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DEMOS/TAPES EARLY 2009

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

Altered States of the United Snakes (AS*US) “Executive Suites” EP
If I gave this a blind listen, I’d probably guess that it’s a Columbus, Ohio release. I’m not sure what that says except maybe that there is some groupthink going on among the city’s musicians. On this demo, AS*US have the following going for them: great color copied collage artwork, endearingly sloppy hand-written notes (lyrics, I think, but the emphasis here is in the slop), and the music has its moments—“Radio. Tape. Deck.” and “Coat of Arms” stand out. But the highlights are buried among the unnecessarily long jams that dominate the disc and make listening a chore. The twelve minute “Executive Suites” is particularly painful and the twenty-four minute live set at the end blends into a single, unmemorable track (even the reprised versions of songs that I like from the studio material drag here).(DH)
(self-released // myspace.com/unitedsnakes)

Apache "Boomtown Gems" cassette
Tape release of some fine Bay Area rock doobage. I've already reviewed this LP in a past section, it's a great record that narrowly missed out making my Top Ten of '08, as if you care. It's right up there with the first Time Flys LP as a prime example of the neo-dirtbag hippie-rock scene happening out in the Bay. This Burger tape version looks amazing, cops the Brother Records logo and has different artwork. I now own this release on three formats, and don't feel bad about it at all. You really need to get some of these tapes...limited to 250 copies.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.myspace.com/burgerrecords)



Audacity "The Anne Frank Tape"
8-track demos (recorded in an actual garage!) for a bunch of songs that appear in re-recorded versions on Audacity's debut LP (and two that don't) which is also on Burger Records. If you haven't been hipped to these kids yet, they are Black Time's favorite band and are like the sloppy/goofy/punky counterparts to Thee Makeout Party. Four SoCal kids spewing forth the sort of pimple-pussed and simply fun garage-goofery that only the un-Ritalined energy and care-free spontaneity of youthful ennui can create. Rambunctous, sloppy and good clean fun. These kids don't have to work blue to get their kicks. While all their other high school counterparts are playing meathead hardcore and streetpunk these dorks are fucking off with some unabashedly fun rockin' and maybe even getting some chicks too. Teenbeat pop rocking that anyone with a soul or an appreciation of the McDonald brothers' career arc should be able to get behind.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.myspace.com/burgerrecords)

John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death - tour CD
Oxford one-man-band and he sounds like he's from Ole Miss and has been to a few Preacher's Kids shows. I was sort of fooled into thinking this was just traditional blues-inflected rocking but then that Bass Drum of Death kicks in and shit gets all stompy and "Whoop!" we're kicking some shit around! Dude can write a decent song most definitely and has a good grasp of dynamics, he gets a powerful sound from his set up, and adds some nice distortion on his guitar and switches it up to keep things from sounding too samey. He's a one man rocker, for sure. "Sucker Free" is a pretty killer tune as is "P Ghost". The more I listen, the more I like. Really solid rock'n'roll with a little punk, a little blues, a little garage, making for a nice mix. The Southern Ty Segall? Checked his Myspace and found a great video and discovered it looks like he has another dude accompanying him on tambourine/shakers/etc. Which is cool. Also discovered he's friends with The Howlies and Wavves. Which is not cool, but you can't judge a man by the company he keeps. Or wait, can you? I forget how that goes...Has records out/forthcoming on Fat Possum who are really trying to get hip recently. Hmmmm...(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/johnbarrettmusic)

Black Time "Eine Kleine Trashmusik" cassette
One side worth of studio Black Time recorded in summer '08 for a radio session which sounds just as good, if not better than any other BT release. Ten strong cuts, with seven of them being exclusive to this release (for now?). Some of the unreleased stuff is phenomenal, "Glass Shatters" is a tough-sounding Brit-poppish number with a nagging hook, "Radio In the Dark" blends Childish with Mark E., they sound punk as fuck '78-style on tasty rippers like "Contract" and "Infestation" and a bunch of others..."Classical Mess"? Is this a cover? It's so good, it has to be! "Fucked Up in the Head" sounds like Drunks With Guns, I swear! Hell, this is some of their punkest shit, perhaps due to the four-piece line-up on these (Stix/Caution/Too Bad and an A.H. Lowdown on extra guitar/percussion) which it appears didn't last long. Sound quality is top notch as far as these blokes go, not as reverbed-to-death as the last LP, and not as lo-fi as some of the earlier stuff. They sound quite a bit unlike any of their other records here, I demand this be committed to vinyl by some kind-hearted label/philanthropist. 50 copies only with a TVPs nod on the art. If you're lucky, the band might still have some left...(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/blacktimemutant77)



