SEVEN INCH REVIEWS SUMMER 2007
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(IS: Ickibod Styzinetti)
(TK: Todd Trickknee) (RSF: Rob Vertigo)
Abe Vigoda 7"
These kids are onto something. Previously wading in a
No Wave-y pool, they have now set sail for the equator
like an 18th-century Portuguese explorer. My only
complaint about "Animal Ghosts," is that it's too damn
short. They build up a storm of guitars and drums that
comes to an abrupt halt just when you're sorting it
all out. The B-side, "All Night and Day," sounds like
a condensed version of the more rocked-out Animal
Collective material. The reverbed/delayed guitar tones
on this 45 sound like dew-drops from a rainforest.
They call this "Tropical pop" and that is an apt
description. Seriously makes you wanna crack open a
coconut and a Corona, like one of those ubiquitous
ads. They got sand in their joints and stars in their
(Post Present Medium/Mosher // www.postpresentmedium.com)
The Alrightees 7" EP
Crazy panda/skull/raining blood cover art on this thing had me hoping for some fucked up shit. Well, it ain't that fucked. Actually some decent chugging post-Oblivians garage-noise recorded by one of the guys in The Horrors. Closer to what that band sounded like on the "Vent" LP instead of the aural insanity of their first record. Seems like it was recorded live with a good and trashy vibe. "Whatcha Doin' Girl" is probably better than anything on that second Horrors record when you get down to it. Five tunes, three of which have "Alrightee" in the title. Not bad but not that memorable either. Scum stats: 600 copies on three different colors of wax (purple, pink and green).(RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Ape City R&B "Dyn-O-Mite" 7"
Part of the latest installment of the Slovenly 45 series, Ape City R&B have released some wax I've dug in the past. They do two piece shitkicking garage well for this day and age, and Chris von Curse is a heavy hitter of young Leslie West-esque stature, and you know I'm always rooting for big fellas when they take to the stage. Plus, if you're gonna listen to two piece garage-trash, keep it American! Anyway, "Dyn-O-Mite" (on which they disappointingly do not give Jimmy Walker a songwriting credit) is smash and crash that may be somewhat predictable ("my baby is dyn-o-mite/AwLLL RIGHT...") but is ultimately quite enjoyable. "No. 1 Phantom Killer" is a great song title for a good tune that hearkens back to The Makers finest days. You should know if this is for you or not. I say it's one of the better releases in this underwhelming series of "limited" 45s. Scum stats: all these Slovenly singles are supposedly limited to 300 or 500, I'm not sure which. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)
Artificial Limbs "Out of Order" 7"
Debut vinyl release from this Tri-Cities trio (who I believe may now be defunct), containing the deviant mind behind Leper Print and someone who was apparently in The Girls at some point. Four tracks that pick-up the pieces of destroyed keyboards and drum kits and fuse them into some crackling synth-punk, recorded with lots of hatred and little audio fidelity (i.e. a winning combination). If you enjoyed Leper Print, this follows much of the same tack: "garbage can drums" (as stated in the credits), double-synth attack, manic vocals, anti-social subject matter...noisy, static-ridden, agressive. "Subserviant" is the meanest of the four tracks, full of piss and hiss, the soundtrack to the apocalypse going down in the basement where these guys practice. They wind their four tracks up with "Time & Age", kicking the synth to the curb and letting a guitar poke its neck in the shitstorm for a dose of lightspeed punk with a sharp and dark edge. Bleedingly raw stuff here, perfect for someone who is looking for, say...something by Destruction Unit, but even more angry and ugly. Scum stats: 300 copies. Look for vinyl from The Intelligence and Fag Cop coming soon on the Eat imprint.(RK)
(Eat Records // www.edibleaudibles.com)
Automatic Erasers "Make it Right" 7"
Arizona super-group (with Seattle connections) featuring former members of Tri-City Thundercats, Wipers (!?), Tales from the Birdbath amd more, plus skin-basher extraordinaire Ward of Tractor Sex Fatality. Only two songs, "Make it Right" sounds like a blown-out Devil Dogs number with gravelly vox and some intense drum action. B-Side is called "On the Road" and has nothing to with Kerouac unless I want to try and make some cornball joke about the Beats and Ward's drum skills...let me get my grandfather working on that pun and I'll get back to you with it next issue. The song, it's kinda jumpy garage...with some great drumming! Honestly, this could have been a second tier Bag of Hammers release ten or so years ago. Not exceptional but nothing to hate on either. Scums stats: 300 copies, clear vinyl, in a mylar sealable bag with a one-sheet style sleeve that Arizona micro-labels seem to favor.(RK)
(I Don't Feel A Thing // myspace.com/idontfeelathing)
The Bad Backs s/t 7”
Kinda bland poppy punk with occasional bursts of catchiness, especially on the lead-off track. It’s no-nonsense and gimmick free, but it just doesn’t have enough of its own identity to pull it through and send it anywhere in particular. The songs just can’t rise out of the lyrical cesspool they seem to be wading in. Scum stats: 300 copies on some kinda marbley vinyl.(LB)
(Dirt River Records // myspace.com/thebadbacks)
Bare Wires "Voodoo Doll" 7"
Good things are to come from this Mustachioed Melton fellow, judging from these jagged chunks of proto-punk garage. He already proved himself in the Tanlines-rock and Snakeflower-swirl, but this looks like a great new way for him to let out that aggressive steam. Obviously culled from demo/practice recordings (or so I think?), "Voodoo Doll"s got the feel of "Hey, here's some ideas I've been throwin' around in my head. You should call me, we'll jam..." kind o' thing. Par-tay style ruff takes. Not saying they gotta be all polished, mind you; this rages as is. Nestled firmly in a hobo-camp constructed of Jaytard or early GG, and maybe some Childish on the angry side thrown into the 4-track. Catchy hooks thru a shitty amp. Mathew's playing buckets or a drum machine; I can't tell. Some songs end abruptly or just sputter and crash out. Who wants an epic track like this, anyway? Short and sweet. He's got a great voice for this kinda thing with a trashed out glam feel. It's a rawer Raw Power. Out of the last batch of SSLD records, I'm spinning this'n the most. I live in the same town with this guy and see him at every show. Maybe I'll start a band with him and get, y'no, famous.(RSF)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // myspace.com/solidsexloviedollrecords )
Black Sunday "Gli Amanti D'Oltretomba" 7"
Yet another Black Sunday missive from the massive recording vaults of Alicja Trout. I imagine this would be Black Sunday Mk. III, as it seems she has recruited two new side-men for this outing. No matter how clunky looking the name of the title cut of this 7" is, Alicja makes it sound smooth. That she can make what appears to be gibberish sound sexy is a tribute to her talents, but it's too bad that the tune itself is more gothy dance floor fodder. Throw a cape and some pancake make-up on for this one. "I Feel So Nervous" is an average slice of Trout-ian frantic punk-wave. On the flip she throws us a curveball with "Don't Say No" a well crafted indie-pop beauty without any of the synthiness or gothiness that usually permeates this project. The B-Side is a winner; the A-Side is nothing you haven't heard her do better on other releases. Another underwhelming single from the latest SSLD batch. Scum stats: Terrific Scream edition of 255 copies (and I'm excited that someone finally used this image, but also bummed that it's black and white. Seriously, this sleeve would be amazing in color. Should've saved it for another release...) and The Circle of the Damned edition of 255 copies (not bad, looks it was borrowed from the same artist that did the This Damn Town 7" from the last batch...). Numbered with red ink stamp.(RK)
(solid Sex Lovie Doll // myspace.com/solidsexloviedollrecords)
Blank Dogs "The Doorbell Fire" EP
One of the most exciting things when listening to Blank Dogs records has been trying to disect the alchemy of his recording process. How did he make that guitar/synth sound like that? And was it on purpose or something he just stumbled on to? The mysteries behind these questions (and of course the increasingly annoying debate of the identity of the suspects involved...I mean, it really doesn't matter folks. Can't you just enjoy something?) make for intense listening experiences...a Blank Dogs record is something I really just can't have playing in the background while I do other things. They demand attention, or perhaps just have a certain magic that sucks you into their world. They manage to be quite personal sounding and keep you at an arms distance as well. "Outside Alarmer" has already been picked as one of Mr.BD's choicest cuts by many and I can't argue with facts. Its synth flares lend a nearly pretty quality to a tune that would at first seem almost creepy. "It Was" treks thorugh the desert on a winding minimal-synth path. "Doorbell Fire" reminds me of The Cure for no apparent reason. Somewhat fragile and surprisingly quite stirring and evocative music from a "band" that I hope just isn't toying with my emotions. There's a distinct odor of Eighties nostalgia surrounding this record in my mind as well, so much so that I envisioned them as the soundtrack for some outre John Hughes teen-flick on a particularly late and chemically enhanced evening. My personal fave of the Blank Dogs records so far. Scum stats: first 100 on white vinyl. Soon to be repressed. (RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
Canadian Rifle 7”
Chicago’s Canadian Rifle manage to stand out from the pack a bit due to singer/guitarist Jacob’s gruff vocals, sung more so than shouted, an approach that’s more reminiscent of Leatherface than any of their contemporaries. This could be a refreshing change from the punk rock status quo if the songs themselves had more to offer. As is, none of these songs are very interesting and couldn’t hold my attention for the duration of the four-song EP. Only the rough sounding recording is holding me back from labeling this pop punk, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that this band had an LP forthcoming on No Idea.(DH)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Catatonic Youth "I've Had It" CD-EP
Deliciously packaged CD-single (sealed inside a bag, which is sealed inside another bag that contains a poster and insert). I was expecting some drugged-out Cali-surfer/beach punk judging by the name and Pettibon styled art. Instead I got two tracks of some surprisingly great Devo-esque punk rock with great echoed-out washes of vocals and sound, booming drums, vintage Eighties vibe, guitar-synth interplay, simple and effective. Love both tracks of this thing, the up-tempo countdown of "I've Had It" and the bass/drums dronery of "Out of Control". I get the feeling this is a one-man show as well and I have no problem with that or any "mystery" surrounding it. Who the fuck cares who or what is behind the music when it's as good as this? The criminal thing is that this isn't on vinyl. I give this thing an A+, gold star, badge of merit and a reacharound. Need more. (RK)
(Fuck Jazz Records // myspace.com/catatonicnoose)
Catholic Boys "Dead Ball" 7"
Catholic Boys "Fixed" 7"
The last gasps from a band that carried the punk rock torch for all of America in their heyday and a group I will always remember fondly. I like to think I was in on the ground floor of the CB phenomenon; caught them on their first jaunts around the Great Lakes, when they wern't sure if Apnea was their drummer or not and Nick was doing double duty in the Strong Come-Ons...I could tell these kids had moxie when the first time I saw them they tore the roof off a dive opening with a cover "I Gotta Right" with half of them on the floor before it ended, beers getting poured and thrown all over and some old rocker dude in the audience with a Stooges shirt on standing there gape-mouthed. Best punk band on the planet right then? For sure. A special group of kids indeed. So I have some degree of sadness in listening to the recordings that would have been their second and final LP, here split into various singles (two already out, and one and a half more yet to be released I believe). The first, on hometown label Trickdick Audio, starts off with a pinball paeon that is a fine example of the herking and jerking and heaving beast they were at the end of their days, with Apnea shifting the gears on the band's runaway auto via his off-kilter yet always seemingly in time drumming. Lead guitar sounds like a mosquito circling your head. Lovely. Flipping things over, "Sick To Death" is what you might want to play for someone should they ask you what true punk rock sounded like back in the mid-Oughts. The Love cover ("7 & 7 Is") is a bit ill-advised in my opinion, although they manage to imbue it with their own flavor. A fine release, but it leaves me wanting. Which is where the "Fixed" EP comes in. The A-Side exhibits one of their perfect segues from the title cut into a different version of the previously heard "Actin' Stupid" (remember the the outrage when that 7" came out and people were bitching about paying $8 or $9 or something for it from Nanne...sadly, it doesn't seem so outrageous now, does it?) that is scary in its velocity. I've never heard them play so fast, with rhythms that shift impossibly quick. It's something people discovering for the first time are going to wonder if they sped the tape up on...but no, believe it or not they had become this super-tight. It's a white knuckle listen and an impressive display of power. One the B-Side they actually rein themselves in somewhat and substitue awe-inspiring flash for raw punk hits. "Plaster" slams the door shut on this chapter of their last tale with one of their better cuts since the LP. I'll always miss this band, but I'm at least happy I have one or two more records to look forward to. As postscript I'm going to say I do wish they would've released all this stuff as an LP, just for their own legacy. Great LPs are few and far between these days and I think they would've made a better closing statement that way. It could've been their "We've Come For Your Children" instead of a scattering of singles I'm afraid people are going to give short shrift. But who knows. I guess I don't get my cake and whatever the fuck...oh, so as far as purchasing, "Dead Ball" is probably the best track out of both records, but the Sweet Rot single contains more good 'uns overall. Fuck it, you know you need 'em both. Scum stats: Sweet Rot did 100 on white and 400 on black of the "Fixed" 7". Trickknee probably pressed about 3,000 of the "Dead Ball" 7".(RK)
