(Ampersand Etcetera) Diamondhead, offering Dirty Realism provide no information on what the three members play - the grainy cover image shows guitars and drums - but the music includes keyboards. And the cover photo also indicates something about the music - it is murky and at times indistinct. The tracks here, apparently improvised, are relatively short, and the disk has the feel to me of being a compilation of some more 'experimental' bits of jams that have been taped over a while. They often come from nowhere and just end. Opening and closing are two ambient quiet pieces, keyboards providing drones as subtle guitar and drums are added, with some electronica and phonography in 12. In the second track a little piano loop and later a piano solo combines with feedbacky guitar, while drones and organ working together in 4, the piano returning for 6 and 7 (where there is a bit of continuity) which has an increasing tempo. the guitar was more forceful in 3, but still a restrained ambience, though the single repeated bass notes that open 5 leads into a more aggressive work from the guitar and drums (with some tape-jumps). Becky Lilly adds some flute to 8 which works well with the feedback and piano. 9, 10 and 11 are more straightforward drum and guitars pieces, including some nice wah-wah and a bit more of a rocking feel, but still within the more ambient side. The individual tracks here are enjoyable and offer interesting aspects of ambience, but I couldn't feel an overarching aesthetic drive, nor a resplendant diversity which could compensate. You get the feeling that Diamondhead could do more, but this album is not a failure but a definite stepping stone that provides its own pleasures. - Jeremy Keens
(Blastitude) Diamondhead is the new thing by Lonnie Methe, he of Naturaliste, one of my favorite local bands from my Nebraska daze.... now he's in Austin, TX working with some new players and they're doing jammy improvised stuff that is a little less noise and a little more rock than Naturaliste, actually ending up somewhere close to an xNOBBQx vibe... I realize that won't be a recommendation for some of you but it is for me, I dig that xNOBBQx LP, it's downright chilling. On the other hand, this Diamondhead disc is kind of long and seems indifferently assembled, but there are excellent moments and I'd like to hear their jams presented with the more rigorous editing and conceptualization that went into some of the old Naturaliste stuff (and Methe's solo stuff as Arnoux). But hey, the title is "Dirty Realism," so, you know.... - Matt Silcock
(Touching Extremes) I’ve come to the conclusion that records born from low quality tapes are better enjoyed via speakers. In fact, the worst we can do is detecting all kinds of fault instead of capturing the essence of what’s good in the disc. Diamondhead (L. Eugene Methe, R.J. Reynolds, Derek Rogers) are a perfect model in that logic. The antithesis of virtuosity, their instruments recurrently - and dangerously - bordering on the detuned (how voluntarily, one wonders), at times they sound like the dwarf version of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, often noodling hypnotically, sometimes striking gold with combinations of minimal repetitions and entrancing chords. There are no notes on the sleeve but I believe that guitars, keyboards, bass and drums are used (plus flute, by Becky Lilly). Well, listen to this disc leisurely and get a little contentment, as that uneven sense of tuning works fine within the environment and the lo-fi gusto of these guys lets us disregard the bloopers. The mishmash of clashing overtones is indeed pleasurable when the groove is right. And the pieces are short - no aggravating suites, no fourth-hand Grateful Dead. Play it in the shuffle mode too. Amusing stuff, absolutely no charade. - Massimo Ricci
(Kathodik) Un tappeto sonoro di low-fi e impro, ‘soffice’ noise e freak-delica, nu-folk e mood no-sense perviene dall’arido Texas, dai sobborghi di Austin.
Tutti questi elementi riscontrati nel primo cd-r dei Diamondhead riportano indubbiamente allo storico lavoro dei Sun City Girls: identica predisposizione a miscelare con verve anarchica (e tanta pazzia) le correnti più estreme e scottanti del mai-stanco Rock and Roll.
Oltre a questo cd-r, i tre diamond si sono preoccupati gia un annetto fa di dare alla luce un’originale e alquanto artigianale tape-recording intitolata “Street Leaf”, la quale (dopo aver sentito un paio di tracce presenti sul myspace) sembra discostarsi non poco dai suoni introversi e magmatici predisposti per “Dirty Realism”. In quel caso la forma-canzone e la classica impiantistica chitarra-basso-batteria vincevano a pieno merito il titolo di idea principale. Qui, invece, gli spazi si dilatano a dismisura, rilasciano poca certezza ritmica, quanto armonica, e non si servono soltanto degli strumenti sopra indicati. In più di un frangente compare lo spettro ‘drogato’ di un organo (nella messianica Track 1) insieme ad una gamma di suoni che lasciano pensare si tratti di un pianoforte preparato: in versione dodecafonica nella Track 2, più spinto e jazzato con la Track 9 dove è accompagnato, inoltre, anche dal canto arcigno di un flauto. Durante le ultime tre piste la cadenza ritmica si fa più corposa e pulita: ne è dimostrazione lampante la sarabanda rock ‘n’ funky della decima traccia, con tanto di chitarra grattugiata alla maniera dei 70’s.
Una band giovane e un buon inizio: non rimane che augurare ai tre un fiorente seguito dell’avventura intrapresa con altre uscite sulla scia di “Dirty Realism”. - Sergio Eletto
(Dead Angel) Talk about drones, this band's got 'em -- but they're weird drones, improv drones, drones standing in the back of the room smoking blunts while someone kicks things around the front of the room. The band doesn't make it easy to figure out where they're coming from; outside of some real sparse liner notes on the back of the sleeve, this disc offers little information about where they're from or what they're up to. Hell, they don't even bother listing titles for the twelve tracks here (which were recorded in Austin in the winter of 2007, probably live, not that they're willing to tell us). The bottom line here is that they're an improv band (like you thought they were going to be Korn clones on this label?) with an affinity for vaguely shambolic performances and endless drones over a rambling beat. It's a little too together to really qualify as complete improv freakout, but way too loose and eccentric to really be rock 'n roll; it may be drone-happy, but it's grounded in actual rhythmic action, and while the guitars (and other instruments, including flute) are definitely wandering through experimental / improv territory, they're nowhere near as "out there" as some of the groups on this label. Like the early Beme Seed, the entire album manages to sound like they're in the process of tuning up for a real gig that probably happened after someone turned off the tape recorder. Disconnected phantom psych blues, that's what this is. How much alcohol was involved is anybody's guess. - RKF
(Aiding & Abetting) Reminds me a lot of Brise-Glace, though much, much messier. Throbbing rhythms and loopy experimentalism trade body blows. No one wins, but it sounds really cool. - Jon Worley
(Bad Alchemy) Ich kenne Sozialistischen und Magischen Realismus, aber was zum Kuckuck ist Dirty Realism (eh?34, CD-R)? DIAMONDHEAD aus Austin, TX, definieren ihn als Atonal Squalor. Heat and Heaviness. Alpine Guitars. Karaoke Machines. 4-Track hiss. Strat/Tele copies. Crate/Peavey Amps. Drums. Casio keyboard. So fabrizieren L. Eugene Methe, R.J. Reynolds und Derek Rogers Lo-Fi-Freispiele, die an den Abgründen von Freak Rock und Last-Visible-Dog-Psychedelic entlang balancieren wie ein 4,9- Promille-Radfahrer, der, obwohl er nur in Zeitlupe voran eiert, der Schwerkraft trotzt. Musik, die sich mit ölverschmierter Putzwolle den Schweiß von der Stirn wischt, der Drummer totmüde, die Gitarren verdreht wie das Fahrgestell eines Unfalltotalschadens. Ein Dutzend Fragmente, herausgeschnitten aus Jams in einem Proberaum, dessen Luft man mit dem Schneidbrenner schneiden muss.