Black Time "East Bay Rays" cassette
Live set recorded in Oakland at the Stork Club during their first US jaunt with the Caution/Stix/Too Bad line-up. Good mix of hits from the first two LPs and the singles between them, strange mix on the tape itself. Sounds like Lemmy took the live tape and ran it through his dub filter back at Rocket Reducer making it all echoed out and weird and then applies other tape trickery like fading the low end out at times and panning L-to-R and shit. Interesting concept, sort of the reverse of making the fake live album. And definitely a good way to make a live tape keep people's attention. The band sounds pretty savage on some of these tracks, and I think anyone who did see them live when they crossed the pond realized that Black Time are more punk than you might have imagined. Anyway, limited to 50 copies and closes with a total butchering of "California Sun". (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/blacktimemutant77)

Blood! "Evacuated Materials" tape/CDR
Kalamazoo chapter of the Jerkwave home-recorders club. These guys (or guys or girl or whoever) have spilled quite a bit of tape already, a double-cassette set I believe and I think they have like a five disc box set available too. Prolific. It's all "instrumental" abstract sounscape stuff. Tape manipulation, circuit bending, synth droning, found sounds (answering machine messages and the like), drum pads, some actual guitar padding things out here and there. Horror/sci-fi vibes throughout, I like their style/imagery (anyone who appropriates 'Phantom of the Paradise' pics is Ok with me), and most of it is convincing enough atmospherically. Your liking of this depends greatly on how much time you would like to spend sitting around listening to the score from a Cronenberg film or incidental music from Altered States. Tape comes with a huge foldout poster for staring at while you zone out to this.(RK)
(Skrotup // myspace.com/skrotup)

Coworkers demo cassette/CD
Ahh, a band exalting rust belt hardcore from its working class orientation to the white collar world of synergy, income pressures, Dwight and Creed and fuckin’ Stanley. It’s good that some punkers are thinking about their careers instead of about cabbage farming and the imminent apocalypse. I’m all for that. Especially when they sound like they’re outta that heavily connoted Born Against-era of stale Leftyness where somehow melody’s dialectic with a burgeoning sense of doom denotes the particular politic that fools you into living like a post-industrial troubadour, riding the rails to Bonnaroo and not getting your staff infected dog to the vet… but don’t fret! A certain freshness bleeds up from this one in the form of a patent care in the songwriting department, snotty vocals with a deranged cowboy flavor, sugary pop melodies and bass lines that walk through mazes. All this while retaining a foreboding aura that hangs over these tunes like the unimpeded overcast does their native Buffalo. Nice, clear recording for a demo too. (BG)
(myspace.com/coworkersrights // coworkersmail-at-yahoo.com)




The Cysts “Destroy Masters” demo cassette
The well-above par, classy ass packaging had me dreading some refined up ‘n up hardcore minus the sass, whether it’d be substituted with metal or emo or steroids and rugby I didn’t know… but I jumped the gun. This one’s a dissonant mess. A hodge podge of sounds that mix about as well as Johnny Walker and Sam Adams talking politics in your stomach for a few hours (you get hungry and in walks Aunt Jemima and all bets are off!). Four songs of politically aware, trashy hardcore – mostly amelodic orgasms of sheet metal being thrown down the stairs me thinks. (BG)
(self-released // $6 (!) can be paypalled to james-at-belowpdx.com)

Dark Lingo s/t cassette
Artsy-drugsy tunes from a two-piece drum/bass duo (although they throw some other shit in the mix too), with heavily effects-pedaled vocals and a tendency to get into that heavy groove-jam shit. And then get all spastic on you. This reminds of the Providence-type shit Lightning Bolt and those dudes would be making at Fort Load or whatever their space was called. Has some brutal moments, stays structured for the most part without digressing into pure noise bullshit. Kinda heavy-art-punk when ya think about it. It's OK. I dig the packaging idea here: if you must incorporate fabric into your tape design, make it a real sleek hand-stiched slip-cover type thing so the tape can actually sit with the rest of the "normal" tapes instead of having some burlap rope tied around it or a knitted cassette cozy to keep it warm or something. Leave that shit to the fucking hippies, dudes. Nice looking pro-done tapes and cardstock insert that all fit together neatly. Limited to 150 copies, features members of Centipede Eest and Wet Labia. Wrapping up, loved the packaging and I didn't hate the tunes. Or jams, as they seem to prefer to call them.(RK)
(FACSS // myspace.com/dearskullrecords)



