Friday Night Noise: Anthony Pirog, the Hospitals and Walk With One Side

Anthony Pirog, "Budding Peonies": On Beginning to End (Sonic Mass), his debut album, NYC-based guitarist/composer Anthony Pirog offers an aural Whitman's sampler of his core competencies: sunkissed tone poems (think John Fahey), pitch-shifted glimmer, meditative squalls, discordant piano frowns and various noisy flavors. While End's odds and, er, ends hang together quite nicely, I'm predisposed to the uglier bits; singling out just one to highlight was something of a struggle.

Dug "Screaming Sun," with its halting, gargled scree and through-a-collander electronic pops, and how "Sixth Of One" was in a constant state of metamorphasis, never content to settle for straight fuck-you blare or straining-at-harnesses seethe or heavy-lidded chordal strum.

But ultimately, "Budding Peonies" won the day. It opens with a maudlin, wavering drone and cryptic, rolling clacks, letting you get accustomed to that synthesis for a moment or two before allowing the clacks to swell in volume and - crucially - shuffling in increasingly belligerant, detuned string manipulations, rivulets of static, and the sort of buckling groans one might associate with the shifting of heavy furniture on a warehouse floor.

The Hospitals, "BPPV": Hailing from San Francisco, the Hospitals live fast and strike hard - on disc and in real life, if their press is to be believed. Albums like 05's I've Visited the Island of Jocks and Jazz violently collided hardcore punk and scuzz and savored the noisy byproducts; their songs are shocks, bewildered gasps. (John Dwyer, formerly of the Coachwhips and Pink & Brown, was a member at one point, which is telling.)

Hairdryer Peace (Meds) purports to represent Hospitals principal Adam Stonehouse's goodbye to a lifestyle of heavy partying; apparently, the drummer/vocalist enlisted various players to lay down parts, then dissembled and re-assembled the scraps into an art-damaged conceptual whole. Of course, the final result just sounds like another Hospitals record - if slightly more schizophrenic - which is no bad thing.

"BPPV" teems with primal, damaged-equilibrium power: recorders (or slide whistles) tweet-tweet over amp riptides and caveman drum pounds that sometimes explode into concussive eclipses. Meanwhile, Stonehouse tosses off bad acid-trip non-sequiturs - "I feel dizzy/I feel stoked," "You're on the ground/Your face looks weird" - that perfectly match the accompanying musical chaos.

Walk With One Side, "Sandblasted Pole Barn": Lance, who runs Houston's Esotype Records in Houston, holds the dubious distinction of having virgin-surgeoned the Friday Night Noise gmail account. He's also a noise dude in his own right, and - in addition to hipping me to likes of Quebron and Zanzibar Snails - fired a few homemade mp3s my way.

Of the two, "Sandblasted Pole Barn" was my favorite: a corrugated sandpaper maelstrom that recalls John Wiese's tazmanian devil laptop miniatures (cf. Teenage Hallucinations: 1992-1996), a quick, potent hit of malevolence.

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or hell, any noise tips? Hit me up with last.fm links or MP3s at [email protected].

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Cummings