Review Rewind: Enders of Ozone-Travel Log EP

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.

 

December 2002: “The guitars are blistering, as is the drumming rhythm section. On top of that, the vocals are dark and cryptic, beautiful layered over the musical madness that is Enders.”

 

If I shut my eyes, I put myself back to the first moment I heard Enders of Ozone. I was at the 3B Tavern, closer to the bar than the stage with my back turned to the band, bullshitting with someone. With the opening chords of Pressure Test, I was hit with a wall of sound like a shot in the back, I turned around, jaw on the floor and was stunned by what I was hearing. A cross between KARP and Soundgarden, Enders of Ozone were heavy, melodic and punishing. The perfect prescription.

I had known the guys in Enders for a few years at that point, David Johnston and I had played a little music together, Chris Meyer was a neighbor and worked near me so we hung out often, Aaron Ball (who’d been in Batfarm with Chris Meyer) and Brad Lease had been the rhythmn section of Sharpie, a band we’d covered often in the magazine. They were all friends of mine, guys who I hung out with on a regular basis, and to see them on stage playing music like a national touring band was one of the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced. The band had been working and writing for months before ever getting on stage – they weren’t going to be just another Bellingham band, they wanted to be different, special.

It took awhile for Enders to release any music – the perfectionism displayed live also was found in their recording. They initially released a song on the Live at the 3B compilation (it was from a local showcase where they thanked me, something I’ll always appreciated) which was followed a few months later by a 7” which included songs on the Travel Log EP. The six song EP, which features the song from the 3B compilation, is one of my favorite and the town’s all time best releases. All the descriptors of their live show ring true on the EP – heavy, melodic and punishing – it was a thing of beauty. Solid, honest, pro – the album felt like a glimpse into the long career of Enders. They were going to the rock version of Death Cab for Cutie (before they were HUGE and only big), tour all over and make awesome music.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Months later, the band and bass player Brad Lease parted ways – an irreplaceable part of their sound. After going on a tour to Chicago and back, Enders broke up with Chris and Aaron quickly moving to Seattle (David was already living there). All that’s left is this stunning EP.