Audio Mixer: Chris Woodhouse.
Recording information: The Dock (01/10/2016-01/14/2016).
Austin trio Spray Paint seem to spend a lot of time in the dirty, desolate, run-down corners of America. Their lyrics are filled with scenes of environmental abuse, industrial waste, contaminated water supplies, and the resulting human illness. The humans populating these scenarios seem to be hopeless deadbeats who have nothing better to do than drink and do drugs in order to cope with the harsh Southern climate and slowly rotting landscape. Feel the Clamps is Spray Paint's sixth album and first for Goner Records, and it's as unnerving and discordant as anything else they've done. All three members (drummer Chris Stephenson and guitarists/vocalists Cory Plump and George Dishner) used to be in noise-psych behemoth When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, and while Spray Paint aren't quite as deafeningly loud as their previous band, they still shock with their angular, blown-out guitar sound and jagged yet pounding rhythms reminiscent of early, no wave-era Sonic Youth as well as a bit of the acid-fried strangeness of fellow Texans the Butthole Surfers. Their songs are generally short and don't necessarily have clear beginnings and ends; most of them just seem to hammer on for a minute or two before stopping. Occasionally they're faster and more thrashy, as with the appropriately named "ATXHC (Dangly Earring)," while songs like "Heaps of Ice" are slow and sludgy. "George Finally Shows Up" adds some distorted, shaky electronic beats and beeping synths, making everything more tense. The album is much cleaner-sounding than the group's chaotic live shows, toning down the confounding, mind-shifting levels of guitar effects so the vocals can make more of an impact. As bleak as the lyrics are, their biting, sardonic sense of humor keeps them from sounding unrelentingly harsh or depressing. Near the beginning of the drifting five-minute "Shovelling," the vocalists bark out "Shut up, I'm drinkin' over here!," and there's something morbidly funny about the delivery of the line "It seems like everyone's getting cancer" during the album's title track. Sick and disturbed, concerned and hard-working, but also reveling in the futility of their surroundings, Spray Paint excel at taking snapshots of the careless, damaged side of society. ~ Paul Simpson