RECORD REVIEWS WINTER 2007
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(IS: Ickibod Styzinetti)
(TK: Todd Trickknee) (RSF: Rob Vertigo)
Apache "Boys Life" 7"
No idea who this band was going into this, except they were from the same Bay Area scene that spawned the Time Flys, so I was pretty much expecting a shitty Time Flys sound-a-like. Way wrong there, Richie. For the most part. I mean, they do sound a bit like T-Flys: same dirtbag -smoking-ditchweed-in-1974 aesthetic. But I think these kids beat the Time Flys at their own game...maybe it's not as punk-inna-Gizmos way as the Flys, but they add some ultra-simple glittered-out touches that rocket this shit right into the upper deck. "Boys Life" is just an uber-primitive and catchy riff, some drum stomping, glammmed-out vox and claps, classy guitar solo...unbelievably good and aching for repeat spins. B-Side rides the same formula, again, but has a more stoned-out sense of majesty than "Boys Life". Maybe it's the thumping low-end. This thing just reeks of fringed suede vests, E-Z Widers, jugs of cheap red wine...I love it. While the Time Flys have seemingly stoned themselves out of good ideas at times lately, Apache have picked up the hash ball and smoked the fuck out of it in the back of their van and come up with this deuce pack of shit I want to hear a whole lot more of. I love this record and I don't even smoke dope anymore. It's that good. Scum stats: first 100 on red vinyl. Ridiculous artwork. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterecords.com)
Ape City R&B "Firestarter" 7"
The biggest and meanest sounding Ape City R&B record yet. XL-sized recording sound benefits the band greatly. "Firestarter" is a ballsy and unkind ode to arson and girls, a brutal update of the garage-rock Estrus was peddling back in the day. Their most ferocious track to date. B-Side is more big beat and hot guitar flaring. A monster two-piece, I'd say these guys hold the Northwestern Region title belts for ass-kicking tag-team garage rock right now. Also, looks like they raised Art Chantry from the grave for the sleeve art. He's probably not really dead though, is he? Scum stats: 100 on orange, 400 on black. (RK)
(La-Ti-Da Records // www.latidarecords.com)
George Brigman "Rags In Skull" CD
I did my research, or as much as I could do anyway. Details on Baltimore’s obscure (to me, at least) guitar wizard George Brigman are a little hazy. Word has it his 'Jungle Rot' album is the stuff of legend (Anopheles reissued it a few years ago)...but I don’t know for sure, I’ve never heard it. What we have here is his first effort in 25 years. Probably not the best starting point in anyone’s case...but that’s what we have to work with here. It’s my starting point, anyway. The ramblings of a man apparently ripped off and swept under the carpet, there are some pretty cool (and angry) tracks here showcasing a forgotten shredder. Don’t expect straight ahead scuzz rock that many attribute his legacy too, though...there are some odd forays (usually instrumental) that can be described as jazzy guitar experiments intertwined with some straight 70s sounding stompers, the first being “Borderline”. Eventually, “Some Of My Best Friends Are Snakes” and “Goin To Pieces” delivers the dirty post-psych blues-rock. That’s not to say the rest wasn’t interesting...it just took awhile to absorb. Ultimately, “Rags In Skull” is a very variable and humble collection that hits a lot of different dots on the map, sans fancy production. Considering the time gap between dances, I was pleasantly surprised that I found myself digging a good portion of this album. I guess it’s time to track down 'Jungle Rot'.(LB)
(Bona Fide // www.bonafiderecordfs.net)
Brimstone Howl "Guts Of Steel" LP/CD
Is Alive Records some kinda kiss of death? Well, maybe it’s not that bad...but after a slew of some pretty cool 7” records (and a ripping live show last winter that I caught by accident), these Nebraska kids take a few steps back on this long player. Not bad (well, one or two songs are pretty crappy)...but a little less manic that the singles, becoming more of the standard garage rock band that I think we’ve all heard a few too many times. “Luck of the Spade” is downright hokey bar blues fodder. I’m personally missing some of the great sounding fuzz guitar that drenched some of the songs from the earlier records. It finally comes around a bit, albeit a bit more restrained, but just not enough to save some of the average songs on the first half of this disc. Things pick up a little towards the end of side one with “The Moment and the Hour”, thanks to a little variation and killer fuzz guitar work—only to fall back on the too bluesy stuff that opens side two. When they do this stuff, they’re playing it too safe and it comes off a little typical and repetitive. “Cyclone Boy” is a neat little rave up that gains redemption. Hell, the rest of the album gains redemption from the first half. Maybe they were saving the best for last? I still feel like they’re holding back a bit on this one...but don’t give up on ‘em just yet. It just didn’t hold up to the live show or the singles.(LB)
(Alive! Records // www.alive-totalenergy.com)
The Bugs "Th o...The Bugs" LP
This is The Bugs fourth vinyl release and my first run-in with them. Somehow they managed to score a flattering back cover blurb from Dick Meltzer himself, which is impressive (as long as it's not some hoax. I didn't think Meltzer even listened to music anymore...). So, The Bugs are a PDX two-piece, two dudes, guitar und drums obviously. 18 short-and-sweet cuts here packed onto two sides. They rock-it-out a little, do a couple acoustic numbers here, some eclectic garage-pop shuffle there. The guy who sings (on most cuts it seems) has a vulnerable-sounding Jad Fair-like voice. And they play the simple-as-stupid-as-fun Half Jap card quite a bit (most effectively on "Anxiety & Angst", the best number on here)...but I think they maybe get too cutesy at times ("Fuckin A'Right" is pretty much that phrase repeated every other line...they do some other parlor tricks like that as well...), and are perhaps a little too...I think gentle is the word I'm going with there. They sound like really nice guys. Soooo nice, you really don't remember much of this record. There are a couple swell moments here and there, but overall The Bugs are a little too plain to be memorable or get excited about. A few quirky highlights aside, it's pretty much a file-away-and-forget-about LP. Probably the makings of a good single contained, perhaps this long-player was the wrong way to get introduced the band. Super heavy 180g vinyl though...too bad the tunes don't have the heft of the record itself. (RK)
(Hovercraft // www.hovercraftpdx.com)
The Bulemics “…Still Too Young To Care” CD/DVD
I’m still not sure why this was my first proper sit-down with the infamous Bulemics. Most of the elements of what I enjoy about loud rock and roll are present with the Bulemics, yet they somehow evaded my radar until now. Aside from the “shock” subject matter that can be both hilarious and tiresome, they are, musically speaking, the product of all the right things. A strong influence of early American hardcore punk (the good kind) is their thing, and no matter who came and went over the years, it’s done well.
“…Still Too Young To Care” is an overloaded barrage (over 30 tracks on the CD!) spanning the 10 years of filthy fun punk rock the Bulemics have created. The recording quality and playing obviously are variable, and without any proper liner notes or descriptions, you just have to use your imagination. Led by the dirty hoarse screeching of Gerry Atric (and a LOT of others who have came and went since ’96), The Bulemics are more than just a shock rock pig fest: they have some great songs. Lots of them, actually. But, like pretty much anything can, it can be a little overwhelming after 30-some tracks. Lots of odds-n-sod type fodder tacked on, like funny radio interviews, sloppy covers and live stuff. Everything you wanted to know about the Bulemics but were afraid...
The DVD most likely adds visual proof to the Bulemics live show and depraved sense of humor. (Over an hour of videos and live footage) I’m sold already, though. Unfortunately, my DVD player shit the bed a few weeks ago and Richie needs this review stat. (LB)
(Scarey Records // www.scareyrecords.com)
Charlie and the Moonhearts a/t EP
More of the latest wave of Bay Area garage rock from the same gang that I beleive the Tradtional Fools are part of. Definitely the continuation of the Pre-BS, Radio X and early Rip Off aesthetic, if the T-Fools are the goofy party band of the scene, Charlie & the Moonhearts are the lean and mean rockers. Really, I haven't heard what is essentially Budget Rock played with as much ferocity and velocity as these kids in quite some time. Maybe ever. All four cuts here are absolute rippers...well, "Thee T-Rex Song" is maybe a Bolan pisstake/tribute, but it kicks dirt and fuzz all over any sense of glam-rock that may be included. The B-Side is particularly ferocious. "Chickachicka (Bangbang)" (yes, they have great song titles as well) blazes and howls and puts the punk back in garagepunk. "...Of Robbing Banks" is my pick to click though, one of the absolute meanest sounding surf-guitar driven rockers I can remember. Sounds like the Middle Class kicking the living shit out of a Phantom Surfers tune. This thing is near hardcore in it's intensity, yet still garage-rock by definition. Really impessive, these kids know how to play for sure, and the lo-fi production values don't hide it but make it sound even more alive and exciting. Highly recommended and I'm begging for more. Scum stats: 150 on black, 150 on red. I suggest one of each. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // www.myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
Clockcleaner "Fan Club" 7"
Not sure if this is the long awaited Clockcleaner Destiny Fan Club release or what. It just showed up in my mailbox with no sleeve, a Philly return address and a hand-scrawled note with a lot of indecipherable cursing and erotic stick-figure drawings on it. I had no idea what to expect when my trembling hands placed this upon my turntable, although I think I had a chubby as I dropped the needle. The music began...the unmistakable Richard Charles time-keeping kicks in immediately. The man is surely the John "Bonzo" Bonham of our time as his power and speed are peerless in this day and age. His martial pace is joined by the six-string bass throb of Karen Horner after a minute or so. Momentum builds at a near glacial pace. In the background, you hear John Sharkey. What is he doing? Touching the strings of his guitar...perhaps searching for a pick amidst the piles of empty beer cans that I imagine clutter their practice cave...I think I hear him scratching his balls...then he lets loose, slips it in, guitar squeals and voxxxx bounce off the walls...and the side stops. Flip it over, while taking a pull from a smoke and wiping the sweat from my brow...and we're right where we left off. Clockcleaner challenge you with their knife-wielding highwire act here. Taunting you from their rehersal space. And then it's over soon enough. A slash-n-burn demo version of "Missing Dick" sprawled open-legged over two sides of 7" vinyl. This could be the most essential slab of vinyl in Clockcleaner's discography, hell, in the discography of the human race...or is it the vinyl equivalent of Clockcleaner pissing on your record collection? You'll have to answer that question yourself. How do you get this? How many were pressed? No one knows. Let's just say if you don't own a copy by the end of year, you should just hang it up and start listening to New Age. (RK)
The Company "Side Three of the Moon" LP
I'm an unabashed Ben Wallers/Country Teasers fanboy, but even to me this is pretty much a wash. The Company tunes are tracks recorded by Wallers and Amir Shoat back in 2001-02. Original version was supposedly 99 songs in 71 minutes, I think we are blessedly only subjected to less than half of it here. Found recordings, tape manipulation, conversations and soundbites, synth, heavy cut-n-paste sampling...all piled into a heaping mess. Some "songs" border on electro-dance territory. Some are just Gameboy created fucking around. Almost entirely electronic, barely a guitar in sight. Absolutely nothing like The Teasers or most The Rebel outings, so if that's what you're looking for, stay away. This is more along the experimental/sound collage lines, and I've heard people drop some Nurse With Wound references. I'm all for Ben exercising his artistic freedoms...that's what home taping is for, but I just imagine there are lots of pissed off people who paid upwards of $20 for this out there expecting a more CT/Rebel-type sound. First release of Freddy "Solid Sex Lovie Doll" Zanutto's new label for weird punk LPs. Gonna have to keep a close eye on this stuff...buyer beware.(RK)
(Difficult Life in Mental Jail Records // www.myspace.com/difficultlifeinmentaljailrecords)
CPC Gangbangs "World War III" 7"
What we have here is one exceptional piece of wax. One of the Gangbangs finest singles to date (I'd say third best, after their monster debut and the "Teenage Crimewave" 7") packed with three ferocious non-LP katzenjammers. "WWIII" is a classic rock jam (and I mean JAM in every sense of the word) turned inside out and on its head and kicked up and down the street. Mid-tempo moving with the expected blown-out production and guitar jam breaks, and that guitar absolutely crackles. A totally pinned-in-the-red epic that will be at war with your speakers. Flipside is damaged even further. "Bad Complexion" has more echo on the vox than is probably allowed by law in the States, so they're lucky they recorded this in Canada. The guitar "solo" sounds like the death throes of a sperm whale. "Bermuda Buzz" is an instro sound-collage layered with porno movie moans and groans. This is the type of totally over-the-top no-looking-back rock'n'roll that few bands are delivering as mightily these days as CPC Gangbangs, who may be the purest all-balls true rock'n'roll band in the world right now. Who ever knew Canadians could rock so fucking hard? I'm a believer. This thing is rocking me extra hard right now with the exchange rate where it is too...Scum stats: 500 copies. Buy multiples.(RK)
(Profet Records // www.profetrecord.com)
Daily Void “Identification Code: 5271- 4984953784-06564” LP/CD
Punk. Really punk. Punk for rattling your neighbor’s teeth through concrete walls. Punk for giving you panic attacks on public transportation. Punk for making you want to slap ignorant people in the fucking face. Reatards is this kinda’ punk. The Mentally Ill? Ditto. Functional Blackouts were that kinda’ punk too...and this is thee natural progression when you think about it...Blackouts being this outfit's lift-off pad. Jagged, fast and angry shards of robotic chaos and guitar spasm. Not far removed from the sounds previously laid down by these scumbags, but chopped and screwed with their teeth and nails into a pulpy tight punch displayed in a quick eleven tracks. My favorites ("You’re an Insect", "Surprise Surprise", "Die Stiletto", etc.) skitter the outskirts of wacko-ville, and then get reigned in to stop on a dime, like maybe you’ve imagined the whole damned thing. “Were just some rock songs, buddy...it’s not like we’re telling you to light people on fire or shoot up a school. Really.” Hmmm? The guitar as devil’s advocate forcing these needles of noise down your ol’ ear tubes. Yeah, I can feel the Peni/Crass vibe in this shit as well. No politics. No Alien Great Ones. Orwellian paranoia? Most definitely. If you hate people as much as I do, this should rattle you to the point of hack sawing the heads of the homeless. It’s a good thing. (RSF)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
Daily Void "Mass Communication Culture" 7"
