RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2007
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(MH: Mike Hunchback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Young Steve)(IS: Ickibod Styzinetti)
(TK: Todd Trickknee) (RSF: Rob Vertigo)
Aluminum Knot Eye ďSilo Monster/Even Dwarves Started Small" 7"
I've been waiting quite a while for this. The first AKE 45. After a bazillion cassette releases and re-recorded "greatest hits" LP, this here is fresh material. Or so I think. Juicy little meatlets stripped from the bone. Thick, thick, thick and full of splatter.
Angular nosedives into a swampy syrup. Barely audible vocals. Keyboards still prominent and loopy. Great deranged stuff. The bass is in there swirling about and it just might throw ya into a seizure. Not as "spaghetti western" (figure that on out) as the LP felt at times. More boom-bap-bap-bap-smack. Damn this is good and frantic. Of the two tracks, "Even Dwarves Started Small" comes out ahead for me. Maybe it's because I dig the namesake film so much. I can see the gleeful little fella clapping and giggling as the camel shits next in the ground. That scene plays out well with this tune. It's records like this that make me want to move back to the Midwest. It's also bands like this that remind me of huffing Freon from air conditioners.
So I stay away. (RSF)
(Big Black Hole)
Bad Antics s/t CD-EP
What is this...the sign of some gnarly skate rock resurgence? Last month was the Skate Korpse discography...and now this. This is some direct descendant of early/mid 80s Orange County snotty skater punk. Bad Antics hail from Fullerton, hometown of the some of the heroes they are channeling here, and their sound is dead-on that style. Unfortunately, they miss in the song-writing department somewhat. They ainít bad...just sort of generic. Five tracks here show a little promise, especially towards the end, but ultimately fall a little short. Plus, the recording is flat sounding to boot. Some of the great Cali-punk these kids are recalling really hit the spot because of the great sounding records, and this misses the mark on that too. Still, they have the right idea. These songs might have sounded better if the recording was on the money...they should really look into that because it would work them wonders. They have a 7Ē record in the works.(LB)
(Smokin Barrel Records // www.myspace.com/smokinbarrelrecords)
Bad News "Do the Dead" 7"
Three words I dread typing for reviews: Italian garage punk. "Do the Dead" is rather Crampsy, actually really reminds me of "Surfin' Dead", but maybe just because that song actually has the line "Do the dead..." in the refrain. Not really a bad song, but nothing I'm in love with either. I like that the vocals are really swarthy sounding though ("Cumm on beh-beeee..."). The B-Side contains an unexplainable cover of "Do You Love Me". Really. Weird. Not weird-punk weird, but weird that they'd do a straight cover of that song. And not really well or anything. Really nice packaging though, super thick sleeves and manila-envelope like inner sleeve. 300 copies. Mario Christgau sez C grade provolone here. (RK)
(Psych-Out Records // www.psychout.it)
Bad Trips s/t LP
I'm not going to front and say I was a huge Monoshock fan before the comp on S-S came out. Sure, I had a single but never paid any heed to the greatness. But after that disc came out I was rabid, so much so that I ended up with not only a huge Monoshock monkey on my back, but also a Liquorball fix that needed sating (still looking for a copy of "Live In Hitler's Bunker" by the way...). So, imagine my elation when I got a package with Grady's Record Refuge as the return address...thee Grady Runyan sending me a record! Damn cool. I openend the full length by the Bad Trips, which is Grady's latest outfit along with a second guitar killer and a rhythm section, and you have no idea how much kill this thing smokes. Totally evil pysch-trip shit here, with ominous and simple rhythms beating along underneath some sinister outer-space guitar pyrotechnics. The massive eleven minute "War on Drugs" will elicit nasty acid flashbacks from even the straightest of edgers. So sick. This thing is laden with five tracks, all at least five minutes long, all instrumental and all real nasty. I highly recommend this to anyone into heavy jams, weird vibes and any of Grady's previous work. Essential, and limited to 500 copies with screened sleeve and 180 gram vinyl, get a copy of this now before I buy them all.(RK)
(Rocketship Records // www.badtrips.com)
Bayonettes "We're Doomed" EP
If I've got my facts straight, this is the Bayonettes third single, and second on Deranged. It's also their second best single. Far superior to their debut on Art of the Underground. But not as good as the "Stuck In This Rut" EP either. I don't think this one has the songs that EP had. Things start sounding a little redundant here. It's mid-tempo Seventies-CA reminiscent stuff (Avengers particularly on this one), but without strong tunes their approach comes off as sorta bland. It's by no means bad, it's something for the kids to dance to, but The Bayonettes aren't a band who are going to knock you over with velocity or volume. Their strength on the "Stuck in This Rut" EP was a strong set of songs that fit their style and made them sound great. I think this was a batch of tunes that could've marinated a bit longer. Fans of the band will be satisfied with this, first timers should try their other Deranged EP. Scums stats: I'm sure there's plenty of variants, but also plenty of copies on this. Deranged is good about keeping things in print. And selling limited test presses.(RK)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)
Beat Beat Beat "Live at Rob's House" 7"
Actually only one side of this is live in ATL, "Don't Tell Me Now", one of the better cuts off the LP. It's pretty sloppy, but in a good way. I give it a 3 out of 5 on the live recording scale. The flip is a studio cover of Ivy Green's "Troubles" from the LP sessions that sounds fantastic. You probably need this just for this tune alone if you're a fan, as you very well should be. I always tend to think of this band in relation to whether they're actually better than the Carbonas for some reason (stupid, yes, but I can't help it), and let me tell you, it's a tough call at this point. Scums stats: 400 copies, all black, amazing techicolor sleeves.(RK)
(Rob's House // www.robshouserecords.com)
Blank Dogs "First Two Weeks" 12"
Who is this masked man? Dunno, but who cares when he
(and she?) are making such discombobulating sounds.
Maybe Mr. Blank Dog is trying to teach us a lesson
about our society's cult of personality. Maybe this
person is a known quantity in our little underground
circle-jerk niche. Maybe it's fucking Thurston Moore
fer chrissakes. Taking both conceptual and musical
cues from the original mystery group, The Residents,
Blank Dogs are making the big come-up awfully fast,
but it's well deserved. If you're familiar with any of
the recent reissues of early "minimalist" synth-punk
then these sounds will be treasure to your ears.
Particularly the retarded synth freak-out at the end
of Side One's "Surveillance Man." So retarded that The
Spits are are sleepless in Seattle with jealousy. I
like Side Two even more. "Ambulance" steals a guitar
riff from some classic punk song that....I
can't....quite...name. Yes, it's driving me crazy.
"Dismorphobia" (fear of being ugly + early 70s hard
rock ref?) is the real hit on this platter. Hell, I
heard my roommate singing along to it the other day.
Great nervous bass line and strangely haunting vocals
plus the catchiest melodies on any of these songs.
Here it is, kids, all your agoraphobic dreams cum
true: Fad Gadget on a budget, lost tracks that should
be on I Hate The Pop Group, Ralph Records, what the
fuck did ever happen to Vileness Fats? (EEK)
It's Blank Dogs time. 'The First Two Weeks' 12" has arrived and received more weird looks than a two-headed dog. I got a promo version of this and have had plenty of time to formulate some intelligent quips, and well, I'm just as speechless as most. All I can think of when I listen to this is some retarded Phantom of the Opera sitting in a musty loft somewhere with an arsenal of instruments in front of him cackling mask and cape style while flitting from guitar to synth to drum machine while wringing his hands and laughing maniacally at each composition. Except you know this guy isn't retarded, since he's pumping out some of the most twisted weird pop since Ralph Records was a functioning label or the New Zealand scene actually mattered. If the title of this record indicates how long it took to come up with this material, either everyone else is way behind the curve or Mr. Blank Dog really needs to get some sleep. Further records are already forthcoming, and if MySpace tracks are any indication, they'll be even better than this. Scum stats: 490 copies, plus a super-elusive custom sleeved variant edition. <(RK)
(Freedom School // www.myspace.com/freedomschoolrecords)
Blanks Dogs "Yellow Mice Sleep" 7"
Spankin new 45 by our mysterious friend, and it's even
better than the 12. "Yellow Mice Sleep" betrays its
creator's fond feelings towards My Bloody Valentine
and Jesus and Mary Chain with its dreamy melody and
thick, soupy guitar-bed. "Housefly" quivers and
disturbs, while "Smashed Up People" is Mr. Blank Dog's
best song yet, stuffing a catchy chorus into what
sounds like a demo version of a Chairs Missing cut.
Better jump on board, there's another 12" comin down
the pipe! Scum Stats: 100 yellow vinyl (sold out?),
(Hozac Records // www.myspace.com/horizontalaction)
The Blinds "Lost" 7"
Ken Rock is keeping it real to start off 2007 by releasing not one or two, but four records featuring home-brewed Swedish talent. The Blinds are some kids from Uppsala with their debut release. The A-Side contains two tunes of straight-up buzzsaw punk. On the B-Side is where it gets interesting, as they suddenly turn into what I'm assuming is the first and only Swedish skate rock band. I didn't even know they skated in Sweden. Crazy. Anyway, "Skate & Party" is a minute and a half jab at the genre, complete with a wah solo and the requiste breakdown. "T.H.P." (I haven't figured out what it stands for...) has even more circle-pit worthy tempo changes. Not really authentic skate punk, but an interesting Swedish-garage take on it. Maybe not as good as I'm making it sound, but Christagau Hosoi gives this a B-. Scum stats: 300 pressed. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)
The Blowtops "PS This Is A Zombie" CD
The Blowtops just toured Europe (and are supposed to be going back again this fall) and to commemorate the occassion (and have some merch to sell) they've released the "lost" record they recorded with Wharton Tiers at Fun City back in 2003. As local lout Dave Anchovies so eloquently put it, it's the "pre-organ/post-garage no mans land of Blowtops phases." If you get what that means, well get on board the crazy train fuck-o. Includes a Banty Rooster cover and artwork from a fan letter Ryan Kill-A-Watt wrote them years ago before he was famous.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Boston Chinks "Coltrane" 7"
You have to think these guys are something special seeing as how they inspired Goner to actually do a two-color 7" sleeve. The Chinks are from that new breed of neo-Memphis rock bands that don't immediately make you think Oblivians or feature Jay Reatard on bass (although I have heard they are now his backing band...). These kids do pretty well for themselves here, playing garage-punk without such an obvious blues fix, pretty clean treble-laden tempo-pushers with some pop sensibility. Perhaps containing a tinge of the hardest of indie-rock yet still having a little rootsy dirt on their shoes. "Coltrane" is certainly the hit on this, but all four tunes get along just fine. I'm not gonna say this blew my socks off right away, but they are slipping off my feet a little bit with every listen. Very likable. Scum stats: the usual Goner 100 on clear, and I always figure they do 500 total. (RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Boys Club "Girls of Today" 7"
It's funny that Steve here doesn't dig The Fingers, because they sound what I think the Fingers were trying to go for at times. Excepting the fact that Boys Club are probably far more polite than Ralph and the Brothers White were. While "Girls of Today" is not the smash hit that "This Is My Face" was, it has an awkward charm all its own. In fact, Boys Club probably has the market cornered in lo-fi awkward white guy powerpoprock. That's not a bad thing, mind you. They're a classic example of the if-these-guys-can-do-it-anyone-can likability theory. You're honestly rooting for them, to get the girl, hit that note, finish that solo, get through the song in one piece...it's vicarious listening. Anyway, the Club add some female back-ups this time that I like quite a bit. This tune's OK with me. On the B-Side they up the raunch to GG levels with some nasty scuzz guitar...nah, I'm just kidding. They do a song about wanting to get a girl on the flip side. A little bit less charming but a little more awkward than "Girls of Today". I can't decide if that means I like it more or less right now...Overall, good record if youre into the Raspberries and Supercharger at the same time. Scum stats: 100 on white vinyl, maybe 500 total. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Brimstone Howl "Uptight" 7"
I must say that these Brimstone Howl kids have kicked out a few tunes I really like so far, and this single is their finest hour. "Uptight" is an authentic shake-all-nighter with a nice vintage feel. The tasteful and minimal key-banging on the chorus gives it a real boot in the ass as do the "I'm yelling into a coffee can!" vox. Really really like this, it's wild and makes you wanna dance when you know you can't. Probably one of the best actual garage-punk tunes I've heard in some time. On the flip, "The Gates 2" is more of a Teenage-Shutdown-from-the-Grave rave out with some mean guitars and hard knocks. Almost as good as the A-Side, shows off some Slicks-like downerisms. Defintely their best single yet, I'd recommend this to anyone wanting a taste. I think they have a full length coming out on Alive!, which kinda sucks because I don't think that particular Bomp offshoot has put out a good (non-reissue) record since uh...forever. But maybe the Howl can change that. Scums stats: crazy Italians...Silver Grey Wax: 96 copies, Bloody Red Wax: 55 copies, Marble Pink Wax: 43 copies, Orange Wax: 22 copies, the rest on "fucking dark wax", making 500 total.(RK)
(SYA Records // www.syarecords.it)
Busy Signals "Radio!" 7"
Here it is, the single that caused all the commotion. Firstly, I think this guy has a good idea. Ultra-limited versions of demo/live quality stuff from bands he obviously digs. It sucks they're so limited, but big deal. If you really want to hear this material, I'm sure there's a way. I mean, the only people who should be bitching about this record are the band themselves and people who legitimately want to hear the tunes on this, not the people who are pissed just because they missed a limited record. Here's an idea for this guy: to pacify the haters, offer anyone who doesn't get a copy of the record the same songs via CD-R or download or something. You satisfy the collector's with the limited edition shit AND the fans who just want to hear the music. Anyone else can get fucked I guess. So, the record itself, let's talk about that...it's OK. I mean, the guy said it was live on the radio stuff. so it's not like great fidelity or anything. I'd give it a four, maybe five, out of ten on the live recording scale. The tough thing is, both of these tunes are unavailable elsewhere right now. Tough because the B-Side is really good. And I'm not even a big Busy Signals fan. Ah well, maybe it will show up on the LP. I'm sure if you really want to hear these tunes, you'll find them out there somewhere. And to the Teenage Depression guy, I say fuck everyone and keep up the good work. Scum stats: 75 copies, 5 of which apparently have an alternate sleeve. I hope this dude kept some copies as bargaining chips for future trades.(RK)
(Fan Klub Records // www.teenagedepression.ca)
Car Commercials "Jar" 7"
Not only sporting one of the best band names currently
going, Car Commercials also features one Daniel
Dimaggio, he of Princeton, NJ's manic pop thrill, Home
Blitz. Dunno if you'd call this a "side project," but
CC trade in a different sort of damage. Mostly this
reminds me of the fractured bedroom musings of early
Sebadoh recs like Weed Forestin' and The Freed Man,
complete with tape fuckery and other messings around.
Admittedly, there's nothing here on the catchiness
level of "Little Man" or "Punch in the Nose," nor is
there quite the late-night creep factor of their
cassette release, but I can say with some confidence
that none of these "songs" will end up on a Subaru ad.
(Leaf Leaf // www.geocities.com/leafleafrecords)
Career Suicide "Attempted Suicide" LP/CD
More of what youíd come to expect from the great Career Suicide? Not quite...this is even better than that. 'Attempted Suicide' is the band's most consistent and best sounding offering to date, an absolute smoker that blazes from start to finish. This time they got the songs, too...not just funny bursts of early style hardcore that they already did so well...but actual songs that are catchy and memorable. They also hold the secret weapon that so many bands of this ilk lack: great, totally distinctive vocals. That may be the final piece to the puzzle that sets CS above so many other faceless bands trying to revive the stinky corpse of early 80s hardcore. Or even some of the bands from the actual era. Another thing: this disc sounds really good. Itís just the kind of recording that this stuff calls for. This one has been getting played every couple hours around here since it hit the stereo - it goes by in a hurry. Great shit.(LB)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)
Cheap Time "Spoiled Brat" 45
Allow me to begin by saying that I haven't been a fan of any of Jeff Novak's prior output, and that I'm about as put off by the blown out Oblivians/Reatards inspired school of trash punk as just about any sub-genre covered by TB with the exception of hardcore. With that in mind, you can perhaps imagine my shock when I first heard Cheap Time and was smitten by the type of band crush I don't feel too often with modern bands. In fact I was so stricken with the slop punk stylings of "Spoiled Brat" that I listened to it multiple times a day via myspace and waited anxiously for it to arrive in the mail. When I finally got the single it was no surprise to me that the song sounded even better on vinyl. From the opening sound of fingers sliding on strings it's evident that this was going to rule, but the ever-chaotic mixture of a recording with the PERFECT balance between skuzz and fidelity, dual male-female shouted vocals, a killer underplayed solo, and lyrics about "not taking any shit" combine to make this the sort of sublime slice 'o punk rock that you just don't get very often. Both songs on the b-side are definitely worthy to be coupled with "Spoiled Brat" but neither quite reaches its heights. If I haven't spelled it out clearly enough for you yet, this is one you really shouldn't sleep on.
There! I got through the entire review without once mentioning the name of a band we'll call "Ked Dross." I'm very proud of myself.(SB)
(Sweet Rot Records POB 78025, Vancouver, BC V5N 5W1, Canada)
Cheater Slicks "Walk Into The Sea" LP
I know a dude who hates the Cheater Slicks. He says
it's cuz they don't tune. All I can say to that is,
"Shove the 12-tone system up your ass, throw out your
copy of Psychocandy, and lick my hairy anal fissure."
My God, what is wrong with people these days? The
Slicks could give a fuck about tuning, and I could
give a fuck about their not giving a fuck, cuz, well,
they don't give a fuck about nothin (see opening cut
"My Position on Nothingness"), and nobody seems to
give a fuck about them (except for rabid
thousand-strong fan base), so, fuck everything, OK?
What's their to say, really? Yeah, it's lovely out.
Fuckin great. Lemme pop a boner. I got a nice day
boner and nowhere to stick it. NOwhere. Permanent
state of existence for these folks. Maybe they're
married, maybe they're record store clerks, maybe
they're gravediggers. Maybe they'll buy you a shot of
Whiskey at the watering hole, but they'll probably
just save their money for another shot for them cuz
Fuck You, right? "Run Run Run" and "Crackin Up" are
the garage punk unknown classics on here, and they
makes me real goddamn happy. This record makes me
fucking happy, OK? (EEK)
Cheveu "My Answer is Yes!" 7"
Ahh, Cheveu, the only French Glue-Wave (thank Killings
or Boyd for that one) band to have brought their huffy
taint to the dirty American masses. And we thank you
for it, you fucking slimey hair-farmers. "My Answer
is..." sounds kinda threatening, what with David
pulling his "I just smoked a joint laced with PCP"
vocal excoriations. Flip it over and you get the
wacky, light-side-of-the-force style that reminds so
much of Trio and also really makes you wanna to go out
and ogle girls, cuz I think that's what it's pretty
much about. Comment vous dites "pussyhound" en
Quite honestly, I never liked this band so much once I gave them a good listen. The appearance on Tete de Bebe piqued my ears, but the S-S 7" became less interesting with each listen and the Royal 7" had little impact on me. After the initial weirdness wore off they became something I could say I was glad I heard but didn't really feel any need to listen to frequently. I didn't really get all the fuss. But now I do. From the A-Side of this record. "My Answer is Yes!" is a nearly perfect song, perhaps the finest bowl of bubbling, crackling stewing soup that is French weird punk. A hammering and locked-in beat, repetitive guitars, freak outs and implosions are all packed into this moody number that actually reminds me of a modern Wall of Voodoo. This is the weirdness I wanted from this band. A+.(RK)
(Rob's House // www.robshouserecords.com)
Clorox Girls "Double Mao" EP
Three songs recorded while the Clorox Girls toured Brazil. Justin plays most instruments on this with a drummer that I think might be a local who filled in for the tour. A bit telling, as the Clorox Girls appear to basically consist of just Justin with a rotating cast of sidemen now anyway. Two originals that sound as if he wrote them on the plane to South America. Exceedingly fomaulaic pop-punk. The cover of the Simpletones "I Like Drugs" is pedestrian at best. This does not make me want to hear the new full length on BYO in the slightest. (RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
coming from Tokyo, Code's demo tape was a quick fifteen minutes of sharp Japanese hard punk mixed with a nonstop intensity that brought all-go bands like Teengenerate to mind. This three-song 7" cuts off the fat from the demo and brings in the feel of older Japanese new wave/hard punkers like Friction, but with some actual energy brought from the electric atmosphere of the future. No more three minute interludes on one chord or groaning lyrical tortures like on some later-ADK releases - Code keeps it concise, interesting and memorable. They are one of those bands that everybody can find something to enjoy, be they punk, hardcore or cop. Highly recommended. Scum stats: 700 copies only. (JC)
(self released // buy it from punx.exblog.jp)
Contaminators "No Friends" EP
The first I've heard of these Contaminators, part of a group of bands that I'm figuring centers around Bakersfield and seems to include The Hips, Neon Nazis, Saboteurs and others whose records you've seen peddled on message boards across the internet. Snotty punk, but snotty in an affected Le Shok sort of way, I'm gonna dub this VLV-punk since we're talking about message boards. Two guys doing everything here, and "No Friends" is actually a really great song. Hard rhythm guitar and a nice drum sound with a constant squealy lead guitar bit plastered over it all makes for a good punk tune. Then they take that same formula and do it for two more tunes which are basically not-as-good versions of the first one. The whiny vocals get to you after three of these. They slow it down for the last one, "Sick Fixation", which is a welcome respite. Should've made this a two songer and I would've liked it a lot better. That first song is a winner though.(RK)
(Going Underground Records // www.gingundergroundrecords.com)
CPC Gangbangs "Welcome to Hell" 7"
A duo of cuts from Montreal's finest, although neither is actually called "Welcome to Hell." A-Side is "Half My Size", which is mean and rolling blues-trash with the expectedly great moments of guitar freakout. A little less punk than I'd like, but sleazy enough to make me forget that. Flipside is "Candy", which has them going off in a real retro-garagey Lyres/DMZ fashion, but still maintaining their gritty sound somewhat. Not as good as either 7" they released last year, but also not bad. I just like them better when they're playing faster tempo and punker stuff, the guitars are blazing, the production is super filthy and Roy's vox are tricked out with that Satanic-sounding effect. Eh, what can you do. I'm still holding out hope that the LP on Swami will decapitate me when I hear it. Scum stats: 300 pressed in traditional Goodbye Boozt syle, nice b/w sleeve collage. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // )
Dead Hookers "The Rebirth" LP/CD
Initially, I was more than a little put off by the band name, afraid it was gonna sound like Zeke or something. Then word spread to me that they were a pretty damn great live band, and well, look at that fab cover art! It was on Dead Beat, and in the last 3 or 4 years Tom's had quite a gaggle of winners. I plunked down the funds and I'm glad I caved in.
An excellent slice of weird-beard noise punk. Not too arty but definitely not straight ahead. Similar in vibe to doom-garage downers, The Original Three, but with a shit-ton more screaming and wailing. Brimming with heavy and fuzzed out scree set in a reverberating "wall of aluminum" sound that'll shake loose your fillings. I can even feel a taste of black metal, Midwest hardcore, and some fellow cheese heads like Pink Reason and Hue Blanc leaving an imprint here. It's almost a psyched-out concept album; hell, it IS a psyched-out concept album, but with much more crash and burn than spring time and flowers. Hammer to the face paint style.
There are bongos on it for what it's worth. Nice.(RSF)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
Demon's Claws "Satan's Little Pet Pig" LP/CD
This one rushes right out of the pen with one of the songs of the year in "Shadow of A Castle" (which also appeared on last year's 'Live in Spring Branch Texas' 12" by the way), and keeps the momentum going from there. A real bush hog of a release, rootin' for rootsy' garage-folk-psych truffles in a creepily psychedelic forest. I have nothing smarter to say than that I always feel these guys have a distinct Canadian sound, sort of like a Guess Who meets Scat Rag Boosters meets Neil Young meets Stompin Tom Connors. And instead of hitting ye olde sophomore slump they manage to take their sound one step further, recording a great LP whereas their first full length was merely good. They've filled in the gaps on this one. This reminds me of when we used to visit an old cabin in Northern Ontario and take mushrooms and drink tons of Labatt's and go night fishing. This is what we should've been playing instead of Sabbath. Well, no, we should've played this AFTER we listened to Sabbath. To reiterate, far better than their debut and worth a look. Scary, as in scary-good at times, and also scary as in "There's something in those woods!" (RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Digger and The Pussycats "All Time Low" 7"
Newest three-songer from Aussie two-piecer. I've always liked them much better on 7" than I did their LP, and this is probably the best thing I've heard them do. I always like to think of them being the legit version of the Black Keys, meaning they bang out bluesy two-piece bashers with real energy inna punk-like style without the denim-clad whiteboy revisionism. "All Time Low" settles into a groove really quick and is satisfying enough and the guitar gets really thick during "Pussycat Sandwich". They manage a surprisingly full sound from just two fellas and they get maximum punch out the recording, rough on the edges but not lo-fi crackle. If two-piece blues-trash is floating your boat, hop on this shit. And catch them at Gonerfest. Scum stats: crazy fucking variations on this. Two presses, with insert (150 first press on green and 333 second press on black), with two different sleeves (the cooler looking second press is pictured), with various test press and speed/hole-size variations (which has become the Squoodge trademark), and the B-Side seems to play inside-out on both versions. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoddge.de)
Digital Leather "She Had A Cameltoe" 7"
Firstly, Goner Records has really jumped out the gates quick this year, which is great. Their hit-to-miss ratio is impeccable and I'm looking forward to a shitload of records from them this year. Secondly, while I've heard some people didn't dig the Digital Leather LP on Shattered, I fell for it big in a faggoty Human League kind of way. So keep in that in mind. So, the title track here is, you know, kinda funny I guess. Really crisp and clean New Wave, actually really bright and shiny for a DL tune. This thing is ready for use in a Mazda commercial in twenty years. Well done, but sort of a novelty, obviously. The B-Side is what I'm really sinking my teeth into though. Magnificently over-dramatic vocals, a sharp chorus with rat-a-tat drums and a wheezing synth drone, dark and moody stuff to cut yourself to. You'll laugh at the A-Side of this once or twice, but the B-Side is what will have you crying in the dark for months to come. Scum stats: first 100 on clear vinyl, in what has become a Goner tradition.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Dirtbombs "Live From Detroit" 7"
Two live cuts from Da Bombs, from a 2006 live show at the Magic Stick. The main event here being the A-Side, a cover of the Black Lips' "Oh Katrina" with a Black Sabbath ("War Pigs")/Bee Gees ("I Started A Joke") segue that is genuinely a fun listen. The B-Side is "Candyass", never a real favorite of mine, and not a real stunning version of it. The one issue this record really brings to the forefront is, that if there is a live Dirtbombs recording that absolutely needs to be heard, it is the rumored compilation of all Tom Potter between song banter that a certain record label CEO supposedly has in his possession. Now that would be what you call entertaining. I also find it really odd that this record is on Noiseville. But when you see that the other two bands in this series (curated by Mark Arminski, with the sleeves being a repro of the poster for the show) so far are Sponge and The Hard Lessons, it makes a little more sense. Number 37 in the Why Does This Band Have Two Drummers? series. Scums stats: 1000 pressed, with some mailorder-only copies on color. (RK)
(Noiseville // www.noiseville.com)
Dry-Rot "This Is A Forest" 7"
