By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
No practice makes perfect
As far as big-name lineups go, Buccinator is a little like going to the NBA All-Star Game and finding CBA players on the floor. Drummer Avery Smith doubles as the Beastie Boys' touring percussionist; Dave Gomez used to play bass in Oiler (with Buccinator "noise guitarist" Evan Mack) and currently holds down that slot in Beck's fine band; and singer-guitarist John Napier (late of the now-defunct Ethyl Meatplow) does double duty with E-Coli.
Originally created a year and a half ago as a one-off that also featured Carolyn Rue (as in, the original drummer for Hole) and Lou Reed percussionist Danny Frankel, the L.A.-based Buccinator has "side project" stamped on its forehead. This band--built upon a shaky foundation of crushing, headache-machine noise and road-to-nowhere forms--plays out like a warehouse, "120 Minutes"-bred version of Metal Machine Music: it exists somewhere between experiment and fuck-you, between unadulterated catharsis and unapologetic pain. The result seems less a coherent idea and more a patchwork of influences, the band growing so loose and aimless it threatens to crumble apart from the get-go. If the credentials are legit, the music bears little evidence of the more conventional roots.
Rather, The Great Painter Raphael--Buccinator's debut as a recording outfit, most of which was recorded a year ago--is an intriguing but nearly indecipherable, droning blur of noise that amounts, in the end, to a painfully overwhelming experience. Gomez's bass roars underneath and on top of a sound that comes across as hard-core created by and for an Alternative Prozac Nation, and Napier's vocals are reduced to static, only occasionally peeking through the maul of sound, sometimes sounding very much like Beavis' "Great Cornholio" on a sugar high. It straddles the barbed-wire fence between hard-core and noize-core--melodies that have no structure, words that have no meaning, songs that have no beginning or no end.
"We're trying not to take too serious an approach," Napier says. "Although the bands we've been in have been and are structured and very musically proficient or whatever, this time around with all of us together, it's basically just getting out a lot of aggression and playing on ideas instead of ideals."
Buccinator performs January 19 at the Orbit Room. Earl opens.