Jucifer – “Rifles” (Stereogum Premiere)
Earlier today I posted an interview with Kat from Salome. In January, her band went on a mini-tour with these folks, Jucifer, the Athens duo of vocalist/guitarist Amber Valentine and husband/drummer Edgar Livengood. If you haven’t heard them, think Sabbath-meets-Sleep-meets-Fuck The Facts-meets-Pussy Galore. Etc. You’ll witness a few of Valentine’s vocal approaches in the brutal, melodic “Rifles,” a standout from their forthcoming fifth album Throned In Blood. The 10 song collection finds them attempting to mirror their excellently loud live show — they, especially Valentine and her skyscraper of amps, killed my eardrums at the “old” Knitting Factory a few years ago (2002?) opening for High On Fire. It’s also a concept album. As Valentine put it:
It’s about how we destroy ourselves in our efforts to conquer and rule. We end up with power that twists and handicaps us. We create our own doom. War, religion, betrayal, genocide, and the ultimate futility of human existence.
These ideas are explored via the fall of the Roman Empire, Hiroshima, the Holocaust, Armageddon, etc. It’s the first of their albums they plan to play live start to finish in its entirety. To offer an interesting counterpoint, we also have the video for “Fleur de Lis,” a twangy, airy banjo song from the band’s last album L’Autrichienne. (Which, OK, was a concept album about Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution.) That one came out via Relapse in ’08, but this is a brand new video shot by Livengood and edited by David Hall, the guy who did Today Is The Day’s Axis Of Eden movie, the Fuck The Facts Disgorge, Mexico film, Maryland Deathfest: The Movie, etc. Before you get some calm, though, check out “Rifles,” which was specifically inspired by America’s involvement in the 1973 Chilean coup d’état. Grab your history books and your earplugs.
Notes I was given for “Rifles”:
Chile, 1973: In response to economic problems and perceived Communist tendencies, elected president Salvador Allende is violently overthrown and military dictator Augusto Pinochet is placed in power. The coup creates an estimated 200,000 exiles, 30,000 tortures, and 3,200 murders and suspicious disappearances of political dissidents. The US supports this change of government via CIA involvement as part of its own anti-Communist policy. Human rights violations under Pinochet are rampant, including the well-publicized burning alive of a teenage student photographer, Rodrigo Rojas, who was present at an anti-Pinochet street demonstration. Military patrol claimed the fire was accidental, yet drove the corpse of Rojas and body of his presumed-dead friend (who miraculously survived) out of town and dumped them in an irrigation ditch.
Out to the cornfields:
Throned In Blood is out 4/6 on the band’s own Nomadic Fortress. You’ll be able to get it on vinyl via Alternative Tentacles.