Detective Instinct – ‘The History of Headaches/American Novels’; and Human Adult Band – ‘Hearing Damage Sessions’[Review]

It’s fitting that the latest from Detective Instinct, ‘The History of Headaches/American Novels’, should find a home at Third Uncle, who have been so good to preserve the Midwestern outsider weird-rock from which Trevor Pennsylvania and Human Adult Band evolved out of (as documented in their Third Uncle split with Jad Fair).  In fact, Jad Fair is one of the many contributors to this collaborative collection, along with Truman’s Water (!!), members of Radar Brothers, the Ex, and led by Oli Heffernan.  Coming out of central UK, Heffernan’s music distills the heart of Anglo low-fidelity, in like company with The Doozer and Pumice, as well as inspirational Americans like Eddie Callahan and King Missile, while taking this essential song-writing out of the bedroom and into as broad a field of musics as conceivable in rock music.  Heffernan has an embarrassing wealth of painlessly clever Vini Reilly pocket-melodies made from subtle synthesis, and highlights include the percolating pop and crackle of “Breakfast Rainbow”, the Slint-with-strings  “I Thought I Was Pregnant”, the devastating “I Will Try” (Gram Parsons x Baby Dee), and they’re pretty much all remarkable, particularly considering the essentially solo authorship of the project.  My personal favorite is the punky children’s story “Lore of the Lamb”, a brilliant tale of hegemony and pants-shitting, plowing an unknown strait from the post-punk of The Fall to the cyber-crunk of Die Antwoord.  On black vinyl with a heavy sleeve and download card.  Limited to just 200 copies.  Highest recommendation.

In a similar citation-heavy mode of album making, Human Adult Band fork over their first LP after celebrating a decade of existence.  “Influence” may be too deliberate a term for what’s demonstrated here as one doesn’t necessarily need to study the catalogs of the Buttholes to draw the same conclusions; yet the comparisons still hold and suggest if nothing else a kindred interest in sweating the same structural assumptions.  An inevitable reference for the band, “Off” is like the best of Hammerhead’s ‘Ethereal Killer’, and “Silver Violence” and “Econo Praxia” both fake a brooding stew before breaking into the fuzzed-over vocals and hypnotic buzz of Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’, with traces of Mudhoney, Shellac, Unsane.  These moments are many, and capture the band at their best – part revivalists, part stalwarts – but they attest to their cognizance through relatively odd-ball tracks like the roadhouse psychedelia of “The Shaker Pt. 1,” the Truman’s Water thrash of “Sixth Sense Incense on X-Mess,” or the Shimmy Disc fodder  “A Hole”.  Half-between these world, “Byron Lives” is like a mad-mash of discordant jangle, swirling noise, and workhorse percussion stifling a Chicagoan Pegboy/Vic Bondi non-sing (if I bothered to squint at the lyrics, I’d likely find it in tribute to Coley, or more likely Gysin, but surely not the Lord dandy).  There’s a coldness to the ‘Hearing Damage Sessions’ – marked by the tinny, trebly percussion and sagging wah of rhythm section –  comparable to the emergence of Unwound’s ‘New Plastic Ideas’, sounding like they switched drugs or gave them up altogether.  Here’s to another 10 years of keeping us guessing.  Recommended.  Edition of 500.  A co-release with Heat Retention records.

Third Uncle LPs
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