Thrones

Day Late, Dollar Short

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Underground band utility man Joe Preston has accumulated an enviable collection of bass-playing credits over the years, from his early-'90s involvement with subsonic frequency pioneers Earth and their disciples of a decade later, Sunn 0))), to his stints with indie rock stalwarts the Melvins and, most recently, new millennium metal beasts High on Fire -- many of them carried off concurrently with his long-running solo project, Thrones. Begun in 1996, Thrones had Preston handling all instruments himself while traversing an eclectic musical terrain common to all his collaborative efforts cited above (and a few more, besides) over the span of a few albums and literally dozens of singles and one-off compilation entries. And that's where 2005's Day Late, Dollar Short enters the picture with positively heroic results, as it assembles these assorted odds and ends into a single, astonishing, and nerve-jarring 19-track exposition of an otherwise scattered seven-year career. "The Suckling," 1994's first blood, offers a rather inauspicious post-Melvins dirge, but its surprisingly lively B-side romp through Ultravox's "Young Savage" quickly renounces such limitations and paves the way for a string of interesting covers. Those are generally saved for a little later in this time line, however, as the numerous 7"s released in the next few years showcased Thrones' originals like the crushing semi-industrial sludge of "Beddleman," "Coal Sack," and "Simon Legree" (featuring a nice Ian Gillan sample), and the Queens of the Stone Age-like oscillating groove machine called "Senex." At the other end of the spectrum are minimalist Dada-esque experiments like "Piano Handjob" (our hero caught red-handed while testing the limits of a sequencer) and "Easter Woman" (electronic bleeps and bloops galore), and contemplative synthetic ballads like "Silver Colorado" (a tortured Mellotron lullaby) and "Epicus Doomicus Bumpitus," which may sound like a tribute to Vangelis' Chariots of Fire, but is actually based around an obscure children's television show theme! Next, a haunted remix of "Valley of the Thrones" and the gargantuan grind of "Obolus" bookend an amusing cover of Rush's "Oracle" and a testosterone moshing through BÖC's "Black Blade." And then another set of striking contrasts: the agonized industrial static of "David's Lib" seguing into an upbeat chorus vocal for a reading of the Who's "A Quick One While He's Away," then an ambient meditation called "The Walk" and a final return to sludge with "Mostos Algos" at last delivering listeners to the end. Ultimately, the only possible downside to this amazingly timely and convenient collection is the possibility that Thrones may be over and done with -- let's hope that's not the case.

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