Tractor, ¡Apeshit!, and Forward Now
Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2007 @ 9:03am » permalink
I didn't really care for their split 10" with Geisha, but the 2006 demo from UK trio Tractor is a vast improvement – taking their brand of scraggly "noise rock" (or whatever the hell you want to call it) into much more structured and enjoyable territory. The slow, pounding tempos are driven largely by pulsing basslines and stripped down beats with surges of guitar noise and simple power chord rhythms; while the vocals are basically straight up yelling with just a little bit of a distant sort of distorted crackle – which is probably due to their raw recording methods alone, because there are no fucking frills here, my friends. And I don't say that as a complaint, because I actually dig the recording – and everything else, for that matter. It wouldn't hurt if there was a little more brightness happening to bring out some of the additional grittiness of the textures and therefore draw out a hint more separation between the elements, but that's a minor issue. Bizarre lyrics, too. There's sort of a storytelling kind of vibe going on, but through choppy little phrases and statements. I don't know, they keep it consistent here, there's not much else to say. Given the stark improvements they've undergone thus far I'll definitely be looking forward to hearing more.
Tractor "Man From A.N.O.T.H.E.R. P.L.A.C.E."
If you like what you hear, you can download the entire demo from the band's website, or get your hands on a CD-R if you're traditional like that (and you know I am), in which case I'd recommend shooting them an email.
I was told that this CD-R is a demo, though I'm not entirely sure if it's technically considered a "demo" by the band or not, seeing as they did go to the trouble of having the material properly mastered and what have you. But whatever the case, the debut outing from ¡Apeshit! contains 13 tracks (only three of which top one minute in length) of scathingly frenzied and chaotic "screamo" sounding bursts in a mere 10 minutes and 37 seconds. But the whole "screamo" thing, that's just an audial point of reference due to all of the caustic riffs, frantic percussive blasts, and, well… relentless screaming. 'Cause, I mean… a bunch 30-second songs with names like "Spleen Cuisine", "Touch Me Gently", or "Your Chewbacca Boots Are Making Me Thristy"? Nah, these dudes don't seem to be operating in that whole intensely-socio-political, rolling-around-on-the-floor-on-the-verge-of-tears "screamo" space, you know what I mean? And when they actually take a quick breather for some of the darker and more openly dissonant chords or borderline metallic, "chugging" rhythmic shifts they can really do some damage here. I tend to be picky about this kind of material and can only take it in small doses, but a 10-and-a-half minute dose certainly qualifies as such, and there's enough variety here to keep the blatant insanity from getting too irritating. Clean, simple packaging, too. And I, for one, love the term "apeshit", so the band name gets two big thumbs up here!
¡Apeshit! "D-4 Daggers in the Air"
The band doesn't have online ordering hooked up on their merch page yet, but shoot 'em an email at the bottom of the page to see about getting your hands on one of these jams if this is your thing.
The latest from Yawn Factory is a limited edition (200 copies) remastered reissue of "Smileremover", the 1995 demo from obscure New York duo Forward Now… and this is some weird shit. Really. One minute it's grinding, power violence styled blasting with harshly shouted/screamed vocals; the next it's surging midpaced power chords that have an eerie, melodic sense of black metal atmosphere… but with these weird doubled singing vocals!? And all that's occasionally interspersed with some pretty badass dirges akin to a Crowbar meets Godflesh kind of thing, or maybe even some really lush sounding clean passages. Not to mention dashes of wacky pinch harmonic riffs, some totally bizarre drum programming, samples, etc. I don't entirely "get it", and some of it, well… some of it's just not that hot, but… at the same time, some of it's fuckin' great!? Like I said, it's weird. Forward Now is probably the only band on the face of the fucking planet that's ever been able to have different elements of their material compared to Apartment 213 and Smashing Pumpkins. Seriously. The eight tracks clock in past 41 minutes, so there's a good chunk of material to explore here, and the disc is packaged in a nice little brown chipboard envelope screenprinted with black and metallic silver inks, so… this is a solid little "labor of love" release that I can appreciate on many levels, regardless of the fact that the contents aren't always my thing. That being said, check this shit out and see what you make of it… and keep in mind that these two tracks still won't give you a complete picture!
Forward Now "Wall"
Forward Now "Coward White Man"
Ordering information for this one's on the label's MySpace page, and they've got a ridiculously cheap deal where you can get both of their releases thus far for just $12 (yes, that's two CD's for $12 total), so… definitely look into that shit if you're curious.