GODSPEED YOU!BLACK EMPEROR - Alleljah! Don't Bend! Ascend! CD/LP (Constellations) CST081CD/LP - $12.50/$20.00
Um... what? No, really... what?! Excuse me!!!!!!
A quick Google search and yes, indeed, announced a couple weeks ago by the immortal Godspeed You! Black Emperor is their first album since 2003. WHAT THE FUCK1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit. And no, that's not enough exclamation points. I've been so insanely busy with getting the house ready to sell and finding a new place to live and with work and travel for work and more work and my foot and everything else I haven't had half a second to check up on any indie rock news or even Facebook or anything BUT HOLY SHIT IS THIS REAL?!! And it's happening on Tuesday. This Tuesday. October 17th. WHAT THE WHAT!! Here's some dude younger than me talking about the band:
I was fourteen years old when 28 Days Later came out in theaters, and I was fifteen when I finally got to see it on DVD at a friend’s house. It began a lifelong and slightly idiotic obsession with zombies for me (even though, as all zombie fans know, 28 Days Later is about infected, not zombies); and it also began my love for Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The song “East Hastings” played, and it blew my ears and mind away; I had only been exposed to classic rock and alternative rock, so my idea of wild experimenting was Incubus’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and not at all Canadian post-rock. By a few years later, I would own all their catalog, be it on CD or vinyl; I’m not a vinyl guy, but GY!BE is a band whose music is meant to be heard as an album, as a whole, and not as a song or a download or something on your iPod’s shuffle.
I was older than 14 when I first saaw 28 Days Later (incidentally one of my favorite movies of all time) but it wasn't until 5 years into GY!BE's career that I first discovered "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven" and my mind -- and my world -- were blown away. That was the first "post-rock" song I ever heard, the first song of such sweep, such dimension, such utter emotional brilliance I'd ever experienced, and in subsequent years I ate up all their work and yearned for more. Sadly, they broke up in 2003 and I never thought I'd get to hear them with something new again. Then a reunion tour emerged after years of rumors (and I got to see them yay!). But I hadn't heard anything about a new album. Until now. And it's here. And holy shit. Holy fucking shit.
So it turns out that the two long tracks on the new album have been played live for years -- and I have the live versions in my collection -- "Albanian" and "Gamelan" renamed here as "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire". According to Constellation Records,
Having emerged from hiatus at the end of 2010, GYBE undeniably picked up right where they left off, immediately recapturing the sound and material that had fallen dormant in 2003 and driving it forward with every show of their extensive touring over the last 18 months. The new album presents the fruits of that labour: evolved and definitive versions of two huge new compositions previously known to fans as "Albanian" and "Gamelan", now properly titled as "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire" respectively. Accompanied by the new drones (stitched into the album sequence on CD, cut separately on their own 7" for the LP version), GYBE have offered up a fifth album that is absolutely as vital, virulent, honest and heavy as anything in their discography.
So yeah. Sounds awesome. I haven't listened yet but I intend to hit Vintage Vinyl in Woodbridge, NJ tomorrow for a copy. Here are the album tracks:
1. Mladic 19.59
2. Their Helicopters' Sing 6.30
3. We Drift Like Worried Fire 20.07
4. Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable 6.31
And here's a little "East Hastings" to tide you over until tomorrow:
The only change since then, they argue, is that "it's easier to find common cause than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Every day it gets a little harder to pretend that everything's OK. The rich keep getting more and we keep getting less. Folks flee to our shores, running from the messes we've made in their countries, and we treat them like thieves. Turn on the radio and it's a fucking horror show: the things our governments do in our name, just to fatten themselves on our steady decline."
"We're at a particular junction in history where it's clear that something has to give: problem is that things could tip any which way. We're excited and terrified; we sit down and try to make a joyous noise. But we make instrumental music: means that we have to work hard at creating a context that fucks with the document and points in the general direction of resistance and freedom. Otherwise it's just pretty noise saddled to whatever horse comes along."