(2010, Aum Fidelity)
RIYL = Zs, Talibam!, MoHa!
Wait, what did I say about Zs and New Slaves? Oh yeah, that it was absolutely enormously monstrously terrific, or something, and that you weren’t likely to hear anything like it this year. While that remains largely true, Throat, the debut album from Little Women (which proceeded New Slaves in terms of release dates) is, well, lets call it a, um, lets call it the only album with an internal weighting system (un)balanced enough and the exterior costuming belligerent and malevolent enough to have a chance at breaching New Slaves to crumble its internal organs to the floor. Surely Little Women and Zs are like minded enough in their crunching aesthetic to be friends in the real world – they’re certainly contemporaries – but what is this music of not an assault? Its cantankerous tones battle absurdly like the razor pronged talons of an industrial garage cock fight. But if I must compare, if Throat demands to be slotted up next to the very best albums released so far this year (which it undeniably does), know that, straying from the consistently demonic New Slaves, Little Women also offer valleys of beautiful reprieve, sections classy enough to share breathe with Joanna Newsom’s immaculate Have One On Me. I suppose that is the key here. Little Women present a jaw dropping dynamic of primal explosiveness in step with elegance and melody, structure even. There is a fluidity from one end of spectrum to the other that proves Little Women are beyond gifted in their ability to both hone in on the essence of their instruments, turning out a cordial listening experience, and likewise to allow their instruments to own them and burst forth in animal bits of terror. Because Throat is an animal. A birdlike creature really. Dual headed, represented by byzantine squawk and purr of alto and tenor sax, the creature patters about maniacally crashing into any and everything in its path. The bone structure and legs of the creature (of which there is approximately five – legs, that is) are represented by the maverick drumming, and the body as a whole, a static glitching façade, by the constantly contorting guitar work. It’s a new breed with very few reference points. Sure, there is a beak, but two of them, and legs, but five. And the fact that it is never clearly concrete, almost a hologram, is equally troubling. What is it? Jazz? Rock? Noise? Yes, yes, yes and no. I’m having a difficult time dialing back my enthusiasm about the one actually, so just know that it was really hard for my not to preemptively anoint Little Women’s Throat as the best album of the decade and we’ll call it even.