Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Famines on Reluctant Records
I went to see The Ketamines a while back at Death by Audio to finally meet up with Paul from Mammoth Cave (and plays with The Ketamines) who I've been talking to on the internet tubes for years...sadly there was a lineup change and I MISSED THEM. Terrible, especially since he gave a shout out to 7inches and everything. I'm a jackass, but we did get a chance to hang out and he loaded me up with about a million of his records and stuff they've been distro-ing at the Cave including this Famines single (and the most badass glow in the dark Ketamines shirt ever).
I forgot how much I liked their other single and that this is a duo! The perfect setup for some of the most interesting music created...they didn't disappoint before and this single is another stellar example of their unique, minimal, complex punk.
A-Side's "Free love is a sales technique" features a gritty acoustic coming on fast and furious leaving you wondering if this isn't the wrong speed...but insane speed is The Famines. High twingey PLAANGS from the electric, it neever really slows down... all this manic treble electric goes away and you end up with a steady single drone beat under this hectic kit pounding. I love these vocals. Paul never steers me wrong and this is completely amazing. I was compelled to order that full length collection on Mammoth Cave immediately. That thin scream over the instrumentation here is easily overwhelming the melody, he's screaming in an empty room. Poor sucker. This ridiculous speed is incredibly precise and controlled, a frightening kind of off kilter precision. Even the brief bursts of distortion hardly have a chance to fade. The drop out to the bassline and empty room drums is that great kind of tension where it's decpetively quiet, biding it's time. The best kind of reprive. Switch to toms, then crash the way through to end of this one.
The inner label printing is all blurry, like an old doublestrike typewriter, and a crazy wallpaper collage of old condom ad's. There's your free love. Turns out Raymond designs all the bands stuff, including all kinds of other graphics for print stuff, lots of serious posters on his etsy page.
B-Side, "The First World War" has that scuzzy bass sound back, just bursts of hummmm and rimshot sticks in separate timings hitting the side of this snare, maybe a woodblock? These guys are fantastic songwriters, both equally contributing and important to the skeleton and bare lines, ready to explode post punk. The most dangerous kind. The electric runs patterns up and down the fretboard off on it's own melody. The obvious way is to build this up to loud after loud section which seems to never actually happen here. Barely on the edge of distortion every line, yeling on the edge of that needle in the red. God damn great anti-war track on top of everything else. I would put this up there with The Happiest Place on Earth.
Abstract lyrics about nerve gas, germans, not too many specifics, just the idea that these were all democracies undone with guns. It's smart powerful complex songwriting with modern weapons; the guitar and drums, they make this track sound like an aggressive attack itselves. Crunchy distortion right in the gut. March snare roll, never obvious, always switching the expectations up, completely great. I will be looking out for everything they do in the future.
Black on black business card with insert details from Reluctant Recordings.
Sold out at the source, but Raymonds own etsy page has some of these long sold out singles for sale. Mind blowing below: