By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
Oh, Fuck Buttons. Fucking Fuck Buttons. So hard, getting past that name. At least Fuck Wolf, amazingly, was already taken. (Fuck Wolf's label site says they create an "aural douche that will leave [you] salivating," a mixed metaphor so rich it had to be mentioned). So Fuck Buttons it is. As in, "Fuck these little buttons we will press and tweak so as to create our glacial/tribal/fractal/carnal noise sculptures." Stupid name, amazing fucking band. I mean, Holy Fuck (also taken), this shit is Fucked Up (ditto). Um, Anal Cunt? (Alas).
Fuck Buttons is two scrawny guys from Bristol named Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power who, unlike their sonic cousins, Beaches & Canyons–era Black Dice (a once-aggro band famous for taking mic stands to the head), look ike an errant bass note could knock them out. They are slight, they smile, they seem pleasant. Likewise, their live rig—a small suitcase full of gizmos, a lone drum, and a Fisher-Price microphone—doesn't look capable of producing the sound that it does. Like that sound itself, both dudes and rig are deceptively simple.
Street Horrrsing is, to your dad's ears (unless your dad is Lou Reed), a whole lot of noise. But what virtuosic, complicated noise it is. The work (for it is a work, six conjoined songs unfolding over 50 minutes) begins with sly, pointillist pinging sounds, a soothing soundscape that eventually gives way to lumbering, volcanic waves of distortion, followed by bouts of Power singing into that Fisher-Price gadget—but it's not really singing, it's more like the sound of a thousand french fries screaming as they're plunged into the deep fryer. Then there's the obligatory drum-circle tribal detour, a cliché in sets like these, but one that dovetails nicely into "Okay, Let's Talk About Magic" (names are not these guys' strong suit), with its churning, Teutonic, the-acid-has-turned-on-us menace.
You cannot play "Bright Tomorrow" loud enough. A bass thwump pervades as out-of-phase synth flutters swirl and the simplest of sine waves plays a simple melody—deceptively so. Because when those french-fry screams come roaring back in and the boys douse the song in digital gasoline and light a match, it becomes a skybound helix of dark and light, of slow undulation and driving pulses. It will shatter all the windows in your house and made your neighbors' cats explode. Set-closer "Colours Move" is another slab of noisy wash, featuring those tribal drums and inchoate hooting, but by that point you're a quivering mound of body parts, still throbbing a bit, and in need of a cigarette. Jesus Fucking Christ. (That's gotta be taken, right?)