Three non-LP cuts from Chicago's latest weird punk contenders. If you've not been paying attention, Daily Void are Dr. Filth and Mac Blackout from the Functional Blackouts and Rob Karlic (also photographer extraordinaire and bass player from FBs Mk.II) and Tom from The Worst. If you're balls deep into the LP, then this will be the perfect companion for your late night self-abuse sessions. Title cut is by-the-book DV stuff - barked vocals, squeal-like-a-pig guitars, repetitive squalls that must just shred guitar strings up, all gelled together with a stealthy rhythm section that steadily moves under the surface storm like a U-boat (dangerous and sneaky). It's raw stuff. Flip side is the threatening plod of "Mechanical Teeth" that alternates robotic vox-over with white noise and the more standard punk fare of "Mind Control". Quite evil, from the tuneage, to the ominous sleeve art, to the disturbing back cover photo. The total weird punk package. Scum stats: 500 on black. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Digital Leather "Blow Machine" LP/CD
Is this the second or third Digital Leather LP released this year? I'm losing track. With the breakneck record releasing pace of this year, a lot of stuff is getting swept under the rug, meaning bands who have a questionable quality/quantity ratio don't get much air time before it's on to the next stack. Mr. Foree probably had a huge backlog of material that is making up a portion of some of this year's releases (I see a lot of tracks off of those limited-run CDs from awhile back re-appearing on recent records) and he's filling in the blanks here and there to fill out however many inches the title at hand demands. I liked the "Monologue" LP well enough. The Goner single may have been a high point. I'm not big into synth-punk and I'm not even sure DL qualifies as that even more. This is a dance/techno record in my book. Albeit a really sleazy and homoerotic one, but you could hear this on the dance floor at most goth clubs, gay or straight, I'm sure. Still reverential to Eighties synth-stuff (I'm thinking this sounds like Depeche Mode somehow as opposed to the Human League, although I'm no expert) but with some more modern attention to booming beats too. Basically variations on a theme here: dirty sex, drugs, cocaine, sexual guilt, drugs, sexual frustration...and probably with the most overt gay-themed songs per-inch quotient here than on any other release. I stuck it out through this one twice, and I think this is where I get off the DL train. Although the closer, "Studs in Love" had me laughing out loud (it reminds me a little of Big Black, if Albini actually were gay and screaming lyrics like "WE ARE STUDS IN LOVE/NO MORE WOMEN/MAN-ON-MAN ACTION...") and actually sounded kind of punk. This guy is pretty talented when it comes to this stuff (or so I think...), and this thing could be some kinda hit if the right clubs got a hold of it I'm sure. I just don't like the music anymore, so what can you do. I do think the ambiguous title of this was really crafty as was the picture of a hair dryer on the back of the sleeve (which should've been the front cover, because the one they used looks pretty shitty). This thing also has the flimsiest sleeve I think I've sever seen, you can pretty much fold it in half and not bend the spine. Crap. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on red, 300 on white and CD comes with bonus tracks.(RK)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
Dutchess and The Duke "Reservoir Park" 7"
Firstly, can anyone remove their lips from the collective ass of the Boom Boom label for long enough to realize that this record is nothing but a giant FUCK YOU to all that we hold dear about music, i.e. the holy ideal that is PUNK-FUCKING-ROCK? Did our forefathers not spew forth so many sentiments of anarchy and gobs of spittle as a reaction to the hippie-garbage polluting the airwaves often known as "folk music"? Have you so quickly forgot all those lessons learned and cheeks safety-pinned and studs applied to leather jackets? Have you people no sense of right and wrong anymore? If any of you had any sort of sense, you'd tell these jokers to take this Joan Baez shit back to fucking Woodstock and for God's sake, please take some of the brown fucking acid while you're there. And tell Country Joe and the Fish I said fuck off too. That being said, it pains me to inform you that these songs are pretty fucking great even if they are figuratively driving a red hot skewer into my black punk rock heart as I listen. Maracas, tambourine, astounding arrangements and harmonies, heart-tugging lyrics. Goddamit, why must I constantly fall prey to your dastardly schtick Boom Boom? Why do you torment me with such a diabolically clever concept? How can I fuck New Wave when you've castrated my punkitude with this delightful record? What have you done with Danny Ferducci? What? Why? How??? My singular beef with this record: they kinda blew their wad releasing these tunes on Myspace way before the vinyl appeared (which could hurt their unit-shifting possibilites). They should've just unleashed this thing on the public, leaving everyone unaware of what they we're getting into. Scum stats: from the label: "first 150 or 200 hand screened and the rest on shit flourescent photocopy paper ok!". With lyric insert.(RK)
(Boom Boom Party Records // myspace.com/boomboompartyrecords)
Dutchess and The Duke "Reservoir Park" 7""You put the blood in my veins, and the lips on my face, and the tongue that I speak with,
While I've long been a fan of Boom Boom of Renton's unrepentant devotion to garage rock, I was more often than not of the opinion that their releases were all fun and good, but hardly indispensable. Until now. Like "You Might Get Me" - the amazing b-side that graced the Fums' latest 45 - both songs on this single, depart from the fuzz-crazed freakouts Jesse is known for in favor of a slower, introspective folk rock approach. Also like "You Might Get Me," the results are of irreproachable quality. If the term "next-level" ever applied to anything, it's the transition from the earlier Fums records to this stuff. "Reservoir Park" is a brooding and ominous tune with stone-cold lyrics about "defying the cold clutches of death" that actually work rather than seeming cheesy and trite. The song is punctuated throughout by perfect staccato handclaps and topped off by a tasteful twelve string guitar solo. It's worth taking a second to note that the recording, by Bryan from the Suspicions, is really top notch. It captures the grime and intimacy of a mostly acoustic performance, but manages to make it leap off the grooves rather than sounding quiet and subdued. Production techniques like the aforementioned handclaps do a lot to add to the effectiveness of both songs. Speaking of which, the b-side, "Mary," is even better than "Reservoir Park." It starts off with a guitar riff that brings to mind "Between the Buttons" era Stones or Dylan at his best, and from there it only gets better with lyrics that - despite a fear of appearing fruity - I have no recourse but to use the word "poetic" in order to describe. In fact, these lyrics are so great that I'm going to break with protocol around here and quite an entire verse:
You spun the skin round my bones, put the spine in my back, and the voice that I sing with.
You gave me fingers, and hands, and hair, and you did it without even trying,
You gave me everything that I need to live, and now I need to put you behind"
I don't know if you've ever tried to write lyrics for a song before, but I have, and if not trust me when I tell you that it takes a real talent to come up with lines like that. I can't think of a modern record I've ever heard where the lyrics have struck me as being as well-written as this song's. And that's not hype, that's the truth. What's even more amazing is that the melody is every bit as evocative and touching as the lyrics. This from the guy who wrote "Fuck New Wave." I can't pile enough praise on this record. I also can't wait for the LP, which rumor has it is in the works. It might be premature to call this a modern classic, but if it isn't I sure don't know what is.(SB)
(Boom Boom Party Records // myspace.com/boomboompartyrecords)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring "You Let Me Be Honest With You" 7"
First domestic vinyl from Australia's hottest recent export. A-Side is a triumph of stripped-down forward-motion rock'n'roll. Alive with a subdued intensity and a taut structure built on a meat-n-potatoes rhythm and sharp guitar work. One of their best tunes (so far). B-Side is a slightly goofy organ/keys-driven number (no guitar) and a somewhat pleasant and lighthearted contrast to the stolid A-Side. It's an average flipside...meaning I've listened to this record probably over twenty times already and flipped it over only two or three times. Well worth it just for "You Let Me..." however. Scum stats: this could oddly prove to be just as painful for some to acquire as the import records people have been scrambling for as it was pressed in an edition of a scant 351 copies. (RK)
(White Denim Records // www.whitedenim.com)
Factums “Alien Native” LP
Stellar vinyl release number two from this Seattle/Chicago trio (with ties to Intelligence, Pyramids, and Fruit Bats) is actually a re-release of the band’s debut full length, which they released themselves in a scant edition of 150 CDs in 2004. Sequenced perfectly, with hauntingly beautiful black and white screen-printed artwork, this is truly an album lover’s album. Side A is the more atmospheric of the two, with eerie, Chrome inspired synth warblings oozing out of the grooves on almost every song, whereas the guitars only poke their heads out of the mix every once and while for a little look around. Quality stuff, perfect for those dreary, Pacific Northwest “it’s raining outside, so I’m gonna sit inside, get baked and listen to records” sort of days. The flip is where the band takes a bit more of a direct approach, with their spirited take on modern day art-punk succeeding exceedingly well on songs such as “Drip”, “Bomber” (slightly different than the version on the Polly Magoo 7”), “Factum Tan”, and my pick of the bunch “White Ghost”, all of which remind me a bit of early Intelligence, which is not surprising considering the parties involved. Fans of the aforementioned, Blank Dogs, early Cabaret Voltaire, etc would be wise to investigate this, one of my most listened to LPs of the year. (JG)
(Siltbreeze Records // www.siltbreeze.com)
Fashion Fashion and The Image Boys "Pussy Stretcher" EP
Second-and-a-half single from the ugliest band in the US. This one is actually better than their debut platter on Florida's Dying. Their scuzzy Dwarvesian chainsaw punk attack is pretty well honed on this, and tunes like "Scissors Jihad" and "White Bitch" should get your adrenalin rising a little. If you like what the Brutal Knights are doing, there's no reason you shouldn't like this in some way. These guys might be playing the same style better and without the schticky comedy of the BKs. Don't hold the fact that Derek Lyn Plastic is in the band against them. Really exceptional sleeve design. (RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // myspace.com/spinthebottlerecords)
Fatal Flying Guilloteens "Quantum Fuck" CD
After hopping releases on Estrus and GSL, the Fatal Flying Guilloteens have found themselves more at home on the French Kiss label. Seems that way anyway, because whatever they may have done on those labels is of no consequence to me, as this is the first I’ve heard them — and their third full length. Whatever they may have done to make their bones in the past (I’ve heard good things, but missed the boat), this is seriously hyper, aggressive and spazzed-out rock done with a sense of urgency many current bands of this ilk lack. The disjointed guitars (two battling each other), pound against an impressive rhythm section that boasts a great bass guitar sound (my first thought was reminiscent of Bob Weston or David Wm. Simms). Not as intimidating, but loud and aggressive sounding as another Texas related band from the good ol’ days of Touch and Go Records, these Guilloteens deliver a bit of a wallop on 'Quantum Fuck'. My impression is they, most likely, deliver quite a live show, too.(LB)
(French Kiss // www.frenchkissrecords.com)
Feeling of Love "Young Jesus" 7"
Feeling of Love = one man, who has listened to a fair share the blues (and the Blues Explosion), but thankfully pays tribute to it in a non-tired way. For modern-day French rock, I dig it quite a bit. Not really weird-punk in the Glue Wave sense, but definitely going off on his own blues-based tangent that is weird enough. "Young Jesus" (with a pic of Kurdt Cobain on the label) is rockin'chair rhythm-and-rasping, sort of referential to Doo Rag, but in a modern Junkpile Jimmy way. Rat-a-tat mechanical rhythm-snap with mean and gritty guitar work. I like this side. But I love the B-Side. "You Rock, You're Seventeen, You Should Kill a Ten Years Old Kid". What the fuck? It's creepy, in a there's-a-sad-looking-chick-with-a-ball-gag-in-her-mouth-on-the-label sort of style. A little skeevy. But a monster cut. He mates a throbbing sort of synthetic heartbeat culled from a Seventies horror film (like that dreary Goblin-like synth sound from one of the Dead movies or something from a Carpenter score...) to some slide guitar homicide that sounds like the Bassholes at Howland's most sinister. Pretty fucked up and alarming in an almost Teasers-esque style. I like where this guy is headed, as his records have gotten stranger with each release, and am highly anticipating the upcoming single on Rococco. Recommended. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
Forbidden Tigers "Magnetic Problems" LP/CD
Forbidden Tigers are three out of four members of Brimstone Howl plus another friend on guitar. Sounds a hell of a lot like the Howl too, surprise surprise. This is an above average garage record, and is actually a hell of a lot better than Brimstone's own "Guts of Steel" LP. I was way disappointed with that record, which I wouldn't have been had this been released in its stead. Twelve tracks, only one of which is really terrible ("Can of Beans", but it's just a short little goof-off cut anyway) and about half of which are fairly exciting. Like I said, above average garage record, which isn't going to impress any of you, I know. It's a lot better than you think, and I enjoy their Midwestern toughness. If this thing was released ten years ago, it would've slayed people. Nowadays, you gotta wear an octopus on your head or something to turn some heads. Gritty chops and earnestness aren't enough anymore. The citizenry of Nebraska should be proud of their sons though, as this is good record even if it's nothing new. If you're still digging stuff like the Bloody Hollies (whom the Tigers would bully for lunch money on the schoolyard) or whatever Alive/Total Energy are churning out, this record would do you fine. (RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
Gaye Blades "A Visit to the Home of the Man Who Invented Sexual Intercourse" EP
Second release from Bobby Ubangi (Ex-Lids) and Jared Swilley (current Black Lip) side-project of questonable sexuality featuring some nice graphic design work (this time a tribute to the old stock single sleeves from , as opposed to The Byrds reference last time around...) and two tunes that are better than any cut on the first single. "Don't Get Married" is a lively little number that sounds like a garage-style a cover of some obscure Sixties girl group tune, in what I am supposing is an intentional tongue-in-cheek (or tongue-in-something) jab. It works. "Bobby Is A Lover" is reminiscent of "First Time" (or perhaps The Fingers covering it more gently...) and familiarly catchy. A tidy little retro looking and sounding package (but not annoyingly kitschy) that packs a bit more meat than their previous outing. Recommended for those who like pop and poppers in equal doses, this record may induce head-bobbing of all kinds. A real gentleman's gentlemen affair. Scum stats: 1000 on black. Looks as good as it sounds.(RK)
(Rob's HOuse Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
Golden Boys "Whiskey Flower" LP/CD
People keep telling me about this Goodnight Loving band, and singing praise of the new Demons Claws LP - both are fine and dandy (the Claws record at least), but this here's the LP that ain't leaving the turntable anytime soon. Seems a crime that folks don't really mention this band or their country-fried hillbilly & heartache, and that's gotta start changing. The Boys shrank down to a tight three piece and sobered up (well...) to make an even thicker sounding and lysergic-bent epic than before. It makes me wanna cry, how fucking weirdly pretty this is.
