Music : Today is the Day Willpower

Through the 90’s the Amphetamine Reptile label helped to launch a diverse quirky assult on the world’s eardrums. The bands, who all had origins in the punk and metal world, came to be known as noise core. My favorite of these acts is Today is the Day. Everything was outside the norm with TITD. They hailed from Nashville Tennessee, Amphetamine Repitile were shocked when they recieved the How to Win Friends and Influence People demo , “we didnt think anyone even knew what Amphetamine Reptile was south of the Mason Dixon Line” . Later TITD would become a vehicle for guitarist vocalist Steve Austin with rotating rythm sections including one line up that went on to form Mastodon, but in the early days the band held a constant line up. Brad Elrod’s prescise, dynamic , swirling drum work made the tricky mathematical changing time signitures sound organic and soulful. Bassist Mike Herrell was obsessed with The Butthole Surfers and on Willpower the art rock influence was the strongest it ever would be .
Willpower is a really special original album. In moments Austin’s guitar takes on the raspy treble tone of Steve Albini at his best, other moments it almost lulls you into a daydream with indie melody before pummeling you with bombastic riffs. Samples intercut the tracks with self help tapes , and Rebel without a Cause pilaged.
Back when I played in post hardcore bands my bandmates would dismiss Willpower as “that U2 shit”. But if it was U2 it was U2 in a parallel universe where U2 were evangelical teens who ran away to art school developed acid habits and vented at the local dive club.
Later albums Temple of the Morning Star and In the Eyes of God have moments I really truly love, but Willpower is I think a perfect album. Strong and frail, warm and cold as steel. The thumbs and the eyes, the energy and the shine, the rythm and the gift, the angel and the fist.

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