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15 October 2010

Car Commercials - 'Judy's Dust' (Cenotaph)

This is the new sound of New Jersey, and a pretty carefully cultivated one at that. Half of these guys are in Home Blitz and the other half was affiliated with Ladderwoe, so the resulting mix is pretty accurately a blend - a freeish rock group with a real anti-aesthetic and a particular velocity. The opening track is a long warbling instrumental with noodling casio and scraping, and it never even closely congeals into anything tangible, though with an exactitude and deliberation missing from most free-form ensembles of today's world. When the rock riffs creep in, first heard on '190' and most effecively on 'Babe's out of luck' (which actually approximates a traditional rock song), it's cathartic. A satisfying release to tension and it makes you think the whole mess was quite deliberate. Is it hard to connect to the expressions here? Surely 'Mechanic's yelps and mumbles bear no resemblance to sanity, but then it's hard to deny those rough songforms, when they turn up. 'Collida and Jimmy' begins with an anthemic strum, though soon after the singing starts (an off-kilter warble, of course) it proceeds to follow it's own musings down dark corridors and never comes back. The drumset is used throughout the record with maximum imprecision, but it fits the faux-nostalgia that the sleeve artwork (and liner "notes") create. It's park Jandek, of course, with a smidgeon of Pere Ubu but also a good helping of Kenneth Higney. Just blazing on through in a cavern of one-take songbash, Judy's Dust somehow overcomes it's limitations and communicates. There's no inertia here. The slowly melting, unfolding of 'The Devils' hints at a grand vision, and the occasional intrusion of tape-player speed adjustment or feedback squeal all seems like part of it. Maybe 'The Investigation' is their 'Murder Mystery', I don't know for sure. It's rock music, deconstructed and reinvented yet again. And it ends with a Boomtown Rats cover.

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