Unknown River Driver / Rations Noise – Remains / Dronestruck split LP (Different Kitchen Records / Rad Girlfriend Records / 86’d Records)

Alrighty then. A split LP from two bands I’ve no prior knowledge of whatsoever. Rations Noise is an electronic offshoot of a punk band called Rations from Long Island; formed in the wake of the demise of that band. Unknown River Driver are from somewhere in New York – information seems pretty sparse on the internet, beyond that they were apparently also formed following the demise of Rations…

OK, the packaging here is pretty nice from a design point of view. The cardstock is matte and unfinished in as far as it has no veneer or coating applied to it. The front cover of each respective side appears on each side of the sleeve. The Unknown River Driver image seems to communicate some kind of “blackened Americana” kind of vibe, whereas the Rations Noise artwork would lead me to expect some kind of Crass / Conflict inspired anarcho effort. I would of course be wrong on both counts.

Starting with the Unknown River Driver side, I’d guess that my friend Martin would refer to this as “some kind of smart-arse emo”. At the very least it’s what I’d consider to be an approach to proper post-hardcore falling somewhere between Policy of Three, a slowed down version of Red Hare, Drive Like Jehu and Faraquet. For more recent soundalikes, I’d suggest Die Hoffnung as a reference point. I suppose it’s not a million zillion miles away from Crash of Rhinos neither. It’s pretty decent, this.

On yer flipside, Rations Noise are producing something that sits to my mind somewhere between post-hardcore, post-rock and electronica of some kind. Chiefly, I’m put in mind of From Monument to Masses meets The Appleseed Cast. It’s er, OK? but not really my kind of thing. I would guess that somebody who really dug that post-everything kind of deal would probably get a lot out of this though. This snippet from the Rad Girlfriend site probably sums up pretty well what’s going on here: “RATIONS NOISE delivers a remixed collage of sonic bits taken from RATIONS’ studio, practice, and live recordings and combines them with terrifying text-to-speech exploring the effects of the US drone war from the following perspectives: Those being bombed, those doing the bombing, those trying to stop it, and those of us whose taxes pay for the bombs.”

It’s cool to see a split with vastly different sides, but I don’t think I’d see myself giving the Rations Noise side frequent spins. Unknown River Driver on the other hand, I would… Tony of Nurgle rating: 7/10

Have a blast for your good selves below:

This is available on black vinyl from Different Kitchen Records in the UK or from 86’d Records and Rad Girlfriend Records in the US

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - hopefully in the not too distant future. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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