(Detonic Recordings, 2015)
When I first saw this promo hit my inbox, I was like, “Huh, those Aussies must be down with Canadian grunge from the 1990s. Weird, I guess. OK.” I told Detonic label honcho Dik as much, that I’d seen Moist records – specifically 1994’s Silver – in used bins in my formative years. Dik must have thought that I was a total fucking spazz – “WRONG MOIST,” he wrote in all caps, and I felt like a knob. Because why would anybody in their right mind be into the Canadian Moist? (Although – they somehow released a record in 2014, so I guess you can’t account for taste.)
The Moist that Dik sent is the good Moist, the Moist from London, also from the early 1990s, but whose Secreted LP is here issued on cassette for the first time in … forever. And I do want to address the last sentence – Dik, Moist, Secreted … ew, seriously, and totally, gross. Gag me. But let’s soldier on, because Secreted is fun, and we’ve really got nothing to lose but our lunch, and those of us who have already lost it after reading this far are in even better shape than those who haven’t.
Secreted was planned as a follow-up to the Face Pack EP (which you can stream or buy right here!), but it never saw the light of day. It deserves to, and now it will, thanks to those Detonic scamps. Guitarist Jon Free, who has also played in Penthouse and Gin Palace, moved to Australia and fell in with the gutter-punk/scuzz-riot scene there, and became a local legend (or so I assume). Sadly, vocalist Nick Brown died in 2013, so perhaps now is indeed the best time to honor his memory with this release.
There’s a lot to like – imagine Scratch Acid (or The Jesus Lizard, who am I to judge) hanging out with The Birthday Party in 1980, and you get pretty much the complete picture. I can only describe the guitar sound as “serrated,” and the pace as “breakneck” (or perhaps “headlong,” except when it’s uncomfortably sludgy). Brown does a reasonable facsimile of “Nick the Stripper,” singing like he’s howling in pain through a mask of rusted nails, except of course when he’s sort of down-shifting his notes in a faux-Elvis way. He’s mostly in the red on the recording, and is sometimes obscured even further by distortion effects, as on “Logg.”
This is all pretty heavy, but there are a couple playful moments too, like the noxious funk of “Manc. Hype-Victim” or the pistol-whip syllable hurling of “Bite.” OK, maybe “playful” is too light a term – these tunes still hit you in the gut like a mallet. But that just means Secreted is a perfect release for Detonic, who just don’t care what you think in the slightest. (And, if you missed it – and I missed writing about it – check out the Normalised compilation, if not for the utter scope of nasty digital-scum-punk Detonic’s scraped up, then at least for a new Diesel Dudes tune!) I just wish that my last.fm account wouldn’t assume I was listening to the alterna-Canadian dorks – that kind of thing goes on my permanent record, you know.
RIYL: The Jesus Lizard, The Birthday Party, Black Flag