Texas

Rangers ‘Europe on TV’

In 1981s Heavy Metal, two alien space truckers too stoned to fly their space craft efficiently, extend their elongated noses and snort ridiculous amounts of space cocaine, becoming so blitzed they fly straight into some mad, electric stargate. Along their trip, you can imagine the ships antenna would pick up Europe on TV, a garbled signal of static ridden jingles, formerly sent out like the Voyager Golden Record.

Fusing together his two EP’s originally via As Above So Below Records , the titular 2009 cassette and Volvo Jungle Mist, Rangers man Joe Knight has presented a near two hour lo-fi, psychedelic behemoth. A dense collage of fuzzy guitar licks, unintelligible vocals, sci-fi whooshes and analogue scree, as daunting as Sandinista!, but taking no time to suck you in to its warped sonics.

Listening to each tracks contours and cosmic delineations over their respective near half hours are akin to a fucked up radio perpetually tuned in between channels, Dick Dale interfering with number stations before glam punk clashes with audio of dying Cosmonauts. These sketches and fragments of songs melt together in a bubbling goo, mangled teases of a disco tune or Italo-funk number amid the concrète.

Never for a moment does Knight’s abstractions meander. Underneath the psychedelic film is a keen ear for intoxicating rhythms, and pop sensibilities shine through the aural sludge. At the 9 minute mark on the title track, a gloriously proggy cut kicks in, mean bass and Moroder synths drive like a weird 80s cop show theme. 22 mins in a shiny euphoric keyboard strides anthemically, whereas 23 mins into ‘Volvo Jungle Mist’ treats us to a indie-jangle slacker tune, like a cut from the weirder end of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Each excursion into Knight’s respective genre explorations always tease with its sound understanding and competency, but flee before out staying it’s welcome.

Europe on TV is a shape-shifting, amorphous blob of a record, utterly alien yet strangely familiar. This compilation still sounds like a wormhole to the edges of the universe as it did in 2009, and will continue to do so in the next thousand years, picked up by aliens along their hedonistic travels.

Pleasure Venom ‘Pleasure Venom’

Singer and film-maker Audrey Campbell strikes an imposing presence in the video for ‘These Days’, off the bands second EP Seize. Advancing to a rusted out car, tiki-torch in hand, amid a collage of Soul Train footage, burning infernos, BLM marches, KKK rallies, and alt-right hatred, this is a band confronting the political chaos and ‘white’ hot anger that is Trump’s America head on. Pleasure Venom are here out of sheer fucking necessity.

After two EP’s and a string of high energy live shows, Pleasure Venom are setting the Austin music scene on fire, and their new self-titled release shows no sign of slowing down. Opener ‘Hive’ is a no prisoners punk rock assault, shining a spotlight on fascistic homogeneity, be it brown shirts or red caps. ‘Deth’ hits that sweet spot between punk and garage rock, Campbells powerhouse vocals bursting through the growing cacophony. Ominous piano teases on ‘I Can’t Find my Black Lipstick’, before breaking into jerky, Wilko Johnson style guitar chops, displaying a dexterity and eclecticism keeping the band from being one-note. Their post-punk inclinations are at the forefront on ‘Gunt’, jagged guitar jabs scrape against dub-lite bass, and EP closer ‘Eddy’ has a Nirvana ‘Dive’ riff with theremin like keys percolating amid the thrash, punctuated with the ivory waltz heard on ‘I Can’t Find my Black Lipstick’ returning like a haunted, recurring motif.

Pleasure Venom is an unapologetic assault on musical and political conservatism, and a grenade thrown in the face of the institutes and forces of oppression and white-supremacy.