Okay, there are a few ways I can go with this one; immediately noting the fact that I honestly did not think I was going to like this record, at least within the first few seconds. But that's the humorist version of this post; perhaps the more interesting one to begin with. Ultimately, and to be clear, I applaud this album, especially after taking in side-b and having the intensely arresting track "Crawl" blast out my speakers.
To set the stage: it's early Sunday morning, and I don't often stay up late. However, last night was an exception to the rule, putting me in a position of only having a few hours of sleep; I'm by default an early riser, regardless of how raging the party was. I am stumbling about the house, my cat is clawing at my feet, demanding a bit of 'kitty-time,' and I have yet to determine if I am even awake. She always likes to play fetch at the brink of dawn with her fake mouse toys; a game we call "mouse" (that she responds to). As I often like / try to do during my hours of solitude, I reach for the 'review pile' of vinyl and look to take in some new tunes to discuss with all of you. Chuck Coffey from Snappy Little Numbers has had a very impressive 7inch catalog to date with his record label, and I have been meaning to dive into a few of his full length 12inch albums that he has released; what better time than today.
Glass Hits' Better Never Than Late ends up being my selection. As I hold the traditional black vinyl record in hand, I prepare the turntable for a 12inch LP. What happens next, meaning what comes out of my speakers, is very likely not what Glass Hits or Snappy Little Numbers had intended for us to hear... but it is an experience that I strongly recommend you allow yourself! Crude, deathly, conquering, massively impressive - Better Never Than Late played at 33-1/3 rpms is its own dark creation, perhaps a subconscious expression for Glass Hits, but certainly not what they set forth to capture in the studio (yet one completely worth exploring - just not first thing on a Sunday morning).
I was shaking my head (now awake), thinking, "Oh no. I really like Chuck, and his label, and what he's doing. I was really hoping to share some more good news about one of his records, but man... what am I going to do with this?" As my blurry eyes began to gain focus, I thankfully caught wind of the "45 RPM" noted on the rotating center label. At this exact moment, our cat, Kickflip, furiously ripped through our living room, as if she was frustratingly calling me an idiot for not having noticed the rotational directions given for this record; funny how cats are often more aware of our own human reality than we are.
"You're the Icing on a Cake That Never Should've Been Made in the First Place" takes off accurately, opening Better Never Than Late, and now I understand where we should have been: this is a quintessential punk rock record. I don't often listen to (or like for that matter) punk rock music (perhaps I should clarify: newer modern day punk rock, or what a lot of people call punk rock). For me, punk rock is Dischord Records, Alternative Tentacles, and SST Records (circa 80's and 90's). Being that punk rock is more of a state of mind, less of a music genre, punk rock is going to be different for everyone, and that is okay / that's the beauty of it. So on this crisp, early Fall Sunday morning, Glass Hits are my punk rock.
One of my favorite harder / heavier albums is The Crownhate Ruin's Until the Eagle Grins (Dischord Records 1996). It has always been an album I use to measure other like minded records against. I'll never forgot buying it; I was a fan of Dischord Records at the time, in general, but did not really buy a lot of their stuff. The cover art is solely what attracted me to even pick up The Crownhate Ruin. It's a beautiful weathered navy blue rough cardboard jacket, delicately screen printed with silver ink. The liner notes are elegantly similar, only with a blood red canvas. I bought the album on the spot without ever listening to it. The design always reminded me of the romantic nature of The Rachael's undeniably unparalleled release, "Music for Egon Schiele;" both albums of which inspired me to create this blog.
I immediately fell in love with The Crownhate Ruin. It did not matter how much indie pop or shoegaze I was getting into at the time (it's was the 90's); the energy, the passion, the perfection - it was all too gripping, never to let go (and still hasn't). Now, for the second time in life, I am getting that same feeling again about an expression I often don't understand. Better Never Than Late is a punk rock album that too will stand the test of time; it defies all trends - an honest manifesto. Sonically, it is an absolute A++; flawless and precise.
The liner notes and center labels are my favorite part of the overall packaging. The refined clarity equals the voice of Glass Hits. And I appreciate their common sense to include lyrics. I've always felt that if a band has so much emotionally drive behind their message, let's here it (read it) then. Thanks, Glass Hits.
I am just so happy my turntable plays at both 33-1/3 and 45 rpm speeds.