Sunday, August 31, 2008

The year is 1988. The band is Animal Time

Playing right now: Bill Coles - Proverbs for Sam (It's been quite some time since I've been able to list something here)

So I did talk to Bernard, a little about Giuseppi, quite a bit about the label itself and even more about Esperanto. Details to follow. Along with thoughts about a few recent releases.

But first.......

Tonight while I was doing dishes I listened to the album Jacked Up? No More by a band called Animal Time. In 1988, these guys were a big deal to me. It was started by brothers Jeff and Jay Norem. Originally Jay played drums and sang and Jeff played the Chapman stick. On this album they were a quartet. Jay was just on vocals, and they had another guitarist and a drummer.
The band was this great combination of Minor Threat-like barked vocals and taut music with weird elements thrown in: harmonica that could sound like screeching tires (intentionally and effectively), riffs that sounded like they were appropriated from soul and of course that Chapman stick.

The album contains a bunch of really solid songs. Some are almost great, but even the lesser ones has something going for them. "You Don't Live Around Here," aside from a set of lyrics that don't give Jay a chance to breath between lines, is catchy and hard hitting, lyrically. "Rebel Game" is a pretty spot-on indictment of people who dress the part but don't really have a cause. "It's Like I'm Being You" is really a post-thrash song with a stop at the beginning of each verse: "You're like a Christmas tree with it's lights unplugged"; "Got a heart full of lies and a soul full of gimme." Later that song has the line, "You and me we're a lot alike/ you disgust me, get out of my sight." And for the coda, a trumpet and tenor sax jump and blast an off-kilter (again) mutant soul riff.

In the fall of '88, Animal Time played a show at a short-lived Pittsburgh venue called the Foundry, which is just a block down Penn Avenue from the 31st Street Pub. They played with this awful band that was in the Athens, GA film who were adept at ugly songs and screamed singing but couldn't blend the two of them together.

I bided my time in the back until Animal Time went on and they were amazing. Afterwards, Jay couldn't believe I was singing along to the songs. He was shocked and appreciative. I was probably hopped up on coffee. I had yet to become a java freak. The band later went to a party that I was also going to and we swapped band stories.

Then I never heard from them again.

But I still have the album. If you ever see it, buy it.

I looked up their previous EP, Double Veteran, on eBay and saw a copy for $10. I would've sprung for it had it not been a radio station copy with call letters written across the front.


Scott D said...

double veteran is, in my opinion, vastly superior to the other release.

congrats, you're the first thing that comes up when i google search "animal time double veteran"

it baffles me that someone else is talking about this band. it also baffles me that no matter how hard i've searched, i've never tracked down a copy of double veteran that wasn't the one in the college radio station where i did some time.

nothing said...

I have a copy. picked it up in Shreveport La, and this copy is from a radio station too... KSCL-FM.

Anonymous said...

I found jacked up? at my local shop here in Jersey City - i bought it based on the cover and was surprised that my 2$ gamble was gold - you dont live around here is perfect - bummer you cant find much beyond this thread on the internet

Unknown said...

I just found a copy of Jacked Up? in a box our record store just bought (also from a radio station), and put it on based on the cover. Good stuff! Vocals remind me of something very familiar that I can't place. Appears I need to find DV! And almost 3 years later you are still the #1 google search result! :)

shanleymusic said...

Dan - good to know - and flattering - that I'm the top search result for Animal Time. It's making me want to look on Discogs to see if there's a copy there!

Anonymous said...

The streets are filled with $20 bills. And I'm proud to say I reacquired two vinyl discs to replace the long-lost cassette mix tapes. J. and J. Norem rock. Proud to have their music back in the collection. -- Erstwhile Happenstance