Combining the contemporary thrust and menace of Hot Snakes with ‘90s-bent noise and tension of Archers Of Loaf, Red Bank’s Eastern Anchors achieve the near impossible and totally unique feat of linking the guitar-powered indie chain from its fuzzy, vintage V-neck sweater’d past to its “sweatshop free” V-neck t-shirt’d present.
Their shit-hot, generation-blurring new LP, Drunken Arts And Pure Science, recorded by Tom Beaujour (True Love), with an engineering assist from Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar, Thurston Moore, Jad Fair), offers the perfect balance of well-honed, immaculately recorded tunefulness, with just the right dose of the distorted grind you know and love. It’s all just so agile, visceral and goddamn catchy.
In playlist world, Eastern Anchors’ high-wire act of ferocity and restraint goes down smoothest between the churn of Chavez and Torche’s pop-laced tantrums. I spoke with vocalist/guitarist Walter Verde and vocalist/bassist David Urbano, both formerly of Aviso’Hara. Drummer Ken Forbes, late of Clydesdale, rounds out the trio. In typical drummer fashion, his comments were left to himself.
Eastern Anchors will be playing at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park on May 31 with the Doug Gillard Electric, Risk/Reward and Woods Party. Tell the Jersey indie rock cognoscenti why this is a show not to be missed:
Walter Verde: We invited both Doug and Risk/Reward down from NYC to play this show because these are bands we are fans of, as well as Woods Party, but AP is their home base. I’m a huge Guided By Voices fan, and Doug was [singer Robert Pollard’s] right hand man throughout the later years. But besides that, his solo stuff is awesome. We played Maxwell’s with him a few years ago and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to play with him again.
We played with Risk/Reward in Brooklyn a few months ago and at that show we said we would have to bring them down here. Not only are they a great band, but they have the best podcast/radio show out there, Live From The Barrage, of which we are all fans. Also, Steve Albini has a fondness for wearing their t-shirt for Shellac shows.
Tell me about the new album, Drunken Arts And Pure Science, and the 10-minute documentary you produced. What challenges, if any, did you face given the new musical landscape from a label/distribution perspective and also from balancing “real life” commitments with recording and playing?
WV: This was a definite learning experience. We recorded the album on our own with Tom Beaujour, but were not sure how to put it out. Every label any of us have been on in the past no longer exists, and the thing I’ve always felt was important about indie labels is the feeling of camaraderie with the other bands on the label.
We put this out on our own label, so it’s weird not being a part of community, but it’s also turned out to be great. I enjoy my Saturday morning trips to the post office and keep track each time I’m sending something to a country I have not shipped to before. That’s satisfying.
Who are some of your current favorite local bands you feel deserve more support/recognition?
David Urbano: When we think of local, we think of the whole Jersey scene from top to bottom.
WV: But Birthwater, Woods Party, Wreaths, Stuyvesant, Brixton Riot deserve your attention.
Is there a particular venue Eastern Anchors feel is their home base?
WV: Maxwell’s, probably. We’ve played there more than anywhere else. I still consider it my favorite club in the U.S., ever since going there the first time to see Skin Yard in 1991. Where I met Dave for the first time!
Eastern Anchors will play at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ, on May 31. For more information, go to easternanchors.com.