RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2010
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(AR: Acapulco Rodriguez)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich K.)(TO: Tm Onita)(RSF: Rob Vertigo) (A.: Alessandro) (ES: Eddie Schneider) (MH: Mike H.)(NG: Nick Goode)
Ale Mania "Robust Universe" 7"
Two tracks of well executed retro dance-punk. Yes, dance punk. Somewhere inbetween The Cure at their most upbeat and a dubby Liquid Liquid perhaps. The A-Side seems like a real dance floor hit for hipster cocaine parties. B-Side has a killer bass line, something like PiL at their fruitiest with a goth sensibility. I can't deny that it's catchy as hell, but I also can't help but think this stuff is also for people who don non-prescription eyeglasses for fashion and wear scarves when it's not winter. Music you wouldn't want your bros to catch you listening to, and I ended up spinning it a few more times than I'm comfortable with. Dark enough that it didn't make me feel completely metrosexual, and good enough to make me feel weird for liking it quite a bit. At least they're from San Diego and not NYC. It's a keeper. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on clear.(RK)
(Hell Yes! // myspace.com/hellyeshellyeshellyes)
Amber Alerts "Antibodies" 7"
Third wax appearance for these Alabama synth-punks, sort of the little bro band to Wizzard Sleeve. "Antibodies" has the slowest digital drum beat ever committed to vinyl, it must be like 5bpm or something. Molasses-mouth vox with guitar and synth play to match, creating a total cough-syrup dream state. Slo-mo creeping. "Brainscratch" fills up the last bits of groove an Side A, a short exhibition in could-care-less stink punk. "Somewhere Under A Shit Cloud!" ups the bpms to conscious levels, tacks on a hooky organ line (doubled up by the bass) and some slurred vox. Shit-fi and drug-fried for sure, deadman vox give off the aura of a Satanic-cult chant, or maybe just bunch of teenagers in the woods wasted and reading Slayer lyrics while they cut themselves. Not essential, but pretty fucking fried.(RK)
(Sweet Rot // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
Anasazis "Introducing the..." EP
Totally non-offensive and ultimately unmemorable garage-pop from NYC. Go figure. I wonder if they live in Brooklyn. At their best they could be the Romance Novels without the guts, and their worst like any number of lo-fi garage-pop acts rattling around in the bottom of the bin. I'm not trying to be cruel here, but there isn't much you'll take away from this except an appetite for something with substance.(RK)
(I Hate Rock'n'Roll // myspace.com/ihrnr)
Apache Dropout "Do The Splendid Crown" 7"
Vinyl debut from these Hoosiers, ex-John Wilkes Booze fella(s), they had a tape out last year that was pretty...murky sounding. Things are a bit clearer on this, yet still raggedly lo-fidelic. Two shots, "Do the..." is a drawly and unhinged take on classic Mid-American psychedelic rock, floating the same vibes as Golden Boys and that JW Coleman LP. Fuzzed-out, hard-edged and hard-drinkin', it's for dancing shitfaced and breaking bottles and even has a sneaky hook obscured in the haze. Flip is "All I'm Gonna Do Is Laugh" a hurt(ful) and lethargic number, not really a crooner, but definitely slow dance time, and again the participants will probably be drunk. Or alone and shuffling in circles under the disco ball after closing time. Hard livin' vocals pair up well with rising and falling guitar neck warping. Both sides of this have moments where they seem to go offspeed, making me check the tightness of the spindle hole or see if the needle was dragging, but it appears it's just a tape flaw left there intentionally, and it ends up enhancing the out-of-time and intoxicated mood. I repeat, for fans of Golden Boys, John Wesley Coleman and other practicioners of lysergic Americana, made by older guys who still like to get real fucked up. Recorded in mono/entirely analog and "no digital processing has been used" for those of you who like to know who's keepin' it really reel.(RK)
(Magnetic South // www.magneticsouthrecordings.com)
James Arthur “MannTT” 7”
James Arthur accosts the sane of us with another transient dollop of Texas-fried psych corrosion. He’s a man whose ability to record smells and paint sounds is so compelling, in wooden shacks littering the countryside no less, that if you’re not paying attention yet you just haven’t taken that necessary step maaaaan. A-side “MannTT” is more an aura-casting soundscape resting on a seamless rhythm section overture – a rudimentary rock skronk prodding your frontal lobes until the lawn mower and AM radio apparent in the mix take on an unfamiliar hue as Southern sun cooks ya. More of a detour from the crocodilian mating calls and ceremonial hog rituals that the “Manhunt” LP’s instro’s are made up of, out of the jungle and into suburbia. On the flip is an Uncle Bobby cover, and while I might be in the minority here at Termbo headquarters, I’m pretty confident that the Semitic gargoyle was the prince of rocknroll music, and any psychologically haywire interpretation of his emotive-to-the-sky compositions is welcome on my stereo day and night. This one isn’t your typical high-as-a-kite Byrds rendering though – it’s a realistic, initially outta tune bringer-downer, crawling across the bass & tambourine floor with vox manipulated into synesthesiastic waves of blue spruce and dirt and melancholy. Arthur is one of the few dudes conveying actual vibes, and interesting ones at that. (BG)
(Perpetrator Records // myspace.com/perpetratorrecords)
Bad Taste “I Was A Teenage Jack the Ripper” EP‘MERICAN HISTORY 101
1492 – Mr. Columbo strikes it rich with the resourceful land of milk n’ honey n’ thunderstick-fearing plains-people. Their eradication was so important that it’s devoted almost 30 pages to even in most hippy school bullpucky alterno-texts. Good job douchebags.
1776 – Drunken farmers fuck the world’s preeminent empire in the arse. Go on home British soldiers, go on home! Have you got no fucking homes of your own!? Great musical as well (“Mommmma, heyyyy Mommmma….”)
1865 – The dirty south gets put in its place for remaining faithful to Jeffersonian states’-rightsism and we’re all better off for it.
1972 – Neil Diamond proves that he’s the Jews’ long-awaited savior at LA’s Greek Theatre one hot August night. Fuck yeah.
2010 – The #1 music group Bad Taste’s “I Was A Teenage Jack the Ripper” EP hits America’s collective consciousness and schisms the land of the free into those willing to accompany them in their cultural nosedive to the annals of devolution and sensibility-laden wimps unprepared to remove their tampon and walk the plank. Get bent. Get this record. Any objections and it’s official: Punk is fuckin’ DEAD. (BG)
(Feral Kid Records /// www.feralkidrecords.com)
Barreracudas "Dog Food" EP
This thing starts off sounding like Green Day but ends up morphing into some sub-Eddie and the Hotrods (or is it Eddie and The Cruisers?) pub-rock riffing. Pretty much what you'd expect from a gimmick song ("I love dog food, Alpo, etc....."). "Diet Coke" drops a line about going to a Gentleman Jesse gig, and that's about the best part. I missed their first single, was it as full of bad schtick as this one? Die-hard fans of ATL punkish pop will fall for this, but at this point it's GG King or nothing for me.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Jim Basnight "We Rocked And Rolled" CD
Retrospective release spanning Basnight's 25+ year career on the outskirts of punk, power-pop and rock'n'roll. In his earliest days as a solo act and with the Moberlys he released some tunes which flirted with KBD/H2D notoriety ("She Got Fucked" in particular, which doesn't appear here, perhaps to keep the disc G-rated...I have a feeling it isn't Jim's proudest moment either...). "Sexteen" has always been a favorite of his at TBHQ, and "Live in the Sun" off his first single from '77 (the A-Side of "She Got Fucked") and "I Wanna Be Yours" could (and actually might have) work on a US volume of Shake Some Action. Jim has spent most of his time in Seattle, aside from a late Seventies excursion to the bright lights of the NYC scene and some time in LA, and has amassed a large discography, frequently on the verge of "making it" to major label success and falling just short, but carving a workmanlike niche for himself nonetheless. He's worked with semi-major players from the punk/pop scene, members of REM and other session cats and got some great underground press in the early Eighties with the first Moberlys record (sort of an Americanized Kinks/Costello hybrid). As the years go by various incarnations of the Moberlys come and go, then the Rockinghams, The Jim Basnight Thing, the Jim Basnight Band and more, the power-pop edge eventually giving way to Beach Boys-esque pop, Alt-rock, some soul, folk, jazz and even flirtations with city rock. Whatever was working at the time. A talented songwriter with plenty of archival releases on Japanese, French and Italian labels, nationalities that we all know love to obsess on obscure American acts. Obviously the 90s/00s material won't sway any Termbo readers (the most recent stuff sounds like Blues Traveler or some shit) and the Rave Up LP 'Pop Pleasure' contains everything our little demographic really needs to know. Jim's still working the resort/bar ciruit for all you Northwesterners out there and this thing has lengthy liner notes if you really want to read about Jim discussing how cool snakes are while describing the process behind "Python Boogaloo". A lifer for sure, and still trying to get his.(RK)
(Disclosed Records // www.jimbasnight.com)
Bastard "Blind Sink" LP
'Blind Sink' is not officially regarded as an LP by some (20 mins/six songs), but it is the first vinyl appearance of this material from Lyon's Bastard, a locally legendary (or so I'm told) French noise act from the mid-Nineties. Originally released on CD in 1995 (and their second "record"), it's densely dark noiserock springing from the Neubauten strain of industrially percussive anti-rock, but also paralleling some of the happenings here in the States via what was going on at Touch-n-Go post-Jesus Lizard and their intersection with the Skin Graft family of Now Wave bands, at least the more terestrially rooted ones. Free skronk freaking for sure, atonal bass throbs and guitar slivers spattered over a varied weird percussive elements. Vocals consist of straight talk, heavy breathing, madman drooling, and whatever sounded fucked at the time, I'm sure. There's some primitive sampling happening, but overall very non-digital sounding. Pretty loose and raw for the first four avant tracks, then on "Gladiator" they actually take claim to actual rock'n'roll for a couple minutes of wall-of-riff beatdown, then turn to some Moore/Ranaldo guitar exercising for the closer. Never knew this band existed until I received this for review, which is always exciting and another reminder of the massive amount of cool stuff out there waiting to be unearthed. I won't say my life has been changed, but it was definitely an entertaining ride and bit of research, which is more than I can ask for from most records these days. Scum stats: 310 copies.(RK)
(Killed By An Axe // myspace.com/killedbyanaxe)
Beach Fossils "Daydream" 7"
I don't know what it is, but I am always somewhat on the fence about what Captured Tracks or Woodsist puts it out. I am well aware how stupid and unfair this is, but whatever. I suppose it's not their fault that the internet came looking for them and gives them an almost guaranteed freebie whenever they put something out. Nonetheless, it's still a (somewhat) valid concern. Anyways, here is Beach Fossils debut 7." Two tracks, and a pretty good introduction to the world and shows a pretty strong promise of a young band/project. Side A is "Daydream," which is a song that is pretty indebted to all things Twee. Even with the C86 vibes in the forefront, it still eschews all the bird-watching, cardigan wearing associations involved with saying something like that. Sonically, it's pretty with the times, and by that I mean the vocals are nice and reverbed out. It’s a pretty good A side. The real standout here though is "Desert Sand." I really do wish this were the A side, but then again I'm actually a fan of the secret B side gem. This is one that I'll call a restrained "swamp stomper". Kind of like a less primal version of The Troggs (even has an opening reminiscent of 66 5 4 3 2 1). I should probably make it clear that I am not exactly using the most flattering language here to describe this, but in the end both of these are actually pretty good tunes. A worthy introduction, and probably worth your money.(ES)
(Captured Tracks // www.capturedtracks.com)
Beaches s/t LP
It doesn't take that long for musical trends to hop across oceans these days, and here we have Beaches, which I'll lazily (but accurately) call the Australian equivalent of Vivian Girls. Fuzzy and shimmeringly hip gal-rock of recent vintage, certainly informed by applicable C86 and shoegaze acts and beholden to members of the Slumberland roster, past and present. I do think Beaches approach the form with a certain amount of panache, as they offer up numerous bursts of Sonic Youth-ful indie-rock guitar squall and stomp on the wah pedal with enough masculine force that the will lead the "mainstream indie" press to describe it as "psych" or something crazy like that. In general, the guitar presence has enough force to give some density to the de rigeur dreaminess. Leave it some Australian birds to actually rock it out. The instrumental passages are quite exceptional and overall this thing should make Kim Gordon proud. I can't deny liking this a bit (and I'd have liked it even a bit more in 1994) just as I can't deny past ownership of some Velocity Girl records. Could be a massive college radio hit, if college radio meant something anymore.(RK)
(Shock Records // www.mistletone.net)
Beat Beat s/t LP
Austria's Beat Beat (make your own clever band name quip and send it to the editor for inclusion in this parenthetical space) play a friendlier and tamer version of the late-Nineties Eastern Canadian garage-punk sound, meaning a mash-up of the Deadly Snakes and Spaceshits with just a slight Sexareenos frat-brat nod and Daylight Lovers sense of punk bravado. A lot of people thought the Spaceshits an unremarkable band when compared to American heavies like the Devil Dogs or New Bomb Turks, but I think they were exceptional, due to the fact that there were actually quite competent musicians behind all the savagery. The guitar playing (both rhythm and lead) was aces, Khan was an incredible bass player, Sultan obviously had the best pipes in sport and Danny was a diamond of a drummer. But their musical talent only got them over so big because they used it to play with careless speed, uncanny precision and total rock'n'roll abandon. It was a car crash just waiting to happen at all times. I describe this because, while Beat Beat play in a similar style, and seem to have the talent, they lack that unfettered energy and primal rock'n'roll initiative. They're a bit more song-oriented though, bringing up the Deadly Snakes reference, but obviously can't hold a candle to the raw talent of that outfit either. Although they do briefly evoke some of the Sixties classic rock touchstones the Snakes could muster and ass-shaking Fifties rollers a bit as well, it's all a bit dry. They try real hard and pack some small barb hooks into the cuts whenever they can, but at the end of the day what are ya gonna do? Listen to this or 'Love Undone' for the hundredth time? I think you know the answer...(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Bed Wettin' Bad Boys "Best/Worst Band in Sydney" 7"
Worst name for an Australian band I can remember since Big Bongin' Baby. Awful. BWBB are a trio of Aussie youth switching up instruments on each side, one being the "best band" and the other the "worst band". Indie-punk of sorts, "Don't Wanna Know" tries to capture some of the ultra-primitive wailing of the Germs or another similarly doomed and angry act with buzzing guitar and punk shouts at "the man". "Waste of Time" is straight-up Nineties indie, reminiscent of both the Barlow and Mascis catalogs. That was "the best band" side. "Worst band" side has two more, the instrument switch seems to make them sound a little more inept, and the songs are a bit more bland as well. The vein-bulgingly incensed vocal shouts seem a little out of place against the fairly tame playing. Mid-tempo and moody, recording's a little thin, they spread out a bit more on these two tracks yet it's fairly mundane stuff on the whole. Lots of Aussie bands going for the simple less-is-more approach these days, but these boys come out sounding pretty vanilla. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsociety.blogspot.com)
Bill Collectors "Hole in the City" 7"
Garage-punk bands grow like mold in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps encouraged by the massive amounts of rainfall and homegrown weed. Bill Collectors have self-released this debut single and they transport one back to the days of journeyman Nineties garage outfits that peppered the rosters of Bag of Hammers, Rat City, Regal Select and the like. Almost reminds me of a Rob Vazquez band, but without the x-factor that was Rob himself. Seemingly too-simple garage-rock that plays to the everyfan rocker, a dumb but effective riff that sounds common enough that you seem to remember it from somehwere but just can't place it, gruff and easy to recite lyrics that don't take too much to recall or forget with an easy to sing along to chorus. That's all it is, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. "Hole in the City" and "Gold Medal" are both meaty and sloppy, punk rock sliders with extra grease provided by guitar solos of the blistering flavor and the hand-clap outro of Side B is that bit of special sauce on the wrapper you wipe that last bite in before calling it a meal. Sure, it's just your everyday ordinary hamburger, but even the most mundane hamburger is still worth eating. American rock'n'roll all the way, I'd rather listen to this 100 times than have to sit through another fuzzed-to-shit mystery band playing fancy with DIY-JAMC-FUCKYOU-S3-MBV trappings. Too bad the sleeve art sucks terribly, but none of you dicks care in the first place, so why the fuck should they have bothered anyway?(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/billcollectorsinc)
Birds of Maya "Ready to Howl" 2XLP
Long-running Philly power trio follow-up their under-the-radar debut LP on Holy Mountain with this massive (both in sound and length) double LP head trip of serious rock proportions. Three songs and almost an hour in length, it's a record that will seem daunting to the novice listener but also one that wears its excesses like a well tailored suit. These songs deserve to be this expansive, to be laid out and able to be inhaled deeply, and the phenomenal guitar work is not spread even the slightest bit thin. If you're not in the know, this axe-wielder is also the player behind the string splatter of Purling Hiss, but here the sound is inspired straight from the finest of Sixties wah-damaged overdrive, riffs steered and shifted with equal amounts of precision and abandon, opened-up and humming on an eternal road trip propelled by the 454 big block of bass and drums. The guy wields the whammy bar like a tire iron. The terms biker, acid and psych are used all too frequently and incorrectly in the dark world of music reviewing and blogdom, yet I don't feel any trepidation at all attributing those descriptives to this release, a record as fried as anything made by Japanese practicioners of the heavy guitar arts, more stoned than any stoner rock outfit and containing the primal Stoogian essence every caveman-blues band since 1973 has tried to replicate. 'Ready to Howl' is the soundtrack to a feature film of the same name, dealing with a lost weekend of drinking, fighting, driving and other existential subjects from what I've been told, and I can see the film as some sort of Easy Rider-meets-Deadbeat at Dawn amalgam just from the dozen or so listens I've given it. The three tracks are broken into Friday, Saturday and (two) Sunday sides, overlapping and cutting from side-to-side much like the evening's party turns into the dawn. Tricky, as the first song (titles are unidentified on the sleeve) is only four-minutes or so and the other two beast-sized cuts comprise the rest of the three and a quarter album sides, abruptly cutting off at the conclusion of a slab and continuing the next day right where it left off. How else are you going to do it though? I applaud the concept and execution. Recorded with just enough of a haze and crackle on the instruments, with some downshifts into low-fi turns for added texture, creating a a perfect vintage-psych sounding environment for the story and guitar to unfold in. Obviously Friday is the explosive burst into the tale, Saturday where much of the primal riff damage is done and Sunday explores the ramifications of what came before and where the real emotive explorations crescendo and conclude. Honestly, I've not heard a better guitar-rock record since perhaps Comets on Fire at the top of their game and 'Ready to Howl' gives you four sides worth of what we all want those lost Sixties "guitar heavies" reissues we keep plunking down for to sound like. The only complaint I can think of anyone having about this record is going to be length for today's ADD-afflicted crowd, but we all know this genre is better run as a marathon than a sprint, and amateurs who can't hang should then stay within their bush league constraints and not try to play with a major leaguer like this double-headed bruiser. Personally, I've listened to this thing back-to-back in its entirety on more than one occassion. It's that easy to get lost in.(RK)
(Richie Records // testostertunes.blogspot.com)
Birthday Suits "European Tour 2009" 7"
I constantly feel as if I'm repeating myself in these capsules. I apologize. But at risk of redundancy anyway, here's the line on BS so far: post-Sweet JAP two piece bringing the wild noisy rock in the live setting, no real records out except for a full length CD, which doesn't count by virtue of format, and a split 7" I believe. Example #217 of a band that's super entertaining to watch live but don't come off as well recorded. The freakout energy and bombastic guit/drums explosiveness just don't translate. Matthew is a beast on the kit and Hideo has guit skills, and both songs here have that tight rhythm with some odd pauses/stutters that make for good dynamics, but it's just not real exciting if you're not watching them sweat it out in person. Be sure to show up when they play your town though.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Black Bug s/t LP
Synth-punk waves of hate from Swedish nutzos. Hard-edged drum machine breaks, moody/angry synths and guitars, doom-laden visions. Quality stuff from an oft maligned genre, the duo (trio?) keep things aggro throughout, tempos vary from speedy and truly punk blasters like "Run", dirgey crushers ("Beating Your Heart Out"), and Black Wave revival rockers ("Fell in Love..."). "Absorbine Hearts" closes with live drums and is a quite incredible piece of sludge-rock with an absolutely mosntrous bass sound and vocals from the next room. I wish the whole LP sounded like this, but it's still a good slab nonetheless. Like I said, they keep it angry, there's a lot of actual punk rock happening here, not just new wave retro-crap, and when they do go neo-wave it sounds like a satanic New Order at least. Vox are mostly of the female persuasion with occassional switch-up to a dude, a couple instros creep by as well. "Inside Out" almost sounds like Crisis without the politics. "Unicorn" is a rock ripper that reminds me of those Reatards demos where Jay was using a drum machine and demonically possessed church organ sounds. It's these interesting tracks that they throw in between some more standard synth-heavy material (that often sound like the midway point between Lost Sounds and Volt) that make it above par for the genre. All of the fifteen tracks don't sound exactly the same, a good amount of variance, and the lo-fi production values keep things from getting too slicky and icky. Most Swedish bands are notorious for just emulating a certain genre/band with little to no emotion, and while Black Bug are certainly ripping it off a bit, they do so with the required dose of originality and attitude as well. Synth-punk heads take note. I hope this band eats the Poppets.(RK)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
Black Bug "Television Screen" 7"
I like Black Bug, I really do. For a synth-punk act, hideous creatures I generally revile, they bring enough evil to the genre to make it appealing. If I have to listen to synths, I like them to be nasty. You know me. "Television Screen" steals from the Spits punk playbook (which is hilarious when you think about it), mongotone vox and hell-fi guitar/drum/synth vegomatic rhythm. "Wir Zerlegt" ("We Cut") brings some thich-as-a-brick organ in for a Krauty goth dancefloor number that gets strangulated at the end. Well done so far, but the B-Side is where it's at here folks. "Nightstick" is straight horror synth-drone, a la Jonny Carpenter or a Goblin-esque zombie walk soundscape with Stephen Hawking on speak-n-spell spoken word. Chilling and not at all hokey. Score one for Red Lounge with this creeper. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on red, nice thick pocket sleeve with black inner and well done parody labels. Even though this guy has released some true stinkers, he really knows how to put out a nice looking product. (RK)
(Red Lounge Records // myspace.com/redloungerecords)
Brimstone Howl “Big Deal. What’s He Done Lately?” LP/CD
Albeit smellin’ like hay straight from the horse’s mouth, Brimstone Howl is nearly as accessible as Springsteen, who they’ve more in common with in song and lyric than just about anyone. And it’s to their advantage. While their previous LP “We Came In Peace” was of the same general formula, it felt more like an introspective riverfront stroll after a nostalgia-binge of a weekend reminiscing of aspects of years passed that don’t really ring so pertinent nowadays despite their previously paradisiacal stature – huge-sounding ballads of lost friends and good times thankfully behind you. This album is the step out of melancholic mental-dwadling – the emphatic triumph of rock ‘n roll, not merely as an outlet for said sweet-sour emotional excess but as not even a century-old tradition in the making. A real fuckin’ doozy. This platter’s opening warbled-to-the-cosmos fuzz is the sonic depiction of that photo of Iggy doing the upside-down arch. It’s the stream of kerosene Abner’s family was expelled from the county for in Barn Burning. It’s a song about drinking daddy’s wine and it’s a ‘Howl-patented mid-tempo chugger with enough balls to impregnate every farmer’s daughter in town. “M-60,” an early single, may have an inappropriate number a’ sass-dollops for the farmer’s market folk who don’t mind a little bit of spice sometimes, but this has a kick. Adds a towering but simultaneously violent production to their “Guts of Steel” era high-strung songwriting. “Easter at the Lewises” does hayseed-swagger how it oughta’ be – with moonshine cavities and biomass on the overalls instead of a lapsteel ride to the southern-metro yuppie cocktail joint. “Everybody Else Is Having Fun” makes me think of courageous gin-fuelled street-roaming nights and it’s a hell of a lot more memorable than the details of those nocturnal excursions. “Suicide Blues” sounds just as it should – not like a blues song. Recognize. “Final Dispatch” might be their most impressive melancholy heart-wrencher-of-a-composition yet. “A Friend of Mine” is an emotive folk chord progression that Guthrie and Dylan would approve of. I like to imagine some trailorboy upset over his sister’s other love interests, drooling into the creases of Gone With The Wind and propelling a hoe’s handle into his nose. Our epoch is full of cartoons, but this episode happens to smoke the rest. I could go on, but I won’t. Good tunes like these oughta’ be felt more than yapped about. Another intimate peak into the American heartland via stellar cornfed rock ‘n roll. Amen. (BG)
(Alive! // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
Burning Itch "Antisocial Paranoia" 7"
Great single from a Knoxville, TN rock outfit I know absolutely nothing about, which is a rare and wonderful thing in these information saturated days. "Antisocial Paranoia" has some instantly exciting guitar drive that sounds like hissy Wipers demos or something like the Left without the surfbeat or fidelity, vocals are suitably incoherent and this thing has a genuine hook in its pocket. Bass player seems to be having a spot of trouble keeping up with the guitar which gives it a nice homegrown punk feel. B-Side has two more, the punker ("Dickin Me Over") and the rocker ("Itchin'") needed to sew this thing up nice. The recording on this is exceptional, having that shitty drum sound I love so much, guitars and vocals sound great, and the bass is sort of weirdly placed in the mix for confusing KBD "production". A refreshingly punk sounding record without any baggage, I give this high marks all around and suggest a strong buy, multiple copies even if you have the balls. No idea how limited this is, but it appears to be a self-released slab so you probably shouldn't wait. (RK)
(Return to Zero // myspace.com/burningitch)
Burning Yellows "Urinal Cakes" 7"
"Dreamy fuzz laden pop..." oh, you don't say? Like the world needs more of this ambiguous shit. One guy, a four track, a couple of buddies to flesh things out post-bedroom, obscured-by-fuzz guitar/vocal sound and a complete and utter lack of a decent song or idea. The urinary theme isn't that funny. Brutally unlistenable and "Vivian Girls-esque" according to this one-sheet. Just because you can do it doesnt mean you should. I'm shocked that the bros over at HozAc HQ think some of this stuff is a good idea. They've obviously been smoking too much reefer and it almost makes me shudder to think who would be playing the Blackout this year if the event still existed.(RK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
Capputtini I'Lignu "Black Drellas" 7"
"Homemade recordings" from Seb Normal (of Feeling of Love, Crash Normal and more) with assists from Cheb Samir and other Triple Alliance associates. Seb gets a decent sound with his home set-up, the A-Side packs two blues-derived garage tunes that aren't exactly remarkable. The B-Side picks up the slack a bit, with a sexy burlesque crawler with some boom-boom in it that is disturbingly called "Pee Song" and "Digging U A Hole" sounds like it could be a Demon's Claws side venture. Overall, this is for Seb/Crash Normal completists only. I know you're out there. Same packaging concept as the Satan 7", sealed and screened envelopes in three different colorways with download code. They don't exactly say how many of these there are, but they appear to be almost sold out from the label for all you go-getters.(RK)
(Shit Music for Shit People // myspace.com/shitmusicforshitpeople)
Paul Cary “Ghost Of A Man” LP
The ex-Horrors front man puts his feedback and (most of) his distortion pedals out to pasture to record a stripped down solo effort full of 50’s/60’s C&W-tinged rockabilly and blues. Even without all the scuzz, there’s still a Horrors vibe that can’t be shaken. Cuts like "Come Take Me Away" or "On The Rise" aren’t too far removed from stuff on the Vent LP. But this is an altogether different beast. The focus here is on songwriting and not the all-out attack. I don’t drink a lot of beer, but this could be because I don’t have a porch to drink it on. If I did, safe bet this’d be the soundtrack I’d swing to. The upfront vocals are pretty darn haunting and desperate with just a classy touch of reverb (none of the overdone shit that goes on these days, no sir). There’s some downright crooning up in this, right along side all the hollering. The title track makes me think of The Reigning Sound, Golden Boys or something like that, but less raggedy, still strained and just as heartfelt. The occasional odd instrument pops up (the saxophone bleat in the opening "China Bull", a cello in "Bad People"…I think), but overall the record relies on just a voice and guitar to deliver the goods. The minor accompaniment hangs back to not get in the way for most of the non-rockers. Paul’s taken the best part of the last decade to perfect his chops, and he’s done well with it. This could square off with the likes of those forgotten Flat Duo Jets records, the best Mark Sultan tunes or even some older Billy Childish recordings...and come out ahead. I could say Jack White too, but I’d get caught up in some sorta’ shit-storm around here. Whatever you feel the need to compare it to, let’s just agree the kid’s a power to be reckoned with. Keep this up and he might blow up real good. And soon. I could go on about how great a record this is for hours, but I’d rather spend the time flippin’ it over and playin’ it again. There are probably 500 of these out there. Some jackass over at Hipinion is whining for a “high quality” CD of this. Give me a break.(RSF)
(Stankhouse Records // www.stankhouserecords.com)
Centipede Eest "Metal Moon" 7"
Difficult to describe Pittsburgh avant-rock collective's (with ties to Dark Lingo) latest single. Centipede have a couple full length releases under their belts already, but this is the first I've heard. "Metal Moon" has a Nineties indie-rock heaviness, punctuated with piano, handclaps, and a wailing psych guitar outburst that turns what sounds like a typical mid-tempo rocker with nonchalant vocals on its side a bit. "Owl's Nest" shows off their weird side more fully, an instrumental based on a steel drum rhythm with dub elements, violin and outerspace electronic moves. It's tough to get a good grip on a band that obviously has a lot of ideas via just a two-song single, but fans of art school rock should find it an interesting place to begin.(RK)
