Street Eaters' Blood::Muscles::Bones might enter on a warped, backspun 15 seconds, but the recordings that follow curtail studio trickery for immediacy that's visceral and distressed. The Bay Area punk duo of Megan March and John No simply lack the capacity to remain still. Street Eaters have toured restlessly since forming, taking their two-piece punk as far as Germany and Hungary. When it came time to record Blood::Muscles::Bones they took their weathered pickup truck to Buzz Or Howl Studios in Portland, OR, completing their session in four days.
Few records manage to translate exertion like Blood::Muscles::Bones. From “Reverse” to “Comets”, Street Eaters sweat feels present on the two-inch tape. It's a record that gets physical with you. Partially owed to its inpecable sequencings, the album deserves to be played in full by the listener at home and the band on the road. There is an exhaustion that comes with Blood::Muscles::Bones felt by the band as their vocals are never overly-practiced, but left bare and prone to cracks and trembles that come with a live set. This exhaustion is thrust upon the listener to a point that it transports you to whatever dank basement or living room they are in, full of smelly teenagers stacked atop one another in a dancing, moshing frenzy. It's prepared for every romanticised night that lies on the road ahead.
Repping truewave punk, Street Eaters' Blood::Muscles::Bones is the sound of phsyiological punk music; with the tightening of sinews and burning of fatigue, Street Eaters dig deeper within because in the end those capacities will be all they own.
To you, why did “Blood::Muscles::Bones” feel like the title track for the record?
Megan: The song “BMB” is about frustration with other people claiming ownership of your body and ideas, defining you and putting you into categorical boxes. It is about not wasting time anymore, and defining life by your own terms and choices; realizing your body is your own, your choices are your own, and not being afraid to know yourself. As far as the album is concerned the title is also about finding that core essence, very much about stripping down to the basic components of what we are doing as a band and cutting to the most essential parts of our nature, taking ourselves apart and putting it back together again.
Your bio says the album was recorded during a heatwave in Portland, OR. Do you feel the weather impacted the recording sessions? Did the heat infiltrate the studio?
To get to Buzz Or Howl studio, we had just driven all day through the worst of the heat wave from California in our non-air conditioned pick-up truck, with temperatures up to 105 degrees, and even in Portland it was in the upper 90s. This added to the immediacy of our recording mission, and we were pretty uncomfortable when we arrived. However, the studio was cool and awesomely cave-like, and Stan (our engineer) is great, so we got started recording without missing a beat; segueing right from one intense situation to another.
Being away from the bullshit of home really allowed us to focus and get into our own heads. The studio became a real refuge, a cave for four 15+ hour days where we really honed in on making a record that was immediate and raw. We recorded to two-inch so there was no digital editing, what you hear is what we played and Stan mixed. The process of live mixing from two-inch is almost like sweating through a heat wave—you have to focus in, make choices and not second-guess them too much, and drink a lot of water.
Blood::Muscle::Bones is an exceptionally tracked album, like your placement of “Tailings” as a centerpiece stands out in particular. What was the thought process that went into finalizing the album?
We have strong attention spans and are very album-oriented as far as our musical aesthetics go, so we thought about the sequencing for a really long time and were super deliberate with it. We tried a bunch of different sequencing ideas and the one we came up with made the most sense for a lot of reasons; we looked at the album as a whole and several songs were actually edited out because they didn't fit the overall picture.
Because “Tailings” is so long and takes some musical risks (like a two-minute instrumental intro), we felt the album needed to establish its tone/atmosphere first so it was important to have it in the middle—kind of like climbing the mountain. It's not like the rest of the album supports that song, the song supports the rest of the record; it allows the album to breathe. We also like the idea of a 10-song album because it is epic.
Recently Bill Murray crashed a bachelor party and bestowed some love advice. He said before you buy the ring, buy two plane tickets to travel the world and go to places that will knock you both out of your comfort zone. As a touring couple that's played many countries, do you agree with Mr. Murray?
Neither of us are into comfort zones. If you are too comfortable, you are never pushing yourself to do something new.
Street Eaters' Blood::Muscles::Bones is out June 17 on Nervous Intent.