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Somewhere out there Makh Daniels is drinking too much. His band Early Graves is on tour. What do bands do when they tour? Wait around. What do bands do when they wait around? Drink. When Early Graves tour, they try to stock enough whisky to last a month. They usually run out after a week.
Daniels says Goner (Metal Blade/Ironclad, 2010) is about alcoholism “and all the bullshit that comes with it”. That’s an understatement. This record skips the buzz and the shenanigans. It starts with the blackouts and the mysterious bruises – and ends there, too.
Goner is one hell of a downer. Every other line is about giving up. Music hasn’t seen such self-loathing since the ’90s. But when Trent Reznor sang the phrase “crown of shit”, it almost sounded elegant. When Daniels sings it, he’s drenched in the stuff. Delivery is key. It’s how Iggy Pop made lines like “I wanna be your dog” into poetry.
The Stooges also come to mind sonically. Recorded to 2 inch tape, Goner has the most violent sound I’ve heard since Iggy Pop’s remix of Raw Power. Crust punk, old-school hardcore, and Entombed’s Wolverine Blues go at each other’s throats. Feedback erupts all around. Goner is 26 minutes of falling down stairs.
This is all fine, but a lot of bands these days can apply the hurt. Daniels is Early Graves’ trump card. He’s the poet laureate of the gutter. His tour diaries are some of the finest road writing around. In “Faith Is Shit”, a religious friend tries to convert him. He says,
You said that you could be saved if you let him in your heart
I shrugged and said I could never tell heaven and hell apart
You asked what happens at the end of our life
I said hell is a hangover and heaven is an endless black night
He also sounds like he is about to kill. Intransitive verb, no object necessary. It could be you, me, Daniels himself, doesn’t matter. For how much he says it, Daniels isn’t giving up. His howl is too pure. His craft is too honed. This life does have a pursuit: death. Early Graves, indeed.
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EARLY GRAVES – SUMMER TOUR 2010
w/The Funeral Pyre
7/15 Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes
7/16 Philadelphia, PA @ The M Room
7/17 Brooklyn, NY @ The Union Pool
7/18 Pittsburgh, PA @ Belvedere’s
7/19 Toledo, OH @ The Black Cherry
7/20 Milwaukee WI @ the borg ward.
7/21 St Louis, MO @ Fubar
7/22 KC, MO @ Aftershock
7/23 Lincoln, NE @ The Manor
7/24 Denver, CO @ Blastomat
7/25 Cheyenne, WY @ Ernie November
7/26 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Outer Rim
7/27 Garden City, ID @ Brawl Studios
7/28 Spokane, WA @ Mootsy’s
7/29 Seattle, Wa @ The Morgue
7/30 Portland, OR @ Plan B
7/31 Bellingham, WA @ JINX artspace
8/01 Salem, OR @ TBA
8/02 Reno, NV @ Ryans Saloon
8/03 SF, CA @ Submission Gallery
8/04 Los Angeles, CA @ TBA
8/05 Riverside, CA @ TBA
8/06 Whittier, CA @ TBA
8/07 Long Beach, CA @ TBA
8/08 Echo Park, CA @ POWER OF THE RIFF FEST
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