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- Anthology by The Telephone Man
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I really, really love a great portion of this CD, The TM were a famous Louisville KY act from the early-mid ‘90s. There was another band from the same area who they may have been heavily inspired by but I can’t recall their name as they sank heavily into obscurity whilst The Telephone Man were last seen curating their very own ATP and have been lauded by our beloved Phil as being responsible for his all-time favourite album - ‘Spiderpoundland’. Oh dear I’ve got it all horribly wrong again, I am so, so very sorry...
The opening 10 tracks (the entire disc in in reverse-chronological order) are blistering shards of molten emo math-rock with an earthy boys-next-door sensitivity. They remind me a lot of many British bands in awe of Slint (such as Nub and Elevate) and quite a lot of Bitch Magnet. They’ve got a way with considered chiming arpeggios, bare-ended trails of displaced notes, emotive bass rumbles, half-whispered/mumbled vocals and jazzy, sympathetic drums. They also rock like a bastard at times.
Many of these songs have real personality and startling power and focus, some leap suddenly into fierce post-hardcore euphoria at the drop of a hat. Songs will fool you into thinking they are tender, near-instrumental and restrained before bursting their banks with menacing grrrrr guitar and pile-driving drums. They also have a female bass player/vocalist called Ashli who really shines on ‘Let Me Tell You’. That’s TTM - 1, Slint - 0 (I still love to dream what would have happened had PJ Harvey joined Slint after applying to their invite for interested female singers!).
What lets the set down for me are the tracks from 1992 which in true Albini-worshipping style feature a thudding drum machine and that tinnitus-inducing jazz guitar squall/scrawl last heard on the bizarre Slint album ‘Tweez’. Like they seemed to be approximately 3-4 years behind their contemporaries in style, this is one fuck of a gratingly naive end to a potentially stunning collection. If I'd have been the person in charge of this compilation there would have been some serious questions asked about the necessity of including this - they sound like a totally different band plus the cover of ‘Rebel Yell’ is BEYOND tacky and embarrassing. Temporary Residence would have had to dredge this demo from the nearest murky lake if It were up to me...so, the five points I was gonna award the first ten tracks here have seen one of their number sent shamefully to the corner of the class due to the childish behaviour of this thoughtless minority...Tsk tsk.
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