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A1. Dinner With My
I’ve followed Craig Clouse through just about everything he’s done, most notably his more rock leaning projects like Crown Roast or TODD, but Shit and Shine has always been the most challenging of the bunch. More of an outlet to dabble in the harsher and possibly disorienting realms of power electronics, samples, basic guitar distortion, and synthesizers Shit and Shine is further muscled up with stacks of amps and multiple percussionists at times to create an amalgam of noise that really is quite like no other.
In the past Shit and Shine took to the chopped and screwed cuts of electronics and placed them against mammoth like simple riffing for desirable results more often than not. Blown out and punishing, the hulking mess created by such did well in further blurring the lines between straight noise and rock. Over the course of what has become a fairly prolific catalog, Shit and Shine has followed a similar track of that of fellow experimentalists Sightings. Both bands have went from the harsher beginnings of malfunctioning amps and sheer noise barrages towards a more bastardized form of rock that actually hits more nerves than their noisier pasts ever managed to. It’s with Shit and Shine’s latest album Jream Baby Jream where I believe they’ve really hit upon a great mixture of past and present, provoking feelings of paranoia, dread, and levels of discombobulation without sacrificing much of the groups infatuation with beat driven electronics. After a short thirty second intro, Shit and Shine hits with full force on “Dinner With My Girlfriend” by employing the use of swirling feedback to continually wrap around a HUGE blown out beat for the duration of nine minutes. It’s as close to “doom” as the group will likely ever get, but it’s an epically sized helping no doubt and one of the finest things on the album. Another highlight is on the flip side of the record with the roughly ten minute “Rodeo Girls” that develops a bit of a retro vibe to it thanks in part to an uncharacteristically danceable beat and guitar twang throughout that repeats in loop like fashion. It’s like one of those movie sequences where someone is walking down a huge city street surrounded by nothing but people, cars, and skyscrapers only the person walking is in no doubt inebriated and terrified. The album as whole operates greatly on a backbone of recurring beats and ambiance to create its creepy theatrics. The balance shown here though is fairly impressive.
BUILT ON A WEAK SPOT
Sometimes the concept is as big as the execution. There's something iconic about Shit And Shine, before I had heard them I had definately heard of them, they had just played Oxford's Audioscope and the mythology already begun to circulate..the stacks of amps the multiple drummers, the single riffs. I wouldn't see them until the London Scala in 2009 with Monotonix, Todd, Scout Niblett amongst others, great company indeed, but I felt the venue didn't suit them and what could have been epic and heavy felt a little detached and theatrical. They have come along way from single riff bludgeoning and on 'Jream Baby Jream' they feature some of their most melodic, outré and heavy material yet. This LP, the first from Riot Season 2012, is a miss mash of heavy weight electronics not dissimilar to AFX's thundercore years, demented country twanging and searing monolithic beat structures. 'Dinner With My Girlfriend' features a single grinding loop adorned with electroid voices almost like RnB on codeine, 'Woodpecker' vaults hard into clattering drum machine like warfare. 'Rodeo Girls' is Shit and Shine-disco a 10 minute club cut that bursts at the seams with fuzz and weight, the effect inducing a kind of dark sensual euphoria. Final track 'Youth Led Worship' goes into a repeated experimental fallout with songs colliding around a bass line from hell. It's a great album, one that buzzes with invention and repeatedly connects, long time fans will love this next phase of evolution, and in carving out tracks from the electronics upwards, imbued is a new accesibility which will no doubt draw in new comers to this dizzying furnace.
This time I am record reviewing the new Shit and Shine record from the Riot Season record label - I have reviewed a Riot Season record before when I reviewed Hey Colossus which I enjoyed very much and I am very pleased to be reviewing this record because it is not even out yet and I get to hear it before anyone else. Shit & Shine are an extremely noisy and extremely different rock group led by Texan Craig Clouse and in the videos that i've seen on Youtube they were dressed up as rabbits with loads of drummers and guitars and look like they put on a very good, very noisy show; I hope one day that I get to see them myself because they look like a lot of fun.
This record then starts off with a short introduction of some robots talking before the first proper song Dinner With My Girlfriend starts. This song reminded me of the 1812 Overture because it sounds like music made with cannons and guns instead of drums but it is even noisier than the 1812 Overture and sounds a bit like a war fought in the future because it has robot voices in it and loads of air raid sirens. It is a very noisy song but it's very nice to listen to and I liked it very much.
