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I was sure I was going to puke during my first listen to Live and Shave’s migraine-intensity debut, Vedder Vedder Bedwetter. But I liked it. It’s not that I’m a masochist, I just appreciate the joy in making the biggest mess possible, exceeding previous bounds of uncleanliness. (Maybe it’s a boy thing, dating back to age 7.) While both discs are rough going—impossible to get through in one sitting—Helen Butte is less impenetrable than Vedder, and while the songs all tended to sound alike on the debut, those on the follow-up distinguish themselves a bit more. Maybe it’s maturity. Of course, the concept here is to “challenge”—decoding the arch title will tell you that much: Masonna is an infamous Japanese noise artist who packs an intense sound himself, and “Pussy Badsmell” accesses a hilarious, if rancid, Boredoms song. Musically, Moog, bass, guitar, and lots of tape manipulation (heavy-metal records are particularly in evidence) are sucked into the black hole of Tom Smith’s mixing board and condensed into piles of slurred, guttural ranting, static, and broken rock. A veteran of early-’80s D.C. noise boys Peach of Immortality, Smith launches a relentless vocal onslaught, his mad gibber attacking from one or both stereo channels, drowning out the backgrounds provided by two other little Shavers, who do their best to emulate Smith with their instruments. They often must resort to grindcore, and when this fails, they fade back into splashes of noise and punctuating electronic bursts that leap out around the frontman. But their resourcefulness—and persistence—is part of the thrill of listening to, and stomaching, their powerful anti-music.

—Jeff Bagato