Fresh out yesterday, the third installment in Nat Lyon’s Experimental Trash series sees the self-confessed ‘lo fi pastoral-punk thrash folk’ artist taking issues around doping in cycling as a jumping off point for a quartet of new tracks.
Lyon’s scratchy, drum machine driven Americana is reminiscent of a kind of post-punk Giant Sand, that band’s soundscapes shorn of their good ol’ boy mythologising and stylistic affectations to reveal a scuzzier, more immediate charm. Perhaps if Howie Gelb had grown up in Sheffield he would have made music like this. But he didn’t and instead we get Connecticut boy Lyon tinkering away in his countryside bolthole, every now and then poking his head above the parapet and releasing another set of skewed anthems into the world.
The pieces on Experimental Trash are ‘sketches for current and future projects’ as Lyons puts it. Before this latest tranche of tunes we’ve had jaunty ecological ruminations (At Least We Had The Holocene, in the first installment) and a trio of bucolic strums exploring the adventures of one Danger Cat (the second instalment).
The pieces in this third phase are different again, samples of various cycle race commentaries floating above shimmering guitar lines, pared down near-motorik drumming and murmured vocals. At times I’m reminded of the fuzzy radiance of Pixies’ Bossa Nova, especially on the winding chord progressions and melancholic glimmer of Domestique. Elsewhere things are more abstract, the drones and crunch of Micro-Doping like some Harmonia out-take, given an urgency by the repeated sample,”That’s what happens when the lights go out“.
Given their status as works in progress, these Experimental Trash tunes never quite achieve the subtlety of ‘proper’ Lyons albums like New England Paradigm Shift. But as stop-gaps until the next full-length pops up, they’re pretty darned satisfying.