Release Date: Oct 19, 2010
Record label: Sargent House
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Noise-Rock
Zach Hill perfected the art of stringing several drum solos together close to a decade ago. His voyage to combine his technical prowess with melodies and songwriting hasn’t proved as effortless, but his side-band excursions — Chll Pll, The Ladies, and Bygones — come increasingly, almost dangerously close to cracking the code and opening the floodgates. With Face Tat, he continues to attempt to hit that Spot I’ve been waiting for him to NAIL all along (and when he finally does get it right, I’m not guaranteeing that it won’t be like that final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark; you know, faces melting, demons/ghosts released from eternal purgatory, bad guys expunged to a world of cold, dead spirits), to AWESOME but not-quite-there ends.
Insanity galore for Zach Hill's sophomore solo outing. The cover, a still from the video for "The Sacto Smile" (which follows a girl beating up everyone and everything in her way), sums up the fiery rampage pretty well. The aforementioned track is Face Tat at its most violent, and features No Age along with Tera Melos guitarist Nick Reinhart bashing crazily with Hill through a wall of static.
Throughout his career, drummer Zach Hill has been especially prolific: in the sheer number of his collaborations (Hella, Marnie Stern, Prefuse 73, Wavves, etc.), in the size of his extended discography, and in the ferocious style with which he assaults his drums. All this constant action has understandably led to moments of both brilliance and self-indulgence. Hill's 2008 solo debut, Astrological Straits, was an impressive but exhausting affair, filled beyond the brim with non-stop, torrential drumming.
Whenever some avant-garde musician talks of wanting to make ‘pop’ music it always sounds like the polar opposite to what pop really is, even with the most elastic definition of an already nebulous genre. So when [a]Zach Hill[/a], the absurdly talented drummer with cult noiseniks [b]Hella[/b] and about three dozen other collaborative groups, drops the P-word in conjunction with guests such as [a]No Age[/a], [a]Prefuse 73[/a] and [a]Devendra Banhart[/a], it’s blindingly obvious this is going to be some off-kilter shit. And true to form ‘[b]Face Tat[/b]’ is a relentless and abrasive outing through sounds and rhythms [a]Ke$ha[/a] couldn’t mime over if she had the cast of Cheers shoved up her arse (which, let’s face it, she probably does).
It’s probably fair to say that Zach Hill doesn’t really care what most people think of him. For anyone who’s seen the wildhaired and even wilder armed drummer live and in the flesh, it’s hard to think of a word that better describes him than ‘unconventional’. From the shattered and splintered crash cymbals littering his kit through to his whirlwind self taught kitwork, Zach’s a maverick.
Drummer Zach Hill collects superlatives like some people collect baseball cards. And for every new review that calls Hill “the greatest,” “the most inventive,” or whatever newfangled expression one can come up with, Hill produces another record or creates another band that challenges even his own fans’ expectations. Take Hill’s newest solo album, Face Tat: The record is a lean chunk of pop-rock.
Drummer’s second solo LP is among the most rewardingly challenging listens of 2010 Adam Kennedy 2010 Octopus-armed Sacramento sticksman Zach Hill has long since disproved common misconceptions over likely merits of a drummer's extracurricular musical projects, successfully collaborating with members of rock luminaries The Mars Volta, Deftones and Marilyn Manson. But 2008 solo debut Astrological Straits arrived as a daunting two-disc leviathan that never quite translated raw talent into absorbable material. Follow-up Face Tat, however, paints a much fuller picture of his rainbow vision.
Wooden Wand His tunes are pretty simple, but James Jackson Toth, who performs under the name Wooden Wand, takes risks with words. He writes songs of sketchy morality draped in weird sounds — guitar solos like water drips, deep-echo vocal choruses — but centered in folk-song structures, like a cross between Edward Lear’s cautionary tales and “Another Side of Bob Dylan. ” On “Death Seat” (Young God), creeps, loners and egomaniacs take over his best narratives, like the one who sings: I want to impact how you live and I don’t care if it’s hurtful or negative I will do this without fail till you’re consumed with each detail.