Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock, Noise-Rock, Noise
As one half of the incomparable noise duo Lightning Bolt, Brian Chippendale developed a style of drumming so uniquely ferocious it not only spawned a series of imitators, but also led to collaborations with artists from Björk to Lee "Scratch" Perry. With Black Pus, Chippendale further explored his seemingly limitless approach to the possibilities of the drum kit, first as a chaotic, home-recorded, free jazz collage, then branching into different territory with each low-key CD-R release. All My Relations, the second proper Black Pus album, finds Chippendale going it alone, making an incredible amount of unholy noise with a drum kit, garbled vocals, and minimal raw electronics.
All My Relations is Black Pus’s debut for the Thrill Jockey label, and as such, will have by far the most ample distribution of any of his releases to date. Should your town have a decently stocked indie record emporium, you ought to be able to stroll in and pick this up. By contrast, when Brian Chippendale started releasing under this grody name back in 2005, the only place in – as far as I could ever ascertain – the world you could buy Black Pus CD-Rs was a punk rock kinda shop in Providence, RI, where Chippendale lives.
Black Pus is Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale’s pop-inspired side project. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. The drummer’s solo-musings are only “pop” in comparison to his main gig, whose expansive, abstract thrashing sounds sort of like a flaming 8-bit meteor plunging into the Burning Man festival. Those same drum-and-bass-meets-Jackson Pollock rhythms provide the foundations for Black Pus, but here, Chippendale sometimes reigns in the pounding to make way for singsongy melodies.
Black Pus, the solo side project of drummer, vocalist, and visual artist Brian Chippendale, who faithfully brings the thunder as one half of Providence, Rhode Island’s native noise-rock duo Lightning Bolt, is a minimalist, electronic-influenced distillation of the stalwart percussionist’s earsplitting clamor. Black Pus’s 2011 album, Primordial Pus, was more or less a lo-fi, screechy continuation of the sound heard on Lightning Bolt’s so-so Earthly Delights, but Chippendale seems to have come into his own on sophomore effort All My Relations, finally recording in the comfort of a legitimate studio with a treasure trove of sonic embellishments at his disposal. Chippendale plays with his new tools quite a bit on the album’s opening track, “Marauder,” a laboriously layered compendium of aural flourishes supported by a looped stringy backbeat that booms and snakes alongside his nonstop pounding.
Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale has been releasing solo material under the moniker Black Pus for years, largely available as CD-Rs or in the dark, noisy corners of the internet. Though he’s been toying with accessible melody in the midst of the chaos, it’s never been more apparent than on All My Relations, the first Black Pus album recorded in a professional studio. But this is still Chippendale, and there’s nothing to dissuade you from picturing him moaning through that wrestling mask microphone while manically thumping away at a drum kit.
Sadly, I've never seen Lightning Bolt live, despite the number of times it's been recommended to me. It's a bona fide regret, and yet I'm equally a tiny bit afraid of the possibility of doing so. After all, there's so much physicality involved with Brian Chippendale's drumming that I assume his body looks like a combination of Michael Phelps, Bradley Wiggins, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Andre The Giant, which would put my fragile, consumptive frame to shame.