New York City’s Pop. 1280 takes its name from a Jim Thompson book. It’s one of the few I regrettably have not read, but Thompson’s signature dark and sadistic novels of noir make the
influence fitting. This vinyl-only 12″, The Grid EP, comes on the heels of a split 7″ with Hot Guts and contains nine tracks: six actual songs, two interludes, and an “outerlude”. The commencement interlude (entitled “Interlude”) is highly indebted to early Einsturzende Neubauten, giving a quick glimpse of the atmosphere to come. “Step Into The Grid” is stomping darkwave, similar to Wire’s “Snakedrill”, and suggests that Pop. 1280 probably provide a killer live show. “Anonymous Blonde” has the atonal skronk of early Liars, and “Data Dump” is foreboding, and deafening, gothic post-punk noise-rock. “Redtube”, the strongest of these tracks, is snaky, sultry, sadistic rock, with a massive rhythm section begging for the aide of Steve Albini. “Midget” is reminiscent of a frantic and dark Mission Of Burma. The only failure here comes at the end, with “Trash Cop”, an overly long combination of The Birthday Party and Read & Burn-era Wire with atrocious production. Still, it’s nice to step back into the world of the vinyl EP, in the age of the digital monopoly, and five out of six ain’t bad. Pop. 1280 promises a full-length release in mid-2011, and I certainly look forward to it.