(New Ruins // www.centipded-eest.com)
Chin Chin "We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners" 7”
Maybe I was wrong to expect some LiLiput/Kleenex-level stuff from this single. The description of Chin Chin in Mississippi’s new releases newsletter had me sold immediately: reissue-worthy early Eighties lady post-punk from Switzerland. Sounds good, right? The stylized artwork looks good and the sales pitch was sharp, but this single turns out to be kind of underwhelming. The A-side, “We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners,” is reasonably catchy but not very memorable. They’re good musicians and their gang vocals have an endearing pep to ‘em, but several spins in, I still can’t get as amped on this seven-inch as I’d hoped. It’s hard to detect that crucial spark of life here, the plausibility that allows a way in for the listener. The two B-Sides are OK — the surf guitar bits in “Desires Only” are kinda cool — but the songs are overall even less convincing than the A-Side. This is soon to be followed by an LP reissue on Slumberland. Maybe it’ll be great, but it’s gonna take at least a few hearty recommendations to convince me to buy it after this single.(MH)
(Mississippi Records // try Forced Exposure or somethin')
Chinese Restaurants "River of Shit" 7"
"River of Shit" could have easily been one of the best songs I've heard all year. I'm not one for topical social commentary or chicanery, but the Obama speech sample I felt was funny and well done...but then they have to let it go on for waaay too long. But whattya expect from some noise-pranksters with allegiances to that goof Mattin. Pushing the envelope and all...Just cut the song off before the start the panning/tape warble parts and you have a killer driving-guit scuzzer with some of the best and grossest sounding "ohhhs/aahhs" committed to vinyl in recent memory. I still dig it heavily. "Work Is A Drag" actually makes sense of their description of themselves as "a grotesque Doors cover band". Downward spiral sulking with tear-jerking guitar solo/scree. "Queen of the Skanks" is a garage-puncher with with a side order of scuzzzz and more emphatic vox. A choice platter that is far better than I expected it to be. Grab one now while it's still available. SS is on a roll, again.(RK)
(S.S. Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Circle One "Patterns of Force" LP
Vinyl reissue of Circle One's 1983 LP, originally released on Upstart Records and essentially lost to obscurity since then due to band break-up and label bankruptcy. Circle One carry plenty of baggage with their legacy involving gang related activites, militant christianity/homophobia and the mental illness and demise of lead singer John Macias. I won't go into extended biographical info here, as you can find plenty of it on the web and in actual books written on the California punk scene. Like most, I first heard Circle One on the 'Public Service' comp, which contained their "hit" "Destroy Exxon", which was pretty typical of second wave SoCal punk. I've heard the LP in passing over the years and never found it exciting enough to care to own, or even download for that matter. I feel no different now. Heavy Dead Kennedys influence, some TSOL melodicism and a band that was certainly serious, probably overly so, in their message. The overtly Christian lyrics are really the most notable thing about this record, and along with the story of the band itself makes for a more entertaining read than it is a listening experience. Musically, it's no more than a footnote and doesn't really stand a chance of being necessary to hear except for the most devout archivers/followers of SoCal punk. The high school notebook combat drawings are pretty cool, but again, I'm pointing out things of interest here aside from the actual music itself which is strictly second (or probably) third tier Eighties punk. There are "metal years" Wasted Youth records I enjoy far more than this. But that's my problem.(RK)
(Mass Media // www.massmediadistro.com)
Circle Pit "Total Waste" 7"
Deceivingly brawny indie-rock from Down Unda with an interesting gal/dude dynamic that makes me want to cite Royal Trux, but with a bit more focus and less posturing (maybe). Definitely some deadbeat NYC scene vibing dragged through the old Aussie muck-n-mire. Not absolute punk sludge, but there's a confident rock'n'roll forcefulness to it all. Nose-to-the-grindstone propulsion that thumps with authority and taste, and they keep their hands on the wheel to avoid swinging too far out of control. I think of John and Exene, but with Aussie X backing them. Double A-Side quality here, "Total Waste" and "Every Body Left" are both fanatastic. Dual vox are executed perfectly, thick sounding bass and sturdily simple drums (heavy on the crash), and some dry guitar pluck to add emphasis to the alienated themes. The duo play multiple instruments on this but it comes together seamlessly, sounding thick and rhythmically burly and even subliminally sexy. This one's been out for a bit, and the Australian rock scene is getting hotter by the second, so you should go back and pick this up before it's too late. Screened sleeves with insert. (RK)
(RIP Society // myspace.com/ripsocietyrecords)
Claw Toe "Ingrown Ego" 7"
A mysterious fella with a cockney accent patches together some dark synthesizer parts and Doctor Who sci-fi sounds, throws some effects on his voice and calls it a record. I can't tell if this is taking the piss or not. Sounds like the Daleks (not the band) emulating Blank Dogs in a real skeevy way. The neo-fascist soccer hooligan imagery really takes it to the next level of exploitation, for better or worse. Goofy and creepy but at least these two tracks are imbued with a bit of sleazy personality. Scum stats: 300 copies, there's also a pre-release edition with "different" vinyl.(RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Cococoma "Spectrum of Sounds" LP
"Singles, Unreleased and Live Stuff...", so says the gorgeous gatefold sleeve of this record. Red Lounge plunked down some serious Euros on the packaging here, and it's done right with super glossy stock, practically life-size headshots of the trio in the 'fold and a nice design aesthetic playing on the title. My take on Cococoma going into this: a surprisingly stunning live set at the last Chicago Blackout made me a believer, led by Lisa Roe's ferocious guitar playing, and on record I've both loved them and been sort of bored as well. This thing comps all of their small-size releases previous to their recent Goner LP and TIM 7". When played in succession these tracks compliment each other much better, and I'm just now realizing how great their debut 7" was. Desperate sounding and confident garage rock'n'roll with energy and just a bit of tension. Again, I really think Lisa's guitar makes the difference here, nothing too overblown, but a nice solid tone and controlled agression. Mike's organ playing sneaks in there giving that extra push to the hooks. The eight-track A-Side is completely solid, and a fine example of how a band can play rather straight garage-rock and not sound cliched or goofy in this day and age. No corny blooze-trash swipes, no ultra lo-fi garbage, just loud'n'proud. Fast, anthemic, a bit heavy even. B-Side gets the scraps: covers, a couple demos and live tracks, certainly not as invigorating as the first side, but a retrospective release from a band that's only been around for a few years is gonna need some padding. The A-Side of this thing's been getting some serious play, and I'm glad I went back and revisited this material as I'm liking this stuff better than I did the first time around. Goes to show you that sometimes the good bands are right under your nose and how an act without too much flash can be easily overlooked in these weird-punk and shitegaze days. Don't make the same mistake I did, if you already own the singles you might not need this, but at least take this review as a reason to revisit them. And if you missed them, it's a wonderfully packaged way to play catch-up. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)
John Wesley Coleman III "Steal My Mind" LP
This thing has subtly become one of my most-listened to LPs of recent vintage somehow. Not sure how it happened. It's a real sidler. A go-to record for when you're just sitting around drinking and smoking cigarettes with a couple pals. It pulls up a chair along with you and takes a nip and a drag and gets comfortable. Sort of what you'd expect from a guy who covers Warren Zevon and Lester Bangs. Boozy and sun-baked rock-n-roll Americano played loose and gutsy. I think "Steal My Mind" is actually stealing a J.Mascis guitar hook. Actually reminds one of the Meat Pups in passages and surprisingly poppy in a rough-n-tumble way. What I wanted Golden Boys to sound like a lot of times. "Bad Lady" is the perfect combo of sax, beer and shitkicking. Country-singed and essentially turkey-free. "Tonight" opens with throbbing style and "Liqour Store" closes the first side with what I can only call completely stoned Seventies pop-rock. Depressing at times, yet upliftingly so in some strange way. I'm going to get a lot of use out of this LP over the summer. I can already smell the warm dusky breeze wafting through the yard, perfumed by the smell of the earlier BBQ and the beginning of a campfire, me, my bros, my dog, a cooler full of beer and the untapped evening waiting to unfold. Great fucking record, no bullshit. 500 copies. (RK)
(Certified PR // www.certifiedprrecords.com)
Condominium "Gag" 7"
Fourth EP from MN's Condominium who have rather stealthily become quite a powerful band. I recall their debut being nondescript modern 'core, but through their second and third record they somehow channeled ugliness and churl reminiscent of ye olde "Amrep sound" that seemed to be absent (or I just overlooked) on the debut. This single really pushes things another step forward, with "Gag" delivering a truly pulverizing bum-out riff/beat. The sort of thing Francis Harold were trying to accomplish but failed at and lesser talents on the Fashionable Idiots roster (Fresh Meat, Birth Control, etc..) couldn't muster up, all done in a typically Midwestern frills-free fashion. They totally hammer away at this song like a certain Swedish band whose name I don't want to mention because it's such a meaningless and overused name drop these days, but they put that much effort into driving this thing right into the fucking ground that it's commendable. B-Side has two more, "Redemption Song", which picks up the pace for a rolling bruiser with plummeting peaks and dives and guitar shreds strewn atop the vigorous rhythm. The records ends with "The Entire Human Body", a malignant piece of instrumental bad intention. An understatedly great record and band, one that can both hang with modern heavies like Slices and the weirdos of Dry Rot. Very well put together, the artwork continues the aesthetic of their previous singles and provides a provocative backdrop to the force of the music itself and the clever sequencing of the songs which creates an unnerving sense of anxiety. Tension builds, is released, and is built again and left to linger with the listener. Their best record so far, they've created a solid enough base with these EPs that I feel (hope) that a remarkable long player could be brewing. (RK)
(Deer Healer // www.deerhealer.com)
The Conversions "Spineless Wonders" 12"
Disclaimer: I was making my lunch when I listened to this. The
Conversions aren't the kind of band you can chop carrots to steadily
like you could with Motorhead or Black Flag. However, you can imagine
casing up some sausages to this music as it winds its way out of the
speakers. Aside from a couple of songs, to call this music hardcore
punk would be appropriate only because the guitar has distortion and
the singer sounds like she is screaming as hard as she can. Drums
start, stop, fast forward, rewind and everything in between with
enough variation to take this out of d-beat territory and right up
close to jazz territory. Guitars and bass work together as a separate
rhythm section and at the times everything comes together, the band
resembles something more like a ragin' sandwich with all ingredients
matched perfectly as opposed to weenie soup made with the week's
leftovers. Eminently listenable as a complete package. (JC)
(Ride the Snake // ridethesnakerecords.com)
Crappy Dracula “Almost” LP
I got into an argument with a friend a few months back about what he considered to be fake anger and hostility plaguing modern bands. He was yapping against everything from the new Skull Music™ to the yee olden downer kings, The Dead Boys. Just going on about how everyone finds it fashionable to wallow in despair and fury. The fuck? Like a band can’t fake being happy as well? Living in the land of the costumed front men and food worship rock…you’d think he’d see my counterpoint. Some folks are miserable, or want to be miserable, when they perform. Dark places. Others like to sing about holding hands at the beach or eating a cheeseburger. Happy places. Truth is: those happy folks are probably still miserable. So who’s faking what? I get very little enjoyment out of fun music. I better be real drunk if you want me to stand for 20 minutes and watch some group sing praise of chicken tacos or some girls fine ass. There’s a local train-wreck rabbit that is excluded from this rule of thumb. And he’s usually drunk enough for both of us. Where is this going? Oh yeah. When I get something like Crappy Dracula in the review bin…it’s a set up to fail. It’ll rub raw like me seeing a Supernova show. All drool and fool. Bathed in cuckoo fun-time and idiocy. It’s best to burn the lyric sheet now if you want me to give this a twirl. That said, the CrapDrac has songwriting chops and some solid playing skills for this sorta trash and bang garage aesthetic. Some songs are actually quite enjoyable. Mostly the ones where you can’t make out the lyrics. (Lookie here! MRR and I agree on something.) "Songs Against Architects" rolls along like The Touched mashed up with the Minutemen or something like that. The Jello-style rant "All People Are Bad" rises above their goofy shtick as well. But then there’s always a follow up song full of dumb kiddie show humor and fart jokes to take it back down a rung or two. They seem competent, so I hope this is some fuck-off side project. I guess people need stuff like this out there. A good time in this "End of Days" climate. So there ya' go, party goers. Have yer fun. I’d rather see someone carve his face with a broken Pabst bottle for my entertainment dollar. Each his own. (RSF)
(Activities Recordings // www.activitiesrecordings.com)
Crusaders of Love "Never Grow Up" LP
There are so many French neo-garage records being released these days it's really easy for good ones to get lost in the shuffle. I'm sure I've heard a single by these guys in the past, but I'll be damned if I remember anything about it. See, lost in the mix...But in the midst of these mounds of records there's often a gem to be found, like that Weakends LP it seems no one paid attention to. Totally great record, but perhaps not weird enough to catch people's ears. Not everyone can stand out from the pack like a Feeling of Love or Cheveu. While they might not be as innovative or unique as those two acts, Crusaders (like the Weakends) are good enough to rise above many other players on the field by just playing solid ball. They're are really just bringing the "Atlanta sound" across the pond, so let's just be franc (yes!) and call them a French Gentleman Jesse & His Men. They're obviously not as good at crafting sellable hooks and classic power-pop cuts as Jesse and Co., but they do a hell of a job as understudies. "Braving Hell", "Looking For Us" and "Can't Get Enough" are definitely righteous, summoning the ghosts of Case, Collins and such. Uplifting and hope-filled jangly pop. Guitar playing is certainly up to snuff and for the duration it never gets boring. Vocals sound just fine with nary an accent. They even throw in an change-up via a slow droner-guitar cut that's really nice and do a rather smart thing by covering King Louie ("Looking for A Heart"), who anyone in the know realizes as one of this generation's finest pop songsmiths. A quality long-player that shouldn't be overlooked for fans of the Douche-sound. Scum stats: first 100 on yellow/red wax, with download code.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Daily Void “The Eclipse of 1453” 12”EP
What can I tell you here that you don’t already know? If yer as much a fan as I, you’ve been bopping along to the "New Breed" track via MySpace for a ‘coons age awaiting this slab. Daily Void ain’t treading any new turf here, but why change it up when you’ve got such a good thing going? (See also: The Spits.) This time out you get six more jagged stabs of their manic and hyperventilating Crass family punk wrapped up in some ol’ Chi-Town hustle. This has got to be the angriest sounding, meanest record on the Sacred Bones roster. It’s just slam-pound-slam-pound. Then slam and pound some more. A tight mess n’ noise of a grand scale. The needle drops and shit gets pear-shaped. Sit in awe as it jumps from the hi-fi to trash your Ikea home furnishings. The rhythm section flat out bludgeons all in its path as the whirling dervish guitars continue in an unrelenting grind. Guitar picks melt, leaving those involved with nothing but raw meat nubs and misshapen finger bones. Or I’d assume. My hands cramp just listening to it. The hate gets a nice dissonant makeover through the sustained notes of "Spiral Staircase" (my personal fave). It’s almost death rock. Almost. "Bleeding Truth" puts Mac Blackouts home recordings up against a militant beat and we all come out ahead of the game. This is as close to a pop track as they're gonna’ get. All I can say about this in hindsight is: More bands should use industrial strength steel cable as guitar strings. Awesome. (RSF)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)
Daylight Robbery "Into the Confusion" LP
Chicago's power-trio de jour's 7"es didn't really grab me or spur many listens, but the second had a new drummer (Jeff from anger-masters Punch in the Face) that suggested something was about to break out of their heads. Seeing them was a wholly different experience that revealed that this band is excellent, and way more of the Greg Sage school than John Doe. Finally, they've made a record that reflects this! Correction... one side of a record. Great vocal trading between the singers and masterful weaving of the instruments all over the a-side, straddling a great line between 'Is This Real?' and 'Crack in the System' (is there a Little Portland in Chicago now?), it's beautiful to listen to and constantly driving. Frustratingly, the majority of the B-side totally drops the driving part... but it's convenient that the songs are split up so nicely. This record is likely bound to receive the alcohol-induced one-side etched 12" treatment in the near future (hello, Career Suicide split 12"!). Different sequencing would have done wonders, but now you get one side that never drags and one side that constantly does... Somehow that's more appealing to me. They're really a great band live and capable of greatness, as a large portion of this record indicates, and the good certainly outweighs the bad. And thus, they have my recommendation. (NG)
(Residue // www.residue-records.com)
Dead Farmers "Go Home" LP
Australia's entry in the TFR genre (that's Total Fucking Rockers), Dead Farmers bring home the bread, bacon and brew on their debut LP. Recorded a bit clearer than their stunning seven-inch from almost two years ago, this eleven cut monster is righteously heavy and will go fantastically with the Birds of Maya and Mount Carmel records, making this one of the rockingest summers of recent memory. Not as psychedelically excessive as BoM or as decidely retro as Mt.C, Dead Farmers just heap on the mangy garage-heaviness and wah-pedal stomp as you might expect the Aussies would, fueled by gallons of lager and ditchweed instead of shrooms and 'cid. A truly crackling-with-power trio, which really urges me to compare them to Cosmic Psychos, although they might not be as monstrous as those blokes, they're certainly serving just as generous portions of the ol' meat-n-potatoes. They do a lot of gang-vocals, the drummer works overtime for optimum mash, the bottom-end fuzz drags the tunes like a fucking plow animal and the guitar player riffs and solos with equal amounts of tenacity and brawn. They do ramming speed biker-punkers ("Run Home") just as well as stretched out rangy sloshers ("Can't Come"). "Slowtime" is whiskey blues with heft. "Suns of Thunder" contains the wah-solo of the year. "Spit/Shine" is the monolithic album closer that every band wishes they had in their back pocket. Weighty and dirty rock for those who can appreciate the real thing. (RK)
(RIP Society // myspace.com/ripsocietyrecords)
Deadly Companions "You're Not The Only One" 7"
Austin, Texas: still cranking out the garage-punk like it was 1996. Ex-members of Cryin' Out Louds, Sons of Hercules, Hard Feelings and several more minor league rockers, I'm sure. Three tracks that will remind you how good The Motards were and how dull just about every other garage-rock band from the "Live Music Capital of the World" has sounded since. Snotty punk that you've heard a hundred times over, rewarmed for your listening "pleasure". And to add insult to injury, they do a song called "1990s Wasteland". Yet another of those bands you probably wouldn't mind watching live if you were at Beerland getting drunk anyway and got in for free, but really have no need to own a record by. Unless you're a Austin punk completist or something ridiculous. Scum stats: a merciful pressing of 200 copies on green wax.(RK)
(Post Party Depression Records // myspace.com/deadlycompanions)
Dead Wife "DxWxSxYxHxF" 7"
Raw dawg punk rock from Montreal way, showing us some sounds from the fair city that aren't made by ex-members of Spaceshits/SRB/Demon's Claws (although Choyce does record one of these songs) or weird hipster noise. There are still some punk bands there not named Inepsy apparently, even if they aren't anywhere as good as those monsters of rock. A-Side has two ragers straight from the Eighties except with lyrics about texting and other modern needs, guitar sounds rusty, female vox are par for the course and echoed out. Almost sounds Midwestern style via Canada. B-Side is called "Gentleman Rapist" and it's a slow and nasty attempt. One of those bands every town has, the sounds made for basement shows and enthusiastic punk kids still young enough to have ridiculous haircuts and wear jackets with patches. I'm all for it locally, but bands of this ilk don't necessarily need to be acknowledged nationally. Bands like this are absolutely necessary to shore up the opening and mid show slots for bands touring the cellar circuit and to give the townie kids something to do during the week. Probably don't need a record out in reality, but thanks for your call anyway. That cover pic looks disgusting though, which is really punk when you think about it. Getting plugged in Vice however, is not. Comes with large foldout insert/collage assembled by the local punk house yearbook committee. Punk? (RK)
(Psychic Handshake // myspace.com/psychichandshake)
Der Todesking "Dead Horse" 7"
Metallic punk heavies from Kansas City (MO) with their self-released vinyl debut. Death-trip throbbing as you would expect from the Buttgereit reference, three well recorded and played tracks worth. Touches on some latter Today is the Day unhingedness and at times really isn't too far from what Pissed Jeans are doing but with a decidely more metal aesthetic (skulls, skeletons and lots of black) instead of the neo-sludge ethos. Chugging riffs laced with lead squeals, madman vox and the mandatory rhythm section lockdown. A-Side is two straight-ahead skullcrushers, on the flip ("Dead Horse") they work the fast/slow dynamic. Great execution, the vocals have just enough crazy on them without getting silly. Should appeal to fans of the current crop of loud-n-ugly "mysterious guy hard rock" outfits...not as interesting or good as Pissed Jeans, but certainly able to run with second stringers like Pigeon Religion and such. Points given for not being a "noise" band and sticking to the rock dynamic. Scum stats: limited to 150 copies with lock-groove outro.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/dertodeskingkc)
Digger & The Pussycats "DIY" LP
With the modern Aussie rock explosion decimating American record nerd shores in D-Day fashion lately, you'd think Digger & The Pussycats would catch a break and sneak in with the new kids. They've been plying their two-piece garage trade for at least a half-dozen years now, and I have enjoyed some of their past material a bit, in particular the more wyld throwdowns from a 7" or two and that split 10" they did with Magnetix, a band they really had to come correct to stand up against. Yet they've never really burned the house down like I feel they can and should. Obviously, when you're a duo you have to lay down some crazy shit to make an impact. And this record brings none of that. Nap-inducing well mannered rock'n'roll with some Stonesy moments. Polite sounding and slick to a fault, with little if any visceral impact or excitement that should be mandatory baggage for the type of record they're attempting. Boring and banally by-the-book bar band moves. Yet another band I wish good things for with every release, reminding me that I'm way too optimistic. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 with silk-screened sleeve.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Dirty Chinese Theives “Uber Alles” 12” EP
They couldn't have possibly made this thing look any more dull and unpersonalized. Accident or brilliant graphical representation of the music? DCT, I've never heard of these Canadians before and I know I will forget about them quick. Unfortunately, I also know that you clowns who fall for all those "wild-and-offensive-but-nice-and-safe" type of pathetic bands (Brutal Knights anyone?) may dig this EP as well. It's sort of catchy and pretty solid but also not memorable in any way. It's got six mid-tempo/fast punk rock songs that are short enough yet somehow manage to feel too long, and it comes with the standard dumbass ROCKING IT TOUGHTM artificially-raw/digitally-distorted-everything clone production the sub-genre requires. Congratulations, now fuck off, die and rot.(A)
(Nefarious Records // myspace.com/dctordie)
Doctor Scientist “Prehistoric Times” LP/CD
Oddball mix of 80’s dance beats, gamer bleeps, 90’s digital hardcore remains, and the 00’s styling of Destruction Unit (or even Volt). So dumb and off-kilter…it kinda works. Like how Digital Leather made you like "Camel Toe". That’s a pretty good reference here. Just a lot more hostility in this coaster. Anyone got the Mere Mortal CD-R? This is in the same vein. Angry industrial bedroom…um, dance wave. Less glue infused and prolly more meth driven. I can really sink my teeth into the moodier set pieces sprinkled about. I think I hear Frogger in the background of a few tracks. WTF? Not bad. Still confused. This is the electro-metal-screamo-punk madness that I hope you can push on your teenage cousin before they get hooked on Brokencyde or something equally as shitty. I understand FDH pressing this up, but P.Trash?! That’s the head-scratcher. 300 co-released LP’s pending. (RSF)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
Arthur Doyle "Ghosts II" 7"
Fringe free-jazz saxophonist (and Thurston Moore fave) Arthur Doyle accompanied by Rudolph Grey for "Ghosts II" in two parts. Originally recorded in 1980 and intended for, but never actually released by DRA Records, it's a solo sax freakout with minimal texture added by Grey via some string scribbling. Far enough out to get me following the trail of breadcrumbs, especially when he's blowing those duck-quack bleats. Recorded in a squat in downtown Brooklyn, making me want to create some backhanded comparison to what is currently going down int hat area, and I think you get the idea. Obviously these cats took all the innovation with them when they left the borough. Zing. Fun fact = I just realized Arthur Doyle lives in Rochester, NY, less than an hour from my house and current home to many young and stupid punk bands. I smell a collaboration...(RK)
(Foreign Frequency // myspace.com/foreignfrequencyrecords)
Drugs Dragons "Predator Weapons" 7"
Believe it or not, I've been an avid follow of Tony Sagger's career for years. I feel that the Sagger EPs are some of the more under-appreciated slabs of the early 00's that will get their due some day in the record-collecting future. They were just too raw to be understood during their time. And even though the Night Terrors never really made a great record, they were always a hoot live and I feel they were on to something with their ugly strain of stoner-garage. After a stint as a OMB, Tonys has returned with Drugs Dragons, with the drummer from the Terrors in tow and two other fellas on bass and vox I've never heard of before, but I bet they're pals with Dusty Mistreater, so they're ok with me. Two tracks on this one-sided slab, "(I'm In A) Braingrave" and "Predator Weapons" (and I'm giving really high marks for song titles here), both featuring the trademark stilted guitar playing of Sagger, riffs hammered, then slowed, deconstructed, and airplane-glued back together. While still containing the primal elements of his previous projects, DD step into a more weird-rock zone as well. Heavy dudes playing heavy music with some Buttholes trickery on the periphery. Recording quality is actually really decent on this thing, whoodathunk? The next step in Wisconsonian caveman thud, whether it's forward or backward I do not know. But I'm following them either way. Scum stats: limited to 200 copies with hideous handmade sleeves (with screened inner sleeves and hand-written labels as well) that are as ugly as the tunes.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/drgsdrgns)
Druid Perfume “Don’t Eat ‘Em They’re Poison” 7”
Bombastic third single that brings more of the Beefheart trout to their Blundertown cacophony. This two-songer sways and stomps along much more in line with their LP release than the past couple of singles. Less Odd Clouds or free-form influence. LESS. Not none, you square. A raucous smack down, don’t get me wrong…just more structured and firmly planted in the rock arena. "Don’t Eat ‘Em..." begins with an Andrew Sisters sing sung warning about toxins and then waltzes off like a hideous public service announcement caught on repeat. "Honk Your Horn" is the “straight” song here…if yer idea of Straight is the record label. Jazz punk skirmishes performed by the Magic Band led out the gate by a babbling madman. Reverend Jimbo Easter preaches a mean gospel. I’d drink his flavor-aid. Mitch Cardwell once said he thought Druid Perfume were The Birthday Party incarnate. I seemed perplexed at the time, but when you think of their "Just You & Me"/"Kathy’s Kisses" era, yeah…it’s in there. Get this one. A year end best, fer sure. (RSF)
(X! Records // www.x-recs.com/)
Drunkdriver "Self Titled" LP/CD
Drunkdriver come barrelling out of the gate on their second LP, delivering a full length of material far stronger than their debut. The compelling facet of the band has always been their ability to emit a palpable sense of violence via their music, and do so within the constraints of the minimal drums/guitar/vox line-up. A true example of a band being able to sound much bigger than their membership might imply. Berdan's vocals are the froth rising and roiling atop the choppy rapids and dark depths created by Jeremy and Kristy, whose guitar sound on this is much less Ginn-esque and hardcore derived than on previous outings. Things just sound meatier overall, the riffs sound less punk and emanate from a more noise-rock influenced template. The formula remains the same on paper (riff-hammer-repeat), but has been tweaked to somehow make it more punishing. Songs like "All the Dead Dogs" almost seem to be metal influenced, the riffs chunkier and less slash-n-burn, the pummelage more focused and direct, honed into a sharper attack with more grevious intent than before. "The Accident" begins the record sounding more than a bit like Pissed Jeans sludge-speed rock until the pain train kicks in and starts rolling down the line, Berdan the mustache-twisting madman ahead of the charge tying the damsel to the tracks. "Network" sustains an actual blast beat at points and the riffing approaches warp speed. "Choking Hazard" replicates Unsane-like tension before devolving into berserker scree wherein you can smell the blood in the air. I like Unsane as a touchstone here, as they're one of the only other bands I've seen manage the alchemy of spinning violence into sound in this way. A frighteningly unrelenting piece of work and one of those remarkable occassions where I think a band truly nails the sound they set out to create. All the parts fit just right, all the internal mechanics synchronized to create a perfectly timed and fluid motion and velocity. Stunning work, from both the heavy blunt trauma perspective and just from the sheer wonder of seeing a machine run this well. The only problem remaining is how the rest of the world will get to hear this. Load has apparently deleted the release from their catalog, but not before some CDs were sent out and apparently the band had 40 vinyl test press copies intended for their cancelled record release show just before their demise. The rumor mill has sent word that Parts Unknown could possibly be saving the record from certain doom. We'll see how it plays out. The cover art could come to fruition, the record and band an explosion of flame leaving behind no trace except a pile of ashes, "Self Titled" lost to the fires of obscurity forever.(RK)
(???? // ??????)