Next up is a song called Mermuda Triangle which starts of with a noise like wild animals chattering in the jungle and drumming like African tom toms then there are lots of other noises like a person breathing really loud and maybe some monkeys and someone welding something - it is a bit of a strange one that is quite hard to describe but it is very good.
After Mermuda Triangle is Jream Baby Jream which starts off with a drumbeat a bit like the drumbeat that begins Apache by The Shadows but the rest of the song is not like Apache at all. This one is not as loud as the others and sounds a bit like a slow blues song. It is a very soft song and has vocals which sound like someone who can't sing very well making it up as they go along - I think the singer might have been a bit pissed when he recorded it and I think this is a good thing.
Next song is Woodpecker which is another very noisy song with very big drums in it and guitars that sound like road drills and screaming like somebody getting murdered. In the middle the song goes softer and there is speaking that you can't make out properly but then it all kicks off again and it all gets a bit weird; Shit & Shine must be very strange people but it's good to be strange and not normal all the time.
Rodeo Girls is next and is another very noisy electric guitar and drum track which made me think of a big group of elephants stampeding and going wild and making noise with their trunks. There are lots of other odd noises in this one and I reckon this is one you have to turn up really loud and let it get in head till your ears and head go all funny.
The last track on this album is called Youth Led Worship and this is another quieter track which is quite relaxing compared to some of the other stuff on this record. I think it's good that the record ends on a softer tune because it gives you a chance to calm down after all the noise.
Overall I would say that this was a brilliant record that I really enjoyed listening to and I think if people listened to it they would think this too. I would give this record 10 out of 10.
PETER KEMPS RECORD REVIEWS
If you’ve ever caught Shit and Shine live, chances are they pummelled your pleasure centres into screaming submission or despatched you to the bar in a miasmic haze of disgust. In the flesh, this band has taken many forms, but it has generally involved far too many drummers and not nearly enough riffs. They take a single momentous idea and give it a damn good thrashing, driving a single colossal phrase into the ground like a coyote beneath an oversized anvil. It’s a stunningly effective strategy – no dynamics, no build-ups, no progression, just economic, relentless, insanely dogged brutality. You could base a planet-unifying religion on such transcendent sensory experience and unbearable clarity of vision. But you probably shouldn’t.
All of which is self-consciously wrong-footing introductory irrelevance, because fifth album Jream Baby Jream is far from the anticipated metallic monoriff juggernaut – or riffernaut, if you will. The 30-second robo-voco-intro is essentially a bit of throwaway guff, but its awkward, clunky electronics do hint at what is to follow. These speak-and-spell vocals recur on first track proper, ‘Dinner With My Girlfriend’, albeit crushed to a paste beneath a grinding mass of outrageously filthy bass and nigh-intolerably brutal distortion. This is pretty much what you might imagine dubstep sounded like if you devoured the press coverage but never heard any of the actual tunes (and if your skull was full of iron filings). Brilliantly single-minded, it invokes S&S’s love of repetition, but being an ant’s cock shy of ten minutes long, it offers only a glimpse of the thrilling annoyance of which they are capable. ‘Mermuda Triangle’ follows, and offers further hints of immersion in electronic music. In here somewhere is a perfectly pleasant little handmade post-trip-hop instrumental, but thankfully such apple-white bourgeois guff is obscured by ostentatious crackle and bleeding-edge distortion that makes the speakers sound like they’re full of those pyrokinetic killer bees that the Daily Mail are probably always banging on about. The title track dials down the aggro to barely perceptible, its lush vibes redolent of the kind of hazy south-sea avant-tropicalia that Black Dice used to peddle circa Beaches & Canyons, the only subversive tang being the distant hectoring of a good-natured drunk.
The theoretical dubstep approach comes storming back with the brief ‘Woodpecker’, its offering of standard-issue wubs demolished by stoner-rock drum fills and digital razor-wire. The closing ‘Youth Led Worship’ serves to reinforce the overall nebulous theme (other musics, degraded), with evocative but unidentifiable dirge, woozily obfuscated vocal samples, and a faux groove skip – the sound of several gramophones playing in not-quite unison at the bottom of a stagnant pond.
