Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

AMNESTY 2012: Dead Sara – Weatherman

“Go for the kill!” we said…


Josh Langhoff: During the choruses, the voice and guitar’s pavement-stripping bursts of squall prove more beautiful than the folk-derived verses with their curlicues of melisma. The verses still sound good, though. The only thing I don’t buy is Emily Armstrong’s weird accent when she starts talking.

Jonathan Bogart: I’m old enough to remember when cod-political, avant-funk screaming like this used to be on the radio with some regularity. That it’s not so much anymore isn’t necessarily a cause for lament — a whole drive-time playlist of this would be as monotonous as any other — but the fact that it reminds me of the glory days of alt-rock radio is a tribute to how superbly constructed it is as a pop song: the dynamics, tempo, and even structure are all as carefully put together as anything David Guetta or RedOne has put out lately, with only slightly more abrasive timbres. Sure, Emily Armstrong’s paint-peeling voice is the star, but the velocity of the drums and the head-slamming funk of the guitars is what gives her the space she needs to truly howl.

Alfred Soto: With a singer who absorbs Lita Ford, Donita Sparks, and Kathleen Hanna, these metallists certainly go for the kill. They even come up with a ridiculous catchphrase hook. About a minute too long though.

Ian Mathers: In my teen years I was primarily interested in finding rock music that was as loud and aggressive as possible, despite never getting that far into subgenres that might have seemed like natural fits (some punk, little metal). It wasn’t deliberate or conscious, that’s just what I wanted. I love “Weatherman,” but if I’d heard it when I was 16 it would have been THE BEST SONG IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. But it doesn’t feel like a throwback at all. But”Weatherman” walks several narrow paths quite handily — ingratiating without pandering, it’s got incredible riffs without getting bogged down in technical displays or masturbatory stasis, the vocals are both some of the best singing and screaming I’ve heard all year, and so on. If the rest of the album (which I am going to listen to quite soon, I just have to stop hitting the replay button on this video) is, like, 70 percent as good, they might just be the best rock band going right now, if that phrase even means anything anymore.

Iain Mew: Keeeeeeeee-yewl! Keeeeeeeee-yewl! KYYYYAAAAGGGGHHHHLL!! That feels good.

Anthony Easton: Those guitars chug along something fierce, and  the vocals have a solidity that can work as clarity.

Pete Baran: This was how rock albums always used to start: a slab of a riff through which the band could introduce themselves before a second whammy when the singer comes in. While little here would surprise followers of early nineties female-fronted rock, there is a robustness to the music and a complete confidence in the vocals that put much of the history to shame. My hair is long enough to bang away with this.

Al Shipley: In a year that rock radio fully surrendered to indie pop and folk rock and the only hard rockers were grandfathered bores, this minor hit was a glorious explosion of throat-shredding, head-banging grandeur.

Brad Shoup: This is video-game commercial rock, a riff-heavy cut a la Wolfmother or Audioslave that gets spliced into sixty seconds of FPS action. What’s great about this riff is the negative space: it’s imperceptible. Medley’s riff is continually turning over, a feat of endurance in the Morello lineage. And by letting the bass guide the verses, you miss the six-string-bending all the more. While you could coast on Armstrong’s cold-sweat vocals, dip into the text and it gets goofy. It’s got the modern-rock problem of elusive meaning… these kids were taught that rock lyrics are poetry with every other line struck through. Still, at the risk of being condescending, I’ve grown to love political posturing in my Billboard rock charters, and anything that claims the riff-of-the-year title from the fucking Black Keys is worthy of acclaim.

Katherine St Asaph: GO FOR THE KILL! slays, and the riff gets in a few hits, as does that Mockney accent (mostly for being unexpected, but still.) Heft, check, vim, check; those off-key verses, though, wouldn’t have escaped the Buzz Bin.

Jonathan Bradley: Emily Armstrong has quite a voice, an attenuated bellow that builds to an heat-blasted scream for the hook. It’s a shame her band’s riffing is so quotidian and that her songwriting skills don’t see fit to venture far beyond that riff. The middle eight is a tension-deflating snore as well.

W.B. Swygart: The sweaty, confused fury of youth can be a marvellous thing; consider how much of a dog’s breakfast Soundgarden, for instance, would have made of this. A half-step slower and it’d be a chore, but the singer’s absolute determination to see how much she can flay out of herself sends it roaring to victory instead. Albeit the bit at around 2:48 is kind of dull.

4 Responses to “AMNESTY 2012: Dead Sara – Weatherman”

  1. I liked the middle eight, but I’m clearly in the minority. I also didn’t notice a mockney accent, so…

  2. “For here’s the history we make” scanned Mockney for me. (I loved the middle eight.)

  3. It scanned “Corey Feldman translating pirate Spanish” for me, which is probably the same thing.

  4. It was raining at lunch today, so the middle eight’s grown on me a fair bit.