RECORD REVIEWS SPRING/SUMMER 2015
Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(SB: Young Steve)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich K.)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)(NG: Nick Goode)(RL: Ryan Leach)
Acousma s/t 7" EP
Some hard mosh parts, a little black metal guitar, angry squealing vocal stylings, state of the art recording, and some mysterious, dark artwork. HARD stuff, but not particularly challenging… Kind of hits all the right beats without ever really going to the next level, and in a scene saturated with bands doing likewise, this one doesn’t really stand out to me. Nonetheless, I can see kids going off for this. For fans of: Youth Attack Records, Hoax, black on black band t-shirts, and power violence revival. (DH)
(High Fashion Industries // www.highfashionindustries.com)
Action Swingers "Quit While You're Ahead" LP
Throwing caution into the wind, In the Red has reissued the Action Swingers' 'Quit While You're Ahead' for the first time on vinyl. Outside of an Electric Eels collection, you'd be hard pressed to find a better set of pessimistic songs. "Kicked in the Head," "Fear of a Fucked Up Planet" — all the early singles cuts with Julia Cafritz are here, backed by a revolving cast of drummers (Johan Kugelberg, Don Fleming and J. Mascis). Ned Hayden and the Action Swingers played music that matched their misanthropic lyrics pound for pound. You like loud, fuzzed-out guitars? Here's your album. First two hundred copies are on black-and-white splattered vinyl.(RL)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Ajax s/t 7"
Man, people are super into Ajax, but I'm not feeling them as much as most. And trust me, I love rooting for Upstate NY punks, so it's not for lack of trying. The band is actually split between Albany/Ithaca and NYC, with members of Warthog (who are/were OK), Creem (another band I thought were rather unexceptional), Nomos (decent enough), Acid Reflux (average at best) and Nuclear Spring (no idea), all bands who weren't super original/notable, but were serviceble slot filler for high profile hardcore shows. There's nothing wrong with this at all, it's just the same modern USHC record we've all heard a more than a few times and still gets released a few times a year. Sure it might rip, the vocals are crushing, it has some Euro touches (Sweden in particular), riffs and all that, but it's nothing new. "Chain Gang" is the one song worth remembering, the rest is filler - sure, delicious filler for many serious hardcore fans out there, but empty calories for the most part. Cool imagery and cool friends will keep them in the circle of great bands/shows, and Ajax should be playing in one of the middle slots. And there's nothing wrong with that. (RK)
(Katorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Anasazi "Nasty Witch Rock" LP
Nuke York's sub-sewer dwelling purveyors of gloom have finally plopped down a long player - and it's one I've been waiting on for quite some time. All their fave UK deathrock moves are accounted for, from the Batcave rumblings reminiscent of Alien Sex Fiend to the weird, dark Americana flirtations as if channeled through a Cramps or Gun Club filter. There's the (nether)worldly rhythms of the Virgin Prunes earliest output chafing against the sounds of Amebix-esque UK decay and the darker side of Crass Records politico-punk. 'Nasty Witch Rock' smears all of this like ash on the forehead of its SoCal brooding roots, draping numbers in a pained Agnew guitar sting, overly dramatic Rozz Williams lyricism and a mid-period TSOL theatricality. I think they might have even brought Dinah Cancer in to take a stab at the vocals on "Thelema's Will" and "Morbid Native", but the mix gets pretty muddy and it's hard to tell. The anarcho-apocalypse strut looms thick over tracks like "Ash Wednesday" when the guitar pulls back, leaving sharp spikes of feedback to drone over a barren landscape. "Black Leather Curse" rides within a goth-abilly frenzy that teams early Blowtops treble-terrors with Pete Burn's Nightmares in Wax. I've been eagerly anticipating this full length more than probably any other in the Toxic State stable, and as much as I enjoy the idea of what they're going for and the songs that lie within, I find the production to be a bit of a let down. During the first few spins, I repeatedly checked my speakers and looked for lint gunking up the needle on my trusty Technics. Moments like "Hallelujah/Memba Me" should rattle a listeners cage with it's punchy backbeat pound and ghastly, drunken guitar wail - but the bass throb stands alone clearly as the guitar and vocals muddle together and the drums turn into a tinny slush. I understand that they probably wanted this record to have that exhumed-from-the-crypt sorta' cultish sound, but this really comes across more like a pressing defect. I've played the hell out of it since the initial bummer and have learned to deal with this artistic decision - keeping the grit of a demo tape within, like some sorta' artifact lost in the NYC underground tunnels after the fall of mankind. Personal gripes aside, I find the record still worthy of praise. I just wish they woulda' kept the production values above ground and left this sorta scunge fidelity to a more suited outfit, like Hank Wood. (RSF)
(Toxic State // (ask a punk) or Katorga Works // www.katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Aquarian Blood "Savage Mind" 7"
Exciting new husband/wife Memphis duo (an Ex-Cult member - the Goner band Ex-Cult, not a former member of The Cult - and an ex-Not as well), the title track is reminiscent of Good Throb paired with labelmates Giorgio Murderer and/or Ausmuteants, with shouted female vox over a jumpy post-punky cut with a LOT going on (whistles, computer simulated vox, reverb, synths, some tribal drums, etc...) and is a wonderful mess, "Come Unglued" continues the vocal intensity with a tornado of guitars/synths whirling around them and a hook lurking in the shadows. B-Side "Berlin Wall" is more Ausmuteants-ish, double-tracked vox droning an expressway to yr skull with impressive low-budget flair that they utilize perfectly. Very recommended. Scum stats: red vinyl Goner edition of 200 for store/mailorder only.(RK)
(Goner // www.goner-records.com)
David Arvedon "The Best of Dave Arvedon Vol. 2" LP
Following Mighty Mouth's reissue of "Best of Vol. 3", we now have another volume of David's best, hand-selected by the man himself. Cuts that originally appeared on his second(?) 45 and a supposed 8-track release from what I've attempted to figure out of his discography, with all tracks dating from the early Seventies is my guess. Nine tracks of his Jonathan Richman goes full-on Dr. Demento zaniness that all need to be heard. "Buckets of Water" might be my favorite Arvedon track yet, full of his trademark near-falsetto reaching ranges he's not quite capable of reaching but tries nonetheless, absolutley ridiculous lyrics wth piano and horns backing. I've come to the realization that Arvedon might possibly be one of the influences on Folded Shirt - Larry's lyrics/singing in particluar - but I might just be forcing that peg into a square hole - but I can verify that at least one member of F/S is a big Arvedon fan. Anyway, "I Know What I Want" is a serious love song (about a dog) with some harp playing to prove just how serious. "The Solution to My Equation" (long version) is love as math, with some really nice horns and "Fancy Woman" (long version) is real groovy, with Dave getting down in a bizarro Booker T & The MGs way. "Simply for the Asking" is a friggin' epic, with Dave going baroque, "Just the Right State of Mind" continues in a classy violins/flutes sort of way, "Come On Come On" has some of his best vocal stylings and a pretty hip trumpet vibe that could have been an amazing jingle for something. And we end in style with "Driving to New York at Night", another stone piano-soul groover that's nearly instrumental and total perfection. I almost think this LP would be a better introduction to Arvedon for the noob than Vol. 3, which is still great, but either way you won't go wrong - I hate saying things grow on you, but Arvedon just fucking grows on you though. Scum stats: 300 copies with silk screened sleeves, the first 50 of which are red.(RK)
(Mighty Mouth Music // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Atom Mouth Gimlies "Live At El Jumo" 7"
At this point in my life, I'm fairly certain the only reason I write reviews anymore is in hope of getting things like Atom Mouth Gimlies records delivered to my doorstep. The odds of finding their releases in the wilds of North America are slim to none, so it's always appreciated when they do all the legwork. This live take, a four song banger, strips back that surprising production bump of their last EP and delivers sounds akin to the scrapping filth of their earlier output. Frantic and fumbled garage numbers that fret along nervously with no defined solo derailment or other pesky songwriting devices. "Rapid Vision" is the gem in the dirtcake, featuring a rattled off, marble mouthed haze of Crime-style blather. "Absence" and "Below" are as tough as any euro-garage outfit the Nineties heyday had to offer, only arriving more than a decade late to the party. Feel free to throw this on between a Scat Rag Boosters or Accione Mutante 45. This sorta threesome should snuggle up just fine. The feeble sonic transmission of "Sorry Ma" actually helps rather than hinder, giving a piercing push to their already tinnitus inducing scree. Again, it's all threaded along a lone riff, skipping like a Pussy Galore or early Horrors release that's been attacked with a tile knife. It's also mercilessly short, so not to grate on one's nerves - or at least not anymore than the Gimlies had planned to grate on them in the first place. So there. I still dig. (RSF)
(Jumatsuga Records // www.jumatsuga.blogspot.com)
Atomic Suplex "Fourteen Inches of Fist" LP
Nineties action-garage-rock is still alive and well on this LP, being dragged into the new century by Atomic Suplex, and before you totally dismiss this, please remember they are one of the small handful of modern bands to have a release on Crypt in the past decade or so. That still counts for something, right? These Englishmen do go all in on the heavy handed hard-rocking though, it can't be ignored - the motorcycle-helmet microphone gimmick, gratuitous flying V shredding, fringed-leather jacket costuming, but I get the sense they're taking the piss a bit too. Maybe. They add horns on more than a few tracks, some piano hammering too, do some papa-oo-mow-mowing, and I'd be remiss if I didn't say they're certainly bringing the rawk to the man much like quite a few Scandanavian bands have done in the past (the high velocity Gluecifer approach more than anything, but I suppose there's some Hives in there too) with shades of other Euro-rockers of yore like The Coyotemen and maybe even Los Ass Draggers with touches of the Epitaph-era New Bomb Turks as well. I'm sure they do well on the European festival scene, but I imagine there's a limited audience for this brand of Nineties swagger in the US these days.(RK)
(Dirty Water // www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk)
Ballroom s/t mini-LP
Debut release from this hefty NYC quartet, whose past (and present) affiliations come from acts as diverse as Busy Signals, Livefastdie, Degreaser, Home Blitz, Woman and numerous others. Drawing influences heavily from the Aussie rock canon, but in a somewhat startlingly more creative way than even most modern bands actually from Oz are doing it. It's also gritty enough to recall the good/seedy days of NYC scum rock, when "scum rock" actually meant something exciting in a time where you could still pencil in a pretty direct line from Pussy Galore to the Crypt Records roster that made sense. I should take a moment here to assure you that this NOT a garage record - and that this 12" was recorded by someone who worked on Swans and Sonic Youth albums, if you're looking for credentials. "Corridor" is based in the Venom P Stinger mode of rolling percussion beset by swathes of guitar squelch. "I'll Be Coming Back Again" revisits Scientific themes, but without the mushy lethargy many consider a tribute to perhaps the finest of all Aussie outfits - this is about action and pushing and shoving, not some sort of swampland step-tracing. A large part of Ballroom's weight is via the drum/bass roll-and-crash that makes all the difference, keeping the twin guitar attack at bay by pushing the rhythm even more intensely. This is not regurgitation of the past, but a pulsing (blood red) river of balled fists aimed at you in the now. "Nail's Head" seems like something between the finest of Chrome Cranks and 'Ron Pisto's Real World' and has the best guitar work of the record - all pure wail and stun and bereft of grossly unecessary flash all too common amongst lesser bands trying to navigate similar waters. "Burning Billy" is a Gun Club-esque bit of blue flame and "Anti-Hole" lurches along as the record's lengthiest exposition, reminiscent of of the primo-est of scree from the early Nineties, but with the drugs replaced with booze as fuel. I can't recommend this highly enough and feel the need to close with a comment regarding the artwork, which subtly reminds me of the blood and guts artwork of 'This Heart Doesn't Run on Blood...' (or 'Waste Sausage' or...)...(RK)
(Ever/Never // evernever-records.bandcamp.com)
Barcelona “Extremo Nihilismo en Barcelona” 12”
A colossal release. True sounds of extreme nihilism, members of Spain’s heaviest hitters this century - Firmeza 10, Destino Final, Glam…Angela’s vocals differ slightly from the F10 output, she’s still harboring that shredded voice that so perfectly conveys exasperation - but it’s powerful to more effect than ever when she’s backed by an extremely proficient rhythm section and a guitarist that ends up sounding like a C-17 being ripped apart by wind by the time the tape runs out. A lot of the riffs remind me of territory Double Negative was mining in their middle years. Kind of Crucifix-y, but with guitar torture and unexpected diversions abound. Aesthetically, it’s easily album of the year so far - the paintings included (especially the cover), by the drummer Oriol, are fucking brilliant. The included Fonollosa poem led me on a 30-minute detour to learn about the Generation of ‘27, which is also greatly appreciated. “Pasión” is the mixtape staple to check out first, just a total walloping assault on all levels, incredibly violent guitars. As advertised, rankling negativity just radiates off of every track. Highest possible recommendation. (NG)
(La Vida es un Mus Discos // www.lavidaesunmus.co.uk)
Bent Wind "Sussex" LP
At the local record fair there's this guy, who I believe to be the heaviest local 60s/70s rock collector in the area, who has bins full of OG psych and hard rock monsters, none of which are generally in less than minty condition and priced accordingly. I've bought some nice (and semi-expensive) records from him on occassion, as his prices are quite fair for such rare product in this region, and I've never seen nicer copies of some of these albums. I usually spend an hour flipping through his stuff at the end of the day even though I can't afford most of it, just to actually hold and see minty fresh copies of some of this stuff. The guy's a little bit cocky and a hard bargainer, but you just can't argue with his game - he's definitely a baller when it comes to this shit. So, last fall I'm flipping through his stuff and eavesdropping on his collector convo with another dealer and the Bent Wind LP comes up in their discussion - guy says he still can't find a copy and makes some sort of comment that this recent reissue is some sort of unsanctioned bootleg, wherein I of course chime in and correct him. Being the cocky dude he is, he brushes off my assurance that this is indeed a legit repress and that the gentleman running the label has ethical standards to be admired, and makes a snide comment about reissues being worthless and "cheating" anyway, and that he would rather not have a record than buy a reissue. There's a lot to think about the collector side of music there, and where your level of fandom places you within it. There are records I have not purchased reissues of, instead holding out for an OG. I'm not innocent by any means. Yet, there are dozens of titles I do own repressings of as well. My standards for these decisions are rather arbitrary and would make no sense to anyone else. As a record "collector" I'm far from as serious as people may assume. Collectors would probably be aghast at the condition a lot of my stuff is in. Many might be shocked at some of the classics I'm missing or some of the supposed stinkers I keep. If anything, rigidity when it comes to buying and enjoying music generally means to me you're not having much fun. This Bent Wind LP in its original form will probably set you back around 3k or more. It's also one of those very rare records where it's actually as good as people say it is, not some bullshit limp "psych" Acid Archives rarity that actually sounds like Vanilla Fudge or some other garbage. I'm gonna just say it's probably the best LP to ever come out of Toronto (yes better than Teenage Head, 'Hidden World' and 'Dim the Lights, Chill the Ham' even) and in the Top Ten (or maybe even 5) Canadian LPs in general. Moody rock'n'roll from 1970 that deserves to be called psych, Jerry Gibas' guitar playing is monumental (it seems as if he's playing a blistering solo for 90% of this LP), and it's as close to Blue Cheer as Canada is going to get. Even if just the A-Side of this record existed, I would still rank it the same, as those four songs alone are total kill. "Touch of Red" is the perfect combo of hook and heavy. "Going to the City" just burrrrns. They do a song called "Hate"! and it's as epic as it is sick. Even the slow jam is worth the time. So, I guess the point I was trying to tie in earlier is that this is a record I will always own a reissue of and people like Mr. Ugly Pop who take the time to seek out and fund projects like this are making the world a much better place than the bozos at record fairs, and I hope that collector-dude never finds a copy of 'Sussex', or if he does that it costs him more than 3k (although I do still hope he finds me a copy of the Stackwaddy LP that I've been requesting for over 5 years now...).(RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
The Bingers “Gonna Get You” 7"
I had that weird experience listening to this just now where the sounds emanating from the stereo were radically different from what I expected when I dropped the needle. No overproduced Spits emulators or paint by numbers Oblivians wannabes, the Bingers’ sound is much harder to pin down. Side A: These songs are creepers, with a slow, brooding tempo, muddy distortion, and some surf guitar in the mix but the end result is far more Greg Sage than I would have imagined. Side B: losing some steam with these two, so I flip back to “Fukushima Hornets” which again hits the mark. I’d recommend taking any expectations set by artwork, band name, label hype sheets, etc, and leaving them at the door for long enough to spin the A-side of this one. (DH)
(Tall Pat Records // tallpatrecords.bigcartel.com)
Black Panties s/t 7"
The Spotted Race does it again. Black Panties forego the goo and slime and are legitimately a surprisingly powerful straight ahead punk band of the twin guitar assault variety,and the B-Side of this really sounds like garage-punk circa the best of the Nineties Cryt roster, almost as ferocious as Dirtys or NBT's most fast forward blasts. One rammer with sax ("Broken Brain" - with bleats by Gibbous) that kills hard and another without that's still quite potent. A-Side is obviously the hit though, a good old fashioned hate-punker ("Everyone") that has a sneaky hook and some chugged up guitar churn. To add some clarification, Black Panties is the name of the singer wearing a gimp mask, who on this record plays and writes everything (although the live band I saw was both handsome and killer), and before you go all "oh great, a zany frontman who wears a mask", he does it well via the gimmick that he's not zany, but a somewhat polite crybaby - his live banter is actually quite funny. Scum stats: no idea yet, but I imagine it well sell quickly once it's officially for sale on the Lumppy site, but the band has copies already if you happen to see the around town - hand-stamped labels and sleeves.(RK)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)
Black Pus "Pus Mortem" LP
Weren't these guys on Load at one point? They coulda/shoulda been if not, but I'm tryng not cheat and check discogs here. I bet they were, as this is Brian Chippendale from Lightnng Bolt's solo thing. L-Bolt are a band that I certainly like - always great live and the records are always good, even if I never go out of my way to listen to them - one of those bands that are incredibly good at what they do, but what they do ain't always my thing. But I still like it if the record's on, because they are THAT GOOD at what they do. The cream of the genre crop so to speak. 'Pus Mortem' is 4-track stuff recorded a few years ago and jokingly described as his "pop record". Eight tunes heavy on the distortion and effects pedals, megaphone vocals, mostly built on some really driving live drum loops with delayed and chopped mega-distorted bass playing and knob twiddling and ring modulator twerking and that sort of stuff. It's good listening, and if this is your forte, you're gonna be happy as a noise lord in a shitstorm. The sounds gere border on sludge metal at times, to actual noise rock (and roll - not that knob twiddling Wolfs Eye stuff, but I suppose there's a little of that here - but at least it's not one of those records that just sounds like varying tones of static -"noise", pshaw). The faster it moves the better it is on this record, if you ask me - "Heebee Geebees" is the opener and that thing buzzes itself right into your head good and "Neuronic Knife" is a mutant prog-dub-noise spawn that's spectacular. Good stuff if this is your game. Scum stats: 500 copies, 200 on green available only fro the label/artist, 300 on black, all with silkscreened art by Chippendale - Rotted Tooth always does good stuff with the art, and this is no different. Will probably sell quick (or has sold already), better hurry if you're a Boltie.(RK)
(Rotted Tooth // rottedtoothrecordings.net)
Black Time "Aerial Gobs of Love" LP
The Black Time is now here again, in the 12" shape of their fourth and final full length, dubbed 'Aerial Gobs of Love'. Recorded by Lemmy Caution and the band between 2009-2011 on various tape recorders and even a computer, and then tinkered with for a good six years (check out this interview for some further insight on the release) and here we are. Was it worth the wait? Certainly. I'd rank it as the third best Black Time LP (maybe even the second, depending on my mood) and I think it benefits greatly from the extra years Lemmy had to screw around with it. There are a lot of layers of static, tape loops, echo and all those delicious side dishes, very much reflecting the more Neu!/Can and even dub reggae interests of the producer and probably the most uh..."out" of their records perhaps? They lead with the title track, which is a good move as its reverb sheen is equally hooky as it is slicing, and I enjoy that it turns into the sound of a plane divebomb and crash at the end, perhaps a subtle message from Caution of where we're headed. "More Pricks Than Kicks" is brilliant Fall-into-Cramps stomper, "Black Chant" sounds like The Drags if they had been bootboys, "No Expectations" is very evilly psychedelic, a sort of nightmarish Swinging London apparition and the side ends with the very interesting "Tarzan vs IBM" - a craftily constructed bit of collage. The A-Side is built like a brick shithouse, and then they open side B with an acoustic number! "Flakes" is the sort of anti-folk you'd expect from these rebels, with Caution's voice reaching registers I did not think him capable of. The three song finale begins with the drowned-in-echo "Aerial Dub", segues into the almost-pop of "Cave Paintings" and the closing din on "Tolling of the Bell" has Black Time not going quietly into the night, but still twisting and heaving with feedback and manipulated tape and refusing to wear the description of any one genre. The closing notes of the album are distorted acoustic guitar and a wheezing synth after Caution spits out his last words. A simple gesture I feel has some import, but perhaps I'm projecting. They went out like they came in: seemingly out of nowhere as one of the most interesting, entertaining, and fulfilling to listen to bands to have existed over the past decade. They will be missed - but don't fret just yet, there's one last 7" coming out soon on a European label you just don't say no to. And you'll also have the 20 song 'Walkman Abortions' tape that you should've ordered with this LP (and that's surprisingly great as well, basically another entire record). And there's always Midnight Mines too. This LP looks fantastic as well, my compliments to the designner.(RK)
(Forbjudna Ljud // forbjudnaljud.bigcartel.com)
Blast "Damned Flame" 7"
