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RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2008

Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)

Ape-Shits "La Pollution Culturelle" LP/CD
Staples of the Beerland roster, the Ape-Shits are long-running Austin rockers whose roots go back to the heyday of Texas garage-punk. Members have logged time with the Reclusives, Dirty Sweets, and Hatchbacks, among others. On their debut CD they bang out eleven songs, that aren't so far off sonically from any of their older bands listed above. If I had to guess, I'd say their sound is fueled by Lonestar tallboys, the Motards, and the rest of the Rip-Off Records roster; it's not totally obvious from this CD, but I'd bet these boys listen to a steady diet of the Dolls, Samoans, and Ramones as well. It's clear that their hearts are in the right place, which is why it pains me to report that after listening to this disc three times in a row I can barely remember what it sounds like. All the ingredients are here—good ol' fashion in the red recording, high energy delivery, killer influences—but there's nothing to the songs that makes me want to come back for more.(DH)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)

Bad Sports "All the Time" 7"
Bad Sports "No Rest for The Wicked" 7"
Jesus christ, more rock'n'roll from Denton, TX. Hard to believe these kids can come up with this many songs. Another limb of the Wax Museums/Wrists family tree, Bad Sports do quite well for themselves on these two slabs. I don't know which came first, but I'm partial to the Boomchick one myself. "All the Time" brings a sort of Nuggets-like quality to the punk clamor usually associated witht the bands from this town. It's actually sung and not screamed. Nuts. Real emotive and catchy, top notch. B-Side moves into more Rip Off Records turf and burns off two real good ones: "Hey OK" is catchy as it might sound, really how can you fuck up a song with a title like that? They don't. "Asshole With A Girl" comes off like first LP Marked Men with a juvenile bent. This thing blew away my expectations. Wasn't looking for much and got a lot out of this one. Lowery should give these cats a call pronto. The Big Action single offers up four more. "Ooh Ooh Ooh" is not a Joe E. Ross tribute but them slipping some Wax Museums snot into the cake. "No Good" has supremely punky vocals and some wild guitar. All four tracks pack plenty of charisma, I just think the Boomchick single has the best tune of the bunch. Get that one quick and proceed from there. Scum stats: first 50(?) or so of the Boom Chick release had yellow sleeves, I'm guessing 500 pressed. Big Action release was 300, some on blue vinyl some on purple, with screened sleeves.(RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)
(Big Action Records // www.bigactionrecords.net)

The Barbaras "Summertime Road" 7"
I'm probably in the minority amongst the "scene" when I say I'm really not into this band. I'm all for a buncha kids making weird music, I think there's a Kazalok connection here too, and I was into that record with both feet, and a Boston Chinks link, whose single I thought was at least decent. The sound here: a sort of doo-wop/folk/Beach Boys-pop concoction with falsetto vox, lots of bop-bop/oohooh/lalala chorusing, mandatory low-fidelity production, heaps of guitar jangle, some oddball twists and turns, some keyboard touches...the first two songs grate on me like all hell, I get into the last "jam" a little ("Flow"), as it sounds like the most complete song, even if it's indie afternoon-rock. The other two cuts are just too...maybe fey is the word I'm looking for, a little too cutesy maybe, maybe a little too much in the blender for me. Sounds a bit ramshackle/disorganized, but not in the way I enjoy. I also hate their haircuts. Does this mean I'm getting too old for this shit? Am I turning into a cop? Eh. Either way, this one smells like a dud to me, a rare Goner misfire. But I guess they gotta support the local scene and all. Scum stats: unknown limited quantity on clear vinyl per usual Goner specs.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Batman and Robin "I'm a Bat..." 7"
I missed out on the first installment of this concept, but I'd probably pick it up after listening to and seeing this one, if only to have a complete set. It seemingly continues where the earlier single left off, even labelling the sides C and D and keeping continuity via the insert. As far as the music, it's medium fidelity garage-punk, four tunes all keeping in DC Comics theme, with goofball soundbites from Batman and Robin interspersed. The B-Side tunes are better and a little nastier ("Run Joker Run"), but the A-Side has better skits. Realistically, the music isn't that exceptional, but the whole design elevates them from total mediocrity. Nicely drawn full color sleeve and nine-panel comic on the back, Gotham Gazette mock newspaper-styled insert (written in fantastic broken english), and a cut-out fake moustache all come with the package. Honestly, it's a better piece of art than it is an actual record for listening. And for fuller disclosure, I'm not a huge DC fan (Make Mine Marvel!), but this is such an obvious labor of love I gotta give credit. For dorks who still love their comics as much as they're into mid-Nineties garage-schlock. Scum stats: 500 copies on black. Another intensely designed effort from Bachelor. (RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Beat Beat "Taco Show" 7"
Debut release from these Austrian trash-punkers and it's decent stuff. Both A-Side tunes get passing grades from me, one a snotty Ramonesy count-off pud-pounder, the other goofy-and-mean wailer. B-Side has one honky-tonk-ish dud, but the closer, "Lock the Door" is throttling punkfuck, vox are of the Ive-totally-lost-control variety of good. This won't change your life, but it may provide a nice distraction. Scum stats: 100 on red, 200 on black.(RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // myspace.com/spinthebottlerecords)

