Continuing in posts about deathly wonderful music from Los Angeles, Youth Code is the next band in the queue. The group is duo Ryan William George and Sara Taylor who have mastered industrial, electric music seemingly forged by satan in a Downtown dance club. Their self-titled debut LP is a mixture of scary synthetic screams and metallic bangs, ones that confirms that the darkside of Los Angeles is rising out of the San Andreas fault to gladly suffocate us in black buzzing smoke.
The group—whose process is said to be “drink[ing] a pot of coffee each and just fucking losing our goddamn minds”—is fairly intense. Much like a steel drill scratching into a steel wall covered in steel wool inside of Danielle Steel’s house, the music has a very beautifully rough clanging edge. There are whisper screams and legitimate screams placed atop of head bopping (into banging) analogue electronics mixed in with various found sound samples. Opener “Let The Sky Burn” (above) acts as a perfect thesis for the group as it is composed of clips of looped newscasters speaking about wars on terror and blood and gore as if the world will crumble if you don’t heed their warnings. George comes in screaming suicide and survival as he describes an Escape From LA scene. It is a delightful piece of music.
Other songs play similarly, “First & Last” sampling film dialogue set to building Terminator-esque keyboards and “No Animal Escapes” sounding like a B-side to a lost Nine Inch Nails single. There are expositions that act as performance pieces too: “Rest In Piss” is a minute and a half long yelling and screaming, George and (assumedly) Taylor fighting with each other like a father and daughter disputing how the world should end. What is funny about the group and their concept, one that could very quickly become lost in repetition and too many screams, is that Youth Code has an ability to switch their levels and stylings as they do in “Sick Skinned,” a booming march over a teacherly sample of someone asking, “Why won’t you disobey?”
As the band describes themselves, they are raw and punishing: they are a dark musical beating from sunny Southern California. They aren’t polished and they are quite new to this too, which makes them feel a lot like an open wound. What separates them from other acts like this is that there is an earnestness, creativity, and humor in their work. Unlike Pharmakon and Wolf Eyes and Hair Police, Youth Code zoom out from the darkness to show that it isn’t a hellish cave but a staticky, buzzing television that is repeatedly playing that scene where LA gets destroyed in Independence Day. This band is about the theatricality of a sound and execute it very well. It will be exciting to see what disasters they lead us to.
Listen to Youth Code below. You can also catch them at the Echoplex on November 19 with Andrew WK and Alice Glass.