Pop. 1280

The Horror

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Named for the '60s crime novel by Jim Thompson, Pop. 1280 are similarly bleak. Released nearly a year after the Grid 12", the music on the post-punk quartet's debut is atonal, full of noisy, jagged guitar strikes, brittle drumming, and minimalist, deliberately repetitive vocal shouts. Any sense of melody is thrown out the window. Instead, chief songwriters Chris Bug and Ivan Lip aim to create tension. Their label, Sacred Bones, has been on a roll for a while now (it's usually easy to tell a band on that label by the similar typeface on the CDs), and Pop. 1280 sit in the same fashionably dark outer fringe as most artists on the roster (Slug Guts, the Men, and Amen Dunes come to mind). The Horror was recorded in the Python Patrol basement studios in Brooklyn with engineer Ben Greenberg, and the music has a mean, snarling attitude that feels street-bred. "Bodies in the Dunes" and "Hang 'Em High" are pure nihilism, and the band's free-form style of playing is every bit as anti-musical and explosive as '70s no wave, making for a savage listen.

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