Monday, March 4th, 2013

Local H – Another February

This does not count toward our CanCon requirements.


[Video][Website]
[6.50]

Ian Mathers: At this point, the list of bands that Local H are better than and “should” have been bigger than runs from countless alt-rock contemporaries in the ’90s through the likes of the White Stripes and probably recently culminating in the Black Keys. Is it just that Scott Lucas is too bleak and self-lacerating a writer? That he and his rotating cast of drummers keep rocking out in a way that’s never actually been cool during their lifespan? “Another February” is a perfectly fine (if not particularly exemplary, whereas I’ll play Here Comes the Zoo for anybody, anytime) example that Local H have always been worth listening to, but like most of their last couple of albums takes for granted that most people won’t be listening. That’s kind of one of Lucas’s strengths; he writes about bands in decline and life on the margins better than anyone else in rock.
[7]

Josh Langhoff: The one thing — the one thing! — that bugs me about Local H’s excellent Hallelujah! I’m a Bum is Scott Lucas’s tendency to sing flat during the sparser passages. “Another February” suffers from this affliction but it fills out pretty quickly, with Lucas howling beautifully about his car and money troubles and his dog howling because it needs anxiety medicine or something. Drummer Brian St. Clair credibly portrays the elevated train.
[7]

Alfred Soto: In Florida, February looks an awful lot like January, a fact which adduces my sympathy for Local H’s dirge. The buildup is more entertaining than about the chorus’ stop-start dynamics, though; it’s like Against Me turning into Tenacious D.
[7]

Anthony Easton: This doesn’t do the soft/loud nearly as well as Nirvana; it has both the angst and the guitar work that sounds like Heart Shaped Box, but not the sophistication. 
[4]

Edward Okulicz: As a reluctant adorer of much of the first wave of what was classed as the post-grunge litter, I associated Local H with being good, fast and a little shouty (and doing a mercifully irony-free cover of Britney’s “Toxic” back in the day). Fast forward to 2013 and it turns out they’re still going, people still knew this, and they’re still good. Evidently they’re clever too — “Another February” weaves its words with care and understatement around pensive rock that’s less stadium-hopping and more procrastination, evoking the pained, pleasureless effort life can sometimes feel. 
[8]

Katherine St Asaph: It’s funny; while post-grunge as a sound, while still around, is long past its peak relevance, the economic wail of “Another February” is probably more relevant to real people’s lived experience than all the Depression-era menswear cosplayers topping Billboard’s rock chart combined. (To be fair, “The A Team” is No. 9, which rather torpedoes the average for real lived experience.) The sound might be unchanged from the ’90s — the part of the ’90s nobody’s remembering, but nevertheless — but the sentiment’s entirely 2013. That working-class conditions in 2013 are akin to a post-grunge dirge is, of course, the point.
[7]

Jer Fairall: The last time I listened to Local H, it was 1998 and their should-be classic single “All The Kids Are Right” was extending a middle finger to the corporate grunge that had clogged up so much of the decade’s radio via a cheeky takedown of the hype cycle that swallowed up so many bands and fans in its widening gyre. That this very cycle exists today in even more accelerated form is not surprising; that it does so largely without major labels at the helm is. Who needs the corporate tramp stamp indicating exactly who has sold out when an invisible army of bloggers and webzines is there to act as judge, jury and executioner for every new Next Big Thing? Point is, I cannot help but feel that the ideal 2013 Local H single would be one that addresses this phenomenon as it continues to exist in our current era of minds more logged onto the net than ever, in its less corrupted but far more self-perpetuating form. Or, if not, than at least something that doesn’t sound so much like the mirthless post-grunge that they once dismissed so shrewdly. 
[4]

Scott Mildenhall: For those keeping track, good songs with February in the title: Barbara Dickson’s disillusionment ditty “January February.” That’s it. Sorry Local H, not to try and make you any more upset than you already are, but Barbara wasn’t happy either; she didn’t feel the need to shout about it.
[5]

Brad Shoup: “February is worse than January,” remarked Cat the first time we listened to this. I agree, although I’m not going through Local H-style problems. The accrual of shittiness over a seething, galloping riff is crazy effective. Stakes are only small to other people.
[8]

Sonya Nicholson: Stuff I like about this: that the galloping-horse guitar and drums of the opening are followed by a Spaghetti Western guitar crash; that the singer itemizes the mundane afflictions of the freezing poor in a dolorous voice; “that God-dammed battery’s dead!”; the surfs-up guitar crash that marks the song’s shift into being a cry for love; that the song ends with the sound of a car failing to start. Things I don’t like: that whole grunge thing where there are noisy guitars, a simple repeating melody, and a single drumstick keeping the time.  This isn’t a boring song, but man, that stuff is so boring; the highest I can go for any song in this genre is a 7. I’ll give this song another point for the brilliant video though, wherein it’s clear that sometimes the worst February is the February in our hearts.   
[8]

Reader average: [5.8] (5 votes)

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One Response to “Local H – Another February”

  1. Seriously though, if I hadn’t have some reviews due I’d be blasting Here Comes the Zoo right now. As Good As Dead is great too.