Ninja Tune

Fog is a backpacker version of Lou Barlow, a lo-fi trickster using the same hazy gloss and arrhythmic luster of Sebadoh III — but replacing those clunky guitars with noisy turntable fizz.

Like we didn’t see it coming (since most of our hallowed and noble rock traditions have been already been passed down, glossed over, handed off, rewired, reworked, rewritten, broken ,down and bastardized by our turntable-wielding brethren anyway), but Fog puts some much-needed ants in lo-fi’s pants, nervously twitching about, rhythm-be-damned like a 21-year-old Minnesotan Eugene Chadbourne manning the wheels of steel.

At times the beats are downright Beefhartian, clomping all over erratically while a turntable whines in the distance. Other times he’s downright funky (or “funky”), but his skronky dirt-percussion turntables constantly smash their collective heads on the punk rock — never letting this tortured sound rise out of the basement. Even more telling, plaintive guitar ballads meander around lovingly — sounding like they are desperately clawing to be heard underneath the turntable’s wall of squall. By the end, he’s droning about in Another Green World altogether.

Fog rocks the “suburban legend” status of the lo-fi idiom like a badge of honor — coming from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, being punk-ily obsessed with horrific noise, clutching his four-track like a security blanket and cutting up the phrase “the world’s greatest loser” over dissonant guitar fluff and insular ambience until exploding into no wave skrittle. And, of course, one of the Anticon dudes is on it.

Get with it. Irony’s dead and pitch-shifting is the new singing.

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