Regular readers of the site should recognize the name of this San Diego band, since I wrote about them only three days ago. Plus, their name is Those Darn Gnomes — not an easy name to forget once you’ve seen it. Their music isn’t easy to forget either. As of three days ago I had heard only one song, a long number named “Blacklip”, which will appear on their forthcoming debut album The Invariant. And now I’ve heard a second one — and you’ll get to hear it, too, because we’re premiering it right now.
The song’s name is “Relief Organ”. Like “Blacklip”, it’s longer than average, and like “Blacklip”, it’s a wild ride: heavy, slow, sludgy riffs mixed with distorted, proggy meanderings, mixed with cool jazz interludes, mixed with blasting drums and a blizzard of distorted chords, mixed with gargling gutturals, vomit-spewing howls, and mellow jazz-influenced female vocals (courtesy of guest vocalist Katie Walker).
It’s strange, unstructured music with highly unstable rhythms, highly unstable moods, and highly unpredictable stylistic variations. And yet for all its avant-garde refusal to follow a straight line, it’s awfully damned interesting.
For those who will like this unusual music as much as I do, here’s a brief bio of the band. Those Darn Gnomes was formed by Russell Case (bass) and Bryon Walton (drums), and after some line-up shuffles they were joined by guitarist Christian Molenaar and vocalist Mark Steuer. At different times, everyone but Bryon was in a punk band named Part of the Solution, but fled that organization and have now settled in a group whose music has little connection to punk.
Principal songwriter Christian Molenaar identifies his main inspirations and influences for writing this style of music as “death metal and grind bands like Demilich and Pig Destroyer, latin jazz and tango composers like Astor Piazolla, weirdo prog/psych like Frank Zappa, Demon Fuzz, and Selim Lemouchi, and avant-garde composers like Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg.”
And if you’re wondering how in the hell that mix of names could possibly be listed as influences in the same sentence, you’re about to find out. Here’s “Relief Organ”. The Invariant will be released by Dipsomaniac Records, and you can find Those Darn Gnomes on Facebook via this link.
Additional vocals come courtesy of Katie Walker.