Running, Wake Up Applauding (Castle Face Records, 1/15/2016)
Blistering, relentless new long player from Chicago’s Running.
Building on 2013’s excellent Vaguely Ethnic and subsequent singles, Running return with another set of vertigo-inducing punk/psych/noise/drone/whateverit’sgoodsojustlisten. Wake Up is a loud record that begs to be played loud: layers upon layers of reverb and drone textures mix with the jagged shards of feedback; largely indecipherable, muzzled vocals at the center of the sonic maelstrom. This is the soundtrack to a paranoid schizophrenic’s psychotic break, careening blindly through dark alleys in search of respite from the voices, the shadowy figures emerging from formless shadows. Tension, tension, tension.
The lightning ride manipulation of guitar feedback is even more up front than on past releases, like 2014’s Totally Fired. The band’s sound still includes a fair bit of the scorched earth hardcore of early Black Flag and of more experimental bands like Flipper, as well as early doom metal (lots of circle pit bridges). There’s also room for aggressive, PiL post-punk, spazzy noise a la bands like Scratch Acid, and even a bit of a ROIR tape Bad Brains vibe (particularly on “Fucktown Reality”).
The album art appears to be a cross-section of skin, with an arrow indicating “running” just beneath the surface of the derma. Appropriate, somehow, for a record that burrows deep.
Wake Up Applauding is out now, on Castle Face Records. Since it’s basically impossible to find much of anything about this band – they have a Soundcloud page, in addition to the bio page on the Castle Face website – here’s hoping for some advance notice when next they emerge from the lab and tour.
Highlights include: “We Never Close”, “Fucktown Reality”, “Wake Up Applauding”, “Art Seen”, “No Wave Jose”.