Limbo District Rhythm Forward EP

LIMBO DISTRICT has long lingered in the back of my mind without me ever having been able to really hear them—their name is frequently dropped in recollections of Athens, Georgia’s late ’70s/early ’80s new wave and post-punk scene that typically center their much more well-known peers like PYLON and the B-52’S, but prior to this EP of archival recordings from 1981, the only audio evidence of LIMBO DISTRICT had been their soundtrack contributions to a twelve-minute 1983 short film called Carnival (later excerpted in the great documentary Athens, GA: Inside/Out). “Rhythm Forward” is aptly titled, although the rhythm in question is skittish and skeletal no wave rather than PYLON-style cool gyration, with vocals spit out in an agitated nerd-bark over hazy haunted house Farfisa and thudding cardboard box/trash can drumming, like a Southern Gothic COME ON devoid of any art-funk leanings. The brief “Knock Knock Lobo” zig-zags between ramshackle percussion, single-note bass solos, and punctuated pauses, while “Encased” extends the clattering for a full four minutes, gradually stripping out elements like Jenga blocks until all that’s left is a halting beat and Craig Woodall’s menacing yelp before building back up again. The LIMBO DISTRICT curtain may have been pulled back slightly with the release of these three songs, but their mystique hasn’t diminished at all.