Deaf Mutations "Crash the Clubs" cassette
Furious and burning straight-Eighties styled US hardcore EP-style tape which would make for a better hardcore 7" A-Side than a lot of this other bullshit wasting oil these days. Half of Career Suicide ditching the "nicer", more accessible punk-style leanings of that group for a more violent approach, with the always busy Jonah Falco (also the drummer of Fucked Up for those keeping tabs) doling out guitar blaze that could remind you of just about any band on the Master Tape and Davis switching from drums to wild vox spitting. I'm sure the bass player and drummer are in some other bands too, but hey, I don't know everything. Three songs, perfectly raw recording, no bullshit moves, pedal-to-the-floor intensity throughout. "Mutation Shuffle" sounds just plain hateful and I hope they're writing "My Feces Pt.2" as I write this. Pretty short tape though, I would've liked a few more tracks...(RK)
(Sewercide Records // myspace.com/sewerciderecords)

Der Yahzenburg “Nietzche EP” cassette
Oh Mary, Baby Carrot Records really topped themselves with this release. The guitar sounds like an itch in the middle of your upper back, like you can caress it away with your fingernails… like all those throwaway Icky Boyfriends songs you skip to get to “I Was…” on that one EP. Percussion is a single cymbal it seems… wait, no, I think I hear some milk cartons falling off some first grader’s lunch tray in the background while the vocals sound like said first grader’s lethargic afternoon temper tantrum but with an impressive repertoire of subject matter and whimsical poetry to match. Some personal faves from the lyrics department: “forget god have a question ask google,” and “’big bag of faggot’ what does it even mean?” Man, makes ya think. Total 10-watt Drive amp annihilation! What the fuck is this shit? Says “mastered – DAD” in corner of track list… that may explain a thing or two. Scum Stats: only 25 of these, so act fast.(BG)
(Baby Carrot Records // myspace.com/itlsvnwo)


Estrogen Highs “Tour Tape”
This is not so much a review as it is a note to let y’all know that this tape exists. The first of two cassette releases from Estrogen Highs in the last few months, these five tracks were recorded a couple of days before the band left on tour. The tracks all feel like single take recordings—they just have a rough urgency and don’t seem overworked at all—and represent some staples from their live set. Fifty tapes were made and sold out without any distribution outside of beer soaked basements of the Midwest. Let’s hope some of these will be reprised on their upcoming LP.(DH)
(self released // myspace.com/estrogenhighs)

Fantasmes "The Reveller" CDR
Puerto Rican indie-rock? I had no idea such a thing existed. Tender home-recordings from one guy, sort of blending early Floyd/Syd psych with some sleepy shoegaze moments. Really wimpy. Really really wimpy. Not like that's a terrible thing, but damn. Is this what the Beta Band sounds like? Music for girlfriends sung in a gentle whisper from dreamland. El Pitchforko might be interested in these hombres. (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/thereveller)

Finally Punk “Primary Colors / Local Live” tape
A couple of spoilers: first, there is no solution to the “Finally Punk” maze (see pic). After hours of diligent effort with no progress, it dawned on me that the only way to get to “End” was to go around the outside and that’s cheating. Second, if you have all of Finally Punk’s other releases then there are no new songs for you here. I don’t think either of those facts will impede your enjoyment. The “Primary Colors” portion of the tape has a pair of tracks from the EP of the same name plus a version of “Piranha” (which had been on their demo) from the same session. From there the tape kicks into a live set recorded on UT’s KVRX radio. The nine tracks are complemented by some lively band banter and callers with suspicious Texan accents that do not sound like any I’ve heard in the wild. All around, it is a real hoot. The set is a mix of tracks from the first two EPs plus the always awesome addition of a “Negative Creep” cover. (DH)
(self released // myspace.com/finallypunk)


FNU Ronnies “Golem” tape/CDR
A bit of an epic release from FNU Ronnies. In three tracks over seventeen minutes, the songs use every available effect to build a creepy, dark mood. With electronics, feedback, errant noises, layers of vocals/whispers, and eerie post-Flipper dirge echo punk, the band has laid out some challenging and incessantly interesting stuff. It is all over the place, a bit of mayhem that does not let up long enough to bore. Accompanied by a giant poster, the packaging is as ambitious as the music. It even came with a “proof of purchase” card which will come in handy if I ever need to prove to anyone that I bought this. (DH)
(Skrotup // myspace.com/skrotup)

Gardens "Post No Bills" demo CDR
The self-professed "sound of New Detroit". Three-piece lo-fi indie-pop with some modern garage rock influence, perhaps bringing to mind Times New Viking, but with a bass player instead of keys. Somewhat sloppy, occassionally taking on post-punk angles, and seemingly going nowhere much of the time. Twenty tracks is alot to take in at once, but they might be able to rescue a passable three-song 7" from this (and I do believe they did, out on the revitalized Italy Records label). They seem to be linked to this neo-hippie environmental/urban revitalization movement thing ("Gardens: Grow Them") and Detroit of all place could use such a thing. Heavy on the "New Detroit, New Religion, New Wave..." Make-Up type sloganeering and shit like that. Good job on the cause, and as a demo this does show off a few good tunes and a lot of half-baked song ideas.(RK)
(Hologrpahic Resonance // www.holographicresonance.com)



