Music writer types usually know about the albums they cover for months before they come out. For bands like Thou and The Body, you typically don’t need to be involved in the industry to know that new music is on the way — buzz does the job for you. Not so for Released From Love, an EP-length 12″ collaboration between the two bands that has seemingly sprung fully formed from nowhere. A few days ago, I didn’t know it existed. Now it’s available for purchase via Vinyl Rites and streaming below. (Don’t bother looking for it elsewhere; it’s a vinyl-only release.) Radiohead and Beyoncé would be proud. For the most part, I like to chew on albums for longer before I discuss them publicly. But after countless runs through the hurry-up-and-wait album press cycle, I’m much more receptive to bombs heaved from the shadows.
Released From Love is indeed explosive. It’s also deeply characteristic of both bands involved. Both are fond of circumventing standard-issue label trappings (see Cosmo Lee’s analysis of Thou’s business model here); both are extremely prolific; both are fond of collaboration. They’re also well-matched sonically — they’re touring together later this year, and their art-sludge aesthetics merge seamlessly on these four songs. The degree of synergy here approaches that of the Melvins/Big Business joint band of the mid-aughts.
I’ve never been a huge fan of The Body, but between this recording and their compelling collaboration with the Haxan Cloak (also released yesterday), I am increasingly impressed by their ability to work effectively in concert with outside musicians. They play a supporting role on Released From Love, but they play it to the hilt. Thou’s massive sonic presence occupies the foreground for most of the record — the massive slouch of “The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills” could be a lost track from last month’s Heathen LP, and the closing cover of Vic Chesnutt’s modern classic “Coward” (an inspired choice; stream the original below if you haven’t heard it before) is right in line with Thou’s historic love for out-genre interpretations. The Body mostly run interference around the flanks of Thou’s bulk throughout. Chip King’s distinctive shriek punches through the mire and then retreats; caustic electronic sounds seethe up through seams in the riffage. If these bands were a street-fighting tag team, Thou would be the big hulking dude who occupies your attention long enough for the small, shifty Body to sneak up behind you and jam a knife between your ribs.
Stream Released From Love in full below. Check out the accompanying tour — which terminates with a stop at this year’s Gilead Media Festival — too.
Upcoming THOU and THE BODY tour dates:
06.30.14 – Baton Rouge
07.01.14 – Birmingham at The Forge (5505 1st Avenue) at seven pm with Lume
07.02.14 – Greensboro at Legitimate Business
07.03.14 – Richmond (matinee) at Empire the Bar at two pm
07.03.14 – DC
07.04.14 – Baltimore (matinee) at Sidebar (218 E. Lexington Street) at noon with Curse
07.04.14 – Philadelphia with Hirs, Pissgrave, and Backslider
07.05.14 – Jersey City (matinee) at WFMU (43 Montgomery Street)
07.05.14 – New York (matinee) at ABC No Rio
07.05.14 – New York
07.06.14 – New London (matinee) at The Orphanage (300 State Street) at one pm with Empty Vessels and Snow Orphan
07.06.14 – Amherst with Rozamov
07.07.14 – Boston with Curmudgeon
07.08.14 – Providence at Machines with Magnets
07.12.14 – Syracuse with Bleak and Blood Sun Circle
07.13.14 – Pittsburgh at The Shop
07.14.14 – Detroit at Trumbullplex (4230 Common Wealth) at seven pm
07.15.14 – Grand Rapids
07.16.14 – Michigan City at Carbon Room (9833 W 300 N) at eight pm with Angry Gods
07.17.14 – Chicago at Club Rectum with Ash Borer and Hell
07.18.14 – Oshkosh (collaboration sets) at Masonic Center (204 Washington) at five pm with Ash Borer, Hell, Inter Arma, Protestant, and Oozing Wound
07.19.14 – Oshkosh (Body solo) at Masonic Center (204 Washington) two pm with Bastard Sapling, Mutilation Rites, Kowloon Walled City, Geryon, False, Sea of Bones, Owlfood, Hexer
07.20.14 – Oshkosh (Thou solo) Masonic Center (204 Washington) at one pm with Barghest, Loss, Uzala, Lychgate, Seidr, Generation of Vipers, Alraune, and Northless