This Blast 7" is likely the most essential record reviewed in this update. Everyone needs to own this piece of 1973 fire. Blast were an obscure Belgian power trio, and these two tracks are so fried and outright punk they make that 1973 release date seem questionable. This is that rare record that lives up to the descriptions heaped upon it - acid-fried, proto-proto-punk, unike many reissue projects that became grails due to rarity but with musical content that ends up being ultimmatley disappointing. "Damned Flame" has an absolutley raw guitar sound and the rhythm section is inhuman - the bass playing so fast it defies reason, the drumming pratically imppossible to follow. My guess is that they ended up playing that way based on some of the prog rock they were listening to along with all that Sabbath and Cream, incredible musicians trying to pack their chops into a song that fits the template of what would later be called punk (and the drummer would later go on to play in Plastic Bertrand). The solo breaks are searing with the rhythm section kicking up a frenzy underneath. The accented English vocals add another somewhat rugged level to the proceedings. Just incredible. "Hope" is somehow even a bit more complex rhythm-wise, the duo playing through a choppy ride that they're skilled enough to smooth out, with more lead scorch and and monster fuzz guitar playing. An absolutely amazing record that is rendered more astonishing based on its timeframe - this would've been a killer platter for 1976-77 even, but '73? I still don't believe it. And the thing looks fucking great on top of it all. Informative liner notes from the bass player and some pics of the band playing in what looks like a dungeon club round out what is surely going to be the reissue release of the year.(RK)
(Death Vault // deathvaultrecords-at-hotmail.com)
Brain Traps s/t 7" EP
Alien Snatch is still at, and here's the long awaited Volume 3 of their Teen Trash Series. Remember what Vol. 2 was?.....The Teenage Rejects 7" some 12-13 years ago! NOw those WI kids were definitey trash, let's see how Brain Traps hold up. They're from Germany and may or may not be related to Dean Dirg. On this EP they do four tunes that remind me a bit of Martin Savage (Locomotions mostly) with some of the Rip Off sound mixed in, maybe a little Motards and I even detect a bit of the Boom Boom of Renton vibe in the delivery. Drunk gang vox, lo-fi production (but not 100% shitty), simple yet effective and the songs and the riff (or hooks) are varied enough to not all sound the same. "Meet Me At The Bottom" is the best o' the bunch. Pretty decent for garage-punk in 2015 (REAL garage-punk). Mastered by that Jim K. guy who worked on like every Rip Off record - which must have been the easiest job in the world! Scum stats: 100 orange, 400 black. (RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.com)
Brando's Island "Autism Vision" 7"
New Melbourne outfit related to Chrome Dome, Zingers and Velvet Whip(!) with their debut release. You can easily see this coming from the Zingers camp (and Velvet Whip for that matter) as it's a creative take on "punk", "Autism Vision" has predominant vibraphone of all things, and I like it. Sort of a post-punk-y synth drone tune taken into a different class with the vibes, some talk-talk vocal jabber then they break it down into an even more ominous droner for an extended outro monologue thing. A pretty epic sweep of a tune. "Auto Warfare" has more vibraphone, a posssibly ska-like drum beat and the singer guy is doing some jive rap shit - not far from a Sleaford Mods approach really. Aboout a third of the way in they hit a pretty good almost techno-groove. I might like this better as an instrumental actually. Good drumming that I'm glad is live - digital drums would make this sound too cold. Either way, the A-Side is great and the overall approach is much appreciated and unexpected.(RK)
(Million Dollar Records // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com)
Bummer's Eve "Fly on the Wall" 7"
Almost Ready heads to Cincinnati for their latest signing, not exactly a musical hotbed in the greatest state for rock'n'roll, but Bummer's Eve prove that good bands exist outside of Cleveland and Columbus too. A-Side tempers the sound of Pampers with some feel-good Ohsees (the good Ohsees songs) or even Atlantic Thrills rock'n'roll party vibes, lots of fuzz wash, a peppy tempo, gurgling bassline and a nice hollow sounding synth effect. B-Side is a more punk outing with a pretty killer bass tone that takes the wheel, some dum-dum vibes that I like, could be something like an early Fresh & Onlys tune but covered by The Spits - and I mean that in a good way. I see a lot of potential here, and the fact they're from off the beaten path makes my hopes even higher. Looking forward to more - test press edition pictured here, but regular version is out now!(RK)
(Almost Ready // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Cairo Pythian "Touched" LP
Totally sleazy synth-pop from Olympia (land of the weirdos) that succeeds on just about every level. Cairo Pythian's LP and 12" on Perennial set "Touched" up nicely as this guy's masterpiece, as he ups the sexuality (I think he even samples some porno on this one) and gets even filthier than before, both lyrically and musically. Even though some of this sounds a bit slicked up, there's no way to wash the stains off of this guy's vibe right now. Whether it's robotic dancefloor fuck anthems, lubricated synth pop, industrial strength banging or experimental disco fetishism, CP takes it to the hole (sorry) and jams it down (sorry, again). But seriously, he's really perfected his whole sex-n-sleaze angle here, equal parts charmingly creepy and creepily charming. Musically, he uses a wide pallette, but no matter what genre is being trawled he invests the songs with undeniably libidinous pop hooks and sometimes just sheer brutish force. I used to think Digital Leather did this sort of stuff well, but CP really leaves them in the dust. "Yesterdays Makeup" and its brit-pop style New Wave is a fine example of how far progress has come, a legitimately classy sounding piece of work with killer guitar and some horn overtop the synth. The title track is just asking for play on the club scene. Talk about a grinder. A dozen tracks, and he only goes over the top for a moment or two. This is by no means my genre of preference, but it supercedes that by being one of the most finely crafted pieces of work to come across the desk this year thus far. And even when it's going over the top, it's still fun to watch.(RK)
(Katorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Cal & The Calories "Bastard In A Yellow Suit" 7"
I remember reading in a zine that Cal was started as an outlet for songs that were too poppy for Lumpy or something else equally hilarious. Lumpy's alter-ego might be a bit more garage than pop though. The title track is actually the poppiest of the bunch though. Total shit-fi recording, might actually sound a little bit like a really sloppy Teengenerate song. Seriously. "Pain In My Ass" is a monster piece of garage-punk - super heavy and super catchy riff, along the lines of Persuaders and/or latter day Jaytard stuff. Sick record, sick dude. Top notch lyrics and insert pic of titular bastard. You can also have a lot of fun guessing what the cover image depicts - I say it's an assface.(RK)
(Total Punk // floridasdying.com)
Car Crash "Bright Future?" 7"
The Mangrove/Secret Mission partnership continues with this latest burst of Flat Tire Punk from Car Crash featuring three songs of absolutely frantic amphetamine punk. "Execution" and "I Don't Care" on the A-Side are played faster than you would think humanly possibe, both songs bleeding into each other without a break and the rhythm section pacing things at a tempo at which it seems like they might catch fire. Male vox handle the verses (looks to be a three piece - one guy, one gal, and one androgynous member I'm not sure about) with a gal chiming in for dual voxed choruses that are as tough-n-punk as people wearing animal print and fur can sound, but the thing that sets these tunes into what might almost be weird-punk are the super loud overdubbed guitar solos that are as sharp as they are raunchy sounding. B-Side is "Bright Future?" which slows it down to mid-tempo with an overtly rock'n'roll approach - the soloing is still very tasty - the guitar line is basically just one long solo - the drumming sounds slightly out of time adding some raw and nearly low-fi energy to a song that has some Aussie heft to it, maybe a la Zymotics covering a Fun Things tune. This one's high on my list of new FTP records - why? It's all punk, no powerpop. Scum stats: limited to 200!(RK)
(Secret Mission // www.secretmissionrecords.com)
CCR Headcleaner "Cokesmoker" 12" EP
A real heady jammer of a 12" EP from CCR Headcleaner, one of the few West Coast outfits able to play American guitar rock and not sound like they're trying to tread carefully in Jon Dwyer's footprints. These dudes can hang it out like the best of them, they wouldn't be too far out of place alongside Richie Records artists like Mordecai, Spacin', Birds of Maya and the like, but with a bit of the West Coast longhair vibe to it. "Cokesmoker" spans the entire A-Side and is a real repeat-o-riff cosmic smasher, kinda krauty and loosely psychedelic. B-Side breaks it down four ways, sort of comes off like Sic Alps when Donovan would throw some half-baked experiments and fragments in the LP sequence. One sounds like a loose Bodish Bros YMCA bathroom singalong jam, one is a weird sample-laden swirl with some far out vox that I dig, then it's off to beep-boop electro-psych land (Silver Apples-ish?), before they reprise "Cokesmoker" for the ending and launch it off into orbit with space-rock propulsion. A very good record, love the format, love the sidelong heavy hitter, "high" marks given all around. I still say people are gonna be paying big money for that Long Legged Woman LP in the future too, and that was the genesis of this I suppose. I like the simple 12" EP design too - no frills. It would've been easy to put a picture of Richard Pryor on the cover of this, but they kept it classy.(RK)
The title track is a swank Seventies riff rocker akin to early Kurt Vile/Purling Hiss or the more zonked F'Lips tunes from their Hells Angel's Cracker Factory-era. It's in it for the long haul, firing up a serious wah-wah attack before stumbling off course. The band then collectively shakes its dizzy head, in hopes of sobering up and powering through the dope hazed, rack-mounted electro-psychosis. For fans of nodding out during early Marychain or Spacemen 3 sets. Tambourine damage is also included. The drums and riff try to find footing before the needle skates into the center label, but all is rendered futile as another solo blasts things into the mist.These unhinged freaks could be considered the organic, denim-clad compadres to the synthetic, leather jacketed Gary Wrong Group. The flip side includes four shorter offerings that swing back n' forth between acoustic hippy cult sing-alongs, trashcan jamborees, chopped guitar flare-ups and a pulsing drone rumble that come on like nightmares from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. All is threaded into a cohesive mesh by the "Cokesmoker" reprise, since they ran out of room for the careening end squiggle up top. Like a dingy beach blanket found buried in the musty sea kelp of Santa Cruz, it's an acquired taste. Wrap yourself in it if ya feel the calling.(RSF)
(Stale Heat // staleheat.bigcartel.com)
Chainsaw "See-Saw" 7"
No Good Records raids the Romantik Records vaults for this reissue of one of my very favorite KBD seven-inchers (European Division). Supposedly the first Belgian punk record, released in 1977 and pre-dating The Kids and maybe having some competition from Hubble Bubble, but whatever. Their "What Goes On" cover is the absolute best punked out VU cover of all time, non-stop energy and guitar and some great goofball vocals. Really, all four tunes on this are killer. "Nuclear Apocalypse" has more raw riffing and Dan Dee really going for it on the vox. "Kill in the Blanks" goes even faster, with Micky Mike trying to keep his bassline up with Jerry Wanker's amphetamine chainsaw guitar and "Z'Heroes Guts" maintains the energy - no slowing down for these Belgian cats, all go all the time. I think the bass player just quits at the end of this one, perhaps physically exhausted in the studio trying to keep up. Seriously, you need this record in your life. I'm just glad I can file my copy of KBD #77 now and just grab this single every time I'm jonesin. Same drummer as Streets and Contingent by the way. 100% essential. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on white, with quality pocket sleeves.(RK)
(No Good Records // nogoodrecordsausamericas.bigcartel.com)
The Cheating Hearts “Another Lover” 7"
Paint by numbers garage with dumb lyrics about the highs and lows of lovin’ (side A: “She’s got another lover” repeated 25 times with maybe 2 other lines = total lyrical contents; side B: “Gotta have your loving’, yeah, gotta have your love” repeated without much interruption). The only surprise was that Cheating Hearts is not a one-man band. It takes two to deliver these “bluesy,” harmonica-fueled rock’n’roll tunes. They have a CD release, too, with only four out of fourteen tracks using some form of the word “love” in the title, although some may argue that one “Rock’n’Roll Sex Punk” is worth at least a pair of “Lovins.” From Germany(!). Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 of which copies come with a piece of felt! (DH)
(Get On Your Bike Records // www.thecheatinghearts.com)
Cherie Cherie "C'mon Let's Share" 12"
Repress of Cherie Cherie's 12" EP, which was originally self-released in an edition of 100 back in 2013. Fitting music for an Arizona band whose members have collaborated with Giant Sand/Howe Gelb in the past and has arrived just in time to coincide with this summmer's Mazzy Star obsession at Termbo HQ. Dreamy and dusty femme-voxed shoegaze-n-litepsych sounds that are just about perfect. Guitars are beked to just the right temperature, and the vocals (sometimes two gals in harmony, sometimes with just one handling the entire song) are beautiful and softly delivered. "Down Down Down" works a folky (or country-fied?) VU thing, "New Believer" could have been a song off of 'Pod' with the edges filed off, 'Now We Belong' approaches Opal territory with some haunted highway vibing. Those three "shorter" tracks take up the A-Side, giving over Side B to two longer pieces - "Friday's Child" is the heaviest track, with the most acid-sounding guitar and "Why Are We Hiding" is the Mazziest, featuring haunting pop melodics and a somewhat noisy ending with some ghostly after-effects (that is apparently an un-listed sixth "non-track"). Maybe this record arrived at a fortuitous moment in my own personal listening habits, but it's fantastic to me right now, and I should add it's not "jokey" as all the Cher puns might suggest. Scum stats: only 300 more copies via this repress which should be bought on sight, also contains a very fitting and somewhat mysterious cut-n-paste insert.(RK)
(Gilgongo Records // gilgongorecords.com)
Chicken Chain "Birth of the Googus" LP
Sick Thoughts kid hears some Cleveland hardcore records, reinvents himself as Chicken Chain and records a ten song LP of garbage-punk that's better than most, if not all, Sick Thoughts records. Some more-than-decent riffs, vocals are turned into ridiculous yammering and it's all over in what seems like ten minutes but it's sloppy and stupid enough to be entertaining for the short duration. Lumpy-esque insert booklet shows more creativity in the art dept than I thought he was capable of. Not too shabby.
Scum stats: 300 copies on garbage colored vinyl, silkscreened sleeve, booklet insert.(RK)
(Snot Releases // www.snotreleases.com)
Christi "Cry" 7"
Two song platter from Richmond gals Christi, one of whom is also in the Ar-Kaics. "Cry" combines garage with girl group pop for a mid-tempo thing that seems sort of stuck in second gear. "Get You Off My Mind" seems to be the better cut, a bit more rocking with some Fifties ramalama whoa whoa-ing. Sock hoppable. Scum stats: 330 copies.(RK)
(Feel It // feelitrecords.bigcartel.com)
Classhole s/t LP
NOLA rock violence that pairs the legendary Matt Muscle with members of Eyehategod, Outlaw Order and Hawg Jaw (amongst other heavy hitters) for fifteen tracks of hybrid hardcore-metal that veers from sludgy riffing to straight thrash to ramming speed 'core that throws back to the glory days of crossover. This is not a record for anyone looking for good times rock'n'roll, garage rock of any sort or even modern day hardcore. An anomaly that will be best enjoyed by grizzled vets who spent their formative years in the pit at Slayer gigs and own some DRI records other than 'Dealing With It'. Some of the most anti-authoritarian songs and anti-bullshit vibes that can only come from dudes who've been on the wrong side of the tracks for a long time. Total world of shit sentiments delivered by one of the more imposing frontmen I've ever seen. Played with precision, riffs for days, and recorded loud and crisp for maximum devastation. None of the dark humor of Mangina here, just a reflection of NOLA's (and the world's) most grim and darkened corners. For adults only. Scum stats: 500 total, 300 black/200 on blood splatter.(RK)
(Terror Cult // fulllofhate504-at-gmail.com)
Cold Foamers “All Cold Everything” LP
Early in the record, a few coughs pepper the otherwise mellow lead-in to “Tantrums.” It’s a telling decision to leave them in as an element of the recording — audio verite? — that invites us into the studio and reminds us of the human touch. Cold Foamers’ sound is brewed up from the tradition of bands who would sneer indifference at the idea that a second take or, worse, digital edit might be warranted. Packed with atonal, warbling melodies and a basket of songwriting tools with satisfying range, they keep it interesting over a full length. But listening to this often made me think of other groups I dig and maybe some I don’t. “Pavement or MBV soundbites grafted to Modest Mouse” or whatever. Perhaps the band is, at this point, more a pastiche of their influences than they are breathing a radiant new life into the genre. And yet, as I write this snow is pouring down in the winter cold and the contemplative, downer rock of “Sixteen” seems an appropriate soundtrack. (DH)
(Slugsalt // slugsaltrex.com)
John Wesley Coleman and the Gaylords “Radio” 7"
JWC is one of those fellows with a deep discography (he’s closing in on double-digit albums as a solo artist, released on prestigious labels like Goner/Burger/etc), a strong pedigree (his work with Golden Boys has earned much acclaim), and devoted fans (he even gets played on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling!). He’s honed his craft and developed his thing. This single features two more of those things, so to speak. Low-key, low-fi tracks, with a full band, heavy reverb, and even a couple of synth-effects. “Alien” is the better of the two tracks — I feel like they’re going for a Roky vibe but I keep hearing Livefastdie on syzzurp, which kinda works. (DH)
(Spacecase Records // spacecaserecords.com)
Coma in Algiers "Happy Forever" LP
These guys had a good track on one of those Casual Victim Pile comps if I remember right, and as far as Austin bands go, this quintet is pretty far ahead of the curve, as in they're not one of the many many many bands there toiling in the "garage" or trying to get a single out on Hozac. I suppose they'd be lumped in the "experimental" category perhaps, with a minor in noise rock. Label says they've been at it since 2006 and this is their fourth LP and it sounds like a band pretty comfortable in their skin. They come at you from all angles, mingling some krauty moves with what I would call a post-hardcore appproach a la the Touch-n-Go roster of the late Nineties, the 'smarter" AmRep bands, maybe a little Nomeansno-esque chaos (without so much punk) some Arab on Radar (but maybe it's just the band name pushing me to that comparison, but I'm pretty sure it's there). Reminds me some of PC Worship as well. Maybe a far more restained Today is the Day sans the overt metal, but they do get pretty messy at times. Singer has a gruff throat, I'd reckon there's at least three guitar players and one of the guys is a tape manipulation/effects dude. I think they nail it better on their more restrained outings - "February" is the best tune here and is one of the few momenst where they sort of settle into a repetitive groove and aren't thrashing about. Something about "Sexual Beings" has me thinking of Helios Creed solo stuff. Those tunes are where the singer guy isn't hamming it up too much either. CiA has a lot of ideas firing off here, and when you get an outfit like this running on all cylinders they're of course going go a little too over the top at points. Not 100% great, but the fact that they're just doing something different in a sea of sameness keeps them sonically interesting at the very least and they seem to be doing their part to keep Austin "weird", which is more than I can say for a good portion of the other bands their city is populated with...Scum stats: 300 copies, cover art looks like they took a copy of 'The Parable of Arable Land' and drew squiggles all over it with paint markers. Band pic has them looking like the design team for the latest Call of Duty game. (RK)
(A Wicked Company // awickedcompanyrecords.bandcamp.com)
Cuntz "cooked" 7"
This one slipped through the cracks last update but it's well worth talking about. It's actually Cuntz first and only 7" thus far, as these brutes generally just deal in 12" deliveries (insert joke here). The opening bit of "Cooked" has you thinking they're going with a Dictators cover for a second, but then they turn it into a nice piece of lo-fi yob-stumble. I dig the recording, perfectly tinny, drums sound bad (good) and there's some sort of feedback buzz permeating the whole thing. "Cheen" sounds like a bunch of cavemen trying to write an A-Frames song, getting pissed after the first verse and just resorting to yelling, there's a great bit of freakout towards the end and I thought for a second this might be Bits of Shit. Primitve robotics. Stone age kings. Great single with great crap sound. Probably sold out already, sorry man.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Davidians “Night Terrors” 7”
Debut release for Sorry State’s “North Carolina Singles Series,” a curated series showcasing NC locals in sharp looking company sleeves and uniform labels stamped with the band/song info. I dig the concept, and am doubly thrilled at the execution on this debut. Formed with members of Double Negative and Voight/Kampff, Davidians eschew the traditional “US Hardcore” sound, opting for a more interesting path. There is a heavy dose of Saccharine Trust, Part 1, and Spike In Vain in their sound, as they seek more innovative ways to distill the energy of hardcore than the tried and true ‘louder, faster’ approach. It makes for some refreshing sounds on this one. (DH)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
Day Creeper "Central States" LP
Second LP from Columbus' Day Creeper, who're obviously steeped in the rich music history of their city and are trying to do their best to add to it. I like that they've added more backing vox/melodies from LauraB, added a second guitar and are pushing the tempos a bit more. The production falls a bit flat/plain however, I think the best they sounded was the lower-fidelity of that self-released single they did a couple years ago. Listen, they're a completely competent indie-band with some garage leanings, but it's just not that remarkable. Middle of the road, nice guys, great opening band/local talent and they do summon some workmanlike Middle Americana vibes. It's a tough legacy and scene to live in Columbus where the bar has been set very high and kept that way. Now that IPPS record, that was a good one...(RK)
(Superdreamer Records // www.superdreamerrecords.com)
Dead Drugs "Pillow Talk" 7" EP
One man band garage outta IL. Title track has a Mark Sultan thing going on (or a real BBQ vibe, if you know what I'm sayin...), a pretty straightforward take on that "sound". B-Side packs on three tunes that are a little bit more on the punk side, and even though "Boogerface Boogie" is a really unfortunate song title, it's the best of the batch. Mid-fi and mid-tempo sounds captured nicely via Tascam. I had my fill of this style about ten years ago, but if you're still into this stuff (meaning you are European) you could do worse than listening to this one.(RK)
(Manglor // www.manglorrecords.com)
Dead Farmers "Wasteland" LP
Sydney's Dead Farmers are back with their second full length after being absent for a few years since the "Out the Door" 7" from 2011. Their first LP ('Go Home') and their recorded debut even moreso (the "Violence" 7" on Aarght), were real favorites here at TB HQ - totally fried and fidelity-challenged smears of guitar blaze and distortion. The type of hard rock you come to expect from Australians, with a real penchant for desert-fried zone outs. That last 7" showed them going down a more coherent and possibly hookier route, and this LP continues in that vein. The production is the cleanest they've had, the tunes still rock, but in a more ECSR way this time, yet not in bad way I suppose. Where those early records were pure blaze, these are more appraochable rock outings. The gang vocals are still there, there might be a little bit of Creedence in their songwriting approach, sort of a rural (but not totally country) quality. "Bone" is my pick of the litter, as it the best example of the band now - still has that sort of bonehead repater-riff and some solo blaze yet adds in that clarity you might be craving in place of crazed wandering. And taking this LP on it's own, without thinking of their previous records, it's a pretty fine example of 2015 garage rock - just the straight stuff, no OhSees/Segall influence, no wannabe psych moves, just backyard jam rock - "Wasting Time" is the type of sprawl you'll want to hear while drinking beers in someone's backyard this summer.(RK)
(RIP Society // easterbilby.bigcartel.com)
Deformity s/t 7"