Glass Teeth demo CD
Glass Teeth say they are going for an AmRep/Jesus Lizard sound combined with the "psychedelic hardcore of Fucked Up" but just end up sounding like Tool or something else metal. And not good metal. I feel like I should inform Helmet someone stole their snare sound. They weird it up by adding some keyboard sounds here and there and I imagine they would probably like to collaborate with The Melvins at some point. Ex-Cardiac Arrest singer, who sort of sounds like Paul Reubens doing a David Yow impression. Poot.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/glassteethmusic)

The Go "Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride" cassette
I remember The Go from way back when the White Stripes were blowing up and seem to recall Jacko maybe playing with them at some point. I also seem to recall them possessing that Motor City Deetroit Rawk sound. If they did rawk then, they don't anymore. There's still some rock, but it's of the dreamy pop-sike variety, quite Beatles-esque at times. Maybe a little Mott the Hoople. At least way more Kinks/Stones worship than any MC5 revisionism. Pretty slick in arrangement and production, but in a good way. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed a lot of these songs...this is some stuff that Little Steven would probably play the shit out of. And that certainly isn't a bad thing. Really catchy harmonies, piano, tasteful guitar solos, some acoustic moves, total Sixties-retro right down the clothes, but they pull it off so well it doesn't seem corny in the slightest. Even the Ginsberg recitation comes off OK. After the A-Side you think you might have had enough of it, but the B-Side packs some of the best tunes and some of the heavier psychedelic stuff. Way better than I remember this band being (and if you had some preconceived notions like I did, I urge you to put them aside and at least give it a chance), and I'm not afraid to say I was wrong about them and like this quite a bit. Also available on vinyl via Cass Records (and there's also a double LP of demo versions available from the band), but this tape looks and sounds so great I might actually recommend buying it instead. Amazing job by Burger Records with this one (and all the other releases they've done), definitely a fun label who take a lot of pride in their releases and it shows.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.myspace.com/burgerrecords)

Green Green demo CDR
Tiny Tim makes a shitgaze record. That's all I got. I really tried to grab something to like about this and kept coming up with a big handful of nothing. One of the most gruelling things I've reviewed for TB yet. I looked to see if there was a Myspace page and came up with this gem though: myspace.com/greengreengreenrock.(RK)
(self-released // ???)

The Guilt demo cassette
Pummeling hardcore outfit from the Washington, D.C. area, and instrumentally they pull from the forefathers of their locale a bit. Not so much the piss n’ vinegar of many early ‘80s DC bands, more like Minor Threat on a strict diet of meat & potatoes, if keeping to geography, and if those dudes eat the former (I’m no history buff). Actually these ragers tackling manic depression sound like a more rough-hewn Career Suicide at times but with bigger biceps – more urgent guitar attack even during the moshable transitions. Sort of what Born Bad is doing, but more convincingly. Tough as fuck. (BG)
(self-released // jamesdoubek-at-gmail.com)

Hanging Coffins "Black Plague in Mono No. 2" cassette
Part of Jerkwave's "Black Mono...' series (this one was a split package with Absinthe Minds), Hanging Coffins play a full hand of styles: neo-folk with gothic trimming, mumblemouthed bedroom loner weirdpunk, moody synth-punk drone, pissy post-punk all that stuff you expect from a Jerkwave tape with cryptic artwork swiped from an old Bible and a hard-to-read font. I actually think they're a cut above the rest of the acts in this stable, as they (he?) show they can pull off some different looks (still similar, but not relying on one theme or synth sound for their entire repetoire), write some cool numbers ("One Horse Town", "Taunting Letters") and imbue the tape with a little energy and spite while foregoing much of the gayness of some other practioners of the dark cassette arts. Not my favorite shit, but one of the better Jerkwave's I've heard. Not without it's flaws, but hey, it's just a tape! I can't believe I'm even listening to one in 2009. Zoinks! Good looking package, good sounding pro-duped tapes, limited to 75 copies.(RK)
(Jerkwave Tapes // myspace.com/jerkwavetapes)



