Flush It Friday: Thou Art Crimewave


Those Internet Motherfuckers.

Thou released today their latest album Umbilical, their fifth LP for Sacred Bones. Early returns are more than promising, as the opening run of “Narcissist’s Prayer,” “Emotional Terrorist,” and “Lonely Vigil” is wall-to-wall riffs that’ll leave your body in a bayou while your spirit floats amongst the oil-slicked pelicans. But! It’s a little early to review the record as a whole, so let’s spend this Friday digging in the crates a bit.

Over the course of a few short years, Thou’s founding guitarist Andy Gibbs, under the name Crimewave, released a slew of ambient/drone albums, with Collections II and then, after a time, Collections I+II, the only ones to be pressed onto cassette. The tape for Collection II is beautifully made: black cassette shell packaged in a letter-printed fold-out brad pack. It’s not worth much on Discogs, but it’s certainly a prized possession, even as I slowly but surely mail off my dwindling tape collection. The album, too, is full of ghostly dark ambient tracks such as “Burnt Oak” and “Cypressdrone,” the more electronically minded and lighter “Healing Beam,” and the sweeping, stressful, staticky closer “Shame.”

What haunts me, all these later, though, is not any of Collection II. Rather, I find myself dogged and preyed upon and chewed up by “True Stories” from Collection I. The whole album is a wonder, with the illusory strings and demented warpings of “Stress Dream I” and “Stress Dream II,” the dungeon synth of “Yarrow,” the spa-like hoverings and murmurings of “Lilac,” the industrial crackle and fallout of “Old Haunts,” and the surprisingly uplifting journey of “Couragedrone.” And yet, sitting there, ominously, amid the Broken Men and Rebeccas and Frauds, is “True Stories.”

A grainy recording of a preacher telling a story of salvation and damnation with great panache to a coughing, shifting, believing, fearing, discomfited church takes center stage. The preacher expertly rises to peaks of punctuated screams and unintelligible condemnations to valleys of sadness, worldliness, and knowingness. This is a story about a woman who dies in a car crash without taking Jesus into her heart or repenting. It is a tragedy and modern parable. Underneath the preacher, sometimes but rarely taking up more space than the venerable man of the cloth, there flickers a kind of looping doomed ambience that sounds not unlike “Void and Devotion” from Barn Owl. The music itself flames black like a dead star, filling the vacuum of space with the sound of crying cicadas and a moodiness of great weightiness and terrible dread. The music never fully dies away, remaining a constant as the preacher volleys up and down, sometimes cracking beyond the capacity of his recording to capture his words but never failing to transmit his meaning. And then, the final minute:

And when I walked down that aisle, and she looked me in the face and said, ‘For Christ’s sake, leave me alone’… ladies and gentlemen, she wasn’t just talking to me. She’s talking the Lord, and on the 1st day of January, he just… left her alone. That’s all God has to do to send you to hell right now ‘fore he e’en have an invitation, just take His hand off you—that’s all!—and drop you into Hell.

There’s a quiet but assured consent from the congregation, and then the recording cuts, leaving nothing but a few more seconds of “True Stories” to play out like the final keystrokes of the universe.

It’s okay now. Take a breath. Take a couple, if you need. ‘Cause now it’s time to take a whiff. Let’s Flush!

The lolbuttz were strong in this week’s TMP. I haven’t even had a chance to comb through TTtW!

Toilet Radio 498Joe n Jordan creep ever closer to that 500th episode. Will we ever be able to stop them?!

Toilet Radio 498 – And Scott Stapp As Frank Sinatra

Roldy wrote a gorgeous, learned, researched, elegant, and enviable review of the new Khirki. If you haven’t read it yet, go fuckin’ do it, okay?

Review: Khirki – Κ​υ​κ​ε​ώ​ν​α​ς

That’s all for this week! Summer is in full swing. I’ve got a wedding in just over 5 hours. Gonna be a doozy of a weekend! Let me know what you’re gettin’ into this weekend and share those GBUs in the comments. See you on the dance floor in my sexiest attire. Kisses. [Pics or it didn’t happen! -Roldy]

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