Second 7" from NYC's Deformity, one of the second string Toxic State/Nuke York bands, and I don't mean that as a slight - there's Crazy Spirit, Hammerheads, DoH and then everyone else, right? Anyway, this is recorded like shit, and I like it. Has that real boom-box in a tin can sound that I enjoy, things sound super brittle, drums sound like buckets, but it's incredibly cool overall as a shit-fi hardcore EP, and it's far better than their first 7". Shiva's guitar playing (and artwork) on this record is pretty intense, and it turns out Deformity are a lot better than I ever thought, they're just stuck behind a lot of other popular bands in a very popular scene. A lot more on the punk rock side of hardcore too, this isn't just blasting cap speed trials, these tunes have some weird twists as well (similar to the Ivy record) as well as some Japcore influence driving its wonderfully over-the-top attack. A nifty little record I bet a lot of people are sleeping on. "Mannequin" is one of the best tunes to come out of the NYC-thing...A split release between Toxic State and Katorga with typically impressive packaging/artwork.(RK)
(Toxic State/KAtorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Albert Demuth s/t 12"
Pretty dark outing. Bleak sounds of loneliness, for the type of listener familiar with the Songs of Love and Hate whiskey ritual. The songs all have this weird shimmer that makes them less depressing than they should be and more cinematic - the guitars all hearken to desert wandering, ghost dog chasing, and blown-out black and white footage. The packaging on this is insane and adds to the personal quality of it - lots of intricate screenprinting, somewhat tortured-looking carved labels, and the whole thing is wrapped in a gold foil vaguely reminiscent of a NASA lab. Recommended for those that can hang with Lortz’s dark musings on the Case Studies LPs, or anyone who needs some gentle and genuine catharsis. Rainy introspection perfectly executed. (NG)
(self-released // albertdemuth.bandcamp.com)
Dick Diver "Melbourne, Florida" LP
Dick Diver's third LP has been the pop record of the spring here at Termbo HQ, and seeing as we had a shit spring the mellow hits on this LP made things a bit more bearable. Fusing the Dundedin sound (very much The Clean and The Bats) with the tasteful schmaltz of what we'll call Eighties FM radio (those trumpets and synths really do it), it's a bit of a departure from their critically acclaimed jangle. As a child of the Eighties it certainly hits on signifiers of bands I'd be pressed to say I actually enjoy (Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Peter Gabriel and such - not sounding overtly much like any of them directly, but hitting similar thematic sound ideas) and makes for a very "retro" listen. Emotionally gratifying, let's say. "Competition" and its sweeping and lush construction and vocal duet is quite majestic and they weave similar tunes from acoustic strummers, New Wave rock, piano-centric ballads, sax man moments - it's like being transported back to the early days of MTV when dinosaurs walked the earth. Having a strong set of four songwriters and vocalists like this is a rare thing and allows the band a wide berth. This record also allows the two workhorses of Aussie rock, Mikey Young (who produced and plays synth, acting as fifth member) and Al Montfort (whose "Beat Me Up (Talk to A Counsellor)" is the most modern sounding thing here - sort of a UV Race goes New Wave number) to do some good work together, and the numbers Steph Hughes sings up the ante for lushness. Hey, I don't like many pop oriented records, but this is the first thing I reach for on the weekend afternoons these days. "A bit more Edith Massey"!(RK)
(Trouble in Mind // www.troubleinmindrecs.com)
Dickhead Rescue "More Than..." 7"
Ever/Never bringing you the best in murk-rock. "More Than" is said to be a Michael Hurley cover and sounds like guitar amp tapes - there's a few seconds where a song peeks its head out from behind the swirl of loopy guitar and chopped distortion. The drummer is really determined to keep this thing moving along. It's some sort of victory of shit-fi rock that somehow manages to be poppy despite itself. I honestly don't know what to make of it, but the hypnotic smear it creates is surely something. "Erepeato" on the flip delves into further depths of poor recording techniques, and again the drummer is here to point the way while the guitar player explores some tangents and the bass player just goes for it. A lost like a feedtime rehearsal recorded through the heating duct in the next room. Something like that. Certainly smells Australian. Great band name and the record itself isn't something you're going to keep going back to, but it's also something I wish had lasted longer - but then again, I am a dickhead.(RK)
(Ever/Never // evernever-records.bandcamp.com)
Disgusti s/t 7" EP
With an Unruled t-shirt worn loud and proud in the band portrait on front, it did not require much guesswork to uncover Disgusti’s influences, as the swiped Cimex riff 15 seconds into the instrumental opening track also confirms. Big burly hardcore here, the soundtrack to getting squeezed between a crowd of sweaty punks and load-bearing basement support beams. Disgusti even try the oft-attempted, never-succeeded challenge of a Void cover (verdict: I’ve heard worse but remain firm: you ain’t gone beat Void at Void so why bother). A solid debut outing from these HC rippers…one more release like this and we’d expect to see them on the DIY/HC fest circuit in no time. Nice layout, too, with reverse images printed on the inside of the pocket sleeve and back of the insert. (DH)
(High Fashion Industries // highfashionindustries.com)
The Drive "Jerkin'" 7"
Originally released via N.R.G. Records in 1977 in a quantity of 1000, this Scottish power-popper was good enough to get them on the "Streets" comp before the band folded. "Jerkin'" is a about how this guy just can't stop cranking it over this girl. It's a real catchy slice of pub-punk with an unavoidable hook. Good natured and juvenile punk with lyrics/delivery that are excited but not snotty, working to their advantage. "Push-n-Shove" is a hardy meat and potatoes UK punker with a major league solo, some unexpectedly fancy drumming and a cool pub-style swagger. "Jerkin'" is the more famous cut here - and it's good fun, but I'm really enjoying the lunchpail drive of "Push-n-Shove" as well. Comes in a plain black sleeve as the original did, but some fan made a pretty eye-catching sleeve as well.(RK)
(Breakout Records // www.purepunk.it)
Exhaustion "Biker" LP
Exhaustion with Kris Wanders 12"
Exhaustion's second LP opens with the rhythmic grind of "Blunt Eyes", an exercise in repetition that seems hellbent on sawing your brain in half. The bass/drum foundation is laid down heavy while Duncan Blachford paints with feedback. Even the vocals become less lyric-delivery than they do about becoming part of the undulation. Tricky stuff, attempting to hypnotize you right off the bat. Things start get a bit more overtly agressive though, "Silver Fog" upping the ante with a swiftly moving current and almost rigid structure, before it falls apart on "Twin Light" whose freeform creep suggests what they end up realizing on the collaboration with Wanders. Side B is all about the epic "Hard Left", the centerpiece bookended by the tribal grunt of "Pure Duty" and "Lonely Cars". "Hard Left" is a serious movement, and recalls the soundscaping done by Sonic Youth before they started playing pop music, that veers from fragile and haunting moments (the ghost of a piano materializes) which turn melancholic and cloudy with moodshifting feedback notes creating palpable atmospherics. Exhaustion are a difficult band to categorize, and there really isn't another band like them today - they sound little like any of their Australian contemporaries, which might make them the most Aussie of the bunch, hearkening back to the 'Blood Sausage' and 'Leather Donut' comps where each band seemed weirder than the next, and depending on which way you look at it, they're either the most arty or most primal thing going. Or just both. The EP with Wanders is a bird of a different yet equally rewarding feather. Wanders has credentials going back to the Sixties European free jazz movement and often performed with Peter Brotzmann and others whose names I won't attempt to be familiar with. It's one long 22 minute piece, that ebbs and flows guided by Wanders' tenor sax into pools of calm and streams of squall. White hot noise, sizzling skronk. Exhaustion provide more than capable accompaniment, with Bystrom's percussion standing out particularly strong, Blachford harnessing some creaking and groaning guitar feedback and the subtle bass notes anchor the journey appropriately. A surprisingly enjoyable expedition into lands without boundaries, and as a gentleman who doesn't tend to go that far "out" myself, my enjoyment of this 12" shoud be a serious recommendation for those who venture this far outside the box with trepidation. Scum stats: the Wanders 12" is hurtfully limited to 150 copies.(RK)
(Aarght / Endless Melt // easterbilby.bigcartel.com)
Exiles From Clowntown "tape scissors rock" LP
First fulll length from Exiles after three 7"es of their loose and spontaneous rock music. Having loose ties to Three Toed Sloth (and a few degrees of separation from feedtime), the longer playing time really gives them space to breathe and thus allows you more time to inhale their smoke, to everyone's benefit. According to the insert everything was recorded live and much of it improvised over many different sessions, allowing for a disorienting effect of differing fidelities and approaches. There are moments where you could slip a track onto one of those mysterious Fungus Brains tape releases and no one would be any wiser. A bit should be said about the somewhat ramshackle Swell Maps feeel to much of this, the boys catching a riff or rhythm and hanging onto it for as long as thy can, achieving an almost mechanical feeel of repetition and recitation. Wide fields of emotive guitar sprawl are laid out for a few minutes to be followed by a thuggish rock'n'roll rumble. There are some electronics being fiddled with at times, and a bit of tape manipulation I reckon. Vocals range from chant to guttural to just repeating la-la-la over and over. Something like "Around the Corner" summons a vision of classic Aussie thud-n-grunt then a number like "Fast One" is tight and always moving like some Sixties surf vamp. "Whistling Assassin" (and yes, there is whistling involved) ends the whole thing with a study in feedback and locked-in yet loose rhythm section. A truly interesting record that far surpasses any work they did on the singles, the songs win far more than they lose, and even the losers are worth a go.(RK)
(Soft Abuse // www.softabuse.com)
Fa Bonx "49 Stick" 7"
I can't give you much bio on Fa Bonx, but from what I've pieced together they're an international outfit (Wales via Finland) made up of two brothers and their mother...or just a bunch of dudes from some other bands on the label...playing souped-up mysterious-guy glam-pop in their spare time. "49 Stick" has some really put-on-thick vocal stylings, but it fits the big sound of the music - made even bigger by some well placed bomb drop samples - talk about an explosive chorus LOLZZZZZZZZ. But really, this is a big time tune, could've been ripped right out of the Seventies charts - somewhere between Cheap Trick and The Sweet. "Tramps Jamble" has a sick T.Rex sthing going on, sort of sleazy/slinky, the sort of too-cool-to-make-an-effort effort that will turn on gals and guys alike. Absolutley loaded with handclaps and containing a sizzling guitar solo, this is windows down and joints blazing music. Is that some sax too? Yes please, I'll have some more of this. Scum stats: 300 copies with fold-out silkcreened sleeve and stamped labels. I have to go back and find the first single now, dammmit...(RK)
(Whats Your Rupture? // whatsyourrupture.bigcartel.com)
Fashionism "Smash the State (With Your Face)" 7"
The latest project from the mind(s?) behind New Town Animals and Tranzmitors deliver exactly what you're expecting - call it power-pop or pop-rock, I dunno, maybe a little bit of a mod touch. Title track is as Canadian as can be, heavy on the ramalama dingdong with some organ thrown in too. B-Side has one that sounds very UK-inflected (The Boys?) and a cover of a tune off of the 'Shock Treatment' soundtrack. Crisply recorded and well played, if this your genre, go right ahead, especially if you liked those Tranzmitors records (and I know plenty of people did) or miss The Briefs. I like the sleeve at least.(RK)
(Hosehead Records // www.hoseheadrecords.ca)
feedtime "Flatiron" 7"
Its 2015 and I'm sitting here reviewing new feedtime songs. Choice. Sub Pop has taken a fat wad of their heaping cash pile (before the Father John Misty debacle) and opted to dump it into a very worthy project. The purveyors of meat music return with that all familiar bass string scrape, that devilish slide grind and rusted exhaust rumble - and thankfully that sound has never strayed from it's chosen path for nearly 35 years. A band that runs on a complex simplicity that few can touch and none can imitate. feedtime is feedtime and no one else will ever be feedtime. "Flatiron" is total biker rock. A knuckle blues - and not the kind of bullshit your average Sons of Anarchy fanboy or Thorogood shirt wearing poofster would be caught listening to.
Out-outsider punk rock that wouldn't be feel wrong if place in any of their back catalog, yet remains fresh as a daisy. "Stick Up Jack" is more of a hate frenzied, by-the-balls sorta' jib - reminiscent of a tattered Rose Tattoo song found stumbling from a pub and looking for a victim to glass. Threadbare rattle and syrupy leads, yes. Pesky overwrought solos? Fuck no. feedtime isn't ever gonna' ever give you that. You get what you deserve - short and precise and served up to the center line of yer jaw. So worthy it hurts. (RSF)
(Sub Pop // www.subpop.com)
First Base "You've Got A Hold On Me" 7"
I had a bit of a hard time with the First Base LP. I guess what really enamored me with the band were those really early recordings he did with what sounded like Windows sound effects before First Base was actually a band (that version of "Can't Stop" is still one of my favorite things...), I guess when it turned into an actual band it seemed a little less...weird? special? I don't know, unfair assesment on my part either way. This Fraser Wynne guy writes some impeccable sugar-pop stuff, no denying that. The title track is one of his best, light power-pop with a bit of a Ramones edge. The rest of the tunes follow suit, like a more traditional Nobunny or Peach Kelli Pop thing or a less rock'n'roll Gentleman Jesse. Should be a hit for all of you who feel like "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" is too punk or those who really miss the Romance Novels. Scum stats: 300 copies with great Rudi referencing sleeve.(RK)
(Hosehead Records // www.hoseheadrecords.ca)
Flesh Panthers s/t 7" EP
With a name like “Flesh Panthers” it has to be…lifeless bar punk, right? This EP features four tracks that have plenty of rock’n’roll vibes — including some Thunders guitars, an Isley Brothers “Shout” moment, a bit of Clash-Ska — but no discernible edge. It could be a forgotten demo tape on the floors of the DGC offices, a bit too late for the trend and sounding even more dated today. Eh, I am being too harsh, but the sound is stuck in time and hard to hear as new or fresh. Watch out for their upcoming “Mouth Fun” album (please no). (DH)
(Tall Pat Records // tallpatrecords.bigcartel.com)
Frankie and the Witch Fingers s/t LP
This is the sound of "psych-garage" in 2015 - completely safe sounding and non-threatening enough to please everyone from Pitchfork to Entertainment Weekly. It's by no means a bad record and I can't say it was a bad listen. It's just sort of there. Sounds just fuzzy enough to be "garagey" but not lo-fi enough to sound unprofessional. The perfect amalgam of Black Lips and Ty Segall (they even start the record with what sounds strikingly like the beginning of "Back to Boone") but they're not really wild enough for an Ohsees comparison to work. Some rockers, some mid-tempo fuzzers and of course a couple of longer "weird" tunes to really lay on that "psych rock" thing. I'll tell you what this reminds me of - how fucking great the Black Lips were (and possibly still are). I've often been accused of being a fan of Black Lips apers, and these guys do have a couple of good numbers here in that vein. So the good parts of this record are when they really sound like Black Lips, which is either a testimonial to the greatness of Swilley and co. or says something about my taste. So yeah, nothing too original here, but this is a good platter for your friends who have no idea what garage rock really souds like. The press on this tells me these guys were originally from Bloomington, IN - where they were possibly living in the shadow of Apache Dropout, but Frankie and his Fingers have upprooted and made the big move to LA, to labor alongside the zillion other bands that sound like this and ride in Ty Segall's wake. Living the dream. Scum stats: 500 - 150 on pink/350 on black.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
Gay Kiss "Preservation Measures" LP
Phoenix hardcore with one of the guys from Avon Ladies (and possibly Destruction Unit) in the fold, with their second LP on Sorry State. This band seems to constantly be touring (and releasing tapes) and this partnership with Sorry State makes sense in that a hard-working band belongs on what is probaby the most hard-working hardcore label/distro (and actual storefront) in the country circa 2015. Musically, this is a completely servicable hardcore record for today - riffs to spare, some interesting production techniques - great use of studio in the weird hardcore style, some noisy sampling/effects manipulation - that make for a very dark sounding experience. The singer never stops yelling at the top of his lungs, which certainly adds to the visceralness, but also does little to differentiate the tracks. As I said, there's great riffs and mosh parts all over this, and as hardcore goes this is always something that translates to what I'm sure are great live shows but is at times a detriment to recorded documentation - what I'm saying is, these dudes slay live but I'm not going to throw this record on very often. A very good collection builder for the meat-n-potatoes hardcore kid still young to the game, but if you're at the point where it takes an exceptional record to stay in your rotation, this is not one of them. Melds elements of the Youth Attack style (and art aesthetic), noise rock guitar and I have to imagine some of these guys were in a screamo (or maybe a grind) band at some point. Like I said, nothing wrong with this one at all for genre fans. Scum stats: 100 mailorder versions on white wax.(RK)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
Gentlemen "Good Omen/Bad Husband" 7"
Another mighty fine release from Melbourne's Gentlemen, this time coming at the listener with a much more hardcore oriented approach. "Dead Hand" moves fast and hits hard, perhaps becoming a bit like GISM in the almost metallic fury. The vox are all gurgle, the production pushed so far in the red things start bleeding into each other in a fantastic stream of feedback and static. "WDIIF" has a completley strangled guitar solo that's over before you know it. Oh yeah, the A-Side/title track sounds the most Aussie of anything here, the one tune that stays mid-tempo but still crushes. I thought the cover was a Per Bystrom, but maybe not, but it's a good representation of the weird mindest of this tune, sort of a nightmare vibe in that strangley Asian way. There's an eerie synth moan in the background for the duration that lingers like an apparition, the riff is repeated and stunning, the vox coated in a good four or five layers of delay and distortion. Yeah, nightmarish. I dig this one, the production and aesthetics are pretty far over the top, but I think that's where it succeeds, especially the B-Side hardcore-isms. And speaking of that, it's strange to me that this on a Japanese label, but Episode Sounds is doing some diverse stuff and treading away from the power-pop revival and garage-rock stuff that the Japanese (and their labels) have been known for over the past couple of decades (aside from the hardcore scene). Scum stats: not sure on the pressing, but I'm guessing 500. Ive seen both a white and grey colored cover (on textured stock as well) and all come with an Obi strip and a sticker with the tracklisting covering the spindle hole so you need to either peel it off or gouge it out to play.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
Giorgio Murderer "Lazer Lord" 7"
Was this officially an RSD release? If so, this (and the Aquarian Blood 7") was the only thing to hit the shelves on that day that actually mattered. I've expounded on the genius of the artist that is Giorgio Murderer quite a bit already, so let's take that as a given. "Lazer Lord" is as if that guy who sings in Buck Biloxi was replicated in 4D, given the cheapest synthesizer bitcoins could buy and programmed to write an Eighties-era Hawkwind-esque space-punk epic with lyrical contributions from Michael Moorcock with a head injury, the "Lazer Outro" the equivalent of space opera on some sort of cyber-quaalude. "Computer Simulation" changes the programming via a Commodore 64 floppy disk to make a machine write a Misfits song, replacing the skulls in the equation with virtual reality technology circa 1985. Rare brilliance in an age of redundance. Scum stats: clear vinyl Goner edition of 200 for store/mailorder only, black vinyl for other mortals, with the usual impeccable visuals and liner notes from the sentient being that is Giorgio Murderer.(RK)
(Goner // www.goner-records.com)
Golden Pelicans "Oldest Ride, Longest Line" LP
Hot on the heels of their self-titled 12" (or at least it seems that way) the Golden Pelicans latest long player comes blazing out of the tunnel as depicted on the cover (via Mac Blackout artwork again) like a flaming log ride flume with a ferocity even heavier than their previous output. I believe these nine tracks have them even leaving "garage rock" in the dust and cementing them as what is more of a hard rock band. Perhaps their Halloween appearance doing AC/DC covers flipped a switch so to speak, as these tunes are boiled down to the essence of rock - the solos scorch with an Angus-like fire, the rhythm section leaves you feeling like you just took repeated blows to the head and body for a nine round heavyweight match, and King G's gravel-voiced sneer fits this hard-rock template like a duck to water, flies to shit, etc... The tunes themselves even show a more serious bent - there's little of the party rock joking round of the previous records and a rougher side to the lyrical content - all fighting and knuckle dragging and little of the "Jump in A Lake" good natured rib stuff. This is street fighting men style shit, no pussyfooting. Even their pseudonyms have changed to the more serious first names only in the credits. Erik's got that extra venom in his spit, the guitar leads sport some more fire, and the Ryan Bell recordinng job has some hefty low end and ball power. "Last Street Fighter" is a jaw dropper of near metal thunder, the title track (and a few others) really bring me back to the AC/DC thing - they've somehow slid into this nearly perfect hard rock template like the Aussie legends, where the seemingly simple construction pares everything down to the basics of sheer power. A ballsy move by a band made up of guys with big ones. Some of you with heart conditions and preganant women might be scared off by this change in direction but I applaud their efforts at changing their game and making a rock record with some real heat.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Heavy Chains s/t 7"
This an old record someone snuck in the pile here, but I'll give it a few lines - Vancouver hate-psych from members of Nu Sensae and White Lung that really goes for it with the effects pedals and delay, the sort of overkill I really appreciate. "Liver Lips" is sloppily heavy, locked in rhythm while the guitar does the same scale/slide thing over and over and the vocals (is that a voice or just noise?) phase in and out. Then there's this hilarious bit where they do a GISM cover that the label says "rivals the original"...I mean, I can accept some label hyperbole and expect it, but c'mon, do you really expect anyone to believe that? I think Sakevi has actuallly killed people for saying shit like that. It sounds like a less musicianly Melvins covering "Nervous Corpse" circa 'Houdini'. B-Side is one long'un called "No Law. No Crime" that again reminds me of minor league Melvins and now I'm getting a kick out this guy moaning into a delay pedal. I spent a quite entertaining few listens to this record with diminsihing retuns however, and I'm wondering if it's a work of parody or not now. If this is actually comedy record, it's hilarious. "Culty" artwork included and oooh it's risograph printed...how DIWHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY...(RK)
(Bruised Tongue // www.bruisedtongue.com )
Hemingers "Q: What's A Heminger" 7"
Third seven inch from The Hemingers, who do justice to the throwback garage-rock we all once loved (and all still do deep down inside, whether you want to admt it or not), borne of The Mummies, Cramps, Gories, early Makers, Devil Dogs, Supercharger and true Budget Rock. Guitars are wondefully out of tune on "Junkie Jane", "What's A Heminger?" probably has Lux smiling up in heaven, their "Little GTO" is caterwaulingly magnificent. "Cool people" probably think this stuff is childish and perhaps unfashionable in this day and age, but this is one of those records that is as much fun to listen to as it sounds like it was for the band to record. I'm over-analyzing this a bit when I say that this record is probably one of the truer and more honest expressions of love for music I've heard in some time, but it's a true statement. Featuring artwork, vocals and muttonchops by Ben Lyon, one of the most genuine and nice guys you will ever meet.(RK)
(Magnetic South // www.magneticsouthrecordings.com)
Hi-Fi's "Look What You've Done" 7"
