Review Rewind: Cicadas-Consult the Bones, Disgusting Skulls

1,405. that’s how many local recordings have been reviewed in What’s Up! over the last 15 years. Some good, some not so good, all offering something to the local scene and in these pages. A review was and will always be a band’s chance to get some press and show folks what they are doing. If a band lives around here, or on a local label, we review it and have never turned anyone away if they met one of those qualifications. Among the recordings reviewed, a few really stood out for one reason or another – it might have been how good it was or the impact it had on the scene or the statement at that time. This issue, we re-reviewed 15 of our favorite records over the last 15 years (and included a blurb from the original review) and talked not just about the music, but why the recording is important in the music scene’s history. Every one of these recordings should be on your iTunes, find ‘em, listen to ‘em, love ‘em. We do.


October 2006: “There are two types of people who like Cicadas ordinary music fans who love Cicadas because they fucking shred and musicians who love Cicadas because they fucking shred. Because shred is pretty much what they do.”


There are few moments that stand out like the first time I saw Cicadas. I’d booked them for a locals show because friends had told me they were amazing and I’d known Josh Holland from his time in Future City Fear. But, ya know, lots of bands are amazing and lots of cool guys have been in a great bands – Cicadas was different.

What set the band apart then (and does now with Dog Shredder) is they were doing something unique, something truly unique – I hadn’t heard it in the local scene before and really couldn’t pin any other national bands that Cicadas had taken their sound from. Their music didn’t make sense – it was chaotic, disconcerting and linear in a non linear way. It was constantly moving forward, but zig zagging all over the place, so you didn’t know which end was up, where things started and ended and who could possibly make sense of it all.

And it was brilliant. Simply brilliant.

In Consult, Cicadas won the award for best album, though the album hadn’t been released (it would be released later the following year by West of January). On it, Cicadas captured their live show – it was if they had mic’d a live set and rolled with it. Blasting through the speakers was their bombastic songwriting, all that was missing was a pints and friends to share it with.

Now, six and a half years on, the foundation Cicadas built with Consult Your Bones, lives on – bass player Ben Kahn left the band and was replaced by Jeff Johnson of The Russians and renamed Dog Shredder, who have continued to grow and to gain music fans not just in Bellingham, but all over the US – their last album Brass Tactics was reviewed (and loved) by Pitchfork among other publications. They’ll be heading down to Los Angeles this month to record with mega-producer Ross Robinson (Korn, At the Drive Inn, The Cure) who Josh befriended while playing bass for Hyro Da Hero (Robinson recorded the Hyro album). No word on what will come from the sessions, but expect them to unreal. And I can’t wait to get my grimy little hands on it!