Eat skull

Pub date October 9, 2007
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

I knew I was getting into some trouble when I first discovered that Eat Skull — a noisome bunch of skuzz rockers from Portland, Ore. — has two members who used to bring the motherfuckin’ ruckus alongside Adam Stonehouse in the Hospitals. But I knew I was in for a treat as well. I was certain the band would have no problem channeling the Hospitals’ cathartic weirdness and crackling dissonance, and the scorched intro of "Stuff Reverse," off ES’s self-titled 7-inch debut (Meds), assured me the end result would be painfully loud.

Flushed with crunchy guitars, galloping fuzz bass, and psych-fried organ, the record’s three bustling numbers blatantly scream, "Garage rock revival!" even as the music also finds the outfit tapping into its hardcore and no-wave influences. Though bristling with gravelly resonation, organ gives "Seeing Things" an ultrasunny vibe, turning it into the four-piece’s closest brush with pop, while "Things I Did When I Dyed My Hair" sounds like a tribute to "The Cowboy Song" by PiL. Groups like DNA and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks come to mind too.

The recording quality sounds bottomless, as if ES is trapped in a well. Vocalist Rob Enbom’s hollers echo in and out of tune, the drums are barely audible, and the entire thing sounds messy most of the time. Enbom revealed through an e-mail that the band’s recording techniques are "four-track, eight-track, and Radio Shack" and that "the garage thing results from recording the album three weeks after we started playing together on a four-track, drunk." He also disclosed that ES dubbed their songs over some old Chinese opera tapes, which probably factors into the filthy sound — and the authentic basementlike feel. If this recording is a sign of things to come, I would suggest stocking up on plenty of earplugs before trotting down to the Hemlock.


With Scout Niblett and Monster Women

Thurs/11, 9:30 p.m., $8

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923