Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Las Mordidas-Ex-Voto; L.G. Records, LG-6; 2023


It was a tremendous pleasure to have recently scrolled over to Dischord Records and seen that Ex-Voto, an archival release from Las Mordidas being served up. To paraphrase Ian Mackaye, D.C. bands have always seen the album as the menu and the show as the meal, but Disaster Amnesiac was not anywhere near the District when Las Mordidas were being plated live. Hence I have had to enjoy their lone 7" for many years as the best example of what was clearly an ass kicking band. No cool memories of seeing them in flesh for this listener, but I recall making the purchase of that 7" at the legendary Epicenter Records on Valencia St. in 'frisco (yes, I'm calling it that now). Surrounded sounded so great at that time (1996? 97?), and it's only ever sounded better to me over the years. I'd go so far as to say that it's one of the best songs of that decade. Good for you, the listener (and Disaster Amnesiac, too), it is included on Ex-Voto. It's so cool that Surrounded is now buttressed by nine other tracks of groove and rage from this quartet of Dischord schooled players. Las Mordidas pumped out a chunky, funky fusion that was rooted in the Hardcore Punk Rock aesthetics of that long running successful label but had moved horizontally away from them in solidly Rock-ist ways. Jerry Busher was one of the best drummers that I've ever seen play live, and those skills can be heard all over the LP, for example on Surprise Goodbye with its solid groove-centered traps playing. When Dug E. Bird is playing the bass, the Funk of D.C. is going to be present, and indeed it is. Oh, to have heard this rhythm section live! Their sets must have moved some butts! Dig on Solar System and Just About Buried for evidence of that potentiality. Guitarist John K. seems not afraid to make heroic moves worthy of the six string electric tradition on Bad Man and the snappy instrumental Ransom. Big riffs and sweet melodic runs can be heard all over the guitar parts from Ex-Voto. And then, there's Chris Thomson. Chris evolved into perhaps the Top Punk Rock Singer of the post-Nirvana era in Monorchid and Skull Kontrol, in vocal timbre and lyrical astuteness. It's quite fascinating to hear these qualities in their primal state within the Las Mordidas matrix. He'd clearly already envisioned and developed an absolutely singular delivery therein, a delivery that only got better over time. Rock 'n Roll singers must have a cool, individual style, unique to themselves and rooted within their decisions about, as Joe Carducci noted, what will and also won't work. Thomson had that shit nailed for years, and the documentary evidence on Ex-Voto evinces it in ways that will make fans of his art very happy. Slight critical thoughts have arisen from the kind of tossed off sounding Not Again and a few moments where then-current musical influences/trends poked out with a bit of glare, but, on the whole, this album, so lovingly packaged and produced by a top flight team, is very worth seeking out and digging into. It they did a reunion show, Disaster Amnesiac would try really hard to make it out to D.C. to hear them. Maybe get Hammered Hulls on the bill? Hell, if they did that, maybe re-form Ignition as the show opener? You guys have almost a year to get if happening at Fort Reno.........

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