'It's a Renaissance', with all its scintillating guitar riffs, quivering vocal unisons, and heavy heaving drums that fasten-tightly to the core-ends of every uncanny and wonder-inducing track oozing over the edges of DEATH ED.'s post-punkish stanza—renders-up gold.
Imagine if you took the nonchalant horror behind The Misfits plus an in-their-prime Nirvana, and blended them together while smudging that intoxicating and post-pock reduced goo over five evenly balanced tracks. What you'd have is a modern-concept New-Orleans-based reimagining of what that combination's authentic alternative post-punk vibe would sound like.
With two extended plays behind them already, Steve and Chuck recapitulate their creative endeavors together under DEATH ED. for another year, to collude over the unwavering amalgamated hard-earned sonics the duo have coined themselves as "Levee-Metal"—a wink at the below-sea-level city of Nola, and all the flood-barriers made of cement and sand that surround the Louisianna-state gem. Here, the rocker duo gathers full-handed from the influential touchstones of their musical ancestors with a connoisseur's palate, and sorts amongst the wandering and weaving air-pressurized electric wattage that festoons every enthusiastic scream their intoxicatingly-bold EP provides.
The opening eponymous track feels like a gyrating rock cabaret with saturated bass-guitars, screaming choruses, and banging 80s-vibed drums leading in the head-banging and hip-swinging choreography of this introductory cut. As Steve croons over, "It's a renaissance of sorts, I got my recorder out, and I'm recording my thoughts," he diffuses an enthusiasm and rasp that can't be recreated; at least not without guzzling down some debauchery-inducing top-line; it's a gas-guzzling auricular joyride centered around a narrative dead set in the Hollywood hills.
As the duo serenade us over their Tenacious-D reminiscent howls during the final moments of this EP's opener, the next track, "The MVFM," opens with a captivating guitar-line that fuses hazy and intoxicated vibes from out of the thin, super-charged air; surrounding this mid-tempo anthemic mud-slide. Here, the audible heat-wave arrives festooned with dripping drums, distorted uproaring guitar-solos, and engine thumping stanzas that would have any rock 'n' roller shoot up their beer-occupied hands in a show of respect.
With two minutes and forty seconds separating you from the dynamo style double-time punk breakdown that unfolds during the closing half of "The MVFM," it's not surprising if you looked back at your phone and wondered why you haven't heard this band sooner. As you're rudely awakened from the daydream-like state the smooth-marching cigarette-garnishing love song coruscates from every black-out inducing guitar solo festooned corner, DEATH ED. starts looking like a playlist permanent.
If "Hollywood" was the speed-induced joyride through the California hills under the intoxicating influence the late-80s, then "Two-Glovers," is the fundamental pit-stop through the bluesy punk-filled watering hole within the desolate landscapes of a Cali desert. Here, amongst "Aaaahs" and "Yeahs!" DEATH ED. reminds their fans that the stanchions they've established in the garage and grunge aesthetics of prior releases, like "Shitman's Sampler," was not a short-lived fad.
Over a shoe-gaze wall-of-sound, the rocker-duo greets you and quickly waves 'au revoir' with a Parquet Courts-evocative below when Steve resounds over verses and choruses with a buzzing, "I wasn't torn between two lovers, I was torn between two glovers," like he's confessing his transgressions over the whisky-bar his shady bartender wipes off with an inebriated grin in discontent.
When looking back, 'It's a Renaissance,'—the duo's third EP to date stands as a step away from the grunge and garage sounds of their past, and into a more modern aesthetic that embellishes the sounds of their inspirations. It's an attempt to display their free-fall dive into new, more innovative, nostalgia-inductive sonic territories; where deep cavernous spaces oozing with hot-blooded guitars, nostalgia dripping rhythms, and adhesive Post-Punk Top-line croons converge over the Post-Punk sonic landscapes Steve and Chuck have highlighted so vividly on this latest EP.
Listen to 'It's A Renaissance' here.
When you think about the process behind "It's A Renaissance" and your last release from earlier this year, what stands out as contrasting and noteworthy?
Well, our official “last release” entitled “Shitman’s Sampler“ was a farce. We put out a 33 “song” album of authentic outtakes that just spontaneously happened in between the recording of actual songs. Don’t get me wrong; it’s fun, funny and I love it, but I think what you are referring to is our last REAL release “In Fat City”, so I’ll go that route. There are a few contrasting things that stand out. First, the writing process. On the last album, many of the songs and ideas were already written (even years old) and then pulled together to form an album. For “It’s a Renaissance”, the songs were all brand new and written within a couple of months. Well, that’s almost true. “Two Glovers” was already partially written (but completed with the others), but never recorded, played live, or heard by another soul. So still technically new. Also, the songs themselves. On this new record, we got a bit more experimental and revisited some of the styles of music we were playing when we first started out (not as DEATH ED.) many years ago. Lastly, the studio environment. Generally, when we go in to work on new music, there is a lot of clowning around coupled with a lot of rum. Don’t get me wrong, there was a little bit of both this time, but the overall feel was much more focused. We were on a mission to knock this album out quickly to catch that fresh, cohesive feel. What inspired the cohesive aesthetic and Rock 'n' Roll dynamics behind "It's A Renaissance?"
While I think we’ve come close with previous efforts, I don’t know if we ever really captured that full cohesive thing where you can just tell as the listener that the songs you are listening to were all written very close together and then recorded right away to capture that moment in time. I think we finally accomplished that with “It’s a Renaissance”. So, that was the inspiration; to finally do it! As for the rock and roll dynamics, I think that always comes from whatever the inspiration is at the time. If it’s real, it is going to shine through in the music. Do you feel like New-Orleans had a significant influence over the way "It's A Renaissance" turned out, both sonically and behind the anecdotes in certain tracks?
We used to try and distance ourselves from the whole New Orleans thing for a couple of reasons. One, because everyone from around the world equates the city with jazz, Cajun music, etc., which we obviously are not. Also, Nola has a very well-known metal scene, which never fully accepted us either. We were always heavy, but not quite heavy (or serious apparently) enough. So we never really wanted to claim this city. However, as time goes on, it seems that New Orleans has had and continues to have a significant impact on us and our sound. I mean, we are from here after all and it really is an interesting place with inspiration everywhere. And when it comes to the sonic aspect, we have incredible studio equipment engineered by our own Chuck Diesel. The thing is though, that it (and we) are housed in a dilapidated shack, not far from the famous New Orleans cemeteries and literally eight feet from an operating railroad track; like one wrong move and we’re done. So, yeah, all of that plays into the sound, or at least we’d like to think that it does. What were some of the Milestones you set out for yourselves concerning "It's A Renaissance," and how did you end up accomplishing those goals after all things were said and done?
I think I may have answered some of this already. We wanted a cohesive sound, we wanted to be more experimental and revisit some of our past approaches to writing and recording. We did that. We also put out our first 5-song album, which was intentional. Up to this point in DEATH ED.’s history, we’ve had a pattern of 4-song EPs and 8-song full-length albums (as well as a 33-song frolic). We wanted to sort of start from scratch, like a rebirth. Hence the name “It’s a Renaissance”. What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
Man, it’s been hard to stay inspired in 2020. We’ve had a puzzling pandemic and polarizing politics (AND alliteration!). But seriously folks, from a writing standpoint, I’m always inspired. I know that even if I hit a dry spell, all it takes is one spark to get the ball rolling.