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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Couple new reviews

THE LOST DOMAIN An Unnatural Act LP (NEGATIVE GUEST LIST) I first encountered this long-running Australian band in the early 2000s when the trusted Rhizome label brought us a CDR of their music called Something Is.... It was just two tracks, the first a whopping 46 minutes, the second almost 30, and I gave it a couple intensive listens, but I confess it left me cold. The musicians had clearly built a confident and personal sound together, but it sounded like stuff I'd heard before . . . long-form instrumental minimalist desert-landscape mood music . . . and it seemed to take a very long time to not go very far. Years went by and I forgot all about them, but then along comes one of the greatest rock zines I've ever encountered, the Negative Guest List from Brisbane, Australia, and I'm reading as many issues as I can get my hands on, $7 import cover price be damned, and what should be published in #18 but an extensive history and discography feature on The Lost Domain. It turns out they're from Brisbane as well, described in fact by NGL writer/publisher Brendon Annesley as "Brisbane's first band," and I think I know exactly what he means by that. I had grown to appreciate and admire Annesley's taste in music, and even though I'm sure there was some hometown pride and bias behind the article, it made me want to give Lost Domain another chance, this time through Brendon's ears, as it were. Right away I pulled that Something Is... CDR back out -- it was still right there where I had last filed it almost 10 years ago -- but to be honest, it still left me almost as cold. The article had maybe thawed things out a few degrees warmer, but it wasn't enough, and I refiled it again.

Ah, but this time I was not going to forget them; just a couple months later, what should arrive on the Blastitude doorstop but a package bearing Lost Domain vinyl, on none other than the Negative Guest List label. Annesley-approved material! It's called An Unnatural Act and wow... I like it better. A lot better. For one thing, they sound like a much different band. Where Something Is.... had that dry-as-dust desert noir thing going on, this starts out like a really messed-up noise band, and then goes into absolutely primo swirling and spinning psycho-blues. Believe me, after the side one closer double shot of "Sweet Haunch Woman" and "Funeral March for Charley Patton," you will be moved too. You'll have no choice. The intensity doesn't let up on side two either, though it does have some more elongated space-out instrumental sections to help the medicine go down. After re-perusing the NGL article, I learn that this sweet skree is an LP reissue of their very first record, which came out in 1990 about a year after they formed, when it was self-released a few times on cassette. It was reissued as a CDR by the Foxglove label in 2006, and now, with fewer tracks, it has come back to life on this LP. To sum this review up, when a band debuts with something this revelatory, it's going to shed light on their entire career and pretty much guarantee them a lifetime pass, which means I'm going to have to re-evaluate Something Is... yet again! Good thing I know right where I shelved it. (NOTE: This and many other new releases from Australia are available stateside from Easter Bilby Distro.)

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