Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Foot Village - Friendship Nation (Gilgongo Records LP)
Foot Village have been making quite a splash lately, so when I got this one in the mail from James over at Gilgongo, I was excited to finally get to hear what all the hype was about. As is to be expected, the hype is both warranted and perhaps a bit over ambitious at this point. Which isn't to say that Friendship Nation isn't totally great. It is.
A quartet made up of members from bands including Friends Forever, Gang Wizard and Deathbomb Arc head Brian Miller, Foot Village's unique niche in the experimental scene consists of no more than a stripping down of approach to perhaps the most primal noise makers of all: drums and voice. All four members are well versed in both of these tasks it seems, creating a full blown dervish of gutteral screams and pulse pummeling rhythms. Almost sounds like a quartet of Animals (the muppet, that is) as they rip through thirteen tracks of punk-encrusted hippie slam sessions. Like a drum circle gone terribly awry, the group fills in the blanks between Lightning Bolt, Deerhoof, Minor Threat and Olatunji. The difference is, this consciously light-hearted, despite its cries of protest throughout. This is playful, energy music, sometimes reverting to storms of drums while others relying on tightly crafted call and response themes that evoke something close to a pub chant only with lyrics as grimly provocative as "nothing is real, but still there are rules to follow."
It doesn't seem to make sense to discuss individual tracks here as the whole album essentially explores one highly distinctive sound through similar means. The opening "Urination" or "Erecting the Wall of Separation," the second side opener, move with a fervor of easy to recite lyrics more in line with Fugazi than Gang Wizard, but that seems to be what Foot Village are all about. Just kick out the jams and move. It doesn't surprise me at all that the group's from Los Angeles, nor that they are equally talked about in Brooklyn--it has the sound and kineticism that urban noise heads adore while sucking inspiration from the communal nature that such environments encourage.
By pulling all of this music back down to the beginning (of human consciousness?) and reinvigorating it with contemporary tactics, Foot Village have managed to carve out a specialized direction for themselves as well as opening the door a bit for similarly minded musicians who might be worried that their pedals and samplers aren't doing the trick anymore. Like a big "fuck you" to pedal collectors and the like, the group manages to create its own chaos with only skin and bone. Oh, and it's mastered by Yellow Swans' Pete Swanson too, so you can bet it sounds fucking great.