MP3 of the day: Tussle's "Second Guessing"

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San Francisco four-piece Tussle understand something fundamental to music: rhythm. They will be bringing that rhythm to Oakland's Uptown this Sunday when they open up for female punk rock legends the Slits. "Second Guessing", is a track off their just released "Telescope Mind" album that shows them stretching rhythm to its sonic limit. Steering away from their earlier forays into dub and moving into no-wave/post punk territory, Tussle have made vast improvements with their new direction. "Second Guessing" starts off with a rubber band bass line and short, clipped repetitive drums which move at a steady pace and then interlock with tightlipped syncopated percussion. The drums just clear space for ensuing layers of skeletal, moody synths and bizarre sound percussion (buckets, bicycle wheels) which ends up giving the whole thing a junkyard disco feel. This formula persists throughout this track and the whole record with just enough variation and subtlety to keep the listener engaged mentally and physically without burning you out; it is essentially dance music with headspace. Tussle here are treading the same ground that bands like Esg and Liquid Liquid did in the NYC downtown scene of the '80's, (Sal Principato of Liquid Liquid guests on the album). What makes the track and the album so enjoyable in spite of its obvious predecessors is its refusal to be anything else than what it is; which is music to make you move. Remove all the overburdened analysis and what you're left with is a fat slab of thick cerebral funk. -- Oscar Medina

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