Saturday, April 24, 2010

Little Women - Throat (AUM Fidelity, 2010)

Little Women is an explosive free jazz - post-rock band that takes their cue from the likes of Sonny Sharrock (especially his collaboration with Peter Brotzmann and Roland Shannon Jackson in the band Last Exit) and James "Blood" Ulmer. Filtering this through the feedback and drones of avant rock bands like Sonic Youth, they make for an aggressive and tremendously exciting sound. The band consists of Travis Laplante on tenor saxophone, Darius Jones on alto saxophone, Andrew Smiley on guitar and Jason Nazary on drums. The music is an eight part suite of numbered performances that blend together to make a cohesive LP length whole. At their wildest on "Throat I" and "Throat III" the band throws down a massive wall of noise, with Jones and Laplante honking and screaming epic waves of sound while Smiley sparks lightning bolts of superheated plasma and Nazary pounds maniacally. On these free, balls to the wall tracks, their closet analogue would be early Brotzmann, especially the epochal Machine Gun album. But where that record drew inspiration from the free jazz pioneers like John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, Little Women also draws from the energy and passion of alternative and avant-garde rock 'n'roll. "Throat IV" draws all of these influences together and then proceeds to blow them out of the water. Starting with long toned ominous drones from the two saxophones, the track builds slowly and inexorably to a wild and hair raising conclusion. While the music here is heavy and serious stuff, it ends with a nod and a wink. "Throat VIII" has the musicians stepping away from their instruments, and scatting an approximate imitation of the honks, bleats and squeals that make up their world. It's a quirky way to end, but it works well, and this album is very successful overall. The music here is not for everyone to be sure, but fans of free improv, or rock 'n' roll fans with a taste for adventure will find some very exciting and innovative sounds here. Throat - amazon.com

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