SUMMERTIME RECORD REVIEWS 2013
Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(SB: Young Steve)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich K.)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(ES: Eddie Schneider)(NG: Nick Goode)
Talbot Adams "Red Diamonds" 7"
Talbot Adams was once called "the nicest guy in rock'n'roll" by someone who would know (I think it was Eric Oblivian), and considering how long Adams' has been rocking without pissing anyone off is quite a feat as his resume dates all the way back to The Royal Pendletons, who I'm sure pissed some people at some point (but it was probably King Louie doing the pissing I imagine..). Talbot has done some fine songwriting work with Black & Whites and Jenny Jeans already, and has emabarked on a solo recording career for now, with this being his second 7" all by himself. I gotta say "Red Diamonds" is an absolutely great song. Just Talbot and his guitar with some minimal percussion crafting the hookiest in acoustic pop - I've given this some thought, and I really believe this song is about Canadian strip clubs. Listen to the lyrics and think about it. Might be too risque of a topic for such a nice guy. Totally great song though, I'll say it again. "Not Even Europe" is a drawling little Stonesy number, with a streetwise-sounding guitar part but real slo-mo about it. A strutter of sorts, with a slight wobble. Sounds a bit Chilton-esque even, with superb lyrics once again. This is a great single, far better than the Douchemaster EP he did a couple years ago, there's something very charismatic and unique to these two songs that I don't think was present on that record. There's something here that was even missing from a lot of Black & Whites stuff. I don't know whether it's grit or a bit more liquor, but whatever it is, it's working. I'd love to hear more of his songs carrying this vibe. If this were a contest pitting him against the other record this label just sent me, I'd say he just sank John Wesley Coleman's battleship. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Spacecase Records // www.spacecaserecords.com)
The Ax “Fossils Of Our Kind” 10”
Smart metal of the Melvins thug n’ chug variety; heavy and bleating. Vocals are upfront, clean and sounding like a slew of nineties mumblers ranging from 2nd tier grunge bangers, that Kyuss dude and even Mark Arm. For a non-garage 2-piece they keep it pretty busy and out of the stoned-zone. The more I listen to it - especially tracks like “Bent The Wires” and “The Flood” - the more it reminds me of late period Federation X. “In the Shadows” is a rollicking standout of motorbooty riff-drive and bottom dwelling Sabbath breaks. The North West corridor has definitely put its boot stamp on their forehead. If anything could bring these brahs to the pond scum’s surface, it’d be a more charismatic or dynamic vocal delivery. It just seems a little flat in the mix after a while…but that’s just me. People love Sleep more than ever and Fu-Manchu even had their heyday. Fans of any or all the above might wanna’ check in. The Brian Standeford sleeve art is so fucking sharp I’m thinking about framing it. It’s like a nice Polish one sheet for an unknown giallo flick. (RSF)
(Whoa! Boat Records // www.whoaboatrecords.com)
Bad Noids “Everything from Soup to Dessert” LP
Bad Noids are thee best young Cleveland band (meaning they don’t have old dudes from older bands in the line-up), four barely-of-age pukes who have taken the baton from Clevo-punk-past and are really running with it. Running right into a fucking wall headfirst, but that’s the point. You’ll recall some of these tunes from the last tape (or two), and it’s a noisier and sort of heavier sound from the recordings on the 7”. They do it right from all angles – a bit of garage-y punk slop, the conspiracy theorizing and sheer fuckedness of Darvocets (“Lizard People”!), the proto-shit deconstruction of the almighty ‘lectric Eels, the blunt force of your Non-Com bands (Cider/Inmates/etc.), the rampant rail abuse of Flying Trichecos, a veritable cornucopia of influences from Lake Erie's armpit. Young Mike is a great frontman who’s really doing it right, screamingly and nasally and playing a mean harmonica as well. I’d hate to call this band “tight” in any regard, but this is the most together I want them to sound and the guitar playing/feedbacking has progressed nicely. “My Country” is the #1 Bad Noids tune right now. Or maybe it’s “Happy Endings”. Or the downer punk of “Nun Mother”. Or “Bad Vomit” with the swarm of bees guitar solo. There’s a lot to pick from here. Ok, it’s “Nun Mother” right now, gotta give it to the best riff. Highly recommended for people who want to hear some ridiculous and real punkrock in 2013. Scum stats: label says this thing is almost sold out, and it’s barely even been available for purchase. Keep an eye on those distros, folks (Sorry State, Grave Mistake, etc..), you don’t want to miss an album with art like this. Fold out poster of the gamma-toaster apocalypse is a bonus. (RK)
(Katorga Works // www.katorgaworks.com)
The Bats "By Night" 12"
Captured Tracks' Flying Nun reissue campaign really started firing this past Record Store Day (the domestic release of the Toy Love 2XLP comp was the opening shot that I think some people missed) with the release of the Bats first record, the 'By Night' 12" from '84 (which charted in NZ at #34 at the time!) which lays the foundation for their career of wonderfully moody pop. Five of these six songs were also compiled on the 'Compiletely Bats' cassette, a bad dub of which was the first Bats music I ever heard in the mid-Nineties. It wasn't so it easy to connect the dots back then without the internet, but I eventually figured out Robert Scott was in The Clean as well, which started me off on what has now been almost 20 years of pursuing NZ music (my favorite non-US musical country aside from Australia). Mike Sniper is thankfully now allowing me to own some things that have still eluded me by reissuing hard-to-find wantlist items like this. Say what you want about Blank Dogs, but I'm glad that someone like him is heading up this reissue campaign, as I know it will be done right. 'By Night' is an exact repro of the original, looks and sounds great - I always though this artwork was weird too, as I thought it appeared that the father from Family Ties had a tentacle around his neck for some reason. But it's really a sombrero. And I'm pretty sure it's not Michael Gross. Anyway, six just about perfect songs of Robert Scott's melancholy yet still somehow upbeat pop-strum is as good a way to spend $15 as you're gonna find. The title cut is phenomenal, "Man in the Moon" sullen and touching and "United Airways" has a pleasant almost country-ish gallop. And in breaking news, the newest batch of reissues has arrived (The Clean and Bird Nest Roys) to be followed by Skeptics' LPs in August. Mmmmmm.(RK)
(Captured Tracks // www.capturedtracks.com)
Bazooka s/t LP
I've given this band, Greek (and Euro) garage rock and the label some shit in the past, and despite all that I honestly think this LP is a solid listen. It might be long-winded by a couple of tracks (13 in all - the could have cut two of the folkier Movie Star Junkies-esque saucers), but these guys have crafted a pretty good sound for a modern garage band, obviously indebted to Black Lips a bit, but when a band changes the face of the genre like the Lips did you can't help the comparison. I'm still not sold on the whole two drummers schtick, but there's a solid backbone here and if it takes two guys, so be it. Their best tunes let the darkside take over, like "Ravening Trip" and it's tastefully psychedelic soling and overtones or the mean old shit-stomping of "War Parade". "Zed the Mythical Goat" is fittingly mythic and magnificent sounding and they even do ramshackle garage-twang justice on "Bye Bye Girl". For a straight garage-punk record in 2013, these guys have it down - plenty of fuzz, reverbed vox and just a little bit of thee low-fi to make it go down with a little bit of a burn. They're not reinventing the genre as the Lips did years ago, but are least keeping the torch ablaze while we wait for the next kings to rise to power.Scum stats: there was a limited tour edition of this LP with an alternate silk-screened sleeve.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Beaters "Jester" 7"
Third single from San Diego's Beaters who have a good song or two under their beltsd a good song or two on their debut from what I remember. "Jester" seems to be a combo of New Wave and prog rock - fancily played, a real mellow sounding refrain, New Age synth sounds. Live drums are a plus but the whole thing sounds a bit wimpy. The B-Side is another New Waver with a heavy mid-Eighties vibe - Simple Minds or Simply Red or something - but it gets there in a weirdly indirect way. I give these guys credit for not sounding completely corny doing what they do. Not my bag, but they have some ideas here that seem more interesting than Mechandise or Savages or whoever else is getting pimped hard these days. Scum stats: 150 copies on red, as part of some sort of singles club/box set thing.(RK)
(Volar Records // www.volarrecords.com)
Big Eyes "Demo 2010" 7" EP
This is the fourth or fifth time the Big Eyes demo has been issued (originally self-released on CDR, then pressed to vinyl, then cassette editions on two different labels and now a vinyl repress on Grave Mistake), and it's proof that Kate Eldridge is doing some very very good work with this band. I've said it in past reviews, that even though she's not operating in my favorite genre (I'd say this is very rock'n'rolly power-pop), she has a fantastic voice and her songs are always undeniably catchy. There's nothing wimpy about these tunes no matter how close they veer into pop territory (and there's certainly some pop-punk elements floating around) and she never plays up trying to be cute or girly for cheap tricks. If anything her style reminds me of The Runaways (and Joan Jett's post-career) and The Muffs - confident rock'n'roll with pop appeal. I'm also reminded of Alicja Trout's work in River City Tanlines and the attitude she exudes via strong vocals and being able to play tougher guitar than a lot of dudes. Big Eyes seem poised and fully capable of big things, and I think the LP is going to make a splash in the more mainstream punk club - they could easily join Night Birds on Fat Wreckords is what I'm saying. More power to them, they deserve it more than bands they've blown off their sides of split singles in Mean Jeans and Audacity, who might both be joke bands in some repsect. Big Eyes are no joke, and Kate Eldrige is a gal I'd rather see my niece emulating than whoever is on MTV these days. I hope this band gets huge.(RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com)
Bitchin Bajas "Krausened" 12"EP
Bitchin Bajas are the poorly named synth/kraut side project of one of the guys from Cave, and you certainly get your money's worth on this two song 12" at the least, as it clocks in at 30 minutes give or take. "Krausened" is "transcendental synth" (which I think is just a more "cool" way to say New Age) that sounds like the synth break to "Teenage Wasteland" for about 15 minutes until the digital drums kick in, and then it starts sounding more like the soundtrack to a weird Japanese side-scrolling video game. That's my uneducated opinion for you. B-Side is called "Intervals" and is more of the same Kraftwerkian styled motoring. I'd say it's the better of the two tracks, as it reminds me a bit of the instrumental stuff from the 'To Live and Die in LA' soundtrack. Yes, I just made a Wang Chung reference. I spent way too long trying to work in a sauerkraut joke here and failed. I think these guys are on Drag City now. Scum stats: 500 copies with 150 on color for mailorder only.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
Black Sunday "Can't Keep My Hands Off You" 7"
This thing's a few years old, and was one of the last Black Sunday records. This is a split release between two crazy Euro labels: Rocco Disordered and that nut from Red Lounge. Alicja goes very retro on this one - title cut sounds like a really twee Blondie song and might have some of her sweetest sounding vox ever. I feel like this tune should be the soundtrack to some manga cartoon - it has the running techno beat and lots of animated sounding swooshes and beeps. "Lights" changes things up for a straight rocker with only a bit of a synth line. Alicja sounds confident as always and the hook is big and sort of shadowy. There were times/records where I thought Black Sunday was one of the weakest of Alicja's many projects, but this 7" is definitely not one of them. Two strong tunes.(RK)
(Disordered/Red Lounge // contaminatedrecords.blogspot.com)
Black Sunday "I Can't Remember" 7" EP
I'm going to say this is the very last (at least for now) Black Sunday release, and I remember there being some problems with this coming out at the time - the label went screwy or the covers got lost or something else unfortunate. Neat Neat Neat is the same label that Static Static were talking shit on before the band went to jail or whatever happened. I'll leave the detective work up to you. A mixed bag here: title cut is a trebly guitar popper, then you get a synthed-out New Waver and a darker lo-fi synther on the flip. Not the most essential Alicja release, but when your discography looks like this, you get a few passes. And if you haven't been paying attention, Alicja still has Contaminated Records mailorder open for business with nice prices on her back catalog and even some art for sale. I enjoy the fact that she and her daughter seem very into Adventure Time, because that is a great cartoon.(RK)
(Neat Neat Neat // contaminatedrecords.blogspot.com)
Blitz "All Out Attack" EP
There isn't very much I can say to you about this, as you should already know this is quite possibly one of the best punk EPs of all time. The first release on the No Future label, it's the greatest record by a UK82 band, one that has influenced hundreds of bands, sold over 25000 copies and reached #3 on the indie charts. You can hear everything in this, prototypical sounds that would go on to inform pretty much every hardcore record ever in some way through osmosis. The story goes that Blitz heard the Ramones and the rest was history - next thing you know they're Northwest England's best punk band of all time. Their first gig was opening for Discharge. They created "unity" in the scene with a half-skin/half-punk lineup. They were the best Oi band who didn't think they were even an Oi band. They were tough as shit - just think about writing a song called "Someones Gonna Die"! Don't parts of "Attack" sound like the toughest Saints song ever written? Four fucking anthems here, and Blitz went on to create even more great records (and even some pretty bad ones). Beloved by everyone from your dumbest street punk to your savviest collectorscum ("45 Revolutions" is a great name for a book, eh?), I think everyone can agree this is 100% essential listening for any sane person. I'm sure there's an alternate reality out there where Blitz became the biggest UK punk band ever. So fucking tough. Amazingly, this is somehow the first reissue of this EP in it's original form since it first came out. Very surprising, and just shows how on top of the game Ugly Pop is right now. Comes in a beautiful tri-panel fold out and may very well be OOP in it's first pressing already. Don't get clowned. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
