Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Day In Black and White- My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys (2004)

Recommended if you like: Fugazi, Hot Cross, Sparta, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

Don't let the band name turn you off, A Day In Black and White's My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys is one of the most intense and beautiful cuts of post-hardcore I've ever heard. I got into these guys back in the days of musical adolescence, when I was really getting into emo and hardcore (that's real emo for those of you who are still ignorant, see http://fourfa.com for further reading) and this is one of the few records that still close to my heart. The other tracks are good but the standouts are by far "The Gaze" and "There Are Objects and Objects." "The Gaze" slowly builds on Daniel Morse's angular guitars and a heavy rhythm section before exploding into this beautiful cathartic tremolo line. Then the instruments fade out for a minute and go into this incredible jam out session, the drums do this massive roll and then explode into the song's last minute and a half, where we finally get to hear Morse's abrasive shouts. He's not screaming, it's more of a yell that makes the room feel like it's going to crash down around you. "There are Objects and Objects" is kind of the reverse formula: the song explodes instantly before dying down into this exaggerated guitar part.

The best part about the album is how it's recorded. The way you can hear the bass clicking and plodding behind the guitar, how fucking loud everything sounds, Morse's overbearing yells. It manages to retain that small-space, live feel without compromising any of Morse's fantastic guitar and bass work. And the aforementioned jam out part in "The Gaze" makes the record sound so human., so personal. There's definitely way more going on here than just traditional Fugazi-style post-hardcore. Morse's dissonant guitar work and preference for delay and reverb hint at post-rock, post-punk and the indie sound that the band would later take (much to my disappointment) on their second LP Notes. But the band's association with Level-Plane records and bands like Navies and Black Castle usually gets them lumped in with emo revival stuff of the mid 00s. Click the album artwork to sample.

While reviewing this, I found out that Level Plane Records has been defunct since 2009. Sad news, rest in peace to a great label.

1. Fordward/Backward
2. There Are Objects and Objects
3. Storming the Bastille
4. The Gaze
5. The Illusion of the End

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