Feb 23, 2009

Diggin' In The Crates "Giving Some Love To My Homies" Edition

This week, just like the title of this post says, I'm showing some love to some homeboys of mine who just put a new record out...

Artist: Northern Liberties
Title: Suffocation
Label: self-released
Vinyl: 100 copies each of clear vinyl and multi-color vinyl.

On October 30, 2004, I made my second pilgrimage in as many years to one of Philadelphia's finest alternative/indie rock venues, The Khyber, to witness a performance by my good friend, punk legend Mike Watt (The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Banyan, Iggy Pop & The Stooges), who was then touring behind his third solo album The Secondman's Middle Stand

Most likely by coincidence, all three of the acts on the bill were three-piece units. Only the first band of the night, the Perfection!sts, was a conventional guitar/bass/drums unit. Watt's band on this outing, as on his then-new album, was an organ/bass/drums band. And then there was the band in the middle of the bill. I'll let my paragraph on them from when I reviewed the show for PunkNews.org tell it:

Second opening act Northern Liberties (who also run their own Worldeater label and distribution company) -- a trio consisting of bass, drums and percussion -- played a high energy set of music from their debut full-length album Erode + Disappear. With K's effect-laden, pick-driven bass covering all sonic frequencies and most of the melody, singer/percussionist Justin came off like a tattooed, ultra-hyper, depression-and-epilepsy-free Ian Curtis as he sang and played, unpreturbed by minor mishaps with both the mic cord coming out of his delay pedal and with accidentally knocking over a pitcher of water on the stage floor (where Mazich had to set up his organ right afterward - fortunately, no Stone The Crows like electrocution mishaps occurred) - definitely one of the best unsigned bands I've ever witnessed. 

After the evening ended, I met lead singer/percussionist Justin Duerr, bought copies of his band's first CD Erode + Disappear and their 7" Easter Island off of him (the CD itself was $6 for a full-length album!). I played the CD in my car on the drive home and was hooked for life. Since then, I've been following the band's releases (three more CDs, a limited edition DVD, a split 7" and three side project releases by Justin) as well as keeping a good correspondence (and trading mix CD's) with Justin (not surprisingly, my CDs had some J-pop goodness, which he dug immensely.) All are highly recommended by me.

Their newest release is rather interesting as it's their first non-7" vinyl effort. The record consists of one 29-minute, 51-second song entitled (what else?) Suffocation. Despite the length of the song, it seems to go by pretty quick. The band only intends to play this piece live twice, once on March 20 in Philadelphia and once in Bethlehem a week later. The vinyl itself (which Justin tells me is the band's preferred way to experience the recorded version of the song) has a locked groove on side two, but they're not putting CD and iPod owners out either, as every copy of the album has a bonus CD with some extra tracks (a few drones excerpted from the multi-track recording of the song, plus some live tracks from a California radio appearance). The album's cover itself is silkscreened by NL's bassist Kevin Riley.

Vinyl collectors may want to jump on this soon - there's only 200 copies pressed, and mine was numbered 59. Check the band's website at http://www.northernlibertiesband.com

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