Owned since: 2012
Genre: Experimental noise rock mixed with hardcore punk
Where I bought it: Long gone beloved punk distro
Label/pressing: Condominium Records
Being stuck at home when writing this just is a big reminder I kinda miss shows. I also very much don’t miss the traveling. But mostly, being stuck in a way too cramped venue with a time bomb over me if I can see the band I want to before the last train goes off. Living in a bit more deserted part in the Netherlands means our train services are pretty much shot these days. Till 2014, I could get back from Amsterdam at 3 in the evening and be at the city near me station at 4-ish but now the latest return I get on the weekend is 23:30 which makes non-big venue gigs near impossible. Which sucks, if there is one thing that I miss it’s haunting venues like the OCCII.
Being located in near Amstelveen, the OCCII is a legalized squat/free place in Amsterdam which runs a lot of great experimental music shows. Bands that I’ve seen there include Lighting Bolt, Tragedy, Blurt and a version of Chrome. It’s also a 15-20 tram ride from the central station, which sucks because these days it means I need to leave around 22:45 at the latest to catch my tram back to the station. Which means I haven’t been there in a couple of years, because they usually book around 4 bands in an evening and the starting time is always 20:30-ish making it near impossible to see the headliners and make it home in time. It’s a very Dutch (and Belgium) thing pretty much but I still lack a license so I live by going to shows through either biking or public transport. Honestly, it sucks in spots but also nothing beats being in a train after a show where you can zone out 1.5 hours to get home.
The reason why I’m going off on traveling and the OCCII is the record we’re covering today. Condominium hailed from St. Paul, have a release on Sub Pop and were really good. They are also the type of band that would play for 30 people in a venue on a Friday, which is how I saw them on their one and only EU tour. An extremely ill fated attempt from a niche band to hit the shores mostly playing squats for tiny crowds but also a wonderful show full of their pissed off weirdo take on hardcore fused with noise-rock.
Honestly it is what Warm Home feels like, 2 A.M. Shows at a squat basement where the mix of cheap lager and lack of sleep is catching up to you. Like a caffeine boost with a lot of weird moments where you fall back on your sleep-lacking mind. The band plays a kind of hardcore-punk/noise-rock hybrid that recalls stuff on Touch & Go but also mixes it up with a ton of experimental bits like 3 minutes of gamelan-like terror that is Why be something that you’re not. Recorded by a ton of equipment the band lines out in the insert (including a hammer dulcimer, 2 glass bowls and 3 wine glasses), it’s a nice but uncalming break from the punk terror this record is.
No moment of rest here, even at its most down tuned the band is also ready to burst into another song with that typical crunchy noise rock bass and Matt Castore’s heavy distorted vocals. There’s nothing new here, but Condominium’s blend of those styles is something a lot of bands I (used to) champion had. This is of course their only full length record, I remember them talking to Maximum Rock & Roll (R.I.P.) about loads of bands releasing bad full lengths way to fast. After two excellent 7 inches with a more straight hardcore-punk vibe, Warm Home feels like Condominium at their most vibrant. The band followed this up with a Sub Pop single and a self released 7 inch for the 2014 tour, which includes massive Bresson favorite Limits Of Awareness which sounds like Drive Like Jehu throwing themselves at a wall at full speed. I wrote this while I’m way too hyped up on coffee which honestly is the perfect mood for this gem.
Warm Home is 21 minutes of pissed off weirdness that honestly comes highly recommended to everyone who even enjoys a bit of noise rock. It is also, well, dirt cheap to grab still, a near new copy does you in around 6 bucks on Discogs so what is stopping you honestly. When gigs are a thing again go see bands like this in your local art gallery/squatted supermarket play for 30 people. It always been those gigs that remain huge favorites of mine. Condominium is long dead, long live the Condominium.
Sloooooot Thoooooughts: Not really my bag, but the kind of act I would love to see live for the vibe.