Houston Music

Roman Showers Throw Up Their Stomach Contents

Several weeks into June, there's no escaping summer: the sweltering season's here in all its flickering-horizon, bathed-in-sweat glory -- filthy, glaring, suffocating. Which makes this the perfect time for psychopathic burr-stuck noise blurts like Roman Showers' Show Me Your Stomach Contents.

The joke, of course, isn't so much that Roman Showers are ordering listeners to puke on command so that they can examine our collective evening repast; it's more that they'd like to examine that steak tartar as we're actually digesting it.

Given the personnel toiling in the noise trenches here -- Dallas' Nathan Golub (of The Godless Girl and Ascites) and Houston's own Richard Ramirez, both current members of Ramirez's long-running Black Leather Jesus -- the length and the sustained upheaval on offer here aren't at all startling; the thrill comes in the textural gestures at play.

Following an introductory sample hints at either hardcore pornography or a waterboarding exercise, we're in for everlasting roil, recoil, fade, and surge -- 18 minutes and acid-chewed change of shuddering tectonic low-end rumble and omnivorous distortion that never quite relaxes into the benumbing, coruscating sameness and sandpaper generics that characterizes so much harsh-wall noise.

Early on, CB-radio sputters jut and distend, suggestive of bleached-out simulations of actual conversations; eventually these echoes are subsumed by feedback levels that spike randomly beyond the red, microphone entrapped dead air buzzing, and frequencies that contract into live-wire whirlpools or high-pitches squeals before expanding just as suddenly.

The result is stimulatingly nautical and battle-royale pitched, with Golub and Ramirez's grating anti-tones elbowing one another for supremacy and, ultimately, totally kid-gloves free, as bracing as realizing too late that the Crest you've been using for a month is actually a tube of long-expired tanning lotion.

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Ray Cummings