issue 20 :: September 2011

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Review: Rubble

The Farewell Drugs LP [Latino Bugger Veil]

Rubble is a Texas psych-rock supergroup featuring Shawn McMillen (Iron Kite, Friday Group), King Coffey (Butthole Surfers), Bobby Baker (Baby Robots, ST 37), Craig Stewart (Emperor Jones records) and Matt Turner (Abrasion Ensemble) united in a sprawling, epic monster of fuzz guitar and pounding drums. Half the record, including a cover of Joe Byrd's catchy 1969 acid-trip nightmare “You Can't Ever Come Down,” are up tempo rockers with buzz-saw guitars and sprawling leads that is half hardcore and half early eighties British garage metal. “Tom of Midland” and “Grey at Grace” are sludge platforms for guitar solo freak outs. The last 45 seconds of “Cigarette Rabbit” melt into a crumbling soundscape of distorted dust that could easily share a stage with Illusion of Safety or Hands To. Squares will hate it, but this isn't a record for them. Multi-instrumentalist Ralph White guests on 2 songs, his kalimba playing turns “Old Dominion” into a sadly too-short Afro-Kraut jam. I would love to hear a fifteen minute version of this. With King's thundering beats, it is hard not to think of the Butthole Surfers when listening to these tracks. If you like heavy rock music, you should listen to this.

Shawn McMillen is also in a group with Greg Bacchus (of Warmer Milks) and Michael Turner (presumably the Michael Turner from Warmer Milks, not the Michael Turner my former physics professor at the University of Chicago) called Gel Jail. Their first release is a very strange cassette from Mancat Records, Shawn's new tape label. Spluttery Cassette Mythos music, these very unusual songs confuse and amaze me.
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