Reviews

Seattle's New Gods, Burnpile (Dogboy Records, 2018)

I’m very excited that this record has seen the light of day.

Being from the northwest, I’ve seen Seattle’s New Gods play dozens of times and I’ve heard a few of these songs for years, always being reassured “those are going to be on the full-length.” There were many times it seemed like the record may never be released, but after a year long hiatus, the record is finally out. 

As a band that has never really fit in at a standard hardcore show, it’s nice to see the vision be fully realized with Burnpile.

Picking up right where 2016’s How’s It Going to End? 7” left off, Burnpile is everything you could want from the group; 10 songs of groovy punk that makes you want to grow your hair out. I caught up with vocalist Alex Klump and asked him about recording the LP.

Photo: Megan Johnson

“We were writing songs for what we had decided was going to be an LP before How’s It Going to End? had even been conceived as a release,” he says. “We were getting to a place where we were ready to start recording the LP…then the single was offered to us….and its release took much longer than anticipated…then I left for work related things for almost six months.” 

The instruments were recorded in August of 2015 over the span of two days at Soundhouse in Seattle; Alex and drummer Ian Shelton spent the following 12 months in and out of Hear Me Shimmer with producer Jackson Justice Long (Iron Lung, Shook Ones) to finish recording vocals.

It can be difficult for punk bands to be recorded in a way that accurately reflects their live abilities, often coming together with a product that can either be too sloppy or, far more often, too polished. That being said, Long captured Burnpile perfectly. “I could live in the studio, I love it,” says bassist Qyn Humphries when asked how recording the LP went. “I brought in a weird amp as a joke to play bass through which became ‘the sound’”.

The record is recorded in a way that reminds me of early Mudhoney, but the songwriting is more aggressive —- if pressed, comparing it to a less-sporadic Pissed Jeans meets an angrier Flipper wouldn’t be out of bounds.

Alex, as with most vocalists in punk, has always been one of the most endearing parts of seeing Seattle’s New Gods in a live setting, but until now, I never felt as though he was able to really stand out on recording. Now, with 10 songs instead of the usual two to four, he’s able to really stretch out with a vocal performance that ranges from Rollins on In My Head-era Black Flag ("Island Time")  to Shawn Brown’s work on Swiz's Hell Yes, I Cheated ("Sophisticated Leisure") while clearly making it his own thing along the way.

“I don’t mind the Rollins comparison(s). It makes sense for people to make that connection with what we do and where we’re coming from as a group,” says Alex when asked about vocal style on this record. He continues, “Rollins and I start from completely different places, though. He harnesses his anger and lands at rage. Much of my delivery comes as an extenuation of my lyrics, which are written from a place of uncertainty and malaise”

***

Burnpile is available now on Dogboy Records

Tagged: seattles new gods

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