Music Review: Clear Channel – Hell (Self-released, April 2020)

My life and house are a mess right now, but I am committed to writing about as much music before Juneteenth Bandcamp Revenue Share Day as possible, so here it rips…

Clear Channel actually welcome you to their first record themselves. This is what they say:

So, yes, then. Hello Disko! As I mentioned in my review of the debut from Time is Fire, DC dance punk will always be a top three sonic territory. The District of Columbia has produced a lot of my favorite music ever, and the general DC/Baltimore nexus is not letting us down this year–AT ALL. This is the third record I have loved and reviewed from that region this year; I have three more coming soon, and the year is only about half through.

It’s possible that the punkest thing you can do in the age of Google is choose a name that will totally fuck you through search engine optimization. I am struggling to research Clear Channel currently because of that exact phenomenon. I can tell you these things about Clear Channel: it is a band made up of Awad, Don, and Carson from Too Free, with the addition of someone named Mary. (They do not even list their last names! I could find three of their last names in my Too Free post, but also so could you. They didn’t care enough to write their last names on the liner notes.) This is a first-name basis band, and I am so glad. As the story goes on their Bandcamp:

God created bass – and of the bass, God created Mary. Mary was lonely, and so she asked God to sculpt Carson and Awad out of a kick drum and a pair of bongos, and then Don joined and all was right with the world. This is their first record together.

Self-releasing only 500 copies, it is definitely one of the most underground records to have caught my attention this year. Most Clear Channel songs involve minimal lyrics, varying widely from the directness of “M O C” whose only lyrics are “my only complaint is that I’m bored” to songs like “Baby Blue” which is still lyrically minimal, but much more abstract.

I am a huge fan of the rhythms kicking through “Notes on Notes.”  It is also one of the examples of a more lyrically driven song, but the focus on this band is definitely always on the beat and the bass.

My favorite song on this record is “Present Cycle,” which is the only song that feels appropriate to the times we have been living in since this record’s release. The rest of the songs on this record feel a little bit too fun or pleasure-oriented for our present moment, but I included this track in my spring quarantine mix, which feels and sounds increasingly prescient every day! Still simple and direct, but clearly about all of us taking control of our own lives. The breath with the bass at the beginning is a direct line to something immediate and critical.

I very much enjoy wearing my Clear Channel shirt, which communicates to the world my status as a member of a secret and extremely cool organization called the “B.B.I.,” or the Bad Bitch International. Please support them this Bandcamp Juneteenth Day, when Bandcamp’s share of revenue will be going to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and also always and whenever. They are both fun and incisive.

Clearly a member of the Bad Bitch International.


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