Current - Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today Music Album Reviews

Current - Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today Music Album Reviews
A totemic box set from Numero Group collects the output of the Midwestern emo band, whose melodic, sentimental take on D.C. hardcore served as a microcosm of the genre’s transition.

The history of emo is retold with waves, but it tends to happen more in tides—its heady peaks obscure the longer periods of quiet regeneration, but there’s always motion. For instance, consider the eight or so years between Thrasher’s “Notes From the Underground” column that coined the term “emocore” and Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1994 debut Diary, a period filled with out-of-print cult favorites that lack the historical import of Revolution Summer and the commercial visibility of the Second Wave. Over the past few years, Numero Group has become an unexpected champion of this period, and Current is the latest beneficiary, a Midwestern band with a more melodic and sentimental take on D.C. emotional hardcore—neither emocore nor Midwest emo, a band that serves as microcosm of an entire genre’s transition.

The mere packaging of Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today gives a totemic quality to Current’s scant output: about 90 minutes of original material made over the span of about two years, spread over three LPs with the band’s history retold in a loving and thorough 20-page insert. But it doesn’t argue for Current as misunderstood visionaries. At the time of its release in 1993, Current’s sole full-length, Coliseum, would more likely be heard as the tail end of the first wave rather than the beginning of a new era. The artwork, the production, the pressing, and the tour booking were all the product of state-of-the-art, DIY pluck. While Current previously featured a requisite Fugazi-style vocal dynamic, Matthias Weeks ended up taking the role of the singing and the screaming guy. “In beauty you shall be my representation, my song, my medicine,” he barks on its first line, the delivery only bashful in comparison to what surrounded them in the Detroit hardcore scene at the time.

In the next few years, a more accessible style of Midwest emo developed alongside the frat parties and football games in massive college towns like Madison, Urbana-Champaign, and Lawrence. Meanwhile, Current took shape near the University of Detroit Mercy, an urban Jesuit school of 5,000 students and almost no campus culture. The DIY scene in Detroit proper was still at the mercy of the most aggressive forms of metal and punk. As guitarist Justin LaBo recalled, “There was usually skinheads there… there was always fights and violence.”

Much like the peers they’d soon discover in Kalamazoo, Arkansas, Oakland, and suburban Illinois, Current were Dischord fanboys bought into the communal uplift of straight edge but not its absolutist worldview. From the beginning, their striated screams and searching, clean guitar passages were situated somewhere between the more meditative sides of Fugazi and Slint—in other words, post-hardcore in the truest sense. Nearly 30 years later, Coliseum is revelatory mostly in how familiar it sounds; “And I knew that she carried her life on her fingertips, with painted nails she carried her life,” Weeks intones as spoken word, predicting the florid poetry and stoic delivery endemic to the New Wave of Post-Hardcore. The acerbic hook of “Dial”—“I need your ratings to keep me alive/Until tomorrow”—now comes off like a primordial, pre-internet precursor to Drug Church’s hectoring alt-rock. Both the neck-jerk riffs of the title track and the eco-optimism of “Outside Is Better” hint at a future where 311 and hardcore are seen as inherently compatible. It’s worth noting that Weeks is sporting dreadlocks throughout the Yesterday’s Tomorrow liner notes and the cover features LaBo’s very alt-rock Les Paul.

Current’s brief and impressive touring itinerary suggests a promising future had they stuck around; they opened for Jawbox at a 1,000-cap room in Detroit for their third-ever show and later played with Cap’n Jazz, Unwound, and godheadSilo. Perhaps they would’ve emphasized their avant-punk leanings and gone on to a label like Kill Rock Stars or Sub Pop. Or, we could read into their gigs with both the Offspring and Rancid and imagine Current on Epitaph. The sequencing of Yesterday muddles the trajectory; it begins with Coliseum, an album they made as the lineup regenerated itself after cross-country moves, college semester breaks, and Scott Ray’s pivot from vocalist to roadie. He returns on Feasting & Mirth, the third LP which includes an early 7" and a KXLU performance recorded several weeks after the release of Coliseum, an album on which he does not appear at all.

On their Is 4 EP and subsequent splits with fellow travelers Chino Horde and Indian Summer, Current got sharper and sleeker. Some argued that they got too good. The massively influential Maximumrocknroll zine singled out the Indian Summer/Current split as an example of the music they weren’t going to cover anymore, with Tim Yohannon calling it, “today’s post-hardcore answer to early ’70s progressive rock,” i.e., alternative rock, one of the most cutting insults available to a myopically territorial punk at the time. Zines like HeartattaCK and Punk Planet immediately popped up as counterprogramming, as did Green Day’s “Platypus (I Hate You),” the 924 Gilman Street answer to “Ether.” Meanwhile, Current started Ottawa, an aggro side project explicitly intended as a response to MRR. Weeks’ lyrics on “Key” hardly bore any of the bloat or complacency of prog- or alt-rock (“I carve my key from wood/For inexpensiveness/I carved my key from stone/For everlastment,” but the MRR non-review struck a nerve. Despite a successful tour throughout the summer of 1994, Current broke up for the same reason most emo bands do: Some of the members start getting into indie rock, others into metal. Oh, and they had a big fight after their van broke down during their final gig. Yet there’s something poetic about how that final show happened at Fireside Bowl, the Chicago venue at the epicenter of a regional explosion. Where Current ended, Midwest emo began.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Current - Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today Music Album Reviews Current - Yesterday’s Tomorrow Is Not Today Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 21, 2022 Rating: 5


Post a Comment