Glassjaw is one of those bands where it's pretty much a consensus among those in the modern post-hardcore scene that they're one of the most important underground-ish bands of the last decade, let alone one of the few standards of true innovation in a genre besiged by endless copycats and laughably untalented bands coasting by on some unimaginative Iron Maiden/Metallica riffs, some fake Thrice-ness, and a 6/8 beat (*cough Funeral For A Friend
cough*). They're right up there with bands like Refused, Thrice, Thursday, At The Drive-In, Drive Like Jehu, The Fall Of Troy, and other bands of their prestige in the post-hardcore movement that changed/evolved the genre. So obviously I do respect Darryl a lot as a huge influence musically, but someone needs to remind him that Head Automatica f*cking blows mad nutz, and is laughable in comparison to the emotion, ingenuity, and unadulterated power-ownage of Glassjaw in their prime. Sadly however, it had been almost five years (!) since Glassjaw had released any material into the light of day, and they seem to be taking all the time in the world to record their new record (due sometime, hopefully, mid 2007).
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this little gem sitting pretty in the iTunes music store. A NEW Glassjaw EP? Not quite. NEW-ER? Yup. Of course I eagerly spent the cheaper-than-cheap $2.94
(yeah, three whole dollars) and DLed these immediately. These songs are actually b-sides from the Worship And Tribute
sessions (there are a few more out there, such as "Convectuoso" from the UK edition) and by themselves offer up a pretty good indication of the many faces of Glassjaw's music - the typically loud, make-some-f*cked-noises dynamic genre-bending seen in the title track El Mark
, juxtaposed next to the softer, introspective (you could even say poetic) side showcased in the other two songs; the loungy, piano driven The Number No Good Things Can Come Of
and the almost... dare I say it... bass & drum beat-jazz of Oxycodone
. These two songs are pretty much the most left-field stuff out of Daryl & Co.'s territory yet... and they still rock. His vocals definitely take the spotlight in those songs, especially in Oxycodone
where his rapidly undulating vocals almost take it into some soulful floetry. It's great chill stuff to listen to.
is simply a fantastic song, a bit straightforward musically for Glassjaw, but different too. One of the dope aspects is that throughout most of the verses in the song, Justin Beck is just riffing his friggin' head off with all sorts of neat, techy, super-catchy leads while Todd plays the weird, ambiguous chords behind the rhythm and power of Glassjaw's basslines. It's about as conventional as Justin Beck's leads get and it's pretty cool to see him do something note-y and conventional other than making noises (which rock equally). An especially cool part in the song is how the intro speeds up from a stompy 3/4 section into a galloping, jumpy 4/4 pop-punk beat as Darryl goes over the top with his trademark high-pitched roar. The main riff consists mainly of some wicked, staggered natural harmonics, with Beck and Weinstock's lines intertweaving and sliding around each other like snakes. It's a testament to how ill their guitar tandem was in the day. The chorus is just fantastically catchy, with Darryl singing "You're driving me crazy." Perfect stuff.
Get the three dollars and buy this if you like good music.