Jun 21, 2008

KRAUT IS THE NEW BLACK - 6 Bands and Twenty-One Hot Inches In Me

Having rolled back into the South, sore (in many ways) from the trip and the pre-trip ordeal, I've set up some semblance of a stereo in a dusty alcove...somewhere. I don't know. At this point, the moment I leave the city but am still close to a state road, everywhere looks like everywhere else. If I play my cards right, this is a layover, not a chapter.
While resisting the urge to unpack and phone up locals who might still wanna know me I've listened to some things. These are they.

STRIBORG/SCURSHAHOR split 7", Southern Lord, 2008
My love of the sole Tasmanian black metal act Striborg is earnest and deep. For those who consider black metal suspect, I assure you the Striborg approach is more Peter Grudzien than Profanatica. His opener, the aptly monikered "Psychedelic Nightmare" is a thumpy and hissy lil capsule bearing familial resemblance to the dark humidity of Pierre Henry's Le Voyage at one moment and an unhinged Silver Apples at the next. Other than that, this got no kin what's recognizable to my ears. "Syncopated Pandemonium" is heavy but not at all tired or even metal, really, in the tradition of Circle of Ouroboros or Sapthuran. I believe in Sin Nanna.
Scurshahor is probably an Oren Ambarchi one-off, given the credentials, the label, and, well, the way it fucking sounds. "Malicious Resplendence" gets you Sissy Spacek drum crumbling on top of chipped Remko Scha axes. There might be vocals, or there maybe there's a bee in my suit. I get why queues of drone dudes dig the black metal and all. Unfortunately, their love is meddled with fear, so their forays into black metal-inspired hum-and-thud come off as pastiche, not participation. I'm sure as shit cats like Ambarchi dig old punk, too, but history's taught them that digital deconstructions of that stuff is a bad and unmarketable idea. At least this probably moved some units. Unfortunately for whomever Scurshahor is (...), I gotta hate the player and the game.
(Also: the plastic inner sleeve? Seriously? Didja get a grant from the Glad family? Just wrap the thing in pig-iron why don't you. I'm lucky this survived the trip between the box and the player so many times.)

SHEPHERDS/IGNATZ - Bored Fortress split 7", Not Not Fun, 2008
We're winding into the end of the BF singles club for this year. If you read my last installment, I ain't so keen on what NNF's been shipping me lately. This chapter, however, is a crispy change of pace. This ain't the Shepherds I was expecting. (I mean, technically, it is.) This bears none of the loft-jazz touchstones nor is it infested with the Borbetomaggots I read about elsewhere. In fact, this is some distillation of the dark and perverse elements of post-punk. Repetitive percussion supports a particularly Aussie/Kiwi clang, capturing that rapturous and sweaty state everyone loves to achieve in the recording space. If this is the energy they always cast about, I'll buy all that balloon juice 'bout the "physical noise" they usually blow. I need a discography...
Ignatz seem to have aligned with the same sonic longitude as Shepherds for this slab, only their branches seed from the Great Unwashed rather than Wreck Small Speakers or One Stop Shopping. Their lone track rises and falls like a string of mountains. We start at the foothills and end in the clouds. It might grow a little long in the tooth, but that's how mountains work I suppose. The surprises keep me listening, like they do. The Ignatz side is what pushed this into my vote for the best of the Bored Fortress 08 class. Doubtful? Read on.

INCA ORE/SECRET ABUSE - Bored Fortress split 7", Not Not Fun, 2008
I can't say I love or even like either of these acts after sitting with this single for a fistful of sessions--and I ain't talkin those kinda sessions. Inca Ore are like the worst portrayal of the Blues Control aesthetic dining on the worst portrayal of Scorces. They've got a pedigree way more interesting than their actual output. Like Pocahaunted and that aforementioned Scurshahor mishap, there's something real disingenuous about good-looking youngsters aping sounds made by lumpy nutjobs from ages past. Hey, I love those records, too, but that don't mean I wanna be them!
Secret Abuse are soundtracky and dull. Touchstones might include the third White Noise lp, if ya must know. It kinda feels like storming out of your parents house in a teenage rage, then going to all the suit-n-tie restaurants they haunt and pretending to be them: nobody's buyin it.
In the end, I suppose I oughta let the kids have their say and maybe somebody'll buy one of those Kluster reissues as a result of all this horse-hockey. (That live Eruption lp is the kitty's p-jays!)

NEXT ON THE BOX: Maybe a live review of Psychedelic Horseshit/Fabulous Diamonds/Suitcases @ Eyedrum? Wayne Rogers? That Nothing People LP somebody tossed at me? For now, a smoke and a steaming lake are calling.

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