My first exposure to Arles, France trio Poutre kicks off this quick split release with two tracks of dark and diverse noise rock. Robust basslines and hammering percussion lay the groundwork for guitars that weave around from full-on caustic noise to loose, jangly strumming to structured rhythmic surges. "Invoices" even briefly injects some unexpected melodies at one point; whereas "Money Talks" leans in a slightly sharper, almost "metallic" direction—complete with succinct breakdown riff. The vocals are half-spoken, half-shouted, and occasionally screamed under a light filter of distortion—blended right in with the music, so the bulk of the lyrics can be a little hard to decipher.
Frankfurt, Germany's Gentle Veincut has been around since 1990, and despite being a huge fan since 2005, I've still yet to track down or hear any of their obscure '90s output!? Their three selections herein consist of excellently mathy (check out "Heads Off"), ebb-and-flow noise rock with one of my favorite vocalists of the genre—again in that half-spoken/half-shouted style, but with a truly unique sound and approach. There's just a killer style of twisted storytelling in the lyrics—you can't always make 'em out, but when you can, you'll find them curiously aggressive in an oddly sinister manner. This is a cool, cool band: everything's just a little gnarled (in a great way)—the riffs, the time signatures, the tones, etc.
I watch television. I watch it day and night, just all of the time. And I know what's goin' on. And it makes me laugh. It makes me laugh hard. It's a fuckin' joke. I laugh my head off. I roll on the ground. I laugh my head off. I'm losin' my mind. I laugh my head off, and I can't stop. I can't stop laughing...
It's a perfect pairing, really. Both bands sound great—with aptly rugged, natural recordings that put a lot of emphasis on the rhythm sections—and are quite similar, but certainly not same-y.
I haven't held the physical product (damn you, international shipping rates!), but it looks pretty nice in photos. My only gripe is that despite there being a whopping nine different (mostly French) record labels involved—Amor Komma, Assos'Y'Song, BoomBoom Rikordz, Day Off, Et Mon Cul C'est du Tofu?, Gabu, Katatak, Rejuvenation, and Whosbrain—it took me 20 minutes to find even two webstores that have tangible copies of the 12" in stock!? No wonder I gave up on trying to buy a copy for myself!?