I’m going to say this, as neutrally as I possibly can. Parts and Labor are one of the most under appreciated bands on this planet.
I never bought into that whole sad song about how there are so many musicians who are brilliant but don’t make it; I generally feel that there’s a very distinct reason why certain bands attract healthy followings and certain bands wallow in obscurity. With a few exceptions, parents feed you that bullshit so you’ll get a Masters in Engineering rather than plucking the six string all night.
Don’t ask me to explain why so many awful bands make it, though. Shallow gene pools? Sarah Palin infiltrating the collective unconscious?
Anyhow, Parts and Labor is a band that I think deserves an inordinate amount more attention than they get. They put an ethereal and gorgeous face on an otherwise ugly genre (noise). This is epic music, arena punk that you can play in a basement. They compose songs that are dense and robotic enough to be noise, beautiful enough to be soul-purging and surreal. Their last effort, Receivers, is quite possibly one of the best records ever to be played in my living room.
But enough about me; Parts And Labor have a new record. It’s called Constant Future, and if you really want us to be more than friends, you should buy it.
Whereas previous records by Parts and Labor were built on noisy soundscapes, this is a more psychedelic, fragmented record. It’s not as uniform as their previous records; it feels more like a collection of songs than an album. In light of their previous work, this is more a change of pace than a bad thing.
I might be crazy, but the mix on this record reminds me a lot of really good hip hop. The drums are mixed crisply and there’s always a steady bass line giving the whole operation a steady backbone. The two of them give the album a distinct thump. You could point to the departure of guitarist Sarah Lipstate as the reason for the increased emphasis on the rhythm section.
And of course, bassist B.J. Warsaw and keyboardist/noise maestro/sometimes guitarist Dan Friel’s vocals positively soar.
I feel like whenever I write about good music, I should sign off with a Bob Barker-esque slogan, “Purchase and support good music.” It’s not quite as catchy as getting yr pets spayed and neutered, but it does bare repeating; there is a veritable plethora of phenomenal artists who deserve your financial compensation.
We live in a world of instant gratification, where fewer and fewer pause to consider the ramifications of pilfering music wholesale for free online. That’s fine and dandy when you’re talking about the puffy vocoder diharrea that the major labels spew on a daily basis, but there is a small but growing band of rebels intent on overthrowing the Galactic Empire and rescuing the Princess from the clutches of the nefarious Darth Vader.
Parts and Labor are one of them.
And keep plucking the six string: fuck higher education.
Parts and Labor are playing Great Scott in Allston on 3/26/2011. Their new record is out now–buy it here.