PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Black Pus / Oozing Wound: Split LP

Two very noisy bands try out kinds of noise.

Black Pus / Oozing Wound

Split LP

Label: Thrill Jockey
US Release Date: 2014-06-17
UK Release Date: 2014-06-16

Imagining Black Pus playing his records live brings to my mind Dick Van Dyke, hopping around a park entrance, kick drum strapped to his back. The analogy is limited, of course, because Brian Chippendale's live show is closer to a fever dream than a fairy tale. As half of the magmatic, lo-fi duo Lightning Bolt and under his solo nom de whim, Black Pus, Chippendale sits behind a moderately-sized drum kit and ties a degraded fluorescent mask to his head. A contact microphone bulges over his mouth, so his convulsive playing looks like someone choking on a breathing apparatus. For tune, he sets off an oscillator hooked to the kick drum, triggering throbs with his right foot and warping them into melodious noise with a pedalboard under his left foot. Without the mask, he looks quite like Thrill Jockey label-mate and fellow Rhode Island School of Design alum David Byrne. But the mask obliterates all resemblance, be it physical, musical, temperamental, or spatial. He's total chaos.

The 15-minute meltdown that takes up almost half of the whole split LP is, however sublime, no surprise. "Total Eclipse" is the Black Pus we know and love, drums so lo-fi they sound like extraterrestrial pulsations, indecipherable chanting, and noise teetering over the edge of melodicism. It's Pus's other offering, "Blood Will Run", that shocks. It's three minutes long and a fist to the jawbone. Chippendale sings as Michael Dunn, who two years ago blindly fired into a car full of unarmed black teenagers after a dispute over the volume of their music. Jordan Davis, 17, died from his wounds, then Dunn went to a hotel, ate pizza, and got off on a mistrial for first-degree murder. (He was found guilty of attempted murder because three other teens were in the car. None except Davis were injured.) Here are the lyrics to "Blood Will Run" in full, sans repetition and gibberish refrain:

Turn down the music

While I pull out my gun

If you don't listen

Your blood will run

Turn down your opinion

While I pull out my gun

If you don't obey me

Your blood will run

Blood will run

This song has to have the least drumming of any Chippendale recording ever. The snare cracks with the beat like relentless gunshots, accentuated and syncopated with the kick drum and twitchy cymbal work, but the fidelity blows out the sound. Two singers chant and, technically, harmonize. Then halfway through the song the oscillator begins to squeal, fluid in opposition to the percussive stomp as if the song itself were shot and bleeding. I mean to call this a great protest song keyed into the repeating, unresolved issue of the unpunished murder of black boys, and which tries to get at the troubling fact that Dunn didn't even need to hide behind a badge. Playing racialized music constituted an offense that, according to a jury of his peers, Dunn may have been within his rights to react to with fatal violence. Chippendale responds with not just verbal criticism, but also a structural loudness that subtends the song's existence as protected speech. No one gets kill for it. But listen: "Your blood will run" becomes, in refrain, the haunting universal "Blood will run".

Flip the record:


Kind of like Slayer, kind of like Sabbath. Not exactly like either of them but potentially as interesting, though we'd need a lyric booklet to know for sure. As of last year's Retrash, the Chicago-based trio Oozing Wound are strangers in a strange land. They now share Thrill Jockey's roster with Liturgy, Matmos (and the Soft Pink Truth), the Skull Defekts, and Black Pus. Their music is something like thrash metal if you believe alt-weeklies, which often know things, and Wound's singer is a screamer, but on this generic point I disagree: All together Wound are more Melvins than Slayer, and more Flipper than either. The resemblance is due to repetition, which defines their sound along with Zack Weil's long feedback arias and Kyle Reynolds's adrenal drumming. "Aging Punk" is their best work, a long feedback 'n' drums elaboration that thrills and grates like Swans at their most worldly, and "Ganja Gremlin"'s deteriorating-sawtooth structure hypnotizes for five minutes. If only they inhabited the trippy wonderlands they visit. But the Wound is fresh, so it's expected that on a split with a cult icon like Chippendale they would come off comparatively directionless, and their method of cutting down four hours of studio tape into three mid-length songs enunciates the gap. Oozing Wound are exciting, to be sure, but the sonic wackadoodles I like so much cut into the same vinyl as the Pus sonic wackadoodles I like more. I'm waiting for both bands' next LPs.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.