DYNAMICS DUO: “We’re addicted to delays,” says Jon Christopher (left, with Jon Somers). “Anything to make it noisier, we like. Just playing distortion and playing clean gets boring.”
When it comes to goals a band can strive to achieve, having an excuse to get hammered and make noise with your buddies is surely among the most practical. But even modest ambitions can be taken way too far, as Easter Bloodhounds demonstrated by playing their first show in 1998, four years after their formation, and not playing another one till 2004.
“It was probably laziness,” Jon Christopher admits while nursing a bottle of Bass at his Arlington apartment — one of the few well-kept rock-musician dwellings I’ve ever visited. “It was for fun. We just enjoyed playing, rather than go through all the trouble of trying to play out.”
That’s all well and good, but during the interim from Easter Bloodhounds’ inception to their decision to perform regularly, I can’t help but feel they were cheating the rest of us. They’ve since compensated for their sloth, providing ear candy for all peoples whose stoner-rock palate requires a lil’ sludge and a touch of Satan.
Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the bastardly imp who sits on my shoulder and tells me to do bad things, I might never have heard Easter Bloodhounds. I found a derelict copy of their homonymous debut on a counter at the Abbey Lounge one night. The Bloodhounds weren’t even there, but I still thought I was getting away with something when I pocketed the disc. Turns out, the result of altruism and keen viral marketing sensibilities, complimentary Bloodhounds CDs are the norm. I suck at stealing.
But just as well-intentioned plans can end in catastrophe, so really bad ideas (like stealing CDs) sometimes work out. Easter Bloodhounds meld fragmentary blurry and fuzzy with rickety grooves and classic loud-quiet-loud dynamics. It’s a magnificently floppy technique that could pass for a sonic love letter from some gnarly suburban dudes to early-’90s alterna-garage, or the type of ungovernable noise rock you’d expect out of an Allston basement. There’s no bass, no keyboards, no MIDI marimba, simply Christopher on vox and guitar and drummer Jon Somers.
Christopher: “We’ve tried having bass players a few times, but it screwed with the chemistry of the band.”
Somers: “We improvise really well. It works out simply, the way it should.”
Christopher: “In some ways, I guess it’s limiting [having only two players], but it also makes you think differently, so it opens up other ways of playing.”
And the bills? They both do custodial work at Boston University. Christopher appeals to BU kids: “Please be clean and neat, and don’t clog the toilets.”
Christopher and Somers might not come across as the vindictive type, but if I were going to BU, I’d take heed. With their access to campus facilities, I bet they could break into dorms during finals week, play all night, and prevent everyone from studying. If anybody can unleash a wall of noise to ruin your GPA, it’s Easter Bloodhounds. Keeping their minimalist line-up means extra work on both parts. Somers’s octopus-like drum chops are abnormally emotive, and Christopher manages to sound as if he were three different guitar players at once by using a fuck-ton of effects pedals — seven or eight per show. According to my notes, that’s one pedal more than even the dude from A Place to Bury Strangers uses during an average set.
“I’m dancing on stage with those damn things,” Christopher says. “It adds different textures. I guess we’re addicted to delays. Anything to make it noisier, we like. Just playing distortion and playing clean gets boring.”
The quest to combat boredom is a refrain. It’s the reason the band started, and it’s the reason demo tracks off their pending sophomore record (available on MySpace, and recorded at Amps Vs. Ohms in Central Square), Blindly Following Satan Down That Path to Hell, are a bit weightier, and darkly piquant — less flirting with grungy retro-cool, more shoegazer. During the past year, Somers’s wife, who was not an official immigrant, “volunteered” to move to Guatemala at the behest of the US government. She hasn’t been deported, but the couple’s two-year-old US-citizen son is also now living in Guatemala, so the increase in Bloodhounds vitriol isn’t pure whimsy. Lacey Lemander of 92 Protons provides vocals on at least three tracks, to enhance ferocity and, yes, reduce boredom.
“This record was sort of our take on Highway to Hell,” says Christopher. “That was already taken, so this is what we have.”
Is this concept derived from personal experience? Are Easter Bloodhounds plummeting toward damnation?
“Sometimes,” Christopher allows. “And that’s a good thing, because rock ’n’ roll should be doing that.”
EASTER BLOODHOUNDS + GONDOLIERS + THE BIG DISAPPOINTMENTS + ICE DRAGON | P.A.’s Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave, Somerville | November 1 at 8:30 pm | $8 for 21+/$11 for 18-20 | 617.776.1557 or paslounge.com