If you think about it, Punk Rock and Bebop are really more closely related than you might think. Both, it could be said, strove to reshape, or at least redirect their particular genre. Bebop came as a reactionary movement against the influential, yet straight-laced and somewhat tired sounds of Swing. As goes the same with Punk Rock, which blew the lid of late 70's rock excess and attempted to steer rock into an exciting new direction. Oddly enough though, these two styles have rarely come together. With the exception of James Chances' late 70's work with no-wave pioneers the Contortions and Washington DC's the Nation of Ulysses, jazz and punk have remained divided; each one giving the other a cold stare.
Not so with San Diego's the Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower (from here on in TPTBUTET). The band grabs both styles by the balls, flings them into the musical blender and hits "pulse" till one is unrecognizable from the other. Combining the angular hardcore of bands like the Nation of Ulysses, Antioch Arrow, and the Minutemen with the Post â Bop Jazz influence of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Charles Mingus, TPTBUTET album, Dissertation, Honey is strikingly original and compelling debut. Brandon Welchez's vocals and saxophone fills come off as a sassy "fuck you" augmented by Brian Hill's rough and tumble drumming and Chuck Rowell's searing guitar. The secret weapon here though just might be Daniel Maier's Mike Watt-esque bass playing, giving each song a funk feel.
Dissertation, Honey is book ended by two spoken word pieces from poet Kailani Amerson, which add to the overall "beat" vibe of the album. As for the songs, there's no way to classify them. What may start off as a propulsive hardcore rant may morph into a free jazz frenzy before changing still into a low key lounge vibe. Case in point: "For Marcus" has the band kicking things off at a lightening pace. From there the band descends into a funk/disco section that will have your ass on the floor. Then the horns kick in, and the band heads into a Modal inspired Jazz interlude before thrashing back into hardcore form with Welchez screaming "Now its all over, there's no regrets!". Elsewhere, the horns on "Johnny, You're All Grown Up" harkens back to Miles Davis and John Coltrane's immortal riffing on "So What?" before being swallowed up by the band coming back in. The band even throws in several instrumental, like the death procession dirge of "Funeral Procession" and the Free Jazz jam "Her Health Violation." Throughout it all though, TPTBUTET retains their panache for simply being able to rock out. On "Sometimes I Wish I'd Lost A Leg" the bands swagger is so catching and incendiary that by the second time you hear it, you'll be chanting "Now my hands in the hive" with the band.
As far as debuts go, this one is destined for notoriety. The danger that drips off of this album is comparable to the danger which dripped off of the first Sex Pistols record or the first Rolling Stones record. The band certainly has a huge share chops â rock, jazz, and otherwise, which only leaves one desperate to know what could possibly come next. My suggestion to you would be to buy this record, and see this band live. Now. Go.
The Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower -- named for two members of the French political organization the Letterists who lived near the tower and plotted to blow it up because the lights kept them awake at night -- manage to uniquely mix California Gravity and Three One G-style hardcore with Beat poetics on their full-length debut, Dissertation, Honey. From Kailani Amerson's spoken word intro to the jazzy horns that play against the screamo punk on "One Stab Deserves Another," Dissertation, Honey is a collection of devastatingly unique rock and roll that takes the already strikingly original sound of bands like the Blood Brothers and just tweaks it in a slightly different direction. "For Marcus" is tight and relentless while still maintaining the spastic, dark overtones of it's subgenre -- one it shares with Pretty Girls Make Graves -- and adds a saxophone part that immediately recalls the punch of no wave. "Her Health Violation" is a free jazz rant, and an unlikely inclusion on a hardcore punk record. It all adds up to an uncompromising entry from a band that deserves serious attention.