Fear of Music

But another quotidian authority—my mom—tells me that "cold hands mean a warm heart" (I have bad circulation). It's hard not to fall into ambient-swirl-background-beauty understatement here, so let's just say Black Dice have feeling. Take "Birthstone": It's a sheet of feedback that eventually frays, cymbals marching in, guitar threads diverging, bass throbbing. It breaks down as it grows. Just like people. Sad!

The louder tracks are more concerned with communication breakdown. "Smile Friends" seems sarcastic: Whatever Bjorn Copeland is gurgling and shrieking, it's probably not words. But he sounds about as pissed-off as insert-OG-HC-boy-here. Hisham Bharoocha drums spaced-apart speed bumps at first, over which the guitar and bass trip, spilling piercing and droning tones. Then, shockingly: an off-kilter beat and kicking, skittering, screaming everything else.

Strangers Die Everyday, the Red Scare album, is more orderly, albeit punctuated with comet-tail guitar debris. There's no illusion of security—somebody, after all, is always kicking the bucket. The Red Scare remind me of Red Dawn, the '84 film wherein a strapping Patrick Swayze fends off pinkos that parachute into his Small Town. Which reminds me of "Powderfinger," the '79 Neil Young song wherein a hick who "just turned 22" wonders what to do about an ominous boat comin' up the river. Pa's radar love sends a voice to the back of his brain: "Red means run, son/Numbers add up to nothing." Then the godless commies blast him.

Lightning Bolt are the most faceless band in town.
photo: Load Records
Lightning Bolt are the most faceless band in town.

Details

Lightning Bolt
Ride the Skies
Load

Black Dice
Cold Hands
Troubleman Unlimited

The Red Scare
Strangers Die Everyday
Troubleman Unlimited

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Paranoia doesn't strike deep; it comes from inside. "Does it hurt? Isn't that what you wanted?" Uhlhorn cries on "Kodaliths," so you can just make it out. Matt Hall keeps lurching, time driven by the kick-drum; choppy "Venus in Furs" guitars run run run. On the far side of "Iron Curtain" we're sentenced to "Five Months in Poland": the slow, voiceless build of frowning notes, broken-back beating, and finally an unraveled coda. Workers of the world unite but still are not safe. Then the wall falls; we are delivered from hardcore.

If only someone would deliver us from late capitalism. Not surprisingly, stripmall developers are looking to evict Fort Thunder. Their wrecking balls remain blue, but don't count on Providence's mayor—just indicted for running a criminal enterprise, i.e., the city—to step in. Meanwhile, imagine what it must be like to dedicate your time to a band while paying to live in NYC. What's news to you is just noise to somebody else, so appreciate art while it lasts. Hello 21st century, where evol comes in spurts.


Fort Thunder; Load; Troubleman Unlimited

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