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 Post subject: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:38 pm 
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As a dickhead Northeastern liberal college boy, my impulse when it comes to North Carolinian sludgers Weedeater is to see their dirt-worshiping malevolence as some form of high art. This held true with 2007’s excellent God Luck and Good Speed, but perhaps the drive has never been so present as it is with their latest, Jason… the Dragon. An album born of blown-off toes and broken bones, it’s Weedeater’s fourth overall, second for Southern Lord, and backed by the formidable and live-sounding production of the venerable Steve Albini, it does a hell of a job marrying Weedeater’s aural fuck-all to a tradition of creatively naturalist Southern nihilism that goes back to Delta blues and Robert Johnson. For their part, Weedeater play that up on a song like “Palms of Opium,” where it’s mainly the drugs keeping the track from being all-out acoustic blues – frontman/bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins’ vocal delivery, though somewhat dialed back, is another key factor – and they seem to make the most out of the growing mythology of Southern metal. Whether that’s conscious or not, I haven’t a fucking clue, but for the 34-minute duration of Jason… the Dragon, it sure works.

Weedeater’s time-tested formula of “if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing on NyQuil” is in full effect throughout Jason… the Dragon, and Collins’ bass drives many of the band’s plundering grooves, like that of the memorable “Long Gone” or the six-minute centerpiece title-track, noises that sound like either he or guitarist Dave Shepherd bumping a microphone popping here and there, as on earlier, faster cuts “Hammerhandle” and “Mancoon.” The aforementioned “Palms of Opium” hits as an appropriate change of pace after “Jason… the Dragon,” giving a Ween-style air of weirdness to the album where intro “The Great Unfurling,” with its sampled preaching, more or less just affirmed the overarching Southern-ness. More than the clever plays on expectation, however, what Weedeater genuinely do better on Jason… the Dragon than they’ve ever done before, is write good songs. God Luck and Good Speed had a couple standouts in its titular opener or “Dirt Merchant,” but almost across the board, Jason… the Dragon is built on a foundation of solid songwriting. To be fair, “Long Gone” and “Turkey Warlock” were included on the Crushers Killers Destroyers II compilation in 2004, but as Collins spews the lines on the latter, “Too bad, nice try/So sad, no lie/I think much less of you/But you know how I do,” in his now-trademark dry-throated rasp, it’s not just a novelty for its lack of bullshit, it’s also a catchy verse.

The flow of Jason… the Dragon is helped by the fact that the four songs after the intro and before “Palms of Opium” – namely “Hammerhandle,” “Mancoon,” “Turkey Warlock” and “Jason… the Dragon” – all bleed into each other, one to the next, making Side A sound more or less live, so that when the quirk of the record’s back half with “Palms of Opium” or drummer Keith Kirkum’s minute-long solo “March of the Bipolar Bear” comes on after “Long Gone,” you’re already so engrossed in what Weedeater are doing, you’re simply pulled along for the ride. For what it’s worth, “Long Gone” offers another catchy hook and groove, and were Jason… the Dragon’s high point not still to come, “Long Gone” would almost certainly be it. The track doesn’t even come out of the speakers, it just oozes from the player. There should be a word for that… We’ll call it… “sludge.”

I just made that up. Just now.

The building tom hits of “March of the Bipolar Bear” set up hefty album highlight “Homecoming,” on which Shepherd’s guitar takes a somewhat brighter tone – more new territory for Weedeater – that plays excellently with Collins’ vocals, delivering not only the best riff of Jason… the Dragon, but another example of the band’s expanding reach. For this trio, to be doing sludge well is nothing new at this point. Weedeater has proven both on record and on stage that they can deliver pissed-off attitude atop a bed of drenching fuzz, but to hear them branch out beyond what they’ve done before on “Homecoming” is refreshing and encouraging, showing some agency in their process and development in their style. And the song fucking rules too, in case I haven’t made that clear.

