STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Pennsylvania indie rock band The Long Afternoon released its third album, An Index of Maladjustments, on August 16, 2011. The album comprises 11 original songs written and recorded between late 2009 and early 2011.
The band’s sound resembles what might happen if Tom Petty or Neil Young found themselves backed by UK art-punk godfathers Wire, or American new-wave icons Pere Ubu at their jagged, early best. It’s smart rock and roll made by and for people who are obsessed with rock and roll.
The band’s deep awareness of rock history is evident in a pair of quotes that bookend An Index of Maladjustments. The album’s first four chords give a direct nod to Texas’ garage-psych legends The 13th Floor Elevators’ “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” though the song quickly pursues a very different direction. The album’s title track, which closes the record with long, feedback-fueled drone reminiscent of The Dream Syndicate’s “Halloween,” explicitly quotes Television’s “Marquee Moon.”
The album’s songs touch on a variety of topics, both personal and political. The futility of indecisiveness is dissected in “Well I Wish You Would.” Wallowing in self-pity over events both major and minor is mocked in “So Fucking Sad.” The delirious rush of consorting with precisely the wrong kind of person is captured in “Derailer.”
Songs that tackle larger themes include “Casual Transmission,” in which officials shrug off the disastrous unintended consequences of their decisions. The album’s slowest track, “The Revolutionary,” tracks the evolution of a low-level functionary in a government that was built on–and now is threatened by–violent revolt. “The Chameleonaires” looks at class warfare through a fragmented lens, particularly the self-defeating impulse to identify with the lifestyles of the mega-rich, even as those people work against most peoples’ best interests.
A new element on Index is provided by the addition of guitarist Jean-Pierre Mulley. A veteran of Pittsburgh hardcore pioneers Circus of Death and other groups, Mulley joined the Long Afternoon shortly after the release of 2009’s Signifying Nothing. His guitar work complements and augments that of singer and primary songwriter Eston Martz, resulting in a richer range of tones and textures than on the groups first two albums. The band’s other two members are bassist Jeff Edmunds, a veteran of mod-psych band The SEEN, and drummer Greg Elliott.
One of the group’s distinguishing characteristics is its age. None of The Long Afternoon’s members are younger than 40, and while there are plenty of big-name bands churning out tired music and half-hearted retreads of their glory days well into their fifties, few bands at The Long Afternoon’s level persist in creating original rock and roll on their own terms for so long.
“We’re part of what you could call the ‘geezer indie’ wave,” says Martz, the band’s founding member. “Early on we saw that most of our musical heroes never became huge stars, and so we were never interested in working with what Joni Mitchell called the ‘star-making machinery.’ But there are a lot people out there–from Robert Pollard to Mission of Burma to Wire–who have demonstrated that you can continue making vital, exciting music on your own terms as long as you want to. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do, because we have the freedom to do it
“The Long Afternoon has never been concerned with trying to ‘make it’, so we can do what we like.”
An Index of Maladjustments was recorded at three locations. Rhythm tracks were recorded at Frigo Recording, while guitar and vocal tracks were recorded at Problematic Audio in Bellefonte, Pa and at Seven Spruces in Pine Grove Mills, Pa. It was mixed and produced by Marc Frigo and Eston Martz and mastered by Marc Frigo at Frigo Recording.
As with the group’s first two records, Index is being released on the group’s own Problematic Audio label. It is available on CD through Amazon.com and directly from Problematic at thelongafternoon.com. It also is available for download on iTunes, emusic.com, and all other major music download services.
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