Friday Night Noise: Earn and Black Pus

Earn, "She Could Only Remember"

Snaggled-drone unit Earn is a solo project of Houston's Matthew Sullivan, who also records under the name Privy Seals and has his paws in a slew of outfits, including Deep Jew and Vague Apology. As Earn, he's all up on the "disturbing ambient with interruptions" tip, presenting a rougher take on what fellow H-town noiser Swanshit has to offer. Debut EP Down The Well (Monorail Trespassing) scans as a melange of Animal Hospital's orchestral drift, any number of Merck Records artists, and the blurry-sunspot organ blare endemic to James Ferraro (of Skaters infamy) and Ducktails.

"She Could Only Remember" was FNN's personal fave from Well, probably because it just struck us as really grimy: bloodshot, machine-tooled scrapes looped unevenly, shortwave-y crackle hissing through cracks, chopped-up blare - just a profoundly uncomfortable, trapped-in-a-sewer-pipe-while-life-rolls-merrily-along-above vibe happening, here. Listening to this while fighting off a hangover might prove fatal.

Black Pus, "Beat A Path Up Pattern Mountain"

Pinching in as part of the Boredoms 77 Boadrum extravaganza two years back. Performing on Icelandic pixie Bjork's Volta, and touring that album with her traveling, outre/avant carnival. Drawing scads of eye-strainingly detailed comics that can be as short as a few pages or hundreds of pages long. Redefining two-man noise-rock as half of Lightning Bolt. Unleashing plutonium-dense pebble sprays with Mindflayer. Yeah, that Brian Chippendale sure is a crazy motherfucker - and we haven't even started in on the Rhode Island drummer's Black Pus project yet.

As Black Pus, Chippendale boiled the Lightning Bolt noise-metal aesthetic - gnarly instrumental displays of virtuosity at breakneck speed, with cracked Muppet vocals - down to gnashing, crashing malaise, a smoggy, diseased smear of manic keybs and drumkit psychosis that suggested an Arkham Asylum house punk band. This was - and remains - a fuck of a lot of fun to behold.

By last year's Black Pus 4: All Aboard The Magic Pus, he'd simmered down a bit, becoming a mite more concerned with song structure and discerable vocals. But Black Pus 0: Ultimate Beat-Off (Diareaharama) represents something totally different: pure, unadulterated drum-clinic bug-out, oh-so-lightly garnished with toxic guitars and synths. Given all the references to "Frenzy" scattered among the colorful, jumbled sprawl of the Chippendale-doddled liners - always a treat, for reals - and knowing that Frenzy was an improvisational album Lightning Bolt worked on then set aside between 2003's Wonderful Rainbow and 2005's Hypermagic Mountain, it stands to reason that Black Pus 0 consists of treated versions of tapes from those sessions.

Don't feel shortchanged, feel empowered; this is primo stuff right here, particularly "Beat A Path," with its zillions of dueling drum rolls, cymbal provocations, quick and dirty patters, screams whipped into and out of black holes, monsoon-quality runs, and gusts of guitar napalm that sometimes fail to register given all the fancy stickwork. (Avant geeks: this ain't no Chris Corsano disc, though we heart him, too.)

This goes on for about 17 tumultuous minutes - God only knows how skins were busted during the recording process, how many parts layered on top of one another - and one can come away with the sense that Chippendale was channeling his fury into opening a fissure in the ground beneath him or a wormhole into another dimension.

If you're bored, you don't have the volume up high enough.

Got some hot Texas noise tips - or, hell, any noise tips - for me? 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 [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