Musings on music, old, new, popular and obscure. Post punk, metal, hip-hop, funk, and rock in general. A music fan with a desire to lose boundaries on what should and should not be listened to writes about experience in music from a listener's perspective, hopefully unhindered by prior expectation.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tiny Music...Songs from Various Record Shops VIII -- Harvey Milk's Special Wishes

 Tiny Music...a series of entries on recent and seemingly random purchases. Why I made them, and why, perhaps, you ought to do the same--or at least take up the methodology!
Part I              Part V
Part II            Part VI
Part III           Part VII
 Part IV                        

Harvey Milk is a peculiar band. Named for the assassinated, openly gay San Francisco politician, Harvey Milk (the band) has no political associations to speak of, no clear stance on anything political, no openly gay members or anything else to indicate why they chose the name. If someone has an answer, that would be awesome. Until then, please explore their merch page and perhaps reconsider taking their attitude--whatever it is, anyway--seriously. There's weirdness, humour and experimentation melded into a band that is primarily, I suppose, sludge/doom/stoner metal. It's almost all very down tempo, loud, and heavy in the sense that it is full of low-end and pounds and thuds its way out of speakers.
Their outspoken frontman, Creston Spiers, suggested that this, Special Wishes was their best album yet, and that the acclaimed follow up from 2008, Life...The Best Game in Town was their worst. Of course, that album was my first, stumbling into a similarly random-seeming cover: another badly-angled shot of a wall, but this time bearing a crumpled poster for Iron Maiden's second album, Killers, the last with first vocalist Paul DiAnno. It's familiar enough that that one jumped out at me when I saw it, despite the fact that both albums, as you can see, give no front-based indication of who or what they are.

Stylistically, at least, there is not a huge change between the two albums as the style is pretty thoroughly their own. While notions of other extremely slow--though not quite Sleep's Dopesmoker slow--sludge bands reach your ears, eventually songs like "Once in a While" or "Instrumental" with its bizarre radio-trivia-sample frame that references the Alan Parsons Project's The Turn of a Friendly Card appear and make you wonder what is going on.

This was a lucky find, too--it's no longer in print and was not easy to find in the first place. This is part of the absolute joy of the approach I take: while you can find things online with relative simplicity in many cases, the hunt and the find, and sometimes the unrealized find, has a thrill to it that you can't get from clicking through Amazon's used section. In fairness, this did come from the used chain of stores that also once contained the extremely out-of-print Josef K album(s) and compilations for a total of $59, and they often research and price in accordance with such information. Fortunately for me--unlike when I picked up those Josef K albums which, yes, I did, despite that being $59 for two CDs--this was just priced as a plain ol' used CD at the time.

"Once in a While"

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