I don't like making comparisons to other artists in my (small) reviews because it's reductive, but all I can hear on this installment of the Gentrification series is Antichrist Superstar era Manson (which is a good thing!). The vocal effects, the irate, abrasive instrumentals, it all screams Little Horn/The Reflecting God.
Assuming these tracks were written after Kicking Mule, I'm elated that Street Sects have replaced their melodic elements with the harsh noise I fell in love with them for.
Favorite track: Goodbye Recidivist Road.
Your favorite, or soon-to-be favorite nihilists are back with the long awaited follow up in their Gentrification, five-part, series of 7” singles. Happily interrupted by some dealings with Flenser, Artoffact, Hand Of Death, Isolation, & Realicide Youth Records.. the Austin based Industrial Punk duo bring you the much anticipated third volume in the series. Still glad to be in that part of humanity with the face that’s being stomped on by a boot, forever.
Favorite track: Goodbye Recidivist Road.
Sometimes I wonder how many hours, in total, I've spent working at degrading low level jobs that mean absolutely nothing to me or my life. Thousands, certainly. Hundreds of thousands? Perhaps.
Every night around 7PM I park my piece of shit van about eight blocks from my piece of shit job and walk beneath the I-35 overpass, dragging my feet along the sidewalk as I hear the din from the nightclubs grow louder, the slurring roar of inebriation and weak-willed lust trickling into my head like a toxic gas, reminding me that although I've been sober for over seven years, my life still doesn't amount to much more than a sad, tired, pathetic joke. A grimy quarter marinating at the bottom of a plastic cup half full of stale, cheap beer. Before I reach the overpass, on the corner of Holly Street and San Marcos Street, there is a telephone pole covered with rusted staples and nail heads that were once used to hold up posters and signs, long since forgotten and weathered away. Whenever I pass this telephone pole, I always stop and say a little mantra to myself that helps me to feel a little less anxious and brings a moment of peaceful awareness to my mind. After I finish the mantra I knock three times on the telephone poll and then continue walking. It's an unusual habit, but I've been doing it for years, and the few times where I've forgotten to do it I feel like I later paid some kind of inner emotional toll for the oversight. As such, I try to never forget.
I tell people I'm a "bouncer" because it sounds slightly more romantic and dangerous than the truth. The truth is that I'm a door jockey...greeting, carding, and granting entry to a neverending onslaught of shamelessly entitled little bags of piss and puke that frequent the strip where I work. Rainey Street...once a neglected row of condemned houses and crack dens, now since converted into an upscale alcoholic playland for inbred oil money academics and closeted country club racists. I've lost count of how many times I've fantasized about hurting these people...about killing these people....but instead I just keep showing up, clocking in, and cleaning up after them. Ten dollars an hour and a lifetime supply of resentment and self loathing. I realize that I'm no better than them. In fact, I know that I am much worse. I choose to be here, wallowing in my bile of regret, disappointment, and disgust. I don't deserve to live any more than they do. But unlike them, I have no illusions as to what I am.
One Sunday night, around 3:30 AM, I clock out and start walking the eight blocks back to my van. There aren't many people out at this hour, save for other sevice industry losers like myself, the occasional gaggle of die hard street drunks, and the faceless unfortunates who have no homes to return to. As I near the overpass, I see a woman in a car parked along the feeder road lean her head out the drivers side window and spew vomit down the side of her car door and over the curb. I hear her start the engine and watch as she pulls out into the road and speeds off without bothering to turn her headlights on. I shake my head as I cross the street and step beneath the overpass, which is well lit and lined on either side with tents and makeshift cardboard shelters. There is no movement and no sound audible above the ambient white hum of intermittent traffic passing by above me. As I am about to step beneath the overhead gap that separates the north and southbound lanes, I hear a sound...no, I feel a sound unlike anything I have ever experienced before or since. The only way I can describe it is to say that it sounded as though the sky were being torn open, as though something great and unimaginable was trying to claw its way into our reality from some unknown dimension. It is absolutely terrifying, and my first instinct is to turn around and start running, even though I have no idea what's happening. I only make it a few paces before I return to my senses, and as the sound becomes less deafening I hear it morph from an immense cacophony into something more recognizable, the sound of metal on metal, the crunching of steel and broken glass. I turn around and look up through the gap between the lanes of the highway and see that the night sky has been partially blotted out by rectangular paneling. I see the shape of a wheel spinning freely in the air, connected to the paneling, but disconnected from it's purpose. I smell smoke and gasoline and realize that I am looking up at the back end of an overturned semi truck.
