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Long awaited Bars Of Gold (Members of Bear Vs Shark, Wildcatting) debut Album: Of Gold

By ; June 17, 2010 at 4:04 PM 

First things first, a bit of the back-story.

Bear vs. Shark only released two albums. Each is fantastic in its own right, highlighted by the critically acclaimed 2005’s Terrohawk , an indie/post-hardcore record at once chaotic, energetic, jazzy, emotional, soothing and melodic. Drawing comparisons to At the Drive In, Fugazi, Cursive and Mission of Burma, Bear Vs. Shark was a band that griped you with its energy, sustained you with its complexities and had limitless potential. Sadly the band ended their far too brief tenure shortly after the release of Terrorhawk in December of 2005. Bear Vs Shark was a band deeply loved by those who came across their music, yet still vastly deserved a much wider audience than it drew during its hay day.

Meanwhile, original Bear Vs Shark drummer, Brandon Moss, (who was involved more primarily on the first LP) and three talented Michigan musicians (Nick Jones, Ben Audette, Scotty Iulianelli) formed Wildcatting, an instrumental four piece with several releases under their belt. Known for their spontaneous shows, tortuous noise-pop riffs and endless energy, Wildcatting built a strong following of their own in Michigan and beyond.

Now the juicy details:

In the years that followed Bear Vs Shark’s break up, numerous side projects emerged, but few seemed to take strong foothold. That is, until now with the emergence of Bars of Gold.

Bars of Gold is a Michigan based five piece that is essentially the members of Wildcatting with the addition of Marc Paffi, Bear Vs Shark’s charismatic, anarchic, manic vocalist. Paffi, as a vocalist, has the ability to sing like a man possessed, displaying the talent and the vocal ability to bellow his lungs out and than suddenly shift textures to a soft croon, leaving the listener mesmerized and clinging to his every word.

Bars of Gold’s debut album is fittingly titled Of Gold and was recorded in the Summer/Autumn of 2009. It is to be released on August 24th on Friction Records in vinyl or digital format.

The album art has also been released (pictured above) and was designed by Paffi himself.

Expect Bars of Gold to be more than simply the sum of its parts of these two now defunct bands, but rather something new entirely. Judging from early preview tracks and the first single “Hustle”, the sound is melodic and raspy (think maybe MC5 if sung by a highly caffeinated Tom Waits) with complex often jarring instrumentation, abrupt beaks and tons of fiery energy. Or as the band describes it, “smooth, but with a kick”. These early preview tracks still contains Paffi’s passionate vocals and one can expect the album to contain moments, such as on Cannibals (available on their Myspace page) that are a bit calmer, more jazzy, harmonious, and have a ambiance the borders on that of a ballad, giving the tracks a bit of a Modest Mouse feel.

Although this is a new direction for this group of talented Michigan musicians, the feel of this album will certainly be well received by fans of the work of both previous outfits. And thus for not only the albums familiar tone, but also the chance to hear Paffi bellow on new tracks, and a set of fresh musical textures, I expect great things from this album.

Of Gold Track listing:
1 Boss Level
2 Heaven Has A Heater
3 Birds
4 The Hustle
5 ……….
6 Doctors & Lawyers
7 Up, Up, Up
8 Cannibals

As of yet, no extensive tour dates have been planned, but a record release shows has been scheduled for September: One in Detroit, MI on the 10th (venue TBD) and a second the 11th at Founders in Grand Rapids, MI.

Bars of Gold is also freely distributing a bootleg of their first show from back in March of ’09, which you can download here.

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