Pre-Blue Rodeo powerpopper from Toronto circa 1980. "Look What You've Done" is a Beatles vamp done up real pretty with twanged-out twin guitars, vocal harmonies and a solid gold hook. 100% radio ready but relegated to relative obscurity until now. "I Don't Know Why You Love Me" is a bit more subdued in its jangle and with a bit more rock in its slighty stuttering delivery. Powerpoppers delight, and I'll confess to not knowing Canada had this much unknown stuff to offer via Mean Beans's steady flow of pop-oriented reissues, but I suppose Canada is built for this sort of non-offensive style in a way, eh? And don't let the Blue Rodeo thing scare you off, there's 0% country rock here. Scum stats: 500 copies with 100 on light blue to match the pastel sleeve, with liners/insert.(RK)
(Mean Bean // meanbeanrecords.bigcartel.com)
Hollow Mountain s/t 7"
I've given this a record a few tries, more than I shoud probably, but I just don't see where the label is getting the Ozzy/Sabbath thing from, to the point where I actually checked to make sure the right record was in the sleeve. If this isn't garage rock I don't know what it is...but I'm not so sure what qualifies as garage-rock in 2015 either. Yes, garage rock in the modern-day bastardized sense where it's defined by what Ty Segall and Fuzz and all those related projects sound like - and those bands are on In the Red Records, and if anyone knows garage it's Larry Hardy, so I'll defer to him. When you aproach a record expecting some sort of fried proto-metal that the label is billing it as, and you get a girl-fronted garage band that isn't really heavy in the slightest, it just makes you wonder where the disconnect is. Pretty simple stuff, the vox give it a good innocent shine and all the songs are pretty much the same throughout, the riffs are all quite similar, the playing not wild enough to raise any eyebrows. On the last song ("Gaia") I feel like they're actually trying a space rock thing and just don't quite get out of the atmosphere. (RK)
(Tall Pat Records // www.tallpatrecords.com)
Hot Guts "Wilds" LP
Darkside synth and batcave oddities from a Philly based duo that at one point had ties to our beloved FNU clan. Unsure of that nowadays, because this is getting further from punk by the rotation. Tunes like "All Suns" beat tribal and slither about bare bones under the direction of a bedroom-fi Peter Murphy vocal. "Will Cary" starts off in a icy dance-able industrial ping before nailing a near perfect 80's gloom-pop sound to their throbbing neon-lit cross. "Kite & Shadows" swaggers like mid-era Depeche Mode and the see-sawing keys of "The Name Of The World" with its deadpan delivery should prick up the ears of more than a couple of Coil fans. Simple, moody and effective drum machine bleat and glitch pop for the jilted closet-goths that lurk around this board. With the state of the modern underground being as it is - spearheaded by Zola Jesus, The Knife, Youth Code, Merchandise and the like - I feel like some serious taste-makers aughta' be shivering in their 20-eye black boots for this sorta' thing. Hey, man - better this than another fucking stoned beach pop record. (RSF)
(Avant! // www.avantrecords.com)
The Hussy “EZ/PZ” 7"
The internet tells me that this is something like the fifteenth record from this duo over the last half decade. That labels keep lining up to keep The Hussy factory in business tells me that there’s a cult following for these folks out there so more power to ‘em. But alas, all these ears heard were a pair of unremarkable cuts. Mid-range, C+ garage punk; nothing off-putting and it’d be welcome on a bar jukebox or something, but it’s full-fledged amnesia rock—listen as often as you like and have no memory of what you’ve just heard. (DH)
(Windian // windianrecords.com)
Isolierband "Keine Gnade" 7"
Reissue of a 1982 German synth-wave rarity (suppposedly) discovered by Mr. Red Lounge. "Keine Gnade" is actually a very good wavey number with some Warsaw-like seriousness to it, tight and trebly guitar work, solid bass/drum drive, very little (or no) keyboard on this track and a zany German guy barking the lyrics. Good tune, more post-punk than Minimal Synth or whatever. "Kontrolle" is a bleep-bloop synth beat accentuated with guitar and some vocals that get pitchshifted around a bit. Sounds very Teutonic, I could see these guys making an appearance as the musical guest on Sprockets. You tell me what the sleeve picture is all about. Germans.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // shop.redloungerecords.com)
Jack-O and The Sheiks "Live!" LP
Live greatest hits collection from Jack Yarber, backed by Memphis garage turkeys The Sheiks (one of whom is/was also in Ex-Cult I believe) recorded somewhere called the Burgundy Ballroom, which I'm supposing is in Memphis (as one of the labels responsible is calling this "Live in Memphis"), but that's neither here nor there. What? I'm guessing this was recorded some time in 2013 or early 2014, as this was supposed to out in time for Jack's Euro tour in summer 2014 but the pressing plant screwed the pooch on that one. Again, I'm getting off topic. The Sheiks are a more than competent backing band (and are augmented here by keys from Adam Woodard, who also accompanied Jacko in the Tearjerkers) and they run through a 13 song, 35-or-so-minute set list that pulls from material all the way back to 'American Slang' right up to 'Rat City', including plenty of Tearjerkers tunes and even throws out "Strong Come On" to close. Recording is super clean, maybe almost a little too clean, but that's a petty complaint. I sometimes feel like Jack is the underappreciated Oblvian, but I know that's bullshit, as he's quite possibly the most bad ass rocker of the trio. And who picks a favorite anyway!? If you're an Oblivians completist, have at this one, and if you're unfamiliar with Jack's solo catalog start with the 'Flipside Kid' and work your way up to a live record. These guys are pros and it shows. (RK)
(Red Lounge // www.redloungerecords.com)
The Jinxes "Mosquitoes" 7"
Posthumous 7" from LA's Jinxes, who at one point were going to be the only non-Seattle band on Boom Boom Records (RIP Danny Ferducci), which is quite a ringing endorsement as far as budget rock goes. "Mosquitoes" is a pretty dumb song, and it sounds like they shoved the mic in the bass drum for the recording. "Oh Yeah!" on the flip is the better of the pair, zero-fi recording that seems to be just farfisa and drums and the band yelling "Oh yeah!" a few times. As far as a B-Side goes, it's cool, but nothing you need to hear. I apppreciate the sentiment of the 7" more than anything, these would've beeen good filler tracks on an LP but they make for a pretty weak 7" listening experience.(RK)
(Manglor // www.manglorrecords.com)
Kappa Chow "Jump" 7"
Some real laid back vibes from Sackville's Kappa Chow. Their juxtaposition of the verb jump with the sleepy number they play is summed up in the liner notes via Zakary Slax - let's just call it some good natured goofball existentialism, also known as smoking a lot of herb. "Something Better to Do" is the more energized garagey rocker, not unlike a sax-driven and less fuzzed out Ohsees. The soundtrack for smoking some of that hippie love weed at your next drum circle. Scum stats: 200 copies with hand-stamped labels and pocket sleeves.(RK)
(Kiss the Void // jchamandy-at-hotmail.com)
Las Venas "Vamos Por La Calle" 7" EP
Sounds and looks a bit similar to the Peluqueria Canina 7", but that's a good thing as both are above average punk-espanol. Las Venas are two senors and two senoritas playing some high energy garage-punk, not disssimilar to say Carbonas or Beat Beat Beat or perhaps Predator. Trebly charged guitars, solid playing and some slight edge/darkness to the tunes. The guys vox have a bit of reverb which adds some depth and the soloing is hotter than I expected. At least that's what the A-Side sounds like, I dug both tunes. B-Side gets a little pop-punky to start, which is a no-go for me. Second tune on the flip redeems itself though, with the gals taking over the vox for a DIY-Slitsy thing or an Iberian Gorilla Angreb.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die // blondesmustdierecords.com)
Laurice "Best of Laurice Vol. 2" LP
Mighty Mouth Music - home to some most eccentric of musical eccentrics of the past, ressurected on vinyl for new life in the present. The big three that the label is built upon: David Arvedon, Charlie Tweddle and perhaps the weirdest of them all: LAURICE. That "When Christine Comes Around" is one of the better songs the human race has produced is never in question, but Laurice also has a wide and varied catalog (this volume is mostly mid-Seventies, but Laurice was still conquering the music industry well into the Nineties and further) that was created both as a solo artist and session singer/writer under various names and for various labels. Chock fulla hits here, many of it with heavy Seventies glam vibes and pristine production. My personal favorite is L's submission for the theme song to the latest Bond movie at the time, "Diamonds Are Forever", which is a brightly shining jewel of baroque pop. There are some Bowie-inspired space odddities that are more than wonderful, "You Gotta Take The Good With the Bad Times" that has L going all-out for a song originally written for Tom Jones, "Dark Side of Your Face" is actually a haunting theatric number that reminds me a bit of Roky. "Baby Tomorrow" is an exceptional bit of countrified pop, and "Take Me Down to the Riverside" might actuallly be the most bizarre tune here, with L doing a scarily good Dusty Springfield impression under the pseudonymn Pepper Pot. I've listened to this thing up and down, and was left wondering where would Laurice be if his career was just starting now? Penning pop radio hits for divas? The Voice? Playing the underground garage circuit? Who knows. The man is an artiste who would have found his way in any time. I look forward to future volumes of Laurice, as we just dont seem to have these types of original creative kooks anymore, or at least none that aren't manufactured. Laurice might have had an agenda whose endgame was pop stardom, but it was done on his own terms and with his own ideas, and the path he's embarking on these here tunes in the mid-Seventies was just the beginning. Recommended? You bet your ass.(RK)
(Mighty Mouth // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Lazy "Soft Sheets" 7"
Female/male fronted new wave act that hints of Avengers elderpunk and maybe a bit of a laid back Tyrades. Some simple synth washes in to punctuate "Soft Sheets" punkishness and the train track clattering rhythms of "Don't Die" bleeds Euro-punk fluids all over the place. The dude sounds - or enunciates - just like Odie Fury. That doesn't happen so often. Simple and effective jams. Vice approved peek-a-boobie under American Apparel sleeve art. (RSF)
(Volar Records // www.volarrecords.bandcamp.com)
Line Traps s/t LP
Line Traps are a garage-punk trio from the wilds of Victoria, British Columbia, throwbacks to the late-Nineties Rip Off Records roster right down to the Angry Samoans cover ("Are You A Square?"), plenty of songs about electricity ("Static Shock", "She's Electric", etc...) tying into the band name (which is also a reference to transsexuals now, who knew?), bratty girls as a rhythm section/backing vocal duo, some cute pseudonymns (P. Ethelyne, T. Depression, General Debris), black and white artwork, low-fi yet loud recording...Uncle Greg would be proud. They pack 11 songs onto one side of a 12", the dynamic a bit like a more mid-tempo Dirty Sweets or Kill-A-Watts with the big fuzz bass sound and distorted vox reminding me a bit of John Henry bands like Detonations and Static Static. The intro into "Shock Appeal" is a great opening jab, one of the gals takes over vox for "A Spectre is Haunting Texas" to great effect, "Roentgenizdat" has me firing up the translator (it's a term for those Russian x-ray records) and "In Print" has some good start-n-stop rockiing. As good as a 2015 Rip Off record could hope to be, and I don't mean to sell them short, but that's the facts. That their hearts are really into it makes it a bit more exceptional, which shows through on the packaging - one of the most well put together on-a-budget efforts I've seen in some time. There's something wonderful about the feel of an LP sleeve with thick silk-screening (having a lot of black and a silver highlight for the band name), and they go the extra mile by screening the inner sleeves (something that seems like such an easy idea, but hardly anyone does), and the empty B-Side of the 12" as well, also including a fold out poster. Scum stats: 300 copies - 75 black with screened B-Side, 25 black with alternate art and 200 on clear with a two color print on the B-Side. Sold out already!?(RK)
(self-released // linetraps.bancamp.com)
Louder s/t LP
Somehow Sorry State have become the American champions of Flat Tire Punk, much to the delight of Nipponophiles across the country. Louder released a couple of notable singles on Episode Sounds that I enjoyed due to them being more of a punk band than the power-pop revisionism a lot of Japanese acts are peddling these days. They still have plenty of pop hooks (and big ones too), but they deliver them with some crunch, and the production here is loud and pretty slick. They actually have a real rock'n'roll vibe with some unexpectedly chunky riffs at times ("I'm On the Border" is almost Thin Lizzy or Cheap Trick), which they offset with some more frantic numbers like "No Escape" which hearken back to Registrators a bit. Very solid '77-style punk rock with an unexpected emphasis on the rock. Very impressive songwriting and playing, imagine a way heavier Firestarter perhaps. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 mailorder eedition on clear vinyl with poster and the printed inner sleeve is actually a super-detailed mock newspaper. (RK)
(Sorry State Records // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
Mad Virgins "I Am A Computer" 7"
That Mad Virgins collection LP that was recently released may not be essenital, but this 7" is. Belgium, 1978, Romantik Records. Mad Virgins are a bit sloppier (and more vulgar) than the usual Belgian punk buzz. "Fuck & Suck" is a well known KBD cut and lives up to its title with almost-inept lo-fi smash and a one note solo, I always thought there was a synth on this too but there's no credits for a synth player (yet somehow there are supposedly two guitarists), one of the weirdest shuffling drum sounds ever. A true piece of total KBD destruction. "I Am A Computer" is even more dumb if lacking the shock value of an f-bomb. Absolute mongo no talent punkings, at parts it sounds like the drummer is doing nothing but cymbal crashes, lyrcis and their delivery are totally moronic (from a guy whose name is just Crackerjack by the way) - I wannaanana be a com-pu-tah, com-put-ah is the master of this world...The Spits 30 years early. The truly scary thing is that in the band pic on the back sleeve they genuinely look like they might actually be mentally challenged people. Buy or die. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on yellow, with quality pocket sleeves.(RK)
(No Good Records // nogoodrecordsausamericas.bigcartel.com)
Mean Bikini "Sick of Love" 7"
Reviewed their demo what seems like ages ago, and said that "Sick of Love" should be an A-Side, and here we are. Really kreskin'ed that one. It's a fantastic little tune from this group of aggro lasses that sound like Thee Headcoatees started a Fall-inspired cover band that only does Okmoniks songs. Primo boom boom, keybord wheeze, girl gang vox, energy to spare. "Jesus Weeps" is the AA Side, that could be a less-talented No-Talents (that's a compliment!) with a slighty less garage outlook and plenty of one-fingered keyboard moves and the whole thing is held together with safety pins - it sounds like there are two drummers for a minute there, but I'm not sure if it's just the gal wonderfully skipping/missing beats and trying to get back in time. Sadly, Mean Bikini are now defunct (and the note that came along with this explains it a bit and adds some sad meaning to the term sick of love), but that should not keep you from adding this to your 7" stack and looking out for a band called Majorettes formed from the Mean Bikini ashes. This is one of those after-the-fact releases that will probably get little to no promo, no tour sales, no nothing, which means you should get it before the remaining copies end up in some band members closet for the next ten yers.(RK)
(Simply Thrilling // sharprightmusic-at-gmail.com)
Middle Edge "Emotion Freeze" 7"
Middle Edge are the latest band from Kazuyuki Banno, whose pedigree goes back to the fantasic 7" by The Sneeze (one of the top Flat Tire Punk records ever) and Perfectform (the very first release on Episode Sounds). At the (high) risk of repeating myself, I always prefer those FTP bands that are more punk rock than powerpop, and Middle Edge are most definitely punk at heart. "Emotion Freeze" is rather dark, slightly post-punk in its sharp production, the drums are super punchy sounding, bass sounds almost mechanical, Kazuyuki peels off at least three solos between the verses and the entire affair is very tightly wound and precise. "The Pressure" is even tighter, almost reminiscent of an evil version of the very late Registrators recordings. Again, the solos are blistering, the tempo pushed even faster, rhythm section is working OT on this one and there's the familiar scratchy rhythm guitar sounds of FTP past. The vox are a bit wilder (everything is in English too), and there's a certain freeballing Friction-like wildness to the aesthetic that you often don't get from the typically straight-laced bands of the Japanese garage-punk scene. An exciting new entry in the Flat Tire sweepstakes. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Balloon on the Pin Records // middleedge-at-gmail.com)
Midnite Snaxxx "Don't Wake Me Up" 7"
Budget Rock from the Bay from a band that actually has members who were around when the actual Budget Rock scene was happening. "Dont Wake Me Up" is a dum-dum punker that I like tons and seems to be a lot more punk than I remember the band being on previous efforts. Rip Off Records vibes with a slight Spits monotone vox delivery, a real hard charger of repeat-o-riff chug and even a solo! B-Side is a cover of The Enemy's (NZ) "Pull Down the Shades" that they give a good run which is made via the vox/harmonies. Excellent pick for a cover. The best Snaxxx record thus far and any release that thanks both Mitch Cardwell and a burrito joint is a-ok with me.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Missing Monuments "Too Many People" 7"
I will always love King Louie, but I have to admit I haven't been digging his pop-oriented outings of late. Thankfully this one is a PUNKER. "Too Many People Live in New York City" is a dark rocker dealing with a pretty dark topic...I think the drummer is singing this one too, some choice Southern garage played sharply, reminds me a little of RCTL as wel. Then you get a Louie power-popper that at least has some really hot licks to round out the side. B-Side is a Southern rock odyssey called "War Is In My Eyes" that recalls a cleaner Persuaders with Dictators-ish vibes and Louie sneaking in an exceptional hook. 350 copies.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die // blondesmustdierecords.com)
Modey Lemon "House on the Hill" LP
Modey Lemon s/t LP
Various forces unite to reissue the first two Modey Lemon full lengths (both of which were originally CD only) on vinyl - Omentum, a label run by the guy who released the first Modey single in 2001, A-F Records who did the s/t on CD back in the day, and Mind Cure, caretaker of all things Pittsburgh. Modey Lemon were a strange case, a band who probably could have been bigger or at least held in more regard among some circles (they did have a good run though, make no mistake). Meaning, as a "garage guy" (especially in the early 2000's), they sort of slipped by me at the time and shuffled past the more underground circuit of In the Red/SFTRI/Crypt (they did have that 2x7" on ITR, but who knows what to do with that format) and went right to Mute/Birdman (with Birdman always seeming to sort of the "major label" version of ITR) in the post-White Stripes garage-rush, byspassing the garage-ghetto a bit (which might have been what they wanted to do anyway), even if their sound was right up that alley. 'House on the Hill' is basically JSBX done with a more balls-out drummer, less schtick and a moog, or even closer to what Bassholes were doing at times. 'House on the Hill' is a decent snapshot of the time, the more traditonally garage of these two records, with the self-titled LP being a bit more representative of the band, a wilder and weirder effort with a heavier and more serious tone. The more Phil Boyd is messing around with those effects, the better the band are in my opinion. I'm not sure there were many people clamoring for the re-release of these records and I don't think we need to amend the history books now that they're here (or maybe some of the new legions of Third Man acolytes will get turned on), but at the very least the self-titled record is a good artifact of them as a solid band in a very crowded playing field at the time, but also reminds me there was a reason why I was listening to Spencer, Howland and Tom Potter and not these guys. I would remiss if I did not mention that I saw these guys live twice and they did smoke on both occassions. Here's a good selling point = pre-Rot Shit!(RK)
(Omentum Records // omentum.formutantsonly.com)
(Mind Cure/A-F // www.mindcurerecords.com)
Mole House "Be Around" 7"
I have no idea how long this has been sitting in the review pile (my apologies), I just kept shifting it to the bottom of the pile because I thought it was a Mad Nanna record for a while there. I will say this - if you want wandering and nearly subliminal cough syrup folk music, Mole House are your act. Both tunes go nowhere slowly but still manage to grasp at you with fingers that are barley functioning. Lovely stuff that just sort of trickles off the wax with the right mix of ineptitude and inspiration. Definitely not for everyone but so zoned out I really appreciate the (non?)effort.(RK)
(All Gone // allgone.bigcartel.com)
Mongoloid s/t 7"
Debut wax from Portland's Mongoloid, Termbo Rookie of the Year award winners and one of the top hardcore bands of the current crop. Members of Sweet Tooth, Organized Sports and Pigsticker converge in the PAC-NW to channel pure Rustbelt punk action, combining the punch of the Clevo legacy (Dead Boys and/or H-100s) with the modernized rock'n'roll finesse of a Brown Sugar and a singer I swear sounds like Jerry A in a good way. A-Side strings together a triplet of hc-punk stompers that are a primer for what is good in hardcore in 2015 - seamless tempo shifts, riffs to die for, siiiiick guitar solos, and the best breakdown of the year thus far on "Hate" - when he yells "Kick it!" and and they do indeed begin to kick it, it's nearly impossible to not want to break into a creepy crawl around the office and send shit flying. "At The Moment of Death" is where it starts getting even better, a sidelong trip of massive rock'n'roll proportions with guitar fingers exploring the outer reaches, the lonely sax bleat of crushed Midwestern dreams, the very souls of punk and rock comingling for an ending coda that has me misty-eyed. An exceptional band that I can not recommend enough. LP supposedly coming soon on Deranged (or maybe self-released I hear...), get in on them now before they blow up.(RK)
(Media Schlitz // mediaschlitz.bigcartel.com)
Bruce Moody "Fresh Out!" 7" EP
Le Mean Bean ventures out of the Canadian comfort zone for this four song EP from Houston based songwriter Bruce Moody, originally self-released in 1982. You may remember "This Is It" from the 'Radio Ready: Texas' LP (you know, the one with the terrible artwork) and although I love the handclaps, it's still not as good as The Jumpers song of the same name for whatever that's worth. "AM Romance" has the expected mock radio deejay lead-in, "You Do" is unabashed wimpitude, and "Terminally Hip" is my favorite of the bunch with some nifty rock'n'roll moves and exciting solo/ending freakout. Bruce later did a tour of duty with Joe "King" Carrasco and The Crowns and formed a band called Private Numbers who apparently released some records at some point. Exceptional tri-fold packaging and deep liners on this one, but I'm afraid it falls outside of my (very narrow) wheelhouse when it comes to powerpop, yet I'm sure there are more than a few wimps out there who will be overly delighted to have this in their collections.(RK)
(Mean Bean // meanbeanrecords.bigcartel.com)
The Morons s/t 7"
These Morons are from Chicago it appears and I'll give 'em credit for a pretty dumb sleeve. "Crackin Up" is a genuine garage-punk stomper that I like well enough, has a blistering lead too. "Disco Diablo" sits uncomfortably between pop-punk and garage. Pass. On the B-Side they switch to Midwest cornfed rocking on "Madelyn" that sounds like shades of Brimmstone Howl, then they do the pop-punk thing again for the last number. There's a moment or two on this that got me a bit excited, but in the end it turns out a bit below average. Scum Stats: 100 copies!?(RK)
(Maraca // themoronsband-at-gmail.com)
Mystery Date "New Noir" LP
