Filthy Huns – Filthy Huns (Not Not Fun)
By Scott Creney
Everyone’s dying, some of us less slowly than others. As for me I’m dying for this record. In my current state I could listen to it over and over for at least an entire day. It’s all I need. It speaks to the broken unsatisfied mind-imploding parts of me in a way that say — the new Yo La Tengo album does not.
But I can’t afford it. I just looked it up—I actually have -$26.89 in my account. It’s cool. I’ve got enough tip money to make sure I stay fed until I get paid on Friday. But it means I can’t just go and get the Filthy Huns album tonight (and don’t think I’ve checked the darker, more freewheeling corners of the internet…nothing).
I’ve never heard of the Filthy Huns. Odds are most of you haven’t. I came across it in Other Music’s digital store, probably one of the five best record stores in the US. Here’s a link if, like me, you’re content to listen to the album in one-minute fragments (which I will admit is not w/o its own kind of poetry):
I can’t find any videos. No single-song downloads. There’s one song on Soundcloud.
There’s little to no press. I think this music only exists in physical form as a cassette. There are only 100 of those. Am I really going to write an album review based on one-minute snippets? Having only heard 10-20 per cent of the actual album? Well why not? Biographies and memoirs have been constructed out of less.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m a big-shot music writer for one of the 10 most influential music sites in the world (I’m only half-joking) and should just hit the label up for a free copy. There’s two problems with that. First, most small US labels are run by total stoners who rarely return my e-mails (and judging by the number of ‘full inbox’ messages I’ve gotten back from a couple of these places, they don’t return anyone’s e-mails). The second reason, and this is the important one, is once you’re on a label/publicist’s e-mail list you’re on there for life. I’ve contacted four-five labels during my time at CB, and just for that every Monday I get a dozen e-mails from people wanting me to listen to their records, and you know what? If I haven’t heard of the artist I almost never bother listening. I feel guilty about this in one sense — the greatest album I’ve ever heard could be sitting in my trash file right now — but it’s just too time-consuming going through all these e-mails, and I’ve got work to do (this CB thing is a labor of love… which occasionally, I will admit, spills over into a labor of hate).
Instead I go to places I trust, like Other Music for example, and check out their new releases. If something catches my ear, I’ll investigate further — either via my Rdio account, or via download (sometimes paid, sometimes not — and before you start yelling at me in the comments, you should know that I purchased at least a dozen albums this past year even after I’d reviewed them; you’d think Talk Normal or AR Kane would’ve sent me something in appreciation, to say nothing of Sissy Spacek, but that just doesn’t happen and I love the music too much not to own a physical copy), and most times write a review. I like my system, and can’t help wondering how many music writers search music out beyond their inbox, and if that contributes to the way most music writing websites/magazines always seem to write about the same records, the way they always seem to write about the same new bands. Could it be that they don’t venture any further than their favorite publicists? Maybe they’re the ones being lazy, and I’m the one doing the work? I’m genuinely curious what people think about this.
So getting back to the Filthy Huns. They’re probably just a couple of Brooklyn douchebags in suspenders and Victorian moustache wax dreaming of their next score, which makes me glad I don’t know anything about them. Their music sounds as lonely and pointless and doomed as I feel. It reminds me of Young Marble Giants, only masculine and with delay pedals. A sort of sparse urban dub. There are words but they’re too indecipherable to mean anything. This is a plus — I’m not sure I believe in the power of words at this particular moment, which is sad in a Sylvia Plath Bell Jar kind of way, seeing human interaction as a demystified commodity (in a Marxist sense the interpersonal equivalent of the mass-produced table returning to a piece of wood), but is good for listening to music. I need something vague and removed, auditory fentanyl patches applied to my brain. Filthy Huns sound the right amount of distant and the right amount of frozen to do the job.
I’ll be buying this on Friday once my paycheck clears. Unless the nice folks at Not Not Fun records send a d/l to Scott_Creney@yahoo.com. It’s an unpredictable world. Best just to sit in one place and listen; the safest place is in your head.