ALBUM REVIEW: Collaborative local music is Dead on

Print This Page

First Posted: 7/8/2013

Independent music scenes in small geographic regions are often incestuous, with many groups sharing members and local musicians participating in a number of seemingly disparate projects. The NEPA music scene is no different, and the result of all that artistic inbreeding can be pretty sweet indeed.

Case in point: Dead Nephew. This project is the brainchild of ex-Tambourine Murder Scene member and occasional Dirt Vultures contributor Zach Jones, collaborating with fellow former TMS members Ed Sromoski and Eddie McGuire, as well as the dream weaving duo behind Mock Sun, Jami Kali and Mark Wohl. Jones and Sromoski, likewise, have contributed to Mock Sun releases in the past.

Interestingly, the music on “Nephew,” a five-track offering available on Dead Nephew’s Bandcamp page for whatever price you feel like paying, doesn’t quite sound like any of the aforementioned groups, but rather stands as its own swaggering, fuzz-drenched sonic juggernaut. Following the ambient noise of intro “Dead,” the album bursts forth like a locomotive behemoth, bearing down on you with a potent combo-platter of Southern-fried riffage and grungy Layne Staley-if-he-was-a-chick vocal stylings (courtesy of Kali).

“Cupcake Mountain” delivers more of the same: heavy, dinosaur-steps-in-the-forest stoner rock with a cocky hillbilly edge, but also an ethereal, space-rock vibe that hints at a deeper strangeness beneath that bluster. Said strangeness is let off the chain entirely on the seven-minute head-trip that is “Hawaii/Negation/Hex,” which twists and contorts in the heart of a brain cell-detonating wormhole full of chaotic noise-rock dissonance and drug-fuelled decadence.

Finally, album-closer “Dreamboat” goes in for the kill, luring listeners in with fragile acoustic strumming before them utterly into a jet-black void of ghostly, wailing feedback. It’s enough to leave you with bloodshot eyes, lungs full of smoke, and a hole-in-the-soul hankering for more.

Here’s hoping there’s more Dead Nephew in its collaborators’ futures. And in ours.

‘Nephew’ Dead Nephew Rating: W W W V

-Bill Thomas, Weekender Correspondent