It is no secret that I am an über-fanatic of the band 27. They hail from Boston, MA which is by far my favorite city to visit. I have friends there and I try to make it there at least once a year. If you ever find yourself in Boston, make sure to go to The Miracle of Science Café in Cambridge. They have the best food ever!
But I digress. As usual.
My first encounter or rather, acknowledgement of 27 was via another native Boston band, ISIS. When ISIS’ Oceanic album came out, I was blown away by the sheer shift in style but also its intricacy and sonically layered feel. One of the standout tracks on the album is “Weight” for not only the way it builds up, but also the way that Maria Christopher’s (27’s vocalist and guitarist) vocals add a depth to the song. Listed on the album credits are both Maria and Ayal Naor, also in 27, who contributed vocals and guitars to “Weight”, and also “The Beginning and the End” and “Carry”.
So I was in search mode to find out more about these two musicians and how they tied in with ISIS. This all led to their band 27. I believe the first album I picked up of their was the Let The Light In EP released by Hydra Head. It was a great introduction to the band and as an added bonus for me, the track “April” featured ISIS’ Aaron Turner on backing vocals. Unfortunately the EP is the only release from 27 that has not received the vinyl treatment. I am though, trying my damndest to convince Hydra Head to press it.
So far in my journey of listening to 27, I have been lucky enough to have attained all of their releases. In the process, I have also been able to make friends not only with the band, but also with other fans and people involved with their releases.
27‘s music is hard to really categorize. They have a style reminiscent to Portishead but not as electronic-y and also akin to Mazzy Star but not as mellow and subtle. They definitely have the sonic ambience of ISIS but with more of a pop sensibility. On their Facebook page, they list one of their genres as “Dark Pop”…I think that best describes them. It’s up to the listener to put their own interpretation of the music. Can “AWESOME” be a genre category anyways?
So without further a due…and what promises to be a lengthy entry…here is a look at 27’s discography in release order…as best as I know.
Songs From The Edge Of The Wing 12” – Clear. Released by Escape Artist, but you will notice the Relapse logo on the release also who the band were signed with at the time. Unsure of the pressing but I somehow think it’s out 500.
Angel’s Share 7” – Picture disc. Kimchee. Unknown pressing amount.
Animal Life 12” – Picture disc. Escape Artist. Unknown pressing.
Animals On The Farm 5” – White. Undergroove. Unknown pressing. This was a bonus 5” included with the import version of the Animal Life CD.
Try / Night 7” Tour – pink. Hydra Head Records. 300 pressed. This was available only during the band’s European tour.
27 / Bug split 12” – pink. Noise Appeal. 525 pressed. This one is pretty cool in that the record is housed in a die-cut sleeve.
A Million Years 7” – Multiple colors. Released by Relapse, this was pressed in four different colors.
Clear – out of 100. Friends-only pressing. Relapse Records presses a clear version limited to 100 of all their releases and given out to the bands and/or friends. I was lucky enough to get this one from the band directly. Thanks Ayal!
Orange/White – out of 200.
Yellow/Green Split – out of 300
Blue/Grey Swirl – out of 500
Holding On For Brighter Days LP – Released by Endless Quest Records. Two different colors. This release in particular has some history and meaning to me. I first ordered the record from the label directly and this is what started my now long-standing friendship with Marcus A. who runs the label. Marcus and I share similar tastes in music especially in hardcore and punk and we both have an affinity for all things 27. He’s not just some dude who has a label who released their album. He’s a true fan of the band. A fan to the point where he has upped me in getting his hands on some rare releases I do not have. Marcus is also the man, myth, and legend behind The Endless Quest blog, which I will admit has always been an inspiration on how to write for a records blog. The label itself has been dormant for some time but hopefully will return to activity sooner than not.
Green Glitter – Numbered out of 105. Yes, that is real glitter in the wax. No, it does not make the record sound gritty.
Amber Glitter – Out of 356. Also has glitter in the wax.
Test Press – Numbered out of 27. After a year or so of communicating back and forth with Marcus, we worked out a trade and he was gracious enough to help me add to my collection with these.
“Rejected” Test Press – Numbered out of 25.
I have an extra special 1/1 cover of the release. Kinda. When 27 toured with Minus the Bear (who I’m also a huge fan of) in 2008, they had a few dates in Florida. I made it a point to go to at least two of the stops. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank them for the music and for also being the nicest people ever. Up to that point I had been corresponding with the band via MySpace and they were always super-nice, especially Maria. Much to my surprise and excitement, they dedicated the song “April” to me on both nights that I saw them. I had mentioned to them earlier on the first night how it was my favorite song of theirs. So needless to say it was completely unexpected to not only hear the song in their setlist but also hear my name and that it’s dedicated to me from the stage. After the show, I thanked them to no end.
On the second night I saw them perform, it happened to be election night. At the end of the night, as people were leaving the venue, I hung out with the band at their merch table and it was known then that Obama had won the election. I picked up some merch as you would at any show of a band you fully support, and asked Maria, Terri, and Ayal to sign the record jacket. A bit cheesy and fanboyish…but hey, it’s fun. And they humored me and obliged.
October Knows / Another Hand 7” – Gold. Unknown press. Undergroove Records.
27 / Gardenbox / Total Fucking Destruction split 7” – White. Out of 333. Reproductive Records. This one is also another excellent packaging job as it is die-cut and letterpressed covers. The letterpressing and packaging were done by Interrobang Letterpressing of Jamaica Plain, MA. They do awesome letterpress work and most recently they did the vinyl pressing of ISIS’ Live V 2xLP.
After some time I noticed on some copies of the split, that even though the pressing run was all on white, there were two different color labels on some: blue and silver.
Oh yeah…I also have a test press for the split.
Damn. That was a long blog post. Whew!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I love this band.
27 just released a new album, Brittle Divinity, on Reproductive Records. It is only available on CD right now but a vinyl version should be forthcoming in the very near future. From what I hear, the packaging for it will be stupendous. And that makes me happy. As well as new music from them of course. Hopefully they will tour for it and make their way to Florida. If not, I will gladly make my way to Boston for a show. Or two.