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The USA Is a Monster 


Wednesday, Nov 16 2005
Over the past several years, the New York duo the USA Is a Monster -- Tom Hohmann (drums, synthesizer, and vocals) and Colin Matthews (guitar and vocals) -- has been developing a singular fusion of Lightning Bolt-inspired techno-metal, bong water-drenched psychedelia, anthemic prog-isms à la Rush, Native American tribal-jams, and defiant political hardcore. What's more, Hohmann and Matthews have also found the time to follow their other respective muses. Under the moniker Elvish Presley, Hohmann heads up a face-painted cadre of misfits creating hobbit folk-rock. And with acoustic axe in hand, Matthews often spends months wandering the country as a nomadic troubadour (influenced by '60s AM pop and the cryptic, cowpunk lyricism of the Meat Puppets). But on the 14-track Wohaw, every musical path that Hohmann and Matthews have traveled both together and as individuals merges into the USA Is a Monster's magnum opus. I mean, this disc is really, really over-the-top, featuring a punishing sequence of jams such as "Tecumseh" -- a seven-minute, multimovement war-chant tribute to the fallen American Indian leader that also contains manic sections of synth-squealing, mosh-pit thrash. But this release also boasts a quiet, surreal suite of campfire field recordings, mystical nature-poetry, and stoned psych-folk. If sprawling, two-hour progressive-rock statements are your bag, check out the truly epic fucker that is Wohaw.

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Justin F. Farrar


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