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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

AIDS Wolf "Cities of Glass"

Alright, so I'm not quite on top of my new releases, but I have finally caught up with the new one from AIDS Wolf, who are proudly carrying the no-wave/bad-vibes-noise-rock torch right now. AIDS Wolf use loud, dissonant, non-chord guitar parts, flailing drums and the caterwauling of singer Chloe Lum to assault the listener. (All of these are good things in my book)

The first thing I notice is that they're not going to shake the Arab on Radar comparisons with this record, especially starting the first song off with that fluttery guitar sound that opens some Arab on Radar songs also ... but from there things take a turn for the more difficult. In fact, the first track, "M.T.I.," is probably the most "out" on the record, just barely holding together and sounding like maybe, just maybe, it was an inspired improvisation.

I went back and listened to AIDS Wolf's earlier "Lovvers LP" for comparison, and this one is much denser (both in terms of production values and playing) and more complex. "Lovvers" is similarly dissonant, but the song structures are rather straight forward. On "Cities of Glass" a clear effort has gone into deconstructing the music-making blueprints, not just the guitar sound and tuning. For example, on "Ch-ch-chatter" the guitars and drums sound ALMOST like they're going to lock into a groove, but all the players are counting different numbers of beats and it never completely synchronizes. Most of the songs work this way, at least partly. (I'm guessing AIDS Wolf want this album to be their "Sang Phat Editor")

For me, this makes for a much deeper and more fascinating listen. There may be some direct cues taken from the aforementioned Arab on Radar and U.S.Maple (it would be appropriate to name-drop Harry Pussy here too), but seriously, since all of those bands are defunct, how many current bands are trying to advance new music composition techniques? I don't mean trying to advance new combinations of effects pedals, but trying to reconstruct "rock" music from the DNA up. (If you want to take that as a reference to the band, DNA, that works too!) I'm not going to go quite so far as to put "Cities of Glass" on a level with U.S.Maple's "Sang Phat Editor" but right now AIDS Wolf largely have the field to themselves.*

One complaint, I wish Chloe's vocals were clean, without that distortion on them through every song. I think they'd be far more expressive.

CD & LP on Skin Graft. Killer live show too, touring the States in March!

AIDS Wolf page at Skin Graft Records
AIDS Wolf on
AIDS Wolf blog

* Correct me if I'm wrong! I always appreciate musical recommendations!


chloe lum said...

you are right , M.T.I was an on the stop improv.

M*P*Lockwood said...

Wow. This makes me think that maybe I actually know what I'm talking about. Thanks!