SXSW records

Phases and Stages


Airs Above Your Station (Sub Pop) Methinks it was not the narcotic sound sculptures that attracted Sub Pop Records to Kinski. No, it must've been the big fuzz-jam freak-outs that pushed this Seattle quartet onto the Sub Pop roster and to the head of the drone-rock class. Ten-minute opener "Steve's Basement" quickly reveals Kinski's m.o., opening with the meandering hum of an amp, gradually adding gentle guitar strum, then building into a pummeling rock leviathan midway through. "Semaphore" is even better, with tremolo distortion giving way to a tsunami of pure sound, over which lead guitarist Chris Martin lays some fat, cosmic solos before the whole affair screeches into the fast lane, tail pipe a-smokin'. Tall, dark, and raucous bassist Lucy Atkinson throws down the album's one vocal with a Kim Gordon-esque cadence on "Rhode Island Freakout," a spastic counterpoint to Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation ruby "The Sprawl." Between the outbursts, there's lots of meandering, most prominently on the eight-minute "I Think I Blew It (Again)," an inferior clone of Martin's sleepy Ampbuzz side project. Ultimately, the album's drone proves better suited as a break from the explosions than as an end unto itself. The five-minute ambient setup on "Waves of Second Guessing" is overlong, but when this baby kicks in, it's a hyperkinetic thrill ride on the Great Space Coaster. Get on board. (Emo's Main, Wednesday, 10pm)


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