Battletorn "Terminal Dawn" CD
I have fond memories from the days when I spent every Saturday afternoon sweating it out at ABC No Rio. Blazing hardcore bands who built their set around speed (and speed alone) would stop to take a sip of water between songs only to be heckled, "Play Faster!" This chant would ring out at any break in the action, no matter what band was on stage; the heckler's thirst for velocity was never satisfied. Battletorn may have done the trick had they been around a few years earlier. Clearly kneeling to the altar of DRI and Dropdead, they blast through 22 songs in less than 20 minutes on their "Terminal Dawn" CD, which compiles an LP of the same name and their "Burn Fast" EP. For me, it's hard to find something to latch onto with these 45 second guttural bursts, but I've never been too high on metallic thrash. For fans of the genre, this seems well done.(DH)
(Mad at the World // www.matwrecords.com)

Billy Bao "Accumulation" EP
Fairly pointless EP here from a band whose schtick I'm absolutely not sold on. The premise here seems to be that the "accumulation" is ten one-minute long tracks, numbered as such, with each successive cut adding something to the original piece. So you get drums/drone one track one, they layer some guitar/vox on two, some more distortion or something on three, and they progressively speed up or distort or add more effects and so on, things getting larger and nastier , until you get to the tenth, which is the completed "song". At least that's what I think is going on here. An interesting concept perhaps (one side in stereo, one side in mono), but executed somewhat hamfistedly (apparently there's an anti-capitalist statement to be made by follwing along with the screed accompanying the numbers on the sleeve). Seems like more smoke-and-mirrors "brutality" to me, replete with no-future/fuck-life propagandizing. An art project that doesn't make for a very interesting (or shocking) listen. Surely a limited edition, and rightfully so.(RK)
(Xerox Music // xeroxmusik-at-gmail.com)

Black Time "Hate Songs for Blitzkreig Boppers" EP
Black Time are back with a vengeance on this one. Lemmy Caution sounds determined to fuck shit up here. "(I'm in the) Fascist Bathroom" is agitated punk jerking punctuated with an organ bleat, one of the best they've penned with a fucked solo that goes from one-note ping to damaged slash-n-hack bringing the tune back to a vicious return. Absolutely lovely. "No Love Lost" is a catchy and upbeat simple garage shredder, they fucking cover Lili Z.'s "Ma Solitude Et Moi" amazingly to lead off the B-Side and end it all with the triumphant and pained "Lack of Red Light", a sullen guitar theme with downtrodden chorus that they absolutely smash the shit out of as coda. Another winner from the second best band from the UK in modern times (counting the Country Teasers as an active unit), and "...Fascist Bathroom" is easily one of the top feel bad songs of the year. I love this band and their distinct garage-inflected pigfuck punk style, they're smart about what they do, never getting too tricky for their own good but always giving you a good twist or two and with the guts to pull it all off convincingly. Look out for another single on the Skulltones label soon and a new LP later in the year. Scum stats: #10 in the Music for Haters series (and without a doubt the best single the series has spawned), 500 copies on black vinyl with some insert variations (three different designs/colors). (RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Blank Its "Stop! No! Wait!" 7"
Best description of the Blank Its I ever heard came from the all-wise Mitch Cardwell during their Blackout set when he compared them to the A-Frames playing power-pop. I know, the guy's a genius. The story so far is everyone loved their first self-released single and split w/The Feelers but felt the LP was a snoozer. At least that's my story so far. They're back after what seems like a couple of years since their last vinyl, self-released on their own Band Its imprint again. The title cut gets right to business, seemingly more angular and UK post-punk referential than before, rhythm section is packing a punch here and the guitar careens rough and hypnotic, enhanced by the oddly accented robototone vox. You can see the "Stop! (lengthy pause) No! Wait!" false-end "trick" coming, but I always go for that sort of thing. "Strectch Pull Stretch" has some raw rock action contained in a dark-sounding shell with an ominous call-response conversational throw-the-guitar-down finale and then whip up a maelstrom of jangle-fuzz on "Mind Warp". They sound meaner on this one from what I can remember, and I'm all for anger mixed in my punk-pop-fuzz. A fine return. (RL)
(Band Its Records // myspace.com/blankits)

Blank Its "Windows Are Dirty" 7"
Second rapid-fire single from the back-with-a-passion Blank Its, and I think I'm into both of them. Title cut sounds like it was recorded meatier and bigger than the raw-scratch of the "Stop!..." EP, vocals are given the insects-swimming-underwater treatment on this one and it has a nicely spiralling little hook that draws you down under the current. Sticks with you more with each spin, brief as it is. I think the B-Side of "Divorce" is the story on this one, it's a strange slice of weird-pop, one of the longer Blank Its tunes I can remember, it begins built on a quirky up/off-beat bass bounce that they smear guitar-jangle and more aquatic sounding vox over then bring it home via drum-pound and the devolving of that beginning bassline. The sort of well-crafted yet off-kilter tune that gives the Blank Its their unique quality. You'd do well with either of these new singles if you dug 'em first time around and people who hated on the LP should give them a second chance. Scum stats: 600 total, first 100 on white for mailorder only.(RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)

