New Lexicon (Jade Tree)
by Tim Den
Like in most art forms, the masters only get better with age (someone tell radio programmers, record execs, music directors at TV shows, etc.). Our man Dan Yemin, having just proven that resurrecting a legendary band can actually be done, has once again shown the world that older musicians simply write better music. Paint It Black is/has been Yemin’s “main band” since before (and now alongside) Lifetime got back together, and on their third record, they present a collection that’ll most likely be as lauded as Hello Bastards. New Lexicon is Yemin and company’s definitive statement on the beauty of not only hardcore, but a plethora of outsider, real alternative music. In a time when hardcore cares more about falling in line with its self-set guidelines, and alternative music is reduced to nothing more than Williamsburg’s spineless hacks, New Lexicon takes all that is vital, honest, innovative, ugly, and transcendent about underground music – with the emphasis on classic American hardcore, of course – and turns it into everything you’d need and want from the culture. This is brains, street smarts, bruised knuckles, and poetry raised on the likes of Circle Jerks, The Jesus Lizard, Swans, and Nomeansno, chock-full of frenzied acceleration (no Beat Doctor or Auto Tune here, thanks) bordering on falling apart. It coils, it strikes, it whirlpools, it broods. It is the living, breathing embodiment of the underground’s 30 years of blood and sweat. If you think that pioneering teenagers across the U.S. started influential bands in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, only to end up with Fall Out Boy down the evolutionary chain, then you desperately need New Lexicon. People who understand this record are the ones who’ve lived by a different vocabulary and overall lifestyle than those who, along the line, bought into Nirvana, Green Day, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Deerhunter, etc. This is not for the anorexic pretty boy moonlighting in a Joy Division cover band: This is the real shit for people who’ve brawled in gutters and enjoy picking grit out of their teeth after listening to dirty fucking records.
The heartless need not apply. New Lexicon is a milemarker for how far the underdogs have come, how much they’ve learned in the process, and how far they can still go.