Homostupids "Our Best Shit" cassette
America's greatest band tide us over until the release of their next LP with 'Our Best Shit', a meaty beaty odds-n-sods affair with some new shit and some old shit, but it really is all the best shit. Highlights include the awesome "Brown Items", something I've only heard played live before, the short but sweet "I Am The Hawk" (perhaps dedicated to the gay bar located next to Now That's Classs in sunny Cleave-O), an even rougher version of "Weekend", a creepy synth take on "Sixths" to compliment the horn version on the 'Cat Music EP' (which is also comped here in it's entirety), stuff from 'The Glow' and 'The Edge' and more. Really getting your (finger)bang for your buck with this one (sixteen or so tracks), I'm going to go so far as to brand it "essential" for all human beings. Look out for 'The Load' coming soon, sure to be my favorite album of 2009.(RK)
(Drug Money Records // charleswillhoit-at-hotmail.com)

Hygiene "Demo" cassette
Really nice UK-DIY sounds from a band actually from the UK. Three-song demo of wry shamble, rather punk actually, a little dark, a little TVPs charm. Quite charming right from the start, "TV Girl" has a nice hi-hat shimmy and shake, "Organic Shopper" is particularly British dry-humor art-punk. "When?" is punk with a neat barb. Nice sound, clean yet lo-fi without fuzz/static mucking it up. These songs were also pressed on a very limited 7" (100 copies?) that I really want a copy of now. Very recommended and leaving me wanting more.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com.hygieneldn)



Inservibles demo tape
Mexico City hardcore-punks. Dubbed onto some Spanish brand tape that looks like it was manufactured in the Seventies. Exposed cock on artwork. So far so good. Quite blazing, I wish the tape sounded a little better so I could get more of a handle on it, but it's pretty brutal regardless of sound quality. Vocals are evil in a metallic way, snotty yet also satanic sounding. High velocity shit that reaches near grind-levels of speed at times. Drummer sounds pretty awesome, with some death metal style moves too. I've always been intrigued by Mexican metal/hardcore, but have never had the time/resources to pursue it fully, but this tape brings the violence I was expecting. Six speedball songs, sung in Spanish with venom, referencing the darker side of hardcore and faster-louder purism. Repeat listenings reveal a little more "punk" than I first heard, some pretty good guitar moves in-between the blurry shred, but the careening pace keeps me calling it hardcore, not that it's a bad thing either. A good soundtrack to get stabbed in the pit to.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/inservibles)

Lamps live tape
For those who stay up at night wondering “What would it be like to see a Lamps gig?” The answer is easily obtained via the Greek cassette label Phase! who have taken it upon themselves to release this particular Lamps gig—recorded on 3/3/08 in Highland Park, CA—for the masses. The recording quality here is probably comparable to how the sound in the club would have been on the night in question. That is to say, you might not catch every note, but after twenty-five minutes at top volume you’ll walk to the pisser thinking, “Those guys were pretty good.” The music, of course, is bare knuckles raw rock slop, real filling stuff (but y’all knew that already). And the packaging is real swell, too—a spraypainted cassette wrapped in some fancy looking paper and stuffed into a baggie.(DH)
(Phase! // www.phaseweb.tk)

Thee Makeout Party "....' cassette
Sweet looking cassette version of their latest LP which has been mercilessly ravaging the hearts of teenage girls and wimpy pop-loving dudes for the past year. I'm conflicted about these kids. I love what they do and what they stand for, dig their aesthetic, and they're fantastic musicians and songwriters. The problem for me is that I honestly can't listen to a full side of this without getting aggravated. I own the LP version too, so I've been trying. It's just too upbeat and sunny, the bubblegum is too sticky, the candy too sweet and it comes on a little too corny for me sometimes as well ("My Birthday Suit"? C'mon now....). There's a certain audience that these guys are playing to, and they nail that demographic pretty thoroughly. They really are great at what they do. I'm just not capable of enjoying it. My heart is black. I live in Buffalo, NY. This kind of purely Californian stuff doesn't play in the Rust Belt. What can ya do. They seem like a great bunch of kids and anyone who wants to hear the second coming of The Monkees/Banana Splits/1910 Fruitgum should get involved with Thee Makeout Party. Limited to 250 copies with covers hand-colored in crayon!(RK)
(Burger Records // www.myspace.com/burgerrecords)



Mujeres "DEMO" CDR
"Viva la Budget Rock!" is the motto of this Barcelona garage 4-piece, and anyone who was lazy enough to say Davila 666 sounded like a Spanish Black Lips (and I'm sure I said that at some point too...) will also be lazy enough to say Mujeres sound like a Spanish Demon's Claws at times. Five tracks of treble and jangle with a soothing country twang, certainly well done for the style, reminded me a bit of Dead Ghosts. Lo-fi but without the sloppiness, the songs are proficiently written and played ("pure and clean" as they descibe it themselves), mix of Spanish and English vocals. First three cuts follow the countryish-garage template, the last two are more Teenage Shutdown-esque wailers. Better than some other more hyped Spanish garage acts making the rounds.(RK)
(Hombre Bueno Discos // myspace.com/hombrebuenodiscos)