All very grimy and diverting, but the highlight is, surely, undeniably, ‘Rodeo Girls’. An insistent pulse smothered in faux-antique analogue recording jelly, this is essentially the most irresistible rhythms of Can’s Delay 1968 (their finest hour; truth; all hail) spliced with the super-spiky riff from Dr Feelgood’s ‘Roxette’, gussied up with glorious, crunchy psychedelic wiffle and stretched out for (a mere) ten minutes.
You might disdain its atavism – after all, it’s considerably more retro than most of its electronica-dabbling neighbours – but it is by far the most instantly appealing and mesmerising offering here. Had Shit and Shine applied their trademark fondness for absurdly excessive repetition to this one track and contemptuously called it an album, I’d be delirious with joy.
Literally, traffic stopping jams, right here. The first time the needle was dropped on Jream Baby Jream a 3-car pile-up occurred on the street in front of the Chicago Permanent storefront. If you’re already familiar with the nutation inducing qualities of previous Shit & Shine records, you’ll find a lot to love on Jream Baby Jream. If this is the first you’ve heard of this wonkily, hypnotic Texas/London experimental throb collab, you’re too late to score any of their previous records (all OOP), but (as of this writing) not too late to own one of their best yet.
RECORD COLLECTOR NEWS
Once upon a time, some enterprising music writer came up with (or popularised it at least) the term “arsequake” to describe the sort of heavyweight sludgy rock which occasionally crawled out of Camden to force itself onto unsuspecting grunge audiences in the Nineties; usually talking about the sort of sounds which stepped very close to the definition of music, then trampled on it, bit off its head and relieved itself at great length over the very notions of “listenability” and “form.”
Shit And Shine make arsequake which fits that term like a glove. The charmingly-titled “Dinner With My Girlfriend” pulls its intestines out the difficult way using a gauntlet made of rusty scrap steel discarded by Faust from the floor of The Garage in London after their legendary welding and burning of noxious matter session there which got them banned, lined with broken glass shards and dipped in purest vitriol for an all-devouring lower than low-end sound. And fury; replete with the ire of piledrivers left to rant and rage in mechanical strop across the bleak wastelands of collapsed old buildings, factory floors unswept and shuddering under the pummelling fists of Tetsuo‘s chundering and mewling autotuned half-human children.
Among the air-raid wails and 5-tonne beats of “Mermuda Triangle,” or underpinning “Woodpecker” and its stop-start spastic arrhythmia, resides bowel-churning bass action of the sort which when played loud enough should provoke a brown-trouser response within a 10km radius – and the latter’s fuzz could only really be effectively responded to, Fear and Loathing style, by chucking an electric heater into the bathtub at the requisite moment of deepest buzz. But then – surprisingly – the title track is almost a beatific respite of swingalong harmony and tankard-waving jollity by comparison, and maybe wouldn’t seem out of character if the Butthole Surfers were still producing anything new thanks to a woozy combination of seemingly pastoral melody and a distinctly damaged approach to the same
The endurance test which makes up the guitar loop at the heart of “Rodeo Girls” clops along relentlessly at a distinctly wobbly pace, surmounted by scrawling FX and depth-charge thumps promising cracked ribs and taking names for the headkick queue at a psychedelic dub session gone horribly, awfully wrong. As for “Youth led Worship,” it could make the toughest gristle throb, quivering almost relievedly after the brutal goosing which has come before it, complete with slightly camp pitched-down conversation to slip the hallucinations into slightly more comfortable position, if only like using yogic techniques to rearrange the shapes of pain under duress.
Anyone who wouldn’t want to turn the bass up to maximum, fill up on animal tranquillisers and use this album as a weapon of revenge on overweening neighbours just doesn’t get what Jream Baby Jream is about, and should avoid it, really. Everyone else will be itching to slide the volume to 11 and get set for some serious mind-battering.
Shit and Shine are known for their brutal attacks on the senses. Yep, there’s plenty of noise. Dollops of it are thrown on top of each other. ‘Jream Baby Jream’ is a bit of a more, dare I say it, conventional approach to what they usually do. Keep in mind this is in comparison with their nauseatingly loud discography, not in comparison with other actual bands. In fact what differentiates this from most of their output are the many stylistic detours they follow down on these 7 tracks (I call it six; the 30 second intro doesn’t count for me).