Not as southern rawk or bombast as past efforts, but just as porch stompin' and soaked in despair (or maybe that's Shiner Beer?). Damned if it don't sound similar to John Lennon's solo output gone Americana at times (you'll know when that hits?), and don't hold it against them. Suits 'em just fine. Horns sprout up, warped tape loops warble along, fiddles and organs roll on out off into a muggy sunset. Its still got some oddball Texas style Butthole-ishness throughout the B-side, so don't think it all went soft. Wish I was lying out in a field of dandelions with this one playing in my head. Permanently. They could fill the Deadly Snakes void in your heart if you let 'em. All this on the prettiest creamsicle swirled vinyl you'll be likely to find outside a Woolworth's lunch counter.Can I talk them into a springtime wedding reception performance? Hope so. Perfection. (RSF)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com - vinyl)
(Emperor Jones // www.emperorjones.com - CD)
Group Inerane "Music of Niger/Guitars From Agadez" LP
Let's not fuck around. This LP is one you have to have. There's only 1,000 and I'm quite certain at least 500 are in the hands of the "others." If you're lucky enough to have seen the "Niger: Music and Ecstasy in Sahel" DVD also on Sublime Frequencies (thanks Arturo!) you will have been blown away by this band. Now, here's a full plate of their music, just for you. Yeah, for you!
The Tuaregs are a Berber people (they're the people who conquered Spain) who live a Nomadic lifestyle as a minority within the Sahara and it's surrounding areas, predominantly in Mali and Niger, where Group Inerane are from. A cultural uprising took place in the 80's, somewhat backed by the Ghaddafi government in Libya. From this supply-line came the guitars that began the electric-rock/folk hybrid known as the "Tuareg Guitar Revolution." Group Inerane, with it's twin guitar and drums approach (3 piece w/ no bass, sound familiar?) have developed from this tape-trading culture and are what appears to be it's major contribution to
This is a great band. The 3 piece led by Bibi Ahmed (genius) is bolstered by a chorus of female backing singers. The effect of the twin lead guitar, the shrill of the female Muslim calls and the inventive drumming leave you quite hypnotized, but not in a Slowdive way, more like someone spiked your drink with mugwort kinda way. It's a bed of notes and chords, chanting, african styled-drums played with cymbals and a snare, recorded bare and raw, completely live. This is real music played for real purpose. To put it another way, Group Inerane live what Sun City Girls, Henry Flynt and Velvet Underground tapped into, and this record shows it. I'm totally floored.(MS)
(Sublime Frequencies // www.sublimefrequencies.com)
Hassay, DeChellis, & Nakatani s/t 12"
Recorded live on WDIY, Lehigh Valley's public radio station, Gary
Hassay, Dan DeChellis, and Tatsuya Nakatani perform three tracks of
free jazz. Armed with an alto sax, piano, and drum kit, respectively,
the trio plays off of each other to display an impressive range of
emotion. Though the album is less discordant than other releases that
have been coming out on Foreign Frequency this is a fitting addition
to the catalog of this young label.(DH)
(Foreign Frequency // www.foreignfrequency.com)
Hatepinks "Hate!-Oupupu Songs" EP
A concept recorded from one of the lamer bands that inhabit the European garage-punk realm. The deal: record 16 thirty second tunes in one night with no pre-written material. If a better band were to attempt this feat, I would applaud it. Here, you get these boobs coming off like a limp-wristed HFOS or something. Throw in half-assed Stones, Stranglers and Wards (and it really pisses me off they covered The Wards for some reason...leave "Weapons Factory" for someone who can do it justice...) covers into the "no pre-written songs" mix and you have what is, sadly, probably their best record due to sheer novelty. And that statement should by no means come across as an endorsement of this platter at all. I'm just saying it might be the least sucky of all their records, perhaps along with their side of the split with The Distraction. Scum stats: 432 copies on pink and 120 on white with four different all sleeves. Don't collect them all!(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)
Headache City "T-T-T-tonight" 7"
I was never really 100% into Headache City on record. It was OK and all, but it never really got my juices flowing, as they say. This is the first thing they've released in a spell, and they've come back short a member and minus the keyboard. And it's their best record in my opinion. I'm not saying there's any connection there though, and this "stripped down" new line-up further blurs personnel lines betwixt them and Cococoma. So, you get a two all-around hits on the A-Side. The title track is brimming with hopped-up energy, and the brief stutter-step on the chorus is great. "Channel 9 From Outer Space" contains more non-stop guitar action and will get you moving that tonearm right back to the first groove as quickly as you can. Both of these cuts are fast and simple garage-pop excitement and will light a fire under your ass. Even the B-Side ("Down the Drain") will get you tappin' a foot or finger. I love this record. Might seem a little plain at first glance, but it's delicious in its simplicity. Nothing fancy, just great rock'n'roll. Anxiously awaiting the 'Teenage Grease' EP on HozAc. Scum stats: three-color hand-screened sleeves, 500 copies.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/headachecity)
High Tension Wires "Midnight Cashier" LP/CD
Another shot from Dentons’ answer to Asia (the band). This time, to keep score, its two Marked Men, a Riverboat Gambler and a Red; Jeff Burke is replaced by another Marked Man (Mike Throneberry). This one isn’t a Marked Men Jr. so much as 'Send A Message' was, either (it’s also much better and varied than that album). Now, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing for a person like me who can’t seem to get enough Marked Men, but they drift away from that from time to time on this one. It’s no major direction change...but it’s something. They throw in some keyboards and mess with the tempos here and there for some variation, and it works well. Still, a very catchy popped out affair that’s both rockin’ and over before you know it. 'Midnight Cashier' has become better to me after going back to it; rather than the blast of quality pop-punk that, for some reason, seemed to all blend together the first time I checked it out, these songs have grown on me and become their own. Sure, most of these songs could sit on a Marked Men album and fit right in, but that’s not such a bad thing at all.(LB)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)
Hipshakes "You Make Me Malfunction" 7"
What is this, like the 18th Hipshakes record? It's outta control. It bums me out when bands just come on the "scene", then release umpteen seven-inches in quick succession and in less than a year or so go from a band whose first single you really liked to a band you could give two shits about because they've flooded the "market" with every marginal song idea they've had in the six months they've been together. It's not a race kids. And just because all these labels are offering to put out your records doesn't mean you have to say yes to all of them. And I'm not just finger-pointing at the Hipshakes here, although they are a good example. I love records as much as you, so I'm glad we're at a point in time where there are tons of them being made on the underground level...but I also wish some bands would be a little more careful with their releases. Release a couple singles, go on tour, get some hype/momentum, then hole up for a bit and write a really solid LP or something. I know a lot of these bands are fulla young kids who are just pleased as piss to be putting out every single record they can. Might as well do it while you can, huh? Well, think about this...you can be that band that released a dozen mediocre-at-best records that will be flooding dollar bins in a few years. Or, you can be the band who took some time and concern and released a few great records that people will want to hold onto for as long as they can. Think about it. Who am I to pontificate like this? I'm that guy who has never been in a band but likes to tell people in bands what to do. You know me. Hate me if you want, but I'm just trying to help. You want a review of this one now? It's not terrible. But it's not really that noteworthy either. The title cut is young, brash and sloppy. "Duh Duh" is fine borderline-inept bashing with some great mic feedback that may be a stroke of unintentional genius. These kids have got something. Maybe too much of it. I don't need ten so-so Hipshakes singles. I just want a couple really great ones. This one goes in the so-so pile for now. I do like the the fake B-Side on this though...both tunes are on the "Noisy Side" and the blank "Quiet Side" plays at "0 RPM"...har har! (RK)
(Show and Tell Recordings // myspace.com/showandtellrecordings)
Hollywood "Big Mouth" 7"
This is actually Hollywood's first record, preceding the Big Neck 7" reviewed last time around. The sound on this one is totally shit-caked, far worse (meaning better) than on the other EP, and it works out for these Baltimore cats. It sounds as if the tape is just gonna disintegrate at any second. "Big Mouth" is good and all, but only the second best cut here. It's as if these dudes took the best crunchy-burly parts of The Mistreaters and combined it with the best sleazy-trashy parts of The Candy Snatchers. It's a potent combination. But the real treat here is "Human BBQ" on the B-Side. It's all balls. Total wall-of-noise at times, just sopping with static and feedback, heavy drum motivation, sick tricked-out vocals....double-tracked sometimes, sometimes delayed almost just a little too much, where it sounds like they're struggling to catch up for a neat effect...nothing too subtle though, just really brutish mash-and-crash that makes you wanna throw shit around. I love it. Their best song out of both records. Try some of this shit out, I think a lot of you will be surprised. Scum stats: 500 copies, black vinyl, with insert, two-color sleeve with more off-putting artwork. I think these guys are on to something here...(RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // www.myspace.com/spinthebottlerecords)
Homostupids “the edge e.p.” 7"
A quick blast from the pride of Cleveland (it always ends too soon), “the edge” is more of what we’ve come to expect from the fantastic Homostupids: roaring hardcore run through a noisy, (very) lo-fidelity filter. Chalk this stuff up with the great LP from earlier this year. Finally hearing these guys on a decent club sound system revealed song “complexities” that could had been previously overlooked when listening to the trashy recordings—there is really a lot more going on in these songs than initially meets the ear. Another great record from a band I just can’t get enough of. And, while I wouldn’t be too pushy about this because I’m more than satisfied with the current output, I’d not be opposed to hearing a slight upgrade in the recording quality from time to time. (LB)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Hunchback "Werse Houses" 7"
I thought these guys were a little bit of a jokey band before this, so I didn't pay them too much mind, and they did a split with The Trashies, a band I think sucks hard, so maybe I held that against them. Guess that was a bad move on my part, because this single is quite alright. On "Werse Houses", I guess the best way to describe it sort of like horror-punk, but not kitschy Misfits-like stuff or corny B-Movie referential dreck. It's graveyard sounding, but without cheesed-up ghouls-and-devils lyrics or anything, more like a moodily real sort of creepy. Talked-mumbled voice over, almost like narration instead of singing, and the organ enhances the pallor. B-Side is certainly novel: Killdozer legend Michael Gerald and a child trade vox on a dirgey rendition of the Christina Aguilera hit "Beautiful". I would've had no idea this was a cover if someone hadn't mentioned it, and I was a bit confused regarding why they used Gerald on this song at first, but now it makes perfect sense, what with the Killdozer penchant for bizarro covers. As cool of an idea as the B-Side is (and as much as I love the 'dozer), the A-Side is what should really get you reaching in your wallet. If their LP sounds like this, I'm gonna be real happy. Nice credits on this too: recorded by Conrad Uno and mastered by Tim Warren...Scum stats: 500 on black. (RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.myspace.com/sacredbonesrecords)
Impediments “Amphetamine Stepdad” 7”
How did this happen? Balls! Average age on this record is 16 and it seems as though these kids must’ve started listening to the right kinda' music in the womb. Oakland grown with a whole bunch of Dead Boys piss and “Personality Crisis” swagger that made rock & roll fun for me again. Plenty enough trash and treble to the guitar strangulations to make it sound fresh. Two tracks of Aussie pimped 70’s proto-punk with an obvious hint of the McDonald brothers...and Mike Lucas is nowhere in sight. These little fuckers are legit. One of them wears a Flipper shirt daily, so that’s a plus in my book. Great looking old school Chantry/Estrus style sleeve wrap it up good. Released on the Fe Fi Fo Fums off-shoot label. Gets it ‘fo it’s gones. (RSF)
(Heads Up Records // www.headsup-records.com)
Jacuzzi Boys "Ghost Ghost" 7"
Beleive it or not, another fantastic new record from Miami of all places (Electric Bunnies being the other). The first thing people are going to say about this is "Sounds like Black Lips..." and sure, it does. Somewhat. I think the Jacuzzi Boys (and don't allow the name to let you not take them seriously...there are worse epithets out there) might be coming from a place a little more haunted and less Back from the Grave. The title cut is sublime psych-rock played by ghosts in some reverb-filled underground grotto...echo-vox and sitar-like guitars create a mood that is nearly mystic. Hypnotic even. A shimmering phantom taking musical form. I'm getting pretty deep here...but I like it alot, what can I do. "Age of the Giant Jellyfish" continues the journey with spectral organ, a little guitar jangle, tribal one-two drumthump and a constant ahhhhahhhh backing moan...mellow and relaxing but with just the slightest hint of malevolence to keep it frosty. Dark hippie vibes almost. B-Side is cryptic electric-folk that doesn't harness the magic quite as well as the A-Side, but it's not a throwaway either. A fine debut, I'd jump into an LP of this stuff head first. And again, they're from Miami which is blowing my mind just as much as this record. Scum stats: first 100 on red vinyl. (RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
King Automatic and The Feeling of Love "The Great Reunion" 7"
Not a split single, but a pairing of these two lone-gunmen French OMB-fellas. "Here I Come" is the opening volley, and brings to mind Crypt Stylish off-time drums and guitar, where they stammer and stutter themselves into a groove and then the two-guitar shitstorm and echoed-out vocals kick on down. Raunchy enough to turn some heads. B-side is the more exceptional cut though. Starts off in the same vein, with what sounds like them just fucking around on the fret and kicking the drums around, but it turns into a simple and primitive little outtatune stumblebum shit-kicker. It's a bit more settled down than the A-Side, and you almost start getting bummed, thinking "This is it?", but then they break into a little solo halfway through, which then turns into one of the guits emitting a fucking death-ray for the second half of the song. Total sonic destruction, and it sounds great. Pretty choice platter, with one kinda-killer side and one A+ guitar smelter on the flip...let's just say I find this far more exciting than any combination of Crash Normal dudes at this point. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
King Khan "Is...The Velvet Monobrow" 7"
"The Saddest Single in the History of Sadness" says the sleeve. Here, KK pinches off two precious little weepers, full of oh-so delicate keyboard twinkles and plainitively strummed guitar and murmurred lyrics of loneliness and love. Boo hoo hooo. A cute little concept, I suppose "Ain't It Sad" contains some sort of creative evidence to prove that Khan actually put some time into this and didn't just write these tunes during commercials while he was up late watching German game shows on TV or something. Perhaps. It's nicely put together, some would dare to call the arrangement lush, even if it's about three minutes too much (it's over six minutes long). I dunno. A novelty record at best. This cat has the golden touch right now, so I'm sure a lotta people will jump on it. Next thing you know, someone's gonna release a record of this guy singing along with his little kid or something...Scum stats: from the label: "420 in black wax with a 300gr 2 color cover and 350gr insert and 80 in green wax with a 300gr 2 color inside out cover and 350 gr insert"...what, we're weighing inserts now too?(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)
Lamps s/t LP/CD
I’m gonna lay it on the line here for ya’, I for one don’t know wether I should call this a review or a death threat. The Lamps rule plain and simple...deal with it. The new album is a great follow up to their epic first record. The songs are brutal, primitive and catchy all rolled into one. When I listen to this record it reminds me of a rusty saw cutting through sombody's shin. Or even better yet, for you marks out there it's like Bruiser Brody digging a fork into the bloody head of Abdulah the Butcher. I can safely say that the new Lamps record is by far the album of the year. Anybody that says differently is a complete fucking tool. I’ll hunt each of them down, and put the boots to em’. On that note...Monty Buckles is a total dude! Deal with it! (RFA)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Lamps "Tim Ford" 7"
Tim Ford is in The Lamps and is also the cover model on the well-photographed sleeve of this 7" (bonus points for including his(?) dog on the back sleeve). His namesake tune is another threatening example of the primordial slop the Lamps have been cultivating over the past couple LPs. Throwback rock, but not like a less-is-more return to basics, but a subhuman decline to a hit-things-harder-and-louder sort of principle. Raw, like before man walked erect or like the bad-ass fish-things that crawled from the sea and began living on land before the dinosaurs were even fucking around. De-evolutional rock. Coming back from that tangent, this thing is just savage and bloodthirsty. The vocals sound as if they are being force fed to you by a 6'7" 285 pound monolith of a man. Brutal. Blunt. Do not fall asleep after listening to this record, and if you do, make sure your life-partner wakes you up every fifteen minutes and rolls you on your stomach. Then get checked out for post-concussion syndrome in the morning. B-Side drags a Drunks with Guns song a few more rungs down the evolutionary ladder. Wow. Scum stats: 200 on brown 300 on black. (RK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrookrecords.com)
Landed "Dirty Bomb/Creeping Hand" 12"
I'm probably woefully underqualified to review this record, as I'm not much into the noise scene of which I'm presuming these dudes may be a part of, or whatever Not Not Fun or like-minded cats are into. I'm just not that far "out". It's not that I'm close-minded, I'm just one of those squares who tunes out when a band throws the rock fundamentals handbook out the door. But I try, prole that I am. I liked this more than I thought I would due to the "Dirty Bomb" side, which sounds really doomy and evil (and actually has John "Coachwhips" Dwyer lending a hand). It's skronk, but likeable skronk, with enough structure to keep a dope like me listening. I played it a few times. "Creeping Hand" side threw me though, with the drone intro turning to a live drum loop and slow/stop/start again spazzing. Reminds me a lot of releases on Bulb that I used to buy because I wanted to like them and they looked cool as fuck, but which I ended up not "getting". Ah well. Features members of Mind Flayer, Chinese Stars, Forcefield, Six Finger Satellite and others, so they have a pedigree for this sort of stuff. You'll know better than I will if you'll like this. Fucking awesome artwork from the same guy who did the Snake Apartment 12". (RK)
(Corleone Records // www.corleonerecords.com)
Lot Lizards "Leave Me Alone (I've Got A Bomb)" 7"
Simplistic UK two-piecer stuff: dude on guitar and girl on stand-up drums, some trade-off vocals. Thankfully not all that bloozey...they kind of have that weird knee-deep in fuzz topped with uber-simple drumming thing that the Magnetix pull off, except a little less wyld. Title cut is catchy and has a great loud guitar sound. "Neon Lights" is slow and dark, a little bit Black Time-esque, a nice soundtrack for walking the big city streets alone at night. Not a barn burner but good and atmospheric mid-grade material. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Perpetrator Records // perpetrator_1-at-hotmail.com )
Little Claw "Spit and Squalor Swallow The Snow" LP
The main objective for Michigan trio Little Claw seems
to be hypnosis. 'Spit and Squalor...', their second
LP, opens with a striking statement of this intent.
"Hobo Baby Zeus" utilizes singer/guitarist Kilynn's
multi-tracked stoned moan to invoke the gods of
train-hopping and oil-barrel fires. Back that up with
the fantastic "Movies For You," a dead-on replication
of The Pin Group's late-night JD/VU strummathons,
which actually puts it midway between the
aforementioned Group and their later incarnation as
Dadamah, Kilynn's voice echoing Kim Peiters' anguished
wail. Except here, the mood is full of lust and
fascination, whereas the New Zealanders were
portraying the moment after said lust has been
satiated, often with a lifetime of regrets to follow.
"Brackish Stratum" brings it down to a Gories
gutter-punch, while "Prickly Pear" steps into the
junk-shop, rattling shit around and getting loose like
a dime-store Tom Waits. "Polar Bear" closes out side
one with more Dadamah-esque shudders. Side two is a
bit of a come-down as its aimlessness isn't quite as
bewitching as the first side. But "Shoplifting Cart
pt. II" ends things on an approriately feverish note,
sounding like a pagan ritual being performed in a
Wal-Mart parking lot. 'Spit and Squalor Swallow The
Snow' is a perfect record for rainy afternoons and
wee-hour whiskey drunks. (EEK)
(Ecstatic Peace // www.ecstaticpeace.com)
Little Claw “Spit and Squalor Swallow the Snow” LP
The second long player from this now PDX based band. I’ve had a great time watching them progress over the years from No Wave art combo into this rustic-rock and phreak-folk horror. It’s written that some find this new-ish direction reminiscent to hillbilly blues, riot girl rock and even the Cramps (?!?!) and that’s not entirely untrue. There’s a lot of primal caveman throbbing and the occasional lost 60’s guitar riffage. There’s also a tad of K. Gordon/L. Lunch hanging out in Kilynn’s vocals, and them Oly girls loved that as well. But all this falls under foot, trampled by some fever dream stream of consciousness that’s echoed in guitar pains. The Appalachian death ride takes over the conventional. Haunting, gospel, noise washed rock and roll. Something unsettling and probably pagan ("Prickly Pear") is going down out by the woodpile. You can almost make it out through the static and snow. Open chords and a repetitive dirge, but not always. They also take stabity-stabity-stab-stabs into the noise pop arena here ("Movies for You") and there ("Polar Bear"), but fare well coming off like a drowning Jesus and Mary Chain or VU surf tune fronted by a wailing disparaged femme fatale. This is not commercial success lingering up the pass...but a score for a Donner Party biopic may be in order. (RSF)
(Ecstatic Peace // www.ecstaticpeace.com)
Thee Makeout Party "2 EZ 2 Luv U" 7"
A mutual friend introduced me to the first single by Anaheim's Makeout Party about a year and a half ago. He was going to be recording my band's first single, and he mentioned some friends of his who had used the recording technique of doing a sober set of vocals and then later doing a drunken set in order to see if precision or looseness would be yield better results (if I remember correctly drunkenness won out). I was impressed by both the songwriting and their truly individual take on the otherwise hard to pull off genres of bubblegum and powerpop. It seemed like they were kids who had never heard a pop punk record before - nor ever considered themselves "punks" at all - who were forging their own take on pop music without the "whoa-oh-oh" pratfalls that befall a lot of modern "pop" bands; i.e. bands consisting of people who heard Screeching Weasel - or at least the Exploding Hearts - before the 1910 Fruitgum Company (unfortunately I have to count myself among their number on that account). It sounded like four guys without a lot of preconceived notions trying to write the best tunes they could. This single continues in that tradition, but the results are mixed. The title track is perfect. On "2 EZ 2 Luv U" the Makeout Party do a superb job distilling the best elements of 60's radio staples, overlooked bubblegum gems, and should-a-been powerpop hits into one ambrosial pop confection. The verses chug along at mid-temp with a melody out the Kazentz-Katz playbook, the explosive drumming on the chorus is pure Who-like bombast, and the Spector-on-a-shoestring "ooh la la la" bridge is delicious garage-pop ear candy. However, on the flipside the Anaheim Express goes hurtling off the tracks resulting in a gruesome display of twisted metal, severed limbs, and most horrifying of all, an extended instrumental jam-out at the end of the song that lasts at least three or four minutes and necessitates this record to be played at 33 rpms rather than the appropriate 45. I've said it before and I'll say it again, FUCK THE CONCEPT OF THE MULTI-SONG, SLOW PLAYING "SEVEN INCH" VS. THAT OF THE 45 and while I'm at it FUCK COLORED VINYL AND FUCK SMALL HOLES (luckily they at least had the decency to have an adapter-sized hole on this otherwise aesthetically-stunted release. Clear vinyl is another strike against the packaging). Those criticisms notwithstanding, this is an essential release for anyone with a penchant for pop. It should have been a one sided 45 like So Cow's "Moon Geun Young" - which the a-side is every bit as great as - but unfortunate choices in presentation and a sub-par b-side don't detract a bit from the sublimity of "2 EZ 2 Luv U." This is one of those special songs that people will not only remember years from now, they'll also covet the original record enough to pay big money for it. As such, picking it up now would be a wise investment, both from a speculative and a sonic perspective. This song knocks me out whenever I hear it, and aural kicks like that are worth four bucks and then some. On Burger Records - OK I take away my prior criticisms of the packaging now that I see this is on BURGER RECORDS. How can you not love that?!?!?(SB)
(Burger Records // www.theemakeoutparty.com)
The Mans "JC/BC" 7"
Three tracks of maniacally idiotic hate-garage from two maniacs/idiots. Have to mention they raise quite the ruckus for just two fellas, sort of like a Midwestern Persuaders at their ugliest. "JC/BC" is a stomp-your-foot-through-the-fucking-floor headbanger. And I love how any attempt at "singing" is non-existant, they just fucking yell. "First Love" bites down pretty hard on what sounds like the guitar part to "You're Gonna Miss Me" and tears it to shreds. "Too Close" might even have a little bit of a hook! I thought I was totally done with two-piece primitive rock, but The Mans have restored my faith in the formula by sheer dumb force. I've thrown this one on nightly since I've got it. Beautifully stinky trash. They sound a little less wasted in this one, but it's just as good as their first...Scum stats: 150 on blue. 350 on black. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
The Mans "War Penis" 7"
I was booboonutty for these dudes debut 7" on Yakisakana. This one is a notch below that (and the Boom Chick 7") but features what may be the best sleeve art of the year. Still a good record though, "War Penis" is blusteringly dumbed-down (or up?) coffe-can drums and loud-ass guitar abuse. They seem to run out of gas on the B-Side, but I'm not faulting them, it's gotta be tough to play as balls-out stupid as these guys do. Juvenile, sloppy, absolutely ridiculous...there's a lot to love here, and I thank The Mans for being gutsy enough to bring this shit to the table. I'm sure a lot of people will say they've heard this junk before and that it's nothing special...unfashionable perhaps, and that's why I think I'm digging it so. Start with the Boom Chick single and procced from there, you might find The Mans are bringing you shit you didn't think you wanted to hear but end up enamored with anyway. (RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
