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Controlled Chaos

A Weekend in Austin still moshes

By Greg Beets, Fri., May 23, 2014

Destruction Unit at Austin Psych Fest 2014
Destruction Unit at Austin Psych Fest 2014
Photo by John Anderson

Destruction Unit

Sun., June 1, Red 7

This Arizona collective finds its form in sheer, visceral force. Three feedback-sodden guitars, a concussive rhythm section, and the odd overdriven synth bleat bore through unguarded defense mechanisms in a triumph of psych-noise bluster.

"The sound that immediacy creates is what we sound like," asserts guitarist JS Aurelius. "It gets people's attention because everyone wants a reason to put their soul on the line, and when someone does it publicly, you're forced to consider it yourself."

Founded in 2000 by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Ryan Rousseau, DU began as a dystopian synth-punk side project that once featured the late Jay Reatard. These days, the quintet is an entirely different animal, now signed to the pace-setting Sacred Bones label. Destruction Unit demonstrated newfound comfort in the studio on last year's Deep Trip, standout track "Bumpy Road" channeling the heat distortion of a two-lane desert highway with oversaturated, cinematic vigor.

"We try to make sure the immediacy and intensity is apparent in the recordings, which can be quite difficult to convey," says Aurelius. "We're still learning and always working on how best to accomplish that, but it's not a perfect process and all you can do is put all of yourself into it."

Ultimately, stylistic assignations fall away, leaving only the commitment to move things forward. "If it can be done by us in the desert, it can be done by anyone anywhere."

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