On a grey winter morning Lithics used a handheld video camera to shoot scenes of themselves pretending to play music, walking around a reservoir, blowing their noses etc, and synced it to the song “Specs.” It was easy, literally anyone could have done it. “Specs”, a song loosely about the presumptuous desire to know the details about a stranger’s personal life, is the second single, hot on the heels of album opener, “Excuse Generator” from their new record Mating Surfaces out May 25th on Kill Rock Stars.
Lithics exist in a nervous fragmented world, a propulsive futuristic hell where anything can be consumed at any time, where any sound from any era can be conjured and reproduced and yet most of what we are stuck with seems like a trite reproduction of a sentiment long lost. Lithics fight this impossible dreary reality with a bold minimalist vision, “Can I be myself?” A stern danceable sound that summons cut up snapshots of Su Tissue and Mark E Smith, an imagined landscape where Captain Beefheart hits that 99 Records “Too Many Creeps” beat.
This is the sound of possibility. A total collaborative vision: Aubrey Hornor’s stark stilted vocals intoning over her and Mason Crumley’s wired guitar parts, like lightbulb flashes and the whir of insects unspooled and playing off each other. Bob Desaulniers’ basslines give both structure and dissonance to the endeavor, and along with Wiley Hickson on drums, this is a rhythm section recalling art-damaged yet danceable noise made in the detritus of failing cities in the late 70s/early 80s (The Lower East Side, Cleveland, Manchester…). Except Lithics is happening now, a continuing part of the vital art punk DIY underground in Portland, Oregon.