Dan Melchior und Das Menace "Back in the Village" 7"
Melchior is good at placing his own descriptive blurbs on his records that give you an inkling of where he's coming from with particular songs. The title cut is described as "a cryptic crap rant", which is familiar territory for him. He does a lot of ranting. Much of it cryptic. OK, not so helpful. Immediately recognizable off-center grooviness here, scattered with sound effects and keyboard blurts and he does sort of a duet with himself at some junctures. Melchior-ian. Jangly. Possessing what some would call an "outsider" perspective. Part of the same genus of species that Ben Wallers and Mark E. Smith are classified under. I can barely remember his Billy Childish and Holly Golightly collaborations anymore. They seem odd pairings nowadays, what with all the legwork Dan has done to put some distance between him and the stigma of garage-rock since then...mission accomplished, I guess. The B-Side of "Dog Love" is labelled as "a big barrett jag hangover rag for letha" (Letha is his wife and I always think it quite chivalrous and admirable that he seems to mention her on every record...and she plays on a good portion of them as well...it just sort of speaks of him as a man of character and strong convictions...) and the Barrett mention goes a long way here. Modern garage-psychedelia. Floyd-ian? Not exactly, but a striking fascimile of Syd's lysergic creativity and displaying of the internal soundtrack in the head of an artist. He's been slowly upping the ante since the disbanding of the Broke Revue and honed his vision into one of the more identifiable and singular voices in today's underground. Not everyday listening type-stuff, but records that are nice to spend some time with when you're relaxing at home. Either you're into what the guy is doing or not and I'm in. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Disordered Records // myspace.com/disorderedrecords)
Dan Melchior und Das Menace "The Pink Scream" 12" EP
Some of Melchior's more obtuse stuff here, I'm tempted to call it a concept record of sorts, but I'm having trouble connecting all the dots between the songs on this enough to base my presumption on. Let's just say it feels like there's some thread linking all five cuts here..."I'm A Lightbulb" is the preliminary favorite (as most opening cuts seem to be...), but there's a lot to like about the entire EP. Mellow and relaxed throughout, lots of simple heartbeat rhythms and acoustic strumming cut with moments of electricity. Free association trend in the lyrics (there's a line about Keira Knightley's legs that sticks in my head for some reason...) and some cryptic mysticism as well (on "Modoc" he talks mythical and I'm thinking has something to do with Native Americans). Interesting to hear Melchior, a European, taking apart some traditional American musics (bluegrass, spiritual, what-have-you) and reassembling them in his own style. There's a lot to ponder here. How about a cover of the Ike Turner penned "I'm Blue", which he deconstructs into a bit of upbeat and dreamy meandering? I enjoy the assembly of it as well: percussion that sounds like someone mechanically knocking on a door, a single keyboard note held for the duration, soulful guitar strumming, some tambourine. It's the type of pastiche-work that is similar in construction to what Mr. Blank Dog is doing, and although sounding little alike, very close to one another aesthetically. Tunes you can spend some time with and can enjoy delving into...lots of substance to soak in, real music-as-art. "The Pink Scream and the Middle Manager" ends the record and may be the most intriguing conceptually, as it's somewhat neurotic and shrugs off the relaxed atmosphere of the rest of the album a bit. Cut-n-pastework of high caliber, with what rubbed off on me as a sci-fi sort of angle, almost as if it's two different songs alternating verses, but part of the same narrative. Future-folk if you're permit me to use the term. Smart music from a smart guy, I thoroughly enjoy these sort of aural adventures. If you're looking for cheap thrills, this probably isn't for you. I don't want to give the impression this is artsy-fartsy bullshit either, because on a simply musical level it's good stuff. Great songwriting goes a long way. But there's a lot more under the surface to enjoy picking out as well, like a fine painting. Some can buzz through the museum in a few minutes and enjoy things just fine at a glance. And some people can take a few hours and take in each piece in detail. Neither way is wrong, but I guess what i'm saying is which person you are in the example may indicate how much you will enjoy this record, and Melchior's vast catalog in general (and his recent Das Menace stuff in particular..although I wish he'd slow down on the releases a bit, as these records take some time to sink in, and it's getting hard to keep up/fully appreciate these records...). That was a lot of words. Thanks for sticking it out. Scum stats: first 100 on pink vinyl, one-sided 12" with some nice-looking Melchior art screened on the blank side. (RK)
(Shake Appeal Records // www.shakeappealrecords.com)
Mess Mess Mess "Could You Bet...We Made It?" LP
These Italian (Cattolica, to be precise) “spikey tops” pay total homage to the UK '82 punk wave—they play it straight ahead and sing its praises throughout (among most of the others, see the track ‘1982’—where they also note they have no ‘reclamo’ with ’77 punk). Not the crossover variety—its straight second wave Britpunk free of any metal leanings. Lyrically, the prideful punk anthems come off pretty corny for me—not they give a shit. They, at the very least, seem pretty committed to their thing. Most of the songs drip with this sentiment too. One thing is for sure, shout along choruses aside, its not some 3rd rate streetpunk attempt...for what they’ve dedicated themselves too, they pull it off pretty well. In addition, they change the tempos and throw in some rock and roll leads keeping it from being a redundant. It’s also a well-recorded album. I was always a bit turned off from the genre, aside from a few bands, but Mesh Mesh Mesh are more than adequate at their take on it. Especially when bassist Sylvia gets a shot at vocals, things get pretty fun. Fans of the genre will be pleasantly surprised. Hell, this even sounded better to me on repeated listens.(LB)
(No Flags Records // www.noflagsrecords.com)
Murder by Guitar "On Parade" CD/LP
Not exactly what I was expecting from Savage and gang — even the band's name had me thinking some Crime worship might be in store. No sir. Instead, it’s an onslaught of jittery (dance?!) post-punk type stuff here. Not another lackluster electro new wave revivalist clone job at all, though — it’s executed with enough urgency and conviction to kick some ass and stand on its own merits. It rocks, too. Super tight drumming with the obligatory synth, which is never outdone by the driving guitars. And while there is a certain similarity with a lot of the songs (except the power ballad), the catchiness of them is undeniable. There are some straight-up winners herein, the kind that keep me coming back for more. I’ve been tossing this one around for months now, just to make sure, and the results have been a constant — a super fun and catchy album. I guess this stuff ain’t so bad when it’s done proper. Produced by fellow countryman Frank E. Male (of Henry Fiat's Open Sore).(LB)
(Human Audio // www.myspace.com/murderbyguitarsthlm)
No Doctors "Origin and Tectonics" LP/CD
When their first LP was initially played for me back in 2001, I was somewhat scared (scarred?) by No Doctors. Seemed like a throwback to a Manson-style cult, drug addled heads with their performance set on 'stun'. Hints of southern blues and pych-rock riffage buried in a frantic set of gang vocals and acoustic strum. A shit ton of saxophones fronting some demon variation of the Fugs. Or maybe the Gods. Or something. Hippie kvlt-ure gone to seed. Also: Loud as fuck.
Then came "The Hunting Season" LP. A blown-out Twig Harper produced rock slab in the Pussy Galore vein, but taking less from the Sixties garage and more from the Seventies rock arena. "Origin and Tectonics" is their third full length following in the sounds and style of their more recent "E.R.P. Saints" EP, but the noticeable change stems from the band spending a lot of time out on the left coast...S.F. to Santa Cruz. Since relocating here from Chicago they've been stewing in the juices of other like-minded freaks (Comets/Residual Echoes/etc.) to bring them to the next level. Less improv and tight as a ticker this time out, "Origin and Tectonics" has a feel of some possible, and damned if I may say so - hits. The "Lost in the Fog" track with its Big Brother (think "Summertime") feel and heavy noir-jazz horn play first comes to mind. Damn. This track aught'a take to the airwaves. They're still wallowing in their Debris and Beefheart mud puddle as well ("Joe Houdini", check it on Myspace or the band's website), but also tackling the stoner drones of things over at the Southern Lord camp ("AAO" or "Tune in the Sundial") with a deep, deep, DEEP baritone sax belch laying it on thick for the low end. Still a few folk tracks ("Yelpin" and "For You") are peppered throughout to keep the doped-out Holy Modal haze ringing clear. Great to hear these guys clear and separate this time out within the production. Still digging on this and everything else in their back catalog -wonder where it goes from here? Self pressed limited vinyl comes with the CD as well.(RSF)
(self-released // www.nodoctors.com)
Nodzzz “I Don’t Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)” 7”
Debut record by this East Coast gone West Coast trio. Evidently made up of ex-(insert elusive hardcore band) that went and lost their damn mind...returning to throw down some infectious kind of weirdo-indie-garage. A couple short slices of ramshackle, um...flowerpunk (is that a tag now too?) that’ll snuggle up nicely betwixt your Home Blitz cassettes, Black Lips happier tracks and those Dead Milkmen oldies. Flying Nun would’ve been a fitting home for this at one time...nowadays it’d pop up on a Homework comp. A-side takes the Jonathan Richman stance on drugs (even though I’m pretty sure they were stoned when recording this) and slaps it between a twisted Them-ish riff. Catchy, yet always feelin’ like it just...might...fall...apart. B-side’s got the 80’s D.I.Y. thing down tight. Sloppy harmonizing with a pretty great lead break that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Hardcore kids, huh? Welcome to the fold.
Let’s help get them laid...Title track video.(RSF)
(Make A Mess Records // www.myspace.com/nodzzz)
Nothing People “In the City” 7”
SS does it again with this - his second NP release - and they’re still riding in fine form. The A-side original “In the City" is a mid-tempo sci-fi stomper with some great guitar siren and feed back floating throughout. 70’s slimy solo wonk shows up at the 3/4 mark for the weirdo in you. Kinda’ reminds me of a gritty early Tubeway Army. Not sure why, but yeah...this is awesome. The flip is a Roxy Music tune and I’ll admit that the Ferry guy’s voice rubs me a tad raw. So that being known...excellent choice! A solid song with better vocals in my book. Glam without all the flutter and posturing that killed it for me in the first place. Still sounds decades old as well. Clear vinyl one-sheeter with insert. No inner sleeve? What is this, arty? Oh well, that’s more money for Scott to put towards something else.(RSF)
(Ss Records // www.s-srecords.com)
The Ohsees "Sucks Blood" LP
For the past couple of years, anytime I've heard anything mentioned about ex-Coachwhip John Dwyer's project OCS (since changed to The Ohsees) it's been fairly negative. And who knows, maybe people are right as all references I've come across regarding their earlier reordings tend to indicate that the group was Dwyer's solo attempt at releasing improvisational, instrumental home recordings. But after stumbling across a recent live radio set (the group has since evolved into a full band) and being quite taken aback at the quality of the songs, I tracked down their 5th full length "The Cool Death of Island Raiders" which, while it has its moments, is rather weak and their newest one "Sucks Blood" which is simply fantastic and at the midway point of 2007 is the best LP I've heard all year. Coming from an entirely different planet as The Coachwhips, "Sucks Blood" doesn't rely on blown out production values at all, but instead features stripped down and quiet guitars backed by super basic percussion while complementary male/female vocals lay down some dreamy, psychedelic harmonies on top of it all. This LP is all about the songs, and not a slouch is to be found, while a few like "Sucks Blood", "Iceberg", "The Killer", and especially "Invitation" are some of the best slow and subtle songs I've heard in a while. Based on the aforementioned radio show, which is more recent than the recordings on this LP, it sounds as if the band is taking a bit more of an agressive approach to their songwriting, more in line with the album opener "It Killed Mom", which isn't a bad thing at all as it reminds me of a more country tinged Drags. If you're at all into the softer stuff that's been released by bands like Gris Gris, Pink Reason, Aislers Set, etc. this is a must buy. Highest recommendation. (JG)
(Castle Face Records // www.myspace.com/ohsees)
Om "Pilgrimage" LP/CD
Following the dissolution of the high priests of stoner/doom rock, Sleep, the rhythm section of Al Cisneros (bass/vocals) and Chris Hakius (drums) eventually formed the duo Om. Initially, they sounded like more of an extension of Sleep on their first album ('Variations on a Theme'), not that being a bad thing, mind you, yet as time passed, bonghits were smoked and a second album appeared ('Conference of Birds'), the two began to ultimately forge their own identity distancing themselves from that unfair tag. Amidst a genre that I can, for the most part, do without—there is something about Om that rises above the pack to me. I hesitate to call it metal (and I could see getting resistance from that), but something about their hypnotic drones and chants that build to mighty crescendos really get me. The songs are beyond long, extremely minimal and never boring.
