Gripe has like a typical grindcore sound–pummeling and tinny. All 32 seconds of “Man vs Cop” contain a pummeling riff, screamed vocals and even a ride cymbal at some point.
I was more intrigued by Chulo because I was surprised at how different a band could sound within the same limited soundscape of grindcore. The big difference for me was the real presence of a bass guitar. As “Hombre vs Tombo” opens, there’s a few seconds of pummeling sound (although their snare drum sounds more like a bongo) and then the sound drops out and there’s a cool heavy bass sound (for two notes). Then the pummeling resumes, although again, much more bass heavy. The other big difference is that they sing in Spanish. I’m curious to know if that slightly different sound is a Latin American sound for grindcore or if it is just their own.
If you have a minute you can listen (or download for free) the single here.
[READ: January 7, 2014] “Weight Watchers”
This story began in a very weird way. In it, an adult’s father has been kicked out of his house because his wife is mad that he now weighs more than 250 pounds. Something that she has done on multiple occasions. I find this reason/excuse so incomprehensible that it really impacted the rest of my reading this story. This “problem” did put things in motion but was more or less ignored through the story and it seems that there were other more pressing issues that they needed to worry about.
When we meet the father, he has come to stay with his son. He believed that anything “done for pleasure was escapism.” So we learn he has no tolerance for pleasure, except “when it came to seducing his secretaries and most of my mother’s friends.” Then we learn that his mother got pregnant as soon as she could when his father got back from the war because she figured that would get him to settle down. his father basically resented him for his whole life. So I guess the whole family is screwed up.
Especially when we find out that the son has witnessed all manner of “disturbances,” meaning his parents’ infidelities, in their house. One of them was a very weird scene of food and eroticism. Ew.
The narrator is the manager of a construction site, something which the father finds very low-class (even though he probably makes a lot of money). The narrator says that people of his age feel that the further they got away from a real product to work with, the unhappier you became. Even if working on Wall Street earned you more money.
We learn more about the father while he is staying with the son. How he loved his time in Vietnam and still thought about his platoon. And that he presumably fathered children all over the country. The father is enjoying his freedom from his wife by going to strip clubs. Meanwhile, the mother is calling up saying that she has lost their membership to the country club. The son is trying to get the father to lose weight so that he goes back home.
We also learn this weird nugget from his father’s past. He is cocky confident man but is also insecure enough to listen to self-esteem tapes. This paragraph ends with the strange-for-a-short-story-line, “You can’t make this shit up.”
The narrator proves to be a decent fellow, as we see from his work behavior. Although he is not very nice to the people he beds. He is quite content to be alone. He says he likes to be tired and is happy to form few attachments. And his attitude towards his parents is an interesting one.
So I wound up enjoying the sections about him, and his attitude towards his parents, but I found his parents to be a little too sitcomy-bad-parent to be believable.