duffy screams the piece as if they are his very own words!

8. Bionic Senses - "Can't"
Duffy's vocals are really aggressive, here. This one is more bass-driven, going on a different tempo than the two songs before it. The song is a bit repetitive (aside from the lead guitar), but it starts to speed up towards the end. The song ends with some thumping of a bass drum and a downward swooping explosion of rhythm guitar noize. There is a studio version of this song on their 2005 album, "Migraines and the Cotton Candy Psychosis".

9. Bionic Senses - "Piss and Moan Disorder"
The shortest of the Bionic Senses tracks. It's another slow, dirty, unpredictable, monstrous track. I really like the way Duffy sings here, his lyrics just have good sort of timing or so to speak. After the sung part, the song segues into a quicker section dominated by thumping drums, repeatedly hitting you in the head, and then after a bit Duffy starts singing some more, and then he just starts speaking and yelling. Duffy tells the crowd "don't do drugs", and apologizes for "bothering" them. This was the best Bionic Senses track.

A lot of the songs here are real good, but this album could have been better than it was if the sound quality was a little better. Oh well, that's what you get in a bootleg, I guess. You've got the funky coolness of the Revolution and the unfiltered rage of the Senses. Did you know Duffy was only 11 years old when he started Bionic Senses? There are a lot of Bionic Senses albums, most of which are even weirder than the songs here, and make heavy usage of electronic instrumentation and samples and just basically everything Duffy could get his hands on. The Sonitus Revolution has one album besides this one and it's called "There Is No One Way to Dance", released in 2006. Jay Briggs from that band currently runs a label/zine called "Dinosaurs In Vietnam", which has released various free albums (much like Wrong Island Records) in the past few years. Also, Bdee, who played bass guitar in both bands, currently is in a band called "Bdee + the Venomous Oranges". Blah blah blah. These guys have all done a lot of stuff and a lot of it rules. You can download this album for free on Wrong Island Records's Last.FM page, so if you wanna give it a listen, check it out -- the sound is kinda bad, but the songs are very good!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Laius
(Sonitus Revolution)
2. Piss and Moan Disorder
(Bionic Senses)
3. Clap On (Bionic Senses)

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