What’s new: E, “Negative Work”

by Jon E. Lynch

E, “Negative Work”Music fans, rejoice. This week there are a slew of releases worth your time, more than a solid listen or two, and even your hard-earned dollar. The Beggars Group, which consists of heavyweights 4AD, Rough Trade Records, Matador Records, and a few others, has two of my most anticipated records of the late spring: Parquet Courts will release their Danger Mouse-produced album, “Wide Awake!,” via Rough Trade. And then there’s the new (former Pavement front person) Stephen Malkmus release, “Sparkle Hard,” with his exceptionally talented band, the Jicks, on Matador. And that’s not all. Ryley Walker, Wax Idols, and Courtney Barnett all have full-lengths arriving on May 18, making Friday as stacked a release date as any this year.

That said, it was a relatively little-known band with an exceptionally rich pedigree that grabbed my attention (and repeated spins) this week. The Boston-based trio E is comprised of Thalia Zedek, Jason Sidney Sanford, and Gavin McCarthy. Zedek is a singer and guitarist in massively influential underground bands Live Skull, Uzi, and Come. McCarthy has played with many bands, but most notably as drummer for the groundbreaking indie-fusion band Karate. Sanford plays guitars and “devices” on Negative Work, and for the avant-garde noise rockers Neptune. I was drawn to the trio initially due to listed touring dates this summer, where they’re opening shows for Superchunk, Omni, and Shellac. I stayed for the brash, discordant post-punkian noise and heavy tribal drone dynamics. With each listen, I’ve picked up a different subtle nuance, and with that, a pleasant surprise. The album was recorded and mixed in four days at Machines With Magnets (Battles, Lightning Bolt) and conveys a tense urgency and an enviable amount of talent from the aforementioned players.

Negative Work is available Friday, May 25, via Thrill Jockey, on compact disc and on vinyl in a standard black vinyl colorway. Limited edition copies on white vinyl are available while preorder supplies last. Vinyl versions come with the requisite digital download on your choice of various high-quality formats (320K MP3, FLAC, or ALAC).

Recommended for fans of Come, Karate, Sleater-Kinney, Mission of Burma, Patti Smith, and some of the lesser known Dischord bands, such as The Warmers, Smart Went Crazy, or Beauty Pill.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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