Their debut album, this 30-minute LP was also known at the time as "Turn It Up Faggot," which was apparently a common taunt during their early shows. Not surprisingly, the album is often referred to as their "self-titled debut." I bought it at the Deerhunter/Ponys show because I'd never heard of it, and wanted to know what their early sound was. Now let's be clear: this sounds nothing like Cryptograms. I do not recommend this album to people who do not like noise rock. It's abrasive, it's noisy, it's unpolished, and honestly if I heard it before Cryptograms, I would never have guessed it was the same band. But still, it deserves a listen because while they don't sound as good as (or at all like) they would later, this album carves a relatively unique sound. I don't listen to that much noise rock, but I can say that I'm reminded of some early Hot Snakes tracks, and maybe with some of the rawness and jarring atonality of something like Shellac. It's hard to nail it down, but at the very least it's quite loud. I've been listening to it in my car but now having ripped it to my hard drive, I can hear that it's actually pretty well recorded and clean.
If you're not paying attention, the tracks are going to run together; some are meant to, but they have common elements anyway: heavy bass, trashy and noisy guitars, and layered, distorted voice courtesy of the dangerously thin, sun-dress-wearing-dude of a singer. While they tend to spoil the songs a bit by blowing them up into noisy climaxes instead of a logical, controlled conclusion, there are some excellent grooves that turn up, the first being "Adorno," largely due to the excellent bass and mantra-like vocals. The band has gotten better lyrically since then, as there is a lot of repetition and use of the vocals as simply controlled noise on this album. Some tracks, like "Ponds," have more complicated structures and change things up more, but for some reason that track isn't as compelling as the more sort of fundamentally good tracks like "Oceans" and "Basement," the latter of which actually begins to hint at their more psych-based offerings to come, though not nearly as well-done as newer tracks like, say, "Strange Lights." The album closes with the deafening and terrifying "Death Drag," which takes the mantric vocal and noisy buildup approach to a whole new level.
It's a freaky album to be sure, and I really can't recommend it to people who don't either A: already like noise rock or B: already like Deerhunter. If you're curious (as I was) that's good too, but be prepared for some weird, noisy stuff.
edit: corrected ... I do recommend it to SOME people