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Scum Couch is the brainchild of drummer and multi-instrumentalist noisemaker Mark O’Brien. Based in Albany, NY, Scum Couch was conceived in 2014 as a solo experimental multimedia art project. O’Brien has toured extensively in several groups, first with progressive indie rockers Aficionado (No Sleep Records) and more recently with outré post-punk unit Self Defense Family (Deathwish Inc.) and progressive sludge/doom band HUSH. Approaching 20 years of experience behind the kit, including time spent training with Blake Fleming of The Mars Volta, O’Brien showcases his technical abilities as both a drummer and a songwriter with Scum Couch. Though ostensibly a solo effort, O’Brien frequently collaborates with other musicians and artists to produce Scum Couch songs and videos, and appears live with a full band. The live manifestation of the band incorporates loops and samples alongside O’Brien’s drumming, vocals, and several other performers sometimes playing multiple instruments. The overall effect is one of contained chaos, as the massively distorted rhythmic backbone of the songs undulates beneath flurries of melody and sometimes chaotic improvisation.
Weak Existence is O’Brien’s third effort in the past year under the Scum Couch moniker, having released the EPs Human Form and Scum Couch just a few months apart in 2015.  Each of these recent outings has revealed an expanding palette of disparate influences that have culminated in a driving, cohesive group of songs on Weak Existence. The tracks draw from a range of genres, encompassing the distorted pummel and repetition of noise rock and industrial, the experimentation of jazz, and the avant-weirdness of artists like Scott Walker and Brainbombs. Scum Couch has crafted a truly engaging album that blends layers of distorted rhythms, textures, and stark vocals with a wide array of other instrumental elements from synths to clarinets. Standout tracks like “Group Photo” and “Naive” are alternately grooving and chaotically dissonant, perfectly illustrating O’Brien’s penchant for creating something that feels both bombastic and at times abrasive, yet remains strangely accessible, even infectious.
1. Message
2. Group Photo
3. Weak Existence
4. Naive
5. Out Seven
6. Train Of Thought

100 - Pale Green Cassettes