BioIn essence, Brick Layer Cake is and always has been Todd Trainer. He has erratically released albums since 1988, beginning with Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth on Ruthless Records, which Touch and Go Records later included on the first Brick Layer Cake full-length, Call it a Day. T&G released Tragedy, Tragedy three years later. That was the last album until 2002's Whatchamacallit. During the interval, Todd certainly has been busy, releasing three albums and traveling the world as the drummer for Shellac. When he moved from Minneapolis to Chicago in 2001, Todd started recording with bandmate Steve Albini to revive Brick Layer Cake.
The results are a new album featuring the classic Shellac drum sound slowed down to about four beats per minute (that's an exaggeration, but it's really damn slow). Evil, hypnotic, snaking guitar lines dodge past Todd's deep demonic rasp, which seems barely connected to reality. Some scary incarnation of Todd begs you to wake up and enter his unbearably dark realm of terrible drug use, sex, and misery.
Whatchamacallit isn't for the faint of heart; it could ruin your life if you're not careful. But if you're prepared to feel the despair and acknowledge that you're teetering on the precipice of permanent unconsciousness, you'll figure out that this is a weird and twisted album that invokes serious feelings. Whether its anger, sadness, or disgust, Brick Layer Cake makes you feel something and that is a good thing.