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Thrill Jockey double : Pontiak, Dustin Wong


The mighty Thrill Jockey label continues its 20th anniversary assault with new releases from two of its brightest new talents. Pontiak are a band of brothers (three of them: Lain, Van and Jennings Carney) from rural Virginia who specialise in a sleek, swaggering brand of Southern stoner rock that pulls equally from metal forefathers like Black Sabbath and contemporaries like Harvey Milk. Echo Ono is the ultra-prolific trio’s sixth full-length (and fourth in as many years for Thrill Jockey), and its huge, lurching grooves and razor-sharp riffs are the finest the group have produced since 2009’s under-appreciated gem Maker; walking the fine line between bottom-heavy brute force and mathematical precision, tracks like the strutting opener “Lions Of Least” demonstrate the kind of near-telepathic synchronicity that only siblings share. Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, the second outing for the label by Dustin Wong, is all about chemistry of a different kind: here the ex-Ponytail guitarist takes on the role of an enthusiastic science teacher, wowing a rapt audience with lively experiments to show how several elements can react to form a completely new compound. Wong approaches his recordings the same way as his live solo performances, starting with a single circular guitar motif which is then looped whilst he adds another, and then another. As the layers build up, various reverb and delay FX are added, as are the occasional synth wash or preset drum machine beat, until the multiple strands are woven into a multicoloured and richly textured aural tapestry. If it sounds impressive, it’s because it is; better still, whereas debut double LP Infinite Love featured two sprawling (albeit awesome) album-length compositions, this time round Wong actually manages to make these engaging, inspiring displays of jaw-dropping technical proficiency sound like perfectly- structured, dynamic pop songs. Listen: “Pink Diamond”

Pontiak’s Echo Ono and Dustin Wong’s Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads are both out February 20 on Thrill Jockey


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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