We’ve written about GUERILLA TOSS a lot here at the Hassle. And rightfully so. Within a year or so’s time the band (in a couple different incarnations) released a tape, a split tape, and now finally a full length on Massachusetts’ favorite label, FEEDING TUBE RECORDS. Across these recordings this gang of music schoolers has delved deeply into the wells of post-punk/ no wave, noise rock, experimental rock, and I’m sure several moist pockets of composed music that I may not be fully versed in, but sure as hell like when I hear it. Their sound is a desperate one, perhaps the sound of their musical know how scraping, grinding, and creating friction while coming into contact with their many influences drawn from all over the map of underground music. Rarely in Boston have I seen an “art school band” galvanize so many different kinds of listeners, but I hope it is something that we see more of in the future. This is smart music that nevertheless never loses sight of what is considered music’s main goal by many: to move people, to make them want to move themselves to the sound and rhythm.
JEFFREY JOHNSON is the name of this record (named after the HUNNIE BUNNIE of the same name who by chance did the album’s art work). “Breeding Snakes For Variety “. Post punk. Guitars bounce off one another, and the bass and drum triggers and vocals. The nastiest groove on the record is the opening groove to this song. Also I must say with praise that the bass is just so down low funky here amidst the chaos. This track delivers highs and lows, full blown head bang and quiet desperation. “Chronophobia “, is Baba O’Riley (which these guys will hate me for saying) for the no wave crowd. Slithering post punk spinning wildly around that sequenced synth. Singer Cassie’s anguished vocal assault rips between the shards of rhythm created by the other instruments. This all eventually hits a wall of shifting chords that couldn’t possibly be a riff could it? Turns out it is, and on the other side of the wall Guerilla Toss is keeping the nastiest riff found in this song; a stomping angry thing featuring a great dual guitar line. The sequenced synth crawls back into the song near the end capping a truly epic piece. “Just Puss” brings the creep. Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe…Here Cassie’s volume gets turned down but her vocals are edged off a cliff of weird as she runs through what potentially could be the solo conversation being had by the guy holding all those old Shaw’s bags sitting near the back of the bus. Warped grooves live here led on by a rumbling bass and a queasy synth. Male screams lead a digression into more jagged rhythms to end the song.
It’s a harrowing experience JEFFREY JOHNSON is, but a very rewarding one. Hard to say that this isn’t the coolest local record that came out this year. GT just recorded a new record for JOHN ZORN’s record label too, so stay tuned. Catch their raw live show all over the place.