Yellow Swans/The Goslings - Bored Fortress Split / GHQ/Ex-Cocaine - Bored Fortress Split (Not Not Fun 7"s)
Saturday review because I fell asleep before posting on Friday! And since I'm killing time before the Great Hockey Showdown tonight, I figured it's time to put my Not Not Fun backlog to bed for good, no pun intended. If you could read through all the brackets and slashes in the title (and you can view pictures) you might've seen that these two 7"s are from the Not Not Fun Bored Fortress 7" subscription series. The first two, in fact. Usually I'm not one for subscription series' because there's usually a dud in the bunch, or the first few sound great but then the quality takes a noise dive, or the price is too insane...but the year two line-up of Bored Fortress was too crazy and too cheap to miss out on: in addition to these two, we can also expect treats and treatises from Birds of Delay/Dreamcatcher, Hototogisu/Hive Mind, Deep Jew/Mindflayer and Heavy Winged/Blues Control...are you serious? Where do I sign? Wait, I already did, which is why I got these two a couple weeks ago. Nevermind. Each 7" features brainwork from a variety of artists on a fold-over glossy sleeve with insert detailing track info and the like. And if you're one of the first 200 subscribers, you get free gifts too (like the "Spire Ground" Bored Fortress compilation I reviewed a while ago). What, I ask, is not to like?
Yellow Swans start everything out right/outright with an untitled, astonishingly harsh harsh noise workover, as furious as I ever done heard him and it sounds like I say that with every new (D)YS document that falls into place. There's a bit of "Psychic Secession" type blur here but for the most part the duo are so in the red here I think got my period. Call it an aural slab heavier than the wax it comes on. Call it cement mixers covering the complete collected works of Hijokaidan in the span of about five minutes. Call my mother so she can identify the body. Florida's the Goslings are a band that have yet to be mentioned in this blog but they've been getting a pretty thorough once-over from just about everybody else on the planet. Maybe you heard about their incredibly popular "official" debut CD on Archive, "Grandeur of Hair"? Well if you did that's good because it'll make explaining their sound a lot less of a chore. For those who don't know, the Goslings are a sort of shoegaze/sludge/doom metal meld with a frontwoman (Leslie) who always sounds like her voice is digging upwards against the mountains of riff/noise/guitar wall heaped on by whatever bandmembers have donned the stripes on that particular go around. I think Max S. and Brendan G. are the only constants if I'm reading their MySpace correctly. I'm not as hugely into their sound as some other folks are but the track they contribute here ("Saw-Horse") is pretty fine, essentially a continuation/deeper investigation of the aforementioned genre synthesis they've hit on. "Saw-Horse" feels like being dragged through filthy black waters at a kilometer an hour and it sounds like the degradation of a bunch of Boris, Sunn O))), Monarch, Corrupted and (it must be said) My Bloody Valentine records. About the only salvation in here are the weightless vocals, everything else is black hole sun depression...the way you and I like it.
The first side on the second 7" belongs to GHQ, the folk/drone/haze unit consisting of Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards, etc), Pete Nolan (Magik Markers, etc) and Steve Gunn (Moongang and various solo outings). Theirs is an excerpt from a Seattle show and presents a really great side of all that folk/drone/haze gloss and schmozz smoothed out to perfection by way of carefully coerced percussion, sitarish effected guitars, loadsa pedal dizzyness, chimes, incense waft, and holy water. If Pran Nath ever formed a band in '00, he might've called it GHQ, and though nobody's throat is splitting open and pouring out sound like the Pandit himself, it still rocks the same kind of ritualistic prayer rug come-down shake. All packed into however many grooves are fit onto an EP. Heavily heavenly. The crucially underdocumented Ex-Cocaine duo (feat. misters Mike C. and Brian Ramirez, he who used to kill kits in the awesome Universal Indians group with John Olson) contibute a horrifically lo-fi motorboat stutter and tin can, back alley percussion clatter here with both men jumping on drums. Gone are whatever "song" forms you may have come to know from their Killertree LP "Keep America Mellow" and in their place be the sound of a thousand aluminium foil plates being blown around an abandoned shack in a windstorm. Think a mangled, stoned, pared way the hell down take on Drum Circus or Master Musicians of Jajouka without all the Brian Jones. Well okay, maybe some of the Brian Jones. More of the Keith Moon though. Without all the death. Well okay, maybe some of the death too.
If you missed out on subscribing and you're kicking yourself as well you should be, there's still time to sign up (and I have to assume you'll receive the ones you missed retroactively of course). Check the NNF website for info on that. I also think some of these are being sold individually by the bands in case you have other, more pressing commitments like paying rent or eating. But that's kinda like buying a few packs of O-Pee-Chee baseball cards when you know all your bros at school have the full set. Mull it over!