Wolf Eyes - Tin Coffin 2 (American Tapes 2xCD-R & CS)
It's pretty hard for me to not buy Wolf Eyes rekkids, they just seem to find a way into my collection. They're cheap, easy, and fun to look at (I could make a lame similie here but I'm taking the high road for once). But see around this time I was actually supposed to have a hand around a physical copy of their real legitimate new album "Human Animal". I never saw it around, but then again I didn't look, so I finally went and ordered it but I think by now reviewing it would just be irrelevant...although I probably still will just 'cause. But in the meantime here's something I picked up while waiting, the "Tin Coffin 2" the band was selling on their recent North American jaunt. It's a pretty sweet deal too - 20 Canadian ruples and you get 2 40-minute CD-Rs, a c30 and a "poster" which is actually a bit of color-printed Olson-style artwork that holds the discs together. And the cassette comes in its own case too (with American Tapes paste-on art) and of course the sturdy tin box (sorry, coffin) decorated on both sides like you knew it would be. And everything's all sprayed and markered-up - like you knew it would be. But if you didn't get one on the tour, you ain't getting one unless eBay's yr pal - this and other items the band brought along were strictly for tour only...allegedly. But even if that isn't the case I wouldn't expect the band to be bringing any of these sets home with them after the tour, what with Wolf Eyes merch hounds and all. I guess that's the fate of the first "Tin Coffin", but I'm not even sure that exists...a quick scan of the American Tapes discography reveals no precursor to this set so who the heck knows.
I played the tape first, since it was lying on top. It's not too far removed from any other dirty, scuzzy, fuzzy, (wuzzy?) Wolf Eyes-on-American Tapes that you or I have ever heard, but I would say it sounded even more grizzled and frayed around the edges. It's always hard to tell who's doing what on a given Wolf Eyes release but I have to believe on this one they aren't always working in trio format...or they're coming and going while the recording's going on. Because there's a bunch of lengthy stretches where it just sounds like solo for busted electronics, real desolate and introspective-like...the 4am pre-dawn post-Hiroshima torched-factories miasma. Only thing missing is the sound of your sneakers slapping against the pavement. The second side is a bit weirder, it's got this odd hand-clap thing (well that's what it sounds like) going on at the start and then eventually lapses into a whole busload of high-pitched wheezes and chirps that are sure to send your dog and/or you crazy. It's intense, I'm talking night sweats intense. I think I liked the other side better, at least I was in a comfort zone.
The CD-Rs aren't really numbered or anything, it's just that one's painted green and the other's painted blue. The green disc has six untitled tracks and is a bit of a snoozer on the whole, but manages to send in a couple of noteworthy tracks down the middle...track three is a 9-minute seismograph, constantly building on top of itself (with Olson throwing down some sax...either that or some other kind of hysterical yowling) until it ruptures like a well-worn bladder, leaking out the kind of harsh audio fluid you only hope to ever see on medical programs and not, say, in your own toilet. The conclusion is a particularly harsh supernova of near-sine wave tones, kinda like the Waves CD-R reviewed awhile back but more compressed. And then the next cut sounds more 80's industrial Coil/Nurse with Wound than Sub Pop-anything with a slowed-down voice being looped and a few swathes of gurgling color laid down across that. If I'm going to be comparing anything to "perfect Halloween music" in the coming week, it might as well be this. The rest passes by with not much else happening aside from the usual grimy shenanigans, par for the course by now and no real distraction. The blue disc (seven untitled tracks) is a bit more interesting, particularly because track two sounds like it would fit right in on "Burned Mind" or "Human Animal", its dense murky throb being constantly punctured by a revisited synth bleat - it'd be catchy, if it wasn't so slow. Track number five moves with the kind of hidden intensity that calls to mind Whitehouse's "Thank Your Lucky Stars" only without all the racket while six is almost a total anomaly...there's a looped, damaged-sounding percussion beat (kinda like the otherworld ugliness that protrudes from old Turkish psychedelic records...maybe that's why I like it so much) and either Young or Connelly or Olson dribble out zonked-synth themes and tape-machine abuse. Other than that the cuts mingle around the "nice enough" turf but what else were you expecting from a Wolf Eyes tour item? It's background music to a dinner party bloodfeast.
Bit of a downer that the music doesn't compare to the packaging, but then how could it? It's a real pretty item and there's still quite a few decent minutes worth of enjoyment in these near-two hours of hard partying. Plus it'll look good on your shelf, it's a great conversation starter and undoubtably a good place to hide your narcotics. What I'm trying to say is that Wolf Eyes could lead to you getting laid. Although it hasn't worked for me. Ever. Which is why I cry myself to sleep every night. Oh my god I hate you Wolf Eyes :(