I've been seeing a lot of blog-attention paid lately to the LA hardcore band Trash Talk and wondering where's the love for Atlanta's The Chariot? Blogs are buzzing over the announcement that the new Trash Talk album will be released on Odd Future's label, and I've read several post about how "intense" and "chaotic" their live shows are. While Trash Talk are a great hardcore band with crossover potential, I don't see how their music is any better than my go to hardcore band The Chariot. I've said it before that The Chariot is the only hardcore band I still listen to nowadays because of their willingness to experiment and write good songs in a genre that seems to reward mediocrity. I can now add Trash Talk to my very short list of new hardcore bands I like, but it's for all the same reasons that I like The Chariot and I still think The Chariot does it way better.
So basically, I'm saying it's not fair that Trash Talk's suddenly popular and The Chariot isn't, but no use crying over spilled milk. Not to mention Trash Talk's popularity probably has to do more with the fact that they're all young guys from LA and they know Odd Future than their actual music. Just speculating. Oh, and as far as Trash Talk's live shows being "intense", "violent" and "chaotic", let's just do a little comparison. Here's live footage of Trash Talk and here's live footage of The Chariot.
The Chariot have an advantage on Trash Talk in that they've been around a lot longer. Since 2004 they've been crafting their incredibly chaotic music into something that is more than just heavy sounds to mosh to. At this point in their career, they are creating punk art with enough passion and emotion to take on the world. They do all this while continuing to have a sense of humor about themselves and what they do, as you'll notice in any of their promo videos for their new album, One Wing. According to the band, One Wing will be their most experimental album to date and will be unlike anything they've done before which can really be said about any of their albums. They continue to grow and try new things on each album. The Fiancee featured guest vocals from Sacred Harp Singers and Haley Williams of Paramore. Wars And Rumors Of Wars featured backwards guitars loops, whistles, and all kinds of other strange effects and instrumentation. Their last album, 2010's Long Live, was their most ambitious to date, where almost every song had something very experimental or just different than what you would expect on a hardcore album. What made Long Live so great was that every experiment worked really well and made the songs better. That album impresses me more and more each time I listen to it.
The best example of Long Live's awesomeness for me is the song "The City." It stands to date as lead singer Josh Scogin's most impassioned vocal performance and one of their best songs lyrically. The Chariot's lyrics continue to grow as the band goes on and I find that I enjoy them more the older I get. I used to think they meant nothing, but I understand them a lot more now that I'm older. Of course, since their lyrics are blaringly screamed it helps to have a lyrics page handy.
"The City" is the fourth song on Long Live and after the opening, three-song assault, it begins "This is only the start/ you're only opening the book/ you're only on the first page of what's gonna take a little while." It has a double meaning. Long Live is still six songs away from letting you loose from its powerful grip and, also, Josh Scogin is talking in the song of changing the world's general direction. Something that is gonna take a little while He's talking of a revolution where people no longer feel they are "unworthy of love" and because of that move to free themselves from things in society that hold them back. Things that people feel give them value, but instead only control them. Things like, um, money: "I saved my money, but it can't save me." He also says: "They can't dig a hole the right size to fit all of our dreams" and "we can't hope that somebody else will take our place." "We stand hand in hand and we walk without fear/ This is a revolution." I think this is a revolution we all might be needing. But, what do I know?