NML RECORDS, 2007
Che Guevara T-Shirt are a twin-guitar quartet based in Albany and featuring members (current and former) of such noisy/knotty practitioners as Complicated Shirt, Glitter of Cohoes, The Jamboyz and Catacomb Gypsy Vagina. CGT’s self-titled debut serves up eight bracing cuts that feature nervous guitars locked into intricate, obsessive, vaguely math-rock figures, all grounded by a grinding rhythm section that would have made any number of seminal sludgecore titans proud. Singer K. Sonin uses his voice as a fifth instrument, sometimes buried in the mix, dancing with the twitching guitars, sometimes shouting down the swirling musical mayhem surrounding him. Kamikaze Heart Troy Pohl engineered Che Guevara T-Shirt in Troy’s Collar City Studio, and he did a nobly Steve Albini-esque job of finding the happy medium between lo-fi aesthetic and studio sheen. Song countdowns and studio noise provide intimacy and immediacy, but there’s nary a bit of basement-tape hiss or carport echo to make you feel like you’re listening to a toss-off demo recording. While all eight songs are solid, CGT saves their best for last: The epic “Tapped Again” has fantastic forward momentum, and features a spazzy guitar solo that wouldn’t have been out of place on Black Flag’s skronk-bomb The Process of Weeding Out. All told, a worthy first effort.