RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2008
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(IS: Ickibod Styzinetti)
(TK: Todd Trickknee) (RSF: Rob Vertigo)
Autopsia 7" EP
This is the latest in the slow trickle of releases that have been issued, here and there, by labels rescuing and documenting recordings by South American bands that were unable to do so for themselves during their time. Hailing from a Peruvian scene that included Leusemia and Ataque Frontal, Autopsia recorded these five songs during the mid-80s. As may be expected, the tracks are rough sounding, and the band thumps away while vocals are gruffly yelled along. The final song, “Sociedad Podrida,” is exceptional, and its bouncy rhythm and chanted chorus almost brings to mind some of the No Future bands.(DH)
(Conchebomba Discos // ??)
Billy Bao “Fuck Separation” 10”
Ah, the wisdom of Billy Bao! Buried in the mess of noise that is “Jail Logic,” Billy Bao yells, “Punk has its rules, its reliable methods for producing satisfactory products. But the reality that must be taken as a point of departure is the one of dissatisfaction. It’s necessary to destroy conventions in punk. To undermine its foundations as a genre. To demoralize its fans. What a task!” And in that line is, perhaps, the philosophy of the band. “Fuck Separation” is harsh and challenging; each side of the record contains a single ten minute song that starts with one riff played repeatedly before crossing over into the other side’s riff, making both songs essentially a part of the same whole. The songs are much heavier than on his previous single, “Incinerator,” the vocals sung more desperately. This one’s not suitable for background music.(DH)
(SS Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Black and Whites "Cigarettes and Control Freaks" 7"
Latest single action from Talbot Adams and Co., the Co. this time around being ex-Neckbone/Preacher's Kid Tyler Keith on a couple tracks, the impeccably named Twinkle Van Winkle on drums for one cut, and Punk Rock Pat (Dutchmasters) and one Johnny Valiant (not the wrestler) seemingly making up the permanent band now. "You Broke My Heart, Girl" is one of their best, expressive middle-gauge garage rock'n'roll with soaring guitar and some mellow back-ups. For such a nice dude, the ladies sure fuck with Talbot a lot. "Pinball Queen" is a slightly bluesafied strummer. Title cut is an updated Seventies-rocker, where Talbot actually dogs the girl this time. Good for him! A really good pure rock'n'roll record, sometimes Stones-y sometimes Big Star-y, this would be a great one for mid-afternoon summer partying. Co-release between FDH Records and P.Trash. Scum stats: first press was 500 copies on trash vinyl, with 120 limited covers that I never even saw a copy of. Second press of 100 on black.(RK)
(FDH Records // myspace.com/fdhrecords)
Black Lips "Australian Tour" 7”
Yet another Black Lips single to feature “Oh Katrina” on the A-side, but the hand-stamped labels and attractive Xerox sleeve make this immeasurably cooler than the others. Since both songs on the flip have also been released—“Italian Sexual Frustration” and “Slime & Oxygen”—this may not be essential to most, but it is, at least, pragmatic in that it was released in support of a recent Australian tour. Another sharp-looking release on Juvenile Records.(DH)
(Juvenile Records // juvenilerecord-at-hotmail.com)
Blank Dogs "Stuck Inside the World" 7"
I had a day dream the other afternoon where I thought it would be cool to make a Blank Dogs video where there were humanoid insects playing all the instruments. Then I heard "In A Web" and realized it would be the perfect song for that treatment. Premonition? Coincidence? Too much time on my hands? "They Said" totally reminds me of some Eighties new-wave chart-topper that I can't put my finger on, but turned inside itself (on further review, I realize it's some Peter Gabriel song it reminds me of...I don't know what that means). As I throw on each new Blank Dogs record, I feel like it's going to be the one where I say enough already. And then those thoughts are dashed as I try and figure out how he gets that vocal sound and imagine where the tree is that he grows these songs on. "Stuck Inside the World" is well done melancholy that just drops off the table at the end. I've tried numerous times to figure out what my favorite BD record is, and I've discovered that the answer is all of them. They all flow together seamlessly, and I'm finding it's not any particular tune that has me enraptured, but the feeling they give me as a whole. As gay as it sounds, I enjoy that sort emotion they elicit in me, not really sadness or joy, but a little of both, and I think I extend that subconsciously into the fact that I derive so much pleasure from music and Blank Dogs sort of typify that experience so well. As much as I live for the immediate thrill of punk rock and its genre brethren, it's in the homegrown efforts such as this that I'm reminded that it's not just the energy and adrenaline that I need from my music listening but the instances of retrospection and inward thought that Blank Dogs records inspire in me. It's a beautiful thing, this world of sounds, and that some guy recording in his living room can give me records such as this, well that's the sort of experience that keeps me in this record-buying game. It's not a hobby, it's a way of life. Where did I put that joint? Didn't I write this review once before? Scum stats: first 100 on red vinyl. Also available via the Blank Box, the record buying event of the decade. (RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.daggermanrecords.com)
Blank Dogs “Two Months” EP
I’ll be up front in saying that I always appreciate the “leave ‘em hanging for more” philosophy, but with their fifth release in under a year, it does feel a bit like the Blank Dogs are beginning to overextend themselves. Of the three tracks here, “Two Months” stands out among the group’s best, but the others slip into the blur of “Blank Dogs” songs. They’re not at all bad, but I feel like I’ve been here before. I think I’d be more endeared to the quantity if it was more in line with the DIY, minimal synth movements that the band is musically mining, and if some of this came out on home dubbed cassettes rather than as the hot new release of the month. As such, I wouldn’t mind a little repetition of ideas, but with records it’s always nice to see each stand on its own to present something unique. This is just a grain of salt, though, because I’ll still grab each new release and eagerly wade through looking for the gems (and so far, they’ve all had some).(DH)
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Bloodreds "Mister Mess" 7"
The label says “loud blaring punk rock”, but this is anything but that. More like some semi-restrained melodic streetpunk™ with songs that are honest, but just didn’t have much of a memorable hook to them. It’s pretty basic on all fronts. Kind of reminiscent of the 90’s dark ages of melodic punk (with a streetpunk vocal delivery and attitude), and not something I’d expect to hit the Termbo mailbox.(LB)
( Loud Blaring Punk Rock // www.loudpunk.com)
The Blowtops "64 Teeth" 7"
Every time the Blowtops put out a record, half the Garage-Punk/Termbo-Nerd community complains about how they miss the OLD Blowtops while the other half realized long ago that straight up garage rock is, well...ahhh…yeah. If you've been a fence-sitter with them before, this'll knock you off in the dirt, guarantee. I can't see universal love anytime soon. I enjoy a good challenge when listening to a record. That said, I'm all for tracks like this here "64 teeth". The kind of tune that if played live (say, at the Double Down in Las Vegas) could instigate a bottle-riot. Shit comes across like Suicide opening for Costello. Head scratching bad vibe & a good time equally. It starts with a simple organ tone. Next comes the robotic-funeral march. This rapidly stumbles into a drum-roll fist fight....and suddenly...disconnect. Sputter. Black Juju. Dialtone. And BLAM!! It comes crashing and yelping back into action...whoah. This is amazing. Vocals are off arguing with themselves somewhere down the hall. The guitar is sustained wails of strangled singular notes. Is it doing it again? Hell yes it is. Here it comes. Stop and Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (etc.)
Dead tone again.
How long does this go on for? Long enough to make you check what’s in that brownie you just ate. Self-sabotaging rock n'roll. Paranoia via phonograph. Sign me up. This heart needs resuscitation. The flipside offers up "Megalomonkey" which is relatively normal in comparison to what has just happened. Feels like you played the Volt LP with a bad belt-drive. Fucked yet danceable no-wave with a Gothic take on the hardcore “breakdown", all sandwiched between a steady industrial ping. Love the dueling vocals. It's nice to hear Traci's say in this sausage fest. Great stuff as always.
Has Thomas Savage heard this yet? Someone really should check on his well being. 500 copies, 200 on red vinyl.(RSF)
(Certified PR Records // www.myspace.com/certifiedpr)
Box Elders "Hole In My Head" 7"
They're from Omaha, NE and are named after a Pavement song (or a variety of tree I guess). They play medium-tempo garage-pop with a little bit 'o organ. They're recorded pretty low-fi giving the record sort of an understated sound, like a little band playing in a big room. "Hole In My Head" is sort of a drag, kinda goes nowhere slowly, a real drifter..."One Foot in Front of the Other" fares better, showing off some energy and a swell aw-shucks sort of pop dynamic. The most promising number on this debut. Flipside isn't too strong though, "2012" is a jangler that didn't grab me and their cover of the third best Redd Kross tune doesn't really do much for me either. Oh well. I really like the artwork and the fact that they're from the heartland playing this style, so I'll probably give them another chance since I'm on the Nebraska bandwagon, but this 7" on its own isn't so hot. Maybe it's a grower. Maybe not.(RK)
(Grotto Records // myspace.com/boxelders)
Brain Handle s/t LP
The first long-player from Pittsburgh’s ecstasy-salesmen and homemade absinthe-toting delinquents whose snazzy denim jackets bear their telling individual nicknames: The Technicolor Rabbit, The Shaky Cheese, etc., etc., etc. They look like Blue Cheer and the flower-laden fabric on the cover begs the question of whether they got off at the right epoch. And yet, their name is lifted from a Rorschach song? I suppose weed is the culprit all around. I’m thankful there’s no flower-violence to be heard, but rather interesting mid-tempo hardcore that incorporates factors that made the wave of recent innovative Midwestern hardcore the apple of my eye. Aspects of groups like The Repos and the Bill Bondsmen, though not as thorough, are shared with an undeniable hint of West coast Posh Boy jams (maybe in the production more than anything) and a spoonful of Annihilation Time rock out displayed in such groovy hits as “Wallet Sniffin’”. With inspiration provided by William S. Burroughs, conspiracy theory blogs and wasted weekends, this is a damn good amalgamation of subcultural extremes.(BG)
(No Way Records // www.nowayrecords.com)
Brimstone Howl "Tunnel of Love" 7"
The 'Guts of Steel' LP was such a bummer...it came out right when I was really into the Howl's singles and I was ready to be blown away, or at least rocked a little bit...and basically got handed a 12" turd by Alive! Records once again. I shoulda known better...then that Forbidden Tigers LP came out and managed to be decent, so I figured it was time to write Brimstone off...but I had to give this single a chance, and I'm glad I did. Nebraska's heroes come through on this one, perhaps proving that they truly are a singles band (and isn't garage rock really a singles genre when you think about it...). Like many of you, I also believe that straight garage-rock done well is a nearly extinct bird these days, but it's hard not to let the way this band does it get under your skin. They're capable of moments of truly moving rock with such energy and downhome charisma, gutsy vocals and gutsier guitars..."Tunnel of Love" is one of those songs, a poignant reminiscence of something as All-American as the carnival...cotton candy and hastily assembled amusement rides, lecherous carnies and golden-haired corn-fed teenage babes, a delicate little "Paint, It Black"-esque guitar tinkle, emotively spoken vocals, the smell of funnel cakes...and I see Brimstone Howl belting this one out on stage at the fairgrounds, with the fire their name implies, right there next to the barn housing the county's largest vegetables and prize heifers. Am I letting my imagination run rampant here? Sure, but it's a fantastic tune, confident and thrillingly American sounding. These kids should be playing every high school homecoming in my dreams, out there on the football field next to the hay bales and bonfires...but enough of my hazy romanticizing. B-Side is rocks it out a little more, a twangy raver with some convincing guitar work and testifying vox. Really glad to see these kids return to form with this single and the recording sounds great as well. Maybe I am just a garage turkey at heart. Scum stats: first 150 on cotton candy pink vinyl. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
Cheap Thrills "Kick Me In The Heart" 7"
Rip-Off-style throwback punk-rocking here, reverential to various Lowery-fronted outfits (I'm feeling Infections and Zodiac Killers first LP the most...). Mid-tempo stuff for the most part with a good guitar sound and obligatory blistering solos. I like the treatment on the vox too. It's OK and all, but probably would've turned some more heads in 1998. Gotta give some bonus points for covering the always criminally underappreciated Gears ("High School Girls") though. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on blue.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)
Cheap Time "Handy Man" 7"
"Handy Man" is quite possibly the best song I've heard all year. Unstoppably and progressively energetic, possessing a rousing chorus and hook, and brief enough that it leaves you yearning for more. 100% killer. This isn't the band that made the 'Spoiled Brat' EP, it's something much better. No more girls in the band, a revamped rhythm section, and I think Jeff just moved all the songs that he had under the short-lived Peoploids moniker into the new-and-improved Cheap Time (and I loved the first incarnation as well). The B-Side of this ("Wildlife") shows off the more Sparks and Quick influenced weird glam-pop stuff people have been talking up with some keyboard touches added. Still really catchy and not all that punk, which I don't mind...Jeff reinterprets these influences into something I find really entertaining and just a little bit rawer than its precedents. A great teaser for the LP, which is really strong, and maybe a little more like the B-Side of this record. It's going to have pop-lovers pissing their pants and the punks running for cover. Anyway, this one's a mandatory purchase. Scum stats: first 100 on red.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // myspace.com/douchemasterrecords)
Clusterfuck "How The West Was Won" LP
Tightly wound, short attention span brief punk spurts, frequently reminiscent of an early (fast-n-melodic) Orange County hardcore sound with quirky, oddball vocals (and some quirky, oddball parts thrown in to mix things up). Played by ‘genuine old dudes’ and a girl, cleverly named Lauren Order, from Connecticut (ex-Seizure), this one suffers a bit from the thin (but clear) production, aside from a few tracks (especially the cool “Hooray!” which rounds up the first side with the guitar sounding more lively). The songs are short (the 12” spins at 45 rpm) and while not overly memorable at first, something about it kept me coming back and giving it more listens. Maybe I just needed to turn it up. Not too shabby.