Mystery Date are one of the very few modern power-pop bands that matter. Hailing from the pop mecca that is Minneapolis, band leader Johnny Eggerman is also a member of Real Numbers, and like that band, Mystery Date manage to have a sort of out of time feel to their songs - they sound vintage, but not in an ironically retro way, but via the sort of craftsmanship that was evident in the classics of the past but that you don't see much today. I really like the recording of this LP, not exactly lo-fi, but just sort of simple and crisp, giving the songs a nice and compact pop feel. There's a dramatic sense to the entire record, as referenced in the noir of the title - this is not squeaky sunshine pop, but almost melancholic guitar hooks that are still uplifting. Dark pop accentuated by the Fifties post-war aesthetics of the artwork. The mod influence is noticeable and appreciated, the songwriting is mature and very crafty, melding undeniable hooks with some dark turns, playing is tight and well-suited to the recording style, guitar playing does wonders with a less-is-more approach. Very often LPs (in the powerpop genre) seem like they're built around a couple "hits" surrounded by filler, but 'New Noir' is all hits, built for the long haul listen. An exciting, rewarding and very unique sounding record that takes a tired genre and makes it something worth hearing. Very recommended to hook aficionados everywhere. Looks great too!(RK)
(Pinata Records // pinatarecords.bandcamp.com)
Mystic Inane "Ode to Joy" 7" EP
Mystic Inane "Eggs Onna Plate" 7"
One of 2014's most exciting new bands (and the creators of that year's best 7") return with a pair of singles to accompany an Eastern US tour. "Ode to Joy" comes to us via Negative Jazz (one of the more exciting new labels these days as well) and has three fresh cuts. Title track flexes some muscle with lenghtier musical interludes and really clamps down on the riff/rhythm, which becomes some sort of Flipper like dirge halfway through. This what the kids might refer to as a "banger". "Pervertn society" is a head-on charger that has them sounding the most like latter day Flag as they have up to this point and "Grease Inna Hair" ends in exciting fashion, most similar to the first EP with that scaly/prickly guitar work and weirdo vibes. Great record. Buuut, "Eggs Onna Plate", holy fuck. Might be the best Flipper influenced jam of recent memory - all rubbery bassline, hammered lyrics, drunken rhythm, aand then they nail it to to the cross in the sped up outro. You should probably see the video too. "Polite Society" was another hot tune from their demo, here given a better recording job - amazingly catchy riff too, and the guy gives good vox here. "Manhood" close with a burly bassline and shows how fast they can go when prodded. I give the slight edge to the "Eggs..." 7", but both of these are essential 2015 platters. Scum stats: band was selling some test versions of "Ode to Joy' on tour with different artwork. "Eggs...' is already sold out at the source, so you better jump when you see some distro copies pop up.(RK)
(Negative Jazz // negativejazz.bigcartel.com)
(Lumpy Records // spottedrace.bigcartel.com)
Natural Causes s/t LP
Stuttery synth-punkers out of North Carolina with their debut LP on the Snot imprint, with membership ties to Flesh Wounds and Paint Fumes (and turn out to be better than both of those bands). A pretty concise eight song long-player, they do a good job of getting to the point and not dicking around. At times it approaches a slighty cleaner version of Wizzard Sleeve/Gary Wrong menace, and much like that artiste they do a great job of not overplaying the synth moves and keeping the guitars in heavy action. "Popper" closes the record well, with a distorted synth drone andgreat needlepoint guitar playing. Reminds me a bit of Le Face (who had some good stuff, I swear) too. "Chatter" is a choppy wave-blaster with a nasty hook. ""Long Way" is one of the handful of tracks that will draw a Lost Sounds reference, and while they don't sound as "big" as LS, they do a fine job of melding guitar-n-synth for some very fine rock action with neg vibes. "Bedwetter" does some cool dum-dum punking, maybe like Spits with some Pampers in there too. Lots of Pampers references this section, but that's good on them, because I think they might be my fave current ITR band, and the band I think best represents the ongoing aesthetic of the label best these days. But hey, this is a Natural Causes LP review, and I say this one is surpringly pretty damn good and recommended - no cheese, all balls with the right balance of shit-fi and shit-punk, perhaps an American foil to Ausmuteants even. Mine came on pink swirl with a fold-out poster, not much more info about the pressing but I'm assuming they all have screened sleeves and stamped labels.(RK)
(Snot Releases // www.snotreleases.com)
Nazi Death Camp "Same Shit In A Different Package" LP
Finnish garage-punkers that I believe might be defunct at this point who get the insane glossy gatefold LP treatment from Mr. Red Lounge (who is based in Germany by the way, meaning this record is probably illegal to sell there...). Seventeen tracks of that particularly European brand of trying to be offensive in a bad-jokey way, like the far extreme of Rip Off Records (and I'm hoping the band name is at least a nod to Loli & The Chones and not just a 100% dumb name) personalities. I believe there are ties to Moorat Fingers and 20 Dollar Whore (who also trode silmilar "let's be offensive!" ground when it still might have had some traction amongst 90s garage turkeys), these guys know how to play (this record woud have been much more tolerable if they were totally inept) but lack much in the creativity department. The only joke that comes off is the 50s sock hop anthem "It's War Time, Baby!" complete with blazing sax action. Other than that it's a retread of other better bands - Livefastdie ("President Is Dead"), The Spits ("Retard Violence"), Reatards ("You're an Emo Fag" - yikes - borrows the riff from "Blew My Mind"), Oblivians ("Who's Got the Biggest Balls..."), pop-punk, and riffs on Ramones, Dolls and other standard fare. "Love Comes in Turds". Harhar. Sure to offend the thin-skinned out there on a very basic level, which is the point. For the thicker-skinned and halfway intelligent types, it's just basic punk rock riddled with bad jokes and a few goofball left field moves (the sax turns, a xylophone bit) that end up being the few semi-interesting moments of a generally boring yet well-played record. Listen to a Buck Biloxi or LFD record instead. Scum stats: 500 copies on red vinyl, slick gatefold with some of the worst artwork since that Outdoorsmen 10".(RK)
(Red Lounge // www.redloungerecords.com)
Negative Scanner "Pastel Blue, Clinical White" 7"
Negative Scanner are the far more interesting band formed from the ashes of run-of-the-mill Chicago rock outfit Tyler Jon Tyer. The title track has a subdued but ever present energy that matches Rebecca's vocals well, it's a catchy yet casual song that seems as if it began began before they hit record and continues on after the toner arm lifts and they're still out there playing it somewhere...."A.W.O.L." is a true B-Side however, unable to match the presence of the A-Side, a decent but shadow of the title cut. Still, the guitar interplay makes for a good listen. A pretty good record from a band that I'll rate as pretty good at this point - I have to imagine there's an LP coming soon, and I'm interested to hear it.(RK)
(Tall Pat Records // www.tallpatrecords.com)
New Cowboy Builders “Black Moses” 7”
“Black Moses” is the debut single from this Welsh combo, who present a couple tracks of robotic rock, sounding not unlike an A(lbini)-Frames farm team. New Cowboy Builders mix a hook or two into the mechanics to tie things together, hit us with a little swing of a chorus. It’s OK but neither powerful nor original enough to get the nod for a call up to the big leagues. (DH)
(Function Room // newcowboybuilders.bandcamp.com)
No Love “Dogs//Wolves” 7”
Single number two in the “North Carolina Singles Series” and record number one for No Love. Named after a Big Boys tune but sounding more like a Dangerhouse or Posh Boy act, No Love delivers catchy, female fronted punk tracks with ample solos, good hooks, and way more punk than pop. It’s a winning combo and done very well here. Limited to 250 copies. (DH)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
Noxagt "Brutage" LP
Noxagt "Collection 1" LP
I've been sort of a passive Noxagt for some time now - meaning I don't really go far out of my way to find their records, but if I do stumble upon them (or they get sent in) I tend to listen and enjoy them quite a bit. The band always seems to have some personnel shift going on, and 'Brutage' adds a new guitar player (John Hegre from Jazzkammer) for their fourth LP, which might be their most savage and straightforward record to date. Made up of four long tracks, it's a fantastic listen, three of them on the rock side and one soundscape. The rhythm section is absolutely devastating as always (and the one constant in the group) and Hegre's guitar playing is very textural, long passages of held feedback and delay, almost sounding like sampled noises at times - very innovative, at least to a caveman like myself, but he also does some shredding too. The sounds on Side B are pretty fucking haunting. There's a lot of ways to describe Noxagt, but I will say these Norwegians are one the only post-Nineties noise rock bands of interest and one of my favorite Load Records talents of all time. Don Caballero without the anal retentiveness (or artithmetic), The Melvins if they were still interesting, the European (i.e. smarter) counterpoint to Vaz. I should also menton this one has clever song titles ("Someone Calls You And Says Nothing. You Can't Sleep" being my fave of the quartet). 'Collection 1' is a compilation of early Noxagt from the viola years - live tracks, Peel and other radio sessions and a selection from the never-released first Noxagt record. A very well curated selection, the Peel session tune ("Titanic") is an absolute monster of metal groove (it's their "Honeybucket" perhaps), and "Mek It Burn" from a 2004 live set is an acid fried free jazz wailer. The track from the unreleased record is good enough that want to hear more - sort of lo-fi and reminds me of a Savage Republic or maybe even SCG angle, with an Arabic tinge ("Abdel-Wahab") and a more traditonal rock template. The last track is a live version of "Acasta Gneiss" with vocals by producer Billy Anderson that bring the tune into Drunks With Guns territory. Yeah, it's pretty good, duh. Both of these records are well worth your time, and I don't think Ive ecver heard a Noxagt that wasn't - there's a package deal available from the label, I suggest you take them up on it. Scum stats: 'Brutage' follows typical style with a Rodland photo on the cover, 'Collection 1' ups the ante with a beautiful four color screened sleeve, printed inner sleeve, clear/black colored vinyl and a locked groove. Oh, and the "liner notes" are pretty funny too.(RK)
(Drid Machine // www.dridmachine.com)
Omit Vomit "Date Rape" 7"
An unfortunately named band, and an unfortunately named title for this EP, but I think the language barrier might allow this one to slide? Not sure, we'll have to check with MRR on that. Omit Vomit combine the scratchy Registrators-like sharp '77-style garage-punking with some odd synth sounds - it's really wheezy on "M.S.T.N." then on "1984" it turns into a Tubeway Army thing and there also seems to be a static track/sound they're sampling - a pretty cool bit of future punk. "Date Rape" could almost pass for a less frantic/punk 'Terminal Boredom'-era track with '16 Wires'-era guitar sound, and I like that the drumming seems to be slightly off a step here and there. A better record than the band name suggests, you never know what you're gonna get from these Japanese bands, and Episode Sounds does a good job further diversifying their portfolio here. Scum stats: foldout newsprint sleeves with hand-stamped labels.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
One Man One Mind "I Love Vinyl" 7"
Lone gunman freakiness from Sweden. This record is another one I feel I've given more thought to than I should have. I imagine this guy is active in other bands, probably of the jazz/prog variety based on what he's laying down here - some freeform drums/bass/guitar stuff loosely based in rock but with plenty of jazz digressions. Over these tracks he deadpans some spoken word. A-Side is about watching a record play and the proper storage and care of vinyl and some other nonsense. I think he starts talking about girls towards the end. B-Side is more of the same (maybe a little jazzier) and is about "Admiration for Punk Girls". This guy's voice is very heavily accented English and he's mumbing half of the time (he starts talking about Siousxie and liking the clothes they wear) which gives him a sort of Jad Fair or Daniel Johnston "is he really slow?" type of thing. And if that's his actual picture on the back of the sleeve...I'd place the odds at 50/50 of that being true. I forget what my point is. I'm deciding if is this a weird record, a creepy one or both? Is this guy really strange or is it a put on? Why do I even care? I'm in a place where wondering about this guy's motives is more entertaining than listening to the music. Do you need this? If it were in the bins for say $2, yeah, it's worth some thought. Scum stats: "Limited Copies". Black sleeves with tons of silver printing which looks great and must've cost a ton, which adds to the intrigue.(RK)
(Drid Machine // dridmachine.com)
Peluqueria Canina "Cerebros" 7"
Madrid garagey punkers do a pretty stripped down combination of say Dangerhouse and garage, sort of similar to the approach the K-Town bands took after they stopped playing hardcore. Semi-twangy guitars, the vox are pretty snotty and they have some counterpoint via more melodic back-ups. Both A-Side cuts have good hooks with "Rechazado" the better of the two with a slightly haunted Black Lips-y thing happening. B-Side opens with a Cramps-beater (the title of which is "Boy Scout Camp" in English?) with vox that come right out of someone's nose and ends with the title track that might be the least effective of all the tracks - sounds a bit too straightforward compared to the others, but it has a bit more determined of a tack to it - an almost desert-rock-like repetition that grows on you a bit. Very likeable overall. Artwork looks like they swiped a page from The Dripper World catalog though.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die // blondesmustdierecords.com)
Perfectform "Get Tied Down" 7"
Another older release from Episode Sounds, but we should discuss it as I believe it's still available and is the label's very first release. The past year or two has seen a surge in Japanese punk-rock again (or at least in it being made available to American listeners who aren't savvy/psychotic enough to scour Record Shop Base for mailorder) via partnerships with labels like Secret Mission and Sorry State, and Episode Sounds has been establishing itself at the foremost Japanese label in a way that Mangrove once did when they were more active, with ES taking the added incentive of parterning with American bands as well in some sort of exchange program (Lumpy, Sick Thoughts) which not many labels from their country seemed willing to do in the past. Here they do the diabolical "seal a record in an envelope you must cut open" trick that will test the fortitude of the more anal "collectors" out there, but once you break the seal it's a killer two song platter of some very much Buzzcocks derived hook-punk with impeccable playing (why is it that Japanese bands always seem to have incredible bass players?) over both sides, the type of poppier rock that a curmudgeon like myself can appreciate. Title track is the more stoic mid-tempo UK-sounding cut, B-Side take a more frantic/angular approach and they do both with great success. Grab a copy if you can (Sorry State, hint hint) - silkscreened envelope looks classy and here's a pro-tip: take your sharp blade of choice and neatly slice the bottom to slide the record out and preserve the integrity of the sleeve - or rip it open like some sort of savage if you're a tough guy.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
Perspex Flesh "Ordered Image" 12"
Best offering yet from the Leeds freak powerhouse - massive riffs, clever songwriting, stark and dark lyrics. Full of caterwauling momentum, the sounds of an alternate future where October File and Death Church were amalgamated in all the best ways. “The Gift” has that fantastic “this is too good to be an original” quality, and “Panoptic” exposes some of the moshable bloodlines Liam shares in the Flex & Die. The UK’s total world dominance in the field of hardcore remains uncontested. Great artwork, as usual, the oddly violent static aesthetic only enhances the alienating sounds within. (NG)
(Static Shock // www.staticshockrecords.com/)
Piano Movers “Girlfriend’s Lover” 7”
It was a pleasant surprise to find this in the review bin this month. This new-to-me group features a couple former members of Nodzzz (and Down in Flames) on the East Coast and back at it. “Girlfriend’s Lover” is the sort of precious cutesy track that would drive me nuts if it weren’t as good as it was (Beat Happening have a bundle of songs like this). Piano Movers tunes lack any gratuities, opting for simple instrumentation and low key vocals with all parts working in service of the driving melody. Less is more, and these tracks are prime examples that twee, DIY pop songs can still rule. (DH)
Pierre & Bastien "Que Du Bonheur" LP
Second full length (third if you count the live LP) from France's Pierre & Bastien, and this time it's on Polly Maggoo, the label I would always hope they'd find their home with. 'Que Du Bonheur' is certainly their most accomplished work thus far, with production that escapes lo-fi/garage and elevates them to the next level - what we call it I do not know, but it makes them sound beyond genre now. As always, the aesthetics of the album are very precise - four songs per side, almost every song has the same tempo (and they go a bit faster on this record than they have before), a sort of heads-down drive that has them sticking to their formula and leaves you in awe of their dedication to purpose. Side B particularly finds them soudning a little more vicious, maybe a bit sharper or smarter (not that they were ever dull before) but I just feel like they show the whites of their fangs a bit more this time around, not in any sort of emotional outpouring, but they way they throw a few left turns in these songs, a little bit of brake pedal, some nonchalant seeming breakdown type moves, things you might not notice if you weren't looking. "Femme" closes the record with the most revelations - some variations in guitar tone I dont think they've used before, the later verses of the song kick into a speed that approaches hyperdrive for these guys and they sing in English for the last few bars, twisting some Neil Diamond vox into their mechanics. I always thought they were a bit like a cold wave guitar band at times, and this record has them revealing some dangerous warmth as well. I have a theory that the A-Side of this record is the light, while the B-Side has them taking a dark turn, but I need to do some more lyrical analysis on that - but take into account that the A is the more garagey bits and songs about dogs and another that I think translates to "Bass Drum" and what can possibly be called upbeat numbers - on the flip all the garage elements are shed, all the song titles become terse one word answers ("Handicape", "Destinee") and any of that upbeat feel is repplaced by what I feel as a darker and heavier approach. I'm still working on it though, I'll get back to you with my findings some other time. Right now, you just need to go buy this, the finest record yet from the finest active band France has right now. A must have.(RK)
(Polly Maggoo // try S-S Records in the US)
P.I.G.Z. "Bloody Belgium" EP
Absolutely essential reissue of one of the best Belgian punk 7"es, and really one of the upper rung of the Euro-punkers of all time. Driving first wave punk (1978 release date) with a catchy chorus (good enough that it became the name of a Belgian KBD comp) with a tasty guitar tone and a wild Pistols-via-Stooges sound. And speaking of Iggy & Co., "Bloody Belgium" is a fantastic song, but my favorite on this EP has always been "Stooges" - while not a dedication to the band, it's rather about being a stooge - the refrain and dum-dum back up from the band ("STOO GEZ") just back this up as a classic of loser-punk, not to mention the great guitar lead. "Shall I" is no slouch either, with some handclaps thrown in and I always felt it was a little Saints-like in it's rhythm. Amazing packaging from UP, including an eight page booklet with liner notes, pics and more. (RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
Piss Test “Leather Jackets in the Heat” 7”
Summer is right around the corner and the only relief in sight is an ice cold Bud and a stack of Mystic Records releases. You may laugh, but it is a time tested remedy and more stylish than shedding layers (and jackets!). But for those folks interested in switching things up, in creating new summertime traditions that retain an old comforting feel, there is the option to grab an ice cold Ballantine and try out this Piss Test record. It has a throwback vibe, SoCal riffs, and reverberated vocals spoken/sung atop. The prevailing theme, lyrically, could be “Doing punk right.” Old-timers talk down to the kids, peers choose uniforms within the scene, and the lyricist feels on the outside of all that and takes a stab at fighting back via “Super Seven Sampler”-ready jams. It all works well but, moving into the wine and jazz phase of my life, I have a tough time relating to this one. But if you’re looking some snotty, pissed off retro HC, you could do worse. (DH)
(Taken By Surprise // www.takenbysurprise.net)
Plastix "Ich Bin Modern!" LP
Following the Plastix 7", here we have an entire LP worth of recordings from these Austrian art-punks. Sixteen songs recorded in their basement rehearsal space in 1981, there's a rather wide and weird range of sounds here. Firstly, Andrea Babel's voice at times sounds like she's about thirteen, adding some raw edge with it's screeechiness. Two of the three songs from the 7" appear here in raw form. Musically, there's some strange twists - at times it seems like they're playing ska tunes, then a little bit of funk, maybe even some polka (really!) and sort of bending it into their art-punk framework with varying degrees of success. At times they attain an almost Sliver-level of untrained DIY perfection. At other times it sounds like a muppet fronting a Madness cover band. I'm not sure which band they really were - but when they (perhaps accidentally) hit the right angles it's quite interesting. I'm also not sure if they were just artists using the band as a temporary outlet for their creativity or just the only punks in town. Scum stats: 500 copies with a couple of inserts and screened plastic sleeves.(RK)
(Danger Records // dangerrecords.bandcamp.com)
Pregnancy Scares “Mind Control” 7" EP
This is the second EP from Ottawa’s Pregnancy Scares, which, like their first, is on Deranged Records, alive and kicking after all these years. It fits well with the oeuvre of the label — aggressive hardcore with a modern sound and retro roots. Pregnancy Scares are not merely fast hardcore, but high pitched hardcore. I thought I was spinning this at the wrong speed as the vocals sounded off, but that’s just who they are. It might also be the most memorable aspect of the record, their standout feature. None of the four tracks strays from the path of the expected into the land of the delightful, but are nonetheless serviceable MOR HC. (DH)
(Deranged // www.derangedrecords.com)
Proxy "Slow Suicide" 7"
Proxy hail from Montreal, home to one of the crustiest punk scenes in North America, and this 7" sounds like you might think it does from its looks - leather, studs, bullet belts, mohawks and such, but there's still some good punk under the layers. "Slow Suicide" is a straight UK82 anthem, with a guy doing a pretty good Lemmy impersonation on vocals. Has a bigger hook than I was expecting, accentuated by the crisp playing and recording. "Lawless" goes for a more Discharge-d blaster, all business and beat. A great record if this fits your style. I mean, they're no Inepsy (although they share a member), but who is? This is as good as the genre gets in moden times...(RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
Quttinirpaaq "Dead September" LP
Fifth LP from this Austin noise concern and the first I've heard. Pretty much what you would expect from a band who chose a name no one will be able to pronounce or spell. They open with a good one - "Bleed Out" - that could be the anwer to the question "What if Aaron Dilloway had been in Ministry?", industrial strength drum beat with mic'ed skillsaw and pitchshifted vox from the next dimension over. Then you get some acid techno, a song title that I feel like they stole from Rob Vertigo's notebook ("Kentucky Meat Shower") that gets some sludge-electronics, last track on the A-Side does some cool things too - like a Japanese Hawkwind vibe maybe, a long circling of the black hole before going in and being devoured. B-Side has the looong "Lifestyles USSR" that you probably need to be on acid to appreciate, some other electronics kling klang before they close with "Walk Into The Sea" (not a Cheater Slicks cover) that does have an absolutely ominous synth-bass sound that everyone should love which just grinds the universe into a pulp, spitting feedback and distorted vocal shrapnel all over your shirt. A pretty good workout. Hey, I think "avant noise" or "acid electronic" or whatever the fuck else people make up for this genre is usually a pretty silly exercise, but this guy (and I'm assuming it's one dude) takes a lot of good turns here, utilizing noise in a way thats not going to turn off a traditional rock guy like myself, but playing to the high levels of distortion and effects and giving them some structure for the most part. Aside from a couple too-arty-for-me minutes and naming your band after a Canadian National Park, there's plenty to keeep your interest. This one's a keeper and makes that Coma in Algiers record sound pretty tame now. (RK)
(Rural Isolation Project // quttinirpaaq-at-gmail.com)
Rectal Hygienics "Ultimate Purity" LP