For their third, Pilgrimage, they went to see Steve Albini resulting in their ‘clearest’ sounding effort, although don’t expect any major stylistic shifts...aside from it being the shortest album and boasting tracks that don’t go on for 15 minutes. It’s hard to talk about consistency with Om, since their two previous albums contained two songs each, but this one (four tracks, this time—even though one is a reprise) flows perfectly. The opening title track, checking in at under 11 minutes, a quiet tribal sounding piece where the expectation is an eventual explosion (the album ends with a shortened reprise of this). That never happens until the second track, which only clocks in at 5:33! Time will tell if this is Om’s masterpiece, I think it just might—but as it stands now, at the very least, it sits perfectly well as a powerful progression from their previous albums. My only complaint being that it’s over too soon. (LB)
(Southern Lord // www.southernlord.com)
Out With A Bang "Love My Life" EP
Probably the final installment of OWAB's musical legacy (as Anus is back in the US now) and it's a fitting farewell. Slightly less sloppy than the previous output, probably due to them slowing things up a bit more. Anus seems somewhat more intensely angry than just mad-dog rabid on this one. I like the slight change-up here. Good offspeed stuff. Title cut is a true scum punk kicker. "Fagophobe Welcome to the Real World" is suitably confusing and noisy. The truly awesome part of this record is the B-Side, "I Can't Come", where OWAB let loose with a real creepy-crawler that mates Flipper with Freestone. Their best song, period. Way to slam the door on your way out you fucking greasers. A-fucking-plus. I've heard rumor there may be a compilation of all the records in the future. It would be nice to have one 12" with everything on it...This one comes with a lyric insert for extra hilarity.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)
Pleasure Kills "Smash Up The Radio" 7"
First outing from this Bay Area feel-good power-poppunk five-piece. On the catchy-hooky A-Side they sound like the Busy Signals minus a guitar and adding a keyboard. I'm sorry I can't come up with a better description that that, but the resemblance is striking, and this chick might have a smoother voice. And that's a good thing for fans of the style, because you can't deny that this one is a hit. On the B-Side they get a little more Nikki Corvette-y, slower, sultrier, cuter vocals (especially the baa-bop-bop-ba refrain). All you neo-power-popsters out there should dig this. Scum stats: 500 pressed. (RK)
(Polypore Records // www.myspace.com/thepleasurekills)
Psychedelic Horseshit "Magic Flowers Droned" LP/CD
I'd like to think that I'm the first to admit when I don't know what's going on, so when discussing Psychedelic Horseshit's debut LP I'm not about to claim 100% lucidity. If they are referencing sounds from the Flying Nun or Rough Trade backcatalogs I'm not the one to tell you about it because I've got to admit almost complete ignorance of both labels' output. What I can tell you is that I've been listening to this record more than any new LP to hit my turntable all year. It wasn't love at first listen - far from it - but there was something there that kept bringing me back for repeated listens. The initial draw was the undeniable pop charms of songs like the organ-driven singalong "Portals" and the subtly anthemic "Mouth Disciples" but after awhile the songs that had previously been too obtuse or tossed-off feeling like "New Wave Hippies" and "Rather Dull" began to appeal to me as much as anything else on the record. Actually the whole record has an off-the-cuff vibe to it that was at first annoying but over time has become ingratiating to me. Perhaps it's that very looseness that is the key to what makes this record so good - or dare I say it - great. It's obvious that these guys can write a killer pop tune, but it's almost like it's so second nature to them that it becomes, well "rather dull," and they need to deconstruct the pop song and put it back together again in order to keep themselves amused. More often than not, the humpty dumpty approach to songcraft works for them, and their efforts only miss the mark on a pair of unlistenable and overlong sonic experiments on the second side that yield little but an obtuse cacophony. Lifting the needle off and skipping two tracks is hardly an undo price to pay for how good the rest of the album is though. Recommended for anyone into pop, even if that pop is ripped to pieces, taped back in place with bursts of feedback, peppered with seemingly spliced in asides, and sometimes just sputters to an anticlimactic halt. In fact, it's just that very broken nature that gives this record it's fragile charm. Bonus points for a cardboard box reportedly being an indispensable part of the drummers' kit. I'm bummed out that I missed the boat on their earlier singles, but don't make the same mistake I did. Check this band out now.(SB)
(Siltbreeze // www.siltbreeze.com)
Ramming Speed "Full Speed Ahead" 7"
I caught these guys at a basement show in Appleton playing with the mighty Razorfist. After hearing a couple songs, I knew that they were serious. Then I knew they really meant business when they busted out "See You in Hell" by Grim Reaper. I picked up their 45 and their CD, and they never told me that they were the exact same thing. Other than getting jewed, I'm glad I bought this record because they're one of the bands that's slowly regenerating the underground thrash scene. I'm thinking of punk influenced crossover shit like Evil Army, Mangina and Razorfist. They have a song called "Pizza Party" (songs about pizza rule) and three others. They also thank Coctopus, which is cool. (RFA)
(Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records // www.tdbrecords.com)
Roue "Totally Fuckin' Totally" 10"
Four-piece atmospheric rock outfit from Cleveland. A quartet of tunes that sound like the heavier end of the indie rock spectrum. Somewhere in the middle of maybe latter-day Dischord artists and some sort of math rock...or perhaps a blend of DC-and-NYC noise-art scene/sounds. They sound a lot like a lot of things, but not too much like one band to peg them on it. Is that vague enough for you? The drummer is pretty friggin hot shit though...guitars veer from indie-pluck to feedback showers. The A-Side does a lot of meandering...vocals don't even kick in until halfway through...and end up being sort of distant...uninteresting and perhaps uninterested sounding. They come alive on the B-Side though. On the title cut the drummming gets even hotter, the singer actually gets emotional and even screams some...there's even a borderline HC breakdown. The closer is one of theose "tricky" tunes that starts out all pretty and reverb-y and then the blast beat and bloodcurdling screams kick in underneath...yeah. Probably a little too indie rock for most TB heads. Scum stats: mine is on red marbled vinyl and numbered out of 100. Double-sided loose front and back artwork sheets plus a screened manila sleeve. (RK)
(self-released (?) // www.roue.org)
The Rebel "Tarscoffsky's The Snackrifice" 12" EP
Few people had actually time to finish digging his 'Brown Girl in the Ring' (which achieved to make the link between Alan Lomax and Boney M) that Sir Wallers had already 'KUFR' coming out, which few people heard, and just six months after he has this platter released on Emperor Jones Records. Although until now distribution was far from being homogenuous for all of the Rebel stuffs so it may be hard to catch up with all that, this one seems to be scorable pretty much easily.
Ben Wallers is doing good. He now has labels releasing his tapes/CDs, he tours with his wife whenever the weather is fine (and once in a while he also tours with the Teasers whenever he feels like it), he listens to a lot of dub, and now he takes care of his own website which he updates on a regular basis. Thank you for him. Now the question that you want to ask yourself is, is it still as good as any early Rebel material (which is always more or less potential Teasers material in disguise - or more like the contrary...)? Do we need another Rebel tape on a CD? why is this so expensive? What will Jay Hinman will say about the Country Teasers frontman's "cynical-but-pointless" racial slurs? Fact is, Ben Wallers still has tremendous songwriting potential. I mean while we all dudes say Weirdpunkthis and Gluewavethat and totalshitass Termbo-ing, he's always on the verge of nonsense and is capable of the most absurd songs you may ever listen to...and when you think of his other sideprojects (think The Company, Skills on Ampex...and Country Teasers of course, although he seems to prefer to do doing his own thing with his lovely wife Sophie who sounds like a far nicer company for him than 3 or 4 guys in a van) you realize he still has tons of material up his sleeve. Now though, it's only a six-songer EP, some songs like "American Beauty", "Civilian Life" or "Asian Rush" are pretty impressive and are here to testify the upper mentioned facts...
Now I feel that the Rebel releases have reached some sort of legitimate condition, as they're not affiliated to any soon-to-be potential CT material that you're sure you'll hear on their next platter. But thinking about that one-of-a-kind guy, I actually realize I got a far softer spot for his recent Company LP on Difficult Life In Mental Jail (from Fred Z who moved to the U.K. ?) which features some seriously aggresive material that is way different from the Rebel's eery/drunk electronic mumblings which is top notch in my book in the first place, but is more refreshing and slighty less predictable. And this is why that last pup might seem a lil' bit of a non-mandatory item for all the people who dont own all his records (and who'd like to start with that one), and mostly for all you collector scums out there, especially when you think it's a pretty short piece of wax. Maybe we just got too spoiled with those 15-20-ish track LPs, so now the quality ratio is maybe too tight. However it may need a few listens until it becomes truly addictive, or at least a nice grower, which is what is bound to happen, like with any earlier of his records. Next thing you know he'll create a King Tubby-like new character, or perhaps he'll just record an Ice Cube's 'Predator' tribute tape or somethin'. Can't wait.
So grab a copy while you wait till he personally sends you some of his old tapes from under his bed, and ask him if he can also include a pair of his limited edition Rebel underwear...(KB)
(Emperor Jones Records // www.emperorjones.com)
Reverend Beat-Man "Strongest Man Alive/Blue Moon of Kentucky" 2X7"
I've given the Squoodge label some shit in this issue, but I will at least give them credit for releasing Beat Man records. I may have reached my fill of the Beat Man on record years ago, but he's always got something decent going on. A true visionary in this day and age. This here is a double-single deal of two one-siders, both individually packaged yet only sold as a pair. "Strongest Man Alive" is a scary sort of gypsy lament with lap steel and mandolin and the Rev kicking a cardboard box or something for percussion all by his lonesome. The lyrics seem painfully autobiographical, but I really can't say if that's true or not. It's better if you imagine they are. Nicely screened sleeves, with an entertaining "Ten Commandments of the Blues Trash Church" printed on the inside. The better of the two records. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is The Rev accompanied by the Voodoo Rhythm All-Stars (Zeno Tornado and those Boney Google or whatever dudes) and is a clusterfuck of a Euro-hillbilly hoedown, replete with fiddles and banjos, hootin' and hollerin' and lots of gunshot and breaking bottle and police siren sound effects. Demented, but in a playful sort of way. According to the sleeve, this tune actually appeared on a previously released Voodoo Rhythm LP. This package will probably cost way too much to buy for a reasonable sum outside of Europe (it is just two one-sided records and neither are all that essential in the Beat Man discography scheme-of-things), but I am glad it exists. Scum stats: both are 400 white vinyl with B&W sleeves and 100 copies on black with a metallic-copper sleeves.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)
The Rip-Offs "European Tour Single 2007" 7"
Who would've ever thunk The Rip Offs would reunite? Yeah, I know, not that surprising...this one-sided single commemorates the 2007 Euro tour. I would've went to see them if they were playing in my state. I mean, as hokey as the whole reunion thing is, I still love the Rip-Offs. And I never got to see them in their "prime", or Shane White in action ever, which would be cool. Enough about that though. I heard they were great. I'm sure it's true. This record, in true Rip-Offs fashion, is nothing but a repackaging of the live cuts off the 'Texas Speed Trials' LP. Hahaha! The not funny thing? It's the Squoodge label and not Rip Off or even Pure Filth Recs foisting this scam on the public. It's like a double rip off. Gadzooks...Scum stats:
Scum stats: 500 on black and 150 on clear with alt sleeve.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)
Saba Lou "First Day of School" 7"
Saba Lou is King Khan's daughter. She's probably in first grade or so. Her daddy plays some kiddie drums and guitar while she sings about things a six year old would song about. School and friends and stuff. Khan has a pretty hot hand right now. Everybody loves him, rapscallion that he is. You could probably sell a thousand of anything with his name on it, no questions asked. I repeat, this is him and his daughter singing four songs. You should know what you're getting into here. I'll leave it at that. I had a good joke involving Another Bad Creation and Old Skull written here somewhere, but I can't find my cue cards...Scum stats: 1000 on yellow/red splatter.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
Tony Sagger "One Bad Man" 7"
One man band sorta action from The Tonys. To be up front, I'm probably one of the biggest Sagger (the band) fans in the world. I am also one of the few who seems to enjoy the Night Terrors output. So color me biased or whatever, but I am not lying when I say Sagger kicks out some jams on this. Three songs that bleed all over each other on this one-sided seven-inch, kicking off with "Lies", a mean sounding chomper-stomper (there's this little warbly or whiffly-like effect you can hear in the quiet parts, and I'm not sure if it's just the tape or what, but I wish it was louder because it sounds cool as hell...) that shows Sags ain't your typical twangy-aw-shuck-I'mma-tell-you-a-little-story-here OMB dude. It's raunchy, guitar sounds dirty and real, and I honestly have never liked Tony's voice more than on this record. Really fantastic lo-fi recording job. His cover of "You're Gonna Miss Me" sounds quite sick in a good way and he manages to pull it off with dignity. Lots of random background vox/noises, and you can hear the good-time-drunky-vibe of Tony and some of his buds fucking around and having a good time, particularly on the closer ("I Love You"), which is the most tradtional OMB-styled thing here, with backing vox from a gang of cackling retards. A real sweet ending. Better than you think it's gonna be. Scums stats: 200 copies only, beautifully hand-screened by the man himself.(RK)
(Terror Trash // www.myspace.com/nightterrors)
Shellac "Excellent Italian Greyhound" LP/CD
Is there a more divisive figure in underground music
than Steve Albini? Sure, he's not poking a finger in
the public eye as much as in his heyday of the 80s and
90s, but he still wields a hefty amount of influence
and his skinny-ass shadow still falls on much of the
indie/punk world. You can usually find me on his side
of the chain-link fence, ready to excuse whatever
blanket statement he has most recently made, and, more
importantly, championing his music, which, until
recently, has been almost uniformly excellent. Which
makes this new Shellac LP (their first in 7 years) so
painful. '1000 Hurts' was a grower not a shower, but
this slab doesn't compel many repeat listens. Sure,
the packaging and artwork is typically luxurious,
eye-popping, and bizarre, but who really cares when
the music itself is so devoid of life? I really think
that Albini and bassist/fellow engineer Bob Weston
have become so adept at recording themselves that they
can't hear how the ultra-meticulous techniques have
rendered their music so hermetically-sealed that it
exists in its own vacuum. And that's probably the way
they want it. Shellac's "minimal" rock is actually
quite unique, despite its superficial similarities to
the endless cavalcade of math rock for the last 15
Yet, divorced of all recording issue ephemera, the
songs here do not deliver. They sound lazy. The long
opening track, "The End of Radio," starts as a lesson
in snare-drum recording, segues into a pointless
fractured-narrative (what does it all mean? who cares)
by Albini, and occasionally trots out some guitar
amidst the repeating bass-chords. It goes on way too
long (but not as long as that first song on
'Terraform') and when Albini starts shrieking "Can you
hear me now?!" you can barely muster the brain-power
to try to tell if he's being ironic, or just
out-dated. Maybe someone told him he looks like the
dipshit in those commercials. "Steady As She Goes" is
an inferior rewrite of 'At Action Park's "A Minute,"
while "Be Prepared" starts out promising but winds up
going nowhere. "Elephant" is a semi-catchy Weston-sung
ditty that succeeds on its own modest terms. The
meandering "Genuine Lullabelle" opens side two like
the companion to "The End of Radio," but really only
distinguishes itself via a brief appearance by Word
Jazz master Ken Nordine, who could liven up even the
dullest of parties. His voice is like butter melting
on every nook and cranny of an English muffin. The
rest of the side chugs along with a series of
unimaginative rhythmic lock-downs. "Boycott" is
passable, sounding like another 'Action Parl' outtake,
and then, ironically, the last song finally brings
some rambunctious energy with the frantic "Spoke."