300 on white vinyl and a bunch more on silver plastic discs.(LB)
(Vital Center Records // myspace.com/clusterfuckcthc)
Coconut Coolouts "Pizza Regret" 7"
These Coolout goofs are well on their way to becoming America's premier party band as it's hard not to want to do some keg stands and engage in sloppy dancefloor make-out sessions while listening to these records. "Pizza Regret" shimmies and shakes with the best of 'em, lots of bop-bops and whoa-whoas and even la-di-da-di or two and "Spell It Out Dummy" continues with the pie-love...P-I-Z-Z-A! Can't really go wrong here, glad to see some kids showing love for the slices instead of hamming it up over hot dogs. B-Side keeps up the killer choruses and party anthems, this time it's a "na-na-na-na" that you can't get out of your head...damn, these guys are good with the nonsenical shit. It's fantastic. "Weekend" closes an an almost serious sounding note, a wild stop-starter recapping a party weekend that evolves into (another) hip-hop nod. Hilarious and filling, they take what could just be a really plain-and-simple form and add some unexpected complexity/texture yet still maintain the get drunk and puke spirit. Probably the most fun I've had listening to a record in some time. I heard SubPop has scooped these guys up. And how about some vinyl of that CD-only release? Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 on creamsicle vinyl. There was a limited test press version too, probably less than a dozen. I need one.(RK)
(Seeing Eye Records // www.seeingeyerecords.com)
Complications "Everything" 7"
Latest French gut-rock outfit with ties to Magnetix and Fatals and others from that scene. "Le Trait" is an angry-instro with the sort of wild twin guitar-whanging you'd expect from this crowd. "Everything" sounds like a burly Bassholes groover with screamed vox that thankfully don't overpower the music. "Kick You" is the flipside and is the slow-mover of the bunch that whips up a nice guitar-froth towards the end. I was down on this scene of bands for a bit, maybe it was Fatals overkill or the onslaught of related releases, but I think they take a nice approach here. It's angry and mean, but not too over-the-top bombastic. It has its moments of frenzy, but they're well-placed instead of just killing it with static-fuzz the whole time. Lots of people are burnt out on this style by now I imagine, but it's good for the genre and definitely of interest for Magnetix fans. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Sentenza Records // myspace.com/sentenza1)
Condominium "Hello Tomorrow" 7"
Minnesota dudes playing some burly mid-tempo hardcore, four tunes worth. Singer is a growler of sorts, I dig his style, sounds sort of pained, but not hokey, like he's singing at 33rpm and the band is playing at 45rpm at times. Into it. Recorded pretty lo-fi, but with a muscular sort of bare-bones feel. Four ragers with drive, the guitars swim in feedback at a few opportune moments, lyrics are of the disenchanted/ominous variety. I like that they were ballsy enough to put a quote like "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity" on the sleeve...I mean, c'mon, that's some classic shit. Serious fucking business...Ex-Formaldehyde Junkies if that's a selling point, not quite as smoking as that band's best moments, but I like this on its own merits, sort of an understated hardcore record that doesn't go too far over the top yet maintains some ripping feel. B- stuff says Robo Christgau. Hand-stamped sleeves, self-released, available at Ye Olde Bistro Distro. (RK)
(Self-released // no info/myspace/etc.)
Contaminators "Minimal Minds" 7"
More from Bakersfield's finest. Three non-LP cuts, "Minimal Minds" is the best thing I've heard off this band's numerous records...the whiny-vox match the snotty song well (and I think this tune is commentary on the onslaught of recent "solo" recording artists...), pretty hot kick-down-the-door guitar solo, verse-chorus-repeat punk-junk. Two fillers on the B-Side, the vocals really get grating after a song or two though. If you're a fan, by all means go for this. They've released like a half-dozen records already, and there's probably a good seven-inch or two worth of material out of the bunch. Scum stats: 300 black, 120 pink, 13 test-presses. (RK)
(Menotropic Records // myspace.com/menotropicrecords)
The Conversions "Prisoners Inventions" LP
Here’s some pretty raging hardcore that is neither the popular throwback style of the 80’s, nor metallic bullshit...just some tightly wound, energetic ‘core. One thing that stands right out is the extremely high-pitched screamer vocals that are hoarse and almost pre-pubescent sounding at the same time. Well played and clear/bright recording. Not the kind of thing I find myself reaching for often, but it’s really well done—and kind of a rarity these days. The cover art, especially the back, is pretty nice too. The first press of 200 came on red vinyl, while the rest are on black.(LB)
(Level Plane // www.level-plane.com)
Criminal Intent 7” EP
First release from Sewercide Records features Halifax miscreants Criminal Intent, who plow through some hyper driven hardcore punk numbers here that are concise and to the point (i.e. very fast and short). Not really a straight comparison, but it initially reminded me of early Raw Power, among a plethora of 80s American hardcore bands — though that’s not to pin them down as some throwback nostalgia act — it’s just that it’s being done right. Totally devoid of any metallic leanings, it’s pretty powerful sounding stuff. The vocals are plenty abrasive, but not the shouting/screamer variety while the band is right on the money. The same can be said for the overall production of this record, which is quite raw but clearly audible at the same time. It’s nothing groundbreaking stuff here, just a great sounding punk rock record.
Scum stats: 500 copies = 35 record release show copies on black with alternate sleeve, 100 copies on blue vinyl, 365 on black vinyl. 5 test pressings. (LB)
(Sewercide Records // myspace.com/sewerciderecords)
Critical Picnic s/t EP
Critical Picnic are a relatively indistinguishable barrage of sloppy, juvenile/intentionally offensive “ball of noise” hardcore from the driveways of Westminster, California. Recorded without regard for much of anything (the guitar is screaming high end; the bass and drums/plastic buckets awash somewhere underneath the confines of a busted 4 track), the lyrics don’t always fit the songs — but they force ‘em in there, anyway. While they seem to have gone out of their way to be pretty offensive/shocking (in a harmless joking way), the best songs happen to be about littering and all the German words and names they know. Tuneless, abrasive, noisy (by default) snotty fun (sometimes) — it may not be enough to save them from generic hardcore punk hell, but they’re probably having fun trying. Scum stats: enclosed on a handwritten note! 300 on black with regular sleeve, 100 more black ones with a tour sleeve and another 100 on peach vinyl with yet another alternate sleeve. (LB)
(Smokin’ Barrel Records // myspace.com/smokinbarrelrecords)
Cult of Youth s/t 7"
Thoroughly under-the-radar NY home recording one-man project that deserves some wider audience. Cult of Youth's primary influence is the neo-folk/martial music of acts such as Death in June and Current 93. While these influences are clearly evident on first listen, these tracks are crafted with real flair and the songs themselves are of a quality that separates it from being a mere shadow of the aforementioned heavies. It's apparent that Cult of Youth can probably right a good song in whichever style he chooses, so if this is the kind of stuff you are into, you will be rewarded. Limited edition on white vinyl, apparently self-released. 325 numbered copies.(MS)
(Axiomata Product // www.axiomataproduct.com)
The Cutters "Happily Eva After" 7"
Digital Leather goes synth-folk with his ladyfriend here for four tunes of flowery kissing-and-telling. No drugs, homoeroticism or other typical DL subject matter, just straight up lovey-dovey positive vibes. There's some thumping keyboard driven-numbers, some acoustic strum, plaintive and emotional girl-boy vocal trade-offs, deep cutting love songs...overwrought, for sure, but I can't say there's anything wrong with this. It's well done for what it is. Again, if this stuff gets into the right ears, I don't see why it couldn't be a big deal. Instead, you have me listening to it...I mean, there's gotta be a certain demogrpahic of ladies that would love this shit, especially if they're under the legal drinking age and partial to Eighties-esque synth-pop. Really, I have no idea why I'm listening to this...Scum stats: 100 on buttery yellow, 300 on black, artwork by Kyle Leperprint. (RK)
(Sunburst Records // myspace.com/sunburstlabel)
Dave E. & the Cool Marriage Counselors s/t 7”
Once upon a time there was a band called the Electric Eels. They reinstituted pointlessness as the lexical definition of fashionable “euro-trash” Dadaism, were inspired by the Cuyahoga River catching on fire, and probably invented punk music in one fellow swoop – a cosmic second. A gigantic goldie-locks named John was the brains and brawn of this Cleveland/Columbus, Ohio outfit, and it was the beauty of a vocalist named Dave that he threw chairs at during practices. From all accounts, Dave was a sort of sappy-hearted, emotionally irritable, insubordinate son of a group of art terrorists who’d later be cited as pioneers in this think we call punk. Much has been penned of the Eels imploding, but little to none has been written of the aftermath. Before Dave backtracked to staunch Catholicism – his intuitive guilt begging the love songs he’d pen in the Cool Marriage Counselors be written – he pursued his forte’ exemplified on occasion in the Eels: unmatched lyrical wit. What we have here is a bootleg pressing of Dave’s post-Eels band’s only release, a Cle Magazine flexi entitled “Searching Through Sears”. It’s about the pitfalls of retail, something we can all get behind. Side B is an a capella tune Dave called “A Love Meant To Die,” recorded live during a radio interview, and “Psychology 101,” from one of two recorded live sets that remain dormant, accentuating the strengths of the group’s sax. The sonically overdriven dueling guitars of the Electric Eels were countered with barely audible axes on these recordings – no freight train sounding instrumental tangents or nihilistic free jazz “Stucco” exercises often brought by Morton, which has already caused some Mexican jumping-bean-brained Eels fans to disregard this platter of gold. Emphasis rests on the lispy, intensely contemplative, self-consciously aloof while heart achingly honest lyricism of Dave. Brilliant, eccentric, god-fearing down the line, Dave is sort of like a talented Bob Dylan. That about does it.(BG)
(fan club // available via various distros)
Dead Ghosts "What To Do" 7"
Surprisingly worthwhile two-songer here from a band I know nothing about. Dead Ghosts inhabit the mid-ground betwixt Demon's Claws more country-rock stuff and maybe the Black Lips' more haunted BFTG moments. "What To Do" is a stunningly catchy and upbeat number, with some sweet guitar pluck-and-jangle and a great little (almost)harmonized doo-woppy chorus that rolls along nicely. "God Only Knows" is darker and slower, a little more country-sounding, with some minimal backbeat from just a couple of sticks. Really enjoyable, mellow but not wimpy and just low-fi enough. I'm sure these guys (and others like Jacuzzi Boys, Estrogen Highs, Spread Eagles, even Demon's Claws perhaps) aren't trying to flat-out emulate the Black Lips (and they don't directly sound as if they are either), but I enjoy that bands are maybe using what the Lips have done over the past few years as a starting point or indirect influence to take those sounds (or just the same spirit)even further out. Maybe I'm reaching here, but I like that a great band can still influence and shape the musical landscape somewhat and inspire other groups that aren't direct imitators but are still cut of the same cloth. Anyway, Black Lips ripple-theorizing aside, this review is supposed to be about this Dead Ghosts' record, which I recommend purchasing on its own merits. A very fine debut record and the best Milk-n-Herpes release so far. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Milk-n-Herpes Records // myspace.com/milknherpes)
Diet Cola "Early Learning" 7"
It really takes a lot to make an interesting synth-punk record these days. SIDS took a couple stabs at it recently (and Diet Cola is a member of that band and Deerhunter as well), Lost Sounds set the high water mark years ago, and lots of others have made a lot of middling-to-shitty records. So I'm quite surprised at the quality on this record every time I listen. My tolerance for synth-punk is very slim, but this thing just jumps out of the stereo so vividly it's hard to ignore. A-Side starts right off with a high-energy mash of deft live drum work and blazing ray-gun style keys and follows with the tornado-of-synth sound of "Wicked Witch of the Northeast". A good side of vinyl, it took quite a few listens before I even felt the need to flip it over. Quality drops a bit on the B-Side (but when doesn't it?), "Sick Modern" incorporates some guitar crunch and stretches its legs out a bit more than the compact snap of the A-Side, but the velocity does return for the brief and panting closer. This has the genre nailed pretty well: live drums instead of canned boxbeats (and the drumming/drum sound on this thing is intense), varied and non-cornball synth sounds, no overt reliance on gothy-type shit, no bloody screaming vox, breakneck pace, more punk influence than cute new wave moves...all the right components. Again, really surprised at the quality here. And not at all as faggy as the (very well done) sleeve might have you think. If you feel the need to buy one synth-punk record this year...Scum stats: 300 on white vinyl, silver-gloss sleeve you can look at yourself in, with three color silkscreen (and some glitter!), insert and CD of the tracks included.(RK)
(Self-released // www.myspace.com/diedietcolala)
Digital Leather "Hard At Work" LP
Due to the fact I couldn't bring myself to write another Digital Leather review, we pulled in a guest review from local Brit-pop specialist Marisa for an alternate viewpoint.
"Hard At Work", is the latest release from Tucson, Arizona’s Digital Leather (aka Shawn Foree). Written, recorded and mixed himself, the album is reminiscent of the "early synth-punk" era, but can please most music crowds without fitting in to any genre completely. You could classify this under the non-categories of low-fi indie, punk, electro dance, synth-goth. This album delivers nine tracks of melodic dark vocals, raw electro synth with steady robotic drum beats, It’s not something that everyone can pull off without sounding like a cheesy 80’s rip-off, but Digital Leather does it well. Manically dramatic, dark and melodic. Each track is extremely catchy with typical lyrics about heartbreak, drugs and insanity. Examples can be found in song titles such as “Help Me Kill Myself”, “Please Scar Me” and “Sad Like You”.
My favorite track, though, is “Styrofoam”, since I am a more upbeat type of girl. 'Hard At Work' is a solid record with something for everyone. Is this worth listening to? Yes! Record of the year? Probably not.(GUEST REVIEW BY MAREESA)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
Dirtbombs "We Have You Surrounded" LP/CD
I gotta say…I was a little surprised when I was handed a new Dirtbombs album for review (oddly enough, I’ve been in the midst of a Blacktop kick lately)…I really thought they may have packed it in once and for all. Not so...their fourth proper full length (alongside a myriad of singles, a double disc singles collection, recent live album and some splits) comes a good four years after “Dangerous Magical Noise” — the album that finally paid some well earned bills for Collins and company, a man who has definitely earned it. Though it’s hard to not notice the ‘end is near’ vibe running throughout the album — I think he may be referring to more serious issues than the band lifespan itself.
Originally intended as an EP, Mr. Collins decided to return to form with a full length, and “We Have You Surrounded” is the result. Altering the lineup once again (no more Jim Diamond) for the hundredth time (well, not really…but I think that it’s close to 20!), this album features a bunch of winners that fans will be eager to check out, a few duds (mostly towards the end) alongside a few interesting covers: Dead Moon’s “Fire In The Western World” and Sparks’ “Sherlock Holmes” (the same one that appears on the Sparks ‘tribute’ 7”) are both cleverly chosen and well executed, to say the least. The Dirtbombs have obviously never shied away from the covers, and most of the time they do them pretty damn well. These two are no exception.
They continue to show their versatility on this one, too-- though the eight-plus minute ‘noise excursion’ is a bit much — way too much, but still shows they aren’t afraid to try anything. It’s not a perfect album, but by no means a disappointment, either. Those who have stood by this band through thick and thin will be pleased, weak points aside. (LB)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Dirtbombs "Play Sparks" 7">
Tribute seven-inch to In the Red's favorite band coinciding with the new 'bombs LP. "Sherlock Holmes" (off 'Angst In My Pants') is actually included on the LP, and is a pretty standard affair. But I hardly ever listen to "Angst...' anyway, so this wouldn't be my favorite pick to cover anyway. The flipside is a version of "Nothing To Do" off of 'Big Beat' that is honestly the far superior cut to my ears. It actually sounds like a glittered-up Dirtbombs tune, with glammy back-ups and shit...the other side sounds a little too 'straight' for me. I prefer 'Big Beat' to 'Angst...' as an LP, which may not be a popular opinion, but I'm not a huge Sparks fan to begin with and my tastes in their albums are sort of weird...and I'm not just trying to be contrary by saying the non-LP cut is the better tune, because it really is. Anyway, full color sleeve with clever album-parody artwork. Ko looks a lot like Margaret Cho on this one. And I gotta throw in my obligatory "Bring back Tom Potter!" comment. There. (RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Double Negative “The Wonderful and Frightening World of Double Negative” LP
This isn’t not good (oof!), but I’m at a loss as to it being the end all be all of modern hardcore heavyweights residing in the bastion of ‘80s USHC revival that is No Way Records – what many compadre’s of international zinedom tell me. For those who put execution over oddity, or blunt aggression over unique vulnerabilities, than sure, this record is better than butter. I’m probably playing devil’s advocate, because while I find bands being terrible in the best of ways more engaging than sheer vengeful perfection, that’s exactly what this record is: perfect in the context of a modern spin on classic, thunderous crossover. What surprised me and some Termbo colleagues were the vocals: a sustained, attitude-laden whine – what probably happened when the Battalion of Saints guy’s balls dropped and he stopped talking about right and wrong. I wasn’t expecting it and likewise wasn’t expecting it to grow on me so much. Such youthful vox for such disillusioned lyrics. There’s some fancy 5-frame song structure going on, and atop the US influences I can even hear some raw power not foreign to the likes of Discharge, and epic audio ultimatums of Conflict – minus all the veggie burger talk – in tracks like “Mein Trappe”. These men are approaching if not over the hill, were probably picked on by your dad in middle school and are returning the favor a generation down the line by providing one big powerful kick to your complacent glands. Give it a few listens and it’ll live up to its name as well as the hype. Scum stats: 1st press – 700 black, 300 red. Second press – 1000 black.(BG)
(No Way Records // www.nowayrecords.com)
Electric Bunnies "Chewing Gum" 7"
I'm ready to close the books on 2008 already after hearing this record. Gonna be a tough one to top. That fucking good. When the first Bunnies single came out, I wasn't that keen on it, I mean "Eskimo"...you can't not like that song. But I thought a lot of hyperbole was heaped on it, it was good and all, but not as incredible as I thought many were saying. I guess people that had seen them live and heard their CD-R full of stuff had some inside info I didn't. All four songs on this are perfect. "Chewing Gum" is the simplest song ever, I feel okay calling it sort of twee, but it's beautiful in its distillation of the pop form. Vocals sound half-asleep, guitar jangles and buries a simple hook right between your ears with precision and the rhythm lulls you into a dreamy-state. Perfect. "Love Radiation" is garagey and subtly punk, and again, nothing complex but still absolutely arresting. Medium-fi, deliciously chewy, slightly frantic pacing, some restrained passion on the vocals, less-is-more rhythm section, a guitar solo that sounds like one strum of feedback perfectly placed and just loud enough. Fuck, I can't get over it. B-Side serves a couple curveballs, "Super Fluorescent Hippo Flashback" is a terse and playful bit of punk-pound with a neat backwards return. And then you get "The Stranger". Might be the best cut here. And that's saying a lot. Ethereal almost, primitive psych-punk maybe...spoken word vox, a little sitar-esque guitar noodling, a vague whispering synth warble, a slowly plucked bass line, off kilter snare drumming and a cymbal tapping. Everything's so slight, the tune almost seems as if it's not even there. An apparition. "I'm the stranger" he says. Feedback cuts in, washes over it all, channels flicker, drums fall out of step, it's a fucking freak out, but the calmest freak-out ever. I'm doing this no justice, I know. One of those songs that is so good you're sure it's a cover, but can't figure out what it is. This band really amazed me on this record, throwing a bunch of different looks out there and nailing them all. Diverse approaches that are nonchalantly well-executed and maintain a similarly exciting spirit. I think the sleeve says a lot about this too...seemingly child-like, but with a knowingly adult eye-wink. Everyone needs to get this one. NOW. Scum stats: first 100 on white vinyl. (RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Estrogen Highs "E Major D Construction" 7"
First single from Estrogen Highs (Stefan Christ), who started as a one-man operation, but are now reportedly a full band — though this one is credited to Christ only. This is some loose and barebones rock and roll that took me awhile, I gotta admit.
I put the record on and just didn’t get it at first, but was eventually humming “Can’t Complain” in my head hours later. Undoubtedly catchy and simplistic, it lacks distortion or raw power — but makes up for it in other ways. Keyless vocals match up with the loose playing making for some honest and catchy shit. It’s not an easy sound to describe, though, but it works. I guess it’s punk…but you won’t be doing the HB Strut to it, know what I mean? (LB)
( Never Heard Of It Records // www.myspace.com/estrogenhighs)
Estrogen Highs "She Don't Bother" 7"
Second single from Estrogen Highs, another one-man-studio-band (going by the clever moniker Stefanwolf on this one) cranking out the jams. Amazing how many dudes are doing it all themselves these days. Who needs a band anymore? This one seems a bit more primitive than the first single, "She Don't Bother" brings to mind some KK&BBQ-like strum about girls not liking you (but liking Black Flag) with a wyld rave-up ending. "Friends Family LSD" melds a lo-fi punk shout-a-long with some twangy guitar. B-Side is epic in length compared to the other cuts, and continues in the bare bones treble-laden garage-style. I think the "E Major..." single is the one to get here, this record didn't really catch on with me like that one did. Interesting lo-fi recording job, but gets a little samey sounding and the tunes just aren't as strong as the first one. Pretty average. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Milk-n-Herpes Records // myspace.com/milknherpes)
Factorymen s/t 7”
I think a lot of people were wondering when the Homostupids would return to their short-lived indulgence in hypnotic makeshift electronic and similar lethargic caveman-build-compooter music as displayed on “The Brutal Birthday” EP. Here’s the answer. In a recent interview from down under, Lean Steve (bass player of Homostupids who sings a little) shed some light on this unexpected tangent from the thrashy, trashy, acid-damaged skull music that sounds as though it was recorded at a carwash – what we’ve come to understand the moxie of these sweethearts is actually comprised of. Before the Homos had even been conceived, Steve had the “Brutal Birthday” recordings, and merely decided to finally give a name to his solo wanking with this sophomore release of repetitive, layered ambience. This may have been birthed one high afternoon sitting on Garageband, churning out short, spooky techno-gone-bad for others with applesauce for brains on a noise-curious Butthole Surfers like theme. If you liked the more artificial cuts from “The Brutal Birthday,” you’ll be keen on this slab. It retains none of the tenth-generation live cassette sounds of tracks like “Taping The Worm” though, but compensates and concludes with a phenomenal patriotic hymn. Music for the cultured among us.(BG)
(My Mind's Eye // www.mymindseyerecords.com)
Fag Cop "I'm Fucking Dead" 7"
Completely fucked, that's what this record is. If you want totally over-the-top style garbage-punk (and I do), this is your new favorite record. Six tracks of mean-spirited super-shitty boom-box-recorded ear-piercing pinned-in-the-red ridiculousness. Three of these tunes appeared on the "Complete Shit Vol. 1" cassette and are the picks of this litter of shitdogs, but the additional messes like "Dope Womb" (Electric Wizard have to be pissed they didn't think of this one...) and "Skull Splits" ("Nobody likes your record, nobody likes your face") round this out into one really complete piece of shit. If having bleedingly raw minute-and-a-half punishers heaved at your face by losers sounds appealing, or if you think The Mans sound too polished, you should buy a couple copies of this. I did. Some relation to my personal faves the Spread Eagles here, not sure what it is though, but that can only mean good things. Scum stats: 300 copies, screened sleeves.(RK)
(Eat! Records // www.edibleaudibles.com)
Feeling of Love "Pray for the 90s" EP
"This record is dedicated to the 1990s". Fuck yeah it is. More of the Feeling of Love inspired take on the one-man-band formula, equal parts blues-junk juking and weird-punk fucking. "Hand Clap Girl" = built around a digital clap, a little guitar, then a drum-thump and noise bleat are progressively added and then it's over. Stomper. "I'm Nothing But A Drunk Pussy" = what can I say about the best song-title in years? Literally the wails of a drunk French pussy accompanied by a mean blues. Slopper. "Jordan's Rules" = lyrics by MJ himself, spat in French accompanied only by an ominous synth-throb. WEIRD. Crazy concept platter from Metz's greatest. Whiteny Houston says masturbate. Scum stats: 300 copies on red vinyl. (RK)
(Rococo Records // www.rococorecords.com)
Final Solutions "FS/DF" 7”
I think the reason I love this band so much is that they really capture the essence of punk. There’s nothing wrong with being a little bit crazy or absurd, and they seem to embrace that. Here they re-interpret Helen Keller’s “Surfin’ with Steve & Idi Amin” as “Surfing with Raj Kumar & Veerapan” and employ doo-wop backing vocals on “Girls Say FS.” They know it’s OK to be a little stupid and have some fun. This single adds four more tracks to their already impressive discography.(DH)
(Jeth Row Records // myspace.com/jethrowrecords)
FNU Ronnies "Meat" 7"
Fantastic debut single from this Philly band released via Richie Penetrator's Richie Records/Testostertunes imprint. Reminds me of what a better recorded Homostupids offering could sound like on "Meat" (not that this is a high fidelity job in the slightest either), mating garage-punk and hardcore for one of the tastier songs I've heard since the New Year. Wicked solo and a real bouncy and tight rhythm with nasty vox. "Normal Citizen" is deconstructed cyborg-punk like shit, with dual vocals from one dude with a fresh tracheotomy and the other in retardo-warble style, heavy and electronic, and "Ugly" keeps the same vibe, remiscent of a less irritating latter-day Functional Blackouts-like moment. Drum sound mixes the real shit with some machine beats and there's plenty of static and echo to go around. "Robot" is drone-dirge tomfoolery with stream-of-consciousness rambling. Really like this one a lot, visceral thrills backed up with some offbeat tricks and an overall sense of mechanical menace while still sounding pretty loose. Want more. Great insert too. Scum stats: not sure on the quantity, but I know of white, black and marbled shit-color variations. Screened sleeves. (RK)