Maybe that’s what works best about Jason… the Dragon. It has its puns and its riffs, but more than that, it builds on what has always been appealing about Weedeater without sacrificing that same appeal. The plucked-banjo and rain finale “Whiskey Creek” gives way to silence after about two and a half minutes, leading to a hidden track of bluesy harpsichord (one has to wonder of those words have ever appeared next to each other before) that wraps up the album. They may have gotten more adventurous in the last few years, but Weedeater still have a firm sense of what makes them who they are, and that comes across both on the straightforward first half and the more exploratory Side B of Jason… the Dragon. If you’ve never been able to get into Weedeater, some of these new (or at least more prevalent) elements might change your mind, and if you’re a longtime fan, you don’t need me to tell you that this should be one of your most anticipated releases of 2011. I don’t know whether or not it’s high art, but it’s the best record Weedeater have put together yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:29 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:48 am
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I've got a promo of this. Quick question - does your copy have weird freaking popping/burping noises on it, that I can't seem to figure out if they're supposed to be there or not because they're very audible in the recording, or do I have a defective copy???

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:07 pm 
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Dinger wrote:
I've got a promo of this. Quick question - does your copy have weird freaking popping/burping noises on it, that I can't seem to figure out if they're supposed to be there or not because they're very audible in the recording, or do I have a defective copy???


No, they're there. That's the "bumping the mic" noise I mentioned. I thought they were on purpose.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:09 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:13 pm
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Release date?

Maybe the popping noises are there to discourage filesharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:16 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:17 pm
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JkFlesh wrote:
Release date?

Maybe the popping noises are there to discourage filesharing.



March 1 is what I read somewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:45 am
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I'm dyin' to hear this.


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:22 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:53 pm
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Location: Asheville, North Carolina
They're selling the CD on the tour. I was out of cash by the time I checked out the merch table in Charlotte, but I'm sure people will get a hold of it soon enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:57 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:48 am
Posts: 1637
Cool, playing with them Friday, maybe I can score a real copy and see if it has those fucking noises still...

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:39 pm 
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I'm anxious to find out! I asked Dixie about it in the interview and he had no idea what I was talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:53 pm
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Location: Asheville, North Carolina
h.p. taskmaster wrote:
I'm anxious to find out! I asked Dixie about it in the interview and he had no idea what I was talking about.

I dunno. They were there on the mp3 of Mancoon that they released as a preview or whatever. They weren't the most distracting thing ever, but it still would be nice if they were gone from the final mix.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:44 am 
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reefer wrote:
h.p. taskmaster wrote:
I'm anxious to find out! I asked Dixie about it in the interview and he had no idea what I was talking about.

I dunno. They were there on the mp3 of Mancoon that they released as a preview or whatever. They weren't the most distracting thing ever, but it still would be nice if they were gone from the final mix.


It's not. At least not that I can hear.

Solid review dude. Fucking amazing album.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:53 pm
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Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Finally heard this too and I can say that the popping noises are gone, including on Mancoon where they were on the promo download. Must have just been a pre-thing to prevent leaking, I guess.

In other news, "Palms of Opium" may be the feel good song of the year.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:36 pm 
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The tracks i've heard so far are killer. This band never disappoints me.

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:33 pm 
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Jason...The Dragon is easily becoming my new war cry song of the year.

"Burn the god damn flag!"

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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:53 pm
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Yessir! Another solid Weedeater album. They've never disappointed me.


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:36 pm 
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Fun live, dull recorded.

Overrated.


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:22 pm
Posts: 25
Was that click/popping noise just on Palms of Opium?
I just bought a copy, & there is a really annoying click on the right hand channel all the way through Palms ofOpium.
It is really annoying :(

Hmm, it is also on the sound samples from Amazon.com, maybe its supposed to be there?


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:20 pm 

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fucking amazing album.


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 Post subject: Re: Weedeater - Jason... the Dragon
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:49 am 
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It didn't hit me as hard as their old stuff


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