Warm Drag

Warm Drag

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Between the two of them, Warm Drag's Paul Quattrone and Vashti Windish have spent time in bands including Thee Oh Sees, !!!, Modey Lemon, K-Holes, and Golden Triangle. This impressive pedigree still doesn't hint at all the sounds and influences they wrangle on their self-titled debut, however. The duo's twanging riffs, sheets of noise, and relentless rhythms owe a clear debt to electro-punk pioneers Suicide -- particularly on "Cruisin' the Night," a joyride that sounds like "Ghost Rider" 40 years down the road -- but also evoke other acts that know just how good drum machines and guitars can sound together. The Kills would be proud to call "Hurricane Eyes" their own, while shades of Anika's doomy dub-pop and Dirty Beaches' post-apocalyptic soundscapes lurk in the shadows of "End Times," a hip-swaying trance that's the perfect soundtrack to setting off into the night to make mistakes. Unlike many of those similar-sounding artists, Warm Drag's songs are almost entirely pieced together on Quattrone's AKAI MPC samplers. In that regard, he and Windish take as much inspiration from the Bomb Squad's dense productions as they do from more obvious influences, and both halves of the duo get to stretch more than with their previous projects. Quattrone throws listeners into the deep end immediately with "The Wanderer"'s grinding layers of distortion; meanwhile, Windish reveals sultry, surly depths on songs such as "Cave Crawl," where she's a reluctant femme fatale with a viscous drawl that sounds more like tar than honey. Though Warm Drag blend the elements of their music into a foggy, subterranean whole, there's still a fair amount of variety to their sound. The narcotic love song "Sleepover" flirts with dream pop and combines the album's sweetest sounds with its most disturbing inspiration: Quattrone once sublet his apartment to a man who overdosed on inhalants a few days after moving in, and his body wasn't discovered until most of it had been dissolved by the summer heat. "Someplace I Shouldn't Be" deconstructs blues-rock until it's almost unrecognizable save for a stomping beat and distant harmonica, and the sprawling collage "Parasite Wreckage Dub" closes the album with a trip to its most psychedelic and surreal realms. Seductive, menacing, and just plain cool-sounding, Warm Drag's rock & roll hallucinations make for a fantastic debut.

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