Carcinogenz s/t 7" EP
Debut 10 song EP from blown-out Bakersfield punkers Carcinogenz that I believe has actually been out since least year. Five blasts per side, A-Side covers some standard territory ("Die", "Human Waste", "Trendy Fucker") without leaving too much to remember them by - it's all raw vox and KBD-garage burn without much character. For some reason they saved all the hits for the B-Side, where the songs actually have some variance in construction, memorable riffs/hooks and the vox suddenly take on some personality. Songs like "John Tanner" and "Why I'm Mean" sizzle with 'Grown Up, Fucked Up'-era Reatards punkitude and shit fidelity that's heavy on the treble. "Ya'll Ain't Got No Rock'n'Roll" is a pretty good Jay rip given some extra velocity. These guys were so determined to pack as much shit as they could in this sandwich that they maybe stuffed in a few too turds too many. They should've left some cuts off the A-Side and wrote a couple more like the B-Side. Better than the Contaminators though. Scum stats: 200 on red, 200 on blue. While we're talking about Bakersfield, does that Iranian Homos 7" actually exist? (RK)
(Going Underground // Discobitch.bigcartel.com)
Cellos "The Accident" 12” EP
Following an EP on Dead Beat last year, Canada’s Cellos throw another 12” at us. There’s definitely something of the, what is it, third (?) wave of AmRep/TnG-“core,” contained in these grooves. Much like the now-defunct Grids, this is muscular, well-played post-Pissed Jeans pummel. It’s a little cleaner and more streamlined than the bulk of that aggro resurgence, but still manages to hit fairly hard. I can see these dudes holding their own on a bill with fellow Ontarians Metz. I’m sure they’re saving their loonies to record with Albini. I’ll always have a soft spot for this sound, but Cellos don’t quite put my panties in a bunch (who am I kidding, I’m going commando). On “Rust and Government” and “Pilgrimage,” Cellos nudge in a slight amount of melody, and it kind of works against them – I’m reminded of that nebulous sorta-metal that is the stuff of countless Brooklyn Vegan posts. The cover art even has a sub-Kozik feel to it. Not bad, but not great. (EEK)
(Ah Some // ahsomerecords.com)
John Wesley Coleman "Whisper Mountain" 7"
I'll run this down real quick: JWC was in Golden Boys, and I liked their first 2.5 records. I also like Coleman's first solo LP (with the Zevon cover) and that Minor Threat-themed split single side he did ("Minor Wes"), but everything else the guy has done has had me twitching, waiting for the record to end so I could throw something else on. Not terrible, but just not material that has grabbed me at all. I understand the rugged yet sensitive Texan singer/songwriter/outlaw thing he's working, and it's something I feel like I would like on paper, but the records don't connect with me. My bad, I guess, I know some people who will vouch for this stuff. "Whisper Mountain" is some slow hillbilly folk-rock stuff where he duets with his new bandmate Geena, and the B-Side is a kitchen recording with lots of atmosphere, knee-slappin' percussion and electric/acoustic interplay. A-Side bums me out and I appreciate the aesthetics of the B-Side but it's a toss-off song. Go get that Talbot Adams record instead, it kills! (RK)
(Spacecase Records // www.spacecaserecords.com)
Condominium "Carl" 7" EP
The reigning kings of confrontational punk charitably lend their talents to a Sub Pop single, which makes more sense than I originally thought. These three cuts maintain the pace set on the stellar "Warm Home" LP - five songs worth of riffs distilled and weaponized into three. Das Condos have really grown into their own sound. "Show Them" and "Eating the Universe" keep the propulsive, bitter hardcore train rolling and are just about as good as the devastatingly perfect "Life is Amazing" off of the LP... but "Carl" is the best thing on here. Crafty drumming with slow, ominous, tortured repetition. Caustic litanies. An eloquently stupid song title. This one really sounds like it comes between "Barricade" and "Gag"... The guitarwork is meandering and haunting without losing any bite. Bummed that the cover of the sleeve broke from their defined aesthetic - I think it's the best in the game - in favor of a house built on a pubic mound, but the collage on the flip is appropriately hideous (looks like Giger made a blunt attempt at an O'Keeffe). There are few bands more interesting these days, and I'm beyond ready to be annihilated by the next LP.(NG)
(Sub Pop Records // www.subpop.com)
Cosmonauts "Wear Your Hair Like A Weapon" 7"
"Wear Your Hair..." is a side's worth of what is the Burger Records version of "psych", which means it's a bunch of kids from Fullerton doing their best to try and sound like Spacemen 3 or Spiritualized. Slo-mo drone with monotone vocals. "Sweet Talk" is slightly more energetic with a fuzz guitar solo at the end that makes me think they might have heard that Snapper reissue. I can't blame them for trying, but this is pretty ineffectual stuff. I've heard a few of their records now, and I'm not sure what it is that people are digging about this stuff - and this is coming from a guy who still likes Thee OhSees a lot.(RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.bigcartel.com)
Crooked Bangs s/t LP
A blasting jangle-garage that sounds more like a frantic (early) Apache Dropout than yet another dreaded Oh Sees ape. The femme powered vocals have the fetishized Mark Bolan warble locked down, but there’s an occasional soaring Danzig howl as well. Grass Widow instrumentation performing unknown Misfits covers? Now that’s something. Song titles like “Brains” and “Blood Castle” nod towards the later for sure. As the LP creeps onwards, it delves into the post-punk arena through some polite indie filters, but those rattletrap guitars continue to ring clear. Also, there’s a lot of French spoke up in here. !?! They are from Texas, correct? For a BFTG-vibing outfit who’d fit nicely sandwiched between other new schooler locals like Eats Feats and Low Times, these Bangers also manage to conjure up The Go Gos and Duran Duran somehow. And that’s really making a stew outta’ my brain pan matter. Refreshingly odd. Kudos… (RSF)
(Western Medical Records // www.westernmeds.com)
The Dad s/t 7"
Debut wax from Omaha's The Dad (who I think were called Dads at some point) on Pittsburgh's Unread label. "7 A.M." is a magnificent piece of junk-pop, utilizing catchy untuned guitars and monotone vocal croak to craft an off-kilter winner that's very Columbus-esque (Guinea Worms vs. TNV...). "Second Best Friends" brings in some farfisa pounding for a borderline-annoying garagey rave that would be too cute were it not cut through with some squealing guitar leads. B-Side is lengthy indie-rock melancholia that isn't as enjoyable as the A-Side but is again saved by some lo-fi guitar work. Ugly pop that's worth a look, "7 A.M." is a hit. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Unread Records // www.unread-records.com)
Dadamah “Violet Stains Red” 7”
Dadamah were an extraordinary band. Comprised of some of New Zealand’s finest – including members of Pin Group, Terminals, and many more – Dadamah’s music captured the inner turmoil of love-gone-dead as well as anyone before or since. With a sound that echoed, but never imitated, The Velvet Underground, Dadamah stuck around long enough to give us 2 classic singles and a masterful LP. As they had before the band existed, the members continued to make fantastic new sounds in old and fresh combos, but in some ways Dadamah was their crowning achievement. After nearly two decades, this unexpected single comes out with the quiet and modest force that the band itself harnessed so well. Housed in a lovely and sturdy jacket and spinning on marbled red vinyl, Dadamah drops the emotional hammer on you as if they had merely stepped outside for a smoke. Recorded back in ’92 on their trusty Tascam 4-track, this 45 is a must-own for the Dadamah fan. “Violet Stains Red” is a Roy number reminiscent of “High Tension House,” one of the LP’s highlights. I keep on thinking “Absent and Erotic Lives” is the name of a Bergman movie, but the internet keeps on telling me I’m delusional. Typical. But it is most definitely a Kim Pieters-sung bummer, which, perversely, makes me grin. And bear it. This weight is heavy and so is Dadamah. (EEK)
(Yellow Electric // )
Day Creeper "Raging Beast" 7" EP
Columbus indie-garage outfit's second EP. I'll confess that the only thing I remember about their earlier 7" on Tic Tac Totally was that it was so boring I gave up even trying to write a review of it. There was just nothing to say. It wasn't even bad, it was just there. Thankfully they've turned it around on this one. "Turning Into A Man" is confident and well written hard-edged indie-rock with a good build and hook. "Everybody Else" has a tough power-pop vibe that I dig, maybe even a little rocknrolla Dolls-strut to it as well. A real good side with a great boxy sounding recording that gives it all a nice hiss. B-Side ("Zonin' Out") throws some nice punk edge on and they end with a toss off, but those first three tunes are all pretty damn good Columbus stuff, and a great comeback from their last record.(RK)
(self-released // killah.bee1-at-gmail.com)
Bradley Dean & The Terminals s/t 7”
NYC rock n’ roll that could use a little more dirt under its fingernails. “Top of the Hour” is power-pop reminiscent of Gentleman Jesse or other similar modern purveyors. Backing vocals by Kim Warnick of The Fastbacks lends some legitimacy, but the song still falls flat. Well-played, but zero fizz. The cap has been left off of this soda bottle for too long. “Everybody’s Headed to the Graveyard” is a little tougher, a bit of a hitch in its step, but its low-down vibe seems a bit forced. A few more trips to the wrong side of the tracks might pay off for this crew. (EEK)
(Tone Town // www.bradley-dean.com)
Eat Skull "The Where'd You Go? EP" 7"
Eat Skull are one of those bands that are always rumored to be broken up or on hiatus or whatver, but they've got a new LP on Woodsist and this long-in-the-works single making the rounds now. "Where'd You Go?" is credited as having been recorded over the course of five years in various locations by Rod Meyer and Rob Enbom. Which explains why it took so long to come out, hey yo! But really, I like Eat Skull when they're at their DIYest and punkest, and this is a pretty DIY affair at least. Title cut will have you reminiscing about the glory days of Shitgaze. Low key indie-pop cobbling together noisy guitar work, a gurgling bassline and some weird little synth lines, all sounding like they're played from behind a curtain. Pleasant enough, the line about the Crying Game was fun. "Medication Time" sounds altogether different from a recording perspective, way less hazy and muted, this one is almost chipper in comparison. Some sorta pop stuff. Side Two is "Jefferson Angel", the best thing here, and it's an instrumental no less. Lo-fi pre-programmed Casio percussion that's quiet enough to make you forget it's a Casio beat with an acoustic guitar overlay and another cloaked synth/guitar in the background. Simple but somehwat poignant. It's an acceptable record for a collection of scraps, but will probably only be necessary for all you Eat Skull superfans out there. I'm still waiting for them to write another "Beach Brain" or at least something as good as "Jerusalem Mall". Ziggy Stardust sleeve sans Bowie was a clever touch.(RK)
(Volar Records // www.volarrecords.com)
Elektrolux “Robert Mitchum” LP
A French act that leads down the same tried n’ true path most of the Frenchies do (glue-infused, tilted garage); only this time it’s a little more gruff and rockin’. Occasional nods to the Johnny Cash / Elvis songbook but it never gets too hillbilly or greasy. I’m thinking of Digger & The Pussycats as the first few songs fly by (they’re not French, I’m aware.), but then all the rollin’ & rockin’ scoots to the side for more jazzy progressions and stunted guitar chords. Tunes like “Nowhere” seem influenced by late-period Beast Of Bourbon as much as they do The Bad Seeds…but not nearly as impressive. Sparse instrumentation and serviceable storytelling skills take the controls, leaving behind a skeletal death waltz called “40 Watt Bulb”. If you scrubbed all the groovy slide and scree away from Penthouse (aka: 50 Tons Of Black Terror), it’d sound something like this. The vocals continue down the Tom Waits rabbit hole as the vinyl plays on…or is it Lightning Beat Man? Either way, it’s as though the frontman was chewing on broken pint glass and razor wire as the studio day pressed on. You can here the loose tracheal meat slap and stick together. Gah. Elsewhere the music takes the vaudevillian carny route that the Euros dig so much and I’m starting to lose interest. “Omar Killed Me” tracks along a Birthday P-tay backbone and brings me back to the fold for a moment. A fleeting moment, but still…I wanted more from a LP named after the Mitchum Man. (RSF)
(Soviet Twist Records // elektrolux.free.fr)
Energy Gown "I Watch The Sun" 7" EP
Fire up the smoke machine and reverb generator, we're setting coordinates for the dark side of the oscillator in the sky, pal. I'm not so sure how I feel about the name Energy Gown, but they're playing some serious drone-n-moan psych-out shit so I'll look the other way. At least it sounds like they thought of it while they were on drugs. I guess the Gown are a Chicago concern who experiment with analog recording and improv music at some place called The Observatory. Sounds pretty mystic. You'd think Plastic Crimewave would be involved somehow, but apparently not. I will say this is what I hoped a lot of PCS records would have sounded like. It's all retro moves, these guys are doing absolutely nothing new, but they're using a mountain of fuzz, enough echo and reverb and all sorts of other weirdo effects to make your head spin, and the vox are tastefully monotone and blend in seamlessly. One song is straight outerspace backwards masked drone, the next one is semi-tough fuzz and the third (and longest) is some spiritual inner journey shit (very, very Hawkinded). All three tunes are crafted with great skill and sound fantastic. This is what those those Glitter Wizard guys might be able to do if they weren't so concerned with playing dress up - Energy Gown did it right, no band pics, just some obtuse geometic artwork and song titles. Less is more when it comes to this sort of stuff. Anyway, if you want to hear killer modern psych, here you go. (RK)
