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Pop. 1280 - The Horror Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
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Pop. 1280 - The Horror

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (02/09/12)
Pop. 1280 - The Horror
Record Label: Sacred Bones
Release Date: January 24, 2012

To those who have heard Pop. 1280's The Horror, my admission to really liking it probably paints me as one of those people who just hate everything-- fucking everything. Indeed, it is an uncompromisingly grim record that's likely alienating to anyone in good psychological health. The Horror is as ugly as its title suggests, full of tension and aggression, never falling back on B-movie schlocky humor or ridiculous posturing as a crutch.

However, I feel like I appreciate what Pop. 1280 are doing here not because it awakens within me some creepy fascination with death and dismemberment, but mostly because it is texturally interesting. Sounding directly descendant from New York's Lower East Side circa 1980, the band shares No Wave's penchant for trying to squeeze every possible ounce of menace from their guitars and its predilection toward relentless, driving rhythms. To say that the ten tracks here possess a cleaner production touch than the unrelenting noise explorations of their forebears would be both completely accurate and potentially misleading, but they do essentially sound like songs and are, in some twisted way I suppose, accessible.

It's difficult to place The Horror within some sort of modern context, as their sound borrows heavily from across the last few decades of punk, post-punk and experimental music. Tracks like the opener "Burn the Worm" and "Bodies in the Dunes" sound like snarling Jesus Lizard cuts, the chief difference being that David Yow was mostly confrontational and had a bone to pick with everyone, while Pop. 1280 songwriters Chris Bug and Ivan Lip just have stories to tell, as grotesque and unsavory as they sometimes are. "Beg Like a Human" marries jagged guitars with minor-key organ to create a chilling atmosphere with a skill few bands this side of Joy Division can boast. Those with a taste for the abrasive will find plenty to latch onto, most notably "Dogboy", which incorporates the grinding aesthetic and fist-pumping stomp of Death From Above 1979.

While it is almost uniformly intense from start to finish, I've heard countless records more purely vile than The Horror in recent years. Releases by Hair Police and Wolf Eyes have left me scared shitless, and even played at moderate volume, AIDS Wolf probably permanently damaged my speakers and eardrums. Ultimately, though, their replay value is rather limited. However, Pop. 1280's sound, which falls somewhere between dissonant, art-for-art's-sake noise and pop music is the sort of thing that gets my (apparently cold, desiccated) heart racing and makes me want to tell everyone who'll listen about it. Like a rare, truly-great creepshow, it's the type of harrowing ride I want to experience again and again.

8.5/10

RIYLJoy Division's Closer; The Jesus Lizard's Goat; Big Black's Songs About Fucking


Track Listing1. Burn the Worm (3:32)
2. New Electronix (2:47)
3. Nature Boy (4:14)
4. Bodies in the Dunes (4:48)
5. Cyclotron (5:22)
6. Beg Like a Human (5:57)
7. Dogboy (5:07)
8. West World (2:06)
9. Hang 'Em High (3:56)
10. Crime Time (5:31)


Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12.
10:41 AM on 02/09/12
#2
cwhit412
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You are my favorite writer on the site, taking into consideration taste and writing style.
10:53 AM on 02/09/12
#3
Holly HoX!
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Was wondering if anyone was going to take care of this album. Good work as always, Jeremy.
12:32 PM on 02/09/12
#4
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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I will get around to listening to this soon. Sacred Bones has had a lot of really solid releases recently
01:16 PM on 02/09/12
#5
Nuns On A Bus
Let's burn the hills of Beverly!
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From what I've heard of this, you pretty much nailed it.
06:54 PM on 02/09/12
#6
StepsInADance
http://taeyeonlogic.tumblr.com/
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I will get around to listening to this soon. Sacred Bones has had a lot of really solid releases recently
Agree 100% Definitely a label to watch this year.
04:54 AM on 02/10/12
#7
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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Listened last night. This was awesome.
04:56 AM on 02/10/12
#8
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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Agree 100% Definitely a label to watch this year.
Just out of curiosity, which have been your favorite? I'm looking for some new music. I got into Cult of Youth and Moon Duo recently and loved both. Obviously Zola Jesus and The Men have gotten a lot of buzz lately, too.
05:07 AM on 02/10/12
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StepsInADance
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Just out of curiosity, which have been your favorite? I'm looking for some new music. I got into Cult of Youth and Moon Duo recently and loved both. Obviously Zola Jesus and The Men have gotten a lot of buzz lately, too.
I've been really into The Men and Crystal Stilts lately. Also theres this band called Trust who shows up on their page, but they just seem to be affiliated with Sacred Bones. I haven't heard them yet but I've seen them get a lot of buzz lately.
02:09 PM on 02/10/12
Nuns On A Bus
Let's burn the hills of Beverly!
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Just out of curiosity, which have been your favorite? I'm looking for some new music. I got into Cult of Youth and Moon Duo recently and loved both. Obviously Zola Jesus and The Men have gotten a lot of buzz lately, too.
I've got a Sacred Bones playlist on Spotify if you'd want to look at it, it's by no means complete but I can post it if anybody would want it.
03:23 PM on 02/12/12
StepsInADance
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I've got a Sacred Bones playlist on Spotify if you'd want to look at it, it's by no means complete but I can post it if anybody would want it.
I'm down to listen to it. I'm pretty sure there's some stuff I've yet to check out.
04:13 PM on 02/12/12
Nuns On A Bus
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I'm down to listen to it. I'm pretty sure there's some stuff I've yet to check out.
http://open.spotify.com/user/jsilva3...SutoZnAlQPckTq

A lot of the bands on there only released an EP or something on Sacred Bones so I didn't include their non-SB stuff, but as far as I can tell that has the vast majority of their stuff that is on Spotify.
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