H. Chinaski – S/T EP

H. Chinaski

Probably the best EP by the best band no one has ever heard of, these three songs will guarantee to kick your ass. This EP contains the last songs recorded by Oshkosh, Wisc. band H. Chinaski, a trio of powerful, emotional post-hardcore rock that is so damn good, you’re going to kick yourself for never having heard of them. I know I have been, and it hurts.
So what do they sound like? On this, their last release, the band has a more angular and harder sound than their previous full-length. I’m reminded of Spy Vs. Spy without so many attempts at twisting the rhythms and beats around, and I’m reminded of Edaline without so many moments of trying to be pretty. This is definitely emo, powerful and emphatic, but H. Chinaski does something different. Their guitars are crunchier, louder, more angular, and the combination of drums and bass is more than just rhythm. Couple that with some almost screamed vocals, and you get something special.
The first song, “Parking Lot for the Club Dancer,” has moments of quieter and more melodic guitars, moments of just drums and bass, and also moments of driving guitars and screamed vocals that are just so good. And as the singer belts out, somewhere between a scream and singing, “Let’s get out of here!” you can’t help but feel he’s wishing for it with all his heart. “Learning to Burn at Lower Temperatures” starts slower, almost jazzy, with a bass groove thing going on. But it builds nicely, with the vocals almost echoed, the guitar very crunchy and pounding, and a thick atmosphere, as if the song was recorded in a big building. “The Start” is a bit more melodic, especially at the beginning, but the guitars are still pounding along, almost metallic sounding, harsh and powerful. Background vocals are used in the chorus here to great effect, and the band’s ability to go from driving and pounding to quiet and subtle is pretty amazing. The song builds to the ending, a blistering and powerful conglomerate of driving guitars, heavy bass, and perfect sung/screamed vocals. What a great ending!
I heard one H. Chinaski song about a year ago on college radio, and it made enough of an impression to have me searching this band out. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that they broke up after releasing this EP with Shellac’s Bob Weston doing the recording earlier this year, and one member is now in Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot. All the best bands break up too early, and this is definitely one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. Powerful, emotional, intense rock with a new twist, a harsher and more real sound. I love these guys, and I love these songs – the best the band recorded.