(Richie Records // www.testostertunes.blogspot.com)
Forbidden Tigers "Colonial Freakout" 7"
The second best of the four new Savage releases (Original Three being the pick to click), the Tigers are 3/4 of Brimstone Howl (at least that's what I'm told) and they not surprisingly plow a similar field of sounds. Maybe a little rougher around the recording-edges and the vocals are less dramatic, but they still get the gutsy garage-rock part. "Colonial Freakout" is on par with many top-shelf Howl tunes with a hot little guitar riff/lead and energy to spare. B-Side has two above-average tunes, one a jangly hand-clapper and another rocks-out leg-shaker (that maybe sounds a little too similar to the A-Side, but what the hell). Still, another good platter from them cornfields. Scum stats: 400 on black, 88 on orange, 12 on clear-brown. Sleeve looks a lot like some recent Black Lips records (which look a lot like some not-so-recent garage records anyway...). (RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)
Frustrations “Glowing Red Pill” CD
First full-length offering from the youngest (and the label honcho) of the X! Records roster. After a coupla’ good 45’s and a cross country jaunt with the Terrible Twos, it was their live show that sent them to the top of my list this year. Hell, it made me re-think the 7”ers and now I get it…those discs are Aces! Hard edged noise of the “indie” variety...from way back when it was okay to still use that term. Art-damaged like their other Michigan brethren, but still holding their own without keyboards or any real space-y effects. Lots of whirlwind spasmodic guitar throwdowns and even a dance beat here and there. Anthems like “Voice was Lost” and “Basement” make miss my college days of collecting show posters for T&G, SST bands and the like. Back when stuff like this had appeal and circulation of more than 300 measly singles. Word was spread through full page ads on the back of Flipside or Your Flesh or something NOT on the inter-webs. Some references could be thrown around here: early Lee Renaldo penned SY tracks. The Discord back catalog (maybe a hint of it in the dry throaty vocal styling….a hint.) But I don’t wanna’ pigeon hole them as a retro-act…plenty of modern NOW-isms as well. Yeah, these kids have something “speshul” going on in them there pick scrapes. Thankfully it might be to late for Ritalin to grab hold and ruin it...Give me vinyl please. (RSF)
(X! Recordings // www.x-recs.com)
Gitogito Hustler "What's My..!?" EP
Well-played rock'n'roll from four of the cutest Japanese girls ever. Their first release under the wing of Big Neck Records, an odd place for them to land seemingly, but I'm sure Bart loves some crisp punk-pop along with his scuzz-rock just like the rest of us. Upbeat, energetic, catchy as shit...for anyone who is missing the chipmunk-voxed Banana Erectors or Supersnazz, but with a bit more of a rock edge, this is your stuff right here. Four cuts, all rockers, recorded by Dan of Radio Beats/Test Patterns/Rot Shit infamy. PS: someone please send some applications to the Big Neck art department, Bart needs some help. This one sounds a lot better than it looks. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Golden Triangle "Ghosts" 7"
NYC outfit that I believe has both Nick Diablo (American Death Ray) and Alix Brown (Angry Angles) in its ranks. "Ghosts" sounds quite a bit like vintage Sonic Youth...a lot like SY really, even the vox have that interplay of a distant Thurston-like spoken main line with Kim-like cooing in support. Guitar-action mellows out and crescendos with some odd-sounding angles. It's like 1988 all over again, and I'm into it. Cool shit. B-Side is "Intro/2020" of which the "Intro" part is noise/collage stuff and the "2020" part is a real brief and jumpy art-punker. Interesting record that I'd really like to hear more of, I think a longer format would be nice in order to hear how they stretch out. Research shows they had a cassette-only release as well that is now sold-out. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Sangre Libre // myspace.com/goldentriangle)
Guinea Worms "Box of Records" 7"
"Box of Records", a song someone already described as the modern-day "Louie, Louie", is another in a long-line of Columbus anthems, perhaps the descendent of (or a piss-take on) "Negative Guest List" or "Letter to a Fanzine" in its sort of music-as-life referential nod. It's quite the simple garage-slop tune, and one that's as catchy as you might imagine...almost annoyingly so. The first dozen listens or so had me thinking it was pretty good, but not as life-altering as the pre-release hype machine was making it out to be...the next dozen listens has me thinking this song is really fucking annoying...then I put it away for a few days, and the next dozen listens had me hooked. It's some real dunderheaded genius that may go on for just a little too long. It's also little like any Guinea Worms tune I've heard before, a band who tended to sound more like weird-punk inna Fall-via-Country Teasers way than dumbed-out one-two garage schlock. The B-Side is truer to form though, a dirge-like knuckle-dragger with sax bleats and a wah-guitar anti-solo. You can't help but notice the little Columbus inside jokes either, from the Mike Rep (who recorded the EP at Columbus' legendary Used Kids records) potshot on the back to the perhaps tounge-in-cheekiness of "Box of Records" itself. A great and smart record any way you slice it, and it's nice to see some more G-Worms vinyl after years of existence and CD-R circulation. (RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Half Rats "Throw It Around" 7"
Mediocre garage rock from Lafayette, IN. "Throw It Around" is basically a rewrite of "Have Love..." with a chunk of the guitar part from "Wildman" tacked on. Oof. Flip it over for "BMW Nuns" and you get an awkward blend of surf-guitar and new-wave keyboards. And then an odd reprise of "Throw It Around" tacked on the end, that sounds better than the A-Side version (Meaning it's a little rawer and lower-fi). If this is a bunch of teenagers doing this, then I can understand and applaud their perhaps misguided affort at rocking out as some kids sowing their oats. That's what I'm going with...if you need a modern-day comparison, let's say Brimstone Howl without the guts or chops. Try again kids. Purple vinyl. (RK)
(self-released // www.halfrats.com)
Heartbeatz "Secret Girls" 7"
Neutron Ron of Contaminators here recording solo punk shitz in his bedroom or basement or wherever it is he does his drugs. Obviously similar to his work with that band (and whatever other bands he was in or has put out...Hips, Neon Nazis, Saboteurs, Sick-Es I get them kinda mixed-up...dare I call it the "Bakersfield Sound"? The Kern County Sound maybe?), but I think the ramshackle recording and playing lends it a bit more character than the Contam'z fairly formulaic approach. "Secret Girls" mixes some pop with the punk, has some guest guitar work and is more memorable than any tune on the Contaminators LP, which was a snooze. B-Side has two more that aren't as good and but contain more bummer/drugs sentiments. A-Side could merit a few listens, but overall this is average at best. At the rate these guys release records they're getting a little better each time. I do really enjoy the fact thay they write comments on each release they send in for review with feedback from my last review ("Not VLV punk u queer!"). At least someone reads this stuff. Scum stats: 125 on white vinyl, 475 on black, first 100 came with a zine.(RK)
(Going Underground Records // www.goingundergroundrecords.com)
Hex Dispensers "Lose My Cool" 7"
I'm kind of confused as to why I don't like this band more. I've always enjoyed Cuervo's previous work and this sort of creepy stuff usually interests me. I guess it just sounds a little too soft for me or something. "Lose My Cool" is one of their better cuts though, really nails the whole dark garage-pop thing well and Cuervo's distinct vocals fit the music like a glove. B-Side has the horribly named "Taxidermy Porno", which is a more punk-sounding number with some bad lyrics. I know I say this often about different bands/songs, but I'm serious when I say no one should ever try to cover The Wipers. Really. Not even Poison Idea could do it properly, and they were gods among men. That sums up what I think of their version of "Tragedy". In summation, if you loved the LP (like many people did) you should be into the A-Side of this, and it honestly is a pretty good tune. The B-Side of this is some pretty weak sauce though. Scum stats: first 100 on gray vinyl. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterecords.com)
Les Hulks "Pussy Cola" 7"
Raw-fucking-dog French insanity. I loved their first single, and this one blows it away. Nothing garage-punk here at all, its more similar to Brainbombs than anything. "Pussy Cola" is sheer heavy guitar brutality. Like a lo-fi French version of Unsane or something, violent vibe and vox, straight-to-the-face beatdown rhythm-und-pound. Absolutely lovely. "I Love You" is slightly more tuneful, if you consider Drunks with Guns tuneful. As interesting as any Billy Bao record I've heard, the wah-action gets really sick at the end too. Intense. A great under-the-radar French single here for all you fucks who can't get enough of getting your head caved in by nasty sounds. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Killed By An Axe Records // myspace.com/motordog)
Human Eye "Rare Little Creatures" 7"
"Rare Little Creatures" is a Timmy Vulgar love song, pretty deep stuff, massive squalls of guitar and heavy drum work interlaced with almost-quiet moments, a song that gets meaner the longer it goes on, I feel the Chrome-vibe pretty heavily on this one. More emotionally resonant that the typical Human Eye weirdness and somewhat majestic. As usual, a killer "A-Side" (but this is a one-sided 7"), in league with "Dinosuar Bones" or "Spider...", backed this time with a shades-of-Hawkwind soundscape instrumental...One pretty choice cut, along with one song that would've served as a good album-side ender on a full length. Two questions remain at the end of this review. Why a one-sided seven inch? And is this worth paying a horror-price for? I can't answer the first, but I can say I'm glad I own this as a Human Eye fan in good standing...but it is the lesser of three post-LP HE singles as well, so not something to get all crazy over on eBay. And I gotta wonder if any of this stuff will reappear on the next LP...Scum stats: tragically, only 250 copies.(RK)
(Disordered Records // myspace.com/disorderedrecords)
Kajun SS "Jazz Legends" 7"
Personally, I can never get enough Kajun SS. I think this is Louie's best outfit ever and is the high water mark for modern NOLA rock-n-roll (yes, even better than The Persuaders). A perfect four-piece combo of Southern trash, Louisiana pride, Flying V assault/battery and substance abuse. Title track is one of the SS's best, a dual guitar onslaught done proper and rippingly with gang vocals spewing out the lyrical sleaze. Maybe their fastest and punkest number to date. B-Side is another Oblivians tribute leftover, and with The King belting out "Go Pill Popper!" you know you can't go wrong. This side is recorded pretty shittily (the A-Side sounds good and loud though), but who cares. Well worth it just for the Kajun original, I hope there's more to come from these guys and that Katrina didn't fuck them up for good. Scum stats: 500 copies on black, 50 with a "special" sleeve, all sleeves with great "US Out of Louisiana" propaganda. (RK)
(Jeth-Row Records // myspace.com/jethrowrecords)
Kim Phuc s/t 7”
You’d think with a name like Kim Phuc (reference to the infamous 9 year-old Vietnamese streaker), the female models on the cover, plethora of stained doll hands gracing the labels and a title track of “Prostitute” that this would be some feminist socio-political musings of the Kill Rock Stars persuasion – maybe the darker side of Kleenex/Liliput… Wrong! After bumbling over the lyrics, “Prostitute” is more akin to a milder male Spitboy – in sound and word. The better parts are the catchy garage licks slowed to a rumbling, emotive pace, which makes side B’s three songs pretty damn good. That said, I can’t get past my impression of these Pittsburghians’ psychiatrists putting them up to it. They had a few pharmaceutical-assisted band practices and actually landed somewhere in spitting distance of Black Flag’s “My War” and “Damaged” (the song). Replace the havoc of Ginn’s guitar work with droning, imperforated walls of sustained singular notes (that’s what happens when you take too many of the blue pill) and you’re getting close. Lay some short-range ranting over it, with lyrics that garner mental images of a mohawked, shotgun-clad Robert De Niro glaring at his mirrored reflection ready to blast some “Thugs” and you have a pigeon-holed understanding of this interesting release. I can definitely hear the Brain Handle resemblance – like a lackluster second cousin who shares your unibrow, but it’s there. Do they share members? I’m a dummy. Scum stats: 300 pressed. (BG)
(self-released // www.dieforart.blogspot.com)
Lili Z. "The Two of Us" CD
Long-player from the lovely Lili Zeller, home-recordings all done on 8-track during the fall of 2007. If you're only familair with Lili's work as a member of Volt, this disc bears a little resemblance to their dark synth-heavy sound and is obviously close in spirit to her previous solo recordings as well. Guitar, drum machine, and synthesizers all wielded with skill, tracks ranging from guitar-led punk rockers("Nix!Nix!Nix!"/"Candeggina Burns"), synth-punk shockers ("Why"), moody and dark slow burns ("So This Is Love"), love songs, hate songs, weird punk experiments ("Dark Toilet")...a varied attack with interesting and different instrumentation on each cut, she must have quite an array of effects pedals in the living room. I've been following Lili since the Splash Four days and she's progressed quite a bit in her solo records making this her most well-honed effort to date. The fantastic booklet has a page for each song, which you can basically follow along to the music and get more of the story behind each song (lyrics, pictures, collages, cartoons) in a nice multi-media twist. As always, extremely sexy vocals and a fascinating artist to hear twiddle knobs, she always finds great guitar sounds (and loud ones!), and she whips off some stunning solos on a few of these cuts, and utilizes the synth emotively and effectively. It's remarkable that some of this stuff sounds so complex for home-recording...again, she's really outdone herself this time with a strong and well-done set of songs that must been a painstaking bit of work to put together. Dark sounding but maintaining a sort of playful energy, blazingly fast at times yet with plenty of moments of slow-simmer brooding and crawling. Lili's made a better sounding record in her home than most full bands could hope to achieve in a studio. And even ends it with a piano piece. Fantastique. Many will complain about this being CD only, but I will take what I can get. (RK)
(Polly Maggoo Records // myspace.com/pollymaggoorecords)
Lost Sounds "Motorcycle Leather Boy" 7"
Lost Sounds recordings from the grave! Barrel scrapings from beyond! More outtakes from the ill-fated Oblivians tribute record that never happened. At least these tracks are trickling out slowly but surely... "Motorcycle Leather Boy" really sounds like early Reatards doing it up, obviously Jay's a natural for this cover and it has an overdriven force-field-like deep synth dronereplicating the nasty guitar sound of the original layered on top that really makes it worth the listen. Like I said, Jay Jay covering the Oblivans is pretty much a no-brainer, it rips pretty good. "Love Killed My Brain" is the flip, sung by Alicja with what sounds like a mouth full of marbles, not as quality as the A-Side though. So, who's gonna keep Lost Sounds two best LPs in print now that Empty is out of commission? (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
Lover! "Forced to the Ground" 7"
Two-songer from Rich Crook's solo project released on another obscure Euro label (this one hails from Spain). The Lover score so far: SSLD 7" was a nice taste, the LP on Empty was a bore, but the "Gathered in the Graveyard" LP was really where its at for this band as far as I'm concerned. It had the quality of songs and sound that I thought the s/t LP lacked, which is a shame since it was pretty hard and expensive to get in the States (it was released on the German Red Lounge label). So this single sounds more in line with that second LP, Rich plays everything, and this reminds more or less of some of Jack O.'s solo stuff, but with more of a poppier bent. "Forced to the Ground" is a trebly guitar-marcher with a solid hook, a pretty cool tune that's somewhat more rock sounding than the B-Side which is more guitar-pop with a rousing refrain. Not a bad record at all, but not something to pay insane Euro prices for either. If you were really into Rich's Knaughty Knights songs, you might want this a little more. The guy has a real knack for this style of pop stuff, I just wish some of it sounded a little more varied...a lot of these tunes sound the same. I still say the LP on Red Lounge is the Lover record to own. Scums stats: 74 limited "Skull Edition" copies, 424 regular edition. And what's up with the faggy goth artwork on some of these recent Euro releases, with the dolls and ravens and shit?(RK)
(Iekk! Sounds // www.myspace.com/iekksounds)
The Makeouts "Street Tonight" 7"
All the makings for a by-the-numbers garage-punk 7" here: lots of pink, pics of hot dogs and beer, faux-cheap sleeves, white rimmed sunglasses, a bad mustache...and if you're gonna do a cheap photo-copied looking sleeve, why not just do a cheap photo-copied sleeve, instead of doing an expensive thick cardboard jacket made-up to look you ran it off on the office mimeograph? Crazy Europeans...anyway, I seem to remember these guys going for a Real Losers-esque double-cheeseburger style punk last time around. Here they go for a jangly country-garage style in a goofy RNR Adventure Kids sort of vein on the A-Side (with some funny monkey-wail back-ups), B-Side is upbeat lo-fi trash pop ooooh-ooohing. Far better than their last record, a fun one to listen to a couple times, but not all that memorable in the long run. Scum stats: 500 copies on black. (RK)
(Radio Obligato // www.radioobligato.com)
Mayyors "Marines Dot Com LP" 7"
The spartan packaging on this (black inner sleeve, black vinyl with no labels, thick piece of black cardstock acting as sleeve, with only a clear label on the plastic actong as identifier) gives hint to the business at hand in the grooves...just plain heavy nastiness. Featuring an all-star line-up of Sacto-dudes (most notably Chris Woodhouse, the evil guitar genius of Karate Party, FM Knives, Pretty Girls, producer of A-Frames and others...and the guy who provided Los Huevos witht their slamming drums...a real renaissance dude), Mayyors debut vomits up two monsters here for all you glommers of mean punk. "Metro" hits a groove not unlike Monoshock, that sort of balls-deep nearly-pysch pound that could just go on forever, laced with some wicked feats of weird-guitar handling. It'll throw you for a loop, as it hits like a shot to the sternum from a guy twice your size. "Fatigure" just has to conjure images of Brainbombs in your head (and I think I've seen some mention of the band citing them as a starting-point...)...it has that type of battering throbbing repetition, the rhythm section hanging around your neck like an anchor dragging you down into a chasm, all hidden behind a wall of squealing guitar play/crunch. Murderously good. Scums stats: 300 copies, these will probably go quick and rightfully so. (RK)
(Waste of Oil // try S-S mailorder)
Mentally Challenged "Disappeared" 7"
Powerful moves from this MA-based outfit, two-songer in the sort of singles-series Deer Healer is putting out uniform-sleeve style (the last was that gripping Dry Rot 7"), and these dudes seem to be in some of the same mental spaces as Dry Rot inhabit. Scary, unhinged, some of you prettyboys will definitely be put off by the bad vibes. Trebly near thrash that hurtles by at hardcore velocity on the A-Side, evil vocals with Beelzebub on back-ups, a paranoic guitar-line, then it devolves into a breakdown, and I don't mean mosh-time breakdown, but a breaking of the actual song into shards and scraps. B-Side is a life-draining death-dirge of guitar squelch and blackness, maybe what I was hoping for when I bought the Walls 7". Listening to this is like waking up and realizing you're dead. A real life-affirming record. Scum stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Deer Healer Records // www.deerhealer.com)
Menthols "Miracle Slip" 7"
Latest dose of Michigan-type action (Kalamazoo I believe) from the up-and-coming UFO Dictator imprint. "Miracle Slip" is extremely enjoyable, sort of garage-pop with a real catchy chorus and featuring vox from Goner board celebrity Dutch Hercules. Sort of reminds me of the no-frills approach of that Dutchmasters 7" but more playful. B-Side switches the vocal chores to a rougher sounding fella, and comes off less hooky and more chunky garage-rocking, like Cheater Slicks if they weren't so bummed out all the time. Pretty raw and loose vibe with some of that undefinable Midwest moxie that makes it sound more interesting than the sort of plain-jane description I'm giving it. I'm running out of words for this stuff. I can say that "Miracle Slip" is one of those quality tunes that makes me wish I wasn't too lazy to rip vinyl so I could put this on some mix CDs for the car...Scum stats: 100 on green with alt sleeve, 300 on black with the ghosts sleeve. A-Side plays at 45, B-Side at 33. (RK)
(UFO Dictator Records // www.ufodictator.com)
Menthols "848" 7"
When you write a shitload of record reviews, you can't help but think you're just repeating yourself over and over again. You can only use words so many times before you think you're being totally redundant. I'm having trouble with this one. Simple, dumb-fun, no-frills...where the fuck is my thesaurus? I really liked the Menthols first 7", and this might be just a notch below the quality of it. It's hard to top "Miracle Slip". This one may be stupider though, and I mean that in a good way. "848" repeats those numbers, sort of a call-and-response deal, mid-tempo and upbeat, reminds me of an almost new-wave rhythm adapted to the garage form. "Hey Hey Hey" yammers and oohs and reminds of a kinder, gentler, simpler Meatmen, but I think that's just 'cause I have some mental-connect in my head because there's a dude named Dutch Hercules in the band. It seems like there's nothing overly special about these tunes at all, and I can't help but say that's what makes them interesting though. Simple and easy to like. It's like fuck, I could do this, couldn't I? Sounds like they're having a lot of fun too. I should start a band...we'd probably suck. The Menthols don't suck though. This is a damning comment to make, but they just sound like nice guys making some nice brown-bag garage-rock. I dunno. As I go on, I kind of feel like they're treading water on this a bit though. I liked the "Miracle Slip" single a lot more. But the meathead sounding vox on "Hey..." are real fun to listen to. It really...grows on you, yes, I said it. It's nice of them to throw Jim Diamond some work too, way to keep it local fellas. Scum stats: first 100 on blue vinyl.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Mesa "Child of Thunder" 7"
Not the usual quality garage-slop UFO Dictator has been feeding us, Mesa sound like what you might think the name implies. Deep-throated boogie rock done pretty well, fuzzed out, hot lixx, reminded me quite a bit of Fu Manchu. And I have nothing against Fu Manchu. Incredible live band and super nice dudes. I just heard a car commercial with a Fu Manchu song in it the other day, glad to see them getting paid. Anyway, you should know if this up your alley or not. Do you enjoy to bro-down to hard-rocking demi-metal trios who sing a lot about thunder and shit? Then grab your balls and go for it. (RK)
(UFO Dictator Records // www.ufodictator.com)
Meth Teeth "Bus Rides" 7"
First release from this oddball band that now counts Kyle from Leper Print/Artificial Limbs as a member (although they sound nothing like the synth-damage of those records). Dreamy folk-like rock, four songs worth, fairly low-fi with some electric/acoustic interplay, ramshackle rhythm section. Very ethereal, hazy kind of hippie-ish vibing, heavy touches of psych involved as well. Really natural sounding, I'm sure that means nothing to you, but I mean it has a outdoors-country sort of thing going on, a real homespun quality...I don't want to say jug-band-like, but it definitely has an eerily lit sitting-around-the-campfire feel and/or laying in the hot grass while the sun warms your face and pushes you toward daydream moments...perhaps a stream nearby, flowing quiet and lazy as it erodes the stone, the faintest hum of the gears moving inside the earth...but not as earth-mother corny as I just made it sound. They flirt with moments of darkness on "Bus Rides", "Unemployment Forever" is strengthened by a majestic guitar sound and the two B-Side cuts meander in a more bucolic and melancholic way. There isn't really another band sounding like this right now (perhaps the Sic Alps or Ohsees gentler moments), it's fresh and vibrant and a bit weird in the delivery which keeps your interest piqued. Definitley worth hearing. Probably the most tambourine-heavy record I've listened to this year. Scum stats: 500 total, 100 on white. (RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
Miss Chain and The Broken Heels s/t 7"
Female-fronted power-pop from Italy of all places. And it's quite good for this genre. Four cuts, three of which are real listenable. "Common Shell" and "Up All Night" are upbeat gems that might be formulaic, but they're done with surprising skill: deft lead-guitar work, hook-laden and really smooth/pretty vox that show zero signs of any accent at all. For all you Twilley/Seymour fans out there, these should hit the spot. "Don't Need Your Sympathy" is a little bit slower and maybe more Lowe/Edmunds influenced. "Heartsick" is a little clunky and sort of lost me, but I'm honestly taken aback at the quality of the other three songs on this. I was expecting some low-grade Italian knock-off goods here, but this is really well-crafted pop and not hokey at all. Not sure how readily available this is (or will be) in the States but it's worth a chance if this is your genre of favor. I was pleased and I don't usually fall for this stuff. Doesn't hurt that Miss Chain is a looker either. Scum stats: mine was on red vinyl with some neat-looking gold mixed in.(RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)
Modern Creatures "Thick Thick Black" 7"
Interesting scene happening up in Vancouver these days it seems, lost of post-punk sounds and chicks in action, very Rough Trade-ish stuff from White Lung, Vapid, Shearing Pinx, Mutators and some others you may have seen/heard talk about. This Modern Creatures single is probably my favorite record that I've encountered from this scene so far. Dual bass (one plain and deep, one distorted and high) no-guitar formation here with a solid drum backbone. Three tracks, with a strong female vocal presence (no sing-songy shit or grrrly yelping, just well-toned almost Brit-inflected stuff), dark and driven and very rhythmic in that early-Eighties UK-referencing sort of way (I was thinking of Warsaw as I listened...). The bass sounds play off each other well and they don't overly rely on the distortion. Pretty serious sounding but not boringly so...sort of vibrantly dark and vigorous. Well worth investigating. Great artwork too, and I dig the pic of the gal playing in a bathing suit, shades and go-go boots. It's a good look and seems proof they they have some character behind the somewhat cold sounds. Comes with full-color insert. (RK)
(Grotesque Modern // www.grotesquemodern.com)
Mojomatics "Down My Spine" 7"
I thought maybe I had thrown the wrong record on the turntable when I first heard this. Or maybe that the label had put the wrong 7" in the sleeve (and this is one of the snuggest fitting sleeves ever, I practically had to use pliers to get the vinyl out of this thing...) but apparently this is The Mojomatics I'm thinking of and who you might know from their previous releases on Alien Snatch. Those records were stripped down two-piece blues-garage in that Euros-get-all-Americana-like style. I was into some of their more backyard-blues type tunes and I still hang on to that first 7" they did. So, the band pulls a pretty abrupt about-face here, going from medium-fi rootsy style to super slick indie-garage. Really polished production with bass added to the guitar/drums formula in the studio and a couple of catchy and well played garage rock tunes. Not bad, but kind of a weird turn...great cover pic too.(RK)