Bold Ones "Open Your Mouth" 7"
Debut release from Chicago party-rockers featuring one of the chicks from The Tears, the ever loveable A-Ron of Baseball Furies fame and those twins who were in some band I'm pretty sure I saw at a Blackout at some point. Four tracks of nicely recorded treble-heavy upbeat lighthearted garage punk. Nice gang back-ups, tunes are pretty catchy, I'm partial to "Screwin' Around" and the innuendous title track, these guys would make a for great Chi-town beer blast double-bill with The Yolks. This record is also just more proof that A-Ron is an under-ratedly great guitar slinger. I like this more each time I hear it, they would've made great latter-day Rip Off labelmates with The Lids and Suspicions. The all-around best single of this HoZac bunch. Scum stats: 500 black, 150 (or is it 100) Gold Editions with over-the-top packaging that might rival the White Savage faux-fur sleeve for sheer craziness via a set of pull-apart refrigerator magnets of the letters int he bands name that matches up witht he actual sleeve art. It's the ability to pull off packaging shit like this (and keep the talent level high while doing it) that keeps HozAc at the top of the heap. (RK)
First thing first, "Open Your Mouth" is a fucking great tune. The thing is just all hooks: an immediately rousing verse, electrifying flurries of guitar, and an almost chanted chorus that is like the Platonic form of punk rock. I'm not as keen on the song that follows however. It's not that it's bad or anything, but it's got a plodding tempo that doesn't come across so well after the adrenaline shot that precedes it. Should have let "Open Your Mouth" stand alone on the a-side. Anyway, things pick up again on the flip. "Hang Out" is the most overtly pop tune on here, and it really works well thanks in large part to a vague air of pathos that permeates it. The song asks the question, "what's going on at the hangout?" and from the sound of things it might be some depressing business. Or maybe he's just stuck at home and feels left out. Whatever the case, "Hang Out" is followed by "Screwing Around" which is also a pretty swell tune. I give this single a solid "A" despite the superfluity of the second song on the a-side. If these guys have more tunes the caliber of "Open Your Mouth" in 'em, they're gonna be a force to be reckoned with.(SB)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Brun Dill "(lengthy Swedish title)" 7"
Swedish-language lightspeed punkaction from the always reliable Ken Rock label. Hey, these guys sound a lot like Henry Fiat's Open Sore! Crazy! Well, yeah, it's funny that HFOs have to take their masks off to become anonymous here. Sir Henry belts out the vox (under the alias Stieg Heil) and I imagine the lyrics are his usual witty repartee, but I don't get to laugh along this time. Not one, but two guys named Judas on the dual-guitar assault. Six songs jam-packed on to some beautiful brown vinyl, a color I think should be utilized more often. Will you like this? Well, it's HFOS singing in Swedish and with a little less of an edge. Decide for yourself. It's a pretty easy question to answer. The difficult question is, is that a maskless Sir Henry on the cover? Scum stats: 250 on black, 100 on brown, 50 on green = 400 total .(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

The Carbonas "Euro Tour" EP
Two originals on the A-Side, the Ivy Greenish "Butcher" being the more worthy of the pair, and a tune that's of the level of the best from the Goner LP. "Ripped Red Dress" is B-grade Carbonerage, Hubbley-Bubbley bouncy-punk hookism. B-Side is an all-covers affair, the Nihilistics' "Love and Kisses" (the best of the bunch), The Plugz' "Move" (average) and KAOS' "Iron Dream", an all-time fave tune of mine that they do little with, but I guess downer-type numbers aren't really their forte. All-in-all, their least essential release, but not bad for something cobbled together to sell while visiting the motherland. Scum stats: 1000 copies, black vinyl. (RK)
(self-released // www.douchemasterrecords.blogspot.com)

Cat Party "Jigsaw Thoughts" 7"
If you can get past the terrible band name, this is a good record. Medium/low tempo punk that recalls the blackest of TSOL or maybe a little Christian Death. Slow and dark, A-Side has some more energy, a descending sort of melody to it, definite early Eighties vibe overall. B-Side is a brooder, a little UK post-punk vibe, straight-cheese lyrics...it's almost cornball, but I actually think they pull it off rather well. I mean, I don't know how serious they are about it, but I like the time period they're revisiting here and whether or not they're wearing eyeliner shouldn't make a difference. I just wish they could've come up with a better band name. Other than that, this is a pretty cool record and something I was pleasantly surprised by. (RK)
(Rich Bitch Records // myspace.com/iwannabearichbitch)

Cause Co Motion "Who's Gonna Care?" 7"
For the past ten years I've used the term "indie rock" as more of a pejorative condemnation than a neutral description. Anyone with discerning taste who had the misfortune to hear former college radio darlings and current chart toppers like Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie in their college rockin' heyday would likely share my disdain. This review would degenerate into a twenty-paragraph rant were I to list all of the qualities that irked me about these bands and their imitators, but the majority of my animus stemmed from a sense they were trying far too hard to be cute and clever at the expense of writing memorable songs. Leave their melodramatic, ham-fisted attempts at songwriting out of the equation and just look at their band names for a second: what in fucking hell does "Death Cab for Cutie" mean? "Built to Spill?" "TV on the Radio?" Motherfucking "Minus the Bear?" As Charlie Brown once said, "AUGH!" Naming one's band something so cloyingly meaningless is obviously an attempt by dickless saps at impressing, and thereby bedding, impressionable college girls who were ignored by boys throughout their high school years for wearing braces with rubber bands in them, smelling like a mixture of formaldehyde and pickle juice, having hair that resembled burnt yarn drenched in Crisco, and/or weight problems that made them more repulsive than Marlon Brando circa "The Island of Doctor Moreau." I don't know about you, but that's not exactly my idea of a rocking good time.
So now you know where I was coming from when I first heard Cause Co Motion about a year and a half ago. First off, the name is a little less pretentious than, say, "Of Montreal" but it's still too cute by half. Plus they hail from NYC, and everyone knows real rock 'n' roll don't come from New York (or at least it didn't at the time. Now NYC looks like it's becoming the biggest locus of TermBrodom in the world). However, I began to doubt the sagacity of that Gizmos song when I heard Cause Co Motion's "Which Way is Up." Simply put, it's two minutes of pop-induced bliss. I come across a fair number of songs on Myspace but most of them don't leave a lasting impression. This one did. However, I was gun shy about picking up the record. My lingering mistrust of indie rock had me thinking "Which Was is Up" and other good songs on their myspace player must have been flukes.
Turns out they weren't. I recently ordered three Cause Co Motion singles - spurred on by a gushing message board post by Termbo's own Mike Sniper - and all three are great. In fact, they're exceptionally great. These songs have that marriage of playful inventiveness and exuberant melodicism which just can't be beat. "Who's Gonna Care" is the least immediate of the three singles I picked up, but its laid back charms just took a couple of listens to really put me under their spell. "Don't You Know" has an almost Caribbean beat that skips along like a prancing horse, but it's punctuated by staccato bursts of guitar that drive it on like a jockey's whip. After that comes one of Cause Co Motions' best moments: a rousing - yet slightly fey - anthem thats only lyrics are, "say what you feel, it's OK, no one will judge you." In the hands of a lesser band a sentiment like that would be in danger of sounding trite, but there's such a genuine spirit of excitement in the music that it not only works, it works splendidly. There's two more equally great tunes on the flipside as well. I somehow doubt these guys' record collections have as much overlap with mine as most bands I'm into, but what really matters here are how their songs turn out. And Cause Co Motion are turning out some future classics. (SB)
(Can't Cope! // www.causeco-motion.com)

Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire "It Should Be Me" 45
Of all Billy Childish's various phases of blatant stylistic appropriation, his Who phase is turning out to be one of my favorites. I wasn't a big fan of much of the Buff Medways output, but their final LP was probably the best Childish LP since "Conundrum" owing in large part to the sudden infusion of lush melodies and inventive flourishes straight out of Pete Townshend's bag of tricks. For some reason or another unknown to the general public - or to me at least - the Buffs broke up after that album, but it wasn't long until Billy formed the clumsily named Musicians of the British Empire. They've since continued along the same mod-derived path the Buff Medways set out upon, with equally great results but surprisingly little fanfare. It's time for that to change. This single may or may not be the one to garner them the attention they deserve, but it's a shame if it doesn't. "It Should Be Me" is a nice amalgam of the unhinged punk Childish can seemingly write on command and a mod swagger that verges on freakbeat at times. A cross between the Headcoats and the Creation is all well and good, but what's even better is hearing him play around with Roy Wood's treasure trove of songwriting ideas. "Lorry Head" is buoyed up to the top of the pops by cascading drums, ringing guitar, a chorus of "la-la's" that serve as an excellent counterpoint to the taught melody of the verses, and most of all a playful spirit that permeates the entire tune. This later day mod-revival has revived Childish's songwriting prowess, and the fun he's having shines through on the records. If you're a fan of Childish's earlier work, or any of the other bands mentioned in this review, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't check out what he's up to now. It's great stuff. (SB)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

City Scum s/t 7”
Five-tune slab of guitar-driven garage rock-n-roll by some chaps whose cowboy hats are integral to their cross-dressing escapades… at least that’s what the southern swagger tells me. A real demented country-twang type shtick, despite being Californians. Or maybe I’m just a RETARD. They sound a hell of a lot like Brutal Knights were BK not awkwardly sodomized by that hardcore rhythm section of theirs, or, hell, a (deeper) southern-fried Reatards minus the rambunctiousness. Catchy as fuck riffage (Side A especially – “Dead Man” is the winner here) and crooning attitude-laden vocals. Perhaps it’s that contrived streak of in-your-face sass that does them in a tad… but that’s the point, right? The farther inward the needle drifts, the more I imagine confused street punks drooling in sync with such uber-cerebral lyrics as “We are city scum / suck my dick and drink my cum” – cue Johnny Thunders pucker. Anyways, it’s good their proverbial leather pants aren’t cutting off circulation to their brain enough to hinder some real memorable period-blood-on-the-collar cuts. A pleasant sooprise. (BG)
(Rich Bitch Records // www.richbitchrecords.com)

Crystal Stilts s/t 12" EP
It's been a while since I've been excited about New York bands. There have been some good ones in the past 5-6 years, but never a solid group of bands that you'd know one good band would be playing every Friday somewhere. Finally, I can say there's something going on here and the Crystal Stilts are a huge part of that.
Playing almost every other weekend at the Cake Shop might seem like overkill, but I'm actually excited to see them everytime. These guys have been around for years, five to be exact. And they've managed to make some fans along the way, but it seems there time has finally come with this 12". It's hard to be tough and ethereal, it takes a lot of guts to pull it off. You're bound to be dubbed either too much one way or the other, it's a hard thing to tangle with. But fuck it if the 'Stilts haven't done it here.
This is a hell on an EP, it coasts along like something familiar, never jabbing at you, really. I've sometimes described them as The Clean playing Silver Apples songs, but Alan Vega's still singing. And I still kind of stand by that, but there's also a third quality I can't quite figure out, and I think it might be the production. Something that seems so simple, but the way the drums on "Converging In The Quiet" (my current favorite Crystal Stilts song) sound is maybe the best I've heard drums sound on a record in years. Muted and panned, I have no idea what they did, but I want to know so I can steal it. All throughout the track (and the EP itself) odd electric hums and squeals come and go, echoing in and out of volume, and the effect is pretty unique and fantastic. It has a quality that on the one hand sweetens the track, but it also makes it eerily sinister. The theme song "Crystal Stilts" is a great VU through C86/Flying Nun filter with xylophone and a great little organ line in the chorus, delivered with the coolest cucumber vocals you can imagine. It took these guys years to get this record out, but it was worth it.
I don't know how many of these were pressed but I know the band distributed almost all of them and that can be a daunting task. A repress on Woodsist (with the 7" included) should be coming soon, along with an LP on the resurrected Slumberland label. I can't wait.(MS)
(Feathery Tongue Records // myspace.com/crystalstilts)