Earthmen & Strangers "Painter" 7"
Jay Reatard and Ryan Wong always tended to head in the same directions, whether it was actually playing vicious punk together in the Reatards or going synth-punk before it was hip with Lost Sounds/Destruction Unit or coming around to punk with pop hooks via Jay's solo career and Ryan's current outfit Earthmen & Strangers. I don't think one was following the other in any way, I just think they had/have similar visions and interests which took them to the same conclusions. I honestly feel the E&S LP did a better job at the 'Blood Visions' sound than Jay did himself, for what it's worth. This new single (originally meant to be released on Jay's revitialized Shattered Records) takes things a step forward from there, much as Jay's final records did. "Painter" shows more complex songsmithery and detailed guitar pop with a fragile agressiveness, taking some influence from favorite Kiwi-pop sources. B-Side is "Space on Our Hands" which continues the same themes, upbeat guitar pop showing some delicate tension and played with plenty of finesse. Not a rocker by any means, but a beautifully constructed pop song with guts. Well done Mr. Rousseau. While I don't want to insinuate anyone will ever replace Jay Reatard, I think a lot of his ideas and soul carry on via Ryan, one of his longstanding bandmates and friends who he shared very similar ideas with for what they wanted to do with rock music. Ryan's had a long and illustrious career on his own anyway, which should be reason enough to pay attention. Scum stats: 500 pressed on purple vinyl, 6 test presses with alternate color sleeves. Comes in one of those resealable mylar bags Arizona boutique labels seem to have a real fetish for and has some very creative obi-strip style packaging/art.(RK)
(Perfectly Round Records // kotmrecords-at-hotmail.com)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring "Rush To Relax" LP/CD
How does one of the leanest bands on the planet trim the fat even further? By recording an LP in six hours, that’s how. After hearing that little tidbit regarding 'Rush to Relax', I was pretty prepared to not like this all that much. However, I have to hand it to Eddy Current Suppression Ring, they managed to stick to the sonic template they have already built for themselves while still finding a way to push the sound forward ever so slightly. The structure of the album is almost like an ECSR song itself: they take the bare bones elements and use impeccable pacing for maximum effectiveness. 'Rush to Relax' starts off with "Anxiety" which is a ripper, and then keeps the fast pace going with "I Got a Feeling." Then it goes and slows it down a little for the more meandering but deceptively effective "Turning Out," which segues into "Gentleman." Let me step aside for a minute to talk about this song. This is obviously not the best song on the album, in fact it’s overwhelmingly wimpy. But I think it speaks volumes about a band when they can get away with having a song about ice cream, or in this case all the ways Brenden Suppression wants to be chivalrous to a lady. Well, not only does he not come off as a total wiener, but it's actually kind of charming and earnest. The stompers on this one are even faster and scorching than previous efforts. Check out the fifty-nine second "Walked into a Corner" or the equally blistering "Isn't it Nice." At the time of this writing, I'm not sure if the LP has come out yet, but on the CD version, the album ends on a truly tranquil note and makes the title seem truly apt. This album honestly makes me wish that I didn't live in the stupid place that I do. Maybe it's because I like this band so much that I don't mind having it on CD, but with really good pacing and surprising pay-off in the end, the CD format for this record doesn't seem all that stupid. This is one of the rare times that I am 100% ok with having a mini plastic disc that holds 74 minutes worth of music. Obviously, 'Rush to Relax' is not as immediately enjoyable as their previous efforts, but after a few listens, it really does line itself up well with the others. Also, aren't they also putting something out on Mexican Summer soon? Well, let me ask you this: isn't it nice to have something that is surprisingly this enjoyable to tide you over before you have to pay 20 dollars to get a little more ECSR?(ES)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Face Value “Rode Hard, Put Away Wet: Clevo HC ’89-‘93” CD/DVD
Tony Erba’s musical career, if you will, is a glistening diamond in the rough of sonic excrement oozing from Cleveland’s post-industrial remains. All I really know about the guy is his arsenal not only of hardcore mastery and stage antic buttfuckery in the absurdist tradition (the dumping of gasoline on his head by wily fan in that GSMF clip should be preserved by the Library of Congress if you ask me), but also his impressive repertoire of 5-star actor-level banter, saturated with conviction whether he’s telling Latinos to take back their scene or threatening to lynch the audience. A legend of Midwestern theatre if ever there was one. He sang for Face Value, who were, if my reading comp. is to be trusted, a second wave Clevo hardcore band that set sail on their Grand Funk-fueled escapades the year I was born and you can listen to them in a box or with a fox. Erba’s Albee-esque jabs paired with the classic rock homage is what makes FV a bit different from your typical Wheaties-munching youth crewsaders. Instead of tough-guy uber-mosh, Face Value took a simultaneously fun and erudite route – a natural extension of your favorite Posi, ‘boarding-‘round-the-pit groups of the early ‘80s, but still observing the Sabbath and other metallic transgressions, and that’s why they stand out down the line. Just like GSMF being of the 625 thrash ilk but not shying from a ‘70s rocker; 9 Shocks being the most mindfucking Jap-worship but diving balls first into Hawkwind jams and embracing that sort of hard rock thing. Always looking in the rearview mirror and driving themselves accordingly. Might be the oldest ride in the park, but they’ve got the longest line – and for good reason. Was pleased to see my roommate’s name in the liner notes, and a vid on the DVD accompanying this comprehensive collection in which they play the venue down the street from me. A very impressive and thoughtful package here.(BG)
(Smog Veil Records // www.smogveil.com)
Fergus & Geronimo “Blind Muslim Girl” 7"
“You love me, you must see” is a nifty line plucked from the Beach Boys-harmony-drenched “Blind Muslim Girl,” a quick-paced dance tune that has as much gay-coast vocal drapery as it does KK & BBQ waddlin’around. Smells like bright crests of ocean waves, sounding as if it shoulda’ been composed for the soundtrack to a movie called Hi-InFidelity. Eh? Eh? “Powerful Lovin’” definitely sounds like a Mark Sultan original, with a tad more reverence for the ‘60s prom organ than obtuse white-soul. Though it has some of that as well. A twister-‘n-shouter backed with a crier-‘n-pouter. (BG)
(Tic Tac Totally Records // www.tictactotally.com)
Fever B "The Lonely Sailor Sessions" 12" EP
Five song 12" EP from Fever B(rian Hermosillo), a guy who can write vintage powerpop-n-roll better than most currently breathing humans. I was never a big Fevers fan, but obviously many aficionados of the genre held them in high regard, and rightfully so. They did the work and did it sounding right. Modern masters of the art. Personally, I'd rather listen to a Retardos 7" or that Skipper single than a Fevers record. But I'm no powerpop wimp either. Mr. B touches on the ever-popular telephone theme for one track ("Please, Operator"), and he stays in the genre ghetto with song titles referencing guitars, hearts and of course, love. The guy stays true to the form, you have to give credit for that. Best cuts are "Pop Punk Love" which is sort of a Ramones tribute and the Big Star swiping "Guitar Heart". Tightly played and written as expected, enough to make followers drool, and not a bad listen for heterosexual males either. Program is repeated on both sides for added value. Scum stats: 510 copies, 110 on blue vinyl and 400 on black vinyl, with screened sleeves and hand-stamped labels for a nice DIY touch.(RK)
(Burger Records // burgerrecords.webs.com)
The Figgs "Casino Hayes" 7"
Man, whodathunk I'd see a new Figgs single come across the TB HQ desk. I had no idea they were still together, but apparently they're still kicking around with what must be at least a 20 year career. Shit, I remember seeing them live at least ten years ago, if not more, and I thought they were old timers then. Always a reliable power-pop band, the title cut is reminiscent of Urge Overkill circa 'Saturation', a pop-rocker that is apparently a teaser for a new LP. Damn, these dudes are still serious about it. Unreal. B-Side is a gentle rocker with yacht rock overtones. If you're a fan (meaning you probably live in Wisconsin), you shant be disappointed. I'm just amazed someone thought putting out a Figgs record in 2010 was a good idea. Comes with download code.(RK)
(Peterwalkee Records // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)
First Base "She's Boy Crazy" 7"
My favorite shoestring budget-pop act returns with another single and it's superior stuff as expected. Like Nobunny without the dirty underwear and public drunkenness at times (the Ramones-y title track for sure), and having some near-schmaltzy Eighties pop elements this time around as well, but not too synthy though. Just some odball backing noises that add some extra texture to the record and elevate these gems to the next level of low-fidelic production. Not as "raw" as previous recordings, yet still certainly lo-fi but with just enough fizz on the pop to make it sparkle a bit. Not really doing the sockhop stuff emanating from Indiana or the tongue-in-cheek popraunch of Bunz or Hunx, First Base exist out of time, from a bygone era I'm not sure even exists. Four innocent-pop keepers that are doing my black soul good. Scum stats: 300 copies only, 100 on color. Yikes!(RK)
(Play Pinball! // playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com)
Folded Shirt "s/t" 7"
Cleveland, OH circa 2010: epicenter of rock'n'roll genius and also the source of the most unbelievably and wonderfully moronic music in existence. A veritable flypaper strip for punk retards from across the globe. First ensared was Alessandro (Grabbies/Out With A Bang), and you knew things were getting spicy with him in Clevo, and we got the Trichechos band out of it (who have actually turned into a killer live unit with Wedge on drums, believe it or not). But once you heard Mr. California had packed his bags and was on his way, the mind staggered at the possible permutations of music groups that could be formed. An all-star superband was surely just waiting to rise from the collection of musical geniuses inhabiting the shores of Lakewood. Up stepped local talents Steven P. (of those Homostupids and some band called The Mormons I guess) and Larry Darvocet. Paired with Mr. C and the Anus, we have Folded Shirt, bringing us the best and worst of ideas this quartet of ham-n-eggers could possibly come up with. Absolutely staggering mongo-ism, a record perhaps so unlistenable it breaches the space-time continuum and becomes supremely listenable by virtue of its very existence. Wack-job zany vocals, awful drumming which is actually great when you think about who's actually holding the sticks, totally off-kilter and off-putting nausea-inducing rhythms, lyrics about Kool Aid and "crazy eyes". A record you have to hear to believe. A record made for absolutely no one except themselves, one I'm glad exists, if only to document what might be the most brain-cell murdering outfit ever assembled. My first reaction after hearing this was simply "Holy cow." That might as well be the entire review for this record, but I had to fill up some space here...remarkably, this band plays live. Holy cow. Buy this on sight, you'll thank me later.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // wwww.fashionableidiots.com)
Fontana “s/t LP
More proof there ain’t no freewheelin’ good times transpiring in the land o’ abandoned skyscrapers and factoral spectres. These guys sound like they have jobs sweeping glass and cranial matter off cracked bodega floors or cleaning fluids from taxi seats of Detroit proper, all with a morbid little adoration, detailing the job in H.P. Lovecraft-via-‘Peni poetry and jaunted, mucked up horrific sonic reduction taking the form of strangled, compact weird hardcore with plenty of sadistic little tempo-tampering and pop/noodle/ballad digressions branching out like the centipede legs they mention. Insect rock. It escapes the trappings of their siamese sister Terrible Twos in that there’s some peripheral wiggle-room that isn’t colored in with electro-piano pastorals the hue of Lost In Space, and I’m feeling an often overwhelming reliance on euphonic imaginations of Gabby and Lux in romantic embrace after smoking some ope they scored off a Cali dark-waver with a bunk haircut. Dayglo Abortion-flavored nebulai-core. When it’s lackluster, it’s corny, but when it’s good it’s freakin’ h-e-double-hockeysticks-a good. (BG)
(X! Records // www.x-recs.com)
Fucked Up "Couple Tracks" 2LP/CD
Yeah, I agree, it’s a little troublesome that this band is now a permanent fixture on a website that gives up to the minute updates on how many times Thom Yorke takes a shit in a day. But honestly, who cares? Different kinds of people have floated in and out of Fucked Up’s fan base for some time now, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. It almost seems like all the "old fans" still paying attention are ready to call bullshit on them for the very last time at any second now. But come on, didn’t they "jump the shark" pretty much the second after they named their band?
'Couple Tracks' can pretty much be summed up as 'Epics in Minutes II (Electric Boogaloo)'. This is mostly a collection of non-album songs that were mainly released on 7". When I received this in the mail, I realized that I actually own most of the things on here, but there are still a few surprises and goodies to be had. There is an interesting cut of "No Epiphany" which is way faster and rocking than the album version. No, it's not as good as the album version, but it's still nice to hear what the song eventually turned into. Then they take things like "Toronto FC," a song on 7" that is too rare (or just too expensive) for me to actually own. So, it's actually nice to have it on a listenable format. Also, don't forget about all the somewhat bizarre forays into C86 territory with their covers of Shop Assistants and Dolly Mixture. If you ask me, it's still pretty weird and interesting to hear Ol' Damien huskily bellow things like "If you leave me, I'll scratch your eyes out!" The track listing is thankfully non-chronological, and is sequenced pretty well. There are admittedly a handful of useless duds likes "Crooked Head (video version)" or the Daytrotter version of "Magic Word." But eh, who cares, they're still fun tracks and you have to fill up two LPs right?
If you frequent "Looking for Gold," Fucked Up has the staggering ability to be unjustifiably contemptuous at times. However, with all that smugness comes just as many moments of real earnestness and sincerity. And in a lot of ways that can pretty much sum up this band and 'Couple Tracks': you can't really have the transparency without the opacity. If Fucked Up was merely a parlor trick, could that trick really have sustained itself for almost TEN years? Really though, what more do you want? There are songs on here ranging from fake chant/mosh songs ("Generation") to songs that are borderline pro-pedophilia and reference Whitman Gide ("Teenage Problems"). So if you still give a shit about this band, just get 'Couple Tracks'. Furthermore, if you want to actually hear some of the songs that are on weirdo 7"s, then this record is going to be a lot cheaper and far less sickening than putting money into the Paypal account of some former or current Youth Crew dude.(ES)
(Matador Records // www.matadorrecords.com)
The Gaggers "Fix Me Up" 7"
Actual punk rock music from the land of soft teeth and fish'n'chips, The Gaggers pick up the bottle The Stitches left on the floor of some urine-soaked bar bathroom at an Infections show and drain the last few sips. Did that line just read as terrible as I think it did? Great! Heavy on the treble and not without a hook or two, this Brit trio crank out three shites which will have you reminiscing about the days when junkie-punk was still in fashion and people were reading Hit List for some strange reason. Zero frills punk'n'roll that could've been one of the better singles of 1998, and those harmonica breaks on the B-Side would've really blown some minds. I can't help but like this! I'm serious! Recommended for people who want to hear a band that is legitimately trying to play good punk these days without sounding like total clowns. Rapid Pulse lives! Scum stats: 200 on black, 100 on colored vinyl.(RK)
(Rapid Pulse // www.undergroundmedicine.com)
Gay Witch Abortion "Halo of Flies Sessions" 10"
Gay Witch Abortion...oof. That name. These guys team up with the legendary Tom Hazelmyer for seven songs with Haze at the forefront. Love the guy to death, always will, so I look at these new H-O-F things with as much optimism as I can. Or just ignore their existence. They've actually made a record that would've sounded great on AmRep in 1996 here. No real evidence of Haze's mod-punk-smash constructions of yore, this is just a low-down sludgefest with Haze coughing up bile and perhaps a lung. There are some moments where his guitar brilliance shines through and there's a lot of slugging for the fences. Some high fly balls. A theremin. More headburning than garbage rock. "Sociopathic Drum" whips up the Unsane-ity, "Tunnel Rat" is strictly vicious, "Unicorn Killer" is a real (God) bully. "Drinking With Yow" is like Haze's take on Alibini's "Kim Gordon's Panties" joke, a real poke-in-the-eye. Nasty as heck and good to see the Haze still has plenty of vitriol left in the tank. This'll give you more pleasure than any Heroine Sheiks record, I'll tell ya that much. I'm going to forgive them for looking like Mog Stunt Team on the back sleeve.(RK)
(Learning Curve Records // www.learningcurverecords.com)
GG King "Babbling Voices" 7"
GG King = best thing Hotlanta has on offer right now alongside Predator and Gucci Mane. "Babbling Voices" seems to be the final of 'Last of the Night Wigger' demos to be used for actual release, and I thought it was one of the stronger cuts on that tape, a sleazy sounding mid-tempo punk rocker with a great vocal hook. B-Side has "Insomnia", a rousing treble-punk babbler with a backmasked message at the end. This one sounds the least like The Carboners of any of the GG releases so far, which is good in a way, as it's a bit more evil and unabashedly punk sounding and less melodic. But hey, I didn't mind the more 'bonas-like tunes either, they were killer band with a killer sound that I will miss. But you can only do one thing for so long I guess. LP is in the works, and I couldn't be more stoked. Scum stats: 700 pressed, 250 with a crafty little cut-out on the back of the sleeve for mailorder douchebags only.(RK)
(Local Cross // www.localcross.com)
Ghetto Ways "I Always Wanted You" LP
Holy fucking shit. If you want to hear one of the most embarrassingly bad rock'n'roll records ever made, this LP, the Ghetto Ways' third or fourth at least, is a strong buy. The great thing about Ghetto Ways is that they somehow just keep getting worse with each release. If you want to hear every horrible r'n'r cliche ever imagined executed with little to no style, here you have it. For the first few songs I was just laughing at how awful this was, but by side two I was really starting to feel bad about it all. Until "Damn the Dawn" which has the most undescribeable and irritating nonsense vocals ever and "The Feel and The Love" which honestly has a "hide the salami" joke in the first verse. After that I just felt nauseous and sort of angry. How the fuck do you come up with shit this bad? "Big Bad Wolf" is legitimately one of the corniest songs ever. I don't understand how labels are willing to release this shit. Is Jenna really that hot? Seriously, one of the worst things ever. Not just "another boring garage rock record" bad, this thing is terrible on multiple levels. I almost want people to hear it just to film the 2-girls-1-cup-like reactions to how surprisingly dreadful this record is.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Goodnight Loving “Arcobaleno” 12” EP
One-sided 12” with archaic-wood-etch-print on the flip, that, in junction with the press sheet’s claim that it was “conceived and recorded during a stormy and cold European tour,” really conveys a cogent mood of Mediterranean passion and starboard anxiety. “4&3” hones the evil vibes they embarked on in the LP cut “Take You Home,” and it’s a mammoth cut of gypsy-tricks with miles-away backing vox, sinister tube-play, the moon casting shadows of some boney digits through dead tree-limbs. “You’ll Own My Heart” captures the Byrds’ hoedown spirit, but maybe if the Beach Boys were manning the slides. “Sweet Clover” begins in the psychedelic tradition of snagging some sage-like Indian sonic transpiration, with a draaaawl of a chorus sounding like one’s heart falling down a well and note-manipulation sounding like a dreamy haze over seagull cacophony. “Pinalope” (Penelope?) is humble slow-pop with a bump-of-a-guitar swag. “Orphans” is their catchiest track yet. Can’t contest the power of those four chords. Never fails. Just imagine Thomas Function being from the life-beating Great Lakes region. Instead of quick-to-conk percussion joy and high-pitched head-bob vocal delivery, a cavernous foom and other-side-of-the-FM radio authento-reverb solvates into a darker, richer aroma of country-infused pop. The overhanging organ can mean 4-way head wind and the sound of falling snow as much as it can mean the ultraviolet blanket that the ‘Function are usually laying under. Of the highest quality in this genre. (BG)
(Wild Honey Records // myspace.com/wildhoneyrec)
Gowns "Broken Bones" LP/CD
On record, Gowns’ folk/noise collision was a tense confluence that resulted in some stunning, hopelessly dark stuff. The core duo of Erika Anderson and Ezra Buchla, working with a few different drummers over five years together, would get way more unhinged and drawn-out in the live setting—at best, they were absolutely arresting, as this release for Southern Records’ Latitudes series makes clear. Recorded during a single session at Southern Studios in London during December 2007, this five-song set here is not only complementary to their studio releases, as four of the songs don’t even appear on another record, but offers a compelling picture of what the live version of their band could muster. “Heaven” starts out with a drone and Anderson’s raw, despairing voice, everything snowballing into a panicked, cacophonous climax. This song’s clanging, angsty denouement sets the tone for the remainder of the session, which shifts into brutal surrender with “Marked,” the nostalgic, pet-punching backwoods paranoia of “Dog,” and maniacal noise-rock for the closer, “Mercy,” uncoiling into Buchla howling without accompaniment. It seems that this will be the last Gowns release — amidst recording a new record, they broke up mid-set at an early 2010 Los Angeles gig. Anderson posted their final finished studio recording, a 17-minute song called “Stand and Encounter,” at www.cameouttanowhere.com. Edition of 1000 LPs.(MH)
(Latitudes // www.southern.com)
Rudolph Grey "The Real Evelyn McHale?" 7"
Rudolph Grey. One-time Red Transistor member, free jazz/no wave guitarist, Blue Human, Ed Wood biographer...the type of gentleman you've at least heard of from his many accomplishments, but you might not have actually heard. This 7" gives you and me two chances. The A-Side cut is an extended guitar mood piece from 2007, one meaty tone played unwaveringy for a minute or two. Okay then. Side B has Grey joined by Sumner Crane of MARS on piano for a free-jazz freakout circa 1980. Grey coaxes some sharp crackle and pierce from his strings while Crane waxes the keys frantically. Edgy and establishing an unsettling aural space. And that's the record. I'm not smart enough for this, I'm no Byron Coley for fucks sake. On blue wax with art by Crane and Grey.(RK)
(Foreign Frequency // myspace.com/foreignfrequencyrecords)
Guinea Worms "Sorcerers of Madness (4rd Year in a Row!)" 2XLP
For many years the Guinea Worms were a band of legend around these parts. Touring bands (the Blowtops in particular) would bring back tales of this great band they played with in Columbus and a CD-R or two. Any attempt to get them to travel outside the Ohio border would prove fruitless. The advent of internet downloading would give up some weird Soulseek folder with another dozen Guinea Worms tracks you never knew existed...then a comp track here and a single there and finally CDR blew the door open with the "Box of Records" 7" (their finest slab of wax for sure) and then the train finally got rolling after nearly a decade of operation. This massive double slab is what many of us have been waiting years for, an official Worms full length, and I have to say I'm slightly underwhelmed by more than a few of these tracks. I'm always a fan of them when they seem to be providing the Midwest's answer to the Country Teasers, but the more time you spend with this you realize there's more than a few cornball moments in their discography. And the overwhelming amount of stuff here seems to be too much and not too soon enough. Considering this is more or less a "best of" from the years of 2001-2009 you get a variety of line-ups and recording sessions, and I shouldn't be expecting a really coherent and solid LP that I'm sure Will Foster and Co. had in them at numerous points over the past ten years. But that's what I want for whatever reason. But enough about missed opportunities. Foster is certainly the man carrying the Columbus-rock torch passed on by House/Rep and Co., and he's deserving of such accolades. And much like the reptoires of his predecessors, I think time will be kind to his catalog. There's a definite vision at work. The guy has a knack for wordplay and irreverent lyrics that straddle the line between legitimately humorous and legitimately groan-inducing. I was just expecting some more standout tracks instead of two LPs worth of songs that are good but rarely as great as anything on the singles. There are exciting moments for sure, most of them on the first side..."Bugged" from 2001 is loping and evil Fall-inspired rock. "Drunk In Yr Uggs" is a fine example of when Foster's humor hits right on target from 2009. "Lounge Waltz" is elastic post-punk brilliance. I then spend the rest of three LP sides hoping for more like that, but things sort of level off. "Maggot Therapy" on side three shows us what Ben Wallers would be doing if he was born in middle America. I don't want to make this sound like a bad review, as it's certainly a good batch of material. I think in my case it's just another example of a music nerd setting his hopes too high and a record falling short due to no fault by the artist. The Guinea Worms are a great band at times, and I think this set delivers a lot of material that's just good. I know, I'm a dick. I'm glad to own this record however, and plan on returning to it someday to see how I feel about it after some time. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on color, already sold out so you should probably grab one if you encounter this creature in the wild.(RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Half Rats "For The Sake Of Love" 7"
I'm fairly sure this is the same Indiana band who had a real crummy single out a year or two ago, but things have changed a bit for the better it seems. I guess one of these guys is in Cococoma now, who knew? Anyway, being from Lafayette, ground zero for modern sockhop'n'roll, this thing is rife with lo-fi Hullaballo/Shindig! vibes. Hollies, Crickets, Gentrys, young Kinks or Zombies. You get the idea. Not as zero-fi as the Happy Thoughts or Romance Novels, but still transistor radio tinny. Both songs are such genuine recreations of the form you'll swear you've heard them before, and you probably have as they borrow pretty liberally from days gone by. Not too shabby for cut-n-paste rock'n'rolling, but sort of lacking the spirit of a Cave Weddings or Romance Novels that allowed those bands to rise above mere pastiche. Scum stats: 600 copies, first 100 on blue.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Harangue s/t LP
Absolutley wonderful five-song debut (and seemingly final) LP from Pittsburgh's Harangue, a complex and flamboyant art-rock spectacle that one has to compare to Roxy Music and the Velvets (and Eno and Cale in particular) with their grandiose compositions and progressive strokes of glam-pop. A record that certainly sounds unlike anything else I've been sent in some time, the songs are led by intertwined piano and guitar lines and given character from the ostentatious vocals that never really sound pompous or overly pretentious, just suitably theatric (and sans any Ferry nightclub-sleaze either). The A-Side consists of two lengthy and adventurous tracks full of dark pop histrionics, melacholic and poetic lyrical concepts and majestic glam-rocking. Side B delves a bit deeper into the shadowy corners, summoning powerful crashes of emotional release, frantic and nervous passages hewn from Seventies rock excesses, all building to a final act that drops the curtain with downtrodden passion. "I'm stuck in a dream." Certainly a resonating lyric for the entire record, a landscape filled with a brightness outlined in shadow and the search for the answers to life questions we all struggle with internally and eternally. A refreshingly poignant and poetic record that I have to recommend highly for those looking for a release to really sink your mind and teeth into. Scum stats: 220 copies with screened sleeves, which is sadly far too few.(RK)
(Wilder Pryor Recordings // wilderpryor-at-gmail.com)
Headache City "We Can't Have Anything Nice" LP
Headache City are another in the legion of bands I want to be better than they actually are. Sharing members with Cococoma, who play in a similar style and do it better, they've shone bright for moments (the "Tonite" 7" was legitimately great) and then gone dim for many more (just about the rest of their recorded works). Why do I want to like them in the first place? Friggin' Dave Head, man. I will forever have a soft spot for any Motards-related activities. And Dave's got a great voice. It's just that much of this medium gauge garage-rock doesn't have much punch to go along with it. They repeat two cuts from the "Tonite" 7" (excluding the title track), which are obviously the leaders of this pack, and one from the blah-ful HozAc 7" ("Butterfly My Heart"), and add eight more originals, of which the cleverly named and anthemic "Shivvers" is the only one I want a second date with. I'm running out of creative ways to say that a record isn't necessarily bad, but offers little excitement or repeated listening value. My suggestion is to get that "Tonite" 7" for sure. And if you want to hear more garage-pop from them that isn't as good, perhaps move on to this LP. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 with alternate sleeve.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Herätys s/t LP
