24 August, 2013

Recent Love (That Guy From That One Band Edition)

ROTHKO, Prayer Furnace
Anthony from (the great, almighty, unreleased) CHINA emailed me a while back to hip me to this side-project thing he did in Chicago called ROTHKO. What starts with a couple clanging guitar echos that sounds like shit was about to get mathy instead turned into this big, lurching juggernaut that gets down to baseball bat fight tactics so out for blood that if any of your "rock friends" don't like it, they're plainly wrong. Basically, this EP is going to be your full-of-shit barometer for when you're stuck in a conversation with somebody who professes to know this and that and all that about music. Put this EP on your phone and keep it handy for when someone starts talking ridiculous shit. That way, you can pull it out and ask, "What do you think of this?" If they don't dig it, that's your cue to turn it off and walk away. They are clearly clueless and you deserve better.
Not one of the four songs breaks the 3:50 mark, ensuring that each song is nothing but pure, concentrated fuck-you-up. You know, the good stuff. What dreams are made of.
OK OK OK, so what does it sound like?
Well, buckle up and fix a cocktail.
To my ears, I'm hearing traces of Pink Flag and Mclusky Do Dallas in the influences. "Discovery of a Weapon" kicks things off with the aforementioned clanging echoes that turn to truckers' speed drums and near-drone composition and slide guitar acrobatics. "Waiting for Shit" reminds me of a more violently-ready-to-fall-apart "Steady As She Goes" with a screeching brass arrangement that becomes the centerpiece of this exercise in repetition and tension until the tape goes out. "After the Rape" is a study in tempo and rhythm, with creepy need-a-shower-after-hearing lyrics and a handful of varying sections played linearly rather than cyclically (actually my preferred manner of composition). And if you were waiting for the Birthday Party to get back together (which, you know, they can't do), "Tased and Confused" will surely satiate that need. Avoid smoking any grass listening to this or you'll worry that your soul is trying to escape through your ribs. It's as creepy as it is quiet and simple, with a guitar jangle that will remind you of Sonic Youth's "Halloween".
If ever there was an aural punk analogue to Ernst's Une Semaine De Bonté, this would be it.

Recent Love (Couples Tennis Edition)

Post Honeymoon, Second Skin
Normally, when I hear about duos, I think, Great. Who decided they didn't need a bassist this week? I hope they at least have an octave divider.
Normally, when I hear about synth-rock, I hope things sound like Suicide or Devo, otherwise, I'm probably not going to get into it.
So when I get a promo email for Post Honeymoon's new record, it had two strikes against it before I even hit play. Because I am often a wrong man. I accept that.
So I finally get around to listening to the record (my FBook friends will have seen the post I made detailing why I've been delinquent on the reviews lately) and I'm into it. It begins with a pulsing little synth throb and a killer drum beat that Kanye and Jay-Z will be sampling before the close of this year. For real, listen to it and tell me that beat won't be at the center of a sampling storm that will rage until 2015 and then again in about twenty years when it will be declared "The New Amen Break". Don't believe me? I don't blame you. As I said, I am often very wrong about these sorts of things. At any rate, "Schoen and Schaden" sucked me in. "The Hunter" reminded me of some of the grime music that I'm all that familiar with, but with vocals that I can understand.
Still, it takes a few listens before I can really get into it and there are three songs before you get to a real a jumper, "Olympia", which is as close as the Post Honeymooners get to a four-on-the-floor beat on this record. Otherwise, the record has more in common with dub-reggae and -step, Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy score. It's on the mid-tempo dance side. And the title track is so eerie and dark that I think that if I listen to this on some real mind bender of a drug, I could plea insanity and get acquitted of all the charges of homicide. For real, my lawyer could play "Second Skin" for the jury and the jury would have to go, "Oh, fuck. He ate peyote buttons and listened to this? Shit, I smacked my husband last week and that was just because I had the Facts of Life theme stuck in my head for a few hours. Yeah... phew... fuck... uh, not guilty, really. Really. Cut the kid loose."
Just to be clear, I'm not saying that Post Honeymoon have made a hallucinatory knife-murdering record, I'm just saying that you might want to be careful with what you ingest while this record is on because mistakes could be made.
Also? "Unraveling Mr. Murphy", "North Woods", and "Renewed" back-to-back to close out the record? Get ready to draw a pentagram on the floor in lamb's blood and light some black candles because you're about to fuck like goths do.
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