How the Thing Sings

Album Review of How the Thing Sings by Bill Orcutt.

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How the Thing Sings

Bill Orcutt

How the Thing Sings by Bill Orcutt

Release Date: Sep 19, 2011
Record label: Editions Mego
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

78 Music Critic Score
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How the Thing Sings - Very Good, Based on 3 Critics

Pitchfork - 80
Based on rating 8.0/10

Many influences behind Bill Orcutt's acoustic guitar music are easy to guess-- the raw blues of Lightnin' Hopkins and Fred McDowell, the abstract improvisations of Derek Bailey and Cecil Taylor, Orcutt's own attacking bent in 1990s noise outfit Harry Pussy. But there's at least one that nobody could've deduced: "tic videos." As Orcutt told The Wire, he's fascinated by clips "made by people... who have these involuntary physical and verbal tics, and they actually document their symptoms and put the videos up on YouTube." It's an odd inspiration, but one that says a lot about his playing style, which Orcutt himself likens to hiccuping.

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Tiny Mix Tapes - 80
Based on rating 4/5

Bill Orcutt made his name as guitarist for Harry Pussy, one of the most challenging and exhilarating noise bands of the 90s. The Miami rock deconstructionists abstracted hardcore into expressivist blurts, shedding riff and chorus like rocket stages in the liberation of hardcore’s signifiers: the inarticulate scream of rage, the instinctive drum thudding, and the sputtering guitar. After a hiatus of 12 years, Orcutt reemerged in 2008 playing the acoustic blues as fractured, modernist tone poems.

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Consequence of Sound - 72
Based on rating B

Back in the mid ’90s, there were few American noise rockers kicking out material as aggressive, brutal, and nerve-rattling as Harry Pussy. After releasing eight LPs (not to mention a slew of other singles, splits, and compilation cuts) between 1993 and 1998, the group faded away. Drummer/vocalist Adris Hoyos’ scattershot percussion and animalistic intonations makes him the direct ancestor of weirdo set-smackers like Chris Corsano, while the clanging, unhinged, acerbic electric guitar provided by Bill Orcutt in those heady days is a sound equally aped.

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