(Trickknee Productions // trickknee-at-hotmail.com)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
C.C.S.S. "Punkcore/Punkwhore$" EP
Montreal's C.C.S.S. keep it in 2nd gear all the way through on this record, playing it mid-tempo and a little predictable, too. The vocals range from overly bratty sneering to downright grating; they get under the skin while never really raising the intensity. The songs are basically a grab bag of the usual issues: scene stuff, religious nuts and general apathy. The Dicks cover shows their heart is in the right place, but is not likely destined to be the most memorable cover of “Hate The Police”.(LB)
(Radio 81 // www.radio81records.com)
The Coathangers "Never Wanted You" 7" EP
All-girl four-piece reliving the Riot Grrrl phenomenon via simple and garrragey punk with some expected UK post-punk baggage as well. A-Side has some one-finger keyboards which get ditched on the B-Side. Some tracks exhibit a little Gang-of-Funk-punk style, all tracks feature some pretty shrill femme-wailing. The last cut neatly utilizes what sounds like a loop of a phone ringing in place of a guitar lead. That's pretty interesting. The "Don't touch my boyfriend, you bitch!" sentiment of the tune really isn't. I guess I should make a Bikini Kill reference here somewhere...and there you go. Listen to a Huggy Bear (or that Shudders 7" for something more recent) record instead. (RK)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)
Les Cockroaches "Walk My Walk" 7"
Throwback three piece rock-n-roll-a-billy stylings (stand up bass included) from Montreal, featuring no ex-Scat Rag Boosters surprisingly enough, and recorded by Choyce. Four songs running the genre gamut from bluegrass to country to Chuck/Bo guitar-pluck rock to a cover of Elvis' fave Bill Monroe. "Nobody Likes Me" is the most memorable probably because it sounds the trashiest (and has some sleazy-chick sounding background vox). "Walk My Walk" sounds too much like something any rockabilly act might be pulling off at your local tavern. I'm also reminded of what can happen when you try to do ultra-stripped down simple 50's-style rock like this, but you don't have someone with pipes as sweet as Mark Sultan to carry the tune. Sort of an odd release from the usually uber-raunchy SSLD label. To be blunt, pretty boring. Scums stats: Puzzling Band Edition of 260 copies and Godzilla Meets les Cockroaches edition of 260 copies, numbered with red ink stamp.(RK)
(solid Sex Lovie Doll // myspace.com/solidsexloviedollrecords )
Coconut Coolouts "The Spinaround" 7"
Jam-packed group that seems to include two drummers, two guitars, two mouths, a "Key Wizard" and a half-man/half-banana on bass. That must make for one crowded stage. But shit, they can have as many bodies up there as they want when they're cranking out primo dance-floor noise like "The Spinaround", a dance-craze I hope hits my local high school gymnasium for the next sock-hop. But Side B gets even better with "Swim", a garage rock and roller that sounds like everything I wished the Coachwhips would have been. Fun, noisy, kinetic, perfect for rubbin' bodies together in tight dance-floor quarters. A+ juice here, on both sides. A double-sided dose of the most sez Richie the K. Scum stats: 500 pressed. (RK)
(Heads Up Records // www.headsup-records.com)
CPC Gangbangs "The Broken Glass" 7"
Two cuts on picture disc that aren't featured on the Swami LP. Title cut is a prime mover with a real '70s sleaze-rock vibe mixed with some mean biker-punk vibes. Probably the best song I've heard from them since "Teenage Crimewave". Well worth a purchase on it's own, even if it's a bit on the short side. The B-Side is one of those oddball strange-tempo jams they've been throwing out that have you twiddling with the pitch control...just sounds a little off/weird at what you assume is the correct speed, but it's saved by some vox that erupt through the music as if spewed from some sort of filthy volcano and a chorus/breakdown that chops like a hatchet. I think this one is a real return to form after a couple of releases I was underwhelmed by for various reasons. I have also come to terms with the fact that not everything they release can be as violent and evil sounding as the first 7" and the DSH single...I've gone back and appreciated some of their more "rock" moments now that my bloodlust has calmed. As a bonus, this is one of the best looking picture discs ever...it's like a cross section of an eyeball or an embryo or something. Awesome. Scum stats: 10 test press copies on plain white pic-disc style vinyl with stencilled sleeve, I'm assuming 500 of the "official" version.(RK)
(Seeing Eye Records // www.seeingeyerecords.com)
Creteens "Burn Your School" 7"
I'm always pleased when a band you've previously found boring (like the 1.5 Creteens records I've heard before this) surprise you with something good. Because I don't want bands to suck. I want them to be good. I get no kick out of penning negative reviews. Really. So, I couldn't be happier that "Cocksucker" is a pretty amazing cut. I seem to remember this kid's other records being generic trashy garage-crapola. But this one is vicious punk with a peculiar UK-punk sounding influence. It's like cockney-garage or something. The vox really leap out from the mix adding some needed character to the raunch and the guitar/bass has a mean bite to it. Really, this is the best minute-and-a-half of savage garage-punk I've heard in some time. Regrettably, the second cut on the A-Side is back to rote recitation of Memphis-style bluespunk hammering, maybe with a little more flair than before. B-Side is a dragstrip-riot smash-up derby thing with organ grinding. I hate to recommend a record for one sub-two minute blazer, but that would be my endorsement of this. I really wish the rest of the single lived up to that first cut. But I can say this is the best Creteens record ever released though. (RK)
(Boomchick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Der Submarine Racers "Space Burrito" 7"
I can't not use the word retarded in this review, so let's just get that out of the way. "Space Burrito" takes the fun-loving and fidelity-hating ethos of the Boom Boom Records camp on a trip to the punk side of town. Awesome guitar crunch-punk that exhibits no garage tendencies. Recorded super raw and super loud. "Skatebored" is not quite as catchy as the A-Side (how can it be catchier than a song called "Space Burrito" though) but is a little meaner. Think Nix or Spits but even more balls-out and gonzo. Ham-fisted guitar hammering, vocal yammering, totally over-the-top nutzoid approach to music that can only result in something as ridiculous as this. I can't believe someone wrote a song called "Space Burrito". Fuck. You probably need to hear it to believe it. For morons and fans of morons (that's an endorsement, by the way).(RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // myspace.com/spinthebottlerecords)
Dry-Rot "Subordinate" EP
After the way out in left-field oddity of their last single, Dry-Rot kick it in another direction yet again with this concept EP. Based around a supposedly true story of a California creep who abducted and brainwashed his victims and kept them as head-shaven (and then painted) slaves shackled in ditches in his backyard (I've not been able to find any info on this case however, please point me in the right direction if you have the info on this one...), this record details the grim story in six parts, interspersed with soundbites from what one would imagine was the detective/cop who broke the case between tracks. No weird atmospheric jaunts here, just blazing hardcore heaters of the visceral sort that manage to tell a cohesive story as well as tear into your ears. Raw, jagged and authentically mad sounding and the Void comparison still holds up. Highly entertaining and interesting music, this is what some would refer to as "a bloody little ripper" and further evidence that these guys are combining intelligence and rage like few others in the current world of hardcore. Scum stats: first 120 on clear vinyl. Comes with intense sixteen page booklet with lyrics and art for each song that must've cost a fortune to print. This thing is a steal at $4.25. (RK)
(Painkiller Records // www.painkillerrecords.com)
Firstly, the design on this one is really striking, I dig what they've done (even their 7" mailer was color coordinated) and it shows that you can do something really neat looking without breaking the bank on slick colored sleeves and crazy packaging and shit. Secondly, there was a bit of an internet stir about this "mysterious" band that ended up being really inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Why I'm even mentioning it I don't know (but as an aside, some of the members of this group are in the current incarnation of Cheap Time)...So anyway, the tunes, it's a sorta thrash attack with some righteously wicked soloing throughout most of it, maybe a Japcore vibe perhaps, maybe some other things I really don't know the correct genre names of...I'm really no expert on this shit, but it reminds me of Nine Shocks Terror at times, as vague as that sounds. I guess I'm also distanced enough from this sort of thing that I can tell you that fans of this style will defintely approve, but mere dabblers in the hardcore arts may not find it quite killer enough to garner your special outside-genre-of-preference listens. They do however feature a song about Salvia, which I know a lot of you kids are into smoking or snorting or whatever...Scum stats: 500 copies, all black.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/episodesellouts)
Factums "See Inside" 7"
First vinyl appearance from Seattle mystery men (with ties to the Intelligence family tree) on the French Polly Maggoo label. They come right at you with their first track, and it's the money shot here. "See Inside" is the recording of the deathbed lament of an insect drowning in a pool of eerie synth and percussion (both man and machine made it seems). Nearly grotesque but unavoidably riveting. The strength and peculiarity of the first cut almost relegates the rest of the single to mere postscript however. "Inside Out" is musical deconstruction while synth effects bounce off walls. The flip is comprised of one brief circuit noodler and the band remixing a track from ther soon-to-be-released LP on Siltbreeze inna cut-n-chop/start-n-stop stylee. Still, very much worth picking up, this record should get along swimmingly with your Blank Dogs wax. (RK)
(Polly Maggoo // try s-srecords.com in the US)
Family Pet “Ideas are the Enemy” 7”
Family Pet spends just under three minutes barking out “Ideas Are the Enemy” on their third single-song, single-sided release. Whereas their previous efforts were purely chaotic, this track has the band exploring easy listening territory with its much more limited instrumental palette — a duet between Willie’s sax and A.M. Haine’s voice. I’m being facetious; though less noisy and perhaps easier to understand, “Ideas Are the Enemy” is anything but saccharine. The horn wails freely in the foreground, dipping into abrasiveness at times, while Haine is omnipresent, howling in the back. The sounds play well off of each other, and the song itself adds another dimension to Family Pet’s growing legacy. Limited to 115 copies.(DH)
(Foreign Frequency // www.foreignfrequency.com)
The Feelers "2007 European Tour" EP
The Feelers "Nothing Always" EP
Two newish singles from one of America's hottest straight punk bands. (Define "straight" and "hottest" in whichever way you feel is the funniest in that sentence). Four songs on the Euro Tour 7", and I gotta say this one is a bummer. Sounds like they boringly rubbed a few off for a quickie release. The song titles on the A-Side are far superior to the actual music. On the flip, "Fuck Treaties (Walk in Circles)" is the only cut that might make it onto a Feelers' Greatest Hits CD that some dastardly reissue label might put out in 2020, and "...Cardwell Voicemail", well let's just say I listen to this one almost daily and it keeps getting better. When a drunken message from a large Dwight Twilley fan is the best thing about a record, well, you gotta start thinking about firing someone over in the Quality Control department. The "Nothing Always" EP fares much better, however. All three tracks twist and turn with their well-honed dual guitar assault and signature hopped-up tempos and vocals. Both B-Side numbers are even worthy, with "Creeps" containing perhaps the most blistering solo I've heard on a Feelers record yet. This is the one of the two worth giving your heard-earned American dollars to the Europeans for. Scum stats: "Nothing Always" is already sold out so don't worry about it. The Tour Single was limited to 500.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Flying Over "Danger Boy" 7"
