Give a 4-year-old kid a pair of turntables, and Paul Lynch is what might happen. Performing as DJ Tan't, Tantrum and (((in mono))), Lynch possesses production-whiz fingertips and a give-a-fuck-less attitude on self-promotion that could put him on stage at Holocene as easily as in a dank basement for a crowd of five. Tours? Nah. Singles? Nope. Label whoring? Only if the label's the whore (not to imply that there's anything whorish about his current label, Dismal City). Add all that to the fact that Lynch plays under three monikers—Tantrum is Tan't with a band and (((in mono))) is indie-rockified Tan't (occasionally performed, in epics/pic fashion, with Leb Borgerson of Quiet Countries)—and he is begging to stay in the underground, working for "cake and punch," 4-year-old style.
But then again, you don't drop a record like Notes of Abrasion (Dismal City) and expect to stay buried. The disc is proper. It's the sort of album DJ Alias might have done four years ago, before he found violins and pretty vocals: often dark, effected and glitchy, but never ditching the party. The vocals on the record—Tan't's second full-length—are delivered by Sleepyhead, an emcee who also calls local hip-hop label Dismal City home. He rhymes briefly on one of the disc's highs, "On the Gallows," an unlikely jam of crushing beat and mini piano concerto. It's good company.
Another "then again": Tan't's got history with a strong crew, playing early in college with Laserhawk member Tyler Evans, and in Only Connect with Kevin O'Connor of Talkdemonic fame. The latter helped get Lynch on the Lucky Madison label roster with the hope of releasing what ultimately became Notes of Abrasion. The local upstart label took off too quickly, though, signing on with a national distributor and trimming down its roster, including Lynch. Label boss Ryan Feigh admitted later, "I was bummed that I couldn't put out some small-run releases from some extra-sick friends like DJ Tan't." No matter; Tan't wore his don't-give-a-fuck badge like a champ. "It would've been nice," he told me afterward, but continued with a shrug, "Someone else will put it out." And they are this week, but with Tan't's credo, "creating and playing music is better than sex," it hardly matters."