So last time I wrote an article about a Pittsburgh band, it came with relative ease. I liked Red Hands’ music but I didn’t personally know anybody in the group (although I plan on meeting Tyler Kirin very soon for an epic karaoke battle that may destroy Pittsburgh). Writing about October is a little trickier for me. I know these guys personally. We’ve partied together. Jake and I rode the same school bus and I will forever remember his two-shoulder-straps, trombone-case-carrying swag. Nate taught me the ins and outs of not getting ripped off when I bought weed my freshman year in English Lit 101 at CCBC. I currently work with Brendan and have had a couple philosophical conversations with him. I’ve shared responsibilities with Chris as a pizza delivery driver/kitchen bitch, spent a drunken Birthday night on his couch after sharing a fuckpit with him and his girlfriend at Lava Lounge and he drove me to my parents’ house when I thought my dad was having a heart-attack. So, yeah, I’m biased.
That being said, these guys kick ass. Tremendous, copious amounts of ass. They’ve honed their sound to a razor-sharp point over the last decade or so. The crowds at their live shows are always packed in like sardines, head-banging zombie sardines. They’re very loud and aggressive in concert, standing in sort of a circle formation as they play. They’re always in constant, subtle communication with each other through movements that only come from really knowing each other very well.
If you knew them, these are some of the most humble, kind-hearted dudes offstage you’ll ever meet. But Chris sounds like a demon when he screams and Lemmy-esque at times when he sings and Brendan’s angry growl will make you shit your pants. Instrumentally, they fall somewhere under the metal banner. I’d rather you just listen than me try to explain what they sound like.
Sidenote: I was going to go into saying how October has changed so much over the years and has moved through their punk/post-hardcore stages into having a sludge/stoner/doom sound. But I don’t like to start genre-classifying bands much further beyond rock or metal. Why? As seminal 80’s butt-rockers Ratt(they earned that classification and I can safely say that I don’t think it will be changing anytime soon) sang, “Round and round, what comes around goes around, I’ll show you why…dig.” Labeling a band serves as nothing more than a pigeon-holing process. It limits their potential for creativity. Gentrifying music also causes a fan to expect a certain thing when he or she hears a band and it almost always sets up disappointment. Either the band doesn’t sound like what they were supposed to sound like, they’re copping another band’s style, they can’t step out of that genre in future writing or they’re expected to dress or act a certain way. It’s assimilation through deconstruction; how’s that for circular logic?
Below are a handful of videos in reverse chronological order that I think well-illustrate October’s evolution through the years, including a live performance, a music video and some good tunes.
Here’s a clip from a recent show at the 31st Street Pub.
Here’s the very well made video for Big Dummy, sans vocals. Vocals have become more regular in the last two years for October and have improved vastly in a short amount of time.
Winter Sunrise is a single from October’s six song release. It’s title is perfect since in the first 35 seconds of this song I envision a Viking waking up in his cave in Valhalla, stretching, then looking out from a mountain top and bellowing, “WINTER SUNRISE!”
Hillside Motif is an anthemic battle cry for Beaver County kids. If you don’t like this song, you suck.
Just to give a blast from the past, here’s how different October used to sound several years ago. This song most definitely shows the punk roots of the scene at the time but as it breaks down you can sneak a peek at the future. You can listen to the rest of this old release on YouTube, I love it. It’s kind of all over the place stylistically and reminds me a bit of Thrice, then again, Thrice never adhered to any particular genre either.
October has been playing a lot of shows lately and has been reinvigorated over the last year or so to really make a grab at success. You can purchase their recent self-titled EP, which was appropriately released on Halloween of 2011, here: http://october1.bandcamp.com/album/october/
October’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/October/175192862523177/
October’s Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/october1/