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TERMBO POWER RANKINGS SUMMER 2017

Hey everyone, I know it’s been long time since I last rapped at ya, but we’ve been bogged down enjoying the summertime over here. But, we’ve managed to cobble together a record reviews section for your perusal. The usual caveats apply: we tried to pack as much in as possible, left a lot of mediocre records out just to keep things moving, if your stuff isn’t included drop us a line and we’ll talk. Tape reviews are being compiled as we speak. On with the updated Power Rankings, joined in progress…

16) DAVID NANCE “Do the Negative Boogie” LP – this one’s pretty fresh out of the mail at HQ right now, and even if I kind of liked ‘More Than Enough’ I waaay more than kind of like this one so far. I won’t express feelings of unrequited love for this LP just yet, but lets just say I’m pretty serious about it. A Merle Haggard cover with a noise solo, rockin’ folk, folking rock’n’roll, that crawling kingsnake opener. I see a future for me and this record, go get one mailed to you from Ba Da Bing. It’s alos interesting to note that Nance’s teenage (?) garage rock band Forbidden Tigers might be the last good record to ever come out on Deadbeat almost ten years ago.

15) THAT FUCKING JAY BRUCE TRADE. ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TRIBE.

14) THE CITY YELPS HALF HOUR LP. This came out to little fanfare in late 2016, via UK label(s) Horsey Music and Odd Box Records, but it still has a steady place in the rotation, even getting more as the summer began. The latest evolution of British DIY rock’n’roll via NZ-pop, lo-fi but not lacking in heart, it’s been the record I put on to get back up when I’m feeling out of sorts. If you didn’t know yet this is The Hand from Real Losers’ new outfit, but there’s nary an iota of that band’s sound to be found here. I read somewhere that they’re “Swell Maps meet The Clean” and I’ll roll with that, as it’s better than anything I’m going to come up with, and it scratches that itch for genuine UK eccentricity that I used to depend on Hygiene for (though there’s not much in common between the two aside from my arbitrary mental tic). I’m fairly sure this is about to sell out of a second press (if it hasn’t already), so you should probably start looking here….

13) TAIWAN HOUSING PROJECT ‘Veblen Death Mask’ LP. Hotly anticipated LP delivers in all ways possible, and I love when everyone I follow on Instagram is posting pictures of them playing live and talking about how amazing they are and I’m sitting over here in the middle of nowhere and not seeing them live at all. At least I have the record, and the band now includes Kevin Boyer, adding Tyvek to the list of bands they’re related to that I hold in high regard. And speaking of relations, there’s a Writhing Squares connection too, whose LP I’ll plug one last time in preparation for their entry into the next Richie Records singles series (I’m talking Squares here, not THP – and to encourage further confluence of interests, the series also includes a David Nance single this time as well). Mark Feehan and Kilynn from Little Claw are the heart of this truly super group (oooff), you can discover here if you’re not yet aware.

12) CHEATER SLICKS “Destination Lonely” LP – the Slicks will forever have a place in the power rankings, and ‘Destination Lonely’ is perhaps the most important record of their long and spectacular discography. Their second full length, it marks the beginning of their decision to remain a trio after first Alpo and then Merle Allin departed the band and the inability to recruit any suitable replacements on bass left them as a trio. So began the Shannon/Shannon/Hatch line-up that still soldiers on today. Originally released on the Australian Dog Meat label, the LP documents the beginnings of what were their most productive years, with three LPs and seven singles (or thereabouts) coming in this fruitful 1991-1995 period. ‘Destination Lonely’ contains the blueprint for future releases, an unbeatable mix of covers and originals played through over-amped guitars with Dana and Tom sharing vocal duties. This is the band just beginning their long run, hitting on every possible cylinder, plunging headlong into an almost 30 year long “career” without looking backwards or forwards, to this day still unable to quench their thirst for playing the most desperate and desolate garage-rock this world has ever heard. Almost Ready has stepped in where other labels have dropped the ball and revitalized the Slicks vinyl catalogue with reissues such as this. I was able to see the band play a triumphant record release show in NYC for this reissue, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I got a little misty eyed thinking about these guys being up there doing what they’re doing. Admirable, and a good band to steal a page or two from for your own life….go get yours (and more) via the ARR site, and you might even be able to distract people from looking at your ugly mug with a t-shirt featuring the Dan Clowes artwork on it…

11) NWI – or the lack of “Marky” bands in 2017. This stuff is still on my mind though…So is the CCTV 7″ piece of paper going to be the last gasp of what was the hottest bed of punk of the past couple of years? I guess that DLIMC VHS kinda counts too, that “band” was cool. Think about this – the CCTV single on Lumpy has gone through four pressings now. The numbers dont lie, they were a great band. But things have gone eerily quiet. No more DLIMC installments. No new bands. No Marky. No news via Jimmmy from Youtube (who has a radio show now by the way: just perfect). Christi Calfornia hasn’t returned the last letter I mailed her. What gives? Here’s what I want to think: Coneheads and CCTV are still together and playing shows all the time in NWI basements, Big Zit and Ooze never really broke up, but the whole scene has gone on 100% local lockdown and total radio silence, and no one except the NWI punks know any better. SECRET SCENE!

10) SKULL CULT “Stab Me With A Knife” – so, I dont usually go for synth-punk, but this crew has a little something going on here. This “Stab Me With A Knife” song is A FUCKING HIT, I TELL YOU. And I won’t lie and tell you it’s all good, because it’s not – aside from a couple other tracks from the Vol. 1 tape (“Feel It Die” and “Black Mask”), it’s all rather annoying synthola garbaggio, especially the Vol. 2 stuff – grating keyboard sounds and a little bit of these vox go a long way. Thankfully they only write minute-long songs, and the 1:05 of “Stab Me…” is absolutley perfect – aggressive, catchy and the vox in this instance are genuinely fantastic – that puke sound he makes after the first chorus is the most punk 3 seconds of the year. Both the tapes are sold out, but those Erste Theke Tontraeger (someone translate that for me, please) guys put both tapes on one 7″, and that Weirdly Label is doing a US press as well with alternate artwork (I think two pressings is overkill, but then again this song is REALLY good, too bad there’s so much chaff with the wheat here). As an aside, ETT are supposedly doing an ISS LP, so I will give them mucho credit for being the only label thus far to sack up for vinyl for one of the best bands in the world. Weird label though. Secondly, Skull Cult are from Bloomington, IN whose resident punks are trying to pick up the slack now that Marky has apparently disappeared.

09) “Horrendous New Wave” LP – the latest from Lumpy Records, which is a concept compilation – all of these “no name new wave bands” are from the minds of players you’ll be familiar with if you’re a fan of the Lumpy roster (which I’m just assuming you are). The line-up includes Rik, Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants), Arielle from Janitor Scum/Glitter, BB Eye (Lumpy + Olivia from Warm Bodies), Gibbous, a Muff Diver, the guy from Nosferatu and “many many more”! I have to think The Wad, The Stranger and Mr. Wax might be in the dugout too? It’s hard to tell, and as I type this I’m getting excited all over again – I mean, this is a GREAT idea combined wth a GREAT label full of freaks. But to be honest, it’s a bit of a mixed bag’o’nuts. Sixteen tracks. Only one band gets two tracks (Western Civ) and they just happen to be one of the bands that suck. Really, there is some truly horrendous new wave on this, Lumpy is not lying. Half of the fun here is trying to figure out who is who (and who dropped the turds in the punchbowl), and I have to think I scored rather poorly on my guesses. But let’s not get bogged down in the negative, let talk posi here. And the most positive thing here is the lead-off shot on Side B, a little dinger called “I Am Not A Nixon” from an outfit called Leaders, and it is without a doubt one of the best songs of the year, and what you want to hear out of new wave or synthy punk or whatever you want to call it. Massive sound, huge drums, huge riff, not some squiggly keyboard shit, but sheer brute force synth, with a hook too. Lyrics are hilarious but it’s played straight and it’s one of my favorite things right now. Whoever this is wins the fucking contest (my guess is this one is Rikky and pals). Not much can stack up to that jam, but there’s a good half dozen or more keepers here – Shux (I’m not even sure there’s a synth on this one, but it is definitely punk), Protoculture (sounds like the Leaders guy(s)), Dutytoot (sounds like Shux and also sounds like it was sent here from LA 1983), Knobnoster Band (pretty sure this is BB Eye), Mick Flannel (probably the best “name” here, more of a spoken word weirdo thing that I like very much), and Neuro Bliss (a song about unsubscribing to MRR!) are all winners. The Dequantize instrumental that opens is good too – sounds like the soundtrack for To Live and Die in LA if it was reimagined as a Nintendo cart. There’s four or five real stanky ones here too, those Western Civ tracks chafed my ass in particular – just too fucking cutesy/quirky/lame, but hey there’s always a few. But overall, this thing is truly interesting and an event of an LP – not just music, but the concept, and digesting how each of them made what they thought of as “new wave” and how some soared and some crashed. Lumpy’s got himself a good bunch of pals here, a real Ralph Records for the now or something. And that’s what encourages me to keep listening, the excitement of hearing what these kids from all over the country do when they come together like this – it’s inspiring. And you should pump “I Am Not A Nixon” as soon as you can. Screened covers with art that I have to think the Janitor Scum person did. Oh yeah, and it’s sold out you boners…Lumpy put two tracks up for you to sample, and it actually fitting that one is that killer Shux track and the other is Western Civ, so you get the good and the bad….

08) THE CAVEMEN. My fascination with these Cavemen continues. And for the record just one more time, I’m speaking of The Cavemen from Boston, MA – not the Cavemen from New Zealand who moved to London and have a bunch of records out on various lo-fi garage labels. People seem to think those guys are wild and primitive, but Boston’s neanderthals are the definition of PRIMITIVE. I haven’t heard shit-fi like this in some time, just completely blown-out thud. My point of reference keeps coming back to Black Time, if BT were American and really dumb and had absolutely no artistic aspirations. The ‘Band in BC’ cassette (see, they’re funny too) was tops of the tapes in 2016, and now they have somehow convinced a little label called Weirdly Records to press the best of that tape on a must-have 7″ – seven tracks with minimal band info, and reproducing the classy art from the tape. If you don’t believe me just give “Ca Ca (My Wall)” a spin and thank me later. Order from the band(camp) or the label.

07) KALEIDOSCOPE. See reviews section for further commentary.

06) GG KING “Another Dimension” 7″ – for as hot as the ATL is right now (and it’s getting spicier by the day), let’s not forget who the elder statesman is, the godfather of ATL-punk, the Goat Ravisher himself. GG is the Burzum of the scene (well except for the murder and arson part), the template for which almost everything else is built upon/influenced by/rated in relation to. There’s most definitely an Atlanta-punk sound, and it’s undeniably been shaped by King’s work dating all the way back before the Carbonas even (see Termbo Issue #3). This latest record is a redo of “Another Dimension” from the LP – why? I can’t answer that, but it sounds streamlined and perfected – you know, GG is a perfectionist and probably just had to go back and nail this one to the cross like he originally intended to. Then there’s this “Make A Movie” thing, which is sort of a rap/spoken word collage – and you can get the ‘Full Dub Edit’ on the bandcamp, yo. The 7″ version gets cut a bit short, but you probably shouldn’t mind. B-Side is “Gilliam Park” which is another classic GG dark-punker, with an all star backing band including our pal NG and some sick backwards guitar – remember when GG was entertaining us with things like the “Two Track Party Pack”? Well, hes still entertaining us, but now it’s with this fully formed beast of a serious hard-blackened punk band. Is there a more fully realized “band”/artist out there? It’s perfect. Excellence of execution. And another instance where he borrows a bit from punk ghosts past (“We’re the kids…” is a hauntingly familiar refrain). It doesn’t get much better than this folks. And while we’re at it, there’s a laundry list of other Atlanta punk records you should be feeding on: Mutual Jerk 7″ (DIY kinda freakiness), any of these Nag records (even if the artwork blows, these are still quality punking tunes), the final(?) Joint D= LP titled ‘Intelligence’ (and that copy of Atlas Shrugged is being burned in GG King’s driveway) from the guy who unites NC with ATL and gives me a reason to shoehorn in the fact that ISS have that ‘Endless Pussyfooting’ tape out on State Laughter…and that upcoming Uniform LP should be a real nut buster if they keep up with that tape from a bit ago. By the way, test press version of this is delicious, but that anti-dimension sticker on some of the regular versions is a must-have too. Get in where you fit in.

05) PUBLIC TRUST “The Leper” EP – man, Boston has really surprised me lately. I’m usually no fan of the HC scene there, but their punk division is doing great things of late. This fucking Public Trust 7″ man, it’s incredible. The best record Unnatural Axe never wrote. With extra meathead on the vox. I have no info on this band other than the singer from Boston Strangler is involved (and possibly more Stranglas) – is it all him, or is he just the brains behind the band? “The Leper” is the hit here, a total anthem about being afflicted, but all four songs are smokers (yes, even “Everyone Smokes in East Boston”) and you won’t get better value out of a 7″ right now. I can’t believe more people aren’t as nutty about this as I am….want some aesthetic proof that this one is legit: the sleeve/record contains visual references to Joe Spinell and Combat Shock…check em out if you don’t believe me. Then head over to Feel It for your copy.

04) MOZART “Nasty” EP – ‘The Tick’ was a pretty cool tape and all, but this 7″ EP is pure mania, probably the best hardcore record released in 2017 thus far. The alliance with Iron Lung makes sense, as these are all individuals to whom integrity means a great deal, and that makes the tenacity of this record that much more satisfying. The people involved are serious about this punk shit – not that this is some overtly political thing, or has some kind of scene agenda – but it’s fanatical and raging music for a reason. And the vocals are insane, intense and right on – matched by the aesthetic tenacity of each one of these records (500 of them?!) having a hand painted “blob” on them, which I’m sure the person(s) drawing them on thought more about than most of us think about punk in a month – Sidenotes: the related Thrilling Living label has released that Warm Bodies 7″ I love so much, and I’m getting real antsy to hear this gSp 12″, which is Tobi Vail, Layla Gibbon and Marissa Magic, and not a tribute to the UFC fighter you loved to hate. Further sidenote – Grace is leaving MRR, which gives me a mild panic attack when I think about it. Not that I really have a horse in this race anyway, but MRR has once again become the best punk zine in the world (not just by default) under her guidance and I fear what might happen now…I believe the only logical course of action is to immediately install Brace Belden in the coordinators chair the second she leaves MRR HQ.

03) STEFAN CHRISTENSEN “Shake off The Village” LP – Stefan’s first official vinyl LP as a solo act, and coming off what might have been his best set of songs yet on the ‘Open Day” EP gave me some high expectations. Nine songs that document Stefan drifting further into the waters of improv and experimentation, getting closer to the Xpressway sound than ever (whereas I might have pegged him closer to Flying Nun in the immediate post-Estrogen Highs days), with a heavy dose of Shepard-esque noise wrangling still abundant. Some of this outright harsh (“Over Scrawl” sounds like twisting metal) and some of this is outright beautiful (the expanse of “Brass City Pt. II” – a recurring locale from the previous EP as well), and he still lovingly slips a genuinely warm “rock” song in there like a note slid under the door (“Norton II”). “8AM Sharp” could conceptually be linked to Shadow Ring in its construction, but far more fleshed out and American. The stylistic jumps from song-to-song are never jarring, but more collage-like, in a way that still reminds me of Sebadoh in aesthetic if not sound. “Off Minor” is a rather fitting ender, full of guitar shredding and a little tape manipulation, Stefan with a foot on both sides of the fence (rock vs art?) and pulling it off wonderfully. Available for preorder now.

02) WARM BODIES. See reviews section for commentary. I’ve been told this band is the real deal live as well, which saddens me as I will probablly never get a chance to see them. Their two singles and cassette releases have been the highlight of 2017 thus far.

1) THE COWBOY LP – No one mourns the disappearance of Homostupids more than me. No one. Which makes the emergence of The Cowboy that much more reassuring. 2/3 of the ‘stupids plus 1/2 of Pleasure Leftists. Think of it perhaps as a more refined evolution of what Josh and Steven were doing in America’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band. Perhaps a bit more finessed, due in part to Drew’s more Charlie Watts approach as compared to Dale’s Keith Moon. Both are great. One of the big differences is that you can actually decipher what Josh is singing – and an actual lyric sheet helps too. That being said, this is just what the doctor ordered – more good old Americano rock’n’rollo with that distinct Clevo flavor. Higlights include “My Champion”, “Sneaking Leaker” (!) and “The Cowboy”, but of course there’s nary a dud in this dirty dozen. Whether or not this record is actually called ‘Back on the Farm’ is up for discussion, but the artwork by Josh’s daughter is definitely the visage of titular cowboy. Fun fact – this record almost came out on Smart Guy, then didn’t, and good ol’ Fashionable Andy saved the day. Cassette version will also be available on Blow Blood some day soon for those of you who favor the people’s format.

For a full list of Power Rankings for this quarter, send a SASE to Termbo HQ. We’ll be back with those tapes and an interview before you know we’re gone.

THE PUDDLE

We hope you all enjoyed your Independence Day (and/or Canada Day) and are ready for summer to get into full swing. To tide you over until the weekend, here is a fantastic interview by Ryan with George D. Henderson of New Zealand’s The Puddle (and New Existentialists) wherein they discuss the classic New Zealand sounds and scene of the past and present. Ryan has more similar material coming soon, so keep an eye out. Reviews section coming next, we’re still trudging away at it and are not dead. Yet. In related news, check out The Loki Label for the latest Midnight Mines material on cassette, (and solo stuff from the Baron and Private) which is down to just a handful of copies. See you real soon.
THE PUDDLE

YES WE DO STILL REVIEW RECORDS

Okay, time to start digging out from under this mountain of reviews and get the Termbo machine back in running order. Here’s a link to latest reviews section, some of which are embarrassingly late, some of which are surprisingly timely. Hope you find something you like in there, old or new or both. I had to cheat a little bit to get caught up further, as I resort to the “column” format below to clean up some stuff I had left on the desk. I’ll be doing the same with a XXL sized stack of LPs next. If you sent something in and it’s missing drop us a line and we’ll figure it out. Other than that, it’s onwards and upwards – more reviews, a demos/tapes section soon after and I’ll finally be putting the finishing the finishing touches on Termbo print issue #4 and other paper goods. All that and more from the Loki Label and friends really soon.

(Again, go check out this big ol page of new reviews here before or even after you’ve read what’s below.)

Might as well start with the best 45 label in the land, Total Punk. TIMMYS ORGANISM finally make an appearance on the roster with their latest offering coming off their LP on Third Man, and this one sounds like Vulgar might be dusting off old Clone Defects tracks (which is fine by me). “Lick Up Your Town” is a little sleazy lyrically (“Powder your garden with my fertilizer!”) and is a huge sounding mid-tempo rocker, with Vulgar’s jet-engine squeal guitar sound stealing the show. Flip is “Sweet Tooth” with a lascivious spoken intro that leads into a blues stomper with Timmy V emoting equally on vox and strings. Now that’s rock’n’roll. Also makes good use of the full sleeve rubber stamp with a nice eye catching design. BLACK ABBA’s (or just Bl’Abba if you’re on friendly terms) second single starts with their best tune to date, “Lost Dog”, a somewhat minimal sounding lo-fi punker with a wandering synth line and less-is-more solo – great lyrics too. “The Manager” is a winner as well, sounds loose and has a more DIY/artpunk feel, the doubled-up vocals add some disorientation and again it seems as if that synth is just meandering around the song, and it works. The tunes sound very organic yet still weird, and the simple construction benefits from the added nuances of the little things they do right – and I swear that guitar solo part is lifted from somewhere, but I just can’t place it…I’ll be sure to let you know when I figure it out. Best band member name on insert: Cher II.

LYSOL have been in heavy rotation around TB HQ all winter, and I’ll fess up to being a little late catching up after the tapes. The two songs on this Total Punk 7” were also the L.I. tour tape if you picked that up – “Wired” b/w “Knucklehead” and they’re both hot enough to singe your eyebrows. Am I in the majority thinking Lysol is better than Freak Vibe? Rob Vertigo, can I get a ruling on this? “Knucklehead” reminds me some of Brown Sugar and Mognoloid in its rock’n’roll + hardcore approach – there’s a piano in there right? – it’s just a real crusher. “Wired” is more of the same (yes I know this is the A-Side), another powerbomb rocker that demands repeat listens despite the bruising that might cause. These tunes sound more aggro than the stuff on the ‘On the Corner’ LP (which is a great record nonetheless) and I dig it. These cats are probably in the top dozen or so current acts out there right now, and if I wouldn’t have had my head up my ass for most of 2016 I’d of touted them more. So as to not let that mistake happen again though, I’m going to tell you that this FNU CLONE 12″ is amazing right off the bat. The head FNU has done away with the Ronnies (or at least left them on the other side of the country) and recorded all of this by himself, and it might be even more insane than ‘Saddle Up’ was. The sounds of technology revolting against you, hard digital punk, raw rock in general. Drum machines are brutally run through their programs, synthesizers are spliced into human DNA, effects pedals are abused and grafted onto voiceboxes. The A-Side is weird enough, but the B-Side of this thing is a fucking beast. The clone’s humanity might come through a bit more on this side, but it’s no less eccentric. The three song run from “Shake the Hand” through the Motorhead cover essentially reinvents weird-punk. Science fiction come to low-budget life. Incredible. One of the best records of the year thus far, and I cannot stop with that B-Side. I think it has injected some sort of binary virus into my head at this point. Must be heard to be believed, the only thing it somewhat reminds me of is Gary Wrong, if that guy was a cyborg monster instead of an analog wizzard – but it has a similarly busy all-hands-on-holodeck approach. FNU Clone has really outdone himself here, and I’m of the belief FNU Ronnies were one of the best things going while they were active – like I said, this thing pushes the boundaries even further into space and time and just raised the bar considerably. (www.floridasdying.com)

Know what? This PLAYBOY 12” from Negative Jazz is also the best record to come out in 2017 thus far. I cannot stress ho much I enjoy this one enough. I’ve listened to it 100 times by now easily and it keeps getting better. A four song 12” 45rpm monster called “Celebration” that weighs in just under 18 minutes or so, it’s unlike much else out there. Flipper is the no-brainer comparison, but it’s true – rubbery, gooey, sex beat/sax bleat, smart and degenerate lyrics. This is not some rehash sludgefest though, there’s something airy about the sound, almost spacey. Vocals are perfect, they sound strained but he’s not really yelling, the delivery is fittingly odd, and he’s often answered by the sax (as on “Outside”). It’s truly weird, in that I haven’t heard much like it around – not some predictably weird-punk stock moves you’ve come to expect. Pretty sure there’s no guitar player, did I mention that? Anyway, these dudes are from Montreal and are the best thing outta there in some time – and Playboy have an Omega or two or more in their ranks from what I’m told, and I like Omegas, but this Playboy shit blows them away. Artwork matches the bizarre tunes to a tee and thank god for the lyric sheet that’s full of more strangeness and charm – I’ve been trying to figure the words out for a good 2-3 months, and I wasn’t even close. Go buy this immediately, please. (negativejazz.bigcartel.com)

Now let’s talk random Euros. The Mastermind Records label outta Denmark almost always delivers (see Narcosatanicos and Angkor Wrack along with their fondness for Clevo-tardation via F/S and Trichecos), and this SMERTEGRAENSENS TOLDERE 7” is good enough that I took the time to spell that fucking name right (although I’ll be damned if I know how to format that AE as the same letter shit), they’re from Aarhaus (talk about a cool name for a city), they blow through seven songs in about seven minutes, and I swear it sounds like HFOS if they weren’t joking around – bad reference I know, but I have no clue as to a Danish HC band to relate them to – it’s slightly metallic, super burly, maybe a little 9ST fury in there. One of the Cola Freaks is in this band? Would’ve never guessed. Monstrous. The tasteful picture of a boxcutter on the cover sums up their aesthetic rather well. (mastermindrec.tictail.com)

