Scarcity of Tanks – Vulgar Defender + Fear is not Conscience

January 01, 1970

(Total Life Society)


Bushy faced, balding
iconoclastic art-punk literati and best front-man in underground rock Matthew
“Muug Shank” Wascovich has been operating under the Scarcity Of Tanks moniker
since the mid-2000s, backed by a constantly evolving cast of both infamous
trailblazers (punk godfather Mike Watt) and hometown Cleveland-punk legends (Cobra
Verde’s John Petkovic and Prisonshake’s Scott “Puff Tube” Pickering),
self-releasing proverbial killer album after album via his Total Life Society


The lineage of ‘70s Cleveland
punk (Pere Ubu, Rocket from the Tombs, electric eels), ‘80s SST Records
(Saccharine Trust) and ‘90s Scat Records post-punk (the aforementioned arena-ready
rawk of Prisonshake and Cobra Verde) has
peppered Wascovich’s righteously twisted and staunchly independent rock spirit through
the face scorching trifecta of Sensational
(2011), Bleed Now (2010)
and No Endowments (2008). But it’s the
gruff speak-sing delivery and Burroughs-esque Beat poet spielin’ ‘n’ rhymin’
wield of Wascovich’s that supersedes the presence of any supporting band he
might unearth.


Debatably, that is, until
now. Joining the disparately weirdo ranks of bands releasing two albums on the
same day (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bright Eyes, Boris and Springsteen), the presumably
less egomaniacal Wascovich unleashed not only the double deuce of Vulgar Defender and Fear is not Conscious earlier this year but managed to assemble a
group of behemoth avant-garde magnitude for its twin affinitive assault.


Clevo-punk collides with
Brooklyn avant-rock and NYC downtown punk-jazz as Wascovich rounded up an A-list
unit including members of electric eels and Necking (guitarists John
“Broken Hand” Morton and Nick Lesley, respectively), Brooklyn
multi-instrumentalist Don Goodwin, improvising terrorist Weasel Walter, Oneida/Man
Forever master percussionist Kid Millions and sax skronk overlord Jim Sauter of
free jazz noise cretins Borbetomagus.


 As expected with this army of aggressive
noise-fueled innovators, Fear… and Vulgar Defender feature SoT high-tailing
it without abandon, bursting with a caustic racket not displayed on the riff-oriented
classic rock proclivities of Wascovich’s earlier LP’s. Anchored by Walter’s
fuzz-dripping, convulsive bass groovage and Millions’ huge traps-obliterating
precision reverberating throughout as guitars and sax in full throttling sonic
nasty mode hover ubiquitously while Wascovich spews deliciously perverse,
damaged wordage over the din. Fittingly, both LP’s were recorded in Brooklyn,
as Wascovich perfectly attains the disemboweled flavor of avant-noise New York
while converging it with the resonance of his trademark Clevo-punk leanings.
Both Fear… and Vulgar Defender brim with some of Wascovich’s finest and scuzziest
songs. “Stood Straight,” “Never Private Clubs” and “Already Alive” (off Fear…) and Vulgar Defender‘s
“Darkness Promises,” “Detached Abstract,” and “Let You Accident” achieve an arc
of melodiously infectious and blisteringly dissonant.   


But as prolific as Wascovich
is with these two stellar releases, the bearded poet is not wasting time,
reveling in its glory. The next incarnation of Scarcity of Tanks is already in
the tank and a new record he calls Ohio
is about to be set


Straight,” “Never Private Clubs” and “Already Alive” (found on Fear is not Conscious) and “Darkness
Promises,” “Detached Abstract,” and “Let You Accident” (found on Vulgar Defender) BRAD COHAN






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