Thursday, September 18, 2008

Edsel - The Everlasting Belt Co. (1993 Grass Records)

For anyone on here that pours through bargain CD bins, it's a safe bet that an Edsel disk pops up in at least one out of three. Yet you rarely see this Edsel CD gathering dust, and for damn good reason.

The timing and location couldn't have been more favorable for this quartet - Washington D.C., early-mid '90s -a period when beltway indie combos sprouted almost as fruitfully as the cherry blossom trees that line the capital mall itself. Edsel seemingly failed to ingratiate themselves among the more pop-oriented local combos of their day like Velocity Girl, Unrest, and Tsunami. The Dischord Records "punk" contingent made for a slightly more adaptable fit, but Edsel fell short of becoming homies with Fugazi and Shudder to Think. The band's affiliation with such a small label, the long departed Grass Records, didn't work wonders in increasing Edsel's notoriety, but it at least gave them a chance to churn out the best record of their career, The Everlasting Belt Co.

Where should I begin with this one? Let's start with warm. Tenaciously rhythmic. Clangy guitar runs. Dense arrangements. All cobbled together in a hazy, mid-fi gauze that touched on the post-hardcore aesthetic of hometown contemporaries Jawbox, with an eye fixed on the indie-rock innovations of Archers of Loaf, Pavement, and the like. The swarmy, tremelo-bent, "Penaluma," which originally appeared on a split single with Jawbox, was what originally lured me in, but amazingly, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Quite bluntly, this album's the shit. Two follow-ups, inferior ones at that, succeeded Everlasting, and for better or worse (mostly worse) those are the ones I referred to as traffic plugs in the used section of your favorite store. Edsel's debut album, Strange Loop, is however worthy of your attention.
01. Pell Confirms
02. Checking
03. Shaster!
04. Buckle
05. Oh Bliss, Oh Well
06. Proud City
07. Our Drunken Friend
08. The Good Celeste
09. Penaluna
10. Pigeon-Hearted
11. Stane
12. Whistle Down
13. Horn & Feather
14. Bone Tender
15. Narrow
16. 19:00 Hours at the Apollo
17. Fin
18. unlisted track

1 comment:

Jon Solomon said...

Hey guys.

Edsel's "The Everlasting Belt Co." and "Detroit Folly" have been remastered and will be digitally reissued by Comedy Minus One in September 2011.

Can I ask you to take down the Edsel link, please?


Jon Solomon
Comedy Minus One