It all started with touring a lot the past year. Touring never fails to change the way you hear music…9hr drives through Wyoming, all night mountain passes, wild weather survival crawls…there’s constantly new stuff you’ve never seen before and there’s a soundtrack. And the soundtrack stretches OUT. Whether a song goes 3 minutes or 18 minutes doesn’t make much difference, as long as it holds up. You can’t really listen to the same thing over and over, so everyone mellows out and lets some familiar/unfamiliar jammage play just for the sake of variety.
Certain bands/albums started to rise to the top. Mayyors were always a hit, no matter what they followed. Their 10-second manic tape loop intros would grab all of us and dunk our heads under the inevitable Sacramento pummel. This heat was another crowd-pleaser, so were Psychic Paramount. There was one afternoon driving to Pittsburgh where we started a Major Stars binge. Then Rangdha, Monoshock, Dymaxion, The Pop Group, High Rise….
Random shuffle became a massive brain crowbar – for our own songs, for our own noise. Instead of locking down on regurgitating the same songs on stage every night, we came home looking to take all that momentum and find a way to send it off the rails. One morning driving around back in San Diego, I must have been in the M’s on my song library. All of a sudden, I heard a block of a bunch of those tour song faves. Major Stars’ “Syntoptikon,” Mayyors’ “Deads” EP, Marble Sheep’s “Melted Moon.” Ahh, MAJOR MAYOR MARBLE.
The next time we all got together to play, we started learning these songs. Soon after, Jason threw in a Dymaxion number. MAJOR MAYOR MAXION MARBLE. Monolithic atonal New England monster riffs + Sacramento clobber + deconstructed guitar as sample + Tokyo flash-forward. All points of the globe caving in quadraphonically.
Cover songs are double-edged. You don’t have to write them, but you do have to own them. All four of these tunes have some severely alien logic intrinsic to them. They’re slathered so deep in that…they initially come off as improv, but we maybe figured out otherwise in midstream. Learning these made us unlearn a lot of what we already knew to do, in terms of structure and performance, recording and mix. The same rules did not apply.
So here we have something that doesn’t have a lot in common with much of anything we’ve recorded so far as a band, was an epically large stretch, and yet in some ways was like falling off a giant log. Tribute, homage, thrill-bent annihilation. A 4-song cover EP.
–Glen Galloway, Octagrape