Just a few years ago, Touch & Go Records made the heartbreaking announcement that it would no longer be releasing new music, although a newly announced CocoRosie single suggests new life at the Chicago label. And brother-in-noise Amphetamine Reptile never officially announced an end to the steady stream of blistering noise rock for which it’s become famous, but aside from the occasional seven-inch, the label hasn’t actually released much at all in the past decade. And with these two juggernauts of pigfuck, noise rock and post-hardcore, fans of all things brutish and ugly have had to look elsewhere for their fix of reliably gruesome churn. That said, one need not dig too deep into the muck and the mire to find it — Unsane’s new album, for one, proves the band as menacing as always, while Profound Lore, Prosthetic and Hydra Head make room between their more traditional and avant garde metal catalog items for some crude noise-rock slam sessions, suggesting that its future prospects appear much brighter when aligned with metal rather than indie rock, at least in economic terms.
UK label Stressed Sumo has also entered the feedback-driven ring with Ruiner, the new EP by Whores, originally released last year on vinyl through Brutal Panda. The Atlanta, Ga. trio, whose name gives a fair amount of indication how little room for genteel, restrained behavior they allow, take to the five songs on this release with raw, sludgy aggression, pounding out three- to five-minute installments of deliciously merciless thunder. Mastered by Kyle Spence, drummer in fellow Georgian ruckus-makers Harvey Milk, Ruiner is simple, yet relentlessly effective in its pursuit of the most seamlessly fierce power-chord rumble. The Melvins/Helmet-style crunch of leadoff track “Daddy’s Money” has a rolling groove to it, one that shrieks and punches when need be, between bellows of “Daddy’s money won’t save you!” There’s a touch more emphasis on the riff on “Fake Life,” while the screams grow ever more blood curdling on “Shower Time,” and “Straight Down,” the longest track on the album by an interval of 41 seconds, partially trades volume for ominousness, but all in all retains every element of danger and fear present throughout the EP.
The glory days of Touch & Go and AmRep’s era of porcine fornication may have faded into the past, for the most part, but Whores is just one player in a new generation of hollering freaks hell-bent on wrecking eardrums. Ruiner is as fine an entry in this bruising quest as has arrived on this side of the ’10s, and it gets its business done in less than 20 minutes. Another 20 might result in long-term tinnitus, stress fractures or nausea, but then again it would probably all be worth it.
Stream: Whores – “Daddy’s Money”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.