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Premiere: Rabbits – “Pack Up Your Shit”

Rabbits is not a silly or stupid band name.
Rabbits has no bass.
Rabbits does not “down-tune” its guitars, unless you consider one guitar being in drop-D down-tuned.
You may wish to consider the possibility that Rabbits knows what it is doing.
Maybe Rabbits does not like you either.
Rotate the R 180 degrees. It looks like a bunny.

That’s from Rabbitsweb site. If we were struggling to find a theme for this post, we could say that passage perfectly represents their music: stripped-down, immediate, antagonistic, a little surreal. We could also say it shows the Portland trio “get it” in that there’s nothing to “get”. (You write music you like, you play music you like; the rest will work itself out.) Rabbits are old enough to have come to that conclusion honestly. They have connections to the eternally overlooked ball of chaos that was Angel Hair, among other bands like the VSS. They’ve cut records for Eolian Empire, Good To Die, Relapse, and now for Chris Spenser’s Lamb Unlimited. In a noise rock scene dulled by younger musicians trying to be someone else, Rabbits have been Rabbits. Lines can be drawn — you could add the descriptor ‘heavier’ to Flipper or Shorty and be in the ballpark — but nothing really sticks besides ‘Rabbits.’ So, it would be better to let that list above stand for itself. The only tweak worth making would be an arrow pointing up towards “Pack Up Your Shit.” The truth is right there, too.

“Pack Up Your Shit” was part of a day-long, live-to-tape session that birthed Rabbits’ new album Untoward. It moves with a seasick Greg Ginn groove and a primitive, pissed-off blast. It’s minimalist, but that gives Rabbits more room to pack it with personality. Other bands would fiddle with the sound design until they approximated danger. Rabbits let danger envelop them. The players fully occupy that head space. “Pack Up Your Shit” gets at something primal, the kind of void-staring that begets an Oxbow song. It’s just plain uncomfortable, which might be the exact truth you’re looking for today.

“Pack Up Your Shit” appears on Rabbits’ Untoward. The album will be released August 12 by Lamb Unlimited and it’s available for preorder now.

— Ian Chainey

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