Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul part 3

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.
Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.
Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?
Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.Eve

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part two

On Evergreen’s debut 7″, the band weaved DC post-punk, progressive metal, and funk into tight tracks coming in at no more than 3 minutes each. Things are off in a hurry with the hard-nosed punk of “1980”, Tim Ruth’s furious guitar playing propelling the track into the stratosphere. The fractured funk-punk frankenstein “Wholeness of the Soul” follows, this time showcasing the blended chops of Ruth and bassist Troy Cox. “Precious” ends side one of the 7″ (only track 3 on the CD), easily the poppiest thing the band ever recorded, demonstrating that Evergreen never took itself too seriously. It’s a great tune, once again featuring great instrumentation, no riff ever quite the same in Ruth’s hands. The 7″ ends with two tracks that were “epic” for Evergreen, “Fall” and “Empty Sun.” Featuring indelibly great rhythm section work from Cox and Matt Tucker, Dave Pollard’s vocal work also shines throughout. He’s the perfect voice for the band, never once hitting a note in any classical sense, but projecting a powerful, sonorous quality via a raspy, insistent delivery. A great punk voice to be sure.

Tracks 6 thru 13 comprised the GO KART RIDE cassette, released less than a year after the 5 song 7″. “Man That Crawls” launches in a surge of spastic punk, seamlessly shifting through more tempos in under two minutes than most bands will ever use in a life of making music. “Avarice” follows, probably the greatest musical statement the band made, ample demonstration that all Evergreen was missing was the right place at the right time. Featuring a powerful melody and conscientous lyrics, it gives evidence that Evergreen had more than two dimensions at play. The reggae-tinged “Blood”, featuring an unforgettably catchy bass line from Cox, stands out as another obvious highlight, while “Say You Are” is the kind of fist-in-the-air shout-along youth crew anthem that kept the kids coming back for more. The live recording “Liquid”, essentially an instrumental, delivers yet another dimension for Evergreen, but it’s the last two GO KART RIDE tracks, “Knowledge” and “Feed” that provide definitive proof that Evergreen had more to deliver than your typical garage punks. Whereas other funk/punk combos of the time put all the emphasis on devastating the listeners’ senses, these two tracks provide definitive proof that Evergreen’s sense of melody was just as strong as its instinct to bring the noise. There’s plenty of nuance here, begging repeated listens, leaving the fans craving more.

Sadly, as “Feed” rushes to a close, so does the story of Pollard/Tucker era Evergreen, leaving later enthusiasts such as myself forever wondering what might have been. That’s the story with a lot of the bands I grew up loving in Louisville, such as Rodan, Crain, and Slint among many others.  Although it’s great to see these forgotten hardcore heroes get the digital treatment, I find it bittersweet. The fun was had back in the day for sure, but will it ever be that way again?

Many props go to Noise Pollution Records for pursuing a forgotten dream on behalf of the band and a whole lot of fans.

Evergreen: Wholeness of the Soul (part 2)

wholenessEvergreen
Wholeness of the Soul; 2009
Noise Pollution Records

continued from part one

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, this collection of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.

Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.

completed tomorrow…

The Louisville all-ages scene of the early 1990’s was inspired by a mish-mash of influences. You had bands like Kinghorse melding Black Sabbath metal with Misfits punk, bands like Endpoint proclaiming the conscientious hardcore ethos of the DC sound, and bands like Rodan building upon the classical dynamics of local heroes Slint. There was also a handful of other bands that could easily sell out a venue in Louisville anytime, anywhere, such as Crain, Erchint, or Bush League. All of these bands were great in their own right, and some, like Crain, have received a strong reissue treatment elsewhere. However, the reissue of Evergreen’s long out of print Self Destruct recordings finally brings to digital format one of Louisville’s greatest and most original punk acts.
Noise Pollution’s anthology rightly puts the band’s official releases ahead of previously unreleased demo and live recordings, but to best understand how the band progressed in just a few years, it’s interesting to begin at track 14 and listen through to the end before beginning from track 1. Tracks 14 thru 17 are 4-track demo recordings from 1991. Recorded when the band was called Cinderblock (but composed of the same members), these tracks show a band heavily influenced by contemporary local heroes like the afore-mentioned Kinghorse and Bush League. The spidery guitar breakdown in the middle of “Psyche Scream Closet” bears a strong resemblance to the proggish instrumentalism of bands like Rodan and Crain. Nevertheless, the hardcore here is sludgy, brutal, and nasty. Between the demos and the live recordings, we get some indication of where Evergreen began, making tracks 1 thru 13 all the more astounding.
completed tomorr