Thursday, November 23, 2006



today's band should be a welcome discovery for those amongst you who like the retro inspired guitar pop rock of the Rakes and Razorlight or those of you who can remember the first time around and are nostalgic from time to time for the likes of the Jam or the Clash and the rest of the class of '77. As with the Jam, Washington DC's Chisel were a power trio inspired by mod but with a foot firmly in the camp of modernity. Group founder Ted Leo's roots lay in DC's no bullshit attitude hardcore scene that led to them creating urgent dynamic contemporary guitar pop rock over their two albums. While the rest of the world were on the grunge rollercoaster and following the sledgehammer rock of Seatle's finest, a fortunate few were savouring the delights of Chisel as they giged their way across the US of A. After having been formed by Leo in 1990 while at college the band took their loose limbed hook heavy mod punk on the road often supporting heavy weights such as Fugazi, Lungfish and Blonde Red Head and if reports are to be believed Chisel were a hard act to follow. A string of well received singles were unleashed for the bands growing fan base cumulating in the 1996 release of their debut album '8 A.M. All Day' an excellent disc that at 36 minutes does not out stay its welcome. Padding out their stripped down sound with discreet horns and organ fills there was now a definite hint of sixties soul as in Stax. The bands crisp jangly guitar laid over wandering rhythms was the perfect background for Leo's razor sharp melodic hooks, as a new comer to the band I'm shocked that anything this good is not more better known and appreciated by a wider audience. Three songs up for grabs today from that debut album.

1. 'Hip Straights' a very strong opening track from it's staccato guitar stabs to it's playful flirting with reggae.
2. 'What About Blighty' almost a homage to their '77 UK influences, I love the Stiff Little Fingers style guitar intro.
3. 'Out For Kicks' breakneck speed guitar as in early Wedding Present and Jam influenced 'ba ba ba ba' style harmonies leaves us wishing for more.

Chisel followed this up with 'Set You Free' in 1997 and promptly split, Leo went on to form The Sin Eaters before going solo with his Pharmacists but that's another story.
The band are considered to be one of the major influence on the garage rock revival of the late 1990 so maybe without them there would have been no White Stripes?

Cool, I was listening to solo Ted Leo on the way in this morning and I'm looking forward to these!
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