Friday, June 17, 2005

The unheard gem: NRSK

New Radiant Storm Kings Leftover Blues 1991-2003
New Radiant Storm King - Leftover Blues 1991-2003
They might just be the best band you've never heard of. New Radiant Storm King hail from west Massachussets, which is the home of a lot of great indie rock (The Pernice Bros., Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., Buffalo Tom, etc.) Made up primarily of the duo Matt Hunter and Peyton Pinkerton (who also plays in The Pernice Brothers,) NRSK labored for years in the shadow of peers like Sebadoh, Pavement and Guided By Voices, never really enjoying success even though they released two of the most amazing indie rock classic albums in the 90's (Hurricane Necklace and August Revival.) Influenced by Sonic Youth and noise rock of the era, NRSK remained an artistic force in their recordings even through the tragic death of a member, and the bankruptcy of their label. Leftover Blues 1991-2003 takes the odd songs and demos that didn't see light of day during their reign, and it's an amazing chronicle of a band flexing it's indie-rock muscle. The CD opens with "Quicksand Under Carpet" which tells you right off the bat that Hunter and Pinkerton know to write a great hook. The song shimmers and bounces, sounding both familiar and quite different to anything you've heard.

New Radiant Storm King - Hurricane Necklace
A couple songs are different versions of songs that appeared on other albums. Notably "Blood for Vase" sounds very similar to the version on the great Hurricane Necklace, giving you a taste of that albums fury. Hurricane Necklace is one of the handful of great albums I usually pull out when sharing my faves, as it's continued obscurity guarantees that it can still be a discovery for a fan of indie pop noise rock. With tracks like "Honor Roll" and "Drool" you get the feeling that they could survive nearly as well as an instrumental band, and that's not to throw water on their lyrics and vocals, that's just the power of their two-guitar attack. It's vintage Verlaine-Lloyd (Television) or Moore-Renaldo (Sonic Youth) and the vocal melodies are pure icing, like in these aforementioned predecessors. While neither Hurricane Necklace, nor the great August Revival, are in Rhapsody (thanks to Grass/Wind-Up Records owner Alan Meltzer's personal vendetta against the NRSK and The Wrens) you can still possibly find these great releases around used. Also check out their most recent proper album, Winter Kills, which is also a fine release, and in Rhapsody.


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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

New Radiant Storm King - Leftover Blues 1991-2003

* "Quicksand Under Carpet" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Blood For Vase" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Scrimshaw" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Mrs. Baird's Bread" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Mercy" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Untenable" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Leftover Blues" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Smear" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Subway Token Save My Soul" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Phonecall" - New Radiant Storm King
* "Bonus Track" - New Radiant Storm King