Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12: Black Eyes, "Black Eyes"

Artist: Black Eyes
Album: Black Eyes
Year: 2003
Label: Dischord

Since the early 1980's, one record label has stayed true to it's D.I.Y. roots and, in the process, released some of the most original and amazing records ever. The label is Washington, DC's Dischord Records; and its founder, Ian MacKaye, seems to have a knack for finding the most amazing in experimental and "different" sounding bands. One of these many groups was the short lived Black Eyes, and their 2003 self-titled debut is a rowdy, yet undeniably amazing record.

Though they were only together for a few short years, breaking up shortly before their second record was released, in that time, they were one of the most high energy bands around. Overall, the band is a mixture of groups like Q And Not You, Fugazi, Cake, and Suicidal Tendencies. Creating brilliantly complex rhythms, the group, both live and in the studio, were known for generating complete musical mayhem. While the songs themselves give a feeling of uncontrolled chaos, the group is very regimented and the songs keep a very clear structure.

When it comes to the sound that Black Eyes produces, it all comes down to their choices in instrumentation. Dual drummers (formally, though all of the members play percussion throughout the record), dual bassists, dual vocalists, and a lone guitarist ensure a sound like no other. The two vocalists use their contrasting styles (low singing versus manical screaming) to create a very confrontational mood on a majority of the songs. The music laying underneath gives many of the tracks on Black Eyes a very menacing, perhaps evil aura.

"A Pack Of Wolves" is easily one of the most intense songs ever recorded. Barely over two minutes, the caterwauling vocals and tension-filled bassline and drums create a feeling of bottled chaos, ready to explode. While the group does show the pace down from time to time, this is when the songs push into realm of "scary" or sinister. The dual instrumentation is the essentaial aspect on both of the groups' styles

Though they own existed for a few years, Black Eyes crafted a sound that was all their own. With an unorthodox instrumentation, and some of the fiercest vocals you'll find, they fit in perfectly with the Dischord Records ideal. While the sound on Black Eyes may not be to everyones' liking, it is nonetheless an incredible and original sounding record and should have a spot in all music collections.

Standout tracks: "A Pack Of Wolves," "Deformative," and "Letter To Raoul Peck."