More Frenchie garage-punk who I recall appearing on the P.Trash KBD covers comp, these Flying Over boys and girls play a hopped-up Nineties-style sort of thing, like the TV Killers after some doses of HGH perhaps. "Danger Boy" will please fans of Jerry Spider Gang or Gasolheads, if such things exist. "Fier De Deplaire" is a nice cut, and the singer sounds a lot more comfortable in his native tongue. "I Wanna Destory You" is not a cover, thank God, but a mid-tempo blue collar punker. Not a real memorable record. It did do me the favor of sending me off on a Soft Boys kick for the rest of the evening however. Scum stats: 500 copies, clear vinyl, three label split release (the Frantic City, Shit in Can and Adrenalin Fix labels all pooled resources on this one...with Shit In Can obviously having the far superior name. And hey, Adrenalin Fix was the title of a TV Killers record, making this review come full circle and allowing me stop typing...)(RK)
(Adrenalin Fix // myspace.com/adrenalinfix77)
Fontana "I Feel Like A Jerk" EP
Nice three-track EP here from Michigan's Fontana, the first I've heard from these kids who share label-space with other recent area phenoms Tyvek, Terrible Twos and Frustrations. "Dumb Luv" is a quite Brit-sounding aloof and near goofy punker with a very Raw Records vibe and fun-sounding whooping vocals. "(Having A) Fun Time" exhibits some thuggy guitar-rock feel with elements of classic Detroit rock energy. Two ace A-Side cuts. "You're Obscene" fills the flip side with a Frustrations-like busy-ness, with a quiet song-within-a-song guitar interlude/workout bookended by energetic Tyvek-like DIY punkitude. A nice companion to their more "famous" stablemates. (RK)
(X! Records // myspace.com/xrecordsdetroit)
Frustrations "Exploding Mind" 7"
More top flight musique from the exciting Michigan-based clique that includes these guys, Terrible Twos, Tyvek and the rest of the X! Records roster. I think many slept on their first seven-inch, but this one brings home a bit more bacon anyway. The title cut is an exercise in fast-to-slow dynamics, with a frantic and rubbery sort of punk rolling interspersed with some airy "breakdowns" of the mellow kind. Very pleasant. On the flip they slap down a Devo cover that initially delighted me with its staccato guitar lead but it's the xylophone (!) solo that really takes it to the next level. They end eerily with a minimal and jagged post-punker about an evil twin. And I hate to use this phrase, but it actually is a grower. Another A-grade quality offering from the Die Stasi stable, a label that really seems to know what I want. Scum stats: comes in both gold and black vinyl flavors. (RK)
(Die Stasi // myspace.com/diestasi)
Gaye Blades "I'd Brave Anything For You" EP
OK, I'll say it, this single is the Brokeback Mountain of underground garage punk. A tale of unrequited love from the minds and loins of Jared Swilley (Black Lips) and the inimitable Bobby Ubangi (The Lids), four songs deep and quite honestly a very fine and amusing little project that could have very easily gone wrong. "Whore Hunt" is a rock'n'roll ditty deserving of such a fine title. "Treat Me Like A Man" is drunkenly goofy garage in a style reminiscent of "Dirty Hands". "Pulling Out" recalls the high energy and high quality of The Lids finer moments without the gals in tow. And the tile cut is every bit a classy number. The best thing about this for me is seeing Ubangi back in action as I think the guy has a lot more to give us after the dissolution of his previous outfit. And honestly, this thing is pretty gay, but not as totally gay as you might think. I give it four erections out of five. A second single is on the way as well. Scum stats: a split release between DSH and Rob's House, with each label's half of the pressing (of 1000 I beleive) containing a different love note: one from Bobby to Jared and the other Jared's letter to Bobby. (RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)
Geisha Girls "In the Monotone" 7"
I've stuck up for these Geisha Girls on many occassions. I don't think a lot of people dig them, but for some reason I love their 12", when I have this feeling that I shouldn't. Why? Maybe their UK post-punk Gang of Four/Joy Division/Wire ice-cold angularity is too transparent, too easy to peg. I could care less what people think, but for some reason I feel like that record is a guilty pleasure. The songs were great, that's all that really mattered. They released another great 7" after that (the "Buckingham" single) and then dropped a massive turd of an LP, which I kind of expected. I mean, you can only milk this formula for so long. And once they broke out of what seemed like the strict genre aping of the early records, the songs turned really lackluster. Why am I getting into this? Well, I think everyone should hear that early 12". I still love it. I dove into this 7" figuring it was as crappy as their LP, and I guess it straddles the middle ground between the good and bad. I have no idea if "In the Monotone" is supposed to be ironic, but it's a decent cut, very Cure-like. On the B-Side they cover the Middle Class' "Last Touch", and whether it's a stab at credibility or just an honest-to-goodness showing that their hearts are in the right place I don't know. It's executed sort of awkwardly and something I just can't condone. So consider this review an excuse to endorse the 12" on JSR Records (from way back in 2003). It's a winner. Work forward from there if you feel the need. Scum stats: 650 pressed.(RK)
(Project Infinity // www.projectinfinityrecords.com)
Ghetto Ways "Party Bag" EP
I've spilled quite a bit of negative ink on the Ghetto Ways in reviews past. I won't get into what I don't like about them yet again. Have they suddenly turned into a great band with this release? Well, not exactly. But, surprisingly enough, I find myself wanting to say good things about this record. Maybe it's the fact that it seems like I had to listen to an unusually large amount of redundantly bad garage-punk-rock bands/records while compiling this batch of reviews. Because this stuff sounds OK to me compared to a lot of other shit being released these days. Well, except for "Steal the Peel", which is just too gay-rawge cutesy, like they tried to shoe-horn a tune into a "clever" title. But "Action Hair" is a humorous laughin-at-themselves number, and the only tune the chick sings on this. They excel on the B-Side, with two really trashy party rock hits. The whole affair sounds pretty loose and tossed off, and recorded way rawer than I've heard them before, with little of the seemingly forced "We're so funky and soulful and from NYC"-vibing that always turned me off on their previous efforts. Just plain jane rock and roll that hits where it should. "Looking for Action" ain't exactly cutting edge, but it does its intended job. So, I'm not taking back anything regarding my dislike of their back catalog, but this one here, well it's an enjoyable rock'n'roll outing. Ironically, this is also the last installment of their Wicked Singles series. Go figure. Scum stats: 600 copies, white wax, comes in a ziploc bag. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
(Wicked Singles // www.wickedsinglesrecords.com)
Gut Reactions "So Sick of You" EP
Debut wax from this Madison quartet. Four tunes driven by some mean sounding stun guitar and gruff vox. Actually, it's pretty plodding stuff when you get down to nuts and bolts. Like the Spider Babies without the porno, misanthropy and chops. After the first cut you're thinking this could be interesting (and it is pretty good for one song's worth of listening...), but it ends up turning into an exercise in genre genericism. Previous Wisconsin punk bands have set the bar pretty high for musical offerings from the state, and the Gut Reactions fail to qualify at this point. They could use a few more practice laps. Probably real fun to watch in a basement, but I don't think it makes for a good record. Scum stats: 300 copies, 50 with alternate sleeve (drunken droid version). (RK)
(Milk N' Herpes // myspace.com/milkherpes)
His Electro Blue Voice 7"
S-S pulls out another outsider oddity from up its sleeve, this time from Italy, not France. HEBV is a rhythm and noise combo that has all sorts of t-t-tension and a bit of Joy Division or some new wave stuck in the grooves. I spent most of my work week listening to the Homework 'U.S. Experimental DIY' comps and this lil' fella follows it up nicely when I get home. Both sides have the lo-end hammer out a groove and let the hi-end do its loose interpretation of early Christian Death. Loose. Great distorto-knob and feedback fights tumbling all about. Throw in nursery samples and a flute for added whatthfuckitude. Wonderful stuff. Might be the other single of the season for me (also: Touched) and there's no stopping it from spinning as fall comes around the bend.(RSF)
(Ss Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Hollywood "Girl?" EP
The disturbing artwork on this one will get your attention first (she-male on the front, sausage party on the back), but the tunes inside are pretty nasty as well. "Sixteen?" plumbs durty-garage depths of that only The Mistreaters have really ventured into before. "Momma" is a quivering heap of demi-metal fuzz with layered vocals. The title cut/B-Side is actually a Black Lips-ian piece of lilting (yet still heavy) garage punk that shows off a less blustering side of the band. A-Side = bull-inna-china-shop raunch. B-Side = surprising shot of off-key rock'n'roll. They have another 7" on Spin the Bottle with equally off-putting artwork that I want to check out now that I've heard this one. Purple vinyl. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Immaterial "Drunk" 7"
FX of Volt (and Splash Four if you want to go back further) and his girlfriend(?) with a self-released single of lower-fi bedroom-style synthpunk. Perhaps he has received some home recording tips from Lili, as "Drunk" is somewhat similar to her solo work. Overdriven synth propels the tune while some monotone guitar pricks and playful and slightly naughty sounding female vocals dance atop it, perhaps even sounding a bit like Nazis from Mars. "Immaterial" ditches the girl vox for more synth and guitar landscaping that actually reminded me of Sloggy. I think the flip excels here, with "Robots" slowing down for a dose of very Volt-ish glacial cold wave and the excellent "Dormir" which sounds very oddly remiscent of something The Spits (or perhaps Spider) might do in one of their tamer moments, but sans the obnoxiousness. An interesting and entertaining release and highly recommended for all you Glue Wavers out there. Scum stats: 300 copies, three-quarter sleeve. (RK)
(Materieldisc // sgrafik-at-noos.fr)
Jeanie and the Tits "Slut Fame" EP
Jeanie & the Tits do everything right that "tough" girl-bands like The Winks (one of my least favorite bands EVER) do absolutely wrong. I could go through the checklist, but let's just make it simple by saying Jeanie and her pals are those girls who hang out on the railroad tracks drinking and smoking and fucking off and giving each other homemade tattoos. They are not mall-punk ex-cheerleader hags who curse too much and spit on purpose just to prove they're "punk rockers". Jeanie and her gang got nothing to prove. And not to say they aren't feminine, 'cuz they sure are, but you know what I mean...anyway, three songs of primo gal-trash, really hazardous and Lewd sounding, A-Side gives the finger to the sluts and the boys, without sounding like Riot Grrrl retreads or cutesy girl boppers. Excellently raunchy guitar sound and the chick playing drums is a real tough banger. The B-Side is the most though, "Brain Rot" has a dum-dum riff you could get high off of and a deadbeat demeanor that would make any number of punk losers envious. I got more than I bargained for out this one. B-Side = 2007 mixtape staple. Scum stats: 100 on blue vinyl with hand colored sleeves, the rest on grey/marble.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Le Face "Boys and Girls" 7"
The title track of this reminds me of what the Feelers might sound like if they recorded a synth-punk tune. Or maybe the Sick-Es, but not as...uh, sick. Le Face make things interesting in the odd way in which they meld really garage-sounding guitar jangle with that frantic KBD-esque vibe that's so popular with the kids these days. Wacky vocal approach that is equally desperate and paranoic. Dark/creepy vibes and visuals that don't come off as corny, and they ditch the synth after the first cut. Good move. I was expecting generic dark-wave and got some cool frantic surfy punk. Sort of similar to the Sweet Rot 7", but less trashy. Part of the Contaminators/Neon Nazis/Hips axis of bands and probably one the best records I've heard from that camp. Scum stats: 500 pressed, 350 Black vinyl with red sleeve and 150 on clear with black splatter and screen printed black sleeve.(RK)
(Smokin Barrel Records // myspace.com/smokinbarrelrecords)
LiveFastDie "Got Nitedo" EP
