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Q and not U – different damage

Posted on: December 10, 2009

Dischord Records from Washington DC is one of my favourite record labels, because of their history and the bands they released, but much more for their label politics. They are just doing an awesome job and if you like this record just let me insert a short commercial announcement: the vinyl version of this album from 2002 was just re-released, support the artists and Dischord Records. “Different Damage” also is a pretty good example of the label’s “sound”, if it has one.

The problem which I have with a lot of indie/post-punk records is the drums and the bass. Mostly they are so plain, I get bored in seconds. I find that often very sad and I am happy to present one of the groups which are a solution of this problem. First, Q and not U don´t have a bass player. Secondly the trio has John Davis, a genius playing the drums.  But why speak myself, moreover tired and stoned, when others already wrote some fine stuff. Up next a shortened text from Aquarium Drunkard:

Post-punk splintered in two directions some time in the late 70s/early 80s and we’ve been dealing with the relative branches of that tree ever since. There are those who embraced the craggier, more aggressive branch and those who embraced the artier more fractured one. Without question, Washington, D.C.’s Dischord Records was home to bands that embraced both sides of that divide, but one of the finest examples came in the 00s with the rise (and demise) of a band named Q and Not U.

Q and Not U started life as a four piece creating some pretty interesting, though standard sounding, post-punk on their debut. But then their bass player left the fold and it was announced that they weren’t going to replace him. This was an interesting tack as the band seemed to rely on its bass to ground the twin guitars. Where would they go exactly? The answer came in the form of their sophomore album.

One of Q and Not U’s biggest weapons was Davis and his incredibly gifted drumming. His touch is all over the shifting rhythms and start/stops of the album, starting from moment one and “Soft Pyramids.” The album is put together masterfully as the melodica outro of “Soft Pyramids” leads into the breakneck loops of “So Many Animal Calls.” Different Damage is simultaneously a challenging and infectious record. Songs like “Everybody Ruins” deconstruct the very idea of a song with its large introduction gaps, hypnotic and uneasy howls, gradual increase in speed, sudden finish and relapse to the beginning howls, or “O’No” and its short, uneasy drone that feels like a surrealistic beehive. But then comes “Snow Patterns,” a song that would’ve felt at home within Elliot Smith’s able hands, or “Meet Me In the Pocket” and its more traditional verse and chorus, guitar-driven indie rock. All of these moments live at home among each other, balancing ease and unease on the tip of a pin.

The closing pair of “No Damage Nocturne” and “Recreation Myth” bring the album back to a more traditional focus, but are in no way a compromise on the album’s artistic intent. Rather they are the crowning finish to a record that, much like the movement of Post-Modernists did with poetry, embraces the fractured nature of rock and roll and finds in its crevices a non-traditional beauty. Different Damage still sounds as riveting and as forward thinking as it did seven years ago and that is more than enough to name it one of the decade’s best.

Well, you reached the end of the text and if you really struggled your way down to the bottom of the posting to get the link to the record, with some luck you snatched the last sentences and read the words “win `Different Damage´ from Q and not U”. Yes, “Different Damage” on CD for one of you, urbanology ships worldwide! Just tell me why you think you earn the record (nah, don´t search for an email contact, use the comment funtion, it´s a blog buddy). Write whatever you want, I will decide totally subjective on my personal taste. Every language is accepted, but don´t expect that I´ll understand what you write, although this might be also the reason to win. Deadline? Pffffft, when I get a good answer.

Without Deadline.

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4 Responses to "Q and not U – different damage"

Nice blog mate!

Maybe we can add each other. Give me a shout if that’s ok for you.

of course it is

nice post, yer blog is ace, i linked to you from mine, you may find mine of interest as well , thanks!

hi dogbreath, thank you, your blog is awesome too, linked you

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