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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nuclear Dog's Atomic Split: Trash Titan - "Trash Titan" / Bedroom Rehab Corporation - "Red Over Red"

Today's Atomic Split features two very incredibly exciting albums that deliver the goods in bucketfuls of stoner fuzz awesomeness. The first album from Trash Titan was almost lost to the ages until a chance discovery found the only remaining copy. Fate? Divine destiny? Blind chance? What does it matter? We have it, we're fortunate, so please enjoy. The second album is somewhat experimental in nature. Experimental and stoner rock typically don't go together so well, but what the Bedroom Rehab Corporation has crafted with just the rhythm instruments of a typical rock band is a straight up box of fuzz covered granite. As a huge fan of low tuning and just the right amount of distortion, if you had asked me to conjure 2 albums out of thin air that I could point to as prime examples of how great stoner rock music can sound, I can't imagine conjuring anything better than what these 2 albums today have provided.


The first story behind this album is that it was never an official release when it was originally recorded in 2009. The band made a ton of CD copies, handing them out at shows, until one day realizing they had handed out all copies including the master. It was thought to be lost to eternity at that point. Luckily, one day when preparing to move locations, a copy of the CD was found, so now it is available to the world on Bandcamp.com. Whew!

The second story behind this album is how incredibly low, loud, and lusty it is. There isn't much polish to be found, which is a great thing. Passion is high, execution is emotive, volume is large and loud, melody and hooks are aplenty, and the lyrics are scrumptious. There is nothing special in this album, and by special I mean manipulative, such as using samples or unneeded inclusions of some sort, which is what makes the album quite special. It is just music, just rock, just great. Part garage band rock, totally stoner fuzz rock, and a heapin' helpin' o' fun, it's a joyous, fuzzy ride from first track to the last, a deca-pack of delicious distortion.

Band members include:

Collyn McCoy - bass, vocals
Jeff "Broadsword" Broady - Drums
Rob Burns - Guitar

From the opening riff of the first track "Bear Your Name" you know this is a special album in turns of the low and loud guitar and bass licks. When McCoy's vocals enter the fray with it's impassioned, raspy wail,  they're a perfect counterbalance to the concrete rattling reverberations of distortion provided by the massive guitars. Instead of a blistering guitar solo, Trash Titan interjects a solo of pure fuzz as a bridge between the opening refrains and chorus to the closers, a characteristic thankfully repeated throughout the album.

The song styles on 'The Lost Album' is one of blues fueled southern seventies saloon hall rock. Perfect. "Painted Lady" epitomizes the sound perfectly, following the formula of the opener, but never coming near a repetitive lick, instead adding to the deep dark dredging of primal sound.

"The Dog Song" is a beautifully written and well executed rock ballad that is only enhanced by the rumbling roar of the heavy, hirsute guitar chords as they and McCoy's plaintive vocals pine for a lost but loved companion. "The Rock Song" follows up with a bit more energy tempo-wise, as McCoy explains what it means to be truly rock and roll, coincidentally backing it up with the riffs, drum fills, fuzz chords, and blistering energy radiating from the execution of their well played instruments.

The blues comes to a crossroads of deep distortion on "I'll Never Drink Again", while "The Entity" dives even deeper into the fuzz with a hook laden delivery of emotional remorse.

Fun is the name of the game on "Devil With a Fake ID", a rock-a-billy, diesel fueled romp of primal passion and lustful longing.

"Miller Road" brings in an acoustic, backwoods attitude. You can almost smell the musky, moldy smell lingering around moonshine manufacturing locales deep in the underbrush and hidden from civilization.

"Blackwolf" closes out the ten-pack with a return of power and presence. Throughout the album Broady has delivered incredible, enjoyable, and memorable stickwork, and this is supremely evident on the final track as he gives a performance that is more than a match for the all out gusto McCoy and Burns deliver between chords, riffs, and vocals. The texture and bindings on this song are intricate, intelligent, and incomparable. Trash Titan presumably leaves this complex romp for the end as a parting gift, but perhaps more so as a delivery of anticipation, purposely placing it in the back of your fuzz soaked mental cavity, knowing full well that while the end is nigh, the sheer pleasure of closing out makes up for stopping at just ten tantalizing tracks instead of twenty or thirty. Hah!

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The rock on this album would most likely be considered experimental, mainly because what we hear here are 2 musicians playing one instrument each along with customary vocals.

Adam Wujtewicz - Bass, Vocals
Meghan Killimade - Drums

That's it. A bass guitar and drums, and Adam's vocals. But make no mistake they make it work . . . hell, more than work, they have made some crazy incredible stoner psyche rock. I can't profess to know much about how to make music, only how to listen to it, so the methods Adam uses to make his bass sing in such a unique and thoroughly satisfyingly fuzzy way without sounding much like traditional bass is beyond me in terms of technical comprehension. The professional explanation is that Adam uses pedal effects, which I must take on faith. It doesn't really matter to me, although it might very well to you because whatever he's doing with just a bass guitar is incredibly phenomenal. It belies description. It goes beyond the fact the music sounds differently than the normal rock arrangements. The point is the sound these two create is beautiful, powerful, singular, astonishing, deeply effective, poignant, and incredibly beautiful. We live for down low, this is true, but I think we also live for songs that strike an inner primal chord deep within that brings spiritual satisfaction due to some sort of universal, cosmic harmony with every molecule within and without, inherent and far flung, simultaneous and asynchronous. The best song writers, regardless of style, innately know how to do that. Add Adam Wujtewicz to the list of 'best song writers'.

