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Know Your Product: Animal Twat, self-titled (MT6)


First non-contact encounters with bats brand themselves in memory: they're jarring, shudder-full, unshakable. You're going about your business--attending a Japanese Club meeting in the basement of the campus International dorm or studying in the antiquated home you're subletting from a professor who's away on travel--when suddenly it become clear that something furry, fanged, and airborne is sharing the space you're relaxing in. For an instant or two, the worst bits of all the vampire movies you've seen flash before your eyes--then, one way or the other, the crisis passes. But the panicked aftertaste lingers.

A close-up photograph of a bat baring sharp teeth--in mid-swoop or being held upside down, it's hard to tell--graces the cover of Animal Twat's epymonous debut CD-R, and it's easy to understand why once the disc starts. Another eyebrow-raising entity in the ever-expanding MT6 universe, Animal Twat--label head Alex "Newagehillbilly" Strama, with buddies Chief Pokawa, Chin Forces, and Mother Orchid--are a thrash-punk act, and an unabashedly non-family friendly one at that. Its two tracks--"Fuck Your Cocaine" and "Mummyfuck"--clock in at a blink-and-you'll-miss-it four minutes and 19 seconds, which allows listeners to run through its anti-social antagonisms a few times on the morning walk to and from the corner coffee shop. (With the iPod volume cracked to the max, ideally.) This isn't to say that other MT6 acts aren't likely room-clearers, just that this one's got its scruffed, unlaced Chucks firmly on the ground. (Read: Animal Twat could totally pass, sound-wise, for one of those newbie units who post grainy ads in

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Maximum Rock 'n' Roll

.)

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The corroded guitar flogs, plegmn-soaked-Nerf-football howls, and avalanche-like drum bashings of "Fuck Your Cocaine" have no care for coherence. Rejection is the point, but the mystery of whether the protagonist is decrying your coke specifically or all coke generally isn't solved, and it doesn't need to be. "I work with my hands/ Fuck your cocaine," they insist again and again, their loud declarations unraveling into a long, collective scream and torrent of intensive instrumental abuse. Heard blind, it'd be easy to peg this as some long forgotten mid-1990s Chicago act's biggest single--or something the Ex shat out while high on, um, coke. "Mummyfuck" is even shorter and rawer, a black, aggro mist that sounds like a Shellac piss-take demo: blunt drums, stretched-to-the-point-of-tunelessness guitar strings, and nutso cymbals team up to beat a straight clear path for constipated, inflammatory nonsense that's merrily unhinged but which you'd never want loved ones to overhear--lest they stop returning your phone calls.

Then, like a bat you never saw coming, it's just over--which is one of Animal Twat's strengths. This has the feel of a probable one-off project, and it's all the better for that, because a full album of this sort of anarchism would be overkill. One quibble: a quickie pair of tunes merits a 7-inch release, not a CD-R EP one. Back when cassettes were the underground's hip lingua franca, you could've put something like this out with plenty of room for listeners to easily tape whatever else they liked in the blank void. (See DGC's re-issue of

Bad Moon Rising

.) Because CD-R technology doesn't allow this, Animal Twat as released feels a bit wasteful.

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