Scarcity of Tanks
(Textile/Total Life Society)
Scarcity of Tanks' frontman Matthew Wascovich hails from Cleveland, but to ears ringing from the noisy rock of Shellac, the Jesus Lizard and other Touch & Go-affiliated bands, the group's jazzbo clang-and-din comes across as decidedly Chicago-like. Trolley-cable bass lines sproinnng, saxes squawk and spincter-tight drums combust, while hot-shit chicken-wire guitar riffs snake in and around to tie these 11 anti-songs up into nasty, gristle-stuffed little mail bombs. But for all their stormy nihilism, Wascovich is Scarcity of Tanks' main attraction, intensely over-enunciating nightmarish, impressionistic verse — like Steve Albini rudely riffling through Lee Ranaldo's poetry journals. "The humans were decimated, but the animals restored," he bemusedly declares on "Motto for the Parked," while the sparse instrumentals seethe and a harmonica whinny punctures the near-silence. He pauses dramatically, then mutters darkly: "Evolve, or improve the atrophy."
— Ray Cummings
Songs for Trash
(State Of Intoxication)
From the first spin, Songs for Trash makes you want to throw down — or maybe "get down!" These songs call for serious movement, and their videos suggest that the guys do just that in their live performances, especially frontman "Punchface." His nickname is appropriate — he throws his body around the stage like a possessed puppet. The 10 tracks on Songs for Trash play like a compilation of two-minute punches to the face. The staccato riffs that open "45" Spacer" and "Can't Forget" are infectious. The drums drive the songs forward, while the keyboards add to the dynamics. It's too bad that instead of going for a melodic sound, the guys try to sound hardcore. The screaming vocals are a real detriment. — Liss Vickery
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