Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category

Sounds Like Hell: Volunteer

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Sounds Like Hell is an irregular feature on noise rock.

When Robert Christgau pioneered the term pigfuck to describe the harsh sounds of Sonic Youth and their peers, he probably had no idea he’d inadvertedly coined the name of a subgenre based around plodding, subterranean and frankly ugly guitar-driven noise rock that was far more offensive than anything the no wave scene ever produced.

Midwestern pigfuckers Volunteer don’t cite Christgau’s colourful term on their Bandcamp page. They do list the usual suspects in their sonic goals – The Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Helmet – but they don’t need to. Most bands who say they sound like The Jesus Lizard sound like they’re covering lost demo tapes of The Jesus Lizard, but on Goner, Volunteer’s four-track EP released earlier this month, the Milwaukee trio bear little resemblance to the David Yow-fronted outfit, instead dealing a punishing 15 minute collection of defiant, unsubtle and powerful noise rock anthems.

It’s not all angry machismo though; closing out the collection is a cover of Jawbreaker’s confessional ‘I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both.’ Volunteer’s version is slowed down and the half-sung, half-spoken lyrics are mired in almost as much distortion as the guitars add an even more strained dimension to an already emotionally strained song. When Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach sings “This lullably is blue/Lie and say we’re through,” he sounds mournful, but Volunteer vocalist Francisco Ramirez slurs those words like he’s speaking with the stomach full of a Vicodin and the barrel of a shotgun placed firmly in the his mouth.