The other day I read the best description of mainstream rap Iâ€™ve heard in a while, from The
Washington Postâ€™s J. Freedom du Lac: â€œIt’s become a genre of ringtones.â€ Itâ€™s not just hip hop thatâ€™s descended down this road, itâ€™s most popular music. Unable to compete with a perceived lack of sales due to downloads, the Industry keeps packaging the same material in different forms. Personally, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s all illegal downloads: Movie sales and DVD rentals are down, tickets to live events are down, everything is down because itâ€™s all spread much thinner. Thereâ€™s so much more to do these days, and the economy certainly has been better. And if youâ€™re going to foment paranoia in the populace by creating a war on terror, you shouldnâ€™t be surprised when people donâ€™t wanna leave their houses anymore.
But one thing that Parts & Labor will never be accused of is making ringtone music. Iâ€™ve mentioned Parts & Labor here before, when they released their EP. Now theyâ€™ve got a proper record of their unique blend of Brooklyn power-trio noisepunk. I say unique because it isnâ€™t solely deconstructive clatterâ€”itâ€™s got hooks, too. And understandable vocals (sometimes sung via bullhorn). And plenty of bleeps, bursts, bashes and blips. And the guitar work. I have to mention that. The screaming solos are blazing fire among the wreckage of the fastest, hardest drumming this side of a tommy gun. Jagjaguwar/Brah should be commended for taking a risk and signing a band thatâ€™s pretty different from the stuff they usually put out (Black Mountain, Alex Delivery, Minus Story) — not that thereâ€™s anything wrong that those bands, itâ€™s just that Parts & Labor is so radically different from what I usually get in my mailbox that I actually found it refreshing.
In a completely jarring kind of way.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
For fans of: Minutemen (they cover “King Of The Hillâ€ on the album); HÃ¼sker DÃ¼, old Black Flag, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.
From earlier albums: