Zach Hill’s latest musical output

Zach Hill has been drumming for half his life (he’s 30, and he started drumming 15 years ago in 1995). In that time, he’s recorded with more than ten different groups (Holy Smokes, Nervous Cop, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Team Sleep, Goon Moon, Marnie Stern, Crime in Choir, The Ladies, CHLL PLL, Flossinthe list goes on and on). Most notably, though, he’s one of the two remaining members in the experimental rock group Hella, which is currently working on its fifth album.In 2010, Hill recorded an EP, Spiritual Bankruptcy, as part of the math-rock duo bygones. More recently, he appeared as Marnie Stern’s drummer (and producer) on her new self-titled album, released October 5. Somewhere in between, he managed to record his second solo album, Face Tat.Unsurprisingly, the list of guests on this album is extensive:

  • Devendra Banhart
  • Guillermo Scott Herren (Prefuse 73)
  • Greg Saunier (Deerhoof)
  • Dean Spunt and Randy Randall (No Age)
  • Carson McWhirter (Hella)
  • Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos, bygones)
  • Robby Moncrieff (Raleigh Moncrieff)

However, Hill himself remains the star of the show. It’s unlikely you’ll hear any of these tracks on the radio anytime soon, because while Hill’s punishing drumming style is many things, “radio-friendly” is not one of them. The man fractured his hand drumming with Wavves, for goodness sake. The thirteen tracks on this album incorporate many of Hill’s favorite genres, including punk, noise rock, psychedelia, and electronic sampling. “The Sacto Smile” (featuring the No Age members) is one of the fiercest songs on the album and evokes easy comparisons to the guest members’ band, as well as Lightning Bolt.For those wondering what a math-rock drummer’s singing sounds like, you may leave the album still wondering. Hill doesn’t sing so much as he emits, spitting out surreal lyrics over broken beats with heavy distortion. His own voice is just another noise, added to sounds as diverse as smashed computers and street recordings.Face Tat released October 19 on the Sargent House label, and makes a great companion to recent releases by Deerhunter (Halcyon Digest) and Swans (My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky). It’s not an easy listen, but that’s not really what you wanted, is it?

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