Over the past year or so, the scene surrounding downtown L.A. artist hub and D.I.Y. venue The Smell has received quite a bit of national attention. Affiliated bands, like HEALTH, The Mae Shi, Mika Miko, and No Age, have seen their names cropping up everywhere from Pitchfork to the pages of the New Yorker. And not without good reason; these punk-influenced experimental rockers run an impressive gamut of forward-thinking noise, from the seriously abrasive to the decidedly pop–leaning.
Smell-dwellers Abe Vigoda probably fit somewhere towards the middle of that spectrum, fusing their disorderly noise-pop with elements of “world music” (a currently unfolding trend I’ve mentioned before). This self-described “tropical punk” band released Skeleton back in July, an album that has garnered some glowing reviews and has persistently resurfaced in my listening rotation. While they definitely fit in with the aesthetic of other Smell bands, they also maintain their own distinctive identity and really do convey a subtle, twisted sense of tropical sounds. At certain moments, effects-laden guitar seem to transform into steel drums, flourishes of percussion project faded holograms of the Caribbean, and chant-like wails that lurk just beneath the wall-of-sound production induce waves of tribalist psychedelia.
Here’s a couple tracks from Skeleton, but it’s really an album that’s better heard in it’s entirety… pick it up so you can get sucked into it’s hypnotic calypso-punk too.
Download: Abe Vigoda – Animal Ghosts
Buy: Order Skeleton from Post Present Medium (the label founded by No Age’s Dean Spunt).
Watch: Check out Abe Vigoda’s appearance on Pitchfork.tv’s Don’t Look Down series over here.