Music

Archers of Loaf: Seconds Before the Accident

Dan Moos

Archers of Loaf

Seconds Before the Accident

Label: Alias
US Release Date: 2000-06-06
Amazon
iTunes

I need to open this review with a caveat. I love the Archers. Well, I loved the Archers. I had the pleasure of seeing them numerous times at Cat's Cradle on Chapel Hill and (better) the Duke Coffeehouse in Durham when they were but a wee little Chapel Hill indie phenomena. At a quiet moment, few that there were, I even had the joy of rather loudly activating Matt Gentling's E string with an empty and mobile can of Busch (the Coffeehouse was BYOB, you see). I don't think that I have ever been to a better show than some of these early Archers hoe-downs.

First of all, Seconds Before the Accident is a live record, something requisite for any successful band it seems. Unfortunately, this album doesn't really capture the rawness and noise of a live Archers show. Admittedly, I saw them in Buffalo a few years ago and was disappointed in the growing sense of contemplation and the loss of action at their live shows, so perhaps my reading of this CD simply follows those lines. If you are a die-hard Archer's fan, Seconds Before the Accident must go into your collection. Even if you're new to the Archers and their multi-layered sonics, this would be a good introduction. Seconds Before the Accident was recorded at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill in 1998, so this show was guaranteed a doting and loving audience. But it showcases very little of the spontaneity of a live show, whether that be musical improvisation or audience interaction. What this CD does show, though, is the brilliant cohesiveness of the Archers. Even live, the album comes off with the tightness (and production) of a studio release.

Almost one third of the tracks come from the Archers's first release Icky Mettle. Maybe the nature of the local audience demanded that they cover the oldies in their catalog, or maybe these tracks simply rocked the hardest. If nothing else, the years have tightened these songs and sent them out of the sound system even louder and cleaner than before.

I'm afraid to say that the Archers have run their course. White Trash Heros, for example, lacked the wall of guitar layers that defined the Archer's sound on earlier albums. Some of the spirit of noise, bitterness, and fun seemed to be gone. Eric Bachmann's side projects such as Barry Black (and recently, Crooked Fingers) display a musical expansion outside of the guitar-laced indie Archers sound (go buy the first Barry Black CD, that's an order!). Their split seems appropriately timed, and, for me, bittersweet. Aptly titled, Seconds Before the Accident comes out, then, as their swan song. But as a last gasp, Seconds Before the Accident doesn't try any new gimmicks hoping for some resuscitation. Rather, the Archers simply mow through great songs from the last six years leaving me wishing that I had seen them just one last time, somewhere, somehow. They split at the right time, but, like an Indie Formula car into a wall, they didn't stop until it was over. As Seconds Before the Accident proves, they kept rocking -- loud -- right to the end.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image