SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT: MEDLEY BY MUELLER
So this guy Jeff Mueller, and the three seminal bands he formed over the last ten + years, Rodan, June of 44, and Shipping News, has/have greatly influenced the stark, melodic guitar-heavy drone meets aggressive post-rock world, and truly spoken to this guy right here.
I wish I could say I was one of the kids back in the day who really appreciated these forward thinking, understated bands like June of 44 or Slint, but to be honest, at the time, in addition to grungetronica, I was pretty preoccupied with bands like this and a dude they will forever call the G-father. It took me many years before I discovered the abundant fruits of the post-post scene, which often admittedly sound like something coming out of some random basement as you walk by a paint-chipped house in some random city like Portland or Milwakee, but herein lies the charm as well…in this case Louisville is the home of the sound (as well as the birthplace of Slint), and my prolific man Mueller has outdone himself with these three bands.
Rodan only officially released one full-length album, but its effects would prove to be legendary. All at once progressive and raw, violent and yet somehow precious, angular and twisted, but never without drive or focus — judging by the evolution of his bands, Mueller clearly (and wonderfully) matured over time, but Rodan still sounds to me like an avant pocket math-punk group at the top of its game. And they must have been pretty damn young at the time.
June of 44 is the perfect middle meat to the bookends of fiery Rodan and grown-up Shipping News — by far the most jangly of the three bands, J. o’ Fo’-Fo’ coalesces a few different accented styles, and continually carves out a unique mood in each platitude of each tune.
Building off of the fury of Rodan, Mueller here incorporates a great deal of texture and space, and the results are largely successful, but it is pretty apparent that June of 44 is indeed the most uneven of these three bands, and there is a clear reason why. The risks taken occasionally yield the greatest rewards, but there are bound to be moments of truly “going for it”, contrasting so much obtuse heart with dissonant emptiness, that simply don’t work. I will say this, though — out of these three bands, this is definitely the sharpest, and likely the one that will live on the most.
And their Wikipedia page refers to them as “the punk rock pirates of the math rock world”, which is pretty cool.
Shipping News brings a new, comfortable flavor to the previous two bands’ jaggedness. That’s not to say at all that there aren’t endless powerful moments of rock held within each of this band’s albums, but overall this sounds like the work of seasoned pros, veterans of the underground rock scene that have found their ultimate stride as artists and couldn’t be more at ease with it. Takin’ their time and doin’ it right. For what it’s worth, this is KW’s favorite out of the three bands mentioned here.
‘Nuff respect due to Jeff Mueller, wherever he is…
RODAN – “The Everyday World Of Bodies”, from Rusty (1994)
JUNE OF 44 – “June Miller”, from Engine Takes To The Water (1995)
JUNE OF 44 – “Mooch”, from Engine Takes To The Water (1995)
JUNE OF 44 – “Pregenerate”, from In The Fishtank 6 (1999)
JUNE OF 44 – “Modern Hereditary Dance Steps”, from In The Fishtank 6 (1999)
JUNE OF 44 – “Peel Away Velleity”, from Anahata (1999)
SHIPPING NEWS – “Books On Trains”, from Save Everything (1997)
SHIPPING NEWS – “Steerage”, from Save Everything (1997)
SHIPPING NEWS – “A True Lover’s Knot”, from Save Everything (1997)
SHIPPING NEWS – “Axons and Dendrites”, from Flies The Fields (2005)
If anybody truly digs this stuff, lives in New York, and plays an instrument really well, we ought to talk…
June of 44 grillin’ dogz
Shipping News mulling over the most intelligent way to kill you
Rodan, giant monster of the sky