As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Ttotals.
For all the praise this column is happy to heap on experimental music in its most primordial of stages, there is something to be said for kneeling at the altar of rock and roll. Without it and its older siblings, blues and country, the fractured state of style and sound would likely be at an opposite evolutional pole. One can’t ignore the enormous leap popular music took from big band orchestras to gyrating hips and sexual innuendo.
Nashville duo Ttotals may not be of classic mold but their psychedelic and shoegaze influences permeate all 18 minutes of the band’s official debut, annimal skkulls. Release via Tennessee 3-inch specialists, Kimberly Dawn, the 4 songs that constitute annimal skkulls demonstrate the continued power of rock and roll. Granted, Ttotals rip asunder the old blueprint with a stoner cool and a punk aggression that any grizzled rock vet can appreciate but underneath the recognizable exterior lays a beast of an unidentifiable stripe. The lazy grind of “Portrait of a Man,” the sloppy grunge of “Take Care of Me,” and mathematical kraut of “Upon Some Action” are all comforting touchstones that also prove out as fantastical portals to territories left untouched by the history of rock; lands ready for the caress of Ttotals. You may have missed out on the album’s initial run but Ttotals promise a 12-inch vinyl release soon, so the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your childhood punk (slightly skewed) is rapidly approaching. Prepare yourself before you’re run over by the Mack truck.