Rarely out of thin air does Life drop a profoundly influential gift in one’s lap. But it does happen. Example: Santa Cruz, California, summer of 1997. I had the wonderful experience of stumbling upon the Washington D.C. group, The Most Secret Method. Like a revelation, from the very first note, we bore witness to an extraordinary event as Life offered up the exceptional musical
gifts of bassist/vocalist Johanna Classen, guitarist/vocalist Marc Nelson, and brother/drummer Ryan Nelson.
Raging with that whip-smart, stop and start on a dime, D.C.-hardcore style evocative of legendary bands like Jawbox, Fugazi, and Marginal Man, The Most Secret Method had the room floored.
Most significantly, their true love of music and inspirational DIY ethics shine through in all they do. They book their own tours, at shows they sell their friends’ records alongside their own, and only play all-ages venues. Live, you would have to be dead to not marvel at how Ryan Nelson savages his drum kit, or at how Johanna’s subtle, jazz-influenced bass playing lays down deceptively booty-shakin’ foundations below Marc’s squall of slashing guitars and urgent melodies. Marc’s voice is gorgeous, while his lyrics display surprising vulnerability, honesty, and smarts-infrequently exposed in punk-rock circles.
In the tune, “Suitland High School Theme Song,” Marc sings: “I am quickly becoming the most, um/ I am quickly becoming this world’s not bad best singer-charmer/ liar … I am rapidly becoming the world’s most precious candy/ A chocolate treat that beckons the soul/ traps the mind/ and charms the most famous people into what they really want/ money, and maybe another bite … ”
This song and nine other gems are now available on the aptly titled, first full-length, “Get Lovely.” Producer J. Robbins, (of the band Burning Airlines, and formerly of the late-great Jawbox) has done a tremendous job of c apturing The Most Secret Method’s humor, style, and frenetic energy. Stand-out songs are the aforementioned, “Suitland High School Theme Song,” “The Real Sex,” and “Guess The R oute.” Really though, this is not a CD of singles but a collection o f songs best listened to and examined as a whole experience. Slowdime, P.O. Box 414, Arlington, VA 22210.