Yeah so to get this out of the way; no I don’t review albums in order or on time. Like most normal people that don’t get paid anything to do this, I find my music randomly. It could be from ten or twenty years ago that I discover something good. No one sends me their ‘latest’ cause they want their album to be seen on my blog. So I write about what I like when I hear it. And I’m just now getting into Pile’s Dripping (which is 5 years old now according to the bandcamp page). You can also hear it here. (I also didn’t edit this one or go over it with a comb with any teeth at all, b/c hell even the fucking New York Times doesn’t seem to check their spelling or grammar once it’s on the internet.)
Pile bears more than a passing resemblance to Boston forebearers and indie rock image alikes the Pixies. But more in spirit than in song; they seamlessly combine current post-hardcore trends with talent laden pop songwriting (by way of vocals more reminiscent of David Yow but also kickin the Black Francis ghost) in a way that makes you think; hey, if you do this well enough, you can reinvigorate and reinvent something as old and disparate as rock music!
Which is especially difficult when it comes to that instrument du old jours that’s been overanalyzed to death in the past century, the guitar. But, like Polvo in the mid to late 90s, Pile somehow while not reinventing the guitar reinvigorates it. If I were to use a pretentious artsy metaphor that I can understand; the love of actual paint itself reinvigorated a dying artform in the hands of Van Gogh. Rick Maguire and Matt Becker seem to love and worship just the guitar itself in the way Van Gogh loved and worshipped paint. The intonation, the dynamics, the subtle nuances that make the instrument (when run through an amplifier and a minimal list of effects) endlessly interesting. Which makes their guitar playing and song structures based around it work so well, despite the fact that they sound influenced almost entirely by boredom, yearning, and angst.
Which is the most important thing to say about this album; it works. It
works so well. It works so seamlessly, so genuinely, and so seemingly without pretention (though any good indie rock can’t help but have a hardy helping). One of those ‘it’s not fair; why are these guys so fucking good!? My band does the same exact thing and has been for twenty years, yet they’re the one that everyone listens to. And they don’t even seem at all surprised or elated about it! They’re just doing what they and we do, they’re good at it, and, well, it’s way better than anything any of us that sound just like them have come up with in the past twenty years.’
Here’s to you Pile, for making me believe in rock again. And yes of course that was a sarcastic overstatement. Great record though. I hope your others are as good so I can drool over them shortly in the future. But more just so I’ll have something to enjoy listening to in the car on my fucking endlessly boring drive to and from my unbearable job everyday. Thanks for making it a little more bearable. Ah fuck I’m gonna cry… turn off the camera!