Asheville trio Nest Egg smashes psychedelic sounds into postpunk oblivion on DislocationSteve Krakowon August 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

I was once at a Nest Egg gig where a friend said to me, “The thing I love about these guys is that they’re punks who just happen to play psychedelic music.” This joyously astute statement gets at something important about psychedelia: though the word often conjures lovey-dovey visions of the pastoral and the perfumed, 1970s movements such as Krautrock and Eurorock took these heady, trance-inducing sounds into much bleaker and more experimental terrain. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that David Thomas of Cleveland protopunk gods Pere Ubu has described his band’s music as psychedelic, but under a veil of darkness (or something poetic like that). And Nest Egg’s driving acid punk brews up a similarly malevolent storm. The Asheville band formed in 2011 and released their first LP, the incendiary Respectable, in 2015. The trio features Harvey Leisure on fuzzed guitar and cavernous vocals and Ross Gentry on driving bass and textural keys, but their not-so-secret weapon is drummer Thom Nguyen. He excels at the hard-hitting motorik rock beat and moonlights with avant-garde experimental types such as guitarist Tashi Dorji; he brings the expansive subtleties he employs in the improvisational realm to Nest Egg’s gargantuan sound. The band’s new LP, Dislocation, opens with Nguyen’s drum attack on the savage epic “Eraser,” where his frenzied tom-tom rhythms propel Leisure’s jagged, scuzzed-out guitar and menacing, nihilistic vocals, intoned from the void–and then the whole band roars to a fearsome, noisy boil. This sure isn’t yer grandmum’s psychedelia: Nest Egg come off more like an angry, determined, and fiercely minimalist postpunk band a la Wire or Killing Joke. The track “Helix” could invite comparisons to Hawkwind or Can, with its nine-plus minutes of floating sonics following a single unrelenting chord progression, but it’s not as easy as you might think to draw lines between prog, Krautrock, and punk–Hawkwind supposedly once had Johnny Rotten as a roadie. Why not just invent a new name and call Nest Egg “maxi-minimalism”? This style is best heard on the darkly excessive nine-minute jammer “Gore,” which barely has any riff or progression at all and only really changes in the density and volume of its guitar scree–imagine if the Gun Club joined Faust and Whitehouse for a gig at the dawn of the apocalypse (the actual apocalypse, I think, is due in just a few minutes). And right when you think you’ve figured out the Egg’s modus operandi, they throw in a posthardcore blast on the comically named “What!!??! I’m a Bastard!!??!” By the end of Dislocation I’ve mentally crowned Nest Egg the Band Most Capable of Scoring the Collapse of Civilization With Bong in Hand. That’s high praise these days. Invest in Nest Egg’s latest endeavor, as it may very well be the last best musical document of the end. My only friend. The end. v

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