Friday, September 2, 2011

Week Three: As Long As We're All Living We're All Dying - Fatigue

Amazing. I've managed to cover three weeks of posts in about as many months. Well, let's not waste any more time, then:

As Long As We're All Living, We're All Dying - Fatigue (right click to download from Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records website)

Band names are tricky. They're a little like band iconography, in that they can often determine the someone's enjoyment of a band even though they have jack shit to do with music. I claim no exception to this; I have a couple of really prominent band tattoos and I only even halfway regret one of them.

A lot of times, perfectly good bands get stuck with shitty names. I put off listening to Title Fight for the longest time because their name made them sound like a dumb tough-guy hardcore band, only to discover that they're actually a lot better and less generic than I thought. I think Warsaw, Joy Division and New Order are all various degrees of stupid as band names, but I enjoy music by the band in all its permutations.

Coming up with inverse examples - shitty bands with good band names - is trickier. I guess if you're a generic band, you'll probably have a generic name. The only band that comes to mind that is worse than their band name for me is Deadguy. I dig the name, but the band never did much for me. Even so, I wouldn't call them shitty, I guess. They just don't necessarily live up to the name.

Band names get pretty fun in aggressive music. You see a lot of the first type of bands: good bands stuck with shitty names. Punk and hardcore names, in particular, get used up fast. Floorpunch must have been fucking thrilled to find out that name wasn't taken before they got to it. Ditto for Victims, Cursed, and Rise and Fall, all very good bands with band names that sound like every other hardcore band name. Metal names tend to be more evocative. I mentioned in my last post, when referring to the death metal band Scaphism, that I didn't know what their name meant but I bet it was gross. I looked it up and, holy shit, was I right. Metal's predictable that way. Just pick a disease or medical condition, serial killer name, some sort of death related term or torture device, and pray it isn't taken. Really, if you're a fucked up dude, you're halfway there (incidentally, my favorite current metal band name has to go to Trap Them; simple, evocative, and scary).

Basically, I think of good band names the same way I think of good tattoos: I should be able to look at it and say "that's cool" without following it up with "what does it mean?" In jokes are never funny and nobody wants to hear your stupid tattoo story.

Anyway, this is all a big roundabout way of saying that I think As Long As We're All Living We're All Dying is a kickass band name. It's not necessarily the deepest sentiment, but it's a coherent, complete thought, and it's hard to find a complete thought in a band name, let alone a complete sentence. I also dig the ambiguous punctuation; I've seen the name written out with or without a comma, and grammar be damned, I like it better without. I had seen this band name around a bit, I don't remember where. They're from Boston, so it was probably on flyers and stickers and stuff. Anyway, about a month ago I was in a shitty mood and had five bucks to spare so I decided to buy some sort of heavy music 7", because like all healthy privileged Americans, I solve my emotional problems by buying shit. I came across the record and the band name had stuck in my head, and I decided the band name alone was worth the three dollars that the record cost.

The record itself is pretty good too. Turns out they're a metal band, which is a relief, because as much as I love the band name, it could've easily belonged to a bunch of mopey pale kids with synthesizers*. ALAWALWAD's (sweet acronym) first track, Fatigue, is a nice little piece of thrash, with a badass fast paced guitar riff that only slows down at the end for a nice big double-bass-drum finish. There's no lyrics sheet included, so all I can make out is a pretty sweet "GO!" at the beginning and a gang-vocaled "we begin again" at the end. Pretty basic stuff, I guess. Apparently the band was made up of but two dudes, which I guess makes sense as the bass is a little thin, but I wouldn't have guessed it if I didn't know. They also thank The Hound "for being righteous" in the liner notes. Nobody's ever thanked me for being righteous. I've found a new ambition. Speaking of The Hound, their side is okay too. Their last song has a really sweet outro, but I don't like their vocals as much and as far as band names go, they're severely outmatched. The record was put out by Teenage Disco Bloodbath, the same crew that would later put out Ramming Speed's records, so they're okay in my book. Apparently it's one of only two records the band put out during their brief career. I'd like to find their first one; apparently it has a song called "Burn Allston to the Fucking Ground," which is a sentiment I think we can all get behind. Their page on the TBD website has a couple of tracks listed, but the links don't work, and the band website is long dead. Such is life for a Boston metal band.

So, yeah, I spent way more time talking about the band name than I did about the song. But, frankly, that band name's stuck with me for years, since before I ever heard anything by them, and it'll probably stick with me long after I forget how that riff goes.

-Michael James Roberson

*I don't know who I'm trying to kid, I love this kind of music.

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