The Singles Collection - Clockclean Er, Altars, Expo '70

The Singles Collection is contributor Jason Jackowiak’s weekly column focusing on rare and essential 7″ releases.

This week's Singles Collection finds us delving into a heaping pile of hiss, fuzz, skuzz and feedback, and just might leave you lot reaching for earplugs and some Advil. Yessir, we're taking a detour from pure pop pleasantries this week, opting instead for an altogether nastier brand of aural excitement (or excrement, as the case may be) that, if nothing else, is thought-provoking in a vicious manner, you know, like Fight Club or any Nick Zedd film you'd care to mention.

Starting us off this week is (most probably) the last single from perennial Philly skull-rock powerhouse Clockclean Er, "Skinheaded Lady" b/w "Hate City" on Stained Circles Records out of Australia. Released to accompany the band on their trek down under, it may also serve as their recorded epitaph, as they have recently announced their plans to disband. If that truly is the case, then the A-Side is one hell of a send-off; propelled by a gnarled, knotty blues riff twisted and distorted beyond all recognition, the song lurches around like an alcoholic uncle in search of sweet lunacy and more Seagram's 7 and eventually degenerates into a smoldering pit of de-tuned caterwauling and shame. The B-Side ain't no prettier, a rancid cover of X's "Hate City" that makes the original sound like bunnies picking daisies on a fresh meadow. This was intended to be Australia-only, but the fine folks at Fan Death Records have imported the last copies of this vile slab, so get over to their site post haste if you need to cop one (or a feel).

To follow that vile ooze we've got Altars' Das Vergewalteigte EP on Youth Attack, which, as luck would have it, is and even messier platter of spilled guts. It's difficult to tell exactly how many tracks are here, but ostensibly, there are two -- "Das Vergewalteigte" and "Hass Ist Reinhelt" -- though each side goes through so many different horrifying sonic permutations that who knows if that's true or not. Their metastain is, by origin, rooted in black metal, but even by those standards, the fried tape hiss, screaming/croaking and ghastly clanging are disgusting. There's a "solo" midway through the A-Side that sounds like someone dry humping the guitar. Not exactly sure what they're putting in the water out there in Columbus, but damned if these fuckers didn't run the well dry and then suck the soil for the last remnants. Enter at your own risk.

Last up is probably the least battering of the group, Expo '70's "Sunglasses" b/w "Transcending Energy from Light" on the enigmatic Trensmat imprint. Compared to the previous piss storms, these two lengthy Kraut-inspired drone jams are pretty serene, though, don't let that fool you, there's plenty of hiss 'n' vinegar running through their veins. Kindred spirts of the material on Sunn O)))'s Black One, these two mini-opuses are haunting in their mercurial disambiguation of the form, with riffs ebbing and flowing in an the ether that hangs cumbrous over their barren landscapes. These are just now hitting the states though the label's distros, so they should be fairly easy to find at your favorite purveyors of the phonographic arts, but don't wait around too long, as Trensmat goods tend to dry up super quick.

That's all for this week, and now that we've re-activated your long-dormant Tinnitus, we're sure you'll want to check back next week for an altogether softer and gentler version of The Singles Collection.

The Singles Collection - Clockclean Er, Altars, Expo '70