Tenement: Bruised Music Vol. 2 12" (new)

Grave Mistake Records


Bruised Music, Volume Two is not only a collection of singles, but really a collection of transitional tunes that would form the basis of their present sound and distance them from their early juvenile aesthetic and more simplistic approach to the punk idiom. Eric Mayer joined the group on drums at the onset of this period, and two original members Amos Pitsch and Jesse Ponkamo, on guitar and bass respectfully, continued as the melodic force. Much of the material heard within was recorded at home on 8 track machine and cassette recorders; though a small portion of it was engineered and mixed by Napalm Dream and Predatory Headlights' production mastermind, Justin Perkins. These selections have a distinct sheen and lend a signature quality to the record as a whole.

Our take: One of the things that attracted me to Tenement in the first place was a sense of mystery that seemed to surround their music. They seemed to come out of nowhere. Their sound couldn't have been more unfashionable when I first started hearing about them, but just by the sheer brilliance of their songs they managed to make pop-punk (a term I know they don't like) sound cool again. For a long time I had this collection of mp3s on my computer and I had no real understanding of where they came from; some songs were from Napalm Dream, others were from assorted split 7"s and cassette releases, but man they were explosive. When I finally managed to see the band live the deal was sealed... watching Amos completely lose himself dragging and throwing these giant lengths of chain at his guitar was surreal and all-encompassing in a way that seems to happen less and less often the older you get. Anyway, you'd think that these Bruised Music releases, given that they are exhaustive discographies with liner notes and whatnot, would destroy some of that mystery, but Tenement still seem like a band from another planet. Hell, they seem even stranger now that they've incorporated a much wider range of influences into their songwriting, been written about in the New York Times, and toured pretty relentlessly. Despite the welcome flood of Tenement material over the past couple of years I still have no sense of where the center is or what Amos and the rest of them are up to. It's clear, however, that whatever drives them is very different, and much more pure, than whatever it is that drives most bands to do what they do. As for Bruised Music Volume 2, I love it. I was already a Tenement fan when most of this was coming out, and I found it difficult to process a lot of this material as it dribbled out across a bunch of disparate releases. Most people had only just discovered Napalm Dream, but Tenement were already on to some other shit. Hearing it all together it makes a lot more sense, and really fills in the story of how the band who made Napalm Dream ultimately became the one that made Predatory Headlights. If this record had come out as a full-length in, say, 2013, I dare say there would be even more Tenement fans out there than there are right now, but Tenement have always seemed way more interested in the songs and the recordings and the shows themselves rather than the presentation and marketing of their band or the things that they produce. In the end that will probably doom them to "cult band" status, but those of us who know, know. And hopefully for their sake they can do a cash-in reunion tour in the year 2030 once the rest of the world has caught up with them.
Tags: 10s indie melodic pop-punk punk recommended