Thursday, April 8, 2010

a(lpha) b(eta) c(igarette) c(orporation)

3 Steps to Quitting: The Voyage to Nowhere (Killer Buds, 2010)

For: A shoetring-budget version of The Knife's Tomorrow In a Year minus opera, MZ Mona Mars, First Dog To Visit The Center of The Earth

Byline: Sequel to "Lost in Hyphy-Space". Totally deranged/awesome bedroom pop-space odyssey.

I guess there was a time when the term "garage rock" was tied to actual bands playing in garages because they were too poor to afford practice space. Perhaps your band still practices in a garage but we can agree that the term has packed up and parceled out to guys with bad (expensive) haircuts paying producers to sound raw (expensive/bad). Following in it's wake with the reduction in price of recording equipment and software we have a tidal wave of the avante-bedroom-pop-electronic-synth thing, that fills up the inbox of small blogs like this one. This may fall into that category, but the ironic thing here is, I actually sought this out. After being duly impressed by the Killer Buds 2009 release MZ Mona Mars, and the broad range of the weirdo bands that sail under the Killer Buds collective flag, I gobbled up the cryptic titled ABCC without hesitation. This is my journal of where we went and what we saw together. From what I could discern 3 Steps to Quitting is a loosely held together concept album of sorts. Something like the field notes of an extraterrestrial scientist trying his hand at universe forming. The lyrical fluctuations are observations of star-formations and blackhole birthquakes. Cousins to the objective stance The Knife took on this years Tomorrow In A Year as they tracked the evolution of mankind from single-celled organisms to bustling, fallangeed creatures. The synth washes (a big plus on last years MZ project) are pared down a little bit, but the beats still sound like mutated outputs from consumer-grade drum machines and programmed keyboard beats. Vocals are pitch-shifted down or run through a million whirligigs of computer gadgetry. Songs like "step 2: almost there" feature snippets of organic acoustic guitar strumming and relatively clean melodic singing. Rhythm-heavy rock instrumentation take form in angular guitar lines and catatonic bass lines on "black holes - the beginning of space. Fans of TOME favs First Dog To Visit The Center Of The Earth and Boyfruit should take note. Plus, the killing buds are giving all this away for freeez on their website!

Ryan H.

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