Finished’s new album couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Our current political and social climate of blissful ignorance, apathy and cognitive dissonance is running rampant. The seemingly never ending indiegaze, blackgaze, and more Future (the rapper) full length records couldn’t be more fitting soundtracks to all the blank stares, curling up in front of your iBook for some critical online activism, and plague-like aloofness. That’s right folks: underneath this snowy blanket of designer drugs and hip-to-be-square windbreakers lays much dirtier drugs, loincloths, and genuine angst.
Finished are a revival of the smutty, primitive noise rock bands who used to roam sunny surfaces in abundance. The ones who released records on Amphetamine Reptile, Touch and Go, and Trance Syndicate, etc. Nowadays, this particular species has sought salvation in the subterranean world of warehouse and basement shows. Every year, you only discover a handful of these bands via word of mouth or as an opener of another band you went to see. Often, you wind up liking these bands better than the one you were there for.
To better explain Finished, imagine some garbage-compacted goulash of Todd, Cherubs, Mayyors, Clockcleaner, and Hammerhead.
Sleazy post punk snarls full speed ahead, often careening into a gut-slugging chunk of a hook or an occasional burst of noise. It’s exactly the type of music you want to see live around midnight, when the drugs and booze kick in.
You know what I’m talking about: some basement smelling like Italian sausage and weed, stuffed full of weirdos. The big dude looming behind you is actually just a hot water heater. There’s a cat box a foot away which hasn’t been changed in 2 months and now doubles as an ashtray. Finished begins their set and everyone begins thrashing around and the fear of other people’s meat sweat, lit cigarettes, and cat shit is no longer a pressing matter. Like the music, you want to get down and dirty with, this filth; it’s driving and fast, and the subconscious nihilism that drives bands like this becomes tangible and you’re suddenly enveloped in the care-free frenzy.
Along with the soggy audience Finished is just as energetic.
Either they’re sopping in seaweed and causing the entire club to smell like a crab’s ass, sporting some possibly soiled diapers, or E3 thrashing around like an injured gazelle, Finished puts on quite the spectacle. This is the type of habitat Finished thrives in, and Cum Inside Me Bro accurately captures all these sights, sounds, and smells.
I’m pretty sure Finished is the noise rock you’ve been hunting for this year. I highly recommend getting a copy of Cum Inside Me Bro (Load Records) and if these assholes pass through your town, you should definitely go and see them. Luckly for me, they’re local and play 23 shows a month.
Rating: 6 out of 6 Doves Prince loved Cum Inside Me Bro so much, that he missed his name being called for his 11th Grammy of the night because he was playing it over and over again in his head. The doves knew to stay out of his way when he got back home. Scariest game of hide and seek at the Prince Mansion ever.
Finished is: E3 (gtr, vocals), EG (bass) and DP (drums).
Cum Inside Me Bro is the kind of nasty noise rock album that 2016 has been thirsty for and so desperately needed; what are its themes, influences, and ideas?
EG: Scholarly themes like whip-its, obscure porn VHS, DMT trips, and filthy Craigslist sex ads, of course.
DP: Sexual repression, over-the-counter drug abuse, being bad at things.
E3: We’ve had lengthy discussion at band meetings about whether we’re noise rock, punk rock, punk noise, rock noise, or noise punk, but I’m pretty sure we’re The Smiths of hard rock dabbling in a cross-platform social media experiment for childhood abuse survivors.
Where did you guys record and master? Did your dreams come true?
EG: Sean Halpin recorded us in a frigid mill building in Providence. It was so cold we needed feet warmers and full arctic-expedition gear in order to survive. Sean almost died cuz he’s from Tampa. Load Records hooked us up with Paul Gold in Brooklyn for mastering. He took all our requests and suggestions and promptly shit on them. Probably why this record sounds great.
E3: The mill we recorded in used to be a document storage facility, so there were huge rooms, one of which had a giant tank designed to suck all the air out in seconds in the event of a fire. We did not record in that room. There’s no artificial reverb on the record, everything is natural room reverb.
