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Saturday, January 30, 2010

SHOULDER: Touch


I feel like I need to balance out the blog with all of this over-the-top hardcore shit I've been posting lately. I've always contemplated starting to post up some more "indie" type shit despite it not really having much influence on Path To Misery outside of the attitude of the bands. I then realized that Shoulder probably has as much of a musical influence on Path To Misery as Krutch does and, in turn, have every much a right to be here as does Comin Correct. From here on in, I will be posting good music regardless of genre or amount of influence on the Path.

That being said, Shoulder is pretty much perfect. Coming out of London, Ontario, Canada, they were one of those bands from the mid-90s (album was recorded in 1995) that really blurred the lines between what was "hardcore" and what was "emo" or "indie" or whatever term was being thrown around at the time. The songs most certainly do not lack in the emotion category, while at the same time regularly having the ability to burst into considerably fast, upbeat punk parts. Every bit of melody is matched by equal parts intensity. I'm not one to romanticize hardcore in the 90s, but listening to this album makes me long for a day whenever bands playing music this varied still were linked together by a mutual scene; sharing a similar outlook on life, music, and society. I am sure this band shared the stage with quite a few open E-chord chug bands in their day and were more than OK with it. Fuck, they even put out a split 7" with Morning Again. Band also apparently had some sort of connection to Grade as Kyle Bishop took all of their pictures and did their layout for them.

If the band chose to, I get the impression that they could have easily taken their songs to a producer, polished them up and made themselves considerably well-off considering the musical climate at the time. The band had the song-writing ability and enough of a knack for writing catchy songs to where they could have just as easily have been writing hits as big as Hey Jealousy or Found Out About You. The bands definitely shared a tendency for driving their songs through their clean channels but I'm not saying that Shoulder necessarily sounds like Gin Blossoms. You can definitely hear where the band easily had the talent to write such songs if they would have chosen to though.

Perhaps that is where the influence on Path To Misery lays; the band's unwillingness to write accessible music despite having the knowledge and musical prowess to do so. It also appears as though the band was working on a very limited budget despite doing their best to create an inventive full length album. Out of 21 tracks found on this full length effort, only 9 of them were recorded in a studio setting. Presumably the band was forced to cut costs and chose to record all of the acoustic interludes in a home studio setting. These acoustic interludes are also possibly my favorite part of the album. They make their appearance in between each studio track on the album and gives the full length a feeling of being, well ... full. Despite its length of roughly 68 minutes, the album is a surprisingly easy listen and plays through quite nicely, even despite the addition of their demo tracks at the end.

These demo recordings found at the end of this album sound almost as good as the 9 featured tracks, quite frankly. The only failure on this release was the lack of song titles and lyrics for said demo tracks. If anyone by chance has this information, I would love to get my rip labeled up properly. In fact, I would LOVE a copy of the original demo which ideally would include the lyrics. I'd also love to get a copy of the Kindling album which was the follow-up to Touch in 1996.

If you're looking for something different to listen to, I'd strongly suggest this full length that lives up to its title.

DOWNLOAD

3 comments:

Alex said...

yo dude! i finally redid my post on shoulder, and i just saw today that you posted this up! well head on over for a complete bio of Shoulder, as well as some surprises in the new download link, i think youll be digging this complete discography link very much :P
ive got a couple of their shows too so hit me up, and well trade!

bowtienick said...

There were about a dozen copies of this at a local thrift store a few years back, unopened, and i put it in iTunes...just came across it today again..reminds me a lot of sleepytime trio and moss icon and the likes...good stuff..

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