We are touring Europe and the UK with Rat Columns this summer, 2013. In support of the upcoming re-issue of the Rank/Xerox self-titled LP on Sabotage Records/Blast First and our Rat Columns’ general presence in the cosmos.
There are a few towns in Europe that haven’t had the good sense to offer us a show. If you live in or near one of these towns listed and want to have us there, please, do get in touch. Email rankxeroxband(AT)gmail(DOT)com or Franz at Sabotage Records at info(AT)sabotagerecords.net. United Kingdom, you are sorted.
Here is the approximate schedule:
Sat 15.6 - Berlin @ Morgenrot w/ Diät
Sun 16.6 - Poland
Mon 17.6 - Wroclaw @ Obserwatorium w/ Kurws, Clayton Thomas
The OG press has sold out from direct mailorder at Make A Mess Records. However, you can still very possibly pick up a copy from Midheaven Mailorder and there may be some other distro’s (even in the UK, I hear) who have a copy.
‘A bunch of hotly-anticipated albums seemed to have dropped this month, Rank/Xerox’s debut certainly not the least of them. Their first 7″ is one of the last decade’s greatest left-field punk stunners, and while Rank/Xerox doesn’t quite knock me on my seat in the same way, it’s another excellent helping of this San Franciscan trio. For the most part, they’ve restrained their assault from a Feederz-style flail-fest to something moodier (but not remotely gothic), like Wire’s Chairs Missing infused with the no-wave isolation of Mars. Something like “Nausea” would’ve even found a good home on Gravity, had it come out right after that first Rapture album. The more I’ve been able to settle into Rank/Xerox, the better I’ve been able to understand their shift to a more solemn complexion, even thought they still couldn’t be confused for anything other than a punk band. Really hope people get around to checking this one out, as Rank/Xerox don’t really mess around with the modern media self-promotion game that’s becoming more and more of a sad necessity to get one’s self noticed these days.’
‘Strange, how a style of music worn out by a bunch of ninnies can be rejuvenated after a few years’ rest and a new perspective. That’s the basic story on this Rank/Xerox LP, the product of a young and determined band out of the Bay Area. There’re some bands that can make a few minutes seem like a lot to ask, yet I’ve been listening to this one daily and it seems like the half-hour it takes to unfold front to back folds time in half — kind of like the premise behind that movie Event Horizon, but without the gore.
There’s some emotional violence here, though, or at least the shadows of it. Those sorts of shenanigans seem like a preface for Rank/Xerox’s slashing, discordant post-punk, revered by guys and even a few women during its painful descent in the past decade, when all the bands got more stylish and left Mr. Short Hair/Emo Glasses/Gas Station Attendant Jacket out in the cold, holding a mix CD with a bunch of Universal Order of Armageddon and Gauge tracks on it, and wondering why a nice guy like him can’t seem to meet someone to keep him warm. The good news is that Rank/Xerox doesn’t follow or perpetuate the stereotype, even as their music and direction grind away inside the husk of that not-so-lamented caricature.
Guitarist/frontman David West’s Perth-to-SF emigration is not without a musical precedent. He’s been sending in releases to Still Single for quite some time, in a variety of styles: caustic hardcore (Burning Sensation), lo-fi dream pop (Frank and the Can I Speaklys), 4-track introspection (Rat Columns), punk rotting from the inside out (Pauline Manson). The scope, the codified space between, and number of these projects might ring of dilettantism, but the rules of today have changed. Any way you can get it, that’s how you get it. I appreciate the hustle, to be honest, and wish more artists in his position could keep their projects as interesting. West locks down on the other mode of indie/DIY rock. You know, the mode that existed before garage rock dummed everyone down a few shades. Rank/Xerox wears well the abstract lyrics, the off-kilter rhythms, the tension-release dynamics, and the sense of brevity that’s been prevalent in this vector since Fugazi got started.
