Little Women - Throat
AUM Fidelity
Noise Rock/Jazz
7 songs (41:10)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Crash
Album of the year

“If you want your brain scooped out of your skull and handed back to you on a plate then I think you’re gonna wanna stick around for this.” – Anthony Fantano – The Needle Drop

It’s weird to quote another review when trying to write one of your own, but in this case it seems necessary. There can be no words better said to describe the absolute onslaught your ears are about to take. To get a better picture, imagine this: Naked City and Captain Beefheart having a naked fistfight to the tune of Larks’ Tongues in Aspic while Lou Reed jerks off in the corner. They also all hapen to be covered in eagle semen. If that doesn’t work, this might be a bit simpler: “It sounds like Bitches Brew era Miles Davis if Miles Davis was Gary Busey.” – A friend upon first listen

Alright, enough with the quotes and similes. On to the damn review. Little Women are an experimental jazz group from Brooklyn who dare to see how long it takes to annoy you. Like a kid who repeats every word that you say, they aim to burrow inside of your head and lay eggs in your knowledge. Consisting of electric guitar, tenor and alto saxophone, drums and little else, they have borrowed bits and pieces from punk, jazz, grind, and metal and thrown it all in a blender, In Throat they have successfully crafted an essential noise rock album

Here’s the problem with me and noise. It’s not the actual noise itself that bugs me. Noise tends to sit outside of what most people would consider “the box”. To a complete outsider, it may not even register as art at all. You’ll hear the annoying claims of “This isn’t music!” or “Anyone could do that.” Like an abstract painting, the first glance offers little more than a mess of color with very little in the way of structure.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time they are right.

I understand what noise is about and for many noise artists, it is not about structure. It’s about creating sounds never put to tape before. I can get behind that. I can even respect that. But it does not necessarily mean that I want to listen to it. Too often, a band that appears to push the envelope and really strive to create something new fails because they refuse to let the music tell a story. There are no rules in art, but I am a firm believer that build is important. Being a man who pops in an album from beginning to end, this is a big deal. Merzbow can create some great sounds, but I know that after five minutes I will hear all that I have to. Take most hour long doom songs and you’ll get the same thing, repetition for the sake of repetition and noise for the sake of noise. There are no surprises, no twists, no turns, just boring drone. And drone isn’t even necessarily a bad thing. A good drone band will utilize the repetition, building upon itself brick by brick. By the time that the song is over, you are in a completely different place then where you started. Anybody who heard and understood Sunn 0)))’s Monolith’s and Dimensions will know exactly what I mean. Chaos is boring. Control is interesting.

So here comes Little Women’s Throat. Being one continuous piece broken up only by brief moments of silence, the barrage of sounds coming at you is enough to choke you stupid. The saxophones wail and squeek like a preteen wetting her panties at Disneyland while Andrew Smalley molests his guitar, fondling out shrill chords that seemingly have nothing to do with the rest of the band. Music this disorienting takes some getting used to, for sure. All of this is drowned out by the percussion, performed by Animal from the Muppets. The first time I heard this, I knew that I really wanted to like it. I was afraid though that the band would take to the old conventions of noise, making for a boring record used only to frighten squares.

But it does. After the third listen, the structure started to take shape. The rhythm suddenly “appeared”. I find myself actually singing bits to myself throughout the day. It’s a crazy feeling, as just hours before you couldn’t possibly imagine ever calling something like this catchy. I might have sounded like a weasel giving birth to a watermelon, but it clicked god dammit.

After even more listens, the album stopped being weird. The chaos has fully shaped itself into dissectible pieces that can be put together and rearranged in what ever way fits into your screwy little head. A huge sense of accomplishment comes from this, like finally unraveling a particularly hard math problem or learning how to solve a 5x5 Rubick’s cube with your ass.

Hopefully I haven’t built this up too much for you. The easiest comparison will be John Zorn’s Naked City. If you loved Suspended Animation by Fantomas then this will cover similar ground as well. But the real treat here is that it removes the fluff. What they play is what you get. No sound effects, no studio trickery, just pure musicianship.

To a lot of people, this will be absolute garbage. I am not ignorant enough to say that these people “just don’t get it.” Some will, some won’t. In the least, the band should be respected for producing a fresh and organic piece of work.

Killing Songs :
Listen to it all at once. But for newbies, check out Part 1
Crash quoted 95 / 100
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