Viet Cong – ‘Cassette’

The Canadian psych-punks' outstanding lost demo tape uncovered

‘Cassette’ has a dangerous history. Sales of Calgary DIY punks Viet Cong’s debut tape fuelled their van during 2013’s US tour. Then that van came inches from killing someone. Leaving New Orleans, the quartet – bar designated driver singer/bassist Matt Flegel – were tripping on mushrooms, drummer Mike Wallace jumped through the window and a bystander fell under their wheels; Flegel braked just short of his head. Sonically, ‘Cassette’ – now remastered for vinyl – exists on a similarly disastrous precipice. Its gristly psych has a serrated post-punk edge and a bloodied feel, somewhere between The Velvet Underground and British punk rock. The beginning section, bookended by ‘Throw It Away’ and ‘Oxygen Feed’, is a druggy mash, but the record gets itchier as its trip deepens. ‘Structureless Design’ unnerves with jarring guitars and bricks-in-a-washing machine drums, followed brilliantly by the noir punk of ‘Dark Entries’. ‘Select Your Drone’ brings a psychotic end to this outstanding tape, manically speeding, like Viet Cong’s van, towards a series of grisly crashes. Brain-crushing stuff…

Ben Homewood

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