Dangerloves “Easy” 7”
Rich practically threw this at me when flipping through his pile of received records for review… god knows he wasn’t going to do it. “Easy” is a happy, catchy number, that, if produced more, I could see in the skip-class-and-have-a-picnic-with-nice-boys montage of some flick about middle school girls or some shit. Ya dig? “Deja-Vu” is up-tempo and punky, whereas “Home” is the lesser of evils here, probably because they don’t even attempt the punk bend, opting for straight pop. And I like when bands acknowledge their forte’. Sometimes nasally and indifferent, sometimes sassy and charming, the vox careen over blatantly punk-inspired drumming and clean, softly-pressed power chords to create a sound without the venom of true punk and without the, uh, power of powerpop. It’s effortless pop music with punk roots and without the production-value sheen of radio tunes. Apples fell far from trees it seems, considering this band shares members with the almighty Career Suicide and other Toronto hardcore heavyweights. This on the other hand brings to mind Cali girls with ripped t-shirts, spandex, and shades on, mowing their suburban lawn on a sunny day. Whatever. (BG)
(Dead Ideas Records // www.deadideas.com)

The Dangermen "You Are Defeated" 7"
Inaugural release for Australia’s Swashbuckling Hobo Records (full length for Feelin’ Lucky also arrived this month). Let’s see…The Dangermen…should you better be lookin’ for these dangermen? Overblown guitars are the backdrop to these three bashers with kinda goofy vocals that sort of sit out of the mix in an awkward way — otherwise rude mid-tempo pounders (and some welcome ‘stun guitar’, courtesy of new Cosmic Psycho John Mckeering). The mood is less than serious, especially the ‘biographical’ "Karate Kid II", though if I had to pick a winner, it would have to be "Lollyshop Inside My Head". Goofy and tough at the same time, I can almost imagine these Dangermen, their bellies full of Foster's Lager and hunks of red meat, staggering across the dusty outback looking for a kangaroo to cornhole. Danger, man.(LB)
(Swashbuckling Hobo Records // myspace.com/swashbucklingrecords)

Dead Luke “Record One” 7”
Here it comes. The outpouring of home recorded minimal syth/gluewave friends & family is in full swing. Not really complaining, as a lot of it has been quality. I bought this’n on the Sniper cover art alone, not knowing what to expect. I do know I have a hard-on for skewed cover tunes. Pleasant surprise. The Troggs “I Want You” is turned inside out and left with a pulsing cold throb. Dead pan vox that would give “Peter Cook’s “You Fill Me with Inertia” bit a run for the money. Loud guitar blasts and a nice Tuxedomoon-style take this to another level around the 2/3rd mark. The flip goes for Blank Dogs melancholia put against The Normal beat…like a busy but less aggressive “Warm Leatherette”…then it cuts loose into some seriously deranged electronic noodling. Short. Simple. Good shit. Limited pressing and probably already gone, but it will be part of a upcoming box set with Record Two, a CDr, and various ephemera. I get the feeling that 30 years from now the crazy coot over at VoD will have his work cut out for him. (RSF)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

Demon's Claws "Fucked on K" 7"
I really love these guys on record, but live I think they blow, at least the three times I've seen them. You'd think a band could at least hit it one out of three times. Whatever. But this is a record, not a live show review. "Fucked on Ketamine" brings a modern day druggie feel to some good-ole-boy country-western rock-n-roll about skirt-lifting and substance-taking. It's about that girl. Rather triumphant sounding. B-Side has some hoe-down hay-bale square dance feel, maybe even a Man In Black nod. These guys walk the line. A nice two-songer that fans of this outfit will wholly enjoy, it's a bit lighter than the last LP. A-Side is really strong, B-Side is fun toss-off. Are they broken up now or what? Scum stats: 1000 copies. (RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Destruction Unit "Let's Lie" EP
Demos retro-release from the DU vaults, stuff apparently recorded between the first 7" and the first LP on Empty. Demo versions of some LP stuff plus two unreleased numbers, all done lone-gunman style by Rousseau in his garage or carport or whatever. Four tracks, they all sound great to me, as I think the rawer this shit gets the better it sounds. I've heard this batch of demos before, and I might've picked/chosen some different stuff (and there's an even earlier set of recordings that rival these), but you can't complain. Vox sound great and the synth sounds angry. I don't generally pull out the LPs for spins anytime, but I think this nice 7" package will make it easier to digest in a small burst. Probably my favorite DU release since the Discos Cagados 7". My only complaint is that this record falls prey to homoerotic action-figure sleeve art with dolls and gay goth shit that seems to be a little popular in Euroville these days. Save that shit for Digital Leather tour singles fellas. Scum stats: 300 copies, blue vinyl. (RK)
(Lo-Fi Recdords / Disordered Records // www.psychout.it)

Die Rotzz "Rot'n'Roll" 7"
One-sided two songer that sounds recorded live in the rehersal space. "Rot'n'Roll" is a classic rocker with a shoutalong chorus. "Can't Stand It" is the punker and better of the two (both song-wise and recording-wise), rapidfire gravel-spitting vox and mean attitude at the forefront. Definitley recorded on the fly, flubs and all, for that extra authentic listening experience. Scum stats: 100 copies, one-sided white vinyl, silkscreened sleeves.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Digger and the Pussycats "Japanese Wedding" 7"
For a year or so there, before ECSR and Ooga Boogas and related projects blew the lid off the continent, Digger & The Pussycats were the best new Aussie band I'd heard since the glory days of The Sailors. They didn't have the overall impact that Eddy Current turned out to possess, but they were doing something cool and seemed to be growing from a trad two-piece bash-and-grab combo to something a bit more wild and off-kilter especially on that split 10", which was the last I heard. And even though ECSR-fever made me forget about them for a spell, they're still kicking, and I still think they've carved a nice little niche for themselves. "Japanese Wedding" is a narrative tale, with a loop-like drum/guitar rhythm undercurrent over which the dude whangs trebly-feedback soloing all over as he spits out his story. Pretty great, and not too dissimilar to a less-weird Feeling of Love and that relentless rhythm-pound is the stuff monsters are made of. These two can really toss off some winners, and I mean that. "Wrong People" is just-good-enough rock, although they do it better as a two-piece than a lot of groups with double the personnel. "Cock-A-Spaniel Cunt-Tree" is a slow-twang linguistic joke where they build lyrics off various "bad" words, with the emphasis on cock and cunt obviously, with some fuckings thrown in there for good measure. Goofily funny and definitely Austrailian but really just good-natured B-Side filler. I'm keeping the A-Side of this for some mixtaping, the rest falls victim to mediocrity, but to me, Aussie mediocre is better than most other country's mediocre.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Digital Leather "Sorcerer" LP/CD
Fer chrissakes, another Digital Leather LP? Is the world ready? Goner says so, and I'm not going to argue with them. Good news is, this is the best DL record since the 'Monologue' LP. The A-Side is home recordings, some of the tunes you've heard in different versions ("Simulator", a cover of "Hologram"), and most of it sounds less than slick (which is good) but not super-raw either, a nice middle ground. Also, not as gothclub-dancey as the last couple of records. This stuff lies more in New Order territory ("Modulated/Simulated") or even traipses on Trio ("Perfect Copy") turf?! The B-Side is the real selling point here, six live songs recorded exquisitely by Rocket Science Audio at Gonerfest. This is the missing part of the DL experience for me, and even though I haven't had the pleasure of seeing them in person, this is a suitable facsimile for now. They sound brutal. Live personnel includes Ryan Wong and Steve Sleaze, and they crush some DL standards like "Black Flowers", "She Had A Cameltoe", "Scar Me" for an even half-dozen tunes. I really couldn't recommend the last couple LPs this guy spit out, the quality really wasn't there...but Goner had the good sense to cherry-pick some nice stuff from his vaults for the A-Side and exercise some quality control with the live stuff on the flip. Well done, and one of the two Digital Leather LPs you should own if you're a fan. Watch the Goner site like a hawk if you want to snag a clear vinyl copy.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Dirtbombs "Need You Tonight" 7"
You have to think Mick is really losing interest in the Dirtbombs based on the amount of other people's material they've done on the past few releases. I mean, they've gone the cover band route before, but I think they're pulling up to the end of the line here. Australian tour single of fucking INXS covers. Done pretty straight. Don't get me wrong, Mick can own any song. And these versions sound like The Dirtbombs through and through. Professionally done, but with none of the extra hot sauce they threw on the "Ultraglide...' material that made it so tasty. I imagine Mick is more concerned with releasing house 12"es these days...(RK)
(Stained Circles // www.stainedcircles.com)

Dirtbombs “Rocket USA” 7”
Welp, looks like it’s time for the Dirtbombs record overload again. Collins & Co. have obviously been busy this year, releasing 3 singles and a LP so far to show for it. Par for the course, we get a cover and an original on this one. Isn’t this the 3rd Suicide song Mick’s done? I’m starting to lose touch…Pretty juicy interpretation of “Rocket USA”. It feels like a one take with the guitar almost coming in too soon and all. Fuck it. They could pull these things off in their sleep. Easy & fun. I like it. The flipside is an original called “I Can’t Stop”. No, it’s not the same song off 'Horndog Fest'. It’s a simple hammer-it-on-home-style ‘Bombs dance track. Riff it into the ground with a bouncing solo and Mick’s smooth ass vocals. It doesn’t say when this was recorded or with whom in the line-up, but it feels a lot older than newer. If ya dig that first wave of Dirtbombs singles from late 90’s, this one is for you. Great sleeve illustration wraps it up nicely. It’s the keeper of the recent bunch in my book. Nothing’ fancy, but warmly familiar and inviting. Good luck finding one of these damn things, though. 250 pressed and gone already. Feel free to by one of the 50 colored wax ones for 100+ bones on the ‘Bay. Jesus…kids are krazee. (RSF)
(Infirmary Phonographic // www.infirmaryphonographic.com)