I stand there for a moment, looking up in disbelief. I hear some cursing and grunting from within one or more of the makeshift shelters and then everything is silent. I continue on, heading towards the other side of the overpass to where my van is parked. When I reach the other side of the interstate I turn around and look up. I can see the wreckage of the semi and at least one other vehicle. There is dark smoke curling upwards into the sky. All of a sudden I hear the faint sound of a baby crying.
Without thinking about it, I sprint up the side of the gravel embankment and pull myself over the guard rail and onto the shoulder of the highway where the wreck is. The semi truck is both completely jackknifed and toppled over, the rear portion of the tractor trailer stretching horizontally across the space between the two lanes. There is no discernible movement from within the cab. The other vehicle is practically unrecognizable, though it appears to have been some sort of luxury sedan. The back half of it has been completely crushed and the front end is a tangle of impossible angles and certain death. The windshield, somehow still intact, is now a nearly opaque white map of cracks and serpentine splintering, the drivers side half of it folded outwards like a partially open book. The vehicle is filled with blackish smoke, and it's clear that the sound of the crying is coming from within what is left of the car. About ten feet away, lying amid the rubble of glass and debris, is the shape of a man lying on his side. My heart freezes as I see movement and realize that he is still alive. I walk towards him and I can see that he is desperately trying to crawl back towards the vehicle and the sound of the crying baby. It's at this moment that I become aware of something incredibly strange. I look north towards the direction of downtown, and then turn my head in the opposite direction, looking southward to where the highway stretches away from the city. Looking in both directions I can see that there are no vehicles approaching from either direction. The highway is completely deserted. Even at this hour that seems impossible, especially this close to downtown. It's as though the world has fallen asleep, and the only things left awake are me, this man, and the baby crying from within the automobile behind me. As soon as this thought enters my mind I hear the crying suddenly choke up and cease. Everything is silent again. I look down at the man and see his face is covered with blood. One of his legs appears to be completely destroyed, the pant leg a flattened mound of blood and sinew. There is a bone jutting out through the front of his shirt near his throat, possibly a rib or a collarbone. I'm no doctor so I can't say for sure which. The man appears to have no awareness of what is happening, yet he continues to try and crawl towards the vehicle, pulling himself an inch at a time with one arm, his ruined leg and torso leaving a trail of blood behind him. All at once I recognize the man. He's a regular at the bar where I work. I've seen him there many times over the years, sometimes with his wife, sometimes with other women, and sometimes alone. When he's there alone he always stands in the same spot, drink clutched in his hand, scanning the room for available females like a hawk surveying a field for hapless mice and squirrels. He's just one of countless others who follow this same pattern. That's the nature of the environment.
I kneel down next to him and lean in close to his ear. I can smell a mixture of blood and booze wafting up from his open mouth. One of his eyes is swollen shut and there are shards of glass stuck into his cheek and forehead.
"Stop it. Stop it right now." I speak directly into his ear. "It's over. Your baby is dead, and so are you." I don't feel pity for this man, or contempt. I don't feel anything at all. "What were you doing driving around drunk at four in the morning with your baby in the car?"
It's clear that he can't hear me. He stretches out his arm again to try and pull himself closer to the wreckage and I put my foot down on his hand.
"I said stop it, motherfucker."
Suddenly his upper body lurches forward and a mixture of blood and yellow fluid dribbles out of his mouth onto the concrete. There is a gargling sound coming from his throat. I slide my boot under his shoulder and flip him over onto his back. The gargling sound intensifies. From the corner of my eye I see the blue and red strobing of police cruisers heading towards us on the feeder road from the direction of the courthouse on 7th street. The world appears to have woken back up. I look down at the man's face and take a deep breath. The gargling has stopped and he appears to breathing again. I realize that it's possible he might actually live.
