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DEMO/TAPE REVIEWS FALL 2008

Key: (RK: Rich Kroneiss)(DH: Dave Hyde)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)

Demon's Claws "Sick Chili" cassette
This tape is real boon for all you Demon's Claws completists out there, as it compiles nineteen tracks worth of odds'n'sods from a band I want to call under-rated, although I'm not sure that's true. They have been one of the finest Canadian recording acts of recent vintage and I think their invigorating take on country/blues via the garage rock template has influenced the modern rock landscape a bit more than we think. First six tracks burst out from a decently recorded live show from 2003 on their home turf (with Skip on drums and including a nice run through "Shadow of a Castle"), then it's on to various demos and unreleased nugs. Some very early demos from 2002-03 (and even a little something from 2001?), a couple of A+ tracks recorded in Germany with guest sax from DM Bob (who really makes sense as their brother-in-arms when you think about it), two Mike McHugh-recorded leftovers from what I would guess were the second LP sessions, great Waylon Jennnings and Rio Rockers ("Mexicali Baby", one of the best on here) covers, and versions of a couple singles tunes. A good mix of a few polished sounding studio numbers and some rough-sounding off-the-cuff stuff, I would imagine people would buy this on vinyl should it happen to see release via that format, and those people wouldn't be disappointed. A nice addition to the Demon's Claws story so far. 100 copies was most likely not enough for this release. Comes with download code, as do all Telephone Explosion releases, in a nice touch.(RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)

Der Submarine Racers "Kill Your Parents" cassette
Der Racers are certainly charming gents, and I can't help but feel kinship for a band who have such a shit-fi and just plain old stupid aesthetic. "Kill Your Parents" sounds like the Rip Offs, but way worse, which means way better in this case. "Ape Shit" is barely audible jack-offery, the tape seemingly being eaten as they recorded. I think it's just great. On to side B..."Cool Jacket" is about wearing such an item of clothing. Cool jackets are tough to come by, so I can relate to the need for writing a song like this. So obvious, so simple, so sloppy. "Shit Guitar" follows in the same vein...yes, that guitar sounds really shitty fellas, you're right! I'd say this should've been released on vinyl, but the tape hiss permeating this thing might be lost in translation. Really loveable stuff here, I'm glad these kids are out there making shit music...it's like Livefastdie without the talent (and I mean that in a good way!). People who think the Trashies are at all clever or good should be hit in the fucking head repeatedly with a tape deck playing this cassette. This thing sucks in all the right ways.(RK)
(Bloodstain Records // www.bloodstainrecords.com)

Dots "6 Songs" cassette
I saw these guys at Horriblefest and thought they kinda sucked. Their single on Ken Rock was blazingly mediocre. It's easy to be stupid, but hard to be good at it. I think the fact they're Italian ruins it for me a bit, as Anus set the bar so high (or low) with The Grabbies and OWAB that no one will ever compare. Six songs here, including Shock and Rip Offs covers, that might sound trashy and all, but just end up being sort of boring. But Italians aren't exactly known for being clever, now are they? (RK)
(Bloodstain Records // www.bloodstainrecords.com)




Fey Gods "Untied" cassette
Fey Gods are made up of two-thirds of Columbus' Grave Blankets, who released one of my favorite singles of the past year and who now appear to be sadly defunct. But this tape couldn't sound more different than the Blanket's swamp-blues, as this is capital 'W' weird-punk. Five songs on this homemade release (not sure if it's actually for sale) that have some varied results. The first cut, "Markers for Lead", is stunning, a warbly sci-fi creeper with live drums, jagged keyboard and a backing drone that must be some sort of tape manipulation or a really damaged-sounding organ. Amazing sounds that should be committed to vinyl immediately. Best of the bunch here. There's a fine line where weird-punk can either fall into the totally awesome or totally annoying category, and the second cut goes the wrong way...industrial backing rhythm sounds good, but the keyboard wheeze and vocal caterwaul is nails on the old chalkboard. Third cut is soundscape action, filler, but somewhat interesting filler at least. Cuts four and five are for release on an upcoming HozAc single, "Bury Me Standing" is morose electrodrone with pained off-kilter female vocals...not the best of the bunch, but manic depressive weird punks will swoon for it. They turn-out another winner with "United" though, a darkly quiet and suicidal ballad with male vocals this time, accompanied by watery synth sounds and fragile acoustic guitar. Some hit-and-miss experimentation here, but the couple of hits are excellent...(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/feygods)