Dots "Your Balls" 7"
A fine specimen of Italian dirtbag rock. Trashily-fast twin-guitar Dwarves-isms, broken English ranting about masturbation, balls and love. Sort of like a dago Feelers a little bit, but not as panicked. Or good. Six-songs worth of punk rock attitude delivered with little finesse and lots of fuck-youitude. Live, these guys were a mess. On record, they hold it together fairly well. A little bit of a hook under the filth, a little bit of keyboard wreckage, some extra percussion here and there (they list two drummers on the credits?). They're no Grabbies, but who really is anymore? Scum stats: 400 copies on black. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Eat Skull "Sick to Death" LP
First listen. Sleeve can't be any more promising. Spock smoking a bong, swastika-toothed tapehead, a remorseful Freddy Krueger perched over a victim. Are those the Savage Planet guys on the back or the Blue Man Group?
(Side One)
"Beach Brains" Perfect first 3 seconds. Where does he live next door to? A power plant? Screamers/Black Randy vibe on this one, AGGRESSIVE. Killer stereo panning on the two keyboards. This song is a killer. I'm IN.
"Alarms" GBV/Beach Boys dance song as played by Eat Skull. Beautiful, catchy vocal melody. You can trick a little sister into liking this. The backwards way to screwing up her life.
"Dog Religion" We've returned to the band who made "Beach Brains." No, wait, we were here all along! The guitar is louder in one speaker than the other. Good annoying. This song is more "sloppy joe" to "Beach Brain"s grilled cheese. I have to go back and listen to all three of these again.
Ok, got it.
"Cartoon Beginning" Is this in reference to the beginning of movies like "Who's That Girl?" and "Better Off Dead" ? 1:24 innocent pop song with "Bad Moon Rising" beginning. If this was the only song by this band ever and it was on some comp from '87, I'd try to track them down for more material from the "'sesh."
"Waiting for the Hesitation" Someone wrapped "Anything Could Happen" by the Clean in aluminum foil and bowled with it. Gotta luxuriate in the bath when the vocals fade.
"Puker Corpse" Oh man! Zacherle!!!!! Zacherle slidepunkguitar! Best laughing part on record in years. JUMPS.
"Ghost List" Listened to this three times. Jeeeez. Emotion-y vocals. It's good to have the song you put on a couple of times in a row at the end of a side.
(Side Two)
"Survivable Spaces" Messy new-waviness. Drum machine/real machine drum over it. I'm doing it.
"I Licked The Spider" Minimal approach to a catchy song. Did he say he licked his hourglass ass? End is the best part.
"Shredders on Fry" 1-2-3-4. Ohhhhhhhh. Darn good one. This song's in a bikini. NO TANLINE. Mic-in-mouth as horn section part in the middle-part, just hanging out. Has the same fun/creepy mix as an early 80's Saturday Morning cereal commercial. Three bowls, please!
"Stress Crazy" This one goes somewhere. There's a "journey." All your problems are talked about here, Suicidal Tendencies video.
"Punk Trips" Less punk than "Stress Crazy." But it has a punk part. Like a story in a story. The frame story is Eat Skull perfecting some kind of messy cole-slaw of Nick Lowe powerpop but obviously not. I liked this one way more on play three. I had to go back and try to see how the punk part fit again.
"Fade To Smoke" This song is like what indie rock in 1998 would sound like it it was good, when Elephant 6 was all doing shit. That stuff never sounded like Syd Barrett, I'm sorry. This song's a peach. A hold-hander!
"New Confinement" Acoustic message song. We got to this song from "Beach Brains" and it makes total sense. Deal with it.
All the songs on this record are real good. Don't go away Eat Skull!(MS)
This is my first run through of this as I type. I don’t own any other Skull-tunes, so I guess I’m a virgin to their sound. You think I was gonna’ pay $9 for a new domestic single? Fools. Hey guys, this is that Shit Gauze(er, Gaze) that NME or Mojo is talkin’ all about right? Yeah? Rob (ex-Hospitals/Hole Class/Gang Wizard/Magnum…hah!) moves to PDX and grabs Rod (fellow ex-Hospitaler) and makes a sloppy, folksy, peppy and psych-y shit punk record. This reeks of Ohio oil-stain and damaged Clean demos. Not sounding as blown-to-fuck as the TNV/Horseshit stuff, but most definitely scraping the bottom of the early GBV barrel for a cruddy, catchy goodness. Great under-fi bedroom pop peppered all over this thang. There’s some Hospitals rub (Puker Corpse, anyone?) and Freed Man home-style spins in these grooves. Flows nicely with Sic Alps following. I find this to be a high-point in this Bitchin’ Clown movement everyone is yappin’ about (is that right? Guys? I want my weird punk back…) (RSF)
(Siltbreeze Records // www.siltbreeze.com)

