Bitter Tongues
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Bitter Tongues

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The best kept secret in music



With hundreds of new bands vying for a portion of your hard-earned cash and precious time, the logical road of originality is often the road less traveled. Bitter Tongues' Clovis is one of the most unique debuts I've heard this year and its quality songwriting helps that originality stretch a long way. Though the band clearly has its roots in hardcore and punk rock, Bitter Tongues have more in common with Helmet or Quicksand than most of today's hardcore bands. Their brand of bass-driven, mid-tempo hard rock is hypnotizing at times and always compelling.

From the comparatively fast-paced opening of "White Bread is the Devil's Pie" to "Flutterbuffer"'s refusal to end, Clovis packs a lot of memorable moments into twenty-five minutes. On most of the songs, the guitars seem to be in a tug-of-war between discordant high-pitched post-rock riffing and frequent low rolling lines (some reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine) and the interplay between the two largely defines the band's sound. Despite being a constant noticeable presence, the bass largely serves to emphasize the guitars. When it does get a chance to shine, as on "I Don't Miss You, I Miss My Erection" though, bassist Richard Crenwelge makes the most of it. Along the same lines, the drumming is always effective, but it rarely caught my attention. While that might be the sign of an effective percussionist, it feels like he might be holding back just a bit.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Clovis is the implementation of dual vocals at key points, including the back-and-forth portions of "Drywall Logistics" and "Street Gravy." This is a band that seems to know how to play off one another musically rather than following the lead of a single guitarist or vocalist, a trait becoming less and less common these days. While that might mean that there is no one clear strongest aspect of their music, it's because the songs aren't crafted to showcase a riff or vocal performance.

Bottom Line: If you want to be noticed, you either have to be talented musicians or do something no one else is; Bitter Tongues seems to have both of these things going for them. While most of the songs tend to fall just short of amazing, I challenge anyone listening to Clovis to deny its ambition and originality. -

"The HV Scene"

itter Tongues is a post hardcore band hailing from Austin, Texas with many different influences ranging from Quicksand to These Arms are Snakes to Fugazi. The band has 3 national tours planned this year and were even asked to play the 2005 Warped Tour, but sadly had to decline. “Clovis” is the name of their brand new full-length which was recorded with veteran producer Tim Gerron and will be released on United Edge Records on October 11, 2005.

Songs - The album starts out with the incredibly explosive catchy track “White Bread is the Devil’s Pie”. Personally I would have to say this is probably my favorite track on the whole CD. There is such a great balance between the rough, raw vocal melodies and the screaming that occurs throughout the song. However, the catchy melodies and hooks seem to slowly dissipate after this song. “I Don’t Miss You, I Miss My Erection” is the name of the next song. I fairly enjoyed this song and I would also like to point out the extremely heavy riff that is played during the chorus. It really shows the many different rock and roll influences that I am sure these guys have. The song then goes pretty much right into the next one entitled “Drywall Logistics” which has more of an upbeat feel to it. As I stated before, after the first song, the CD really lacks a lot of hooks and melodies. Musically I think this track is great but the vocals kind of ruin it for me. I would say that if there was more of a melody in the chorus, I would be able to enjoy it more. The next track which is entitled “Everybody Back in the Water”, seems to be more of an instrumental than anything else. There are some layered screams in the background but that is about it as far as vocals go. The fifth track entitled “Street Gravy” shows that these guys are not newcomers in the field song writing. There are several great hooks in this track and the lyrics really tie intelligently well with the music. For the next track, the very first thing I thought of when I heard the opening bass riff was FUGAZI. Some might consider this a bad thing but I, however, love this song. I would even go to say it is my second favorite track on the album. And the last track on the album entitled “Flutterbuffer” is without a doubt the heaviest on the album. 7.5/10

Music/Vocals - As far as the actual music goes on this album, I find there to be few in the way of flaws. The music is simple, powerful, and really helps bring out the rock for the entire album. As far as the vocals go, I could see it use a little bit of work. I really do like the raw singing/screaming thing that these guys have got going, but I think there could be the use for a little bit more singing and/or melodies in the chorus’. 9/10

Production - The album was recorded by veteran producer Tim Gerron (Bjork, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg) and is anything but a weak release. The nice, heavy, full sounding guitar tracks on this album are what stand out in my mind as the best element production wise. The only thing that I would say needs a little improvement is the tone of the bass on the album. I’m sure it really is all a matter of preference but when I listen to a CD, I like there to be a nice full sounding bass playing away in the background. On this CD, I just did not feel the same punch that I normally would like to hear from this particular instrument. Overall though, the production is very tight and clean cut with very little in the way of flaws. 8.5/10

Overall - This CD brings the rock. Plain and simple. For the most part, it is a strong upbeat release that is sure to be a crowd pleaser for anyone into the whole Quicksand/Fugazi/Failure sound. With the release of this album, a lot of extensive touring this fall and winter, I am sure that Bitter Tongues will be name that you will be hearing of a lot very shortly. 8.5/10 -

"Driven Far Off"

Overall: 6.4
Lyrics: 6.0
Music: 6.3
Production 7.0

Bitter Tongues rock true to their moniker. Crashing out an abrasive brand of post-hardcore mayhem, Clovis is a judicious attempt at throwing out convention and embracing the unorthodox. You won't hear radio-catchy riffs or harmonized gang vocals, but rather, rugged guitar chugs and caustic growls. Rooted in the seat of older progressive acts like Failure, Quicksand, and Fugazi, these Texas natives have assembled a record that roars as much as it ravages.

