Underground and Local: Diet Cokeheads, White Execution, and Bone Owl
Gainesville's Diet Cokeheads is one-third of Florida's holy triumvirate of new, damaged rock 'n' roll. (Lake Worth's Cop City/Chill Pillars and Tampa's Neon Blud comprise the other 2/3.) If you didn't already know, D.C. features Palm Beach expatriates who cut their teeth at the all-ages shows at Klein Dance Studio.
These days, the band is oozin' some bruisin' with a sonic potpourri that borrows from all the meatier post-punk variants.
"Oedipussy Complex" starts off with some palette cleansing noise and quickly turns into chug-a-lug grunge with Nick Cave/Ian Curtis spokesung creep vocals. Throw in some stop-start blasts, some depth-by-synthesizer, female shout vocals that appear out of nowhere, and you've got yourself what appears to be a punk rock song in its death throes.
The B-Side, "High Country," is built on a My War feedback-laden bass groove with spooked-out male moans in the background. With 40 seconds left everything goes to shit, and the song explodes into a pulsing head banger. And as the instrumental refrain from the beginning slinks back, it's hard to deny the Cokeheads can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.
P.S. This record is equally punk and psychedelic. If punks is hippies, what are post-punks?
This cassette is a split between Miami's White Moth and Springfield, Illinois's Execution Techniques (the latter runs Sacred Tapes). White Moth is the studio project of Miami-based Drugged Conscience/Steve's Pizza and Records proprietor Chris Donaldson (see also: Sloane Peterson, and the recently disbanded Merkit). He opens the tape with "Healing Girls, " a tasty sampling of the nasty-yet-nuanced power electronics we've come to expect from previous White Moth releases. Droning, oscillating sheet metal manipulation gives way to dueling blasts of non-feedback-based, high-pitched shrieks and blown-out gurgling rumbles. Attempting to deduce the sound source or instruments will leave you baffled.
Execution Techniques closes out the A-side and opens the B with two industrial-styled stompers. Some kind of synthesizer whirrs and a drum machine plods along until the whole operation bubbles over into hypnotically primitive digital metal. "Redwash" resonates with Joe Preston's Thrones, while "Scars" recalls I.N.C. favorites Sword Heaven. The closing track sees the White Execution concept realized to its fullest, as the duo team up for a sonically overloaded, pummeling finale that sounds like a black metal M.C. Escher painting.
This is a weird one. This review is more about figuring out what the hell this tape is than it is a good ol' fashioned critique. Maybe you can help?
The story: Every now and then I receive unsolicited packages from people looking to trade for Roofless releases or get a review on the Roofless blog. When this innocuos-at-first-glance cassette ended up in my mailbox I initially thought, "Oh, weird, Bone Awl sent me a tape." But upon further inspection I realized this tape was actually by a group named Bone Owl, and that's only the beginning...
Bone Awl is a California-based lo-fi black metal group that became a pillar of the genre (at least in the U.S.) during the (still ongoing) black metal boom of the '00s. Bone Owl seems to be an elaborate parody, and At The Phalluses Arc (substitute Ellipses' for Phalluses and you've got the title of an actual Bone Awl record) swiftly moves through black thrash, and dramatic organ-style synth intros/interludes/outros with little indication that this is not an actual band playing actual music.
Of course, every paratext on this thing -- from the arc'd phalluses on the cover, to the the purported record label, "Obama Is a Socialist Records" -- indicates its a gag. But part of me kinda wishes they'd drop the goof aesthetic and just package this bad boy earnestly. On the other hand, it's a pretty thorough parody. This came with absolutely no contact info (return address was a Miami P.O. box), so if you know anything about this madness, please do leave a comment.
-- Matt Preira