Listen Up!

Illegal Wiretaps Back Off the Deep End on 79th Release (!)

I forget it sometimes, but The Illegal Wiretaps are really one of Houston's most prolific acts. Their Bandcamp page has, no kidding, 79 different releases, and the brand-new Scintillating Scumbag is the third this year alone. Sure, most of them are short EPs, but even with just four songs or so per record that's still a catalog of more than 200 songs.

It's really time for us as a city to take a good hard look at this electronic nuttiness that's being peddled by Stephen Wyatt and Anthony June, who seems to have sat this album out. They really are our own version of the Legendary Pink Dots, and every time I recover from their last album and walk back into the insanity it's another life-altering experience.

Scumbag picks up fast, hard and harsh with the title track; as far as Illegal Wiretaps songs go, it's as close to typical as such an indescribable band's can be, but they really up the ante in the next song. "Jeering," while losing none of that crackling pain, brings out a more melodic, almost gothic vocal styling that calls to mind something like Gary Numan at his most soothing.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner