"There is a stark duality at the heart of Micaela Tobin’s work as White Boy Scream. On one hand, the Los Angeles based artist and vocal coach (she has toured with avant-hiphop trio Clipping in this capacity) possesses a clear, resonant voice that’s opera level; on the other, her subterranean sinkhole noise is its own potent reward. Two early recordings offer a study in contrasts. Ghostly and muted, 2013’s Urge felt like dimly remembered nightmare shot through with flashes of drowsy pop R&B. If 2015’s gnashing Hustle Divine was gloomier, at least its maggot-saturated storm clouds could yield gloriously to Tobin’s klieg light vocal – the profane obliterated by the sacred.
Remains, her lament for a fellow musician who died in 2016, is the best synthesis yet of her talents. Here, grief acts as compass and centering force. Opener “For Voice And Feedback” leads with sine waves and static; it’s as though a radio is being tuned fruitlessly, until the dial finds Tobin. Drill-shrill screes and trilled, wordless warm-ups share the sonic frame, pursuing and threatening to erase each other for a long phantasmagoric stretch. By the time she finds the sentiment she’s been reaching for – “We are getting/In the way” – you’re under her thrall for every wracked, wrenching sob and deep-fried tone to come.
“Thou” suggests an ancient crackly LP featuring a soloist humming the prelude to a powerful hymn – except that the record player rests on a box of gunpowder that happens to be on fire. “Love Song II” wields its symbolism with a devastated bluntness: distortion smothering toy piano plinks in imitation of the body’s physical burial, a harried montage of vocals simulating the emotional collapse of mourning. Indeed, it is impossible to experience this record without feeling Tobin’s profound sense of loss.
But Remains adds extra meaning to its title by winding down the anguished “Come” with 90 seconds of a song written by the departed: a vital gothic burst of guitar rock ’n’ roll that blares crudely, fading out of earshot too soon."
-Raymond Cummings, The Wire Magazine 2018 Rewind
“On Remains, the operatic howls of White Boy Scream reasserts the voice as a site of embodied power.”-Emily Pothast, The Wire Magazine (Top 10 list of the best industrial/noise albums of 2018)
“…truly extreme, dynamic
music.” -Vital Weekly
"...the project WHITE BOY SCREAM a.k.a. M. Tobin (one of few female voices in all this drone/industrial escapism) discomfort is not only a side-effect, but actually the desired result of listening in – for after the discomfort comes the calm respite of all the wandering."-Katherine Humphreys,KEXP
"LA-via-Seattle musician White Boy Scream (Micaela Tobin) combines drone tapestries with treated operatic vocals to generate unnerving pieces that accrue a fearsome intensity the longer they go."-The Stranger
"As White Boy Scream, Micaela Tobin's gorgeous, classically trained opera voice mutates into Auto-Tuned Satan, with hiccuping, reverberating synths beneath."-Brittnie Fuller
"White Boy Scream is a memorable name for a solo project (especially one by a woman—Micaela Tobin of Thousand Statues), and this Seattle musician's cryptic musique concrete–ish pieces, augmented by electronically warped chants, cast an unsettling spell, like a less drama-queeny Diamanda Galás"-Dave Segal