Overwhelmed by the rising sea of garbage seeping in through every crack in the earth and mind, Gun Outfit respond by playing human music. Their new record, HARD COMING DOWN, is the first one with bass, and it is a dark opening in a wall of artificial light. They think they are playing folk music because rock is folk music now, and anyway... they're country educated. Warm tones, heavy vibes. Although they drink the same water as the real believers of the past 40 years like Great Society, Relatively Clean Rivers, Meat Puppet and Lucinda Williams, Gun Outfit don't get too comfortable with the past, because they've got their own strange moment to capture.
The two people in Warm Drag do specific things. Vashti Windish sings, the way Siouxsie sang power, the way Nico sang allure, the way Patti sang sex. Paul Quattrone makes the noise with two Akai MPC 1000 samplers. Beats that pummel or seduce, usually simultaneously, synths that soar like Morricone or pump like DAF, and gloriously twangy guitars that clang and echo like Duane Eddy spiraling down a k-hole.
A chance reunion in Los Angeles led Quattrone (of Oh Sees and !!!) and Windish to attempt the outlandish ambition of marrying her love for the genre-defying genius of Blondie's 'Parallel Lines' to Quattrone's love of Bomb Squad's production styles. "Warm Drag gives me the chance to blend genres up into a musical milkshake that remains uniform despite all of its parts. I can scream, dance, cry, rage and seduce, all in a single show" Windish explains.
"I basically wanna make Bomb Squad versions of rock n roll songs," Quattrone says. "It sounds weird but I can hear a common ground where girl groups, dub, harsh noise, minimal synth, repetitious industrial, voodoo percussion, power electronics, black leather jacket rock n roll and DJ Screw-inspired slowing down/pitching down of samples all meet."
Lyrically, Warm Drag dive head-first into right now, careening from love to the end times, broken hearts to rotting bodies, devastation, lies and emotional self-defense. They have something to say, but they'd never be so gauche as to over-explain.
They've been winning over notoriously-inert Los Angeles audiences just over a year now. An early show caught the eye of Ian Svenonius. "Their cut-up collage of electronic stomp-music embodied everything people were searching for that summer," he remembers. "There were just two of them but the sound was magnificent. Vashti was a revelation and Paul looked tough and cool and preoccupied in just the right way."
Warm Drag are the soundtrack to the best night of your life. It probably hasn't happened yet, or maybe it happened in Berlin, in 1980. You won't remember much, but you still have this record and a few bruises to jolt your memory. Sangfroid has never been sexier.
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“The first time I saw Shannon my heart was broken into a million pieces. I had known her from her wonderful punk band Feels as the lead guitarist who shouted back up, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from her performing solo. But there she was – at a small bar in Los Angeles to maybe 15 people watching while she sat in a chair with an electric guitar on her knee, orange hair covering her face and a picture of Bart Simpson projected behind her. She began her set and my heart stopped the moment her voice leaped into the air – and I did what I do in those rare situations – I recorded it. I pulled out my phone, opened up the voice memos and recorded her whole set (the last time I had done this was three years earlier while watching Kris Kristofferson and Harry Dean Stanton do duets set at Cinefamily). After her performance I was in complete awe and wasn’t sure how to approach her to convey how much I loved it. Suddenly Shannon, an acquaintance from around town, had exposed her super power and I felt instantly star struck in her presence. “I recorded your set so I could listen to it again” I told her, and then to my surprise I found myself saying “let me put out your record” and after convincing Jeremy at Woodsist to do a collaborative release with me, here it is.
Living water is an instant classic. Recorded by Emmet Kelly (Cairo Gang, Bonnie Prince Billy, Ty Segall) in his Los Angeles home studio, this is an album where you can hear the room reacting to the music taking shape around it. Shannon has a voice that transcends time and space. You can’t tell if she’s old or new, if she’s sitting next to you, on a mountain top, or down in some canyon. Already her second LP to be released in 2017, Shannon is a prolific songwriter, one who lives and breaths melody and with guitar skills to boot. Despite it’s 14 tracks, Living Water comes in well under 40 minutes, but like Pink Moon or Just Another Diamond Day before it, this is music so potent it exists outside the realms of time – but in a world specific only to itself and the new feelings it creates.
Shannon has been dominating the local scene in Los Angeles over the past two years, leaving everyone who witnesses completely breathless. Having just finished a tour with Ty Segall, Shannon is set to support Kevin Morby on a national tour this fall.” – Kevin Morby, Birmingham, Alabama, June 8th 2017
Photo by Abby Banks