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August 2018:


Early update because I wanted to ramble specifically about The Coltranes. I was lucky enough to catch their final gig a few nights ago, and now I'm sitting at my grandparents' house processing my feelings for this band and their new LP.

First off, the new LP. This record gave me the Label Boss High in a way that a record hasn't in quite awhile. When that pallet plopped into the garage, I literally pumped my fist and went "FUCK YEAH". I felt the joy, because I think this is one of the best records I've had the pleasure to release, I know all of us involved with the process have given it everything we had, and the end result is just marvelous, I couldn't be happier. It looks, sounds, feels like a dream.

It was a twist of luck that I happened to be arriving in Los Angeles on the same night as their final gig. So I took my first ever Uber to the venue, 100x of their LP in bags and boxes. Their final gig was huge, around 300-350 people in attendance. People dancing, singing along, throwing shit, going nuts. Someone spent $100 on the iconic 'urban assault kit' that features prominently on the 7", that really impressed me. It cemented in me a feeling that The Coltranes was a special band to a lot of people.

Which makes sense. They've been going for it for 10 years. They started the band in high school, went through the trials of teenagedom, became young adults, through this band. As they grew, changed, matured, so did the band that expressed them. They became a band that you could sink your teeth into, a band with a deep catalog full of ever-shifting themes and ideas and inspirations, a band that evoked questions and escaped easy understanding.

I think that's something that people outside their locale didn't clearly understand, and it's something that I didn't understand at first either, and that took me awhile to put into words. I think people are apt to view The Coltranes through the lens of modern trend. They're viewed in relation to Lumpy Records, Toxic State Records, Iron Lung Records, these scenes of "mutant" "chain" "egg" "art school" "slime" "weirdo" whatever that has dominated the North American punk scene for the last....5 years or so. The post-Mysterious Guy Hardcore trends of the youth. It's easier to understand them this way.

But at the same time, The Coltranes don't share sounds or aesthetic or style with any of that. In fact, I would posit that it's only by coincidence of timing that they're placed in that world. I think they are best acknowledged as a stand-alone singularity, an original conception that is unrelated to these trends. I think they are a band that defies easy understanding.

Spencer and crew have been expressing themselves with The Coltranes for far longer than any of these trends have been in effect, and as you go through their discography, it's easy to see their evolution and refinement, and all of that is totally unrelated to the larger trends around them. The Coltranes links these guys from their youth to their adulthood, and you can see their growth reflected in the band. This is not music that's informed by their "peers" as much as it's Spencer's own brand of artistry and expression, with his cohorts supporting him and fully realizing it. And I've grown to respect Spencer A LOT as an artist, for this reason. The world that he paints is so fascinating and cool, his personality and voice come through in the band so clearly...and as we all know, personality is basically what I am into when it comes to 'punk bands'.

In retrospect I think the same applies to NASA Space Universe, to a lesser degree. Both these bands were making very cool and unique punk music, bursting with personality and originality, and I think it's just by coincidence that the rest of the world started making music on a similar emotional spectrum around the same time. I would like to see both of these bands remembered as being truly great, and remembered outside of trend, distinct and unique.

In the end, it totally made sense to me why they'd want to break up now. Because The Coltranes is a work that's permanently tied to a period of their lives that's drawing to a close. They're exiting "youth", becoming "adults", and the premise and expression of the band isn't, in their eyes, something that transfers over that hump. They've said all there is to say about this portion of their lives, and are now moving on to the next. I can only hope what they have to say about it is as resonating and evocative as The Coltranes.