Friday, September 28, 2012

Saturday: The uncivil noise of Australia's Slug Guts

Posted By on 09.28.12 at 05:22 PM

Slug Guts
  • Slug Guts
I can't pretend to be plugged into Australia's underground rock scene, but in the late 80s and early 90s I loved it—the Moodists, King Snake Roost, Lubricated Goat. And I'm not even counting influential precursors like the Birthday Party, Scientists, Radio Birdman, and of course the Saints. There's always seemed to be something in the water down under that makes its loud rock bands scuzzier, ruder, and more primitive than their counterparts anywhere else in the world. Australians seem to have the spirit of the Stooges in their blood.

I first noticed Brisbane's Slug Guts a couple months ago (few bands have names that match their sound so well)—someone compared them to Feedtime, I think. I haven't heard their first two albums, but based on the recent Playin' in Time With the Deadbeat (Sacred Bones), I'm pretty sure they've been feeding their ears a steady diet of antipodean grime. The low-to-the-ground hurtle of the rhythm section and the rabid howl of singer James Dalgleish on album opener "Scum" is pure Feedtime, and as the album progresses, harshly clanging sheet-metal percussion, dirty reverb-drenched guitars, astringent saxophone screams, and sinister bass lines add up to a tidy summary of Australia's heyday of ugly rock. Sometimes Dalgleish embraces the post-rock 'n' roll snarl of Scientists front man Kim Salmon, and the tangled architecture of the lurching grooves recalls the Birthday Party at their most damaged. Yes, I've heard it all before, but Slug Guts make it all seem like a natural, genuine response to a fucked-up world. The band rolls into Chicago on Saturday for a show at the Empty Bottle. (They also play an in-store at Permanent Records Sunday at 6 PM). In the meantime you can check out their song "Stranglin' You Too" below.

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