Speakers Push Air

April’s Narc Content #2: Album Reviews

CarterTuttiVoid – Transverse (Mute)

Factory Floor ‘get’ what Throbbing Gristle were about so much more so than any number of faux-shocking industrial fuckwits. So it’s natural -and brilliant – that Factory Floor’s Nik Void and Throbbing Gristle’s Chris & Cosey have worked together.

Transverse was recorded at last year’s Mute Short Circuit festival, using studio tracks as a starting point for a series of improvisations of quite amazing intensity. Each is driven by a brooding, insistent rhythm pattern, the trio adding shards of guitar, wordless vocals, stabs of synths and effects, layering these more heavily on each subsequent track until V4 is a maelstrom of bewildering noise and stuttering rhythm. At times it sounds like an early 90s ‘ardcore rave track dissected and reassembled and I wish to hell I’d been there.



Volcano The Bear – Golden Rhythm / Ink Music (Rune Grammofon)

While Volcano The Bear sound like nothing else you’ve heard, we’re gonna need some reference points to get us through this absolute mindfuck of an album. Take some Residents, some Nurse With Wound, lots of Sun City Girls, some recent freak folk, some early Soft Machine and perhaps some of that brown acid you were warned about and you’ll be in roughly the right part of the scary, moonlit forest where you’ll find them beating out martial rhythms on animal bones and saluting some long forgotten pagan spirit with out-of-tune trumpets and muezzin wails. Nothing this fucked up should be so much FUN.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn improv.



We Are Knuckle Dragger – Tit For Tat (Sapien Records)

Sometime in the 90s the boundaries between metal, hardcore and punk blurred and old gits like me got confused. But if the end result of all this genre inbreeding sounds like We Are Knuckle Dragger, it’s all good.

The local hardcore heroes’ debut album is 30 minutes of bruising, relentless energy. What hits you first is the churning low end, which is why getting Steve Albini to record makes sense (he worked similar magic with Mclusky). There’s nothing fussy or complicated here – as is the Albini way, WAKD clearly recorded this live and fast and it pays off. There’s enough Fugazi-style spikiness to keep it interesting but essentially Tit For Tat just rocks like a bastard.



M Ward – The Wasteland Companion (Bella Union)

M Ward is fast becoming the T-Bone Burnett of his generation, the ‘go to guy’ if you want to tap into America’s musical heritage. He’s worked with everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Bright Eyes and never seems to pause for breath.

Hence his 6th album being largely recorded on the road and boasting an impressive rollcall of guests – from Deschanel to Howe Gelb to Steve Shelley. And the album is… okay. He always gets the sound he’s after – be it Roy Orbison echo or prairie shuffle – but few of the songs connect. It’s perfectly pleasant to listen to but nothing really sets the heart racing. Watch The Show is interestingly spooky, his Daniel Johnston cover is cool, but Ward needs to come up with the songs to prove himself more than just a talented mimic.


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