Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Big'n-Spare the Horses (AfricanTape)

Way back in the 1990s, when labels like Sub Pop, Amphetamine Reptile and Touch & Go were championing noisy rock n' roll, Chicago's Big'n was roaming the Midwest, opening for like-minded bands Tar, Dazzling Killmen and Circus Lupus.

Big'n released several singles on small US labels before unveiling 1994's Cutthroat (Gasoline Boost) and its acclaimed follow-up, Discipline Through Sound (Skin Graft Records), in 1996. After that, the band re-worked AC/DC's "TNT" for a split single with Shellac and released an EP with Baltimore's Oxes in 2000. Then, all was quiet...until now.

French math rock label AfricanTape will be releasing Spare the Horses on 10" vinyl on May 2nd, and we were lucky enough to hear all four tracks, which were recorded by Greg Norman at Electrical Audio earlier this year.

Spare the Horses comes out of the gate with "Assholes and Elbows" and it is clear from the first note that this is classic Big'n. Todd Johnson's signature guitar sound and William Akins' creeped-out vocals set a sinister tone that carries on to the next track, "Long Pig." "Damn my pig eyes," Akins howls before killing with the refrain "So pink and precious, so dirty and delicious." Wow, this is some dark shit, not too far gone from what Nick Cave is doing with his band Grinderman.

"Like a Killer" takes no prisoners--maybe the heaviest thing that the band has committed to tape. Album closer "Seaworthy" lightens things up a bit, recalling Slint before Brian Wnukowski's drums really kick in and Mike Chartrand's bass takes you down to the basement for a beating.

No comments: