Genrevolta "CD Release"
w/ Thank God, Jack of Knives
Sat. April 21
$10 (includes disc)
301 King St.
Things in Charleston's "underground" are tight-knit. Nearly all of the punkish, metallic, noisy, weirdo rock bands playing around at the local bars, house parties, record shop in-stores, and warehouse gigs know each other, collaborate on and off stage, share gear, and generally get along with a show of support and camaraderie.
This weekend, in an impressive display of solid organization and teamwork, a newly-established local record label celebrates the official release of their first "split" CD with a three-band bill featuring local trio Genrevolta — drummer Pete Rivas, singer/guitarist Philip Estes, and bassist Richard Weld — as headliners.
"There's a 'pay one price and get a CD' deal for $10 at the door," says Troy Thames, founder and co-exec of Tick Tock Records. "The purpose of all this is to get the music out there and get it heard ... it's not so much about making money or anything."
Thames, a skillful rock drummer, describes the new label as a collaboration between himself and Tobias Denney, the guitarist from local band Motormouth Mabel. Last March, Thames' experimental art-punk band, Thank God (most of whom are based in Columbia), recorded an EP's worth of tunes titled For Pregnant Virgins and decided to release it themselves rather than shop it around to labels. Charleston artist Jason Groce created a logo, Denney signed on as co-exec over the winter, and Tick Tock was born.
This new "split EP" with In the Red (No Idea recording artists from Riverside, Calif.) and Genrevolta marks the young label's second domestic release. Forthcoming releases include a disc for Deepslaughter (from Japan), Oregon-based These Speeds, East Coast bands Tiger Shark and Perestroika, local band Stampede, and a follow-up from Thank God.
"Troy's been at it for a long time," says Weld. "After playing in bands for a long time, I think he realized that he could do a lot by starting his own label. He's definitely in it 100 percent. He knows what he's doing. Lord knows, we could use such a thing around here. His band, Thank God, have a similar sound to Genrevolta. They're ultra-caffeinated, a little faster, and a little more complicated, little crazier."
Genrevolta have been making their own jaggedy ruckus for about five years. They released a self-produced, self-titled, five-song EP (recorded at local musicians Erik Karter and Kevin Taylor's old Awendaw studio) in 2004. They recorded these three new tunes earlier this year at the Jam Room Studio (www.jamroomstudio.com) in Columbia with engineers Jay Matheson and Steve Slavich.
"This was the first time we'd been in a professional studio," says Estes. "After Richard and Peter did the rhythm tracks, I set up my amp, turned it on, and Jay just kinda looked at me like it was the worst thing in the world [laughs]. He said, 'Theoretically, this should be exploding right now,' because I run a series of amps and cabinets together without any proper wattage or whatever. Eventually, when they heard it with all three of us playing together, they understood it.
"Jay Matheson at the Jam Room might have been taken aback by Phil's rig, but it worked out pretty well," adds Weld. "It's kind of a tricky band because each of us works full-time and our schedules are tough. If we had been doing this 10 years ago, we'd probably be hitting the road doing all sorts of cool things like that [laughs]."
In the Red's three lead-off songs — "Forever Falling," "Here Will We All Die," and "Cut Your Eyes" — pound hard with a swirling mix of metallic, chugging guitars. Genrevolta's follow-up three — "Ploughed," "Daughter," and "Cubes" — sound a bit dry and shrill by comparison (perhaps a bit more along the lines of the Minutemen and early Jesus Lizard). Unfortunately, there was a mix-up during the final stages of pressing the discs that resulted in the final song on the EP being wrongly listed as "Cubes" (it's actually "Assassin").
"Phil and I are huge fans of bands like Shellac and the Jesus Lizard and bands with that whole driving-bass-and-drums with noisy guitar mixture," says Weld. "I've always been a fan of bands with really aggressive bass players ... even going back to King Crimson and Yes!
"We've actually been playing the songs on this disc for about a year or so," adds Estes. "Things really clicked with the three of us when we wrote these songs. We haven't been writing as much lately ... it's like, when we have a show coming up, we rehearse a lot for the show. Pete and I work days jobs and Richard works a night job, so it is tricky."
Weld currently works the late shifts as bar manager at Gene's Haufbrau in West Ashley. Estes teaches classes during the day at Jennie Moore Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant. Rivas manages the day shifts at Taco Boy on Folly Beach. The trio have been laying low over the recent months. Their set at Cumberland's on St. Patrick's Day was their first local show since the annual Johnny Puke Birthday Bash at the venue way back in Aug. 2006 (see the City Paper's "CP Blog" online for a review of the St. Pat's show).
"We sort of had a little bit of a hiatus and now we're back on the horse again," Weld says. "Now that this CD's out, we're going to start playing locally more often and try to get out of town a bit more. There's a scene happening down in Gainesville [Florida] ... In the Red and The Draft are playing there quite a bit, so we'll get involved, too. We're hoping to tour with In the Red while they're on the East Coast. We're all picking up a lot of steam."