Chicago based noise rock band who are doing their hardest to offend you. From a technical standpoint, these guys aren't a terrible band, they have some riffs, which is more than I can say about many recent bands trying the Brainbombs/Drunks With Guns things, but they also don't bring anything new to the table either. I guess there will always be bands playing in this style, and they're always going to fall short of the mark. Mysterious guy noise rock, borne from the powerviolence scene, which I suppose accounts for the lack of any rock'n'roll here...I'll save you another lecture about the Brainbombs being the logical progression of the Stooges. The only really offensive thing here is the banality of it all. Tedious music with tedious lyrics, lacking any sort of finesse and their attempt at bringing a saxophone in is truly insulting. Yes, yes, it's all very offensive. The only way this could possibly be creative in any way is if it's all a gigantic ruse and they're actually trying to be boring and show how banal this can be. If you're truy offended by this stuff, you're a fool. I don't even know what to say in summary except BOOORING.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
Red Mass "White Nights" 7"
Haven't heard a Red Mass record in a while, even though I'm sure Roy has recorded like ten dozen tunes this past year. Red Mass records are always good at the very least due to Roy's sheer talent. "White Nights" is almost CPC Gangbangs-esque, a pretty hard rocker with a killer riff/hook that's weirded up with some dentist drill effects. Good vocal by Roy too, he sounds mean, and this is a perfect tune. "Animal" on the B-Side goes for some heavy metal thunder, including some roaring animal noise and is weird-punk all the way - echoed/cut-up vocals, almost Vulgar-esque psych-punk with a real monster riff on the chorus, while the verses run up and down the frets and it all lands in a spaced out sax pad. There aren't really any bad Red Mass record I suppose, Roy's too talented of a guy. There's just too many to reemember. I guess it just depends on which one hits you when, and this one can definitely hit you if you let it.(RK)
(Zaxxon Records // www.zaxxon.ca)
Rixe “Coups et Blessures” 7”
Smash hit coming in hot from France (via the divine La Vida es un Mus), a perfect slab of passionate anthems for today’s intellectual mongoloid. The prison tattoo-esque sleeve is a good indicator of what’s inside - the whole EP is a head-down, gentlemanly moshable affair. “Infatigables” is the top brawler. French really is the ideal language for this kinda stuff. They have a much more blunt sound than the early French stuff this EP begs comparison to, but would fit in just fine on Chaos en France. Since that last Criminal Damage 12” was such a slide whistler, this EP fills a void that’s been open for a couple of years now. Crucial and important to note that the punk disco wunderkind behind Digital Octopus is filling the drum duties here. (NG)
(La Vida es un Mus Discos // www.lavidaesunmus.co.uk)
Russell St. Bombings s/t LP
Al Montfort is truly the busiest man in Australian rock'n'roll. UV Race, Total Control, Dick Diver, Lower Plenty, Straightjacket Nation, East Link...I'm sure I'm forgetting something. For Russell St. Bombings he teams up with Zephyr Pavey (also of Total Control and East Link) for seven tracks of experimental guitars and low-fi electronics exploration. The artiest of his many projects for sure, meditations on "Governmentality", anthroplogy and uh...life I suppose. Tracks sounds like they could have come from some minimalist future or a drugged out Sixties hippie commune. Something like "Ask An Anthropologist" deserves a Shadow Ring mention, "Homicide Squad" envelops you in a mellow wash of baked guitars and vocals, "GLADLY" is an honestly sweet little lo-fi folk tune. The juxtaposition of the violent act the band name references with the music that often times feel like a hazy memory or some faded photos certainly spurs you to think about what they're doing here, is there some larger statement being made or is it just a series of experiments? Dont overthink it. It's easy enough to bask in their pools of noodling, and when things to take on more architecturall sound forms it's some of the more emotive stuff I've heard from a guy whose nickname is Snake. Henry Rollins loves it, there's no reason why you shouldn't too.(RK)
(Smart Guy // wwww.smartguyrecords.com)
Secret Tombs "Secret Tunes" LP
Pittsburgh hard rock trio with their debut vinyl after some tape action. This apparently "reworks" those tapes into two sidelong songs/suites. Things seem a bit shoehorned into the concept, as you can tell where particular ideas (or what could have been actual normal length songs) begin and end and are bridged together with some seams showing. It's certainly ambitious, there's someone this guy really reminds me of vocally, and he's got the prerequisite rock'n'rolla pipes for the job. An amalgam of Southern rock, math rock, some stoner tropes - these guys really could have been a big seller for Man's Ruin. Some passages recall a less dusty Kyuss (it's not Garcia this guy is reminding me of though),the first QOTSA LP without the Homme effects/heroics, Fucking Champs styled heavy arithmetic, - they certainly nail a few riffs and dig in hard on some grooves, but they're hard to get really into to and as overall songs (the two of them) they're not good enough as a whole to go back to that often just for the random good parts - I'm not going to watch a whole fucking movie for the one good scene, amiright? And some of the rawkier escapades get downright cornball too. Foiled by their own ambitions perhaps. Cool looking record though.(RK)
(Caesar Cuuts/Wigtunes // caesarcuts.blogspot.com)
Del Shannon "The Further Adventures of CHarles Westover" LP
Terminal Bordeom has seen some pretty successful labels grow over the course of our run who started by peddling the small pressings of garage-punk and weirdpunk and go on to become some of the bigger names in indiedom these days (Sacred Bones, Captured Tracks) but the label that's been the most fun to watch has certainly been TiM. They've gone from Cococoma's home label and releasing Personal & The Pizzas and Wax Museums singles, to become the standard bearers of the international psych-moderne scene (I seriously have no idea who most of the bands they release these days even are) and now I just got a friggin' Del Shannon record in the mail from them! I'm not going to pretend to be well versed in regards to this record, Del's take on psych that apparently sold miserably and was quickly forgotten. But this is one of the moments where I think about where Termbo and what was then the sub-uderground "scene" of five to ten years ago was and where we are now. Would I have ever thought there would be the possibilty that a fucking Del Shannon record was going to be in the review box? That Sacred Bones would go from Blank Dogs and The Pink Noise to fucking John Carppenter and David Lynch? That Mr. Blank Dog himself would be reissuing the Flying Nun catalog and selling millions of Mac Demarco records? Who knew. It's a wonderful thing to see play out and makes you think about things right now - could Negative Jazz be pressing up million sellers in another five years? Will Almost Ready be the next Matador Records? Anything can happen. This Del Shannon LP is pretty nifty by the way, a cool bit of popsike that's just a bit charmingly "off", with Del maybe trying to act a little more hip than he really was, working outside the box, but the baroque touches and the funky closer ("New Orleans (Mardi Gras)") are the things that make it all work.(RK)
(Trouble in Mind // www.troubleinmindrecs.com)
Shaved Women "Just Death" LP
Second LP from STL's Shaved Women. Burly hardcore with a Midwestern build - stocky, cornfed, big boned. Twenty minutes of heartland rage that rams it into gear and doesn't let up until it's over. Hoarse vocal bark matches the ground-n-pound riffing perfectly, SW aren't trying to win the weird hardcore sweepstakes here (which would be especially hard to do in the land of Lumpy), which is actually a bit refreshing at this point. It's all about forceful delivery, these guitars sound like they weigh a ton, no effects pedal tomfoolery, just all crunch. I feel like the B-Side really gets the juices flowing, "Is It Worth It?" that opens the B is an incredibly pit-worthy stomper and they finally ease off the gas for the closer ("World of Change") which sounds quite DWG-esque. Lyrics are of the self-loathing, life stinks, misanthropic, we're all gonna die variety. A heavy record that delivers the riffs, if the HC scene wasn't so absoltely packed with amazing bands right now these guys would have some more visibility. As it is, their tour this April with Trauma Harness is apparently the last gasp for these guys. I wish them well, as they fight valiantly here. Scum stats: two pressings (Euro and US) with different cover art (lets say one has skin, the other doesn't), same tracks - I guess the deciding point would be do you want the tip-on sleeve (US) or the huge foldout poster version of the insert (EU). The choice is yours, both sound equally great - you might still be ablle to get the clear vinyl version (100 copies) of the US press as well.(RK)
(Malokul // disciplesofchrist.storenvy.com)
Sick Thoughts "Stabbed In My Back" 7"
Sick Thoughts = big in Japan! "Stabbed in the Back" is a nice little shitbox stomper where he uses the gravelly vocal style, "Occupate Me" is a great song title and actually has a really catchy riff that sounds like it might even be a lil' Teengenerate-inspired and he uses Jay's New Wave vox style on this one. "Viscous" is exactly as described, and it's pretty neat - sounds like he's high on feedback and Nyquil, but it never falls into slo-mo sludge exactly, the tempo stays above water level and doesn't let the song drown in redundancy. There are some sound effects mixed in with the squelch and he burps out a few words betwixt all the noise and static. It's honestly a good riff and the shitty drums add a good underneath layer along with the burbling bassline. Citing Gary Wrong as an inspiration for this song in particular is very honest of the kid. Frankly, the best thing he's done thus far - and I legit liked that Goer single too, so he's on a roll. Scum stats: 300 copies with obi strip and big ass foldout cover that is also the best thing the Sick Thoughts art department has come up with to date. Leave it to the Japanese to get this kid into fighting shape.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
The Sicks "Pretty Plastic" 7"
The Sicks are Pittsburgh scene vets with the singer from Kim Phuc backed up by ex-members of Caustic Christ/Aus Rotten/The Bats doing some anthemic punk rock. "Pretty Plastic" really has a weird bit of a Pistols vibe. No shit, they're going back to classic/basics with this one. It' fairly catchy too. "Dose" on the flipside is a bit more modern sounding, dark punk rock that has a killer riff and guitar tone and a mid-tempo push that gives it some post-whatevrer vibes. Not bad for some old dudes.
Scum stats: 300 on clear pink.(RK)
(Fair Warning // fairwarning.storenvy.com)
Sir Lord Von Raven "Age Of Machines" 2xLP
'Age Of Machines' is a monolithic double dose of tracks that - for reasons unknown - were left stewing for most of a decade. Odd that this stash went into cold storage, being that their first LP was received positively (though not so much 'round here) and the band having achieved local supergroup status early on. In case you're out of the know, Sir Lord Von Long Name features a cast of well dressed, booze-stained characters from The Time Flys and Gris Gris era along with other Bay Area part time punks and party poppers. Here they roll out the high pile shag in the back of their mid-Seventies Econoline and slather the interior with a dewy coat of boogie, hand claps and warm Schlitz. Matthew Melton was seen thumbing a ride in their rear view, but this bus keeps on keeping on.
Live, I came to the conclusion that they had already nailed the Big Star-meets-Groovies moves as good as any would try or dare. On record, tunes like "In The Cups" or "Bare Bottom Time" lays the proof to the platter, while mixing in some tear-away Can't You Hear Me Knockin' endtro swag and space warble ala' The Gris Gris.
Adding ice rink organ to their already rollicking pop would seem schmaltzy if performed by the lesser skilled, but placed here - along with the honky-tonk of "Stealing" and the southern drawl of "Misery Loves Company" - it almost hits on a Deadly Snakes or Golden Boys vein that appeals muchly to my soft (and growing softer) sides. Elsewhere you'll find nods to The Dolls/Thunders sleaze during "Sex Change Operator", the glamstain smears and nearly Nick Lowe nuance of "On My Own" and the soul-greased 50's flutter of "Three Chords".
Expect forays into city rock and barroom 'billy as well, as no Seventies excessive coke-fueled sound gets passed by. Not surprisingly, this long-long play is seamlessly threaded together, like one would assume from scene players of this pedigree. There's just enough grit in Greg Ashley's production and Eric Johnson's nasally sneer to keep them off the major label radar (though there's definitely a few moments that could easily grab, say a Raconteurs fan's attention). It's a lot to take in - hell, it should have probably been two individual records released over the past few years - but what to do? I find it hard for me to really froth on in detail, with my well known lack of lust towards most bands of this ilk, but they do such a damn fine job I feel folks with a hefty Seventies Stones catalog, a Chilton and Bell fascination or those who religiously subscribe to the Sing Sing reissues will find this a worthy catch. In this rolling tide of goofy King Tuff sleaze, knuckle-dumb Apache shenanigans and other piss poor wanna-be's, The Raven measures heads above. Not sure how many copies there are available. Guitars & Bongos loves their classy tip-on, double gate-fold LP sleeves, so I'll assume quite a few. They gotta' recoup the insane printing costs, y'no. (RSF)
(Guitars And Bongos // guitarsandbongos.bigcartel.com)
Slow Walker s/t LP
I don't know man. Label says "hard psych rock" annd drops a Hawkind AND a Simply Saucer ref on us. I'm not hearing it. It sounds like middle-of-the-road garage rock with some fuzz pedals. It's not terrible, dont get me wrong, but there's nothing too wild or psych here, no space rock that I can hear. There's a little bit of neo-stoner jamming here, along the lines of Fuzz and other West Coast pedal pushers, and honestly they go for some serious grunge moves in a Mudhoney style too. Their sound is perfected on "Sight in Mind", where the action is go and they hit a pretty hashed out groove. There's a few moments of locked in/smoked up spot hitting here, and the absence of any folk-inkling or heavy pop vibes at least makes for a decent rocker. Might not knock both yer socks off, but should blast at least one off. Go get that CCR Headcleaner 12" if you want to really get wet.(RK)
(Stale Heat // staleheat.bigcartel.com)
Slugga "Parasite" 7"
The Total Punk seal of approval is pretty much a sure bet these days, and this Slugga 7" might not be the best of the bunch but it's still a worthwhile add. ATL punkos with ties to Uniform (the ATL version) and Nurse and Wymymns Prysyn by proxy I guess. Sort of new blood for that scene I reckon, but that's a hard tree to keep up with. Two songer of punk rocking on the heavier side, not afriad of the low end with a sneering singer. "Parasite" has the more punishing beat and a good breakdown-ish ending for maximum moshage, "Shaved Heads" on the flip is a bit slower. A bit Lumpier than the usual ATL fare.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
So What "What You Do To Me" 7"
Another band from the eternal time warp that is the San Francisco music scene for some bubblegummed power pop on "What You Do To Me" that has a pretty ramalama vibe. Kinda plain, maybe a bit too "assembly line pop". ""Creeper Joe" has a Fonzie-style sneer but not enough to take the glam edge off, even though I dig the "keep your hands off my chick" sentiments. Pretty forgettable overall, but if you neeed to know what the guys from The Easys and Parasites are up to now, this record holds the answer. The sleeve is th best thing about this one, nice design/art one some really cool textured paper.(RK)
(Grazer Records // grazerrecords.bigcartel.com)
Sods "Televsion Sect" 7"
Well deserved reissue of one of the top shelf Euro-punk bonzers, the Sods two-song 7" from 1979 straight outta Denmark. Historically speaking, I think the Sods released their LP first (on which "Televison Sect" alos appears) which was supposedly the first Danish punk record (and also one of the better Euro-punk long players as well) and paved the way for Lost Kids, The Brats and others. "Televison Sect" is delivered with montone vox and a simple 1-2 punch, the guitars are phased out a bit and it's impeccable '78 stomp, not that snotty but kind of hypnotic in it's bashing. "Military Madness" is the more accomplished tune, with really fast drums standing out, sounding like a wave of cymbals and kick. Very exceptional guitar playing and the vox sound far more "punk" on this side which is an angrier/angstier tune overall. An undeniable double-sided classic, donne as an exact repo by Breakout. (RK)
(Breakout Records // www.purepunk.it)
Soma Coma "Dust" 12"
Blackened snot-fronted growlers featuring violent outbursts of blast-beat, Jap-grind scuzz and some very Accused-worthy riffage. Highlights like "Never Again" gallops along hefty neanderthal bass swing as the strangulated guitar scree of the early Touch & Go catalog drags things to weirder turfs. There's the occasional guest appearance of the Gutter Gods F/X rack for those who need more of that sorta' thing. "Area Boys" kills the thrust with some 'tarded herk and jazz for a measure or so before lunging about like a tethered beast once more. Somewhere within the first couple of review spins, shit got away from me and what I assumed was the second part of one tune is evidently two more individual tracks. Whoops. Honestly this happened on both sides. What would you expect? The whole 12" wraps up in under ten minutes. Even the Circle Jerks couldn't do that. Whenever the vocals emanate a puke-up-a-lung squelch or a simulated coughing fit, it's a fitting song-end signifier that's as good as any. Nifty. Grab a copy if you're an obsessive modern Aussie punk collector (Mikey Young didn't even touch this!) or have flirted with the idea of buying into the Youth Attack hype/roster, but could never be bothered with the pre-order, garbage bag t-shirt bullshit. Hate music that speaks for itself. (RSF)
Heavy, heavy, heavy CCM vibes from the nation of criminals - frenetic, raw as shit drumming adds a lot to the formula, and the vocals occupy a space somewhere between the alien sex noises of Dawn of Humans and the deranged rabid barking that initiates the violence on last year’s Gutter Gods LP. Cool record, blows by a little too quickly. I believe this record marks some cooperation between Richmond’s Feel It and Melbourne’s Cool Death records, which should allow us all much easier access to the new wave of Australian scum hustle. (NG)
This is the first vinyl plater from Australia’s Soma Coma, and my introduction to the band was a pleasant one. At first glance, “Dust” seems a solid thrasher; rather, the type of record that would be merely a ‘solid thrasher’ in others’ hands. Soma Coma, however, tend to make musical decisions toward the road less traveled and are better off for it, steering clear of clichés in the face of the familiar. The rhythm section here is as brutal and steady as a jackhammer and sets the stage for some seriously cool shredding. Unintelligible vocals (don’t worry, there’s a lyric sheet) are distinct in a way that invites hyperbolic mappings—I’ll go with ‘rabid platypus.’ All together, “Dust” is a mass of noisy layers that rush by before you have a chance to bring them into focus. It’s an intriguing release that’s worth spending some time with—quite a needle in the HC haystack. (DH)
(Cool Death // cooldeathrecords.bigcartel.com in AU or Feel It // feelitrecords.bigcartel.com in US)
Straight Arrows "Make Up Your Mind" 7"
Straight Arrows "Petrified" 7"
Australia's Straight Arrows have found a UK home via Agitated Records, who released "Make Up Your Mind" as a lead-in single prior to releasing the "Rising" LP, and it's a fitting A-Side, a solid garage tune that has a keen hook but still forceful enough to retain the rock end of garage-rock - bouncy and up-tempo. "Two Timer" is a slower Sixties moody pop-sike reverb-example. A refreshing pair. "Petrified" was released as a European tour single, the title track another LP cut of the mid-tempo psych variety (with a great breakdown riff/chorus and simple "solo") and the B-Side of "Information, Man" a real garage-stomper with excellent tin-can vox and sturdy bassline paired with guitar twang and out-performs the A-Side in this instance. I feel like we haven't heard much from the Arrows in a bit (and Mr. Penglis appears to busy as an engineer these days), but they seem to be having some success in the UK/Euroland that's much deserved, as they're one of the better and more sincere bands that seem to have been caught up in the wake of the success of Black Lips, another band I feel like I've lost touch with a bit, but SA deserve the upstream attention as well and "indie label" push. I feel like we've passed them up a rung on the ladder and I wish them well. Scum stats: 500 of "Make Up Your Mind" and 300 of the tour single with stamped labels.(RK)
(Agitated Records // www.agitatedrecords.com)
Sunbather "Waiting" and "ZZZZ" 7"es
Two ridiculously great and limited singles from the latest K-Town all-star group - same group of Danes that have been in Gorilla Angreb, APA, NHFTK, etc...both of these singles have been in heavy rotation for months now. "Waiting" is perfect scratchy garage-punk with a massive hook, a surprise one-finger keyboard bit, just a shockingly catchy and anthemic punk tune. Flipside has a Danish title I'm not typing, but is another ultra-hooky yet seemingly plain garage number that goes miles beyond my expectations with an absolutely wailing harmonica solo - just a massive BFTG throwback style rocker. The "ZZZZ" single is equally great - title track is lo-fi garage with more surfy stylings and some call and response vocalising, dig that clean guitar riffing and almost non-exsistent production, fantastic drumming and they break out a some twang for the ol' less-is-more solo notes and a breakdown of sorts with a friggin' flute solo that will destroy your face. So good you will not believe it. B-Side another Danish titled puker (and "ZZZZZ" is sung in Danish too - but these tunes are so killer I don't even care) and this B-Side is the weakest of the batch, but it also has the best A-Side so you gotta do it. It's a grower though, almost VU-esque in it's simple drive. Listen, I LOVED GOrilla Angreb, and this stuff is the best music any of the K-Towners have done since that band folded. You must own these tunes at any price. Scum stats: both singles were limited to 100 copies with hand pasted homemade sleevs - and it now looks like they're repressing these singles in editions of 200 more each - lucky you - I suggest you go order them both direct from Denmark, they're surprisingly affordable and most definitely two of the top singles of the year thus far.(UPDATE: go get em from Painkiller ASAP!)(RK)
(Hjernespind // hjernespindrecords.bigcartel.com)
Sunday Painters "In My Dreams" LP
I feeel dumb for having never heard this stuff before, I'm just going to admit that. Sunday Painters were a DIY-punk outfit from Wollongong, Australia who self-released three EPs between 1978-81, all of which are compiled here. Absolutely fantastic stuff, with shades of The Fall, Tronics, Homosexuals, Eno and even Swell Maps all congealing into your new favorite band. The A-Side packs in a bunch, including the weird-glam of ""Like A Reptile", a Maps-y Bowie cover ("Rebel Rebel"), some stabbing electro-punk ("I'm A Car Crash") and more all straddling the line between genius and total mess. The good part is these guys don't stray too far from actual structure, but still maintain a high a doing-it-our-way sense of adventure. If you're going into this blind (or deaf?) like I was, every song is truly a revelation, and it stands up to all the bands I've name dropped already. They use some (now) old tricks, some you've never heard before, and do it with a great sense of style. The B-Side brings the heat as well, with two longer outings - "Please Kill Me" which reminds me of Eno on ludes, a real wandering drive around the outer reaches of art-punk. "In My Dreams" is the other heavy hitter, another of their tunes that will have you thinking of the Maps ramshackle sound, it's still rock'n'roll, but built with junk and spit and spunk. Really wonderful stuff here I wish I was cool enough to have already been hip to. Further research led me to the fact that the band also released a couple of LPs, which I wouldnt mind hearing as well...this thing also comes with a massive fold out booklet and a download code for a live set from '83 (now that's how you should use download cards).(RK)
(Whats Your Rupture? // whatsyourrupture.bgcartel.com)
Teengenerate "Live at Shelter" LP
