Sacred Bones Spring ’09 Singles, Part II
by Doug Elliott

If you’re a follower of the Primitive Futures column and it feels like we’ve just completed a Sacred Bones update, you’re not insane. What is insane is Caleb Braaten’s release schedule, as it seems like the man has taken what was once a hobby into a full-time behemoth. Having reviewed just about everything they’ve done in the past year, I can’t really say anything new about Sacred Bones besides something that came to me while thinking about the roster, in that I love how Braaten balances the unproven with the established, friends with strangers, to curate one the most enticing list of artists going today. These aren’t all bands he heard on MySpace, though I know that he is not against that method of acquiring talent.

This new batch features some of the P. Future’s heaviest hitters, so expectations were even higher than usual, and all three artist meet them, beginning with Naked on the Vague. I’ve loved this Australian girl-guy duo since their debut LP oozed into my psyche early in ’08. Their Skulltones single was another dose of shakey vibes, and their live show has garnered respect from even the most jaded cross-armies. NOTV’s stuff has kick-started a seance here or there, but no matter how ugly these two try to make their music sound, it always ends up more loveable than you’d expect. Enter “Chitty Chat,” where harshness outlasts the ritual melody and voices surface from parts unknown. “Goodbye Dear Cliche” scratches more of the black hole’s wall, spiraling to its end just in time for another spin. Play this one loud or you’ll miss all the details engulfed by the top layer.

Next up is the solo vinyl debut from Timmy’s Organism, a.k.a. Timmy Vulgar of Human Eye and the defunct Clone Defects. Vulgar is a living, breathing punk rock animal, one of the last of his kind. It is difficult to stay away from the cliche post-apocalyptic descriptors one wants to throw towards this Detroit native, but Vulgar truly is a creature of his surroundings and Timmy’s Organism displays all of his punk rock dreams through rustbelt lenses. If you’ve ever felt like Human Eye is sometimes a little too busy and over the top to stay focused, well you’re not alone; this double 7-inch is for you. Where Human Eye is proto-punk, glam, Beefheart skronk and early metal all at once, Timmy’s Organism takes on genres one at a time, from weirdo synth crooner to psychotic minstrel to Lou Reed fondling Scott Walker while Peter Laughner watches. The Helios Creed influence still reigns supreme, though on tracks like “Body of Love,” Vulgar sounds more like his buddies in Tyvek than any galactic Chrome freak-out. The question you have to ask with the double 7-inch format is whether each side is worthy enough to become its own statement. With these particular sides, the answer is “yes.” Plus, you the listener can play it any way you wish, as Timmy labels all four sides as “A.” Choose your own pathway through the Organism.

Part three of this batch is no slouch either. Nice Face returns to Sacred Bones with two red hot tracks of one-man KBD-styled bedroom punk. “Mnemonic Device” is a bass-heavy cut with a slower pace than his typical gravy, and it works in spades. But the B-side, “Situation Is Facing Utter Annihilation,” is the winner, a tough synth-punk arrangement with some great guitar solos goosing it up. Those waiting patiently for a new Catatonic Youth record should take a seat, roll up the new Nice Face and toke on these jams. This guy is doing it better and more often, and I always end up pumping some body part or another every time he’s on the turntable.