Appetite for instruction

Get Him Eat Him get focused on Arms Down
By BOB GULLA  |  June 12, 2007

Matt LeMay, leader of Get Him Eat Him (former Brown U. dudes), was strolling through Brooklyn, his stomping ground, when I caught up with him. As expected, he was musing on his favorite subject, indie rock, on which he demonstrated some pretty impressive insight.

 “My favorite bands from the ’90s put most of their energy into great songs and performing them as best they can,” he says, adding that he spent much of his formative music time listening to the stellar fare of Guided By Voices, Pavement, and the Dismemberment Plan. “Back then, indie bands worked out their songs the best they could and then let someone like Steve Albini or Bob Weston document the performance of it. They didn’t have commercial goals to speak of and they existed on a small, sustainable scale. It’s getting away from that now.”

Lately, LeMay has been delving more deeply into the idiom, where he’s focused on the work of bands like Polvo, Archers of Loaf, and Shudder to Think. “I feel a philosophical connection with that era,” he says. “They wrote great songs with great guitar sound; they pared down the gimmickry and made it more about the force of what a band can accomplish together.”

What GHEH accomplishes together on its new album, Arms Down, released last week, is to extract the force of indie rock and apply its own unique formula. The result is a jag of smart, dense, keyboard-heavy songs in a textured jungle of danceability. For all its layers, though, Arms Down is nothing more than solid, exhilarating rock. “I wish bands these days would tone down the shtick a little bit,” LeMay admits. “Lately, it seems that bands rely on one-line hooks, like ‘the band where their lead singer is a bear.’ That’s rewarded more than an in-depth approach. Bands are too aware of how they stack up against other bands; they’re looking over their shoulder too much. They should be concentrating on making better music.”

Which is exactly what GHEHwill be doing when they embark next week on their most extensive tour yet. They’ve added a new keyboard player to their live lineup, a move that should reinforce their sound with extra decibels. “Something we’ve learned from being on tour is that if you have to choose between texture and energy in a live setting, you’re better off erring on the side of energy. The sound is different in every club; most people are drinking and not paying attention. Sonic nuances can be expendable when you’re trying to win people over.”

Armageddon’s 666th
This Saturday, June 16, the Armageddon Shop, Providence’s top record boutique, and Load Records present “The Armageddon Shop's 666 Anniversary Show.” Over at the store, Ben explains that the 666 theme isn’t simply a devilish reference. Rather it represents “6 years, 6 months, and 6 days of being open.” How convenient! Helping them celebrate this satanic milestone is a searing conflagration of bands, including a cabal from Rhody — THE BODY, XERXES, HARD DRUG, SNAKE APARTMENT, and BLACK EYED ANCHOR — along with some twisted friends from Pennsylvania (PISSED JEANS) and Houston, Texas (RUSTED SHUT). The show is at AS220 and it’s all ages, with an $8 door charge. The space opens at 7 pm and the show starts at 8 pm sharp. Call 401.831.9327.

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