Second single from the mysterious Dry-Rot, and if you dug the B-Side of the first one, you're about to get your head blowed. "Lumberyard" is a minute and a half of atmospheric synth-drone that sprouts into a blown-out death-punk jam with intense otherworldy vox that sound like someone yelling with a mouthful of glue. I'd be lying if I didn't say I think this is amazing. The "This Is A Forest" side goes off on a totally different tangent. An adult sounding instrumental composition featuring some lead sax that is actually very reminiscent of Pink Floyd. But not like Barrett-era "cool Floyd" so much, but fucking Dark Side of the Moon Floyd (what most consider "uncool Floyd"). Super mellow but also jarring in a sore-thumb style. So normal sounding it's fucking creepy. Lynch-ian perhaps. There's been some banter about these guy being christians or being fake on some level or whatever. I don't think it matters. Dry-Rot seem to set out to make music that gets you uncomfortable, to make you unsure of what to think about them, to challenge you. You might throw this record on and think to yourself "Should I be listening to this? Is this even cool?" and your lack of answers to those questions are entirely the reason you should listen and pay attention while you're at it. Scum stats: 300 copies, sold out, get fucking moving if you want this. (RK)
(Deer Healer Record Label // www.deerhealer.com)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring s/t LP/CD
Australia is one tough nut to crack music-wise. Bands there might as well exist on Mars for all we in the states hear about them, but the tradewinds seem to be blowin' this way again. If you pay any attention to Australian music blogs and those-who-know Down Under (I'm pointing at Rich Stanley, Dave Laing's Lexicon Devil blog, and the fine folks in Straightjacket Nation) you know that ECSR are the new saviors of Oz-rock. There's a lot of talk abouit them going on down there which has even filtered to these shores. Dropkick Records has released their self-titled full length and I've been sitting on a copy for a good six months I believe. Are they the next Saints or Scientists or even Sailors? Well, they sound nearly nothing like any of those bands, although they do have a great sense of humor (a perhaps innuendous song about "Cool Ice Cream") and are rather more punky than swampy/bloozey. Someone mentioned a Victims comparison, and I agree with that to some extent, especially on the vox perhaps, but I think they maybe find the middle ground betwixt Perth's finest and the Aussie X's throb-throb attack. "Get Up Morning", "Yo-Yo Man" and "Insuffucient Funds" move like a rugged Aussie rules footballer, determined and strong yet with a bit of finesse to the power. As much as I hate to call things "growers" this is certainly one of those. It's not going to initially melt your face or anything, but after some time you realize these tunes really are catchy and well crafted. I realized this when one morning I found myself looking for this CD because I wanted to listen to it on the way to work and fuck if I knew where I left it. It dawned on me then that fuck, these guys really are good. A certain Northwestern distro supposedly has exclusive US distro for this thing, so look for it soon. And I also hear they're playing Gonerfest, so they gotta be doing something right.(RK)
(Dropkick Records // www.dropkick.com.au)
El Jesus De Magnifico "Funeral Home Session" EP
Haven't hear these guys' full-length, but I am digging
this 33 1/3 rpm 7" EP. Slurred musings sounding not
unlike Royal Trux trying out a Joy Division cover. The
spaced-out vocals hover above and around the
meandering playing, but it has a sort of hallucinatory
quality. A bit aimless, but I used to live in a
converted funeral home in Columbus, so I can identify
where these dudes are coming from.(EEK)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
El Vicio "Time to Eat Brains" 7"
Hey, a zombie themed blues punk record. I can get on board with that. Love zombie cinema, but I guess that's not surprising. "Time to Eat Brains" is the noteworthy cut here, with a nice guitar eruption and plenty of undead fuzz. The rest of the tunes are Oblivians-esque variations on the same theme (although El Vicio are a two-piece). Nice pics on the labels (of famous movie zombies) and I'm pretty sure the sleeve is the guy from Deathdream. Bondage titty pic on the back sleeve. Similar sounding to various other French scuzzsters on this label. Bubby Christgau sez this is a B- at best. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
Electric Bunnies s/t 7Ē
Debut single from this Floridian trio and itís pretty damn great. ďEskimoĒ leads things off, as it should, as itís the bona fide pop hit. Retardedly catchy and sing-a-long friendly, it shows how these guys have a knack for crafting wonderfully simple pop songs but arenít afraid to fuck with the prettiness a bit by adding a layer or two of warbling feedback underneath the whole thing. ďEat WormsĒ follows and while not as immediately satisfying as ďEskimoĒ it still oozes enough grubby spunk to garner repeated plays. The flip, ďCounting SheepĒ, will probably piss some people off, but I love it. Sounding absolutely nothing like the band on the A-side (or how the band sounded live), itís a mutant lullaby with slow, hypnotic vocals over top of primitive, warbling synths and feedback with uber-primitive thud-thud-plink percussion. With three fairly different songs, all of them being high quality, and a solid live show Iíd say thereís yet another new band out there to pay attention to. More, please. (JG)
...Here's what this single has going for it: two eminently catchy tunes that sound nothing like each other. "Eskimo" is a fairly straightforward pop song, albeit a slightly warped one. The verse is built on the deadly one-two punch of a taut bass-line/handclap combination that serves as a nice prelude to a ridiculously awesome chorus. 'Eskimo" is followed up by "Eat Worms" which is more of a thud-thud blown out affair that benefits greatly from a bizarre hook (can't tell if it's vocal or instrumental) that repeats itself at the end of each line of the verse. I like it. On the B-side they lose me with an interminable song called "Counting Sheep" that is one of the more painful listens it has ever been my misfortune to stumble upon. If the goal of this song was to replicate the annoyance of not being able to sleep they did a bang up job. What takes this from just overlong and boring to realms of sonic torture I never dreamed possible is an ear-piercing click that repeats itself throughout the entire song. It feels like being chained to a wall and tortured by a dripping faucet just beyond my grasp. After listening to this for four minutes (or was it four hours?) I've determined that it sounds like the noise of a hammer hitting a stone on a Super Nintendo game. Did they sample "The Secret of Mana" or something?!?!?? Despite the lame 33rpm seven inch format - and b-side that makes the cries of a dog caught in a bear trap sound like the Kinks - the A-side is strong enough to make this a recommended purchase. You'll never need to flip it over though, trust me.(SB)
(Floridaís Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Family Pet s/t 7Ē & 12Ē
Family Pet is from way up in Gardiner, Maine, which I would have guessed an unlikely origin for such challenging, cacophonous musicóbut I suppose the state that is home to Orgonon, the former home, laboratory, and research center of Wilhelm Reich, has room for this too. The 7Ē at hand is a single-sided platter in which the duo plays the keyboard as though theyíre attacking it with a hammer, and the drums with similarly reckless abandon, creating a free-form racket. The 12Ē, also single-sided, is an extended mess that adds a saxophone and more prominent vocals to the mix. This song carries on at an even pace and volume so that the chaotic playing blends into a comfortable noise. Surely these folks spend their days listening to Ayler, Mars, Demo Moe, and Sun Raóor at least their music reflects the vision of these predecessors. Family Pet is an end of the night, room-clearing kind of bandóunless itís an incredibly hip room.(DH)
Fe Fi Fo Fums "I Just Wanna Boom Boom Girl" 7"
Aw man, my favorite bunch bunch of punk rock jerks are back on the scene with a super hot platter sounding shittier than ever. The title cut is the closest they've come to sounding like punk-fire, a shit-fit of sizzling full-speed ahead crap-rock with a phantomic-like guitar hook. This fucker moves good and is pretty damn punk. On the B-Side they flip the fucking script for sure, dowsing us with a cool slo-mo number, "You Might Get Me", perfect for prom nights and any other sloppy make-out sessions that may occur underneath a disco ball. Some sweet, sweet harmonizing gong on here and even a heartstring pulling guitar solo. This one makes me wanna go back to the high school dance, even though I'd probably be sitting on the bleachers with no dance partner and my dick in my hand. At least the Fums would be there with me. You need to buy this or I won't like you anymore. Scum stats: 500 on black vinyl, with insert. (RK)
(Robs House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
Functional Blackouts "The Very Best of the Monkees" CD
The FBs are dead, but as their swan song Dead Beat has released this disc, a singles/comp tracks/unreleased catch-all of material from these Chicago WEIRD PUNKERS. Most of this stuff is from the 'classic' line-up with Nervous and Dirt Mark, when they were still a bit more punk than weird. Eighteen cuts, a handful of unreleased nuggets (Cab Voltaire cover!), plus all the singles (including the upcoming split on Big Neck with the incredibly annoying KK Rampage) in one place. Would I like it better as a 12"? Sure, if just to see the collage work on the cover in a bigger scale. But this'll do just fine for the car.(RK)
(Dead BEat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
Grave Blankets "Your Injured Ways" 7"
Debut three-song 7" from this Columbus three-piece who play swampwater laden blues-inflected rock and actually do it really well. The title cut rolls out of the speakers like a fog, thick yet ghostly, with echoed backing vox chasing the strong lead vocals through the night. Surprisingly rich sounding for what you would think would be a lo-fi trio, aided by some sneakily adept drum work. Gun Club-esque in the best possible way. The B-side keeps the quality up, with one strong rocker that brings to mind fellow Columbusites Cheater Slicks, and one musky and mean soggy swamp rocker in Blood Red River-era Scientists vein. I was not expecting this record to be this good, but the Grave Blankets have avoided overt genre cliches and released some evocative vinyl here. Highly recommended. Scum stats: self-released 100 on beautiful dark blue marbled vinyl and 400 on black. (RK)
(Record Time // www.myspace.com/graveblankets)
Grinderman s/t CD/LP
Nicky, baby! Can I get a "Hell yeah!"? HELL YEAH. This
is what I'm talkin' 'bout. All respect to your Leonard
Cohen fantasies, Mr. Cave, but this is what the public
wants. Grinderman is basically a slimmed-down Bad
Seeds getting back to their roots. It's the most
raucous thing they've done since Tender Prey, if not
their debut, the classic From Her to Eternity. I guess
there are some moments on Murder Ballads that go for
the throat, but there is also a lot of superfluous
bullshit on that one and this monkey skips all that.
Newest addition, violinist Warren Ellis (of Dirty
Three), shoves everything over the top with all manner
of awesome wah-wah'ed, distorted, and delayed sawing.
His textures replace the departed Blixa Bargeld's
six-string molesting, and, look at this, Nick picks up
a guitar and starts rockin'! Mid-life crisis never
sounded so good! Who needs a Ferrari? Believe it or
not, even in The Birthday Party, Cave wrote all his
songs on piano, but he stops the ivory-tickling for
just a sec and we like it. You've also got Jim
Sclavunos on drums and that guy was in Teenage Jesus
and The Jerks (when he was an actual teenager) and you
can't get much cooler than that (Lydia Lunch took his
fuckin virginity, ferchrissakes!). This album isn't
amazing, but it is damn good, and it's nice to hear
that even a debonair international man of mystery like
Nick Cave has problems getting laid (the hilarious "No
Pussy Blues"). "Depth Charge Ethel" takes the
heavy-organ pseudo-gospel stylings of that double LP
that came out a couple years ago, but strips it down
so even the heathens will like it. He even sounds like
he's singing with a sneer again. Recommended to all
die-hard and fairweather Cave fans. The rest of
you.......there's a Birthday Party record with your
name on it, waiting for you, grinning seductively.
(Mute/Anti // www.anti.com)
Heartattacks "Stay Away" 7"
These Heartattacks have had a couple good moments on wax. They're fairly proficient at the Teengenerate/Rip Off thing they do. "Stay Away" is one of those moments, with lots of wild guitar action and punk attitude. You get two more on the flip in the same vein, with "Let You Go" actually sounding a little Kids-ish. Or maybe "Teengenerate Play The Kids"-ish. Scum stats: 450 pressed, with three different sleeve variations (150 of each member), with painted on bloody noses/lips. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)
The Hipshakes "Shake Their Hips" LP/CD
Want to talk about disappointing records? Well, this one fits the bill. 'Shake Their Hips' was hotly anticipated, and while it revisits "in The Summer" (their best tune), listening to this is like listening to a half hour of my speakers farting. Cruddily recorded and not in a good way, I also have to say I think the hype-machine wrote a check for these kids that they would have trouble cashing even at an Arabian corner store. I thought the singles steadily declined in quality from the first. Not that they were bad, but they didn't turn out to be really memorable besides the first one. You could all do without this LP. These kids are still young though, I'll check back later.(RK)
(Slovenly // www.slovenly.com)
Homostupids "The Intern LP" CD/LP
The Intern' has been out for some time now on disc (vinyl is supposedly nearing release as test pressings have supposedly been spotted) via Parts Unkown, and it's a special record. Featuring re-recorded versions of the songs from 'The Glow" EP plus a good dozen more, its charm lies not so much as being LP with some standout cuts, but an album that is like one twenty-some-odd minute long great cut. You have to tackle this thing as a whole, as the songs jump into one another, all throat shredding vocals and serious guitar shred. The recording session sounds really...strange...kinda tinny and washed out, but when you kinda think of these guys as a band that matches hardcore velocity and stab with the aesthetic values of The Mummies it all makes sense. Full of amp squeal, false starts and between take chatting, it's a listening experience with some surprisingly tuneful melodic dynamics that distance it from just being ear-numbing thrashing. You don't throw this one thinking "man, I wanna listen to tracks three and seven" and skip around...you put this on because you want to hear the whole fucking thing. I can't recommend this band enough, watch for 'The Edge' EP out soon on P.Trash. Also, these guys (and Clockcleaner as well) are slated for a full length releases via Load Records in the near future.(RK)
(Parts Unknown // www.partsunknownrecords.com)
The Horrors "Gloves" 7"
I got past the name. The Cedar Rapids Horrors is sacred to me. I got over the two gents who look like a cross between Heccubus and Warhol models. The big hair has a long history over seas. Being media darlings and the MySpace hype aside, this goofy looking bunch of Brits manage to roll out some fucked fun and strangely noisy (esp. for a major label) Goth-punk. I'd call this a guilty pleasure if I wasn't so damn glad to own it.
