An Asymmetrical Rendezvous With Otherworldly Oscillations: Notsuoh on a Tuesday

An Asymmetrical Rendezvous With Otherworldly Oscillations: Notsuoh on a TuesdayEXPAND
Image by Tex Kerschen

1. SHOW REVIEW: DISTANT WORKER, ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP, 404 NOT FOUND
Notsuoh, January 5


Hastening to Notsuoh Tuesday night to catch Distant Worker, Illicit Relationship, and 404 Not Found, I didn’t much puzzle the odds of hearing the Pain Teens back to back with Rusted Shut on KTRU on the radio (xo Kirston), because that’s just a part of the Houston that I carry around in my head. Happily, as Internet metrics suggest, like attracts like. It was cold outside and in, and the show was running on Houston time, which is to say, the first band of four didn’t start until half past ten. Jim Pirtle and the tall Art Guy were well into a chess game to the right of the stage, bathed in the ambient light of zentai projections, when Distant Worker abrupted the relative quiet with their set of clattering house, beatnik toasting, and generally undone dub. And there’s something to be said for solid-state amps, the high relief in which they place a well-scratched or whirred guitar string, that got me thinking about the Pop Group, the Raincoats, and Big Black.

Distant WorkerEXPAND
Distant Worker
Photo by Tex Kerschen
They make countless nods to music past and Al Jazeera present, but Distant Worker ooze their own strange dynamic. They make music on an unsure footing, the key to their charm. It’s intelligently sourced and loosely handled, often devolving from sing-song rants into guitar bursts, and mercifully asymmetrical in structure. Asymmetry was the stamp of the night. Jim Pirtle had started a second game with a newcomer by the time Illicit Relationship got rolling into some really rich sonic places. To be fair, they’d left some of their rig behind and started from a place of missing prep work, but it didn’t keep them from quickly assembling a warm propulsive plasma of contemporary musique concrete. The basic sound elements are all familiar to the casual listener of the Genetic Memory show or Nurse With Wound: otherworldly oscillations, collage samples that seem to emphasize the sinister feel of flatly-affected speaking, static clouds, feedback wheedling, and delay pedal phrase-chopping.
Illicit RelationshipEXPAND
Illicit Relationship
Photo by Tex Kerschen
But Illicit Relationship are noise vets, and they do everything with the comfortable off-handedness of long experience. There’s none of the unintended comedy of young extremists. Instead, the set traveled from cold places to warm pastoralism with grace, occasionally randomized by some Martin and Lewis shenanigans: Carol Sandin’s freestyling Crack War’s anthem 'Hooker Leg," and Austin Caustic literally kicking a miked-up coffee can for sound.
404 Not FoundEXPAND
404 Not Found
Photo by Tex Kerschen
404 Not Found is the impossible-to-Internet name of the scuz-techno duo of Claire Staples and Alex Cargile (himself of one of the best contemporary American rock bands, CCR Headcleaner). And just like the CCR set at Walters last April, 404 brought it uncut, sounding like the Troggs doing house music. No false moves, no bluster, all hits, all the time, pounding on and on with a loosey-goosey vim and dirtbag style.

Apologies to Open Marriage, playing last, but certain forces in my life won’t stand for sleeping-in or any sign of lethargy, draggedness, or weakness.EXPAND
Apologies to Open Marriage, playing last, but certain forces in my life won’t stand for sleeping-in or any sign of lethargy, draggedness, or weakness.
Photo by Tex Kerschen

2. FESTIVAL OUTLOOK: BAD ASS WEEKEND IV
Whether it’s a growth spurt or a disgusting puke-splashed metamorphosis a la Cronenberg’s The Fly, we’ve recently discovered that Houston is now in fact a festival town. And festival season begins February 25-28, when Bad Ass Weekend returns to Houston for the fourth time.

Bad Ass Weekend IV takes place February 25 to 28 at venues including Walters Downtown, East Down Warehouse, House of Creeps, Vanguard Performing Arts, and Donkey Paw.EXPAND
Bad Ass Weekend IV takes place February 25 to 28 at venues including Walters Downtown, East Down Warehouse, House of Creeps, Vanguard Performing Arts, and Donkey Paw.
Poster detail via Bad Ass Weekend IV

Unlike festivals like Austin’s ACL, described by Blackmagic Rollercoaster as a “festival for people that have heard of music and think that they might like it, but aren't sure yet...” and more like festivals like Austin’s now-defunct Chaos In Tejas, Bad Ass Weekend promises to turn Houston’s downtown and East Side into a virtual re-boot of The Warriors, crawling with enthusiasts of metal, grindcore, punk and noise, and their various emblems, customs and heraldry.

If one is to say that Ed Sheeran, Adele, and The Weeknd represent the top tier of pop music, then it can be said that Bad Ass Weekend makes a bold case for the bottom-feeders. It featuring some really rare and heavily-anticipated appearances from Skullflower, Flipper with David Yow, Eugenics Council, Total Abuse and Protomartyr as well an incredible showing of local heavy-music advocates and troublemakers, including the re-forming Homopolice, Black Leather Jesus, Rusted Shut, PLF, Cop Warmth and a who’s who of Houston’s new-ish punks. Bad Ass Weekend takes place at Walters Downtown, the House of Creeps, East Down Warehouse, Vanguard Performing Arts, and Donkey Paw. Tickets and complete information via badassweekend.net.

3. GRAMMY NODS, CLASS OF 2015

An Asymmetrical Rendezvous With Otherworldly Oscillations: Notsuoh on a Tuesday
Snooty Garbagemen LP cover via Snooty Garbagemen bandcamp

Upcoming Events

Snooty Garbagemen’s self-titled LP on 12XU was name-checked in NME’s "Best 15 Debuts of 2015." NME, that’s in England, where they like to make lists. And Grammys are coming up. Do the math.

4. GRAMMY NODS, CLASS OF 2015

An Asymmetrical Rendezvous With Otherworldly Oscillations: Notsuoh on a Tuesday
Poster image courtesy of Thundertank

Hell-hammering away at the new technology, Thundertank will be un-boxing a new cassette, Heaven is for Pussies, at a party tonight at Walters with Malevolent Force, STRESS33, and Crawl. 


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