Three and a half year since our last feature and interview here on IDIOTEQ, Washington DC based fuzzy, power pop rockers THE REMEMBERABLES (members of Coke Bust) are back to our pages with their excellent new album “Breathe”! Produced by (and features saxophone by!) Kurt Ballou, and being released by Head2Wall Records in the States and Adagio830 in Europe, the album dags you deep with its thick riffs, earworm melodies, anthemic choruses, great arrangements and literally sucks the listener into its groove. What a delightful return!
Descended from the ‘90s wave of guitar-driven power pop bands that owed as much to Van Halen as to Big Star, The Rememberables have crafted a hook-laden, fuzzed out masterpiece. Deftly produced by the legendary Kurt Ballou to perfectly capture every subtle nuance of their deep and sophisticated approach to the genre, this is not a record to miss.
Speaking about working with Kurt Ballou (producer), the band commented: “I believe Chris (drummer) worked with him previously on a Magrudergrind record, but Chris had a positive working experience with him. I knew of his work on his own Converge records – Tim (guitarist) had showed me Converge’s “You Fail Me” record when it came out, but it was really his production work on Torche’s “Meanderthal” & Pygmylush’s “Mount Hope” that really stood out. We had done our previous self-titled record with Kevin Bernsten (engineer/producer) at Developing Nations and had established a sorta blown out fuzzy tone and a powerful drum sound.”
“With Kurt, we really wanted his expertise in defining that sound even further.” – they continue. “We really loved the room tones of his drums and reminded us of the albums we grew up loving (In Utero, Pinkerton). We spent 10 days recording and mixing in Salem, MA at his GodCity studio and had our fair share of ghostly experiences while there, which found their way creeping into the record.”
THE REMEMBERABLES had demoed the majority of the record with their friend and engineer, So Uehara, previously, laying down most of the arrangement which gave them a pretty good foundation for what they would later track at GodCity with Kurt (Ballou). “Most of the songs had not had lyrics written as our process was usually writing the melodies and music first, lyrics second – with lyrics going through multiple drafts with some songs not being fully written until we literally were in the studio.”
“What I found was that I was exploring heavier themes on this record, greatly influenced by the loss of my father, the grieving and mental health of my mother, my partner, my friends, and myself. “Breathe” was something I learned in practice, when anxiety gets high, life gets difficult and panic settles in to find the calm, the center – to sustain and persevere.
Looking back at making the record, the band recalls: “Going through all of Kurt’s guitar pedals and amp combinations trying to achieve the right tone, Kurt playing sax, Chris on a multitude of percussion instruments, Tim playing an eery piano, doo wop finger snaps, checking out haunted sites, all of us seeing a woman in a period era dress with skull outside a cemetery only to disappear into the night moments later, hearing what sounded like a truck smashing into the side of the building only to see nothing outside, being woken up by heavy breathing and dark shadowy figures hanging by the bedside while the other bandmates were asleep in the bunk beds in the same room, eating our way around Salem, watching Chris sing Mariah Carey after wrapping up the record.”
Lastly, we asked the band to share some of the top albums that inspired their sound and their answer was no surprise. “Definitely (Nirvana’s) In Utero and (Weezer) Pinkerton vibes – grungy powerpop vibes with deafening wide room drum sounds. A little (Pixies’) Surfer Rosa, (Torche’s) Meanderthal, (Plastic Tree’s) Toroimerai, too. We were also listening to a lot of (Thin Lizzy’s) Black Rose, but I don’t know if that was as much for production inspiration as it was because it was just a bad ass record. And it would also be blasphemous not to site Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream as a defining fuzz pop record that is an immediate influence, although our record definitely has a different more abrasive than creamy sound.”
As for newer releases, THE REMEMBERABLES haven’t really kept up with as many new releases during this pandemic “But Nø Man’s “Erase” is as good as it gets – visceral, immediate, and every ounce relevant.” – they admit.
“Terminal Bliss “Brute Err/ata” sounds like windows being blown out, with shards of glass exploding in every direction, aiming to kill.
Be Well “The Weight and The Cost” is a modern classic and full of anthems.
Big No wrote a dreamy “Nick Cave meets Phil Spector wall of sound” kind of album that I think should get more attention.
Choir Boy’s “Gathering Swans” should be played at every goth sad kid make out party.
I got a sneak peak at Aertex’s new record. They would belong at that party, too. Mas Y Mas and Obliques can take as much time as they want between releases because every one of them fucks.