Chat Pile played The Sinclair – 9/18

OKC’s apocalyptic sludge quartet made their Boston-area debut with support from Nerver and Intercourse.


Chat Pile make music for a distinctly American nightmare. The four-piece stare unflinchingly into a culture of everyday horrors and channel its worst into sludgy noise rock as depraved as it is compelling. It’d be a stretch to say there’s anything fun about this music, but there’s certainly catharsis and a hint of pitch-black comedy lurking in the margins. It also helps that the band’s guitar/bass/drums core (who go by the pseudonyms Luther Manhole, Stin and Cap’n Ron, respectively) churn out a primally satisfying, body-moving racket that’s irresistible to anyone intrigued by the notion of a grosser, grimier Jesus Lizard.

The band have been riding a justified wave of hype these past few years, cresting with last July’s release of their first full-length, God’s Country, via The Flenser. This summer’s run of supporting dates finally brought them to Cambridge for a Sinclair gig that sold out and packed ’em in despite the rainy weather and Monday night-ness of it all.

Vocalist Raygun Busch (you know they’ve all got pseudonyms) led the festivities onstage, casually chatting up the crowd throughout the night about movies based and/or shot in Boston with a depth of knowledge suggesting prior research or a truly encyclopedic memory for cinema history. When it came to the songs, Busch worked a different sort of energy entirely, worriedly pacing the floor less like a frontman than a guy reluctantly tasked with delivering a lot of really bad news. The presentation heightened the sickly tension already present in the songs, imbuing them with a weightiness beyond that of the band’s sludge-hammer alone.

The setlist ran a riveting gamut from God’s Country highlights (the harrowing, self-described “Friday the 13 fan-fiction” “Pamela”) to earlier EPs (the stomach-churning “Dallas Beltway”) and a brand new song. I could’ve gone for an appearance by “grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg” – which, belying that goofy title, is one of the straight-up scariest songs I’ve heard in recent memory and the arguably the band’s masterpiece to date – but that’s a nitpick. The local Chat Pile debut did not disappoint.

Opening the night were two like-mindedly gnarly noise rock bands in Kansas City’s Nerver and Connecticut’s Intercourse, both of whom delivered intense, heavy sets in their own right. Check out photos of the whole evening below.