I first heard about Girl Band from the NPR Austin 100 list. This song blew me away. It is a noisy and unrelenting 8 minutes. It builds and builds into a chaotic tumult. And, amazingly, it is a cover of a dance song.
Girl Band is from Dublin and they make some of the noisiest rock I’ve heard in a long time. Not heavy rumbling death metal noise, but ear-piercing feedback and squalls and sqwaks of sound that are heard to imagine originating with a guitar or bass.
It open with controlled chaos, and clearly some kind of pedal manipulation from the sounds generated by… a guitar?
The lyrics are minimal–a simple repeat of “Why they hide they bodies under my garage?” These lyrics are repeated, more frenetically with the “music” just squeals of feedback and noise. The song doesn’t seem to change much, but there are subtle (if that’s the right word) changes in noise and intensity for four minutes until the song sorta stops and then resumes with even more intensity. It drops out again, but by 6 minutes the song has built to epic intensity, with interesting sounds in between “chants.”
There is pretty much nothing to this song and yet it is amazingly intense. And not for the faint of heart.
This song is from an earlier compilation release but is getting reissued on their soon to be released EP. (You can get a lot of their early stuff from their bandcamp site).
The video is creepy as anything too:
You can also hear the original by Blawan, which is similar without the building intensity, I tend to think that Girl Band has done this song a real service.
[READ: December 20, 2014] Blacksad: A Silent Hell
I had gotten the latest Blacksad book at work, so I looked to see if I could find the earlier editions. I couldn’t find the first book right away so I decided to dive in with this book. It is the second collection, but is apparently the fourth book. The first collection, simply titled Blacksad collects the first three books together. The books were originally written in French and were translated by Katie LaBarbera.
I don’t know how much if any introduction there is in that first book, so there’s no context for why these animals are people or people are animals. And I rather hope there isn’t one. It’s just a great world where everyone looks human except that their heads are a (very realistic) animal shape. In fact speaking of realistic, the artwork by Guarnido is amazing–perfectly noir with incredible realism and gorgeous colors (all done with watercolors, I believe).
This book opens with Blacksad, a private investigator, and Weekly, a reporter, at a strip club. (It is disconcerting that the stripper is a leopard woman and that she is really hot (thankfully, it’s only shown from the back because that would get weird). Weekly is super psyched but Blacksad has other things on his mind. They are supposed to be meeting Junior Harper but he ain’t showing.
The pull back shows that we are in New Orleans.
A flashback shows Weekly interviewing Faust LaChappele in the penitentiary. LaChapelle is a record label owner and most of his best clients are in jail. Then an other pullback shows LaChapelle’s house full of gold records and his giant storefront in downtown New Orleans. It turns out that he is seeking Sebastian “Little Hand” Fletcher the piano player. He says he’s worried about him (Fletcher is currently a heroin addict) and he feels like he could be losing a client and a son.
They meet a hippo in a pinstripe suit who is the Private investigator whom Lachapelle fired. He’s pretty bitter.
Then we see a pregnant woman getting on a trolley. Sebastian meets up with her and says he would never leave her in this condition. But when she tells him that Faust was looking for him, he freaks and runs off. He says he’ll never work with that monster and he runs off.
Over the next few pages lots of clues pop up. A rowdy fella named Bill Lenoir, and an ad for Dr Dupre’s chest rub and Faust LaChapelle’s son Thomas (a much more handsome goat). The son is down on Sebastian, because he left his pregnant wife. He says that finding Sebastian is unimportant and he asks Blacksad to drop the case. Such intrigue.
The scene shifts to a club where Sebastian is pleading for a gig that night. He swears he’s sober.
In another flashback we see that Sebastian has written a song called “Pizen Blues” which will blow everyone’s minds. Pizen means Poison.
It is a dark noir story which means it doesn’t end especially happily, but it is very well told and quite a stunning tale. And it looks amazing.
The second half of the book is called The Watercolor Story by Juanjo Guarnido (translated by Bart Beatty). In it Guarnido talks about his painting style–how he did lots of work with watercolors and tried different techniques. The section is full of all kinds of sketches and early drafts and it’s really insightful and amazing how much details he can get out of watercolor.
For ease of searching, I include: Diaz Canales.