Top 5: Foster Body
Year-End Top 5
Foster Body = The Birthday Party^ Big Black^Scratch Acid^Devo
Foster Body’s debut album, Landscapes, which was released on cassette and digitally in March, captures the Salt Lake City–based, noise-punk combo at a brilliant moment of process—merging strong aesthetic sentiment and live performance practice into a compelling vision for contemporary noise-punk. The album, recorded by Michael Fuchs (Passive Tourist) and mastered by Matt Mateus, is a swirling mass of avant-hardcore and shuddering art punk that recalls the fury and odd excitements of early post-punk, no wave and noise recording. With eight tracks lashing across the album’s 20-minute duration, Landscapes is a quick yet thrilling listen. Beginning with an undulating “Intro,” which expands and presses into the furious “Night Prowler,” the album introduces the project as one of ferocity with no spare room for nostalgia. The songs on Landscapes express the horizontal structure the band practices—the rhythm obsession of guitar/bass/drums is no less important than Robin Banks’ anxiety-fueled vocals. On “Fixed Utility,” Banks’ caustic delivery crisscrosses jagged guitar riffs and crashing drums (played by Madison Donnelly, who’s since left the band and been succeeded by Chalk’s Jeremy Devine), bubbling and bursting in episodes building up to a refrain of the track’s title. “Landscape” and “Neglected Variations” star Dyana Durfee’s compelling bass plucking (also featured on The Circulars’ 2014 release, Ornamental) and are streaked with Korey Martin’s bouncy guitar syncopations. These tracks are something to behold when performed live, and the group shouldn’t be difficult to catch in the coming year—they’ve completed a West Coast tour and have been gigging non-stop since Landscapes’ release with no signs of letting up. Landscapes isn’t just another album from another punk band—it’s the pivot that has launched Salt Lake music into a more productive era. –Christian Schultz
This is an Extended Review from SLUG Magazine’s Top Five Albums of 2014.