One could argue that not much new could be done with these ideas, and one might be right, but somehow these young men are distracting enough to run through these halls without so much as raising an eyebrow. “Cave Dweller” embodies the intent of so many forgotten acts within the boundaries of post-punk/post-HC, where a complex, carefully assembled discordant riff, and the area around it, is allowed to be a song in and of itself. Two-fisted rhythms cycle through in assembly line fashion as the dry, reedy stem of the song establishes the perimeter, just before West breaks the mold and spins into another interlocking pattern and engages in some stressful upper-neck guitar squeezing before the whole enterprise, a treatise on introspection, winds to a soft, pensive close. Many listeners will take notice at just how much he relies on a clean channel guitar tone, in essence creating a small sound in a big room and allowing the pieces to fall in place through manipulation of headroom and the mechanics of a rock trio. The other big standout, “Padek Man,” plays the slow creep mode to consummate perfection, as West and bassist Kevin McCarthy trade off lyrics and off-kilter phrasings about a mysterious, sinister human living in a disused space, real or of the mind, until its last minute, when the bass launches upward in tight circles, drummer Jon Shade kicks into fourth gear, and the whole outfit comes dangerously close to exploding right there in the studio. An understated recording, made with attention to detail by Eric Bauer and Ty Segall, frames all of the band’s elements in a very flattering, austere light.
I must admit that, had I never heard Rank/Xerox’s 2009 debut single, this full-length might resonate a bit more with me. From that release, the band made a strong case for being the second coming of Mission of Burma, running roughshod through several eras of punk and its antecedents, and reassembling them in a way that made sense. This full-length seems a bit too focused on capturing a more specific moment in the past post-everything aesthetic, in particular the more controlled-sounding chaos of late, lamented bands like Clikatat Ikatowi and Glorium. There are a couple of missteps, too, in particular the blocky, out-of-place closer “Turn to Stone,” in which the guitar is swapped out for an all-too-familiar synth preset, which sucks a good deal of the momentum out of the nine songs that precede it. But those are small gripes for a record that challenges some of us to remember from whence we came, without embarrassment or negativity, and with enough fire to remind us why we chose punk in the first place, or rather, let it choose us.’
'Brilliant debut album from this SF trio. You could call it post-punk or art-punk and it wouldn't be off the mark. Jarring guitar gnash underpinned by menacing bass and drums that provide a solid foundation. Some obvious touchpoints are the Fall and early Wire but, to my ears, they remind me of the early 80s Boston band Native Tongue, another trio who had angular guitar lines counterpointed by nimble rhythms. The final song, “Turn To Stone,” has a synth melody that you won't be able to get out of your head. Same for “Helpless,” only the bass provides the hook on that song. “Padek Man” begins with the lumbering clank of the A Frames before concluding with a frayed climax. “You Might Follow” is darker, with distorted drums and a brooding arrangement. Themes of alienation and isolation permeate the lyrics and that shouldn't really come as any sort of surprise. There's an anti-social sentiment on the aforementioned “Turn To Stone,” with the music's cold ambiance complemented perfectly with the opening statement "I got a massive problem, I’m falling apart and people want me to be a part of some kind of race/But I don’t feel like you and I don’t look like you…" In this era of disillusionment, this album makes for an appropriate and inviting soundtrack. ’
'An urgent, desolate sound that evokes collapsing modernist architecture, awkward photographs and polyester trousers. Post-punk nausea for those that would rather reach for Soma Holiday than anything out of Leeds in 1982. This is my favorite local band. Their music is constantly moving, a million parts in action creating a picture that's stark and powerful, and there're only three people in this band - one Australian accent and two American ones. Former members of HC acts Burning Sensation and Jump Off A Building now making out of place music for desperate times. They are excellent live, propulsive energy and power to flatten all dispassionate audiences. I've heard people compare them to Zounds, I think they are more in like with the Proletariat with some Middle Class aggro snot injections. At any rate, this LP is a totality of nervous energy and dark movement, it sort of makes me think of the Kebab song 'We Live In A System', that paranoid force. It's hard to write about a band you love sometimes, it's easier to dismiss things than to explain what the secret ingredient is that makes something rule…Listening to this on headphones in a dark review corridor it feels like a transportation device. Lyrics are incisive surgical cuts, evocative and nightmarish constructions. It's stark, dark music with underlying currents, Peter Hook-ish basslines and scratched out guitars and the drums are like a more organized Palmolive! For real, if you like skating around town with Warsaw on your headphones, this is your sound.' (LG)