Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This is my usual lame-o pattern with great, sub-underground bands from my hometown: 1.) Read snippets about them in the local papers, dismissively decide that those writers don’t know dick, and reflexively ignore them; 2.) Hear something surprisingly great by the band a year later, get floored, decide to immediately seek out everything by the group & see them next time they play; 3.) Find out that the band broke up already (usually a week ago), and that my caution once again kept me from yet another rendezvous with some goodtime rocknroll muzak. Such is the case with San Francisco’s CURSE OF THE BIRTHMARK, though who knows, maybe they’re just on hiatus. I sure hope so, because this 2005, 5-song ear-pillager is the electro-zap my ass needed to get the foam coming out of the mouth again. “Welcome To The Hard Times….You’re Late” is the sort of dark, aggressive “industrial rock” I used to envision in the early/mid 80s whenever I’d read about TEST DEPT. or EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN or whatever, whom invariably let me down. C.O.T.B. do not let me down; on the contrary, this EP is full of frothing, electronics-filled no wave guitar, some absolutely thumping drumming, and enough bleeding ear tones to keep you in the isolation chamber for hours afterward. There’s a rabid, mysterious churner at the end of Side 1 called “Too Many Ministers” that I cannot stop playing – in fact, presuming it’s still up when you click here, you can hear the thing yourself at the band’s MySpace site. I wasn’t going to say it, but it’s unavoidable – the fact that this guy “Walter Weasel” is in the band, a guy responsible for one of 10 worst, self-referential, cluelessly dorkified fanzines of all time (“Nice Slacks”), in no way diminishes my love for his power-stun trio. That’s how good it is. Curse of The Birthmark, can you please help me roll back the clock to the magic hours of early 2005 so that I may rock with you?