What's left are trashy, distorted, drunken heaps for songs that come off like the Batcave scene never died. First track- "Gloves": There's the Hammond set on 'spooky' and Damned style theatrical breakdown. Roland Howard would rise from the grave from hearing that guitar squalor, 'cept he ain't dead. Probably off smoking and grinning somewhere. Second track- "Kicking Kay": Here's the B-Day Party damage. Damn. This actually feels like a lost 80's track. This kid can growl and howl. And sulk. Like a better dressed Hart from the Hunches. Jim Sclavunos produced this? Makes sense. I could go on about how a good chunk of the LP is really enjoyable, but is anyone really reading this? It's funny to see people write them off for having "no substance" and "a bunch of noise", or (my fave) "they can't even play 'Crawdaddy Simone' right?." How the fuck could ya play that song wrong?!? Damn. If they dressed like The Feelers and were on In the Red, someone besides me would like it.
Give them some credit for trying. There?s a lot of pap out there like Arctic Monkeys, Muse, and other shit I'd love to see get kicked to the radio curb before this.(RSF)
(Loog // www.loogrecords.co.uk)
Human Eye "Spiders and Their Kin" 7"
Two sprawling tracks of 'neanderthal-apocalyptic-prog; as played by booger-eaters on a mission to destroy all music history. The Dinosaur Bones 7" started off the year with a riot, and this is like dealing with the all broken shit that gets left behind.
The world is coming to end (fucking deal with it), and this could be the soundtrack.
The mutation has begun.
More guitar and bass sounds fed thru the shredder. Happy Flowers effects pedals trying out for a rock opera. Solos that come in at the wrong time...the right time. Damn that keyboard sound, chiming in and out like a thousand dying insects. It feels like Timmy's vocals are working out for the Residents at times (and he's occasionally dressing for the part.). So far removed in a sea of KBD style punk and GAYrage tunes that clot the singles bins these days; I even got my jazz fanatic art professor digging this. Still has more than a little Chrome(osome) damage in the guitar and squalor territory, but it's moving on to uncharted realms at a rapid pace. Equal parts Dr.Who clank and post-futurism of the likes Syd Mead hasn't even thought of yet. This is Futurekill.
Where's all this leading? I really have no idea; hopefully to a US tour, a double gatefold LP, and maybe a read-A-long comic insert. Shit. Yeah. (RSF)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)
The Hunt "One Thousand Nights" 7"
Pretty sure this band's from NYC, but they probably
wish they were from Manchester, or maybe Leeds. Lots
of early Cure worship on here, but, oddly enough, the
singer's voice recalls a newer UK import: the dude
from Bloc Party. Side A, "One Thousand Nights," drags
on far too long and sounds a bit iron-deficient. The
flip has a little more oomph and throws in some
possible Killing Joke influence, but it still won't
get these guys on the cover of Melody Maker (yes, I
know it's defunct). (EEK)
(Monster Squad // www.monstersquadnyc.com)
The Intelligence "Message of Love" 7"
In between appearances on the Food Network, Lars and The Intelligence found some time to record two cover tunes for this amazing little single. The A-Side being a cover of The Pretenders' "Message of Love" that will send your jaw to the floor. It almost sounds like Lars could be singing along to a scratched up copy of the original 45, only played at 33rpm through a cabinet full of blown 15" woofers with holes poked in them. BLOWN THE FUCK OUT is what I'm saying here. Is Lars as sexy as Chrissy Hynde? Listen to this and you tell me. The B-Side is Bobby D's "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" given the Intelligence treatment. They play it as close to the cuff as they possibly can, which means it comes off like a wilted version of the original, like they recorded it at regular speed then slowed it down and put vocals on it. This whole thing sounds incredible, I wish there was more because this band could pull off a whole album of covers like this. A fucking plus. Scum stats: 300 copies. Look out for singles from Dan Melchior and D. Leather on this label as well.(RK)
(Disordered Records // www.myspace.com/disorderedrecords)
King Brothers ďSing the KingĒ 7Ē
This is one of the cleverer novelty records Iíve come across: two pre-pubescent brothers surnamed King play Casio keyboard and electric guitar covers of ďSuspicious MindsĒ and ďI Canít Help Falling In LoveĒ by The KingóElvis Presley. Their musicianship might not be up to studio band standards, but the pre-programmed drum tracks keep them in time, and the high-pitched vocals are a nice addition to these old favorites. The cuts on this single present a much better interpretation of The King than the Elvis impersonator who performed at my office last week (true story).(DH)
The Krunchies "Camel Toe Patrol" EP
Man, who would've though that we'd have not one but two records referencing camel toes this early in the year. Crazings. At least the Krunchies don't do an actual song using the camel toe motif though...anyway, The Krunchies, Chicago's great unsung band, as many will tell you. I've always enjoyed them live and on record. On this one they nail three out of four tunes. They really have a weapon in Amanda's voice, and they know how to use it. "Tornado of Stupidity" trades off vocals perfectly and has a neat little guitar line. "Take it All" actually reminds me of a Big Boys tune for some reason (excepting the vox part, you know...), maybe because The Krunchies inhabit that pleasant middle ground betwixt actual hardcore and actual punk rock that the Big Boys seemed to be so comfortable dwelling in. A-side is all aces. On "Attack Attack" I think the rhythm section goes too fast for their own good and they kind of lose it. The "Aaron Cometbus..." tune is a nice and frantic ripper though, with Amanda only on vox in all her cape wearing glory. Nice little record from the little band that could. Scum stats: first press of 300 on black and second press of 200 on clear. Both have same nice-looking sleeves and shitty looking labels. Hand-numbered.(RK)
(Certified PR Records // www.myspace.com/certifiedpr)
The Larksmen s/t LP
Middle-aged dudes playing middle-aged garage rock. One of the dudes from The Music Machine wrote and played on a couple of these tunes. They're terrible. I would've slept through most of this LP, but my dog woke me up because he had to take a leak. I didn't let him piss on this record. But he wanted to, trust me. My favorite part of my Larksmen experience was their press release that had a blurb from someone called Bob, apparently a reviewer at "renowned" publication Maximun Rock'n'Roll. Bob said it was "Pretty cool." That's the blurb, in bold, on the press sheet. "Pretty cool." Well, at least they didn't make shit up. And Bob's a more generous guy than me. The fact that this thing is on pretty heavy vinyl just makes me wish it would've been put to better use.(RK)
(Skylark Records // myspace.com/larksmen)
Lightning Beat Man "Baby Obsession" EP
Semi-creepy theme record from the King of Apartment Wrestling Rock'n'Roll. All tunes are just Beatman and his axe, no drums, bass, etc. "It's Just Me" has the patented Beatman croak layered over a bluesy number that he plays on what sounds like Steve Albini's guitar. "My Baby's Child" has him borrowing one of The Spits' guitars for a disturbing doom-punk number. He channels Bo Diddley on "Baby Aha" and then actually adds an extra guitar track and some minimal backing vocals for "Baby Your Alright", which is basically Rev. Beatman gone weird punk. The best record I've heard from this guy in years. Scums stats: 312 on black, 77 on color, plus some various test pressings and one-sided variants. Too much to keep track of. Really nice and thick sleeves too. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)
Los Llamarada "The Exploding Now" LP
Whether from the seedy streets of Gay Paris or the
hairy backwoods of Northern California, Sacto's S-S
Records is not afraid to venture far and wide for new
strains of outsider punk music. Their newest
discoveries hail from Monterrey, Mexico, not exactly a
known hotbed of Weird Punk. There's some interesting
junk on this LP, but, truthfully, much of it seems
unfinished. I like things raw, but a few more stabs at
some of these songs could've benefited the group.
Maybe it's the lo-fi production on here, but a a lot
of this stuff sounds like Times New Viking, which is
kind of funny, but not really so crazy. Cycles, yo. I
like when they layer noisy guitar and keyboard swirls
as on "Lies." "The Discovery" is almost thuggish, but
in a playful way. "I Welcome Tomorrow" has a great
all-encompassing organ drone while some dude mumbles
and screams in the background. "Je Sois" (can't escape
them Frenchies!) could easily fit on one of those
Sonic Youth SYR dillies; it sounds exactly like some
breathy, sketchy Kim Gordon piece. The rest of side 2
drifts off in a haze of noise hovering over
rudimentary drums and indecipherable vocals. Hopefully
they keep it together for round two, cuz that one
could be a doozy. (EEK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Lucy and the Lipstix "A Galaxy Evolution" MCD
Starting off as extravagantly as you would expect a band of outer-space Japanese glam punks' album to start, the new Lucy and the Lipstix mini-CD calls out with synthesizers, slide guitars and zoob tubes. The whole package seems designed to blind and confuse listeners, full of glittery cardstock, messed up test patterns and unholy color combinations in the lyric sheet. The "Space thanx" thank a few different designers, so it seems that this was wholly intentional.
Out of the three songs on the CD, the listener is treated to bites of each bit of a Lucy and the Lipstix live show. Straight glam rock with hints of punk, space disco/live club music and a fine example of the forgotten artform known as the space ballad. While it is an eminently listenable CD and a style that doesn't seem to be represented as much at the moment, the price-to-quantity of music ratio is awfully low. If you are a big fan of the band or glam in general (when I say this, I think of The Quick or Zolar X), it would be worth the cost of importing a copy. Casual listeners may want to wait for a full length or singles compilation to come out in the future before they get a taste for Lucy and the Lipstix. (JC)
(Young Metropolis // www.young-metropolis.com)
Luxury Rides ďShe Just Don't Care" 7"
Is this the same band even?!?! I've held on to the old SSLD single thinking it was alright, perhaps a grower, but I wasn't prepared for this. Wowsa. I played the B-side first. Oops.
"Make Love" comes across like a mashed up Bantam Rooster doing a take on cock-rock via Tony Sagger. Nice sloppy kick in the sac. "Let it Fly": ah, here we go. This sounds like the SSLD band. Has a little more swagger to it, dare I say Stones-ey, but barely held together by a fine thread of drunken slop. The A-Side: "She Just Don't Care" is a great little stomper. Should keep the Goner crowd pleased. Then we hit "Me & My Baby". Sweet Hasil Adkins goes Chuck Berry piss-take fuck all. Really digging this. Even has some nice lady-like backup vox.
Since listening to this dozen times or so, I've gone back and played the older single. It's getting better with age. Good game boys, good game. (RSF)
Midnight "Slay the Spits" EP
Midnight is a one man "studio" death/thrash metal attack from the nether-regions of Cleveland Ohio who have released some high quality stuff in the genre (see the "Complete and Total Fucking Midnight" 2XLP for evidence). Here, the guy gives you garage-punk fans something to glom onto as he squeezes four Spits covers onto seven inches of vinyl inna lo-fi scuzz metal vein and the results are outstanding. I'm a big fan of basement-recorded demo-quality metal shit, and this here's about as shit-fi as you can get. Real boom box fidelity here, sounds like trash in such a good way. "Shitty World", "Rat Face", "Nuclear Bomb" and "Black Kar" get the Midnight treatment and I can't pick a favorite, as they all sound equally hissy and amazing. That The Spits sounds would translate to the metal paradigm so well should actually be no surprise, as their tunes aren't exactly brain surgery, but man, who would've thought it would sound so great. Guttural vocals, well placed guitar solos, half-ass drum smash, ridiculous looking sleeve, this thing has it all, for fans of The Spits, "poverty metal" or just anything absolutely retarded, this is a must-have. Garbage in the best possible sense. Scums stats: 500 pressed, 100 on slop colored vinyl. (RK)
(My Mind's Eye // www.mymindseyerecords.com)
Necropolis "Stumpf" EP
Wow, this is quite a departure from their excellent,
decidedly "pro" sounding LP. This 7" was recorded on
4-track at their practice spot and it sounds great!
"Stumpf" is a an aggressive garage-punker with drunken
vocals and screaming leads flying all over the place.
"Van v. Art" steps back into the more post-punk sound
they do, but is just as aggro and noisy as the A. I
like when bands show us all their schizophrenic moods.
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Network of Wonder "No Dub Demo" CDR
Demos don't usually deserve to be reviewed, but Network of Wonder features members coming from a prominent band and are playing a familiar-yet-different style, so why not let people know about them before it's too late? Network of Wonder (or N.O.W.) is fronted by the singer from Laukaus, with drums being taken care of by the Laukaus drummer as well.
Getting away from the Finnish punk copying of Laukaus, N.O.W. steps further towards Japanese punk this time. More specifically, the members apply a Japanese style of workmanship that incorporates existing elements (Laukaus, 77 punk styles, other melodic stylings) and crafts them into something altogther new, yet exceedingly familiar to the ears.
The tempo varies between fast, bordering on out-of-control speeds and dreamlike trances with catchy melodies floating through them. All six songs work together well and make N.O.W. a great band to look out for in the future. For all fans of punk and hardcore, especially those that enjoy melody thrown into something that feels like it'll all fall apart the minute it slows down. Highly recommended. (JC)
(self released // buy it from punx.exblog.jp)
Night of Pleasure "Godard vs.Truffaut" EP
Total Albini-damage here, especially in the
wire-cutter guitar sound. But the songs veer into
classic punk territory, off-setting the scrape n'
clang. "Caesar's Palace" sounds like early Gaunt, but
even noisier. "Bitch Pitch" has a New Bomb Turks vibe,
but filtered through a decade of pig-fuckery.