(Wild Honey Records // www.myspace.com/wildhoneyrec)
MOTO "Blast Of Silence" 7”
I really don’t see what’s not to like about MOTO (but I’m sure some of you jagoffs have your reasons…). They seem to offer endless amounts of pure, minimal, raw and always fun pop songs that rock and roll (all day). With such a large output over the years it’s not always going to be hit after hit, but at the very least, even the misses are often fun. And while this may not be the best stuff they’ve ever done, it’s certainly no slouch--especially the title track that really nails it. Taking the simplest progressions and turning them into memorable gems, MOTO seems to always get the proper crunch with the recordings to make a great sound. Mr. Caporino, a real stand up fella that’s seemingly the exception in this business, deserves all the best too. Shit, he’s been at this long enough to be considered a true ‘lifer’—and keeps on making great music. Aside from all that, “Blast of Silence’ is a solid record. MOTO sticks with the formula that makes them so good, with ‘The Pride of Antioch’ tastefully and subtly adding keyboards. Joint release with Savage and Radio Obligato that is limited to 500 on black vinyl.(LB)
(Savage/Radio Obligato // www.savagemagazine.com)
The Nagz s/t 7”
Stockholm products the Nagz dish out 2 straight up power poppers on their debut record. Bright and bouncy guitars with cutesy female vocals make up both of these tracks. While totally devoid of any “punk”, the B-side has a bit more of a rockin’ punch to it…but still, both tracks are pure sugary power pop. Catchy numbers, too. Second release for Radio Obligato, and like the other, is limited to 500 copies on black vinyl.(LB)
(Radio Obligato // www.myspace.com/radioobligato)
Necropolis "Song for a Working Man" 7"
More Columbus weird-shitgaze or whatever the fuck is going on down there. I'm not as big a fan of the whole PH/TNV thing as most Termbros, and I'm also the guy who thinks the Grave Blankets 7" was the best Columbus record from last year. I wasn't really fazed by this band's other records, and this one is 50/50 deal for me. "...Working Man" is spastic and arty post-something (rock? punk?), choppy and abrasive casio-wrecking guitar-jabbing squall. A hell of a racket, but not my favorite type of shit. I can get on board with the B-Side though (the eloquent "Cockcuckerbastardmotherfucker"), as it's a good example of someone using an oscillator as a power tool and has an appealing dirge-like quality of whomp to it. Not anything I'm ever going to listen to a lot, but the B-Side is something I might throw on when I want to hear noise but don't want to listen to a noise band, if that makes any sense. If you're into the more art-damaged shit, this could be for you. Me? Well, there's a shitload of bands in Columbus, but I don't need to hear all of them...Screened sleeves with various color variations.(RK)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecording.com)
Ooga Boogas "The Octopus Is Back!" 7"
Really good bangers-and-much rock'n'roll from some good blokes from Australia, with ties to ECSR and Cosmic Psychos among others. "The Octopus Is Back!" has a definite Eddy Current feel (duh, same guitar player), but far sloppier than the sometimes crisply spartan arrangements of ECSR tunes. Impossible not to like this one, musically or thematically (it's about an octopus, c'mon...). B-Side is more bread-n-butter rock (maybe a little more roll on this one...buttered roll? That's awful, forget I said that...) with some keys peeping their head in for a moment...I thought there was some sax on this for a minute, but I think the bass just might be making that sound. It's called "Diggin' A Hole" and it's goofy and messy and genuinely fun. Worth the $7+shipping price tag? I dunno anymore, import prices are so out of whack these days. I guess the gauge is that I don't feel bad having shelled out for this, but I'm also a real geek when it comes to things Antipodean. Price-tags aside, this is a great two-songer. Scum stats: no idea. I have a "Goner Edition" numbered out of 35 copies. I guess there a few other sold out editions as well, no clue as to how many copies. Good luck. (RK)
(Aarght Records // myspace.com/aarght)
O-Voids "Record On" 7"
Post-punk moves from Montreal. O-Voids offer up four tracks here, one instrumental that isn't too bad, which pretty much means I have issues with the vocals on this. Among other things. "Record On" sounds like Jello fronting a not-that-skilled Wire cover band. I'm of the opinion you have to have some semi-tight chops (at the least) to pull off this style well, and these guys aren't that honed. And it's that shortcoming evident on the B-Side. The first track is quick enough, but "Lost and Found" is fairly long and drawn out and something you just want to end quickly. The vox lose the Jello-thing and have degenerated into sort off an off-key warble and the instrumentation backing this guy is just bad, to be frank, and not good-bad. Oof. Scum stats: 500 pressed, nice silkscreened sleeves though, some special copies were done on canvas.(RK)
(Lost Space Records // myspace.com/lostspacerecords)
Original Three "At A Loss" 7"
A good selling point for this record would be to say it features Ian from Black Lips, and if that encourages some purchases, then I'm all for it because more people should hear this band. O3 released a couple of quality singles in the past (most/all of which were on their under-rated LP as well) and this new one is the best yet. "At A Loss" is an epic piece of double-guitar downer-rock, real gutsy and loud with a heavy riff that would make Iommi throw them a head nod. No stoner rock here, just a broodingly Southern Gothic-like feel. "Witch Ward" is a run-thorugh-the-bayou update on a soggy CCR-like dark-Americana thing. Shadowy around the edges and with a really murky sort of depth. A pair of spirited songs here that I highly recommend. As I said, more people should take notice of these guys, it's worth the time. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on clear.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)
Pizzas "Bad Ass Youth" 7"
No biographical info on these dudes except that they're from Sacramento and do some garage-punk beating on this single, taking me back to the early Rip Off/Estrus years, maybe a Fells-like simplicity or Motards-style chug. Well-written tunes, all three of 'em played with semi-sloppy gusto, nice lo-fi sound heavy on the treble and hooks, vocals sung just enough and no overbearing screaming, no jokey food songs that the band name might have you thinking. Not real serious either, but keeping it simple enough for a good time. Almost reminds me of Dissimilars for some reason, but far better. Deceptively catchy (especially "Hideous Fashion" on the B-Side) and surprisingly worthwhile. "Bad Ass Youth" is a true A-Side, hot solo action, a plucky refrain and rousing garage-trash dynamics. Scum stats: first 100 on orange vinyl. (RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.daggermanrecords.com)
Pumpers "Let Go" 7"
Denton, TX punk fans fans take heed! This band features TV's Daniel (and another Wrist/Museum or two...) on those static-laden sneering vox I love so much, matched up with a full-bore punk attack and some retardo back-ups for a mile-a-minute thriller, blown-out Tex-ass stylee. "Let Go" is balls-out great and "Reckoning Day" wields a wicked guitar hook and a great false stop before capping it off. There's a third cut on here too, but it's just a throw-in when compared to the other two stunners on here. Not as goofy as WM are and not as harsh as The Wrists were, this finds a wonderful middle-ground between the two, and I hate to have use this comparison shit but I'm a dumb and lazy record reviewer. It's what I do. Anyway, great punk record here folks, just as good as (and even better than) some of Museums/Wrists records. Scum stats: 100 on orange, 400 on black. Have to note that Wallride has a great logo. I must also note that The Jons record they sent for review along with this is pretty bad alterna-rock too.(RK)
(Wallride Records // www.wallriderecords.com)
Pumpers "Don't Hafta Go" 7"
See above review for biographical info on this band. This record has a super-loud guitar sound that blasts all over the rest of the mix, with Daniel's vox popping in and out. Real punky maneuvers here, "Don't Hafta Go" is electrifying, "On the Record" is the short-sharp number, and the B-Side of "No Right" is a longer more powerful garage inflected pounder with some eardrum-checking screaming and a righteous guitar riff. This reminds me a lot of 'Brainwash City'-era catholic Boys, which is a good thing, because that still remains my fave CBs record. Both of these Pumpers singles are surprisingly good for what one might consider simply a side-project type deal. Either one would be worth the dough.(RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)
Reports "Mosquito Nets" LP
I’ve got a dizzying feeling while listening to this one—I’m not supposed to feel nostalgic listening to something for the first time, am I? When a time machine turns up in Boston, Reports will ride it back to 1993 and hop onto the Matador roster—that great GBV, Pavement, Yo la Tengo Matador roster—and slide a few albums into the mix. Like the above, there is some top notch guitar driven rock here; the not-too-fancy recording adds some punch to the pop. If that wasn’t enough, the silk-screened sleeve is to die for. Well worth picking up if any of the above makes sense to ya.(DH)
(Paper Cities // www.papercities.org)
Rise Up Howlin' Werewolf "Indian Curse" 7"
Ex-Quadrajets (who did some good work back in the heyday of Estrus Southern garage gunslingin') member(s) and current Pine Hill Haints comprised outfit from Muscle Shoals, AL and recorded at the legendary Fame Studios. "The Indian Curse Will Bring You Back To Me" is surprisingly good, carried by a wheelbarrow full of heavy fuzz-bass rumble and nice-n-raw from-the-hip guitar work. Pretty tough and dark sounding, like Hex Dispensers without the pop moves. B-Side overloads the fuzz some more, and while it isn't as immediately grabbing, it's still a brooding low-end workout and is lyrically clever. I guess the band name put me off a bit, but this is some good Deep South rockin' (but not raWking, thank God...) for those inclined to such geographical delicacies. From the same label that put out the Thomas Function 'Ice Cold Dance Numbers...' single, with the same sort of super-thick screened sleeves. (RK)
(Arkam Records // www.myspace.com/arkamrecords)
River City Tanlines "Modern Friction" 7"
Newest RCTL from Alicja and the boys. "Modern Friction" is one of those slinky slo-mo soulful hard-guitar strutters (with the slightest keyboard flourish) that Alicja absolutely has the sex appeal to pull off real sultrily. This is what most Ghetto Ways songs wish they sounded like, a crunchy stomper that doesn't get boringly plodding. "He Said Yes" is a rework of the Painted Ship tune "And She Said Yes..."(see BFTG Vol. 8) that has Alicja belting out a great screamy part and wedges in some nice freak-out sections (as per the original). Well done. Not the most blazing Tanlines record, it does the trick, bt is probably for completists only. Scum stats: 500 on black, 100 on red, 6(!) copies on yellow.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)
Screamin’ Mee-Mees "Plastic Hong Kong Door Bell Finger" CD
I think the cover art paired with the release’s title says it all: dispassionate, haphazard, inane. Add some sort of exalted value to it and you have an implicit critique on the shameful heights the listening community’s standards have climbed to. Take it at face value and you have the sort of sounds farted out by uninspired teens during the interim between brunch and lunch in smelly basements on unsexed weekends, straight into a garage-sale boombox under a rug over by the litter box. Been there, done that. The only difference is that the Screamin’ Mee-Mees aren’t teens. They’ve been banging out these proto-punk caveman garage tunes since ’75 – even being included on KBD#3 – and apparently dabbled in (comparatively) fine-tuned, somewhat produced studio shits in the ‘90s. Plastic Hong Kong Door Bell Finger is a return to their mid-70s M.O. of juvenile improv wankings, recorded worse than southern hayseed protest songs of the ‘50s [“no sir, we ain’t for integration!” – cue banjo]. These smash-masters’ compositions are falling apart at their loosely-sewn seems, from the depressing dirge of “Slapped By Reality” to the simple 3-chord groovy barf ballad “Spilling Stuff On People” and the double-guitar anti-music chicken-choke “Flyin’ Skull Fragments,” which approaches the 20 minute mark. At least the group’s over-the-hill members haven’t suspended their hiatus in hopes of cashing in. There was no hiatus and there ain’t no cash. If you find this tied to the wing of a swallow, pluck it off and give a listen. Otherwise, I’d stick to their numerous posthumously released compilations of the stuff recorded last millennium.(BG)
(Gulcher Records // gulcher.gemm.com)
Shit Eagle "Girls at School" 7"
I take it this outfit hails from Florida, could be one-man studio trash could be a full band, I dunno. Reminds me of the Fag Cop 7" somewhat, total ear-crushing aggro shit-punk, even Spits-esque in its near-catchiness perhaps, in general a total clusterfuck with a hook on the title smash, great whoah-whoah sneering and piercing guitar flaying. "So Sad" flirts with pop, in the trashiest sense possible of course, a hooky-harmony buried amidst some needle-pinning throb. "Gaysted Love" is in the homegrown weird-punk vein, a creepy keyboard lurching and screaming fiasco with a guitar-murdering end, glacial in pace compared the speedy delivery of the other two cuts. If you're a fan of no-fi punk extremism, this is record is all yours. Ugly and unpleasant in all the right ways, maybe a bit much, but if you're gonna let your balls hang out might as well go all the way and let your sausage swing too. Which Shit Eagle do. Sweatily. Scum stats: first 100 on gold vinyl with special sleeves. (RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Slicing Grandpa "Methset" EP
Hyper-rare selection of "hits" recorded last year at Methfest, Seattle.
