Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cop City - Chill Pillars on Floridas Dying Records

So what if I said I'm forced to step up review production because some kind folks have taken it upon themselves to send 7inches those larger records and the only way I can devote real consideration to them is by sitting next to the A/C indoors on the weekend. There's no else where I'd rather be.

Oh Jesus, Floridas Dying has been busy as hell with their label and this full length from Cop City is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s what struck the bow of 7Inches first and I’m taking on water. Cop City, which if the cover sleeve is any example, is surprisingly a pretty mellow place that celebrates aliens with peace signs for eyes and glowing tongues. You wouldn’t figure a city named after Cops would actually be some kind of utopian mecca for smooth reveb jams like this, but that contradiction shows up in the instrumentation, which consistently pairs weirdo ancient analog electronics with a super surf reverb sound.

“Nobody Likes You” the opener on the A-Side, introduces that buried basement vocal sound and their simple strummed repetitive jangly surf guitar, broken up with a moment of freewheelin' melody, until the entire thing takes a turn breaking to a crawl. A slow sludgy bassline and off key guitar chords with room for the reverb to fade out in the distance...then they speed punk this back out to the end. “L@@k ar@und’ brings out a future laser sound, laying it on thick underneath this weirdo minor key repeated guitar melody. As laid back as they appear on the surface, this is more anxious and sinister sounding to me. Maybe there’s more to that cover art after all. The alien looks scary all of a sudden, and why are the cockroaches lining up to communicate with us? The initial surf sound rapidly turns into a menacing nervous robotic energy. The old school synth electronics only further confuse the surface chill tone...this sounds like the future, but from a long time ago...a dusty, messed up future.
I think, “I shot the deputy” is a..... well, not really a cover exactly...they switch the vocal around from the Bob Marley track to say that THEY were the ones who killed the deputy. They rightfully ignore the original melody completely, this one being more outer space tom and bass beat, while the guitar noodles around a melody.
Jennifer actually gets into a kick ass, air bass groove and sticks with this funk almost the entire time, breaking up the name Jennifer into only syllables that they can hear with a completely unnatural vocal rhythm over this smooth bass. The metallic plate reverb never sounded so anti-dance then it does with Cop City. They must have heard about Deadbolt, because this is a long lost cousin to their sound. One of those stories about how twin brothers grew up a few towns away from one another and never knew it. They run smack into each other one day when both of these albums are played.
“Stuff Happens” lays on the electronic nightmare sound for most of this track and now I think the alien on the cover hypnotized me into thinking they are all a bunch of hippies and like “They Live” I can’t actually see they aren’t here for the blacklights and weed.

This whole record is buried deep in the basement of echo and odd repetition, it’s a sort of Devo-ish frantic, maniacal sound that continues with this B-side, “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived”, which I swear is a refrain of the A-Side opening tracks slow to a crawl melody, they seem to get off on pounding this caveman beat home over and over, the Nothing People both of them should really get together to play some kind of apathetic surf tour. The meltdown damaged synth towards the chorus of this is a typical example of their brand of weird, putting it against the warbling surf echo on the guitar. How those sounds end up belonging together is what makes Cop City awesome.
Spend an afternoon writing your band name in cockroaches on a scratch-board, it’s the mindless actions of a mental patient making up completely different rules to the boardgame in front of him.
“Subtropical apartment” plays with expanding on a garage beat, and this could easily have been alongside the Mummies on a weirdo compilation put together with that Eerie comic dripping typeface. The fact that in addition to the vocals being trapped behind a wall of amber, they’re layered by apparently all the band members making for a creepy, chanting vibe...monotonously blank expressions in a circle, holding hands trying to break your spirit. They truly create a weird place to live in for a half hour, one of those great B-movie experiences where you can’t believe this exists, and why doesn’t anyone know about this?

Listen to a couple of samples from their bandcamp page and then get it from Floridas Dying who says:
[FDR-37] Off kilter minimal punk from Lake Worth. Strange, dark, creepy vibes abound. Chanted vocals, surfy lead lines that weave in and out of the songs, primal tom heavy drum beats. Party music for alien cavemen on a planet with high gravity. Good for your next seance, or for worshiping your sun god. The musical equivalent of being hit in the head with a hammer, not so much the blunt trauma, more the long term affter effects. I hope I never have to leave Planet Chill. Limited to 500/ first 75 on green vinyl.

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