(self-released // energygown.bandcamp.com)
Far Corners "Sanity Suck" 7" EP
Far Corners are ex-Mr.Airplane Man/Turpentine Brothers (married couple Tara and Justin Hubbard plus one) and shows they've drifted from the more direct garage-rock stylings of those outfits and into the strange New Mexican desert. They sound somehwere in between Spray Paint and first LP Eat Skull with some Aussie vibes mixed in on the title track and "Asleep Since the Seventies", which has a dark desert-style (could be the Outback or the Sonoran) creep to it. "Not So Hot Now" is a short and angled Wire-y post-punker. "Sanity Suck" is more post- with the cramped and trebly sounding recording style giving it some claustrophic intrumentation and a weird-poppish hook. Great solo to boot. Not too shabby, I like what they've done here and I'd like to hear more. (RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.bigcartel.com)
Feelings "Fun With Mantras" 7"
One of the guys from Gardens, that guy's brother and Dave Buick (Italy Records CEO) are Feelings. Feelings aren't as terrible as Gardens. They have that going for them. "Fun With Mantras" is a plucky indie-rocker with twangy guitar and a decent hook that's not completely wimpy. B-Side has a forgettable Clean cover ("Thumbs off" - now that the Flying Nun renaissance is in full swing I'm guessing we can expect a lot more Clean/Chills/Bats/etc covers from rockers looking to show off that influence) and "Appliance", which reminds me of MHz or some other forgotten Flying Bomb band. Like I said, better than Gardens (who isn't though?) but still probably like the 20th most interesing band in Detorit right now. Fancy cover picture though, I bet they like The Verlaines too. Top notch full color labels from Urinal Cake as always (including a nod to Italy Records), their product always looks great even if there's an occassional stinker.(RK)
(Urinal Cake // www.urinalcakerecords.com)
Frustrations "Negative Reflections" LP
2011 LP from Detroit's Frustrations, their second full length, and one that I'm shamefully reminding you about now. The Detroit scene is so rich with talent it becomes too easy to miss a band like this when you're busy drooling over Human Eye/Timmys Organism and Tyvek. The X! label has always been reliable (the first to put out a Tyvek record), giving vinyl to underappreciated locals like Terrible Twos (who always dererved more credit than they got, and who I have personally seen blow plenty of "big names" off the stage at a fest or three), Druid Perfume, Protomartyr (who aren't underappreciated any longer), Fontana and of course, The Frustrations. To paint a simple picture, consider them Detroit's TV Ghost - creators of evil future-punk trips, the EC Comics to Human Eye's Marvel perhaps (and their drummer is good enough to have replaced The Hurricane himself), a less hyperactive and more concise Terrible Twos even. Nine tracks of weird-punk theatrics with fantastic guitar sounds/playing throughout and an obviously solid rhythm section that swerves from swinging rock tempos to broken-jazz jamming with ease. It's hard not to consider them informed by the Vulgar school of rock, and some of their classic rock-esque sci-fi moves show proof, but I think they also offer a more genuinely bad-vibed variation of that theme as well. They might actually be drawing more from The Piranhas than anyone else - sick thoughts combined with sharp and agressive stabs and song deconstruction. This is one is far better than their first LP (which I don't think anyone heard either) and is the darkest interpretation of the modern Detroit sound I've heard thus far. Weird-punk that avoids becoming a cartoon and depicts legit Rust Belt malaise - a promising example of what modern rock can sound like.(RK)
(X! Records // www.x-recs.com)
The Fucking Party s/t LP
You see this band name and you're immediately questioning whether you should even bother listening to this. Just a real bad idea, I don't care if you're trying to push buttons or whatever. There have been about 3 bands in the history of punk rock to actually use the word fuck in their name and not totally suck (off the top of my head: CCMF, Fucked Up and maybe the Fucking Champs...or No Fucker) and far too many have tried. It just makes it seem like you're trying to hard right off the bat. The Fucking Party readily admit that they listen to too much Jesus Lizard. It comes through on the tunes of course, but these guys are coming from a far different palce than Yow & Co. This sounds like a tech-metal or math rock band dumbing it down. Too polished to be really nasty. I'm picturing at least two, maybe three beards in this band and at least two members perform shirtless. They make sure to mention this is drug influenced music, but damned if I could tell. This is slick as shit and there's nothing weird about it except perhaps the fact stole some of Mclusky's schtick. When I think of drug infuenced music, the Butthole Surfers or something like Rusted Shut comes to mind. There's nothing unhinged or dangerous to be had here, which is a shame, because I think that's what they're trying to go for. The only bleak thing about it is that I just spent a half hour with this record. Next. (RK)
(self-released // www.thefuckingparty.com)
Fuzz "Sleigh Ride" 7"
I think was supposed to be a "secret identity" band at first, but I'm sure Pitchfork broke this one wide open immediately after their first 7" on TiM sold out in minutes and was fetching $50 on eBay the next day. The line-up is Ty Segall fronting (well, drumming and singing) The Moonhearts instead of Mikal Cronin. The gimmick is that they're just crazy for the FUZZZZ, maaan. A tribute to the Fuzz Face pedal, the band has been likened to Black Sabbath (c'mon, really?) and/or Blue Cheer (ok, I'll accept that one) and Jimi Hendrix (getthefuggouttahere), but it's not bad stuff. Certainly more interesting than Ty's last LP on Drag City. "Sleigh Ride" is not holiday themed (the green vinyl seems X-massy too though), but some choogle-n-riff that sounds a bit stoner-like (but certainly not in a doomy way) and is just cracklin' with the fuzzzzzz. I like the recording, super loud and a bit sloppy. There's some decent riff and breakdown construction, the soloing isn't exactly facemelting but good enough. The nice thing is that it doesn't sound like a million other Ty Segall tunes. "You Won't See Me" does kinda sound like a typical Ty Segall tune, but at least has a really big riff for the chorus. I'd like it better if it wasn't Ty singing this one. Who knows. Like I said though, better than his last LP which sounded like a shitty Sic Alps. They're supposedly recording an LP under the Fuzz name as we speak,and I'd at least check it out, more because I really liked The Moonhearts than because of Ty though.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
G.Green "Our Boss" 7" EP
I didn't realize how busy Andrew Henderson and his G.Green have really been these past couple of years - I believe this is at least their fifth EP to go along with two(?) LPs. It seems like just the other day DJ Rick was preaching about them to the rest of the world from his Sacramento pulpit and Andrew was sending Termbo CDR demos (that I hated). Your liking of G. Green basically boils down to how much tolerance you have for Andrew's vocals - wildly off-key and out of tune but also containing a large amount of quirky enthusiasm. For example, on the title track his vox make me want to wing this record out of the window and into my neighbor's yard. It might be because it's one of their slowest tunes and even has a real arty vibe that accentuates the "quirk". It's grating to say the least. Same goes for "Soap", which at least has some poppiness to combat the singing. But then you get a raucous indie-punker like "Society of Shit" that manages to make the vox sound perfect in that setting (and the back-ups help too) and "I Feel Like A Girl" has some homemade vibes that incorporate them well. I'm not totally sold on this band - "Our Boss" is easily one of the most irritating things I've heard in while, and makes me sometimes forget the good stuff like "Society of Shit". Who knows. There are definitely better G.Green records to get started with, I'll tell you that. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(A Wicked Company // awickedcompanyrecords.bandcamp.com)
Hackamore Brick "Oh! Those Sweet Bananas" 7"
One of the perks of being a big time record label CEO is apparently being able to go back in time and create your own singles for bands of the past that you favor. Just because you feel like doing it. Man, think of the possibilites...and Mr. Ugly Pop has thought about it, and came up with a good one. In my youth I fell victim to one of those misinformed/idiotic mental blocks where I used to get Hackamore Brick confused with Brownsville Station for some dumb reason. So it took me longer than it should to realize that "One Kiss Leads to Another" was probably thee killer Velvets-inspired LP of all time and did not sound like "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (not that there's anything wrong with that either). "Oh! Those Sweet Bananas" is a killer poppy Lou soundalike, certainly one of best songs off of the LP (being the sorta-title track as well) and will have you imagining you how cool it would have been to have been living in 1970 Brooklyn with these dudes as your neighborhood band. Proto-proto-punk of the highest caliber, and a link between the VU and Modern Lovers if you're mapping things out. The flip is a non-LP version of "Someone You Know", an acoustic guitar and piano slow jam from the days of yore when writing songs like this was still cool. This single is a pretty amazing item - a record collector's (or just music fan's) daydream realized. Comes in a nicely designed vintage band pic sleeve (dig the band credits!) and the Ugly Pop/Kama Sutra logo is hilarious to me for some reason and looks great. Scum stats: 500 copies only (with 100 on green wax), the label has stated there will be no repress so don't snooze, especially if you can use this track in 7" form for your "DJ night". (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
Hollywood "Love Child" LP
I'll you give my Hollywood spiel one more time: those early couple of singles into the first LP had them sounding like monsters of garbage rock, and a fitting band to carry on the "Big Neck sound" in a post Mistreaters/Blowtops landscape. Seriously, listen to that single with "Human BBQ" on it. Raw stuff, and I saw a couple of unhinged live shows that really cemented the deal. Then somehow, with each subsequent record, they veered away from the junk on those records and became some kind of jokey rawk-like band - and there were plenty of jokes on those records I liked, but the jokes started turning bad, and not in a good way. I'm guessing their were some line-up changes that might have caused this (or maybe this is what they were all along and I wasn't getting it), but the split with Mean Jeans (and the shared member - which also could have been present all along) rubbed off in the worst ways. 'Love Child' still has some heaviness to it, but there's nothing nasty or raw here. They've become a "heavy" pop-punk band, with ironic Ramones and Fall gags falling flat, hokey drugs and sex references that are barely even in bad taste. The one redeeming moment is revisiting "Human BBQ" for a Part Two, a shadow of a band that I once had high hopes for. To try and be positive here, I'll suppose that they're good at this kind of goofball Mudhoney-covering-The-Dickies clown princes of garage schtick, but just not what I was hoping for.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
The Hullmen “No Return” CD
‘Sconsin rock made from the most active chunk of Aluminum Knot Eye. As a power-trio they’ve got a more subdued / scrubbed clean sound than AKE. Less fuzzy-buzz, Swampisms and zero oscillating key-play - yet still emulating that Midwest proto-weirdo rock. Mature punk meets blue collar rockers like an off coast Hank IV sharing the cadence of Hue Blanc…and possibly some other bands that start with the letter H. More than a few tracks bring to mind The Bizzarros and that ain’t knocking ‘em in my book. My only gripe is the production seems too crisp for what they do. The vocals feel dropped in with a digital dump when they could use more oomph and scuzz. The newer stuff on web shows a better grasp of the studio wares and would make for a decent slab o’ wax. They’ve been sluggin’ it out for a while at the Circle A corral, and it’d be nice to see vinyl at some point. Or another AKE record. Or SOMETHING. (RSF)
(self-released // www.thehullmen.bandcamp.com)
Humungous “Miniature Pinschers” LP
A confusing clusterfuck made up of Louisville sluggers that mish-mash the elements of grrl power, Tronics-like scatter-clatter and a serious affection (infection) of the Zappa catalog. Not since witnessing Mr. & Mr. & Mrs. Evil perform NWA covers with a toy drum kit and a hula hoop have I been tingled this way. I’m glad these sorta’ folks have an outlet. I bet at least one of them has an outfit constructed of dirty thrifted stuffed animal carcasses. At least two of them live in an arts collective warehouse space. There’s a bit of country roots flavor now and then as well, but by no means is it traditional. Arhoolie ain’t clamoring with a contract clutched outside their door. “Hook up the Keyboard” brings on the most enjoyment with its sutured together Kraut drive, childlike keys and wonky organ sludge intertwined with guitar riffs that’d make the Amboy Dukes blush. Is it lyrically an AC/DC ape?? A glorious mess for the adventurous types that are even more adventurous than me. Sometime around 2045 I’ll try to review this again. Maybe then I’ll have a solid grasp on it. (RSF)
(Black Velvet Fuckre // ??? who knows…try this: www.adeptrecordings.com/category/humongous)
The Hussy "Way With Words" 7" EP
I really liked what The Hussy were doing around that first LP, if just for the fact they were playing Nineties-inflected garage-punk (the right way) when every other band in Wisconsin was playing cheezed-out power-pop-glam or hippie-folk bullshit. They were loud for a two-piece and brought a great live show along with it. I'm glad that they've seen some popularity since then and that there seem to be numerous labels lining up to release their records. But I'll also say that a garage band releasing at least 10 singles/splits and three LPs over about three years is waaay too much. I've heard a good chunk of it, and to say some if it is filler would be an understatement. Less is more sometimes kids. Anyway, "Way With Words" is average but "Yr Stupid" is a really good punker with some weird springy guitar effects and a stomper of a beat. The B-Side is the main attraction here, as it's the long-awaited remix of "Wrong/Right", the project that Pink Reason was originally assigned to and had their mix rejected (which birthed the Pink Reason NGL Jukebox 7"), here with Cleveland DJ E.React picking up the pieces, a name you might recognize from his work on various Obnox records. It's not exactly what I was expecting - it takes the original vocal and rebuilds the song from scratch with a good popcorn-drum beat, lots of handclaps and some layered guitar/synth lines. I like the construction (and the ratatat drum sound), but this seems like the BPM is a bit too high to be really dancefloor friendly. What do I know though, I only slowdance at weddings. Like I said, it's a cool remix of a strange song to pick out of a hat though.(RK)
(Slovenly/Black Gladiator // www.slovenly.com)
The Ills "Get It" 7" EP
Second 7" from Iowa City's The Ills, a mixed gender quartet still carrying a torch for the classic Rip off Records sound. Female vox from Erika Ebola bring back memories of Spoiled Brats and Dirty Sweets. Title track sounds like a personal attack on some girl named Trish, "Like U Done 2 Me" is a standard Samoans-styled hope-you-die song, both of which would probably get Lowery to crack a smile. "The Creeps" adds some keyboards and unfortunatley makes them sound more like a Dirtnap band, and the locked groove ending is the most interesting part. B-Side has three more that are typical third wave Rip Off rip offs, two of which aren't too bad, and one that is actually pretty bad ("Sick Fits"). I applaud any band that patterns their schtick after the aesthetic of one of my favorite labels ever, but I'll be honest and say that this is nothing but a pale imitation. Their first EP was much better.(RK)
(Shake Records // www.experienceshake.com)
Junkpile Jimmy "Ruins I & IV" LP
The mysterious Junkpile Jimmy returns, nearly eight years after dropping the 'Alberhill' 2XLP in our laps from out of nowhere. I knew he'd be back someday, the guy had way too many ideas to be quiet for long. Obviously this LP is a bit more concise than the sprawl of the double, and Jimmy's got himself a couple heshers backing him up now making for a formidale power metal trio. There's not much left of the garage-punk or blooze here - it's a straight gonzo metal journey. "Ruins I & IV" (II & III have yet to be finished) take up a side each, and each of the sides is broken into two song-suites with epic titles like "Concentric Abyssic Circles of Insanity" and "Tongue of the Toads". There are some pretty far-out concepts dealing with time travel, inter-dimensional physics, gladiators, sanity/insanity, and man's relationship with amphibians. No shit. 'Ruin I' shifts from souding like 'Ozma'-era Melvins, to lo-fi Slayer with a little Celtic Frosting (oof) on the first suite, then changes to blackened metal with acoustic passages and demonic vox to Sabbath-esque drone with some acid-fried noise tracks to document a man's journey into madness for the second suite. There's also a sidestep into the Venom catalog and even some monster thrashing a la Exodus. 'Ruin IV' starts with more Slayer worship and doomdrone, and the second suite actually goes for a classic rock and NWOBHM hybrid with some more diversions into death metal and prog-rock. I'm still giving this LP the short run through, as there really isn't a style of metal JJ doesn't touch on at some point. Recorded just raw enough where I can't call it shit-fi, but still not close to slick. The three peice band is tight, the solos and riffs are all quality, vox go from death-grrrowls to satanic whispers to thrash barking whenever needed. Some influences on this LP as listed on the insert: Harrt Partch, Debussy, Link Wray, Fred McDowell, Leonard Nimoy, Ravel and Johnny Thunders amongst others. This one should appeal to garage turkeys who are into the lower-fi side of metal like Midnight, Evil Army and even Bone Awl/Raspberry Bulbs, and is bizarre and left field enough for weird punkers in general. There aren't many bands putting this much thought into their music and concepts, and there's a lot here to appreciate, from the lyrics to the bizzare insert to the picture collage in the gatefold. Truly outsider music from Lake Elsinore, CA that makes me happy to know there are isolated weirdos out there just doing their thing outside of hip scenes/labels. As DIY as it gets and highly recommended, makes a great pairing with the Heroes of History LP.
Scum stats: 523 copies. Jimmy tells me his next record will be "more rock'n'roll"?! (RK)
(Cartel Ilustre // www.cartel-ilustre.com)
Kegstands "Cara-Lin" 7"
No idea where this one came from. Sounds like a modern band doing just awful covers in a frat rock vein - completely incompetent, recorded live and very very drunk in front of an audience of six people, their stumble through "Cara-Lin" actually has some semblance to the original tune and the drummer somehow manages to hold it together. Guitar player sounds like he's wearing boxing gloves, singer may or may not know the words to the song and someone seems to remember to play the organ every once in a while. If you got Les Sexareenos completely blackout shitfaced and then blindfolded them and tied one hand behind everyone's back, they would probably still sound better than this. B-Side is a version of "Something's Got A Hold On Me" that could be the worst version of this standard ever recorded. I think there might be a sax player on this and they spend half of the side trying to remember how to play the song. It's almost performance art if you could call this performing in any way at all. Borderline unlistenable which means I enjoy it very much. I have no idea how to get one of these, mine came in a shitty paper dust sleeve with beer stains on it. These guys sound like they're having too much fun to be from NYC, too unhip to be from the West Coast, no Canadian accents on the vox, not tough enough to be from Ohio...so I'm guessing they're either from Florida, Minnesota or Wisconsin. Start there. Gamma Knee Cappa.(RK)
(NAU Records // ???)
Komodina 3 s/t LP
A 2005 CD-only punk "rarity" from Greece (where else!) released on vinyl by Slovenly after the band Bazooka (who else!) played it for Pete Slovenly on tour. A dozen tracks of Greek language lo-fi garage-punk, and I will give them credit for a real good and tinny lo-fi drum sound. Musically, it's par for the course for the time, post-Rip Off lighthearted goofballing, with some wheezy organ, mongo vox with high-pitched back-up hoots, razor thin guitar sound. The language barrier prevents me getting any of the "jokes" (I'm assuming there are plenty), which is kind of a must for this kind of stuff. There's some "blistering" guitar solos, but nothing truly nasty in the playing or vibes, which is sort of another must-have in this genre. They could have made a decent oddball single out of the cool freakbeat sounding tune on the B-Side and the ska song that ends the A-Side. There are a couple others that are decent Infections/Rip Offs styled punkers. And now that I gave the insert a closer look, the translated lyrics are all pretty much about smoking weed, popping pill and street-punk esque "the city is dead" kind of stuff where I was hoping for Stipjes-styled retardation. You can pass on this one unless you're some kind of Greek punk completist. (RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
La Luz “Call Me In The Day” 7"
All-female Seattle quartet with a faithful and well-presented surf/girl-group hybrid. The surf aspect of their sound leans towards the dreamy and melancholic, not “Pipeline” and Pulp Fiction. “Call Me In The Day” has the requisite Spector-esque harmonies and enveloping sound, but it’s done so well here that you don’t find yourself sneering about hipster beach rock or whatever the fuck that cruise-ship song-and-dance routine calls itself. “Easy Baby” is even more Ronettes-y, yet it triumphs over redundancy by virtue of actually conveying the mood that these ladies are attempting to conjure. La Luz reaches beyond the surface elements, and comes up with a well-crafted and performed single. (EEK)
(Water Wing // waterwingrecords.com)
Las Ardillas "Linda Nina" 7"
Man, does Slovenly love the foreign garage-rock like no one else or what? I know Pete lives over in Greece or Italy or wherever, so I imagine he's moving a lot of units there, because I have trouble thinking he's selling a ton of this stuff stateside. Las Ardillas are from Davila 666's home of San Juan and also share a drummer. "Linda Nina" is a Dictators-styled rocker, looselyalong the lines of "Stay With Me". I feel some emotion in the delivery, for sure, and you could say it has a nice street-tough vibe. The B-Side is pretty bad though, bar rock of the worst degree. I guess this would maybe appeal to Davila super fans or something...oof.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Last Night "Cut Your Throat" 7"
Three songs from a new-ish French band of punk rockers (ex-Cavaliers) that's actually not too shabby, in particular when you consider the state of French punk-rock that is not Glue Wave/Triple Alliance associated. It's dark stuuf, sung in English and with a post-punk slant to it, but they execute well enough to not sound generic. Really nice buzzsaw guitar sound, singer has a solid delivery (a not-trying-too-hard sneer) and the songs have some creative hooks and builds. I guess I'm shocked that this doesn't toally suck, so I had to say something. It's a decent record and all, not a mind blower by any means, but I also remember people going nuts for Peripherique Est (who sort of sucked), so who knows. (RK)
(self-released // last-night.fr)
Last Year’s Men “Clawless Paw” 7”
Decent, vaguely “garage” punk, but a bit heavier than the normal limpdick fare people pass off these days. “Clawless Paw” has a cool woozy quality to it. The singer sounds like he’s singing to himself on a drunken walk home, stars out, heart smashed. The flip has the inevitable Black Lips steez (outdated slang vol. IV). It’s just not dirty or wild enough to really get your feet moving or trigger a Pavlovian desire to drink. And that’s really what gay-rage punk should be all about. Better luck next time, boys. (EEK)
(Sophomore Lounge // www.sophomorelounge.com)
Los Vigilantes "Me Siento Azul" 7"
Slovenly pete is determined to bring you not just the finest in Euro-garage rock, but whatver the Caribbean has to offer as well. Why, I do not know, but here we have Los Vigilantes from Puerto Rico with the follow up to their LP which apparently was widely acclaimed according to the label. Hmmm. Title track is ramma-lamma-ding-dongy garage-pop in espanol. Pedestrian at best. B-Side opens with "Volvera" which is actually pretty tough sounding punk rock that sounds nothing like the band on the A-Side. It's a pretty decent ballbuster with a smokin' hot solo. Blistering, I tell ya. Then they do a parlor trick and cover one of their own songs ("Me Imagino") but sing it in Japanese. Crazy, I know. It's more on the bbq-sauce side than the punkitude evident on the song before it. Tangy. Besides that punk song, which I'm guessing is an Anomaly (get it?!), I'll pass on these guys.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Lucha Eterna “Mijo Cipito” 7” EP
Along with Bad Noids (with whom they share members), Lucha Eterna are at the forefront of the newest wave of Clevo HC centered around The Tower, playing thrashed hardcore with Spanish vox that sounds like a harder and more blasted out Los Crudos to make an obvious comparison. They jam six burners on this that don’t stop for breath, blasty drumming and tough guitars trying to outdo each other makes for a fine mess. Plenty of feedback as well. I dig this record, but live they’re even better. Scum stats: nice metallic ink print job on recycled sleeves (mine’s from some bad Hydrahead band) with stamped labels.(RK)
(Llama Thrash/Adamant Blasts // luchaeternahc-at-gmail.com)
Manateees "Cat Food" 7"
Second single from this Memphis outfit led by Abe from TSOT/Oscars, and both songs are so simple and dumb it hurts real good. "Cat Food" is on the A-Side for a reason, and is written from the perspective of this guy's cat. Somewhere between Buck Biloxi and The Spits, needle-y guitar, hoarse vox (he actually yells "MEOW!" on the chorus) and it has a good hook too. "Treehouse" has pretty hilarious vox with a great refrain ("I'M IN MY TREEHOUSE!") and a break where they ask for the secret password. Somewhere between childish and psychotic, this one. I like what Manateees are doing, and this is a perfect example of the classic two-song Goner 7". Cover drawing is as dumb as the tunes, I think it's supposed to be a guy who got stabbed in the brain with a headstock.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
The Mentally Ill "Strike the Bottom Red" LP
The definitive release of The Mentally Ill's somehwat mysterious LP, which was actually recorded in 1999 by Albini (with some of the songs written much earlier than that), twenty years after the release of "Gacy's Place". If I have this right, it was released as a limited CD by the band at the time (with different artwork), and this actual session was not included on the retrospective on Alternative Tentacles, although some of the songs appear in different versions. Aesthetically, it carries on from the weird sex, misogyny and violence of their "vintage" work. Tunes about S&M (including the title track) are abundant, as are bad jokes ("Dom & Nate"), but overall this stuff is pretty genuinely twisted - you'll be glad the lyrics are printed on the back of the sleeve. The fucked guitar sounds are still there in abundance, backed by Albini's typically sharp drum sound. "Bathroom Gays" is a hot blast of sax scree and shit-funk, "Tumor Boy" and "Padded Cell" are revisited and the title track is a great example of 1999 punk rock somehow. Sado's vocals are a little less sneering but become a bit creepier. It would be easy to think of this a latter day cash-in by a band who thought being on a KDB volume made them "famous", but it in reality it's a good and raunchy punk record by a bunch of guys who stayed weird. At least that's my take on it. It's much better than you're thinking, I can guarantee that, and fans of GG-esque scum-punk will dig it big on its own merits. Scum stats: 100 copies on red.(RK)
(Last Laugh // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Thee Mighty Fevers “Fuckin’ Great Rock & Roll” LP
