CHRISTMAS SONG (December 2008)
Limited CD Release - Worldwide release on YouTube .
Christmas Song represents the last single to be officially released by Knuckleduster that was, at the time, now approaching its tenth year. By now, cell phones are quite popular (although Paul still refuses to get one until 2009!) and the internet fad doesn’t appear to be fading which has changed the way artists reach audiences with vast success, so, up on YouTube it goes. In any event, the song is, in fact, a Christmas-themed and apropos composition that strips away the traditional holiday veneer and, instead, celebrates the season in a way you and your best friends might celebrate when your grumpier acquaintances aren’t around. Nothing offensive in the ditty, but you must accept that St. Nick may indeed indulge from time to time. Nothing complicated here either; it’s three-chord, 4/4 fun the way rock and roll has been for ages, but with some four-part harmony, gang-vocals on the choruses because, well, Knuckleduster.
Knuckleduster’s third full-length release represents the most cohesive offering from the band at this point so far that, in a weird twist, was mixed by two mixing engineers, at two separate studios, in two different countries. Despite some initial interest from a talent development agent a couple years prior, Knuckleduster has not yet secured big record company money to fund their projects. But the internet provides an avenue for the band to reach out to Ken Lewis of indiemixing.com (his site at the time), a multi-platinum musician/producer/engineer/mixer who mixed three songs, graciously suggested production direction on two tracks and loaned some of his own talents as a musician on another. It worked, and the results are heard immediately. Power and depth are present from 'Rental Car', the first ‘real’ track all the way to the last song original song 'Read My Lips'. But, as always, there is a bit of fun to be had too. The song 'Chicken' hearkens back to a more indie feel while the ‘rock songs’ are blatant and intentional jokes the band shares with its audience. 'Drown', the album, nonetheless represents a musical maturity that would be built upon when they returned to the studio to record songs for what might have become album number four.
BRAND NEW COMBINATION (April 17, 2003)
Not wanting to wait too long between albums, Knuckleduster once again self-produced and released 'Brand New Combination', a snappy LP that clocks in at just under an hour. A stripped-down production approach is evident, but don’t let that fool you. Fan (and band) favourites ‘Back of the Bus’ and ‘Earth Cools’ are found here along with the live-set mainstay ‘Alpha Cheeb’, a song that had so much influence on its writer, an entire identity has been formed around it. BNC also started to hone in on the construct of a ‘Knuckleduster song’ that potentially might reach beyond a cult following; Knuckleduster starts to ground themselves as songwriters to be reckoned with (along with some fun thrown in too). Pivotal album, actually.
GROWING OLD AT THE TOP OF THE CHARTS (RELEASED 2002 ON 8-TRACK CASSETTE)
Writing new material, but not yet content to completely abandon quirky, indie roots, Knuckleduster blasts out of the gate with this mid-album EP on 8-track cassette (!) that features songs in early development which appear on the next two LPs. DJ Futuristic guest scratches on two tracks - WTF?!? So…8-track cassette…like, as in what you’d find in a ’77 T-bird? Whhhyyyyy?? Because initial recordings were done on a Tascam 8-track machine and the boys were keeping it real (pardon the pun, this stuff writes itself). These five songs were mixed-down on the same Tascam machine and punted over to tape. No CDs of this material were ever made and there are no digital archives anywhere. That means it was, and remains, 100% analogue if you get your hands on one, which, of course, was the artistic intent all along. Take that, Foo Fighters! Oh, and they had no money. That had something to do with it.
EPIDEMIC (April 20, 2000)
Epidemic was Knuckleduster’s debut album. Not content to dip their toes in the pool, the band dove in head-first with this 11-song independent release that drew on a variety of influences. The self-produced album reflects post-grunge/alternative influences on their hard-rock/metal roots that were a feature of the sound at the time. Full-on rock anthems? Check. Five plus minute compositions that will never be played on commercial radio? Check. Quirky time-changes mid-song that have been a hallmark of independent releases since the beginning of the ‘indie’ movement? You better believe it. Despite this (or because of it) Knuckleduster was able to secure semi-regular college radio-play (not a lot of Spotifys back then) as well as have their single ‘Plecaustiums’ appear on a nationally distributed compilation album. What else? Oh yeah, fans can see robo-Beej in the video for 'Spaceman' on MuchMusic, the nation’s music station (remember, no YouTube ubiquity yet so this was a bit of a big deal).