Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Song #281 of 9999 - Savory by Jawbox

Song #281 of 9999 

Title: Savory
Artist: Jawbox
Year: 1994
Album: For Your Own Special Sweetheart

One of the most exciting things about the 1990s was the renewed interest in regionalism as record companies sought "the next Seattle." The fact that so many A&R people were looking in corners outside of the normal metropoli of New York and Los Angeles made for an interesting guessing game and uncovered some artists that probably would never have gained national attention. I guess you could say they never did find the next Seattle, but instead found a handful of cool acts from cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Berkeley and Washington, DC.

Jawbox had been a part of the DC post-hardcore scene for years before making their major label debut with 1994's For Your Own Special Sweetheart. I can't remember how I came into the song "Savory" but do remember being immediately struck by the unrelenting dissonance in the opening guitar strumming. Each proceeding instrumental entrance is a surprise, but none greater than the drum groove, so unexpected in its slow syncopated groove. By the time singer J. Robbins sings his first lines, the band has created a most sinister musical treat. (And oh man, that lead guitar tone at 3:24!)

Personal anecdote: I remember with fondness playing this and a couple of other Jawbox songs as part of a heavy three-piece cover band called Blisterine. For most of the songs we played, I sent the bass pickup of my stereo Rickenbacker bass to an Ampeg bass amp and the treble pickup to a guitar amp with distortion. For "Savory," I played the chords that come in at 0:10 by whacking the strings of my bass with a drumstick. Hadn't thought about that for ages. Good times.

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