Thursday, December 13, 2012
Protomartyr "Colpi Proibiti" on X! Records
I first came across Protomartyr thanks to their Urinal Cake Records single which ended up being a detroit history lesson about the infamous, Bubba Helms' and his photo caught in a rampage after some baseball game. Protomartyr is back on the baseball train with this 4 track EP Colpi Proibiti (the Italian title of the groundbreaking film "Death Warrant" from Mr Van Damme). The A-Side track titled "Baseball Bat" kicks right off into heavy fuzz zone which feels like a departure from that Urinal Cake one, they're always stripped down garage to me, but this is getting a little metal. It takes that low end buzz and even goes hardcore punk in big time chord progressions and a stutter quick snare kick combo. Big chorus of "Baseball Creep!" from the bleacher section, and then this drops down to a slow crawl and snarly Cramps echo only to blast back into some garage-core territory which robs you of that final "baseball bat!" I love the tone they strike between that heavy punk freight train and a Johnny Ill delivery. The no nonsense songwriting of less is more. Working just outside those conventions, piling it on in great ways. "You're with a Creep" is a bouncy little melody in that garage pop style with an attitude Kidda Band vocal or a raspy Walkmen style, stumbling along in that nice real way where he doesn't hit all the marks, because it's rock and roll dammit. This guy has obviously been stood up and the dummy has to remind himself about that fact in a melody that follows that picked electric. Not leaning to heavily on the fuzz or garage labels they just have that sense of economy that makes this go down easy.
The B-Side has "The Milk Drinkers" coming out with that hyper tempo again, just in case you forgot that they can deliver on the punk. A great rattly snare keeps everything on the straight and narrow. His father collected beanie babies? You'll just have to listen for that one. Buried minimal guitar comes up with a funneled melody but still has time to go completely mental. Proof they still want to party.
"Psychic Doorbell" (why is that so hilarious?) starts with guitar feedback distortion leading into a tom and groove bassline with bursts of scuzzy distortion and this sense of real space is still here and these vocals get better and better. They seem to be almost holding back with that push/pull tension, and the gravel vocal adds the immediacy. This time that open high hat is real buried, where is this exactly coming from?.. those subtle things that make this feel smart even when they are obviously out for damage. The guitar? here literally explodes and sustains off into the sunset. Another kind of darker number. It's got that barrelling energy but the recording says, we can do this at any volume and without playing as fast as possible. Such a weird mix of that garage shitty sound and a smart lead like The Muslims/Soft Pack or Johnny Ill. These weirdo's takes the reins and you just follow along for the ride.
Pick this up from X! Records, the more I hear these guys the more I like them. Getting better all the time.