The night before we were scheduled to do vocal overdubs, a building around the corner burned down under suspicious circumstances, and the fire marshal got up the ass of the people who were living in the warehouse, so we had to record vocals in the basement of Atlantic Mills. We eventually were allowed to return to the warehouse, so the album contains a mix of vocals recorded in both places.
Ever heard of the band Tinsel Teeth? No? They were great. Their singer, Gyna Bootleg, did guest vocals on “Jane Err”. Now people say Finished contains ex-members of Tinsel Teeth, but that’s just the way this crazy business works.
Sean Halpin aka Craow, was amazing, a dream to work with. We broke all the self-serving rules engineers follow, rules designed to make their jobs easier but which rarely result in interesting-sounding records. Recording track by track, using baffles, recording at low volumes, using the “right” microphones, recording clean and applying effects later, etc. Fuck all that. Sean was very patient in explaining why we shouldn’t be doing what we were doing, but he was game for anything.
One reviewer talked about the “electronically enhanced vocals” but I’m not sure if screaming through a cheap mic plugged into a guitar amp counts as “enhanced.” The slow voice on “Hell Stereo” was done with the aid of nitrous, you can actually hear the gas rush, followed by the faint sound of a police siren going by outside. Serendipity. There’s one moment in “Bend FTB” where comedic pitch-shift and echo were applied to the vocals, but that was late in the mixing game when I was punch-drunk and convinced we were Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
The record was mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. He uses all analog equipment, and cuts the lacquers right there. His studio looks like the set of a 50s sci-fi movie, full of mysterious metal machines with blinking lights and huge sliders and switches, except instead of getting impregnated by aliens we ended up with a great sounding record. He’s worked with Rusted Shut so we figured he’d have an open mind about the pile of pigslop we were dumping into his gear.
DP: Nobody cares.
You have quite the ambiguous band name; what is a Finished and what does it all mean?
E3: That’s the beauty of ambiguity. It confuses the feeble-minded and gives you time to go through their pockets.
EG: Band names are meaningless.
DP: I’m FINISHED with this interview.
How is working with the legendary Ben and his Load Records?
EG: Ben is a cruel tyrant.
DP: We had to be real quiet listening to the test pressing because his kid was asleep upstairs.
E3: Ben is an old friend. Literally, he’s an old man. But he still believes in pouring money into releasing albums no one cares about, so we were eager and willing to take advantage of his delusions. Instead of releasing our next album, we’re going to see if he just wants to drink beers with us and throw bundles of twenties into an ashcan fire on an autumn evening.
The album is called Cum Inside Me Bro; is this synonymous with the “millennial whoop”? Is there a correlation here?
DP: We were all born in the early to mid 90s so that’s pretty much all we know.
EG: Just trying to meet Carson Daly.
E3: It has more to do with calling band stickers “dope slaps” and being a good friend, two things the members of Finished are highly concerned about. I’ve never had millennial whoop but I hope the anti-vaccine lobby get their way so it can kill a large percentage of the world’s adult population.
Tell us about the album artwork?
EG: It’s fucking beautiful. The inside gatefold is a real treat, and a decent glimpse into who we really are as “people.”
E3: Fortunately nobody buys records anymore so no one will see it. The gatefold picture was taken by our friend Kat from Ora Iso after a sweltering M Ax Noi Mach set at a basement show in Providence. It happened to be everybody involved in making the record, so using it was another appropriate yet misguided decision on our part.
DP: Sincerely hoping we don’t get sued by Steven Spielberg.
There was once a time when rock music was challenging social norms and making people uncomfortable, e.g. The New York Dolls performing in drag, Iggy Pop covering himself in peanut butter and humping male audience members, Donita Sparks throwing her used tampon into the audience, and David Yow often pulling the ol’ “tight and shiny” on stage; fast forward to now: sushi is racist, a man wearing a dress during a performance is “homophobic” and on stage female nudity is “daddy issues.” Should band members start wearing special uniforms and all lyrics and band names replaced with numbers? How does a band such as yours fit into the current state of being in constant fear of offending someone with literally anything?
