Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beastie Boys- Aglio E Olio EP

Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Aglio E Olio
Label: Grand Royal
Year: 1995

1. Brand New
2. Deal With It
3. Believe Me
4. Nervous Assistant
5. Square Wave in Union
6. You Catch a Bad One
7. I Can't Think Straight
8. I Want Some
9. Soba Violence (CD bonus track)

Written in 1995 during their successful rap career and released only in Australia and Japan, the Beastie Boys keep to the "Aglio E Olio" (that's Garlic and Oil in Italian) formula of their original hardcore punk influence with this release. This EP in particular is often overlooked for obvious reasons, mainly because their more popular hip-hop and instrumental material kinda rules hard, and this EP is real tricky to find. Nowadays, the most accessible way to get some of these tracks in physical format would be from their 3-disc "Beastie Boys Anthology", which is a mix between everything they've ever done, from the "Polly Wog Stew" sessions, to catchy tunes form "Hello Nasty" and "Ill Communication", all the way up to everything preceding "To the 5 Boroughs"; it includes about 4 tracks from this EP on it.

This record is a NYHC trophy in my opinion. It's got the punchy bass guitar style that sounds like Adam Yauct is worshipping the Bad Brains. The guitar sounds like it was plugged into some pawn shop gear, and replicates the playing of New York's Kraut with the tone and snarl of JFA or Reagan Youth. Mike Diamond's drumming shines in this recording, with his jazzy fluctuations, mathematical and punctual formulas, tight stops synced next to the bass guitar, and perfect analog sounds. He also does the all of the vocals on this record, and he still keeps that teenage angsty vocal delivery, much better than performed on their "Polly Wog Stew" record from the 80's. As a drummer myself, I take a lot of influence from this EP and other early NYHC that sounds anything like this. It's got a lot of weird instrumental breakdowns, that tap into tracks from "In Sounds From the Way Out" (their instrumental record), and their stomper "Sabotage". This EP is a staple of NYHC, especially for the era of the mid-90's when the NY scene was overrun by doofus shit bands like 25 ta' Life, Crown of Thornz, Hatebreed, and other bullshit that sounds like that. The reason I say that is because I imagine the Beastie Boys hearing about the scene at the time, and saying "oh fuck all that", and wrote this EP which is rudimentary, still raw punk, and blows all of that other shit away in a quick 11 minutes. Check out quick tracks like "Believe Me" and "Nervous Assistant" for a real raging fast, and aggro sounding hardcore, and tracks like "Square Wave in Union" and "I Can't Think Straight" for their more technical song structures. Especially on "Square Wave in Union", the intro has this mathematical open-handed drum tricks which is a rare find, because it's really hard to pull off.

Imagine all the Beastie Boys' fans who line up at their show and then see them pull out a Minor Threat cover in the middle of it... I think that's really fucking cool... See THIS VIDEO to find them covering "Screaming at a Wall" by Minor Threat. Other videos can be found of the Beastie Boys performing their Aglio E Olio material live, and I will provide the links here: NERVOUS ASSISTANT LIVE; I WANT SOME LIVE; BRAND NEW LIVE; BELIEVE ME LIVE; TOUGH GUY (from Ill Communication) LIVE. I would have really liked to have been there, except at the time I was like 10 years old, and this footage is from them playing somewhere in Australia, so there's no way in hell for me to have seen that.

Overall, if you haven't heard this record, you're really missing out. That's why I'm uploading this. CDEP released in Japan and Australia, and double 7" released in Australia. If anyone finds a 2x7" copy of this, I'll trade you a really sick record in my collection for it. The CD-EP's can be found rarely in some used bookstores, but all of this is out of print. This would make a really sick bootleg.


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