Spray Paint
  • Courtesy of Strange Victory Touring
  • Spray Paint

I’m often playing catch-up when it comes to underground-rock scuzz these days and I’m certainly a late arrival to the joys of the Austin trio called Spray Paint, who today released their third and best album Clean Blood, Regular Acid (Monofonus Press). The group haven’t changed up their sound or approach since forming in early 2012, but they sound more focused than ever, distilling an already austere, stripped-down attack into something exhilaratingly compact and fat-free. As on earlier records the electric guitars of Cory Plump and George Dishner transmit the same sort of raw, slate-gray atonal throb of early Sonic Youth or Live Skull, while drummer Chris Stephenson accentuates the primitive by dropping thudding, postpunk rhythms that ground the music in something blue-collar, immediate, and delightfully crude. The chanted group vocals, delivered with a masterfully executed sense of boredom and sing-songy disgust, reminds of the classic art-punk of LA’s Urinals.

It seems like every decade or so we get bands mining this sound, which originated during the late 70s through New York’s no-wave scene and in the UK through art-damaged postpunk outfits like the Pop Group—ingredients that LA punk greats the Minutemen used as building blocks and that certainly turned up in Chicago in the early 90s, during the city’s now-wave explosion. Spray Paint look like normal rock dudes, eschewing the nihilistic, antisocial stance and attitude that usually accompanies these sorts of sounds. They just seem to enjoy bashing out these rude sallies, using oddly tuned guitars that churn out licks that seem closer to garage-rock tradition than postpunk weirdness. It’s a combo that works wonders, and each spin of the new record has pulled me deeper and deeper into Spray Paint’s orbit. They headline a strong bill Wednesday night at the Empty Bottle (with opening acts the Rebel, Deaf Wish, and Chicago’s own Running). Below you can check out one of the new album’s best songs, “Rest Versus Rust.”

Today’s playlist:

Bobo Stenson Trio, War Orphans (ECM)
Land, Night Within (Important)
Throbbing Gristle, 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Industrial)
Joe Puma, Jazz (Jubilee, Japan)
Bleached, Ride Your Heart (Dead Oceans)