Menacing Noir Surf and Garage Rock from Wooden Indian Burial Ground
Portland, Oregon band Wooden Indian Burial Ground play some of the most kick-ass rock around. Part horror surf, part dark garage rock, they thrash around references from Syd Barrett to Link Wray to the Coffin Daggers. Their latest album, as well as their previous stuff, is all streaming at Bandcamp. An echoey, menacing surf rock riff rampages along to the turnaround when the creepy funeral organ joins the mix, half-shouted vocals obscured in a cloud of reverb. The funeral organ takes a slinky solo. Then a guitar feedback solo? A Theremin solo? It’s hard to tell, but it’s as invigoratingly noisy as all getout. And that’s just the practically eight-minute first track, Helicopter. They’re playing Grand Victory in Williamsburg on Friday the 24th sometime after 9.
The new album’s second track, Sparklerella takes a sludgy Cramps riff and speeds it up, with a dead-cheerleader chorus in the background. Lazy Ascension is a Lynchian 60s Nashville gothic pop anthem done rough and ragged for extra menace, right down to a long, haphazardly reverberating electric piano outro. From there the band segues into the funereal, marching Waltz for Eldritch, shiveringly twangy guitar set to a zombified acoustic guitar-and-piano tune.
A slightly out-of-tune Link Wray riff suddenly modulates as White Bats gets underway. The shortest track here, Bryant St. Death Cult sets paint-peeling layers of Stoogoid wah guitar over a slow, hypnotic minor-key riff. They follow that by juxtaposing a faux-tender doo-wop theme with an out-of-breath Texas roadhouse stomp. The final cut, A Long Way From Cerrillos works an uneasy, skittish, Doors/Radio Birdman theme up to a surreal, dirgey grandeur.
It’s refreshing to see that the album is also available on vinyl and cassette. It’s worth owning in either format and it’s one of the best to come over the transom in the past several months, a welcome, creepy companion to similar efforts by New York outfits Ulrich Ziegler, Twin Guns and Beninghove’s Hangmen.