Song of the day – 544: Priests
I promised myself I was going to wind Collapse Board down in the new year. I can’t stop yet, though. Not when there’s such wonderful music as the debut Priests 7″ around. It’s in my blood. I can’t help myself, and I’m not sure I want to.
This single is just wonderful: jagged and shout-y and female and full of silence and bursts of scouring noise, and circular rhythmic motifs. It trips and it tumbles and it reinforces my place in the world. It stops. It speeds up. It slithers. It stops again. It raises blisters. It amazes me that still, after all these decades, I don’t possess a vocabulary adequate enough for describing such wonder. It claps its hands once, it claps its hand twice, it does the splits and looks round to see where the vodka is. I don’t know… (fumbles around in the dark of my prehistoric cave)… this is burst-open milk cartons. This is I-can-get-satisfaction. This is abrasion and challenge and the knowledge that the jerk in the back seat of the bus will remain a jerk in the backseat of the bus even when he gets off the bus. It’s the knowledge that the best forms of friendship are virtual and transient, that moles never stayed whacked for long. It’s garage doors that never close, it’s the joyous fear that repeating a riff too many times can bring. It says nothing to me about my life that I didn’t know already but why should that bother me, for that statement is clearly a lie.
Priests are from America, and I think there might be four of them. The lady on microphone duties also sings with the wonderful Chain & The Gang (which places them in DC). This single is available through Dischord and Sister Polygon, which is great. As ever, the Bandcamp tags say more about the band in 10 words than I can manage in 264: washington dc world gothic metal no wave riot surf Washington.
Dischord use the words “sparse” AND “savage”, which is also way more illuminating.
Here’s a song from the demo tape. Fucking killer demo tape, by the way. It’s ONLY available to buy on cassette.
As Calvin Johnson puts it: “”It’s a sound straight from the hips, a harangue with a double shot of Tang”.
A tip of the ET bushwhacker to Erika who stated this all, so much more eloquently and passionately, a few weeks back, thus causing me to tumble for Priests’ charms.
It starts as an exercise in minimal repetition. A raw female voice shouts about television screens and radiation over solitary, metronomic kicks on a bass drum. Subdued guitar builds up ominously in the background as the voice grows louder, more impassioned, more wild, culminating in around 30 seconds of careening noise before crashing to a halt. Second song kicks in. Katie sneers into the microphone, conjuring the spirit of Lydia Lunch as she spits out a rant listing signifiers of their DC roots – Air Force One, the FBI and the CIA – while Daniele and Gideon intensify the feeling of paranoia, all bashing drums and distorted guitar that repeatedly fall apart and weave back together. (Single of the Week: Priests – Radiation/Personal Planes 7″)
Sister Katie writes:
Yeah, we have the mp3s of the tape somewhere. We never made the tape available digitally…. for me, mostly cause the thought of my music falling into the black hole of a 200GB ipod to be played once and then forgotten was like “ew no thanks”. So at the time the thought was “cool, if a person is into this but doesn’t have a cassette player, we are asking them to engage with us for the 2 minutes or whatever that the song is on, to have to go thru a little process to listen”…. cause the thing with the internet is that it is a very peculiar medium in that the viewer/consumer can totally control the way they experience the “thing”, the art, whatever. If you are reading a book you can’t open other windows on the page, if you don’t want to look at it anymore you can put it down but that’s the only way you can really modify your experience with it. Same with playing a tape/record/looking at a painting/etc.
This thought process is flawed, naturally, because obviously one can still open other windows/check their tumblr/whatever while they are listening to our music on bandcamp.
Also, we did this believer tape thing, and then diet coke was made into an mp3 for that i guess.
But it was really more than anything else just taking an opportunity to say “NO!” to the internet. Cause fuck that you know?