Frozen Bears s/t CD-R
I was totally down for listening to this thing when it came in the mail, based simply on cover art. Super sweet cut-n-paste action with eyeballs and astronauts and crab claws and satellite dishes. Many weird-punks would be envious...and they bill themselves as experimental/art-rock. This thing had real potential. But in true book-by-its-cover from, the art is the best thing about this. This isn't weird. It's certainly not experimental. Or even that arty. It's just indie-rock or alt-rock or whatever we're calling it now, and pretty wimpy at that. They step on an effects pedal once in awhile and have a couple 'atmospheric' instrumentals...but c'mon, dudes...I'm just gonna end it here, because they seem nice enough from the letter they sent and I got bigger fish to fry...(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/frozenbears)




Im Mel Silse "Resistance Aesthetics" cassette
Experimental dreck, two A-Side tracks are programmed dance beats with what sound like random HAM radio broadcasts played over them. B-Side is "atmospheric" I guess, which in this case amounts to taping bad radio reception and calling it a song. Im Mel Silse is probably a clever anagram I'm too uninterested to try and figure out. "America Eats Its Young"? This tape eats my ass.(RK)
(Resistance Aesthetics Records and Tapes // im.mel.silse-at-gmail.com)

Meth Teeth 4 song cassette
Like most people, I suspect, my first take on Meth Teeth was “horrible fucking band name.” Still, my faith in Sweet Rot Records sustained and I picked up their EP. I’m glad I did since it’s a real gem that’s stayed in constant play rotation around the house. I was pleased to see this four-song cassette on the band’s merch table when they rolled through New York on tour this summer. I’m not sure if this is a demo for upcoming records (which, from the looks of their MySpace page, there are plenty of) or a stand-alone release, nor am I sure if this was made in plentiful supply. If not, it might be worthwhile to petition the band to have some more copies of this one made up and sent to distros as it would be a shame for these recordings to vanish into obscurity. Meth Teeth are a bit hard to pin down musically; punk in the way that “Slay Tracks” and Beyond the Implode are, and spun very much from the same mold. Some disparate aesthetics work together quite well in their songs—folksy guitar tracks, feedback, aggressive cymbal and tambourine bashing. For my money, “Failures Selected by God” is the standout track (and, really, one of my favorite songs I’ve heard this summer) but the entire release is great. It’s not too often that a band can pull off a homemade, relatively original sound so flawlessly, but these kids from the Pacific Northwest sure make it look easy. But they’ve still got to do something about the band name.(DH)
(self released // try www.myspace.com/methteethmusic)

Nerve City 2007 demo & “Sole Survivor” cassette
Some of the most interesting music to cross my path lately has been the work of lone gunmen visionaries who record their music without assistance in the privacy of their own bedroom (or basement, bathroom, garage…). Nerve City’s bedroom is somewhere down in Virginia, and from the sound of things, the view is a little bleak. There’s an atmosphere, gloomy but not hopeless, that permeates these recordings. I’m sure it has as much to do with the minimal instrumentation and pieced together recording setup as it does with the songs themselves. These eight tracks, stretched across two tapes, present a portfolio of homespun melodies, revisiting paths once traveled by the Velvets, JAMC, and others, but Nerve City has their own, fresh interpretation of the scenery. The best part is that these demos are just the tip of the iceberg—the inspiration from that Southern bedroom does not seem to be easing up as Nerve City has numerous releases lined up, including one on North America’s finest label, Sweet Rot.(DH)
(Coriander Tapes & self released // try myspace.com/nervecity)

Polyps "Wheat" cassette
It's not that often Termbo gets sent materials that include notes saying "perhaps an Alastair Galbraith fan would be sympathetic" to their release. It's great that we're crossing musical lines here that I never thought we would venture across when we started. It's energizing to see things becoming so diverse. So, Galbraith fans...I'm sure we have one here somewhere. I've heard some Plagal Grind and some tracks on Xpressway comps, but I've never fancied myself an expert of any sort on the NZ scene, particularly not this branch of the tree. From what I know this could fit the bill in some ways, but definitely not from the noisy side of the Kiwi fence I'm more familiar with. Somewhat strange acoustic folk, old-sounding, as if you're listening through a Victrola, not exactly fragile but somewhat delicate in its bare bones composition. Distant vocals (with female accompaniment at times), pastoral guitar plucking, reminiscent of rolling hills of green and fields plowed with weathered tools, not truly twee but somewhat childlike. Gentle, acoustic, earthy, simple...not the sort of stuff I'm generally allied with, but I would venture the Polyps creaky and shambling offerings (and the semi-pop structures/melodies disguised within) could reach out to some of you of like mind. (RK)
(Eggy Records // geocities.com/eggyrecords)

Psychedelic Horseshit “Magic Flowers Dubbed” cassette
I wouldn’t guess most would consider this a must-own release, but it certainly presents an interesting piece of the Psychedelic Horseshit puzzle. Fittingly for the format, there’s plenty of experimentation going on as the band plays around with their sound. “Catch a Wave” could’ve been on the album and is their typically awesome noise-pop. Next up is “Rather Dub,” where the tape takes on a life of its own. Devoid of any melodies, the song is a droning soundscape—a completely atmospheric track. This style is expanded upon on the flipside in “Bob Dylan’s 42nd Annual Report,” which is a track full of feedback, Casio play, effects, and stray noises that runs the entire length of the side. About halfway through the song, the band joins in with a short track of acoustic guitar and vocals played directly over the noise track. When it ends, the song plays out as it began, with a hypnotizing array of noise. It’s a cool and unusual tape that I’d recommend spending some time with.(DH)
(Bumtapes // bumtapes.blogspot.com)

Superstitions s/t cassette
Brief research on Superstions pegs him (them?) as part of the wacky garage scene centered around the Cereal Factory venue and Wizard Mountain/Red Handed labels (at least that's what they tell me, I'm no local) that includes other up-n-comers like Charlie & The Moonhearts, Party Fowl, and Ty Segall (who will be taking the world by storm soon...at least that's what they tell me, yet again). Instead of taking back the budget rock back alley, Superstions go for a straight country-western flavor, greasy-style twang from what I believe is a one man band, but the sound on these tunes seems fuller than that. Variations on the style include Teasers-esque weird ("UFO Lovin'"), hookily likeable country-punk ("Chainsaw Hands"), Crampsian swagger-billy ("Shakin'"), and some more trad takes on the form making a lively mix. Quaintly done Americana, and the guy is a decent picker. This could be entertaining for listeners who find Haunted George too scary, Ben Wallers too weird or Junkpile Jimmy too messy. 100 copies with download code, eight tracks total (with the B-Side holding the best cuts). This guy has a few other tapes out as well, including a Ty Segall split release. (RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)




Suzy Wong and the Honkeys "22" CD-R
Despite the terrible name, this thing's not totally awful. Sort of corny, sort of metallic punk, sort of gothy, with a sort of annoying girl singer. Sort of bad. But they're from the fucking Catskills or something, give 'em a break. When she just sings/talks trad-punk style, she's tolerable, but once she starts trying to "sing" or screams, it drives you up the fucking wall. Quick. I actually think there might be two chicks singing here at times. Guitar is run-of-the-mill metal riffage, drummer is adept and sounds like he might have a lot of drums in his kit that he doesn't really need. Things click for a minute here and there on the seven tracks. But just briefly. Okay, this thing is totally as bad as the name might suggest, who am I trying to kid...oh, the vintage Halloween pic on the CD is cool. But that's about it.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/suzywongandthehonkeys)

