County Grind is counting down 2011's best local albums in South Florida. Monitor our progress here.
If ever a band existed that embraces the "other" vision of Florida music, it's the musty, psychedelic surf pranksters Cop City Chill Pillars. Instead of four-on-the-floor breakbeats, Held Hostage on Planet Chill is dotted with mischievous time signatures that stretch and buckle like the well-worn elastic on that pair of Fruit of the Loom you use to clean your hubcaps. Guitarist C.J. Jankow, drummer Jordan Pettingill, bassist Jimmy Bradshaw -- and any of the other dozen West Palm Beach-area musicians who sit in with them -- choose a chant-like vocal style akin to the echoing voices in our heads in the middle of a cheap rum hangover.
"So Messed Up" captures the feel of events leading up to an aforementioned day of splitting cranial agony -- and the ennui to follow. For the habitual local drunk, this can be an endless cycle of slurring and stumbling while doused in liquid courage in a ratty beach bar with bras hanging from the ceiling, then waking up and never knowing "what to do about it" ever. Bradshaw's creeping bassline -- set amid a slow two-chord strum -- apes the wino's final, blacked-out stumble.
There's a child-like innocence to these songs. Imagine the repetitive jokes hatched by bored 8-year-olds experimenting in garages with rectangular cassette recorders and then make them rigorous, punk-fueled jams for late-night consumption. The atonal "Jennifer" maximizes the title lyric to five syllables, and "I Shot the Deputy" -- well, you can probably figure out what's going on there. "The Greatest Man That Has Ever Lived" settles upon a majestic, discordant Jankow riff worthy of its title, but the vocals could've been delivered by kids singing in an empty swimming pool. Still, everything is delivered with a straight face and a dutiful sonic aesthetic.
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The cleverest of the batch, "Things," is a hypnotic exploration of materialism -- if read far more literally than any CCCP member would ever wish of you. "There's a lot of things you got that I don't got/There's a lot of things I got that you don't got," they repeat. It's the thought process countless Americans fall into at the supermarket, the car dealership, the mall, and while listening to musicians who figured it out for you.