Self Defense Family – Heaven Is Earth Self Defense Family – Heaven Is Earth

Self Defense Family - Heaven Is Earth (2015)

Self Defense Family – Heaven Is Earth (2015)

Oh, man. Danny would fucking hate this record. HATE IT! Hate it so hard he might finally punch me in the face like I asked him to a few years back except without the values of being wasted and having Kwame segue “Straight Outta Compton” into the Indana Jones theme (then held, rightly, on repeat) and whatever other regrettable chaos I instigated that night under the auspices of “helping a brother out” because Heaven Is Earth couldn’t be less Danny if it were Craig Finn fronting the Kronos Quartet for a live, improvisational scoring of Chelsea Girls as reimagined by Bruce la Bruce.

Actually, that sounds pretty cool. Not totally Danny but near enough for a chapbook.

You see, Danny is a rocker. Always has been. Always will be. He’s got a healthy love for the mods too (dressing so tight on the nines that he’s got “rough” blazers to wear on bacchanalia) but I feel like that old Quadrophenia beef was settled long ago thanks to The Jam so, whatever…but still. He can also dig on a safe share of punk too, so long as it lends itself to the principles of rhythm and melody and structural pop triumph. He’ll take hip hop of a certain vernacular and life metal (by comparison, I guess?) and plenty more, I’m certain, seeing as the man once boasted half a wall of records back in the days of the Ditmars Bordello but the one thing that he can’t abide is some dude just yelling at him. Doesn’t matter the construct or the context. If it sounds like he is being unduly berated, Danny flips the bird and checks out to his hammock where he can listen to The Nuggets box sets in peace and Hamm’s with his lady (HI, AIMEE!) and cook books and pulp serials.

Me, on the other hand? I love a good chastising. The more you berate, the more I can take and will, likely, consider you genius for your idiosyncratic beat poet, beat down to the street corner irrational angst.

Thanks, Catholic youth.

Thanks too, Patrick Klindon for reminding me of this oft-forgotten fondness. The world is lousy with folk singers these days so it’s good to know there’s someone out there who has the balls to sound like he has balls shoring up his gravel rasp tenor cum speakeasy rumination croon.

Not that you need balls to front the Self Defense Family. Quite the contrary. The band, over the course a dozen years and far too many releases to try and consider in a weekend (I tried and failed more than twice, only ever just licking the coattails of the End of a Year daze), has taken ample time to spotlight a feminine voice at its after-rock helm (see Duets, etc.).

But you DO need some serious sac to lead (or, at least, be the mask) of a band that is as unrepentantly elliptical as SDF. I mean this is some deliciously weird shit which I had initially cast over the hill of bands that listened too hard to Red Medicine until I click-baited my way into watching them cover Rhys Chatham’s “Guitar Trio” and then I felt like a dick because that performance was effortless and eloquent and revealed the band to be a beast, hell-bent on some next-level skull pop experimental shit.

And then Heaven Is Earth came and that’s why we’re here today, tonight, tomorrow, THE FUTURE (until the next swing in the ether) and I am sold, man…so hard. The more I listen to it (most often on buses), the more I feel like I’ve stumbled onto some heretofore unknowable codex whose truths strangle out sensibility in patient portent and cooling measure and if I hold it to close enough to my heart it might just end me in a flash of brilliant, indigo light leaving behind only dust and the crooked sigil of my spine.

Heaven Is Earth Tracklist:
1. In My Defens Self Me Defend
2. Talia
3. Prison Ring
4. Ditko
5. Everybody Wants A Prize For Feeling
6. Heaven is Earth
7. Basic Skills
8. Dave Sim

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