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The best kept secret in music


"Magnet Review - 1986"

Some debut albums are too big for their britches; some are pathetically small. But Nihilism Is Nothing To Worry About, the first official release from Austin, Texas’ 1986, is balanced just right. The trio trundles a line between aggressive bravado and ho-hum nonchalance. They’re small-town guys playing scrappily produced, traditionally arranged rock songs about everyday life, and their aspirations don’t stray far beyond this plainclothes reality. 1986 pays homage to hometown heroes 13th Floor Elevators by wedging a healthy amount of reverberating psychedelia into its Dinosaur Jr-style melodic noise, and though the songs are simply patched-together hooks, the group can’t escape its own chops. Giorgio Angelini can torch a track down with piercing solos (he squeezes some especially cathartic guitar tricks out of “It’s Too Bad”), and Cully Symington stretches a basic drum fill into an expansive ride. - Magnet Magazine

"Delusions of Adequacy"

Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About
Apparently there’s an interesting story behind this one. Almost a decade ago, while Giorgio Angelini was in attendance at St. John’s School in Houston, Wes Anderson returned to his high school alma mater to cast Rushmore. Young Giorgio duly auditioned, but, after an anxious wait for the call-back, decided that Mr. Anderson had turned elsewhere and set off on a church trip in pursuit of an alluring young woman. Alas, patience is indeed a virtue: he missed that fateful call and — damn! — a friend grabbed the part. Mr. Angelini is clearly a talented young man, then, and 1986 is his second shot at stardom.

Considering this kind of misfortune, it’s odd that Giorgio and his bandmates should title their debut Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About; it’s rather as if they’re staving off resignation and bitterness. Of course, the incident was quite a while ago, and anyone stuck on an innocent blunder like that for 10 years would probably not be able to declare so assuredly that nihilism is harmless. Personally, I find no philosophic system as grating as nihilism — try arguing with an adherent about something conventionally meaningful (say, the environment or religion) if you disagree. So the album’s title and that bizarre picture on the cover (that’s a heart riding the crest of a wave, I suppose) make for an intriguing package. And it’s only natural that a band based in both Austin and New York plays with the same degree of self-confidence.

This kind of grungy, jubilant rock, of course, lends itself to positive portrayal, as guitar solos and shaking tambourines nearly always do. And while there’s nothing revolutionary going on here, it’s clearly the good atmosphere that counts. For instance, try the album’s first two tracks, “Laughing” and “Better When You’re Stoned”: if the titles don’t illustrate 1986’s approach, deconstruct the format. Both songs begin with a few measures of pre-chorus followed by a steady verse with less reliance on guitar, all laying a foundation for the presentation of the crown jewels: the sing-along chorus and corresponding guitar solo. This is no deprecation, and fans of 90s rock, in particular, should have no complaints as far as style is concerned. The instrumentation is competent and well-tempered, if not spectacular, and Angelini’s vocals meld the best qualities of Stephen Malkmus and Conor Oberst into pleasant limited-range balladry.

Nihilism’s lyrical content is predictably inauspicious (check “Comatose”: “you say you’re a comatose / well now you’re taking a dose of what you say is fine”), and there a few misfires — “Creep Like Me” apes “Smells Like Teen Spirit” entirely too much and calls up unfavorable comparisons to Radiohead’s song of similar title — but who cares? 1986 probably excels as a live band, and Nihilism isn’t suited (or intended) for reflection.

To be sure, 1986 won’t be criticized for being too cerebral or snubbed for introversion, and herein lies an element of the band's appeal. There are plenty of artists out there who rely exclusively on intense sobriety in their craft, leaving those that don’t take themselves so seriously to clear out a great deal of stale air. In this context, 1986 classifies itself as “regional Mexican/crunk/turntablism” on its Myspace page and thanks “the rest of our friends who supported us before we were, well...huge” in the liner notes to Nihilism. One can only hope that the band’s live performances have fittingly wild antics; a bit of controlled chaos would put the finishing touch on a brand of music that has played foil to the moping lyricist since God first handed down the goblet of rock.
- adequacy.com

"1986 - Nihilism is Nothing To Worry About"

1986 have been compared to everybody from The Replacements, J. Mascis and the early Foo Fighters and I can see it but really 1986, on their record “Nihilism is Nothng to Worry About” give indie rock a good name.

