The debut 7" EP from the ominously named Portland combo Meth Teeth has arrived this week on Sweet Rot Records, and it's got such an unsettling vibe of depravity and ruinous tones ringing throughout its grooves that it might just be that record that keeps you up at night, listening for those inevitable voices to creep inside your head. The band includes members of Artificial Limbs, Leper Print, and Night Wounds and churns out four powerful and subdued songs that reach beyond the scope of their members' previous incarnations, with an unnerving twisted conviction. It penetrates the genre confines with ease, just like some of their contemporaries such as Sic Alps and Nothing People have done so well, and ushers their name into the hushed inner circles of the discerning underground rock'n'roll cognoscenti.
The 7" is divided between two sides that show different facets to their direction, and the first tracks linger in a muddier psychedelic swamp of twirling melodies that form a beautiful backdrop for the eerie echoed vocals to seep into, and you'll see how well Meth Teeth craftily utilize their haunting guitar umbrage to maximum effect with such lush minimalism. "Bus Rides" slides around the grease and grime-laden blueprint that they have forged out of fragments of broken light bulbs and illusions of glassine spiders crawling up their arms, and instantly garners repeated listens. The b-side proffers more acoustic-based tracks that slowly bleed with such a hypnotic charm that it pulled me in from all directions before I even knew it. It may not hit you blindsided right off the bat, but after the third or fourth play, it's clear that Meth Teeth have something very good going on below the surface, and it may just be the unassuming b-side that clinches it. Starting off with "To My Good Friend," the next two tracks have hovered in my soft-boiled brain repeatedly for days and add even more certainty to the fact that some of today's best music lurks on the backsides of 7"s, just slightly out of the direct light that helps keeps it menacing, dark, and interesting.