Behold Secret Kingdom (Release the Bats)

At first listen, it's hard to glean just where Raccoo-oo-oon hails from. Behold Secret Kingdom sounds a heckuva lot like early Boredoms, Acid Mothers Temple, or some other whacked-out Japanese outfit. But wait, it also contains elements of acid-skronk free jazz, Can-style German krautrock, crusty-punk agit-pop noise jams, and even proggish hints of those Wire Brits circa 154. In actuality, this quartet of rhythmic noisesters calls Iowa City home, and has been lumped into the New Weird America noise genre alongside Black Dice. One critic called the music of Raccoo-oo-oon “campfire doom,” which is as fitting a description as any.

So what we've got here on Kingdom are eight tracks of punchy, tribal noise that one could probably dance to if so inclined. The aesthetic veers toward locals Tussle, only way weirder and louder. While there's an improv element to Kingdom, these are definitely compositions, albeit ones jam-packed with sonic surrealism. The disc has deservedly received praise from far-flung corners of the globe, and I'd be willing to wager that this stuff packs a wallop live.

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