In honor of the recent release of Kowloon Walled City's Container Ships, last week we presented Side A of the band's tour van mixtape. Chock full of A.M. gold, it was the perfect driving music for vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans and bassist Ian Miller (not to mention, they clearly know their shit about it). Guitarist Jon Howell, however is not quite on the same page as his two bandmates. We'll let Scott and Jon take it from here in explaining Side B's theme: "Jon is our new guitar player. He joined on about a year ago. Unlike his predecessor, Jon does not enjoy soothing adult contemporary hits of the '70s, so he wears headphones and reads The New Yorker a lot. I imagine that when Jon was a boy, his Mom listened to In The Wake of Poseidon while she worked on her ECON 301 lesson plan. Here are some Howell favorites to block out lovingly composed and performed songcraft.—Scott Evans
Yes, yes...Evans and Miller listen to tour music that’s better suited for crying over relationships and wetting the bed. That said, I’m not fully allergic to melody and a well-written song. For tours/long drives, I need to listen to albums I love.—Jon Miller
You can whip our your favorite pair of headphones and listen along here.
Side B: Jon Howell's Headphone Jams
Form Of Rocket's “El Bandito” (from 2003's Lumber) Form of Rocket is a SLC band that’s been around since the late '90s. They’ve put out three albums and though I don’t think we’re getting a fourth, Lumber is probably my favorite. The music is riffy and driving in the vein of '90s Touch and Go but these guys somehow do it both differently and better than every other T&G-inspired band. I listen to this song at least once a week.
Aloha's “Setting Up Shop” (from 2004's Here Comes Everyone) These guys started out writing long-form, epic jazz-inspired tunes, but as much as I love the early stuff, on Here Comes Everyone they just started writing great songs. This album has a lazy summer vibe that is perfect for long drives and “Setting Up Shop” exemplifies the mellow/happy feel.
Shora's “Parhelion” (from 2006's Malval) I could never get into instrumental bands like Pelican or Explosions In The Sky. No offense to them or their fans, but it just seems like music in search of vocals. For me, Shora is different. They started out as a blistering, noisy hardcore band a la Botch/Dillinger Escape Plan, but things took a dramatic turn on Malval. The music has a structureless feel but the songs just grow and grow 'til you get lost in them. Any song off this album would do but, I’ll pick “Parhelion".
Ventid's “Dirty Light” (from 2011's Remember Your Audience) These guys are friends of mine and, while they were active, their music consistently blew me away. Great '90s Dischord/math rock feel. And Scott recorded Remember Your Audience, so it sounds great. “Dirty Light”, aside from being a fucking perfect song, has my favorite snarky one-liner: “remember your audience as a weak study." Yep, pretty much.
Fugazi's “23 Beats Off” and “Sweet and Low” (from 1993's In On The Kill Taker) Best band. I could pick any album, but these In On The Kill Taker songs always struck me as one of the better “one-two punch” songs. You get Ian screaming about some important shit and a feedback meltdown, immediately followed by the best, hooky instrumental song ever recorded. I’m gonna cheat and pick both of 'em.
*Order a copy of Container Ships here.
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2) Early Graves All That Remains Bison B.C. A Life Once Lost Fight Amp Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander) Vision of Disorder Grave Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2) "Best of" Rush (Part 1) (Part 2) Dawnbringer Ufomammut Shadows Fall Horseback Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2) Torche "Best of" Meshuggah Astra Pallbearer Barren Earth Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)