I’ve been really feeling Stereolab lately. Their incredibly unique mixture of old fashioned jazzy pop, electronics, and the motorik pulse of krautrock was the reason they were one of the first bands to ever be called post-rock.
If you’ve never heard them, you’re in for a real treat. This is the 18 minute epic centerpiece of their second album, 1993’s Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements.
Here’s that new Viet Cong music video, as promised. The song is Continental Shelf, first single from the band’s self-titled debut, releasing January 20th.
I should mention now that it’s super NSFW. But only for a few seconds. Watch it!
The imagery here seems to be a disjointed puzzle, an intriguing mess. It feels like the trailer for an art house film aping George Meliés at times, with a hint of Jodorowski. Fans of Holy Mountain or El Topo might know what I mean. That looks like a lot of links; whatever, they’re all awesome video clips.
The song itself is easily the catchiest tune on the brief album, with intelligible vocals and a clean hook. While not entirely representative of the band as a whole, it should still grab your ears tightly.
Here’s a screenshot I took from the video. Fire mustache?
As I mentioned yesterday, this album is one of the most exciting rock releases I’ve heard in a long time. Modern rock has been boring me for years now, so it takes something truly special to ignite my enthusiasm.
Check the Viet Cong bandcamp page for links to purchase this fiery debut album in every format, including cassette, LP, CD, and digital. You can find it on Amazon of course but it’s better to buy right from the label. I did.
Somehow, Viet Cong flew under my radar for the entirety of 2014. It’s my fault, really. Several friends let me know that half the members were from the short lived but brilliant Canadian band Women, and several more friends simply stated that they made balls out noisy punk-stained rock. The kind that’s darkly beautiful and complex in an unassuming way. The kind that I love.
They were right.
Hear for yourself; here’s the moment I realized that this is perfect.
This song exemplifies what I love about Viet Cong’s sound. It’s a three part suite in miniature, shaped at a glance like some post apocalyptic cousin of The Beatles’ Happiness Is A Warm Gun. We enter with a softly grinding drone and muted drum machine tumbling down stairs. The song bursts wide open with harmonized vocals and a sharply panning metallic guitar strum, while an insistent drum throb swells in the background. Finally, iridescent guitar tones rocket toward the sky. I don’t know if I’m hearing a weirdly tuned synthesizer or effects-laden guitar work; it doesn’t matter. The song absolutely explodes into a rave-up ending that had me grinning from ear to ear, determined to buy this album the moment it’s released.
The weird thing is, I was finally sold on giving these guys a try with a friend’s comparison to This Heat. The legendary experimental band from England released only a pair of bewilderingly fresh albums and disappeared at the turn of the 80s, leaving an indelible legacy that’s rarely touched, much less spiritually evoked. If you’re at all familiar with that band, give this your rapt attention. Right now. See also: fans of The Stooges, Public Image, Ltd., Bauhaus, and probably The Velvet Underground. What these bands have in common is a tough, motor-driven veneer with a knotty, heart-on-sleeve artfulness at center. Mining deeper into this territory, Viet Cong marries ragged noise and unapologetic beauty.
Check the Viet Cong bandcamp page for another free tune, plus links to purchase the debut album in every format. One listen, and you’ll want to repeat these 37 blistering minutes as often as possible. Keep an eye on this page for the album’s first single and music video.