Sunday, April 30, 2023

Song Highlight: The Birthday Party - Junkyard

One of the first bands that showed me that a band could be aggressive without resorting to death metal growls and down-tuned guitars was Big Black, Steve Albini's punk rock band from the early to mid 1980s. The clanging and screeching guitars coupled with the monolithic pounding of their Roland TR-606 drum machine created an intense listening experience the likes of which I had never heard before (I discovered Big Black after graduating college in 2009, while reading Michael Azerrad’s book about the American underground music scene in the 1980s, Our Band Could Be Your Life). That discovery helped introduce me to the world of noise rock, specifically to the band The Jesus Lizard, with the unmatched vocals of David Yow,  his stuttering yelps and wails ornamenting the muscular power of the band’s rhythm section and the minimalistic metallic sheen of Duane Denison’s guitar playing.