Monday, September 22, 2008
Various Artists - Mash Mansum (DNT Records CS)
As DNT continues to shape its sound, opting towards a kind of proto no wave rock slant (now wave they're calling it I guess), it only made sense for Tynan to release this, a compilation showcasing seven different bands takes on this sound. It works too, serving its purpose of presenting bands who may or may not ever see more releases than this (some are already now defunct it seems...) while definitely fulfilling the DNT mission statement and existing as an album as a whole.
Side one kicks off with Hunting Lodge's "Waiting for the Bus." I'm assuming this isn't the Hunting Lodge of the 80s and 90s, though who the hell knows? Could be some revamped version of that group's industrial slant, only this is some riffy, thudding stuff, scuzzed out and pummeling, all forward motion mayhem. The guitars, in true no wave form, sound like icicles dragged across the torsos of tiny birds while the muffled vocals are the stuff of yore, crying out in frustrated, suburban dementia as the whole thing crumbles in on itself. Nice headless drum beats too, and a pretty tight unit from the sounds of it. The end of the track could be a poorly mic'd Stooges cover into some Northampton Wools feedback fuckery.
Tracks two and three are both by some unit menacingly called Neck Hold. "Oh God; You Devil" opens with some weird ass drum beat on wood blocks and cardboard while some vocalist calls out in a similarly fashioned, muffled ass chant thing. This is a little less standard rocking than Hunting Lodge's brand, weird enough to give the band its own distinct take. "Sibling Rivalry" is a similar approach, all drums in the beginning along with the anthemic chanting vocals (Popul Vuh style, without the production value). Sounds like a pretty stripped down take on the whole thing, with some amateur sax squelching to boot! Shearing Pinx (or Shearing Pinks as they're billed here) close the first side with "Trusting the Forest," lunging their guitars in fits while the drums patter around. Nice angular guitar work, all energy and convulsions across the strings, but they really pull it off. Some of this stuff gets genuinely heavy without the need for cranking the volume any higher. It's all just rhythmic fits and starts, splooging on the strings like some blow up doll. If the forest sounds like this I don't trust it for a second, though maybe I should. I'm not sure what defines now wave as opposed to no wave but this is definitely in the latter category as far as I'm concerned.
Side two opens with The Sticks' "Aerobic Fuck," killer title for a jaunt this explosively weird. Sounds like fuckin Link Wray or something, twanging away with the volume turned up to Mt. Zion. Good old fashion instrumental riffage, heavy on the nowhere slant for the minute it exists.
Gay Beast, who just released a full length on DNT, follow with "Exploding Knee." The guitars here are all over the map, splashing about wildly before going into a Liliput style dance punk thing, weird and bleepy and full of (is that two?) vocalists yelping about. Pretty tight construction on the song here in the spirit of those smart/art funk/punk girl rock of Delta 5 etc. The singer definitely listened to her fair share of On-U Ari Up records. Really tightly wound and jerky stuff full of energy. Tight guitar lines too. Deaf! Deaf follows with Loss of Appetite, another Riot Grrrl style thing with some James Chance vocal stuff. Real crude and nice for some slamming around dance party style. Twin Crystals closes the tape with "Live in Olympia." I've heard a lot about these guys recently and their breed of chugging guitar walls and off beat electro-quarks is pretty compelling for this type of material. At points it starts to sound like a rave party on planet hip, with even the gap between songs and the crowd chatter fitting right in (notice how the bottle cap fits so nicely in the whole vibe...). The second track is even more pulsating and dancey. Nice stuff to close off yet another winner from DNT--some of these bands are weird enough to snag up right away while others I'm sure will be around for quite some time and make a splash in the broader scheme of things. For my money, the whacked out stuff is where it's at.
I think there's a few left at the label so move quick if you so desire, it's limited to 100.