Actually, it all comes up smelliing like Monster Truck
Five, which is as close to roses as you can get in
Cowtown. Real classic C-bus shit here. Cool swirly
black vinyl too.(EEK)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Night Terrors "Cobras" CD/LP
No one liked Zurfluh. Not even me. And I think I like this band more than most. But that was just a bad record. It made sense after MC dubbed it "weed garage", but that still didn't make it good. On this one, it sounds like The Tonys and Kevin still smoked a bunch of bowls, but they remembered to write some fucking tunes this time too! "Thought Controller" is a total ruler. So is "Factory". Pretty heavy working man's rock tuneage with velevety vox from the smooth-throated Tony Sagger. Sure, this thing isn't packed with hits and hooks, but it is great for packing bong hits and inebriated headbanging. Garage metal? Who knows! Great sounding Tronic Graveyard production, this should sit very well with anyone who is longing for the release of either the third Mistreaters LP or a new Sagger record in any form. Haters should give these dudes another chance with this one, it's a solid LP. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
The Novelties "Instead of A Hug" EP
This one here is the best of the four new Swedish-style Ken Rock platters. Real head-of-the-class shit. "Instead of A Hug" actually appears to be a love song dedicated to the titular bass player of HFOS himself. Sort of a slow dark-pop kind of neo-Blondie-ish style (but without any keyboards) and the gal singing sounds like a cross between Nina Hagen and Alice Bag. The whole EP has a kind of lecherous feel with some definite weird punk/weird sex stylings. "Miniskirt" is about underage girls who don't wear panties sung by a swarthy sounding Swedish dude. Great stuff so far. The B-Side kicks off with a tune called "Bass in My Ass". No shit. As junior high as it may be, I actually find this girl singing "I've got a bass in my ass" to be fairly hilarious. The band manages to sound like the Swedish Shitbirds, or maybe even the No-Talents at this point. Then they close with "Chanel No. 5", another shadowy poppy/wave number about finding your man with another girl and scratching her eyes out. A pretty fucking cool record, and the one you probably need to have out of the new Ken Rock four pack. Scum stats: 300 pressed, 50 with an alternate sleeve.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)
Operation S "Is It Good? (Or Is It Bad?)" 7"
I could make a terribly lame joke relating the title track of this 7" to the actual quality of the tunes, but I like to think I'm better than that. I've become exponentially more bummed out by this band with every release, and with this single my bumming has reached its nadir. Cecelia's outstanding work in the past (No-Talents, set Ennuis, Wild Wild Records) has sucked me into this project with every record, and it appears they have now reached the end of the chain, having evolved from a pretty solid French punk band on that very first 7" (oh, the pre-synthesizer days...) to the French equivalent of The Epoxies on this one. Ugh. Just really paint-by-numbers synth-"punk". I usually like to think that if you took the synths out of most Operation S tunes they would be good, but that's not even gonna work anymore. Stay away. Colored vinyl looks really good though. Scum stats: limited mail-order color vinyl variant (a red with black splatter job). Unsure of total pressing numbers at time of publication.(RK)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)
Operation S "Fermeture Definitive" 7"
The title track of this one is actually kind of cool. The synth doesn't bother me so much. It has a little bit of an edge, a little darkness, sounding perhaps like a synthed-up Tyrades but with far less froth. On the B-Side, the synth once again becomes too much for me to deal with. "Caligari" could be a great slice of Tyrades-esque danger-punk, but the keyboards totally turn it to shit. This band is fucked. Get rid of the keyboard player already! When will you listen to me? Blargh. By the way, this is Music for Haters Vol.8 for anyone keeping track. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)
Oscars "Jump for Joy" 7"
Must've been at least four years ago or so, I ordered a CDR called "Blow Yourself Up" from Contaminated by some Memphis band I had never heard before called The Oscars. It was pretty friggin' good. Especially this song "Jump for Joy". Real nice slice of Eighties-esque downer-punk. So, I looked out for them, and they ended up releasing a 7" and a CD that I thought pretty much sucked in comparison to the CDR stuff. So here we are, back to "Jump for Joy", a tune that definitely deserves vinyl treatment. They add two more (one of which was also on that CDR, "Limited Offer", another good 'un with some effective Wipers-isms) and a newer one called "A Whore Can Get a Job Anywhere" that balances the loser-punk vibe with an upbeat chorus. A decent record that should've probably come out years ago instead of the other stuff they released, definitely the cream of this band's oevure to date. Memphis minutiae = Alicja Trout recorded this and Jay Reatard has been known to play bass for them, though I'm not sure if he plays on this or not. Scum stats: Goner-style, first 100 on clear?(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Out With A Bang "I'm Against It" 7"
Just reviewing this to let you know it's out there for anyone who missed the 12" version. One of the best records of last year shrunk down five inches. The stickler being they switch one track out and replace it with "Hurt Youself" for all you completists. But you probably wouldn't realize it if I didn't tell ya. Different back cover art as well. You need this record in one form or another. Scums stats: 1000 copies, black vinyl, with insert. (RK)
(Fashionable Idiots Records // www.fashionableidiots.com)
Out With A Bang "Few Beers Left But Out Of Drugs" EP
These Italian fuckers left a lasting impression on most of the people they touched while touring the US earlier this year for good reason. They're the extreme end of the people-hating/drug-loving punk spectrum, to an almost ridiculous level. Subject matter here includes running out of drugs, scoring drugs, hating lame bands, needing to be fucked up to live and committing suicide, among other uplifting topics. The sort of shit that makes you wonder how they function enough as people to actually record this shit. Well, maybe they aren't total scum of the earth, but they are doing a good job at trying real hard. Sooo, the music on this thing? If you like "I'm Against It" well, you'll love this. Full-throttle chops to throat here. Maybe a little more burly sounding than on the 12" even. Heavy duty scumbag shit, hardcore velocity pointed right at your face. This record does not care if you like it or not. Four ballsy tunes, including one that could be a Mr. California cover?! Scums stats: some limited copies on white vinyl. (RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Pets "Let's Go" 45
While I'm a fan of everything the Pets have done, with this single they have achieved the full potential hinted at on their other records, surpassing their heretofore best effort in the "Only One" b/w "Never Ending Tree" single. Both songs are full on hits - the kind of catchy, yet not at all saccharine punk rock that reminds you why you got into this stuff in the first place. "Let's Go" is a steamroller of a tune that builds tension on the slightly long verse and fake-out of a pre-chorus until exploding into a chorus where the interplay of a simple, easily shouted along with vocal, a clever bassline, and a drummer that starts beating the shit out of his kit makes for a most agreeable arrangement of sounds. Then things get really serious with a raucous, yet tasteful solo that makes this song the definition of Steve Cataldo's "gearbox theory" of songwriting. And that's not even the best song on the record! "I Want Fun" is a perfect song if ever there was one. There's not a single thing they could have done differently to improve upon it - the vocals have the sort of punk nonchalance that so few can pull off right (just listen to the way Dan sings "well I donĀft ever get out of bed" if you don't believe me), the lyrics are instantly easy to identify with (who doesn't want to stay out having fun unencumbered by a miserable job?), the instruments are reined in on the verses and let loose on the powder keg of a chorus, there are some tasteful keyboards added to the verse after the first chorus (thereby not wearing out their welcome), and a bridge that culminates in a swirling guitar solo before kicking into one last round of "I wanna have fun/the night is still young." That, my friends, is great songwriting. As someone who writes songs myself, I'm particularly impressed with the Pets' accomplishment here, but all it takes to enjoy this single is a pair of functioning ears and a heart that appreciates great rocken' roll. I'd like to close this review with a message to the Pets: it's album time guys. Push it through! (SB)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
The Pink Fits "Fuzzyard Gravebox" CD
Dunno much about this band 'cept they're from
Australia, which makes sense cuz Those From Oz can do
these sounds better than anyone. Y'know,
kangaroo-killing gut-rock. Fuzzyard Gravebox sounds
like it could've been sent to Crypt Records back in
the mid-90s, but was rejected for being too generic
and maybe a little too cheesy. And it is. But there's
something compelling about this album, and it's this:
According to the liners, it was recorded live in four
hours, which is kinda cool. Nice, loud sound and good
playing. Too bad it's corny blues-punk regurgitation,
but I bet live these guys could kick an ass or two.
...I have to admit that ďrawkĒ didnít enter my lexicon at the same time it did some of my peers, and I was left in the dust, reading references to the word and having to imagine what it meant. This CD by The Pink Fits pretty much sums up my invented definition of ďrawkĒ: thereís a harmonica solo ten seconds into the first song, plenty of stale, heard-it-too-many-times-before guitar wankery, a little too much reverb in the vocals, the disk itself is printed with flames...maybe you get the drift. There are ten songs here and I had a hard time making it through one, but Iím a trooper and actually did listen all the way through. If your tastes overlap with mine I can assure you that you do not need to do the same in hopes of finding a gem hidden behind terrible artwork.(DH)
(Off the Hip // www.offthehip.com.au)
Pissed Jeans "Hope for Men" LP/CD
What can I say about this besides the fact that it will make real men out of some of you. If you even liked 'Shallow' a little bit, this record will have you buying it roses and trying to slip your dick in its sleeve while its passed out after all those whiskey sours you poured down its throat. What? Absolute pummelers like "I've Still Got You (Ice Cream)" and "Fantasy World" (which was the name of the comic shop where I spent many girl-free hours in my pre-teens, ironically) sit well beside disturbing change-of-pacers like "Scrapbooking" and "The Jogger", two tunes which may make or break the alb for some. Personally, "Scrapbooking" is a high-water mark for this band. It don't get much weirder. DO NOT play this while your wife/girlfreind is around, because she will either laugh at you for liking it or refuse to have sex with you for a week. The vinyl on this could run out fast a la the A-Frames' 'Black Forest' so act fast, supposedly the first few will be on colored wax. Put the creep on.(RK)
(SubPop // www.subpop.com)
Pneumonias "Automatic Pistol" EP
From France. Sounds like a heavier Four Slicks, pushing the muscled up hot-roddy garage. Four high octane tracks, if this is your bag. Kinda got a mid-Ninteies Rip Off vibe as well. A bit of snot in the motor oil. Actually, I think they swiped this sleeve design from The Swindlers and just pasted their name and song titles on it. I will say this much, this thing is mastered fucking LOUD. I wish more records roared off the table like this. (RK)
(Frantic City // www.franticcity.free.fr)
The Ponys "Turn The Lights Out" LP/CD
Can't help but wonder if the title is a reference to
Interpol's college-chart-busting Turn On The Bright
Lights, which was also on Matador. Cheeky bastards,
these Ponys. Now, the obvious joke would be, "What's
the diff between these gay indie bands anyway?" Hardee
har. Yes, The Ponys sure are sounding more "indie"
these days, but that's apropos of nothing, really.
Although I could see the first cut, "Double Vision,"
maybe burnin up a chart or two. It's similar to
Celebration Castle's "Glass Conversation," with its
deep reverb stabs and hooky chorus. The rest of the LP
follows suit, walking the middleground between Laced
With Romance and Castle. I think Romance is a classic
and I think Castle could've made a great EP, instead
of an OK LP. This one continues the streak. They head
back into noisy, reverb-drenched waters on some of
these cuts, but you've also got some sluggish, boring
tracks like "Shine" and "Kingdom of Hearts." "Poser
Psychotic" sounds like current Sonic Youth. Nothing on
here surprises like "She's Broken" and damn I miss
Ian's songs, they added another shade and kept
everything from sounding so rote. Hate to say it,
Ponys, but I don't wanna fuck you no more. (EEK)
(Matador // www.matadorrecords.com)
The Ponys "So Sentimental" EP
Why a review of an old record? Well, it's been repressed and remastered, that's why. Firstly, this and the Big Neck single are the only Ponys records I love. And the B-Side of this one, "Sorceress of the South Side" is my favorite Ponys tune. I liked how they sounded dirty and actually garage-y on this one. So what does the remaster job do to that? Well, it definitely sounds punchier/crisper, there's clearer separation between the instruments (the bass jumps out a little more I think), just overall a little cleaner (obviously). I don't think it takes any of the trashy charm off this one at all. I mean, I liked the way it sounded in the first place, but after a comparison between the two versions you can see why they did it. So, yeah, sounds great, and this is definitely one of the few Ponys records you need. Cover art is still the same, but with three different paper colors this time, 500 on black vinyl. Alicja's doing the world a service keeping this pup in print. (RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Potential Johns "Only Time" 7"
Raiding the Reds/Marked Men vaults here, the Potential Johns are what I assume to be an outlet for Jeff's songs in some form or another while both of the aforementioned bands were still going as well. I'm no expert on this topic, but this is the direction the evidence is pointing me in. The A-Side contains three tunes recorded in '96-'97, all two minute or less blasts that sound like running ideas for tunes that were to be fleshed out later, or perhaps actually evolved into other tunes if you want to get all Sherlock Holmes here. Definitely of the demo variety, not so much because of the recording quality (which is fine four track work), but for the fact that the tunes sound only half-written. The B-Side is one track from 2003, a moody and self-doubting pop-punk (yes, I will call this pop-punk) joint that this guy probably writes in his sleep. A nice little fans-only release here, if you're a MM fanatic this would deserve a place in your collection. For borderline fans, maybe not, but if you need some sort of gauge, this stuff sounds most reminiscent of the first MM LP. Scum stats: 100 on green, with nicely illustrated lyric booklet. (RK)
(Sandwich Man Records // myspace.com/sandwichmanrecords)
Power Chords "Unattached Strings" 7"
Crisp and clean pop-punk meets neo-power-pop, like the Clorox Girls and Exploding Hearts wrote a couple tunes together. "Unattached Strings" has pop-punk verses and a power-pop chorus and is very well played, sounds fairly complex, and is heavy on the vocal harmonies. A well made product here. The flip side, "Dream Girl", even contains some Buzzcocks-esque mania. Not totally wimpy, but still fairly gay. There are people out there who will like this far more than me. (RK)
(Mean Buzz Records // www.meanbuzzrecords.com)
Rapid Adapter "Live the Lie" EP
Milwaukee trio put forth a disc full of Crypt-robbing and Rip Offery, particularly of the Japanese-influenced variety (I'm hearing plenty of Registrators and Teengenerate and...is that some Intimate Fags?), mixed with some KBD-isms as well (first tune reminds me of Detention for some reason). Anyway, these recordings are little rough, certainly demo quality, and the jam-packed A-Side doesn't leave you that much to hold onto hook-wise, but they have short-sharp attack down right, and on "Grow A Soul" show off a mound of potential with a catchy post-TB 'strators vibe built on a nifty bass line. If they write some more like that and find a suitable recording "sound" they could go places. Swell Plastic Idols cover on the flip and "Proximity Mine" is a keeper as well, I think RA come off a little better on the B-Side where things are spread out a little. Not bad at all for a first release. Record-collector punk all the way. (RK)
(Frame of Reference Records // myspace.com/rapidadapter)
Jay Reatard "Night of Broken Glass" 12"
Jay Reatard "I Know A Place" 7"
I love all things Reatard, but I'm having trouble sticking with these two records. The 12" really does seem like leftovers from 'Blood Visions', and I find the A-Side particularly un-noteworthy and even grating. Not his best work at all. The Goner single is sort of an acoustic-pop thing, including a swell Go-Betweens cover on the flipside. It's actually good, definitely the one you need to have out of these two. I'm having a little trouble with some of the lyrics on these records though. I wonder sometimes if he has a teenage girl from the Memphis Jr. High creative writing class ghostwriting them for him. I mean, there aren't many people baring their souls musically like Jay Reatard in this day and age and the blunt simplicity of some of the lyrics may match his visceral approach, since the guy practically bleeds on every piece of vinyl he releases. And that's why I love his work. But I just wish they sounded...more thought out?
