Mapquest

Three-woman desert session mines metal's shifting sands

Hidden somewhere deep in the caves along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so far from civilization that a primal scream is blown away with the tiny glass shards of sand, lives the sound of Bottom. On their third album, you'rNext, long drones of guitar feedback cross paths with rumbling, fleeting bass grooves and swells of sparse drum fills: a lonely, plodding journey across an endless desert. "Water . . . water . . . " Gasp. Whoa, there goes a tumbleweed. Then the tumbleweed catches fire, and you realize you aren't in the Middle East as the first track's title, "Mad Arab," would suggest. Raspy Medusa hollers venture toward restrained melodies in the style of Tool; guitars flash back to the Butthole Surfers' deranged Southern psychedelia. Though these three women grew up on the East Coast and reside on the West, their music lies in between, in a no-man's-land with shifting coordinates. But it's somewhere near Stoner Rock.

Mid-record, in "Memories of Orchard Street," Bottom return home with grimy visions of the Lower East Side. Jackhammers and sirens replace guitar leads, but the effect isn't abrasive—or rather, it has that abrasive comfort that only the familiar downtown cacophony can offer. And near the set's end, the thick stripped-down rhythms are topped by a buttery icing of gothic-choir-like vocals—giving the solitude a lingering spookiness.

 
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