Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scent of Human History/The Lazer "split" CD (The Children's Revolt/2002)

This release while not too old certainly is a solid document of a small part of what was going on in Long Island in the early 2000s. And mind you not necessarily musically and lyrically but the sense of DIY artistic expression and camaraderie that was so prevalent at the time. Around that time there were several homes that opened up and were having shows, from Ren's House in Nassau County and the Vargas house in eastern Suffolk. There was a very loud, very celebratory sense from  kids creating their own entertainment and their own rules. And while I think there a lot of bands, individuals, and ideas that certainly made that time period exciting, I think these two bands carved out a niche out of the whole Long Island scene that I was really drawn too. So why not split a release?

The first three songs from this split cd are from the hardcore/screamo trio Scent of Human History whom evolved from the bands Sometimes Walking Sometimes Running, Jan Cux, Footnote to Blacknote and a handful of other projects, including their post Scent project, United States whom I had the pleasure of releasing a 12 inch for. For whatever reason, regardless of Long Island's history of spawning some excellent screamy, discordant hardcore bands like Scapegrace, Halfman, La Magna, Devola, The State Secedes, etc. outside of Scent of Human History and some elements of On the Might of Princes, the screamo/hardcore style never really caught on. So to some degree Scent of Human History and their related projects were always an anomaly amidst the glut of pop punk, emo or melodic hardcore on Long Island. Anomaly or not, they were fantastic and for my money always a very good live band. Taking nods from bands like City of Caterpillar and Pg 99 their songs shifted in between really fast blasts of furious, distorted chaos and hypnotizing noisy borderline psychedelic jams. One of my bands, Yes Sensei, had the pleasure of playing a bunch of shows with them and at one point did a winter tour together in after Christmas 2003 into 2004. Not only was there musical chemistry but personal, and as someone who had admired their music and art for a long time I was happy to see off Long Island there was a far better appreciation for what they were doing. Those shows and particularly that tour were lots of fun as it became this unspoken pissing contest of who could play louder and who could make their songs longer and more improvised. That tour changed my life (seriously) and Scent of Human History is a band whom through their music, art, zines, etc inspired me a great deal.

Offering eight songs of pissy, snotty poppy punk rock and roll is the one, and the only The Lazer. The band who gained infamy in the pages of MRR. The band whose tour stories sounded like far fetched fish tales. The band whom could barely keep in tune or in time. The band where every set seemed like an adventure or a joke-you be the judge. The band that you hated simultaneously while loving. Yes, all of that but above all The Lazer were real and holy shit were they fun. For a band that wrote seemingly simplistic songs there seriously aren't enough adjectives to describe The Lazer. For those, unaware The Lazer is the band that eventually morphed into the wonderful Bent Outta Shape. I know it sounds like a cop out but to really fully grasp everything that surrounded The Lazer you had to be there and really know the people in the band and how their very distinct personalities came into play ine the whole spectrum of things. Every time I hear these songs I immediately think of shows at Ren's House. More selfishly I think about how glad I was when they kicked out my best friend Adam who went on to share guitar duties with me in Yes Sensei  from 2003-2009 and have our own crazy stories. But of all things there is one thing I certainly think about it when listening to these songs and it chokes me up most often, I think of Jamie Ewing whom passed away in November of 2008 leaving behind this life far too early. He and I were not best friends by any stretch of the imagination but we were certainly friendly and anytime we were within an earshot of one another we'd talk like old high school buddies. And when he filled on the bass player slot for Scent of Human History on the winter tour they did with Yes Sensei we got even closer. It stung hard when I heard of his passing and it still gets me from time to time. Jamie as a person was one of kind and so likable. There was a charisma about him that I have never seen in another person ever. And the reality was that Jamie was one hell of a talented songwriter. The phrase "wearing your heart on your sleeve" gets thrown around rather loosely but I don't think there is a description more fitting for Jamie's ability with a guitar and his voice. Sincerely, Jamie was the closest our generation had to a songwriter of the caliber of Paul Westerberg. He will certainly be missed by all whom he encountered but fortunately he left behind a great deal of great music that will make us smile, laugh, cry and ultimately to remember him by.

Here is an attempt in putting together somewhat of a discography for both of these bands but bare in mind both Scent of Human History and The Lazer never really "advertised" their releases or in some instances would just make copies for friends. In the case of Scent of Human History I didn't even know the demo existed until a friend mentioned it in passing. If anyone has any corrections/additions please let me know. Additionally, if someone actually has a rip of that aforementioned Scent of Human History demo or a copy they'd be willing to part with hit me up.

Scent of Human History
"demo" cassette (self released)
"split w/ Lazer" cd (The Children's Revolt)
"split w/ Memory As Perfection" 12 inch (Waking Records)
"unreleased album"  (not really sure why it didn't come out-it rules!)

The Lazer
"split w/ Kiwi" cd (self released)
"split w/ Scent of Human History" cd (The Children's Revolt)

Track Listing:
1. Scent of Human History "An Individual"
2. Scent of Human History "An Optimist"
3. Scent of Human History "A Request"
4. The Lazer "Piss Broke"
5. The Lazer "Leopard Print Mets Hat"
6. The Lazer "Professional Driver"
7. The Lazer "Carpel Tunnel"
8. The Lazer "These Are For Fucking"
9. The Lazer "Curling Up in Front of a Warm Fire with jay Meli and a Good Book"
10. The Lazer "Nor Can Clean His Own Parking Lot"
11. The Lazer "Wisconsin"

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