GRABASS CHARLESTONS: Dale & the Careeners: LP

Where to start? I’ve been a fan of Grabass since the Billy Reese Peters split LP in 2002. I celebrate their entire catalog; I’ve reviewed their entire oeuvre. They were on the cover of Razorcake #17. I have the story of Replay being arrested in Texas on the fourth of July memorized and I tell it to kids during library readings. Razorcake Records put out a Sister Series 7” of theirs. I took the photo of the painting for their side of the TTK split LP. Bias? You fucking bet. They’re my friends and that friendship was first started because their music struck a deep chord in me. My bias is this: I think they’re woefully underrated. (Your guess is as good as mine as to why. Maybe it’s the name. Maybe it’s because we live in a classist, image-conscience, artifice-saturated, lead-by-the-nose culture (even in punk. Especially in punk.)) So instead of complaining, I’m a facilitator when the opportunities arise. I was not expecting Dale & the Careeners, didn’t see it coming, and that makes me happy. Because, at this stage in the game—living adult lives as human beings who happen to not be able to divorce themselves from punk rock and dealing with music—I want contemporaries who aren’t regurgitating their own expelled fluids. I want people who are musically much smarter than me showing that uniforms can dissolve, that others’ expectations are gravestones waiting for inscription, that suburban cul-de-sacs of the mind can become bike lanes, that aging and collapse aren’t one in the same. Dale & the Careeners does all of that as a record. Lyrically, it’s complex. It takes multiple voices (first, second, and third person) and acts as a prism that looks at addiction, safety, impulse (and a baseball game). It’s poetic and direct. To put this in a bit of context, think of folks like Todd Congelliere, Isaac Reyes, Isaac Thotz, and Mark Ryan—all people who were/are in dynamite bands that have broken music wide open in the past couple of years in an almost absolute vacuum beyond their immediate families, friends, and close peers. On a cultural level, it’s so fucking bittersweet to be a front row listener to their world-class bands. I feel like simultaneously laughing and crying; getting fucked up and remaining cold sober; shaking my head and shaking my fist. If meaning still has meaning for you, I highly recommend Dale & the Careeners. Soak in it like the sea. Let it crash around you. Let it hypnotize you like waves.

 –todd (No Idea)