Another astoundingly mind-numbing installment from the Camero Werewolf show. "Got Nitedo" is a bizarre ode of sorts to old-school home gaming systems and the hazards of being trapped inside one. Like Tron, but drunk on pizza. Yet another song that raises the question of how and why this guy comes up with this stuff. "Do I Look Like A Bank (To You)" is a triumphantly punk take on a phrase my Dad repeatedly said to me as a kid. The flipside finally vinylizes yet another song with roots stemming from an internet message board thread. This is cutting edge punk here folks and I thank the gods that the world is a place where an artist such as Mr. Werewolf can see his vision committed to vinyl on other people's dime. Also, all three tunes are from three different recording sessions from three different years giving each cut its own uniquely crappy sound. Not quite the masterpiece that "Pissing on the Mainframe" was, but better than most other garbage out there. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 with limited "Nitedo" sleeve which is actually really clever. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Lover! "One In A Billion" 7"
Technically the first official release from Rich Crook's latest project. If you were into his tunes from the Knaughty Knights records, you'll fall in love with this stuff instantly. Two songs self-recorded in Rich's living room with him playing everything. "One In A Billion" is an almost-glam power-pop rocker with Rich's distinct vocals (and I still find it surprising that his singing voice is so high pitched...who would of thought?) and some up-tempo hook-slinging. The B-Side ("Getting Ready To Die") is more of a rocker, with some downer-guitar drive and holding a more ominous vibe than the exuberant A-Side. But it's good and dirty sounding in a particularly Southern way. I can get into this single far more than the LP on P.Trash, perhaps smaller doses prevent the songs from turning into a too-similar blur as they do in a full length portion. I'd suggest starting here then proceeding to the full length if you dig. Word on the street has it that these are demos from what will be his second LP in less than year(!). This one and the Bare Wires are probably the only two releases you need from this latest batch from Mr. Z. Scum stats: Hypnotic Crook edition of 328 copies and Lover! Is All You Need edition of 200 copies (the rarest variant of this batch). (RK)
(solid Sex Lovie Doll // myspace.com/solidsexloviedollrecords )
Ludlow "Gold Paint" EP
The press release for this plays loose with all variety of AmRep/Killdozer/Skin Graft name tossing that is growingly popular these days, and I must confess I was certainly eager to listen once I saw this thing included an ex-Pay Toilet and a former member of the Hamicks, two bands who seem to undeservedly languish in the nether-reaches of obscurity amongst today's record geek cognoscenti. While the wind wasn't let out of my sails quite immediately while listening to this, they were left hanging quite flaccidly by the time the record arm returned to its perch. Yeah, yeah, it's rough and tuff and heavy enuff. Richter-scaling bass and drum throttle pushes this thing to the max and the guitar fireworks fill the air with acceptable levels of creepy slip-sliding and wire-cutting slash. But, yes, BUT, there's a distinct lack of personality here, the one thing that elevated the Killdozers and Cows of the world to the level above B and C teamers like your Janitor Joes or Crows. Is it the fault of the vocals? I don't really know, as the mic-debasing Yowl really doesn't get your attention enough to make much of a difference. Muscular and ugly as all hell, sure, but in the end lacking any sort of character to allow you to remember to play this again some time. And the circa '95 Kozik-doing-The Melvins bunnies-and-pentagrams artwork reminds me too much of some bad record purchases made back in the day. I'd suggest a New Flesh record instead. Scum stats: 300 copies, 15 on black/gold, 85 on gold, 200 on all black, silkscreened sleeves.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/smelltheludlow)
Mannequin Men "Private School" 7"
Criminal IQ is working up quite a diverse portfolio these days, frum drug-addled scum punk to hardcore to gay cop punk to whatever you wanna call what Vee Dee are doing. This here Mannequin Men 7" is not what I expect from the label. Which is a good thing. To keep things in Chicago, let's say they cross the emotive indie-rock of the Ponys with a Baseball Furies-esque streetwise toughness. The singer has a very distinctive sort of growl that lends a rough character to the tunes, which make good use of the loud/soft dynamic bolstered by a rock-solid rhythmic drive and some nice guitar work. Not really setting foot in any genre for too long, the MM are definitley punk of sorts, and probably post-something. They would've been a bit too rock'n'roll for Touch-n-Go, but not noisy enough for AmRep. Homestead? Ah, I won't go there. A nice little release that is tough to nail down, but real easy to listen to a few dozen times. Bonus points to the Crim for keeping us on our toes. (RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
The Mans "High" 7"
Cro-Magnon Stone(d) Age "music" from this duo hailing from the wilds of Indiana. The A-Side is pure dum-dum stomping and shouting, it's fucking called "High" for shits sake and is in essence what happens when a couple of paint huffers get handed an out of tune guitar, a six pack of Krylon (Gold flavor) and the remains of a long deceased drum kit. Whack the living shit out of everything and scream whatever comes to mind in between bell-ringers. On the B-Side I imagine they continue the instrument pounding whilst pounding warm tall boys and somehow manage to stumble into a tune that bears some resemblance to what you'd call a punk rock song, but a truly mean one. When they say they're "Bad For You Baby" they're not trying to be cute like in some blues song, but are actually warning you that they will end up ruining your life, honey. These are the dudes that will puke down your shirt while slipping a hand up your dress. And keep an eye on your purse. Just buy them a 30 pack of Strohs and hope they forget about you. Shit. A terrible record, I'll let you decide what that means to you personally, but it's the most inspired thing I've heard on Yakisakana in a while. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
Metal Teeth "Wild Eyes" EP
Debut release for both Michigan's Metal Teeth and the UFO Dictator label. The Metal Teeth sound? Definitely not heavy in the metal way (as they make sure you know on the sleeve), but heavy in a molasses dredging and primally pounding way. A bit Drags-y but without all the static, this trio march their way through four cuts of lurching and lunking backwoods basement rock, opening with a near instro whose only lyrics seem to be the cryptic "C53 6F7G" (I can't figure it out...license plate number of the turnip truck they fell off perhaps?). The tunes move like a slow oil leak on some redneck's rusted out pick-up, get a little Crampsy-goo-goo on "Feather Lite" (my pick to click), and actually pick up the pace a bit on the title track. Certainly referencing genre-heavies like the 'blivs and especially Gories, but taking the simplicity factor to a whole 'nother level...unnervingly so perhaps. What they may lack in finesse they are certainly overcoming with sheer determination. It don't get much more "no-frills" than this, and if you give it a chance you'll find some cheap thrills in their rock recidivism. Scum stats: 100 copies on clear vinyl with alt sleeve, 300 on black with three different screened sleeves (one from each band member). My insert was an '88 Topps Neil Allen with UFO Dictator grafitti on it. Neat-o. (RK)
(UFO Dictator // myspace.com/ufodictator)
Mountains and Rainbows "Lester's Way" 7"
Two song single from the this loosely structured quintet whose name gives you a good indication of what their tunes are gonna sound like...modern-day weirdo hippies pretty much. I would bet at least a couple of them possess full beards. "Lester's Way" has an ethereal sort of simple bass/guitar drone as its foundation, punctuated with minimalist drumming and spirited along by phantomic background effects and gurgles and some free verse lyricism. Trancey but not dancey, it's one of those songs that carves into you, and something I did find rather enjoyable. On the flip, "Tunnel Vision" is a lo-fi folk strummer that you would expect from a fruity sounding band name such as this, but not even I can hate on it too badly. Vague percussion, wandering guitars, echo-chamber vox, a hodgepodge of backing sounds (I picked out bells, maybe some chimes, harmonica perhaps, maracas, some sitar...) get all loose and hippe-like for a pretty mellow jam sesh...it ain't rock'n'roll, but it ain't terrible either. I could see myself brushing my teeth to this stuff in the morning hours or perhaps wistfully looking out the window and contemplating how it is I got this hangover. Did I mention that three of these guys are also in Tyvek? (RK)
(Muddy Mitten // myspace.com/ferndaleacidscene)
The New Flesh "Dog" 7"
This record served as my introduction to New Flesh, a band I feel I should be into based on other's descriptions but just never had the chance until now. "Dog" sounds like it could be the backing track to an industrial film about earth movers or bulldozers plowing landfill at garbage dumps. Slow-churning noise. Bleak. Desolate. Brutally rhythmic. Like Unsane with their legs chopped off trying to trudge uphill with Albini on their shoulders riding them hard and going heavy with the riding crop. I really like the Unsane comparison, as The New Flesh seem to evoke the same "industrial" vibe they had: not industrial in the drum-machine/Ministry/dancefloor way, but industrial in the way that guys who shovel coal into furnaces or work in machine shops and have missing digits or clean up crime scenes should be listening to this stuff while they work. That menacing kind of rusty and gray and hazily oppressive feeling that is hard to shake off. Both sides of this single have that rubbernecking at a car crash vibe, excitingly visceral and seemingly unpleasant, yet tough to tear your ears away from. I bet they're a terror live. Or I at least hope they are. Scum stats: 200 copies, exquisite burgundy vinyl. (RK)
(Terra Firma Records // www.terrafirmarecords.com)
Night Slaves "Tell On You" EP
Felony Fidelity has been quietly churning out records of the past couple years, a PDX label that have released a winner or two (the Howie & The Hot Knives 7" still gets action around here and The Neins have had a good moment or two) to little acclaim. I enjoy labels such as this that just keep releasing singles no matter what. Who cares if they're not getting the rave reviews and such? They're putting out what they like and documenting their city's scene and you have to admire that zealousness. So, the latest FF release is from the Night Slaves, and it's essentially B-list (or maybe even C-list) garage rock. Semi-fi and semi-tough beer drinkin workingman-like stuff. A little bit nasty, mid-tempo three-piece frills-free action. Will I remember this record six months from now? Probably not. But it's good to see FF Recs still out there taking swings. Releases upcoming from the Slip-Its and the fantastically named Reptilian Civilian. Scum stats: 250 copies, clear wax.(RK)
(Felony Fidelity // felonyfidelity666-at-hotmail.com)
Ninoss Del Arcoiris "Conquista la Galaxia" EP
A pleasant European surprise here, from Spain of all places. Ninoss are a two-piece from Madrid, who sing in Espanol and who have obviously been listening to their Loli and the Chones records. Their "press release", written in Spanish, contained the words "Sorry I do not speak English" scribbled across the top, and it's flattering to know that TB can cross geographical and lingual barriers and just get down to the music. Because that's what it's all about at the end of the day, right kids? Anyway, I'm just thrilled that this record is good bordering on great. Josuah and Zacharias spit out five burners here, containing equal doses of angry Childish whomp (the title cut) and the best in classic Rip Off Records styled dumb-punk ("Detox Baby"). Sort of like Splash Four meets Eskorbuto. Even some Spits-like inanity is exhibited on "Surfers Satanicos". "Todo por la Secta" might be the real winner here, with an odd kind of echo-whistle sound in the background, and on the guitar solo where, instead of toughing up the sound for a blistering lead like most punks would, they wimp it out with some real mellow-like effect. Wacky. A nice package: high energy, catchy tunes, fun but not too goofy, good and rough sound without being gimmickly lo-fi. The best Spanish punk I've heard in a long time, but I guess that ain't saying too much. Let's just say I'd enjoy this no matter where it hailed from. Scum stats: my copy is black vinyl and labeled out of 174, and it was a 200 press, with a 33 copy variant whose details I can't translate. Nice screened sleeve and lyric insert.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die Records // www.blondesmustdierecords.tk)
Party Garbage 7" EP
The first track on this is called "Cut the Kite String", and it's a jumpy little garage-pop number with some stick-to-your-ribs catchiness. A little twee perhaps, a little bit hokey, but it's likable. After that they sort of turn into an earnest Leatherface/Husker Du indie band that really aren't reminiscent of partying at all. And they don't sound like garbage either. At least not in the good sense. Really deceptive name. And their singer goes by the handle Lewsker Du. Not at all what I was hoping for from a record that has pizza, beer and pills on the sleeve. It does come with a nice little Party Garbage zine with lyrics, pics and the story of how they got together that was more entertaining than the other four cuts on this. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on yellow wax. (RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)
Pink Reason "By A Thread" 7"
Awesomely depressing Cakekitchen vibes on the
side-long "By A Thread." Lowdown voice, like Ian
Curtis from beyond the grave, or, hell, still-alive
dudes like Roy Montgomery or a Jefferies brother.
