Welcome to the inaugural edition of Friday Night Noise, a weekly Rocks Off column in which I'll take you by the hand and lead you through the often unpredictable, harsh, and (perhaps surprisingly) varied netherworlds of noise music. Noise-rock. Noise-pop. Noise-core. Droning noise. System-shutdown noise. Ultra-minimal noise. Experimental noise. Sample-heavy noise. I could go on and on in this vein -like Bubba babbling about ways to prepareshrimp
in Forrest Gump-but I'd rather lay out the ground rules this feature will operate under.
Each week, we'll hone in on three tunes, each by a different noise act. One of them will be from Texas. The other two will be from somewhere else. We'll hook you up with (last.fm or MySpace) links, because we're totally down with sharing the discordant wealth. Remember: discogs.com is your friend in a lot of cases. (We encourage you to join and help keep that site current.)
Noise releases - vinyl, CDs, lathe-cuts, 7-inches, cassettes, etc. - often fall out of the sky without any forewarning whatsoever, resulting in noise addicts discovering that new Dead Machines or Zaimph or Idlness Distribution shit is available weeks, months, or years after severely limited-edition conception. Thus, Friday Night Noise reserves the right to hip you to gnarled insanity issued 18 to 24 months earlier than a given publication date. Will this mean that you'll be a bit behind the curve in some cases? Probably, but if you're desperately into noise, chances are you won't care. Plus, sometimes it takes awhile for a Merzbow, John Wiese, Yellow Tears, or REACHING. composition to really zoom into focus such that one can explain it in words.
And finally, this ain't an MP3 column! What fun would this whole reader/columnist co-dependency thing be if I did all of the work for you?
With all that outta the way, let's get noisy!
Caldera Lakes "Fireworks Shooting Range"
So Gang Wizard's Eva Aguila and Married In Berdichev's Brittany Gould have joined forces as Caldera Lakes, who - in addition to having a pretty horrible name, sorry Canadians - have happened upon a single compositional idea that they've been able to milk a lot from. Basically, Gould's ethereal, lost lonely girl coo is leashed to fetching keyboard or acoustic harp melodies, then - like a tarted-up, sacrificial virgin lowered inch-by-inch into a seething volcano - slowly and painstakingly fed to the shark-ish, gnashing maws of homemade distortion and power electronics torture devices. In the case of "Range," it's similar to hearing a Tickley Feather or early The Blow song tased within an inch of its life. Those glad girls, huh? They only wanna get you high!
Wolf Eyes "We All Hate You"
Wolf Eyes - the Michigan-based trio who boast noise-rock's highest Q rating - are capable of just about anything, from clanky, forboding atmospherics to full-bore blare to jazzy fuckoffs. See the limited-edition detritus (there's a ton of it) for balls-in-a-vise insanity, broken-gear inanity, and a terrible Beastie Boys impression; cop the Sub Pop studio jawns for obvious-then-subtle-then-obvious-again declarations of dread (04's Burned Mind) and masterful horror-flick gradualism (06's Human Animal). But every shellshocked crater on Always Wrong wants to be its own imploding universe - here are seven doomy system shutdowns that aim to sink you, too. On "We All Hate You," corroded electronics thhhhbbt and creak like junked rollercoasters coming back to life as John Olson's saxophone bleats, percussion tramps unevenly, and Nate Young mutters bleak nothings like a wounded Terminator prototype staggering through a battlefield. One last thing: do not listen to "We All Hate You" - or any other Wolf Eyes - while doing yard work. Why? Because doing so only serves to amplify the impact of the zillion mosquitos and gnats who, inevitably, will want to have you for lunch.
Cop Warmth "anksciyeti"
Speculators and titans of industry aren't the only capital-holders who clamor to get in on the ground floor of new endeavors; hipsters and those who prefer not to think of themselves as hipsters like to be first, too. So click the link and dig the thrill of being early to Cop Warmth's party. To all appearances, this Houston band's metier is very brief, very angry, very prickly punk-noise songs they wield like broken butterfly knives seized and repeatedly driven home in a pique-fueled fugue; "anksciyeti" is the one where they express hatred for kids, or KISS, or maybe both. So they're bracingly cathartic as well as a conversation piece, because "Cop Warmth" could equate to "copping warmth" (as in "Jenny's just hooking up with you to cop warmth because we're all stuck outside in a tent and it's 10 degrees below tonight") or a police officer's congeniality.
Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for me? Hit (or hep) me up with last.fm links or MP3s at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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