by Chris McCoy
“The record is essentially a solo project of mine,” he says. “I started working on it about a year ago.”
Rather than assembling a new band, rehearsing, and locking themselves in Konidtsoitis’ own 5 And Dime Studio, he used a scattershot approach. “I just kind of pulled in various friends of mine…to play on different songs.”
The resulting album sounds a lot more varied than Konidtsoitis’ output with his other bands, Angel Sluts, Twin Pilot, and Turn It Offs, members of which appear on The Switchblade Kid. “No two songs sound the same, and that’s pretty neat,” he says. “Some of the songs are really spaced out—noisy and dreamy. But the thing that ties them all together is this Phil Spector production thing going on.” The songs’ instrumentation is much more varied than the usual dual guitar-bass-drum punk combo. “Live, the band has ranged from five to eight people.”
From the opening punk kicker “Bad News”, The Switchblade Kid veers off in unpredictable directions. Exhibits A and B are the songs “Switchblade 1” and “Switchblade 2”, which, despite sharing a name, couldn’t be more different. “Switchblade 1” is a goth-inflected cruiser driven along by Jesus and Mary Chain bass and lorded over by Konidsoitis’ echo-heavy vocal presence. “Switchblade 2”, on the other hand, is a garage-psych meltdown in the NoBunny mode, complete with female backup singers merrily chanting “stuck inside a switchblade knife”.
Later on the album, “Run Run” bears the imprint of Brian Eno’s pre-ambient solo songs, specifically the proto-punk raver “Needle In The Camel’s Eye” On the album’s first single, “Liquid Eyes”, Konidsoitis sounds like early-90s Wayne Coyne fronting The Cure.
The molasses-thick guitars on “Static Bombs” wouldn’t sound out of place on Sonic Youth’s Dirty, but two songs later, on “Saturday Night”, The Switchblade Kid is back in the garage for a full-throttle, 54-second romp. The tempos stay up throughout the album until the end, when “There Ain’t No Love” slows it down to a dirge and Konidsoitis’ vocals dive down into the Nick Cave baritone basement.
If all of these references seem of a certain time, it’s no mistake. Konidsoitis says the vibe he was going for on The Switchblade Kid is “1989, pre-Dave Kendall 120 Minutes. It’s noisy pop music.” Channeling the best of postpunk and pre-Nirvana alternative has made The Switchblade Kid a fitting end piece for 2012, and helped Konidsotis come into his own as one of the city’s brightest rock talents.
The Switchblade Kid Record Release Party will kick off at 9 PM on Friday, December 21 at Murphy’s. Also appearing will be the Cold Blooded 3, Berkano, and Capgun, with DJ Plastic Citizen spinning between bands.