Just Erase It

I am now on day 2 of rebellious feelings and Gogol Bordello will no longer cut it. Merely hyper music does not compare to the frantic energy of Erase Errata. There comes a point when rebellion eats itself, rebelling against rebellion itself. I am not there yet. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile, back at the sane farm, Erase Errata is about to make an appearance in this very blog, not literally, but descriptively.

As near as I can tell, there are a series of bands all including Jenny Hoyston and various numbers of other people. If there are three people, you are listening to Erase Errata. Just two, and you have California Lightening. Only Jenny and, of course, that would be Paradise Island. Mathematically, this is an example of non-linear counting where more of a number corresponds just to a change in quality and not more of something else. Non-linear counting? I just made that up, can you tell?

Nightlife by Erase Errata

Nightlife by Erase Errata

If you are counting, linearly or not, I’ve mentioned Erase Errata before when discussing cowbells. Erase Errata is about far more than bovine necklaces. On Nightlife, their most recent album from 2006 (a new release is in the works, even now), you will hear a whole range of twitchy, jagged, noisy agitation along with selected torturous brass sounds. Sure, a cowbell is part of it, sometimes, but as punctuation, not as a dominant feature. Lyrics display a distinct punk-like topicality, but with an artistically indirect sense of angry poetry. Will you know exactly who or what is being skewered? I don’t know, but I don’t. Not always. On “Another Genius Idea From Our Government”, the rapid-fire guitar monotony (like less-distorted Sonic Youth) supports Hoyston singing about government subservience to the wealthy, I think. Then, she tortures her trumpet, sounding like a frantic rubbing on a balloon. The balloon-rubbing works on guitar, too, backing up “Rider”, as the drums and chanting take you through a gallop through a well-armed neighborhood (“Everybody has a gun, everybody has a knife”). Other than Erase Errata, only the Dead Kennedys could ever do this song justice.

Sure, the sound is mostly frantic, but that’s not all you get. On “Hotel Suicide”, you get a lonely trumpet to go with the twitchy muted guitar which, eventually, opens up into a lightspeed version of a Blue Oyster Cult song. Well, maybe not BoC, but I swear, as it slows down, you feel yourself in the nightmare version of the movie “Heavy Metal”.

Although direct, the music is not simple. The bass guitar in “Direct” tells you over and over, “Thub-thub-thub thumb thumb thumb” while a buzzsaw guitar turns on and off. Out of nowhere, you’re in 6/8 time, feeling like a punky Rush concert, with the most ominous guitar sound Tom Petty and a feel of racing a cliffside winding road. At times, particularly on “He Wants What’s Mine”, it becomes a female-fronted version of Primus with the sense of jittery chaos that contrasts with a dose of sanity I never hear in Primus. Riff after riff. Heavy, not deliberate. Full of anxiety and tension. The vocals, however, are not. Cool and vaguely urgent, but not yelling/shouting/compelling.

Still, no matter what you hear on this album, “Cruising” is the single most spectacular track, standing beyond almost every other song written or performed anywhere. I’ve raved before so I’ll drop it for now. But, you need to know this one more thing about Erase Errata. Having toured with Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon and Erase Errata combined for a song with easy-to-remember lyrics:

Put yourself in a body bag.

Put yourself in a body bag.

Put yourself in a body bag.

I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet.

That is rebelling even against rebellion … my kind of band.

17 thoughts on “Just Erase It

  1. Perhaps you might enjoy Michál Cowfield’s Cowbular Bells?

    “Then, she tortures her trumpet, sounding like a frantic rubbing on a balloon.” I don’t know whether to be seriously turned on or seriously disturbed.

      • Disturbingly seriously turned on. I guess I can manage that. (mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle mad giggle)

  2. Just the title ‘Another genius idea…’ alone is enough. I don’t need to hear it to know how good that is.

    Ho-hum another one added to my wish list. Thank you.

Am I wrong?