(Dead Tank, 2015)
I’m unclear as to why this split isn’t called Cold Hair instead of Burnt Waste. The vibes are positively Antarctic. I mean, you don’t think of the temperature of our goth and post-punk forefathers and -mothers in terms of anything other than frigid temperatures. No tropics, no deserts, no ovens, no incinerators. These cats are cold as ice, cold as waste. Sorry Burnt Hair – it’s winter coats and black jeans, even though you guys are all Floridians. Dead Tank too – they should know better.
I kid, because I’m a big dumb ol’ jackass, and a Jacksonvillian too, and I’m a fan of Dead Tank Records. A big dumb ol’ jackass fan, I tells ya! And though this is my introduction to Burnt Hair, it is not my introduction to Cold Waste, so I was pretty excited to spin the spools on this split cassette. I did an actual happy dance when I realized Burnt Hair, who occupies side B, fits right in with their tape- and labelmates, preferring a similarly bleak mood but relying more heavily on synthesizers than guitars. I mean, I was having fun to begin with on the Cold Waste side, but now I was really having fun!
And by fun I mean I was cowered over my keyboard, listening to the rumble of bleakness, every 4AD-inspired melody washing over me and pushing my head just a little further down. Cold Waste expel three songs on their side, with guitarist James Hernandez taking vocal duties on “Momentary” and “Heavyweight,” and bassist/keyboardist/drummer Kristen Waterman doing the same on “Break the Spell.” “Heavyweight” is actually fairly uptempo, enough that live versions of it probably involve band pogoing. I’d love to see that.
Burnt Hair’s side is even bleaker, as the songs creep along on beds of synthesizer murk, and vocalist Matthew (or is it Trenton Tarpits? I honestly don’t know) intones his dark poetry. “Intones” is really the only verb that’s useful here – “singing” just doesn’t cut it, as its potential to conjure some sort of happiness is too great. It’s good though – he has a better range than Paul Banks, and he’s more interesting for it. It also helps that Burnt Hair trades in minimalism when it comes to accompaniment, resulting in darkwave chants more than songs. It’s pretty nifty stuff. Their contributions, “Forgotten” and “Scraped+Bitten,” pass too quickly.
So while it’s hard to feel any warmth here, I hope you feel the love I’m sending your way regarding this cassette. It’s totally worth a few minutes to check out – just remember to bundle up and wear eye makeup or something. Is that what goths do these days? I have no idea anymore. Who cares anyway, it’s all just a category, and who needs categories. This is post punk at its modern finest, regardless. See? Maybe you do need categories, I don’t know. Eff it.
RIYL: Suicide, Joy Division, Interpol