This record doesn't "suck," per se, it's just boring
as goddamn hell. (EEK)
(Touch and Go // www.touchandgorecords.com)
Sick Fits s/t CD
Could it be there are two bands kicking around Ottawa calling themselves the Sick Fitts? On this self-titled long player, they sound like a completely overhauled band. Everything is overhauled, actually. If you recall the batch of EPs these guys put out, there is no sign whatsoever of the spastic, hyper-punk from those records to be found here. The sleeve was an obvious tip off that there were changes in store though. And it’s not really a bad thing. They apparently discovered some late 60s’ Stones records and have run with it (and some cool threads, too). At first glance, I thought they were going for a 70s glam cruise (there's background singers and a variety of session-cats playing horns, organ, piano, etc), but there is more to it than that. Turns out, its more late 60s Stones-y sounding than anything, and for the most part, its executed with a 70s punk swagger. It sounds like the description of a familiar sound these days for sure, but I like their approach better than most. They play this stuff like they’ve been doing it for quite awhile, too. Yes, they still rock...but different. Completely different. Produced by countryman Paul Fenton (The Action) and the vinyl adds a bonus track. I didn’t even get a jewel case. What the fuck, eh?(LB)
(Full Breach Kicks // www.fullbreach77.com)
Sinks "Get Out of My House" 7"
It's not too often these days that the words "lo-fi," "garage-punk," and "kick ass" come together in the perfect harmony that Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder nauseatingly sang about in their 1982 number one hit, but I'm happy to say that on this record they combine as smoothly as a swig from a rum bottle mixed in-mouth with a sip of Coke. What sets the Sinks apart from the pack are great songs and the fact that they kick ass. That later point is key. Whenever I listen to this record, I'm taken with just how much these songs rock. No exploration of sonic vistas, nary a trace of hip weirdness, and a pronounced lack of innovation - and so much the better for it. We've all heard fast, loose, cheap, dirty punk rock before, but like pizza and sex, when it's great it's still awesome every time. My pick to click is the unrelentingly rocking "Out of Control" but every song on here is aces. Bonus points for the live to 2-track recording and leaving in the part in "Look Out" where main-Sink Tony halts bass-player Greg's intro and says "no, that's too slow" and then they go into the song again. It's becoming cliche to make this comparison, but either side of this four-songer would have made for a great Rip Off single in the black and white sleeve era. Or to put it in today's terms, Douchemaster really needs to do a Sinks single ASAP. Fashionable Idiots sold out of all 500 of these in record time, but you can probably score one from a mailorder if you act quick. Which you should do if you still like punk rock.(SB)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)
Sleepwalkers RIP “Play Our Sound” 7”
If you randomly picked four punks from Portland and asked them to start a band that drew from their common tastes, I suspect they’d cite “The Wipers, Dead Moon, and X” as primary influences (probably in that order). Actually, the way the kids form new groups up there, maybe someone’s already conducted the experiment. Sleepwalkers RIP fit in with the theory; the folks in the band have done their time in the basement scene (having played in a diverse group that includes the Triggers, Coldbringer, and RFYFL) and you can hear bits of all three aforementioned “classics” in their songs. It’s worth noting that their city has managed to create a “sound” for itself—perhaps this has to do with shared members, recording techniques, and experiences—and that many Portland groups have a shared aesthetic. While the Sleepwalkers’ style inarguably draws from the past they do manage to throw it together in an interesting way, especially on the title track. Nothing here is transcendent, but it’s fun enough for a couple of spins, especially if you’re a fan of The Wipers, Dead Moon, or X. (DH)
(Dead Ideas // www.deadideas.com)
Slicing Grandpa "Chaos Midnight" 10"
This Seattle/Las Vegas duo has been releasing cassettes, compilation tracks and CDs for damn near 15 years. They've got more recorded output than even the band members care to remember, and all too little or no fanfare. But for all they've recorded (shat out?), nothing - NOTHING - prepared anybody for this. Probably seems unfair for me to review this EP (I spent 5 years in a band with one of the wack jobs behind it), but someone has got to give them props for pulling this'n out of the ether. Gone is the lost sound thru the magnetic tape hiss. Less of the mumbled "turd shoveling" vocals. No umpteenth generation hand held takes of guitar solos. Recorded in an old apt building in downtown Seattle, it sounds like pro-gear studio in comparison to the old recordings. Everything is right there, upfront and uncomfortable. This is THEE place to start for the casual listener or THEE Holy Grail for any SG fan. An evil sci-fi industrial grind that rots your gut from the inside out. Glue and maggots compiled for a listening audience. Damaged drone of power tools against the guitars (or bass?) rhythmically fighting for the lead. What speed do you play it on? 33& 1/3rd - I believe. But it works well either way. Dying or Dead. This is a throbbing and desperate churn.Now, not everything they've ever done "wow-ed" or worked for me - how could it? There's hundreds of hours of muSICK by them out there. But this - this here is solid. Can't recommend it enough to those with outsider/wyrdpunk tastes. Fits nicely sandwiched between the Cabaret Voltaire records of yore and the Blank Dogs singles of today. Don?t hold your breath waiting for a tour, though. Much like the beloved Brainbombs, there's only been a (horribly misshapen) handful of shows.
Thalidomide Rock. Grandpa's revenge. Best 10" you'll own for many moons. 300 hundred pressed in a Steven Stapleton approved sleeve. (RSF)
(Strain Theory Records // myspace.com/slicinggrandpa)
Snazzy Boys "Play Your Bollocks" 7"
Sub-par white-rimmed sunglasses and striped shirt pop-punk. Inspired by The Briefs and maybe The Stitches or even B-Teamers like New Town Animals. But not even as good as those average-on-their-best-day bands. Is "Beard Desire" about wanting to grow a beard? I kinda like that idea. Didn't like the song though. I spent a good majority of this record looking at the Rijapov Records ad/insert and really wishing I was listening to that Miss Chain & The Broken Heels record instead. She looks pretty hot. This record = not hot at all. (RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)
Kelley Stoltz “Your Reverie” 7"
An interesting single by San Franciscan Kelley Stoltz — “Your Reverie” is a decent slab of 60s guitar pop that’s not so far off from an updated version of a teenage Beatles wannabe rocker. It’s got a nice lil’ guitar track and is pleasantly rough around the edges in an “indie rock” world where the norm is to be on the wrong side of the “overproduced” fence. The flipside changes up styles to a country-esque ballad more along the lines of Gram Parsons (but not nearly up to GP standards). The track, especially with its prolonged “yoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ooh”s, calls up memories of dreary road trips upstate to visit relatives—and my mom’s radio choices, which “Owl Services” would fit right in with. I’ll take the rocker, but for me this is a one-sided disk. (DH)
(Sub Pop // www.subpop.com)
Strange Boys "Nothing" 7"
I kinda thought the Strange Boys were a revved-up gayrage band before hearing this. I'm not sure where I got that from. Maybe some other band with a similar name? I dunno. What you have here is four tracks of limping country-blues balladeering that wisps out of your speakers like tumbleweeds covered in a sheen of prairie dust. Some light-fingered pluckin', a little harp for flavor, a touch of organ here and there. The singer has a laconic Dylan-like whining approach to the mic, sounding half asleep throughout. I didn't rip this record from the turntable and wing it out the window, but I did nearly nod off three times. A little too "soft" for me, but some of you hippies might like it. Scum stats: 100 on blue vinyl, 400 on black.(RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)
Terror Visions “World of Shit” picture disc LP/CD
Twelve songs in twenty-odd minutes of unrelenting synth-punk from man of the hour, Jay Reatard (with a couple of friends helping out, I believe), under the Terror Visions moniker. Say what you want about the guy, but he certainly does have a knack for penning some of the most bile infused, hatefuck songs out there. And while other groups playing this sound recently seem to get bogged down in creating only interesting sounds and forgetting about the songs, man, this picture disc LP (Jay’s mug on the front, a pile of coke on an ass on the back) delivers on both fronts. The fuzzed out wall of synths sound great, as do the mix of real drums and drum machines, and a bit of guitar and bass is added here and there for a nice touch, all of this serving as the backing for Jay’s trademark screams. And while not every song is something to write home about, the majority are well crafted and will be likely to please fans of those three neato SIDS 7”s, or of Jay’s work in bands like Lost Sounds and Destruction Unit (both of which are “covered” here). For the completists, of the twelve songs, six of ‘em initially appeared on the super limited, eight song Terror Visions CD-R released by Shattered a couple of years back. Also, the CD version of this apparently comes with two extra songs. (JG)
(FDH Records // www.myspace.com/fdhrecords)
Test Patterns "Flower of Mind" 7"
Second 7" from Japan-via-Pittsburgh power-pop-punkers, featuring husband-wife tandem Dan (ex-Radiobeats) and Yago (one of the Gito Gito Hustler Japanese foxes). Four songs on this, although they go by in a flash. Test Patterns are a seriously tight unit (both live and on record) and they've come up with some complex and hook-riddled rock here that could be called power-pop at times and pop-punk at others. Some of the arrangements remind me of the Marked Men's work mixed with the poppier Japanese bands of a few years ago (Tweezers, First Alert, etc...). Finely crafted rapid-fire stuff. Dan, Yago and bass player Matt all take turns on vox, and I enjoy the fellas singing far more. But that's just my bias against chirpy-girl vocals showing through. But the dudes sing three out of four here, so that a plus for me (sorry Yago). So, yeah, I dig at least two of these tunes heavily ("You're So Cruel" and "Fall in Place"). If you're into extremely well played and rousing pop-type stuff with punk edge/energy, you should look into this. Scum stats: first 100 on pink/black splatter.(RK)
(Shit Sandwich // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)
Thomas Function "Relentless Machines" 7"
The better of the two recent T-Func releases, this one sort of sees a Northern Soul-like influence (not like that tag has any meaning these days anyway, does it?) creeping into their thing. Title cut trots along through the acoustic highlands, breaking into an electric gait at times and maybe taking just a little too long to get where it's going. I'd like a lot of their songs more if they'd shave a minute or so off of them, they always seem to maybe have one verse too many. But I like it well enough, almost remiscent of Dexy's a bit. "Blasphemer's Union" is the flip, and it's a bit more indie-pop oriented and upbeat, but still has a bit of UK-whiteboy undercurrent. Not absolutely grabbing, but I enjoyed this bit of evolution in their sound. Interesting enough that I want to listen to it some more...Scum stats: 100 on blue, 400 on black. Art by Kyle Leper Print. (RK)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)
Thomas Function "My Empire" 7"
I was quite stricken by this band at the tail-end of last year. Their quirky style of pop hit the spot at the right time, it was off-balance and a bit weird and emotionally captivating. Full of promise. The second wave of their releases have now been making the rounds, and this would be their "moody" record. "My Empire" is a lengthy mid-tempo repeater that goes on for just a bit too long, but still holds some jumpy energy. B-side is mostly acoustic with some emotive organ in places, a somewhat subdued weepy-ish ballad. The sleeve blurbs about "Ice Cold Dance Numbers" and the tunes do have a slight chill to them which robs them of a bit the excitement of the earlier output. The vocals sort of grate on the slower stuff without the faster rhythms to bounce off of. My least favorite of their releases so far. Scum stats: thick-ass screened cardboard sleeves, lilac colored vinyl. (RK)
(Arkam Records // myspace.com/arkamrecords)
3 Inches of Blood "Fire up the Blades" CD
3 Inches of Blood is pretty fucking epic metal, one of the few bands bringing back the true sound of heavy metal, unlike most of the crap these days. They have two singers and one sounds like King Diamond's illegitimate son. The other sounds like he drank a bottle of Clorox after he smoked a carton of Winstons. You can tell that these guys spent many weekends taking hits off the bong and playing Dungeons and Dragons. The opening track is an instrumental war march, getting the listener prepared for some serious metal. Opening vocal song "Night Marauders" is a blazing metal epic that makes you want to do headwhips like there's no tomorrow. Songs like "The Goatrider's Horde" and "Trial of Champions" remind me of my fucking days of fucking listening to early-to-mid-90s thrash metal. The album keeps going strong with other tracks like "Forest King," "Assassins of Light" and "The Hydra's Teeth." 3 Inches of Blood fucking rule, and "Fire up the Blades" is recommended for true fucking metalheads, and not fucking douchebags. (RFA)
(Roadrunner // www.roadrunnerecords.com)
Time Flys "The In Crowd" 7"
This one took a little while to sink in, maybe on the fourth or fifth listen I realized these were some great cuts and not the ordinary stuff I initially thought it was. I think I was in a post-"Rebels of Babylon" state of caution. "The In Crowd" sees Andy's wah-pedal clocking some serious overtime and plays out like Bolan stripped of make-up and rolled around in the dirt. Cool. "Low Life" is a statement of purpose, much like many a Dictators every-loser declaration but beholden to ditchweed and pills instead of White Castle and wrestling. This one's alright with me, maybe not as immediately thrilling as some of the more punked-out shit I think we all expected from them, but it seems like a return to form of sorts and shows they really shine in the seven-inch format. Scum stats: first 100 on gold. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterecords.com)
Two Dollars out the Door "Champagne of Fears" LP
Awful band names and LP titles aside, these guys have a little something interesting going on. I was surprised about halfway through this when I read the promo sheet and saw it was a two-piece, just drums and bass, because it's pretty fuggin' loud. I guess the temptation then arose to drop a Lightning Bolt or Godheadsilo comparision, but I haven't listened to Godheadsilo in about ten years (but I did like 'em) and Lighting Bolt is a band that eludes me on record (but I love that live show), so I'm just getting lazy on that tip. They talk up the noirpunk thing, and the scummy neon jungle artwork and vibing is noticeable and adds a bleak urban desperation. It's jittery and jumpy, sometimes jazzy, sometimes even a little rockabilly in a futuristic way. I actually thought it sounded a little like The Blowtops at times when they get stark and scary and certainly in the vox a bit. So, it's got a beefy sound and these guys can whip up a frenzy when they need to. Just seems like it needs a little more work. The idea doesn't seem fully fleshed out yet, but it's still better than I was expecting. I'm a fan of things blown-out and loud and these two can bring it with some deft hyperspeed crashing, but beyond the initial blowback, the tunes don't stick. Could've been a good seven-incher here, as I was getting restless before the half way mark. I've been sticking with it though, throwing on a three or four song blast at a time helps. I want to like this more, but something keeps holding me back...like I said, I think it just needs some finishing. I'm not sold on this one, but I will check them out at a later date. The nice packaging might make it a little easier to buy if you're on the fence...Scum stats: 500 copies on tri-tone splatter, nice screen job with a silver cityscape on a black sleeve, with fluorescent details/titles/songs on top of it (which I think is glow-in-the-dark, but standing in my closet with the lights out didn't work...).(RK)