No Fucker “Live 2/22/08” tape
This is the tape in which No Fucker push their crossover appeal to both the hardcore and noise crowds with a blown-out, airline launch pad quality recording (and likely alienate both). The set is relentless—just one song after another of noise, feedback, and squeals. The constant thud of the snare is helpful in keeping track of what you’re hearing, but the connoisseur may have better luck making sense of the set by following the wah pedal and solos. The tape is a total frenzy, less orderly than the Sex/Vid live tape from last year—clearly these bands are kindred spirits but perhaps this release is the second shot in a friendly competition in which the New Yorkers up the ante. (I await the split live tape to see who comes out on top.) There are a couple of almost-as-raw studio recordings (tracks from their last EP) tacked on to the end of the tape for good measure.(DH)
(AA Records // )

Pollution "nasty.DNA" cassette
Slow-down/speed-up hardcore played with skill and technique to offset the extreme raaaaaaaaage. Eight tracks that make for one long mosh session. Crawling pace gives way to blasts of furious riff-shred and drum-blast. Vocals screamed from the darkside, blllaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhhh. Dark and apocalyptic subject matter about gas mask wearing and poison and scary stuff. If you were at a show, you'd have to throw down with some of this shit or you'd probably get your ass kicked. I'm not totally sure what Born Against sound like, but I think this might be it? Guitar player can rip it, rhythm section has their shit down. Probably some scary dudes. Fair enough for what it is. I like a little more punk in my hardcore, so this isn't really for me.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/pollutionpollutionpollution)



Rodent Plague "Evacuations" cassette
The A-Frames were one of my favorite bands when they were still active, and it does break my heart that that they've gone off on some tangents I can't really follow along with. I'm not quite on board with AFCGT yet, the Children's Hospital LP lost me, but I did really enjoy that Rodent Plague 7". I was hoping to enjoy this tape a bit more than I did, but that's not to say it isn't interesting for what it is. Sprawling and atmospheric instrumentals that repeat some of the themes from the 7" (the Eastern sounding influence, odd percussion, droning synth) and applies them to a larger canvas. Good background music that would be an effective score for someone's short film. As I said, effective for what it is, but not something I'm going to listen to again and again. As far as packaging, the font on this thing really bugged the shit out of me and the music doesn't sound as grim as the post-disaster dead body pics might have you thinking. Pro-duped tapes look and sound great though. (RK)
(Jerkwave Tapes // myspace.com/jerkwavetapes)

SS Boat demo cassette
At first this reminded me of a less talented Daniel Dimaggio of Homeblitz trying to pull off some left-of-center guitar pop-rock moves ala Half Jap/Jad Fair with what sounds like homemade percussion (meaning it sounds like he's tapping on a tabletop at times or kicking a box other times). Two songs are about famous architects, which is an intriguing theme, six songs total, with the closer ("Photograph") being good enough that I had to keep going back to the beginning every time I listened just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I'm still not sure, but I keep checking so that says he's doing something right. It definitely makes more sense the more times you listen. Vocals are totally off-key, the guitar playing rudimentary, but SS Boat comes across sort of likeable in the end, perhaps by sheer force of will. Not sure if he's ready for prime time yet, but it was a neat cassette to listen to a few times.(RK)
(self-released // ssboat.ssboat-at-gmail.com)

Tee Pee “Gina, Enough” +4 CD-R
Here’s the first release from a one-man band out of Miami that has been incredibly prolific in the past few months. This is the only thing I’ve heard from Mr. TP, but I’m digging it. There’s a bit of music theory at play here—the songs are worked around a steady beat provided by drum machine; in addition, he’s playing a single, constant keyboard note throughout the songs as a point of departure for his guitar work—and while it’s a fun limitation it is irrelevant if the music sucks. Fortunately, the five tracks on this CD sound pretty good — all veer into “robot punk” territory, mechanical delivery, maybe a little distant, but worth listening to. Nice woodprint sleeves, too.(DH)
(myspace.com/teepeeasel // teepee-miami.blogspot.com)

TeePee "SS Norway" cassette
More loner moves from a Florida rec room with one guy and some keyboards and shit (and some pictures of African masks and statues and stuff) getting all moody. Vocal approach varies from a slur to a mumble to a moan. Keys are glacial both in pace and emotion. Minimal. Frigid. Drooooooooones. Reminiscent of Eno's 'Music for Films' in passages. Some plaintive acoustic guitar is played on the last track of the A-Side. B-Side gets more energetic, the pace quickens, the keyboard sounds get more aggro, some digi-drum beats, vox get a little more life. Sax bleats! Mean drones! This is supposed to be a concept record about a haunted cruise ship or something. Eerie. It was tough to sit through to this a few times, and I won't sit through it again, although it is an interesting concept that could perhaps be excitingly executed condensed into a 7". People following the Jerkwave Tapes label and related artists and some of the more bedroom-y Sacred Bones-type synthfoolery will be the target demographic here. Dabblers in this genre need not apply. I must note that tapes that come wrapped in cloth and tied with twine are for fucking hippies, but the pro-duped tape has good sound quality and looks nice. Limited to 75 copies.(RK)
(Jerkwave Tapes // myspace.com/jerkwavetapes)



