Wolf Eyes - The Driller b/w Psychogeist (Sub Pop LP)
Whoda thought it possible to anticipate a Wolf Eyes album, of all things? After all, these guys are the guys who made a name for themselves (at least partly) by releasing a different CD-R, tape, or LP on a weekly basis. And yet that's exactly what I've found myself doing as the release date (09/26) of their new Sub Pop record "Human Animal" approaches. If you'll recall my sermonizing from the write-up I did re: the "River Slaughter" 2xLP, there are three different Wolf Eyes "modes" that vary from album to album. See when Wolf Eyes put something out on John Olson's American Tapes, they always seem to be in a very loose, off-the-cuff, maybe even lazy form. And why not? It's their own label, they can put out whatever the hell they want. Next there's the Wolf Eyes that appear whenever they record for somebody else's label - slightly more structured, but still often free-form and "jammy" (see: "River Slaughter", "Dog Jaw", "Fuck the Old Miami", "The Warriors" split with Prurient, etc). Lastly there's the Wolf Eyes that appear most rarely, like the chupacabra, and usually (but not exclusively) on their Sub Pop releases. This is Wolf Eyes in their poppiest and most easy-to-digest form (and oftentimes their best if you ask me). See "Burned Mind", "Dread", "Dead Hills", "Slicer" and now on these two tracks, one from the "Human Animal" LP and one presumably an outtake from said sessions. Have I spent too much time dissecting the Wolf Eyes trajectory? Should I probably do something or see somebody about that? Is that why I have enough time every day to write album reviews? Man. Now I'm listening to Wolf Eyes and my blog is giving me hell of emotions. Just kidding, I'm trying to pad out this review since I only have 10 minutes and 54 seconds of music to work with.
In classic Wolf Eyes trickster style (or in classic Sub Pop snafu style, I'm not really sure which), the LP label insists that you play this at 33 rpm but that's a trap - it's actually 45 rpm. Although as with many Wolf Eyes tracks you can play it at 33 if you want and get even more bang for your buck. The a-side is of course "The Driller". A more apt name never to exist because this cut would punch holes in your head like what. Built off vintage busted Wolf synths and keys, there's a repeated electronic snarl decorated with beams of bright white light before that all drops out and you're attacked with a total slow-mo fist-pump/head-flop drum machine noise metal nightmare. I'd try not to spoil it for you but when the track picks up (a rhythm a la "Stabbed in the Face") with Nate screaming words we we would never - could never! - understand, Olson blowing heavy demonry out of the sax (!) and Connelly flailing what I can only assume to his guitar but who can tell for sure...well it's in moments like these that the ugly, exceptional, horrifying beauty of Wolf Eyes at the top of their collective game comes through. Like my old gym teacher used to say, A+ 1+!
On the flip, "Psychogeist" is a bit of a snoozer in comparison and I didn't really care for it much the first time around but that's only because the first side is such a hard act to follow. Now that I've taken it around the block and back I enjoy it quite a bit more despite its simplistic approach. For seven minutes there's this weird, hollow-organ sounding riff slightly changing chords kinda playing out like the opening to the Shining, or other parts of that soundtrack. Scattered throughout are various sound effects (I swear I heard crickets), miscellaneous knob-turning, maybe the odd muted drum here or there, and lots of hiss and rattle. It's the perfect music(k) to play in the dark this coming Halloween season. Of course you'll have to re-set the needle every seven minutes but you can do that while you're handing out the Reese's Pieces and Oh Henry. Win-win!
Last night I hooked up my Sega Dreamcast and played the House of the Dead 2. Remember that game? If you don't it's like one of those arcade-style games where you just have to aim and shoot zombies like it's the only thing you've ever known. I've owned that game since the year 2000 and I've never been able to beat it, even on the easiest difficulty level with the most lives and the most continues. Last night I got to the final boss (2nd time ever!) and I was like, two hits away before killing it when it got me first. Man. Also, if you remember HotD2, you remember the hilariously bad voice acting. I mean, spectacularly bad. It was no Silent Hill or anything but sometimes the zombies popping out around the corner (especially at 3am) would give you a cheap scare, and it was all in good fun and you would keep coming back for more (ideally to some day beat it). I have no idea if that's a legitimate metaphor for Wolf Eyes or anything, I just wanted to talk about House of the Dead 2 for a bit. Also I had no real way to finish off this review. This here 12" is probably by no means essential, I mean you might as well just wait for "Human Animal" to drop. But as a teaser you can't really go wrong here either, especially if it's cheap (which it should be). Also, zombies. That's all I got.