Friday, May 3, 2013

Ex-Con on Bon Voyage records

The press release from Bon Voyage Records for this single from Ex-con specifically mentioned this was guitarist James' first 'post Slug Guts' release. I can't help but wonder if they were avoiding mentioning that Slug Guts have called it quits? It wouldn't surprise me given their last US tour. That kind of insanity can be channelled into the the slimy creep of their live show or land them in trouble with each other and Johnny Law. On this single though James is joined by Joanna Nilson on vocals and Catherine Maddin (bass) and Alex Dunlop (drums).

This single is just plain loud at any volume starting with "Cuda 82" and a heavy dose of bashed cymbals and fast ass strumming something like an evil "Y Control" YYY's track. A blinding burst of energy that the liner notes say was recorded live and this power could only happen from being in the same room. In the unhinged vocal in the chorus section Joanna goes from growly attack to a Kim Gordon sultry/scary menace. They're just blasting this huge sound of gritty guitar with layers of Jesus and Mary Chain in there. Far off distanced echo drums with bass that's reserved for the low end of this distortion. A fuzzy static wall that's pushing the limits of this psych and death punk. A little bit of the Cramps energy marrying the modern Zola Jesus punk. It manages a raw, spontaneous sound while keeping it's inspiration. "Bronzer" raises the stakes further in volume and speed, the guitar forced to make well placed stabs at melody, barely concerned with chords, just hitting the ewall at full speed with a hail of hiss. Three minutes of god damn terror that takes far longer than seems possible for two tracks on this A-Side. I wpouldn't be surprised if the order on the single is the progression of the evening channeling ferocious spirits. Dabbling in an almost black metal with a banshee blues sound, they pause only to dive deeper into sinister chords, and lay into the thick sludge.

B-Side's "Right Brain" puts together a more blues bendy chord style and Joanna channels Diamanda Galas over white noise, the fear is mostly in the vocal, the instrumnetation is merely an impenetrable black wall. There's some of that Slug Guts abandon without a hint of joy, just release. The guitars actually pattern out a tune towards the end, riding higher still with a speed strumming - they will not be forced to slow down with anything at all in their lives. The sound of living this track like it's the last minute you'll ever get to rock. Would you carefully pick out a timid folksong? Never. If this is going on a single, it could be the last night for ex-con, so give it your all.

Pick this one up from a local import or be the last one on your block to still get airmail. Live like a king! From Bon Voyage Records.

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