An unhinged, raucous take on the well-established, often-imitated Hudiksvall sound, this is Herätys ("WAKE UP"). These are some of the guys (maybe just one?) from Skitkids - somewhat similar vibes, but way less rock lead guitar, a much easier name to pronounce, and a far more vicious and serious aapproach to song and lyric writing. Yes, the whole thing sounds like it could be a Totalitär production right around the time of Vi Är Eliten (complete with similarly ridiculous cover artwork), but they've taken that approach and made it their own, sounding quite original - thanks chiefly to Janne's absolutely insane vocal delivery. This band is from Uppsala and Malmö in southern Sweden, but I believe he is a sverigefinnar - so he's belting this shit in Finnish (undeniably one of the top two shouted languages). And Jesus Pig Champion Christ, it’s just as much deranged vomiting hatred as Terveet Kädet’s first three. As the record starts and initial seven chords are scramblingly played, the words drop in and it sounds like a rabid human has been let loose from ten years of solitary confinement. Unhinged, disturbed, quick and to the point, decidedly canonical. Their southern location really shines through in the production, as the A-side is recorded in a very clean-ish early 2000s K-Town way and the B-side sounds like a nuclear-powered train, much like the aforementioned final Totalitär LP. And Finnish really lends itself well to this style, a nice combination that has oddly gone relatively unexplored. As they were kind enough to translate all the songs, everyone can enjoy the choice lyrical content - I think "Ostovoimaa" has convinced me to quit my job and/or kill my boss. Extra points for shipping all the records out on the government's dime. This is truly insane music to commit felonies to. Highest possible recommendation. Skål, gentlemän! (NG)
(Not Enough Records // notenough.se)
Home Blitz "Perpetual Night" 7"
If there's one current band that can come close to mustering the unrequited love I have for the Homostupids' music, its gotta Home Blitz. I feel priveleged to have been able to watch Daniel begin to fulfill his potential and see HB go from him playing everything solo in the garage (or rec room or wherever he was) and pressing his own records into a fully functioning band making the SXSW rounds and appearing in Spin, Rolling Stone and even the mighty Pitchfork. If anyone deserves the praise and push, it's this friggin' kid. He made great strides with "Out of Phase", an astounding performance and the high water mark for the band so far. One of the best things about the record was you knew it was only going to get even better down the road some more. And we didn't have to wait long for that to happen. Almost Ready pulls another coup and has released what may very well be Daniel's finest song to date. "Perpetual Night" has it all, a lightning strike of the pure essence of rock'n'roll intersecting with fractured pop. Dig that rocking piano line. A masterstroke of a guitar solo. Uplifting lyrics with the most honest delivery since Jonathan Richman. Hooks, chops, locks, stocks, barrels, it's all there, a song that makes me glad to be alive and able to listen along. Sure, a lot of the things that make Home Blitz so personable are the odd little out-of-tune moments and weird genre-mixing and defying breaks, but here he's just written about the most structurally straightforward tune we've heard from him and it's two minutes of Home Blitz in-a-nutshell perfection. The song that rockets him to stardom? I don't know if we're there quite yet, but holy shit man, this is something special. A perfect B-Side cover as well, taking The Searchers "Murder In My Heart" and actually making it good, bringing it to home shores in perfect pub-pop style. A fucking worldbeater of a record. Scum stats: 26 test press copies with alt sleeve and 700 regulat editions.(RK)
(Almost Ready // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Homostupids "Night Deacon" EP
I've expounded on the majesty that is The Homostupids music band time and time again on these pages, and in summation once again, they are simply as close to a perfect interpretation of what punk-rock is in these end times as we are likely to get. America's Greatest Rock Band. After delivering their finest sub-half-hour with 'The Load', they begin 2010 by topping that effort with perhaps their greatest and most definitve record to date. A surprisingly lengthy EP-sized jaunt by their standards (six whole tracks), they begin with two guttural and befuddlingly titled stabs in "R Companion" and "The Donovan (chop chop chop)", really showcasing Dale's subtly complex drumming, their now trademark screaming-for-no-good-reason vox, perfectly out of tune guitar flailing and feedbacking. One-two-fuck-me. An incredible beginning that they bring to a screeching halt with "Wearing Sammy", the first "version" on this record, and the first time we've ever really been able to hear the lyrics in a 'stupids tune. With backing vox from Alessandro and some other jobbers. Who knew they were this vulgar? The inclusion of studio jabber only enhances the inside joke you wish you were in on. Side B begins with "Our Week Is Ending", yet another in their string of reinterpretations of their own material, seemingly for their own amusement and showcasing the talents of someone with Garage Band and a lot of time on their hands. Subversive and perhaps meaningless brilliance. We then get the "rocking" version of the last song of Side A, "Swearing Sammy", again, self-referential and dick-kickingly awesome. They end with "Sea Wolf", which could be their greatest song to date, and I've given a lot of thought to this. The perfection of the formula so far: primitve guitar pluck and feedbacking intro build, released with Josh's beginning yowl which just makes you want to punch the air or a child or the rest of your record collection, and then they simply kick out the jams, call and response voxing and bang-bang-thud-crash-duh, punctuated with a ridiculous outro. What is it that makes these three supermen write such fine songs? Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? All existenialism aside, you should just buy what is doomed to be the best record of 2010 right now. Unless they release another album this year. Then you should buy that too. C/U: entire pressing.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // wwww.fashionableidiots.com)
The Hookers "Horror Rises From the Tombs" 7"
Yes Alice, The Hookers are back in all their ragged garage-metal glory with a brand new fucking single. True believers rejoice! And it's a cooker! Sounds just like the early days before they took the cheez-metal trappings too far (although I still hang with that stuff as well). Vintage-sounding material reminiscent of the 'Zombie Maker'/'Must Kill!' era, which was their greatest period. It's all here, classic black-and-white horror show artwork and labels, hot licks from Stoney Tombs, The Outlaw's commanding vocal presence, Weedian/Tom Foolery rhythm section. Glorious. A-Side is the Naschy-influenced title cut that wails with their finest tunes, B-Side is a choice cover of Shock Treatment's "The Mugger", from one of the greatest NWOBHM singles of all time (and my personal favorite alongside the Aragorn 7"). Not at all disappointing for the first new Hookers record in over eight years. Here's hoping they can co-exist long enough to record a new LP, because they sound great...Scum stats: 500 copies, with some limited white wax editions.(RK)
(Red Tornado Records // myspace.com/redtornadorecords)
Hygiene "Things That Dreams are Made Of" 7"
England's premier and genuinely Messthetics-y punks pull an incredible cover out of their ass for their third offering, completing the trifecta of releases on Great 2000s British Labels. "Things That Dreams are Made Of" is a cover tune from The Human League's album 'Dare', and the results are uniquely stomping and alluring, with a great obtrusive bass tone and the wonderfully distracted guitars fully supporting the simultaneously vapid and engrossing lyrics. The reverse explores the same waters as the second 7", murky and thoughtful and messy and lovely, further cultivating this odd, moody dream of a niche they have jigsawed out for themselves. An excellent effort, though their finest hour to me must still be "...and Where's My Jetpack?!". Paco has made just 398 hand-stamped copies, please obtain by any means necessary. England belongs to thee. (NG)
(La Vida es un Mus // www.lavidaesunmus.com)
Hygiene "Town Centre" EP
Second single from Britain's most interesting current musical practicioners of the DIY/Messthetics ethos. "Town Centre" offers up a depressing black-and-white depiction of life in the UK after the pubs close and the pissed-up turn to the streets. Likeably dour and monotonous with a slight hint of danger. "MRSA" gets a little Burma-esque, a bit upbeat and dabbling in some noisier guitar turns. I think this song might be about having a skin condition. Even more likeable! "Dissertation" is the outright punkest cut, in a disjointed Swell Maps stumbling-rhythm fashion. Pasty post-punk excitement that I want a whole lot more of. I think we're ready for an LP now. On a side note, Static Shock has singles coming from No Talk and Deaf Mutations, which is certainly great news. Scum stats: 320 copy first press which has apparently already sold out. Repress in the works. Two sleeve variants, as there were some "issues" with the first run of sleeves, not sure how many made it into circulation for all you wackos. Nice folded pocket sleeve, which sort of makes for a mini-gatefold for extra UK DIY feel.(RK)
(Static Shock Records // staticshockrecords.co.uk)
Imperial Dogs "Live! In Long Beach - 1974" DVD
Hour long DVD from LA proto-punkers Imperial Dogs recorded in front of a befuddled college crowd in Long Beach circa 1974. It's a great set, especially considering the year, showing off a band that coulda been a contender had they caught some breaks (even an assist from Kim Fowley didn't work in their favor, so you know the fates were against them..). "This Ain't The Summer of Love" (later appropriated by BOC) is an underappreciated proto-classic, and gonzo Stoogoid tracks like "Amphetamine Superman" and "Midnite Dog" aren't far behind. They whip through a baker's dozen to blank stares and open mouths, including some typical covers for the time (VU, Kinks, Mott) and the absence of crowd reaction provides humorous context. These co-eds had no clue what they were witnessing. Great costumes (fur pants, no shirts, chains, great hair, swazis) enhance vocalist Don Waller's crowd-baiting performance. The guy definitley had a good schtick, and although I'm not buying the claim they could've blown away the Electric Eels in their prime, these cats definitely had the right idea, musically and aesthetically. Although they had a brief run through the emerging LA scene including elbow-rubbing with Iggy, Rodney, the staff of Back Door Man and other scene luminaries, the stars never aligned and they broke up in 1975. This DVD is a good way to spend an evening with some pizza and beer and a few bros, but after that where do you go? I'd love to have had a reissue of their 7" or even the almost-as-hard-to-cop "Unchained Maladies" LP Dog Meat released in '89. Shit, even a companion CD would've been a nice touch. This DVD certainly whets the appetite to have these (and their other) tracks in some tangible reissue form other than a video. I'm hoping someone is stepping in the ring...there's gotta be a Euro label willing to spend the dough. And they should include an Imperial Dogs barf bagTM with the LP.(RK)
(ID Music // www.imperialdogs.com)
Indian Wars "If You Want Me" 7"
I'm into this one a bit, but that has as much to do with the fact that I just spun a half-dozen shitty review singles back-to-back and this is the first record that doesn't make me want to put my head through the fucking wall. A Vancouver 4-piece that remind me a bit of a Canadian Jacuzzi Boys, without the third eye opening mysticism and powerful drive, but the same bare and ragged approach to rock'n'garage. Four songs, just enough echo, fun without being snarky, "Pockets" would be a called "punky" in most households and the title cut and "Just Can't Get Along" are hooky enough. Not totally outstanding, but interesting enough to keep tabs on if they expand on what they have here and come up with some stronger material. Best of the new Bachelor singles bunch. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Inservibles "Cultura Pendeja" EP
Man, you can really listen to this vocal effect all day. It's like the worst echo chamber sound ever. Brilliant. At least the band keep up. Fast and sloppy hardcore, extremely low fidelity, some sick as death mosh parts/tempo changes, it's a fucking party for real. You have to hope these dudes are just some raw ass Mexican dawgs playing sick gigs in death-trap rooms for crowds of degenerate kids. That's the only purpose this music could have. Well, that and to get over-imaginitive record collectors thinking too hard about this shit. Six songs, hand drawn sleeve art, if you thought their tape was cool, this is even better. Waaaaay better than that Ratas Del Vaticano bullshit. If you only buy one "crazy Mexican punk record" this year, make it this 7".(RK)
Kieltolaki "Massahypnoosi" LP
Fast and loose, violent and catchy, Finnish as Karhu, but just US hardcore enough to feel at home... imagine later Direct Control under the tutelage of Varaus (another excellent Finnish record (re)released on Feral Ward, he has the market cornered!), and the B-side gets a little COC-y...the path to my heart! Kieltolaki ("prohibition") makes for an interesting band on the twelvest of all formats - they keep the exact same approach they had on their two excellent 7"s all the way through, and it certainly starts to blend a bit in one sitting. But as there are a lot of very memorable songs - the influences they're combining work so well together - the two side-enders break the mold and charm their way into your head for the rest of the week or so. An excellent effort, I can't wait to hear more. Very cool booklet insert, with the Feral Ward gradient screenprint job to boot! Worth noting that the back cover would have made for a much better front. Angry Finns that have flown a good bit under the radar so far, but this record should do a great job changing that. Worth noting that it's (chronologically) the premiere of the new Feral Ward slogan - "Reproduce at will - Don't bite the hand that feeds." Poignant. (NG)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)
Kitchen's Floor "Orbit" 7"
Three songs from Brisbane three-piece playing what I'm going to loosely call the Aussie version of shitgaze. Crap-fi borderline pop songs obscured by a haze of pot smoke and perhaps outright laziness. "Orbit" is an up-n-down cadenced stumble through the Flying Nun catalog, while "Regrets" actually shows some moxie, albeir of the downbeat and doomed variety. Effectively deporessing hook though, that's a tough one to pull off. I think the drummer is tapping a whiskey bottle instead of using cymbals. B-Side is VU-dronery that's about as exciting as waiting in line at the DMV. Not totally sold on this one, they have a full length CD out as well that may offer more clues...(RK)
(RIP Society // myspace.com/ripsocietyrecords)
Knight School "Revenger" LP
Brooklyn duo/sometimes trio Knight School remind me a lot of Tobin Sprout’s songs for Guided By Voices. This might seem like a lazy point of reference, but seriously, the singing, the recording quality, their melodies — that’s what they’re tapping into here, and I don’t mean it as a knock in the slightest! This record, their second album following a UK-produced CD-R (last year’s 'The Poor and Needy Need to Party') and their first on vinyl, comes highly recommended. The first two tracks don’t make much of an impression off the bat, but the third track, “Pizza My Coat,” is a Clean/Go Betweens-style acoustic pop cut and it’s pretty extraordinary. There’s some actual craft going on here! “Jackie the Hero” and “Restraining Order” are the first two with that glowing, melancholic Sprout aura, leading into “Hold My Hand,” this record’s foremost jam, another acoustic guitar-centric track that Hamish Kilgour coulda penned. Side two is great all the way through, excitedly peaking with the blaring harmonica that pops up on the closing track, “Meathead Hurricane.” As a side note, this record’s lyrics are pretty hilarious if you take a second to sit down and read them. My favorite (from “The Men from T.R.A.S.H.”): “Better be glad – we’re the deadbeat dads that you never had – so you don’t have to be sad.” So yeah, if you miss the best days of GBV, and even if you don’t, this is worth checking out. Yet another example of Make a Mess’ impeccable quality control since the start. (MH)
(make A Mess // www.makeamessrecords.com)
Kyklooppien Sukupuutto "Likana Valikoimassanne" 12"
Intensely abrasive and disjointed höyryjyrä-punk from Tampere. Their other 12" is a glorious, sometimes genius experiment in Finnish Void emulation. Their singles, though quite vicious, are a good bit less interesting. This is their first output in three years, and it starts off like the 7"es... but by the time you get to "Kuiva Maa", they've completely returned to the territory explored on the first 12". Off the rails, depressing, always sounding out of control. Once they get into one of their bulldozer grooves, it is fucking unstoppable. As for the B-side...Necessarily mastered at a different speed, fittingly changing your expectations, it immediately collapses into the skronky, ugly, and HUGE "Tie Kapenee" ("The Road Narrows"). It's got a backbone similar to what Condominium are doing, but a hideous mutant Suomi head that sets it apart from all other music in this wonderful future that we live in. The refrain is bizarrely gorgeous, and it's a stark reminder that this band is completely on their own planet. Truly unique and hideous sounds, my only complaint is that the cover art pales compared to the last one (though I hear the American press is different). They are on tour in the US most of this summer, so go see them and their beards and try to talk about saunas after you get crushed. (NG)
(North America: Primitive Air-Raid // www.primitiveairraid.com)
(World: Tuska ja Ahdistus // www.elisanet.fi/tuskajaahdistus/releases.htm)
Lamps "The Role of the Dog Catcher in African American Folklore" 7"
Monty and his Lamps sidle into year 2010 with two seven-inch singles, this being the first to arrive on my desk. "The Role..." is a jaunty little number that I swear borrows liberally from some god damn song I can't put my god damn finger on...that "dun-dun-dundun-dununnanunna" rhythm part is a total swipe. I'm on to you Buckles! Anyway, it's that verse interspersed with a bang-all-the-instruments-as-hard-as-you-can chorus making up a couple minutes of an A-Side, which I feel is a bit subpar for a band I hold high on the hog. Monty has perhaps been taking notes during his stint with Wounded Lion, realizing a great cover can be just as good as an original compostion when you give it a good warping. The Kinks' "Salutation Road" gets the the Lamps stamp to good effect. Mumbly vokills, thick bass and guitar-in-sheets make this a winner.(RK)
(Fan Death // www.fandeathrecords.com)
Lamps "Niels Bohr Was An Excellent Ping Pong Player" 7"
...and here's the second one. Definitely the superior of the two in my humble opinion. "Niels Bohr..." is a delicious and filling serving of bangers-n-mash and apparently also a true statement. Monty's guitar is cranked up and sounds like it belongs on a Necessary Evils record. So sick. "I've Been On A Lot of Camels" pushes the tempo to hyperspeed for a Lamps song...punk as all hell and Fang-tastic. Both cuts on here give you both length and girth for a value-packed 7 inches of adult entertainment from the best band Los Angeles has to offer. Get some. (RK)
(Dull Knife // www.dullkniferecords.com)
The Lasters “Allergic To Your Face” 7”
So I still don’t have the first single by these guys...I remember it being good agitated punk with vocals that cruised along somewhere betwixt Reatard phrasing and an almost Jim Carroll drawl. I should order this soon. Oops to OOP. On this flapjack, "Young Dumb Bored…" has a mid-pace jab akin to early Functional Blackouts. Not as by the throat, but I wouldn’t trust it in a dark alley. Simple snotty and catchy. "Allergic To Your Face" is a dark rhythmic ride with pulsing bass and some warbly electro-rock backin’ it up. Funny. I don’t remember them getting so Numan New Wave before? Not sure they have. What seems like synth could be a heavily treated guitar. Gives off a Nothing People feel that I’m pleased with. The flipside's "Don’t Wanna’ Talk" pounds along like Martin Atkins is behind the thumpers. Agro-industrial and simpleton grime. This sucker has a lot of variety to it…and all of it is pretty great. Scum stats: 69 (Ha. Hee.) copies come with a Shining homage sleeve and 231 with the regular “Choogling Chelsea” artwork. Black & Gold vinyl exists. Jump on it. (RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // myspace.com/flyingrodentfecalmatter)
Le Sang Song s/t LP
Side project from one-half of Love Tan (or The Pyramids, if you prefer), Craig Chambers, in a weird-folk fashion with plenty of the quirks evident in his other band as well. You have to think this thing has something special about it going in, as Min Yee (A-Frames bass man) revived the long defunct Dragnet Records just to release this LP. That's gotta mean something. The LP was recorded almost four years ago and has sat on the shelf until now. Chambers is accompanied by his wife on guitar, his Love Tan partner and Factum Matt Ford on drums and Min himself on bass, though if you didn't pay attention to the press release you could believe this is a lone shooter. Ten tracks, all built with varying degress of folk-via-post-punk desolation. Future folk might be a good descriptive here, the songs are layered yet fairly minimally constructed and rhythmically hypnotic. Vocals come from afar in melodic agreement with the guitar and bass backbone. Sort of playful lyrically and conceptually at times, yet never really veering into embarrassing novelty territory (like Wounded Lion do), there's a definite shadowy edge to much of the material here. "Gingerella" opens strong with memorable guitar strum and deep drum and bass undercurrent. "Death vs. The Rich" is modern wilted folk and "The One" which closes side A is the most phenomenal thing here. The type of song that so instantly memorable that you'll swear it's either a cover or an outright theft. I can't believe I can't place it, but it's damn good. "Ring Ring" is the closest the record gets to outright annoyance, but he makes up for it with "War" which reminds me a bit of a Tommy Jay cut. The record finishes with a couple quieter and quirky moments ("No Love" into "Aloha") with clever instrumentation and some way laid back vibes. The whole record really creates its own space and brings you into Chambers' world for it's 30 minutes or so of run time. Very small sounding in a personal/songwriter way, friendly and a bit odd, but not threatening and certainly enjoyable for the wee hours. Better than any Love Tan record if you ask me. Scum stats: 600 pressed.(RK)
(Dragnet Records // myspace.com/dragnetfucks)
The Liminanas "I'm Dead" 7"
Thank god, HozAc pulled a good one out of their derriere with this single. This release is of the quality we demand from the label. Liminanas are a French garage-band, but please don't hold that broad descriptive against them. No ex-Fatals trashola or ex-TV Killers punque-rocque here, just tough and sultry Sixties pop out there holding its own. The heart of the band is Marie (drums) and Lionel (guitar/bass/songwriting) and they're joined by a different chanteuse on each track. "I'm Dead" is an attractive Lee-n-Nancy sounding mid-temp stroll given the Gallic twist. Addictive, refreshingly bright and fuzz-free. "Migas 2000" is modern Gainsbourgian sex-on-wax, all voluptuous French-femme vocals and seductive rhythm with a druggy guitar drone adding the naughty bit. This is one to look out for and worth plunking down on. Scum stats: 200 gold with alt sleeve, 700 regular edition.(RK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
Lognhalsmottagningen "Fina Nyanser i Nya Finanser" 7"
I'm not 100% positive that this band name isn't some kind of joke pointed at lengthy and unpronouncable foreign band names. But they're actually from Sweden...or maybe not...who knows, maybe the joke's on them. Maybe there's no joke. Fuck it. Euro retro-punk, Attentat/Missbrukarna-esque perhaps, Swedish jabbering vox (thanks for the lyric sheet!), good'n'sloppy and high on treble, they certainly nail the vintage sound. Wait a minute...the fact-checking department just came in and traced one (or perhaps both) of these guys as being in Boyracer. Gasp! And there's a 40 song LP in the works I'm being told. Whether this is a gag and/or just some guys loving Swedish punk, it sounds right. There are worse sins to commit out there. Cover is a crossword puzzle I'm sure none of us has the gall to attempt. Well executed and at least they're making you do some work, you lazy sod you.(RK)
(Local Cross // www.localcross.com)
Los Buddies "UFO" 7"
Peppy midground indie rock'n'roll from Ole Miss. At its deepest I might say it's reminiscent of Prisonshake sans the bad mood, at it's goofiest maybe The Figgs or something else non-threatening. Pretty gentle stuff with what I can only describe as a mid-card Nineties indie-rock vibe when indie-rock still contained rock. Self-released in an edition of 150 with download.(RK)
(Buddy Brand // myspace.com/losbuddies)
Los Steaks "No Moon Album" LP
First full length from this Spanish garage-rock band. Most of the lyrics are sung in heavily accented English with a couple in espanol as well. Nothing too fancy, mostly mid-tempo garage antics, not really wild or crazy, they do some competent ripping off of the Seeds, Dictators and others, switching back and forth between Sixties garage sounds and Seventies punk'n'roll. They throw some sound effects on one track for the obligatory "weird" cut. Effortlessly generic, might appeal to those who think Davila 666 are something special, though they're nowhere near as good. Scum stats: 200 copies.(RK)
(Discos Humeantes // www.discoshumeantes.com)
Lovetaps "Love 'em or Leave 'em" 7"
More Austin rock'n'roll, but this one stands above most of the other garage-punk dreck I've heard from the SXSW city recently. Of course being from Austin, the members are ex-fifty other bands, the most notable this time around (to me at least) being The Satans and Inhalants. Title cut has some peppy Fifties sockhop-rock action, AM radio recording sounds suitably vintage, good vocal workout and solo. Add some horns and this is almost frat-rock. "Goodbye Sunshine" fluctuates between a mellow Byrdsian verse and a tough Animals-like chorus. A real "you can't bring me down" anthem. Quite enjoyable, at least moreso than hearing another third-rate JAMC clone. Real rock'n'roll folks, it's becoming a rare bird these days. Scum stats: only 200 pressed!(RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)
The Makeouts "In A Strange Land!" LP
Sweden's Makeouts have shifted focus here, going from an unremarkable Rip-Offs/Supercharger worshipping budget-rock act, to full-on Black Lips emulation, circa the Bomp years. Hazy garage (t)rips, a few jangly country-ish biscuits-n-gravy numbers, some backslides into Rip Off-style punk...for the most part it's completely passable guitar-driven and druggy modern garage-psych with some semi-gruff Euro vox and a varied array of fuzz pedals. Decent enough stuff for B-grade Euro Lipsian-schlock. Whatever. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Manipulation "Violence" EP
Bleak Chicago hardcore act get some vinyl after unleashing a pretty wicked demo. Probably the best Chi-town HC I've heard since Repos were still making records. Sick double guitar riffage, great overall sound from the legend that is Jack Control, harsh vox that are on point, sick solos and mosh parts here and there. "Choking Man" and "Secrets" in particular makes me want to hurt. Five cuts at 33 that slice-n-dice with the best Youth Attack has to offer, but with a punk pedigree (ex-Chronic Seizure, Pedestrians, Civic Progress) and less posturing. Scum stats: first 100 on clear wax, silkscreened sleeves with insert.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiotsrecords.com)
Mayday! s/t 7"
Surf-punk done poorly is some of the most wretched music one can create, but surf-punk done well (and what a rare bird that is) is actually a shitload of fun. I'm enthused to have one band (two even, if you count Insubordinates from Rotchester) doing it well in Buffalo, widely renowned home of sand, waves and sun. This three song 7" is lifted from a larger batch of recordings (and they had a tape out previously) and they play tunes that I imagine would have appeared on the 'Beach Blvd.' comp if it was released on Dangerhouse. Surprisingly strong and tough female vocals (and that's her on the blistering leads as well), and get this: she actually sings! And sings well, at that. Match that with a swinging rhythm section and it makes for some cool jammers. There's the obligatory instro and a punker on the A-Side, and "Blud Beach" on the flip sounds like The Gears for a minute or two before getting all stoned out for the ride home. Exceptional and one of the few local bands that are actually exciting and have some inkling as to what playing punk music actually entails. Scum stats: unofficial "Seasonal Geese" sleeve variant of 30 copies (some with condom), I imagine there have some regular sleeves and a few hundred more records as well.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/seasonalgeese)
Men "We Are The Men" 12" EP
Bands should try to not mention they're from Brooklyn to me from now on. It immediately puts me on the offensive. I have no idea if these guys are friends with the right bloggers or play the proper lofts to be considered hipsters or what. They don't really seem like the types to have a booking agent and/or lawyer at least, which is good news. Musically, it's a fucking clusterfuck. Four songs at 45rpm with thick wax and silkscreened sleeves, so they sure got the look right. "Hated" actually sounds like an updated Action Swingers trip with some metallic leads, or perhaps the Lamps covering Helmet during the 'Born Annoying' years. Riffy and thuddy. Vox are an afterthought. "Ailment" could have been on a 'Dope, Guns, & Fucking' volume in place of Tar or Chokebore or some other mid-card talent. Aggro masculinity that taps into the ugly weird (single)dude wearing a Melvins shirt demographic nicely. A decent enough beginning...and then they go and fuck me over with Side B, which contains a piece of supreme emo (or is it screamo?) shit called "The Man" (you gotta be fucking kidding me...) and a song called "Sketchy Pussy" which is a little less emo-sounding but still pretty gay. This leads to me believe that the A-Side was a fluke and that I have been clowned on, which just makes me mad. I don't know, maybe they just flubbed the B-Side on accident. But I think it's easier to sound good accidentally than it is to sound bad. Am I right? I was real impressed with that A-Side for a few minutes, but now I'm just depressed and confused. I'm hoping for the best...they seem to be straddling both the Youth Attack and Fan Death aesthetics, that is if the B-Side of this record could be stricken from the record. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/men)
Mess Folk “Something I Remember” 7”
Why THESE songs? Why in this order? I should review this record ass-backwards, because the B-Side far outshines the A. You might want to jump to the second paragraph if you want the meat that matters.
