Bad Vibrations
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Bad Vibrations

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When we last caught up with KC Spidle, perhaps best known as the former drummer for Halifax indie-rockers Dog Day, he was making some curiously intriguing, not-so-feel-good goth folk as Husband & Knife. His pair of releases under the H&K name arrived just as we started hearing about the impending doom of a global recession—one promised to coldly shiv our jobs, do unspeakable things to our homes as we watched, and then pants us as we waited in line for week-old bread. Though written and recorded before schadenfreude fetishists from all over sweatily pumped out theories on just how far up shit creek we’d soon be, Welcome Back to the Nothingness of Your Life (2007) and An End (2008) nevertheless felt like appropriately pitch-black products of the late ’00s. They were difficult, brooding works, made slightly uplifting in their creator’s insistence on cannonballing right into those dire waters—presumably made up of tears, possibly also terror sweat—from which he then splashed at us, taunting us to join him.

What better time for Spidle to return, in a band with a moniker like Bad Vibrations no less, than the apocalyptic headfucks of present: thousands of birds dropping like nightmarish corpse-hail out of the winter sky; millions of fish with their goddamn eyes missing washing ashore, because that’s apparently something that happens now; devastating floods; ominous predictions of a “dark” year—all of it more fodder for new circle worst-case-scenario-ing (Polar shifts? Chemtrails and weather modification? Something something 2012? You guessed it: we’re fucked!). It calls for music much brasher and skullcrushing-ier than Husband & Knife’s barely-there noir folk—and so Bad Vibrations, along with fellow Haligonians Bloodhouse, instead face down overwhelming bleakness with terrific lo-fi grunge punk. Think late ’80s Seattle, sure, but way more Mudhoney than, say, Tad or Melvins; the two bands behind both sides of this split cassette are concerned primarily with crafting strong, if coarsely delivered, hooks than being dauntingly, impenetrably heavy. Though hardly treading on Bleach (1989), Bad Vibrations and Bloodhouse reach back a good twenty years to late ’80s melodic punk rock as it veered off into the early, who-knows-where-this-is-heading period of grunge. Think back, way back—before everyone looked like homeless lumberjacks, before Kurt offed himself, and, if things weren’t bad enough, before Bush’s Sixteen Stone (1994) happened.

So, yeah, aesthetically this is a very different beast than Spidle’s solo records, but it’s still some wickedly dour and catchy stuff. Extremely catchy, even, and in way that Husband & Knife was too down on itself to even attempt; Spidle ups the tempo substantially, breaks out a guitar tone that sounds like every song on Sub Pop 200 (1988) at once, and is joined by a solid rhythm section courtesy of bassist Evan Cardwell and drummer Meg Yoshida. It certainly makes for a more enjoyable experience, as each of their four songs are, well, I wouldn’t say tight, so much; they tend to feel on the verge of coming apart, especially “Face the World” as it wanders off into intro-to-“Sweater Song” territory and then slow dissipates piece-by-piece. But they do sound markedly focused and inspired, the result of a band clearly intent on making the most of their charmingly amateurish traits (Meg picked up drumming specifically for this band, for instance), and discovering in what seems like real-time how to make the most of their modest ambitions—in the process stumbling upon some haunting and truly gripping music.

Bloodhouse’s side is much of the same, really, at least in its bare-bones effectiveness and skillful throw-backs to Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988) and all the c86 dream-pop bands like Vivian Girls are obsessed with. Their half is more samey—all four songs are fairly indistinguishable, especially the first few times through, though it’s a lovely haze—and less entrenched in the grunge sound, but also more assure - Coke Machine Glow


By Luca MorellatoFrom the moment Bad Vibrations' Black Train begins with album opener "Losing Time," it's obvious that a properly heavy rock album is awaiting you. Hailing from Halifax, NS, Bad Vibrations are a three-piece that play slow and heavy rock. It's easy, and very likely, that Bad Vibrations will be labelled with descriptors such as "stoner" or "sludge rock" due to the dark theme and tones, but that would be too narrow of a view. For example, album highlight "Speed of Life" displays a more melodic side, and the title track is a droning, percussion-led recreation of the song's title that features haunting guitar fractures. By mixing influences from '90s alternative, post-punk and even garage rock, Bad Vibrations have created an album that's riveting without being derivative. Black Train is an album steeped in atmosphere, with the songwriting matching the aesthetic, creating a truly satisfying rock album.
(Independent) - Exclaim


Halifax trio Bad Vibrations was recently touted to me by none other than Seth Smith of perennial Reasons to Live favourites Dog Day as “one of the best bands in Halifax right now.”

Granted, an endorsement from Smith makes a lot of sense since former Dog Day drummer K.C. Spidle (also ex- of notable Haligonian outfits past Husband & Knife and the Hold) makes up one-third of this appealingly grim and assaultive combo, albeit now holdin’ it down at the front of the stage on guitars and vocals. Bassist Evan Cardwell of Secret Colours and drummer Meg Yoshida, meanwhile, serve as the relentless rhythm section propelling Bad Vibrations’ brisk, thick-riffed stoner-punk salvos forward at a determined gallop for the duration of the band’s exhilarating full-length debut, Black Train.

The lo-fi mix of murk, momentum and dour melodicism set to chugging, slightly downtuned guitars here won’t be alien to fans of Dog Day – nor, indeed, to fans of noisy East Coast indie-rock dating back to the late-‘90s onset of Sloan and Eric’s Trip, whose sighing boy/girl harmonies and penchant for weedstruck, mildly metallic psych-rock heaviness have definitely cast a long shadow over the Bad Vibrations oeuvre. Post-shoegazer punk isn’t quite as inescapable as old-time fiddle music out there on the shores of the Atlantic, but over the years there has developed a genuine tradition of this stuff to inherit and uphold for the acts who go looking for it. Bad Vibrations sounds game and more than capable of rising to the task. My new favourite thing. - Ben Rayner


http://weirdcanada.com/2010/03/review-bad-vibrations-bad-vibrations/ - Aaron Levin


http://www.herohill.com/2010/02/best-local-releases-bad-vibrations-bad.htm - HH


Discography

Bad Vibrations 'Black Train' LP

Bad Vibrations 'Bad Blood' Split Cassette

Bad Vibrations 'Under Pressure' 7"

Bad Vibrations (Self titled) EP

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Bio

Bad Vibrations is a dark and hazy power trio from Halifax.

They are known for hypnotizing their crowd into blissful frenzies with their murky riffs, propulsive beats and angelic harmonies. If The Byrds decided to have a mystery jam with Motorhead this might be a similar vibe.

Last year they rocked the road in support of their critically acclaimed LP Black Train and are currently working on an EP to be released in the fall.