Saturday, April 14, 2007

Three Is (Not)
the Magic Number

The Locust, New Erections, Anti-

C'mon stiffs, we must demolish and level the dead of the cold-sweat
of the night, heat of the freon freedom fight, New Erections
is exactly what we wanted. -- The Locust press statement


If a band's gonna name their record New Erections, they must not want me to like it. Okay, I'm only half joking. I felt the same way about Smog's Dongs of Sevotion, but it won me over anyway.

Phallic allusions aside, the
two acts have little in common, but I'd opt for Bill Callahan's soft-spoken folk-pop over the Locust's "sci-fi-art-noise-spazz-core" anyday.

I gave the Locust's third effort a chance (I'm not familiar with albums one and two), and I
realize this San Diego combo has a devoted following, but
their grinding nihilism ain't for me. It's Nitzer Ebb without
the hooks, Bad Brains without the beats. Thumbs down.

Weatherbox, American Art, Doghouse Records

These fellow San Diego dwellers offer professionally deployed math-rock with an emo twist. Or something like's always been easier for me to describe music I like than music I don't.

Sometimes, for professional reasons, I have to fake the funk, like writing about teen faves Dashboard Confessional or Fall Out Boy. Maybe Weatherbox should also hook up with Babyface, as I kinda like Infinity on High—better than American Art, at any rate.

Wooden Stars, People Are Different,
Sonic Unyon Recording Co.

As Jim Morrison once noted, "People are strange" (when you're a stranger). But Depeche Mode said it best: "People are people."

I like some of the acts on Sonic Unyon—see the Nein and A Northern Chorus—but this Canadian quartet is almost as dull as Weatherbox. They formed in 1993, so they pre-date emo, but they share a math-rock approach to rhythm. In other words, the bass player does a lot of the heavy lifting. In funk, that's a necessity. Outside of funk, I prefer bass you can feel rather than hear.

That said, People Are Different, their fifth full-length, may appeal to fans of Adrian Belew or late-period King Crimson. And, of course, it keeps the venerable "people are..." tradition alive.

Endnote: Images from the AMG. The Locust deserves props for their unique image. Those outfits don't look comfortable, but they're certainly striking. Also, they put just as much effort into their song titles, i.e. "Who Wants a Dose of the Clap?" and "The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like to See You in His Office" (2003's Plague Soundscapes). Still, I prefer Clinic's scrubs—their music, too.

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