I have always had a problem with that term and that’s coming from a guy who is a massive supporter of indie record labels but mainly for the fact that they are run by passionate music fans instead of accountants and lawyers. An album should be able to rock regardless of its means of distribution and Nihilism certainly rocks, especially “I know” which I took an instant liking to, so much so that I played it on my recent stint as a fill-in on CKUT FM. The combination of rusty and ragged chops combined with hummable hooks (no crime in my book) make songs like “Better When You’re Stoned”, “Mechanical Dreams” and lead off track “Laughing” a joy to crank out loud. As impressive as all that is it blew me away to learn that they cover the classic 13th Floor Elevators track “You’re Going to Miss Me” which brought tears to the eyes of no less than 13th Floor frontman Roky Ericson who happened to catch them live recently in Austin and subsequently named 1986 one of his favourite Austin bands.

A product of the fertile musical minds of Giorgio Angelini, Cully Symington and Drew Pennebaker, Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About is a great rockin’ record that maintains its “indie” cred without getting in the way of being classic rock and roll. A great listen and a fine addition to the Rock and Roll Report’s virtual Rockola jukebox. Great stuff all around. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

- Rock and Roll Report

"SPIN band of the Day"

Who? Curiously, 1986 draw their inspiration from the raw, unrefined rock of the '70s rather than the glammy, indulgent tunes of the decade that followed. The unabashedly retro-leaning band -- Giorgio Angelini (vocals/guitar), Drew Pennebaker (bass), Cully Symington (drums) -- got help from Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers on their debut EP and hired Mark Deutron of the Melvins to produce their debut full-length, Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About.

What's the Deal? Led by Angelini's droning vocals that seem to have been recorded on vinyl, through a telephone, and under water, 1986's power pop is decidedly raw and refreshingly under-produced. "Better When You're Stoned," which could double as an anti-drug P.S.A. ("You think things will get better but they don't / You think you'll feel so much better when you're stoned"), highlights Angelini's lazily rolling vocals, which are perked up with jagged barroom harmonies. "Mechanical Dreams" places the focus squarely on Symington's racing drums and crashing cymbals while Angelini's barked vocals go along for the ride. - SPIN.com

"1986 - Chicago Reader"

1986 The good news about the 90s revival currently hovering on the cultural horizon like a jaded, soul-patched vulture is that there will be more bands like 1986. On their new Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About (Palentine) they scramble up Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Yo La Tengo, and a half-dozen other acts from the golden age of indie-rock guitar into a slacked-out, fuzzy mess with just enough weird angles to keep them from sounding like a tribute act. - Chicago Reader

"1986 - Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About"

As is becoming the norm with these things lately we sadly have to report much to our inept embarrassment that we have absolutely diddly squat in terms of information on this lot. But hey - just between ourselves who needs a page of (often meaningless) reference points and disguised ‘buy this it’ll change your life’ multi messages when frankly the sounds lifting from the grooves are this good.

1986 are the bastard off spring that Chris Stamey never knew he had and ‘Nihilism is nothing to worry about’ (or as we keep mistakenly calling it in our gaff - ‘Ridicule is nothing to be ashamed of’ - a new prescription of stronger tablets has, you’ll be relieved to hear, has been requested) is their debut 10 track outing.

This is the sound of a band on fire, having fun and bearing a bucketful of spanking tunes set to whip your hi-fi in shape all this thankfully without the hang up’s and usual baggage that most bands will have you believe when their first night notices don’t quite measure up to expectation.

