The Gersch: preparing to unleash the goat horns.
When Hydrahead and Tortuga left Boston (literally, in OTD's backyard) for L.A. we kicked them in the ass and thumbed our noses and told them they'd be back in six months. Now that they're distributed by Vice and get their bands reviewed in the New York Times, it may be time to face facts: they won't be crawling back for at least another two, three years tops.
What amazes us most about Hydrahead and especially about Tortuga (the latter run exclusively by HH's beareded honcho Mark Thompson) is that they have not changed a damn thing: they've made the world come to them. We still don't understand it: ten years ago, arty instrumental metal bands played roadhouses and basements to 50 people -- or, on those occasions where you could rustle up some free BBQ and cheap beer, maybe 300 people. (Scissorfight, who then as now drew packed houses and rabid fans, are acknowledged exceptions. They're also freaks of nature.) Ten years after, Isis and Pelican are playing to crowds that Karma to Burn could only dream of back then. If it's still hard for us to really, really believe that 5ive are now kind of accepted as a really great band, that's mostly our problem: they were always amazing, they always set up in the middle of the floor (and this was before we ever saw Lightning Bolt do it), they always pulled the doom-psych trip down heavier and trancier than whoever the out-of-town headliners happened to be, but never, ever, ever, ever, ever -- even as we all stood there with arms crossed and nodded while two dudes layed waste to a half-filled room -- did OTD ever imagine someone would ever be able to convince people that this stuff was cool.
We remembered this again when, without warning, the Gersch CD showed up in the mail. The Gersch. The Fucking Gersch. It's just plain obscene for Tortuga to put out the Gersch album in 2006. It's totally retarded. It's unthinkable.
It's also completely fucking genius.
Just to make sure we were thinking of the same band, we dug back into the archives and found the unreleased CD-R that Cliff Meyer burned us about, oh, at least eight or nine years ago. It's in a CD case that's so old we don't know how to open it anymore. It's one of the strangest, most fucked-up records we own. Even at the time it was a ludicrous record. This splattery, crushing, ungodly slow, bowel-flattening low-end. Weird shit. Dude yowling like Dr. Who. Made Kyuss sound like Motorhead. Parts of it sped up like Flipperish early '80s cali hardcore, parts of it puddled in inertia -- depending, and this is just a wild guess, on how stoned they were at any given moment. This was a band that only dudes in other bands went to see. The name was kind of remarkably silly. The Gersch was fun, and among those of us who liked Unsane and the Cows and everything Amphetamine Reptile put out they felt like kindred spirits, but it was never like, "Oh, sure, in ten years people will be putting this out because it's a decade ahead of its time." We vaguely recall a handful of shows, and that weird, skinny kid Cliff handing us the CD, and being completely shocked when Cliff joined Isis. Don't think we've been so shocked until the Gersch CD turned up in the mail, like the ghost of a ghost of a ghost. Is someone fucking with me? or is Mark Thompson really putting the Gersch record out?
There is absolutely no trend that helps the Gersch make any more sense now then they did then -- given what Cliff's done in Isis and Red Sparowes, we imagine this album will be completely befuddling to almost everyone who hears it. To which we add: music didn't make nearly as much sense back then as it does now. The Gersch was not a business plan in search of market share. They were just dudes making shit up, and fucking shit up, and then losing and hopefully remembering the thread as they went along. Even remastered, The Gersch not a first-listen record, or even a second-listen record. It's the kind of thing you remember as strange before you remember it as right. They don't make records like this anymore. But they should.
DOWNLOAD: The Gersch, "Face" (mp3)DOWNLOAD: 5ive, "Soma" (mp3)
Buy The Gersch here.Buy 5ive's Versus here.