What happened to Mouthus? They seem to have disappeared. The last releases seem to have popped out in 2009 but since then, nothing. This is a shame really. The Brooklyn duo of Nate Nelson and Brian Sullivan seemed to exist in their own little biosphere of experimental, noise goodness. Although they were always lumped into the noise continuum along with Wolf Eyes and Hair Police, Mouthus are a very different beast. On Slow Globes they meet their quasi-psychedelic side. There are smatterings of shamanic groove which when it fully takes flight is a very dark experience indeed. At other times much of Slow Globes reminded me of the same shambling avant lo-fi pioneered by The Dead C. What this means in a music context is that Mouthus can be a very challenging listen. I own more Mouthus records than is healthy but I think Slow Globes is great place to start if you’ve ever been interested in dabbling. Any one know what happened to them?
Archive for the Mouthus Category
It feels like even half-way through 2008 I’m still getting up to speed with what got released last year. In the last couple weeks I’ve been listening to Gudrun Gut’s I Put a Record On, Pole’s excellent Steingarten remixes, Magik Markers Boss, any Sightings record I can get hold of and this. I have no idea why Resin flew under my radar especially when you consider that Religious Knives are a group comprised of members of two of my favourite bands, Double Leopards and Mouthus.
Resin is a compilation of sorts. Like most of these Brooklyn noise bands the majority of their output is coming out as singles, limited and split releases and recorded live sets. Blink and you miss them stuff if you know what I mean. Helpfully Resin comprises many of these releases and If I hadn’t read that somewhere I’d have been none the wiser. This is a much more accessible band than it’s component parts would indicate. Forget the creepy-noise drone of Double Leopards and Mouthus’s elliptical and abstract take on alt rock is nowhere to be seen. Resin for the most part shows Religious Knives getting their late 1960’s psychedelic groove on. Sure it’s a pretty dark and at times noisy take on psych rock but for all it’s no-fi “production” it is no different to Pussy Galore’s attempts to reinterpret the blues. Despite their obvious influences (kraut rock, psych, sweet lord even the Door’s get a look in) Religious Knives are producing music which sits at the periphery of the noise rock scene. I’m certainly going o try to track down some more of their releases.
With the untimely demise of the Yellow Swans, I’ve been on the hunt for a new favourite band and I think I may have found it in this three peice from Brooklyn. Produced by Andrew W.K. last year Through the Panama is Sightings fourth full length. I have no idea whether this record is representatyive of their previous output, but I will say is this is the sort of avant rock which really works for me. It’s noisy, experimental but bases itself around normal rock song structure.
When I first played it last week the most immediate band that came to mind was the New York no-wave band Mars. I think that impression had more to do with the vocalist’s version of intimidating ambivilance rather thna the music itself. I suppose to use more modern equivilants, Sightings sit somewhere between the intentional obtuseness of Mouthus and the nihilistic, swaggering cool of Liars. The majority of the songs have vocals (with lyrics even!). The first two tracks bely the strength of Through the Panama as an album. Both sound like post-punk infused no-wave updated for the new millenium. Even when they do a Yellow Swans style drone/noise excursion (on Cloven Hoof) Sightings really hit the mark.
Live 2008 Rhode Island
The thing I like about Mouthus is that rather than settle as a pure noise band they attempt to smash together power electronics, a live drummer and a guitarist with oddly dissonant vocals to produce something thats combines noise, rock, avant-garde experimentation and drone. I think as a whole it works pretty well. The first track on Follow This House doesn’t really work for me but by the time I got to the second track Cameras, I realised just how good Mouthus can be when they are on form. For each of their tracks they don’t deviate from their original idea . They beat it with a stick until it falls over and then move onto the next track. I’ve said before that the reason why a lot of this noise stuff appeals to me is the journey of discovery it takes you. With Mouthus its much more a straight up rock vibe (although like no other rock band you’ll ever hear. There is none of the extremity of Wolf Eyes or Skaters etc. There is an improv feel to most of the tracks and it’s obvious there is some love of the Dead C happening here. I think Mouthus are a pretty unique example of the width of the noise genre.
Here is a live show they did this year:
This one of my favourite recent additions to “the Special”. I don’t know much about the band. All I know is that they’re a two piece from Brooklyn. One fellow drums and the other plays the guitar. They have a couple of official releases out there which are pretty easy to pick up but this is the first and only thing I have heard from them. This record was a bonus disc given to subscribers of Threelobed’s Modern Containment series (it featured discs by Hush Arbours, Wooden Wand and Bardo Pond to name a few.)
This is a a slight step back form the pure, harsh noise groups doing the rounds at the moment. Somewhere under the hellish mire is a drummer. A real drummer as opposed to some incessant drum loop churning out wave on wave of sickening aural horror. Mouthus have a real rock vibe happening here. A heavily de-constructed industrial, free-noise, rock vibe but I guarantee you, it is there. It may not be apparent at first but for a couple of tracks it’s almost a garage, swamp rock feel happening under the noise. The first track The Final Tribes has a couple of bass style noises ( I mean it might be a bass or some digital thing … who knows?) but to me it sound like Tracey Pew from the Birthday Party grinding his bass from the third circle of Hell.
There is something fantastically organic and human about For the Great Slave Lakes. Pete Swanson is right, it reeks of The Dead C and although Mouthus are a very different beast this record also made me think of Birchville Cat Motel. There is something approachable about it, its not all machines and death. Sure the metal machine music is all here. Bits of metal clank and clang but When We Were Graves has something which sounds oddly like maracas. There is oxygen in the noise. There are humans behind the racket. Even at their most machine like, the loop heavy track, Where Was I When I Laid to Rest There, is grounded by the intermitent smashing of cymbals. Many will disagree, but the frenetic drumming grounding the whole track (somewhere under the distorted fart of the electronics) reminds me of a de-constructed George Hurley doing Nuff that Shit George from Firehose’s “fromOhio.”
If you’re new to noise you need to track this down and perhaps also get yourself a copy of Yellow Swans “Global Cone” while you’re at it.