Tag Archives: taiwan housing project

Settle in and Submit to the Debut from Taiwan Housing Project, “Veblen Death Mask”

Taiwan Housing Project, Veblen Death Mask (Kill Rock Stars)

Thorstein Veblen was a late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century economist known for coining the term ‘conspicuous consumption’ (not, sadly, ‘priming the pump’) and lending a name to a “Veblen good”, one whose demand corresponds with its high price – a status symbol.  So, basically, Veblen was an early identifier and critic of the douchebag economy.  Which brings us – hard segue – to Veblen Death Mask, the debut long-player from Philly’s own disrupters, Taiwan Housing Project.  We’ve previously extolled the virtues of this particular project following release of their fantastic self-titled EP in 2015, and Veblen does nothing to mute this adulation.

As a statement of intent/table-setter, you’d be hard pressed to do better than “Salt Sugar Fire”, as Kilynn Lunsford’s multi-tracked, warbled and distorted voice projects the album’s overarching feel of an image deconstructed and rearranged in a room of fun house mirrors.  Threads of punk, no wave, glam, industrial, jazz; Wire, PJ Harvey, Diamanda Galás, Girl Band – core duo Lunsford and guitarist/feedback shaman/dial-up modem impersonator (“Authentic Alien Perfume”) Mark Feehan fleshed out the group with new members and new instruments, including violin, synth and everyone’s new/old fave, spazzy tenor sax grunts.  “Authentic Alien Perfume” is a heady brew of Cramps-y strut over a Peter Gunn rhythm, “Ideal Body Alignment” a fuzzed-up take on Pink Flag-era Wire, dissolving into a cacophonous rush of a chorus.  It’s a stunner from beginning to end, a series of disorientating soundscapes seizing control of the transmission to your TVs, smartphones, tablets, etc., that, despite flirting with the oft-derisively used “arty”, never succumb to self-indulgent wankery.  In fact, a less cruelly bland musical universe, the ‘rip her to shreds’ glam-stomp belter, “Multidimensional Spectrum” would be your go-to summer hit.  Request lines are open.

Veblen Death Mask is available now from Kill Rock Stars.  According to the press release accompanying the album, THP will be on tour in the US in July/August and in Europe in October/November.  In the meantime, you can stalk the band on fbook and the twitt and check the video for the title track, above.

Highlights include:  “Authentic Alien Perfume”, “Multidimensional Spectrum”, “Ideal Body Alignment”, “Eat or Be Eat”.

New Track: Taiwan Housing Project, Maintenance of An Application

Taiwan Housing Project, Maintenance of An Application (M’Ladys Records)

In a post-Memorial Day world, where ears often tune to vacuous pop paeans to partying, dancing, being hot for some girl, guy, Barbie robot, zombie sex god …there’s this sweet bit of dissonant, raucous, noisy relief from Philly’s Taiwan Housing Project.  A feel good hit for a different summer.

This is a gloriously disorienting, careening, mess of a song.  Peals of feedback screech, dive, swoop and swirl like so many banshees around the shouted vocals of Kilynn Lunsford, held together (just) by a steady, ominous rhythm – the aural equivalent of the psycho dude with the flesh mask and the power tool whose lurching, relentless pursuit is undeterred by gunshot, stabbing and/or burning.  Sweet dreams!

“Maintenance” is taken from a new EP, which gets a physical release July 28, courtesy the awesome (or, should i say, esteemed) M’lady’s Records out of Portland, OR – you can preorder a digital copy now on the label’s Bandcamp page (while you’re there, you can listen to another great, Sonic Youth-y track, “White Frosted”).

Go like the band on Facebook, and check out their other releases on Bandcamp.