God Lives Underwater On Unknown Sundays 2024


God Lives Underwater.  The first time I heard this band was on a radio show in Canada, the Thursday 30, on 102.1 The Edge, and it wasn’t even on the countdown, as it was an “up-n-comer” of sorts.  Canadian radio was our go-to for information, as there was no relying on US radio for what was coming.  They only cared what was already going on.  Education and forefront was the staple of great Canadian radio for so many years, and this band, from Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania gets known first on, of course, Canadian radio.  God Lives Underwater on Unknown Sundays 2024, from nowhere Pennsylvania into the grunge environment on the whim of a leaf, and the incredible intensity of programming-like scratches, industrial tinted guitar work and interesting yet darker dance gooves.

‘No More Love’ was the first single off that EP, which was picked up by a sideline record label of Rick Ruben.  When I first heard the track the vocal had not kicked in yet, and I had this immediate thought that Nine Inch Nails might be doing something slightly different.  Then it became obvious that this was a band had somehow developed a different signature, leaning heavy on the programming, but definitely pitching a curveball that had tones of the Stone Temple Pilots’ Tiny Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop (at least to me, and to be honest with you, I still feel that pace and vocal arrangement a lot through their catalog).  So, all-in-all, that first single had a strong conviction to something different and a confident delivery, but perhaps maybe a bit studio for the times?

With the EP now in my collection, and it’s about 6 songs in twenty-some minutes, it became an album to throw on in between the grunge albums in rotation.  Then came their debut album, Empty, right on the heels of that EP (because of the EP had actually been created back in 1993, and they’d been working self-promotion until Ruben’s label came along), which kept ‘No More Love’ on the album for obvious sales reasons (especially since it was utilized on the Keanu Reeves movie Johnny Mnemonic).  College radio stations in some areas found a connection, getting them into certain rotations, and I think a lot of that had to do with the idea of hearing something somewhat different and obscure from the normal artists in this time range (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith resurgence, along with Madonna, Mariah Carey, and the infamous Jagged Little Pill album that dominated 1995).  Another band, that kind of slips into this wheelhouse, a different tempo and palette, is Prodigy (although a bit more club and EDM sounding).  Despite all of this, they knew their audience, small club tour, and we actually got to see them on their sophomore record, Life in the So-Called Space Age, which wound up being their best selling album at over 90,000 copies.  ‘From Your Mouth’ was one of the singles, and the video below, did garner quite the attention for featuring champion hot-dog eater Hirofumi Nakajima directed in reverse by Roman Coppala (although he was eating much more than hot dogs in this one take wonder video) ‘Rearrange’ is my favorite on the record, though.  I loved the pause and the programming.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they might have been a reason, along with Prodigy, that I can get into Dubstep and EDM, as it might have been the easy version of the so-called “drops” that I love in Skrillex, The Knife Party, or Excision.

A Depeche Mode tribute album called For the Masses, and God Lives Underwater has headline status with their version of ‘Fly On the Windscreen’ (even partly being responsible for getting bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt, Monster Magnet and Hooverphonic to send in covers).  What also was driving their exposure to our ears was their tour’s attachment to bands like Econoline Crush and Stabbing Westward, which is really good company in that dark soul of music, as they were all in that new wheelhouse of slight industrial musicianship in the alternative and grunge mix.  Yes, Econoline Crush is from Canada, so the band apparently never forgot which country was leading the new charge of music.  So, they seem charged up, in the right position, and gaining momentum gradually.  Jeff Turzo was even mixing Skinny Puppy and Rob Zombie records (with help from Reilly).  So what goes wrong?  Money, fate, and tragedy of the most bizarre kind.

While the label starts to falter (we know how that happens, so we’ll skip that), the band tries to record and move past it.  But, tragedy strikes when lead singer, David Reilly’s fiance, Monica Young, was accidentally killed by a train while crossing the tracks while walking with headphones on (November 2000).  Reilly sank low.  His drug usage increased as a result, and at times was in jail, facilities, or on the street homeless.  . He also spent time in various jails and facilities, and claimed to be homeless at one point as well.  At this point, I’m not sure where the band is at, but the assumption would be broken up, and no chance of Off the Floor making the light of day (but it eventually does, drawing modest attention, and leading me to that tragedy mentioned above).   But, we’re not done, as Reilly creates a small solo album dedicated to Monica, under a different name, and a couple of others, which you can hear on Life in the So-Called God Lives Underwater Age, which combines those solo albums, as well as live performances.  It’s rare, but you can probably find that, more than you could a complete solo album.

Now, comes the fate and tragedy again.  David Reilly would die from a tooth infection, just after signing a record deal that would produce his final record, How Humans R(x).  Now at that point, I will state that he was moving to an rawer electronica style with some odd outliers, in some cases without vocal or some without electronica, but still worth looking up, as an extension to the listening scope of this artist.  Author and devout friend and fan of God Lives Underwater, Brian Paone, wrote a book about the entire life and times and experiences, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts: My Memoirs of David Reilly, which I can understand might not be that fancy a read considering the rather unknown name of the man, but this is life in the so-called music industry, the logging of creativity, interaction, and of course what ‘Living in Syn’ was like.

The God Lives Underwater & David Reilly Albums In My Collection:

I will leave you with this about the final record, Up Off the Floor.  It has a much heavier sound, think Filter, as ‘1% (The Long Way Down)’ truly showcases the potential and expanding electronic passion and mixing skills of the David and Jeff.  They certainly had influences and have influenced many bands throughout their 10 years of music making and colliding with bands, studios, audiences and soundtracks.  It is a fine rabbit hole to go into, even in Reilly’s solo works which do showcase some acoustics and much trouble, real song-writing, which might be better than that of the earlier albums of God Lives Underwater.

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