Dumb as a stump punk from a Nova Scotia-n channeling some elder Zealanders. Sure, it has a Urinals/Eels vibe to a degree (the label says so) but nothing as memorable as either. "Something I Remember" is pretty much played by the slop rock numbers…and the “I don’t give two shits” vocals end up killing it. The "Give Me A Gun" track is even more of a slurred mess. Not sure if I can listen to this. This is pretty awful. Good awful? Not really.
"If I Don’t Get Out", on the other hand, is totally worthy of a wax pressing. It sounds like it’s coming from the Home Blitz hit factory. Snottier vocals from the Hart Gledhill school of yowl. Simple but effective garbage that cleanses my palette from the abomination on the flip. This song shoulda’ been the lead off. What went wrong? I like the sounds of tunes on their free download EP a hell of a lot more. "Your Too Pretty" sounds like a shit punk GBV and "I Shit Blood" just rules. Maybe I’ll pony up for this tape re-issue and get a more enjoyable ride. (RSF)............................................
HozAc continue their harvest of Canadian "garage/punk/anyone-with-a-home-recording-setup" bands with this debut from what could be another one-man recording project. Maybe there are a few people making this racket, but I really hope there's only one person responsible for this. I actually quite like "Something I Remember" as it really exemplifies the zero-fi bedroom ethos of many recent HozAc releases, true mumble-mouth vocals that you have to believe he's just making up on the spot, but it's the downer dum-dum-dum "hook" that gets stuck to me ribs. A piece of shit perhaps, but you have to admire a good turd. A good minute-and-a-half or so, and then this thing just turns into another generic morass of seemingy talent and thought free no-fi reverb/fuzz antics. It just makes you think the good parts on that first cut were sheer accident and goes to show you that the one of the great failures of the DIY idiom was convincing people that anyone could do it, which is obviously true in the purely physical sense, but the fact remains that not everyone actually should do it.(RK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
Midwest Beat “Bring The Water” 7”
Cutesy country-swing via punk components with an unabashed crush on power-pop pigtails, and not the sorta dame that’s got ‘er stepdaddy’s Shivvers singles under the bed. Go ask her out, MB. Nervous? Okay, a few more cosmotinis and you can strut over to play that De Cylinders song on the juke box and with any stroke of luck she’ll dig it… While all that junk’s going on a pungent gypsy aroma’s floating about with “Bring The Water.” Vox are sung and delightfully irreverent in the chorus. The rest is Creole as fuck. Gumbo ‘n shit. “Not To Worry” is more of the same – formulaic and catchy and tightly knit. There’s one more song but I’ve got a burger to eat… Like a less erudite/engaging Goodnight Loving. (BG)
(Tax Return Records // myspace.com/taxreturnrecords)
Migraine “Weird Tales” EP
Amphetamine paroxysms of hateful thrash. Aesthetic-wise it might be trying to suck the teat of all things Mysterious™ but it sounds more honest than that (calling it “Weird Tales” doesn’t put up much of a fight either). Honest in an I-just-smoked-meth-behind-the-shed-and-wanna-be-the-Repos sort of way, that is. First side sets the stark mood, but the flip is where Infest and the pack-mentality of our loin-clothed ancestors start to sift from the epistemological cesspool. Evil fucking breakdowns and vein-popping yawp. White, black-traced vinyl with white label on A and red on B reminds me of blood filling up an eye-socket in classic Jap snuff film fare. Pleasantly surprised here – a very interesting record for people tolerant of the more extreme footnotes of hardcore. (BG)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)
Miniature Submarines "The Little Room Under the Stairs" 7"
Even more proof that Australia has shit on lock, from punk zines to garage-rock to dumb-punk to this wonderful little indie rock slab, a side project of Mark from the Stabs with his better half Monika on drums. Two songs of surprisingly catchy and atmospheric dark guitar-pop, "Little Room..." sounds like one of the short and hooky songs from an early-Nineties Sonic Youth record with nonchalant vocals, a prickly lead guitar supported by another string bending rhythm player and a slow tempo that still moves elusively and effectively in a shadowy way. "I Heard That You Turned Into A Loser, Baby" repeats the formula, with a more prominent bassline acting in support this time around and some deeper exploration on the lead guitar parts. Crafty drumming really keeps the somewhat subdued attitude and tempo of the vox/guitar moving and active, making for a wonderful pair of songs here. Highly recommended if you can score a copy. I wish there was a pipleline to somehow make these imports available stateside in a cost efficient way, as mailorder from Australia is murder on the record buyer these days. Damn shame, because this stuff is worth hearing.(RK)
(Rice is Nice // www.riceisnice.net)
Missing Monuments "Black Rainbow" 7"
King Louie Bankston returns with a new crew to sail the rock'n'roll seas he has a brilliant knack for navigating. "Black Rainbow" is a gently hooky A-Side, with some cresting guitars and a melancholic undertow, which I imagine is a reflection of living in a post-Katrina NOLA. Flipper is "Tailspin", a more uptempo slice of the Southern pop-rock pie. Nothing too wild or dirty here, and it's more powerpop than garage, suggesting perhaps the King is mellowing with age, but it allows his songcraft to show through. His rough voice give the songs a bit more edge than they might have with a typically wimpy power-pop singer. Certainly not his best work, but it's good to see him still in the game. Supposedly an LP is in the works, which I'll stick around for. That Loose Diamonds LP was an underrated rocker, and I imagine it could deliver more of the same. Scum stats: 1000 pressed, first 100 on white. The touching RIP Jay insert is a nice touch.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Mojomatics "Tears Fall Down" 7"
The Mojomatics kick down yet another good single, but also seem doomed to be buried under the stigma of being a Euro garage/blues band and the "been there done that" attitude that tag elicits from the jaded American record buyer. Their recent seven-incher on Douchemaster had a strong cut or two on it, and this one delivers some punch as well. "Tears Fall Down" has a rather wicked guitar sound and they sling it around with conviction. Has a really heroically doomed "last gunfighter" sort of linguine-western aroma. "In the Meanwhile" is a superfine melancholy rocker that should make Reigning Sound fans feel good and they add some psych-y backwards guitar to give it an extra little something. Well done, I just don't know where the audience for this band is these days. Seems to me like they should be on Fat Possum or something. Garage-rock for adults. Scum stats: 400 black, 100 clear.(RK)
(Hell Yes! // myspace.com/hellyeshellyeshellyes)
Mujeres “3 Canciones De Muerte Y Sudor” 7”
Spanish rock for the Lips fan or Davila 666ers around these boards. Pretty swell recording sound and tight playing when they want it to be. "Yella" is swimming in Chuck Berry riffs, screeching vox and some flowerpunk™ blossoms. The second track ("Frantic") is the down/out loser ballad that makes me cling to this sucker. They even bother to sing it in English so you can hum and bum along. B-side’s "No Quiero…" gets all BFTG a la Los Saicos gruff wrestle rock and more of that Die Slaughterhaus fan fare. If The Monsters were Spanish? Not the most original, true…but still a damn fine homage to R-N-R from forty years or eight years ago…depending on how old you are and how ya look at it. Screen printed card stock sleeves and insert. Looks nice. Damned if I can read any of it. College grad my ass. (RSF)
(Discos Humeantes // www.discohumeantes.com)
Myelin Sheaths "Stackticon" 7"
It's as if this band's mission was to see how absolutely middle-of-the-road they could possibly be. Not shitty enough to make me want to take the record off, but also not good enough to make any sort of impact. Actually, the surf instro is decent enough to make me not regret the manner in which I just spent the previous two-and-a-half minutes. But the other songs are just absolutely average fuzzy garage pop with a dash of post-punk on the B-Side. Future dollar bin fodder. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Myelin Sheaths "Do The Mental Twist" 7"
Sort of a post-punk sounding outfit with surf guitar elements and multiple gals on the mic. Lots of reverb of course. Echo out the ass. Blurry. I feel like they sound like a dozen other bands. A few interesting bits for sure, but things all end up sounding the same somehow. It's such a vague thing - sure, this band sounds interesting on the surface, they're using all the right effects, plopping the right genre swipes in place and coming up with an end product that might sound just fine and dandy, but beneath the immediate identification with what, for the time, sounds like a band operating on an intriguing level, prove to have little behind the songs. Where's the push, the motivation behind this bullshit? I listen to music not just for the sounds but for the motivation that drives those sounds, be it reaction to ennui, abject hate, rage against the norm, the need for your voice to be heard. Some sort of passion. In the past year or so I feel like I've heard more bands concerned with being a viable product for the underground machine than actually attempting to be a band that exists on their own terms. It seems like more bands are trying to just make sounds these days and not actual music. Because music seems to require some passion, whereas something like this just requires a general knowledge of what passes as hip these days. Less concern with originality and more concerned with being consumed by 500 scenesters with paypal accounts. I feel as if a good majority of recent records are being made simply because they can be made, not because the parties involved feel as if they must be made. Does that make any sense? Don't you want your bands to sound like they would be doing it even if no one heard them? Records spurred into creation by desperation and necessity or the desire to do something different instead of records that seem to exist simply to emulate current trends and jump on the bandwagon? I don't mean to besmirch a band of people whose true motivations I know nothing about and single them out as an example of my personal gripe against what I perceive as assembly line record making, but I can't help it. Their record was the straw that busted my hump. I'm up against the wall here and lashing out.(RK)
(HozAc // www.hozacrecords.com)
Nazi Death Camp "Satan Sez Kill!" 7"
If anyone in Europe has worse musical taste than the Italians it's got to be the Germans, with this record by Finnish shitrockers Nazi Death Camp standing as a perfect example of what Teutonic labels think is viable product. Can you even release something with the word Nazi on it in Doitchland these days? I thought there was some kinda law...Four high octane revved up wild'n'crazy bowel movements here, including "Abortion Clinic Boogie". Made my dog throw up a little. Scum stats: who gives a fuck?(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // myspace.com/redloungerecords)
Needles "Desastre" 7”
Out of every Bay Area hardcore single I’ve heard in the last couple of years, this Needles single is the first one I’ve felt any inclination to put on again and again. I’ve never found a copy of their first single or seen them play, but goddamn, this one, 'Desastre', is just great. Six tracks of super-raging, two-guitar thrash from this band fronted by Martin of Limp Wrist and Los Crudos, also featuring fellows from Talk Is Poison and Look Back and Laugh. Not innovative, but totally bullshit-free, furious guitar sounds — a really excellent, explosive recording. Just fucking awesome! If you like any of these guys’ other bands, you’ll probably dig this too. Fun fact: The title track, which most Angles should be able to guess translates as “Disaster”, is sung in Spanish. I would love to see these guys play. Are they even together anymore? (MH)
(Lengua Armada // try some discerning HC distros)
Night Control “Life Control” CD/LP
Out of my league and dealing with references I know little about, but I’ll give‘r a go and hope I don’t get too much flack for my lack of knowledge. Haven’t kept up on the indie-now. Bedroom multi-instrumentalist/manipulator pulling out the dreamy hooks of shoegaze past, only to cut ‘em up and bury them in off-kilter experimentation. This would seem appealing to Animal Collective or Deerhunter fans. It’s like Bob Pollard making friends with the above bands and they decided to collaborate on something…sinister? Interesting to the outsider fanboys who dig on shit like Ariel Pink. Only noisier and yet less grating, from what I can recall. There seems to be audio dropouts in a few tracks that may be purposeful or may just be honest tape damage. You never know with this kinda’ thing. Piano, drum machines, loops, guitar crashes…it’s got everything going against it, set on trying to wreck good pop tune structure (but it fails on doing so). That’s a good thing. Not sure I’d ever listen again to it by choice, this was fed to me. But as far as the initial digestion goes, it went down fairly smooth, and I even got some nutrients out of it. If you hang with the Dusted, Wire, or Pitchfork gang...seek this out. Then you’ll really have something to discuss during this years NoisePop Festival. (RSF)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
No Comply “It’s Getting Hot” EP
Might beg the usual SoCal early-‘80s connotations with aesthetic and titles like these, but I’ll be damned if sonically this doesn’t massage the grundle of Euro – particularly Scandi – hardcore more than the classic ‘Merican skate-rock you’d think. The title track couples that hoarse Totalitar-esque rasp with what I assume isn’t the most pentatonic of riffs, and “No Comply” sounds like Disorder or something! Pleasantly surprised these chaps are fishin’ across the pond. English Channel 3. When they do return Stateside, it’s with anthemic Angent Orange type fare. Eight very excitingly tense hardcore jammers. (BG)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Nothing People "Soft Crash" LP
With the slow fade of the A-Frames from the roster, Nothing People have rightfully become the current flagship act of the S-S Records imprint. The two bands do share some characteristics: the creation of future-punk through sometimes primitive modes, a cool and detatched persona that plays against evocative lyrics and concepts, and the strong rhythmic foundation propelling their songs. With their third LP I feel Nothing People have rightfully cemented their place as a top name in the US underground. The first LP was great, but maybe it was a fluke, second LP was great, so they survived the sophomore slump. But could they make a third great record, or would the energy spent on the first two already be depleted? They place that question to rest immediately, and with authority, as the A-Side of this LP is virtually flawless. They run us through the gauntlet early on, beginning with the accusatory and sharp post-rock barb of "Is This What You Want", into the alien death-ray led synth-drive of "Wasting Our Time" (with A+ vox), a romantic pop edge ("Marilyn's Grave"), an Eno-esque mover ("Extened View"), the haunting and drum-n-snyth title track and ending the side with a space-age droner that sounds like what most Blank Dogs influenced acts aspire to be. Quite possibly the album side of the year right there. Undefeatable. B-Side adds a couple of filler tracks, but it's bookended by two gems, the oscillating and aggrovated "It's Been A Bad Day" and a guitar-rocker in "Since You've Been Gone". In between there are some more rock-based tracks and "In The House" sounds like them covering The Scientists. A truly epic and "big" sounding record from one of the finest acts in operation on the North American continent. So good even the bad artwork can't bring it down. (RK)
(S.S. Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Jeffrey Novak "Home Sweet Home" 7"
Business as usual for Mr. Novak. Still mining from the same Barrett/Davies shafts that he did on 'After the Ball', but still managing to still be singularly Jeffrey Novak. And guess what? It’s still great! Have fun trying to write songs as good and enjoyable as he does. "Home Sweet Home" is probably the better tune on this, but I am actually more drawn to "Three Sisters." Everything involved on "Three Sisters" including the guitar work and production is a little more dynamic to me. They are both pretty short tracks, but they are both winners. Jacket printed on really nice "Sweet Rot" paper with a nice layout, and it's on Shattered. Which brings me to a short little side note. When I was looking at the label, I noticed that this was mastered by Jay Lindsey (like most of Novak’s music). And honestly, it made me pretty sad. I know this is about you Mr. Novak, but man it bummed me out to see his name. Jay was the shit and made some of the most listenable music I've ever heard in my life. He got a lot of shit over the years (sometimes even in these hallowed halls) for cleaning his stuff up. But, just because you are able to make hate pretty, doesn't mean it’s not still hate. And no one hated quite like Jay.(ES)
(Shattered Records // myspace.com/shatteredrecords)
Nudge Squidfish "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under Nashville" LP
The cult of Columbus/Harrisburg rock is a tough nut to crack. The House/Rep/Shepard/Jay/Nudge clan has inspired a rabid following with in-the-know fans clamoring for even the scrappiest of recordings, and there's a mountain of 'em from these guys. For many people who didn't live through at least a part of it, it might be difficult to find the way into "getting it", but some determined listening most definitely pays dividends, and this LP has some great moments to help ease n00bs into the inner circle. Compiled from cassettes Nudge recorded in Nashville in 1985 and sent to Rep, before moving back to Ohio and joining Jim Shepard in V-3, we get 18 cuts worth of loner-rock weirdness of a quality and variety you just don't get these days. Mixing outsider folk with bizarro synthesizer experiments, Nudge is sort of the druggy weirdo foil to Tommy Jay's "chili cook-off" folk rock. It's an up-and-down affair overall, but even the downs are somewhat worthwhile. For instance, "City of Sorrow" is an Eno-esque moment of majesty and then he throws in some vulgar cornball track like "Backlot of Gilligan's Isle" just to keep you on your toes. "Goodbye Princess" is high-as-a-kite Brian Wilson styled pop and there are a couple of Shepard "covers" in ""Metal or Meat" and "Signals & Warnings" that offer up some of the LP's rawest moments. The harrowing "Part Cherokee" is spoken word over synth-bass brilliance that I constantly return to. Inside jokes like "Letter From Al" or "They Call Me Mike Rep" paint in some biographical context. "Drinking for Christmas" is a certifiably twisted classic. A must-own for fans on this "scene" (and a welcome vinyl release of Squidfish material, who never had much wax in existence to begin with) and for non-worshippers it will offer more than a few moments of genius that will have you understanding what it's all about. If you're familiar with the classics of the form already (Rep's "Rocket to Nowhere" and "Stupor Hiatus", TJSA material and V-3/Vertical Slit I'd say...) and are looking to submerge further, I'd suggest getting jumping in the pool via Tommy Jay's "Tall Tales..." LP then proceeding to the deep end that is this LP. Just make sure you bring a pan to sift the nuggets from the silt. Personally, it took me more than a few years of maturing before I was finally ready to appreciate some of this stuff, so I urge you to give it time and do your homework to reap the rewards herein. Kudos to CDR for fighting the good fight and spearheading the movement to give these weirdos the retrospective attention they deserve in 2010. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on gold/black marble, with insert.(RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Bill Orcutt " A New Way To Pay Old Debts" LP
I really did think about this for a really long time, but I mean...what can you really say about this in a realistic way other than, "Holy shit, this is fucking great!"? All noise dudes, and all would-be noise dudes, you can go ahead and quit now, Bill Orcutt won. Not only that but he won like twenty years ago anyway. Sorry guys. This one really came out of nowhere. I haven't listened to Harry Pussy in some time, and I only briefly listened to Mr. Orcutt's 1996 disc (admittedly without really digesting it like I should have). But "A New Way to Pay Old Debts," really blew me away. He is still making the same atonal guitar music that he has been making for a long time, but this one is far more indebted to The Blues than anything he has done before. In fact "Sad News in Korea" is a re-imagining of a Lightning Hopkins tune, but way more fucked than the original. I will be honest here, anything I say about this, ultimately feels trite. So I will save all of us the trouble and just say if you still have the means to, GO GET THIS!! The easiest way to describe this would be to imagine this: What if John Fahey, Sun City Girls, and Jandek had a love baby out in the desert? That baby would probably look a lot like "A New Way to Pay Old Debts." Seriously, there is nothing I can say I about this that is not ultimately stupid and moot. Fuck the 'White Album', this is probably what Death Valley '69 ACTUALLY sounded like. You can practically feel the bummer desert vibes coming out of the speakers. I know she is pretty, but whatever you do, don't let little Ruth Ann Morehouse make you a hamburger.(ES)
(Palilalia Records // www.palilalia.com)
Ozzie "The Parabolic Rock" 2XLP
Scott Soriano pulls a skeleton out of Sacramento's closet, unearthing perhaps the finest rock band to ever hail from the Capitol City, at least in the "Late Seventies Weird Rock" category. Yeah, maybe even better than The Twinkeyz, for real. So, you can imagine the story...SSR is scouring the dollar bins one day 10+ years ago after getting his weekly pedicure and comes upon Ozzie's "Android Love" single and one thing leads to another....and here we have this 2XLP chock-fulla nuts and pics, fliers, liner notes and everything you want (but often don't get) out of reissues. So, the band existed from 1975-81, released a couple records, gigged around, and I'll save all the bio so as not to ruin the luxurious liner notes for ya. I will tell ya that "Android Love" is one of the best mutant-glam songs you'll ever hear. Those drum fills! Great vox, slinky bass, rippin' solo...this thing's got it all. I can see what blew SS away on first listen. The tough part was to filling up the rest of these two LPs, but Ozzie do a valiant and entertaining job. Never short on ideas, they absorbed and regurgitated just about any excessive musical possiblility at the time. Overly theatric glam-prog opuses ("Child of the Reich"), humorous cosmic rock ("Old Fart From Arcturus"), ridiculously goofy Zappa-isms ("Faunamania"), proto-punk ("I'm So Stupid")..."Big Body Build" almost sounds like the Birthday Party a few years ahead of schedule and "Beach Girls" approaches Dictators (West Coast Chapter) levels of good times. I won't continue to go on rambling, but this thing ventures into a dozen permutations of proto-glam-prog-punk styles, veering from Roxy Music-partying-with-The Gizmos to The Mothers-meet-The Styrenes. And they look like fucking Tin Huey! Over two LPs they only get on my nerves a couple times when they get too hopped-up on Zappa-goofballs and start playing loose with the mumbo jumbo. Other than that, they can rock it out when they want and are proficient at the more glitter laced side as well. Not too over-the-top sci-fi ala Zolar X, but just sort of toying with conceptual futures with a healthy sense of humor and irreverence. This thing looks and feels like a reissue should. Heavy, well designed, brimming with info and music, and little if any of it filler at that. An exceptional job on this one, bumping the Endtables LP off the top of the reissue-of-the-year heap by sheer magnitude.(RK)
(S.S. Records // www.s-srecords.com)
People's Temple "You Don't Know (Just Where I Been)" 7"
Their debut single on MNH showed some promise that I think People's Temple are realizing on their sophomore effort. Title cut is pretty blistering, Sixties moves that hit equally on the punk and psych tips, with a surfy break even. Excellent spaceman guitar action with a hippies-gone-bad feel, and a killer rave-up part with some great echoplex and panned vox parts as well. A truly great song and a weird trip, it makes you wish the Black Lips were still writing 'em this good. "Shoot Her Down" is a decent Brimstone Howl-ish rooter to fill the side. "Raft" fills up the flip with a side-long heavy garage-rock jammer that's not quite as wild sounding as I think they want it to be, but it still drives a bit. A step forward from the last record, they're heading in the right direction it seems and the title cut of this one is real keeper that stands up to repeat listens. Too bad the other two don't match its intensity. I'm gonna stay tuned, I think they could be on to something with a little more sharpening of the formula. Scum stats: 500 copies, first 50 came with a limited edition magnet(?).(RK)