Japan returns to the garage punk arena with some fine 90’s style worship blasting thru a 70’s filter. This here is Hamms fueled adolescent rage from under the rising sun. These kooky kids got the Teengenerate production down, and they almost have the sound, but less of a Groovie swagger and a heavier layer of thunder pummel. Think Registrators-cum-Ramones thrust, armed with digit blistering fret work and a steamrollering wall of Guitar Wolf scree. Songs blast from the platter and into your brainfolds with the obligatory Dee Dee count, then immediately go searching for an escape route. Any coke-blown or speed hollowed nostril will do. In my original rough draft of this review (a whopping 8 sentences) I had to flip this record and repeat no less than five times. It’s a quick fella’, let me tell ya’. And speaking of Guitar Wolf, “Motorcycle Heaven” is a dead ringer, but with back up shouts and possibly an even better coffee can-for-drums sound. Crypt Style. Great Engrish translations adorn the jacket as well. Every rock n’ fucking roll cliché is nailed, and it’s all the better for it. These guys are probably a swell reason Garage Shock fests or whathaveyou should start up again. Vomit beer, breathe fire and tear the sleeves of the leather. Jet Rock N Roll is alive and well. (RSF)
(Dead Beat Records // www.shop.dead-beat-records.com)
Miss Chain & The Broken heels "The Dawn" LP
I don't know if I'm losing my memory due to age, but I seem to remember Miss Chain and her crew as being a decent enough Euro-garage outfit a few years back. Maybe I'm thinking of another Miss Chain. Because this record is one of the safest, blandest and most boring excuses for a "garage" record I've heard in some time, released by a couple of labels who should really know better. "Sixties melodies" and "sunshine pop" are keywords the label uses to show that Miss Chain has aged and is a serious artist now or some shit. This is so bland I don't even think NPR could push it. At its best it might sound like a less rocking Reigning Sound, except without the heart or songwriting chops of a guy like Greg Cartwright. The Black Keys sound like they have more soul than this band. Absolutley awful.(RK)
(Bachelor/Rijapov // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Mouthbreathers "Nowhere Else To Go" 7"
I liked the Mouthbreathers 7" on ITR well enough, as it had a killer A-Side at least. This is jthe second release from these Lawrence, KS dudes, and features two exclusive tracks that will not be on the upcoming In the Red LP. Title cut is a strange one - they hop back and forth between at least three genres within the song. It has a pretty killer punk verse, but then the refrain is straight pop-punk and then they throw in some surf/flamenco guitar interludes/bridges. I like it all aside from the chorus, because even though the other parts of the tune are okay, it ends up sounding like Green Day when they get there. B-Side is "Mouthbreathers", which is an uptempo pounder having a good riff-n-hook and some intensity which segues into some kinda space rock outro/return which is real nifty, and what I hope they give us more of on the LP. Vox seem to be doubled up, creating a cool effect. Even though that A-Side is a bit of a stinker, it was an interesting premise, and the B-Side is worthwhile enough to have me hoping for good things from a full length.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Mystery Date "Dreaming in Black & White" 7"
Debut 7" from Mystery Date after a really good demo cassette made the rounds here at HQ. A legit two-songer in traditional power-pop fashion, "Dreaming in Black & White" is action-pop all the way, a big enough hook to land a bigger fish than me, very strong UK powerpop vibes (including a little bit of an accent?), hard fuzz solo and some creative songwriting/structure. These are not standard verse/chorus/verse dum-dum power-pop tunes, there are some twists'n'turns to the ride. B-Side is just as UK-reverent with a crafty hook, maybe even a bit more rock'n'roll (the solo in particular). Reminds me a little of Joe Jackson for some reason (though I'm not sure if they'll like that reference, but I dig JJ's first two LPs). Listening to this I'm impressed that these guys sound a lot like something that Low Down Kids would have dug up if it was 30 years older. I'm also reminded a bit of Japanese bands like Firestarter and First Alert (moreso) and how a band today can be influenced by Seventies powerpop as heard through semi-modern Japanese interpretaions - weird, but it works. Scum stats: 300 copies only, I like that they're on the same label as Real Numbers, as they share a similar aesthetic spirit. (RK)
(Three Dimensional // www.brainlapsefanzine.com/threedimensionalrecords)
Night Birds "Maimed for the Masses" 7" EP
I'm not at all surprised that Night Birds have a release on Fat Wreck Chords, as their mix of pop-punk and SoCal surfstyle will be easily digestible for mainstream Warped Tour audiences across the land. I am surprised that Fat somehow found the address of Termbo HQ for some promos though (which probably has to do with Rettman's interview now that I think about it...a band interviewed for Termbo now on Fat really is an odd twist...). I'm not complaining on either account, and I'll just say I'm happy for Night Birds and even happier that they took their major label shot and made the title track an ode to Mick Foley. "Maimed for the Masses" tells the story of Mrs. Foley's baby boy via an Adolescents-esque punk-popper with lyrics only a mark could have written ("Leon broke my nose and severed off my ear"). Well done. B-Side has three more which will satisfy your average mall punker with the best of the bunch being the Agent Orange rip "Boat Trash". It's odd to be reviewing something on Fat, but I'll kep it posi and say that Night Birds are a perfect entry-level punk band for the youth of today, as I think they're one with good rootthe rightcan get certain kids to look deeper into the genre and get them on the right path. I'll also add that these guys are still a pretty entertaining live band, even without Mike Hunchback.(RK)
(Fat Wreck Chords // www.realmickfoley.com)
OBN IIIs "Live at WFMU" LP
Live set recorded on Evan "Funk" Davies' show in the summer of 2012. 11 tracks from their two LPs on Tic Tac Totally that sound decent for the radio (vox are loud), including an un-edited "If the Shit Fits". They left a little bit of the interview segments in, which I like on radio session LPs, and the band sounds tour-tight throughout the proceedings. "Nicky the Knife" stands out and they seem more Seventies punk than garage in the live setting (as The Funker nicely points out). The press release hints at a Bill Grundy-esque on-air controversy that I wish was true. If I felt the need to listen to an ONB III's full length, I'd probably throw this on before the studio LPs, for whatever that's worth. Scum stats: 400 copies only. No download card.(RK)
(12XU // www.12xu.net)
Obnox “Canabible Ohio” 2x7”
Bim Thomas keeps cranking these Obnox records out, and even if you might not dig all of them musically, they’re adventurous at the very least, which is more than we can say about a lot of shit out there. “Deep in the Dusk (Redux)” was first heard on the ‘Smoke Woody Haze’ 12” in a different form; it has Bim lyricizing over a murky garage beat with a prominent organ sample lifted from a Magnetix record. An idea that could have easily gone wrong (or boring) executed very well. The rest of the program represents a history of Ohio music via covers – along with a version of “I’m A Bug” that could’ve been left off (but there was some room left over, so why not?). Bim's take on Gaunt’s “Flying” (which has an insectoid guitar sound that might make this a bug themed side) off their ‘National Postal Museum’ 7” is inspiring, and any chance I can get to mention Jerry Wick in a review is always welcome, and gives me another reason to plead for some savvy label to put together a Gaunt singles compilation (a record which would obviously be doomed sales-wise, but would be cherished like a sliver of the cross by true believers in Gaunt as one of the most underappreciated bands in rock’n’roll history). I’ll give out big points here, as an Ohio record/reference this was a classic choice - if even one kid discovers Gaunt through this it was worth the effort – and it’s my favorite version of this package. After such punk fare, things go off the deep end – Side 3 is a run through “Hang On Sloopy” (!) which is as good as a cover of the song could possibly be. Then we go from an Oldies radio staple to mega-obscure gospel, with King James Version’s “He’s Forever”, which I’ll cop to never hearing before this (it was comped on that gonzo Boddie label box Numero did), that gets rocked out a bit but maintains the soul. I’ve always liked covers records more than most, and this one has a novel theme which is delivered with spirit from a guy who believes in the power of these songs. And Obnox is a genre-straddling band tailor-made for Bazooka Joe’s Black Gladiator imprint. Scum stats: 500 copies with outstanding packaging – the “inside pocket” styled gatefold is the best 2X7” sleeve design I’ve seen, as opposed to the standard side openers that always seem to be too floppy or bulky. Nice and tight. (RK)
(Black Gladiator // www.slovenly.com)
Obnox "IV: A Ragin’ in the Sun" 7” EP
Obnox onslaught continues with one of his best yet, on a re-activated Anyway Records no less. Anyway was responsible for some of the finest platters out of Columbus in its ‘90s heyday and we should welcome them back with a big ol’ bear-hug, back-slap, and a 6 pack of Stroh’s (or Straub, if you must). This 4-song EP by Obnox is exactly the sort of record that Anyway made its name on – fuzzy, dirty small-town punk packed to the gills with hooks. “Rock n Roll Babylon” sounds like a Dead Boys song playing on a wrecked car stereo idling in the driveway at your neighbors’ house. You crane your neck out the window for a closer look and the sweet, powerful, dare I say gorgeous, “Ciara” floats up to you, which defies logic cuz it is heavy as hell. I keep checking the liner notes to see who Bim is covering, and I keep coming up empty cuz he wrote the damn thing. One of the best songs of 2013 so far. “The President Smokes (pro drug rally)” greets you with a Public Enemy sample and then lays out a thick carpet of bomb-blasted beats. The title cut brings back Thomas’ near-falsetto singing for another cut packed tight with deep guitar squall, soaring (no shit) vocals, and memorable melodies that you can stick in your pocket and take with you for the day. On this installment, guest musicians from TMIBH, Bad Noids, and Big Black Africa assist Obnox in continuing to reign o’er the Cleveland scene. Not bad for a stoner. (EEK)
(Anyway Records // www.anyway-records.com)
100 Flowers s/t LP
Way back in the early part of the last decade of the last century, you could walk into any halfway decent record store, dig through the used CD bin, and come up with a $3-5 copy of the 100 Flowers collection 100 Years of Pulchritude. And if you were a hip motherfucker (ahem), then you knew that 100 Flowers were the sequel to legendary art-punk primitives, The Urinals. Much like The Screamers, Urinals material was exceedingly rare at this point. It wasn’t until 1996, when Amphetamine Reptile released the Negative Capability…..Check it Out! compilation, that the average loser could bask in the wonder of songs like “Black Hole” and “I’m a Bug.” The 100 Flowers CD was on Rhino, so they were everywhere. At some point, someone must have bought the thing new cuz it was everywhere used. Or maybe there really were that many music journalists back then. I owned it for a few years, listened occasionally, but was always struck with the notion that they were a lesser Minutemen (whose cover of Urinals’ “Ack Ack Ack” was how most people even knew of these bands). One day, I sold it, and never regretted it. Then Urinals stuff appeared and that felt much more satisfying. So, when Superior Viaduct announced an impending reissue of the sole 100 Flowers LP, I was nonplussed. “Big deal, bring on Church Police,” I thought. Well, fuck me sideways, cuz my young mind must’ve not been “ready” for 100 Flowers. What seemed polished and neutered all of those years ago, now just seems like classic Cali art-punk. I’m willing to bet that the mastering on this LP trumps the shitty analog-to-digital transfer of a CD circa 1990. Also, without the addition of 12 bonus tracks, it’s easier to focus on the LP as a coherent statement, instead of part of a catalog of material. In other words, this rules! Featuring the exact same trio as the Urinals, 100 Flowers exhibit a growing mastery of both their instruments and their songwriting. 100 Flowers contains sixteen examples of how to do “angular” properly. There’s still all the pent-up sexual frustration of old (“Horizontal” “Strip Club”), but tempered with a sense of growing older and pondering the meaning of love and life (“I Don’t Own My Own Heart”). After gorging on the simultaneously-re-released Urinals 7”s, do yrself a favor and pick this platter up. (EEK)
(Superior Viaduct // superiorviaduct.com)
Paint Fumes "Sally Smoked Dope" 7"
I'm sorry that I have to keep ragging on these Slovenly records, but what else can I do? The cover of this record is an immediate dealbreaker. Not because I think it's gross. It's just dumb. I do not want to hear music by any of the people pictured on the sleeve. With that being said, the title cut turns out to be a real ripper, and reminds me of the days in the Nineties when people could still do the raw garage thing right. Lots of jagged edges, reminds me of somehwere in the Bassholes or Horrors in the red zone. B-Side offers another helping, with "Killed By Puerto Rico" almost matching the A-Side in intensity - really ragged and sweaty and firey. I like it a lot. "Ghost Highway" is a bit cliched, but at least has some squealing guitar playing and a Gun Club nod. Kinda wish I would've seen these guys live when I had the chance now. This record deserves a better sleeve. Sadly, lead Fume ElijahVon Cramon was hit by a car in February and is now struggling with rehab and massive hospital bills, which you can help with here.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Pang "Attention Deficit" 7"
Seven inches from an Oakland gang of gal punks. Title cut is mellow and slightly post-punk with some off kilter vocals and organ adding a bit of charisma. Strong guitar line adds some backbone to a lethargic sounding tune. "My Brand of Cigarette" reminds me of a female Fresh & Onlys with muppets on backing vox. My brand of cigarette is Newport, whereas I think these girls might be more like one of those weird new "hip" Camel brands. Maybe even cloves, I dunno. Scum stats: 300 copies with a cool sleeve image/collage and those pop-out style record centers.(RK)
(Play Pinball! // playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com)
