Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tilt: Live at Gilman St. (1994)



Cinder Block was a dominating presence in nineties pop-punk band Tilt (more HERE), which seemed to rub some listeners the wrong way. While perhaps the rub lay in Block's powerful voice, which, since it could effectively alternate between piercing and growling, may have seemed a bit showboat-ish to nineties punk audiences, the most ever-present critique was always of her lyrics. Critics used words like 'elliptical' and 'pretentious' or "Oddly overwrought lyrics...like teenage poetry" to describe her unusual way with words. A male co-worker from the music store I once worked at went out his way to disdain the chorus of "Acathisia", which went something like, "I got these shoes for nothing and they have lasted me forever, searching up and down the long highway".

While I'd be willing to admit that her lyrics do sometimes sound they've come directly from the pages of her writers' notebook, she still has a unique and memorable style of writing. There's not real any analogous lyricist in rock n' roll. Perhaps imagining  combination of Brett Guerewitz of Bad Religion and Exene Cervenka of X might offer an approximation of her style. A favourite Block line of of mine, one that may indicate why the band never gained Riot Grrll cred was the line from "Crying Jag", "Everyone knows I'd sell my sister for cigarettes / Why shouldn't I she'd do the same to me". Love it or loathe it, who else writes like that?




Crying Jag

Everyone knows I'm on a crying jag
Pay me no mind I do it all the time
I could show you
Do you want me to show you
Call it a day or you can pay my way
Gonna cry till I'm all cried out
I could show you
I could easily show you

[chorus]
You may say I live on easy street
You can think anything you want to think
Come by some time my door is open to you
Where I can show you how easy I am

Everyone knows I'd sell my sister for cigarettes
Why shouldn't I She'd do the same to me
We could show you
We could easily show you
If you only knew you wouldn't be so upset
What if she's in league with me
We can show you
We can easily show you

Everyone knows I'm on a crying jag
Pay me no mind I do it all the time
I could show you
Do you want me to show you
Call it a day or you can pay my way
Gonna cry till I'm all cried out
I could show you
Do you want me to show you

[chorus]

*

Their Fat Wreck-Chords near-hit "Libel' from 1995 continues Block's singular style ("Can you hear it? Ignorance personified")





To buttress my argument for Cinder & co.'s power (and to put an end to this sprawling post) I'll offer up a good-sounding live show of the band playing a full-tilt set of songs from their two best albums (1993's Play Cell and 1995's Till it Kills) at the mother church of pop-punk, Gilman Street.


What's your view on Cinder Block's lyrics? Let us know in the COMMENTS section. (where you'll find the Live at Gilman St.  link).


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22 comments:

  1. http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?nxp4oyvzbp4fypj

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  2. Actually, I'm pretty sure the reason they never gained Riot Grrrl cred is because they weren't a Riot Grrrl band.

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    Replies
    1. Either were Joan Jet and The Blackhearts...

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  3. Thanks for the reminder re: "Libel". A killer pop punk classic what with that melody and those hooks and all that oomph!

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    Replies
    1. "Till It Kills" has a slew of greats ongs on it.

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  4. the line "everyone knows i'd sell my sister for cigrettes" is one of my favorite lines from anything.

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    Replies
    1. Y'know it's great to hear someone else spring to that line's defense, it's awesome!

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  5. Great band, thank you for this! Unfairly overlooked!

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  6. I hope whoever is responsible for their wikipedia links to you and takes off the one to my blog as your write-up is much more informative.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe they'll add it, so your succinct post and my wordy one can both testify to the mightiness of Tilt!

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  7. This is why we like the intertubes. First, a reference to a band about which one has heard but was never persuaded to investigate. Then appears a well-written overview, with a video to establish context and then a link to a rockin' show to seal the deal.

    This site makes history by recapitulating history. Good stuff.

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    Replies
    1. For appreciating all the context, you've made my day. Thanks!

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  8. Stoked to be downloading this! Thanks Jeffen...Cinder was/is an amazing singer.
    Also thanks for turning me onto Cringer and J Church...love them!

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    Replies
    1. Cinder rocks! Glad you're liking the Lance Hahn bands!

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  9. I've always loved her lyrics because they were so unlike anyone else's. The song about the moon and "Dear Wife"? Love those

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    Replies
    1. It''s their utter uniqueness which is their strength.

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  10. Every review I read is so critical, and always ends up pointing out the fact that they were never quite successful. I love 'em. Cinder Block has a hell of a voice and the lyrics are well worded. And the content of their songs is often quite original. I especially loved the album "Viewers Like You."

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    Replies
    1. I never got much past the first two albums - I do have to go back and listen to VLY.

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  11. Oh no! Where's the download??

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  12. anyone have a link to a download that works for this show?

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