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Blag'ard heads into the studio, readies Capsize 7 archival release

Chris Parker, 24 Sep 2009,

Blag'ard has delayed the release of its second LP, tentatively titled Mach II, to the beginning of next year. Guitarist Joe Taylor now plans to accompany its release by unshelving the long lost Capsize 7 album he recorded with the old alt-rock act in the mid 90s before they were dropped from Caroline Records. Fusing the jagged angular spirit of Polvo with Achers of Loaf's hooks, Capsize 7 was one of the Triangle's most underappreciated coulda-beens. He brings a similar bristling sound to his new outfit, fueled by drummer Adam Brinson's sizzling kit work. We spoke to Taylor about the forthcoming releases.

INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: So what's up with the new Blag'ard recording?

JOE TAYLOR: We are going to record the record starting in October. We're going to record with Nick Peterson and start tracking on the 6th, coincidently, the day after my birthday. So it's a nice birthday present for me, and then we're doing it on one-inch reel-to-reel. I hadn't recorded with audio tape in a long time, so I'm psyched to be working with Nick and going down on reel-to-reel. We're going to do 10 songs.

Where are you recording?

Nick's tape machine is currently not operating, so we're subcontracting through a buddy of his, and we're going to record out of this guy's place in Raleigh on his tape machine. Nick's going to engineer it.

What's the reason for putting it to tape?

I recorded with my old band, Capsize 7, in the 90's on audio tape, and I like the way it sounds. It's more performance-oriented from the musician's standpoint. You have to do better when you're tracking because it's not as easy to edit with audiotape. It gives it a different feel.

We recorded with Nick for our last record, and that was all Pro-Tools. I'm happy with that record, but I wanted to try something different and see what would work the best to give it a different flavor.

When were the songs written?

We have been playing them out live for the past 7 to 8 months. Basically, we've just been writing the record and playing it live since February. There are one or two songs that predate Bobcat. They're just reworked by me and Adam to have our take on it, versus what they were originally. The one difference between this record and the last record is me and Adam have matured as a songwriting team. An idea gets more analysis and evolves more during the writing process than it used to. An old idea run through that machine sounds different. So putting a couple old songs out, I'm cool with that.

Tell me about the Capsize 7 lost album.

Capsize 7 was together from 1991 to 1997, basically. We broke up like October '96. We were on Caroline Records and released one full-length record with them, and they picked up the option to release our second album and give us the money for it. So we went out to California and recorded that album with Mark Trombino, who went on to record Blink-182. He was the drummer for Drive Like Jehu. We recorded that album on 2-inch audio tape in a great studio, and we had the record done. After the record was finished, Caroline dropped us. But they gave us the rights to the record when they dropped us.

I'm not trying to recreate or jumpstart Capsize 7. I just wanted to get this record out because I think it's a good record, it would be silly not to put it out and, selfishly, I want it to shine on my new project. The Capsize 7 album is going to be called Horsefly and the Blag'ard album is going to be called Mach II.

Bla'gard - Bobcat

Some people hailed The Loon by Tapes N Tapes as a near masterpiece because it put some balls back into indie music. The genre is home to plenty of groups who seem afraid of their amplifiers, such as Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes, and that's exactly why groups like Blag'ard need to exist. Heavily influenced by Polvo's Today's Active Lifestyles (Bias alert! That's one of the best CD's of the 90's!), Blag'ard blend elements of noise and whammy freakouts with straight forward, punkish indie rock. If nothing else, the best way to sum up Bobcat is with the word 'fascinating'.

"Bachelor Party" is a pretty good example of a Blag'ard song: the chorus chords could totally have been swiped from The Toadies, and the verse is entirely based around natural harmonics. There's one guitar and a drumset, but the sound never comes off hollow because of the noisy execution. The song goes out on a noisy 30 seconds of cymbal-filled crescendo peak, and then the next song's bizarre guitar lines begin. Each song functions on its weirdness as much as its groove, and because of that each song pretty much rules.

