ST 37 - "High and Inside"
(Blue Circle 2010, GI90)
From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
Another interesting batch o tunes and non-tunes from the prolific Austin noise-psyche veterans. The record kicks off with Maroons, a slow dreamy tune in the classic ST-style, though I must say it's on songs like these that I do miss Carlton Crutcher and his magic box (not to mention his twisted twang)... it's still a full sound that's noisy as all hell as his brother Joel knows how to whip up a nasty mess on the guit, and he's aided in this by newcomer Bobby Baker. Of course Joel's fellow original member Scott Telles supplies the bulk of the vocals, bass and samples... and ever the family band - Dave Cameron has been replaced on drums by Lisa Cameron!... on to Grandpa's Birthday, the first of the lengthier improvs: not my favorite one of the record, just a little too messy and discordant... though by the last leg it does settle into a nice lull. The White Comanche is the token burning-hot grinding punk-rocker that flashes past in two minutes, vocals ably provided by Joel. Borg9 is a neato creeped-out noise piece that centers around bizarro stoned-sounding laughter loops, guest-starring Doug Ferguson on tronics and treatments. Next up, The Saga of Old Blue tells the story of a hero steer, mellow wistful ST-country music backs a rather romantic tribute to the pioneering old west, yet this is strangely distorted by a harsh treatment given to the voice of the narrator. Like many of their recent experimental forays, The Burgeoning succeeds by centering the general ruckus around a single and very distinct effect, this one being a sharp electronic buzz-wave... this too aided by Scott's slow creeping bass-line. Continuing their penchant for eccentric cover-tunes: Just You is a David Lynch-penned teen-love song that was used for a scene on the Twin Peaks series - the original version was just guitar and vocals, while here the boys fill it out as a rock combo, appropriately adding a few extra doo-wop flourishes... and the lady guest-stars get to croon the backing vox... fun stuff! And if you're a fan of the show, you're sure to be amused by the fragment of muttered dialogue at the tail end. Pamphlet of Light is another extensive live improv freak-out: a massive onslaught of too many trippy guitar-noise stylings to mention... drones, needles, hazes, howls and waves... just a beautiful fucking storm of sounds! The closer: If You Feel You're Healed (Cow Head In the River) - great title, great tune... a more linear jam is this, and a slow builder... tom-toms, flying guitars, waves of organ drone, Lisa kicks ass with tight fills as things begin to pick up... then settle back to slower again before fading out w/tape scratches... but we're not quite done yet: after a few moments of silence, the final six minutes (a "hidden track") is an awkward collage of organ passages and more raucous noise jams... "a hundred thousand years of screaming savagery" indeed! ST 37... they're still doing their own thing, and it's still a great thing they're doin! Thanks, guys. Love, Chuck.
For more information you can visit the ST 37 web site at: http://www.st37.com
Visit the ST 37 Myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/st37
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg