Tuesday, July 8, 2014

OLD CITY: Story with Sound

In anticipation of a new bonafide long-player, OLD CITY (OC) sent a slew of releases that above all, tells a story. A success story.
Lets do things in order shall we? Firstly there's Three EP’s Alas, A Lass, Hot Horse and Freezerburn which collect shorter efforts of Old City with much beard-nodding to those earlier times, just as the one-guy project was becoming more than than just the one-man solo himself, Sammy Mckee. Dave Cupp was working more and more into the frey making OC a duo and soon enough, a three-piece including a sorts of on/off rotating bass player that has included Robyn Roth (Knife The Sympony) and Gabriel Molnar (Sometimes) proving that if you close your eyes and wander around, there's a good chance you would stumble across a band before you would step in a urban sidewalk pile of dog shit.

Three Ep's is a repertoire disc that tells the tale of Old City from a duo side-project and chronicles their rise and inevitable evolution to becoming full-functioning three-piece unit, telling their story with sound... Three EP’s contains twelve tracks (plus a rocking bonus hidden track) including my personal favorite OC tracks, “Romantic Comedy Trandsends Genre” and “Simple Solution” (two versions) plus an expertly done Velvet Underground cover of “Ill Be Your Mirror” that not only is good, but maybe preferable to the original Nico was on*
Three EP’s sets up the scene nicely and tells the first part of their story with sound. Their transistion from what was, to what is. Lo' there is yet another step in the transformation… Walk with me…
Part two of what is Old Citys journey is a verily special release… A live CD featuring their set recorded live by a OC reserve/bassist Gabriel Molnar at MOTR PUB (or just plain MOTR to you insiders.) MOTR is one of Cincinnatis most priemeir venues to pop up due to Cincinnatis thriving underground music community. On this December evening (19th) in 2013, OC play nine energetic tracks that compare nicely to their other performances that I've seen. This live CD is a great ‘for fans’ release… Old City only benefit from the stale beer and questionably violent atmosphere** that exist in greater and lesser amounts of The Queen Shitty from time to time. There's no doubt, OC played a great show and captured it that evening. The performance was packed full of energy, atmosphere and bite. Many of the songs from the set  aren’t included on Three EPs which shows not only a grand progression of their sound, but development too.
I've personally recognized a (somewhat disturbing) trend for the underground music scene I first noticed in 2001... In Spring (May) and Fall (August) there's band that mysteriously stop and start. This phenomenon, I declare, is centered around University of Cincinnatis school schedule… So with this OC activity hitting in the middle 'nether-zone' and getting things together for an LP, I'm  nervous.... The amount of [my] bands that understand the 'harmless' amounts of show-fuckery I can share, is growing smaller. I don’t wanna scratch more off my list.

Old City's vinyl offering reminds me (again) of post-hardcore era Dischord stuff like Soulside or Jawbox. You would expect to see local label Phratry Records behind this one but that just isn't so. This album was self-released by the band....

Exhibiting great amounts of the big Dinosaur Jr. sound imbedded, there's also bit of a shoe-gaze element to this release but at the same time, OC dispense that with a harder offering. On one track, reserve bassist Robyn Roth welcomly steps up to the mic bringing forth a latter era of a Sonic Youth feeling . The album, as a whole, plays extremely well and, in fact, is so expertly produced that it may serve a new template for future bands coming and going. 

Sammy (Guitar/Vox) reflects about this release as compared to their others saying "It is definitely the best recordings we have done to date... Hopefully we can continue improving with each release." Dave Cupp (Drums) delivers maybe one of the most encouraging thing anyone could say about a band they are personally part of "It is definitely the best recordings we have done to date though. Hopefully, we can continue improving with each release."

My uneasiness and worry has slacked a bit...

Old City step things up on this new LP and plow forward destroying space on an exra dimensional axis, the twist and turns of this album are greatly wonderous… The cryptic lyrics, by themselves, could serve as ample enertainment in a book-like form.Yes, it's that good. That witnessed bite from the live CD is evident in this recording and I cant stop thinking that if Roger Waters was a kid from the suburbs and had just maybe a couple more fiends, he would have formed a band like Old City… 

Assurances from the band include a sale price of their LP to float around $15 
RIYL: Dinosaur and Thunder, Dinosaur Jr., Phratry Records,

* I'm not a fan of the Nico.
** MOTR was once a white-hat dank spot called CHAMPS (or sonething as stupid) where Jenny Fever of The Hypochondriacs punched a rather drunk patron in the face as asked by a deranged college graduate that was looking for a fight.
***Im reading E-versions of comic books again so Im drunk on speculation.