Friday, June 1, 2012

Gretchen is a bitchin' name for a band.

. . .and it has something to do with Nazi Germany. I don't quite remember. It's dark. Ask them (no, they're not Nazis).

It's been a really long time since I've heard a band that wasn't any specific identifiable sub-genre of a genre of rock.

Gretchen broke that stint.

Punk, but not "punk-rock;" heavy, sludgy and dirty, but not "metal" in the traditional sense; dark, sparse, loud, screamed and with alternating tempos, but not crust. Also, melodic. This = boneriffic. As in, gives me at least a half chub.

Another hard hitting local, Gretchen is another band created from the incestuous toxic sludge that is the Missoula punk/heavy music community. If you're a person who is reading this, it's unlikely you don't know who Ryan Bilunka, Josh Jacka and Joey Running-Crane are. Their combined musical track record could stretch from here to the moon, including Shramana, King Elephant, Goddammitboyhowdy!, The Holy Family mission Band, Bird's Mile Home, Suicide Victim, This Band Kills Fascists, Blue Boy Destroy, POA, JackTopTown, Heiress Pilton, Haymarket Overture, Bridgebuilder and well, you get the idea. These dudes live to play and their excellent musicianship is readily apparent.

Gretchen plays Zombie Tools on 5/26/2012 with Shramana, Throne of Lies and Mount Poverty Well Diggers
I feel fortunate to be able to state that these dudes are also good friends of mine. Ryan, the bassist and singer (and main songwriter, I believe) wanted to start a project that was a chaotic as possible. Influences such as Slayer (his life-long favorite band), Circle Takes the Square, Leftover Crack, and a never ending slew of bands that have screamed vocals and  intense, angular progressions with odd timing has helped shape his vision of what he hoped would end up being pure insanity. Josh's blazing guitar skills add an intense melodic shape to the formidable rhythmic body, winding his intricate leads over a variety of tempos, often sounding as though he is leading the very space of the song itself on its own journey through a dark psyche. Joey could be described as one of the most versatile musicians I know, playing guitar and singing/songwriting for his own personal project(s), King Elephant (for whom Ryan also plays bass) and Goddammitboyhowdy!, both of which are folk-influenced pop-punk bands, as well as drumming for local folk-punk favorites, Bird's Mile Home. I honestly had no idea he was an adept drummer until he began to play with a Missoula staple group, Bridgebuilder (who are currently undergoing format transformation). He's been hitting the skins hard these days for a number of projects, this one allows his heavy side to show.

Luckily for us, they'll be releasing their recordings before too long, and you should get out to see them the next time they play. Such incestuous bands have a tendency to be short lived in our fair city, as personal lives and schedules often become hard to juggle when other projects are involved. Pity, as Gretchen currently takes priority for which local band I'm going to see.

Here's footage from their show on 3/31/2012 with Bacon and Egg and Vera.


I still will post some stuff about Throne Of Lies and Bridgebuilder. I also got some footage of Total Combined Weight's Minor Threat Complete Discography set on the last night of their residency at the VFW, I'll probably talk about that for a minute or something. HO BOY!

No comments:

Post a Comment