Sissy Spacek - Sepsis (Helicopter 7") / Wooden Shjips - Dance, California b/w Clouds Over Earthquake (Sick Thirst 7")
Here's a couple of 7"s I've put together for the sole fact that they share the same format. See I originally was going to do a solo review of the Sissy Spacek 7" that I picked up recently, but it's one-sided. And the A side is just 5 minutes long. Which John Wiese neglected to mention when he sold it to me at the Wolf Eyes show. Fuck! Ah who cares. Maybe he did mention it. My mind tends to get all fuzzy in the presence of a Wolf Eyes merch table 'cause I'm a sucker like that. Anyway so I was trying to figure out how to work in a review of "Sepsis" until my eye fell upon the Wooden Shjips EP that came in the mail today and I figured I'd put two and two (or 7" and 7") together. Ain't that just a slice of harmony? Despite the fact that they just don't really go together. Sissy Spacek was the "grindcore" project of John Wiese and Cory Ronnau although in recent days they seemed to have dropped the grindcore and struck strict with the noise, but I'm no expert. Wooden Shjips meanwhile have been blazing trails on every music review site from there...to here basically. Their "Shrinking Moon for Your" 10" was a real jewel of nowadaze psychedelic jamming with all sorts of monkey wrenches and kitchen sinks up in the bidnazz. They don't seem to believe in album covers though - both that record and this single are in clear plastic folders although this one's got clear vinyl to match. The Spacek 7" on the other hand is in a hand-sprayed folder over cardboard cover which looks a lot like the Mouthus side of their split with Cousins of Reggae now that I think of it.
Wiese described the "Sepsis" sound to me as being "kinda like electro-acoustic, but using human sounds". I'm paraphrasing, I think it was a more eloquent description than that. Anyway when he said it, I totally knew what he meant. There must already be something like that, right? And maybe I've even already heard it but just can't quite think of it at the moment...the closest comparison I could draw at the time was Wiese's California cohort, Randy H.Y. Yau. "Sepsis" touches down on that base slightly. I'm guessing most of the throat undulations heard on the track are Ronnau's because Wiese just doesn't seem like the type to frab on a mic but you never know, I'm no purple people-reader. But yeah there's a good deal of teeth-gnashing and gagging and who really knows what else, just the whole nine yards. I can also pick up scant few musical instruments in the background, like something being strummed. I'll guess that it's a guitar but I swear the way it's presented it sounds like a zither. Not much else to say about this, neat little package but 5 minutes of this kind of jive doesn't really get my groin steamin' like maybe a full album would. I guess I'll start digging into the Sissy Spacek back catalogue and seeing what else they've got going as I'm really quite ignorant towards their whole operation. If you want to get a handle on this it's limited to 150 copies but probably still available so hit up yr fv distros.
The first side on the Wooden Shjips 7" is called "Dance, California (Radio Edit)". What is this, the Rejd Hojt Chijllij Pejppejrs? Ahahaha! I kid because I love. Well what that song is all about is two funky guitars going at it, one providing a boppin' backbone and the other bending out some gnarled near-solos ala Orthrelm or more to the point Orthrelm's guitarist when he played on that Angelblood record back in the day, both doing battle atop a prodding drum beat. It's a pretty neat (non-literal) locked groove which certainly doesn't do any harm but that's okay...it's just a nice slice. "Clouds Over Earthquake" bears a more ominous title and a sound to match which kinda reminds me of the dark psychedelia glanced at by Emerald Cloud Cobra's Genou project (also reviewed in these virtual-pages some time ago). The forumla here is similar to the other side; repetitive drum beat, gently-fuzzed guitars creating a total nodding atmosphere but then the surprise loop - deliberate, intoned vocals bearing a troublesome "New Age" vibe, like those relaxation tapes one would put on if one was a soccer mom with a casual interest in yoga. I won't tell you what the voice commands though, you're just going to have to find that out for yourself. Not as immediately intriguing as the 10" but still enough to keep me curious about a full-length (when? Harvey? When?). I think the Wooden Shjips folks put up all these tracks (10"+7") on their MySpace, or at least samples thereof, which you can check out by clicking here. I'm uncertain re: the limitedness of the 7" but with all the bzzzzz surrounding this group it's safe to say they won't be around till next St. Swithens' Day.