Telecommande s/t cassette
French synth-punks create quite an enjoyable cassette here, peppered with soundbites from French TV shows and non-French films (Fred Gwynne appearance!) and other sources I can't identify. Their take on synth-punk is very analog and very even-keeled, no dramatics or overly emotive moves, with the emphasis on actual organic punk with a slight dash of Cold Wave instead of the other way around. Almost reminiscent of some of the less-retarded Spits material, meaning the minimal-yet-catchy punk stuff without the goofiness. Just agressive enough, synth is regulated via well rehearsed rhythm section and a bit of guitar, vox are male and just sleazy enough. They finish this six-songer with a cover of "Pet Semetary' which is definitely one of the best Ramones covers I've ever heard. Hell yeah. Pro tapes (yellow) with silk-screening, nice j-card, good package overall.(RK)
(Full Beans Tapes // 6128frustration.blogspot.com)

Traditional Fools s/t cassette
Cassette version of the Fools s/t LP, featuring the mighty Ty Segall on drums and brandishing some serious budget rock chops. I reviewed the LP version in fuller form here, but lets just say you could do a lot worse than buying one of these. Great no-fi garage with a bit of surf that only the Bay Area can do up so right. Burger Tapes version has a cool black cassette, the same songs, looks good and tastes great. Buy some tapes!(RK) (Burger Records // www.myspace.com/burgerrecords)



V/A "Alberta Boom" comp cassette
Comp tape of bands from the prairie province of Alberta. Six bands, two songs per. Let's run 'em down...The Ostrich from Calgary go for the dour and arty post-punk approach preferred by many of their compatriots further west in Vancouver, but don't pull it off as well as say The Defektors but still manage to sound good. Wicked Awesomes (Edmonton) we've heard before, and their two tracks on here are more dreamy indie-rock than the weirdpunk they exhibited on their 7". Still some of the better material here though. Endangered Ape spit out some really interesting synthy-punk with some Eighties Brit-wave moves. Probably the best stuff on the tape. The B-Side of this tape starts off really bad...Pine Tarts play some ramped up Devil Dogs style rock infused with a shitty pop-punk edge. Blech. Los Cremators are a traditional garage-a-billy bar band. Neither interesting or offensive. Meh. Menehune finish the tape off, and leave us with a glimmer of hope via their two songs that recall the work of Rick White and some of his other Moncton, NB associates...think lo-fi Canadian Sebadoh moves. Well done. Overall, it's a comp, whatcanyado, eh? Some bad some good some ugly, but it's always cool to see some kids excited about their scene and taking the time to document it. Kudos punk rockers of Alberta, please have a Molson on me. Go Stampeders! Nice looking tapes, good art, with download code (and hand-written joke!), limited to 100.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recordings // myspace.com/mammothcaverecordings)

V/A Black Mamba Beat / Work That Skirt! split cassette
The Black Mamba Beat side of this is totally killer UK-DIY-ish shuffling stuff, perhaps the offspring of some C86 band and the Mae Nurse (or early Yummy Fur) with just a dash of Medway garage. Nine cuts with nary a bummer, standouts being "Makin' Everybody's Journey More Pleasant" and it's hard-n-Krauty robotic rhythm and fall apart bridge, "Beat Over Brains" moody and soulful beat and chanted vox, "Indigo Skate Camp" which predates Wavves' ideas and does so with a lot more heart. Just really clever overall, the slighty nervous vocals are great compliment to the scratchy guitars and I think the bass playing is totally top notch and really elevates the band and songs to another level. I can see that Captured Tracks guy loving some of this stuff. The Work That Skirt side isn't quite as memorable, even if it is a Black Time side-project (Stix and Caution goofin' off), but it's still not all bad. Sloppy no-fi pop stylings and I really do love "80's Movies" and it's sentiment. Nice work on the keys by Caution and Mr. Stix can sing, who knew? "You're Sweet" is nifty and catchy, and they finish with some emo-garage and a James Brown cover. A real cool tape.(RK)
(Shebeen Scene // try contacting Black Time?)



