Hermano, Only a Suggestion (2002)
Hermano was and to a certain extent remains a band John Garcia formed after the dissolution of his prior outfit, Kyuss. One imagines that was a hard rebound. Hermano formed in 1998. By then, Slo Burn — Garcia‘s first post-Kyuss band — were done, and Unida getting together was roughly concurrent. Recorded in 1999 and 2000, Hermano‘s debut album, …Only a Suggestion, was eventually released by Tee Pee Records in 2002, and at just barely 28 minutes long, it’s always felt somewhat understated as a first offering. I wouldn’t expect or even necessarily want an hour-long epic, but both of Only a Suggestion‘s follow-ups, 2004’s Dare I Say… and 2007’s Into the Exam Room… were 43 minutes long, so even by comparison to their own work, there’s a significant difference. All the more reason …Only a Suggestion qualifies as a quick kick in the ass.
In addition to finding Garcia at the top of his game in terms of the powerful delivery that made Kyuss‘ later work and Slo Burn‘s Amusing the Amazing such landmarks in his career, the guitars of David Angstrom and Mike Callahan, the bass/keys of Dandy Brown and the drums of Steve Earl came together immediately in cuts like “5 to 5” and the sleek-grooving “Alone Jeffe.” The crux of …Only a Suggestion arrives in its midsection with “Senor Moreno’s Introduction” and “Senor Moreno’s Plan,” but the rolling nod of opener “The Bottle” sets a tone of heavy desert groove that the rest of the record seems only too happy to build on, and the push of “Manager’s Special” and the hook of “Landetta (Motherload)” offer standout moments that are both memorable and prescient for what would continue to develop as staples of Garcia‘s style all the way up to his 2014 self-titled solo debut (review here), arguably the most him moment of his career to-date.
As noted, Hermano‘s latest album is now coming up on nine years old. Into the Exam Room… was something of a departure from Hermano‘s two prior outings, with a fuller sound and more depth of arrangement, particularly in the vocals. It remains my favorite post-Kyuss recorded performance for Garcia as a singer — though I’ll admit some stiff competition in that regard from Vista Chino‘s 2013 debut/maybe-swansong, Peace (review here). That album was much rawer in its production but all the more natural for that, where Into the Exam Room… (which I assume will close out a week around here at some point; maybe next year to mark a decade since it came out) had a kind of sweeping effect on the listener. I bring it up because there were rumors about a fourth Hermano album in the works for a 2016 release, as well as a second solo LP from Garcia, which seems more likely, and I can’t help but wonder which direction a new record would go after so long, whether they’d strip back to …Only a Suggestion-style desert rock or continue to build on where they were in 2007. I guess we’ll find out if it ever happens.
Hope you enjoy, as always.
Today was my last day at my job. I resigned on Monday, after last Friday accepting a position at the toy company Hasbro. They’re located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which cuts about an hour a day off my commute between actual distance and direction of traffic, it’s more money, better work — I’ll be copywriting as part of a team in their Games division — half-day Fridays, prospects or at very least basic potential for a future there, and access to the company toy store.
For the first time in a long while, I’m excited on any level about professional employment. Would I rather be retired and live in the woods, spending my days writing, keeping house and sipping homemade iced tea? Obviously, but as I don’t live in the magical pretend-time plane of existence where that’s possible for me at age 34, I need to make the best of what I got. New job starts on Tuesday, June 28. I thought it wiser to give myself an extra day coming back from Maryland Doom Fest, which is the prior weekend.
Until then? I plan on decompressing a lot. The work I’ve been doing for the past year has taken a lot out of me. More than I realized really until I went to Roadburn in April and remembered how good life could actually be at its best and how far from that I was spending most of my time. I’ll look to catch up on not sitting in traffic — though it did take me two hours to get home after leaving the office early and I am going back into Boston later to go to the Obelisk-presented Gozu record release show, so maybe not off to the best start there — and do some writing, some housecleaning, catching up on things like the mail, which has been piling up, going to the beach and spending some time with my family. The Patient Mrs. called it “funemployment,” having apparently read same somewhere on the internet. Sounds good to me.
I had originally slated the next Quarterly Review to take place what’s now the week I’ll be starting my new job, so yeah, that’s not happening. Rather than push it back, to when I’ll be in the thick of getting adjusted to a new office and new tasks, I’ve decided to push it forward, to when I’ll be sitting on my ass anyway. I’ll be finishing setting up the preliminaries this weekend — so I can start actually setting it up after that — and then we’ll kick it off on June 20.
In the meantime, next week I’ve got an interview and video premiere (both! in one post!) for Greenleaf, as well as reviews of tonight’s Gozu release show and records by West, Space & Love, Sergio Ch., and hopefully Surya Kris Peters. Also new videos from Blues Pills and Mother Mooch, news about Monkey3‘s impending album — spoiler alert: there is one — and much more that I’m already behind on. It’s going to be an absolute blast and I’m looking forward to being able to give The Obelisk my complete attention, at least for a couple weeks before the next version of real life kicks in.
Thanks everyone for checking in this week. Hope you have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.