Partisans "Police Story" 7"
As much as a band like Blitz is universally hailed as genius, I was never one for the whole Oi/UK82 scene as a youth - too young to live through it and US hardcore was already here. I remember giving all of those Gary Bushell Oi comps listens but I never got into most of it aside from your Cocksparrer/Rejects/Blitz stuff. The Partisans remained pretty undistinguishable to me until well into "adulthood" when I started figuring some things out. "Police Story" will go down as the best Welsh punk song ever (at least to non-Welshmen, because who the hell knows how to pronounce Y Trwynau Coch, much less know what the hell they're singing about) and the second best punk song called "Police Story". "James Kelly's dead!" is a memroable just from the refrain and "Killing Machine" is textbook early hardcore. I'm not as stoked on this one as the Blitz EP, but I also never had a mohawk or owned a leather jacket with studs on it when I was young, so I think a lot of people will be more thrilled about this one than me. High quality pocket sleeve with insert.(RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
The Pearls s/t 12" EP
Gigi at Rijapov Records has resurrected his label for the release of The Pearls 12", which is their demo pressed to wax - a labor-of-love type of project, as Gigi says he pressed it just so he could have these songs on vinyl himself. Two-piece garage from a pair of Italian (Milan specifically) ladies (Stella and Simona), playing drums and guitar with both sharing/harmonizing the vocals. Four songs per side, it's mostly mid-to-slow tempo stuff with garage-pop angles and a bit of psych via the phased guitar effects. Recorded in medium-fi, not really blown out much but theres enough fuzz to enhance the dreamy atmosphere the vocal melodies create. The most likeable thing is the lack of folk and country leanings from the gals, as that seems to be where this stuff has often been going these days (Miss Chain, Vermillion Sands, etc...), they keep it based in the rock spectrum with a bit of a loft-pop air. The songs don't vary much in texture or construction, but it's brief enough not to be overbearing, plus the vocals certainly carry this sort of thing a long way. If there were two guys singing this it would be snoozeville, but the girls voices keep it sultry at the very least. Not that memorable, but at least Gigi has a copy now, and this comes with a good looking sleeve, thick vinyl, and at least four different inserts/postcards/drawings and a sticker. 300 copies only. (RK)
(Rijapov Records // thepearls.bandcamp.com)
Peer Pressure "Sounds (aka Music)" 2X7"
The complete reissued works of Connecticut's Peer Pressure, whose "Sound of the 80s" was immortalized on KBD #12 (a personal favorite volume) and whose story is well documented on Break My Face, so I won't rehash that here. I think the interesting thing about Peer Pressure was they were basically a fake punk band by definition. Two guys in their thirties making a punk record that sounded like a bunch of teenagers, advertising they were NOT playing at Max's and CBGBs in an ad in the Village Voice and basically forcing themselves on local tri-state radio stations by popping in unannounced with the record in hand. The original four song EP has a certain Vom-like charm to it, perhaps due to both bands love of Moms. The musicianship is pretty tight, as this is not KBD-slop a la fellow CT residents Tapeworm, but some guys who knew how to play channeling their talents into punk and actually thinking they might make it. Which of course they didn't, despite one of the guys quitting his job as cab driver and embarking on a Greyhound bus tour of the US to promote the record across the country. The first record represses the original EP and the second record contains the "1979/1980" 7" that was unearthed in 2001, which has a killer cover of "Eve of Destruction", "Excitement" which is their nastiest track (and is better than a couple of the tunes on the first record), and "Cash In" which is actually a solo tune from one of the guys - and you can tell, because it doesn't have the awesome sounding vox of the others. And it's that nasally singing that really cements their tunes as "punk". Rerun makes this a killer package as usual, with a nice folder-style sleeve, jumbo insert/liner notes and a postcard, all of which remain faithful to the bands original "generic" aesthetic (which they did before both Flipper and PiL). Well done all around, this is the perfect format for this material, which a lesser (i.e. European) reissue label probably would have fucked up by turning it into an LP or 10" with terrible artwork.(RK)
(Rerun Records // www.rerunrecordsstl.com)
The Penetrators "Kings of Basement Rock" LP
We give Rave Up Records a lot of shit for their questionable LP length reissues of KBD "classics" padded with sub-par live/demo tracks, but they should also be given credit for more than a few releases, in particular for making "Kings of Basement Rock" available to the masses around the turn of the century. It was a shame that LP went out of print (aside from the CD compilation on Swami), as it's one of the few full lengths that were actually recorded as such during the era that warrant mandatory ownership. Slovenly Records have done the right thing and re-reissued the LP for a new(er) generation of fans, and along with the 7" reissues Windian has done (and still have forthcoming), all The Penetrators music one could possibly need is now readily available on vinyl. The thing about The Penetrators is that even though they get categorized as a KBD band by virtue of their fitting in the 77-82 timeframe, they sound more like Sixties garage punk than anything else. Pair that with the fact that they sound like a bunch of sixteen year olds, but are actually a bunch of dudes who I'm guessing were pushing thirty at the time, and it just makes the situation that much more goofy. Of this records' dozen tunes, no less than eight of them can be called absolutely essential listening. Aside from "Teenage Lifestyle" being one of the greatest tunes ever, you get "#1 Band in Town", "Shopping Bag", "Rock'n'Roll Face" and others you'll be singing along to after no time at all. Extremely funny (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not), semi-incompetent, even hilariously bad at times, it's a testament to all that can be considered as good about rock'n'roll. I can't imagine that many readers haven't heard this record yet, but if some of you kids out there haven't yet, I envy you. The only thing I could possibly complain about is the lack of liner notes, but I'm guessing the band is saving that for the supposed "Kings of Basement Rock Vol. 2" LP on Windian someday...and I'm hoping that it's a comp of singles and vintage demos, not another "new" record, because I've been able to forget that 'Bad Woman' LP ever came out. Anyway, if this record doesn't already inhabit the P section of your shelving unit, you need to rethink some things.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Phantom Scars "Lo-Fi Girl" 7" EP
Phantom Scars seem to be the flagship band of the Manglor stable, I'm guessing because one of the members is also running this excellently named label. These Scars hail from Illinois and are throwing it back to the Nineties, playing garage-punk that sits at the intersection of the Estrus and Rip Off labels (who shared a few bands back in the day). Title cut flirts with the simple and upbeat garage The Statics were pulling off around the time of their second LP, "They Call Her One Eye" pays tribute to Christina Lindberg and comes off like a good Monomen song (yes, there were a couple such things) - tough guy garage, recorded pretty well but with a couple of flubbed parts left in for added realism. B-Side has two more - "Everything Went Black" (not a cover) has some good moments (the chorus/break) mixed with some hacky garage plod (verses), which is a shame. It's half of a good song. "4 AM" sounds like a totally different band, like they all of a sudden decided to take a stab at sounding like Gaunt or something. It's the shortest and most alive sounding song here. Not a killer record by any means, but for some reason I'm glad this band/label is out there...Scum stats: 300 copies, 100 on clear. (RK)
(Maglor Records // www.manglorrecords.com)
Pigsticker s/t 7”
This is an oldie of sorts, recorded in 2009 and released in 2011 I believe, but these guys sent one in for review anyway since it somehow slipped through the review net at the time. I’m almost positive the band is defunct (and one of them is in Wooly Bullies now), but even the footnotes of Clevo-HC are worthwhile to fanatics like myself. I think I saw these guys at a Horriblefest at some point. Young ragers for sure, and this single sounds pretty hot via another classy Maccarrone/Zombie Proof recording job. “Pig Heil” is a standard anti-cop rant with a stone cold stunner of a guitar solo. “Piss Poor Attitude” sums up their vibe quite succinctly. “Punching Ghosts” has the best riff of the record and lyrically takes down fools who pit like dicks over a Nine Shocks-like sonic template. An unheralded Cleveland ripper, and as usual it shows off more smarts than you’d think. They also released a split 12” with a Philly band I’m not familiar with, and some say that’s an even better Pigsticker record than this. A must have if you’re keeping your Clevo checklist up-to-date – hey Dave, time to update Dismantled. (RK)
(Zombie Proof Records // distortcleveland.bigcartel.com)
Piss Test s/t 7”
Only weeks after my sad-sack attempt to tie together the Texas/Portland garage punk sound in the cassette reviews, this little package plopped into my lap, hammering home the final nail. Five solid tracks ranging from that sadly lamented Mortville gunk-sound (© Eric Davidson) to the striped bare and slammin’ SoCal style punk. Things jump into the budget dimension with “Frigid Punks”, a tune that’d get ol’ man Lowry totally panty wet. “Necrophilia (It’s Halhal)” and “IPA” are surefire winners with their turn blue bratty humor and offensive screeds full of beer pussy and corps fucking. Zero intelligence or political value. In other-words: TOTAL PUNK. Perfect dumb on drunk rock. “Babies Making Babies” stretches out a tad into a surf/post punk realm with staggered moody guitar and some hiccupping vocal play. It sorta’ resembles a Static Static track, from what I remember about ‘em. “Cabbin’ To The Methadone Clinic” is exactly what you’d think it is…an angry needle rant put to a groove. The punched in solo is quite memorable and pretty fucking insane sounding for as short as it is. A keeper. What else? Mine’s on white vinyl. What’s yours look like? (RSF)
(Jonny Cat Records // www.facebook.com/pages/JonnyCat-Records)
Pity Fucks "Oaks Bottom" 7" EP
Garage-punkola from Portland with no bass and plenty of organ grinding which enhances the carnival vibe of this EP (Oaks Bottom is an amusement park). A-Side has two pop-oriented punkers with gruff vox keeping them from sounding too wimpy, and "She Ain't All There" even has some glockenspiel for added summer fun. B-Side is a cover of "Hong Kong, Mississippi" that they hambone out for three minutes. Saucy. Not much more I can say here - not bad for a band from Portland maybe? Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Felony Fidelity // thepityfux666-at-yahoo.com)
Quailbones "Lord Dion's House of Discovery" 7"
A quirky variety of textures and tastes here, astonishingly made in Kentucky. Their first single is great - scrappy and hard to classify. Their second also sounds heavily of the UK - Hagar the Womb displaced in an effects-laden future, a disoriented Yummy Fur forced to write rock songs and double the guitar tracks. "We're Good Men" works with the anthemic type of oozin aahs dumped on post-punk that has come to prominence lately, but with a much more mature and defined backbone than most of the ilk. "Nervous Elect" is infectious and catchy moon punk, out there and memorable. "The Long Hair of Death" is a bit more of a rocker, with even more shameless whooos and whoaas that really work for em. This is what I thought an Iceage record on Matador would sound like, for whatever that's worth. They're great at what they're doing, and these three are real growers. I'm extra sold on the really attractive recursive-fisheye thing going on on the cover.(NG)
(Ghost Orchard Recordings // ghost.orchard.recordings-at-gmail.com)
Rat Heart "Creature" 7" EP
St. Louis hot doggers with their debut four song 7". Very by-the-numbers Angry Samoans styled garage-punk, with maybe a little bit of Gizmos action in there as well. You could also say that this sounds like a less proficient Electric Frankenstein playing Aerosmith covers without the charisma of a Steve Miller on vox. Sort of remarkable in it's total unermarkability. I don't even know what to say about this one, I can't imagine who might like it. Oh wait, I got it...buy the Lumpy and Dumpers cassette instead!(RK)
(Don't Touch My Records // donttouchmyrecords.bigcartel.com)
Real Enemy "Life with the Enemy" LP
Real Enemy were Pittsburgh's first hardcore band (predating and actually morphing into Half Life) formed in 1983, directly inspired by seeing a Void/Necros/Meatmen bill in DC. Real Enemy played an important part in Pittsburgh punk despite only existing for six months or so. Mind Cure Records was started to release their demo, and that name has been passed on through a couple generations of punks, from the Eighties/Nineties label up to the record store of today, which has ressurected the label again with this spectacular vinyl reissue of the Real Enemy cassette. This thing is a great time capsule, and you can easily hear them sliding on a bill with DRI, MDC, Flipper or JFA, all of whom they actually played with (along with many more, both in Pitt and along the East Coast), culminating in the full circle of playing one of their their last shows with Necros, one of the bands that actually inspired them to begin with. Seventeen tracks of vintage teenage Eighties hardcore punk with a great guitar sound, they do some blasters (I think a bunch of these tunes sound like early Suicidal Tendencies and maybe even some Germs) and even some heavy weirded-out noisier tracks inspired by that Flipper show perhaps. Every city had a band that started it all, but not every city's band was as good as Real Enemy. These kids could play and took it seriously, and it shows. If you need another reason to pick this up, the packaging is bonkers - great looking jackets that reproduce the actual cassette artwork, a copy of the insert/jcard with some added fliers and a massive foldout poster with incredibly detailed liner notes from singer Mike Lavella (yes, the Gearhead Records guy, but there's no hotrods or flaming dice here) that might take you longer to read than the duration of the record itself. Great stuff from some great people from a great town, for some reason I feel like this one is under the radar so far. Don't say I didn't warn you. And if you won't take my word for how cool this thing looks, check it out yourself. That's how it should be done folks. And if you're interested in more of the Mind Cure/Real Enemy/Pittsburgh pink story, check out Part One of the story here, co-starring everyone's favorite Matador Records employee.(RK)
