Features | Awards

The Peter Krause is Still a Man! Award for “Tearing” Up

By Kaylen Hann | 19 December 2012

TEARIST: Purple Video

(Because, though they’re not all married to Kristina Braverman [Monica Potter] as she vacillates between being difficult and I guess having cancer, really, it’s everyone on Parenthood that cries.)

Pronounced more like Lil Wayne saying “terrorist,” the ’80s goth-glam/squiggle-synth electro-noise duo TEARIST have been deftly shredding up the performance scene in LA something—and I’m using the following term like Raja’s runway/lip syncs on RuPaul’s Drag Race—fierce. Having put out a nine track album in 2011, the only recent, recorded trace of the band is this year’s Purple Video and scattershot live Youtube clips.

Purple Video is not really an “album” per se. Released back in February as a limited-edition cassette of a live, 2010 performance on KXLU radio, it’s not exactly “new” either.

Given their death-grip on the live scene, it’d be hard to swallow that the recordings are as worth listening to, or manage to live up to the show-hype. But the tracks blaze as fluorescent as the violet over-exposure on Youtube’s live videos of the performance, which are also pretty awesome to watch. The video capturing the contortions of her face when vocalist/“percussionist” Yasmine Kittles brokenly stresses into the mic, “It’s mine” at the end of “Break Bone”…

…or, as she hunkers down in “Headless”…

…to whack a metal beam with a caveman fury and an equally caveman-proportioned metal railroad spike—the definition perseveres through the recordings. You can hear her body fold; you hear every time she bursts into vocals like a brutal lion-attack.

Capable of pummeling/throwing epic punches and in the next breath being wounded, vocally devastated, Yasmine delivers a staggering amount of dynamics across a great range of distances: belted out, clipped and hiccuped, breathily heaved upon the minimal keys and steady, “sad robot” beackbeats from William Strangeland. Which: the texture of the recordings are fantastic. She slams down on the echo pedal, deviating from distortions, chewing up the soundscape rabidly, in places like at the end of “Cold Eye”…

With cause, TEARIST is no stranger to releasing live content; 2011’s Living: 2009-Present, the band’s debut full-length, was also comprised of live performance recordings. Which pulls into question the extent to which Purple Video is an EP, is a mini-album, or is just a really fantastic limited edition phenomenon. Taking a leap, I shoved back everything on my personal year-end list to make room for Purple Video at #2. How much do I like them—I like them #2 much. My first hope is that 2013 won’t go without new material (live or otherwise) from TEARIST; my second is that people spend less time talking about Yasmine Kittles’ t-shirts.