Almost thirty years since the inception of ENGINE KID, and the trio finds themselves comprehending the enormity of their creation, honoring and celebrating the mountains they formed and the canyons they created, as both of their full-length albums, Bear Catching Fish and Angel Wings, have been remastered for re-release this week via Southern Lord.
Having both been fitted with updated cover artwork, and remastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (From Ashes Rise, Obituary, Nails, Jesus Piece) for maximum sonic enhancement, Southern Lord brings the Bear Catching Fish and Angel Wings albums to the fore as part of Bandcamp day. Both records have been offered on a “pay what you want” basis and all proceeds will be donated to the Los Angeles-based homeless shelter Midnight Mission, to honor the original drummer Chris Vandebrooke, who was murdered near a homeless encampment by the LA River/Griffith Park in 2016.
Find ENGINE KID’s remastered Bear Catching Fish and Angel Wings albums at Bandcamp RIGHT HERE.
ENGINE KID was born in Seattle, Washington in 1991. The band’s original lineup consisted of guitarist/vocalist Greg Anderson (Southern Lord, Sunn O))), Thorrs Hammer, Goatsnake), drummer Chris Vandebrooke, and bassist Art Behrman. The three had all been in hardcore/punk bands around town and all had a burning desire to create a sound that was unlike anything they had done in the past. After just a few months of existence, they quickly recorded and self-released the Novocaine 7″. Circa 1992, close friend and bassist Brian Kraft (Krafty) replaced Behrman, and at that moment the entire aesthetic and execution of sound became heavier, darker, and extremely dynamic. The power trio was picked up by local label C/Z records and set out upon recording the new music they were quickly creating. In 1993 the band had two releases on C/Z. Their first offering was the Astronaut five-song EP recorded by John Goodmanson. The songs were primitive and exemplified the bands worship of Slint and their loud/quiet song dynamic. In the Summer of 1993, the band drove all the way to Chicago to record with their hero Steve Albini in the basement of his house. They emerged with the eight-song album they called Bear Catching Fish. Albini intuitively captured the band exactly as they were at that moment: raw, vulnerable, and mammoth.
Shortly after the album’s release, Jade Devitt replaced Vandebrooke on drums. This transition was extremely crucial in the “second phase” of the group. Devitt was an absolute beast and his power helped launch the band miles beyond where they had ever been before. The sound of “The Kid” started to transform into a sound much more of their own. The three dudes were hellbent on pushing the bounds of sonic exploration to its absolute fullest. Suddenly there was an abundance of depth within the sounds they were creating. Eclectic influences of punk/hardcore (Black Flag, Die Kreuzen), metal (Entombed, Carcass), and even jazz (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis’ electric era) were in a full collision course with the already dynamically heavy foundation of the band. The levee had broken, and the resulting flood of sound completely saturated everything in its path.
ENGINE KID toured relentlessly. They were constantly on the road playing every nook and cranny they possibly could. Any moment not spent on the road was instead spent focused on making their new material as potent as possible. Early in 1994, the band decided to pay homage to their mutual love of jazz/fusion and recorded three instrumental pieces that would become a split album with like-minded powerhouse Iceburn. The split album showcased each group’s love of jazz loosely framed by the intense enthusiasm of underground music and saw release through Revelation Records later that year.
During the summer of 1994, the band reconvened with producer John Goodmanson at Bad Animals and AVAST! Studios to record the new material that was literally bleeding out of the reinvigorated trio. These recorded songs were much more progressive, heavier, harder and more focused than past works. They even tackled John Coltrane’s Olé Coltrane, adding saxophone and trumpet from their brothers in Silkworm. In March of 1995, Revelation records released these recordings as the Angel Wings album. Unfortunately, “The Kid” flew too close to the sun and broke up very shortly after the album’s release.
Watch for updates to be issued in the coming months.