‘Dinner with my Girlfriend’ pursues their interest in lumbering, crushing dubstep. In many ways it feels like a logical progression from their ‘Bass Puppy’ EP from 2010. The air siren-like guitars that soar above the horrible, near-broken beat, is quite excellent. There are many weird, virtually pointless samples woven into these songs. What’s shocking though is the title track ‘Jream Baby Jream’. Is this the dream of Shit and Shine? It is downright tender, oddly sweet. Usually their music comes nowhere near this level of gentleness. Even the muttered nonsense that counts as singing is touching. I’m happy to see they’ve been willing to go outside of their comfort zone on this track. The results are worth the detour from their usual genre of distorted, shrill feedback.
‘Woodpecker’ confirms they still bring the noise. Oh man, it is even more of an assault after such a mellow track. ‘Rodeo Girls’ shows they still possess their sarcastic sense of humor. A dumb as hell disco beat leads guitars increasing and decreasing in volume. It reminds me of a giant sonic funhouse. Even the little pauses they take are absurd. What’s amazing is no matter how loud or disjointed the piece gets this idiotic beat keeps on coming through.
I am a bit surprised by the direction they take. This makes me happy. I like the fact that Shit and Shine can vary their methods. Shit and Shine makes the some of the loudest, most acid-damaged music I can possibly imagine.
Riot Season have perhaps the best ear in the UK for utterly horrid sounds these days.
Home to the likes of Hey Colossus, Ultraphallus, Todd and Dead Elephant among others, it's one for audiophiles of the noisier end of the spectrum.
Shit and Shine have of course been going for years and this is another messed-up release that is both devastatingly fuzzed-up and unpleasant, but warrants multiple listening.
At just 7 tracks and limited to 500 vinyl-only copies, is it worth picking up? Well, that depends if you like what sounds like pixelated bombs dropping through your speakers while someone abuses a speak and spell so bad you can only identify it through dental records, if speak and spells had teeth.
Shit and Shine have always been awkward, but this is a step to another level. It's like wading through thick gunk with a Wolf Eyes album on a slowly dying cassette walkman, the headphones the other side of a smelly, damp balaclava.
Sometimes they trick you into a false sense of security, the lounge jazz/muzak of the title track sounds like several charity shop records on downers, being played on somewhat damaged equipment, all with subtle percussion floating around in the background, but they soon get back to the static and intimidation with the feedback and circuit-bending of 'Woodpecker' which is all clattering beats and phasers set to 'fun'.
The ten-minute 'Rodeo Girls' has loops of distortion, Indian ragas, multi-layered percussion and swathes of keys floating all over it, like murky pond water with a oily film on top, ugly but beautiful.
This is the midway point between ambience and outright disgust, if you revel in dirty electronic noise and a sense of lucid sickness, then this is the record for you, it's confusing as much as it is repulsive, but you'll be back for more.
Shit & Shine are back with yet more of their filthy muck for your depraved earholes. This new one is on bright green vinyl and looks good enough to eat. Lower your needle onto the baize and opener 'Dinner With My Girlfriend' is a lengthy slow-groover with lots of disgusting bass distortion and farty hip-hop drums with a barely-audible vocodered-to-shit vocal over the top. Horrible-sounding but strangely compelling, it's really sucked me in. The outrageous levels of distortion remind me of some of the grubbily abrasive tones on the early Trans Am records, and also like this nasty repeato duo I saw in London last year called 100% Beefcock & The Titsburster. Then there's two shorter songs rounding off the first side, one of which has melodic but buzzy bass taking us to hypnotic places, and then the title track offers a surprising little loungey reprieve from the intense tones with a gentle groove and fingerpicked guitar (and weird high-pitched vocals in places making sure you don't forget to be a bit weirded out).
The second side opens with the brief but violent power-electronics of 'Woodpecker' before the other lengthy track of the album 'Rodeo Girls'. It's not as abrasive as the lengthy one on the other side but not as groovy either, instead opting for some kind of stuttering psych-jam insanity that mixes aggressive dance and brain-melting post-dub atmospheres in a way that is designed to confuse. Then we've just got the pulsating tribal-industrial vibes of slow burner 'Youth Led Worship' to round off the set with some gentle, foreboding ambience. Once again these mysterious fellas have come up with the goods. Only 400 of these have been pressed so it's the usual snooze:lose situation.
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