In one rapid, fluid motion I raise up my boot about knee high and bring it back down as hard as I can against his throat. I feel it collapse between my heel and the pavement. Blood and fluid shoot up from his mouth directly into my face and across the lens of my glasses. I lick my lips and taste gin and iron. I take one last look at the cab of the semi and what's left of the sedan. No movement. No sound. I turn around and dart back down the embankment towards Holly street where my van is parked. When I get to the corner of Holly and San Marcos I stop at the telephone pole and clean my glasses with my shirt. I look up towards the moon and recite the mantra:
"I love you God. Thank you for everything. Please keep me sober for the rest of my life. Until Death, God, keep me sober. I love you God. Thank you for everything."
I knock three times on the telephone pole, walk the rest of the way to my van and drive straight home, where I sleep more soundly than I have in years.
In January of 2014 Street Sects released their first single, "Gentrification I: The Morning After the Night We Raped Death". The two song 7" was the first of a planned five part series titled "Gentrification: A Serial Album". In June of the same year they released "Gentrification II: Broken Windows, Sunken Ceilings". After the second single was released, the band was approached by San Francisco based record label The Flenser, and the band switched gears to begin working on a full length for the label. One release led to another, and the final three installments of the Gentrification series were put on hold, indefinitely. Now, five years later, in the wake of the release of their more melodic and melancholic sophomore LP, "The Kicking Mule", the band have returned to the serial album that started it all to pick up where they left off. "Gentrification III: Death and Displacement" isn't so much a return to form (the bands' style has always been in flux, and their approach to songwriting and production has evolved significantly in the past half-decade) as it is a return to the emotional intent that fueled those first two releases. The themes and stories addressed within the Gentrification series were never intended to be strict socioeconomic commentary, but rather the conversation and consequences surrounding Gentrification were meant to be a fractured and brutal lens through which we are given a voyeuristic look into the emotional perspectives of characters whose lives are maligned by alienation, exile, and economic peril. If crime is primarily a symptom of the underclass, then perhaps our prisons are filled with some of our most valuable living lessons. These castaways, offenders and recidivists are a glaring example of the consequences of a systematic ideological violence inflicted by the haves upon the have-nots. The Gentrification series is not an indictment or an apology, it is an empathetic gritting of the teeth, clenching of the fist, and pulling of the trigger.
At least admit that you don't care if I die
What's the point in being lovers if we can't speak our minds
Out of context, under oath, their only witness is dead
They're knocking houses down like dominoes while you still haven't copped to where you were the night that Erica got stabbed in the throat...They found her bloated and discolored on the bank of the Hudson in the sun
Facedown when it started
Facedown when it ends
You don't want to see their eyes
You still want to live
Swallow your tongue
Swallow your pride
You don't fucking need it
You want murder
You've got murder
You'll get everything you've asked for
No one hurts you
Like your friends
No one cuts you
Quite like them
Either you kill yourself now or get to work
No more bitching
No more lies
No more hiding
From their eyes
You're expected to put them down
It's always what it's been about
Living a life that you hate
You're still in your fucking head
Wake up your beating heart
Open your eyes
You're lying right next to it
Wake up and listen
Wake up and live your life
Track Name: Boxcars
One day you will thank me for beating the "poor boy" out of you
The trash in your bloodline
The ignorance in your DNA
You'll thank me
I just might have saved your life
The stain of your mother entirely wiped from your mind
I was the one who gave you
The summer of no conditions
I am sentimental
I was the one who shamed you
Into the man you've become
supported by 23 fans who also own “Gentrification III: Death and Displacement”
By far my favorite album, an absolute masterpiece. I would take this album with me into an underground bunker to ride out the apocalypse in. I lost a friend to suicide last year and this album has been there for me through it all. I can't thank you enough, Dan and Tim, for creating this and sharing it with the world.