This EP came hot on the heels of their debut record. It reworks a couple of older songs and has a largely improvised jam as well. It sounds pretty different from the previous record.
From the Constellation website: Discussion of a tour-only release that would grab a couple of the band’s self-recorded early tunes and commit them to vinyl shifted by the end of spring towards a realization that Ought might update this material to reflect how the songs have evolved on stage and in concert. … This yielded new recordings of two early pieces, “Pill” and “New Calm Pt. 2” (the self-recorded 2012 versions of which remain available on Ought’s Bandcamp) along with the brand new, more experimental and largely instrumental “New Calm Pt. 3.”. The non-album track “Waiting” from the More Than Any Other Day sessions (and the first tune to be given out via Constellation when we announced the Ought signing) rounds out this 24-minute EP…. In light of this new/freshly recorded material, it seemed unfair to restrict the Once More With Feeling… EP to tour-only status.
“Pill” sounds unlike anything else they’ve done. It is mellow with Beeler Darcy’s (note the name change) singing as opposed to chanting/speaking voice. I like that it is a fairly conventional sounding song and the way it builds slowly. There’s a great bass line that enters after a bout 2 minutes. The song feels meandering but it never wanders much from its mellow path (with some louder chords in between verses). By around 4 minutes the song begins to build with a noisy solo and smashing drums that bring out the punkiness of the band. (That solo!). But they never lose the basic momentum of the song—and the bass keeps things constant with that riff at the end of each segment. This song also appears on their New Calm EP from 2012 which you can hear here).
“New Calm Pt 2” is a super catchy rocking song. It starts with him saying “Oh I love this one.” This is basically a song that encourages the audience to participate. He tells us, “Hear me now I am dead inside. That’s the refrain.” It’s a fun catchy bouncy riff repeated through pretty much the whole song. The lyrics are pretty strange and seem arbitrary but are a lot of fun. “Who invited Paul Simon? I didn’t invite him.” “I think everybody’s here now. Everybody put your arms in the air. That’s the generally accepted sign for not having a care.” The song “ends” for about two minutes of him encouraging everyone to sing along to the “Da da da dah da da” section. “It’s the part where we all sing together.” “I have the microphone but you can sing it as well….” And about ten times he says, “last time” then sings it again.
Interestingly, the original version of this song (on their bandcamp site) is much slower but has all of the same words
“New Calm Pt 3,” is the exact opposite of Pt2. The lyrics are spoken slowly (“That is some good clear water an ocean of air rushes over your head”) while he guitar is a wall of noise and chaos. The drums are loud in the mix with a lot of crashing cymbals and high hats. The last three minutes are just some noisy guitar sounds. And the notes say: “New Calm Pt. 3” ‘was recorded during this EP session, taken from an 20 or so minute long (maybe longer, can’t remember lol) improvised piece.’ And it seems like it.
“Waiting” is a faster, more propulsive song—with a cool bass line and alt 90s guitars. The song grows in intensity with a wild screeching solo. This EP is not as compelling overall as the album, but it has some fantastic moments, especially “Part 2.”
Matt May: Keys
Ben Stidworthy: Bass
Tim Keen: Drums
Tim Beeler Darcy: Vocals, Guitar
[READ: September 22, 2016] Assassination Classroom 2
Book 2 opens with a handy “the story thus far” which nicely sums up some important details from Book 1:
A mysterious creature showed up in our junior high classroom claiming that he had attacked the moon and promising to destroy the earth next March. And then…he took over as our teacher. The leaders of the world had no choice but to rely on the students of Class 3-E to do the job. For a reward of ten million dollars. Will the students of the so called End class, filled with loser sand rejects be able to kill their target by graduation?
Tabby was interested in this series–the cover of the big smiling Koro Sensei is pretty appealing. But it is rated for teens and is all about killing your teacher. I didn’t think I should let her. Well, book 2 gets a bit more intense. In part, this is because there is a new professional assassin hired. Irina Jelavich is a sexy lady with intense cleavage (which the junior high boys are well aware of). She has killed many many people. And Koro Sensei–despite not being human–seems to be not immune to her charms. Shiota notes that his 5th weakness is boobs.
Despite her aggressive flirting (or maybe because of it) the kids don’t much like her. Also because they want to win the $10 million themselves–not for her. And she’s not very nice. She tells them not to call her Miss Irina–she’s not a teacher after all (even though she is pretending to be one to blend). So they call her Ms Hella-bitch (wonder how that worked in Japanese?) which gets her super angry. But Ms Jelavich has it all figured out. She plans to lure Koro Sensei to the shed where pleasure and pain awaits him. Of course he’s not so easily fooled. And she is made to appear ridiculous (I won’t speculate on what actually happened to her).
But her failure emboldens the students who are no longer impressed by her. And soon she is made to actually agree to be a languages teacher–being an assassin she has learned how to say key phrases in multiple languages.
A new wrinkle appears in the book, though. Koro Sensei has been working very hard helping each student succeed in his or her own way–he has even cloned himself (the students are concerned since he seems exhausted). And when the school gathers for an assembly–rather than 3-E being put in its place and mocked, the students seem to be feeling pretty good about themselves.
And that’s when the principal steps in. He lets Koro Sensei know in no uncertain terms that 3-E must fail their tests–that’s how the other students succeed–through fear of being like 3-E. Koro Sensei has other ideas though. He tells the class that if the 3-E students don’t score to a certain percentage he will flatten the school. But he doesn’t know how serious the principal is about the status quo. As Koro is preparing his students, the principal is trying to modify things. This is upsetting Koro (and don’t forget that the students are still trying to kill him as well).
The last two chapters of the book see the students of a field trip to Kyoto. And things change mightily when the students are away from school. For one thing, they aren’t under the protection of the school–against strangers or, worse yet, aggressive fellow students who want them in their place.
And as the book ends a new character is introduced, a psychic, Saiki, and he is here for a sweet bun–the very one that Koro Sensei wants to buy as well. The book end with the two of them having a very strange bonding moment. I don’t know how this story can be stretched out into a number of volumes but clearly he has a lot of twists and turns planned ahead for us.
This book is rated T for teen. Despite the cute grinning covers, it’s not for kids..
This manga is written in the traditional style of right to left, which is fun. It is translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki with an English adaptation (whatever that means) by Bryant Turnage.