Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dumber Rock Riff: A Word About The New One From USA/Mexico (ex-Butthole Surfers)

The new album from USA/Mexico, Laredo, is an unholy racket. Period. It is, frankly, the sort of record that is full of the sort of sound one would have expected from the earliest grunge bands had they had the nerve to actually deliver the sort of glorious sludge their existence promised. This album, out Friday on one-time Homestead Records honcho Gerard Cosloy's 12XU label, is a slap to the head with a wet fish, a muffled roar heard under a pillow, a retardation of everything adventurous in the last few decades of alternative music. It is, really, the sort of thing that I love when I'm in the right mood and I was in the right mood when I first played Laredo.

The players here -- guitarist Craig Clouse (Shit and Shine, Todd), drummer King Coffey (Butthole Surfers, Rubble, Hugh Beaumont Experience) and bassist Nate Cross (Marriage, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, Expensive Shit) -- bludgeon a listener into submission with the punishing "Possum Trot" before settling in to the relatively more accessible title cut, a nod in the direction of both the Butthole Surfers and Big Black. Some of this -- "Yard Of The Month" -- is just noise-for-noise's sake, but lots of this, notably, "Dumber Rock Riff", is delightfully unhinged and truly subversive in a way that maybe only Merzbow or Non has previously been. Still, without the pretensions of those acts, USA/Mexico unleash a nightmarish whorl that threatens to engulf a listener's psyche. The epic and wonderfully-titled "Bullets For Pussy" adds a near-industrial throb-and-pound to things as the cut carries on for nearly 8 minutes before the album eases -- somewhat -- into a fine cover of "L.A." by The Fall, rendered here a Tad-like thing of beautiful strum-und-drang.

The sort of release that should please fans of both industrial noise and provocation, Laredo is out on Friday via 12XU. Loud, unruly, and somehow focused on delivering these riffs with maximum intent, the 3 players in USA/Mexico are to be commended for working up such wrong music. They are, on some level, heroes now.

[Photo: Uncredited promo picture]