Kevin Drumm: Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose

Kevin Drumm traffics in static, both the noun and the adjective.

Kevin Drumm

Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose

Label: Self-released
US Release Date: 2015-01-12
UK Release Date: 2015-01-12
Label website
Artist website

You might be wondering where the title Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose comes. Avant-gardist Kevin Drumm fully admits to lifting it straight from Joan Didion's 2005 memoir The Year of Magical Thinking -- he even thanks her for the sentence. In case you haven't read it, The Year of Magical Thinking is Didion working through her grief after her husband's abrupt death. The two of them sat down to dinner in their apartment. In the blink of an eye, John Gregory Dunne was gone and life for Didion would never be the same. She spends many early portions of the book trying to cope with the suddenness of her husband's death, about how life dealt her family a large blow in such a small amount of time. If you know anything about Drumm's music, you know that he does not deliver in short bursts. Didion's focus on a split-second event, at first glance, is an odd thing to compare to Drumm's music. Here's a guy who'll sometimes give you one 30 or 40-odd minute track and call it an album. But given the caustic nature of his music, you could almost look at it as a zoom-in function on life's quick devastations. I can't say that Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose sounds like its title, but it does sound like it's ready to explore a vast amount of space between the words.

Everything's Going is a double album of just eight tracks. In true Kevin Drumm fashion, a majority of them are very long. The length, however, is not contingent on any changes or musical developments. It's as if the length were designed to numb you, and numb you it does. After 40 seconds of silence, opener "What Sleep Is" blares static for eight solid minutes. Frequencies are tweaked along the way, but the static remains. "Private Fugues" follows an alarmingly similar pattern -- after 30 seconds of silence, a rapidly oscillating effect turns into full on static that only varies in slight frequencies up to the 10:20 mark. "The Sinking Quarrel" is the first sign of reprieve among the static in the form of a swelling metallic reverberation that goes on for close to ten minutes. "Panoramic Carnage" is rough on the ears, especially if you are listening through earbuds. It's what microscopic digital maggots might sound like if they were on a mission to infest your ear hairs. As "Panoramic Carnage" morphs into white noise, a widow's sharp pain begins to turn into a dull ache -- at least I think so.

The album's second half is a bit shorter, with two tracks only lasting four-plus minutes. It's probably a twist of black humor that "Social Interaction" sounds so lonely and cavernous. As minimal as Everything's Going is overall, the most subtle moment is saved for the album's longest track "Lower". For 22 minutes, a noise is sustained at such a low volume and frequency that listening to it in any environment other than through earbuds would be a complete waste.

Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose ends with the relatively brief "The Forthright Fool", an honest-to-god triad of some kind that slowly moves through various stages of emphasis. You might not even be aware of the track's conclusion unless you were looking down at whatever device you use to listen to music. Drumm's sounds creep out the back door without notifying anyone, with summoning an attention at all. Shit hasn't broken loose, but you do get a sense that change has occurred and it may not be the encouraging kind. But we don't read books like The Year of Magical Thinking in order to be entertained and the same can be said for Everything's Going Along As Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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