There is an undeniable connection to the fine
tradition of New Zealand outsider/bedroom pop here. It
manifests itself in the dirgey, yet somehow catchy and
memorable, grinding guitar melodies and relentless
forward motion of the drums. It all ends up sounding
so far away, like your lover or dying mother gazing
into the distance, but also so close, so intimate,
like a cold hand on the back or a hot breath in the
ear. "The Devil Always Wins" is the live hit staple.
You clap along as Kevin sings the snot-encrusted "it
only hurts when I lafff" lyrics. It's like a lost
'Anthology of American Folk Music' field recording,
unearthed for these troubled times. "Down On Me" is
the most-straightforward pop song yet by Pink Reason.
It's comes on like a ray of sunlight peaking through
the clouds, but ends up revealing itself as another
bittersweet ode to life's gray moments, albeit with
more "uplifting" melodies, a nice bridge, and fleeting
moments of what might be hope. (EEK)
(TrickKnee Productions // trickknee-at-hotmail.com)
Plexiglas s/t 7"
Those who tried to order these already know this: Kernkrach records are criminally expensive. The German label deals with current minimal wave recordings as well as reissues...Plexiglas actually features label vice-boss Dr. Kernkrach with the greek dudes from Human Puppets. Result is a totally rad three song seven inch, the real smash hit here being called "Tanz" of course...Reverb-ridden obsessive lyrics along with a killer keyboard-bassline, and this gnarly clinical keyboard buzz all the way down, all this packed up in that Kein Mensch vein you can't help noticing everywhere since you heard that song. For other Kernkrach stuff I'd also suggest to check the Hoffnung und Psyche reissue which is in the same league, maybe less frantic, or Rasputeen, Dilemna or even Eurocheque for instance. Hence the price, you really don't wanna buy any record on this label totally blinfolded. Scum stats: 300 copies (but may be OOP by the time you read this). Great package: a huge floppy-disk-like sleeve with sweet pink vinyl and some old German factory punch card turned into a flyer. Cool schtuffs. Totally worth tracking down.(KB)
(Kernkrach Records // www.kernkrach.de)
Plexi-3 "Calculated Romance" 7"
From the ashes of The Monitors come the Plexi-3, with Ryan Kill-A-Watt back behind the drums in Sir Snacks-A-Lot mode, Wendy Norton of Lookers/Kryptonite Records fame on guitar and trading vox with a painfully cute girl named Fran on bass. Hotbed of music that Wisconsin is, I probably know more about the players in bands from the state that I need to, and while I may not be enough of a local to make such claims, I'm going to say that this is the band Ryan and Wendy were destined to be in. I loved the dig-these-kids-snot of the Kill-A-Watts and the schticky electro-punk of The Monitors, but I think their talents are finally fulfilled with this outfit. Exquisitely crafted two-minute pop-rock-and-roll songs with hooks galore, fantastic vocal harmonies, well written lyrics, and near-flawless playing, plus great outfits/image, highly entertaining live presence...there isn't much missing from this package. They pull various influences (mod, punk, girl group melodics, Sixities pop...) together to create music that seems so simple it's frightening. It's as if they finally found some secret formula people have been seeking for ages. But it's probably just two very talented song writers and musicians ending up in the right circumstances. They even nail a Love cover, something many bands can do passably, but few can do this well. They should release an LP immediately instead of teasing us with more singles. But I will take what I can get. Best band in Wisconsin right now (if we're considering The Mistreaters as defunct). Scum stats: 500 copies, and yet another grapically well done package from Dusty Medical as well. (RK)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)
Regulations "Different Needs" EP
The latest platter from the Regs, released to coincide with their recent US tour. The backlash against these Swedes as ho-hum HC revisionists has gotten stronger recently, and this EP will do little to stem that tide. Their well-manicured and measured vintage punk style sounds incredibly tame on this one. I remain a big fan of their first two singles and LP and I won't recant my ravings regarding them. Still think those records are great. But none of the four tracks here can match anything from those outings. There's a little less reliance on tunes about riots, police cars and cops and they seem to be a bit more introspective content-wise on this, perhaps a little darker and less aggro than their earlier stuff. It's well recorded and well played and I wouldn't call it a bad record, but even to a fan such as myself there's little to make you come back for repeat spins. A little too calculated, a little too reminiscent of days gone by, a little too formulaic. Scum stats: Havoc probably pressed plenty to go around, so no worries on that front. A limited number on gold vinyl. (RK)
(Havoc Records // www.havocrex.com)
Ridiculous Trio "TV Eye" 7"
This is the Trio's second record and I really enjoyed their first single (also a Slovenly 45 Series release...). For a novelty band, you can't ask for much more: a three-piece consisting of drums, tuba and trombone that do nothing but Stooges covers. I shit you not. It's actually really great sounding. Their "TV Eye" is impeccable and they kill "Not Right", with the trombone nailing Iggy's parts. I was hoping for a little more from "IWBYD", but hey, two out of three is good enough for me. And these guys seem to be able play their instruments well, it's not just some sort of lo-fi piss-take chicanery. Really well done. Makes for great party listening and radio airplay. Always a head turner when I throw it on. You should probably own at least one of their singles unless you have some kind of stick up your ass. Scum stats: all these Slovenly singles are supposedly limited to 300 or 500, I'm not sure which. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)
Romance Novels "Peggy Sue" 7"
The second two-song single from The Romance Novels, and it's a pretty dead heat as to which is better...I'm leaning slightly toward the first one, but this here record is quite fine on its own. "Peggy Sue" has some falsetto vocals that garnered some extra points on my scorecard. The production is still thinner than Karen Carpenter, keeping in step with their vintage Radio X-like style. A band that certainly give off an enjoyable 'anyone-can-do-this' vibe and manage to hide some catchy tunes behind a child-like simplicity. My only beef is that this stuff is so light...it's like eating Chinese food. You're hungry again five minutes after listening to it. I guess you could just listen to it again. Or they could do an LP. But I don't how that would hold up either...If their first 7" was a four-star outing, I'd give this one three-and-a-half. Scum stats: 150 gold edition with alt sleeve. (RK)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
Sexual Slurs "You're Everything I Hate" 7"
Hot trash action from Steve Sleaze and Ryan Wong, five cuts recorded on 4-track way back in 2002. Two of these jams turned up on the Tokyo Electron 7" on Big Black Hole in better versions (the title song and "Outta Control"). The three others are typical 'tards/Electron-ish hard chargers, "In Your Eyes" and "Same All Over Again" make for some good listening if you're in the mood for nasty guitar led punk. As dirty sounding as you would imagine. I guess this is pretty much Steve's show, and while he's not as great a songwriter as Jay Jay or Ryan, he's certainly just as savage. I give this one a B-, as I would actually like it better if they had left the two songs from the TE single off. They kind of take away from the "new" songs on this. Scum stats: Steve In Booze edition of 265 copies and Bad Touch edition of 264 copies (preferred sleeve due to tit/miniskirt pics). Numbered with red ink stamp.(RK)
(solid Sex Lovie Doll // myspace.com/solidsexloviedollrecords )
Ski Instructors "Kids on the Street" 7"
Upon hearing the Skin Instructors' 7", those of you who are of a certain age will undoubtedly recognize it as the latest in a long line of fine, fine Sacramento bands. Reach back and think of Nar (especially Nar), Los Huevos, the Yah Mos, the Lil' Bunnies...and of the many Sacto bands who helped make the Very Small/Too Many Records comps the funny/weird/catchy/eclectic/killer comps they are. Hell, even the names are familiar: Ed, Tristan, Jason, Scott. These guys have been in various bands together for years. The Ski Instructors, veterans of that special era of Sacramento punk, carry the tradition of catchy (dare I say jangly? poppy?), loose, fun punk as if it weren't tradition at all, but something more new and alive than some old rehashed bullshit. The two songs have an oh-so-slight Mod beat that help wedge the songs firmly in your head. The a-side, "Kids on the Street" is much more up-tempo, fast paced, while the flip is a steady, slower tune that marches across your turntable. (IS)
(Dulc-I-Tone // www.yakashirecords.com)
Slab City "Tall Can" 7"
Debut platter from Slab City, a supposedly half-white/half-brown garage punk band from the CA/Mexico border named after a squatter town from that locale. "Tall Can" is obviously an ode to large beers, and "Milwaukee's Beast" is not about Tony Sagger, but the low-rent brand of beverage. These dudes really love their brew, and tell you about it via some uber-trashy rock that gets by just fine. In actuality, it's just the sort of thing you'd expect from dudes who like to drink cheap beer. The last cut, "Hyna", is about a chick, and gets all punk and mean and shit. I like that one the best. For fans of multi-ethnic rockenrolling and cases of beer that cost less than ten dollars. I'd rate this one at a middling 7 cans out of a twelve pack. Supposedly that Ernie guy who did The Spits and Black Lips tour vids plays keys on this, but I'll be damned if I remember hearing any keyboards...Scum stats: all these Slovenly singles are supposedly limited to 300 or 500, I'm not sure which. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)
Snowball "Baby's Got A New Deal" 7" EP
Pretty much what you'd expect from a Danish band with an umlaut in their name and a chick about to catch an iceball in the kisser on the sleeve. The hype-sheet drops a Sugarfix-era Dwarves comparison, and I honestly can't come up with anything better than that. Four 100mph punk choad-drops and one Thunders-via-The Humpers slow rocker to change things up. Like the Moo-Rat Fingers without the personality. I really thought the Moo-Rat Fingers were great at times though. Snowball, notsomuchso. (RK)
