Despite, or maybe because of, a healthy crop of new bands emerging from the Chapel Hill - Raleigh - Durham scene the past few years, we've also had a bit of a renaissance in these parts, with brilliant recent albums from area titans Superchunk and a reunited Polvo. Hell, there even have been multiple sightings of the great 90s punk band Pipe. Still, I think most of us were shocked a few weeks ago to read in the music press that Archers of Loaf had made an unannounced reappearance, playing a set at the Cat's Cradle as the opener for Raleigh's The Love Language.
Even so, there wasn't a whole lot of reason to believe it might be a full-blown "we're getting the band back together" sort of thing. Eric Bachmann has quieted down (some may say "matured"), and gone on to create a beautiful, separate music legacy with his Crooked Fingers project. In fact, the last I had heard, he had moved away from Chatham County and was living out west somewhere -- probably with a bunch of damned hippies or something. Then last week it was announced that AoL will be playing a nationwide tour this summer. So is it too much to begin hoping that this will be more than a nostalgia trip, and that we'll be seeing some new material making its way into their sets? Go see them and find out.
I think my favorite Archers song is "The Lowest Part is Free" from the EP "Vs. the Greatest of All Time." It's a pretty acerbic take on the music industry circa 1995 ("got nothing to say and you say it anyway").
And here's "Might", from "Icky Mettle". Can one, in two minutes, better capture the sound of the Chapel Hill scene in '94 than this?
It's coming on 30 years since a hardcore punk band called Corrosion of Conformity played its first shows as a band at the old Fallout Shelter at 2 S. West Street here in Raleigh. A lot has changed. The Fallout Shelter was replaced by a neighborhood gay bar in the mid-90s (I know the owners and they're great folks), and Woody Weatherman's parents' jewelry store a half mile up Hillsborough Street closed a couple of years ago and is now a Loco-Pops. Some things haven't changed. The Roast Grill is still across the street, and still has the old Coca-cola sign with the big block letters advertising "HOT WEINERS"-- all the more amusing given the "new" tenant across the way.
And COC changed as well. These changes were not only in the lineup (and there were many of those), but also in musical direction, as they seamlessly became one of the better metal bands in the 1990s. With "Blind", "Deliverance" and "Wiseblood", COC could point to a five year output of groundbreaking music that has been matched only rarely in any decade. I don't know that it's accurate to say COC ever "broke up", but last year they began playing shows as a trio again for the first time since the 80s. The lineup of Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin last played together in support of the 1985 album "Animosity", but are back in the studio recording an album of new material. They are also back on the road, playing last week in Holland at the Roadburn Festival (curated by Sunn O)))) (yes I spent some time wondering what to do about closing that previous parenthetical).
Here they are last week playing "Holier" from "Animosity".
Here's the classic "Big Problems" from the "Clerks" soundtrack.
This is a good live clip of "Wise Blood" from a show in Spain. Woody can really shred.