Teenanger "Banned from the Beaver" cassette
Canada's Teenanger are cut from some murky garage rock cloth, bringing to mind a bigger-sounding Scat Rag Boosters with a bit of latter-day Scientists inflection at choice moments. They shuffle here and there and swing on occassion, the three A-Side tracks residing soundly on shadowy side of the swamp. Decently done. They keep things from sounding too samey by shooting off some more uptempo firecrackers on the B-Side. Drummer keeps things busy, tossing some punk gas on the fire and whipping up some energetic numbers. Singer sounds pretty tough for a Canadian. Best song title: "Black Licorice Motorcycle Jacket". Seven tracks total, with a download code, limited to 100 copies, their second tape release on Telephone Explosion. For fans of a less weird Golden Boys or a more rocking/less country Demon's Claws. But not as good as either of those.(RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)




Tusk Lord "Summer 2008" CD-R
Intriguing work from the mecca that is Sewickley, PA and the man that is Tusk Lord. I really fell for the 'Savage Mining' CD-R sent in for review some time back and it's heavy 'Another Green World'-era Eno vibe, and this continues down that overgrown path via a group of demos recorded between 2006-08. This release mixes some shorter acoustic strange-folk jaunts with longer atmospheric/ambient dronesongs that would do well accompanying some time-lapse video of flowers blooming and dying or other such natural phenomena. Sounds like the sunlight penetrating the forest canopy or moss growing on the stones of a dried out creek bed. Again, synths/guitars used in very Eno-like ways, creating textures that are recognizable and friendly, even when some shadows creep in the periphery. Heavy mellow vibe all around, even reminding me at times of something on a Blank Dogs record, albeit with a more pastoral angle. It has moments of true beauty and some weird flourishes that make for a rich listening experience throughout this disc's nearly hour long running time. Forest music that dips into underground burrows and rises to treetops and definitely creates a world to draw you into. Finely crafted, shimmeringly psychedelic at moments, relaxed and confident in delivery, very recommended for earth-lovers and innerspace travellers. I can't accurately categorize this, as I'm sure this guy runs in music circles unbeknownst to myself, but I'm just glad this stuff ended up on my desk somehow. It provides a nice palate cleanser before my daily listen to 'E.M.F.'(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/tusklord)

V/A “Esta Sucia Ciudad” comp cassette
Unless you’re able to dedicate a few hours a day to letter and email writing, tape making, and package sending, it’s incredibly easy to lose track of what’s current across the world. Me? I struggle to keep in touch with my best friends and, regretful as it is, it’s just not in my nature to stay on top of an international network of punk rockers. It’s a shame because I just know that somewhere out in Prague, a band I’ve never heard of has just recorded a brilliant track that I’ll never hear. Thanks to “Esta Sucia Ciudad,” I can’t make quite the same claim of Barcelona. The tape compiles tracks picked from demos released from the city’s scene (my Spanish is poor at best, but looking over the sleeve I’m pretty sure they’re all from Barcelona). Most of the tracks were recorded over the past few years, but they go back as far as 1996 for some vintage E-150 material (their track doesn’t convey quite the same energy here that the band did live on their US tour earlier this decade). There’s a pretty good case to be made in this tape that the city has a standout scene of raw, aggressive hardcore. Across the board, the quality on the tape is high, but a few tracks standout for me—Firmeza 10 with one of the better Discharge covers I’ve heard, Residuos Electronicos’ electro punk weirdness, and most of all Escroto De Rata, whose song reminds me of the more interesting early UK peace punk (RP’s first, Part 1 7”). Unless you’re already in the know, I’d recommend you grab a copy of this tape to fill yourself in.(DH)
(Cintes Podrides // as of writing, the tape looks to be in stock at both Feral Ward and Brickwall Records)

