Running. They have a pummeling live show that’s captivating and contentious. The gallons of reverb on the vocals, the distorted bass, the signature screech of the guitar feedback all take a certain mood to be able to stand sometimes. Last year’s Asshole Savant didn’t really do it for me. So why am I writing about them? Because this year’s Vaguely Ethnic keeps finding its way to my ears.
The nine tracks clock in just over 20 minutes, of which I can’t understand a word that lead singer's yelps the entire time. It's perfect for when I've drank too much coffee and want something loud and fast and have no attention span at all. For being so scuzzed out though, Running actually finds ways to incorporate (gasp) catchy parts to their song, albeit not in any conventional sense of what the word ‘catchy’ is probably conjuring in your mind. "Endless Baggage," for example, incorporates a great anti-melody between the guitar and bass. "Oo0o Oo0O Oo0oOo" is the best phonetic representation of many of the guitar sounds. The best way to put it is that these songs force you to come back to them, despite the noise, the feedback, the too much reverb, because they’ve gripped you by the ribcage and are threatening to tear off your flesh if you don’t give in. And for such a chaotic sound, the band still has a sense of humor. The vocal-less "Controversial PR" is on an album that finds the band with (from what I’ve gathered) their very first experience actually getting PR support.
RUNNING - Live - Empty Bottle from GONZO CHICAGO on Vimeo.
Having long been a part of the underground scene, Vaguely Ethnic has given the group a little bit of blog buzz. Odds are that if you like loud and fast and anti-social music, you're already familiar with Running. If not, get your hands on these jams. Next chance to catch the abrasive live show is Sunday September 22nd at the Empty Bottle opening for Pop. 1280 (21+, $8, 9 PM). Vaguely Ethnic is out now on Castle Face Records. Impose still has a stream of the album right here.