May 7, 2014

Scab Queen/Snowbride: Split


Out via boutique label Persistentmidnight, the new split cassette release from experimental Atlanta-based synth outfit Snowbride and Athens noisemakers Scab Queen is the latest bit of proof, if we needed it, that our two cities can creatively coexist in a fruitful and meaningful way.

The A-side of the split belongs to Snowbride, a group featuring longtime sound explorer Drew Haddon and vocalist Rachel McIntosh. Each of the duo's three tracks offers a different vibe, from the persistent, half-realized beatscaping of opener "Trak Trak Trak" to the chilly "Waiting on a Train," which conjures creepy digital-video stills, to "Interior," a warm if rather straightforward drone.

Not surprisingly, given the group's prolificacy and track record, it's Scab Queen's four contributions that truly make the tape worth its $5 sticker price. The project has recently expanded to a duo, with cellist Alec Livaditis joining guitarist Michael Lauden, and together the two musicians have kicked things up a notch. 

The tunes here are denser than Scab Queen's prior output, more volatile, scarily focused despite their improvisatory nature. There is a constant, creeping sense of decay, snippets of ambient factory noise and nightmarish field recordings acting as sonic mildew atop Lauden and Livaditis' measured stringed excursions. 3 out of 5.