Keith Fullerton Whitman
I didn’t expect to wake up yesterday to find a 12-hour journey into the aural history of one of my favorite musical minds humbly sitting in my SoundCloud feed among label promos and home recorded demos — but whoa, here I am, and I’ve heard (almost) all of it. Keith Fullerton Whitman has been working sporadically on his “Greatest Hits” mix for almost 10 years; the result, presented here in a single jagged waveform across your screen, is one hundred “remixes” of “the most salient points of the pop music of [the artist’s] youth” slowed, processed, and abstracted into the sweetest droned-out disfigurements. Take a moment here and erase all the preconceptions planted by the “omg ‘Justin Bieber 800% Slower’ sounds like Sigur Ros or smthng lol” YouTube pop slowdowns of yesteryear. “Greatest Hits” treats us to a much more sonically hi-fi, conceptually ambitious half-day of pop deconstruction — deliberate in its pacing, diverse in its source material, wide in its tonal palette. Also, yeah, given the 10-year timeline of this project, I think we can safely say that KFW got there first, probably before anyone.
Is it worth sinking 12 hours of your short little life into? If you’re asking yourself this, I remind you that we’re dealing with Keith Fullerton fucking Whitman here. The man has the gear and the technical knowledge to process any sound into virtually any form he can imagine; he has a well-articulated personal/artistic motivation for this and all of his projects; he has a sense of quality control as strict and discerning as anyone else in his field; his taste, perhaps best exemplified by the music he chooses to stock in his Mimaroglu Music Sales distro, is better than yours. He will not steer you wrong.
I’m crowding around a TV in the college common room while a kid with a mullet shouts “Look at that foot cam!” as the Chad Smith Drum Tuition Video reaches its enthralling apex. Suddenly — or should that be All of a Sudden — walks in “Gustav,” the weird black-clad exchange student from Germany who’s staying with my sister’s friend. He plugs in his VHS camcorder and plays some grainy footage from a Liars gig he was at last night. “This is real drumming,” he says, slowly, his words dripping with assured Teutonic condemnation.
As the bell rings for lessons and we all hastily finish our ketchup-smothered hash brown sandwiches, a mood of vague shame hangs over us. We all walk away from that moment wondering whether Red Hot Chili Peppers really are the best band in the world — some people erase their “Californication” lyrics from the front of battered exercise books, others dig in their heels and play slap bass in the pubs of West Yorkshire to this day. Whatever the reaction, something changed.
• Blood Sport: http://bloodsport.bandcamp.com
It’s been four weeks, and the ritual continues. You pretend it’s subsided, but the “Stagnant Venom” remains in you and blurs it all. In streaks of motion, you’ve made your way back to and have been living at: the altar. Feasting on bark and bugs has become your only salvation for nourishment, and hydration is always a mind-bending chance of roulette away from biting into cactus poison. Your eyes roll back into your skull, and veins root your interior vision. And you see a web. And you see a shadow. There’s a suitcase full of cassette tapes atop a stack of LPs all signature to Robedoor. Years’ worth of dank melodies in forms of crushed hymnals and sacred curses. Yeah, you got a 3-in-1 PHILCO plugged into an extension buried in dirt, half pulled out of the ground but regretfully abandoned.
Robedoor has been searing listener’s ears since Fuck It Tapes — no, I mean American Grizzly. Or was it Tin Cans And Twine? Shit, they’ve been on everything and with everyone. Actually, play a game with yourself, if you’re bored: think of a label Robedoor could get on, and then look it up. They probably have a release on there. And it’s way harder than you’d’ve expected it. This time around, they’re freshing French label Hands in the Dark (which just sold out of their Cankun release this year), which is definitely one of my favorite new up-and-coming labels. I intend to radar the SHOOT outta them in the years to come. Expect Robedoor’s new album Primal Sphere May 14 on Hands in the Dark. For now, check out this co-premiere (with NFOP) of “Stagnant Venom”:
“The Ebb And Flow Of Tides In A Sea Of Ash”
New The Body new The Body new The Body new The Body. This should be all you know need to know if you experienced All The Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood in 2010 and lived to tell the tale — and then returned again and again to subject your poor little soul to glorious evisceration (oh my god remember this??). “The Ebb and Flow of Tides in a Sea of Ash” opens the Portland duo’s forthcoming mini-album Master, We Perish — and with it right here before you, it’s time to gird yourself to dive back into the doom-/death-/sludge-/avant-/choir-laden maw. Rumor has it that another full-length is in the pipeline, and if this material is an indication of what to expect, all I can say is “Fuck Yes.”
The Body have maintained an air of mystery and curated the media surrounding their releases with serious attention to detail. The video above is no exception. Grisly images of (what else?) bodies — i.e., corpses; i.e., get ready for some gore — accompany the band’s bewildering guitar tones, throttling drums, and inhuman howls, making the whole experience just the kind of thing to screen for all of your loved ones. I’m sure all of this grainy footage originates from particularly evil criminal events of yore, but this isn’t the kind of thing I’m tryna investigate (“Siri, Google ‘Wiki multiple homicide plus bound in plastic plus cocaine”). It’s cool, The Body did all the work for us and has succeeded in fueling my nightmares for a few more weeks to come. Thanks guys!!
Pre-order Master, We Perish straight from At A Loss Recordings, and keep your eyes and/or all of your skin peeled for more news from The Body soon, I bet.
The Hillside Mechanisms
Roland, Roberto, and Javier are Vole, and as Vole, they initially fool you into thinking they are making some of this “rock” music. This tease lasts four seconds, and soon it becomes clear that they are in fact attempting to “reconcile Dionysian and Apollonian artistic urges,” with especially thrilling consequences if you happen to absolutely love Polar Bear, Led Bib, and Fraud.
• Babel Label: http://babel-label.bandcamp.com
Kids On A Crime Spree
“Creep The Creeps”
You’ve gotta figure that the Brill Building’d be the perfect target for a smash ’n’ grab — if you need a new smash hit. But if we’re grooving to the Slow Movement, why not Slow Crime? Stripping back that gold-plated exterior might not be a job for the young and impatient, rather a definite labor of love for romantic souls dedicated to appropriating the past and using it to their own nefarious yet oh-so-delightful ends.
On the “Creep the Creeps” 7-inch, Kids On A Crime Spree, who we last heard from in 2011 (TMT Review) are still lovin’ us so bad it’s good, and in the tongue-locking process giving us mono — Back to Mono, that is. Here, their indie twee influences are just about winning a wrestling match with Wall of Sound girl group meets garage vibes, but it’s a friendly bout. If you listen hard, you can even hear some new wave pop punk in there — gentlemen prefer Blondies. And let me ask, is there any song that handclaps don’t make better? Catch the clap!