Friday, May 9, 2014

Kitchens Floor "Live in Brisbane" on Quemada Records

Forget the endless shit weather in the northeast for a minute and imagine a night in June four years ago in Australia when Kitchens Floor played live at the Disembraining Machine space at Alchemix Studios in Woolloongabba to what couldn’t have been more than 100 people. The duo of Julia Norris and Matt Kennedy were joined by Andrew McMellan of Cured Pink Radio on organ for what’s the second live release I’ve come across from the duo. Originally released on Negative Guest List Records, October 2011 “Too Dead To Notice” has found a re-release in Queens based Quemada Records and it expands on their stripped down primitive sound thanks to Andrew but even takes things into a surprising pop place.

I didn’t expect the kind of nice groove they get going on “instro” with a snare and sleigh bells. In including Andrew on organ they manage to keep this as raw as the “Deadshits” single on Easter Bilby but are playing with a loose, almost pop, angle that wasn’t on that 7”. You’d think this could be a live record from someone on Slumberland. It’s almost happy - a little joyous - and opposite from their Beat Happening, raw wound sound. The next track, “Left” sounds like The Cramps vs the Yips in a backyard quicksand match. When the audience claps at the end all of a sudden you remember the witness to this primitive, minimal performance. It’s one thing to be doing this in the privacy of your own home, banging on a bedroom 4-track but to get out and play this conceptual chanting and clanking on metal pipes in front of people is a different story. The tom and cowbell rhythm on “Regrets” continues that tribal experimental line with a low sustained beat, bashing down with both hands, forgetting how to play capturing that eye opening first time. Matt is singing higher with a distortion and delay that sounds great in this hard space. Real outsider stuff while that electric guitar rambles away in a jittery Feelies style, no effects on the see saw, back and forth. Repeat AB,AB,AB,AB to infinity. A slower repetition opens “Woolens” taking on slow psych chords with breaking, chanting vocals from Matt and Julia hardly raising voices in a primitive backwoods dark ritual, carving musical symbols into wood. “Lander” revisits that opening optimistic feeling and they experiment with melody. They’re at their best when they lock on a groove and sing together with this bare melody. Their mix of primitive and rigid delivery is balanced by that bit of humanity, staying raw and thuggish with a primal kind of emotion.

B-Side’s “Graves” pounds out a tom rain dance and Andrew’s organ is putting up the structural work for that twangy guitar to cling to. They’re playing off each others improvizational jazz style and Matt’s saying to Andrew ‘Here’s an open ended measure to expand on your previous melody.’ It’s almost instrumental and develops into swirling parts in another crazy departure for Kitchens Floor. You don’t get a sense of how psych this is until the tracks are strung out live. “Back Home” deliberately goes pop again with Matt and Julia singing together exploring a melody with a verse and chorus. For having been left to the loose devices of playing live, the upper and lower ranges play off each other real nice on this one. The record ends on “No Love” with solid tom pounding and mostly Matt singing on this one in a vocal rhythm that seems to be following the guitar.
I may have been listening to Bill Callahan a little too much but they remind me of that bombed out interior landscape from a broken down piece of meat where all the heartbreak and emotion has been reduced down to the bare essentials making more of a statement by letting things lie taking in their lonely last breaths.

Pick this up from Quemada Records stateside - Sold out from the band.

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