Fans of Velvet Crush, Dinosaur JNR, Alex Chilton, BMX, Teenage Fanclub and the like will lap this up, ‘Nihilism‘ is packed and brimming with cherry picked slices of power pop the type of which sound like they’ve been worked with a huge mother of a cattle prod and remind you why you fell in love with music in the first place. Right from the onset of the audaciously acutely cute ’Laughing’ with its Norman Blake meets Boo Radleys pop shimmer and to die for harmonies to the oppressively scratched and scarred swamp like psyche blues of the closing ’Creep like me’ - 1986 never disappoint or dull, at 34 minutes in duration - albeit short in terms of today’s standard sub hour affairs - they keep the action on the boil, the compositions are leanly trimmed and achieve their prime directive of mainlining into your psyche fast to unscramble your senses. ’Better when you’re stoned’ given the right kind of college network exposure could be a monster as it curdles elements of the more pop fixated Vaselines derived mentality of Nirvana with the melodic flawlessness of the Dandy Warhols. Contrast that with the darker toned end of the line ’.22 caliber’ with the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Jeffrey Lee Pierce standing in the shadows amid the carnage being played out by a wired meeting of the Violent Femmes and Orson Family. Elsewhere there’s the arresting numb pop of ’Holiday’ and the frantic three chord punk pop thrill of the razored ‘Mechanical Dreams’ packing the best riffs never committed to tape by Ric Menck. Me personally though the cool as fuck ’I lied’ provides the sets high point, think Lou and Iggy heading a classic in house band made up of mid 70’s CBGB’s regulars - nuff said really. Buy
MARK BARTON - Losing Today - UK


Packaged in a plain cardboard wrapper, 1986's well-oiled take on Rust Belt indie rock & droll blows up like a burning bag of microwave popcorn. The debut's rough-hewed production captures the raw vibe of a rehearsal-room tape, but the local band's music is more sharply articulated than that aesthetic would normally indicate. You can hear strategic touches of glam, punk, and psychedelia here and there, but the only axiom 1986 is truly beholden to is the noble pursuit of a perfect rock song. The Austin quartet flirts with glory in the driving warble of "I Know." The nervous energy dynamic of "It's Too Bad" will tighten a few stomach muscles, and the Twin Tone barroom rave-up "Mechanical Dreams" is capable of moving more than a few beers. Cully Symington's Keith Moon-style workout on "Narcotic" is enough to get him short-listed as one of River City's best rock drummers. Nashville songwriter Bobby Bare Jr. co-wrote "Comatose," a desolate soundscape that effectively showcases the band's breadth. While the 10-song disc oozes integrity, the one thing 1986 doesn't deliver here is the aforementioned killer track that won't leave your head for days. If they maintain their solid stellar trajectory, it's only a matter of time. - Austin Chronicle

"1986/Nihilism Is Nothing To Worry About"

I shuddered a bit when they were pushed as Replacements meets Dinosaur Jr. since I lived through those salad days and don’t want to see pale replicas with bad haircuts. Luckily, they avoid those missteps and create a ragged beauty that, at times, feels in spirit more like a collision between early Pixies and mid-period Sebadoh and assorted indie Jersey bands from the years spent under the senile shadow god-puppet Ronald Reagan. On the upbeat, rowdy “I Know,” the guitars plunge into a mess heap of festering energy barely controlled by the scouring drums; luckily, there are moments of respite, and some damage control. “It’s Too Bad” has an intro worthy of the Only Ones, and the resulting song is echoey, pungent, and probing, with sounds in the background I can’t even nail down. It’s reggae-stoner rock, no, it’s art-drone-pop-skullduggery. Hell, I don’t know. It’s tasty though. “Mechanical Dreams” is relentless too, a dizzying, distortion-laden defiant dream of not needing (” You don’t owe me nothing”) with drums that feel like they are about to wheel out-of-control, and seem to at the end. “Narcotic” pulls the same punches; the tenacity is unforgiving, though thankfully the speed is not as breathless, like bar rock with real guts and punchiness. Granted, “Holiday” does feel like J. Mascis redux, not exactly a whole new field of possibilities, but it’s pleasant, as is “Comatose,” with its quiet appeal and empty bottle lyrics. It feels lonely, but not withered. “.22 Caliber” feels like the Old 97s, when they weren’t afraid make those tom toms pound and pummel and the velocity unlock the band’s presence; meanwhile, “Creep Like Me,” is the monster under the bed. The darkness is here, so close the blinds, and don’t wake up scared, unless you really know what’s waiting, right there breathing on your neck. Though the torso of this record is by far the choicest cut, I can live with the appendages too.. - Left of the Dial

"All Music Guide"

