Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: The Sick Debut Album by Woman

There are four people in Woman and they’re all guys. It’s not known what if anything the band name connotes, but it’s definitely not girly. Woman play dark, confrontational, in-your-face noise-rock that sounds straight out of the Lower East Side, 1993. What sets it apart from its antecedents is how tuneful it is. All of the songs here have layers and layers of guitar, howling, screaming, roaring, veering wildly in and out of focus, but the parts all manage to be in the right place at the right time. Since this band is actually very tight, the out-of-control freakouts become all the more intense. This album is like a splatter film that’s at least half suspense: there’s lots of gore, but they save it for when they need it. And then you get buckets. The tunes are always front and center when necessary; ditto the unrestrained savagery. Heavy drums and equally heavy, distorted bass add a shot of molten lead to an already unsteady vehicle.

There are eight tracks on the album to annoy your neighbors with in the wee hours. The first, When The Wheel’s Red layers a firestorm of metallic noise behind a simple catchy warped blues tune, like the Chrome Cranks as done by Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation with some death metal dude on vocals. Track two, Gaol In My Heart is a stomping dirge, very Honeymoon Killers with a little Syd Barrett thrown in – the band pulses and sputters and finally the flames emerge from within the stinky smoke cloud, then it goes into a circular Doors-ish motif that they run over and over behind the squall. The Perfect Night captures swaying neo-boogie blues through the warped prism of a cheap whiskey bottle and ends cold as if they had to cut something off, or the tape ran out

The fourth cut, E-A-T-D-N-A picks up the pace with some unhinged chord-chopping and a wicked hook at the end of the verse that sounds a lot like the late great Live Skull (it figures: indie legend Martin Bisi engineered the album, maxing out the menace in his signature style). Like the previous cut, it stops dead in its tracks. After that, Phosphorescent Glow welds a catchy garage rock hook to ugly Melvins stomp and some charbroiled Ron Asheton licks. The most accessible song on the cd, Fall Into The Fall motors along on a catchy, mean chromatic hook with a Silver Rocket vibe, saving most of the guitar torture for the end. Heavy Water is aptly titled, like early Sabbath with a feedback fixation. The cd ends with the sarcastically titled torturefest Icy Drone, which reminds a lot of Live Skull’s classic cover of the Curtis Mayfield hit Pusherman. Damn, there hasn’t been a band this twistedly good around here in a long, long time. Could somebody please get their labelmates the Chrome Cranks together again for another tour and put them on the road with these guys. Woops…with this Woman. As a special bonus, Bang Records has pressed a limited edition run of 500 vinyl albums in addition to the cd.

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September 3, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Album Review: Sousalves – Spirit of NYC Woman

Incendiary, twisted, quintessentially New York rock from one of its better guitar-wielding denizens. Paul Alves AKA Sousalves plays all the instruments here except the drums, slashing and scratching out a wired, distorted, strung-out concoction that sometimes eerily resembles legendary French rockers Noir Desir (whose frontman Bertrand Cantat murdered his girlfriend in a coke-fueled rage). There’s some vintage Gun Club somewhere in there, too, it seems. Sousalves likes minor keys, percussive riffs where the guitar doubles the rhythm of the drums, and the occasional evil chromatic hook. The whole album has a hallucinatory, 5 AM, out-too-late, out-of-control feel. It opens with a dirty instrumental passage that segues into Silver Shoes, which could be Noir Desir…or could be early Midnight Oil, from the days when they were a metal band. The cd’s title track features another notable Lower East Side denizen, Deborah Sassiver, playing Nico to Sousalves’ Lou here, adding layers of eerie,watery vocals to this cut and several others as well. The album’s next cut Passin Thru begins with a tinkling arpeggio played on what sounds like a koto, building to a titanic yet impressively terse, feedback-infused guitar solo before fading back to quiet again. The following track Tail Another Chase is as predictably warped as the title would imply, driven by a pounding chromatic riff. After that, Making It Happen takes it down a notch for a couple of minutes before reverting to the percussive fire of the rest of the album.

There’s ostensibly a video of Sousalves playing a live acoustic version of the next cut, Dance Tango, circulating on the internet somewhere: that’s a good thing, because this electric version strangely doesn’t have the hypnotic intensity of the unplugged take. The next song Painted It Black appeared on Sousalves’ previous ep …To Self and sounds something like what the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have done if they weren’t so interested in being rock stars. The highlight of the album, End of Your Rainbow reverts to a scorched-earth, nouveau Noir Desir fury, the odd tempo and ascending progression of the bridge exploding into its killer chorus. Sousalves closes the cd with a couple of hypnotic tracks, Waiting to Kiss You For Days which builds to a Jefferson Airplane-esque funk groove, and the quieter Meridians, with its neat trick ending. It’s a cliché but they really don’t make rock like this much anymore: fans of late great bands like the Chrome Cranks, Honeymoon Killers and Knoxville Girls will love this. Caveat – this album won’t really sound good unless you play it loud.

Sousalves plays the cd release for this album at Midway (the old Guernica space) at 10 PM on Tues May 1.

May 1, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments