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Listening Party

Friend Collector: Friend Collector

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Friend Collector

Friend Collector

Terra Firma

It might help to warm up just a bit before listening to this album. Nothing major—whap your knuckles against some cement, just enough to see a little red in there, or maybe have a shot of something terrible and cheap. Think of it as smacking an old TV into reception. Friend Collector makes that particular breed of noise-rock that’s not so much caveman, but modern evolved human snapping into 25 minutes or so of breakdown-as-release in its most beautifully ugly form. See also: the Jesus Lizard, but minus a lot of the intimations or shadings of normal rock-bandness. No whiffs of singing (or even talking) here, just the sounds one might make with a hot coal pressed into one’s palm modulated for song-like purposes, sparring with lashes of feedback and detuned guitar combustion all racing from drum-kit-as-battlefield-artillery. This sounds like mainlining rust, and pardon the metaphor jumble.

Actually, forget the Jesus Lizard. I’m betting a great many listeners in this column’s range will understand Friend Collector’s best see-alsos just fine. Most especially the band is carrying the torch of the New Flesh—a band sharing some FC membership—which pretty much owned noise-rock in the city until going quiet-ish a couple of years ago. Friend Collector the album, the band’s debut on vinyl, just doesn’t let up. You might get a break of slow doom-y pounds but that’s not a rest from anything, just more and more tension, every crash of the drum kit like someone yanking on either end of a knot. And, as the song builds and finds “order” or at least something like rhythm, it doesn’t so much loosen or release, but frays or begins to melt. Which can be its own kind of good feeling. There are in fact something like riffs here, or more like a guitar pulling itself out of the pummel to do something like what a guitar/bass was designed to do. And, hey, there’s even kind of a melody way back there on “Least Offensive Option,” courtesy of a sand-blasted bass. As you can by now guess, this is guaranteed to be wonderfully destructive live.

Friend Collector plays the Ottobar (upstairs) May 6 with White Suns. For more information visit

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