What was so special about 1986 to make this Austin quartet name themselves after the year? Maybe it had something to do with the music from that time. Certainly the alt-rock scene was flourishing, and it definitely left an impression on both the band and Nihilism Is Nothing to Worry About, their debut album. However, 1986's influences certainly don't end there, and it's the group's vibrant, multi-textured styling that makes Nihilism so intriguing. Hailing from Texas, you'd expect a bit of C&W to have rubbed off on their sound, and it does right across the intro to "I Know." "."22 Caliber" is peppered with a western flavor, although the song itself builds into a spectacular indie pop rocker, while "Creep Like Me" boasts some of the most wonderfully and deliberately turgid rockabilly you'll ever hear. As heavy as that latter number is, "Holiday" is equally bright and light, all sweet, acoustic guitar and glowing melody. Magnificent melodies are obviously all important to 1986, be they're delivered in the fabulously brash alt-rock style of "Mechanical Dreams," or in the old-school punk-splashed style of "It's Too Bad." Catchy choruses are also integral to their sound, with the most hook-ridden one found on "Better When You're Stoned," but twinned to dense, intense verses. And then there's spectacular dynamics and intricate arrangements, "Comatose" boasts both, as does the explosive "."22 Caliber." Inevitably, the superb guitar work will be the focus for most listeners, but it's Cully Symington's lethal drum work, especially his subtle, rumbling drum rolls, that drives the entire set. Add thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics themed around relationships and everyday life, and you've got a set guaranteed to resonate with millions. This is rock as it once was and should be again, old and new intertwined, to create a sound for the ages.

- AMG - 4/5 Stars


"Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About" - 2006


Feeling a bit camera shy


1986 is the project of Giorgio Angelini, Cully Symington, and Drew Pennebaker. The three have known each other for years and played in other bands, but never together until 2004. Now on Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About 1986 prove they should have been doing this a long time ago. Their music, which draws from varied influences like Zeppelin, Wilco, and the Saints, is a timeless paradigm of American indie rock, catchy but poignant without being tired or overdone. Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About is hum-along songs about girls and life and it’s fucking brilliant.

Giorgio knows something about girls and life. In fact, if not for one girl, he might have had a completely different life. Giorgio went to high school at St. John’s, Wes Anderson’s alma mater and the set for Rushmore. Parts were being cast with actual students of St. John’s, so Giorgio auditioned. After waiting by the phone thinking he didn’t get the part, Giorgio went on a church trip because of a girl he was chasing; when he returned, he had missed a call-back for a part in the movie. His friend who took the part after he missed out on it ended up at the MTV Movie Awards. It’s this kind of unfortunate happenstance that creates the backdrop for the songwriting on 1986’s Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About.

Giorgio met Cully a few years ago in Austin because Cully was widely understood to be the best drummer in town. Giorgio is also a drummer (he plays with The Rosebuds) so he was a tough critic, but Cully’s skills were impressive, so they got together and started practicing. They had been playing together about three months and looking for a bassist when Giorgio ran into his old friend Drew, who he hadn’t seen in 10 years, on the bus one day and asked him to join. Things clicked. The band has had the proverbial rotating cast of second guitarists over the last couple of years, but have decided to stick to their charmed three piece.

1986’s first recording was a self-released EP, and though if was only released in Austin, the recording featured collaborations from some unexpected characters: Jeff Pinkus from Butthole Surfers helped out, as did Bill Elm from Friends of Dean Martinez et al, and Chris Masterson, guitarist for Hank III. The band was still very young then, but Austin already knew what they had in Giorgio Angelini and company. On this new release, Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About, Mark Deutron of The Melvins produced and played guitar, and Thom Monahan (producer for Pernice Bros, Silver Jews, et al) was the mixer.

Though 1986 has had a successful beginning with lots of praise from friends and fellow musicians, their favorite story happened one night at the Hole in the Wall in Austin: Roky Erickson had come to see his brother, Sumner, open for the band and was going to leave before 1986’s set. Giorgio convinced Roky to stick around, and the band opened the set with a cover of 13th Floor Elevator’s “You’re Going to Miss Me.” Roky was moved to tears by the touching homage, never realizing the affect his music has had on the younger generation, and later named 1986 as one of his favorite Austin bands in an interview with Texas Music Monthly.

Whatever opinion you may form about 1986, the talent and heart is undeniable, and, with its steady stream of great songs, Nihilism is Nothing to Worry About is guaranteed to get stuck in your player and in your head.