It would be hyperbole to tag this with a cheesy phrase like “the future of hardcore!” but, holy shit, it’s pretty much the most innovative record you’re likely to hear in 2008. Formed in 2002, following the break-up of vocalist Dan Yemin’s second insanely influential band, Kid Dynamite (the first being Lifetime), Paint it Black let loose Yemin’s most aggressive tendencies, relishing in their devotion to Black Flag, Bad Brains and other highlights of ’80s hardcore. With New Lexicon, however, the band have stepped out of the realm of modern classic hardcore tribute bands and launched themselves into a whole new world. Co-produced by the band, the inimitable J. Robbins and Oktopus (one-half of abstract hip-hop duo Dalek), New Lexicon takes a great hardcore record and infuses it with Oktopus’s utterly unique and occasionally bizarre post-production flourishes. A ripping collection of great hardcore songs when played loud in your bedroom becomes total headphone ear candy in a different setting, as the variety of subtle sounds on this record necessitates multiple spins on just about every music player at your disposal. This is fucking punk rock.
Were there any surprises when you got the final mix back from Oktopus?
Bassist Andy Nelson: What he initially gave us sounded completely insane. We spent a couple of days reeling him back in. I actually really liked some of it. There was one song in particularly I fought really hard to have on the record but I was voted down. We’ll probably put it online or something at some point. There’s actually a version of the record that’s only drums, bass and all the post-production stuff. Not all of it works, but some of it sounds insanely good.
Did you approach writing this record different knowing the kind of work that would be going into the post-production?
Not really. There were only a few parts we left open, knowing we’d want to add some stuff in post. Mostly, we just practiced a lot more. We’d practice hours and hours for days on end. We would do crazy stuff — well, crazy for us — like play all the songs really quiet and really slow. It seems like with hardcore or punk too much attention gets paid to velocity. You’re so worried about getting to the next riff that you don’t really pay attention to the one you’re playing. We ended up going into the studio so extremely prepared that it made the process really easy. (Jade Tree)