American Steel

New Noise Magazine Presents

American Steel

Western Addiction, Sick Pigeon

Sat · December 8, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12.00 - $15.00

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This event is 21 and over

American Steel
American Steel
In its earliest incarnation, American Steel was a band that sought to absorb influences at the far ends of the musical spectrum -€Crass, Fang, The Clash, East Bay pop punk, Irish folk songs, Motown, soul -€and outstrip them all in both melody and intensity. Starting in 1995 as a loosely organized trio who traded turns at the mic (and occasionally instruments), the group soon recruited a permanent drummer and invested in amps, tuners, and eventually a van, and embarked on a five-year run of touring that would see them criss-crossing the North American continent dozens of times, starting in basements and backyards and eventually crossing into the club circuit.
American Steel’s recorded output is as different from song to song as it is from album to album. The first three American Steel records (1998’s Untitled , 1999’s Rogue’s March, and 2001’s Jagged Thoughts, all of which were recorded by Kevin Army), each take an innovative, complex, and sometimes schizophrenic approach to songwriting. The songs on Destroy Their Future range from the simple and stripped down to the bombastic and over-the-top.American Steel set Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts apart from their past recordings by melding Rory’s introspective often personal lyrics, with soulful aggressive energy that extends the range and scope of what can be classified as punk.
Western Addiction
Western Addiction
Tremulous: to display timidity or nervousness, or shake or quiver slightly. It’s an odd word, one not used commonly in the modern English language—you’re far more likely to come across it in James Joyce’s Ulysses, for example, than in your average hardcore record. But here we are, with Western Addiction’s new full-length, Tremulous, an album embodying the anxiety, dread, worry and anguish omnipresent in modern day America. "The word ‘tremulous’ just felt right,” says frontman Jason Hall. “It sums up the theme of the entire record in one word.” Hall puts a premium on the words associated with Western Addiction; every song tells a story, sometimes with uncomfortable specifics and every title and lyric is meant to resonate with the listener on a different level.

While the San Francisco band’s sophomore effort comes nearly 12 years after their debut, Cognicide, don’t think they have grown out of hardcore. Tremulous rips its way through 11 explosive tracks, delivering a consistent sound strongly rooted in the past (picture an alternate universe where Milo Aukerman, Greg Ginn and Fugazi’s rhythm section formed a band) that is plenty aggressive (“Ditch Riders,” “Masscult, Vulgarians and Entitlement”) and surprisingly melodic (“Righteous Lightning,” “Honeycreeper”). It sounds like the same band that made Cognicide, just older, wiser—but still pissed off.

A large part of that consistency can be attributed to the band’s current form, which consists of founding members Hall on vocals, Ken Yamazaki (also of Dead To Me) on guitar and Chad Williams on drums, as well as 2014 recruit Tony Teixeira moving to guitar. When it came time to record Tremulous, Western Addiction re-connected with original bassist, Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico, who was happy to assist his friends in the studio, adding another connection between the band’s past and present. He even had a hand in shaping Tremulous’ most intense song, the album-closing, five-and-a-half-minute dirge “Your Life Is Precious,” written in tribute to friend (and Enemy You frontman) David Jones, whose unexpected death in 2015 had a profound effect on the band.

“I don’t usually write songs in one burst, but I did with that one—every single lyric means something very specific,” Hall says, going on to explain how the song features his first-ever attempt at singing. When he says singing, he really means singing, not your average hardcore throat-bellow. Luckily, he had one of punk’s finest vocalists, Joey Cape, in the producer’s seat for Tremulous, who coaxed him to new heights in his overall performance. “One of the things we asked Joey to work on with us was vocal melodies. He had great input on many songs, especially ‘Ditch Riders,’ ‘Taedium’ and ‘Your Life Is Precious.’”

Tremulous fires off salvo after salvo of incendiary hardcore containing a surprising amount of melodicism, but Cape wasn’t the only member of the Fat Wreck family to offer assistance: Propagandhi’s Todd Kowalski delivers guest vocals on “Taedium” (“Propagandhi has continually influenced and enlightened my life, and I respect Todd as a human,” Hall praises). And while the bulk of the album was recorded with Cape and engineer Ian MacGregor in Los Angeles, the band finished up the vocals in San Francisco with Cape at Fat Mike’s Motor Studios.

Western Addiction turned to an unlikely name to mix Tremulous: Matt Bayles, an esteemed producer whose resume is two decades long and stacked with such major names in metal and hardcore as Mastodon, Botch and Isis. However, it was a different record that put Bayles’ name on Western Addiction’s tongue. “The inspiration for Tremulous was From Ashes Rise’s Nightmares, which Matt produced,” Hall says. “They’re a hardcore band but it sounds so big and well-produced. I wanted to do that. After seeing what Matt could do with my vocals, I was blown away.”

With Tremulous finally out in the world, Hall’s goal for 2017 feels surprisingly attainable while at the same time emotionally exhausting. “I want our band to be understood,” he concludes. “I don’t think we’ve ever found our people. We’re in this netherworld of punk: We’re not poppy, we’re not fun, we’re loud but we’re not a metal band, and the truly crazy hardcore bands would probably think we don’t fit in. I just want to be understood.”
Sick Pigeon
Sick Pigeon is an original punk band from San Francisco formed in January of 2015. Their self-titled 12 song debut album was recorded at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District and released in the Fall of 2016. Sick Pigeon was built on friendship, frustration, and an undying love for punk music.
Venue Information:
Ivy Room
860 San Pablo Ave
Albany, CA, 94706
http://www.ivyroom.com/