January 21, 2008

CoCoComa – CoCoComa

Filed under: Hype,Music — ihggy @ 9:56 am

[Goner; 2007]

I have read, from a number of trusted sources on the internet, that the organ/guitar/drums trio CoCoComa is one of the loudest rock groups in Chicago, if not the country. Having never seen the band live myself, I cannot say with certainty that this is true. Listening to their records, I could definitely believe it. But their records are not their live show, so I understand that I may not be getting everything about CoCoComa that there is to get.

That said, what I have heard of the band, namely their debut LP and an earlier split EP with the Hipshakes, has given me two very different takes on how to recreate the (presumably) raw power of a CoCoComa concert in the studio. It might seem straightforward, you know, if it’s a loud, trashy garage rock band, you turn up the guitars, blow out the drums, and just basically turn the whole track into a blistering, treble-heavy mess. This is the approach used on the split EP, and I have to say that when I first heard it, I thought, “Damn, this is LOUD. I can hardly even make out the riffs, let alone the vocals.” And to me that was a good thing, because by all accounts, that is how I was supposed to be hearing this band. At the same time, though, the music didn’t really hit me too hard. The too-much-guitar approach to recording that works well for a lot of other loud bands seemed to have left them sounding somewhat souless. Still, I wanted to hear more, I wanted to understand.

So then CoCoComa comes out and I can’t help but think to myself, “Is this even the same band?” The album is heavily organ-driven. And it’s not some tinny, distorted organ that might as well be a whiny guitar, it’s a thick, meaty, propulsive organ. The drums sound pretty fat too, while the guitar kind of takes a back seat. It’s a totally different sound, there is actually a rhythm section here, and it’s relatively clean. And while it may not be as accurate a representation of the CoCoComa live sound as the other record is, it’s just as powerful of a recording. Moreso, maybe, because instead of wanting to turn it down, I just want to turn it up, and make it even louder. I wanna bang my head a bit and move around, because this is a tight, fast garage-punk record with heavy organ-driven grooves (and I can actually hear the grooves), and catchy Nuggets-style tunes. In other words, this record puts the garage in garage-punk. And hopefully one day I will see the band play and understand them and realize that maybe the guitar is supposed to play a more prominent role in the mix, and maybe they are supposed to sound trashy and treble-heavy. For now, though, I’ll take the sound on the LP, because I feel like CoCoComa is a band that wants to make me move, and that is how i like my rock and roll.

Hear assorted CoCoComa songs here:

Buy CoCoComa records here:

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