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Morphius Records Newsletter
Co-founded in 1978 by Chris Cutler, London-based ReR Megacorp remains a musician-led independent label after almost 40 years. Blithely disregarding market wisdom, it continues to release titles across a wide spectrum of genres.
ReR is home to cult bands This Heat, Henry Cow, Faust, Art Bears, The Necks...
In Chicago, where yesterday’s bands get chewed up and spit out like fingernails, mutation is survival. It’s how Bang! Bang! has hammered away in the stretches of time that eat most bands alive (four years and counting). But rather than growing legs and walking on land, this mutation has allowed Bang! Bang! to take a liberating plunge into new waters on their new LP, The Dirt That Makes You Drown (Morphius Records). With two new members joining the party started by Gretta Fine (vocals, bass) and Jackie Flash (vocals, guitar), drummer Nick Kraska and part-time keyboardist Rachel Shindelman (both from New Black), Bang! Bang! has evolved not so much into a different animal but rather a stronger one, better geared to endure a new world.
Caught in the act at Albini’s Electrical Audio Studios by Greg Norman (Pelican, Built To Spill) Bang! Bang! has come back louder in the loud parts, harder in the hard parts and softer in the gentle parts — making their latest onslaught an enrapturing warehouse of sound that aims to make your aorta pound like an impending heart attack. The album kicks off with “What We Need,” an incandescent maelstrom and hang-ten soul-blues spasm, where Jackie rocks like a dirtier Mick Jagger cum Richard Hell, amped up on trucker pills, big city lights and furtive desire — demanding that what we truly need is some “goddamn love.”
“She Came From Outer Space” is a mini-narrative about a wee girl, (or in this case, Gretta) inundated by nighttime B movies, who gets tucked into bed and watches the world warp around her head like a Twilight Zone episode. Backed by a beat that sounds like a KORG hammering into funk punk service, it’s a slow, mystery-entwined throbber. But what about Bang! Bang!’s self-proclaimed genre of “sex rock”? Which of the new songs fall under this classification?
It’s easy. All of them. And none of ‘em. And who cares? What matters in the end is that Bang! Bang! proves great rock transcends genre.
1. What We Need
2. Prefab Nation
3. She Came From Outer Space
4. All Messed Up
5. Loaded Questions (Intro)
6. Loaded Questions
8. I Could Die
9. (Let's Ride) The Blue Line
11. Surprise Surprise
12. Dirty Fingernails