The Psychotic Monks Gives Form to Humanity’s Industrial Colony Collapse in the Thrillingly Clashing Noise Rock of “All That Fall”

The Psychotic Monks, photo courtesy the artists

The Psychotic Monks sound like they’re using the sounds of industrial civilization colliding and collapsing to craft the main riffs of “All That Fall.” You can hear bass but it’s so blunt in its pulse it’s like a machine sound too as are the accenting drums. It’s fitting given that the song sounds like it’s about the collapse of the the world we know. The stretching sounds and the vocals bordering on the chanting and ritualistic in the din of unfolding events as the whole big mess winds down into the first third of the song. But the song is nine minutes fifty-three seconds long and if this can be considered something like a post-punk noise rock song for those who want familiar frames of musical and aesthetic reference, something of that sprawl in length and structure is more in the art realm of that music. The middle of the song is quiet with widely splaying percussion and a sound like a huge metal can being struck periodically. As touchstones one recalls perhaps This Heat or Liars in its few concessions to conventional musical style and arrangement in favor of the more conceptual in its emotional expression of mood. This middle part of what might be considered a triptych gives way to a furious, industrious clash and wild distortions that endlessly escalate until hitting a plateau that fractures and not giving one much of a stable musical footing but all the more thrilling in its projection of unease and frustration and anxiety given a direct and dramatic sonic release like something one might more expect from a The Jesus Lizard record. Listen to “All That Fall” on Spotify and follow The Psychotic Monks at the links provided. The group’s new record Pink Colour Surgery drops on February 3, 2023 via Vicious Circle/FatCat Records.

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Queen City Sounds Podcast Ep. 43: Moon Pussy

Moon Pussy, photo by Tom Murphy

Moon Pussy is a noise rock band from Denver. The trio met in and around the DIY/house show scene in Denton, Texas around a decade ago. Drummer Corey Hager had been in various bands including the Unwound-esque Last Men (a play on the title of the classic graphic novel series Y: The Last Man). Vocalist/bassist Cristina Cuellar lived in a house that threw shows but wasn’t an active musician until picking up bass to play with Moon Pussy. Ethan Hahn is from Denver and had played in various noise rock/art rock bands over several years before the personal and creative chemistry came together with Hager and Cuellar. After moving to Denver around a decade ago, the band didn’t fully get off the ground until a few years back when Moon Pussy made a strong impression among connoisseurs of music that might be challenging to people who would probably hate Big Black and The Jesus Lizard too. Cuellar’s eruptive vocals and the more intuitive rhythms and sonic textures that flow freely between band members and into the music sounds and feels like a catharsis of the anxiety, frustration and outrages that have become an ambient aspect of life in the modern world.

Listen to our interview with Moon Pussy on Bandcamp linked below and go see the band at Down in Denver Fest on Sunday, 8/21/22 at 2 pm on the Howl Stage. For more information on the festival and on Moon Pussy, visit one of the links beneath the link for the interview.

Best Shows in Denver and Beyond 7/18/19 – 7/24/19

Michael McDonald will perform at Denver Botanic Gardens York Street on July 18, photo by Timothy White

Thursday | July 18

CHRCH, photo by Hannah Stone

What: Michael McDonald w/Strange Americans
When: Thursday, 07.18, 5:45 p.m.
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens – York Street
Why: Michael McDonald’s smooth and soulful vocals have been a part of American rock and pop music for over four decades now. Whether as a singer in Steely Dan (both live and in studio), The Doobie Brothers, as a solo artist and in his numerous collaborations including with the likes of modern hip-hop/jazz genius Thundercat, McDonald brings a deep musicality and keen ear for melody that transcends genre. This concludes his run of shows in Colorado over this past week.

What: Usnea, CHRCH, Zygrot and Limbwrecker
When: Thursday, 07.18, 7 p.m.
Where: Rhinoceropolis
Why: Kind of a funeral doom show at Rhino tonight w/Portland, Oregon’s funeral doom juggernauts Usnea and the transcendental occult feral drone of CHRCH from Sacramento.

