Secret Fun Club - Skulls With Antlers LP (White)
San Diego’s Secret Fun Club began in earnest in 2000 as a collaboration among Sal Gallegos (Some Girls), Nathan Joyner (Some Girls, All Leather), and John Rieder. This early three-piece iteration of the band was a collective in need of Ritalin, and during these years, Secret Fun Club was conceived as a kind of repository for whatever idea straddled the line between brutal and silly. The mantra at the time was borrowed verbatim from the lyrics of post-hardcore greats Quicksand: Testing the ends of what they’ll put up with.
Pet Set Records released the band’s12-inch EP debut in 2000. This was a hand-packaged affair, with the covers painstakingly wrapped in pink or black grip tape. The matrix of the vinyl featured an unfortunate close-up of Nathan’s anus. The music was equal parts Sharrock skronk, drop-D riff-blasting, white-boy dub, skittering delay, and spikes of ring modulation.
With fellow San Diegans Sleeping People, SFC released a split 7-inch (North Park/Temporary Residence) in Summer 2004. The track, “If you were my bike, I would do an endo,” ends with an avalanche of a riff, layers of blissed-out guitar barely in phase.
The band followed this up with the five-song EP A Diagram of How Shit Flows From Your Toilet Into God’s Hands in Summer 2005. Perhaps their tightest compositions to date, the five songs combine Jehu-spazziness, the feather-and-anvil dynamics of Slint and Engine Kid, with the twangy laments of dead cowboys. Upon returning from tour in January 2007, Nathan left the band to move to LA in order realize his dream of fabricating and marketing mattresses made out of Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Suddenly a duo, Sal and John began demoing songs throughout 2007-2008, finally recording what would become the new ThreeOneG LP Skull With Antlers during the first half of 2009. With drums that call to mind Bonham (if he had preferred meth to booze) playing sides of beef and bass tones that alternate between motorcycle rumble and insectoid modulation and filtering, Skull With Antlers is forty-five minutes of doomy frenetic noise with occasional forays into quiet minimalism and copy-and-paste sound sculpture. W.T. Nelson (Geronimo, Bastard Noise) shows up on a couple of tracks with his brood of Trogotronic outboard gear to contribute painful frequencies across the range of human hearing.
Alas, over the last ten years, the band has crashed a Christian metalcore fest, played at a taco shop, a postmodern fashion show, an art opening, the basement of a condemned house, a college classroom, shitty bars, shittier bars, and the shittiest all-ages clubs. Its members have survived death (yes, death), alcoholism, gun wounds, a long-ass Illinois winter, successful side projects, unsuccessful side projects, sociopathic pro skaters, Fernando, debt, heated debates with frat guys over the defining features of jazz, and two spirited but decidedly ill-planned West coast tours (see ‘alcoholism’ & ‘Fernando’). The band has shared the stage with Zs, Creedle, Geronimo, Sleeping People, Aspects of Physics, Helms Alee, Thrones, Eagle Twin, Black Cobra, Akimbo, Rats Eyes and, uh, Throwdown.