NNA077: Sediment Club – ’30 Seconds Too Late’ C15
Feast your ears upon this terse, bleak statement of musical panic from young three-piece Sediment Club. Comprised of Austin Julian, Lazar Bozic, and Jackie McDermott (on guitar, bass, and drums, respectively), the ‘Club has diligently been bringing their rock & racket to basements and dungeons across the nation, as “30 Seconds Too Late” comes hot on the heels of their recent full USA tour. Using a ouija board to call upon the spirits of the classic eras of noise rock, No Wave, and post-punk, Sediment Club show us a refreshingly raw and unique perspective, firmly gripping the torch of their Northeastern weird underground brethren. Their latest EP brings us five short and sweet blasts of stripped down instrumentation with little flash or effects, allowing the natural filth of overdriven instruments to shine through amidst their ascending and descending chromatic lines of discontent. Lurching bass lines, twangy stabs of guitar, and turbulent drumming interlock in creative compositions that thrive on a clinical garage brutality, ripe with dissonance and a healthy dose of the macabre. Disconcerting and misanthropic lyrical content spews forth through drooling, unhinged vocal delivery, reflecting a state of psychosis as if viewing an MC Escher drawing through a shattered mirror. “30 Seconds Too Late” is an incredibly satisfying listen, and a cassette that could be comfortably crammed into your ratty shoebox collection of punk seven inches, complete with a Urinals cover and full lyrics sheet.
NNA078: VaVatican – ‘I Love You (Dora Lee)’ C38
Confusion is the name of the game on “I Love You (Dora Lee)”, the new full-length from NYC quartet VaVatican. Self-described by the group as “the first half of a two-part absurdist sound saga”, this single piece spread across two sides of magnetic tape unfolds exactly as such. What starts out as a lush, dynamic, and melodic tapestry of almost post-rock soundscapes abruptly collides into a grating wall of upper-register harmonic extended saxophone technique, and continues this journey into confounding new territories throughout the duration of the recording. Nathaniel Morgan, Owen Stewart-Robertson, Weston Minissali, and Booker Stardrum (the latter two also of avant-proggers Cloud Becomes Your Hand) unite respectively on alto saxophone, guitar, synthesizer, and percussion to push the limits of their instruments to the point where fact can no longer be distinguished from fiction. The group is able to use improvisation within a structurally composed framework to take the listener on an emotional and sonic roller coaster ride, see-sawing between styles of music in a such a way that makes the end result impossible to pigeonhole into any one genre. Electro-acoustic passages are punctuated with seemingly-nonsensical text and speech fragments, collaged together as antagonistic sound poetry. What’s perhaps most impressive about “I Love You (Dora Lee)” is it’s ability to straddle the fine (or broad?) line between high-brow and low-brow, where colorful, texturally-rich melodic drones and even Elvis covers are met face-to-face with farting, giggling, chairs creaking, and downright nauseating atmospheres. While the sounds can be musically serious, the overall narrative remains cryptically playful and tongue-in-cheek, a dynamic not often found in the stuffy chambers of academia and improvised music. Needless to say, VaVatican are not afraid to take risks and embrace the bizarre, basking in the true nature of experimental music in it’s most literal sense. “A romance, a farce, a stomach bug, a new moon, and Elvis Presley in a tall tree” –VaVatican