EJ 52 CD
released Nov 2002
Respected San Francisco elves The Double U stagger about deftly for a near-hour ride through dusty carnivals, ballet competitions and cookouts in the fields of Tuva.
The title song is a six-minute wonder of waltz-time ballroom doom, its dreaded air tempered with high-pitched vocals of the instantly recognizable Linda Hagood, while Valuable Duck Floats Through Lily Pond is their crowning achievement, Matt Halls gently barked vocals answering the bands seductive crawl, kind of like Tom Waits fronting the Thinking Fellers.
Sick and hearty production by Tim Green (Concentrick, Fucking Champs) at Louder Studios just adds to the fun.
EJ 31 CD
released Apr 2000
MP3: "Ephemeral Epaulet"
Prem Lall (KUSF DJ):
Minimalistic strangeness rock with quiet croaking and/or squeaking vocals plus unexpected tinges of old Yiddish/klezmer music as well as a host of other subtle folk influences; fresh yet murky like a jig in a bog.
Until (if?) the Thinking Fellers record another album, there's the fellow San Franciscan quartet Double U filling in for them. Purposefully wacked indie-melodies with plenty of nods to the ethnomusicological damage of the Sun City Girls and recalling the golden age of San Francisco art rock (Residents, Snakefinger, and the rest of Ralph Records). (Aquarius Records)
From weird quasi-metal riffs to collapsing rhythm machines pumping out steam powered music with a soft spoken spook whispering into your ear, or the grass-hopper queen herself inviting you for the Cicada Ball. Cosy as a moldy basement. (Benjamin Tinker)
The Double U
And The Glands of External Secretion
Carrying on like demented school children strung out on crystal meth, the new untitled record by San Francisco's Double U inspires both fear and awkward admiration. Presented as 11 songs, it is a jarring, sometimes revelatory experience that defies every attempt at categorization.
The disc appears to rely more on instrumental music, although a smattering of garbled cackling noises, mashed piano playing, and dangerously cheesed- out keyboards percolate through the mix. Occasionally, the songs sound as if they could be theme music from an acid- damaged children's show where pre-teen Stereolab members are allowed to serve as the house band. A Tom Waits-ish character croaks along to tracks like "March to Valhalla" and "Emperor Jones"-- he sounds legitimately troubled.
Disc two features all the same tracks "demixed" by the Glands of External Secretion, and the result is totally surprising: Where there was once a basic drum beat, there's a drum beat run through enough reverb to make your head ache; where there was once a semblance of a song, there's a song where odd sounds are jarringly interspersed with the former source material. And that already tortured voice? Well, you can almost hear the soundwaves being scrunched against their will. The Double U disc was mad enough-- the Glands' mix leaves one searching for a new word to describe the necessary elevation in craziness.
Needless to say, this type of music is not for everyone-- People who don't take drugs probably just won't understand, and those who do will undoubtedly want more. (Samir Khan, Pitchfork)