This marks the first official installment of my June of 44 Genealogy Project- inspired by and an extension of- Gabba’s Hoover Genealogy Project, being documented over on Hardcore for Nerds. The eventual goal of mine, however unrealistic it may seem, is to document the many, many records and bands that have featured some member from June of 44.
Why June of 44? June of 44 may seem an odd choice, partly because when it formed the members had already been involved in a number of important but unique projects, and it would make more sense to trace a band that began without any previous recording experience, like Squirrel Bait (which is another family tree that I think should be explored in the future sometime), which then splintered off into numerous great bands.
However June of 44 is a bit different, more of a collaboration of delegates from distinct and influential scenes which I think enriches their genealogy and makes for interesting research and study. There is such a variety of great groups connected to Jo44, ranging from the groundbreaking slowcore of Codeine and Rex to the post punk of Lungfish, Jazz-punk of THE BOOM, Louisville rock of Shipping News, dub of HiM, and many other odd and exceptional projects.
One thing to keep in mind, this Genealogy Project will be documenting all June of 44-connected records: Pre, Concurrent, and Post, not just the bands that formed after June of 44 disbanded. I’ve already posted two albums in the Genealogy, June of 44’s Engine Takes to Water and Tropics and Meridians, but this will be the first post since the formation of the Genealogy Project.
Rex is a group with its initial beginnings here in my home-state, Maine, in 1991. However it wasn’t until Doug Scharin relocated to New York and had logged time working with Codeine that Rex really came to life. This is Rex’s self-titled debut (1995, Southern). The personnel of Rex are Doug Scharin, the mastermind and drummer, Curtis Harvey on guitars, Phil Spirito on Bass, and Kirsten McCord on Cello. The album is gentle and intriguing. Though this group is often lumped into the Slowcore genre, I find this album to be more of a folk-inspired, minimalist form of post-rock. The dynamics can swell from gentle to loud, but for the most part the album tends to move around slowly, moseying back and forth through long, often repetitive passages. Acoustic instruments find their way onto the album, often creating an alt-country sort of vibe complete with tasteful, atmospheric slide-guitar work.
If you’re expecting to hear the cathartic slowcore of Codeine or the tight and aggressive rock of June of 44, you’ll be disappointed. This album definitely takes its time, and on occasion might even be a little boring. It surely pales in comparison to Rex’s later masterpieces, but I still find it to be a compelling and great record. When the album does shine, it shines brightly and fervently. And when the album starts to become repetitive and too-drawn-out it allows for the listener to reflect and think and digest. It’s a great record for a car-ride through the back-roads of Maine and really crafts a sparse, gentle, and delicate atmosphere.
Lastly, I feel Rex is worth hearing because it was Doug Scharin's first avenue through which he had the majority of creative control, and he really is a quite brilliant musician.
Rex on Last.fm