I must have missed out on The Lamps the first time around because they've been together damn near as long as the day I singed up for 7inches with blogger...or at least that's when they released their self titled full length on In the Red Records. Based out of LA, they were right at the front of the pack exploring this scuzzy reverb garage sound along with Ty, the Fresh and Onlys or hell even Mr. Reatard. There's a great interview over here from Turn it Down where Monty talks about being good friends with Larry at In The Red, not being too musical and the weirdness of LA. I was thinking this morning on the way into work about comparing these guys to Wounded Lion and Lamps are the version of Wounded Lion that got kidnapped and thrown in the basement with prison showers. It's a pretty dark sound, the way it's buried and layered, or maybe it's this sleeve photo that's pointing me in a sinister direction.
"All Seeing Eye" is the epitome of garage now... where it finds itself at the beginning of 2013. It's got that steady 4/4 beat, straightforward laid back vocals and a hell of a lot of noise covering every part of this individually and then run through a hiss on top of that. Jangle over distorted fuzz, buried back in this layer of time and sibilance. A fast jumbled take on The Jesus and Mary Chain. Who doesn't love this stuff that will make your ears bleed from the tempo and treble. For some reason this sounds like Dire Straights in a weird way. Fuzzy time with Nodzzz style vocals underwater at the helm. Loose and fast they're into a level of hiss that can be jammed in between the layers, this dead straight beat keeps everyone on time. You can get lost to the lack of tempo in the wall of sound. At some point Monty gives up on the content and goes for just making sounds which has to be simultaneously hilarious and awesome live. There's a sort of fuck-off energy but in the way that's not an act..this lives in the deep levels of no-fi.
"G. B. D." starts this looped digital rhythm bouncing around, a crazy harsh tone, a dirty bass line kicks in, one note, all rhythm and that screeeeeee tone drops out so a booming tom can work opposite that hyptnotic bassline. Next up, the echo vocals, getting a super Cramps vibe on this one, the cutting dirge of bass acting like that metronome percussion on the A-Side. Whiny electric and they lose the lyrics again. It's just about this texture and feeling, an abstract version of the garage....but when did these guys get almost industrial sounding? Like Throbbing Gristle electronic feedback.
Whatever influence here, it was raised on dark and mean, plenty of scary sounds here. The drums fall off a bit in an effort to humanize this but there's a lot of desparate melting circuits, especially attached to a guitar. Nightmare and chains, leather and glitch. A creepy cousin to DFA 1979?
Black vinyl, love these thick textured sleeves from Sweet Rot, who says:
Los Angeles band Lamps has been one of our favourites here at Sweet Rot for a while. This single, their first release in a couple of years, solidifies their place as one of the best angry punk bands in America. Title track “All Seeing Eye” is a two minute romp that finds Lamps at their catchiest, while the flip “G.B.D.” (an alternate mix of a song to be found on their upcoming “Under the Ground Under the Water” LP on In the Red Records) is perhaps the bands most punishing and sinister song yet with its five minutes of pure aural torture. Enjoy.