Friday | July 19

Spirettes, photo by Tom Murphy

What: We Are A Glum Lot and Spirettes dual album release w/Turvy Organ
When: Friday, 07.19, 8 p.m.
Where: Lulu’s Downstairs – Manitou Springs
Why: Dream pop band Spirettes and neo-math-emo-indie rock band We Are Not a Glum Lot are releasing their new albums simultaneously this evening at Lulu’s Downstairs in Manitou Springs. Spirettes’ album being Esoteria and We Are Not a Glum Lot’s titled The Price of Simply Existing.

What: Hammer’s House Party: MC Hammer, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Sisqo, Biz Markie, 2 Live Crew, The Funky Bunch
When: Friday, 07.19, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Fiddler’s Green
Why: At this show you can party like it’s 1992 or 1999 depending on who you’re going to see. MC Hammer was ubiquitous in the early 90s with multiple hit songs that helped to put hip-hop into the mainstream. Sir Mix-a-Lot is perhaps best known for his hit song “Baby Got Back” but he was a big deal in Seattle before that and his records worth listening to generally for their swagger and sly and pointed humor. Biz Markie is a character in hip-hop who burst the boundaries of what was acceptable by owning being a little rough around the edges in his rapping and his outlandish performance persona. His 1989 song “Just a Friend” is a classic of the genre. 2 Live Crew traded in x-rated rap for years and garnered attention for its high profile lawsuit regarding its 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be over the record’s alleged obscenity. Seems quaint and inconsequential now considering how the President of the United States has and continued to talk about women but back in the day it made the news and catapulted the underground group into the national consciousness. Sisqó is the lead singer of Dru Hill but in 1999 he had hit songs like “Thong Song” and “Incomplete.” So you’ll get to take in a good swath of 90s mainstream hip-hop in one concert if you go.

Saturday | July 20

Flipper circa 2012, photo by Tom Murphy

What: Flipper 40th Anniversary Tour with David Yow
When: Saturday, 07.20, 8 p.m.
Where: Marquis Theater
Why: David Yow of The Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid will front the notorious San Francisco post-punk band Flipper for this tour and he’s one singer who still seems to have some disregard for his personal safety as a performer.

Sunday | July 21

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, photo courtesy the artists

What: Elizabeth Colour Wheel w/Drowse, New Standards Men and BleakHeart
When: Sunday, 07.21, 8 p.m.
Where: Hi-Dive
Why: Elizabeth Colour Wheel’s ritual drone, blackened shoegaze, mystic doom, pagan crust sound on its 2019 album Nocebo is Diamanda Galas-esque in its cathartic intensity and SubRosa-like in its sense of mystery.

Tuesday | July 23

Starcrawler, photo by Cameron Mccool

What: Beck w/Cage the Elephant, Spoon and Starcrawler
When: Tuesday, 07.23, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Fiddler’s Green
Why: Beck went from eccentric underground artist with releases on K Records and Flipside early in his career to late-era alternative icon in the mid-to-late 90s with hit songs and videos on MTV to mature singer songwriter with a gift for inventive soundscaping. All the while Beck’s genre-bending instincts and disregard for expectation and convention has meant all of his albums are worth a listen. Cage the Elephant has made a bit of a name for itself by mixing together punk, psychedelia and bluesy garage rock. Even though Spoon has hit the greatest hits compilation (minus tracks from great albums like Girls Can Tell and Hot Thoughts), the Austin-based, arty post-punk outfit has raised its songwriting bar with every album since its 1996 debut Telephono bringing in electronic elements more to the fore on 2017’s Hot Thoughts and always with the rhythm anchoring and guiding the music. That politicians and public radio station managers cite Spoon as a favorite band shouldn’t be held against them. L.A.’s Starcrawler opens the show with its mélange of punk, 70s glam and stoner rock. Which might get the group lumped in with the recent wave of 90s fuzz rock worshippers. But Starcrawler’s songwriting tends to unironically embrace the swagger of yesteryear and take inspiration from the bands that influenced grunge rather than simply the 90s amalgamation of all of it.