The vocal deliveries throughout the 12 track album range from simple, poetic, conversational tones to raspy expressions of emotion, all of it fitting perfectly with the tone and mood into which it has been placed. The vocals can't be overlooked here as they are never overplayed or drowned out, and once you become even a little bit familiar with the music you begin to realize their worth.

Meghan's drumwork on "Red Over Red" transcends most drums I've heard on rock albums. I don't know if it's because all else has been stripped bare making her stickwork more noticeable, I don't know if it's the incredible volume level that somehow exists on this record regardless of my own local settings, nor do I know if it's an ability she possesses that allows her to provide a little more than typical drumwork. Perhaps it's a little bit of all that, but I also think she possesses an ability that perhaps not everyone possesses that pick up the sticks.

This album is a concept collection in which all songs lyrically relate to each other in an over-arching story. This aspect of it, given the high level of intrigue and simple musical satisfaction delivered without first understanding what that story might be simply adds to its overall desirous quality. You never have to know the story to enjoy it immensely, as I have done to this point, but it certainly provides further incentive to roll through it again and again.

"S.S. Hangover (Sobering Sickiness)" kicks thing off after a spacey intro from "Low Tide". We get our first mouthful of muddy mega-fuzz, but for the most part the song is laid back, comparatively speaking. Vocals are predominantly spoken like a free form poem. But it works, not only because of the big boy sound from the pedal master, but the timing and spacing of the song belies the intelligence of Adam's song writing skill.

"Basilosaurus" is hooky and melodious, a memorable romp through soundwaves of thickness and guile where passionate vocals combine with indelible rhythms all wrapped tightly in sacks of distortion woven of the thickest, loudest, fuzzcloth imaginable

Spoken vocals in poetic time characterize the tempo and feel of "S.O.S.(Son of Siren)". The guitar licks here are more standard bass than what has been heard heretofore for the opening refrains. But it changes halfway in, with distortion moving in and usurping the recognizable bass sounds while Adam's vocals are kidnapped to a withdrawn location where the urgency he's now expressing just makes it's way to the fore.

I love the interplay between Meghan's rolls and fills in, around, above, and below the hairy creature occupying most of the space in the middle of "All Hands". She will not be denied even if this is teamwork and not adversarial. Her effort brings out brilliance and interest in a song that is purely instrumental, that of itself quite brilliant in reach given the number of instruments used. Two instruments, combined with incredibly clever song writing and exemplary effort, provide for a memorable musical experience.

"Captain Damnit" is a Panzer division of full ahead tanks kept together by directions from inside the lead treader spoken through a distorting public address system brought along for the occasion. Fast, furious, and inexorable.

"Gone by the Boards" begins with a haunting melancholia that is powered over by the gargantuan sound of Adam's strings when they go full force on. His vocals here are a different presentation than previous samples, providing insight into what is quite possibly an overlooked feature that is further proof of a sort of musical genius, or at least ability. The sound of his vocals here fit perfectly with the inwardly probing tempo of the song, providing power and clarity along with volume, similarly to his strings. Vocals are not yelled, are never out of control, even when pushed to reaches expressing desperation. Sure the drumwork is brilliant as it has been throughout, sure the guitar work is equally huge and distorted, providing immense amounts of enjoyment, sure there is melody and tempo here that makes the song supremely listenable, but too are vocals that deliver a perfect pitch. Not a 'good enough' delivery, or an 'acceptable' delivery . . . a perfect delivery.

All the great qualities are on display again with "No Payment For the Boatman", with Adam again bringing his incredible vocal ability to the forefront to highlight the unique and intriguing structure of the song.

"Pilot Fish" has a haunting quality to it, vocals move from subdued to insistent. Meghan's energy, as always, is blistering, providing beautiful fill and roll. Adam's bass, presumably through the effects, drive hard and heavy during high energy periods, but provides a yearning, distant sound during reflective sections, the two styles playing off each other to provide an incredibly engrossing experience.

Familiar pluck string bass can be found during the spoken refrains on "Caught in the Bite". The rest of the song is made of monstrous lows and machine gun drums as is the finger lickin' norm on this entire album.

"Splice the Main Brace" has a beautiful, exciting riff at the forefront of the song that will be a strong candidate for most memorable lick on an otherwise stellar album in which all songs vie for that coveted if unofficial accolade. While it is the penultimate track, it is the last melody as Bedroom Rehab Corporation close out the album the way they began it, with an electronic trip through whatever universe they had to visit in order to produce this incredible, memorable, enjoying, and satisfying music with the outro song "High Tide".

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