The tracks on Clovis play like a solider amongst an army--hard to distinguish, but undeniably present. To the untrained ear, one post-hardcore song may sound just like the next and in the case of Clovis it becomes difficult to deny that conviction. With tracks that seem to lack choruses and signature build-ups, the record begins to plod along like a 25 minute overture. This may be good or bad depending on your feelings about post-hardcore. For example "Where's Steve" intros with an almost atonal bass riff replaying in mind-numbing methodology and for the first two minutes of the song I'd greater fancy nails on a chalkboard. However, the band also prove they are capable of meaty spurts of creative insight as illustrated on the bridge of "I Don't Miss You, I Miss My Erection." For the most part, though, you'll know right away if Clovis suits you.

If gritty post-hardcore is your cup of tea, give Bitter Tongues a try. However, if you find melody a greater priority, Bitter Tongues may just leave you with that unfortunate taste. -

"Acclaimed Punk"

On their latest album, Clovis, the Texan quartet Bitter Tongues battle with post-hardcore demons. Their songs are heavy, rugged, and surprisingly complex depending on where you're at in the tracklisting. The biggest shocker is that there's a definite southern rock influence in some of the tunes on this United Edge release. You'll hear it in the short stunner "Everybody Back In The Water" and in the brooding "Where's Steve?" which carries a classic tone. The band is perhaps at their best in the true post-hardcore tracks like "White Bread is The Devil's Pie". Here, the vocalist sings in a very raspy tone that gives the song a very gritty feel.

The guys in Bitter Tongues unleash all their might in the seven-minute closer "Flutterbuffer". If you're looking for a map of what this band does, this song lays it out. There are some heavier moments that bring to mind metalcore, some southern riffs/solos, and an out-of-the ordinary climax. As the seventh tune and final song, it ends the otherwise short offering on a long note. With Clovis, Bitter Tongues introduce themselves as a southern beast that's waiting to be released.

Standout Tracks:
"Everybody Back In The Water"


Austin, Texas is home to one of the richest and dynamic music scenes in the world. But Bitter Tongues isn’t just another one of those great bands. Incredibly they’re even better than you could ever imagine. Throughout their incredible new album “Clovis” you’ll hear elements of post-hardcore and post-punk reminiscent of luminaries like Hot Water Music, Failure, Fugazi, and Quicksand. The vocals are throaty and aggressive with cerebral lyrics well in hand. The angular guitars poke and jab with punctuated melodies and discordant harmonies. Excellent. -

"Impose Magazine"

If my ears don’t deceive me, methinks Bitter Tongues is an odd (but maybe not odd) blend. I don’t know. I do know the overall effect of the band isn’t something I quite hear everyday and there’s a chance if someone popped this CD on in the background while I was, say, browsing in a store, I might immediately recognize …"Hey, Bitter Tongues!" Of course, such an exclamation would probably draw odd stares from those around me in my hypothetical shopping scenario, but that’s beside the point.
I’m drawn to BT’s sound due to its oddness, but I am also pushed away from it by a certain impenetrable quality. There are a number of styles vying for attention within the band’s thick sound. Here’s what I can easily detect: One of the most obvious is the heavy hardcore sound that seems to stand at the core of the music. (hardcore … core …oh, nevermind, it’s not funny, anyway) There are also plenty of metal elements dancing around in this unleashing monikered Clovis. I dare say even melodic punk has something to do with all this. And, believe it or not, I think you could make an argument for there being a slight stoner rock influence in the goulash.
The thing is, BT manages to pull all this together and create a new sound, rather than a bunch of old sounds roughly stitched together. It may take you a moment to let it all sink in, but once it’s sunk in – or, rather, once you’ve sunk into the music – I think you’ll find it good stuff. -


Release date: Oct. 11, 2005
Label: United Edge Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bitter Tongues began in Austin,TX after the break-up of several well-established punk and hardcore bands (Blacklung Patriots, Dempsey and Tomorrow Will Be Worse.) Despite valiant efforts on their respective parts, punk rock had all but died while hardcore had turned into watered-down metal-crap. Rather than simply recycle the very tired past, the members of BITTER TONGUES sought to distance themselves from their previous projects and venture where their past experience had not yet taken them.

Making no claims to reinvent music or it’s needlessly long list of subcategories; the songs draw influence from the more classic indie bands like Fugazi and Quicksand while injecting elements of recent acts like Failure and These Arms Are Snakes.

With a live show carrying on the tradition of complete disregard for physical safety and rampant stupidity; Bitter Tongues promise to capture the attention of any audience just long enough to make them burst into tears.

BITTER TONGUES' latest full-length "Clovis" - was recorded in Austin, TX with veteran Tim Gerron (Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube) at the controls. "Clovis" is now available worldwide through United Edge Records.