Teengenerate are one of the bands that Termbo was founded upon - it was a love for them that brought many of the contributors together so many years ago, and here we are 12 years later. Anyway, Teengenerate are a band who are hugely important enough to deserve having a live album by in your collection - that's not sometthing to take lightly. 'Live at Shelter' originally appeared in 2001 and for many years was one of a couple dozen CDs I kept after trying to purge 400+ discs back around 10 years ago. I'm sure many people haven't actually heard it due to it being on such a maligned format for many years, but that was a big mistake if so. Recorded in 1995 at what I'm told is the best venue in Japan, shortly after the release of 'Get Action!' and not too long before the band would take a long break and morph into Firestarter. They couldn't have been much more dialed in than they were here, on their home turf before what looks like a packed house (but souds surprisingy quiet, but maybe it's the Japanese thing where they don't applaud much). The recording quality is actually exceptional, especially considering Teengenerate were a band built on lo-fi - vocals are clear, guitars are up fronnt and there's a lot of low end, which is what I think all of their recordings should sound like. If you're not familiar yet, tracklist is pretty much all classics ("Get Me Back. "Mess Me Up", "Lets Get Hurt", they close with "Wild Weekend", etc..) with a couple garagey covers as well ("My GTO" and "Hippy Hippy Shake") and it all sounds just as vital as it did almost 20 years ago. I've waited 14 years to buy this on vinyl, so you should take that as a recommendation to go get one for yourself. Next up from Ugly Pop is a reissue of the "Wild Wild Teengeenerate" EP which I thought was commonly known to be as the best of their records, but apparently some people disagree. Crazings. Scum stats: 1000 copies (900 black, 100 color), and Ugly Pop releases are starting to go out of print a lot quicker these days, so you best pony up before its too late.(RK)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.ccom)
Televisionaries s/t LP
Believe it or not, but Western New York is in the throes of a surf music revival. I shit you not. And there's a couple honestly good surf bands playing out, and Televisionaries are certainly one of them. It should be noted that the kids of Rotchester all tend to be almost frighteningly proficient musicians, with many of the members of current Rotcore bands having been officially schooled/trained, not just punk kids who learned to play along with Ramones records, like these kids went to school for this shit and played in jazz bands. Two of the best drummers I've seen in years are kids from this scene (the kid from Tapehead and the other kid from Flip Shit/TVs, both totally gonzo players). They know how to hit 'em hard and have fills for days. Anyway, these kids are more Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet than most, plenty of these tunes have more of that swing to them instead of being straight-up surf twangers. Instrumental rock'n'roll, if you will. They have a great sense of humor, do some vocal numbers, cover The Trashmen and Vistas, have some pretty clever song titles. They even have a great band logo. The liner notes are a fun read with song by song commentary from the band. You have to remember that Rochester is an out-of-time place, where alternate pockets of reality seem to exist. It's 1965, 1957, 1977 depending on where you step. A magical land. If you want to hear a tight band playing surf (and surf inspired) rock, well this is for you. I just fear that the audience for this one is going to be tough to find amongst the youth of america outside Western New York, and I'd hate to see Reel Time have to go after the dad-rock Continental crowd to move these records (and I also fear those same dads would be threatened by such a proficient band of young turks making their Surfaris cover seem pedestrian). I dunno man, the world is a weird place that gets even weirder once you set foot in Monroe County. Scum stats: 570 copies of this jammer, with several different test press and pre-release versions and a blue marble color variant.(RK)
(Reel Time // reeltimerecordss.bigcartel.com)
Thighmaster "Songs to Wipe Your Mouth To" 7" EP
Second release from Brisbane's Thighmaster, led by Matthew Ford of Black Vacation (and I swear I recognize that name from a few other bands) and who also runs the label. This stuff takes me back to Nineties indie rock, "Age of Reason" is a short and desperate bit of guitar rock, "Flat City" is a bit dreamier, almost Kiwi-like with big guitar strum, and I think he calls himself a dickhead in the lyrics. B-Side is "Red Woons" which sounds ripped right from the Sebadoh songbook - fractured and vulnerable guitar that sounds ready to fall apart at times, which builds into a wall of guitar strum with angry yet vulnerable vocals. Good tune. I'm sure these guys are getting the nice support slot gigs when the bigger indie bands tour Oz. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Tenth Court // easterbilbyrecords.bigcartel.com)
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments "Straight to Video" LP
As a perhaps sad statement on modern times, the most essential records reviewed in this update seem to be reissues (and hey, if anyone's a believer in modern music, it's me), with TJSA's 'Straight to Video' making it to vinyl after languishing on CD for nearly 20 years. The follow-up to the seminal 'Bait & Switch', it was originally slated for release on Onion before the label folded (whether you blame Rick Rubin or The Kuge for this turn of events is up to you), the recording given back to the band to find a new home for. I wasn't there, but I imagine this period of flirtation with a (semi) major label and its unraveling was a detriment to the momentum of the band that had been cranking out hits for a half-dozen years already. Anyway "Records" put it out on CD and it fizzled (and a supposed vinyl pressing on Wabana never materialized), as did the band shortly thereafter. What would have happened if Onion had stayed in the game, given this record a wide release and the old PR push? How would the course of history been changed? Would Ron House justly be a household name? Would the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame have been forced to close, exposed as the sham it is by the surging popularity of TJSA? Would "When the Entertainment Ends" have been the theme song for a generation? I wish I lived in this alternate reality, I can tell you that much. At the very least, this LP would be held as highly regarded as 'Bait & Switch', which was packed with their hits at the time, as 'STV' is an equally strong album, perhaps even better, more balanced, some of House's best lyrical swipes, some of Petric's best work. Really, this record would have laid waste to indie-rock had it been thrown into the arena with a fighting chance. Just packed with hits I tell ya. The savagery of ""Outside My Scene", rock'n'roll anthems like "Petty Thief" the smartassery of "Philosopher Queen"...all undefeatable moments in the rich tapestry that is American (and Ohioan) Rock'n'Roll. Every home needs (and deserves) a copy of this record. ESSENTIAL. Hopefully the first of many good things to come from the STV label now that they have this one out of the box...(RK)
(Straight to Video // straightovideorecords.bigcartel.com)
Tiger High "Christine" 7"
Hazy, reverb drenched stompers that meld the Novak/Melton/Reatard pop axis to some sorta' Viva American Death Ray lysergics. Once you got that sound understood, dunk the entire outcome in a 80's Mary Chain fryer for a final crunchy glaze. The cracked vocal choruses and deranged solo warble of "Christine" fights against its own confectionery perk, but keeps the sunshine toe-tap front and present. "More" pounds along like a glammed up Apache Dropout or something else treading similar sounds, wearing high heeled boots and acting kinda' trashy. "Shakey Legs" is total Roller Rink action for the cool kids. I was surprised to learn this band's pedigree - most are Jack Oblivian and Reigning Sound side players. Actually, I'm not. This is done well - though not really my bag - yet I'm positive there's some folks wearing pants much tighter than mine who are just waiting for something like this to come along. (RSF)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.bandcamp.com)
Timeghost "Cellular" LP
Some kling klang guy from Providence calling himself Timeghost - I can't make this stuff up. Honestly, as much as I love to make fun of stuff like this, this actually isn't a bad bit of experimentation or whathaveyou. It's entertaining, sometimes funny (not sure if it's supposed to be, but..) and at the very least never annoying like many of these artistes do get (or are those "noise" guys that always get under my skin?). "Phantom Ring" has the Timeghost conversing with you over bleep-bloops that sound like 2001:A Space Odyssey - I feel like he might be trying to be sexy on this one, which is awesome. "Dissection Theater" gets all aggro and sounds like a couple Daleks who mic'ed up their Asteroids session and ran it through some pedals. "Delicate Resonances" could have been some incidental music for an episode of Friday the 13th: The Series. "On Airs, Waters, & Places" sounds like a guy with a vocoder whispering into a Ham radio in a David Lynch movie and "Gaia" ends the record with some sci-fi inspired blurps and oozy synth drips and some haunted vocals that kinda sound like that one Kids in the Hall skit...I like this one a lot. I don't mean to make fun of this guy's art if he's really taking it seriously here, but I think this record is pretty fun and jam-packed with some good gags and interesting lower-fi sounds (I think he made this music with video equipment?). And holy shit, the sleeve is probably the nicest thing in my house right now - laser cut patterns in the silkscreened outer sleeve and printed insert that peeks through a la 'Some Girls' or 'Houses of the Holy'. Great job everyone.(RK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)
Timekiller "Bleed Out" 7"
A Brazilian beast that floats - more like forcibly thwacks - between earbleed cacophony, hardcore gallop and NWoBHM riffage. A groove that gets better every time I spin it. "Burden" cuts close to a Danzig blues-punk shuffle, which is fairly rare terrain for a crusty record to tread. "Bleed Out" takes the tried & true Swans sorta' thugmeat, adds some piercing guitar squelch and then pulverizes it into a blown-fi mulch. "Sinking In Shit" releases fumes that bring "Metal Militia" to my blood & snot caked olfactories, then tacks on plenty Tom G. deathgrunt galore. "Half Empty" and "Kill The Judges" rattle about in a fill-tastic, blistering punk only to follow it up with "Sick Vision"s 80's thrash/skate/doom hybrid. This pummel wouldn't sound out of place on a fucking Midnight or early Satan's Satyrs platter, to be honest. As Schizophrenic as it may be, Timekiller works on all levels - unlike that crossover Discharge LP. It hurts a bit and may take some time to sink in, but the payoff is gold. Quit being soft, buy or die and just reach for the Advil already. Or the anvil. Whatever. (RSF)
(Noise Of Hell Records // www.noiseofhellrecords.blogspot.com)
TiT s/t 12"
Bobby Hussy teams up with Digital Leather's Shawn Foree and makes something that sounds an awful lot like Digital Leather, to be honest. The only major difference is the occasional guitar freak out. Not bad. I've been a fan of Foree's forays into death-pop and synth-y goodness since his homespun CD-r days, and he's not novice at constructing these sorta' soundscapes. Bobby maybe green around the gills, but he's under good guidance. This EP serves up four crunchy, sci-fi numbers that go from the aforementioned Hot Guts style of gloom to a pounding early Destruction Unit-cum-Lost Sounds electro-punk. The B-side is where the cream truly rises. "Drug Antenna" flirts with Gary Numan overtones and fidgety 80's white line, dance floor obsessions and "8min 50sec" is just that - a building a soundtrack to an yet unfilmed Italian apocalyptic vision with a good amount of guitar scree near its tail end. Perfectly nifty. I expect a Moroder remix in the not so distant future. (RSF)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
T.I.T.S. s/t LP
Thugs In Trendy Style if you're wondering about the name. This already formidable Parisian punk outfit draws membership from some of the best French bands of the Glue Wave = Fatals, Feeling of Love and Pierre & Bastien (and now also includes Lili Z(!) although these recordings are from before her time in the band) and pare down all of their influences to just one = PUNK. Foregoing the often overly fuzzed and wailing feedback of many recent entries in the French scene, retaining a bit of the mean garage-punk tendencies and some of the edgy post-punk influences, TITS play mean and lean punk rock'n'roll that's both nasty and smart. Loud and searing guitars that aren't masked behind mountains of distortion but still have a pure and raw bite to them, think of a really punked-out FoL with the drive of P&B - sheets of guitar shred offset with pointed solo barbs. Reminds me at times of the mutant rock made by Clone Defects so long ago when they really get some Motor City drive going, or maybe a bit remiscent of a less over the top Mayyors when they really grind it out. A dozen cuts of non-stop action, even when they slow it down a bit they still manage to kill. An actual punk record in 2015, what a novel idea - leave it to the forward thinking French to realize that it's time to get back to basics. Very much recommended. Scum stats: 500 on pink vinyl. Mine also came with a 7" lathe cut (or hard flexi?) limited to 50 copies with raw versions of three LP tracks, but that was placed there by my generous French benefactor and does not com with the actual LP. It does however give you something to track down...(RK)
(Teenage Menopause // teenagemenopause.bandcamp.com)
Charlie Tweddle "Fantastic Greatest Hits" 2XLP
Charlie Tweddle is a true American original - musician, outsider artist, taxidermist, designer of high end cowboy hats, and he's been doing it for decades. 'Fantastic...' originally appeared as a self-released single LP in 1974 and went on to become an item of interest (and rarity) to Acid Archves type collectors for years. Here, the original LP is reissued along with a bonus disc of unreleased Seventies material from Tweddle's archives. The bonus disc is exciting stuff, showing Charlie experimenting with playing over/along with radio broadcast recordings, cut-and-paste tape manipulations, straight country and folk tunes, a bit of gospel and field recordings of nature turned into chopped and screwed tracks. The original LP is one side of acoustic country stompers, wistful folk, cowboy tunes all recorded with interestingly low-to-mid fidelity that sounds quite beautiful. Truly weird Americana that is as honest as it is weird. ROOTS. Side B of the LP is a Droll Yankee-esque sidelong nature recording of what I would imagine is a pond at night. I even love this side. As essential as essential gets for those of you who walk on the weird singer-sonngwriter side. Beautifully packaged in a full color gatefold.(RK)
(Almost Ready // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Ultrathin s/t LP
Long time coming full length from MTL's Ultrathin, whose tapes and lone 7" were of high yet under-appreciated quality. Hey, it's hard for me to like anyone who is a Habs fan too, but let's not let petty prejudices get in the way here. A concise nine song offering here that sits on the perfect line dissecting garage-punk and weird-punk; angular and sharp enough to draw blood, but also possessing enough backbone to remind you this is rock'n'roll. Take some of the more "out" bands of recent vintage - perhaps Tyvek and FNU Ronnies - and give them a more traditonal bag of tricks and we could be right here. "Scum With A Badge" is fried as can be and reminds me some of Piranhas and Clone Defects, that vintage weird-Detroit thing. "Out From the Cold" sidles right up next to some of today's best like Constant Mongrel or Pampers, updating the classic In the Red sound for modern times. They even toss in a convincing Pagans cover and end with one that even recalls Gaunt in a way. A great example of what modern punk-rock can be. Scum stats: 238 copies with hand-stamped labels and paste on covers. Well done DIY.(RK)
(Bruised TOngue // bruisedtongue.com)
Uranium Orchard "Lithophane Geisha" LP
Uranium Orchard's third record continues in the same progression of their self-titled LP and the "Unchurched Shithead" EP, venturing forth into the world with a diverse style and approach left for you to dissect and enjoy. It's also their first recording as a quartet, with a full time synth/keys guy this time out. The most daring band in punk rock right now, without question. Every record comes across like a riddle waiting to be solved - but not in a pretentious way, or in a ballbusting NY Times Sunday crossword way, but more like a gift for you to open. We could just discuss this via the samples it begins and ends on - beginning with a short instrumental track that features the sounds of someone getting their teeth cleaned ("Undressing for the Dentist") and ends with a recording of Scott Ferrall rattling off some old soccer scores. What happens between those two points? A hell of a lot. I think this might be some of their most straightforward songwriting at times, they've found some kind of pocket genre of their own, like a prog-punk noiserock thing. Again, there's still plenty of tape manipulation and background sound effects, and it's sometimes difficult to pick out what they might be looping or playing live over and over again. Highlights include "Winded" which almost sounds like a Today is the Day song played in a windtunnel, and "Eephus Raga" a long meditation with acoustic guitar and sitar. The title track is actually a pretty clever digital drumbeat with some sequential circuit thing over top. Side B is really phenomenal, easing you into a daze with three airy and bright tracks (including one that ventures slightly into country territory) and then turning your head with an agressive three song egress, with bits of metal, some pop, some near-funk, and ending the record with the album's best riff and darkest track in "Gethsemane". Of course there's the usualcryptic liners notes/song commentary with the scripture references I love to read into so much, and a nice Tolstoy quote. A fantastic record, a smart one at that, but not too difficult to follow or enjoy if you don't mind opening your ears/mind or a book every once in awhile. An uncategorizable and peerless band at this point.(RK)
Caesar Cuts // caesarcuts.storenvy.com)
Valley Boys "Drone Attack" EP
Ugly Pop jumps off their reissue wagon for a moment to prove punk is still alive and well in Toronto. Some School Jerks and Vapids combine forces with a Brutal Knight to lash out a frantic flurry of early 80's 'core influence and KBD-style spit, which isn't too far removed from what they've been doing all along. Mush mouthed vocals, hiccuped over crunchy repetitive riffs and knuckle-dumb beats. The guitars occasionally peel away for some solo rage, proving there's some chops under all that simplicity. The vocalist is gonna' pass out if he doesn't stop to breathe soon. No frills rockers for fans of that antagonizing Samoans-y punk or The Fix era MWHC. Yes, I am very aware that I say these references at least twice in every batch o' reviews - but wouldn't you rather have that than just another fucking Black Flag ape at this point? File somewhere near the Piss Test and Video singles you've been hoarding and pretend you ain't to fat to circle pit, old man. (RSF)
(Ugly Pop // uglypop.bigcartel.com)
V/A Angkor Wrack/Monoliths split 7"
Two songs each from two of the finest bands Denmark has to offer. One from each band per side, Angkor Wrack contribute two pieces of evil psych-rock, perhaps a more Hawkwind influenced Brainbombs or Swinehood type of thing - one rocker, one crusher. Monoliths continue to be difficlut to describe, in the best way of course. "Pigeon" is some sort of deconstructed caveman rock that I can only liken to Fetish 69 and their cover of Uriah Heep's "Lady in Black" is all wah-pedal and an odd baritone vocal from Colonel Dickhead. The good Euro stuff here, could use more from each. Scum stats: 300 copies, silkscreened tri-panel foldout sleeves.(RK)
(Webmaster Records/Mastermind Records // mastermindrec.tictail.com)
V/A Ausmuteants/Housewives split 7"
Very rarely am I excited for a split seven inch but this one has me drooling - two of Australia's best here, bending the rules of the Total Punk 45 (only two songs per record) by both playing the same two songs, one written by each band, who then sent the other band the lyrics and chords for them to play without hearing. Ausmuteants are not just one of the best bands in Australia right now, but are one of the best bands in the world. Their versions of the songs are sharply pointed jabs, "I Wanna Sedate You" is all squealing guitars and tightly wound rhythms, "Brown Out" is paced by a blur of synth with the vox rattled off as fast as one can talk. Housewives have produced two of the very best Aussie 7"es of recent times, their "Brown Out" is a forceful mid-tempo crunch with downward momentum and rough and tumble bass, with those fantastic deadbeat vox and sneering feedback. "I wanna Sedate You" in their hands becomes near hardcore, with barked vox and bad vibes. It's almost like the Beatles vs. the Stones, light vs. dark, good vs. evil and all that. I'm loathe to ever recommend a split, but this is that one time a year it's necessary to do so. This is also a concept record of sorts, based on the Brownout Strangler Edward Leonski, who killed his female victims to "get at their voices" and includes the death certificate of his first victim as an insert. DARK.
Scum stats: first press of 500 with red stamped covers are already sold out, repress of 300 with black stamps still available.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
V/A “Destroy All Art” LP
I can still remember that fateful Underground Medicine catalog. Epileptix “Self Hate” 7” was hand-scrawled in the margin beneath the “New Shit” section, and its brief description hit the right notes (“blah blah KILLED BY DEATH blah blah”, as I recall). Its inclusion, a late arrival that could not wait a month for the next update, made it seem so…urgent. It was the best record I purchased that month, and most months since then. It brought with it a call to arms: “This sick rock*n*roll record has been limited to 100 clear, 300 black, so happy hunting. Also limited to 50 color covers!” Clear vinyl: check. Yellow sleeve colored in with red must be the color sleeve, right? Wrong. It took another seven years before I found the full color copy. I had already been bit by the bug, but this was reinforcement and the message was clear as day: today’s “New Shit” is tomorrow’s KBD. So start scouring for these records, I did.
While I may have been a young loser, I was no nubee, already hipped to the life-altering Killed By Death comps. I started with KBD where one should, with Volume 2, the ultimate, undisputed heavyweight champ of said comps. It was the lens that reshaped, recontextualized, and irreversibly changed the way I saw this dumb music from a couple of decades earlier, and its compiler served as curator for my entree into a new world of music; his tastes were beyond question as they were so instrumental in shaping mine.
Destroy All Art serves to carry the torch of “Killed By Death” by compiling some of the best raw, rare punk from the 90s—the first generation of bands to grow up with KBD comps in their collection. While not the first to highlight some of these bands (see: examples 1 , 2 , 3 - which is not entirely a coincidence as DAA was compiled by #3 with help from #2), Destroy All Art is commendable for making the move out of the virtual and onto the turntable. On top of that, this comp sounds great and you’d hardly know it was assembled from a bunch of budget singles with shitty mastering to begin with.
It is funny getting this comp in the review bin, eighteen years after my UMed package with that Epileptix single, and longer still since being turned onto the KBD comps. It makes me feel old for sure, but it also makes me wonder how my elders saw Killed by Death upon its release. Did early collectors quibble with the tracklist in ways that I could not? Have my years of digging up these records impaired my ability to opine on this? Well, I love this comp, of course. I also cannot comprehend picking Young Losers over Distractors or omitting Nubees or Sad Sack or (…). And The Stiffs have always made me wish I were listening to Showcase Showdown instead. But I am not the kid new to this stuff, so my lens is different and I need to defer back to my wide-eyed days. And if this comp were dropped in my lap with no context and completely unknown to me, it’d blow my lil’ brain.
Highlights: the aforementioned Epileptix still get me every time; Several Species’ “Fight” (recorded in the 80s, released in the 90s thus qualifying it) is in the upper quadrant of the rare/great matrix; Kentucky’s Skudz are surely the only band to cover Oxblood and The Dicks on the same record (their “Fuck KPD” LP) but might have delivered their finest tune here in “Got Meth”; Bored to Death’s “Hate You More” is a gem of 90s drunk-punk/hc (on a personal note, this song was on the first mix tape anyone made me but the tracklist was lost along the way and it was years before I figured out what it was); and Last Sons of Krypton were on the cover of MRR. Side 2 starts out with Red Stars’ “Welcome to the Party,” a hopelessly obscure record released on a ska label that might be the best straight-ahead punk track of the comp, and goes on to include teen mods Speed and Cleveland’s Mormons, who released a spectacular bit of lofi hardcore slop so good that MRR gave it a positive review every time the band made up a new cover and sent it in (see nostages.com for bad scans of those sleeves).
Some Destroy All Art alumni continue to play in bands—Homostupids, Intelligence, and Timmy’s Organism, to name a few recently active ones—and more still, I’d guess, have faded out of sight (if these bands were in sight to begin with). And while this was a solid batch for the inaugural class, there are scores more great releases from this era that will hopefully see inclusion in future volumes…and lest we forget the key lesson from KBD: Volume Two is the best.(DH)
(Rock'n'Roll Parasite // check some distros!)
