New releases by past Vinyl Cave-dwellers have been coming fast and furious lately. Here's updates on three more favorites!
Quintron: Sucre du Sauvage
Quintron + Miss Pussycat + Drum Buddy + ... the New Orleans Museum of Art? That formula equals Sucre du Sauvage, the latest transmission from the wild world of Quintron. During a 2010 retrospective of various Quintronics Drum Buddys and Miss Pussycat's puppets, the duo themselves became part of the exhibit by working during museum hours on various recordings, from which Sucre is the first result. Split over two LPs, one features more pop-oriented vocal songs and the second is made up of ambient/experimental tracks. Interwoven throughout (particularly on LP 2) are field recordings made by Quintron during overnight stays on the NOMA grounds. Compared to Quintron's usual relatively stripped-down affairs, Sucre is fleshed out with some extra instrumentation and, as described on their website, "There is also a noticeable increase in the number of chords used per song compared to previous Quintron albums -- like from one chord to maybe more than one chord."
Don't fear the embellishments, Quintronketeers; with songs like "Face Down in the Gutter," "I Got Kicked out of Zolar X" and "Spirit Hair," it's now proven that you can put the artist in the museum but you can't remove the swamp. And for listeners only familiar with Quintron's more danceable projects, Sucre du Sauvage provides an entree into his more outre side, at a cost of a few more dollars than a single LP would be anyway. At only 55 minutes, though, I just wish it were a bit longer! (Goner, 2011)
Psychedelic Horseshit: Laced
Ohio's "shitgaze" leaders return with their second proper album, following 2007's Magic Flowers Droned. Who was expecting a focused electronica project? While both those descriptors are far too strong for what's going on here -- this is still Psychedelic Horseshit, of course, so there's really no genre boundaries -- that's the clearest shorthand way to compare it to their past catalog.
On Laced, the keyboards and chintzy electronic drums which have often been a part of their sound are mostly at the forefront this time, and the caustically-overdriven blasts of aggression pushed to the background. The clearer sound gives the complexly-layered opposing rhythms (created at times by looping Ryan Jewell's live drums) and melody lines some room to breathe a bit. One could actually dance to some of this album. There's even a sort of ambient instrumental track, as well as a mellow duet with Times New Viking's Beth Murphy.
That's not to say that Matt Horseshit/Whitehurst's latest collection of fractured pop songs isn't still a very strange affair. Being able to hear more of what's going on makes it easier to tell just how much work must go into the process of creating, deconstructing and reconstructing the songs on Psychedelic Horseshit's recordings, particularly considering they're being recorded on an analog 8-track rather than pieced together digitally. As ear-bleedingly bracing as their past work can be, a band can't just beat people over the head with distortion forever and still remain interesting.
Laced is most certainly the sound of a band maturing, but I guess it depends on the taste of the listener whether it's going to be more enjoyable. I'm a guitar partisan myself, but I like Laced more each time I spin it. Easily their most accessible album, it should get them some well-deserved attention beyond the lo-fi community.(Fatcat Records, 2011)
Wheels on Fire: Liar, Liar
It took me quite a while, but I finally managed to snare a copy of Wheels on Fire's new album, currently only available as an import, as the band had some along with them at their most recent Madison show. Liar, Liar was well worth the wait. The Athens, Ohio, combo has developed its own recognizable sound, with the rock solid rhythm section of Susan Musser (providing rockin' bass lines on keys) and drummer Matthew Chaney anchoring the distinctive voices of singers/songwriters Michael Chaney and John Garris. The foursome has developed into an unstoppable rock 'n roll machine during the past couple years, on record and particularly at their energetic live shows.
There may be nothing fancy going on in Liar, Liar -- just some good, old fashioned catchy garage pop, performed with zest -- but Wheels on Fire will make you dance and also stick in your head until you have to hear them again. For those keeping score, this includes the top side of their Trouble in Mind single ("Bad Lie"), and "Go and Give Your Love Away" from the group's 7-inch on Kind Turkey. (Alien Snatch, 2010)