EG: We are not afraid of offending people, though I will say that anyone who knows us knows we are righteous in what we do, albeit “yucky.”
E3: I would like it very much if this band started wearing special uniforms, as long as they were tight-fitting and involved short skirts. And I’ve already got a number in my name. Brandon, you have a lot of good ideas.
As far as offending people goes, I get it. When you live in fear, I mean, mortal fear for your life or for the sanctity of your being, it recalibrates your sense of what constitutes a threat. Women are in constant danger of being sexually assaulted by their bosses, friends, and family members. Black folks, poor whites, and the mentally ill are shot like dogs in the street by thugs with badges. If a trans person walks into a straight bar, they may or may not come out alive. That’s real fear. The social ignominy of having offended someone is nothing in comparison. There’s a war on, and if you don’t feel the fear you probably live in a bubble of privilege.
EG would never mention this, but he changed the name of his long-running noise project from Soft Target to VOSP after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Finished aren’t a bunch of entitled schoolboys tugging on girl’s pigtails, we’re too busy smoking under the bleachers and dreading/hoping that Uncle Billy might come into our room again tonight.
What is Finished’s relationship with the Providence music scene or the music “scene” in general?
DP: Hoping to find that out at some point before we break up.
E3: Weird. Everybody in Finished has a long history in the noise scene, most of the musicians we know and the projects we enjoy are on the electronic / experimental / noise spectrum. Playing a show with Jason Crumer or Pedestrian Deposit would mean a lot more to me than playing a show with Shellac or Whores. The energy has gone out of rock music, it no longer seems to be the sanctuary of the crazed, though we labor under the questionable belief it can still provoke some worthwhile psychic abandon.
That’s a day-to-day boots-on-the-ground perspective though, the band has very catholic music tastes, tour drives usually devolve into verbal fistfights over whether ELO, Candlebox, or Team Dresch is getting put on. So we end up listening to a lot of Phil Collins.
What have you all been listening to and watching lately? Any recommendations?
DP: CDRs of mid-00s grime mixtapes, Soft Cell “This Last Night in Sodom”, Cienfuegos, Fela Kuti.
E3: You, Brandon. Since I had that spycam installed in your apartment I don’t watch or listen to much else. You wear a lot of boxers, but I think you’re more of a briefs guy. Maybe try switching it up.
EG: I usually cry alone in bed and watch movies like Saving Private Ryan, or Gladiator. I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
Have you guys toured at all and if so any good tour stories you would like to share?
E3: All of our tours have been suicidal self-abuse rituals so we try to indulge in them infrequently. Once after a set in Cincinnati I walked out the front door of the club in a ski mask, trench coat, and sweatpants. I startled a guy walking by and he blew a rape whistle at me. In Cleveland DP tried to take a shit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but was refused entrance. I thought they let touring bands in for free, but apparently not if their colons are bursting with three days of road waste.
EG: On our last trip back from Savage Weekend our dear friend Anna decided to grab a case of beer before E3 drove us through the night. It wasn’t long before I took over the van stereo and was screaming along to Depeche Mode and pissing out the passenger side window all over whoever was tailgating us, and myself. When I woke up we were back home in Providence. DP was not thrilled, as he was forced to sleep on top of our amps in order to escape the torture.
Word on the street is that you guys are making a music video for your track “Slomo Homo” directed by my favorite photographer/filmmaker Johnny Ray. When will the video be released and where can we watch it?
E3: The title is Latin for “slow motion man” and it’s our theme song because it takes us forever to do anything. The video will probably debut sometime in 2017.
EG: Hopefully we can get it up on Pornhub, though.
DP: Or Xtube.
What does the future hold for you guys? Any other projects are you all working on?
EG: Midwest/Canadian tour in November and a remix album is slowly in the works.
DP: E3 is trying to quit Peach Snapple and we’re all just trying to help him through his struggle.
E3: It took almost two years for us to record and release 26 minutes of music so don’t get your hopes up, sparky. We live in the moment, have no plans for the future, and there is a high probability this band ends in death by misadventure. We’ll keep you posted.