I can't tell if he's just keeping it simple or mailing it in with this stuff. I can't help but feel like these releases are just him treading water. I guess you're gonna drop some sub-par material when you release as many records as this guy, and I still dig the "new direction" he's taking. But I think he can do better than this. Fuck, I WANT him to do better than this. Still better than a lof of junk out there, but neither of these will add much to his recorded legacy.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Rock'n'Roll Adventure Kids "Hot Dog" 7"
I really thought this band was dead. But much to my delight, the have some new vinyl here, packed with two winners from your dinner. "Hot Dog" is like a fifteen second song they just play ten times in succession. Raunchy slide guitar action, heavy breathing, teenage wailing...is that a fucking kazoo? If that's not a kazoo I don't what the fuck it is. A rowdy ode to everyone's favorite encased meat snack that is sloppier than that last 3:00am scum-dog you ate at Louie's Texas Hots. Top notch. On the B-Side they do that goofy hillbilly-garage-stomp shit they should hold the patent on. "Panties In My Pocket", a real knee-slapper they squeeze every minute of fun out of. And then they play it for another thirty seconds just to make sure they killed it. West Coast white trash smash doesn't get done much better than this. (RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Romance Novels "Another Summer" 7"
Two smash AM-radio hits featuring some of the thinnest/tinniest sounding recording you're gonna hear, but it still sounds good to me. Another in the "coulda been on Radio X" column, both songs are fairly catchy and sing-alongable, like a no-fi Flakesism. Drums sound like someone smashing a cymbal and tapping their fingers on a desk, guitars carry the whole thing, vox are pretty wild. Everyone will dig this, say if you like Darrin Rafflehead projects, crap-fidelity and pop craftsmanship. 300 copies. (RK)
(Pizza Party Records // try bistrodistro.com)
Rot Shit "Worst Kids Ever" EP
I never thought this record would exist. But somehow these queens talked Bart Hart into releasing a twelve-song 45rpm 7". And it actually sounds pretty good. I mean, it's a fucking mess for sure, but way better than I would imagine this idiocy would sound. Dumb, obnoxious, stupid, drug-influenced, piss drunk...I could throw adjectives at these puds all day. But it wouldn't diminish the fact that this record is pretty fucking hilarious. Includes Queers and Loli covers. Total life-ruining shitbag rock made by total shitbags. Well, made by at least one total shitbag. The rest of them have some redeeming qualities. A one-time only affair here people, get this one while it's steaming hot. COPS stay away. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Salted Wounds "National Buyproduct" EP
Shit, man...I donít know what they lace the weed with in Golden, CO...but these cretins have smoked far too much regardless. One look at the photo on the back of the sleeve, and you know the kind of retardo dope head scum trip that awaits you. This photograph gives the impression this music was made by some genuinely crusty looking social castaways. And thatís rarely a bad thing. Salted Wounds play some filthy mid-80s crossover type shit here óthe production and playing is not too far off the map from...say...Cryptic Slaughter. Lyrically and vocally, itís straight up brain damaged. If it werenít for the brain damage thing...these ďfellasĒ might drift closer into metal territory. But they have a funny charm to them (brain damage) that keeps them teetering on the right side of the fence. Special thanks to the Weed Growers of America, for without their support this record would not have been possible.(LB)
(Less Art Records // www.myspace.com/97654407)
Shoot It Up "Pop" EP
Imagine Black Flag if Ginn was five feet tall and looked fifteen and got really into the hard drugs really early on, Chavo was replaced by his own uglier younger brother, Robo played with his eyes closed and The Duke never existed. That's what Shoot It Up sound (and basically look) like. Seriously drug-addled youths rattling off real deal punk rock tuneage. Non-stop hack and slash guitar work that seems surprisingly (or accidentally) skilled at times, fucked vox from some kid who is probably a legit menace to society and drums that just keep rolling and rolling until the song stops. This thing reeks of weed, pills and booze of the cheap variety. Six-songs packed on a single that sounds a little bit better recording-wise than the first one. Nothing grabs me like "Traintracks" off the first one yet, but it took half a year for that one to catch up to me. This shit is pretty tight. If you don't like this record, you are definitely not a punk. Kids of the world, stop being queer and start making more records that sound like this! Scums stats: first press sold out (500 on black?), with repress of 300 on color ready to go. With insert.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)
Shop Fronts s/t LP/CD
It does sadden me to think I may be reviewing the last Rip Off Records release ever here. I wasn't even sure this thing was out for months, as the Rip Off site hasn't been updated in forever, Greg won't answer my e-mails anymore...probably too busy spending all the money from the Supercharger reunion. But who really knows what's in store, as Lowery always seems to have a surprise when you least expect it...but, on to the record. The Shop Fronts could be a fitting last act for the Rip Off roster, as they certainly draw plenty of influence from the label's stable of talent. Heck, a young Jami Wolf was even a Lowery acolyte in the first version of the Zodiac Killers. And to make it even more fitting, the Shop Fronts are actually broken up now as well it seems. What a rip off! Anyway, Paddy & Co. fire off a baker's dozen worth of cuts here, including a couple repeats from the last single, a live version of their "theme song" and a cover of the other side of the Rings 7". Snotty NYC punk rock that makes me remember I actually saw them live a couple of times, and they were always enjoyable. Sure, they're no Registrators or Reds, but you'll be listening to this long after you've forgotten about The Shifters and Chronics. Wait...I think I already forgot about those bands..viva la Rip Off! Scum stats: some copies on red vinyl, probably more than are on black because Greg thinks that shit is funny. (RK)
(Rip Off Records // www.ripoffrecords.org)
The Shudders "Battleground" 7"
Three-piece female band from Oakland, CA (aka The Land of Cardwell), who I'm assuming are making their vinyl debut with this four song single. These girls are kind of noisy, which I like, because we really don't need any more SFTRI pop-punk or garage-blues girl acts. They have a little something special going here, maybe it's they way they discreetly cop the bass line from "Slip It In" on the title cut, or the scratchy sounding yet assertive vox, or the sometimes atonal guitar scraping. Or perhaps it's the line "...my pussy's gone platinum.." from a little number called "Streetwalking". Anyway, it's four songs long, one of them is about dreaming of Iggy, and I am enjoying it. Rough around the edges but still containing a sly wink of sweetness, a little post-punky in a Riot Grrrl sort of way, but sans the dude-hating and hairy armpits. McHugh/Distillery recording really helps the guitar sound extra special.Long Gone Dickie Christgau sez this is a strong B+. Scums stats: 300 copies, mine was on white vinyl, I'd hope they all are. Hand-numbered and hand spray painted sleeves with insert.(RK)
(Compact Records // theshudders-at-hotmail.com)
Sick-E's "Mankind" EP
I know nothing of who this band is. Allies of the Contaminators/Going Underground Records crew I'm presuming. Labelmates of Sweet Rot. It matters not. These fellas (?) lay down three tunes worth of bona-fide synth-punk, a little melodramatic (when isn't it though?), but not in a pretentiously gothy way. Like a really mean Monitors, straight forward synthiness with a nice menacing tone (no casio beep-boop shit), I hear little guitar but some nice bass-lines anchor the din. Super crazy dude vocals of the paranoid-apocalyptic variety work very well. They keep the songs simple, which is good. Most of the lyrics to "Get Out" are just this dude screaming "Get Out!". "So Sick" is great too. Nice downward spiral break/refrain, while this guy just yells "So Sick. So Sick. So Sick. Of this shiiit." I'm feelin ya brother. Third track is some end-of-the-world shit that is like a C-Side, but the two previous tracks work great for me. Repeated spins on this one. Nice job. Scum stats: 350 copies, three different color variations of screened sleeves.(RK)
(Square Wave Records // squarewaverecords-at-gmail.com)
SIDS "+/-" 7"EP + DVD
Let's start with the packaging: Absolutely stunning.
Cut-out cover revealing not one, but TWO layers of
etched vellum-like paper adorned with all manner of
skulls, flowers, and band members. Honestly, this
thing looks it should have come out on ThreeOneG and
had the name Get Hustle or Love Life on it. (This is
not an insult, by the way.) Instead, you get
Hotlanta's Sudden Infant Death Syndrome bashing their
way through a mini-album's worth of songs. First cut,
"+/- (Swastika Heart)," is the winner, all frantic
synth blurts and manic, Hot Rod Toddy vocals. "Acid
One" is the funHouse jam, tripping you out with the
mirrors bending your head this way and that. Other
side has a lock-groove in the middle of the record
which is pretty fucking cool if totally fucking
annoying. There's some kinda repeating blown-out
madness happening that I'll let you try to wrap around
yr head. Bonus: Comes with DVD-R of the 7" tracks plus
photos n' shit. Another quality release from Rob's
Who the hell went to the trouble of die-cutting this thing? Jesus! I mean they even cut a drum kit from it. Insanely purty packaging with inserts galore.
Electro trash synth-punk that will appeal to folks into Point Line Plane (remember them? S-S does), Skullening, and even some Screamers. Well, any band with keys gets that...Sorry. That was lazy. More dark wave than those. Kind of dance-y. Kind of evil. A-side is fierce. B-side churns out quite a racket, for sure. I'm not complaining, proud purchase.
