Pinched Nerve
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Pinched Nerve

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"Pinched Nerve - Mission and Highland"

Bad vocals can totally thrash a release. It’s a sad fact, but it’s also a very true one. You have to either make the vocals work for you or make your music absolutely brilliant to cover for the bad vocals. In Mission and Highland by Pinched Nerve, neither happen, and an album full of enjoyable beats is nearly run into the ground by odd vocals.

Pinched Nerve plays Beck-ian hip-hop with beats that are vaguely reminiscent of many bands: Aphex Twin, Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Black Eyed Peas. Those widespread influences do result in beats that are creative and interesting. Synths play in a lot of the beats, and although they occasionally devolve into meaningless noodling (“Trashstorm”), Pinched Nerve usually knows what he’s doing with the synths. “In the Street” melds a heavy bass synth with cowbell, tambourine, handclaps and NIN-style creepy melodies to great effect. Accordion-esque synths and a good drum groove anchor “Pigeons,” while the various pieces of shaken percussion fill out the beat well.

Where the beats are mostly good with an occasional error, the vocals are the opposite. Pinched Nerve frustratingly employs a variety of vocal tones, never establishing one home tone. On top of that, the lyrics are strange. Chronicling “life in the ghetto,” Pinched Nerve creates raps that occasionally don’t rhyme or have rhythm. It gets really confusing when there’s no rhythm or rhyme at the same time (“In the Street”). The lyrics are observational and bizarre -“Scabs and Mice” is a dialogue about scabs and mice, while “Vicodin, Act V: Judge Judy” is a song about Judge Judy. I would laugh, but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to. Right now I’m just kind’ve confused.

I really don’t know what to make of this release. I really like the beats, but I can’t stand the vocals or the lyrics. Liner notes might help my confusion, but there are none, really. Myspace is minimal, as well. The only thing to do is go to http://www.tallbobsmoke.com/sharing/disco.html and listen for yourself.

- http://www.independentclauses.com


Discography

The Vicodin EP
1.Vicodin
2.The Pharmacist
3. Drugskill
4. Stuck in the Penn

Vicodin, The Pharmacist and Drugskill all received airplay on various college radio stations.

Mission and Highland
1. Pigeons
2. In The Street
3. Scabs and Mice
4. Trashstorm
5. Crooked
6. Vicodin, Act V: Judge Judy
7. Leak
8. Mustang 5.0
9. Outro

Pigeons, Scabs and Mice, Leak, and Trashstorm have all received airplay on college radio stations.

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Bio

In the spring of 2003 K-mac hurt himself climbing up Yosemite's Half Dome. His disc was herniated and he was unable to walk for two months. His days were spent taking vicodin, doing physical therapy, and recording music on his four-track. These sessions resulted in the formation of K-mac's alter-ego Pinched Nerve and the release of the Operetta Vicodin which tells the story of a Vicodin addict that eventually goes to jail for killing a drug dealer. The unique blend of SP-303 beats and Casiotone loops quickly got radio play on college radio stations such as KALX, KZSU, WFMU, and KXLU.

Next, Pinched Nerve focused his music on his neighborhood and released the album Mission and Highland which also quickly earned airplay on the college radio stations. Around this time Pinched Nerve witnessed a particularly inspirational performance by SF art punksters Erase Errata that caused him to incorporate more live drums into his records and move towards a dance punk sound.

A habitual record collector, Pinched Nerve's influences range from Public Enemy to Peruvian cumbia, but he has always been influenced by the DIY punk ethic and hard to classify sound of artists like The Minutemen, Devo, and Captain Beefheart.