August 28, 2008

a vida... esse jogo maravilhoso!

Harvey Milk - "Life... The Best Game in Town" (2008, Hydra Head)

Pergunto-me, como será possível os Harvey Milk terem passado tanto tempo sem serem considerados the best band in town? À face de um disco deste calibre, que mais não é do que o culminar duma já longa e profícua carreira, realmente não se percebe.
"Life..." é, nada mais nada menos, do que um manual. Um manual de sobrevivência que toda e qualquer banda no espectro do rock alternativo (mais ou menos pesado, porque mesmo sendo um disco essencialmente pesado, este transcende convenções, classificações ou qualquer outro tipo de barreiras) que pretenda manter incólume a sua integridade deveria ter em consideração. O mesmo se aplica aos melómanos.
Está tudo aqui: a atitude, a postura despreocupada e descontraída, o humor, o prazer de fazer música pela música em si... E a própria música em si, a criatividade, a execução irrepreensível, a simbiose perfeita na alternância entre os momentos mais contemplativos e os mais viscerais, entre o lento e o rápido, entre o doom, o sludge, o trash, o speed, o rock mais experimental ou mais convencional, e tudo o mais que os Harvey Milk se lembrarem de juntar à mistura.
Não haja dúvida, life... the best record in town!

Serve ainda eu falar deste disco como desculpa para reproduzir aqui um excerto do excelente artigo acerca de uma banda que finalmente começa a ter o reconhecimento que merece (e por mim falo, uma vez que só tomei conhecimento da existência dos Harvey Milk há uns dois ou três meses atrás), e que foi publicado originalmente na última Skyscraper:

«If you're going to take another human being's name and use it to name your band, it's unwise to make that decision lightly. Many a hardcore band has taken the name of a brutal, violent individual as a means of representing their brutal and violent music, while a number of indie bands have used classic film stars or recent celebrities to create an immediate nostalgia or silly aesthetic. It makes only perfect sense, then, that a band so extreme, so unusual, so unclassifiable as to only fit under the generic term "heavy rock" chose to take the name of a slain politician and gay activist as their own. Welcome to Harvey Milk.

Beginning in the mid-nineties, a time when noise, experimentalism, and genre-fuckery were not the same welcomed elements in underground rock music as they are today, Harvey Milk were steadfast in their style and pulled no punches. They made the slowest songs even slower, the heaviest riffs intolerably crushing, the cock-rock even more over-the-top. As history has shown, toiling away at something truly unique and fascinating can be generally met with disinterest or even disgust, something that Harvey Milk surely faced throughout those early years. It's quite possible the world just wasn't ready for Harvey Milk, although those lucky enough to find copies of their first three albums - 1995's My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be (Yesha), 1997's Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men (Reproductive), and 1998's The Pleaser (Reproductive) - generally held on to them, spreading the word to the few souls willing to wrap their heads around the sounds within.

A few years passed and Harvey Milk disbanded with little fanfare. Thanks to word of mouth, mixtapes, and, in more recent times, blog posts, shared downloads, and various reissue and posthumous releases (courtesy of Tumult, Relapse, Escape Artist, and Chunklet), however, the interest in Harvey Milk has grown wildly throughout the current millennium. Even still, it can be a bit of a shock to listen to Harvey Milk for the first time, hearing just how raw, grotesque, and hilarious a heavy rock band can be, compiling a variety of disparate influences into one fully-refined whole. Keeping in mind the time and place (the college rock haven of Athens, Georgia) that the band was born, it's really quite perplexing that this trio - guitarist/vocalist Creston Spiers, bassist Steven Tanner, and drummer Kyle Spence (who replaces founding member and on-again/off-again drummer Paul Trudeau) - ever existed at all. (The group has recently expanded into a quartet with the addition of Joe Preston, of Earth, The Melvins and Thrones fame.) Mix severe rock sounds and mysterious surroundings and you've got a cult following in no time.

It was only a matter of time then that Harvey Milk dusted off their instruments and put together one of the finest albums of 2006, Special Wishes (Troubleman/Megablade), a surprise comeback that showed no signs of weariness, only a fine-tuned dark humor and years of experience with which to reflect. Since then, they have been performing live, re-releasing their early singles on a collection CD (The Singles), and early albums on both CD and vinyl, as well as recently releasing Life... The Best Game in Town on Hydra Head, already being touted as one of the best albums of 2008 by a variety of discerning metalheads, shut-ins, and garage freaks. (...)»

Matthew Kosloff (in Skyscraper #28)