The Garden, Kiss My Superbowl Ring, (Epitaph)
The Sandinista! of art rock, KMSBR is a sprawling mishmash, a complete and utter mess, with The Garden twins trying on musical styles like sneakers in a shop regardless of size/color/anything, sometimes discarding after mere seconds and other times keeping them on for a stroll around the store. Nothing congeals. Nothing coalesces. No exclamation points or enders. And within this freedom they find the necessary gumption to really stretch out and shine, working in violent electronic blips and squelches that grate deliciously against the rote hardcore they’re known for, featuring rappers, Ariel Pink, and Kero Kero Bonito like they all belong together (they do). The downright scary “Sneaky Devil” is full-tilt ’80s industrial and all the better for it, and “AMPM Truck” is basically a pop single with no chance for the charts, which adds to its upbeat charms. There’s a glint of feral aggression on many of these songs that proves disturbing to behold, like only the most rarefied punk can be, and the slower, spacier numbers like “A Fool’s Expedition” and, especially, “Lurkin'” hint at a possible mellow psych future for these guys once they settle down a bit. But let’s hope they hold out for as long as they can, because with KMSBR have achieved a true rarity in modern rock music: They’ve created a record that truly sounds free of any and all constraints.