(Certified PR Records // www.certifiedprrecords.com)
Petroleum By-Product "Superficial Artificial" 12" LP
Vancouver post-punk/new wave trio you might remember from the 'Emergency Room' compilation as they were one of the better acts on that rather impressive record and this eight song debut LP isn't too shabby either. The funny thing is, they sound a lot like the B-52s. Which isn't a bad thing at all. Actually, maybe not so funny either. Okay then. At other points throughout this listening experience they remind one a bit of Rogers Sisters, a mixed gender Devo, Gang of Four (disco days) and even a little Depeche Mode/Soft Cell (without so much emotional baggage). A bit o'Sparks even, but maybe it's just the guy's slick hairdo. His vox really do have a big dollop of Fred Schneider-style zany on them, particularly when playing against the dual girl voices. Not something you get to hear every day, which obviously works to their favor. I've heard they have interactive live shows based on the whole plastic/artificial products theme which I imagine works out well for them. Totally slick sounding, as this type of music should be, and they wisely play to their strengths. Ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek, but played with serious skill, or at least enough to keep from being annoying or overtly cheezy. Something hipster dance-punks should probably listen to, but it's a bit too smart for those types. For all you gals and metrosexuals out there, even I had a pretty good time listening to this a few times. One really minor thing they did that I really liked = they glued the tiny download card right to the inner sleeve, which prevents it from slipping out constantly or getting buried/crushed in the bottom of the jacket. It's the little things, you know...(RK)
(Mona Mona // myspace.com/petroleumbyproduct)
The Psychedelic Schafferson Jetplane s/t LP
The sounds of the modern Chilean psych underground are slowly making their way to North America with some vinyl and CDRs and a word-of-mouth assist from Pink Reason's tour of the country and the reports brought back from Kevin Failure. Apparently Spacemen 3 are as big as Led Zep down there or something, which is fantastic and shows on what releases I've heard so far. The Psychedelic Schafferson Jetplane (you should just pause here for a moment to think about and enjoy this band name) are a loose experimental psychedelic jam band, including some members of the previously reviewed La Banda's and they really stretch out and relax on seven lengthy instrumental explorations. And not really jammy in the rocking sense, more like wandering about in cloudy headspaces and losing themselves in the song. You get dedications to Sandy Bull and La Banda's themselves and a couple of unexpected references to David Icke/reptoids, all recorded live on 8-track tape without any digital tinkering. "Grio's Wisom" is exotic drone with vintage synth tone, hypnotizing percussion from bongos and lo-fi drum machine/gong and a bit of sitar-like guit noodle with the added oddity of supposedly being recorded next to a construction site with the sounds of jackhammers and other industrial machines melding into the cut seamlessly and without any manipulation if I'm deciphering the liner notes accurately. The Sandy Bull trib, "No Return Blues" has two or three guitar lines intertwining for a relaxed, yet not lazy, zone out. "Hey (Bring Us Another Drink)" has the only semblance of vocals (just a chant of "Hey." a few times) with a fantastic harmonica intro and total Sixties drop out vibing. Then we get into two reptilian/Icke jams with more harmonica, bongos, backwards Eastern-inflected guitar work for even more nod-out mushroom drones. Definite music to take drugs and stare at your lava lamp to, totally organic and heavy on the mellow and certainly a bit more interesting due to the locale the music is emanating from. A fried egg for sure, but one that's not spitting grease all over the place either.(RK)
(Pastabase // www.pastabase.net)
Rank/Xerox "Basement Furniture" 7"
Debut single from some Bay Area post-punkers. Four all-over-the-place tracks, the title cut almost has them sounding similar to DIY-rockers like Tyvek for a flicker of an instant, but a heavy UK-influence creeps in and squashes that. R/X are drawing from a further reaching range of influences, from Anarcho-punk franticity, the 'Red Spot'-like experimentality of their hometown and coldwave-ish even Krauty moves. Lots of sounds in play at once, agile drumming, heaps of synthy business at times, tempos shift without visible seams. The title cut is stand-offish post-punk and the A-Side as a whole seems to show the more tempered side of the band, bassline driven compositions with prickly guitar and quite icily Anglo-sounding. Well played and complex. The B-Side begins by piling on the nervous energy, vocals become more frantic, they push the tempo more and layer in the synth moves before crashing into a drone and fading out. Swimming in some uncommon waters for sure, I can appreciate the craftsmanship and tension building, but it's all a little bit cold. But that's the point now, isn't it? They've surprisingly also done a split tape with Grass Widow, who must seem even more boring than usual when placed beside a band as busy as this.(RK)
(Mongo Bongo // mondovision.tv/mongobongo)
Rational Animals “Distorted Temptation” EP
What the Manimals did for this second EP was purchase from a paraplegic Indian a dreamcatcher that snagged the members’ last gasp of REM during a 3-day opiate binge until they crossed over to the other side, and what that nightmare was was the travailing of Black Flag’s “My War” when hallucinatory fits blew Ginn’s fret-venturing into striking lightning, Stevenson’s drumming into SE Asian searching & destroying as morsels of death reigned down, “Dale’s” bass manifesting itself as a dissociative disorder, all while Rollins touts the merging of corporate and governmental sectors, the new world order, and imminent eradication of every people below 30 degrees latitude. This was the dream, and it came true. Impressionable youngsters diving head first a bit into the ‘Flag’s sound but more so into their psyche – drinking their blood in occult concession, not masturbatorial idolatry. “Stroke your ego ‘til you fucking cum” is the voice of my generation. Or maybe my degeneration. Kind of like if mysterious-guy hardcore didn’t need to conceal their shit brainchildren with cryptic emptiness. It’s all here. Zach sounds all too similar to a disgruntled employee who’s giving his coworkers a piece of his mind at the barrel of a gun, like he’s just taken the year-end banquet hostage in light of a Christmas-time layoff. Total fucking line’s-end demented venting. A regular Jonestown preacher. Time for some Kool-Aid you sick fucks. (BG)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)
Raymilland “Recordings ’79-’81” LP/CD
Archival release from these St. Louis unknowns that has some very NOW sounds going on in its goth, glam and darkly damaged tunes. Chemically treated vocals and awkward keyboard attacks that could (should) take over this retro/reissue scene. Bowie and Roxy worship as the obvious backbone, but they give it a heavy dollop of aggressive oomph in a Bauhaus cum early Devo way. Catchy, arrogant and sometimes downright noisy. Some Sixties psych-out and kraut flowers up towards the end, lending a helping hand to its synthpunk-damaged arms. Shit's pretty cool and time is right for these sonic elders to be recognized within the Sacred Bones sect and the like...I guess they're back together and playing. They should move to NYC and strike it big. 500 copies pressed on vinyl. Comes in a screened printed sleeve with a bonus CD. (RSF)
(BDR Records // www.bdrrecords.blogspot.com)
Rayon Beach "The Memory Teeth EP" 12"
Rayon is a man-made fiber that imitates the feel of natural fibers like wool or cotton. Rayon Beach are a nondescript modern rock band from Austin, manufacturing songs that imitate the feel of actual music. Billed as "head blasting" modern psych, they fall a few yards short of that bit of promotional hyperbole. Par for the course buzzrock, some crazee vocal treatments, a little less reverb/fuzz than I expected, a dash of proggy synth/organ action and at their most vaguely interesting they half-assedly tackle some meaty UK proto-punk moves. For the majority of this they just sound like a generic amalgam of other currently hip sounds, a little Shjips-y drone here, a bit of Fresh & Onlys pop there, maybe an Oh Sees psych-out or two. Sounds about as bland as the cover art looks. I keep waiting for another HozAc fastball like Spider, Catatonic Youth or Grave Blankets, but they keep throwing this offspeed junk...Scum stats: 550 copies, all on black.(RK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
The Reactors "I Want Sex" 7"
Last Laugh Records, part of the Cherry Garcia media empire, has thrown their hat into the ring and stepped up to do for KBD punk what Sing Sing Records is doing for obscure power-pop. This Reactors single is the opening salvo of an all-out attack which will include future singles from Freestone, The Eat and more surprises I'm not allowed to talk about as of press time. As you would expect, nothing but quality here ladies and germs. Totally approved and abetted by the band, authentic repro artwork (via a sturdy pocket sleeve) and recording taken from the original master tapes via a digital transfer done by Reactors leader Shep. I have no original to compare (yes, I'm a lousy excuse for a collector), but from what I can tell there's little sonic difference noticeable except to only the most astute (and anal) collectorscum. If anything, it has a bit more punch. We all know that "I Want Sex" is a stone classic, but remember that "Secuction Center" is a high quality punker as well (gotta love the mouth-made explosion sound effect and that weird keyboard bleat out of nowhere) with a ripper of a solo. High marks for this one across the board, and I'm thrilled to have a 7" reissue label stateside that is catering to my punk rock needs. The future is looking good...Scum stats: first (and perhaps only) press of 500 copies, with a couple test press editions floating around in the underworld.(RK)
(Last Laugh Records // myspace.com/lastlaughrecs)
Red Mass "Too Many parties" 7"
Man, Choyce is really going for broke with Red Mass. I fell of their trail for a bit after the recent deluge of 10", split and cassette releases, scared of the quality quotient dropping and really just thinking Choyce was going off the deep end with the whole thing. "Too Many Parties" is actually a pretty good punk song, albeit if a punk song can have a beat created from a Casio preset (including the coconut "konk" sound effect) and goofy helium-pitched backing vox. It almost sounds like a classed-up Spits number. "Kinda Funny" is offbeat garage that sounds like it was ripped from a cartoon, with multi-tracked vox-babble, funnily out-of-tune guitar that sounds almost like a ukelele and I think that's a china cymbal. Seems like a stand-up bass is involved too. Maybe a bassoon/tuba underbeat. Everything but the kitchen sink. Quite creative, that's for sure. Matches up well with the lovely Halloween artwork, the guy is really stretching out artistically with this "communal" band. I love Choyce best when he's driving a song like he's in a stolen car speeding from the police and running his vox through Satan's effects pedal, but it's pretty cool to hear him do this eclectic stuff too. He's the new French Canadian Zappa. Sort of schticky this time though, which is a slight turn-off. With assists from Jeff Clarke (Demon's Claws) and The Roller(!) in this incarnation.(RK)
(Wallride Records // www.wallriderecords.com)
Red Mass "To All The Good People" 7"
Yet another Red Mass record? It's not a race guys...Good news is that the A-Side cut on this is probably one of the best Red Mass songs I've heard. No outre intrumentation or weird-punk experimentation, just a high speed treble-punker. And I think we know Choyce is at his best when he's rocking. "You're never gonna catch me alive!" Now that's the type of shit I like to hear him singing about. Desperate rock'n'roll, not as tenacious as Le Gangbangs were, but close enough. "The Truth About baby Jane" on the flip does get just a little weird though, but in an inocuously psych-pop way. An upbeat little number with a lot of electronic background noises and hums that is actually sort of pretty in its mechanical way. If you want to hear the cult that is Red Mass sound a bit more like a traditional rock band and less like an art-school collective, this is the one for you.(RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)
Royal Headache "Eloise" 7"
Soul-n-roll from...Australia! Ugh, they're just nailing all the sub-genres here. It's not even fair anymore. I remember being really disappointed with the Yolks LP after how excited their singles had me. The four tracks on this seven-inch are just about what I wish most of the songs on that LP had sounded like. Medium-fi energetic shakers with a soulful singer who croons just right. "Surprise" is actually a great R&B jammer and "Eloise" is a total bring-the-house-downer. Healthy servings of "whoah-oh-oh"s and "na na na"s all over and they work it out with enthusiasm. "Girls" is punk-speed testifying with a sweaty rave-outro. Pencil in another A- on Australia's report card. Issued in plain black dust sleeve, and remember that the labels are accidentally reversed on all copies...(RK)
(RIP Society // myspace.com/ripsocietyrecords)
Rubbish Throwers "Tapeworm" EP
Deep and dark sub-industrial banging and swirling. Title cuts sounds like a Satanic Swell Maps. Total deadman post-punkrock clang. "Weak Eyelids" is the Antipodean answer to Lamps, but without any of Monty's good-naturedness. Out of step rhythm-n-burl. B-Side has a atmospheric droner backed with an explosive Gordons-like banger called "Willworker". Heavy and dark stuff from Melbourne via Tasmania, highly recommended, with members of Miniature Submarines and Action Holes and links to The Stabs if you need to do a background check before buying. For fans of the Parts Unknown aesthetic and that new Deaf Wish LP. Scum stats: 150 copies only, jeeezus...(RK)
(Endless Melt // www.endlessmelt.com)
Sandwitches "Back to the Sea" 7"
I panned the Sandwitches LP because it was just really flat sounding and bereft of anything to keep me from dozing off. Another gal group playing folky and retro, blahblahblech. "Back to the Sea" was actually on the LP, but I don't remember it being this darling. Total Fifties soda shop innocence, you can't disagree with the vocal harmonies, the drums fall out of step here and there to add some charm. Yeah, it's cute, perhaps even cloyingly so. They do well at evoking a nostalgic fog though. Flip side has a clever song title ("Beatle Screams") and throws some echo on the vocals with backing from an accordion. The "screams" sort of sound like marine mammal noises, and it has a weird and slightly eerie carnival/boardwalk feel. At least this single has some character, that LP was just a pile of drab shite that really didn't show off any of the nuance here. This one should be big with the ladies out there. Already in its second pressing?!(RK)
(Southpaw Records // www.southpawdistro.bigcartel.com)
Satan "Lick My Feet" 7"
Girl-guy tag team from France, specifically Bordeaux if I'm guessing correctly. Diabolical packaging from the label, a textured brown paper silk screened envelope you have to break the seal on to get to the record, sure to drive anal retentive collectors into fits. Musically, they cover all the Gallic/Italo bases that are currently being touched by others in more interesting ways. "Lick My Feet" is trog-garage ug-stomp a la Magnetix, minus the time-machine guitar blasts. "More Funny..." waxes laconic, country twang style in the vein of Movie Star Junkies. Via the flipside we get some Volt-soundalike material to begin with ("Satan"), where Paula even mimics Lili's vox fairly well and they muster up a dance beat but forget to put the sex in it. "Loin De Moi" closes up the shop, a shadowy ballad that just makes me think of Vermillion Sands at this point. Sounds like I'm being harsh, I know, but if you're really into the Euro scene and feel the need to collect C-List caliber stuff as well, this is for you. Not terrible by any means, but fairly redundant. Three different colors of sleeve variants.(RK)
(Shit Music for Shit People // myspace.com/shitmusicforshitpeople)
School Jerks “Decline” EP
Sounds like an uncovered Black Flag recording from Ginn ‘n the gang’s middle school talent show. Bare bones fidelity to match minimalist aesthetic, typically powerful fret-wandering with a discordant pwaaang now & again, and a real dick-caught-in-the-zipper vocal delivery, like an inebriated Chavo trying REALLY hard to get the marbles out of his yap or the peanut butter from the roof of his mouth. Almost zero reverence for low-end has it gleaming some radioactive ‘80s LA smog a la the Germs first EP – that in-yer-fackin’-face feel that the 4-track brings. Raw quadruple-songer of stuff that’s clearly followed the evolutionary flow from KBD chimp-romp to neanderthal rock-music (music with rocks). Tantrum hardcore, not tough hardcore. Music you won’t remember tomorrow for people who can’t remember 5 minutes ago. (BG)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)
Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin "Reverse Shark Attack" LP
The 7" these two creative Californian young adults collaborated on was full of energy and spunk and hinted at an up all night sleepover/recording sesh fueled by weed and candy bars. Super energetic and overflowing with ideas, but also a bit slapdash and half-ass. I enjoyed its carefeee spirit though, and was also a little wary of this already overly busy combo making a decent LP in their spare time. Mikal is already busy with Charlie & The Moonhearts and Okie Dokie and probably a few other things I'm unaware of, and we all know Ty releases records at a Melchior-like clip. The partnership works out well on this long player though, with the two of them playing and recording everything themselves. The first half-dozen tracks are originals that will satisfy any who are already fans of the modern surf/garage rock style these guys play in their other bands. Two slow stompers with heaps of echo and effects and a few speedier surf-rockers. Not too shabby at all, similar to the feel of 'Lemons', but with a heavier hand perhaps. It's just what you'd expect up to this point, but then they reach up their sleeves and pull out their aces just when you think it might be getting redundant. Side A closes with a gonzo cover Floyd's "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" which they thrillingly adapt to their Cali beach-punk approach without sacrificing any energy or momentum. Quite well done. This then sets the table for the flipside, the side-long title track. An expansive and enveloping suite (with the linking theme being that of love and losing it, in a slightly tongue-in-cheek goofball-psych fashion), "Reverse Shark Attack" is ten-plus minutes of Cronin and Segall throwing down just about every trick they have in their young repetoire. Heavy duty reverb abuse soaks the whole thing in waves, but it's broken into individual bits of indie-punk, a Latin flavored surf theme (with a heavy Ventures nod), an underwater beach-pop segment, acoustic psychedelic folk moments and they even dip into some overblown horns and other fancy concept-record accoutrements. I give these lads heaps of credit for tackling something so ridiculously ambitious and making it work. Sure, they pull a boner here and there on this, and some of it is a bit half-baked, but there's such an abundance of ideas you have to expect some slight missteps. They threw everything at the wall and even kept the parts that didn't totally stick. Creative abandon aside, on the whole it's surprisingly well thought-out and played (both of these guys have chops on the kit and the guit) genre exercising given a fresh look and an injection of adolescent and energetic bluster. They took a project that could've just been a throwaway and made it an attention grabbing listen and interesting step forward in the evolution of two exciting young songmakers with bright futures.(RK)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
Shake Shake Bolino "Don't Lose Your Friends" 7"
Cheveu guitar-player's two-piece side project with his gal pal. A-Side is written in the style of country-tinged garage a lot of Italians are milking these days (Vermillion Sands, Movie Star Junkies, etc...), and it's nothing to get too hot about. They do some damage on the B-Side though, a punky JSBX-ish stomper that has some monster guitar whomp, tough attitude and the weird edges you'd expect from a Cheveu guy. Not quite a must-have, except for all you rabid Francophile completists out there. Get that Bosom Divine single on this label though! Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Les Disques Steak // myspace.com/disquessteak)
Shark Toys "Stayed Up" 7"
Indie-garage from the Inland Empire, Shark Toys sound like what I wish those Christmas Island records would have. Driven by gal-n-guy dynamics (Daniel on guit/vox and Rina on keys/vox) and joined by various other musicians when needed (these recordings feature Greg Ashley on drums as well as on the mixing board, and I hear they have a 4-piece live line-up), it's intimate and simplistic pop with a post-punk cleanliness to it while maintaining some hooks as well. The keyboards are almost undetectable at times and the layering of other sounds (a cello or violin, multiple guitar/bass tracks, odd key jingles) make for some deceptively deep tracks. "Stayed Up" is cute garage-pop about listening to records and love, "Library" has a jolly UK-DIY feel to it, "What To Do" recalls desperate art-punk moves and "Rainfall" is quirky Flying Nun inflected indie pop. I got a lot more out of Shark Toys than I expected, as they exhibit more character than other bands of this ilk. Band name reminds me of Tronics and so do the sounds at brief moments. Scum stats: 500 copies, first 100 with hand-numbered gold sleeve.(RK)
(Felter Skelter // myspace.com/felterskelterrecords)
The Shitty Limits "Last Orders" 7"
One of the finest bands in the motherlands continues their impeccable discography with their rawest and meanest recording yet. "Last Orders" starts off with the lovely crooning voice of one L.H. and an infectious, crushing groove (reaffirming their radioactive 3 parts Pink Flag to 2 parts WHY to 1 part Riot City approach) right-hand driving straight into a refrain that only a pre-frontal lobotomy can cure you of. Cherry on the sundae is the Darby Crash death rattle at the end of the song... Glorious. The b-side is just as offensively dancey, reminding you that the premier band bringing Motown Punk to your ears ain't gonna let up any time soon. Their LP was phenomenal and this is exactly the follow-up you should have expected. Excellent! Scum stats: 394 stamped copies and that's it. Get it while you can, I'm sure their hung parliament will result in near-Italian post office operation in no time.(NG)
(La Vida es un Mus // www.lavidaesunmus.com)
The Sinks "I Drove The Sinks" 7"
"Smoking Fucking Cigs" was a perfect example of annoyingly catchy teenage piss, but that was The Sleaze a not these guys anyway. Three-songer that delivers some much needed hot punk action, reminding me of the finer days of the early 00's when it was still cool to play real punk rock'n'roll. "Mirror" has some big-shit soloing that they have no business throwing in there, and it's all good-n-brash. I think this one definitely has more legs than their other records. "Bad Blood" and "Don't Need You" are unquestionably hooky and have all the required snot and dumbass bravado needed to pull this shit off. Like the Catholic Boys before they got too weird, or even the Teenage Rejects days with a little Brides swagger. They can certainly play and write well enough that they don't need to use the lo-fi aspect as a crutch. Good job, a step beyond their previous single(s), I'm impressed. (RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiotsrecords.com)
Slices “Cruising” LP
A tortured hulk of a record, right here. Both sides fool you into thinking there’s some kinda’ Fucked Up styled street-core on deck, just to swerve into the guardrail seconds after initial takeoff. Art damaged agro-sPunk that’ll give Dry Rot a run for the money in the New Hardcore for Haters competition. There’s the drunken metallic sway of Blut Aus Nord. The pummeling thug-jazz of Unsane. The recent Pennsylvania noise-rock shuffle. It’s all laid bare in these two-act-play short sides. A blaring tension release full of guitar squalor that occasionally comes off like a chorus of strangled geese. Instrumentation sputters and flails as someone (something) barks obscenities at you. Your new scene-cleaners. As for the musical interludes; others may call them filler…I call them mood stabilizers. If the mood yer clinging to is that of 42nd St. grinders like Maniac or other films based on sexual predators. Mean spirited. Ugly but smart stuff. A thinking mans mess. 700 copies exist. Probably leaving the building as fast as you can say Sex/Vid.
