Home Read Albums Of The Week: Old Time Relijun | Musicking

Albums Of The Week: Old Time Relijun | Musicking

Arrington De Dionyso’s reuinted roots-punk oddballs keep it fittingly freaky & noisy.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Musicking is the latest example of the Old Time Relijun push and pull. They are the rarest breed of musical combo — insatiable, living raw, always on the margins, consistent as hell. You know what to expect, and yet haven’t a clue what’s coming next.

Old Time Relijun conduct sweaty, compulsively danceable performances that never fail to inflame. Their songs are simple, but no one in the world could imitate them. Their albums are packed with sing-along hits mixed with sonic experiments and cosmic jests. The loose swagger belies years of practice, fastidious arrangements and a gut-level understanding of musical how and why.

Their latest record Musicking pounces fierce with the shamanic protest anthem Break Through. Arrington De Dionyso’s voice has gained some grit and even more gravitas. Like an overloaded speaker, he booms the words into the stratosphere. “Break through the wickedness, break through the lies, Break through the glass; don’t stand in my way!” The band hits the groove and the vibe moves through the 11 songs swiftly — like panther juice and rum. It does not stop, it does not let up, it does not let you sleep.

Photo by Allicia J. Rose.

Old Time Relijun were born on Jan. 1, 1995 in a dark and moldy basement in Olympia, Wash. The band stole some popcorn bags, talked a friend out of his inheritance and self-released Songbook Vol. I in 1997. They then began their long association with Calvin Johnson’s K Records.

Old Time Relijun maintained their singular identity through every musical landscape over the next dozen years. Between 1997 and 2007, they toured like monsters, averaging 150 shows a year in the U.S. and Europe, releasing Songbook Vol. I, Uterus and Fire, La Sirena De Pecera, Witchcraft Rebellion, Lost Light, 2012 and Catharsis in Crisis. The band toured through 2008 and then quietly parted ways. 2009-2019 saw de Dionyso deepening his work as sort of a “punk ethnomusicologist” — playing with some of the world’s most interesting musicians across the U.S., Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, and most recently, the mountains of Morocco. He has made dozens of recordings under as many pseudonyms. 2019 reunited Old Time Relijun with a newfound level of passionate indignation and a deeper musical vocabulary.”