Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rudimentary Peni

We're gonna destroy life the world gets higher and higher nanananananananana yeah

i've posted some Rudimentary Peni tracks before, but i've decided to put together a best of for folks who want to start investigating the band. Rudimentary Peni has got to be one of the most underrated bands in rock history. a punk rock band in the best sense of the word, and yet they transcend the genre easily. all of their music, from their first EP, is timeless. what should be an essential, hallmark band is too often overlooked.

i will not mention any of their cult status triva because the music simply speaks for itself. they do not need any kind of superficial hype, even if some of it is genuinely interesting. i don't try to categorize them into the anarcho-punk genre because they are not specifically an anarchist band. most of their lyrics are not politically oriented at all. in fact a lot of their lyrics are H.P. Lovecraft references. also i don't like the term "death rock" because it has been re-appropriated by some horrible and completely unrelated bands over the years.

critics rightly hail the sophisticated brevity employed by Wire on their Pink Flag album, and i mention it because that kind of genius simplicity is present on nearly all of Rudimentary Peni's work. yet RP did not have a Pink Flag, they had many, many Pink Flags. their entire career is Pink Flag after Pink Flag. if you look at all the best elements of hardcore punk music - screaming, fast tempos, heavy distorted guitars, these are all elements perfected by Peni. now take away the pointless youthful aggression and replace it with a dark intensity and intelligence and you are looking at RP - a gifted archetype that has been lurking in the shadows the whole time. no wonder critics put it in a separate sub-genre.

i will make yet another bad comparison: imagine the satisfaction you got from hearing the chorus of a Nirvana song. you wait through the catchy quiet verse, then comes the intense screaming and satisfying richness of the tone, the simple riffs that sound bigger than life. now imagine a band that only plays the choruses. to me, the word that describes best Rudimentary Peni's sound is satisfying. it is that crushing catchy climax that you are looking for, almost all the time. but that is not the only appealing aspect of the band. the lyrics are incredible, the vocals are completely weird and experimental, particularly on the Cacophony album. if you can appreciate the Melvins, for instance, you should be latching on to this right away.

how can you make a best of comp when a band has so many perfect albums (and ep's)? it's not easy to pick from an album like Death Church... Death Church is one of those albums that immediately blows your mind with an incredible song, and then every song seems to get even better from there. it is basically a perfect album without one bad or even mediocre song. every song is a winner. if you like the songs i picked, you should listen to this album first. Cacophony is probably just as brilliant an album, but you will not understand it until at least the fourth time you've heard it. it is a grower. take my word on this one.

In short, Howard was a twitch, boys and girls, and that's all there is to it.

Nick Blinko has quite a cult following for his very interesting life and art. i don't really care about that stuff. all i care about is that he is one of the greatest singers in music history. what he is doing on records - it simply does not get better than this. i love Black Flag but quite frankly, Henry Rollins doesn't hold a candle to Nick Blinko. he is in a whole different league.

the rhythm section is one of the most distinguishable to my ears as well. the styles of Grant and Jon are just brilliant and so well-refined. this is a band with raw skill that knows how to put it to use in their songwriting and doesn't simply flash it around without a clue. this is extremely well-crafted music, it's not just the guitar and melody that is attractive - everything the bass guitar and drums does is just as important.

Rudimentary Peni says more with two lines of a poem, with one riff in a song, than most bands say with their entire discographies. don't be fooled by the short lengths of the songs, don't be fooled by the weird voices - this music is totally profound.

Essential Peni


mappatazee said...

thanks for introducing me to peni back when, i think it was blissful myth, cosmic hearse & army of jesus, probably my favorite songs off those albums.

Anonymous said...

It is so frustrating that this band still goes unnoticed, except for by a select few punks still involved in a dead subculture. I swear I've heard popular radio rock bands rip from these guys a few times over the years (and why not, they're awesome). Why is it that rock stars, always seem to lie so much?