This Is the Way To Rule
Let’s kick this little series off with a firecracker, eh? Ten Grand – formerly The Vida Blue – were a band out of Iowa whose second LP, This Is the Way To Rule, remains one of my favourite punk discs of the decade that was. Released through Southern in 2003, it’s a curt collection of barely controlled turbulence, its songs given awkward titles but nevertheless cutting through any ambivalence with real force. The swagger-grind opening of R E S P E C T Me is instantly grabbing, a stranglehold of looping riff and bubbling bass; I Will Seriously Pay You to Shut Up charges its way through its allotted two minutes with eyes closed and head down, butting obstacles aside with no regard for the shattered limbs left in its wake – its, and the album’s, key lines: “Goddam it baby this is soul, what’s wrong with you… GODDAM IT BABY THIS IS SOUL.” That the four players were all fantastically able comes through clearly – this isn’t some practise space throw-down without any considered structural forethought. Plus, it’s sequenced brilliantly, the closing Now You Got What I Got a towering, twisting masterpiece of cacophonous craft. Goddam, I could probably listen to this record ’til the cows not only came home but keeled over extinct, it’s that sort of skewed genius. Frontman Matt Davis died in August 2003, not long after touring this record in the UK, leading to all Ten Grand activity coming to a standstill. This, then, is their definitive statement; and one wonders if it’d ever have been bettered, such is its remarkable potency several years later.
For Fans Of: The Blood Brothers, Les Savy Fav, Fugazi
Download: Everything, idiot.
Ten Grand – Hands Off the Merch