(Rabalder Records // funus.dk/rabalderrecords)
So Cow "Moon Geun Young" 7"
This is a first: a great record that may not exist if not for the Terminal Boredom Message Board. It's about time that godforsaken soul-sucker was good for something!!! This record is so great it almost makes the cumulative month or so of my life I've spent on that message board seem worthwhile. Almost. In point of fact, if So Cow had the good sense to trim the two lengthy guitar solos down to just one this would be like suckling at the teat of pop godhead. As it is, it's still one of the more mind bending pop records to come down the pike in quite some time. Based on his other songs I get the impression that So Cow is more of an "indie rock guy" - as for what that means circa 2007, your guess is as good as mine - but on this one track he's managed to serendipitously drink from the same font of inspiration that bands like the Television Personalities and first single Go Betweens did, and the result is just amazing. Really, it's stupendous stuff folks. Borderline awe-inspiring at moments. The dual solos I could live without, but in a way they only add to the charm; they lead me to believe that So Cow didn't really know what elemental pop forces he was tapping into and that this tune is the result of a completely pure and uncalculated burst of inspiration. One things for sure - songs this fun don't come around very often. What makes it even better is that the two labels that put this out had the good sense to release "Moon Geun Young" as a stand alone track. It really is a singular song in every sense of the word.(SB)
(Almost Ready // myspace.com/almostreadyrecords)
Spread Eagles "Don't Be A Drag" EP
Spread Eagles "Don't Talk to the Narc" 7"
For all of you bitching about how you dislike the Black Lips' new "cleaned-up" approach, I'd like to introduce you to the Spread Eagles. I've been sitting on these records for a good while now, and playing the shit out of them all the while, perhaps waiting for them to get boring or to come to some realization thaty they're just not as good as I'm thinking they are. But it's not happening. I'll just come out and say they are two of my most favorite platters of the year. The fact that no one else is talking them up frightens me. While the Spread Eagles may be jumping off cliffs Jared, Cole & Co. have scaled first and without abandon, they bring something different to the table as well, a wilder punk approach with perhaps less reverance to Sixties standard bearers. The debut single is four tracks deep, with the A-Side suite of "Don't Be A Drag" and "Saga of the Year 3000" being melded together with gobs of of wildly oscillating guitar. It's defiantly desperate rock'n'roll, with unwavering drum and guitar stomp and layers of sounds making for a nasty dish of fried-psych topped with evil garage ravings. You can almost see the corpse of the BFTG series dragging from their bumper as they speed by. "I Wanna Be My Man" is audacious and wants to go back in time and kick the Makers' asses and "In the CIA" combines with their display of the uber-American eagle and Freemason imagery to give them a dark sort of mysterious modus operandi. Have I mentioned they're from Kansas yet? The Boomchick released "Don't Talk To the Narc" might be the punkest tune I've heard all year. Air raid sirens, more oscillated and fucked guitar that blurts forth one doozy of a "solo", live in a cave blown out-and-up recording, pure mayhem on wax, that's what it is. Take heed. The flip, "Up Too High (Much Too High)" is a bad-trip from the Sixities relived all over again with chain-gang vox and the distinct stench of hippie blood. I can't give both of these records high enough grades. No one else seems to be talking about them. What is wrong with everyone? Or should I be asking what is wrong with me? Raw shit I think all of you need to hear. Scums stats: unknown quantity on the first single (which I think Boom Chick may have co-released), so get moving. Boomchick single is 600 copies, 200 each of blue, red and green screened-sleeve versions. (RK)
(9-11 Is A Joke Records // thespreadeagles-at-gmail.com)
(Boomchick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Static Static "Mutation" 7"
New unit led by John Henry, formerly of NOLA's Detonations, now relocated to LA. Two tunes, swimming in the No-Wave/punk-disco end of the pool: drum machine blasting out near industrial martial beats, some trance-inducing synth, nice guitar tone that sounds like the warning siren to head for the bomb shelter. They lull you into submission with heavy repetition of sounds and lyrics, maybe revving it up a little for the big finish. On the A-Side the formula works well enough...meaning, this stuff has to be a little annoying just by virtue of its make up. It's hypnotic enough that you don't feel the need the need to smash it in half. Mid-way through the B-Side, you'll have trouble suppressing that urge...the tunes just aren't quite good enough to not be genuinely irritating. But maybe some people are into that, and perhaps that was Static Static's point. I say proceed with caution. Scum stats: first press was 100 copies (sold out), second press is 150. Screened sleeves, I'm not sure if there's any variation between the pressings.(RK)
(NPO Records // myspace.com/staticstatic)
Static Static "Black Fingers" 7"
A yard or so better than the earlier seven-inch reviewed above. "Black Fingers" is more drum-machine heavy-disco-punk commotion with charging guitar riff-repetition and monotone vox. Nervously close to something that could've been released on Wax Trax. "Electric We Get" is the most likeable and creative tune on both records, proplulsed via mechanical drum-clap and a synth that sounds like a force field. Not my cup'o tea in the least, but I can get into the B-Side. Scum stats: 150 gold edition, the rest on black.(RK)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
SYZ "Complicated" 7"
I went into this one not expecting much or at least not expecting something this great. It sometimes seems as if every week there's a new "Best Band in Chicago" according to whatever message board or website, and it gets a little tiring. This time, I will say there is some merit to the claim. Featuring brother-sister tandem Amanda and Matt from the Krunchies, a Limelite and Colin from White Savage (and The Worst I think), this SYZ thing is cold and cool and I have to say better than anything any of them have released with any of their other bands. Three songs of post-punk gloom, forceful bass/drum drive, wall of noise guitars tussling with spine-crawling scritch-scratch leads at times, complex sounding yet releasing a primal and dark sort of energy...the songs maintain a good sense of focus, a direction that I think a lot of weirder stuff lacks. This stuff doesn't lurch around and drool all over you, it's sharp and neurotic and pointed at your senses. The tunes actually move, like missiles towards targets, instead of staring at themselves in the mirror like too many too-weird-for-their-own-good groups today. Amanda's screech, an instrument unto itself, appears on the B-Side and the duelling between her shrillness and the detached male vox makes for great drama. The tunes seemingly meander for a bit in weird punk waters but then come together in vigorous moments of hard-attack, building and releasing energy in tumultuous bursts. Very unexpectedly evocative stuff here and not what I was expecting. The rumors were apparently true; SYZ probably were the best band in Chicago at some point. Which sucks, because it looks like they've called it quits already. Why? I don't know, but I hope it's not so Colin can concentrate on White Savage. You can check their Myspace for two additional tracks as well. Scum stats: 150 copy gold vinyl edition, 400 copy black vinyl edition, two different sleeves. (RK)
(HoZac Records // www.horizontalaction.com)
The Teeners "Hit Me" 7"
Austin punkola featuring members of the Kodiaks, Ritchie Whites(!), Manikin, Winks (actually I think it's via the girl drummer, who has apparently played drums in 90% of all bands from Austin) with their debut single. Motor-revving loose and "dangerous" rocknrolla, four cuts, fairly sloppy and fittingly half-cocked. Mr. Vomitnoise picks the band up and carries them on his back with his voxing on this, making them just a little more than ordinary. The title cut and B-Side tracks ("Brain Transplant" in particluar) might be worth a few spins. Recorded by TV's Daniel of Wax Museums fame, and you can tell on the echoed vocal effects which are very Wristy. Not a life changing record by any means, but not total garbage can material either. Scums stats: 500 pressed, 100 on green wax. (RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)
Terrible Twos "A+A" 7"
Terrible Twos "Radical Tadpoles" 7"
Remember how Human Eye started this year of right by giving us a double whammy set of singles? Well, here we are at 2007's three-quarter mark and the Terrible Twos pulled off another great 1-2-punch of Detroit style art damaged rockfuckery. The Big Neck single starts out with a familiar tune ("A+A=") to anyone who's gotten their mitts on their tour CDr ,but it's a far different mix. Seems heavier and dirtier than the other take, possibly a rough demo mix or something. Crazy nonetheless. The track has a Carl Stalling "bad trip through Looney Toons hell" vibe accented nicely by what can only be described as Meth-damaged Zappa breaks and retarded theremin squiggles. Maybe that's a keyboard choking? Who cares...awesome, frantic, tight-mess.
The B-side offers up the hits ("Surprised" and "Outdoors") to my ears. If you miss the Piranhas like I do, this attack of herky-jerky splatter will cover you like a warm moistened blanket. Familiar noise but no copycat. Hyperventilated vocal switch-offs with some downright strange vocoder processing (cries of the manatee? Peter Frampton drowning in a sea of puke? Something like that...) Keep yer hands and feet inside the car at all times. This stuff will ruin you.
X! Records continues it's perfect batting average with the "Radical Tadpoles" EP.
Still feeling the Piranhas vibe, but a little more space rock than jaZzZzZzZzzz oriented.
"Chinky Glass Eye" and "Animage Break" have some downright pretty synth sounds working against it (for it) that'll speak to the Dr.Who or Wendy Carlos nerd in all of you. Like some shortwave radio transmission interfering with yer stereo. Downright operatic in a garbage can prog-punk sort of way. "Nap Time" starts off with some grossly out of tune guitar squelch and fluttery keys that gives way to some epic grand scale madness akin to say, Those pesky Human Eye singles mentioned earlier. Well, damn....just buy this thing. Pronto.
