This 12-inch sounds wrong at both 33 rpm and 45 rpm. At 45 rpm it
sounds really, really fast. At 33 rpm it still sounds too fast.
Except it's Hella and they play too fast. So both speeds are the
right speed. Except only one of them is right 45 rpm. But 33
rpm sounds pretty good too. Wrong, but good.
Hella is made up of two people Spencer Seim, who plays guitar
and looks like he belongs at a Renaissance Faire, and Zach Hill, who
plays drums. Neither of them sings. Well maybe they do, but they
don't sing in this band. The last song on this 12-inch has vocals
that are not sung by Spencer or Zach. This is a gimmick, and like all
bad gimmicks it will be forgotten and pondered by historians in years
to come. Because the song, a reworking of "Republic of Rough and
Ready" (the best song from Hella's first album, Hold Your Horse
Is), is ruined by the whiny singer, and it's embarrassing when
you get down to it. A quick fix though play the 12-inch at 33
rpm so he sounds a bit more menacing. But then the instrumental part
sounds like bad Black Sabbath. Nix the fix.
If Hella were to have a vocalist, it should be an auctioneer. The
tempos of each are pretty similar, and think of how rad a noise band
with bona fide subliminal messages would be! The auctioneer could
toss in crazy asides like, "Let's use chairs for money," which could
take down the whole capitalist system from the inside, because people
would be buying this in droves. Plus, Hella fans are really rich. At
one of the band's recent shows in Brooklyn, Trey Anastasio, the
singer from Phish, was there rocking out, and he's LOADED!
And speaking of loaded, there's Load Records, which puts out albums
by Hella's bitter rival, Lightning Bolt (in fact I don't think
there's a rivalry, but the press should really create one,
à la Oasis vs. Blur, Beatles vs. Stones, West Coast vs.
East Coast, Jefferson Airplane vs. Jefferson Starship). Hella and
Lightning Bolt are both noisenik duos, but Hella's better because
their songs are melodic AND noisy. Lightning Bolt doesn't have the
tunes. But suddenly there's been a third-act role reversal, cuz the
new Lightning Bolt album, Wonderful Rainbow (run and buy it),
is really melodic, and this Hella 12-inch is just noisy and tuneless.
Maybe they each decided that the other band was the best and decided
to copy them? In which case Hella is the best band, so Lightning Bolt
gets points for recognizing that, and this whole equation's shot to
shit in the end.
So yeah, these new songs aren't great listening, but they're great
dancing, especially if you've got two left feet. It's impossible to
dance to Hella songs they're always changing tempos, and even
if they weren't it's just way too fast for any real moves. But if you
don't have any real moves then you've got a great excuse, because
everyone looks dumb moving to it. And suddenly you're the life of the
party for the first time ever. So start thrashing, loser!