by Tim Den
Assemblage V1.0 is Grey Two-Eleven’s first step toward the label/new media company’s goal of creating an innovative home for music, visual art, and multimedia. Strange, then, that most of the 20 videos featured on the DVD are fairly old (some of the bands no longer exist), but the intention comes through in the eyebrow-raising menus and chronology options. Granted, the DVD isn’t breaking as many molds as the mission statement would like, but the production certainly is clean and fluid.
As for the videos themselves, most are numbingly cliché. But then again, I didn’t expect much from most of the bands featured. I’d say more than half have the same dance moves, same breakdowns in their songs, same terrible yelping vocal melody, same “trying to make face look like the Scream mask while singing” (Glasseater) idiotic look. It’s almost painful to sit through the same raised-elbow-downstroking, holding-the-mic-sidways cookie-cutter bullshit, especially Open Hand (boy band calculated guitar twirls), The Bled (hipster hair and stage antics), and Poison The Well (every hardcore formula in the book). It’s a relief, then, that Assemblage V1.0 offers respite in the form of entries from The Jealous Sound, The Weakerthans, Rainer Maria, and Ultimate Fakebook (great take on Fight Club; classic fucking rock riff). Sure, not all of ’em are feasts for the eyes, but at least the songs are great and the bands don’t spend the entire four minutes posing for the camera. This is supposed to be alternative music, a notion long lost on the incoming generation who’re all too eager to play the rockstar game, even in the small pond of indie rock.
With pluses and minuses – some of which Grey Two-Eleven are not responsible for – Assemblage V1.0 is a curious introduction to the newly formed company. It will be a few more releases before the world can safely say if the mission statement has been met.