'Women Are Magic' cassette ReviewsThe Independent
From the nasty rattle of the opening bass riff to the tortured, lethargic keyboards that close "Birthday Deer," Nine Fingered Thug's debut cassette is a purposefully abrasive outing. About as far removed from modern, joy-buzzing noise pop as possible, these songs quake with the low-end dumpster rock of the keys, drums and bass instrumentation and snarl with Samuel Mintu's demented, rabid yap. In particular, keyboardist Irene Moon adds rusty industrial contributions, which will be missed when she moves to New York at the end of the year. The music erupts in bursts, with hard-nosed themes jerking from beat to beat, like Frankenstein's creature built from trash. Nine Fingered Thug isn't just rough around the edges; it's rough to the core. When this aesthetic emerged in the '80s, critic Robert Christgau called it "pigfuck." That's appropriate here. Mintu spits out gruesome lyrics—"Her skin bleeds maggots/ her eyes bled pus." You might hope to offer him a cough drop, but his ravaged throat is essential. Twisted folktale "Ballad of a Deep Black Hole" plays like a darkened, sludge-waltz take on Tom Waits' apocalyptic Bone Machine. "Daydreams" dements the schoolyard refrain of "worms go in and worms go out," while the choral chant of "Grinding Against Bone" echoes the "heave-ho" from some damned Viking galley. The choice to release this on cassette is perfect: These tracks will pop with extra mutilation once the tape twists with heat and time.
– Corbie Hill
'Bitter Ballads' 7" ReviewsRazorcake
Sludgy, tribal noise rock courtesy of a band hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina. This seems to be a bit of a concept recording, in that the lyrics to both songs appear to be first-person narratives relating to the relationship of German surrealist artists Hans Bellmer and Unica Zürn, the former best known for his “Die Puppe” series of pubescent dolls, and the latter for her automatic drawings and anagram poetry. If you’re remotely interested in early Swans and the like, you’ll no doubt fine much here you’ll dig.
– Jimmy Alvarado
Big Takeover #68
This Raleigh, NC foursome may be "sludge rock", but that's the half of it! A recording like “Unica” on this debut 33 RPM 7” a-side is like something out of Steve Albini’s more satisfying nightmares, with bassist Samuel M.Z. Mintu’s “grumbling” among the most distressing use of vocals since Dennis Hopper’s Frank terrorized Isabella Rossellini in 1986’s Blue Velvet. This post-punk grind-march is from a long tradition of U.S. indie dirge-noise – Killdozer to Butthole Surfers to No Trend – out to debase your mortal soul or frighten it so badly, life will be a ceaseless hell. And the b-side “Hans” is hardly a McDonalds Happy Meal either! Grungy, filth-encrusted bass meanders like an evil snake, as the guitar and drums writhe and thud, respectively, and Mintu growls a depraved tale. Not for the timid? No, no one is safe!
- Jack Rabid
The Wire #327
New North Carolina quartet with the always exciting Irene Moon on keyboards. The music is a strange No Wave/math rock hybrid, and the lyrics are about surrealist love gone wrong. I don't believe the words are historically accurate, but the zeitgeist is right on.
- Byron Coley