(Sub Pop)

What's up, Sub Pop? It seems like lately you've been getting a little soft, a bit too Vaseline-lensed (as opposed to Vaselines-lensed), a mite too polished. Beach House, Avi Buffalo, the Ruby Suns, Grand Archives, Happy Birthday? All fine bands in their way, granted, but sometimes one craves some rigorously sculpted noise and intelligent aggression in one's music from you—you being this city's most prominent label and something of an iconic legacy-holder for grunge and all (not that we want you to stay rooted in your past; far from it). Still, sometimes one requires less decorum and more wildness. Sometimes one desires less order and more chaos. Sometimes one demands more iron and less whine. That's where AFCGT come barging in.

Seasoned (with arsenic) veterans of Seattle's subterranean-music anti-scene, AFCGT combine A Frames' pitch-black rock muscle and dynamics with Climax Golden Twins' freewheeling spirit and keen ear for eerie atmospheres. The quintet's seven-track full-length debut for Sub Pop (released January 26 digitally and on vinyl; the vinyl comes with a bonus 7-inch) harvests serious ear roughage. The three-guitar massacre unit (Erin Sullivan, Jeffery Taylor, and Rob Millis), along with bassist Min Yee and drummer Thommy Northcut, instantly prove they mean business by jamming out a nerve-jangling ruckus on "Black Mark." It's like being tackled by a 300-pound defensive end, repeatedly, for three minutes, then getting mercilessly tased. Welcome to AFCGT; hope you have adequate health insurance.

The nearly 11-minute "Two Legged Dog" slightly mitigates the velocity and impact for a woozy blues-rock epic that staggers down a debris-strewn alley familiar to fans of Butthole Surfers' Hairway to Steven. "New Punk 27" and "New Punk" are what they say on the tin, with surprising rhythmic changeups and weird guitar tonalities: punk, yes, but bundled in frayed knots. By contrast, "Reasonably Nautical" and "Slide 9" secrete rock concrète; both are unnerving, subliminal sizzle-­and-­scrape soundscapes that should score scenes in the next Blair Witch Project film.

The LP peaks on "Nacht," a bizarre excursion into exotica that's the flip side of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman's kitsch aural tourism. Here, AFCGT plumb into a netherworldly, ritualistic vibe with a bass-voiced man reciting something foreboding in an unidentifiable foreign tongue. The result is like hearing a Residents gamelan after guzzling a flagon of magic-mushroom-infused absinthe.

Roll over, Fruit Bats, and tell Fleet Foxes the news. recommended