Hall of Fame Countdown: The Locust’s Plague Soundscapes

These countdowns can either be considered expert treatises on the miniscule quality differences among songs or just another way to celebrate albums that hold special places in our wormy hearts.  I choose the latter interpretation.  Picking apart the relative merits of 23 songs that fly by in 20 minutes – especially since the charm of Plague Soundscapes is its uniformly spastic nature – is not really what we’re here for.  Instead, let’s jumble these things up into an order of approximate memorability, and then let’s throw horns, middle fingers, thumbs up and give those fucking ring fingers some damn thing to do while we spend just a bit more time with the Locust’s most nut-slappingly enjoyable release.

23.  “Can We Get Another Nail in the Coffin of Culture Theft?”

Sure, this song is weird and silly.  It’s a breather before the albums final five minutes eviscerate any dignity you’ve clung to through the listening experience so far.  Glad it’s here.  Moving on.

22.  “Captain Gaydar It’s Time to Wind Your Clock Again”

Dime-stopping ranting is time tested and grind approved.  I assume you know what “homophobic hillbilly hieroglyphics, ready the probe and ready the stove” means, and if you don’t, I’m sure as shit not going to tell you.

21.  “Listen, the Mighty Ear is Here”

The descending electro-bounce of the guitar lines adds some funhouse to the trading of insults going on elsewhere in the song.

20.  “Your Mantel Disguised as a Psychic Sasquatch”

The twining of guitars and electronics makes most of the record enjoyable, but the combination that opens this track exemplifies the power of the pairing.  Also, thanks to drummer Gabe Serbian for that particular seizure.

19.  “Wet Dream War Machine”

If the Locust ever wrote a successful death metal riff, it might be the opening section of this track, though it would have to undergo a major tonal facelift and not spin off into coiling sine-fucked orgy.

18.  “Pulling the Christmas Pig by the Wrong Pair of Ears”

Doink!  Doink!  Doink-doink!  Doink!  Doink-doink!  Doink!  Everybody clap along!  If this song doesn’t piss off the purists, it’s unclear what would get that job done.

17.  “Solar Panel Asses”

As the album’s shortest track, this thing still pulls off some spectacular fireworks as it leads toward one of Plague’s most memorable bits.

16.  “Identity Exchange Program Rectum Return Policy”

After the opening salvo of “Recyclable Body Fluids,” this second track cements the feeling that this album will not do what you want or what you expect.  Strap in or get the fuck off the ride.

15.  “Pickup Truck Full of Forty Minutes”

Not a hugely memorable closer, but just like a good novel (or, more appropriately, flash fiction), this record’s really not about the way it ends.  Things certainly slow down a bit, and the lyrics are certainly an appropriate stopping point:  “That old fuck has run amok / His number is up…”

14.  “The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like to See You in His Office”

This song title would win awards, if it weren’t for almost all the other awesome song titles on this record.  It’s almost like they’re trying to be a straight grind band on this one… but they can’t quite get there.  Still, brilliant.

13.  “Late for a Double Date With a Pile of Atoms in the Water Closet”

Was their ire unclear?  Did you mistake those phone-ring tones climbing around the back of the mix for a band enjoying themselves?  “You were born with only three faces,” the accusation goes.  “Shit down to the sub-atomic level, to the last quark.”

12.  “Twenty-Three Lubed Up Schizophrenics With Delusions of Grandeur”

This is the Locust’s black metal song.  Not really.  But can’t you imagine those first few seconds overtaking the rest of the track and blurring everything with Southern California frostiness?

11.  “Psst! Is That a Halfie in Your Pants?”

This song is like a sixteen-idea pileup, which makes it all the better.  Finding a groove here is like advancing to a new level of Milon’s Secret Castle – it can be done, maybe, but only by accident, and it’s probably not repeatable.

10.  “Recyclable Body Fluids in Human Form”

The friend who introduced me to this record said that she and her coworkers used it to clear the record shop where she worked.  I imagine this song had’em scrambling for the nearest exit.

9.  “How to Become a Virgin”

Ignore my earlier comments – this is the Locust’s black metal song!  Not really.  Taping icy riffwork to your song does not make it black metal, doofus.  Or, as they screech here:  “Taping fur to your back does not make you a werewolf.”

8.  “Practiced Hatred”

Deep in the center of the album, the Locust bury their take on a Crossed Out song, and they burn it to the ground.  Solid ragefest, Locust-style.

7.  “Teenage Moustache”

This one’s a whirlwind.  If the entire album sounded exactly like this, without ever letting up or turning left into less frantic territory, nobody would survive a single spin.

6.  “File Under ‘Soft Core Seizures’”

The sounds on this one, analog and digital alike, revel in exactly the type of earfuckery that makes Plague Soundscapes great.  The love-or-hate quality of the Locust’s whole M.O. lives right here.  If you can dig this, you’re Locust 4 Lyfe.

5.  “Who Wants a Dose of the Clap?”

You’re here for guys in masks and full-body condoms to mess with your, uh, cicadean rhythms, and this one gets you there in under ten seconds.  Then it lasts another forty seconds, just to hammer the point home.

4.  “Priest With the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Get Out of My Bed”

Yeah, this one’s the true Best Song Title award winner.  “Always getting a good luck at the meat rack before shooting blanks into a loaded crowd.”  You need this song in your daily playlist.

3.  “Anything Jesus Does I Can Do Better”

Fucking hell, are you still reading this?  Go back to doing your job or puffing your pipe or listening to this record.  This song’s good, but its ending is better.

2.  “Earwax Halo Manufactured for the Champion in All of Us”

Bouncy bass accompaniment and ratcheting tension?  More please!

1.  “Live from the Russian Compound”

This is the song, two minutes into the album, that reminds me what keeps me coming back to such a bonkers attempt to break music and injure its fans.  The entire experience doesn’t take much time, but it’s intensely satisfying and leaves even appreciative listeners bruised and begging for a little Enya to even out their day.

Check out more about the Locust at the Anti- Records website.