The tech world loves its disrupters, those whose ideas and products shake up the status quo. The music world has a much more troubled relationship with those who dare challenge convention. Acting out in public is disruptive and accepted. Flamboyance and egos can be accepted form of disruption, too. Can you say Kanye? Live hard and live fast, destroy your shit and destroy yourself and you’ll be admired for your edge. But try to change the way people engage with music through philosophy? No, no, no, now you’re being a conceited asshole. Ask Hunter Hunt-Hendrix how marrying philosophy and music has worked for him and his bandmates in Liturgy, so far. Sure, they have their admirers in the usual friendly places for pointy-heads like Pitchfork, but step into the metal world and he’s Judas Douchebag.
The first track released from Liturgy’s forthcoming album, The Ark Work (3.24 on Thrill Jockey) didn’t help matters, either. “Quetzalcoatl” is awkward and impenetrable without the accompanying theory.
Conversely, “Reign Array,” should provide a slightly more comfortable entry point into the work of Liturgy. It has the familiar sound of guitars set constant crescendo and drums like machine gun fire. The bagpipes even make sense when you put your mind to work. Quick, think bagpipes, now think guitars set to constant crescendo. You see what I’m saying? Even the vocals of Hunt-Hendrix, done in the chanting style of spiritual doom pioneers, Om, fit better in this arrangement. This can work. Hunt-Hendrix could be onto to something. Or, he’s in over his head. I’ll need some time with the rest of The Ark Work to levy a final judgement.
Speaking of disrupters, rock-rap assholes, Death Grips are releasing their (maybe a) swan song, Jenny Death, on March 31st. Considering their career to date has been a series of misdierections and trollings, one can never be sure.
One thing is sure, “On GP,” surely sounds like a closer, with the first section featuring guitars fit for a stadium-sized laser light and fireworks show and the second half retreating into morose psychedelic rock, only to burst into flame-throwing thrash. If Death Grips are really calling it quits, they’re going out in style, massive style.
Thee Oh Sees are not assholes. These Bay-Area garage rock stalwarts are the opposite of assholes. They get weird, write, record, release and repeat, and “Web,” features the band as charmingly weird as they can be. We’ve got reverb, lots of reverb, yelps mixed with vocals mixed with yelps, basslines testing the bottom of the bottom, and a beat borrowed from late ’90s drum ‘n’ bass. It will all make sense when you listen below. Thee Oh Sees’ Mutilator Defeated At Last will be released May 18th on Castle Face Records.