Salem – “King Night” (Stereogum Premiere)
I love Salem’s King Night. More than expected. I’ve enjoyed the previous singles, etc., but they didn’t prepare me for these 45 minutes of dark, weird, hollowed-out beauty. (Hats off to John Holland, Heather Marlatt, Jack Donoghue.) You get Screw fueled by twice the cough syrup (and a Dennis Cooper novel). Starless deep-South mythologies filtered through Traverse City/Chicago street culture. They establish an elegant, pristine goth shoegaze that now and then drops out weird, introverted dance anthems. Or deep, bowel-shaking bass rumbles accompanied by warping atmospherics. A real sense of dirt. (The songs come off like field recordings for the back alleys in Trash Humpers.) As mentioned, bands like Salem, Frank (Just Frank), Blessure Grave, Crystal Castles, and Oneohtrix Point Never (or go back to Svarte Greiner) are currently playing to a soft spot of mine. These bands don’t sound the same: They tap a darkness and a romantic bleakness, the kind of thing I’ve found so attractive, in a different guise, via black metal or deathrock. In “Sick” you get the title repeated and sounding like a “666.” “Release Da Boar” glides across your speakers like crystal fog (unseen folks gargling, impotently howling, haunting within it). The anti-social and strung-out Hot 97 anthems “Trapdoor” and “Tair.” Etc. “King Night”‘s the first track on the collection. It works well as an intro, prepping you for the blasted/bleak, catchy/creepy world that you’re about to enter.
01 “King Night”
05 “Release Da Boar”
King Night is out 9/28 via IAMSOUND.