Extra crowd roar included. My memory of seeing SG live is a little hazy. I was way past my casual drunkard stage and earblown from a playing a set earlier in the eve. A set that also left my nose split from a cymbal crash and swimmy with concussion. What did it sound like? Hazy, reverbed, drunk and convulsing. Lance (Grandpa?) looked/acted like a trim El Duce and kept throwing himself down the stairs of the club. Effect pedals and feedback pushed so far beyond the proper limits that even Clockleaner fans would shudder. The band-for-hire hammered home rhythms they learned 2 hours prior with the finesse of a meatjack. John Slicing RUINED his guitar with anything he could get his hands on. Les Paul (er, Leary) be damned.
Now lucky listeners (well, the 100 or so who get a chance to own this slab) get to hear what they'll never see...and it's pretty much exactly how I remembered it. Rolling thunder. Caustic and chaotic noise-rock in its purest form. You get a vile little puddle of scree swimming around under yer needle arm. Thinkin' early Buttholes when listening to "Bustin' Ass Blues" or "Fuck it All”? Ain't far from the truth. CampingSex chug and Blight-styled puke all over the place. This is far removed from their 4-track home experiments...no slow creeping sounds or vocal hiccups. This shit is beefy and lunging on its rusted chain. Keep it coming. (RSF)
(Daisy Cutter Records // myspace.com/daisycutterrecords)
Superdoner "In the Jungle" 7"
Weirdo release from Mr. Ken Rock. Superdoner are a Swedish lo-fi synth-punk group of sorts that run through a bunch of different takes on the style. "TV Gamer" is straight-up Nintendo-core...or Gameboy punk, whichever you prefer. "Party" is a trashy little Spits-take. "Totale Ibiza" is no-fi Digital Leather-like Eighties synth-raving. "My Day" actually has guitars and punks it out in a pleasantly dumb fashion. There are some other tracks on the end of each side that I can't get my turntable arm to stay on long enough to figure out. Am I missing something here? Anyway, interesting for those into Nazis From Mars, Swedish dudes fucking around with Casios and video game soundtracks. I think was limited to 200 or less, comes in spray-painted sleeves. (RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
Times New Viking “My Head” EP
This isn’t a ground breaking comment, but it’s just staggering how much great, inventive music does and always has come from Ohio. Bordering states have shown glimmers of hope, but not only did Ohio invent this shit (RFTT, Electric Eels), but they’ve kept the flag flying at a remarkably high level ever since. And it’s not news to throw Times New Viking into this history and praise them as “the next” whatever, but that’s how this review is starting to look (actually, I’m sure the next whatever is a group of 13 year olds from Xenia downing stolen cough syrup and jamming on Germs covers…I can’t wait for their demo). But really, this band—and this EP in particular—should appeal to any fans of DIY and primitive music. TNV has developed an endearing style in which the fuzz, jangle, and noise pull together to form abrasive pop songs. This EP is reportedly a sneak peak at an upcoming full length, and also includes a just-as-good-as-the-original cover of The Petticoats’ “Allergy.” Great looking stamped sleeve, too. The best release on Matador since “Alien Lanes”?(DH)
(Matador Records // try the mall)
Total Abuse "Demo ‘06" 7"
Total Abuse pull the old “demo on vinyl” trick with this eight song platter. Strictly a paint-by-numbers affair, Total Abuse references US hardcore classics from Negative Approach to the barrage of Crossed Out without finding a fingerprint of their own. It’s odd to see current bands release their demos on vinyl, to expose their infancy when some time in the garage honing their style would be beneficial. As a demo, this has potential, but there’s not enough yet to stand apart from any of the other USHC-inspired bands out there. I’d be curious to hear what Total Abuse can do with another year under their belts.(DH)
(Even Worse Records // www.geocities.com/evenworserecords)
Total Abuse "Sex Pig" EP
Take Deep Sleep’s “You’re Screwed” EP from last year and get rid of any inhibition resulting from the garage-slant. Take away the contrived predisposed guy-who-gets-the-girl attitude. Take it out to your backyard and throw it in a patch of dirt and rocks just after its rained out and put the toe of your boot to the label and swish it around a little bit and you’ll probably get Total Abuse’s “Sex Pig” EP. Grunting a powerful “Fuck!” in a bridge or time-change is something so simple, it’s surprising how much the blood boils when it’s harnessed in a heinous, unhealthy life-fucked manner as displayed here. There’s a griminess here that sets it apart from the No Way/Grave Mistake stuff everyone’s on the nuts of, and suggests it wasn’t necessarily formulated to cater to certain aspects of hardcore’s golden age but rather takes cues from the mentality, the desperation, and the attitude of the time, in which creating something from impulse was a requisite and not merely creating a discernible, particular sound. Not good vibe music by any means, this is one of the most direct and uninhibited statements to the world at large I’ve heard in some time. And the demo’s just as good. Wake up to the real deal.(BG)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)
Total Rejekts "Do It Some More" 7"
Three-songer from some Illinois goofballs. Title cut is actually quite the hooker with a swell early-Nineties garage feel. Catchy and simple enough that you can sing along after a couple listens. "Let the Bad Times Roll" is modern-day outta-tune Midwestern Rip Off Records style-punk (shades of the Chinese Millionaires perhaps). For the flip they go deeper into the garage for "Let it Go" on which they sound like the younger siblings of the Guilty Pleasures and whip out some super hot licks as well. Nicely recorded on the Rejekt Mobile Unit. Not a real mindblower, but decent middle-of-the-pack stuff, looks like they're that local band we all have in our town that everybody loves but no one outside the city limits has ever heard of. Sleeve reminds me a little of Cuntpuppet without the bad NASCAR and Busch Light jokes. Scum stats: 100 on clear with color sleeve, 200 on black with b&w sleeve.(RK)
(Static Wagon Records // myspace.com/staticwagonrecords)
Trashies "Fartstorm" EP
Not a huge fan of this band. I've managed to avoid their LPs, but this EP oddly compliles two tracks from each of those long-players, much to my chagrin. Nothing innovative or even interesting here, and I'm gonna have to trot out the Spits comparison again. It's so obvious you can't not talk about it. It's not like the Wood brothers hold the patent on this shit (or maybe they do...), but I think even they ran out of steam with this schtick around the third self-titled Spits LP. And those loveable boneheads did this type of stuff with a certain amount of class, an elan that is hard to define and with some actual humor. The Trashies plod all over the form with bush-league sweatpants boner jokes and ideas half-ripped from actual Spits tunes ("Dumb & Ugly" or "Nuke 'em" for example) without any of the "talent" and waaay too much keyboard. Yuck. Kenrock, you're better than this! Scum stats: 550 or so copies with various colors (black, red, yellow) and a couple different sleeves. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)
Truthdealer s/t 7”
Debut offering from Milwaukee trio Truthdealer — who initially come off as a rather interesting fun/hardcore unit, then change it up/slow it down and get a little goofy (and not in a bad way).
Featuring the dashing dreamboat that is Anthony Schwader (show stealing bassist from Holy Shit!) who also handles vocals and bass on this one.
While the first side blasts by with three more than capable bashers of oddball hardcore, the flip is an entirely different animal altogether. "Half Done", which is side two, is an odyssey of noise, moans and general freak-out which adds a totally different dimension to the band. Part Butthole Surfers weirdo shit, part...I don’t even know. But I liked it. Pretty cool record, nicely packaged with some half-paper airplane lyric sheets. (LB)
(F&H Records // myspace.com/fandhrecords)
Vapid "Do the Earthquake" 7"
More from what seems to be a suddenly prolific Vancouver scene of female-fronted punk bands in a post-punk/post-Bikini Kill/post-Rough Trade fashion. One can't help but think Skunks based on the sleeve and song title, but this isn't KBD influenced in the slightest. "Do the Earthquake" is an anthemic number with a nice and angular chorus/breakdown that gets it over and is the clear keeper here. Guitar sounds good and raw in a jagged-jangle way too. Two shorter ones on the flip ("Victim" and "Whore"...very riot-grrrly), more sort of formulaic post-punk guitar shards over a lock-step rhythm. A little on the dry and too-affected side, and the lyrics and vox get a little too sing-songy at times. I prefer the White Lung and Modern Creatures singles if you're looking for something from this area/vein. Scum stats: 312 pressed, clear vinyl.(RK)
(Nominal Records // www.myspace.com/recordsnominal)
Vancougar "Naughty" 7"
From the label that brought you rippers from Career Suicide, Paintbox, Forward, Raw Power and other international hardcore luminaries comes....a two-song single of all-girl garage-pop? Actually, I'm being unfair there, as Ugly Pop has released a pretty diverse catalog, but I still think it's funny to see the Pushead-lettered 'Hardcore Vinyl' logo on this record. Vancougar are four incredibly cute and talented Vancouver chiques, who lay on the sweet harmonies and keyboard tinkles with a gentle touch and sticky hooks. "Naughty" is an obvious A-Side, really bright with sexy cooing and perfect handclaps behind the strong lead vocal and look out for the f-bomb drop and slight keyboard solo. "Temporary Teamwork" is the more plaintive tune, yet still upbeat with a winding keyboard lick and guitar solo. More sexy than cute, and the tunes are really well-played, avoiding any amateur-hour type lo-fi schtick. If you're into the girl-garage pop, look no further. This single makes me a little more bummed that their full-length isn't on vinyl yet...please don't make me buy a CD ladies... Scum stats: 600 copies, I think the first 100 were on pink.(RK)
(Ugly Pop/Cat Call // myspace.com/catcall)
V/A Black Lips/King Khan & BBQ Show "Merry Christmas" split 7”
Heading in, I figured that this was a surefire throwaway as “punk rock Christmas split single” seems like an amalgamation of bad ideas, but I needed something to play while opening presents, so I picked this one up. King Khan and BBQ Show contribute a very festive sounding instrumental. It’s such a hopper that I nearly got carried away and went out of turn and opened two in a row. The Black Lips’ “Christmas in Baghdad” is a slow blues-rock ballad about a soldier’s holiday (“there’s nothing I can do about it; learn ‘Jingle Bells’ in Arabic”). It’s an odd approach for a holiday song, but I think that’s part of the charm.(DH)
(Norton Records // www.nortonrecords.com)
V/A Feeling of Love/Movie Star Junkies split 10"
Feeling of Love may very well be one of the most under-rated acts out there these days, but it seems they're starting to get their due...a two-piece on this platter (with G adding Seb Normal's presence on most of the cuts), FOL bring back best of Nineties-garage-blues (Oblivians, JSBX, and Doo Rag at their finest) without the stench of revisionism, updating those styles with a Pussy Galore-like slop of noise and a healthy dose of acerbic wit. Guitars alternately slide and slash, keyboards get punched and stepped on amid the fray, Frenchmen sneer and whoop at you, drums boom and then turn coffe-can hollow...they run blues-trash through the gauntlet and come out the other side reborn as some snarling beast. One of these tunes sounds like the Bassholes if they were on AmRep. Others sound like Spencer, if he were REALLY a bad ass and not just pretending. The best song titles ever and gratuitous use of the word pussy just ratchet the entertainment value up a few clicks. "The Way to Suck"? Beautiful, like a cranked-up Bob Log fronting Unsane! "Rapeman Blues" throws another pigfuck namedrop out there (remember that Julie Cafritz song?). There's so much I love about this band right now. Invigorating music. Cheveu may be everyone's current French darlings, but Feeling of Love hold the keys to my heart. Buy all of their records now if you haven't already. Movie Star Junkies are from Italy, making this a cross-country Euro effort. Never heard them before this, but they seem to pair up with FOL pretty well. Baritone sax bleats accompany a few differing styles...first track is a lazy blues meander, "Cleavage" is tribal-like thumper-to-strip-by with fuzz break, "Midnight Train" is the pick-to-click, a harmonica-laced chugger that blasts real good (any song with "train" in the title is usually the show-stopper) and the clever "Gil Scott-Heroin" is a like a shot-to-hell bawdy drinking song from some Interzone speakeasy. I like their style, not as much as I dig FOL, but I can still get into it. This split ten-inch is probably the best bang for your buck yet this year, and all Feeling of Love records should be immedaitely placed on your must-have list, this one in particular. It's the best shit I've heard from them yet. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)
V/A G.A.T.E.S/Bludwulf split 7”
So far, each release on High Society Satanic Records has gone far beyond cool with its packaging (G.A.T.E.S./Metal Skull split pic disc LP and Metal Skull flexi pic disc, for example). This newest single continues the trend: housed in a bullet belt OBI, the three color sleeve unfolds to reveal itself as a guillotine. It’s a shame to see such an effort on the lowliest of formats, the split single. As is seemingly always the case, one band so outshines the other as to render the record “one-sided.” Here G.A.T.E.S. takes the honor. Their track is heavy Motorhead- and Execute-inspired riff punk that treads the line between punk and metal in a way that draws on the best of both worlds. With gruff vocals, thunderous bass, and well fitting solos, it’s powerful stuff. On the flip, Bludwulf turn in an unmemorable track of very generic metal. At least they’re sharp dressers. (DH)
(High Society Satanic Records // ??)
