Check Engine

by Check Engine

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about

9 tracks 31minutes. Featuring members of Sweep the Leg Johnny.

What does Check Engine sound like? Two vocalists, two guitarists, a
drummer, a bassist and a sax player. Complex little rock songs. Big Star if Chilton had grown up listening to Tangerine Dream and Drive Like Jehu? I don't know. Next question?

The first incarnation of the Engine was started up in the summer of 1993 in the basement of "Da Box", a former HUD house in South Bend, Illinois (19971 Cleveland Ave.) with plexi-glass windows that don't open. We had one song, called "Por-San", named after the industrial strength cleaner that was the only foe our bathroom feared. That Check Engine lasted long enough to hang out several times with Carlo, and Rossi, wreck the life and livelihood of one Vincenzo Carrasco and play one show, a battle of the bands in April '94. That was enough for a time.

Meanwhile, Steve Sostak and Chris Daly have played for a number of years in Sweep The Leg Johnny, a band the original name of which I am forbidden to divulge on pain of litigation from the Victoria's Secret Corporation.

Jump ahead six years: January 2000. We find Brian Wnukowski (ex-Big'N) to play drums. This rumbling beast of a man has been in so many bands it requires quantum math to sort them all out. After our first bassist, the immoral Dino Bravo, was called away to military service with the Greek Cypriots, we were forced to cannibalize the steaming corpse of the late Lynx and get Paul P. Joyce to play bass.

We knew the Engine was going to work out just fine when we witnessed the typhoon that shook the space when Paul and Brian first locked on a rhythm. Love at first rumble. After that, Chris and Joe could get back to the business of weaving guitars. Then there's the singing - two singers, one not quite the lead singer, the other not quite the back-up - twining together lines in different meters, mirroring each other in a staggered echo or matching up syllable to syllable while singing slightly different words.

As for the words themselves, Joe's songwriting is all about hate and
heartbreak, and dead German intellectuals; don't get your hopes up
there. Focus instead on the love-match Brian and Paul orchestrate between their own elemental force and the goofy trickery of guitars that know each other far too well. Or the way Steve uses the sax and his voice as extensions of one another, threading through and threading together everything else.

Only one of us is a house painter. That's unfortunate really, but it's
made up for by the doctoral student (who, since he already has a
bachelor's degree in unemployment, is now pursuing the PhD), our floor sander, our master of the backyard grill and our installer of greeting
card displays at CVS. "Fuck yeah, we put in the end caps", he replies with menace when pressed on the issue.

Check Engine: We torque lug nuts.

credits

released June 1, 2002

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Southern Records London, UK

Fiercely independent since forever, Southern Records has a musical pedigree which stretches way back to 1977, when a band called Crass was founded (and proceeded to change punk & the world forever...but that's another story). For years Southern operated as a recording studio & the biz wheels behind labels like Crass, Corpus Christi, Bluurg & Dischord, before launching an eponymous imprint in 1991 ... more

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