Thursday, March 1, 2007

Turning the Strobe Up to 11

Frogrammer 7''
Richie/Parts Unknown, 2007

In the matter of a weekend (last) I've gone from being a casual fan of Clockcleaner, somebody who picked up their highly-praised Nevermind album and liked it plenty, to full blown obsessive advocate of these Philadelphian buttheads. All it really took for me was my second helping of their seizure-inducing live show and a few spins of their excellent 7''s, in particular their brand new Frogrammer slab out on Richie Records/Parts Unknown.
There's something perfect about Clockcleaner existing in the USofA in 2007. Their antagonistic stage presence is genuinely terrifying. In a time when metalheads are turning around and falling into their amps and most noise acts have lost all semblance of performance whatsoever, Clockcleaner's display of psychosis channels equal parts wicked humor and fear. In a perfect world, Clockcleaner have no influences; every band which came before them are shit. In reality, they're three sweet people who share a love for those nasty creases of the 80's where an underground could only see the world in decay: East coast hardcore-metal (Cro-Mags, GG) and Texas noise-rock (Buttholes, Scratch Acid), mainly.
Still, amidst all this mean-spiritedness they retain a strong sense of melody and even (pop) structure, best exemplefied on "Frogrammer", where the band play a fairly straight cover (little to no effects) of Remo Voor's KBD classic. Sharkey sounds really different on the track - nervous and jittery rather than his usual aggro style. More Roky Erickson than Will Shatter for sure. The song is catchy as can be and Clockcleaner weird it up just enough to make it their own. Great choice.
"Early Man" brings it back home to the mid-paced grime of the Missing Dick 7'' tracks (both 7''s were pulled from the same 2005 session). Vocals drenched in reverb, guitars like the brainwaves of an electro-shocked monkey and the thickest rhythm section (Karen, bass, and Richie, drums) in the Eastern Seaboard. As with many Clockcleaner tracks, the song ends with Sharkey molesting the mic with wails and screams as if his toenails were being removed one by one.
Clockcleaner make the kind of clatter kids should be listening to while they make spitballs in detention. Get the vinyl and commit it to tape for your little cousin, immediately. Essential stuff for a new generation of miscreants and the first great single of the year.

Update: the good people at aQuarius are now carrying this puppy, so buy buy buy. You have no excuse. Or, go see the 'Cleaner on tour w/TNV starting this Thursday.

No comments: