Track Stream: Secret Fun Club Pull the Trigger on Engine Kid’s “Nail Gun”

Sure, I’m going to hold any band as noisy and angular as Secret Fun Club in high regard. I’m not afraid to admit my autonomic nervous system bristles with giddy tingles when the San Diego-based duo’s dissection of staccato rhythms, jagged dissonance and noisy soundscapes get recombined in a mix that’s definitely extreme but not quite metal, not quite hardcore, not quite sludge, not quite math rock and not quite anything one way or another.

But even as my jaded ears bathe in the warm wash of their rough ‘n’ ready ‘n’ heady sound, I take a disproportionately perverse pleasure in how they choose to title their compositions. Previous albums, like 2019’s Three One G No. 101 and 2012’s Skulls with Antlers brought various forms of fury under the guise of “Mastodon Rickles,” “Orchestral Maneuvers in the Darkthrone,” “Scott Baiowulf,” “Pinche Harmonix,” “Kathleen Turner Overdrive,” “Iced Earth Crisis,” “Ozomotleycruedos” and “Tito Puente: The Soundtrack for Child Rape.” Being instrumental and skirting the edges of multiple subgenres won’t do Secret Fun Club any favors in the quest for fame and fortune, but shouldn’t the band who named an EP A Diagram of How Shit Flows from Your Toilet into God’s Hands deserve some amount of investigation?

The duo’s latest endeavor sees them embarking upon a variety of covers following the giddy haze of their participation in Three One G’s Cramps tribute Very Bad Music for Very Bad People, which I wrote about back in the spring here. Renditions by SFC of tracks by Fugazi and Tones on Tail have been completed, but today we’re highlighting their taking on the equally misunderstood Engine Kid via a cover of “Nail Gun.”

From the bio: “Seattle’s Engine Kid – led by Greg Anderson of SUNN 0))) – burned bright for a couple of years in the mid-90s with two LPs and a handful of EPs before dissolving. Dubbed ‘The Melvins of Slint’ by Steve Albini, Engine Kid’s aesthetic – hammer and feather dynamics; menacing tri-tone riffs paired with more hushed, gossamer melodies; gobs of truly outrageous volume – has always been part of the deep code within the SFC operating system. The Engine Kid track ‘Nail Gun,’ from their 1995 LP Angel Wings (Revelation Records), is a 1:20 long instrumental blitz that SFC has basically been referencing for years anyway, so it seemed a perfect fit for this ongoing covers project.”

Below we present a stream of SFC’s cover in addition to a super-short making of video in which drummer Sal Gallegos and bassist John Rieder quickly run through the hows, whys and whatfors concerning their salutation to Engine Kid, to which, when pressed, Anderson had this to say:

“What a massive/pleasant surprise that someone actually really gets what the fuck we were trying to do over 27 years ago with our sonic experiments.  And to tackle such a deep cut!  Please realize that by covering ‘Nail Gun’ you’re essentially kneeling at the riff altar of [Breadwinner guitarist] Pen Rollings.”

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