I often view compilation records in the same way I view most festivals – too often, you need to wade through so much flotsam to enjoy the treasure. When the tracks on the compilation in question are culled from the roster of a label like Brooklyn-based Wharf Cat, however, they are well worth the effort.
Happily then, Wharf Cat recently announced the April 20 release of a compilation benefitting the ACLU ($30 from every $32 double-LP sold will go to the organization) — an ever-worthy cause, and no more so in these times of heightened, and increasingly naked, race baiting and attacks on civil rights under those tired dog whistles of ‘law and order’ and ‘national security’. Or, as the label puts it, the “ongoing assault on the Constitution”.
The bands on offer include tgh favorites like The Men, Snakehole, Profligate, Trust Punks (represented by Joe’s new band, Cheerleader – can’t wait to hear that one) and Psychic Blood, as well as a host of other notable acts. Wharf Cat has shared two tracks to whet your appetite (check them out, below): the freewheeling ruminations of “Too Sensitive” by Dollar Band (featuring members of Gun Outfit) and the glistening psych-wave of “Hourglass”, courtesy of Alice Glass.
Profligate is the alter ego of Noah Anthony, a producer/composer of sparse electronic music containing elements of experimental new wave, industrial and techno. He self-released a very good EP earlier this year entitled Abbreviated Regime, Vol. 1 (“Enlist” being a particular fave), which I discovered after being blown away by his latest offering, “Black Plate”.
“Black Plate”, a collaboration with poet/vocalist Elaine Kahn (who also records as Horsebladder). is a terrific slice of new wave noir. Opening with a strong beat that recalls the likes of Cabaret Voltaire, the track soon settles into a sinuous groove – Kahn’s hushed voice dead center amidst an elegiac synth melody and a come hither, new romantic bassline – that manages to come off simultaneously opulent and seedy; silk sheets under a black light. Though the track speaks of ‘desire’ (and there’s a lustfulness in the composition), lines like ‘touch what’s/sweet like/there’s no one home’ over an intensifying buzz feel more like a decoupling. The tension is compelling.
Hopefully, there’s more in the works. In the meantime, click away through Profligate’s discography yourself on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.