Here’s how this story goes: Late yesterday afternoon I posted that photo up there on Facebook. I just wanted to make sure I had saved it because I think the sight of those two frogs fucking will always cheer me up on those rare occasions when I’m feeling down. And no sooner had I done that than Utmu suggested I needed to listen to Phyllomedusa while gazing upon the fucking frogs. So I did, and holy frog copulation, did it pulp my brain into pond scum. I wanted to turn it off, but I couldn’t.
The Phyllomedusa album I started cranking is called Puddle Dependency, and the cover is a photo of a frog. But of course it is. I’ll show it to you after the jump. I think the photo above would have been a better choice, but it’s a new pic (taken by Jana Miller) and wasn’t available when Puddle Dependency was released in January, so all is forgiven. Also, I don’t think these frogs belong to the right genus (more on that later).
There are 15 tracks on Puddle Dependency. Some are slower, some are faster, but otherwise they’re kind of hard to tell apart. However, they are all goddamn obliterating. Utmu told me the style of music is called “gorenoise”. I suggested that “frogrind” is better, especially since it’s one of the labels that Phyllomedusa uses. Utmu countered with “croakslam”, and that works, too. Be sure to pay attention to the song titles.
Here are the song titles:
That Warm Mist Coherence
Hylorina, The Understory Savage
Ill-Fated Puddle Dependencies In An Unfortunate Ecosystem
A Variable In Mite Flavor
Killing Los Langeros (Los Langeros cover)
The Natal Ghost (Hadromophryne)
19 Insects And Plant Material (Within The Stomach Contents)
Atelognathus Anguish By Eutrophication
Venter Feebly Areolate
Distilled Viscera Gunk As Gracixalus Treats
Stir Fry The General Public
Maim The Bitch
Submerged To The Pond Floor
The Smell Of The Dead Crickets
The Chub (Sugar Ray cover)
But to return to what the music sounds like: For the most part it’s a hurricane of grotesquely distorted atonal riffs, explosive drumbeats, and utterly spine-crushing grooves. But the vocals… the vocals are what will transfix you. You will either want to run screaming into the streets or you’ll slurp ’em up like frog puree. They range from utterly horrifying pitch-shifted roars and growls to gurgling bullfrog croaks to ruptured-jugular shrieks to something that sounds very much like vomiting.
It’s a loud, galvanizing, destructive rampage of unhinged mayhem — part grind, part brutal death, part slam, part black noise. My head banged while listening, slimy goop streamed out my ears, and I got a nosebleed. But I went back for more. You’ve been warned:
Puddle Dependency is a free download on Bandcamp, where you will also find two even more recent Phyllomedusa releases. One is entitled How Stella Got Her Head Back (Ecuadorian Ritualism) and the one that came out this month is Local Gray To Green Rendezvous. That second one consists of one 49-minute song, “The 48th Chromosome”. These two albums are also available for free. The Bandcamp site also includes many previous releases. I haven’t listened to any of the other albums and EPs yet because I need to give my brain a chance to repair itself first. Also, I’m slightly afraid.
According to this page, Phyllomedusa is a solo project of someone in Annapolis, Maryland who goes by the moniker Big Frog. But of course he does.
According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, phyllomedusa is a genus of tree frog, with more than 30 species that range from Central to South America. This is a gif of Phyllomedusa hypochondrialis walking up a near-vertical surface:
Below is the link to Big Frog’s blog. As you will see if you go there, his frog-related musical and lyrical themes are not entirely a goof — maybe they’re not a goof at all. He seems to have a very serious interest in our amphibian neighbors:
And that’s all I have for you at the moment.