by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
If you’re familiar with Chicago’s Dead Rider (or Todd Rittmann’s previous band, U.S. Maple) than you already know all bets are off with what you may get from their shapeshifting art rock. Each release is a new spin on punk at its most intelligent, combining sonic depths and impeccable patience to create music that really rattles your bones, doing it without force and overt heaviness. Their records have always been about presenting what’s possible and how divergent ideas can sound cohesive. And so they’ve done it again with Dead Rider Trio featuring Mr. Paul Williams, a new record on Drag City that offers just that, Dead Rider joining forces with Paul Williams, an experimental/noise musician from London (and as the press info states, once the manager of Crispin Glover). The pairing is met with synchronicity from both sides, each matching the billowy artistic madness of other.
“Not A Point On A Scale” is the record’s second single, a sinisterly poetic song that wrestles with your nerves and emotions as Williams offers pointed commentary and a deranged narration, embracing mania and revolt. The band create an expansive backdrop behind him, seesawing glimpses of distortion, nimble rhythmic shifts and sputters (triumphantly amazing throughout the song), and a bass line that carries everything dependably forward. Just as the spoken word passage haults with “it’s the grinding noise of the chain,” the guitars work into a caterwauling riff of pure distorted release, the tension allowed to unwind and unfurl with a freeform exploration.
The video features Douglas McCombs (Tortoise) as a slightly more disturbed than usual Santa Claus, going about his seemingly mundane day until he just can’t take it anymore. It’s a great visual for a great song.
Dead Rider Trio Featuring Mr. Paul Williams is out October 19th via Drag City Records.