Monday, August 23, 2010

how slow can you go: CODEINE Frigid Stars LP

Sometimes a record so perfectly encapsulates a mood, references such a specific time and/or place that there's no other way for that mood or that experience to be the same without the accompanying record in there somewhere.

I hadn't planned to blog this record for another few months but I think that because I've been going to it for solace, when breaking from the Smiths mastering for that other blog, it was time.

Now dealing with Morrissey on the one, and Codeine on the other, I'd imagine people are either lining up the pills for your humble blogger, or preparing the rubber room for my impending confinement. Ha! I say. I just like the damn thing.

This 1990 release is a VERY powerful record - a record that gains its power not only from its breathless lack of speed, but from its immense sheets of guitars. Stephen Immerwahr's vocals sound as if they're vocalized from the depths of despair, an icy sheen that just adds to the remoteness, the emotional gravity, of the record. And indie legend Chris Brokaw - doubling up here on both guitars *and* drums - has to be an utterly fantastic drummer just due to the nature of how precisely slow a timekeeper he had to be.

With a name like Frigid Stars, and the cover shown below, you can just picture the emotional desolation of this record.

It's not a record for a bright, sunny summer August day. For a chilly, windswept January winterscape, or blustery, rainy fall day with the onset of a brutal winter on the horizon, it's perfect. And while some songs individually are standouts, it's a record best enjoyed as a piece.

There is a stylistic, and (after this record) musical link between Codeine and one of this blog's other favorite set of acts, the Bitch Magnet/Seam axis. BM/Seam fellow Sooyoung Park gifted this record's "New Year's" to Codeine several years before one of his own bands recorded it (Seam did so in 1993 on the Headsparks LP), and not only does Codeine thank the Bitch Magnet folks in the credits, their next record (an EP not blogged here, though I may in the future) featured BM's Jon Fine and part-time BM David Grubbs in various guesting roles.

"Cave In", for that matter, sounds like a track that fell off the master reels for Bitch Magnet's Umber LP, and "Cigarette Machine" could have spun off from Ben Hur. Really great songs, all of them.

So enjoy, lossless FLAC for your pleasure.

Frigid Stars LP
1990 Sub Pop

01 D
02 Gravel Bed
03 Pickup Song
04 New Year's
05 Second Chance
06 Cave In
07 Cigarette Machine
08 Old Things
09 3 Angels
10 Pea

edit: removed link


1 comment:

  1. When I first listened to this I thought I know bits of this - but I couldn't understand why. I understood this morning. I recently discovered Sigur Ros (so I'm by no means an expert) and they are certain similarties in the musical structure of some of the songs. It was weird. But it sounds really good. Thanks for making me discover this. I'm looking for info on the group in Wikipedia now.