(Rock Bottom Records // www.myspace.com/rockbottomwrex)
V/A Cocobeurre/Chocolat split 7”
Chocolat and Cocobeurre are two new outfits from Montreal so naturally this split is released on the Montreal-centric, but Italian based, label Goodbye Boozy. Chocolat feature Ysael Pepin on bass, formerly of Demon’s Claws and their two songs here are fantastic. First up is “Magalie” which is a slower, retro sounding number that sounds like it could be an outtake from an early Jacques Dutronc single, and not just because of the French vocals. “Le Monde est Vert” is a driving, garage rock raver that has everything going for it – a powerful rhythm section, cool sounding organ, fuzz guitar, and once again, vocalist Jimi showing off his great voice. The flip has King Khan’s sister, Coco singing two laid back numbers, first one being “Baby Where You Gone”, recorded in 2001 with King Khan playing all the instruments and singing a bit himself. It’s a good countrified lullaby sort of song, reminding me somewhat of a more lo-fi take on what the underrated Sunday Sinners have been doing in recent years. “Watermelon” follows with Coco on vocals and piano, with Montreal stalwart Choyce laying down some dreamy, psychedelic guitar. Good stuff, but I’d give the slight edge to the Chocolat side. Definitely in the running for split single of the year. (JG)
(Goodbye Boozy // www.myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
V/A Cococoma/Hipshakes split 7"
Split single action released for the Cococoma/Hipshakes US tour. I think this is one of few the acceptable usages of the split single, as a merch item for a joint tour, and it doesn't make me as mad when bands do the cute lets-cover-each-others-songs thing under these circumstances. The Cococoma original, "Never Be True", is a winner, fun and gutsy-and-catchy garage rock...I'm a bit critical of Cococoma releases, they're very hit or miss for me, and this is a hit. For some reason I think of them as perhaps one of the best true garage bands around right now (when they're "on" that is). And I'm a sucker for "whoah-whoah"-type choruses, and they got me with this one. The Hipshakes cover ("Brain Numb"), well, I don't recall the original that much and I shant be remembering this cover of it either. The Hipshakes side: well, I'll be damned if these kids don't come though on this one! "Hurt My Pride" is stellar young limey snot, playful and reminding me of a Johnny Moped cut a bit. And they cover one of my favorite Cococoma songs ("All I Give") by simply eating it up and shitting it out in speedy and haphazard fashion. Real wild. This one's a keeper all the way. And I didn't even see these bands on tour. My god, the irony of it all...Scum stats: I would imagine 500 total, supposedly a limited amount are on white vinyl. Kick-ass sleeve design too, by one of the Cococoma fellas.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
V/A Digger and the Pussycats/The Magnetix split 10"
Nice little pairing of Aussies and Frenchies here, three tunes apiece. Digger get the A-Side distinction, and I've always imagined them as a band you need to see live to get their greatest impact. I've never had the pleasure myself, but you can just tell their high-energy two-piece assault would play out better on stage. Still, I've liked some of their vinyl, and this is probably the most savage I've ever heard them on record. "Timebomb" is pretty fucking punk, and shows off more muscles than a lot of bands with double the members. "I Can't Win" is one of those proudly defiant garage anthems. Very very likeable. "Suce Moi La Bite" is where they really hit it though, a desperate and dare I say weird rocker, that puts the brakes on their usual bombastic attack for something a little more angular. Very well played. Some of the best tracks I've heard from them. The Magnetix tear into Side B with lots of organ this time around. "No Feel Pain" seems sort of ordinary until it is cleaved apart by a size extra-loud guitar solo that totally shuts the song down and into a fade-out. Their best moment on this record. "Invasion X" has some bowel-rattling low-end guitar, greasy French vox and effective drum simplicity. "Danger In You Eyes" is like their stab at a spy-themed jam, which means a little twang drenched in copious anounts of feedback. Brief and fulfilling. The Magnetix stuff isn't as over-the-top as I usually like them to be, but the Digger side is some of their best work. A good record from a couple of underappreciated bands. Scum stats: 500 copies, insert, screened sleeves. (RK)
(Every Night is a Saturday Night Records // www.everynightisasaturdaynight.com)
V/A Haunted George/Hex Dispensers split 7"
Upon hearing the Hex Dispensers LP, my inital reaction was Necessary Evils-lite. Maybe that sounds a little rough. Let's call it N-Evils without the LSD and with a pop bent. The inclusion of "Forest Ray Colson" seemed dodgy, as the Evils had done "Man From Mars" back in the day anyway. Not like you can't write songs about the same guy. There's probably a hundred tunes about Jack the Ripper. It just seemed to strike some all-too-familiar chords. So now we have the awkward situation of Haunted George covering that very same song, and he certainly hits this grapefruit right in the sweet spot...really, it's like he's covering himself in some roundabout way. Far better hearing him sing this, and his vox sound absolutely guttural here. His side is completed with "Pile O' Meat" from the LP. Same version. Redundant. Hex Dispensers then cover that very same song. Meh. It's over before you notice it's happening. This is then followed with their version of "Forest Ray Colson" taken from their LP. Redundant. This is surely a real nice slap-your-buddy-on-the-back, nudge-nudge wink-wink theme record here. But...have I called this record redundant yet? I just ask, because it is. Redundant. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)
V/A Night Terrors/Toby Wong split 7"
One Alice Cooper tune apiece on this split from the always reliable Perpetrator label. Night Terrors contribute a high-treble version of "Long Way To Go" from the same Tronic Graveyard session that the 'Cobras' LP drew from. Hard to fuck this one up, and they don't. I have no idea who Toby Wong are, but it's not anyone from the Wongs if that what you were guessing. They look great though, from the pic on the sleeve it's as if some of the personnel from American Movie started a stoner rock band. Basement metal all the way, but not as damaged as I was hoping for based on appearances. Sort of run-of-the-mill stoner/doom that I actually wish was sloppier. They play it a little too well for it to be overly of interest. As a side note, neither of these tunes trump Aluminum Knot Eye's version of "Is It My Body?" for best semi-recent Coop cover of note. Scum stats: 300 copies all the was from New Zealand. (RK)
(Perpetrator Records // perpetrator_1-at-hotmail.com )
V/A Tradtional Fools/Primate 5 split 7"
This is why I find split releases so tiresome most of the time...yeah, let's do the one band vs. another band thing again, where they square off on the sleeve in a mock fight...at least it's real pic and not cartoon versions of the band. And at least they don't cover one of each other's songs, I guess. Enough bitching. Tradtitional Fools side is actually really great. "Please" is a killer that reminds me of the really snotty and mean garage-punk thing The Fingers could pull off really well when they wanted to (especially in the vox). "Stash Comb" adds some surf-twang to the formula. These tunes might be better than the ones on the Trad. Fools 7" from earlier in the year. They look pretty ugly on the sleeve as well, which is cool, because I like ugly bands. And I'm sure they care...Ah, the Primate 5. I guess if you've heard one P5 record, you've heard them all, eh? One simian-themed tune, of course ("Curse of the Monkey's Paw"...zoinks!), and believe-it-or-not, the clever "I Need Your Luh" is probably one of the more memorable P5 tunes I've ever heard...not that I remember too many of their others, although I own most of the records. I'd leave the crib on a weeknight to see these mooks play any time, but who really digs out their Primate 5 records for repeated listens? Maybe if you were in the band or something. And as a concept, I think it would be cool if the P5 continue on forever, like they should just keep replacing members, pass on the monkey masks to the next generation, like Menudo or some shit. Which I think they might be doing anyways. So, yeah, I highly endorse the Traditional Fools side of this record. And the Primate 5 as an ongoing performing troupe. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // www.myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
Vee Dee “Glimpses Of Another World” EP
It’s been awhile between dances for Vee Dee - since 2004 to be precise. In that time, their “Furthur” album has never lost its way out of my frequent rotation...slowly discovering and digging different songs from time to time and never growing tired of it as a whole. I’m not sure what their status is at home, but that is one underrated album (it’s fucking fantastic) by an underrated band. In that time they’ve replaced a few drummers and (allegedly) have a double album in the works. Finally...something from Vee Dee, in the form of a 3 song 7” record: “Glimpses Of Another World” is both different and, thankfully, familiar at the same time. The title track, nearly 6 minutes long, is a scuzzy and creepy psychedelic rock pounder with lots of fuzzed out guitar shred (and driving fuzzed out bass) that may lose the short attention span set, but suits me just fine. “Glimpses...” is an opus that would probably sit better as part of an LP side rather than on its own in this setting; it still gathers appropriate amounts of steam reaching a thunderous climax (of more fuzz/shred/pound). The two catchier numbers on the flip are mid-tempo and more time manageable, “Death Cult Kissing Booth” is an exceptionally cool, catchy number. While they’ve had the psych-rock leanings since the beginning, this is more psych-rock (and less punk rock) than before. It’s a damn nice teaser...but I’m still hankerin’ for another long player from these guys. First 100 on white vinyl.(LB)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Wax Museums "Ancient Structures" 7"
I wasn't sure I was ready for another Wax Museums 7". I was at the breaking point...love 'em, but it was too much too soon. Should've known better though, as this is a short and sweet little platter that made me feel bad for doubting them. And it's a concept record to boot, which really makes it work. It's all over in a flash, blink and you'll miss it, but "Pyramids" is one their best, a stop-start little punk gem and the B-Side has two more quickfast jumpers ("Stonehenge" and "Catacombs"). Really, it goes by in such a hurry it doesn't give you a chance to not like it. These guys are gonna make one hell of a ten-minute long LP. Then they should stop and catch their breath. (RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
White Lung "Local Garbage" 7"
Debut from this all-girl Vancouver four-piece, featruing ex-Riff Randells, but there's little to no remnants of that band's sound in White Lung."Local Garbage" recalls classic LA-female-fronted punk, Avengers are the obvious comparison, but I think the VKTMS might be a more apt touchstone, particlularly on the vox. Sounds great and angrier than recent Euro-clones of this style like The Vicious or Gorilla Angreb. B-Side has two more, one tense and rhythmic blast of punk with a quite killer and really rousing guitar sound ("Breaking Boxes") and one post-punker, with a slight nod in the direction Mika Miko are looking in and a dash of Bikini Killy brashness. Great scraped-guitar action too. Whatever it is The Coathangers are doing wrong, White Lung are doing right. Scum stats: 500 copies, great label name.(RK)
(Hockey Dad Records // myspace.com/hockeydadrecords)
Wooden Shjips "Loose Lips" 7”
Although this is the fourth release by the Wooden Shjips, it will be, in all likelihood, the first heard by most. Their earlier output—the “Shrinking Moon for You” 10”, “Dance, California,” and “Sol ‘07” 7”s—was released in micro-pressings that were gobbled up by only the most astute listeners of the American Underground. In addition to being the first wide release, this is also the first one to come housed in a picture sleeve. Its design is fitting—superimposed over the half-toned close-up of a mouth are dozens of concentric circles. Like that image, the songs are hypnotic; on “Loose Lips,” the rhythm section locks into a riff and plays it without variation for six-plus minutes. The guitar spends the first half of the song fading in and out before erupting with a second half hailstorm of lead playing. The Shjips do not write songs by any traditional criteria so much as they create an atmosphere, and this is perfectly illustrated here. The mood that it elicits is too strong to fight and I find myself getting sucked in, trancelike, lost in thought while listening, then starting the side over and repeating.(DH)
(Sub Pop // www.subpop.com)
The Wrists "MK Ultra" 7"
If you need a break from the Wax Museums vinyl blitzkreig, take a look over here at this outfit from the same camp of Texas dudes. I'm very fond of The Wrists. Perhaps moreso than the Museums at times. There's just something I find aesthetically pleasing about a double-bass/no-guitar line-up with some non-cheesy synth. And the vocals on Wrists songs are always just at the point where I almost wish they'd turn them down...just spat-screamed out monotone-style with whatever effects pedal/box it is they use, it's raw and almost - almost - gets right on your last nerve. Lovingly abrasive. Anyway, "MK Ultra" is not a cover, but "Beat Beat Beat" is. I pick "MK Ultra" to place, the well-done (and funny) Beex cover to show, and "Lights Out/Blackout" (the most paranoic and desperate of the batch) to win for my trifecta. Nothing as awesome as "Livin' in the Eyeball" here, but I still dig. By the way, these songs also appear on the split cassette with Leper Print. And I think this is probably the last Wrists record. Booo. (RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)
X-Offender "Get it Right" 7"
More new Michigan punk rock (from Kalamazoo I believe) and I've heard some good things regarding this group on the old interweb (from MI locals I'm sure...). I was real impressed with Metal Teeth 7", so I was hoping this one would be another winner from the region...but it's lacking something. Reminds me somewhat of Bantam Rooster-ish piss-and-vinegar garage, but they come up a bit short on the attitudical level. I think it might be the guy's singing, it's just not impassioned enough to kick start the tunes into high gear. The track the girl sings on is real good punkola though ("Big Come On") and I spun that one a few times. The other three tracks are pretty average. Above average band name though...Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Milk N Herpes Records // www.myspace.com/milkherpes)
To read past reviews go here.
PREVIOUS PAGE HOME NEXT PAGE