There's something really exciting about the two man approach. There's no hassle or anything, two guys just walk into a room and record some jams. There should be minimal artistic differences and not too much battling for the spotlight, and (I have a point, I swear) the music should sound just really direct because of all that. The White Stripes totally sounded like exactly what must be going on in Jack White's head, and Death From Above 1979 are something incredible in terms of precision. Right along those lines of logic stand Blag'ard, and the public eye doesn't turn on these guys right away then I've lost all faith in the concept of 'buzz'.

For Fans Of: Polvo, Sonic Youth

Don't Believe Me?

~by Eric Loranger, antiMusic

Bla'gard - Bobcat

We at Morkleson have had the pleasure of receiving numerous albums via mail in the past week or so. I may be chastised for stating as much, but I have not interacted with music in any non digital form with much frequency in years? Blag'ard's Bobcat alum was the first one I received and, well, owe it to the novelty of a small physical representation of their music or some tactile fascination I experienced handling the small piece of plastic, but I quite enjoy the album. Admittedly, my bias was skewed in a negative direction after reading the first few lines of their bio, mentioning their hollywood handsomeness, but the music itself was enough to swing me back the other way. Blag'ard is a two-piece from Chapel Hill, NC that plays honest, hooky, raw indie-rock songs. Their crunchy, lo-fi production style and winding song structure takes me back to the indie rock golden days when bands like the Treepeople were still out there killing it- relying more on emotion, grit, and strong song writing to propel the listener rather than heavily layered songs, walls of sound, or playfully quirky keys and xylophones. (Not that I've got beef with any of those). It's refreshing to hear something erring on the side of the under-cooked, which is the same quality that draws me to bands like The Contra and Jay Reatard. Enjoy a few tracks from Blag'ard. If you crave more, you can head to their myspace page or to, where you can download the entire album.


Bla'gard - Bobcat

Top marks for bravado go to North Carolina duo Blag'ard who are described as Hollywood handsome and drummer Adam even has a great personality, to boot. Their music is a far more brutal beast, however, made up of crunchy lo-fi riffs and punk vocals. Nevertheless I found their first EP Blank Faced Clocks endearing thanks to the no-nonsense focus on hook-laden songs. Can Bobcat their first long player continue that trend?

In short, Adam and Joe can continue the trend. There's no subtlety here just a set of short, incisive songs kicking off with an ode to Yul Brynner. There's clever melodic twists abound; "Shame" managing to work a chorus around the word "surgery" whilst "Dogskin" and anthemic centrepiece "Bachelor Party" successfully bridge the gap between Placebo and old-school grunge. However, by the end of the record I did begin to tire of the formula; as the duo struggle to replicate their EP form consistently over the course of a full album. Having said that, penultimate song "Kick Out Queen" features some excellent, urgent riffage.

Certainly the simplicity of the music means there's no time for introspection, solos or even space to breath but Adam and Joe work the best out of an apparently limited setup of vocals, guitar and drums. So for those who like their music raw and uncomplicated, "Bobcat" comes highly recommended.

~The Weblog of Leonards Lair

- Reviews


Blag'ard, "Bobcat" LP 2008, Pig Zen Space
Blag'ard, "Blank Faced Clocks" EP 2006 (recorded with drummer Bill Buckley), Pig Zen Space



Blag'ard is a two piece band from Chapel Hill, NC with a big rock
sound. Full and fun, apt to make a crowd move and people exclaim.
Part 50's sound, part 70's punk, singing harmonies over marbled veins
of rock, they enjoy what they do and it's infectious.
They self-released their first LP "Bobcat" in 2008 which made it into
the top 600 college radio.
They have recorded and will be releasing their second record "Mach
II" in Jan of 2010. At the same time Joe's label Pig Zen Space will
be releasing the 1997 lost record of his former band Capsize 7
(Caroline Records / Sony Music Publishing).
Blag'ard is getting road ready, having played a bakers dozen
regionals and three 5 day minitours in the past year. They are
looking to expand and show off their Mach II set to as many markets
as possible.

Special Thanks to Mad Max and Rock 107 WRXZ for playing "Bobcat"