Oh yeah...that's not a locked groove at the end either. A top five single of the year, guarantee. (RSF)
(X! Records // myspace.com/xrecordsdetroit)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Total Noise Accord 7”
There was a two to three year block when a great portion of my music listening life was dedicated to searching out and devouring as much Japanese hardcore as I could find. Every release seemed to up the ante, and fuel the search to dig deeper. Many of my friends went so far as to visit Japan in hopes of finding even more great music. These trips were wildly successful—it seemed the well of top tier hardcore from the country was endless. Surprisingly, that was not the case, and very few records have been released in the interim years that stand up to the initial batch that caused all the excitement. Perhaps new ideas were exhausted and bands started to recycle too much; perhaps the rising popularity in North America and Europe caused bands to ease up their quality control in favor of seizing opportunities; perhaps I got a little jaded. Whatever the case, it’s refreshing whenever a new release hits the streets that makes me gush like I did the first time I heard “Speed Noise Hardcore Rags.” The debut EP by Total Noise Accord, appropriately enough on Crust War Records, who released the aforementioned EP by Gloom, ranks with the best of its genre. With layers of distortion and venomous vocals, the six songs here build upon each other to create a barrage of hardcore and expand on the limits of the style. Instead of creating something you’ve heard before, Total Noise Accord takes it even more over the top.(DH)
(Crust War // try www.hardcoreholocaust.com)
Toxin III “1983 Demo” 7”
This eight song session by Toxin III is much more of its time than their “KBD classic” EP, recorded only a year or so before. 1983’s demos are faster and more aggressive, echoing the sounds of young hardcore bands popping up around the country. I am unsure if this reflects a change in the band’s style or if their earlier release failed —thankfully— to accurately reflect their sound, but it’s an interesting reminder that the magic of “killed by death” often had more to do with the instant that was captured than with the group itself. Toxin III is far less powerful (and far more generic) as a hardcore band than they were with their more laid back, distortion-free approach.(DH)
(Psycho Wolf Records // myspace.com/11538370)
Traditional Fools "I Got My Baby" 7" EP
Bay Area garage-smash that lives and breathes as if it were 1993 all over again and these kids were tearing it up at the Purple Onion. Yes, yes, these youngsters are picking up the torch your Superchargers and Mummies threw off the bridge so long ago, so what's wrong with that? This four song heaping helping of delicious trash is just the thing to loosen your hips and lips and packs more energy and entertainment in its grooves than the entire catalogs of some current record labels. They do surf-stro and twist-n-grind rave-ups and everything else the Ruanes and Raffaellis of the world swiped from the Sonics and Trashmen in the first place. Every track on this crap-fi spectacular cooks with just enough youthful snot-sauce and borderline incompetence. Just be careful you lay a paper towel under this thing when you put it on the turntable, it leaves grease stains. Fun-fucking-tastic. Scums stats: 500 copies, black vinyl, plus a coupon for digital download of the record plus a bonus track. (RK)
(Chocolate Covered Records // www.chocolatecoveredrecords.com)
Tuff Bananas "Candy" EP
Second release from Milwaukee's bubble-junk all-stars. The title song is as sweet and snappy as you can stand and Paul Reject and Co. are cranking out some really well crafted stuff here, even if it is in a genre that I can't say I'm exactly in love with. But for what it's worth, no one is doing chewing-gum pop better than them right now. The two B-Side tracks are real cute and all and should be enough to get them their own animated series. I guess you could say they're a really good novelty band, but when you think about it, you could call any band in this reviews section a novelty act of sorts. I just think this premise might not have a whole of of gas left in the tank after a couple of releases. But, if you liked the first single this one won't let you down. Scum stats: 100 copy Jukebox Version on black vinyl with jukebox strip and screened sleeve. 500 copy Banana Flavored Candy colored vinyl edition that looks incredible. (RK)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)
TV Ghost "Atomic Rain" 7"
A real monster of descent-into-the-depths-of-the-fruit-cellar weird rock here, and a record that reveals more if itself from repeated listens. And you will listen. Repeatedly. "Atomic Rain" is some sort of degenerate hillbilly skiffle or basement no wave. The basso-retardo vocal style gives it some heft while the rhythm section chugs along getting low on home-brewed cough syrup. Guitars are primitively plucked and shucked and slid. A bit noodly even. Is somebody fooling around with a theremin? Transfixing. Dense and ghostly at the same time. Can't say enough good things about this. "Bird Flu" sounds as near to a Midwestern Country Teasers as I've ever heard. Off-kilter stumble and mumble. Keyboards get stepped on. Guitars get drunk. Guitar players get drunk. The real sounds of wasted youth. I hear one of these kids is like in eigth grade or something. Absolutely amazing and one of the best things I've heard all year. Scum stats: one-sided tour version of 19 copies, test press version of 20 copies (both with alternate sleeves) and regular version with transparent artwork that comes in both black and white vinyl flavors.(RK)
(Die Stasi // myspace.com/diestasi)
Tyvek "Summer Burns" 2x7"
I kinda flipped over the first Tyvek 7" and after seeing them live I flipped a bit more, so to call this double 7" of theirs anticipated would be a bit of an understatement. Picking up right where "Mary Ellen Claims/Honda" left off, Tyvek returns with four off-kilter, early Rough Trade influenced songs (think Prats/Monochrome Set/Swell Maps) where each one is better than what most bands achieve in a lifetime. "Summer Burns" is book-ended by "Needles Drop" and "Air Conditioner", quite possibly my two favourite Tyvek songs yet, that shamble along perfectly with each guitar doing its own thing (with little flubs left intact!) mixed seperately in each channel. Sandwiched in between are "Frustration Rock" and "Give It Up", two faster songs, both still amazing, with numerous fist pumping parts for you to sing along to. No doubt, Tyvek is one of the best new bands of the past few years and based on the unreleased/unrecorded songs of theirs that I've heard ("Still Sleeps", "Sidewalk", "Flowers") it seems as if they'll be doing great things for a while. Absolute highest recommendation. (JG)
(What's Your Rupture? // www.myspace.com/whatsyourrupture)
Unnatural Helpers "Earwax" EP
First 7" from the Unnatural Helpers whom you might recall from some odd comp appearances or the really great CD they released last year that apparently no one took notice of. If I have my stories straight, UH are the current project of Dean from Dipers and Double Fudge (and if you don't have at least one record from either of those groups in the collection, please note that you have a hole you need to fill) who also did a stint in The Intelligence at some point along with some other dudes of a similar mindset (ex-Tight Bros.? Gack!). Five tracks that obviously traverse similar planes of musical existence as the names I've already dropped, think the earliest of A-Frames/Intelligence atonal riff-repeat-mash in addition to some Mudhoney-esque fuzz-slinging and maybe even some Icky Boyfriends vibing on "Kill.Kill.Kill.NYC". Sounds very Seattle for sure, and I don't mean that as an insult. I give it four flannel shirts out of five. Scums stats: 500 copies, hand-made 3/4 sleeves, insert. (RK)
(Dirty Knobby // myspace.com/dirtyknobbyindustries)
V/A Blondsai/Lexington Arrows split 7"
The Blondsai side: three tracks of heavy dooty mid-tempo guitar-driven action,like Electric Frankenstein with a broad singing. More rock (and real close to getting a w instead of the c) than punk. Bass player sports a handlebar moustache. Lexington Arrows side: two songs of Detroit Cobras Jr. style female-vocalled rub'n'roll. The better of the two bands here, as the chick does have a little bit o' soul in her pipes. Both from Baltimore, comes with a CD-R of the tunes as well. I think I might've drawn the cover art for the Blondsai side in sixth grade when I was really into ninjas. (RK)
(Raped By Records // www.myspace.com/rapedbyrecords)
V/A Clusterfux/System Shit split 7”
The second record graciously sent by Golden, CO imprint Less Art Records in as many months. This time, it’s the long running Clusterfux, one of whom runs this label, with a helping from System Shit on the flip. Clusterfux have been kicking around for over 10 years now –presumably playing the crusty-thrash metal that they offer here for much of that time. A couple bashers of filthy throwback thrash (of the Eighties variety) set to some (clumsy, yet poignant) current event political rants. Clearly, these fellas have aged with grace—still punk as fuck™ and pissed off at the world as they were 10…maybe even 20 years ago. You can almost smell the armpits. Meanwhile, System Shit come from a similar seed, yet show some variety — both vocally and with their songs. They call B.C., Canada home...and drift about the grind, crusty thrash and hardcore punk realms quite carelessly. Like Clusterfux, it’s pretty fierce (the vocal rooooaaaars are incredible) and pissed off at anything that moves. Even though it’s not my thing, I cannot deny them having more than a few cool moments. On ironic hot pink vinyl.(LB)
(Less Art Records // www.myspace.com/lessart)
V/A Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Straightjacket Nation split 7"
Split-seven from Down Unda by the two premier Aussie groups of today, in my mind at least. ECSR do the unthinkable and cover "Boy Can I Dance Good" and come out of it smelling fairly rosy, slowing the tempo of the original down a bit and giving it their own bit of taut energy. Of course it's not better than The Pagans, nothing really is, but it's a fun go-round. SN then procede to do something even more taboo and do "(I'm) Stranded" (though they certainly have more of a right to cover The Saints than any band not from Oz...), and actually pull off a rather spirited version, great guitar tone blazing up front and surly vox adding a needed twist. Best Saints cover I've heard since old Banty Rooster took a stab at "Private Affair" so many years ago. If you're not put off by covers records, you'll find this an enjoyable diversion. (RK)
(no label info // good luck)
V/A Lamps/Haunted George split tour 7"
Fuck me. This is weird. Each band covers the other (a big trend these days) and truly makes the songs their own. George's take on The Lamps' "Ron Campbell" goes waaay past what I thought it'd do. Less Hasil stomp and maybe a little more of the Stardust lunacy. It could be Robert Mitchum singing the intro, like in Night of the Hunter. Vocal reverb and warped slide (tape?!?! Can't tell) is making me feel all tequila woozy. Wraps up like a backwoods Spaceman 3. Nice!
The Lamps add Jimmy Hole (this record's looking more and more like a Necessary Evils reunion.) and friends to bury the hatchet deep into the Haunted George tune "Gonna Lynch U" and at 45 speed, unlike the label suggests. Shit, this even sounds like the "Buzzsaw" single. Jump around and bounce on yer head retardo-scree. Mean spirited gutter punk hate played by muppets. They got the producers ladyfriend (daughter? mom?) to wail about on the floor for added effect. Another score! Thanks to Larry Hardy for letting me know it's still cool and good to collect all the ITR singles.(RSF)
(In the Red // wwww.intheredrecords.com)
V/A Little Claw/Michael Yonkers split 7"
This is the best Yonkers I've heard in a long while, like since the Sub Pop re-issue, and that only grabbed me here and there. Maybe he "weirded" it up, knowing of his split mates, but this comes across like (God, here it goes again; I'm lazy) lost Chrome or Helios solo. Drum machine reminds you of when industrial bands were good. Wall of Sci-fi skuzzy instrumental to follow. I think I'd give the old boy a chance again, judging from this. L.C. brings it thru a slow burn number that makes me wish scumrock was still a strong running genre. Aching, cold and haunting. Sounds live or recorded in a bear cave. Inept in a great way. Less played and more channeled. Xpressway to yr. skull. Hammer the nail. Milk those sounds for what it's worth. Kilynn's strained and warbled cat scratch voice should be turning more heads by now. This is the Blues.