From Denmark we wander over to the UK, where shambolic and quirky DIY records are coming out like it’s 1982 all over again. Firstly we have THE STICKS ‘No Sustain’ EP, their first record in a few years and it’s rather decent stuff. I remember not caring for a 12” of theirs, but I can handle this – they go for the more rhythmic and bass-led approach, not quite lo-fi either, these dudes know their way around a studio. Reminds me some of Yummy Fur as well as the usual Messthetics – scratchy guitars over locked-in grooves and then sprinkled with weird touches and deep voiced dudes talking their lyrics. Very enjoyable though, and limited to 300 in a risographed sleeve with insert on Market Square – who did the first Suburban Homes 7″ if you want some references.(marketsquarerecordings.bandcamp.com). Next we have VITAL IDLES from Glasgow with a two-songer of female-fronted DIY-pop that I’m really digging the A-Side of – “My Sentiments” is all sharp guitars and a lurkingly heavy bassline, Jessica Higgins’ vox are a delight – talked but in what I feel like is a real smartass way – it’s a bit of raw punker even. “The Garden” on the flip couldn’t be more different. A dramatic slow turn/ballad with violin and trumpet accompaniment, sort of sad-sounding but brightened up by that horn – a quaint recreation of a summer day perhaps, but I again get the sense Jessica is being a little sarcastic, which is why I like it. A swell little single either way (Not Unloved – notunloved-at-gmail.com). Over now to South London for this GOAT GIRL 7”, which I’m mentioning because the A-Side is called “Country Sleaze” and is an ode to Wallers & Co. (“Wallers find me you country tease” she croons!?) – and while I think it sounds more like a tune from the True Detective soundtrack than DIY, I do appreciate that four girls from London are this into the Country Teasers in 2017. B-Side is called “Scum”, is straight C&W, and I will say that at the least this girl has a nice smoky voice. On Rough Trade, you should at least hear “Country Sleaze” just to say you did.

OK, enough of Europe, let’s talk the latest in American Guitar Rock. Sophomore Lounge is the name of the label, and they just pulled the pin on a double-headed 7” bomb – one from the grunts known as TROPICAL TRASH, their first waxing since the highly regarded LP on Load (there was some primo tape and such action in between there as well, talking about the ‘Live at the Fillmore’ cassette and that “Big Game John Cage” thing) and the big change to the line-up card here is that they now have Bim “Obnox” Thomas on drums/gtr to make them even more of a force of jazzfry destruction. ‘Decisions Empty Nest’ is the name of the EP, three songs recorded by Maccarrone in Clevo, which is an alliance I fully support. “Early Wish” covers the A-Side and it’s just evil. Sounds like a short-circuting organ crying in the background under a tractor beam bass sound and some vocals that they’ve added some satanic effects to. Devastating. Think of ‘UFO Rot’ with Bim destroying the drum kit. Think about it. That’s what we have here. B-Side picks up right where the A-Side left off with the ending of “Early Wish” then “Exit Dust” pulls a weapons-grade riff out of the arsenal and then things start getting good and loose on “Troubleshot”. A real mind eraser from some of the top guys in the game. And if that wasn’t good enough, they’ve paired it with the latest 7” from our boys MORDECAI. “What is Art” is four songs, the two on the A-Side come from the ‘Abstract Recipe’ sessions with the “classic” Eli/Holt/Gavin line-up and “Seeing In” is an incredible bit of Shakey-esque hook-rock, and Holt ponders the big question of the title track over a steady groove that these guys lock into in their own way, lots of guitar slash. As always, magic happens. The B-Side is played via a truncated line-up of Gavin and Holt and recorded in the living room. According to Holt’s notes, this was a sort of experiment in deconstruction, in particular replacing drums with a cooking pan. “Spite” is built on that primitive drum idea with both Gavin and Holt getting free on the guitars and falls into place and apart in wonderful fashion. “What is Over” was inspired by Ego Summit and a hangover and is more of an abstract folky-jangler with continued wandrin’ guitar work. This record really made a shitty day into a great one when it arrived, if you need some evidence of the mystic power Mordecai and their music have. In my mind, the most remarkable band we have around today. With ‘Abstract Recipe’ and this 7” out now, the boys have fulfilled their yearly recording quota, and with all three of our heroes now spread out in different towns we’re left to wonder what happens next. I’m hopeful we’ll possibly see them live this year while school is out. Both of these records come in silkscreened pocket sleeves and in a hurtfully limited edition of 300 so keep your eyes peeled. (www.sophomoreloungerecords.com)

CHOKE CHAINS are the latest Thomas Jackson Potter outfit, joined by a Chinese Millionaire, Lindsey from No Bails and a guy named Chizz (!). “Cairo Scholars” is high octane garage-punking, maybe even qualifying as action rock, and has a real nasty solo. The flip is a cover of the opening track from the Deviants third record (“Billy the Monster”) that they give a big low-end revamp. Mastered for maximum garage turkeyness by Tim Warren, typically solid stuff from Potter. (www.houndgawd.com) Speaking of solid hands who have been making great music for 20+ years covering songs that are nearly 50 years old, there’s a new 7” from JAMES ARTHUR’S MANHUNT where he blows through The Grounhogs’ “Cherry Red” making it sound like a Texas acid-rock classic instead of UK blueshammering – actually it sounds a little like James Gang too, but that might have something to do with the fact I listened to “The Bomber” like ten times today. It’s hard to tell, but Manhunt really stretch out on it and give it a good shaking. That’s the B-Side, on the frontside JA actually does an Angry Samoans cover! Proving he’s a smart cat he does the Turner classic “Staring at the Sun” from the oft and unrightfully maligned ‘STP Not LSD’ LP. It’s a rousing and quite ballsy rendition. (www.spacecaserecords.com) To continue our old-timers paragraph here, I was certainly not expecting a new SLICING GRANDPA record in the mail. If you’re unaware, SG have been going for nearly 20 years now as the experimental recording project of John Laux, current Musk-man and former Tractor Sex Fatality. This one’s ominously titled ‘Finyl Vinyl’ and is a four banger – “Fake Mistake” is my fave, with a trebly shitbox recording, vocals that sound like he’s using a tin can and a piece of string, and a handful of swirly echo effects and things – a truly DIY sound and nearly hypnotic. Actually “I Showed Up” on the B-Side is now my favorite, because I’m arguing with myself as to whether it sounds more like Jandek or the Shadow Ring. The wonderfully titled “No Toilet” is an “instrumental” finisher that sounds like incidental music from a SOV horror movie. If you’ve never heard SG before, here’s your chance. (elmn8r-at-hotmail.com)