V/A Golden Boys/Limes split 7"
Golden Boys side is little pop ditty called "Metal Touch" which is really bright and upbeat, a quality song that seems to stick out to me as less weird than any of their other output, which is fine by me. Shit, Greg Cartwright could've written this one, it's that catchy, and it has some nice keyboard backing that flushes things out at the end. A+ material here. The Limes side, well I've never heard a Limes record that I've liked, but this one is the closest I've come. It's like two notes away from the guitar hook to "I'm Eighteen", sort of plodding and droney with real deadpan vocals that induce lethargy. Total downer vibe as opposed to the sheer pop of the A-Side. It's not that great, but the Golden Boys side is pretty fucking boss. Scum stats: first 100 on clear vinyl.(RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
V/A The Points/Maaster Gaiden split 7"
The Points make this a really great half-of-a-record. Immediately interesting and catchy synthy-garage (but not synth-punk), "Rock n Roll No Rules" has a high-energy running drum beat-n-bass throb and a Devo-like pause-and-jerk anthemic quality. Equally head-noddable and danceable with a crunchy guitar and some subtle background keyboard twists. "Make Out Lane" is even better, upping the velocity a bit more for a real smasher that sort unwinds a little on the chorus for a nice effect, carrying a mean synth sound and drum bash that ends in a hurry. Really wish there was more here 'cause this is some cool shit. Close to what Static Static are doing, but actually good. They're from DC, for those scoring at home. Maaster Gaiden are from Denton and sound like the Marked Men's AAA farm team. Yawn. The Points side is fucking great though, I want more. (RK)
(Big Action Records // www.bigactionrecords.net)
V/A Shoot It Up/Analingus split 7"
Shoot It Up are fucking great, and if you don't buy into that statement, then stop reading now. I think Mr. Lean Steve nailed it pretty well when he commented that they sound reminiscent of someone throwing a drum kit down a flight of stairs. I can't come up with anything better than that. They do four tracks of falling all over themselves on their side, all minute-and-a-half crimes against music. "Undercover Queer" is one of their finest moments, with Hec Dog spitting all over ("You fucking faggot!") and the guitar and drums not even trying to stay in sync. "Anti-Straight Edge" tidily sums up what they're all about and on "Kill My Lungs" they run through what might be the closest thing to a "tune" they've pulled off (and Hec doesn's sing on this one either it seems...weird...) and it's fucking great. A force to be reckoned with, anyone within spitting distance should catch these young drug abusers on their upcoming tour to see this mess live. They look as retarded as they sound on record. I give this side two thumbs up your ass. Which brings us to Analingus, featuring an ex-Grabbie (defintely not Anus, I think this is Davide's band?), and they do the lo-fi buzzsaw hardcore punk shits, pretty sloppy and nasty as expected. "Be My Cocksucker" works for me and they do two more on top of it. Not as loveable as SIU for sure, but who is? Pretty graphic cover art, you're gonna need to hide this one from Mom. Hilarious insert as well. Worth it just for the Shoot It Up side. (RK)
(Riff Raff Records // www.myspace.com/riffraffpunk)
V/A Wardance/Penalty Time split LP
Not realizing this was a split LP when I first put it on...I sure was confused. First off…there is no side A or B. And then there is the cover art...one side being a dark forest looking scene with skulls and rotted animal carcasses...and the other looking like some mid-80s british punk cartoon mess with mohawks and razorblades and shit (this eventually made sense). So yeah…turns out, it’s a split record with German metallic hardcore band Wardance and a Swedish band, Penalty Time — who incidentally do play a brand of mid-80s UK style punk rock. Now I wasn’t ever much for that era of British punk, but Penalty Time does it loud and fast with occasional metal and/or hardcore leanings. Very deep gruff vocals and a loud, dual guitar attack. The Wardance side lives up to the dark and morbid cover art - somewhat. Very metallic hardcore (a genre I’ve never seen eye to eye with), with production that favors the metal-ness of it, though they have “moments” of speed and pure hardcore leanings; this is more of a metal outing in my opinion, though I give the drummer credit for not using the dreaded double-bass pedal. Screamer vocals and lots of chugga-chugga on this puppy. Tough.(LB)
(Assel Records // www.assel-records.de)
V/A World's Lousy with Ideas Vol. 2 7"
Weird fucking punk, dude. Almost Ready goes digging in North America's closets, basements and bedrooms for four cuts of primo-scree from "bands" you are most likely hearing for the first time right here...Lady Doctors sound like...well, Blank Dogs to be honest. Maybe if Mr. BD liked ray-gun style feedback and shit a little more. Dark. Black Orphan do some wreck-room style sci-fi dronery. Factums are probably the one band you already know and love here, "Backup Plan" is previously unreleased and kind of rocks more than rolls. The least weird cut here, strangely enough. The Pink Noise are ARR's newest signing, with an EP on the label upcoming. Their style? Canadian closet-rock, boombox style shit that's barely there but rocks OK when you finally get a grip on it. If you are intrigued by those Blank Dogs records and want to hear more of the new musical revolution, look no further my friend. Almost Ready proves they are pretty fucking cutting edge here, not only able to sign the sloppiest of shit-rock bands but the most oblique of phantom artists as well. Scum stats: ridiculous cover variations as usual, buy them all! (RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
V/A World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 3 7"
How lousy is this series? Volume 3 came out before Volume 2, that's how lousy. But you have to love that sort of ass-backwards spirit that this series of singles entails. And you can't help but love The Suspicions "Baby Talk' (and hey, Karen and Bryan are having a baby too...how fucking cute...), it's their best song since the first 7" I think, plenty catchy, strong vocal performance from Karen and a sweet little lead guitar part. Wax Museums are the forefront of punk-fucking-rock right now, and "Disco Ball" will not make you think otherwise. Yet another killer dummy-punk corker. These dudes must write songs in their sleep. Flipside features another AM-radio (in fidelity and feel) hit from Romance Novels and the first vinyl appearance of Nobunny with "Hippy Witch", a brief fun-punker that will have you begging for more (and that's a lock-groove at the end, you boobs). Another winner from ARR, I guess this was the garage-pop installment, if you want to label them. These last few entries have left Vol. 1 in the dust, they're getting progressively better.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
V/A World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 4 7"
My personal favorite volume of this bitch of a comp series. It's like the modern day 'Dope, Guns & Fucking'. No shit. Why is this my fave? Well, it's an incredible representation of today's trash-rock scene. The Touched quench everyone's thirst for more tunes after their critically acclaimed 7" from last year...and "Jelly Beans" is great Candy Snatchers-in-their-prime junk with a weird touch, with a killer vocal yowl and guitar shred. "Messed Up Man" is actually the Coconut Coolouts doing a seriously punky number. No goofy party-time antics here, just a real fucking key-driven pounder. El Vicio are some Fench guys who were in some other French bands, but "Jenny Jenny" is okay blues-raunch. My least fave of these four cuts, but what can you do. The immense Fag Cop blow the candles out on this fucking cake in supreme shit-rock fashion. It's like the "Courageous Cat Theme" gone totally fucking wrong, insane/inane vocal spew, total fucking garbage. I love it. Fag Cop rule. So does this installment of World's Lousy. Dicks.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Veines s/t 7”
Debut EP from Veines, proudly hailing from Nice, France, attacking ’77 style (Euro) punk — the kind that can be pretty catchy, but just gruff and bratty enough avoid being branded ‘poppy’. Four tracks here, all sung in French (I wonder what “Parties Fines Sous Cocaine” is all about…) that have their moments, alright. Pretty straightforward stuff here — they do it mid-tempo and jumpy with somewhat raw production that’s not overbearing, but dirty enough. (LB)
(Frantic City // franticcity.free.fr)
Wizzard Sleeve “Mommy’s Little Baby” 7"
I was impressed with Wizzard Sleeve’s “Chrome Intensifier”—that’s an understatement, actually; I fucking love it—but it left me completely unprepared for this. “Mommy’s Little Baby”, the band’s first full release (following a split with Livefastdie, where the aforementioned track appeared earlier this year) is a more dynamic, engaging outing. The title track explores the margins of the American Underground, mining early industrial and synth-punk for ideas. Its layered noises and harrowing guitar chugs are, at times, frightening. Built around a driving bass rhythm and post-punk feel, “Pterodactyl Meltdown” is still densely packed, but comes across as more lighthearted and a nice contrast to the flip. This is one of the more inventive and challenging releases to come from an era that is beginning to specialize in that; a year-end list maker for sure.(DH)
(HozAc // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
Wongs “Nothin' to Me” EP
I must be getting old. It seems like just yesterday that I was blastin’ The Wongs’ “Jerkin’ it to the Trashwomen.” Actually, it was yesterday, but it really is a timeless love song, a great snapshot of desperate, teen punk. It doesn’t transcend but it’s perfect for what it is. I had hopes that this four song EP, recorded six years later in 2002, would be cut from the same mold but I’m having trouble getting excited over this one. The sound here is too “grown up”—the guitars are too clean, the playing is too tight. I wish they’d have snuck some of dad’s whiskey into the recording session, as this would benefit from being sloppier, looser, louder, drunker…more off the hook. The Consumers cover is cool, but it really just makes me want to pull out the Consumers record. (DH)
(May Cause Dizziness Records // mcdrecords-at-yahoo.com)
Xeno and Staccato 7"
One-off collaboration between two underground analog-electro artists. Xeno is a very nice young lady from France currently residing in NY and Staccato is her friend from Spain (I think?). I believe these tracks were written and recorded with very little preparation when the two met in Miami, something difficult to comprehend as the results are pretty remarkable. Two moody cuts, each with a wonderful little pop melody that will have you getting up for immediate re-listens. The rawness of the overdriven synth sound really layers well with the sweet female vocals. Not heavy, but beautiful. I was lucky enough to catch Xeno live recently with Oaklander (aka Martial Canterel, another current synth artist whose records are definately worth tracking down) and it's cool to see that this kind of music can be performed live with enthusiasm from the artist and crowd. Limited to 500 and released on their own (?) label SDM. A must for fans of the genre.(MS)
(SDM // www.wierdrecords.com)
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