Guitar Is Dead, “Tristan Gianola’s Guitar is Dead” (Accretions)

This album is a giant “fuck you” on several levels at once, beginning with a shrieking rap-metal service industry anthem called “Tip Bucket” that flips NOLA’s infamous complacency (and the oppressive capitalist grind of the tourist trade) on its ear: “Drunken all the time / Can’t afford to eat!” Tristan screams through a maelstrom of guitar firebombs, toxic feedback and caverns of echo. Most of the tracks that come after are instrumentals, but the sonic attack speaks volumes on its own: this is a necessary ice pick jammed in the ear of the city’s cultural stagnation and banana-republic hipstocracy, and in case some of you were wondering, that’s a compliment.

A Seattle import, Gianola comes by his noise honestly, following the trail blazed by noise-rock and free jazz icons like Sonny Sharrock, John Zorn, and Bill Laswell; his power trio recorded this aural assault at the drummer’s Methodist Church in order to maximize the space they needed to exorcise all those demons at once. Sometimes it feels less like an ice pick than a pie in the face, like on “Ukulele” (which is gonna irk a lot of millennials making twee Misfits covers on YouTube), and sometimes it’s a guitar history lesson, as with “Bush and Hendricks,” or a distorted jazz-guitar clinic on “Melodia” and “Do I Look Fucking Happy?” Taken all together, however, an even better ironic title for this manifesto might be the wicked twist of Track 3, “The City That Always Sleeps.” Not while this is on, it doesn’t.