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PYLON - BEEP - chomp

DFA Records is releasing yet another one of post-punk's hidden gems: Pylon's sophomore record Chomp. Expanded, remastered, and released for the first time on CD as Chomp More, Pylon is set to inspire another generation of musicians. To describe Pylon as ahead of their time is somewhat misleading, because it implies that there was ever a moment when music finally caught up with them. The architects of a sound unlike any of their Athens, Georgia contemporaries, and the inspiration for numerous post-punk imitators, Pylon still sound not quite like anything before or since. The B-52s and R.E.M. have both gone on record as stating that Pylon are one of the country’s best bands. That’s a remarkable legacy for a band that formed more than thirty years ago with the sole intention of playing one show, getting a review in the now defunct New York Rocker, and self-imploding.

DFA’s reissue of Pylon’s second LP release, 1983’s Chomp, (following the reissue of their 1980 debut Gyrate) offers inarguable justification for their seminal status. “K,” an unlikely ode to Scrabble that opens the record, begins with drummer Curtis Crow using his snare to tick off a beat akin to a time bomb; seconds later the song builds to a clash ofjagged guitar lines, wiry bass, propulsive drumming and Vanessa Briscoe’s startling vocals. “Crazy,” – which R.E.M. would later famously cover– sees guitarist Randy Bewley avoiding his usual sharp angles and instead taking a jangly respite, while Briscoe veers from a moody monotone to arresting snarls and piercing yelps. “Yo-Yo” strips down to herky jerky staccato guitar and a few perfectly placed lyrical melodies; “Gyrate” buzzes with antsy, danceable energy; “Altitude” is a gorgeous and dreamy study in loud-quiet-loud dynamics.

In addition to remastered versions of the LP’s 12 original tracks, Chomp More includes the 7” version of “Crazy”; a “male version” of “Yo-Yo,” on which Briscoe merely guest stars, Pylon’s own frenzied, frenetic remix of “Gyrate” and the rarely heard single “Four Minutes,” an ineffably beautiful pastiche of homemade and seemingly found noise. These innovative songs speak to the timeless vision of four young people who unwittingly created a sound that still sounds innovative, fresh and distinct. More than three decades on, Pylon continues to lead – while music, as always, lags safely behind.