Friday Night Noise: Dangerous Live Tracks from Richard Ramirez and Dead Machines

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Richard Ramirez, "Removal Off...(Live)" Now this is the sort of noise that plasters a big dumb 'ol smile on Friday Night Noise's normally dour mug. How can you hate this sort of stuff, this all-over-the-place, sliding-around-in-oil roar where the crud flies here and there with absolutely no strategy whatsoever, where a piercing bit of feedback could theoretically turn out to be a perverted scream, but maybe it isn't? Where the artist's aim seems to be to super-soak you with as much distorted video-game scree as he or she can muster, psychotically, preferably as loud and looped as possible. In this case, we're vividly reminded of Carlos Giffoni's Welcome Home. This is dangerous noise, you know? Reality-eclipsing noise. Given that this track - from 2002's Past Buildings That Have Fallen (Spatter) - was recorded live, the mind boggles at what the experience of hearing this in a crowd at deafening volume must have been like.

Dead Machines, "Live at No Fun Fest 9-18-09"

As FNN noted last week with regard to Lightning Bolt, the drawback to having one's first exposure to a band be stratospheric is that everything else that band has done or will do may fail to measure up. Dead Machines, the duo of Wolf Eyes' John Olson and spouse Tovah Olson, are a case in point. Futures (Troubleman, 2005) brought the delirium-tremors musique-contrete ruckus a mite too hard - going for a sort of busted-fuse power electronics, if you like - that even decent efforts like The Last Pallbearer and Afternoon Electronics have registered as anticlimatic.

So it is, too, with "Live at No Fun Fest 9-18-09," a 20-minute set from the pair's set in Sweden that can't quite match that malfunctioning doomsday-device ambiance. We mean, it's nice, you know? The rusty ratchet-clicks and scrapes. The meager industrial squeals. The vocals (I think) crudely uber-compressed into rubbery shortwave a la Nautical Almanac. The coiled wavelength thrummmmm. The pregnant pauses.

But when Dead Machines go improv, as they do here, the underlying sense of world-wrecking purpose - what FNN so adored about Futures - is missing in action, and peals of audience applause serve to break the spells being cast. The integration of John Olson's saxophone adds an intriguing dimension, though. Will FNN delete from his iTunes? Nah. By the by, you can find an mp3 of Dead Machines' performance - plus sets by the likes of Wolf Eyes, Sewer Election, Emeralds and Prurient - here.

In other news: remember how Yellow Swans broke up last year? Remember how they had a ton of recordings due for supposed release in 2009? Well, the posthumous cavalcade continues into 2010, with a final, big-deal studio album dropping on Type Records early next year. In the meantime, erstwhile Swan Pete Swanson has compiled a free, wide-ranging mix that you can - and should - grab here.

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for FNN? Hit us up with MP3s or Web site links - but not MySpace links, seriously, because we can't access those at work and at home every spare moment is spoken for - at fridaynightnoise@gmail.com.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.