The Reason Washington Beach Exists

After somewhat obsessing over Circuit des Yeux’s sophomore album last week (see post below) it was par for the course that I go see Haley Fohr in her other incarnation – as one-half of Cro-Magnon. Never seen them as a duo before, and I’d always thought she was the drummer, but roles were reversed on this summer bummer of a Monday night. Why oh why do we drag ourselves out? You should. A bill such as this (with Fey Gods, Psychedelic Horseshit, Deathly Fighter, and the aforementioned Cro-Magnon) would play to packed houses in any other city, or so I wish. We managed to pull what seemed like a little over 20 lonely souls into the decrepit warmth of Bourbon Street. Of course, things started much too late, but besides that, it goes down in the book of legends as either the absolute worst or ultimately transcendent Psychedelic Horseshit show ever. Really. I suppose that was the only reason I was there on a school night.

Fey Gods don’t get represented enough in this town (and being snubbed for the coveted Band to Watch tag isn’t what I’m talking about). Maybe they tend to drag out their evil moog-n-gut-guitar stomp a bit too long for my tastes and maybe the Grave Blankets (with drummer) provided a bit more stank groove to satiate me, but I’m beginning to warm to their electronic tarpit as I see Lula is becoming more and more comfortable wailing away at the controls. It’s as if she’s becoming one with the machine, and though her warble down the well is devastatingly close to the line of the “crimson wave” (sic) haunted hummers (see Zola, CdY, US Girls) she’s got a distinctive voice. Not to mention her grisly counterpoint/companion, Nick, who slithers through ritualistic post-grunge like a man possessed. Perhaps that’s why these coarse blasts take so long to uncoil – they’re in the pagan zone. I don’t think there’s a harder working duo on the beach.

Reveling in his latest PR clusterfuck, Matt Horseshit was sans band, sans Rich, and sans discretion for this show. He’s looked to assemble an arsenal of samplers and fantastical loops to inject into his rather primitive songwriting formulas. All those wires and connections though, got splintered and spoiled this night. It was Jesus Jones for sure, and given that he’s got a penchant for the Panda Bear/El Guincho line of enlightenment, he’s veering towards an all-inclusive electronic album. I certainly wouldn’t mind. Still, pulling it all together is a comedy of errors, as it was on this night. The first song had incredible promise (the Major Lazer album is in the playlist) but was frequently interrupted by BoBo’s immaculate sound system – so fifteen long, tedious, uncomfortable minutes went by, and Mr. H seemed to not even acknowledge his small audience. After the technical difficulties were resolved, the crowd had stuck with him and were ready for more disaster (ed.note – disaster in a PHS show is a compliment). What proceeded was the equivalent of Matt spinning around his practice space, baked to a crisp, pushing buttons and looping lines, twisting knobs and chanting from his notebooks (or are these quips from memory). There were a couple of insanely chaotic shoegaze risers that were layered and layered beyond comprehensible melody – he was hoping to open the M83 show this weekend methinks. All I can translate is that this foray into “making a Radiohead album” is not a pipe dream. It soon might be a reality. That is if the KLF and Shadow Ring hijacked the sessions. Keep watch kids.

Things get kind of blurry after Psychedelic Horseshit shows, not exactly from imbibing (though that helps), but from the blur that escapes from the stage. Warp zone to Cro-Magnon. They’ve grown chops from some hardcore touring and though Haley is the maestro, strangling the guitar on this side of Lambsbread, Katie rules the roost of this outfit – playing drums standing up, keeping the boat afloat, in their (way more) primitive distillation of Kleenex anti-punk. Whoa, Lambsbread came to mind only because it was a joke tossed repeatedly from the stage that night. Cro-Magnon sound nothing like that defunct band, instead of shredding they pound. Imagine the earliest snarls of Sonic Youth tabbed out on slam-books in a rural Indiana group-home for teen runaways. Pre-meditated mutilations, scabs and nicks, oil-drum fire choirs, under-age death prattle. By now it was way past my bedtime, but this duo knows when to say when (at least from a performance perspective) and shut it down in swift fashion, highlighting “A Hole” in the first fleeting moments and rumbling to a halt about ten minutes later. Late night stunner. Keep watch kids.

Unfortunately…..it was rumored that Deathly Fighter were playing their last show. Frown. I don’t think this was the arena for that to happen. And double-unfortunately the siren call was beckoning me to Lil’ Vegas, so if this was the last show I missed it. All I can do is apologize. All you can do is beg for them to stick around. And drop that record at least.

Here's a new rendition of Horseshit's "I Hate the Beach"...

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