From Australia to Israel, feel the noize
Chattanooga concert-goers may have fond, yet somewhat terrifying memories of performances at JJ’s Bohemia and Discoteca by the Israeli garage-rock trio Monotonix, the members of which obliterate the performers’ “fourth wall” by jumping on bars, overturning garbage cans, setting their drums on fire, playing songs while simultaneously crowd-surfing and engaging in other endearing yet insane shenanigans, setting the bar high for wild, completely entertaining live spectacle.
While their recordings were solid, they could never properly capture the incendiary fury of their shows, with charged riff explosions and the persistent threat of hirsute, sweaty madmen invading your personal space.
The new EP from Monotonix guitarist Yonatan Gat, entitled Iberian Passage, has a brash garage-rock sound that Monotonix fans will appreciate, but listeners may be pleasantly surprised by its globe-trotting eclecticism; it feels comfortable within its skin as a studio recording that is meticulously assembled, with interspersed bits of field recordings (including brass and orchestra snippets and random chatter) made by Gat on his travels.
Recorded in Porto, Portugal, the EP kicks off with “Escorpião” (“Scorpio”) with fuzz guitar leads and unexpected mandolin flourishes, bringing to mind a West African influence with the fluidity of its guitar lines. “Kotonou” is a stomper, with some wailing riffage, while “Seven to Seven” alternates between an early-’70s electric jazz spirit and a punk simplicity, with Gat’s liberated soloing followed by heavy chord sequences, elevated by drummer Igor Domingues’ ardent pounding.
This writer’s favorite track on Iberian Passage is “Conga Manteca,” being a unique amalgam with thick layers of sound and disorder with a prominent Cuban flair; piano and Wurlitzer organ lines fight for attention in the mix, while incongruous brass recordings are thrown in.
While Monotonix exploits every cubic inch of a venue with vigor, Gat seems to want to scour every corner of the world, with equal intensity.
Yonatan Gat will perform an early 4 p.m. show at Sluggo’s North on Sunday, June 1.
Another Dark Age
(Another Dark Age)
In the information age, it seems like a sense of mystery is often elusive; it feels like there are no secrets anymore, and a few seconds of Googling can typically uncover any bit of information one might be seeking.
The new 12-inch vinyl compilation Another Dark Age is seemingly trying to revive the notion of mystery. The album cover is a black-and-white photo of people shearing sheep, and the back cover only features the words “ANOTHER DARK AGE.”
There is no list of performers or songs inside, and the record itself only bears a catalog number: ADA001. Its aesthetic is surely some kind of semi-cheeky, semi-reverent take on ’70s-’80s stark grayscale goth/industrial imagery, and the name “Another Dark Age” could very well be a nod to SPK, the Australian industrial outfit from the post-punk era, which has a song with that title.
Well, this writer couldn’t help but Google away for more information, which wasn’t too difficult to find. Another Dark Age is the inaugural release on the Australian label of the same name featuring four acts from the U.S.A. and Australia.
The opening track “dk.o.5” comes from the New Brunswick, NJ one-man act Phantom Selector, which offers an intriguing and disquieting atmosphere shattered by static and noise blasts, with what sounds like damaged stutters from a dying machine.
A track from the Australian outfit Victim is heavy on the synthetic percussion, with a bed of drum-machine pitter-patters punctuated with reverberating beats, which sound like the ones you hear in movies right as the action ramps up.
The Providence-based improv trio Form a Log, which only uses 4-track recorders and cassettes, serves up a playful and demented song; it’s a confusing stew with a rhythm loop, warped synthetic grunts and bits of elevated detritus.
Finally, “Bilge” by the Australian act Carrier is the closest to a dance-oriented song here, with dark polyrhythms, squeaks, gurgling electronics and a sound plateau with no dramatic crests, and like the entire EP, it’s like a jaunt through a decaying urban landscape.