Pile embody the restless, hardworking DIY ethic about as well as anyone can these days. Their constant touring and bloodletting live performance are the stuff of other band’s mythologies—remember when Krill (RIP) made a “failed concept album” about some kids who realize they are part of a Pile song? With their tenth year of existence and the prospect of making a fifth album looming on the horizon, frontman and founder Rick Maguire decamped from Boston—a city as wrapped up in Pile’s mythos as DC was for Fugazi—to a cabin in Ellijay, Georgia, where he wrote and toured solo across the South. It’s a hermetic gesture that’s actually consistent with the particular adjective whose shape seems to fit the intensity and drama that’s so particular to Pile’s music and ethos: ascetic. That their forthcoming record is called A Hairshirt of Purpose just confirms this suspicion. A hairshirt is a garment of animal hair intended to be uncomfortable, worn as a form a penance.
“Dogs,” the second single from the new record, embodies that self-isolating impulse. It’s a remarkably quiet, restrained work. The slamming crescendos of distorted guitars the band has long since perfected show up as red herrings, a brief contrast from the gently arpeggiated, mellotron washed verses. The dynamic build of the song revolves instead around the violins and violas—a relatively novel addition to the band’s repertoire—which swirl into the track’s second half. It’s a stunning song for band that’s made a career goal of writing and performing the most arresting music possible.
Listen to “Dogs” below. A Hairshirt of Purpose is out 3/31 via Exploding in Sound. Pile will be touring throughout the spring in support of the new record. They’ll be performing in Brooklyn twice, playing alongside Mannequin Pussy and Fern Mayo at Baby’s All Right on April 6, and at Sunnyvale with Stove and Grass is Green on April 7.
This list appears in AdHoc #7. Purchase this issue or subscribe.
Container: Appliance (Spectrum Spools)
Spending nigh zero time fucking around, Ren Schofield starts Appliance with a squall of feedback to orient us and then unsettles us once again with a flamin' hot kick line. Last year's stellar Adhesive EP marked a major progression for the Container project, with Schofield's decisions to up the pace and blow out his timbres proving modest on paper alone. Furthering this maximally raw aesthetic, Appliance cements Schofield's status as a purveyor of some of the most visceral, psychedelic party music out there, thanks to grooving industrial rhythms that would hopefully make Esplendor Geometrico proud. The palette is economical, and during moments when Schofield works in some non-percussive element—such as the siren synth on the exemplary “Cushion”—it feels like emergency glass has been smashed so that he can flick the switch labeled “Jack All Bodies In The Vicinity.” But after a few listens to Appliance, when you've been desensitized to the gleeful romp of quantized ultraviolence, marvel at how much drama Schofield can build, how much variety he lends these tracks, using a palette of sounds that you can more or less count on one hand. -- Mike Sugarman
Dawn of Humans: Slurping At The Cosmos Spine (La Vida es un Musica Discos)
Dawn of Humans was ripe for a full-length record—or rather, rotting for one—and so here comes the 26-minute-long LP Slurping At The Cosmos Spine. After several tape demos and 7” records, the band has become more refined, at least as refined as a band with a perpetually naked frontman could be. It should be obvious that Dawn of Humans will never be a pretty face for the press or make catchy tunes to appease the airwaves. But in case we needed proof of this fact, the bouncy rhythm on “Horse Blind” is countered by a mutant vocal effect. The melodic experimentation on “Mangled Puzzle” and “Fog Sclope” is sandwiched between bursts of classic Dawn of Humans auditory ferocity. Even the most sprawling track on the album, “Secretion / Grapitudonce of Hinsenctor,” is pure ooze, no air sockets. They’ve dragged the torch this far for NYC punk; they might as well brandish that beat-up, blood-covered thing proudly, because they know by now how to do it without burning their hands. -- Maddie Rehayem
Pile are one of the most thrilling new groups to emerge from the Northeast in recent times. The visceral charge and sincerity they give to their classic indie rock sound brings to mind luminaries from Shellac to The Fall. "Tin Foil Hat" is the latest track to be revealed from their imminent full-length. The song is a punishing, expertly crafted under-three-minute melange of shredding guitars and shout-along vocals.
You're Better Than This is due March 3rd on Exploding in Sound records. The group launches a mammoth North American tour on February 24th in Allston, MA.
Pile are one of the beloved bands of Boston's vibrant indie rock scene. Already their music and energetic live performances seem to be accumulating some sort of mythology. Last month, for example, bummed tricksters Krill announced a concept EP entitled Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts Into Tears. Pile have released a new track from their upcoming 7", and first release since their 2012 full-length, dripping, entitled "Special Snowflakes." The song is ambitious-- a multi-part suite clocking in at seven minutes. The track's sections range from the subdued to the chaotically bombastic, and Pile's intricate, spidery guitar riffs create a sense of unease which permeates through the entire song.
Special Snowflakes b/w Mama's Lipstick is out March 11 on Exploding in Sound.