Release Date: Sep 3, 2013
Record label: Ba Da Bing Records
In four years, New Zealand rock'n'roll revisionists the Dead C will celebrate their 30th anniversary, a rare milestone for any band whose members have never changed. Rarer still, though, is the sense that the Dead C are making some of their most vital, urgent, and completely cutting-edge music right now, after more than a quarter century of persistent exploration. Armed Courage-- their fourth record in six years for New York label Ba Da Bing-- is the mightiest work they’ve made since leaving the Siltbreeze imprint in the mid-90s.
In his Free Noise Manifesto, The Dead C guitarist Bruce Russell emphasizes the value of dismissing organization in music, of casting aside the desire for arrangement and utilizing free-rock instrumentation as a “jumping off point. ” The text was penned in answer to the question “What is free?,” and in outlining his definition, Russell consequently embarks on a written justification for what he and his Dunedin co-conspirators have been recording for the last 26 years. He states that music, in the traditional sense, is in fact a series of organized noise fragments, that the structure and the mathematical formulae used to produce music condemns sound to be caged as a consequence of pernicious coordination.
In this writer's opinion, The Dead C might just be the best rock act currently active (despite strong competition from the likes of Skullflower, Keiji Haino and Zs, none of whom are quite so rock-centred), precisely because they refuse to become complacent in a genre that allows for far too much room for doing the same thing over and over, to dispiriting levels of popular and critical acclaim (see the fawning reception accorded to My Bloody Valentine's dreary and uninspired MBV). As the edge and sense of adventure seems to be getting increasingly sucked out of what was once the most rebellious of musical genres, The Dead C seem more and more to be a refreshing vision of an alternative, more challenging approach to rock, far removed from the pop posturing of so-called 'indie' or the delusional pretension of the ATP crowd (Deerhunter, MBV et al. ).