Finally the listening public are given the chance to feast upon the vast recording hoardings of the almighty Joe Preston. An early member of drone rock originators Earth, Preston then left after being given the opportunity to play bass with the Melvins with whom he featured on classics like Lysol before making departure. Not content with these achievements and other collaborations with those such as Sunn O))) Preston recently added High on Fire to his impressive CV, becoming the new bass man for the recent Blessed Black Wings. Concurrently to all this history though Preston has been making music with Thrones, or rather as Thrones and the unreleased music from this project (a few releases have appeared over the last ten years) is what is collected here on A Day Late, A Dollar Short.
classic dirty, sludge
The exposition is impressive offering awesome range and variety. Opener “The Duckling” is a classic dirty, sludge track whose obviously minimal production values, typical of the whole album lend greatly to the overall dirge Preston takes a decidedly doom route on several other songs too such as the lengthy epic “Obolus” (of which a longer version can be found on previous release Sperm Whale on Kill Rock Stars). The second track offers a cover of Ultravox’s “Young Savage” which comes off sounding like classic early bootleg Nirvana. There are similarities to the more upbeat material often found on Melvins records in tracks such as “Simon Legree” and “Black Blade”, however, overall the album has a darker tone to that of any Melvins’ release. The vocals, although some element of tongue in cheek can be felt, add to this with the disconcerting effects put on almost every line, adjusting the pitch in multiple directions. The rhythm section of Thrones, Preston’s drum machine, adds to this darker tone with the deathly repetitions, not that it lacks anything at all, in fact the programming is spot-on throughout.
the varying range of styles which Preston’s song writing and this compilation embraces
Preston’s tracks vary beyond sludgy doom metal and heavy rock songs though: several songs, like “The Walk”, have a minimal ambient/noise feel such as the more comic random “Piano Handjob”, and other instrumental offerings appear in various shapes for example the fascinating “Epicus Doomicus Bumpitus”, a fantasy-soundtrack-esque synth-orchestral composition. At the start of “A Quick One” Preston’s harmonies sound like they are lifted straight from Beach Boys’ Smile sessions, before the track drifts into a fuzzy rock track with yet more interesting vocal offerings. The hammering drum barrage of “Reddleman” is typical of the noise feel of much of the album and comparing it to the quirky elements of “A Quick One” brings out again the varying range of styles which Preston’s song writing and this compilation embraces. A Day Late, A Dollar Short offers a fantastic collection of material and insight into the mind of an important figure in rock and heavy music of the last fifteen to twenty years and is an interesting journey which demands a listen. It’s often lower-quality recordings and even the vocal effects may cause some to dismiss the music but some of the sounds, tones and distortions recorded here are incredible and the recordings sound just like they should do for this release.