Of all the correspondence I pretend to receive for the sake of introductory sentences, the most commonly expressed concern is my lack of new-music coverage. “Ho-ho, whassamatta?” no one snarkily expectorates. “Too old to tongue-kiss anything waxed, loosed, or laser’d after Moby’s Play?” Let me assure that nonexistent detractor I feel his imaginary pain. So today I’ll rave about an album that won’t be out until August 4, courtesy of the artisans at Sargent House. How’s that for new?
Bygones are a pair of sinewy gents who rock with their caulk guns ready to seal rhythms tighter than the hip pocket of an emo tween. You might recognize Zach Hill from Hella. At least I do. I love those guys, two ne’er-do-wells thrashing a racket like an ear-scrub with industrial-strength algebra. I’m not as familiar with Bygones bandmate Nick Reinhart, an alleged triple-threat in his own malice unit, Tera Melos, but that will be rectified soon. As an English freak, the “math rock” moniker turns my nutsac a putrid crimson, but if the numbers game was this bracing I’d have let mathematicians wire abacuses with my viscerae years ago.
I’ve heard their super-duo debut, by-, and love it to pieces (literally; I used the shrapnel to carve a heart o’er my soul). But I must sit tight on my crush until closer to release day. No, no — the burden is mine.
This I will divulge: It’s hard to describe the music they make, ’cause there’s so damn much of it. Most bands are perfectly happy playing one song at a time, satisfied with upstanding structures of tried-and-true verse/chorus/verse, catchy hooks, and see-ya fadeout. Bygones, on the other hand, back a truck up to the studio and dump everything through the roof. Why play one number straight when you can thread another 92 through it and draw blood?
Nick’s guitar precision at such astonishing velocities is incredible and intense. He wrenches jagged thorns of noise from his grumpy beast and slams them into each other with angry-mob aggression while Zach on drums drinks and drives with nary a thought for his own safety. I worry for Nick’s own well-being on “Nu Cringe” when he shovels through his six-string into his ribcage then back out his spinal column like he’s taking an alternate route to his wallet.
It isn’t all frantic, of course. There are tiny delights. For instance, the squooshy synth squeezes that open “Fool Evolved” with the same trenchcoat-degenerate glee that majestically telegraphed those sequences in Crown-International sexploitation flickers where the cheerleader conquers the gas man.
All told, by- illustrates what the band’s all about: wresting sublimity from chaos, like in its cover shot of the Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman commencing scarf on a drippy Sloppy Joe. There’s a precision in this filling mess that’s good to the goopy last drop.
01 Cold Reading
02 Click on That (Smash the Plastic Death)
03 Not What It Is But What It’s Not
04 Nu Cringe
05 Fool Evolved
06 Spray You With Your Own Trip
08 Up the Shakes
Release date: August 4
Pre-sale: July 1
Check out “Nu Cringe” and “Fool Evolved” at the Bygones’ official Myspace page here.