Release Date: Aug 18, 2009
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It’s always a bit dirty when a music writer feels the need to crib from an official press release, but the accompanying words with King Of Jeans had one sentence so perfect that it just had to be quoted wholesale. Whether it’s testament to whichever bored PR hack at Sub Pop came up with the following sentence, or just to Pissed Jeans themselves is up to you to decide, but really, there is no better sentence for summing up the band’s trajectory up until now: Shallow was Pissed Jeans coping with moving out of their parents’ homes, and 2007’s Hope for Men their initial reaction to the mechanical lifestyle of a wage-earner, King of Jeans is their formal and uneasy acceptance of adulthood. The reason it’s bang on the money is twofold.
When Pennsylvania scuzz-punks Pissed Jeans released their Sub Pop debut, Hope for Men, two years ago, the album seemed to represent a noble if financially foolhardy way for the label to reinvest their Shins and Postal Service profits. Though Sub Pop, of course, first built its empire two decades ago on caustic, post-hardcore rock, the few signees to mine that tradition since the mid-1990s-- from godheadSilo to Murder City Devils to the Catheters-- tended to have tokenistic standing on an increasingly diversified and commercially viable roster. Pissed Jeans thus appeared to be the latest addition to this lunatic fringe: one that provided a spiritual link to the imprint's storied past, but-- given the limited crossover potential for caterwauling, guttural noise-core-- hardly a foundation for their future.
In 2008, Sub Pop celebrated twenty years. As an entity so fraught with seminal talent, Sub Pop’s brand forever attached to records that have since changed the sound of screaming alienation that so typically defined American independent music up until the late 80s, it’s amazing the label itself didn’t wind up as exhausted and used up as its once thriving Seattle scene, its credibility appropriated and sucked hollow by mainstream radio and corporate entanglement. Expanding its reach past its home base, and evolving its sound past its 90s rock repute, Sub Pop is still a relevant indie presence, Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses and Iron & Wine evidence of the label’s will to survive.
“Request for Masseuse” is one of those creepy but funny-in-an-anti-social-way songs that were a staple of first-generation punk and hardcore. King of Jeans has that spirit throughout, along with cherry-picked influences ranging from Beefheart to Feedtime to Drunks With Guns. Thus, the album is a sloppy mess, a greasy slab of metallic K.O. that keeps it simple but not stupid.
Hate to break it to you, hardcore kids: the best point of comparison for Pissed Jeans is Billy Joel. This isn’t some silly “witty critic” comparison. Ever since I left my (and Pissed Jeans’) hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the only people I’ve met who know of the lovely villa sheepishly admit it’s because of the Long Island crooner’s 1982 hit.
If there's a band holding it down for Sub Pop's early 90s salad days, it's Pennsylvania boozers Pissed Jeans. The sloppy rockers sound frozen in grunge time on their third release, and it works incredibly well for the dipso punks. [rssbreak] Pissed Jeans singer Matt Korvette leads the raw 12-song attack - an unsteady mix of Jesus Lizard tumult and Melvins sludge power - with a wobbling vocal manner that reflects the band's infamously debauched live shows.
On King of Jeans, Pissed Jeans vocalist Matt Korvette moans about wanting a water with just as much desperation as when Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir screamed for a Pepsi back in 1983. Always brutal, Pissed Jeans' greatest asset may be that they're able to make just about any topic sound savage, no matter how mundane it is, whether it's that Korvette finds a lip ring attractive or that he's just plain thirsty. On "Spent," he lists the ordinary tasks of a day and makes them sound completely unbearable.
REBA MCENTIRE “Keep On Loving You” (Starstruck/Valory) Twice on “Keep On Loving You” Reba McEntire begins a song in bed, incapacitated by heartbreak. The first time is on “Strange,” her torque-heavy current single, which finds her working through Kleenex and chocolates before realizing her ex was nothing to self-immolate over, and then tossing off the covers. The protagonist of “She’s Turning 50 Today” — Ms.