God’s Country

Here is the first sentence on Chat Pile’s debut album God’s Country‘s Bandcamp page about the album:

There’s a sick irony to how a country that extols rhetoric of individual freedom, in the same gasp, has no problem commodifying human life as if it were meat to feed the insatiable hunger of capitalism.

Keep that in mind while you close your eyes and imagine that being delivered along with the dissonance of Jesus Lizard and the screaming earnestness of a young Kurt Cobain.

Those of us who loved premillennial non-metal guitar music have given up hope. Either we have to listen to the dad rock and soothing beats of Wilco and Spoon or just go back to spinning our old LPs and 7″s just remembering when we paid $5 to pile into a room on the verge of collapse or someone’s living room just to sweat and get bruised and beat up while incrementally losing our hearing and getting tinnitus. It almost makes you want to say, “Those were the days.”

Except we have been conditioned to fucking hate nostalgia, to mistrust our own hazy memories mostly because they’ve been clouded over thanks to the meth, the coke, the pot, the heroin and everything else we polluted into our bodies all the while sanctimoniously claiming to be vegan. You know, cuz we’re better than you.

Oklahoma City’s Chat Pile’s debut album has the sounds of that nostalgia but cuts through it with clear protests on things going on now. While Jesus Lizard’s and Nirvana’s lyrics were cryptic, Chat Pile is more direct. Hell, their name is taken from piles of byproduct of lead-zinc mining in northeastern Oklahoma. Raygun Busch bellows, “Why do people have to live outside/In the brutal heat or when it’s below freezing,” in “Why.” “Deeper cuts/Bloody sheets/Making money/Man on/TV/Haunt You/Haunt Me” on “Tropical Beaches, Inc.”

See? Pretty straightforward.

The initial drum beats and the scream by Busch, the explosion of the sludge guitars on album opener “Slaughterhouse” instantly made me hard. All of the sounds then combined to scramble my brain making me want to punch someone, have them punch me back and get fucked hard leaving us all in a dirty disheveled heap with bruises, blood, sweat, spit and cum.

After the initial shock of the album, the album kept pushing making the complex seem effortless. The augmented and diminished chords, the tritones and nonstandard song structures: all may seem accidental on the surface but are actual genius in how they are combined to make this concoction hauntingly beautiful.

I’m not going to say that this is a sign that our version of rock and roll is back, that we can dust off our aching bones and muscles and again cram into these now-condemned buildings (oh shit, they have been demolished and turned into fucking condos!) But here is something from 2022 that we can bang our heads to, turn the volume up and have these Millennial and Gen Z pussies cry out, “Ouch my ears, what is that fucking noise?”