Dusted Reviews

V/A - A Benefit For Our Friends

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: V/A

Album: A Benefit For Our Friends

Label: self-released

Review date: Jan. 19, 2006

I can’t speak for those at your less reputable music-oriented webmags, but here at Dusted, we do it for the love. That, and the pride. We don’t make any money. We get paid in smiles, and the occasional satisfaction of shitting on some overblown trend that’s stealing light from the honest stuff. We’re fans. And speaking for myself, I sometimes lose my objectivity. Unless you’re a computer, objectivity is a dodgy undertaking to begin with, more a bogus journey than a destination. Nevertheless, I’d like to maintain enough clinical detachment to regard music from fresh angles, maybe educate myself, at least. But I can’t always do it. Sometimes I’m lazy, and I’d rather heap superlative adjectives on the stuff I dig. And sometimes, there’s a conflict of interest. I’ve met the band, I like them, and I want people to buy their new record, even if their last record was better. Or I want people to buy the record and, in so doing, transfer funds to people who need them.

A Benefit For Our Friends perfectly exemplifies the latter case.

DMBQ was a big, raw, rugged, romantic rock band from Japan. In late 2005, they toured the US. I didn’t get to see them. On November 4, the band’s van flipped. Its tour manager, Michelle Cable, was severely injured, and its drummer, Yuka “China” Yoshimura (also of Shonen Knife), died.

That’s a fucking nightmare. Every touring band’s worst. In an effort to at least bail them out financially, a lot of fans and contemporaries pooled their resources. Thus, this CD-R compilation, assembled by some Bay Area cats. (Dusted’s Mason Jones was a key player.) They got unreleased cuts from Comets On Fire, Trans Am, the Fucking Champs, Lightning Bolt, the Flying Luttenbachers, Burmese, No Doctors, and a lot of relative strangers. All proceeds funnel directly to the DMBQ relief fund. Just for that, you should buy it, I think. Just for that, I’d be inclined to praise it to the smoggy skies, even if it wasn’t that tight. But I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to do it.

Is this thing good? In its own right? Fuck yes, it is.

Although there are diversions (No Doctors’ campfire singalong “Mellow Soldiers,” Romanteek’s blue-eyed-bluesy “Numb”), A Benefit For Our Friends is mostly noise rock, sludge metal, and stuff related. Most tracks sound slapped together, almost improvised, assembled from scratch on short notice, maybe salvaged from the trash. Under such conditions, music of this ilk sounds fantastic, much closer to its core spirit than under the sort of glossy production it likely gets in ’06, with Wolf Eyes on so many fratboy iPods. Lightning Bolt, in particular, sounds reborn. And for bringing some goofy swagger back onto the noise field (which doesn’t look any less exciting in the brilliant Hanson Records catalog, but, in practice, gets safer and safer all the time), I’m putting Child Abuse on my short list.

When I reviewed DMBQ’s Essential Sound From The Far East for Dusted, I said it sounded better with one channel shot away. Now, it sounds different, but it still sounds better with one channel shot away. Comets On Fire’s “Wolf Eyes (Middle Version),” an exemplary Benefit For Our Friends cut, is like that, too. The money is nice. But above all, this benefit is to be commended for honoring the DMBQ spirit. Perhaps that’s something that can be done best when done on the fly. Fuck it. This thing owns.

By Emerson Dameron

Read More

View all articles by Emerson Dameron

Find out more about self-released

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.