It goes without saying that the packaging on any single, especially when dealing with digital CD’s, is going to be the most important part of that first impression. That’s definitely the case with 100m Records “digital” single by Glass Rifle.
The Letterpressed folded over sleeve by Letter from Brooklyn gives the sterile CD a homemade place to live. On the front, two color graphics of pure anarchy, the capital has fallen, the British and American flags are just about engulfed in flames....which probably has something to do with band members coming together from both sides of the Atlantic. It’s just so damn nice, they not only use the letter press to bury the image in the recycled card stock but there are flames, not even inked, embossed under the entire main image. Both sides are riveted together making it not only super handmade but labor intensive I’m sure...if someone went to these lengths to put this out, it deserves your time.
It also hints at Glass Rifle’s DIY hardcore roots.
Why am I going to have to compare this to Fugazi? Because they set the standard for intelligent post hardcore for twenty-something years. It’s something that you can obviously hear in Glass Rifle’s deliberate complex changes. You can hear it in the skill of executing something greater than just an outlet for the disenfranchised. When you actually can move beyond the simple initial idea and bring an understanding of music history, combined with even loftier political vocals, it all comes together in classic ways on something like “Cutters”.
But it even goes as far back as early Husker Du in sheer energy. But there’s a fine line of sounding over the top and just bringing the angry, and is that going to even work if you aren’t 18? They hit the mark of authenticity and sincerity. There’s a long lineage of the members previous bands at work here, and their experiences have all evolved into Glass Rifle.
Foebic, the first track waits for a quick rim shot rhythm to build the layers of distortion melody. The great call and response vocals give it an undeniable post hardcore feel...the vocals are mic’d in a room, flat, there’s not even layering except when the other members step up to yell the chorus from the back. The restrained guitar work from PJ Norman goes from precise muted chords and harsh scraping strings to double speed lower end bassline riffs. The direction is always unexpected. I know what you’re thinking and as much as it’s an easy stereotype of the genre, it’s never easy to pull off right. But they pull it off over both tracks. It takes this otherwise one note aggression and forces you to deal with the complexity...or it just overwhelms you.
On “Cutters”, PJ’s ability to sing the vocal melody right before it appears in the bent electric tones is an example of the intricacies involved. When they stop the whole thing in it’s tracks and toms respond to the repeating chorus of “THIS LINE COULD BREAK!”, they’re hardy able to hold themselves back. It’s tight, incredibly crafted and stands alongside any classic American underground sound.
They match the energy lyrically with it’s content about war, and it’s that impossible mix for anyone to get right. To take this aggressive approach and then try to inject some social consciousness? It’s an optimistic stance not to play down to an audience for sure and one I think works. You can peel back the layers and there is more going on underneath.
Both of these tracks are pushing that complex hardcore formula to it’s limits, it’s just an impressive contemporary take on a genre that remains relevant thanks to Glass Rifle.