There was a thread in American music in the
late 1960s that someone untangled across the
U.S., then stretched over to Europe, where it
took root in 80s shoegaze. It ties together bands
as disparate as the 13th Floor Elevators, the
Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Mazzy Star,
Blonde Redhead, and the Jesus & Mary Chain.
It’s noise rock or math punk or psychedelic or
shoegaze or doom: It’s the down-tuned sound
of chaos and beauty, and while no one was
looking, it also worked its way through the
Americas and took root in Brazil under the
The Black Hole (Little Cloud Records, 2017) - a
tight three-song EP that clocks in at 21 minutes
- is the eighth release from the Sao Paulo
trio. This is music to play in the dark, a sonic
soundscape made for dreaming beside the
campfire or - as the title track demands - it’s
music for turning up and driving through the
desert night with, full-tilt and fully immersed.
The bass grooves move you along; the drums
tell your heart to beat; the guitar-work needles
its way into your subconscious and pulls forth
demons; and the vocals ease you back to sleep.
Firefriend pulled that thread from the 60s
and created something that feels like a bit of
everything that thread ever touched. Their
sound doesn’t rush to the pop hook or stall itself
in the crunchy riffs, it glides above everything
else in its own orbit, echoing the best parts of
psychedelic, shoegaze, and noise by taking it all
into strange new fields of bliss. And with a vinyl
release from Portland’s Little Cloud Records, it
can be heard as God intended at epic 45 rpm.
Do yourself a favor: Turn the music on, the
lights off, and let yourself go.
Jack Beltane, United States