(Iron Lung Records // lifeironlungdeath.blogspot.com)
Doug Snyder & Bob Thompson "Daily Dance" LP
Legit reissue of a long-lost "out" rock LP recorded in 1973 and rescued from obscurity by Canada's Cantor Records (also keepers of the Weird Canada blog/site). Incredibly unique sounding for the time, I've seen people call if "free-rock" and it's an apt desciptor, as the duo of Snyder (guitar) and Thompson (drums) combine free-jazz "structure" (or lack thereof) with psychedelic rock noise making for what could be considered a precursor (that very few obviously heard) to the No Wave movement and Dead C's excursions into the outlands of rock. Seven freak-out instrumental tracks with exceptionally dextrous drumming provding a loose template for waves of guitar drone and feedback. Not much actual riffing and little traditional structuring, it's essentially extended soloing and wank (in a good way) making for gritty and atmospheric sheets of free-form rock'n'roll. Heavy stuff ("Teenage Emergency" in particular, where the guiatr almost sounds like a saw at times) with numerous twists and turns, with smart and unbridled guitar playing that's not so much nasty sounding (though it has raw moments) as it is experimentally invigorating. Not necessarily something you need to take drugs to get into or something that only sounds good at 3:00 am with all the lights off, although it doesn't hurt. This record is actually a great way to start the day as well. And the best part: it's from Ohio, yet another piece of the puzzle of that state's glorious rock legacy. Labor-of-love packaging with hardy tip-on sleeve, obi strip and booklet.(RK)
(Cantor Records // www.cantorrecords.com)
Sonny & The Sunsets "The Hypnotist" EP
Another branch of the family tree that includes the Oh Sees, Fresh & Onlys, Kelly Stoltz and other psych-folk friends from the Bay Area that has risen to popularity in the past year or so. Sonny Smith is the singer-songwriter sensitive type, crafting acoustic and "quirky" pop-folk tunes with an intimate and personal perspective. I enjoyed his debut single, an uplifting look into a man healing his emotionally damaged psyche via his music. It had a real back-from-the-brink sense that made it interesting. That fragility is still in evidence on this four song EP, three of them just Sonny and a guitar, and the fourth being the centerpeice here ("Stranded"), which has him accompanied by friends (including Shayde from F&Os) on bass/drums and female vocal harmonies with a country-western twang and drawl to it. Certainly the keeper from this bunch, but regrettably it's also on the LP. My tolerance for wimpy West Coast folk is limited, and the California sun shines bright on this one, but it's the troubled lyrics and song concepts that make Smith's tunes a little more than ordinary. That considered, I'd suggest trying the LP or the first single for a first impression, as this is some pretty weak sauce overall. First 100 copies come with a small comic book from Sonny which is actually pretty damn good, available on black or blue/yellow mixed vinyl.(RK)
(Future Stress // www.futurestress.com)
Sonny & The Sunsets "Broom & Dustpan" 7"
Two-songer from Sonny, with a backing band on both cuts here (this time including a Fresh & Only, Kelly Stoltz and more), and it's a couple of steps shorter and better than "The Hypnotist" EP. "Broom & Dustpan" is a goodbye song with a lilting melody and breezy organ providing a weary backdrop. Sounds close to Jonathan Richman at his wimpiest and saddest. "E.S.P." feels like The Band, with female vocal harmonies and weeping piano and guitar backing his strong vocals on this one, and the answering machine message drop-in adds to the sunny (ack) West Coast melancholy. Good stuff for a genre I can't stand. I gotta go listen to 'Victim in Pain' now...fuck, what is going around here? And I hate the name of this label. Mellow yellow colored vinyl with download.(RK)
(Homeskillet Records // www.homeskilletrecords.com)
Southside Stranglers "Strangle You" 7"
3/4 of Government Warning put away the Eighties 'core for a few moments to make this two-song single piled high with garage raunch. This is what we were calling "rawk" a few years ago. Both tracks going for the heavy-n-sleazy approach, sounding somehwere in the league of Nashville Pussy and 'Apocalypse Dudes'-era Turbonegro. I kinda like 'em better as Government Warning.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiotsrecords.com)
Spread 'Em "Pizza Crisis" EP
The pizza rock party has apparently infiltrated the upstate NY hardcore punk scene as well, proven by this extra-cheezy EP from Albany's Spread 'Em. Chug-a-lug riffing, Antiseen-ish hard knock rocking, serious hot lixx and irreverant song topics provide the toppings on this six slice seven-inch. Their ode to Jamie Lee Curtis is actually quite anthemic (and my fave of the EP), "Too Many Zits" is a quality drunk-punker, title cut is a ripper and "Fuck Megatron" touches on some serious social commentary. They temper the jokey tunes with real punk rock punchline action, so as not to get too goofy. I enjoyed this more than I imagined I would, for fans of juvenile humor, NY-style pizza and full throttle punkitude. Scum stats: 300 copies, 100 on clear, hand-numbered with insert/booklet.(RK)
(Peterwalkee Records // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)
St. Dad "Do As I Say Not What I Do" 7" EP
These guys came to my town, and I was told all week leading up to the show that “Oh, this band is right up your alley.” Anyway, I got to the show late because I was too busy acting like a lunatic in my room. Complete with constant sighs, pacing back and forth, and making “to do” lists that I will never ever “do” (believe me, it’s weird and probably pretty hilarious to watch, I know). Well, as I arrived to the show, St. Dad just got done playing and I was promptly greeted by at least four “Oh, man you blew it”'s from various friends. So to save face, I just bought the 7” without ever having heard the band, and here we are. I cannot stress enough HOW much I like this. Each of the four cuts I dig equally. “Jobs and Junk” starts out with a riff reminiscent (by that I mean almost the exact same) of “Molly’s Lips” or “Boxcar” but everything on this is way more fucked and awesome, and is nothing like the aforementioned references. Each song follows suit with a nice blend of poppy backbeats, deceptively heavy bass lines, inventive guitar parts and snotty lyrics ("I sold my Grandmother on EBay, because she stole my tooth fairy money"). Overall a really nice mixture of punk, pop and amateur avant-weirdness (I mean that in a good way). This really manages to be both dumb fun and pretty clever. Despite all of the potentially “annoying” aspect of this band, each cut is EXTREMELY listenable. The one thing that people will be on the fence about is the vocals (which if you don’t like, you are stupid, I’m sorry). They kind of sound like if Darby Crash had a shitty little brother (does he?) who won’t quit screaming while bugging the shit out of you to buy him some beer (for the record, if this were a real person and he was in this band, I would totally buy him beer). All these songs make a convincing argument for me to finally start giving a flying fuck about what happens in Florida. Thanks for the Black & Mild dudes, it sure did taste like shit.(ES)
(self-released // stdadyouth.blogspot.com)
Sticks N Stones "Red Light" 7"
New power pop outfit with Paul and JonE from Teenage Rejects/Catholic Boys and Natalie from Tears/Tuff Bananas. The gimmicky bubblegum of the Tuff 'nanners seems to have run it's course so Paul and Co. have turned to the powerpop closet to raid this time around. Two cuts of mid-range p'n'p reverent to Seventies traditions. "Red Light" is more of the shout-along revved-up type of gal and "Time Change" is the moodier date. Kinda reminds me of a lesser First Alert song off their last album. Better than much of the folk-rock chud and limp pop-punk emanating from the once strong Wisconsin music scene, but I really just wish all these kids would go back to being punks.(RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)
Strange Attractor s/t LP
Hyperactive Canadian garage-punkers do a 19 song LP clocking in at about 20 minutes. A recipe for success, and they get the ingredients right most of the time. There are about five other bands with this name as well, so be careful looking them up on the ol' Myspace. Anyhow, the thing that puts this record over the top for me is the singer. An exceptionally snotty voice in action and his vox really take the punk parts of this record convincingly over-the-top. "Go Fuck My Brain" is the most wonderfully stupid song since De Stipjes "My Brain is Dead". This has a good dozen punk rippers, in the Angry Samoans-via-Rip Off sound, but ripping off the best savage punk parts, like Problematics, Motards, Brides and such. And when the do give garage top-billing over punk, it's speed-trial tempo blasters a la Spaceshits or Teengenerate. They do songs with titles like "Beer", "Fuck Shit Up", "We're A Druggie Family" and "Decapitate Me Baby" justice, making them legit torpedo-rockers instead of groan-inducing fakepunk. Really impressed by attitudical thumpers like "Night Banger", "Gossip Girls" amd "I'm A Strange Attractor" as well. The best cut might be "Nite Stalker", a wonderfully whiny garage-pop number that morphs into a punk pisser. Playing is super tight throughout, recording is crisp yet not slick, and as I said, the guys vox are just totally sick. You're gonna look at this record and think it's just another generic garage-punk LP, but they really made an exciting and entertaining record out of some components that could easily have been overly-cliched and cornball. Sure, it's stereotypically dumb and yet another stroll down a beaten path, but it's done with vigor and talent and it's so quick you don't have too much time to think about it anyway. They don't overplay the dumb-punk angle, bringing things to just the right point before getting too goofy, maintaining the punk 'tude and not drifting into parody. Certainly no more irritating than Wax Museums ever got. Perfect length. Excellence of execution. One of these guys is in The Statues, but Strange Attractor are ten times better and more punk than that softball playing outfit. And the dog-wearing-sunglasses labels are sure to be a hit with Termbos everywhere. Beautiful and slick gatefold packing from Red Lounge is a bonus, and really too nice for such a record.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // myspoace.com/redloungerecords)
Suetta "Olympic Stain (1994-96)" LP
Mid-Nineties teenage Alt-rock outfit from middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania (Moscow, PA to be exact, look it up) who recorded a demos worth of songs in 1996 that sat unreleased until a band member decied to press up 100 copies himself with a humorous faux-live show recorded at what I would imagine is one of the member's houses on a night when the parents were out to dinner at the local Waffle House. Side A is the entirety of the studio session, heavy on the Alternative Nation influence, particularly of that transitional period Sonic Youth where they were going from art-punk indie darlings to Geffenized major label punk breakers. A certain Homestead records vibe exists as well, if these guys were even that dialed in at the time is unknown, but there's a reminiscence to post-breakup Barlow and Mascis rock experimentation as well, in particular the screamy vocals and rangy indie-rock drive evident and the schizophrenic Sebadoh-like style shifts, no matter how awkward the performances may be. Charming stuff, and poses the idea that the next wave of KBD-like obscurities to be unearthed might actually emanate from this "scene" and not the garage-rock nobodies many of us were figuring on. Every shitty town certainly had a Suetta in 1996, while they may not have had a Nubees. Obviously much of the charm of KBD bands is the fact they were latching onto a mainstream trend of sorts, i.e. punk rock or New Wave, and doing a bad job of it. Pre-grunge alt-rock years offer a similar window of time and opportunity, as opposed to the garage-rock scene which was certainly an established underground happening already catering to the hip few. Make sense? I think so. A fascinating release, both musically and aesthetically, and while it's certainly painfully bad at moments ("Girl" is an unintentional pre-emo screamer) it also has surreal moments like the indie-folk of "8 Track Warrior". The "live" side offers even more thrills of the no-fi variety complete with fake banter and a Noise Addict rip-off converted to an ode to chewing tobacco. Not so much an amazing record (although it has more than a few moments that almost get there) as an interesting archaelogical find for intrepid listeners. Scum stats: 100 copies with a four different sleeve variations, one for each member.(RK)
(Summersteps Records // www.summerstepsrecords.com)
Sworn Liars “Vile Device” LP
Spookshow rock has always been a staple around the Big Neck HQ, and this is their newest heir to the throne. Ex-Moorat Fingers bring a meaty bottom dwelling platter full of those harsh Nineties garage sounds: the f/x laddened hate of The Necessary Evils, the mean-spirited mess of The Dwarves, Blowtops guitar squeal and keyboard creep, and so on. Seventies punk swagger and speed wins out over the Sixties rock as this cagematch plays out. Even touches on The Gun Club and LA hardcore here and again. Savage Records and VooDoo Rhythm might start a bidding war. Shit is probably selling hotcakes overseas, since we’re so busy in the states suckling on the new new-wave knob. Songs drop weird theremin feedback, treated vocals, and space-wreck-age to keep that monster vibe upfront and personal.
The horror themes can seem cheesy to some, but it I’ve always found it a good time…as long as ya don’t fall too far down into that Scooby Doo psychobilly shit. That’ll kill it. This don’t. A mean spirited wink, but not totally locked down in the joke shop. The production is up there with those Alive/Bomp recordings of now instead of the old Crypt school of clatter, which may hurt their rep to a certain fan base out there. But fuggit. Sometimes you wanna’ hear all that gut punch and gargled glass. Thanks! Someone help Bart out in the art department…jeesh. (RSF)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Systematic Death "Systema Six" LP
Released on CD in Japan sometime last year, this finally gets vinyl issue courtesy of Feral Ward - the In the Red of hardcorepunk - quite similarly continuing his unrivaled conquest for supremacy. Reports had been great from the reunion shows, interest was re-piqued with the Partners in Crime reissues of their past recordings, Sugi artwork on new shirts was just as brimming with intense pointillism as anyone could ask for, but who would expect Systematic Death, after 25+ years, to pull a Totalitär and put out their best record last? Putting this record on is like setting a teakettle filled with VX on the stove. Unrelenting execution... these guys have found new ways to implement the same bizarre rhythms that fold songs backwards onto themselves in a fit of rage. Senseless English translations adorn the cardstock inner sleeve (as well as a very City Rock(ers) promo photo), lyrics like "Responsibility conversion / symbol of distortion" that Roehrs -RIP- would've undoubtedly quoted when the time came. Japanese hardcorepunk that everyone should be able to get down with, as most of this record sounds like the Teen Idles brains transplanted into Gauze's bodies. "Subtropical" is an irrevocably bizarre amalgamation of some of the finest styles known to man, and 'Systema Six' is a ridiculous, eclectic mix of sounds that results in the music that we all want to love to need to hear. We live in a priveleged time. Scum stats: there are an unverifiable number of these on a truly disgusting ramen broth color. (NG)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)
Taco Leg "Freemasons' Hall" 7"
New vinyl from any Aussie band, no matter how poorly named, gets my attention immediately these days. I'm completely riding the Austalian jock strap these days. Taco Leg are from Perth, and are messing about with a no-fi approach to rocking out in their bedrooms and carports which has led them to concoct this two song slab of promising ineptitude. "Freemasons' Hall" and "Sunbathing In Squalor" both feature some thoroughly enjoyable sub-amateur guitar playing, a pleasantly shitty drum sound and some birdbrain talking the vox out of his arse. A-Side is the treble-n-hiss "rocker", B-Side is the wacky cut with cowbell. Australian Rules DIY. Not without its charms. I'm all for barely competent bands that sound like shit, but you still gotta give me a song to dig. Future efforts will be anticipated however, as they do have a certain careless appeal. These broads need to shave their legs too.(RK)
(Fan Death // www.fandeathrecords.com)
Teenanger "Give Me Pink" LP
Long playing debut (not counting their split LP with Chaz & The Moonhearts) from Toronto's garage band du jour. A dozen run-of-the-mill mid-tempo cuts with twangy guitar and female backing vox. 1/3 punk balogna, 1/3 country fried steak, 1/3 garage turkey. Gotta give this one the generic review: well played, well recorded, but not too exciting in general. Sounds like a less-inpsired and/or talented mash-up of Demon's Claws and Deadly Snakes. Roots-garage. At least the T-Dot has a decent opening act for touring bands these days...I remember the days of having to sit through Cheerleader or The Sinisters any time I drove up there for a show. Now those bands truly sucked - Teenanger at least make for a tolerable half-hour of time-killing. Comes with large fold-out newsprint insert/poster. Great cover photo/concept though.(RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telpephoneexplosion.com)
Timmy’s Organism “I’m A Nice Guy Now” 7”
Some prime future-primitive debris scattered about by the reigning champion of simian snot-rock. I assume that this probably doesn’t need much explaining ‘round here. If yer deeply into this Termbo shit, you know what to expect from Tim-Eye/Vulgar/Lamp/whatever. More infectious mongoloid thump and Seventies styled “cock as guitar” noise, jizzing all about. I wonder if Leland Yoshitsu has heard any of this madness? A familiar spattering of the day-glow goo n’ trash…and still essential. "I’m A Nice Guy Now" flops along like a displaced fish in a mud puddle, wah-wah effect under its fin. He’s got a couple of friends joining in on this’n (one’s a Frustration that I know of). Timmy tries to fool you into thinking he’s cleaned his act up. No psycho-pharmaceuticals, my ass. Deranged puke punk abruptum. The B-side, dedicated to my favorite leftover, is solo street balladry that releases a Suicide chill along side its dirty hobo-thrills. A blathering alley madman in a riff damaged stupor. Some folks (non-believers) will find this to be junk. Those who “feel it” will continue to ride this Vulgar crested wave to the end of the world. I’m up for the swim. Great full cover sleeve art makes you think the Organisms are trying to bone the Shannon and Clams LP. Ugly offspring = beautiful music. (RSF)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)
Timmy's Organism "I'm On A Hunt" 7"
This incarnation of the Organism is a far cry from the self-recorded stuff Timmy gave us on the Sacred Bones 2x7" and shows him retreating even further from the ultra-outre aspects of Human Eye and revisiting his sleazy rock days, not reverting all the way back to the Epileptix days (but that would be reiveting) but rewinding at least as far as 'Blood On Jupiter'. Not wholly punk, but a more stoic and reminiscing brand of rock'n'roll, as if Timmy's reminding himself where it all started. The songs are built heavier and sturdier than the Clone Defects shattered punk action, "Don't Forget Your Pretty Stare" is mid-tempo melancholy with some flourishes of humor and both cuts certainly sound far more stoned and rooted in the earth than they are lysergic trips through space. Timmy's grounded himself a bit here, but don't be worried. "I'm On A Hunt" summons what must be some of the last remaining pockets of true Motor City Rock thunder which can only be wielded by an artist as authentic as Vulgar. The man is one of the few people alive who live, breathe and bleed the essence of true rock'n'roll. Scum stats: 600 copies total, with 100 blue plate specials. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Ultratumbados s/t EP
Wow, what a fucking weird sounding record. Brushed-on treble that’s simultaneously smooth and sharp… like glass. Like broken glass pulled steadily up the forearm removing its skin in a precise sheet. And I like it. The chord progression in “Autogesto Al Exceso” thusly turns into malevolent waves of used hypodermic needles sloshing your Kool Keith accustomed speakers and ruining your roommate’s day. A frightfully classic-sounding guitar tone, good amount of harmonic discord, and some smooth Latin lover with an audacious, evil sing-talk assuming the position on vox. “Ultratumbados” on the flip, however, begins with an eerie little stalker-jingle and dances into melodic, anthemic Adicts type fare (to be crude) or maybe a less gay breed of cockney street music. If The Adicts were from the southside of Chicago and had balls, that is. Seriously… enough of the “oo-oo-oh” thing plz. Side A is a fuckin’ creeper.(BG)
(Southkore Records // www.southkorerecords.com)
Umberto "From the Grave..." LP
Side-project of a fella from the group Expo '70, who I'm sure not a whole lot of us are familiar with. But that's of little consequence here. For those of us who like horror movies enough to actually listen to their soundtracks or just your ever-lovable synth-prog fan here on Termbo for some unknown reason, we have an LP that delivers a competent modern take on old themes. Like a less serious Zombi without such a prog-rock fetish and a bit more focused on just stoking out on Goblin and Fabio Frizzi. I'm no expert on other acts mining this vein these days (I'm sure there are plenty more to name drop), and this thing certainly won't get you trading in your Profondo Rosso LP, but it's authentic enough for a dabbler in the dark arts like myself. Doesn't get too overly disco, all ten tracks float by at manageable and creepy BPMs and muster up a solid air of tension and drugged movement. The wide array of synths and beats pass muster in my book, i.e. nothing overly corny or dancey and the songs have a fun progression to follow for an Argento (or Lenzi!) film yet to be made ("Opening Titles", "Dream Sequence", "Shower Scene", "End Credits" etc...). Just schlocky enough to keep an average schmoe like me along for the full ride. Quite well executed and certainly recommended for anyone who digs Giallo scores in the slightest and wants to hear a good modern stab(!) at the genre. Sure to piss off people who take this shit way too seriously, which makes me like it even more. Beautiful art and packing from Permanent who are really grabbing at the brass ring both as a label and store/mailorder these days. In stock now! I applaud their efforts. Scum stats: 500 copies with 100 on red.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
Unnatural Helpers “Sunshine” 7”
One Fudge (of the Double kind) picked up a Dutchess, an Idle Time, and god knows who else along the way for this outing. Always shifting around in line-up but never too much change in sound, this seems to be their stab at…um, being beachy? The title track has something going on akin to Archers of Loaf (screw you...I liked ‘em) playing in the sandbox with Brian Wilson. Setting loose some "Surfin’ USA" love on the slacker sect, all the while damning the whole bubblegum worship of today. Hear hear. Track two - "Did The Lawn Get Mowed?" - stomps around in the garage and makes me miss the Bag o’ Hammers Seattle-era. Short as all get out but a tasty little ride, nonetheless. What’s on the flip? "Shakes" gets hairy showing off its fuzzy belly lint and the raging ex-Fudge-fueled feel. The Idle Times imprint reverberates throughout. This here’s a moderne classique. If Kurt Bloch produced this (he did) and Steve Turner pressed it, man this’d be huge back in the day. Buddy Bradley and his flannelled bro’s would salute you with a Rainier. Nowadays everything is buried in cardboard thumps and crack-foil amp static. Sometimes you wanna know folks can really play. This is catchy shit. "Waiting Such A Long Time" melds male Shangri-La fantasies with a downright doomed Fallouts-style fall. Stoned LOSER jem. Dean’s voice is pretty strong these days. Short and sweet ugly pop. I can only hope one of you fucktards plunks down for it instead of some other practice tape pressed to one-sided LP bullshit ya’ll get excited about. 500 Pressed. Full length up in a heartbeat. SOLID. (RSF)
(Hardly Art // www.hardlyart.com)
Uphill Gardeners “5-6” LP
Took me a while to figure out just what the hell I was reviewing. The band name or even record label info on this package was nil. They do have this fine song title: "I’ve Got To Stop Getting Pregnant". That’s a sure fire winner in my book. Ah…there’s a download card. Ok. Band name in check. Now off to the grooves...The Uphill Gardeners lay down some serious improv plink and skronk. Quality instrumental plink and skronk. Loosely based in song structure, but there’s songs in there. The Arto Lindsay herk-n-jerk method is applied to its fullest force, but it’s not at all spazz-jazz …there’s some low bottom drone thrown in to stoner jam upon. Rumbling guitars and rolling drums cut deeply by sharp repeated scree. This stuff was recorded live in the late Nineties, so don’t go looking for them to play yer town anytime soon. For fans of Sightings, Neptune, car horns, metal scrape and twiddling with radio signals. Catchy for those of you who find 'Sonic Death' catchy. Industrial in the old Neubauten sense of the word and not the kind ya dance to. Good shit. 500 pressed? I think. (RSF)
(olFactory Records / Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
Useless Eaters “Panic Attack” 7”
Fighting Bundle Of Fags for the KBD shit n’ snot throne AND in the running for “World's Shortest Single”, the Useless Eaters unleash their punkiest of the jangle-punk yet with "Panic Attack". Title song cruises along like a violent seizure underneath so much tape hiss you’ll mistake it for another guitar. It’s like saccharine skuzz’d hit shooting straight for my clogged-up, half beating heart. I think the lead out groove is longer than the track, for reals. Side B’s Death View is a smidge longer in its stop-n-go pop, but that’s because it gives you some space to breathe within its stiff robotic breaks. Recorded kleen this time, with a solo bedroom vibe. A great static-free ride. Stats: five hunner’d or so, I’d assume. (RSF)...................
I walked away from the previous two Useless Eaters singles without giving a fuck. Yeah, yeah, KBD-inspired punk schlock and Jay Jay loved 'em. I still don't think it was anything to get excited over. I wouldn't have even given this one a chance, but when the Dirty South's finest label releases something I have to listen. At least this Seth kid doesn't overstay his welcome, he jerks out two quick punkers in less than 4 minutes or so. "Death View" was recorded solo-shooter style in Memphis, it's the B-Side and better of the two, no-frills Gizmos-stylee stumble punk. It's ok. A-Side is "Panic Attack" recorded in Euroland with a bandful of Danes. Almost musters up some of the punk-chug of CPC Gangbangs in the beginning revs, but the goofy hook sends it into New Wavesville. The best thing about this record is the insert that advertises the True Sons of Thunder LP coming soon! Scum stats: 500 copies, first 50 with alternate color sleeves.(RK)
(Jeth Row // myspace.com/jethrowrecords)
U.S. Girls “Go Grey” LP
Another album of tape machine murk and distorted vocals from U.S. Girls. 'Go Grey' is a pretty apt title, and pretty well describes the ethereal clatter of Megan Remy’s new LP. This is actually slightly more challenging and a little more impenetrable than 'Introducing'. Now, that sounds like a bad thing, but in this case it actually works in her favor. Unfortunately, because one woman is making this, and it's on Siltbreeze, it is probably going to get unfairly compared with Zola Jesus or something like that. But make no mistake, this is nothing like that and most of the suffocating hiss on here could probably only be made by Remy herself. This is a record that really needs to be listened to all the way through in one sitting because, although everything is aesthetically similar, listening to this should be an experience. It’s a bizarre mixture of intimacy and detachment, and it becomes hard to pinpoint how you feel about it. This actually adds quite a bit to the overall mystery of U.S. Girls. “Red Ford Radio,” “I Don’t Have a Mind of My Own” and “Blue Eyes on the Blvd” are the standout tracks, and are the only ones that even approach conventional song structure. In fact, “Blue Eyes on the Blvd” contains probably the most beautiful melody ever housed on a Siltbreeze release. I was looking at the credits, and it looks like this was mastered by Pete Swanson of Yellow Swans fame. A really good two-fer right now would be 'Go Grey' and Yellow Swans’ 'Going Places' on Type. Both are incredibly harsh records that still manage to approach transcendence.(ES)
(Siltbreeze // www.siltbreeze.com)
V/A GG Allin & The Criminal Quartet/Disco Lepers "Killed By Cuntry" split 7"
More GG recycling, I think we all know and love "Fuck Authority" by now, and there's the solo acoustic version of "Carmelita" that I think is pulled directly from the 'Hated' soundtrack. Certainly one of his most poignant moments. Disco Lepers are a ridiculous UK punk outfit I've given poor reviews before and they schtick it up for three mock country numbers with "clever" titles like "I Caught Tuberculosis From a Jimmie Rodgers LP". The vocals will give you a headache, never mind the music. A UK import, which explains things a bit.(RK)
(Indian Recordings // www.shattereddebaucheepress.com)
V/A GG Allin & The Criminal Quartet/Duane Peters Gunfight split 7"
The Geege vs. Duane Peters - two human messes/legends squaring off on this split, the cover of which folds out into a wanted poster. Both the GG cuts are pulled from his 'Carnival of Excess' "cuntry" record from '91. "Carmelita" is the soft-side Warren Zevon ballad that most have probably heard before via 'Hated' and "Guns, Bitches, Brawls & Bottles" is exactly what you'd imagine GG playing country sounds like. The "bonus" unreleased cut is a soundbite from GG talking about "art", that could very well be a phone call from prison and might have appeared in the movie if I remember correctly. The DPG cuts are swiped from their first LP - "Last Cowboy" is an anthemic punker and "Marry Me" is Duane sounding haggard-as-fuck slurring over some slide git. The bonus here is Peters waxing philosophical on GG's legend and is surprisingly coherent yet brief. An odd release with no new material and the hook being "unreleased" spoken word tidbits that are about a minute long. Completists only need apply, UK import. This label has apparently released a GG/Tiny Tim split as well, which sounds to be infinitely more interesting. Scum stats: 1000 copies, 100 on color, with insert.(RK)
(Ponk Media // www.shattereddebaucheepress.com)
V/A Bipolar Bear/Hiroshima Rock Around split 12”
The band that refuses to let me rest has pulled another split release out of their hip pocket. BpB’s opening tune ("Graves") has some epic guitar play with soaring progressions that bring Cheap Time to mind, if Cheap Time were going for an A-Frames styled byproduct. Catchy little ditty that perks me interest. After that, it’s a return to their Fall-like dirge that I’ve become used to…stuff isn’t bad though. Still wish they’d hit that Battleship/Circus Lupus stride again. I know, I know. I’m a broken record. "Crabby Levine" does the most for me with its repeat-o-disjoint and reverb drenched take on what seems to be the Grass Roots’ "Live For Today". Seriously. The drummer's somewhere else playing at a totally different party. Believe me, all of this works together. Is this 4th track a cover? It’s probably off another one of the billion releases by these guys (It is). "Spider Cop" ends it on the more Lupus hoof I praise, but still swaying in the drunken angular territory. There are a lot of bees buzzing in these crevices. Swarming within the gaps left by the plodding upfront bass. One of the better Bear rekkids I’ve come into contact with. Huzzah.
