♫♪  Refrigerator - “As Advertised Please Don’t Touch”

What’s this loping hum coming down on a switch-flipped tractor beam? Could it be a Refrigerator track operating under the pseudonym “As Advertised Please Don’t Touch?” Could it be fair warning of a new Refrigerator album called Temple City? Yes and yes, but I already told you that from my news-like bully pulpit, so now that I’m grinding chocolate for a minute, I’m going to stick with the outer space shit, thank you very much. Because, you see, I’m imagining brothers Dennis and Allen Callaci holed up in some faster-than-light and hotter than fire spacecraft for what, to them, felt like just a couple minutes but that to us earthlings felt like that 25-year Shrimper Records lifespan. Because, aside from ever-cleaner production, not much seems to have changed for the brothers and their food chilling band since circa 1991 on ancient tapes like Lonesome Surprise. The songs on their new album Temple City are all thoughtfully torn apart in much the same ways, at moments almost totally dissolving before — snap — everything falls into place and we find ourselves in the middle of a chorus that no one saw coming.

“As Advertised Please Don’t Touch,” the track I’m supposed to be premiering here, hardly even has a guitar part. How’s that for dissolute? It more or less just a buzzing feedback squawk, like something from the aft thrusters of that space ship I mentioned that got stuck in the eight-track. The melody’s mostly carried by the lilting motion of bass against Allen Callaci’s impassioned but clipped yawp. John Darnielle one time sang, “I wish I could sing like Allen Calacci/ then you would know how sad it was when the rain came down.” That’s because Callaci’s got this way of packing a lot behind what he’s spitting. Though he doesn’t often go too far above conversational volume, the cracks and aches give off the sense of a full-volume scream.

And that guitar part, the one I disserviced by referring to as hardly even there, it’s working like Callaci’s voice, i.e., doing two things at once. Of course, yes, it is mostly feedback, but it’s also got enough harmonic information in there to hint at a backbone for the song and to lean in with the rest of the band when the times come. It’s like all those days when you walked into your dad’s office and said, “Yo dad, it’s a mess in here, how are you ever going to find passport before you have to get on that faster than light spaceship in an hour?” but your dad knew exactly where his passport was, not to mention literally every other little thing in that crap-stuffed office of his. That’s what listening to Refrigerator is like. Everything feels like it’s going off in different directions and that there’s no way it’ll even begin to cohere. Then it does, and your dad’s getting on the spaceship, and Refrigerator’s wailing away like they’ll never stop, and everything feels good but a little weird.

Temple City is out now on Shrimper Records, distributed by Midheaven mail-order.

• Refrigerator: https://midheaven.com/artist/refrigerator

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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