Locked grooves and turntable tricks aplenty. Not a lazy listen. Guess that's the real reason it comes with the companion CD.(RSF)
(Rob's House // www.robshouserecords.com)
Snake Apartment "Paint the Walls" 12"
If there is one thing I am absolutely pig-in-shit happy about these days, it's the resurgence of what some doinks have called the "AmRep" or "Touch & Go" sound. Clockcleaner and Pissed Jeans now have some competition in the scuzz-sludge wieght class with the emergence of Snake Apartment. They've released a 12" EP on Parts Unknown with some next level cover art and some of the most fantastic looking colored vinyl I've seen and some hard tunes to match. I've touted this thing already, but let me warn you, this is not for panty-waists, people who don't listen to post-Damaged Black Flag or dudes who have never owned either a Melvins or Tad record and honestly liked them. Ginn-esque guitar chord wrasslin' leads the assault, with browbeating rhythms moving things along the sludge-tunnel while the vox drool over the resulting froth. Six tunes, all ragers, great song titles too ("Pigs Is Pigs", "Sad Orgasm", "Riffless",...) that the songs actually live up to. Get on this one, jack.(RK)
(Parts Unknown // www.partsunknownrecords.com)
Snuffed by the Yakuza "Fast Livin'" 7"
Swedish dudes playing super fast machine-gun punk. HFOS-core, if you will. Awkward band name aside, these guys do four numbers, with the gem being "The Fall Guy", even though it's not specifically about the TV show. "Private Dick" gets real nasty in a GG-scumfuc lyrical style, meaning lots of talk about sucking clits and shit, but the refrain of "I'm a fucker, you cock sucker" did catch on with me somewhat. They switch it up on the fourth tune for some mid-tempo garage pop, proving they aren't necessarily a one trick pony. Probably the least essential of the four new Ken Rockers, as Dean Dirg do a better job copping the HFOS style. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)
The Staggers "LIVE!" EP
Four live Farfisa wailers here, live from this Austrian six-piece of retro-minded gawrage rompers. If I was at a frat party and wearing a toga and obscenely drunk on bathtub gin and Piels, I would be pleased as shit if these guys were playing on the stage in the basement. Fuck, I'd be screaming for them to play "Shout!" so I could do The Alligator. On record, well, I guess I really don't need more versions of "Roadrunner" or "Justine". They certainly look the part and they got their schtick down pat though. I wonder if they make a living at this in Europe? Who knows. More power to 'em. Scum stats: 800 copies, I got one on red. Artwork by the one and only Beatman. (RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Straight Arrows "Can't Count" 7"
Punky and sloppy garage punekrs from Australia, who on the A-Side elicit visions of the early days of the Black Lips. Cough syrup slurring, wild gang shout-alongs, instruments bleeding all over. Nice to hear something actually truly wild instead of the Birdman/Stooges rawk bands that seems to grow on trees down there. The flip side slows it down a bit for a young and gunning Reigning Sound-ish approach. Both songs are strong, great sort of raw distorted guitar sound/recording, this is one of the better Aussie singles I've heard since the glory days of The Sailors. Good luck finding this one in the States. (RK)
(Juvenile Records // myspace.com/juvenilerecord)
Straightjacket Nation "Six Song EP"
Aussie hardcore punk that has a nice and thrashy Formaldehyde Junkies feel to it. "Deathcults" and "Deadbeats" are the ragers that click on this one, but the whole thing is pretty choice. These guys toured Oz with the Regulations and are far more ferocious than the new breed of Swedish retro-hardcore. They also do something all great hardcore bands should do, and that is have a cool logo that is easy to tag on any surface. The best Australian hardcore I've heard recently, but hey, I'm no expert. They've also done a split 7" with Eddy Current Suppresion Ring and the singer is responsible for the excellent Distort Cult Hardcore fanzine. Lean and mean stuff here that would probably give Matt Coppens a chubby. (RK)
(self-released // www.culthardcore.org)
Sudden Walks "My Nerves Are Fucking Shot" 7"
Straight-ahead late-Nineties sounding garage that blusters about like a big burly drunk at an emo show. From Connecticut of all places. I really like what these cats are doing, but hey, I'm Rip Off Records fanboy #1. Both cuts on the A-Side are knock-down drag-out garagepunk affairs, with an overblown sound and muscular chops. Brings to mind classic acts like The Mighty John Waynes or Jetpack. Powerfully surly, recklessly fast and bottom-end heavy with lots of crash cymbal abuse and some real hooks. The B-Side is a love song. Played by The Motards circa the Scuz tape. I give this a big thumbs up and someone tell Lowery to fire up the record press, cuz garagepunk ain't dead quite yet apparently. Scum stats: 300 copies only, with 25 issued in an alternate Deluxe Collectors Edition sleeve that is way better than the standard one. (RK)
(Never Heard Of It Records // myspace.com/suddenwalks)
Mark Sultan "Sultanic Verses" LP/CD
With the "Sultanic Verses" Mark Sultan delivers his best outing since the first King Khan and BBQ Show LP, and one of the finest records he's cranked out to date. Stylistically he's all over the place with this one - toy keyboards add a touch of low budget pop to some tracks, there are psych flavored tunes like the fantastic "Unicorn Rainbow Odyssey" (actually a pretty touching song despite what the goofy title would have you believe), stripped down punk scorchers, and of course the greasy rnb infused rock 'n' roll Mark has already proven himself a master of - and the results are both surprisingly cohesive and characteristically authentic. There's less of a "full band" sound than I was expecting getting into this, but it nevertheless sounds unlike anything he's done. I wouldn't go so far as to call this the "Between the Buttons" of Mark's oeuvre since it's still firmly grounded in the aesthetic of his prior records, but the chances taken here and the awesome results thereof do invite the comparison. It's really worth taking a moment to note that his voice sounds as incredible as ever. Mark is HANDS DOWN the best singer in all of rock at the moment - it's not even close. Add to that his unwavering vision and singular songwriting talent and you've got a recipe that can't be beat. If you like rock 'n' roll there's really no conceiveable way you won't be ga-ga over this LP.(SB)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Suspicions "First Love" 7"
"Charming" may not be a word too often associated with punk rock, but I'll be damned if there's a better single word description of the Suspicions' sound. Since in the year 2007 anything in our little underground rock scene that has more than a dash of pop in it is labeled "powerpop" I think itĀfs worth stating at the onset that this is a punk rock record. The Suspicions are a band that is seemingly coming from closer to the Heats side of town rather than DOA's neck of the woods, but just listen to how the bare bones guitar lead in "First Love" brims with as much simplistic perfection as a Red Cross solo, or the overall minimalist song structures they employ; this is the sound of a band rising above the limits of their technical ability and creating instantly memorable and exciting music. Last time I checked, that's part of what punk rock was all about. Throw in some tasty tambourine, well-placed backing vocals, clever hooks, lyrics straight out of 60's pop standards (ex: there's a line in one of the songs about embroidering an ex-boyfriend's initials in a favorite skirt), and a general sense of naivete that leads one to believe the band is about ten years younger than they actually are and embroiled in the midst of real life high school romances, and you've got the Suspicions sound. Perhaps a new genre name needs to be coined for stuff like this: Charm Punk. Chalk up another winner for the Suspicions. I'm really looking forward to hearing what they do next!(SB)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Suttree "Dark Hollow" 7"
Debut 7" from this Asheville, NC seven-piece ensemble who play what they aptly call 'Hillbilly Shoegaze'. The Cormac McCarthy reference works, as they play deep and reflective psychedelic-folk tunes, with banjo, tambourine and slide guitar working to give them a definite backwoods Appalachia vibe. Two songs on this, with excellent male/female vocal interplay and a haunted and creepily rural vibe. Features ex members of The Labiators, who released a great 2x7" a while back, and some of them have played with Don Howland in Burning Bush. And if you're still looking for credentials, this was recorded by Asheville transplant Greg Cartwright. Great music for Sunday evenings in the summer around dusk with a mason jar full of liquor at your side. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on red, 100 on blue, with an amazing letter-pressed and silk-screened sleeve. (RK)
(Genderless Records // suttreemusic-at-gmail.com)
Tall Birds "Action" 7"
Second release from the upstart Shake Appeal label, whose two releases so far (Titus Andronicus and this) have been quality efforts. Nice and thick cardstock sleeves, great looking labels and art, cool logo and excellent selections of new and unheard bands. Tall Birds feature some ex-Catheters, and I was a big fan of that group, which a lot of people didn't seem to be. Too rawk or some such bullshit. But I'm telling you, the "Stay This Way Forerver" single on Kapow and choice cuts off all the SubPop records are rich slices of Northwest teen rock action that can not be denied. Go back and listen now or be at the mercy of the blog that unearths them in 2015. So Tall Birds, slighty remiscent of the Catheters but with a hard psych edge, and without the Dead Boys-via-Green River punk-rawkisms. "Action" contains a giant size solo of the wicked variety that will leave you drooling. Very well done basement psych-rock, which is quite refreshing. Perhaps a bit like a less overboard Comets on Fire even. They have a single out on Sub Pop as well, which I will reprt on soon. Scum stats: 500 copies. Bonus points for what appears to be a giant D20 on the sleeve. (RK)
(Shake Appeal Records // www.shakeappealrecords.com)
Test Patterns "No Translation" 7"
Husband/wife affair with Dan (formerly of the Radio Beats) and Yago (still with Gito Gito Hustler) kicking out the feelin' good power pop rock jams here. Dan sings on the first one, and I'll be damned, but the guy can actually sing! I always thought he was one on the foremost buzzsaw guitarists working these days, but it turns out the dude's got some pipes too. Kinda sounds like a more macho Jered from The Ponys. And the tune is great too, deliciously poopy with some frantic edges. Yago takes over the vox on "No Translation", another great original. I dig Dan's song more. The B-Side is a nice cover of The Rubinoo's "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" sung charmingly by Yago. Honestly, I didn't expect this band to be this good. And they're even better live than on this record. I hope Dan sings more on the upcoming single on Shit Sandwich. Scum stats: 500 on clear vinyl. (RK)
(Contaminated // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Times New Viking "Presents the Paisley Reich" 12"
Now that Times New Viking has made the jump to
mega-indie Matador, let's evaluate their brief but
shining career, shall we? Their debut, Dig Yourself,
was a sleeper hit just a year-plus ago. One of those
"you gotta hear this" records you play for all your
friends until they see the light and love it just as
much as you do. Well, it was for me at least. Last
record I can remember being that pushy with was The
Ponys' Laced With Romance. Before I moved to The Big
Apple, I tried my damndest to turn all of the North
Coast onto that sucker. Thank you and you're welcome.
Soon after, seems the whole world was feeling the vibe
as indie rockers, punks, noise freaks, and even
hardcore kids were joining hands in solidarity with
the blissed-out basement punk of TNV. Gerard Cosloy
must've gotten a whiff cuz now they're "big time."
Bout fuckin time Matador signed a band that references
what made them in the first place. Enough of the
goddamn Adult Contemporary shit, folks!
OK, so the credit really lays on the brow of Tom Lax,
who brought back his defunct/classic label Siltbreeze
just to put out this band's records (and now
Siltbreeze is the toast of the town again). They say
pop culture moves in cycles. Sometimes "they" are
right. So, how's the new mini-LP (nice lyrical
etchings on the flip)? No huge strides are being made,
and that's OK with me and probably you, too. Some have
implied that this one's better than Dig Yourself, but
I don't really buy that. It's more like a
continuation. Same perfect, fuzzy production style,
same real good, catchy songs, same great boy/girl
vocals singing witty lyrics about small town doings
and big escapist dreams. Bottom line: You like this
band? You like this record. We'll see what happens
(Siltbreeze // www.siltbreeze.com)
Titus Andronicus s/t 7Ē
Wow. Hard record to peg. Poppy? Yup. Weird? Sure. But after that it gets a bit complicated. The debut release from this New Jersey band, and also the first record on Portlandís Shake Appeal Records this thing earns points for being genuinely strange without overtly trying to play the weird card. The eponymous A-side track skates the line between indie and punk and reminds me a bit of early Pavement, a bit of the Pooh Sticks, and a bit of The Bananas. Itís also pretty fucking awesome. Thereís a bit of everything going on here from fuzzed out lead vocals to back-up gang vocals, to harmonicas and accordions poking their heads out of the mix, but amidst all of the layered chaos, the band somehow pulls it off. The flip, ďFear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJĒ isnít quite as rewarding but itís certainly no slouch. Itís also quite possibly the only song that Iíve ever liked that has an epic guitar part thatís half AC/DC, half Pogues, followed by a refrain of saxophones and flutes (reminding me a bit of the Deadly Snakes). Like I said, weird. 500 copies pressed. Second single coming soon onÖ(wait for it) Troubleman. Huh? (JG)
(Shake Appeal Records // www.shakeappealrecords.com)
Totalitar ďVi Ar ElitenĒ 12Ē
Itís interesting that Totalitar announced their retirement a few summers back since the band was hardly active in the first place. They rarely played shows and surfaced once every few years with enough recorded material to release a handful of EPs or, if we were lucky, a full length. The news that the end had come seemed to mean that no new records would be forthcoming, but I guess they just meant they wouldnít be playing any shows for a while, as usual. Right on schedule the band has come out of hibernation this winter to release the ďVi Ar ElitenĒ 12Ē on Prank Records (and an accompanying EP on Feral Ward), which adds 17 songs to their discography. Stylistically, the band continues to take a very specific formula (traditional riff-heavy Swedish hardcore), hone in and exploit every angle of it to come up, again and again, with songs that demand listening in spite of the template. This process of repetition would be a train wreck for most artists, but Totalitar manage to find the subtleties that keep their songs exciting. If this process requires a few years of rest between rounds then so be it; I am excited for Totalitar to call it quits again and I look forward to their next comeback in 2010.(DH)
(Prank Records // www.prankrecords.com)
The Touched "Funeral Dress" EP
Firstly, let me recommend that after you purchase this (which you should) you listen to the B-Side first. I'm a guy that when I first get a record, will spin the A-Side of a record a couple times before I flip it. I mean, it's the A-Side for a reason, right? Which was why I treaded water on this one for a while. This dude I know, nice guy, knows his shit, although sometimes maybe he knows too much shit, but anyway, he's telling me this thing is great. Not your standard trash-punk affair. So when I get it, I'm confused, because the A-Side of this certainly sounds like some sort of Candy Snatchers/Dwarves sleaze-punk hybrid. OK, it's fairly well done, but nothing I haven't heard before. So, the other night I decide to give it another chance and flip it over for the first time. And I knew what that dude was talking about. Holy fuck yes, the B-Side of this thing is where the action is, sure enough. Now this, this is not your average shit. "Backscratcher" is an intense mess of a song, hammering beat, warbling vocals spat, sick as fuck guitar effects-fuckery that could find a home on an Anal Babes record. I get a definite weird-o Cleve-o vibe, like some sort of Dead Boys/Eels/Ubu aberration, sorta punk, sorta weird punk, sorta art punk. Great shit, I love this song. "Gimme Your Heart" might be a little bit weirder even. Pagans-y perhaps. This guy's vocals get more unhinged as the record goes on. Great use of handclaps. Things get strange towards the end. The B-Side of this is absolute top shelf material. And after you listen to these two, the two songs on the A-Side start sounding a little weirder too, you know? You notice little things. Do not judge a band by their A-Side is the moral of this tale I guess. And you, you need to hear the shit on the B-Side of this.(RK)