(Mind Cure Records // www.mindcurerecords.com)
Real Numbers "Only Two Can Play" 12" EP
Eli Hansen goes even further in the UK-DIY-pop wormhole for the Real Numbers' latest, their second 12" and follow-up to the 7" on Florida's Dying which was their best record thus far. I'm digging the B-Side most, with "This Time He's Gone Too Far" having the sharpest hook, "Up & About" is nice little oddball lalalala-er with woodblock precussion and "Ordeal" being the heaviest hitter, sort of shadowy with the extra-reverbed guitar part and even some electronics, making perhaps the deepest tune Eli has written for the band yet. The A-Side has three others that go real heavy on the twee. You'll enjoy it all if you've been into the story thus far, but I think the B-Side is the revelation here and stretches the band out into some exciting new spaces - a bit more on the DIY-side than the pop-side could perhaps describe it. Scum stats: 300 copies, screened covers with paste-on back for extra DIY-itude.(RK)
(Three Dimensional // www.brainlapsefanzine.com/threedimensionalrecords)
Martin Rev s/t LP
Superior Viaduct's absolutely devastating reissue campaign makes its first move outside of California with a vinyl pressing of Martin Rev's solo LP from 1980. Six instrumental songs (three per side - and one actually has a line or two of vocals) with Rev layering various synths over a drum machine. It's a tough one to love right off the bat. Firstly, I know the "Better than Suicide?" question has to be asked/blurbed, and the answer is a definitive no. Let's just be straight with each other on that. What I was hoping for from this record was a soundtrack to 1980 New York City (or what NYC 1980 sounds like in my imagination), and while the nearly quaint synth-pop if "Mari" is not it, Rev does start to turn it on after that. "Baby o Baby" at least sounds like a really intense game of Missile Command, but "Nineteen 86" turns up the dirty to the desired level, with some gently hammering drum sounds and creepy/druggy synth lines corrupting what sounds like a sample of church bells. Now that is the Rev tune I want to hear. Thankfully the B-Side keeps putting the creep on. "Temptation" swooshes and murmurs like a garbage-scented breeze on the streets at night, "Jomo" is one prolonged drug-induced echo/loop and "Asia" sounds akin to an Americanized Giallo score - all heartbeat racing and breaking glass and pumping blood. After a slow start this thing delivers the dirt I wanted from an OG creep like Martin Rev via the last four songs. Comes with a huge foldout insert that has Rev being interviewed by Alan Licht and reminiscing about the release of the record which should enhance your listening pleasure.(RK)
(Superior Viaduct // www.superiorviaduct.com)
Rock Bottom & The Spys "Rich Girl" 7"
This review's purpose is to just let you know that a new reissue of this 100% gold piece of TOTAL KBD DESTRUCTION exists, pressed from the same source used for the Break My Face reissue from years ago, which is pretty hard-to-find in its own right at this point, in particular a copy with a sleeve. For the completely clueless, rest assured that this is money well spent, as the band is as demented as their story, told in great detail here. Some of the best punk-with-synth ever recorded. This one should be widely available soon, but for now Feral Ward has some "advance" copies that have color paste-on sleeves and a lyric insert. Buy or die.(RK)
(???? // www.feralward.com)
Roman Candles "Gracious Living" 7"
My old pals from Yorba Linda, the Roman Candles, return with their second 7" and it's their best record so far. It's not a good record at all, but it's still their best. I shouldn't say it's not good, it's just something I have zero interest in. Think Plan-it-X styled folk punk with some pop-punk mixed in. Two horrible tastes that taste horrible together. The slightly sloppy and DIY recording adds a bit of charm and the squeaky guitar part on the B-Side is a nice touch, but this is nothing I want to hear. The autobiographical lyrics about being bummed you're not in high school anymore, the difficult life of a suburban punk and going to Berkeley remind me of those "personal" zines that seem to be popular on the West Coast (hippies) that should all be burned. Richard Nixon would hate this band, and I believe in Tricky Dick. Red vinyl.(RK)
(Vallejo By Knife // romancandlesmusic.bigcartel.com)
Rough Kids "The State I'm In" LP
Certainly not the most innovative record I've heard, but it's at least executed with gusto and tight chops. Rough Kids are from Los Angeles, and are definitely not kids. LA is a tough town music-wise, with surprisingly few good bands from there over the past decade or so, so taken from that geographic handicap Rough Kids aren't so bad. They sound like an American pop-punk version of Regulations or NHFTK perhaps. Just recycling classic SoCal punk ideas for the same batch of songs people have been writing for the past 30 years over and over. They also remind me of bands like Oberservers and Red Dons in the way they ingeniously manage to be completely average. There are a couple piano filled moments where they're trying a Dolls (or Lazy Cowgirls) type of rock'n'roll thing too. The most memorable facet of this might be the fact Dave Rahn somehow made it sound more interesting than it actually is.(RK)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
The Shrills “Melt Down” LP
Hard pounding garage-gone-pop with a hyperventilating frontman. They like to make a mess too, throwing horns and organ into the mix as well as random screams, fall-a-parts and an ever present overpowering amp hum. More psychotic and shit-filled than most of the neu pych-janglers. I’m not gonna’ even say the names – but there are nods to the San Fran big-wigs in their air as well. Just a smidge more shambolic with an early Big Black Cloud party puked vibe. Could use some scrap metal in the mix, but what couldn’t? Buzzsaw attempts at Horrors-like guitar and studio tape trickery cause my ears to prick. I think the happy go fucky production is what’s making it better than a most of this ilk (and boy, there sure are a lot of them). I feel like these kids are at least trying to pull ahead of the pud-pack, making their way with breakneck tempos and other damaged lunacy. From Orange County but If they lived in the East Bay, the fuckin’ house party scene would be bumpin’. Not sure how many, but mine is on blue wax. (RSF)
(Resurrection Records // www.getresurrected.com)
The Sleaze "Tecktonik Girlz & Other Hits" 12" EP
I almost feel silly reviewing this record right now, because I think it's been confirmed from coast to coast that The Sleaze are (were?) one of the only truly punk bands worth your time from the past few years and the perfect fit for the first 12" release on the Total Punk label. There's not much more I can add to that. This 12" collects most of what was left of The Sleaze's recorded output and might be the last we'll hear from them on record. Which is a shame of course, but really, what else could they do? They burned fast and bright...well more like fast and stupid, but you get what I'm saying here. Obnoxious punk-slop with piercing leads and piercing vox, played just incompetently enough to leave them teetering on the edge of completely falling apart at any moment. Eight tunes (well, seven actually, as we get two versions of the title cut) including the hit that is "Conor Start", the title of which really sums it up - the sort of literal name you give to a song while you're writing it just as a placeholder until you come up with something better, and they just never came up with something better. Dumb or genius or just total disregard for their craft? Who gives a shit. "Too Close to Home" is one of their many tunes with such a guitar part so retarded that it gets stuck in your head for days. "Live Wire" is all riff and one line of lyrics - beautiful in its simplicity of course. "Big Azz Buttz" will surely strike a chord with any manchild, and again, laced with another dum-dum blisterer of a "solo". One of the finest shit-fi crap shooting acts of the modern era, play their discography consecutively and you probably have less than a half hour of the greatest in punk slop. I sort of hope they are broken up as to not mar their near-perfect run of stupidity. We need more like The Sleaze kids, pay attention and pick up the baton they probably dropped out of sheer boredom more than anything else. Top notch.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Snapper s/t 12" EP
Now here's a NZ heavy that I'm now able to own on vinyl thanks to Captured Tracks and Record Store Day (both of which seem to get some unjustly bad press at times). "Buddy" from this 12" (Snapper's first record) is one of the monsters of NZ rock, and a Nineties mix tape staple for me. An absolutely essential record, Snapper were a tough sounding band - the real definition of a driving sound, with a nearly industrial drum march, Gutteridge's guitar snaking around the prominent organ lines, which you forget is even an organ as it just turns into a wall of sound. All four songs are crushers, and it's funny to think that this is probably one of Peter Gutteridge's lesser known works behind The Chills, Clean and Great Unwashed and that this band connects the dots between not just those bands, but also The Verlaines, 3Ds and yes, even Bird Nest Roys. Line-up minutiae like this still blows my mind. Imagine trying to figure this shit out in the Nineties pre-internet with a beat up copy of the Trouser Press record guide and a store clerk who was just doing bong hits in the back room as your only references while shopping? Yep, it was great. "Death and Weirdness in the Surfing Zone" has nothing to do with surf music and everything to do with weird (and is a song that always sounded Australian to me for some reason), "Hang On" is nearly a side's worth of wonderfully hypnotic throbbing, and "Cause of You' is the drone-pop hit. Think the Jesus and Mary Chain ever heard this record? This reish is an exact replica, right down to a copy of the original Flying Nun press release (a nice touch) and a poster. Thank you C/T and Flying Nun.(RK)
(Captured Tracks // www.capturedtracks.com)
Sweet Talk “Pick Up Lines” LP
I was expecting some sorta’ electroclash spew from the band name and the vividly garish cover. Well thank Jebus, it’s not. What we have here is a Texas slop pop that rubs just shy of being pure glitz, but luckily there’s enough burly punch to it that keeps me from flushing ‘em down the commode. It’s peppered with quite a few southern fried, power-rock injections as it plays on, dragging the bands toe-tapping catchiness into a dank muck…and it’s this muck that I like. Think of a resuscitated Big Star all hopped up on OBN III or Bad Sports drugs with a tinge of the poppier Golden Boys songbook. So yeah, it’s got that Texas “flavor”. There’s definitely highs and lows to the joint and given my usual taste, you’re probably surprised I made it this far. I am from Rockford, Illinois - translation: obsessed with Cheap Trick - so I can dig the similar catchiness and swagger. I’m just not so hot on their Power Pearl pep-pep. That said, no mater how soft their belly goes; it’s always filled with at least three pounds of choice brisket. Urp. (RSF)
(12XU // www.12xu.net)
Thee Tee Pees "Bitchin' Titties" 7" EP
Crazed farfisa-driven pounders from Los Angeles. I liked their first single a lot, and was intrigued that they were former members of Jinxes, who coulda been one of the last Boom Boom bands. They certainly sound almost as shitty as the Flying Dutchmen, very Mummies-esque smart-assed garage and this guy likes to wail as much as Trent did. "I Think I Like Your Sister Better" is the hit for me, total snot with ridiculous rambling vocals and lots of "Oh Yeah!"s. "Thee Tee Pee Tango" manages to wedge in some extra racial stereotyping, "Bitchin' Titties" kinda rules it in a legit budget rock way, complete with shitty guitar solo. "Robot Love" reminds me of Motards a little. Nice color sleeves with the aforementioned bitchin' titties (I think they're Jayne Mansfield's). Scum stats: 100 on red, 200 on black vinyl.(RK)
(Manglor Records // www.manglorrecords.com)
Toxie “Newgate” 7”
Debut wax from Memphis indie quartet, Toxie. “Newgate” is maybe a little too polite; a sharp angle or two would nudge this away from the Best Coast towards the East Coast, where bands like Tsunami used to rule the scene. Hey, I’m a bitter guy and I like bitter, brittle music. That’s why the flip, “Ties,” is more my style. It’s got more power, more oomph, and rises and falls like your lover’s chest in a deep sleep. No need to put the mirror under their mouth, they’re still breathing. (EEK)
(Goner // www.goner-records.com)
Trio Banana “1/2 Fuck You” CD
Slightly drunk sounding garage with a gross tone and space reverbed vocals. Italians this time (not French) via an Austrian label finding a way to keep this Stooge-oid fetish alive and interesting. Title track has one note, ill performed jack hammer solos and neverending Brainbombs-light riffs. Lyrically they keep it simple and English, so the common man can be down with the cause. If “I’m A Robot” ain’t an Uzi Rash cover, I’m fucking startled. Clumsily performed, like The Gods taking on Childish, but still charming. The last song is damn near an instrumental take, cuz the vocals are so pushed back in the mix they just sound like a guitar chord. They’ve pressed up a few more releases since this, hopefully their on vinyl as well. CDs are a dying breed. (RSF)
(Bubca Records // www.facebook.com/bubcarecords.diysoldiers)
The Unreleasables “I Hate My Nazi Girlfriend” 7”
The United Kingdom’s Unreleasables once again cut loose some seriously un-serious snot rockets. The title track is catchy as sin and as sticky as a spitball. Things lead off with some gibberish about Nazi tits or something (hard to say, I guess I don’t speak the native tongue after all) before unleashing an uncluttered, craptastic KBDumb inspired buzzbomb at a breakneck velocity. Guaranteed to keep ‘em from charting in any “major” ‘zines or touring the “world” (translation: California/ Oregon). Have you seen the music video? Look it up! Third Reich & Rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-your-ass-off. “SS Bitch” on the flip brings forth more of an Agnew overtone to their usual Samoans stew. Still cracking me up with the potty mouth naughty bits and those continued Queers hooks. “Fuck the Third Reich” is the faster blaster at the end that doesn’t mince words…or meat. A rapid and repetitive panzer attack that beats you down until the abrupt end. Great over the top stupidity from one of the best things that Island has to offer. Sleeve comes in two variations: 100 copies featuring some chick in an ill-fitting uniform with a Chaplin mustache or something, printed on acetate. The other 400 (?) come with a classy “SS Girls Gone Wild” comic illustration. Spring Break Fever, 1941…Woo-Hoo! Now that Thatcher’s dead, does punk even exist?? (RSF)