V/A Pens/Male Bonding/Graffiti Island split cassette
The next wave of young UK DIY/Indie/Punk bands throw a coming out party via cassette. Two tracks from each. The Pens pull female-fronted DIY moves, breaking out the kiddie keyboards on "Freddie" and remembering to bring a little punk stomp on "I Heart U", but still manage to be fairly dull. Male Bonding trot out one lame duck instrumental and then do sort of a neutered Limey version of a Homostupids/FNU Ronnies style-thing, fast-garage with a little less punk than either of those, but still the punkest thing on this tape. Graffiti Island (not to be confused with Christmas Island) do "Demonic Cat" which morosely plods around and frankly just made me tired, but "Pet Snake" has a subversive monotone vibe that is weird in an interesting way. I feel these blokes have the most potential of the bunch and would like to hear more. None of these bands are as good as The Pheromoans, but there are some glimpses of of good things to come here. It's just a tape after all, that's what these things are for, feeling things out and all (and even if they're just tapes, try and dub them louder kids, you had to crank the shit out this one to get it to sound like more than a whisper). At least Black Time have some new bands to open for them now. Three different covers, one from each band.(RK)
(self-released // www.graffitiisland.bigcartel.com)

Whatever Brains "Soft Dick City" cassette
The tracks: dirged-out Urinals cover ("Dead Flowers"), followed by a lower-than-fi Fall-inspired number with bored vox, muffled punk rock song with gang chorus, sloppy drug song with jaunty weird-punk feel, filler keyboard thing or maybe the outro to that last piece...I was getting bored at this point, but then they throw in a great punker that has a bit of an RFTC vibe that I dig a lot. The rest of the tape is a choppy acoustic stomp, a big sounding rock-dragger with multi-tracked vox and a nice swirling sound that continues into the next off-kilter number, which sounds like monster post-hardcore and then melts into more Fallish/sluggish stuff. Last song repeats the punker aforementioned, but laid on with more effects and slowed up. First few tracks on this bummed me out, but they turned it around midway into some cool shit. The vocal effect is a bit disconcerting in a good way, I think one or two of the last songs ended up on their 7" which I'm going to follow up on. Interesting band with a unique appraoch to sounding blown-out. For fans of the lo-fi and weird (but aren't we all?).(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/whateverbrains)



White Night s/t cassette
Y’know, on first listen this struck me as sort of a lo-fi, punkier interpretation of electrified boy band radio shits. Backup vocal melodies spewed over angular guitar junctions and bounciful bass lines...the soundtrack to being an impressionable emotion-filled teenager. While portions really are straight up 11th grade Abercrombie & Fitch emo-pop, like the brilliant fucking band photo in the tape inlay would suggest (I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a joke at first glance! LOLOLOL) a few listens in it takes a more authentic detour to semi-respectable pop punk with some Revolution Summer sensibilities thrown in and maybe some nods to post-punk musics. The first track “The Dilated Pupils” has a classic catchy-as-the-flu power-pop thang going on while “Fat Cats” could be its side B and put a lot of modern pop-punk tripe to shame. Whaddayou kids listening to, huh? Some of this sounds like Rancid and some sounds like Fall Out Boy and some is good, so you’re really confusing the balls out of me. Scum Stats: I’ve got #188/250. Previous 187 belong to tweener girls who don’t own tape decks.(BG)
(Burger Records // myspace.com/burgerrecords)

Yuppies demo cassette
Shit-pop from the land of the mighty Brimstone Howl, which shows that even the corn belt isn't immune to the influence of the mighty Shitgaze. Firstly, this tape was dubbed really shittily, so I hate to give a review based on what may be an inferior representation of what a band is capable of. I went to their Myspace page (gag) and checked the same songs out there and they sounded a million times better. As I've said elsewhere on this page, even tapes require some care...take some time to make them sound good kids. So uh, even though I said the songs sound a million times better, that still don't mean I like it all. At their best, Yuppies sound like a bunch of kids who don't give a fuck ramming out some slices of noisy shit-fi-pop accentuated with dippy keyboard sounds and blabbermouth vocals. Psychedelic Horseshit fucking Thomas Function while Times New Viking plays on the stereo and TV Ghost hide in the closet and watch (yes, that is the worst piece-of-shit review comparison you ever read). At their worst they just sound really annoying. It's one thing to sound out of tune and sloppy as if you don't give a fuck within some aesthetic boundaries you've defined for yourself as a band. But sometimes it just comes off as sounding sort of lazy and bored, which is in turn boring for anyone listening/watching. People have said some good things about this band, but I only see the briefest glimpses of it here, and not enough to make me interested in an actual record. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope they're great live, which is where I imagine these songs might get their best shot.(RK)
(Top Shelf Tapes // myspace.com/yuppiesband)


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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