Lambsbread - King of the Crop / Sic Alps - Semi Streets (Skulltones 7"s)
I wasn't too sure who this Skulltones label was or what to make of them when they sent in these two 7 inchers but some Googling told me it was a label ran by one Ry Wharton, a name that sent off an awful many bells in my head when I read it. It wasn't coming to me though so I continued my research and discovered that Ry Wharton is also the man behind the excellent tape drone/delay unit Tombi. Aha! But wait, what's this? He also runs the Twonicorn label? A label just as great in its own right? And now this, Skulltones? When I say whoa, I mean whoa. Looks like he's going for the one format per label trick; Twonicorn devoting itself to tapes and Skulltones (so far) immersing itself in the 7" EP (the elusive "big hole" format which means they're more like 45s n' anything else). Both choice formats and neither will draw a peep of complaint out of me - just more to keep up with is all. I guess Skulltones is pretty new because these are SKT002 and SKT003 respectively - unfortunately for me I missed out on SKT001, an EP by the amazing Teenage Panzerkorps! Ugh, I'm so mad at myself! Guess I'll keep holding on for the Siltbreeze LP if that's still happening. For now I'll make do with singles from Lambsbread and Sic Alps, two bands I've heard a lot about but never one iota of their music. Guess it's never too late to get acquainted what say.
Lamsbread's outing is called "King of the Crop" but the A-side has a track called "Summer's Torch" and the B-side has one called "Torch of Summer" - you tell me. I don't know who these guys are and where they're from (haven't I done enough research?) but the Skulltones site tells me they're "three Midwest dwellers" and that's OK by me. The thing I like absolute best about it is how it's got no vocals so it plays great at either speed. Played at 45 it sounds like wildly frantic and frenetic post-Dead C/NZ noise sludge paced way ahead of itself like some punk slobs playing catch-up with the music they themselves are sposed to be playing for the duration of each side. It might not make sense now, but it sure won't when you hear it either. Think, like, Skullflower covered by C.J.A. or some other such form destroyers. At 45 rpm it turns into a gnarled, rotting noise/metal shakedown that crosses Godflesh's wires with, say, Harry Pussy. Sure it's rudimentary, but then again so am I.
Sic Alps are also some sort of trio configuration, or maybe it's a quartet, but either way it all just runs together like blood and red wine when heard through a stereo. First side has the title track and "And What Came Next", I can't even remember if there was a track division or what but maybe that's for the better...what I remember is ScAlps bringing an anthemic chug via guitar battery acid/razorwire mix and jelly-armed percussion spatter. Whoever's singing brings a real good sorta bored and general disinterest air to the side spreading the acid-ragged vibrations all around in jammed, crazed fashion. Side B opens with some kind of urban field recording deal before descending once more into the netherlands of treble-wraught aggression spoil, like it was recorded to tape at the same time the spools were running off said tape and the song's clinging on for dear life. If none of these metaphors make any sense, then I've succeeded in conveying the total disorientation Skulltones is repping with these two records.
Skulltones has a Short Eyes 7" on tap as well as another cloaked in a degree more of secrecy but whatever they are I'm sure they're gonna be good. With the references to Teenage Panzerkorps and C.J.A. here I'm left wondering if maybe Skulltones is the spiritual heir to Pink Skulls' throne. Wouldn't that be a treat? Maybe it already is!