(No Front Teeth // www.nofrontteeth.co.uk)
Vacations "Purple Slumber" 7"
Solo stuff from a member of the Fungi Girls. "Purple Slumber" is male dream pop (malegaze?), very delicate with soft reverb and a folky lilt. "Longing Dream" on the flip ups the energy level very slightly for a still rather unexcited sounding indie rocker. I guess it has a bit of a hook. Sounds like a not-yet-ready-for-prime-time Hozac platter. Scum stats: 300 copies (100 on glow in the dark vinyl) and those pop-out style record centers. I do like the CM Ruiz art.(RK)
(Play Pinball! // playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com)
V/A Anti-Earth Motherfuckers/Schnell split 7"
A record that Ken Rock was born to release, two sides of bad ideas and garbage music. AEMF is part of White Load and some skinhead on drums/vox. Six songs of total shit, nonsense lyrics and riffs rescued from the garbage can in White Loads's practice space. Sounds like they recorded it with the tape player submerged in a deep fryer. The "solo" on the second (third? I have no idea what constitutes a "song" on this mess) is three seconds of bliss. This outfit makes White Load sound like the Stones. Best song title: "Buried in Chunks". Schnell is the same line-up as AEMF, but with the guy from Lognhalsmottagningen or however the hell you spell it singing. Their three songs sound more like a band made up of human beings that aren't retarded, guitar sound is painfully sharp, I think the drummer might be playing the d-beat here, or is just playing as dumb and fast as he can. I like the song with the Swedish vocals the best. Not quite as great a White Load record (but what is?), but perhaps dumber and a good placeholder while waiting for their next vinyl outburst. Scums stats: 250 copies only. Put out a fucking Black Traitor record already...(RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
V/A Audacity/Big Eyes split 7"
The Audacity tune is actually a good one. "Bottle It Up" is a crunchy power-popper with a big hook, scrappy recording sound and a crafty bridge/solo. These guys have the talent, they just don't execute all of the time, but this a hot little number. Big Eyes continue their march towards the big time with a slow and moody rocker called "Half the Time" that has Kate sounding like an already-seasoned rocker not some young up-and-comer. The fact that she can pull it off speaks to her abilities and the ease with which she should be able to draw in a bigger fanbase once she gets out there. Good luck! One song from each band, a pretty painless split single...(RK)
(Volar Records // www.volarrecords.com)
V/A Die Rotzz / The Bastard Sons of Marvin Hirsch split 7"
I had no idea Die Rotzz were still alive. I was never much a fan until their last record ("I've Got My Bandana"), on which they finally found some killer tunes to go with their trashed out Southern-garage-punk sound. I always liked that "Goring El Matador" tune too, but not enough to keep that 7". Anyway, these guys are perhaps doomed to be one of those bands that always end up on splits (I think this is their fourth split appearance) in a supporting role. Character actors. "Can't Stand It" is a decent trashed-out burner and "Rott & Roll" has some goofy mock-abilly moves that work out fine. Bastard Sons of Marvin Hirsch play the flip making it a real all-NOLA affair. No idea who Marvin Hirsch is, but his sons are a garage-punk two piece who sound like they've heard a Persuaders record or two and are maybe pals with Buck Biloxi. The rip off the riff to "Get It On" from whoever Turbonegro ripped it off from and bang it out on "Lock Me Up" that actually sound pretty heavy for just two dudes, and "Skate & Destroy" should endear them to fans of No Bails and anyone who considers themselves a Goner. Recorded low-fi and loud, it's a real winner. And speaking of winning, even though Die Rotzz seem to get top billing on this single, BSOMH are the real prize on this one.(RK)
(Go Ape Records // fancymag.com/go-ape)
V/A Libyan Hit Squad / Round Eye “Full Circle” split 12”
Someone somewhere has mentioned LHS to me, I’m sure of it. Whether in passing or on page, the name rings a bell. With only a sprinkling of records released over the past decade, they weren’t trying too hard to stay in the foreground. On “Full Circle” LHS live their fantasy of weeding out the process and leave bits behind a jazzy skronk punk that fits right in with the Minutemen catalog and others from the post-'Damaged' SST roster. Fidgeting proglodytes in a Karp-like shred, but still metallic heshers at their core. And of course Greg Ginn shows up on this - how could he not? These guys have been baiting him on for a while now. The flip sounds similar, as it should - it features the lead mangler from the Libyans, as he’s moved to Far East and started anew. That being said it, Round Eye sounds a hell of a lot free-er with its horn bleats and repetitive warble and swing. Like a Chinese Boredoms surfing for some Joe Biaza love. As this side plays on, things head into a Dark Meat (or even No Doctors) skewered pop sensibility, messy Red Mass balladry and even some Butthole Surfers psychosis. It’s defiantly weirdo at times and possibly too smart for a dumb noise-rocker like me to survive. Not sure how many were pressed (500?) but mines on orange-red wax. Starring into the Fimo inspired Etsy-demon sleeve art is beginning to make my rectum bleed. (RSF)
(Ripping Records // www.runnamucks.com/rippingrecords)
V/A Nervous Patterns/Rivercity Tanlines split 7"
Part of the Red Lounge people-singing-songs-in-German series of records, here Alicja does a version of Nervous Patterns "You Can't Change" that she used the original master to re-record, and she manages to make the German language sound pretty. Good tune to pick as well, I always felt the Nervous Patterns LP was an underappreciated part of the Jay/Alicja catalog. On the flip, RCTL do a cover of Lost Sounds' "Energy Drink...", but yeah, sung in German. Alicja and band rock it out and give it less synth and more guitar and I'll always enjoy hearing Alicja play reworked versions of Lost SOunds tunes with a full band - even if she's saddled with a gimmick from some label. This is a pretty neat record and it sounds like Alicja worked pretty hard on it, which makes it sort of a bummer that this Red Lounge guy is trying to sell it as a posthumous Jay Reatard record, even trotting out 'Blood Visions' pics for the "special" sleeves. At least he let Alicja do the art for the regular edition. Real classy...(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // contaminatedrecords.blogspot.com)
V/A Shady and The Vamp/Les Chevaux Sauvages split 7”
Shady keeps their winning streak going with two ace cuts on this split. “The Other Way” is fast, tuneful garage punk that recalls the all-too-rare occasions when Goodnight Living would loosen up and kick out the jams. “Ain’t Got No Love” is a mid-tempo number that brings up warm thoughts of Mudhoney’s 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge', an important record to teenage me. Les Chevaux Sauvages are fellow Swiss garage-rockers, and their contribution, “Holy Bus,” is a solid Back From the Grave-robber. Good single here, limited to 300 copies. (EEK)
(High Time/Lido // shadyandthevamp.bandcamp.com)
V/A Kurt Vile/Meg Baird split 7"
I'm sure Spin already gave this one some coverage, but I gotta say something as I've listened to it a bunch. Kurt and Meg back each other up on their respective sides, and it's a pairing I like very much (and a collaboration concept that I like very much, so much better than just tossing two bands together with no connection at all). Kurt Vile's side has him covering UK guitar hero Michael Chapman's "Just Another Story", backed by a slight digital drum click and Meg's guitar interacting with his own. Chapman's original is a wonderful song as is Vile's rendition and it's a song I've been listening to a lot - and in a timely twist accompanies Light in the Attic's Chapman reissue camapign, for which I'll suggest 'Fully Qualified Survivor' as a starting point. I'll admit to being a philistine who was unaware of Meg Baird's work until Watery Love. She covers Kurt's "Classic Rock In Spring" and gives it a beautiful 70s UK folk facelift with some lovely guitar work and singing. I wish these two would make an LP together, because this single is magic, I tell ya! Seriously though, I like this record immensely. Once you do some Chapman homework, start studying up on Meg's catalog as well (I'm a bigger fan of her solo work and Baird Sisters than I am of Espers, but you can figure it out for yourself). Scum stats: part of Matador's Singles Going Home Alone series, which has quietly become the only singles/record club that matters today.(RK)
(Matador // www.matadorecords.com)
WatchOut! "Flashbacker" LP
Domestic issue of this Chilean neo-hippie outfit's debut LP. I'm not quite familiar with much of the stuff making the rounds already (Follakzoid, Holydrug Couple, etc...), but I get the feeling WatchOut! are the friendliest of the bunch. Psychedlic tropicalia given the Krautrock stretch over seven tunes. Dreamy female vocals give off a hazy charm, strong fuzz guitar action adds some depth, organ lays down the pop outlines. A modern take on Os Mutantes groundwork combined with the modern references of the day - spaceout guitar work/drone, some hidden almost Beatles-esque pop sensibilites. It goes by like a dream and would make for decent summer weekday listening when you've called off from work and want to escape American life for an afternoon. Druggy sounding, but in a very good trip way, there's hardly a trace of shadow on this thing. Exotic enough and obscure (this was originally issued in Chile as a lathe cut) but still accessible. Permament Records' releases get more and more diverse as time goes by. (RK)
(Permanent Records // permanentrecordschicago.com)
White Load "Pig Eyes/Endless Bummer" 7"
I'm gonna review this again at the risk of redundancy, but if you missed one of the best 7"es of the past year, this gives you a chance to redeem yourself. The one-two combo of "Pig Eyes" and "Little Black Pig" is one of the gnarliest examples of modern day scum/shitfi/garbage rock'n'roll. "Pig Eyes" is a steamroller of trash that will level your house, and the riff on "Little Black Pig" (a Black Traitor cover) is so great it brings tears to my eyes. These two songs are White Load standing at the top of the shit heap and pissing off of it. Completely essential. And as a bonus this "repress" has the B-Side of the "My Wall" 7" on the flip for some reason, adding insult to injury. "Endless Bummer" is a top WL track and "My Struggle" is up there too, but I love everything these dummies do. This side showcases their earlier and more treble-laden style of no-fi punk rock shenanigans as opposed to the complete devastation of the A-Side. Scums stats: 250 copies with new cover "art". You should own both versions of this record though. Don't be a pussy.(RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
White Muder "Arteries are Flexible" 7"
Third single from LA's White Murder, featuring members of Neon King Kong/TMIBH, Red Onions, Commotions, Jail Weddings and others, whose distinguishing characteristic is a pair of front women belting out the lyrics in unison (and who supposedly put on a hell of a live show), and I'm enoying this one more than their previous efforts. Stripped down West Coast punk, they achieve the stark Flesheaters/Gun Club thing I think they're going for on the title track by playing a pretty straight and twangy rock'n'roll tune and amping up the darkness. B-Side is another tale from the darkside of LA life that's a little more pop sounding yet not having as anthemic of a hook as the A-Side somehow. Decent enough, they're really pushing the Slash Records/Germs thing but are a little too pro sounding to be make it true. Sounds like LA though, so I suppose that's some sort of victory? Scum stats: silk screened pocket sleeve with insert.(RK)
(White Murder // www.whitemurder.com)
Wymyns Prysyn "Waste Your Life" 7"
This is WP's second single and is probably my least favorite of anything I've heard from them. Their latest EP (reviewed below) and their tracks on "Land of Nod' absolutely smoke, so I was surprised that these two tunes were pretty laid back mid-to-low tempo punkers that were at the very end of the 'Booze Void' tape. "Waste Your Life" sounds like a less hooky Saints song interpreted through the ATL-punk filter. "Keep It Simple" is dark and melodic and reminds me of Buffalo's White Whale a bit. Like I said, not their most memorable stuff, don't let this one be your introduction to the band. And for the record, I just saw these guys live last week and they killed it with a total high-energy set. Scum stats: 300 copies with stickered bags and download cards, with some great artwork from Josh in the consistent linework style of their other records.(RK)
(Pygmy Records // www.pygmyrecords.com)
Wymyns Prysyn s/t 7"
Third single from one of ATL's finest, and perhaps very finest after the 'Land of Nod' and this single. They were one of the show stealers on the compilation and this single is even more furious hardcore punk. "Time" reeks of desperation and has a killer oscillator solo, "Human Form" keeps the pressure on but with a Carbonas-like infectiousness. The drummer really keeps this thing in gear, but the playing is super tight across the board. "Put Out" is more hardcore with a hook, this one is sort of off balance and has an outstanding vocal. "It's Your Problem Now" closes, and it's a perfect lights out number with a nervous and jittery guitar line, another good vocal hook and a foreboding and dark punk vibe. My favorite cut on this one, and the guitar work has some extra slash. I read an interview with GG King where he said if people could hear one Atlanta band he'd want it to be Wymyns Prysyn. I totally see why. Catch up with these guys if haven't already. Scum stats: not sure on the numbers, but this is self-released and limited I assume. Pretty killer artwork and screen/stamping job. Insert has google suggestions for the songs, which I found entertaining.(RK)
(No Breaks // wymynsprysyn.bandcamp.com)
To read past reviews go here.