Black Eyes (photo by Shawn Brackbill)
Black Eyes, the influential experimental/art punk/post punk band, announced late last year that they were re-uniting and re-issuing their 2003 self-titled debut on Dischord to celebrate its 20th anniversary. They also announced that they would be playing a short run of re-union shows, including one at Market Hotel on 4/8, which is one of our most anticipated shows of the first half of 2023.
They have now revealed the other acts for their run of shows which will include the experimental jazz/drone duo, Blacks’ Myths on direct support for all shows, as well as openers Ecstatic International in DC and Trophy Hunt in Brooklyn, along with Pissed Jeans in Philadelphia, who will co-headline.
Additionally, the band has announced a zine, Speaking In Tongues, as well as archival recordings of demos for each album along with live recordings from two 2003 shows. They share about the zine and recordings:
“Speaking In Tongues: Black Eyes 2001-2004″ is a 44 page zine that features an extensive oral history of the band, reflections and essays from friends and organizers in DC who we worked with, interviews by the band members with groups we played with and more. It first will be on sale IRL at our shows, then online afterwards. You can preorder it on BC now.
As part of this work, we’re also putting up some archival recordings on Bandcamp: demos for both albums and live recordings from SF and Amsterdam in 2003. They’re available for preorder now as well and will be released after the shows. A purchase of a zine comes with a free download of all four albums.
This one is a labor of love, can’t wait to share it with you.”
Pre-orders are up on Bandcamp, and for only $19 with shipping for the zine and download of four albums worth of material, it’s quite the steal. Several of the the tracks are available to listen to now, two per release, including the demo of “Deformative” which is the band’s most well known song.
Scroll down to see artwork and more detailed statements on each release and head to Bandcamp for pre-orders.
“These recordings were done in preparation for our S/T album in July of 2002. Ian [MacKaye] had offered to work with us on a full length and wanted some demos of the songs as they stood. As you can hear, a number of these didn’t make the cut or got radically reworked (or recycled…the number of tracks with lyrics that ended up with wildly different music/songs is substantial). But it’s interesting to hear how things evolved and where we were as a band such a short time before heading into the studio. Any songs that are on the S/T that weren’t recorded here were written after discussing these demos with Ian and deciding that we needed some new songs to go with the ones that made the cut. Regarding the songs with just numbers as titles:as a band we referred to our songs in chronological order while we sorted out lyrics and titles. Thus 1 was the first song, 2 the second, etc…This was how we referred to these songs and how we wrote them on our setlists. This can be seen/decoded in the liner notes of the S/T LP and on the cover of “Cough” as well. The tracks that didn’t make the cut only are known by their numbers,though we did keep a few with the numbers as the actual titles as well (Nine and Ten).
Recordings were made in Hugh’s studio in his parent’s basement and were engineered/mixed by Hugh with tape op help from Paul Jickling and Matt Vanek.”
“This session was done in the Summer of 2003 between our first full U.S. tour and our Fall U.S./European tours. These recordings were not originally intended as demos but were made as possible recordings for a split 12” we were planning with the band Need New Body from Philadelphia. They were another percussive and strange punk-adjacent art band who we had met and connected with when we played at MacRock in Fredericksburg, VA in the Spring of 2003. For one reason or another that record didn’t end up happening and these songs turned into the bulk of “Cough,” which we recorded in January of 2004. These recordings were done in our practice space (Daniel’s parents basement) and were engineered and mixed by Hugh. It’s hard to recall if the instrumental tracks were purposefully done as instrumentals or if they were waiting for vocal overdubs (most likely). Either way it is interesting to hear them in a different form than what they became,and closer to how we would have played them live.”
Live in San Francisco 5/23/2003
“This is a rough and raucous live set from just about the midway point of our first full U.S. tour. We had already been playing very regularly live throughout 2003 and were “road tight” by 2 weeks into the tour. Songs were played at ferocious tempos with almost a telekinetic tightness. Even though we were touring shortly after the release of our first album, more than half of our sets were made up of songs that would later become “Cough.” We immediately integrated any new material into our sets often as soon as it was ready to be played live. This show took place in a short-lived, cramped storefront gallery on Valencia Street in the Mission.”
Live in Amsterdam 11/5/2003
“This was the first show of our European tour, which started less than 2 weeks after the completion of our 7+ week North American tour. It was a live-on-the-radio recording session/show for 3VOOR12 with an interview component as well (sadly not archived). We spent our first day/evening in the Netherlands recovering from jet lag, adjusting to unheated squat life and traveling to Rotterdam to see Enon perform. This show took place the next night, when we were mostly fully recovered and ready to go and we hit the ground running with this energetic set. Also joining us on the bill that night was Cave In who was being tour managed by a former member of the DC band Scream who we chatted with about DC hardcore scene things over dinner (not sure if we asked about Dave Grohl but it would seem possible). Anyway it is nice to have such a well recorded live document of our road tightened set. Unfortunately there are a few digital glitches on the master of the recording, including one that cuts the end of Deformative short. Nonetheless, we’re happy to share this one.”