Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing new and emerging MP3s from local talent.
Brooklyn sludge duo Orphan are a lumbering beast, sticky with hot asphalt and gnawing everything in sight. They manage to take the icky, acidic, vaguely pop churn of bands like Karp and Eyehategod and make it sound even bleaker. The band’s second album, Decapitated Lovers (out August 28 via From The Nursery), is directly inspired by dissonant indie crew Unwound (whose “Dragnalus” they cover) and even more dissonant Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone. The result combines the icy drone of black metal guitars with expansive, 7″-ready song structures. For now, Orphan is best known for their ties to the art world — the band spazzed all over the Whitney Biennial this year, and drummer Speck Brown recently played drums with 100 longstem roses at the Marianne Boesky Gallery. Decapitated Lovers proudly pairs the duo with transgressive Norwegian badboy Gardar Eide Einarsson for pube-coated album art that matches the record’s pervy, nauseous vibe. The album’s best track, “Love Is A Stealthy Hitman – Love Is A Healthy Stuntman,” is a two minute scream-and-thrash straight from the Melvins’ Gluey Porch Treatments school with just a bit of friendly, Lullabye Arkestra-style pop peeking through the crack in the basement door.
Q&A: Orphan’s Speck Brown:
What is “Love Is A Stealthy Hitman — Love Is A Healthy Stuntman” about?
“Love Is A Stealthy Hitman” was named after a subtitle I read in a Japanese film from the 1950s or 1960s. I don’t even remember the name of the film or what the film was about. But I really loved that translation. Brendan [Majewski, bass/vocals] added the “Love Is A Healthy Stuntman” part to the title. What it’s about is a different story. Brendan usually doesn’t write the lyrics until we are in the studio recording. The lyrics may actually have nothing to do with the title of the song. Lyrics really are an afterthought to most of our songs. Didn’t Kurt Cobain say, “It’s not what you sing but how you sing it,” or some shit? I guess that sort of holds true for Orphan, too.
How did the collaboration with Gardar Eide Einarsson work?
Gardar is a friend of ours and we are mutual fans of each other’s art. We were thrilled to have him do it. Gardar has seen Orphan play a bunch so he knew what we were about and he came up with a hilariously dark and amazing cover. The image is the cut pubic hair of a 1960s serial killer. You’ll notice that a lot of our song titles have some sort of reference to sex, so we thought the shaved pubes kinda made sense. They were funny and also kind of bleak and fucked up since they came off a serial killer.
What are the best and worst things about playing the Whitney Biennial?
There was nothing bad about playing the Whitney Biennial, actually. It was a hell of a lot of fun. Ari Marcopoulos organized that night. He’s hilarious and awesome. The Whitney ran a tight ship. We only had a 17-minute set, which was actually totally boss since we don’t tend to play very long sets.
What’s the most memorable shop you’ve ever played in New York?
Well, there are venues we’ve played before that were memorable simply because the venues blow — i.e. bad sound, bad vibes. We tend to like smaller venues with good sound. I won’t name names, but one venue had a bathroom attendant handing out paper towels. Man, that just bummed me out. And after that show, Brendan drunkenly threatened to stop playing if we ever played a show like that again.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Fascati’s Pizza in Brooklyn Heights is damn good for a slice. Tom’s Restaurant on Washington Avenue is good for pancakes.
Orphan play a record release part for Decapitated Lovers on August 28 at Union Pool with Eric Copeland of Black Dice, Rx, and Bad Dream.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 19, 2010