Thurston's 12? is gonna be a good'un.(RSF)
(X! Records // myspace.com/xrecordsdetroit)
V/A Livefastdie/Golden Error split 7"
Let's get right down to it...LFD's "Dawn of the VHS" may be my favorite of all their tunes to date. Somehow it brought back pleasant memories of my early teens and going to the mom-and-pop (or actually, two weird dudes) video store at the corner of my street and renting Dawn of the Dead in a huge clamshell case and keeping it for the entire summer and watching it stoned every night while eating macaroni and cheese. And then never paying the late fees. It sound just like Goblin, man! No, no it doesn't, it sounds like...well, how many times can I use garbage, retarded, trashy or moronic to describe a LFD cut? I might be getting sentimental here, but I think the Werewolf is at the top of his game on this one. His cover of The Spits' "She Don't Kare" could probably pass as an alternate take by the Wood Bros. themselves...speakers stuffed with shit, vox that sound like a mouth stuffed with cotton, everything stuffed with static...but then Mr. LFD tips his hand via the guitar wizardry on blatant display during the solos. As good as a Spits cover (not done by Midnight) can get. You know what I want now? Some enterprising label to put all these split tracks on one epic LP. On to Golden Error...coming from Sir Heir Ick Eldick, I was expecting a seriously deep toke off the WEIRD PUNK bong...but hey, it seems GE are an actual fucking rock band! I couldn't be happier! Their humorous tale of heavy petting in retail situations is packed with brutish charm and no-bullshit style...rather muscular, straight-ahead chug-chugging...it's really a rather heavy duty jam that I don't really think of as funky sounding per se, but it is something that could probably put some chicks asses into a groove. The chicken-choking vocal presence makes me like it even more. Very well played by both acts. Maybe I don't hate split singles after all...Scum stats: 42 packaged in vintage Salem's Potato Chip bags (three different varieties), 14 or so in spray painted sleeves, 300 copies total? Golden vinyl.(RK)
(Mind No Mind Records // myspace.com/mindnomindrecords)
V/A Memphis Pops 7" comp
Free giveaway for attendees of the Memphis Pops Festival, split released by Goner and Shangri-La. Four tunes from four bands, with The Carbonas "Phone Booth" being the key attraction for those of you reading. A sneak-peek from the upcoming LP on Goner (which will be available at Gonerfest IV in limited from), it's a great high speed swipe, pehaps formulaic by 'bonas standards, but it's a great fucking formula, ain't it? American Death Ray contribute a weird little Homosexuals-ish UK-DIY cut called "Secret" that's aces. Antenna Shows do some moogy indie-rocking with boy/girl vocal harmonies, and Vending Machine do some low-key pop. I bought this exclusively for the Carbonas cut, so the fact that the other tunes are all good is just gravy on this biscuit. (RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
V/A Red Rockets/Touch-Me-Nots split 7"
First off, I thought this was a split with the Red Rockers for a minute and was about to be really impressed, but then I noticed the "t". RR are from the punk wasteland of Utah apparently, and do some...uh, rocking I guess would be the word. Kinda fuzzy medium-fi stuff with a strong vocal presence and a hook or two, pretty likeable if not immediately attention fetching. Their two cuts have gotten better the more I listen. On the Touch-Me-Nots side, Mr. Levy has the brass to not only write a song called "Life of Crime" but also make it a really good one. The more I listen, the more this guy's songwriting reminds me a little bit of that Greg Cartwright fella, showing a real knack for penning classic sounding (yet not redundant) and classy pure rock'n'roll numbers. This is one their best, coming with a large portion of hot guitar licks and Kelly's "WOOOO!"s on the chorus really sealing the deal for me. I love it when these two just sound like they're genuinely having a ton of fun playing a song. With all the serious business out there it's really refreshing and heartening and gosh, kinda cute. Their second cut is a cover of "This Kind of Music" that doesn't really match what precedes it. But "Life of Crime" is tough to follow, no matter what version it is. I hate splits, but "Life of Crime" is making it onto every mix tape I make for at least the next few months. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Roach and Squirrel Records // myspace.com/goredrocket)
V/A Silver Daggers/Shearing Pinx split 7"
Silver Daggers are starting to wear out their welcome
with their side of this split. One track is a passable
cut, recorded live at The Smell, that is redeemed only
by the pounding bass n' drums. The other cut is a
tweaked-out practice space jam that reminds you of why
hip-hop belongs in the street, or in the early 80s.
These folks need to start writing some songs, or at
least stop completely aping styles from the past. We
still have some good will left, let's not blow it.
Shearing Pinx, on the other hand, take some old styles
(mainly early SY and G. Branca bands like Theoretical
Girls) and make them sound fresh as a bar of Irish
Spring. Their guitar sound alone scores big points,
but this bass-less trio manages to craft interesting
and somewhat hook-y sounds out of their No Wave slash
n' burn. They have a bevy or releases, so maybe start
somewhere else, eh? Scum stats: Limited to 400.(EEK)
(Arbor // www.arborcdr.com)
V/A Snake Apartment/Landed split 7"
Billed as a double-shot of "Ugly Providence Boogie Rock" and they sure got the ugly part right. Snake Apt should need no introduction after they dropped one of the best 12"es of the year ealier on the Parts Unknwon label. If you haven't copped that one yet, you're really lacking in the balls department, my friend. Their "Ugly Poltergesist" is a real gut-churner that should come with a complimentary pair of hip-waders. Shit is deep. Down-tempo almost Kilslug-esque thuggery that does it's best to steal your breath, face and soul. An oppressively rhythmic backbone is slashed through with homicidal vox and exceptional guitar work that deserves yet another Ginn name drop. Massive. Landed begin "Tip of the Whip" with a slow crawl of bash and smash, then kick it up to warp speed for a minute or so before standing on the brake pedal and rolling to a halt. A real clusterfuck of squelch and hate, less a song and more like a musical assault. It has a moment or two but in the end it's just sort of an unfocused noise that tries to knock your teeth in with little flair. Sounds like it should be great, but it comes off souding like a mess in a bad way. Snake Apt side rules though. (RK)
(Corleone Records // www.corleonerecords.com)
(Parts Unknown Records // www.partsunkownrecords.com)
V/A Tyvek/Cheveu split 7"
Tour single that didn't quite make the tour, but what the hell, we should all be thrilled it came out in the first place. Both bands are in top notch form here. Tyvek, what can you say, they're phenomenal in a DIY-punk-post-whatever way, and they continue their hitting streak with this dinger. Maybe the hottest bat in the game right now. "Future Junk" rakes, and you need to buy everything they've released immediately. Cheveu...the story with them from my perspective is that they've gotten increasingly better with each release. I rarely listen to the first two singles, but that Rob's House seven-incher was a true monster, and their cut on this ("El Tortuga") is some burly weird-punk that fuses synth-and-guitar noises and devilish and deep vocals into something that sounds threatening and eerie. I hate to throw around cliches like future-primitve, but there I go. One song from each band that should be more than filling for your ears. (RK)
(Ss Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Vicious Cycle s/t 7”
Ultra-short blasts of hyper hardcore punk. If you’re digging the breed of hardcore punk that hearkens back to a time where both those words went together without a second thought, then this could be for you. That seems to coming back these days: when this shit was actually powerful and fun. That’s not to say these guys are jokers; they ain’t. They mean business and cram seven ragers on this record, which barely clocks in at 3 minutes a side. It’s fast, well executed and the production is tight and just right. A solid effort.(LB)
(Radio 81 // www.radio81records.com)
Wax Museums "Traffic Violation" & "Rambo Knife" 7"
Despite quality cover art by Prof. Snipes, the
Douchemaster 7" falls a little flat. It's mainly the
fault of the recording, which is dull and lifeless and
sucks any energy out of an otherwise smart-ass cut
like "Traffic Violation." They just don't sound very
upset by this bogus ticket they just got. The B-side
almost overcome these deficiencies but still comes up
a bit short. "She's It" is a decent enough Spits-dumb
number, but "Slime" is the winner here, sounding like
one of the more memorable songs off a classic comp
like 'We Got Power' or 'A New Hope' or 'Killed By
The Rehab 7", on the other hand, is a total killer,
one of the best punk rock 7"s of the year. "Rambo
Knife" is an instant hit, Adolescents-like vocals
(they've got that reverb sound down pat) chanting out
a plot for a straight-to-video 80s revenge-actioner.
Maybe something starring Micheal Dudikoff? Wax Museums
are the band playing at the arcade where the final
showdown takes place, kids ducking for cover as a hail
of real bullets makes them regret ditching school.
"X-Ray My Brain" is practically power-pop, with
excellent shimmery lead guitar taking it right into
"Cathode Love," which seems like a part two to the
song and has a slightly wonky hook on the chorus that
is immediately gratifying. Up there with Tyvek for
single of the summer. (EEK)
(Douchemaster // douchemasterrecords.com)
(Rehab // rehabrecords-at-gmail.com)
We March 7"
Unbelievably, this is the first vinyl appearance by
these broke-as-a-jokesters. Ridiculous, especially
when you consider that We March is one of the
rippingest, tearingest hardcore punk bands in the
country. No, these guys do not satisfy your desire for
textbook 80s HC, your taste for ironic bandana thrash,
nor your OCD-complex need to pigeon-hole every riff
and vocal sneer. If you must trainspot, then strap in
tight, because you can check off a few decades' worth
of small-town depression/hate with this band: Stooges,
Negative Approach, Cows, Black Flag, Butthole Surfers,
Necros, Saints, ah whofuckincares. The real point is:
you need to see this band live. But if you can't, this
EP'll hafta do ya. First side features two thrashers:
"The Choice," and "Beep Beep Beep," which blazes by
until the almost NYHC-esque mosh breakdown at the end.
On the flip, "She Who Makes Dogs Shiver" is a dense,
tough-as-nails rocker that bores a hole into your
head. Rock n' roll made with an eye cast towards
hardcore and vice-versa. Scum stats: Limited to 300.
(Wicked Singles // www.wickedsinglesrecords.com)
Wooden Shjips "Sol '07" 7"
Latest from everyone's current psych-drone darlings, apparently a split release between the band's Sick Thirst label and Holy Mountain (who are also doing the Shjips' LP). "Sol '07" is one long jam spread over both sides (it fades at the end of Side A and then picks up where it left off on the B Side) that I think I may have heard was recorded live (though you'd be hard pressed to tell.) Definitely their Hippie-ist sounding tune to date (it is commemorative of the Summer of Love after all), with the band laying down a swirling vortex of organ and bass which the guitar rides off on, going on extended adventures in wah-wah land. I think I hear horns somewhere. Vocals are seemingly sung in pidgin English with an echo effect that sounds like the guy might be doing it himself instead of with an effects pedal. Probably the least oblique thing they've done yet. Dennis Hopper would dig this and so should you. Crazy that they were practically giving away that first 10", ain't it? Scum stats: 500 copies, red vinyl, again with no sleeve.(RK)
(Sick Thirst/Holy Mountain // myspace.com/woodenshjips)
The Yolks "Introducing..." 7"
Billing themsleves as "The Kings of Awesome", this nifty (and excellently named) Chicago three-piece actually live up to some of their own hyperbole. The opener on this, "I Do What I Do", is one of the most deceptively catchy tunes I've heard since the first Suspicions 7". I listened to it twice upon receiving it in the mail, didn't give it much thought, then woke up the next morning singing it in the shower somehow. Just an amazingly simple jewel of understated no-frills garage rock with a pop hook and nonchalant vocals that ends up being more memorable than dozens of KBD-destructos and weird punquers I've heard lately. Overall, four tracks of fairly smooth stuff, well played, charmingly jangly and not reliant on shit-fi production. Second cut sounds like The Pets wrestling Boys Club for a copy of The Nuggets box set. Peppered with plenty of clever lyrical couplets as well as a buncha well-placed ooh-oohs and whoa-whoas, they even rave it up a little bit to close with the very Sexareenos-like "I Found Love". Quite the laid back affair, The Yolks are cool enough to seem like they're not trying to impress anyone here, but end up doing just that with a creative quartet of tunes that are a credit to a genre that's easy to do badly. Less is more for real here, and this is one of the more entertaining releases I've heard this year. If you don't listen to "I Do What I Do" repeatedly after buying this then you suck at listening to music. Scum stats: 300 copies, self-released with silk-screened labels and a nice cut-n-paste sleeve that has the good taste to not feature eggs of any sort. (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/theyolks)
To read past reviews go here.
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