V/A "Hardcore Gimme Some More" 7" EP
Hardcore comps are a tough venture, but I have to agree with doing them as 7"es instead of LPs. Quick enough where you dont get bogged down with a long tracklist, and the genre's typical song length means you can still get six bands on the record comfortably. Beach Impediment knows how to pick 'em, and they give the world a great cross-section of what's happening without dipping into too much of the better known/more hyped scenes as well. The S.H.I.T. track that kicks it off ("Bliss") is a straight killer, I love this dude's vox (and the reverb!), one of Toronto's finest - actually, let's just admit they're the best band in TO right now. Next is Boston-core from Peacebreakers - this scene/style has never been my favorite, but this ain't a bad tune. I was excited for a Mercenary cut and a bit disappointed that it's the same tune from the Droppings tape, but at least it's a good one - I wish these dudes would just put out a record out already. The country's best d-beat band Impalers kick off side B with "Cellar Dweller" and it's par for the course - totally brutal and banging, with a great buzzsaw guitar solo and motor. The only band who should be allowed to have violent in ther name, Violent End, are next and make me fill a little better that Vile Gash apparently no longer exist and will never release that LP. "Public Fear" is a good tune, it's this guys vox that really elevate the band, although they throw down a pretty intense mosh part. Albany's Ajax close it out, a band a lot of people seem to be excited about these days, but I dont really get it. "Lapdog" is pretty intense, I'll admit, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. Anyway, this comp looks fantastic and you should buy it just for the S.H.I.T. track and count the rest as gravy! Awesome foldout insert with a spot for each band to do their thing - I'd love to see this continue as a series...(RK)
(Beach Impediment / beachimpedimentrecords.bigcartel.com)
V/A Havah / His Electro Blue Voice split 12"
First release on the Maple Death label, run out of Bologna by a Canadian transplant, thus the name. I'm totally unfamilair with Havah, but the interweb tells me it is the project of Michele Camorani who was apparently a big player in the Italian/European screamo (!) scene. The five tracks here are thankfully non-screamo (sorry) and range from bedroom indie-pop to cold wave synth stylings. Pretty lush sounding with post-punk leanings, Camorani's baritone vocals (all in Italian) are the focal point, musically the Termbo touchstones might be later solo Jay Reatard without the punk edge on the more pop tracks. The opener ("Organizzare L'Odio") borders on the gothy sound popular amongst the youth of today, and as a whole the "band" wouldn't sound out of place on Sacred Bones. "Neve, Ovest" closes his side with straight synth-wave number. But what we're really in this one for is the HEBV side - and it does not disappoint in the slightest. HEBV is one of the few bands operating today that can pull off a sidelong 19 minute (!) track and have me going back again and again. The longer form is really where Francesco Mariani excels (accompanied here by drummer Andrea Cantaluppi) and "Tartlas" is an exceptional piece of work. A galaxy of effects pedals and synth machines make for an enveloping current of noise with the bass/drum drive carrying this thing into the outer reaches. A determined drone-like pace begins everything and carries us through oscillating dimensions of swirl, with some evil vox speaking in riddles (or non-sequiturs - "Do you want a turtle? I sigh, I piss on you...") reaching a mid-point cresecendo that resets with a bit of timepiece clicking before the bass/drums pick back up and the wall of noise guitar kicks in and the vox come back in around the ten minute mark. Raygun effects, some sort of mixed up radio transmission bleeding into the mix then another reset aboout 2/3 of the way in. The drums drop, the bass line changes into a death bell tolling, a prickly guitar appears and some digital drums pick up the pace, creating an almost Carpenter-like soundtrack for an outer space Giallo film with more creepy background talking, some of sort of distorted horn or whale noise and an overriding synth drone gains momentum in the background until it overtakes the music, leaving us with what feels like the end of The Thing or an Alien flick, the hopeless survivor endlessly drifiting through space, doomed forever. Amazing stuff. I hate to say it, but I wish both sides were HEBV - but if you've been following the band thus far, this is an essential piece, and worth buuying a split for 10 minute opus like this makes perfect sense. Right? Scum stats: on deep green translucnet vinyl, limited, but the label does not say how limited, but it should at least make you nervous. Gatefold artwork by one of the US Girls looks like a Captured Tracks release.(RK)
(Maple Death Records // www.mapledeathrecords.com)
V/A Kytänsoittajat/Vaarallista split 7"
Curiously designed split with each band getting a full panel of artwork so that you’d never know it was a split unless you folded it over against the crease to turn it inside out and show the Vaarallista artwork. (Must suck for them!) Kytänsoittajat are solid pop-punk in the classic pre-HC Finnish style. Good singalong choruses (if you can swing the language) that carry the tune long after the groves have locked. Great artwork by Alex Ratcharge as well. The Vaarallista track is a contemplative singer songwriter-y cover of Finnish punk band Kivesveso GoGo with female vocals, sung in Finnish, over a metronome snare and light flute-setting synth. I couldn’t make it through the entire track. (DH)
(Blast of Silence // blastofsilence.org)
V/A "We're Loud: 90s Cassette Punk Unknowns" 2XLP
I'll just come out and admit this compilation turned out waaay better than I thought it was going be. For some reason I was apprehensive that this was going to be decent and thought it might not even be legit. But I was wrong, it appears. This Jaime Paul Lamb guy has been cranking out and recording garage-punk since the Nineties, somehow avoiding ever being on an actual record (everything here is sourced from tapes) during a time when anyone with a bowlcut and a guitar could get a single on Dionysus, Sympathy, Estrus, etc....According the liners, his drug problem and constant movement around the country were the reasons for this. I guess his closest brushes with "fame" were recording skater Riky Barnes' punk band (Riky & The Buttz, who weren't bad), his work with Les Fleurs Du Mal who later released an LP as Dirty Babies and his time in Costa Mesa's Drop Outs who played gigs with The Stitches and Duane Peter's band. Overall we're talking 33 tracks from 19 different bands, all of which Jaime either played in, recorded or both, in locales as diverse as Costa Mesa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Houston, Las Vegas and Tucson from 1993-1999. And again, I'll confess to be being pretty shocked at the quality of the majority of this stuff. Two LPs is a lot of space to fill (and I feel like Side 4 is the only time it gets thin on quality) but there's a lot to like here. Side One is obviously frontloaded with some big hits, and the Mega & The Nyrdz, Pink Fingers and Riky & The Buttz tracks are all great listens. Dumb punk, shit-fi ineptitude, ripping garage-punk, more trad Sixties organ grinding, '77 knockoff beach punk, one man band stuff...there's a lot of styles here, but they all share the common thread of being in the lo-fi and generally obnoxious spectrum. Side B standouts are the Van Buren Wheels garage-punk blazer and the Mummies worship of Barf Bags alongside some more standard garage turkeying from Les Fleurs Du Mal. Side Three has some winners from Crawlers (punk-garage), and The Fucking Pigs do what might be the best song on the comp (the unfortunatley titled "(I'm A) Date Rapist") and the Heck Yeahs offer up an EP's worth of trebly indie-punk. Side Four does get a bit thin, but the girl-punker from Rosebuds ("Destructor") is a winner as is "I Go Creep" from Mid City Nuisance, and speaking of winners, there's a band called Winners who close out the side with a pretty good budget rock trio of songs. Along with 'Destroy All Art!', this comp ushers in a wave of Nineties KBD-style retrospectives, whether we like it or not. It was a fertile time for the underground scene, so there's a lot of ore to mine, and I think there's some really serious finds that are going to be had by not looking in the obvious places (garage scene). But this comp does go for tape releases which I think is going to be key - my theory is that we're going need to hit up the wannabe-grunge circuit of bands emulating Nirvana and such, and find the ones doing it totally wrong and awful if we want to reclaim some of the spirit of the original KBD comps. But back to "We're Loud", I think it has been assembled so well that it raised my skepticism - I mean, how could this guy have so many good tunes and be almost completely unknown? - but I'm just being an overly suspicious dick now. I just hope this an actual Killed by Death #16 situation, and not a Killed By Death #11. You can check out more of Jaime's stuff here and Discogs tells us he released an album of "occult garagefunk" back in 2012. For a 2XLP sized release it really does deliver the quality - you know I love stuff that is dumb and sounds like shit, and this made me happy at least 75% of the time. Informative liner notes and some surviving band pics/fliers complete the package, the sound ranges fro mid-fi all the way to shit-fi, but it's always very listenable. I feel like this guy might have just recorded all of this stuff by himself and just made up some of the backstory, but maybe not - I mean, he is a junkie after all, but Bazooka Joe is an honest joe (LOL) and I trust his word on this one. Very recommended and full of surprises, I'm actually enjoying this a bit more than 'Destroy All Art!", but that might just be because I've never heard any of it before. Well done.(RK)
(Slovenly/Black Gladiator // www.slovenly.com)
V/A Windian Records Subscription Series #3 6x7" box set
The third installment of Windian's singles series, and they've managed to do the whole singles/subscription series properly which says a lot. There's no pre-order sign up, meaning none of the waiting/delays that often plague the singles club thing. All the records come out at once, and they're made available via the box set (with the company sleeves) or can be ordered individually with color sleeves (the art is compiled in a nice 14 page booklet in the box). Pretty astoundingly simple way to make it work, huh? All true two-song singles, this year's installment begins with The Seeers (Norfolk, VA and that's the right amount of e's I typed back there) who play fashionably melodic garage-pop that would not be out of place on a Burger cassette. Wisconsin's latest craze Platinum Boys offer up a two track teaser of their already-sold-out LP on DMR, and they traffic in that good time rock'n'roll the cheese state loves so much - Thin Lizzy vibes on the A and the B-Side reminds me of The Nuge. NYC's Church Bats contribute one of the best records in the box, some up-tempo and low(er)-fi garage stomp on the A-Side that is reminiscent of a modern update of The Statics and the B-Side is a great and lazy slow burn instrumental that also has the box's best song title: "Half Man, Half Shellfish". Next: War Party from Fort Worth, who do one of the worst songs in here (some bad schmaltzy ironic doo wop thing with horns and crooning) and one of the best with "D.R.U.N.K." which is a gang-shouter organ-driven garage stomp that I'm sure absolutely slays when they play it live - good guitar solo to boot. Baltimore's most totally punk rocker Drew Owen gives us two songs under the DD Owen name (instead of Sick Thoughts) which suggest he's been listening to some Southern punk (the new GG King LP and lots of Gary Wrong I'd guess). One original called "Violent Pacifier" (?!) that uses some of the metal tropes of those acts, heavy riff, evil synth, canned drums, reverbovox and a delivery that is reminiscent of Mr. Gary Wrong, and then DD goes one better and covers "Setting Fire to Your Loft" on the flip - he doesn't do much with the cover, but his original tune is actually pretty good. Closing out is the "big" name of this year's box, John Wesley Coleman, one of the busiest and more underrated players in the modern garage-rock game, and both tunes are winners - "I Feel Like A Sad Clown" is interestingly off-balance with some weird sound effects and melancholic yet uplifting hook, one note guitar solo(s), warbly vox and what seems like a beat intentionally missed here and there for a well done rock tune. "I Found A Home" makes good use of some new wavey synth lines by strapping them on the back of a mid-tempo rock song with a nice hook and lyrics (I fell in love with a girl who made me sandwiches as well, so I can relate) and I swear both of these remind me of Tom Petty in a good way (yes, I dig some Petty). A pretty good sampling of some up and coming bands from across the US (the JWC 7" is the only essential record here, but there's a few tracks on the others. A great value at $35, there are both clear and black vinyl versions (I think the box itself is limited to 200 copies) and each come with the 14 page booklet, download code and a glow-in-the-dark 45 adapter. Very well put together and eye catching, this is how the singles series should be done.(RK)
(Windian Records // www.windianrecords.com)
V/A X-Pulsion/Streets split 7"
Beautiful repro of this Belgian punk split from 1978. X-Pulsion's side is impeccable Belgian punk (although it reminds me a bit of Holland's Filth as well), hyperactive guitar driven punk rock'n'roll with nasal vox just a notch below The Kids level and "Schmucks/Castration" is loaded with handclaps. They shared guitar players with Chainsaw which explains the great guitar sound/non-stop riffing. Streets side is only one tune, the ska-punker "Police Control", a tune Contingent also played a version of - and Streets/Contingent/Chainsaw all shared members. Ska-punk is generally not welcome around these parts, but this one is an entertaining and mellow diversion with some spicy guitar playing/soloing. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on red, with insert.(RK)
(No Good Records // nogoodrecordsausamericas.bigcartel.com)
Vatican Dagger "Not To Be" 7"
Heavy-hitting NOLA supergroup made up of Gary Wrong, Roman Gabriel Todd, the drummer from Necro Hippies and a guy named Phil Pill on vox. Insert shows them playing live in alley, and that seems about right. "Not To Be" is the sort of nausea-inducing punk Gary Wrong has built an empire on, a real killer tune. Almost reminds me of The Scrip+S. "The Mess" has a pushy riff and mid-tempo aggravation. A very promising debut, and if it's good enough for Total Punk...(RK)
(Total Punk // floridasdying.com)
VCR "VCR's Greatest Hits!" 7"
Take everything you probably hate about modern punk/hardcore, throw it in a paper bag, light it on fire and throw it on someone's porch and there you have this VCR 7". A bunch of Toronto kids who do not know any better make this zany keerazy record almost impossible to like. Terrible jokes, a pizza party, a singer that sounds like he's channeling Adam Sandler, terrible keyboard sounds, cowbell, poorly thought out pseudonymns, at moments it reminds you what the Hank Wood record might have sounded like had it totally sucked, "One Trick Dog" does have some of the better dogs-barking sound effects as rhythm track work I've heard since perhaps the Dog Police LP (a seminal moment in canine New Wave for sure), and plenty of artwork in the booklet that's in that shitty-is-cool style (and some that looks like they just copied a Sam Ryser flier and put their name in it instead, which if done as parody is sort of genius...). This record is absolutey terrible, which is at least good for something I suppose. I mean, I enjoy the fact that these kids went so far out of their way to make a piece of shit, but that also doesn't mean I'm going to listen to it again. Actually, I have listened to this more than a few times. It's quite a spectacle...Anyway, there's only one band called VCR I will acknowledge, and thats Vice City Rockers.(RK)
(Barfbag Records // vcr-toronto.bandcamp.com)
Violence Creeps "On My Turf" 7"
VC is probably one of five or fewer bands on this Left Coast that I dig on heavily, so I'm biased as hell going in on this. That standing - it's due time for all the other jerks who dig on that mutant strain of off-kilter smegma punkers to take notice as well. Good shit can happen outside of St Louis, y'no? It's just all the more shocking that it happened right down the street from me. In a parking lot, next to a booshie boiled bagel shop. Around the corner of not one - but two - artisanal mac & cheese restaurants. But enough about sadsack locations - lets get to the grubsteak.
After twenty seconds of a prime Neutral-era Sonic Youth sorta' clatter, the bass bounce cuts through "Sex Menace", leaving a falsified fun sensibility to all the larynx shredding anger going on up top. Amber does her bestie Brannon infused spew as the itch & scratch post-punker garbage tide rolls on underneath. Then comes the horns. It's getting fucking weird, even for them. "Drop Out" is the fastest on the platter and it's a hostile near-core batter blaster to remind you that relationships suck. True 'dat. "On My Turf" is the sort of drugged sludge that really gets them noticed around this neck of the woods. A side-long twisted pisser about the Oakland asshole take over (right?) that crushes in a No Trend - or even my beloved Life Stinks - mutant tradition. What if L7 regressed from playing their pocket metal anthems to slinging a festering mass of thuggish slop with sax skronk for extra irritation? What if The Slits never got swept up in all that reggae bullshit and proceeded to tear ass into the aggro-HC arena? Well now you know. It'd be something as golden and not as glamorous as this. If only I could get the youthful squatters of today to clutch this sorta' awkward hybrid magic and step away from the moderne punks that sound alarmingly like the Jackson 5 in comparison. Le sigh. HEY! They got a flexi disc available with the gnu Degenerate zine as well. I highly suggest picking that up - even if they didn't let me do the label art. (RSF)
(Vee Cee Records // www.violencecreeps.bandcamp.com)
Weed Hounds s/t LP
A fine example of not judging a band by its label or the name. I mean, what would you think a record by a band called Weed Hounds out on Katorga Works would sound like? Yeah, I would hope for 'Back With A Bong'-era Murphy's Law too, but once you see the artwork you'll be double checking for a Captured Tracks logo. Weed Hounds are NWOWSG (New Wave of Williamsburg Shoe Gaze) that I'm sure had a local following in the wake of Crystal Stilts and post-Vivian Girls bands, and they do a very pleasant recreation of the Black Tambourine/Slumberland Records thing, songs that sort of wander around and look pretty. Nothing wrong with that, but I think you probably had to be there. I'm convinced bands like this don't exist outside of NYC or the Bay Area in 2015. I also think this band is already broken up and this record is already sold out, so this review may be a moot point anyway.(RK)
(Katorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Wet Drag "Work Drag" 7"
Oaktown DIY puk from the family of bands that have given us Uzi Rash and Trashies (two of my favorites...lolzzzzzz) plus one of the gals from Grass Widow. For as much as I've disliked Uzi Rash and abhored Trashies, this Wet Drag stuff is pretty good. Sounds very Bay Area art-punk, everything from IBC to Flipper even. All three tunes wander in a semi-free range style, bassline usually anchoring them in reality of rhythm, while the guitars are used at angles and the vocals drone and are perhaps improv. Not sure. B-Side has a pair of winners, "Too Heavy" is pretty artatstic and the girls deadpan vox are real dreamy, just listen to that rubber bassline do battle against those needly guitars! "The Future" is minimal bass-strangle that creeps a bit Subterrenean then gets all arty in a perhaps Ralph Records fashion, the guy's vox go a little zany, but it's cool man. Oh yeah, the title track is a pretty long ramble that is long enough where it perhaps tests your patience, but the girls vox somehow make amends with that point. Plus there's something a bit Fall-esque here. Brilliant Colors related? Very cool record, I will admit. Wait, is this Hunx's label? Scum stats: 350 copies.(RK)
(Wacky Wacko // wackywacko.bigcartel.com)
Wilful Boys "Anybody There?" 7"
Wilful Boys are another band in the recent Aussie-NYC exchange program (which I suppose includes Ballroom, Degreaser, and well I guess that might be it...) with a debut 7" on the Oz-championing Ever/Never imprint. "Anybody There?" works the slow-fast plod vs. smash dynamic, with some forceful Orstralian vox andinteresting guitar wander, shows some real constraint and energy. "Flat Out" on the flip has the most in common with Cuntz of any current act, working some raw energy and some lead guitar flash giving the dronery some character - both tunes are ranking as pretty good thus far, and I think they're going to age well on repeat listens, the certainly sound Aussie but give the old give-and-take a nice run up the flagpole and don't sound swampy and all that. Perhaps a bit more Dog Meat than Black Eye. Worth investigating.(RK)
(Ever/Never // evernever-records.bandcamp.com)
Wintercoffin "Forest of Blitzkreig" 7"
Remember way back when Jay said he was starting a black metal band? Well it happened, if only for a moment, and here it is as a one-sided 7". Wintercoffin was Jay with Rob Evil (Evil Army) blasting out the darkness of which only this tune survives, and it's just perfect. Jay's does metal-reverb vox that I feel justified in describing as sick with Rob adding some thrashy riffing and tasty soloing, including a monster breakdown to end the world. It's a pretty long tune and I'm glad this exists, recording quality is somehwere in the vicinity of Midnight's 'Slay the Spits' EP, drums have a wonderfully trashy tone. B-Side of the single is screened (black on black natch!) and it's limited enough where you should be getting nervous right about...now...(RK)
(Blak Skul // available via Goner)
X-Discos "Xecuted EP" 7"
Another semi-oldie but waaaaaay goodie from Episode Sounds. Absolutely top shelf Japanese punk rock, full of '77 and KBD influences, the closest to the Registrators still-kinda-punk just before '16 Wires' sound - frantic but a bit more sharp and slick without any powerpop wimp moves but still possessing powerful hooks. Punk enough that even Lowery would probably have released it, and even a bit reminiscent of the best Intimate Fags songs. The snottiest that Japanese vocals can get, yet another incredible bass player, guitar playing that will put an eye out if you're not careful, immpeccable sleeve design, great song titles ("Fix My Brainwash"!) one of the best examples of post-Needle Records Japanese punk rock I've heard. I would highly suggest finding an affordable copy of this via Discogs as soon as possible, before Cardwell totally blows the lid off Flat Tire Punk and you'll be scrambling to fill the gaps in your collection. Scum stats: 300 pressed.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
Young Trynas "Probably Music" 7" EP
Surprisingly punk offering from White Denim - I kid, but they've put out some serious kling klang over the years. Baltimore punk from three young ladies (members of Priests, a band I'll confess to having never heard), doing a pretty grungy punk thing not dissimlar to Quaaludes with a dirtier East coast vibe. "No Right" is all attitude punk-out that has my hopes high for the rest of this. Nice solo too, a little Sage-y. "I Love You" almost sounds like a Melvinsy sludger and they do some cool tempo-shifting things and the talked vocals on this one are a cool play. "Be Gone" is more crawl-core, she's real pissed now andthat riff is good one. Really, some Tad/Buzz things happening here I dig. "Control" is a bit more melodic or maybe atmospehric than the thuggishness of the A-Side. "$" sounds like something off 'Slip It In', a realy snaky rocker that does great things with feedback. "Fuck you pay me!"! This is a great little record you shouldn't ignore. For fans of Quaaludes and Vexx should dig, and this is East Coast too, so you know it's harder. Don't let the name scare you off (not that it's a bad name, I just think some people might not get the "slang", y'know?).(RK)
(White Denim // www.whitedenim.com)
Your Pest Band "Other Bore" 7"
This record confuses me. The band name confuses me. Is it a good thing? I suppose so. The best description I can come up with for YPB is that they are playing the Japanese version of maybe Goodnight Loving or the kinder, gentler Black Lips songs, sort of a melodic garage rock thing with twangy guitars and that sort of Midwestern barn dance feel. The lyrics for "Other Bore" are touchingly ESL, I know exactly what sentiment they are expressing with some creative language. Side B's "Dice" sounds a bit more tradtionally FTP-esque, an urgent bit of punk rock seriousness that teeters on the edge of aggro pop-punk. I'lll be honest and say I had no idea these guys have been around for so long, but I think the band name sort of made me tune them out years ago. Seeing that they played with Tenement a few times makes sense, and I'm also a bit disturbed that they have a singles/hits comp called "Smash Hits!" - what?! Scum stats: foldout newsprint sleeves with hand-stamped labels.(RK)
(Episode Sounds // episodesounds.bandcamp.com)
Zoltars s/t LP
I'm not sure if something changed with The Zoltars or I just wasn't paying enough attention to their earlier records. Either is entirely possible. This is actually their third LP, and I think I missed the second one, but since they all look the same I feel like it's not my fault. Main man Jared Leibowich has a wimpy sort of indie-garage voice that either draws you into the song when the lyrics have some bite or gets too sing-songy on the more overtly poppy numbers, but he gets more in the win column on this record. Some of the low-key garage tunes remind me a bit of the Estrogen Highs in the stripped and clean approach to the genre ("Holiday" in particular). "16-17-18 Living" is one of the songs where it all comes together, just hooky enough, tastefully jangly, a little melancholy spiced with some gal backing vox. "Out of My Head" is the sort of soft garage nugget that sounds right in his hands. When he tries to do the innocent Richman-like gone bad thing I'm not into it and a few of these tunes are just way too wimpy for me, but he's got some personality and it's encouraging to see a band actually get better instead of dumping out one really good record to start and then proceed to suck through an endless procession of follow-ups once they get some heat. This guy sounds like he's doing it because he believes in it, not some sort of carbon copy of whatever people are buying. I'm almost annoyed at times by the way some of these songs have attached themselves after a few listens, which the band shoud take as a compliment. For all you easy listening fans out there.(RK)
(Happenin Records // happeninrecords.com)
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