The Silent Numbers – Live from the Banana Stand is out right now! Download it from the link above. No, like, now! -L
What do we love about The Silent Numbers? A lot — this release has been in the regular rotation at the ‘Stand for as long a we’ve had rough mixes. For me, though? My favorite thing about this band is the sense of menace. Foreboding. It starts with the opening bass line of the first track, Calculator Watch. It’s Bryan Robertson’s great overdriven bass sound. The eeriness of Eric Sabatino’s and Nick Woods’ guitar lines, the slight sense of detachment Woods’ in the vocals. The intensity of Adrian Melnick’s drums. All combine to create a terrific feeling of barely-contained energy or chaos. A sense of teetering on the brink. It’s really fantastic.
This feeling continues on throughout the album. The three-song stretch beginning with Horrible Monster provides an excellent mid-point climax for the set. The instrumental Canadia, as menacing as Calculator Watch, makes a perfect lead-in to the catchy-as-hell Said So. The manic energy of Said So, as spurred by some of my favorite drum work from that evening, is 2:25 of perfection for any workout or roadtrip playlist. When The Light Is On, which closes the album, is my favorite track. Transitioning from a seemingly chillwave-inspired synthesizer/bass intro (which brings to mind, fondly, memories of F-Zero on the SNES) to a guitar-driven rock climax and back again, the track shows the group’s range and may offer a peek at their future direction.
The Silent Numbers – Live from the Banana Stand is an excellent live album in every sense. Everything from the band’s stellar performance to the thoughtfulness with which the setlist was composed contributes to a fantastic release. This album has been one of our favorites at the ‘Stand for some time now and promises to continue to be one for some time to come. Go grab it up — it’s available for download for the low low price of pay-what-you-want — and it’ll be one of your favorites too.
If I remember correctly, and I probably don’t . . . The Silent Numbers came to us for a live recording. It was around the same time that I had been talking to Louie about getting some more hard rock bands into the Banana Stand. Not that there was anything wrong with the groups we had been booking, but I was in the mood to document a Portland band that was heavy with guitars. Really heavy.
The Silent Numbers are one of the best bands in Portland not because they’re doing anything revolutionary with music, or because they play the hip clubs, or wear cool clothes, even though they’re seriously rad dudes; the band is one of the best groups in Portland because there’s a serious lack of bands who want to play straight up shred without pretension.
Imagine Sonic Youth without the New York art scene. Sure, Thurston and company wouldn’t be cool in the magazine sense, but that doesn’t mean they would rock any less hard. That’s basically how I feel about The Silent Numbers, a group of guys who simply want to play hard, dirty, grunge with a pop structure, and who have little interest in being vogue.
I guess groups like The Silent Numbers are a dying bread. No electronics, no concept, no gimmicks, just rock. Rock that’s fucking loud, and not in some teen-angst way, rock that’s loud and angry in the way that says, “I just worked a ten hour day for minimum wage. I don’t want to complain, I just wanna drink a solid beer and hear a guitar be thrashed around like a filthy banshee.”
Come to think of it, that’s what I want to do now. Maybe you do too.
The Silent Numbers – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on November 25th, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Alex Arrowsmith. Brian David Smith handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography from various ‘Standers and the original show poster, also by Brian. The Banana Stand would like to thank The Silent Numbers (Nick, Eric, Bryan and Adrian) and all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.