Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gay Beast - Gay Beast [Gilgongo]/Pigeon Religion - Dead Boss [Gilgongo]/Sissy Spacek - Fortune [Gilgongo]

Gilgongo records down in Tempe, AZ has been doing some good work this year including this trio of 7inches and a James Fella/Timeload Fowl LP I'll get to at another time.
I pull out Gay Beast's LP Disrobics on a regular basis and now hearing this 7inch as well, I'm convinced they are one of the best fucking rock bands on the planet right now. The king of the show is the first side "Multi-Purpose Anti-Form" which I played probably a good 30 times in the first two days I got it. GB start out with a rather mellow intro before jumping into the verse. The song is actually a bit slower than Gay Beast usually moves but it's certainly not devoid of energy. "Multi-Purpose Anti-Form," however, is also Gay Beast's most melodically rich work to date. An endlessly spinnable jam where each element feels so fucking right. Each instrument, the fuzzed out vocals, everything is dynamic and perfectly placed. And goddamn, this song is so well crafted. It moves in stages with each moving seamlessly into the next, and what is most effective is that each successive stage outdoes the previous one. There's this tremendous tension that builds as the song just keeps getting better. Seriously invigorating, one of the best songs I've heard this year. When are these guys gonna get another LP out already? I'm dyin' here!
The B-side features two tracks the first of which is a short instrumental titled "Pressing Hard." It's got all their signature, off-kilter rhythmic prowess but it feels a bit underdeveloped like it's a warm up rather than a full-fledged song. The last track is an expanded, re-recorded mash-up of Dymaxion/The Need covers, "SM Head, LG Torso, Crushing Grip/Whitewash" which was also on their Navy Quilted Pier 3". The first half is angular and scrappy which sets up the second half perfectly. When they hit the "Whitewash" bit the track gets real great real quick, rolling along on a fantastic walking guitar line and ending on a strangely contorted bridge. A cool jam sure to make its songwriters proud.
My band was actually asked to play show with Pigeon Religion when they hit Seattle last summer but I was out of town which was a bummer. Anyhow, that's a long winded way of saying I've been looking forward to hearing them. "Dead Boss" begins like a soccer hooligan chant. The chorus of voices is joined pretty quickly by guitar and drums turning the pseudo-soccer anthem into a punk anthem. The actual singer is shouting his lungs out but can't make himself heard over the flurry of voices. It's an admirable effort though. "Henderson" is even better. There's an accompanying text insert about being a bum in Henderson, Nevada but I can't quite tell if it's actually the lyrics being sung. The song is only a couple minutes but it's a got great strung out, post-Jesus Lizard vibe. No wonder they got a record on Parts Unknown as well. Side B's sole track "Huge Bummer" is probably my favorite of the bunch. It reminds me of some of Pixies' (my fav band FYI) rawer, more seething selections. It's a pretty simple arrangement, a catchy bass line and dual guitars feeding back rather than just mirroring the bass line while the singer dude is agitated about "relying on someone else" or something until the piece splinters to a shambling close.
I reviewed Snow storm's debut full-length a while back, 12 songs crammed onto a 45rpm 7inch and I thought I'd seen it all. That is until Sissy Spacek put out this 7inch which ups the ante to 26 songs at 45rpm. Though calling each a track a "song" is a questionable proposition, the band seems to even think so too as they give each side it's own umbrella name. In their defense they do name every single track as well and when I saw them play a year or two ago Pete Swanson assured me each blast of noise I heard was a different song. But that's enough of my meaningless ruminations, I'll try to get one or two meaningful ones in here instead. This Spacek line up finds John Wiese joining up with Corydon Ronnau on vocals and Charlie Mumma on drums. The first side, "Fortune" sets the tone of the record. Breakneck, machine gun drumming, and a blur of processed guitar(?) noise and wild-eyed vocals. It brings me back to those early Black Dice records which I dig a lot, occupying the exact midpoint between hardcore and free noise. The songs are maybe 9 seconds long and I do find myself wishing they were a bit longer. But the sensation of accelerating and stopping, accelerating and stopping each time a song finishes and a new one begins is intentional I'm assuming. Sissy Spacek is trying to give me whiplash just by listening to their record! Spacek's frenzied sound isn't just the product of speed either; I accidentally played it the first time at 33rpm and it's just as savage and violent slowed down 12rpms. The second side "The Eyes of Men" is pretty similar to the first. It is interesting how all the songs fit into the larger dynamic framework of a side. The songs are often arranged in a way that creates what seems like a natural pause in the overall "song." Definitely a strange record and definitely a Sissy Spacek record. They do their thing like no one else I know of.
All records are still in print and each has it's own aesthetically pleasing packaging. I especially like the 4 color screen printed sleeve of the Gay Beast single.


Gay said...

Hey. thanks for the review!!! we do have another full length. Second wave..on skingraft. and we'll have another 7'' out next month. I'll send you one. XO DAN / gaybeast

Auxiliary Out said...

Thanks for letting me know. I'm just being my usual misinformed self I guess, making claims without research haha. I have to track down that Skin Graft LP.

Gay said...

Hello! If you and anyone else who reads this resides or will be residing in the Seattle area, we (Gay Beast) are playing at the Josephine Thursday, July 1st. We'll have everything mentioned in this blog except for the vinyl version of "Disrobics" (sold out a while ago). Our other tour dates are at:

Hope to see you there! - Isaac / GB