Keeping things retro, I received correspondence from the fine folks responsible for the Savage Damage Digest regarding a warehouse find of dead stock Richmond Records singles. If you’re unaware (as I was), Richmond was a New Wave label active from 1979-82 whose flagship act was Psychotic Pineapple. What they have available are the GLORIA BALSAM novelty record made “famous” by Dr. Demento – Gloria does a wacky cover of “High Hopes” and a tune about her missing dog “Fluffy” backed by Rubinoos and Pineapples. Woof?! Somewhat better than that is the RAL PHENO 7” (backed by Psychotic Pineapple of course), another of the New Wave novelty/weirdo persuasion, but not nearly as annoying as Gloria – “Let’s Get Stupid” is actually a pretty good piano pounder/sax wailer that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to an Eighties teen comedy. But the best of the bunch is THE IDYLLS 7”, an obscure power-popper/waver that has a pretty solid A-Side in “Why” that sounds a bit like an edgier Blondie. “White Lies” on the flip is a ballad that is interesting in a car crash way. (richmondrevisited.bigcartel.com)

Sticking with the era, some reissues of note. Firstly, Last Laugh have THE DOGS “Slash Your Face” 7” for us, a KBD ripper of the highest quality. Strong like viet cong. A legit from the masters job with pocket sleeve that’s of a far higher quality than the previous “reissue”. And in case you haven’t noticed, in between KBD bonzers, LL has been steadily releasing quality INCREDIBLE KIDDA BAND singles, with “Bullet In My Heart” being the fourth in the series – both songs are choice late Seventies studio tracks, and did Kidda Band ever write a bad song? (www.almostreadyrecords.com) There are few records more unexplainable than the TAPEWORM 7”, which Death Vault has just officially reissued for the first time (forget that shitty bootleg), with the added bonus of a four page insert with liners from Fuzz Box Flynn himself. Still no sign of “Fuzz Bassolo” though! I shouldn’t have to discuss how great this record is with you, but if there is some way one of you don’t know about it, I do envy you getting to experience “Break My Face” for the first time. Surely one of the 7” reissues of the year, Death Vault really does good work all around – BUT as if that wasn’t enough, DV also popped out a reish of the XTERMINATORS 7” as well, of “Microwave Radiation” fame and always memorable in my book for having some of the most ridiculous vocals – those nasally back-ups get me every time, and it’s certainly a killer tune besides. “Occasional Lay” on the flip is actually really good too (Break the Rules “good”) and has dumb back-up vocals too, thankfully. You should be able to get these from Florida’s Dying…

As a sidenote, the compiling of this installment was predominately soundtracked by the WRITHING SQUARES LP “In the Void Above” which came out late last year on Siltbreeze. It was in my Top Ten LPs, but in case you missed that I want to mention it again, it’s that good. Absolutely magnificent American space-rock built on bass and sax that rocks straight-up at times, then dips into Hawkwind-like grooves, kraut-rock runs, electronic rock explorations, it’s all very otherworldly and done with class including the best flute part on a rock record in recent memory. I’ve been listening to it a few times a week for at least six months and I’m still addicted to it. From some of the minds behind Taiwan Housing Project (whose LP is out any day), and Purling Hiss/Spacin’. Check em out on bandcamp if you don’t believe me.

Again, if you missed it or are a bit slow on the uptake, there’s a another huge pages of new reviews here.

That’s all for now kids, we’ll be back in a few with more reviews (LPs mostly now) and some zine talk on top. Tapes after that – thanks everyone.

2016…..