V/A UV Race/Eddy Current Suppression Ring split live cassette
Everybody fucking loves Australia now...message board pundits and internet bloggers and fanzine reviewers can't suck Aussie dick fast enough these days. Naked on the Vague should run for president. Fabulous Diamonds should have a holiday created for them. Most people haven't even heard the Ooga Boogas and still want to cup their balls. John Sharkey loves this shit so much he moved there. Random wombats on the street are being offered record deals. Everyone loves the "other X". Eddy Current Suppression Ring are gonna cure cancer...fuck, next thing you know people are going to be claiming they're into the early INXS catalog and start saying Midnight Oil actually made a good record at some point (they didn't). But I'll be damned if I'm not ex-fucking-cited about this shit too. It's deserved praise for the country that has created the best music in history outside of the US and UK. I'm just as drunk on Oz cock as the rest of you. And this tape is a nice stiff belt of the good juice. Recorded live at Missing Link Records earlier this year, the UV Race side sounds even better than their 7" if you ask me, and yes you did ask. You get most of the cuts from the single plus a few you ain't heard before making an even half-dozen. I love the goofy and haphazard charm of these kids, who seem like the little bros of the current Aussie-garage explosion, all wild and outta control and full of vim-n-vigor n' piss-n-vinegar. Again, even better than the 7" sez me. Rocnk'n'roll saviors (and I say this in all seriousness, I'm not being a wiseacre here...) ECSR fill up Side Bee with five of their own, live from the same show. Excellent sound on this recording all around, the boys do three from 'Primary Colours' and two you might not've heard yet ("Pitch A Tent" and the incredible "Time of Day"), making for a side full of antics that make me sad I still haven't seen 'em live outside of Youtube and even sadder that there's a chance I may never see them. Someone give them that damn Australian Grammy so's they can get paid and tour their asses the fuck on over here again. Damn. I love you Eddy Current Suppression Ring, thanks for making my life a better place to be in. Get yourself this tape quickly. Even if you don't have a tape deck, just buy it and stare at it. That'll be more constructive than listening to a good majority of other recs out there these days. (RK)
(Stained Circles // www.stainedcircles.com)

Video Disease demo cassette
Fucking evil California hardcore that may be responsible for some of the recent wildfire outbreaks. Four rippers that are over before you can unfold the nice little clear sleeve encasing the tape. Raw sounds, all four cuts trying to break land speed records but still staying on the track somehow. Recording is fittingly messy, I imagine the room was filled with smoke and blood after recording. Gibbering and violent vocals that don't grate, nice guitar tone, a drummer that doesn't suck, a winning combo. Mean shit, this is what I expect when I purchase a hardcore release and the sort of band that sounds made to be seen in a dingy basement that smells like mold and body odor. Blood, guts and no pussies.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/videodisease)


White Load tour casette/CDR
Two variations here, with slight differences, that you might own if you've seen these Eastern Seaboard hardcore rapers, excuse me, hardcore ragers on tour East of the Mississippi this year past. Both versions feature tracks from an unmastered version of what is (was?) to be their "My Wall" EP, slated for release some time in the future or past on Spin the Bottle Records. Five tracks of scuzzcore, American-style, with hard-edged guitar and broken glass vocals. I'm imaging "My Wall" is a sort of a play on "My War"...could be...it's got a cool kinda fake-out breakdown where they speed it up instead of slowing down for a mosh part. Pretty sick shit. I dig sentiments like "Endless Bummer" and "Fuck Jams" (a cassette only track) and the general sleazy vibe these dudes stink of. CD-R version has the whole EP, cassette version has two tracks from said EP plus four others on the A-Side plus a live set on the B-Side (GG and Flipper covers) that sounds like hell in a fun way. Good straightahead modern hardcore with a welcome sense of dark humor. Both of these look numbered out of 25, unsure of availability, but they do you a solid and have a downloadable version here...(RK)
(Bloodstain Records // www.bloodstainrecords.com)


To read past reviews go here.

TAPES AND DEMOS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO:

(RK) and (BG) via TERMBO WORLD HQ
301 Tremaine Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217
and/or
Dave Hyde (DH)
PO Box 301
Brewster, NY 10509



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