Australian label Homeless Records has just released Tape2, the hopelessly obscure late-'90s recordings by Bend Sinister. This album's appearance fills in a crucial piece of the Seattle underground-rock puzzle. It represents some of the most intense and extreme expressions of rock music that this city has produced, and is therefore essential listening.
Tape2 is an infernal yet rigorous blast of noise-rock by guitarist/vocalist Erin Sullivan, bassist Min Yee, guitarist Josh Turgeon, and drummer Steve Kaplan (the latter was replaced by Lars Finberg). The first two members named and Stranger Genius Finberg later went on to play in A Frames, who continued in much the same vein as Bend Sinister, albeit with slightly more clarity and melodic nuance; all of their releases, plus the work they did as AFCGT with Climax Golden Twins is world-class.
The songs on Tape2 are dense and bulging with angst and toxic power. Paradoxically, listening to such a calamitous cacophony makes you feel cleansed. They turned cantankerous catharsis into art. "Antibody," in particular, is a remorseless cyclone of guitar/bass/drums that wipes out everything in its path. The Fall, Pussy Galore, Scratch Acid, feedtime, Electric Eels, and other hell-raisers are cited as influences on Bend Sinister, and these are accurate comparisons. Bend Sinister truly deserve to be classified with such lofty artists.