The Walking Rock Alphabet: I

Sunday’s are a tough day to find the time and energy to wander out of the house. Besides starting the day with Rural Ledge-ucation, there’s a full afternoon of football and most of the handful of prime-time shows I enjoy are on Sunday evenings. The couch just begs for me to plant my fat ass and waste the day.
I was determined to still make it out, but once again technology had other plans. Since I didn’t care too much about today’s early games, my plan was to hit the sidewalk around the time most of these matchups were in the third quarter. I could then get back in time for whatever fourth quarter theatrics were in store for the day.
I’m at a portion of the alphabet, though, where I don’t have as much choice as I’d like, so I hooked up the iPhone to load a few more albums. Big mistake. Those who follow me on twitter or Facebook have heard my constant issues with management of my music library. A few months ago, I purchased a network drive to house my 115,000 song library, but this move has created more problems than anything else. Not only is a network drive slower than an external USB drive, iTunes itself moves at a snail’s pace.
So when I hooked up my iPhone to the laptop, it took FOREVER to sync. Then the process of picking more albums was met with an unmoving iTunes. I finally just gave up, and unhooked the device.
It turns out that I could have delayed updating the player, as there really was only one candidate for today’s walk music. Icky Mettle by Archers of Loaf is one of the great guitar records of the last twenty years. While it was released in the aftermath of the record industry’s rush to find another Nirvana, it has little to do with that band. Well, let me take that back. Like Nirvana, Archers of Loaf specialized in the explosive, lurching singalong chorus. Unlike that Seattle band, though, Archers of Loaf’s jump into a fourth gear truly comes from a punk rock background and not just the ironic shirts worn by the lead singer.
Icky Mettle was released at a time of change in my life. I was recently divorced, and in the process of moving into a newly-built home. Due to the ever-changing emotions of the time, music was even more important to me than ever...if that’s possible. I was still doing a college radio show, and was inspired by the current crop of DJ’s and staff at my former school’s station (KAUR).
This wasn’t always the case. During my time as music director, I had to deal with a tiny percentage of DJ’s who knew anything about college rock, and in the first few years after graduation the staff cared more about padding their post-college resume than pushing the types of music that wasn’t aired on commercial radio.
That was no longer the case. The staff at this point in time knew exactly the direction the station should point towards, primarily due to a wonderful woman who was the music director. I adored this girl, and we spent many nights drinking beer and listening to records. Archers of Loaf was one of our shared favorites, and when they visited Minneapolis shortly after Icky Mettle came out, a group of us made the trip to the fabled 7th Street Entry.
Honestly, I don’t remember much of the show. I recall being right up front, and hearing every single song that I wanted to hear them do. Most of all, I can remember how the dynamics between quiet and loud were even more extreme than on record...which only makes sense, really.
“Web In Front” may have been the “hit” off the album, but it’s a fantastic disc from start to finish. “Wrong” and “Might” are just as catchy, and the slow build of “Toast” was a song that I can remember jumping around to on that cold night in Minneapolis.
After three more albums, Archers of Loaf called it quits in 1998, but reconvened in January, 2011. Later that year, Color Me Obsessed director Gorman Bechard filmed a couple of concerts at the legendary Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC. After making the film festival circuit over the last few months, the resulting movie, What Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf Live at Cat’s Cradle will be released on DVD on November 20. But it. You won’t be disappointed.
Here's one of the trailers for this great concert movie.


Popular Posts