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Business Lady, "Torture Footage"

cover image One of those albums that fits Load’s usual style, this is a disc of punk-damaged goofy thrash that obviously doesn’t take itself too seriously, and even through the cacophony some element of melody does rear its head through the muck.



The tracks on Torture Footage stick to a rather similar formula that is this disc’s greatest shortcoming.  With only two of the tracks clocking in at over three minutes, most consist of a blasting drum and distorted bass rhythm, with abused guitar banging and vocals that, for all their indecipherability, often propel a sense of melody in the songs.  The overall sound is a sort of Dead Milkmen meets Lightening Bolt, without specifically sounding like either of the two bands.

Because of their short duration, the tracks never get into a point where repetition becomes a problem.  The tracks are quick to adapt their structure and pacing and bounce back and forth between a couple similar, though different styles in each track.  Tracks like “Air and Water” and “Priscilla’s Bleach Bath” stick to this basic noisy formula with some concessions to melody from the vocals.  However, “I Am Ze Doctor” and “Trick Boots” are a bit less dense and more mellow than the others, even though I’m speaking only in relative terms.  Any other band this would be a sloppy mess, but here, this is a bit of opium during the meth binge.

Perhaps it’s just a similar feeling to a Rorshach test, but some things begin to arise from the chaos, such as the rockabilly elements of “Hell is Ahead” and “Mini Harpyes” that are there amongst the noise, or at least that’s what I hear.  The former’s sound, mixed with the dual male and female vocals bring it more to a bizarre world where the B-52’s are doing Napalm Death covers.

As I’ve alluded to, the biggest problem with this album are that, for all intents and purposes, it could be a single 30 minute track, because there is just such an element of sameness from track to track.  It’s not an unheard of problem, and personally, I have problems sitting through full albums from the Ramones and early Swans for the same reasons.  Picking a track or two here and there makes for better listening experience rather than trying to sit through the entire album at once, in which ones attention tends to wander.  In short bursts, it’s a fun set of chaotic instrument abuse that mixes the noise and melody quite well.



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The Dead Texan

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Review of the Day

squarepusher, "go plastic"
The first track on Tom Jenkinson's new album, 'Go Plastic' seems to do just that. "My Red Hot Car" begins like a soft-core porn featuring raver-style actors. The stars would spend a lot of time fucking with the compostition of naked break beats, use a lot of pitch bending for flair, and maybe even show blatant disregard for melodic structure that pleases one's ears or even that which exists at all. This disc is rife with thin beats and whack bass sounds (that's right acid basslines reprasent in 2001!! yea-eah. no). When listening, watch out for unfulfilling "break" sections and boring melodies that sound like the portamento-style hijinx of DR. Dre a la 'The Chronic', minus the "it being good" part. A few tracks on the CD are decent, like the third track, "Go! Spastic". Tommy gets into a really nice breakbeat mashup but you may end up turned off as I was by the acid bass that begins the track and the thin, icky breakdown at around the two minute mark. I'd like to dance to this track at its finest moments but around four mnutes, there is a gross reverb used and it detracts from me really feelin the track as a whole.
A lot of places on the album turn me off because the sounds mimic those ripped off any old groovebox or Roland synth. I guess there's something to be said for old school sounds but I am not going to say it nor will I hear that. Most of the tracks can be broken down like this: they have their kind of nice places, then more bad parts, and then the awesome atonal composition that seems to be taking electronic music by storm!! I guess my issues with this album is that the chosen sounds could have been better and the melodies could have made sense or shown an emotion present on the any other full-length releases by Squarepusher.



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