The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone): New Radiant Storm King

new radiant storm king

In 1990 four Hampshire College students; Peyton Pinkerton (bass/vocals), Matt Hunter (guitar/vocals), Eli Miller (guitar) and Elizabeth Sharp (drums) made the decision to begin a band. Their band name…. the brand of furnace that heated the basement they made that decision in…. it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Hampshire College is a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, along with neighboring UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College. With a combined student body of 35,000 the five colleges dominate culturally and economically Western Massachusetts largely rural Hampshire county.

1990 was an auspicious year to begin a band in Amherst. There had been talk that the area might be poised to become the next Seattle (this happened to be also true for other areas boasting large student populations). Eventually this proved to mostly wishful thinking on the part of the locals and the national indie press; but at that time it really wasn’t such a stretch; both the Pixies and Buffalo Tom had gotten their start at UMass, while in 1990 both Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh called Amherst home.

The group learned their craft while playing locally, opening for groups like Nirvana (04/27/90 – SAGA, Hampshire College (Amnesty International Benefit), Amherst, MA) and even

“providing the music for a play performed by a local theater company.”

1992 saw the quartet record their debut full length, One Day Rust, for Rough Trade Records, but just prior to the album’s release the label folded. The songs on that album, plus assorted odds and ends were collected on The Castle, a bonus disc, that came with the Wormco reissue of 1992’s debut My Little Bastard Soul.

Eli Miller left the band in 1992 but soldering on as a trio they recorded My Little Bastard Soul. They shopped the tapes, signing with the tiny indie Axis Records, who released the album in 1993… and then like Rough Trade proceeded to fold. A bit long, at 60 minutes, for a debut, My Little Bastard Soul clearly shows the band’s primary influences

“the twin towers of Massachusetts noise pop, Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. The Mission of Burma influence is most recognizable on the brief noise interludes that break up the album… The Dinosaur Jr. influence comes through… with the album’s dry, laconic vocals and the way that fractured pop hooks suddenly appear.”

Shortly after the release My Little Bastard Soul they signed with Grass Records, a subsidiary of Homestead Records. Released months after My Little Bastard Soul Rival Time featured their first truly great song, “The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone).” The album proved to be a critical success and with that success NRSK started to develop a following, including the band Guided by Voices

“who claimed that their breakthrough single, “I Am a Scientist,” was explicitly inspired by that song.”

Pushing the band’s obvious influences to the background Rival Time revels the band’s promise and personality. The album is marred, on occasion, by it’s lo-fi production which often obscures

“the tense, anguished vocals of Peyton Pinkerton and Matt Hunter and the roiling and slashing guitars.”

“Rival Time is in many ways one of the prototypical emo albums… with song titles like “Happy for the First Time in Weeks” and “Do It for the Sensitive Guy.”

1994’s August Revital continues the trends begun on Rival Time. The sloppy noisy outbursts are kept to a minimum, while songs like the poppy “Froglegs (I Suppose)” are almost hummable; and for the first and last time drummer Elizabeth Sharp joins singers Peyton Pinkerton and Matt Hunter on vocals

“the three-way interplay strongly recalls that of the group’s one-time labelmates Sleepyhead.”

In 1995, following the album’s release, Sharp left the band to create the one-woman D.I.Y. project Ill Ease, while about the same time Matt Hunter, out of college and married, moved to New York City, in essence turning New Radiant Storm King into a part-time project for all concerned.

1996’s Hurricane Necklace, the most mature of New Radiant Storm King’s releases to that point, featured Sharp’s replacement, drummer Jeremy Smith, who was replaced by Garrett Fontes prior to 1999’s Singular, No Article which

“failed to reconnect with New Radiant Storm King’s fanbase and went relatively unheard.”

Three years would lapse before the release of Winter’s Kill in 2002. During the interim Pinkerton toured and recorded with the Pernice Brothers and Hunter played bass for the Wharton Tiers Ensemble.

Reuniting in 2006, with Caleb Wetmore on bass and Patrick Berkery on drums, they released The Steady Hand and Singular while 2008 saw the release of Drinking in the Moonlight.

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles

“Milky Way”/”Ouch!, Pipe” (7″ Single) (Trixie Records) 1991


“Smear”/”Indiana Jones” (7″ Single) (Trixie Records) 1992

“Mad Money”/ “Xanax” (7″ Single) (Axis Records) (1992)

“Subway Token”/”RIVAL TIME (Viral Mind) The Lord Is Coming” (Chunk Records) 1993

“My Little Red Book” Unloved: A Tribute to Arthur Lee (Chunk Records) 1994

“Rocket Scientist”/”The Sabellion Rebellion” (7″ split w/ Silver Jews) (Chunk Records) 1994

” Hey Baby”/” Back Door”/”Two Fists” (7″ Split w/ Polvo) (Penny Farthing Records) 1994

“I am a Scientist” (7″ Split w/ GBV) (Chunk Records) 1995

“Hoya Carnosa” (split single w/ Zeke Fiddler/ Sonara Pine/ Nord Express) (The Magic Eye Series) 1995

“Barium Springs” (Rainbow Quartz Records) 1998

“Quicksand under Carpet” (split single w/ Eska) (Gringo Records) 2002

Full-length

My Little Bastard Soul (Axis Records) 1992

Rival Time (Homestead Records) 1993

August Revital (Grass Records) 1994

Hurricane Necklace (Grass Records) 1996

My Little Bastard Soul (Wormco Records) 1998

Singular, No Article (Rainbow Quartz) 1999

Winter’s Kill (Rainbow Quartz) 2002

Leftover Blues: 1991-2003 (Contraphonic) 2004

The Steady Hand (Darla Records) 2006

Drinking in the Moonlight (Darla Records) 2008

Tracks Appear On:

“The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone)” Buy This Used Compact Disc (Dutch East India Trading) 1993

“Embry’s Crossroads,” “Blood For A Vase” Grass Of ’96 (Grass Records) 1996

From Under the Grind “Her Halcyon Days” Little Darla Has A Treat For You V.24 Endless Summer 2006 (Darla Records) 2006


My Little Bastard Soul (1992)

Playing Time: 58 minutes 39 seconds


my little bastard soul cover

1. Assfault Part 2 (1:23)

2. Every Day Is Mother’s Day (2:56)

3. El/Train (7:06)

4. Gideon’s Room (3:26)

5. Prozac (3:04)

6. Snake Eyes (3:03)

7. Nevada (0:51)

8. Surf King (3:25)

9. Submariner (3:01)

10. Queen Street Device (2:32)

11. Mad Money (5:17)

12. Christmas Quaalude (0:57)

13. Downed (4:21)

14. Infomaniac (5:09)

15. Space (4:05)

16. Assfault Part 1 (1:34)

17. Xanax (2:58)

18. Trampoline (3:31)

My Little Bastard Soul (Part 1) (Part 2)

Rival Time (1993)

Playing Time: 40 minutes 21 seconds

rival time cover

1. Viral Mind (3:13)

2. The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone) (3:23)

3. Oil An Impatient Fuck (2:56)

4. New Math (3:35)

5. Phonecall (3:27)

6. Hazardville (2:53)

7. Commercial (1:28)

8. 511 Little Nightmares (2:46)

9. Happy For The First Time In Weeks (5:01)

10. Country Box (2:52)

11. Phonecall II (3:31)

12. Do It For The Sensitive Guy (5:16)

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4 responses to “The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone): New Radiant Storm King

  1. the link to My Little Bastard Soul seems to be missing… Any any chance to post more albums? Really good band this time!!!

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