Noise rockers Grubstake are set to release their 5th record, (What's the point in a new CD) ANYHOW, for Nine Mile Records on November 8.
Despite the disaffected title, this crafted collection of music, notwithstanding, is anything but.
There is a notable change in front man Patrick McHugh's guitar tone from his usual bass-heavy sound to a bouncier and grittier bang as well as the incorporation of minor key material to the open D tuning McHugh has used on his Travis Bean since the mid-90’s. Noise and louder sound textures were a major focus in making ANYHOW.
“Being able to incorporate minor key material opens up a new dimension my song variety, which became very exciting for me as a songwriter,” comments McHugh.
The opening track “The Great Escape,” and “Telephone Message from Cadillac Franky Z” were actually rejected sessions from Grubstake's last record Make An Animal Noise because there was too much noise on them. Fortunately Dave Locke at JP Masters was able to bring out that distortion and texture much more vividly in the mastering process on ANYHOW.
The band also paid meticulous attention to not being meticulous in their recording process. Much like their previous records, Grubstake produced and recorded ANYHOW on 8-track cassette tapes in their living rooms and rehearsal spaces across the eastern sea board. The sound channels a guerilla-style Guided By Voices feel.
“Recording in your house is so different from going to a studio because you don't feel as forced to make “magic” happen, which is exactly when I think “magic” does happen,” says McHugh. Plus I just don't like super clean recordings. They are more boring to me,” he continues.
The centerpiece on ANYHOW, literally, is the jangly “No Stranger To Uzbekistan” co-written by Stanislav Ostrikov and McHugh.
Lex Marburger for Ear Fatigue Productions continued in the tradition of remixing the last song of a Grubstake record. On ANYHOW, his work on "Slowlo Astronaut (Safe Return)" features subtle violins and an original Casio keyboard track performed by their friend Mark Kitson.
There's even a cover of the Ramone's “I Wanna Be Well,” and their own version of History Lesson, pt. II by The Minutemen.
Grubstake's heart beat is Patrick McHugh on vocals and guitars and Dave McMullin on drums. They have been playing music together in different capacities since forming punk band Connie Chung in the ashes of the post-hardcore scene in Boston. Their minimalist approach to punk coupled with the folk sounds of multi-instrumentalist Charlie Myer and John Coursey on violin recorded in the dirtiest possible way is what is becoming known as the Grubstake sound.
Grubstake has opened for bands like Gogol Bordello, Chris Brokaw, The Takers, Black Helicoptor and many others. They will be playing at the Tritone in Philadelphia on November 18 in support of ANYHOW. Look for Grubstake on tour in 2012.