Hey everyone. So, 2016, huh? Yeah. Well here is the 2016 recap from the Termbo staff. We like to wait it out so people have something to read in early February. Read on for more, but let me just say again, I’m deeply disappointed in myself for the lack of Termbo updates in 2016. Even if it couldn’t really be helped, it’s something that weighs on me. Termbo can be best described as my “hobby”, one that I love very much. However the time it requires and deserves is something that has become harder and harder to come by. I vow to improve and apologize for letting our audience down. 2017 can only be better. The one bad bit of news is that all the reviews that were supposed to be posted with this update will have to wait a few more days. There’s a lot of them, trust me, and it will get us slightly caught up to begin the 2017 season. The one bit of good news: the SHORT EYES tour diary/cassette is also available via The Loki Label as of today, as a special Valentine’s Day wish. Thanks to all involved for making it happen. I’m hoping everyone finds something of interest in our recap – as it was certainly an interesting in year in many ways. I’m also hopeful I can make 2017 a better year for Termbo – thanks to bands/labels for review materials and patience, thanks to all the staff, thank to the readers and lurkers and thanks to everyone on the Termboard. And anyone interested in helping with Termbo should reach out – we need you now more than ever – be back soon –
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OUT IN THE TREETOPS

So, the Termbo mainframe has been repaired and moved to a new server, much thanks to Eric over at Windian Records for helping us out. The message board and this blog are once again firing on all cylinders. We have some updates ready, starting with this interview with the legendary Don Howland from our pal Ryan. It’s pretty in depth, thanks to Ryan and if you want to read more of his work go and grab his collection Bored Out via his label/store Spacecase Records. You won’t be disappointed. On the reviews front, we have a pile of LP/7″ reviews ready to go, Termbo print zine #4 is hopefully going to be ready for Christmas and year end wrap-ups shortly after that. And more….see you soon and thanks.

DEMO ZONE//TAPE DELAYS

With the distractions of summer now becoming a pleasantly hazy memory this Labor Day Weekend, the Editor has finally taken some time away from gardening (i.e. turning on the sprinkler and drinking beer) to get together the latest round of cassette/demo reviews for your perusal. It was a large batch this time (as usual) and we thank everyone involved for suffering our procrastination (again, all the editor’s fault). When reviewing tapes, there always seems to be more than a few that get a listen and put aside without much in the way of words (i.e. not good, not pertinent to Termbo-related aesthetics, “blazingly mediocre”, etc..) and a few we of course just missed because we have to stop adding to the pile at some point. Anyway, let us know if you feel slighted, we apologize in advance. On top of this we have a large (very large) heap of record reviews coming posthaste, a section of zine reviews (which we will attempt to include some more tape reviews with) and Termbo #4 is nearing the print stage very shortly. Please stay tuned and thanks for hanging in there. Also of note is an update at the Loki Label store, with cool stuff left over from Lokifest 2 (thanks everyone who played, helped and came out to make it a great success) and new releases from Grady Runyan and Meat Thump. ‘Nuf Sed, Excelsior! and all that, we’ll be back soon –

TAAAPPEESSSSSS

IN THE RED (AGAIN)

In keeping with this month’s In the Red Records theme, here’s the third round of Termbo vs. Larry Hardy. This time Larry faces off against Ryan Leach, after taking on the editor and Todd Trickknee in past bouts. All reports from the ITR 25th Anniversary shows have been glowing, and we’re happy that the celebration of what is perhaps the greatest “underground” label of the modern era went smashingly well. We’ll be back with those tape reviews in a minute. And everyone should watch the Spacecase Records page for info on Ryan’s upcoming interviews collection ‘Bored Out’ which will teach you plenty about the Gun Club and Jeffrey Lee, The Consumers, Memphis punk and more.

Pic borrowed from internet!

25 YEARS OF IN THE RED

Hard to believe it’s been 25 years since ITR-1001 was released – harder to believe I’ve been listening to records Larry has released for just about that long as well. And being honest, In the Red is one of the major reasons why Terminal Boredom exists today. Very few labels have that sort of lasting impact and become the standard-bearers of the underground for such a long time. All the big names from the past two decades have passed through the label at some point: Cheater Slicks, Bassholes, Country Teasers, Black Lips, Jay Reatard, Lost Sounds, Gories, Oblivians, Black Time, Dirtbombs, Deadly Snakes, Reigning Sound…Everybody has their favorites, and our old pal Rob took up the challenge to give us a recap of his 25 years worth of memories via the label. Read it all right here and then think about your own. Going through Rob’s list I was reminded of at least 25 pivotal musical moments in my history that were due to Larry and In the Red. So, with the 25th Anniversary shows happening this week, we thank you Larry for all that you’ve done for us. I hope everyone has a good time out there, and wish I could be with you…

And since I couldn’t resist throwing something in, here’s the first 7″ I remember buying on ITR (and still my favorite Bassholes tune):

MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL

In case you are not aware, Maximum Rocknroll is currently working on a mind-blowing archival project, and they could use our help. Our very own Dave Hyde spoke with coordinators Grace and Shivaun about what the project encompasses, what the future plans for the archives are and got us a peek and some of the rarities housed at the compound. Dive in and then go and donate! We’ll be back soon with tape reviews…

MORMONS AT MRR

MARCIA CLIFTON

Hello hello. Here we have for you a wonderful interview that Ryan did with Marcia Clifton – drummer of the legendary Klitz and part of the incredible 70’s Memphis underground scene – Chilton, Panther Burns, Ross Johnson, Jim Dickinson, etc…check it out and follow the links for further course materials. We’ll be back soon with tape reviews and such…and go support the MRR Archival Project



KLITZ