white_shit_ppm_27_large.jpg

White Shit
Sculpted Beef
Post Present Medium

Dude, are you kidding me? A band featuring Jared Warren (Big Business, Melvins, Karp, Tight Bros), Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins, Murder City Devils), and Andy Coronado (Monorchid, Wrangler Brutes, Skull Control)? Why aren’t people freaking out over this? Internet, you’ve totally failed on this one. Apparently, the LA art punks at Post Present Medium didn’t throw much of a promotional budget or campaign strategy into White Shit’s one-sided 12” Sculpted Beef. Maybe they thought the all-star line-up would sell itself. More likely, the band members felt that this throwback to the shitstorm sounds of the Vermiform and Gravity Records catalog warranted the kind of pre-millennial word-of-mouth buzz that dominated that era of hand-screened 7”s and mail-order distros. Sorry if I’m spilling the beans by celebrating this triumphant slab o’ wax on a blog.

But goddamn, this is a criminally under-heralded listen. Its low-key existence is a bit of a puzzle. Maybe Jared and Coady needed an excursion from the comparatively disciplined lurch of Melvins. Maybe Andy wanted to rekindle the obnoxiously snotty energy of Wrangler Brutes without having to put up with the sardonic antics of frontman Sam McPheeters. Obviously, the players are all skilled at their respective instruments; no one can talk shit about the guitar playing on Let Them Eat The Monorchid or the drumming on Here Come The Waterworks. Yet on Sculpted Beef, the dudes in White Shit channel the skuzzy low-budget production and frantic musicianship of their early years, effectively downplaying their more technically adept and polished bands of the past. This is some undisciplined and unruly ruckus here, and it’s a total blast listening to these guys making such a mess.

“Surfing Your Life Away” is a great burst of feedback-spiked thrash. “Bathroom Cop” drops the tempo to a deliciously disdainful power-chord stomp. “Women” sounds like it could’ve been lifted from the Born Against songbook. “Space Dust” is a clusterfuck of frantic guitar build-ups and completely dissonant breakdowns. You get the general idea. This stuff isn’t exactly as sonically daring or unorthodox as it was 15 or 20 years ago, but it’s still remarkably effective. And though this style of heavy and chaotic hardcore might have gotten a bit played out towards the end of the ‘90s, the current torrent of over-produced and heavily manicured bands waving the hardcore flag makes me pine for White Shit’s cruddy punk revival.

Besides, Pavement reunited, Superchunk just released a new album, and all the hip new indie pop bands are trying to make their records sound as shitty as the early Guided By Voices recordings. If the ‘90s are back in vogue, why not revisit the hardcore sound of that era?