Hiroshima Rock Around is the noise in the noise-punk on this thing. The opener "Al Denton…" has Albini guitar tones playing some arty Italian loft-core. Dueling vocals wail over collapsing & disjointed riffs. "Not Right" goes berserk with a dance tune buried under fuzz n’ siren guitars, then cuts it all up with drum spasms. Trying to place what it reminds me of... AH Kraken? That’d be a good match up. This train keeps ah rollin’ when "Wild Brushes" lends some horn play to its already No-Wave structure. Sounds very San Francisco from a few years back. Before Dwyer went sunshine pop. Think about his Load years. Kewl tymes. Speaking of No Wave, DNA gets checked on track four. "Disfunzioni Intestinali" sounds like someone’s gonna’ puke on the mic. Then the drum kit falls over and real rock is had. This 12” just gets better and better as it goes! The last 4 songs really hit the nail on the head. HRA starts to show its appreciation of Scratch Acid and Greg Ginn soloing. Wowsa. "Closed Mouth"’s death waltz is caked over in ugly guitar ineptitude and Yow-esque caterwauling. Kinda’ like the Annals grabbing a guitar over keys and then pulling some muscle-y fiercetude. I highly recommend this thing. "Major Labels Can Eat Shit"...you bet. Delay. Noise. Ugly. Hardcore. (RSF)
(Kill Shaman/NO=FI Records co-release // www.killshaman.com)
V/A Dots/Virus split 7”
Lowest common denominator shitpunk from Italy. Dots give you three messes of drunken riff, piano plink and cymbal crash. It says in their mighty fun press release:
“Maimed GAY PUNK DUO that sing a FAKE ENGLISH. The drummer plays both guitar and drums while the other component is the front man vocalist that jumps and moves like a gay”
Um. Ya. Like that.
Vocals are pretty much of the caveman choking on his tongue variety. Ugly like that early Tunnel Of Love single. Fans of the Hozac Subtle Turnhips record should get off on this awfulness. I do. But I’ve been known to drool on the bus. Virus takes a more “sophisticated” approach to garage punk (they actually have lyrics). Second release for this foreign born and defunct slop-n-party boys. 80’s Midwest HC and mid-paced punk here that should appeal to the Feelers/Catholic Boys sect. Guess they have a Ken Rock record too. It’s purty good, actually. Songs just get better as they roll on. I still can’t help flipping it over and listening to the garbage on the Dots side, though. Stoopid. Love it. Ridiculously nice printed sleeves with infantile artwork. It took four labels to press this?!? And I thought the US was in a recession...Prolly 500 or something floating around the Atlantic. Go scuba for one. (RSF)
(Depression House // myspace.com/depressionhouserecords)
V/A The Hussy/Zygoteens split 7"
I've liked some Hussy tracks so far, I just wish they weren't always on splits. Two-piece guy-gal rockers, they seem to be the best thing Madison has to offer the world. "Round N Round" is no cover, and is a peppy little sing-songy garager, but "Social Critique of Madison" is real winner with nasty guitar and snotty attitude that revisits the days when Wisconsin was a hotbed of top-tier Rip Off styled punk rock. Zygoteens are Milwaukee pop-punkers with members of Plexi-3 and Gut Reactions and are about as average as both of those bands. I enjoyed the one Hussy tune enough, but it's a moot point because as Mike Sniper taught us, split singles are pointless to make or own and a terrible format no matter who the bands are. Scum stats: 350 copies on garbage colored wax with screened sleeves.(RK)
(Big Action Records // www.bigactionrecords.net)
V/A Kenni Cocksucker & The Heterosexuals/The Predegist split 7”
One more split seven incher from Rabalder Records, home of the hits...just see the Village Idiot reviews. And yes, it's more oxymoronic american roots music from Denmark. The upbeat and sloppy as fuck Kenni & Heterosexuals play on the outlaw-country drunken badboy angle, while The Predegist sings the blues...a Danish black man perhaps but somehow I don't think so, eh? Two songs on each side, Predegist's “Sob Sob Boo Hoo” bein' the best of the lot in my opinion. More entertaining than the lame Village Idiot LP (with the same people involved I bet), but equally misguided in the end I'm afraid. Anybody remember how those late Nineties “Community of Filth” (Germany's version of the Confederacy of Scum) records sounded? Does anybody care? Yes, a little bit like this one.(A)
(Rabalder Records // myspace.com/rabalderrecords)
V/A Leaders/Guitar Magazine split 7”
The Leaders from Portlandia go for a modernized and mid-tempo KBD trash aesthetic and pull it off quite nicely. I have other singles by these duders and it seems they have/had ties with Meercaz/Joe Pestilence/Silverking/Spit at times. So maybe that’ll give you a hint of where their coming from. Or not. That’s a wide spectrum of sounds to pull from. "Don’t Blame Us" has a noisy keyboard breakdown squeezed into the middle of it’s “whoa-oh” balladeering. Less Misfits, more Raygun. "Grenade To The Face" is a pretty solid post-post-punk thang. Fans of the Final Solutions will find this’n a dandy. Guitar Fags "Beer Near" has the Canucks gone hillbilly punk that speaks to the early 00’s Yakisakana fan inside me. "Hot Fuxx" is a trashcan stoner jam with ratty Iggy-thru-a-tin-can vocals and hot lead axe work by Erin; ex-Deadly Weapons/Top Ten ladybird. Bat Shit again pulls out the 69 covers with Jaws “cockshark” art on blue wax and Classic Bar does around 150 regulars. (RSF)
(Bat Shit Records / Classic Bar Music // myspace.com/flyingrodentfecalmatter)
V/A Les Hulks/El Vicio split 7"
Les Hulks side continues their streak of using the word pussy in their song titles with "Highway Pussy", mashing Cramps badsville-beat with wreckless guitar abandon. Not really as destructive as I've heard them be on previous records, but it crackles a little bit. Haunted house garage-punkers El Vicio contribute two tracks on their side, "Death Trip 2024" again references the Knox-ian spookabilly rhythm with stun guitar accompaniment, and "Drunken Zombie" sounds like you might think, a blues-shuffle with out of tune guitar slides. Part of the whole Fatals/Nasty Product family of bands that peaked about 5 years ago.(RK)
(Sentenza Records // myspace.com/sentenza1)
V/A Mutagens/Idle Hands split 7"
Don't you just love it when mediocre bands take classic songs you love and hold dear and turn in absolutely mundane cover versions? It's like watching someone kick your dog. Mutagens are a Statues spin-off in the pop-punk style that has become P.Trash's bread and butter, and they slap me in the face by covering what is obviously my favorite Plugz song, leaving me to only ask why. Idle Hands (not to be confused with Mysterious Guy fuzzsters Idle Times) are Germans who also play Das Pop Punk and continue the Cali-punk massacre with a rote run through "This Generation's On vacation". Not quite as insulting as the Mutagens offering, but nothing you'll ever want to hear either. These two "cuts" are part of the Killed By Trash series Peter has been putting together over the years with various acts doing KBD "standards". The LP length releases have actually given up some great moments of TOTAL KBD COVER DESTRUCTION, but this one just falls flat. It should be noted that this is P.Trash's 50th release, which is something Peter should certainly be proud of. For as much guff as I've given his label since day one, he's released more than a few great records over the years. Congrats. Scum stats: pretty sure there's 1000 copies of this punchbowl floater, and 200 of the copies have a pretty cool looking alt sleeve that borrows some iconic imagery from the back of many a KBD volume.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
V/A Nazi Death Camp/Royal Turds split 7"
Tour single from two bands that could only come from (and tour) Europe. Nazi Death Camp are surprisingy not really all that punk sounding, but still bad nonetheless. "Who's Got The Biggest Balls In Town?" is a blah-tempo rock'n'roll mess that I think is asking the question "What would GG Allin do?" at one point. As awful as you'd imagine. Royal Turds do "Bedsheet Blitzkrieg", a combination of the worst of Dean Dirg and The Briefs. I'm not wasting anymore time talking about how bad this is...Scum stats: 400 black copies too many and an another 100 on some color as an additional affront to humanity.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // myspace.com/redloungerecords)
V/A "Our Boy Roy" LP
A tribute to everyone else’s favorite Wilbury (tuff call, I know), covered by a gaggle of the Termbo who’s who. I’ve decided to go play by play on this during my first listen, not even knowing who’s doing what ‘til the end. We all like surprises! Off to Side A:
1.Camero Werewolf/LiveFastDie - "Problem Child": Some 4-track overblown punk-a-billy. Aughta speak to the Nobunny hearts out there. Somehow it gives off a New Bomb Turks feel as well (?) and fades out into some damaged tape crush. A nice starter salad.
2. Jacuzzi Boys – "You Got It": A Clean & poppy cover of the Traveling Wilburys song. Not so hot on this one. Mostly because I had to hear this gawd awful tune daily during my high school years. You can’t polish a turd. Goofy song choice aside, it’s played pretty sincere. The flute solo is a nice touch. But man, the original bites, and this hinders my review. Sorry.
3. Bloodshot Bill - "Cause of it All": An honest rockabilly take. Almost played too straight for my tastes, but hey…variety is the spice of life. It’s gotta be some Euro kat on Squooge records. Oh hey…he’s Canadian. Remember that early BBQ CD? You could have it worse.
4. Haunted George - "Rock House": Haunted George does a solid, and comes off sounding a lot like Haunted George. Early Solid Sexy single style. Telephone receiver vocals over scrappy guitar plink and gut bucket drums. Add some radio interference from Planet 9 and stir it all together. A hit on this platter.
5. Holy Cobras – "Domino": This here is the deal sealer. A primo primitive proto-Crampsian take that sounds like a gorked out fool who can barely slobber the song together…and I’m loving it. I can only assume that if you took away the paint peeling feedback of JAMC circa ’84 and left just the pounding drive…you’d get something like this. Awesome messy shit. Who are these guys? From the sounds on their Myspace, I’d say they usually leave the feedback in. Gimme more. Someone get me their OOP tapes.
Over to Side B:
6. Ty Segall - "Pretty Woman": Turn the robo-reverb up to eleven and sizzle it throughout these muffled grooves. This is way better than the original song in my mind. I never need to hear Roy’s version again. You’s did good with it, though. Botched solo and the space cowboy f/x are keeping me engaged to the end. Bravo. Next!
7. Teenanger - "You’re my Baby": Crypt style! A snotty garage take that’s really good. Simple, but good. Can’t think of much to say. Makes me smile. That’s something. Keep ‘em coming…
8. Demons Claws - "It’s Over": Here’s one for you ladies & queer-bos that dig on the Fresh-n-Onlys/Girls bone. Kinda’ has a feel of a put on…but I’m not buying it. WTF? Demon’s Claws? I like these guys…Damn. Sorry. Pass.
9. Red Mass - "Running Scared": This is Mass'd up just fine. Sounds off in a gross and slimy kinda way. Nick Cave’s version gets a run for the money. Slow build into gristly-gonzo territory. Another whacked hit for the Choyce brigade.
10. Cheater Slicks – "Crying": Tad bummed I’m not into this as much as I want to be. I love the Slicks. This isn’t the Scientists tribute (I know that), but I wish they woulda’ beef it up some more. Made it uglier. More frayed. Strained as fuck vocals ain’t gonna’ win over too many new fans, either. Muppet lovers may rejoice. High expectations? Probably. I did buy the thing ‘cause of them and Red Mass.
11. Charlie & The Moonhearts - "Chicken Hearted": Another hard hitter that blasts thru some surf punk madness and cave stomping beats. Vocals? In there somewhere. This is a hell of a side ender. Saved!
Overall I'm pleased, yet in a totally unexpected way. My favorite cuts weren’t even by the bands I bought it for. A high percentage of the tracks are golden and I’m thinking if yer a bigger Roy fan than I, you’ll probably dig it more so. Head over to Telephone Explosion’s Myspace page. They got a sampler track up that has snippets of the whole caboodle. It’s yer move. (RSF)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)
V/A Sic Alps/Magik Markers "Markers/Alps" split tour 12"
Released in tandem with their tour together last fall, the Sic Alps/Magik Markers split is a worthwhile acquisition for fans of either band. It’s not essential, however, and certainly not an ideal introduction to these groups for those wholly unacquainted. The A-Side belongs to Sic Alps, opening with “Guxxe Bathe Ballade,” a shambling, deconstructed popper very much in form with their more song-oriented approach of late, swaddling a jagged four-chord progression in what sounds like a large brass instrument, likely a tuba. “Long Cheveux” is considerably slower, guided to and fro by a meandering bit of saxophone, and “The Greatest” is their necessarily minimal version of bluesy acid-rock, rounded out with a trebly, if brief, guitar solo. The B-Side is the Better Side, as Magik Markers bring it just a little bit more than the Alps. For them, it’s three tunes of fairly straight-ahead psych-rock, not unlike Lemmy-era Hawkwind at its most cerebral, most successfully congealing on the second cut, “White Map Laid with White Inks on White Walls.” Jam this side when you’ve carved out some time to determine whether any of your cactus plants are psychedelic. There's nothing surprising on either side of this record, but if you enjoy either band’s most recent albums, you’re gonna like this record too. Scum stats: first press with b&w cover, second press with blue and white cover (600 copies?).(MH)
(Yik Yak // www.yikyak.net)
V/A Skeleton Warrior/Pharaoh Faucett split 7”
Skeleton warrior’s "Sister Hologram" drops a woozy glop of cough syrup, slide and "Muskrat Love" organ bombs that somehow takes on a shambly blues motif. Think of a Sores, MC Ape, or Caroliner Rainbow styled concoction. Strange happening indeed. Stream of consciousness rock/folk/clank that continues to entertain on repeated listens. No idea if it’s one, two or three songs or just some weird shapeshifting collage. Ends in an odd backmasked take of acoustic strum and "Black Angels Death Song" scree. Vocals? Not that I can decipher. Somewhat a beautiful disaster. Pharaoh Faucett’s "Let’s Kill Something Delicious" is cut from a similar cloth, but even more chunked, muddled and catastrophic. Improv rock going…um…nowhere, other than head first through a plate glass window. Vocals a plenty from many o’ peep. Dooms and drones a bit in the middle…lovingly playing off whatever f/x pedals they can salvage from the dumpster. Hmmmm. It’s over? Oh well. Spirited slop for the slop aficionados out there. 300 numbered copies with an oversized collage insert.(RSF)
(Roofless Records // www.rooflessrex.com)
V/A Tiny Knives/Here Comes Black Cloud split 7”
Tiny Knives give us three songs of death pop with some early Siouxie-punk overtones. "Nothing Was Built To Last" has a Nuns-style chill that’s got a pretty great art-fag break within all the chug & gloom. "Stuff" gets a little (just a little) more upbeat in the riot-gal racket that follows. Vocals are set on shred by the last track attack: "At The Retaining Wall, By The Graveyard". This is the dark n’ catchy hit. I could see these folks playin’ double fiddle on a DA (!) reunion, a Druid Perfume tour or even nuzzling up on one of them modern NY SxSW showdowns. Universal appeal? Not sure, but it keeps me interested. Here Comes A Black Cloud has gotten a bit of positive press ‘round here the past year, and this here party platter continues to satisfy. "Black Out" starts off and it feels like I mighta’ put on a TV Ghost record by accident…nope. This IS the jazz music that kills. These kids got a good swing going in a UK post-punk way. Two tracks of ugly, arty but danceable spook house stompers. Shit feels a little like the Birthday Party at times. A crazy insane amount of work must’ve gone into this singles sleeve production…it has spray-painted and stenciled areas along with a fine lined screen-printing job that I cant even comprehend having the patience to do…so I assume there’s only a few. 500? Buy it. All proceeds will go to the Stankhouse crippled hand medical bandage fund.(RSF)
(Stankhouse Records // www.stankhouserecords.com)
V/A The Village Idiot/Darklands split 7”
The Village Idiot side features two songs. The first, “Stones of Hate” is an epic piece that is also included on the album. At some point the music stops and the guy solemnly declaims: “Shut up and drink your wine...everything will fade away with tiiimee..." and if this does not make you chuckle, something's wrong with you. The second is easily their best song thanks to a faster pace, some distortion improving the vocals, but mainly just because it's called “Give Me Some Drugs” - yes, that is ALWAYS good. Darklands on the other side is a Danish folk-rock band that sounds like a Danish folk-rock band. That's nice, but who gives a shit. Sorry. I guess their best selling point would be that by dropping the American country-rock influence, at least they're not tryin' to be someone they are not (unlike their Village Idiot pals here). Thank you.(A)
(Rabalder Records // myspace.com/rabalderrecords)
V/A "Welcome to the Golden State Vol. 2" 7"
Six-band/eight-song compilation single showcasing current Cali hardcore acts. Black Triangles do a short good-n-blurry hc-punk scuzzer, The Imposters do a peppy surfy-punk number ("Tourists Are Invading Hermosa Beach") and Migraine do two difficult and blasty speedfreak runners. I think Black Triangles win this side. On the flip, San Diego's Waco Fuck play it hard-n-brootal, Crucial Cause close the side with two thrashers, and these two bands sandwich what will be the main attraction for most of you, a Dry Rot tune called "Rusty's Song". An outtake from the 'Philistine' sessions, it's one of their "weird" cuts, an experiment with multiple vocal tracks (sounding like children murmuring or something) backed by slight percussion and a looped acoustic guitar line. This would've been a throwaway cut that bridged actual songs on that LP. Not really a necessary purchase even for the devout Dry Rot acolyte. The label makes a point of mentioning "if you don't like the layout, do your own comp" on the insert, so at least they agree that the art sucks dick. (RK)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)
Veines “Perdus Dans La Ville” LP
"Perdus Dans La Ville” translates to “lost in the city”, I think. Voulez vou vouz oui oui! I can't find a date on this Veins LP, so from the sound and look of it, I'm just gonna guess it was released in the late Nineties or early 00s. It perfectly fits the picture. Add one more to the billion slabs of average (useless) punk-r'n'r records nobody listens to more than once (not even the band's friends). And to make it even worse this one is sung in French! Oh yes, I remember those evil days of bland, weakly produced, uninspired mediocre trite fucking records. AND I ALSO SADLY REMEMBER HOW EVERYONE PRETENDED THAT CRAP WAS JUST GREAT. Fuck! The horrible aura of the past from this thing is assaulting my brain like a terrifying Vietnam flashback. KILL ME NOW! You know, every time I start to get frustrated, pissed off and depressed about the current wave of generic lifeless bands, I always rejoice to the certainty that at least they don't make records like this anymore. So horribly outdated...hey wait a second...Christ! The label says it was released 2009. BLAM!(A.)
(Demolition Derby // www.demderby.com)
Vermillion Sands "Miss My Gun" 12" EP
Sacred Bones continues their 12" maxi-EP series with the latest from Italy's Vermillion Sands, who have shown promise on their singles, enough so to get Fat Possum to dig into the wallet and sign them for their full length. I guess the Fat Possum thing makes sense, as VS do possess a certain rural quality that the label was originally built upon. Seems to make more sense than a 12" on an imprint as weird as Sacred Bones, but the label's diversity of roster is one of its hallmarks when you think too deeply about it as I just have. VS balance their retro genre sounds with a healthy dose of darkness under the surface here. The opener "Where Was He From" mixes the slow bang-n-jangle of a girl group weeper with some Morriconey blood-on-the-saddle desperation, with a sad harmonica break riding high. The title cut lets loose with a hot guitar solo amidst an upbeat saloon-style foot stomper. "I Need No One" sounds like The Delmonas or Headcoatees starring in an 'Annie Get Your Gun' revival. B-Side has some bawdy piano playing on "I'm A Little Mixed Up" and closes with the modern-sounding rock'n'blues (with a dash of noise) of "Disappear Chanell". Anna's vocals are the biggest selling point here, turning this spaghetti-garage amalgam into something like a retro burlesque show, her confident voice poking out like a derringer concealed in her g-string. Sexy with a subtle hint of danger. Has that definite Europeans-doing-Americana vibe though, whether that's a bad thing depends on your perspective.(RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)
Vermillion Sands "Something Wrong" 7"
A-Side is another country howdy-doody number to herd cattle to or bust broncos or something. Upbeat, jaunty and jangling, and mining turf Holly Golightly has been plowing for a few years now. B-Side is slower slide-guitar number that sounds more than a little like a Nancy Sinatra goes C&W exercise. This stuff was pretty cute for the first few records, but I think I'm reaching my breaking point. Scum stats: 400 press, 100 on clear.(RK)
(Hell Yes! // myspace.com/hellyeshellyeshellyes)
The Village Idiot “Prima Materia” LP
Unless you're actually from Denmark my friend, and spinnin' Danish folky country records seems like a good idea to you, let me know, 'cause I will make sure to never get drunk at your place or - God forbid - let you bring some music to mine, you fucking retard. Anyways, Village Idiot = Morrissey meets the late Johnny Cash in a gay bar. Clean production, Western movie harmonica, not distorted/acoustic guitars, deep vocals and even a sad fucking violin. These guys obviously go for a dark gloomy vibe, but unfortunately for them they achieve occassional involuntary laughter at their best and just leave me bored for the most part. The LP gives us 11 over-dramatic cuts, whiny ballads for the most part. If they pushed it a bit more over the top I would keep this for comedy's sake but no. Enough said.(A)
(Rabalder Records // myspace.com/rabalderrecords)
Wasted Time “Futility” LP
This is constipated music. Usually quelled with some insoluble fiber, methinks some would rather keep it packed up there, whispering a little tune ‘a love upon the prostate. A testament to the will of a cinder block. Me? Oh, I kinda like letting her flow – a serpentine expulsion from the guttural bowelled heights. Picking shards of rust outta yer teeth a la Dry Rot. Punching your kid in the face a la Homostupids. As our olive-eatin’ linguist forefathers would say, yeah, this is sonically in extremis but it’s not making sense in these earholes. It’s tough and it’s linear and it’s of the Poison Idea lineage (vocals and Hard Rock competence) that’s between Black SS and a hard place (Cardiac Arrest being the hard place maybe) and it’s a hardcore whose steam is generated through the mechanical precision of the rhythm section, with drumming that’s of course flawless coming from No Way Brandon (the Jefferson Davis of ‘80s-HxC-resurrection), akin to a freight train shipping the cattle efficiently but sacrificing someathat voluptuous cow flavor. Which is a WHORIBLE analogy since this is mos def some beefy hardcore. Orange you glad you’re reading this shit? The riffs sound like a childcare person reprimanding a kid who’s flushed his Adderall down the shitter – not snotty, not an endorphin-in-the-tuna-nets sort of pervo-peek, but a sad, self-fulfilling conflict of interest between a sweatpantsed lunch lady and a spud with pink eye ‘cuz he got poo in there somehow. The riffs are not catchy, but they are pragmatic. It is heavy, duel-guitar monotonic rock-based music that sounds exactly how the Richmond, VA scene’s paradigm of tuff-gui bros transplanted to the more introverted attack of rootsy agro would suggest. I can’t see the Southern teens doing anything to this straight-as-a-blade Confederate hardcore but seceding and then sinking the North and probably Mexico too, but that may just be my broken rustbelt psyche’s lack of cohesion with the sonic patterns here. First verse of “For The Fatherland” could be cast as south-should-rise-again fare, and the beginning of “Has Been” is cool ‘cuz it sounds plucked from a Vin Diesel flick’s soundtrack. The other songs are meat & potatoes hardcore – sustenance for the pectoral muscles. Not knowing how to come of age music, and thus very pertinent to understanding the mind of the archetypal American white male adolescent. A perfect representation of hardcore in 2010. Purity. (BG)
(Grave Mistake Records // www.gravemistakerecords.com)
White Fence s/t LP
You might know LA-based musician Tim Presley for any of a number of projects: he’s the frontman for Darker My Love, sometimes plays in The Strange Boys, and was formerly a member of The Fall, playing guitar on 2007’s 'Reformation! Post-TLC'. White Fence is Presley’s solo project, taking its name from that of an East LA gang, and this LP debut contains what I’d personally consider to be the best music Presley’s released to date. The LP's handsome yellow tip-on sleeve, co-designed with Anthony Atlas of Nodzzz, is decorated with what appear to be old-school gang symbols. Nothin' too gangster about the music here, however: it's a breezy, psychedelic folk-pop record that sounds like it could've come out of Laurel Canyon in the late '60s/early '70s. Presley's a versatile dude, evoking a mellow Syd Barrett with "Sara Snow" and arranging toy piano, bells, and super-fuzzed guitars into the gently chooglin' "I'll Follow You." The small sonic details are as cool as the songs themselves -- one that sticks out is the way the drums go out of time every 10 seconds on the jangle-riffic opener "Mr. Adams," making the song's jubilant strut even more exhilarating than it would've been with a straight drum track. There are a lot of great songs here, so hopefully White Fence turns out to be more than a one-off lark. (MH)
(Make A Mess // www.makeamessrecords.com)
White Wires "Pogo Til I Puke Tonight" 7"
While many were sporting full-on raging boners for the White Wires LP, I barely got a chubby from their seemingly redundant garage-slop. Been there done that, right? And I don't need no stinking Canadians trying to show me what trash is, knowwhatImean, eh? Canada's Ugly Pop records is back in business with the new 7" from these guys, and I'll admit it does sway me a bit in a favorable direction. "Pogo Til I Puke" had me prepared for another dumdum no-fi budget garage turkey baster, but lo and behold it's actually a sweetly rhythmic and dare I say mature sounding piece of mid-tempo pop-rock that snagged me hook, bassline and sinker. The flip is continued pop confection with a mid-fi punk edge and more attention-grabbing bass playing. Okay, score one for Ottawa. The Sens still suck though. This one's disarmingly sweet and genuine sounding for all you lovers out there.(RK)
(ugly Pop // 45adapter-at-gmail.com)
Young Governor "Call Me When The Cat Dies" 7"
For those of you not paying attention, Young Guv is Ben Cook's solo project, the guy who also plays like fifth guitar in Fucked Up, does The Bitters thing and once fronted moshcore superstars No Warning. Where the guy finds the time, I have no idea. Under the YG name he's released a slew of singles/EPs over the past year which gained some critical acclaim and which I've somehow managed to miss. Go figure. "Call Me..." is a pretty impressive frantic punker with a Sage-like anthemic downer quality and some neat sounding guitar whoosh-effect. Good stuff. B-Side is actually an Oasis cover ("Fade Away") given the lo-fi mod-boy treatment. In a further fit of Anglophilia, Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland is thanked on the sleeve. Not bad for one-man-bedroom-banding, at least he doesn't sound like a nutless Cure fan crying onto his four-track. Scum stats: 600 copies.(RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Young Governor “Bedtime Stories” 7”
"Bedtime Stories" is what happens when yer Blank Dogs awkward bedroom pop lies out in the sun too long and melts on top of some mid-period Replacements-style Westerbergedness…a long n’catchy track that kinda’caught me off guard. I actually think I dig it. A lot. No reverb’d or f/x damaged vocals…all the snot is up front; blown and fucked au natural. "The Cutter" on the flip punx it up quite a bit more. Faster and louder. Like a mechanically tight yet slop-twin to the Useless Eaters. The break in the chorus brings Adam Ants’ "Zerox Machine" to mind, and that’s a plus in my book. I’ve played it a dozen times this past week and I’m still feeling it. Now what? Do I have to go buy all the other releases? Damn…Unsolicited fun from the folks over at Southpaw. Thanks!(RSF)
(Southpaw Records // www.southpaw-records.com)
To read past reviews go here.