(Black Velvet Fuckere Recordings // try S-S or Fusetron for this)
Touch-Me-Nots "It's Not Right But It's Okay" 7"
The internet tells me the A-Side of this is a cover of a Whiteny Houston track. Yeah, really. Perhaps I'm being lax in my research, but that's the info I'm being fed here. It's a good song. And perhaps a sign of a Bobby-Whitney dynamic happening behind the scenes with this duo as well. Who really knows? The B-Side has one original, "Bag O' Money", containing a great chorus and somewhat of a CCR vibe. And I mean that. A real 'American' feel is evident on this record, even on the Francoise Hardy cover that rounds it off. Not as immediately lovable as their debut 7", but just as charming in it's own right. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
Tractor Sex Fatality "Braces" EP
So, are TSF still active you ask? Well, I don't know Jimmy, but I do know they have dropped some new vinyl here, and it's their best single yet. "Whiskey Shits & Stripper Tips" is TSF at their most Monoshock-y, the band I first thought of when I first heard them live. Propulsive drumming carries the guitar freakiness along with it like a swimmer caught in an undertow. Rob howls as he drowns in the noise-muck. Trumpet bleats come in toward the end, so how about a Cows meets Monoshock comparison, huh? I'm buying it. Then they do a thudding cover of the Circle Jerks' tune from the Repo Man soundtrack. The B-Side is "Braces", a bad-acid slammer that is built on a repeated guitar wail that sounds like a wounded animal. Rob's vox seem especially Gibby-like to me on this one, and they just pound, pound, pound this one home until that guitar dies. Rhythm rumbles underneath while the guitar rides it like a wild bull with Rob commentating while lying in the gutter. How did this thing turn into a rodeo comparsion? Weird doings my friends. Anyway, I've always loved this band, but I think this might be the record that gets them the respect they deserve. You fuckers. Scummery: 100 copies with nasty (good) blood stained acetate sleeves, 200 more with orange sleeves. That makes 300 total.(RK)
(Unscene Sounds // tsfvertigo-at-yahoo.com)
(Kill Sounds // myspace.com/killsoundsrecording)
Tractor Sex Fatality "The Early Year: 2001-2002" 2XCD
TSF vaults double disc set on SLF (home to Kount Fistula and others) and it is something else. For the true TSF fan (and I know there's a few out there other than me and five other Buffalonians), this shows off early demo tapes ranging from Sonic Youth-y stuff for film scores to an early version of "Live It Down" to some whacked covers (Stones, Them, Skynyrd). Two whole discs full of goodies ranging from great to gruelling (in a good way). Nice looking too, gatefold disc package with liners and pics and pro-printed discs. You should know by now if this is your thing. Not for pregnant women, people with weak hearts or children under this tall. Further volumes potentially forthcoming.(RK)
(Scatalogical Liberation Front // www.scatologicalliberationfront.org)
Tranzmitors "Teenage Tragedy" 7"
I was never a New Town Animals fan, liked a few Smugglers tunes way back when (although they were a little too "jokey" for me most of the time), and am essentially left unfazed by The Tranzmitors. Their neo-power-pop-punk-wave or whatever the fuck it is never really gets to me where it counts. I've heard Undertones comparisons, but to me it's more like a Dickies/Teenage Head thing. Upbeat and slick tunes that are just a little too sweet for me. There are some hooks here, but not exceptional hooks, you know? Stuff like this should stick in your head, but all it really does for me is make me think I've heard it before and done better. (RK)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)
Trashies "What Makes A Man Get Trashed?" CD/LP
As The Trashies mature, their songs are starting to grow some legs of their own; their previous ďTrashies SuckĒ CD makes me think of one thing and one thing only: Spits-lite. These songs are less linear and predictable, and more fun to listen to overall. Actually, did I say ďmore mature?Ē Maybe that wasnít the right way to word itólyrically, the band tackles ďTanktop SunburnĒ and ďToo Drunk to Jerk OffĒ ó but even that, too, is an improvement over the last disk.(DH)
(Mortville Records or myspace.com/thetrashies)
Tuff Bananas "Dance to Rock'n'Roll" EP
Half of the Catholic Boys, a Tear, some kid named Adam and the man known only as Crowbar make up the Tuff Bananas, a fantastic powerpop-cum-bubblegum outfit who blast out of the Saturday morning cartoons on onto seven inches of vinyl here. Three hits (written and produced by manager Benny Boonana) that are heavy on the fun, I could see this having been released on Radio X at some point. Monkees, Archies, Brentwoods, any Kasenetz-Katz act, the Great Space Coaster, Banana Splits, that band on the cartoon with Jabberjaw the shark...Tuff Bananas reference all this kind of stuff. And while I may be personally let down that Paul and JonE Reject aren't going to be giving us another "Brainwash City" EP anytime soon, you gotta admit this shit is going in a great direction. I hear all the kids are going bonkers for the title cut off this, but "Nitetime (Sha-La-La-La Ooh)" is my pick to click. Scums stats: 500 on black.(RK)
(Three Dimensional Records // www.myspace.com/threedimensionalrecords)
Tunnel of Love "Rockin' Rollin' Bitches" CD
Reissue of Tunnel of Love third release (of sorts), which is OOP on Mister Records. Why not reissue the ECA Records 12" that everyone got burned on you ask? Well, sounds like a good idea I guess, but the shit on this CD is better than that record. Actually, why not just do this record on vinyl? I dunno. I guess Bart might do it someday. Would be nice. 'Cause this thing rules. Twelve tracks of super-garage rock complete with capes and crowns and striped tights blowin' in their own wind. Good times on this disc, way trashy and raunchy. A little bit more structure here than what they've become perhaps, but still over-the-top and semi-ridiculous and ientirely innappropriate. These guys are superstars on some sort of alternate plane of existence. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
V/A "Not Psycho Enough?" Vols. 2 and 3 7"
When I received Vol. 1 of this series some time ago I never expected to see a Vol. 2, much less a Vol. 3. I mean, a Cosmic Psychos tribute record on a Norwegian label featuring obscure bands from all over the world? Seems just a bit odd, no? Well, the man behind Dull City Records must be the biggest Psychos fan of 'em all, because this is obviously a labor of love. Vol. 2 features at least one band I've heard of, France's Jerry Spider Gang, who do the trashy r'n'r thing on "Can't Come In". The high point on this one is a cover of "Crazy Woman" by a group called Spank My Jones from Finland. Weird, sleazy, with handclaps, wicked guitar and intense low-end rumble. Rounding this volume out are Lothar (Finland again) who aren't so hot, and Dry Retch (UK) who do a powerful rendition of "Rain On You". Vol. 3 features all Australian bands I've never heard of, the best being the Meatbeaters(!) doing "Back in Town" and a blazing version of "David Lee Roth" from Interstater. The other two cuts from the bizarrely named Hell Crab City and Gazoonga Attack churn out Hellapcopters-esque Scando-sounding rawk. Vol. 3 is probably the better of these two volumes, which I can only recommend for absolute die-hard Cosmic Psychos fans. I am glad that I live in a world where stuff like this exists though and am actually looking forward to see what volume four brings. (RK)
(Dull City Records // gt-john.home.online.no)
V/A "We (Heart) The Blowtops 2x7"
Commemorating 10 years of hard work in the biz for Buffalo's Blowtops, six bands put forth their musical tribute to their pals. Jay Reatard tackles "Venom Victim's Wine" from the Goodbye Boozy 7", going solo with everything on 4-track tape. Great job of course. The now possibly defunct Tractor Sex Fatality do a terrorizing version of "Judas Order" from the recent 'Insected Mind' LP. Odie of Baseball Furies fame, as Vilent Lover's Club, turns in a good and obviously Odie-esque take on "Phone Call from A Corpse" from the Blowtops first LP. The Mistreaters hold the distinction of having the best song on this comp, doing a version of "Cannibal Lust" way back from the 'Voodoo Alley' 7" that is actually better than the original. Sorry, but it is. Awesome re-take. The now deceased Radio Beats have the second best cut, surprisingly ripping through "Brasshead Smash" from the 'Blood and Tar' 10" with plenty of ballz. Local heroes (and nearly ten-year vets as well) Trailerpark Tornados fittingly close by picking out a track from the "unreleased" Jerry Teel recorded LP ("Within These Walls") and trashing it up with aplomb. My third favorite cut on this. In all honesty, hometown bias aside, this is a great double record set and an interesting exercise seeing how these diverse sounding bands interpret the Blowtops catalog. Lotsa fun, whether you dig the Blowtops or not you should still dig this record. Scum stats: 50 yellow/green sets, 50 green/red sets, 50 white/yellow sets and 350 white/red sets. Really sharp looking package with quite possibly the best artwork ever on a Big Neck release, done by Dave from TSF.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Chuck Violence "Bandolero Mexicano" EP
One-man-band action from South of the Border. Chuck V. plays his guitar accompanied by what sounds like nothing but his foot stomping on the floor and sings in a really nasally twang. Entirely in Spanish. The lead-off cut has a nice spaghetti western vibe and the rest of the tunes sound pretty much like what you'd expect a Mexican one man bandito to sound like. Very moody and Morricone-y in parts. Like if Hasil played Django and had a guitar in the coffin instead of a gatling gun. Actually, I think this dude is from Brazil but is just going for the Mexican vibe. I think. Who knows. Looks like a young lad, probably the coolest kid in his neighborhood though. He's got lots of shit up on Myspace if you want a taste. Red vinyl. (RK)
(Shit in Can Records // myspace.com/chuckviolence)
Volt s/t CD/LP
There's a reason I interviewed Lili for the debut issue of TB. I love her and Jack and all their recorded work. And with all the attention slathered on the French Glue-Wave, I really believe Volt stand so far ahead of the rest of that pack. You can have your Cheveus, Seb Normals, Cheb Samirs, Crack und Ultra Eczemas...just gimme more Volt (and maybe a Frustration record) and I'd be more than happy to forget about the rest. This self-titled LP is actually their first genuine long-player after a couple 12" EPs and a single. You could amost call this Volt's Greatest Hits So Far...as it does repeat material from the earlier EPs with a few choice new cuts, most importantly "Green Eyes" and "Where Did Body Go?", perhaps my fave Volt tune to date. This thing works so well as an LP you can't complain about the lack of genuine new material (someone once rumored to me that Jack and Lili had over 50 Volt songs written) and it should go down as one of the best long players of the year. I know you're missing at least their first 12", so buy buy buy this shit. There isn't sexier music being made in this world.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Wart "Zenkai Hisshi Bana" MCD
Fast, catchy and crazed are the three words I'd choose to describe the sound of Kobe, Japan's Wart. Their live show is accurately transcribed to compact disc with all the energy intact, while a bit of the bass may be missing, as the recording on this CD is a bit compressed compared to what you might be used to hearing from a lot of other young hardcore bands nowadays.
Wart have perfected the art of choosing catchy melodies for their songs, as each of the five songs on this mini-CD have one of those infectious hum/sing-along parts that work equally as well when you're waiting for the train as they do to allow you to join in in a live setting.
They are ready to join a spot in your collection alongside bands like Jellyroll Rockheads, Kruw, Laukaus and the Last Survivors. (JC)
(Hardcore Kitchen // hardcore.exblog.jp)
Wax Museums "Claw You Like A Cat" EP
Second vinyl from Wax Museums, and I dig this one better than the first. The A-Side of this record is one of the finest examples of totally stupid lyrics working so very well. These guys are like a modern Angry Samoans, except maybe not as obnoxious or technically proficient. Paul's deadpan delivery makes the tunes here, but musically they're no slouches either. They do a swell job on a Vomit Pigs' cover on the flip, and in case you don't know a "Jakoff Rat" is apparently a variety of chick. Anyway, this band is ahead of the pack as far a dumb-fun punk goes, and the funny thing is, they haven't even released their best material yet! Look for the upcoming "Rambo Knife" and "Traffic Violation" EPs to totally freeze your brain, and I've been told the upcoming single on Ken Rock is going to make us shit out collective pants. Watch out! Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on gold with alt sleeve. (RK)
(HoZac // www.myspace.com/horizontalaction)
We The People "Time To Operate" 7"
Hereís a pleasant surprise: some hard-to-pin-down-to-a-sub-genre punk rock that is not too shabby at all. After shoving this down my throat a few times Iíll go as far as to say Iím digging this record more and more. Musically, itís perfectly competent mid-tempo shoutalongs that speed up a step once in awhile, with exceptionally gruff vocals (courtesy of Chuck of Black SS) that resemble a much tougher Pegboy from time to time (just the vocals). More importantly, the songs are pretty damn goodóthey chug along with catchy choruses and drive the point home before they drag. The title track is a particularly catchy, cool guitar lead driven number that might be the best of the bunch, but at least 3 out of the 4 are etched in my brain right now. Pretty cool.(LB)
(Stop Whining, Start Winning Records // Swx2records.com)
White Savage s/t 7"
Quite the pedigree on this beast: Hollywood from
Tyrades, Jered from Ponys, Colin from Screaming Yellow
Zonkers (lawsuit pending), some dude from Chin Up Chin
Up, even a guy from post-rockers, Euphone. None of
this really matters though when you put the needle on
the record. "Destroy Your Style" is blistering
tribal-punk intent on ruining your day, but it won't;
unless you have shitty taste in music. You could dance
to this mess of animal howling, trumpet bleats, and
rolling drums, no prob. The flip has one those
Tyrade-style covers where they would essentially turn
a cover into their own song. I really dig that
song-as-launching-pad formula, and here White Savage
picks Teenage Jesus and The Jerks' classic "Orphans"
(which originally was a kind of tribute to Yoko Ono's
"Don't Worry Kyoto, Mommy's Only Looking For Her Hand
in The Snow"). With its disco bass line, angular
guitars, dive-bombing electronics, and paranoid
vocals, White Savage is actually sounding a lot like
early Liars, which is not a bad thing to me, and
shouldn't be to you either. One complaint: This sucker
seems like it could have been mastered a little
louder. Other than that: Best super-group since
Traveling Wilburys. Scum stats: 100 "fur sleeve
edition." 400 "savage black." (EEK)
(Hozac Records// www.myspace.com/horizontalaction)
The Youths "Decontrol" EP
Timeless hardcore punk from Portugal. They play classic sounding stuff that could just as easily have appeared on 'Welcome to 1984' as 'Public Safety'. Energetic, youthful (duh), and containing a few garage-minded twists (like those handclaps on "Decontrol") to keep things fresh. They fit in well with recent retro-minded outfits like Regulations and The Vicious. Five tracks on this single gives you plenty of bang for your buck. (RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Yukon "Mortar" CD
Saw these guys play a ripping show in a NJ basement
that sounded like US Maple plundering a Black Flag
fakebook. On a less immediate format, their
well-played but fairly trad mathcore sounds more
mannered and calculated (bad pun, I know). There are
some razor-sharp riffs and rhythmic hairpin turns
executed with panache and passion, yet, in this
far-off world of 2007, it's gonna take some serious
death-defying stunts to really impress. Vocals, of
course, are an afterthought and remind you why the
best of this style is usually instrumental. Wish there
was something new here, but there ain't. Makes you
wanna pull out the first Drive Like Jehu and hear it
done right. (EEK)
(Terra Firma // www.terrafirmarecords.com)
Some other shit that's out that we haven't had a chance to review yet: Haunted George "Pile O Meat" LP...new Golden Boys LP...new singles on Boom Chick: MOTO, Alrightees, Spread Eagles...Magnetix LP (help!)...Ladies Night and Night Terrors/Toby Wong singles on Perpetrator...Yuma Territorial Prison Guards CD...new Plastic Idol singles: Remenbers, Imaginary Icons, Hank IV...and more I'm sure we've forgot...
To read past reviews go here.
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