Electric Bunnies "Fantastic Metal Eye" 7"
Hotly anticipated third release from Miami's Electric Bunnies. After the last single on Florida's Dying I was absolutely astounded by this trio. It was going to be tough to come up with a record as vibrant and exciting as that EP, and honestly I don't expect them to. I just want them to keep doing what they're doing, as their many different stylistic approaches seem like they might need a lot of room to spread out and grow. And I'm all for watching these kids stretch out and get weird. "Fantastic Metal Eye" operates on more of an experimental level than on any sort of catchy or rocking plane. It's an extended plod-out, led by a droning synth-line and simple drum beat. For some reason it reminds me of early hip-hop a bit, but that might be because of the electro-sounding vocals (what is that, like a mellotron or something?) that get rhythmically call and response, almost dancefloor-style, at the end, and I think the loop-like repetitive quality has my head thinking in that direction as well. Interesting, but as I said, not super catchy or exciting. But I'm sticking with them here..."Beautiful Pants" is a short and playful thumper a la "I Eat Worms" maybe, echo-y vocalizing and stutter-like lyrics work great and I love the simple and strong bass playing on these abrupt little tunes they write. As usual, some weird effects lying beneath the surface as well. The B-Side is a longer instro called "Bubble Bath" that honestly, sounds like Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet getting a little weird. And I don't think that's a bad thing...okay, there's no surfy guitar, but its got that lackadaiscal playfullness and off-kilter cadence to it. This is the lesser of their three records for sure, but I'm hanging tough for the LP. Still one of the most exciting bands playing ball today. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 of them on Electric Blue vinyl.(RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Elektras "Punk Boy" 7"
Two-songs, one side. "Punk Boy" plays like classic No-Talents slowed up a bit, but they get the chorus just right."Time Machine" had more of a garagey Headcoatees snarl to it. Both tunes garner big thumbs up from me, but I'm a sucker for this stuff. I like this enough that I'm gonna seek out their other 7" on Bachelor now. Nice cartoon art sleeve, and features The Man With The Black Mask on drums! Scum stats: 100 copies, one-sided black vinyl, three-color sleeve. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Evangelista “Hello, Voyager” LP
Not sure if I even need to review this…I’ve yet to see a negative take on this record. If you know who Carla Bozulich is, and love her for it, then yer already at home bouncing of the walls to this. From her days in The Geraldine Fibbers (hell, even Ethyl Meatplow) through her outsider take on Willie’s Red Headed Stranger, to the free-noise of Scarnella and self-recorded soundscapes…she’s been creepy crawling towards this type of unnerving gospel for quite some time. Now it seems she found the perfect band to flesh it on out. These recordings feature members of The Silver Mt. Zion, collaborators like Nels Cline, and even the rhythm section of Crash Worship (!?!?), along with her core unit of touring musicians. It’s hard to pinpoint what sound will come next on this but it all flows so cohesively. The opening track “Winds of St. Anne” comes on like a bloody baptism cut loose in a heavy static. The voice cracks and builds into Diamanda Galas territory. Collapsing blues through a ritual voodoo slaughter. “Smooth Jazz” is a no-wave death march with untrained (thank god) guitar playing set on torturing strings. Heavy wallops, whistles and shrieks abound. Then the LP lays low for a while. “Lucky Lucky Luck” is a nice comedown from the sonic buildup so far…interlude. Downer ache with theatrical flare. Follow this up with a morose string arrangement and then the flow of sadness continues in “The Blue Room”. Similar in tone to a quieter ol’Fibbers track. This is somewhat due to Nels Cline playing along. When you think Side A has come to a calm, “Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space” tears a powerful hole right on through to the center label. Violent shards of ugly guitar crushed over an almost sugary pop song. The closest thing to a “rock tune” on here, but desecrated to perfection. Was this originally a Night Porter track? What happened to that band?
Side B starts of with a haunting chapel drone (“Frozen Dress”) made of vocals, loops and more guitar scrapings. Remember the intro to Herzog’s Nosferatu? The mausoleum of bones with Popul Vol playing? Yeah, it’s that kind of thing. We get one last fractured fable and then…then, the epic title track. 12 minutes of rust-encrusted religion and rant, broken New Orleans jazz and avant sputter. The fire and brimstone has returned to bookend the record. Tales of apocalypse, vanity, and decay. Vocals preach, bark and holler with Patti Smith vulgarity. Pipe organ lift-off and the crashing of 6 or so drummers. So much to take in. Holy Shit. I tear up every time I listen. After damn near 30 years of making noise, playing shows, wearing baby-doll dresses and petting cats (she loves cats), it seems like Carla has pulled together the record of her career. Pretty powerful stuff. If yer down with the Little Claw and the like, give it a shot. Highly Recommended. Seriously. (RSF)
(Constellation Records // www.cstrecords.com)

Fag Cop "Illuminati Dollar" 7"
I think there was a discussion on some gay-ass message board somewhere on the interweb where Fag Cop were being dismissed as an early-days Reatards rip off. An argument not without some semivalid points, but fuck you anyway. I'd rather hear one fucked up guy from Iowa or Nebraska or wherever trying to sound like 'Teenage Hate' than a bunch of schmoes playing more weirdgaze tripe or another myspace bedroom ghost. All that shit aside, this is the strongest Fag Cop release to date. He's finally found the right level of inthered-recording distortion, a little more intelligible than the first single but still drenched in nastiness. Vox are absolute venom, there's some tape fuckery, drum/guitar sound nicely fluctuates between songs. Drums sound great and cardboardy on "Psycic Sickness" with sheetpan cymbal and a fucking hotshit bring-it-home solo. "Automatic Kansas" has a doomy blownout bass throb that everything else is just buried in, making it really oppressively catchy (and almost Catatonic Youth like). The title track is just legit punk ripping of the type we don't hear enough of these days. Four ace cuts, wonderfully filthy recording, shitty vibes, I highly endorse this product. Scum stats: 300 copies, buy multiples. I've seen brown and mustard colored sleeve variants. Is that Walter Mondale?(RK)
(Milk N Herpes Records // myspace.com/milknherpes)

Feelin’ Lucky s/t LP
I do my best to avoid namedrop band comparisons, but I would be remiss if it wasn’t stated that Supercharger wasn’t the first thing that popped into my head upon hearing Feelin’ Lucky’s debut 12”. It’s dripping all over with that stain (they cover "Icepick" to make it official). Still, this Brisbane, Australia outfit turns up the guitar crunch (and throws in the odd fiery lead) with heavier handed vocals, giving it more of a punk punch. There’s also a good deal of that dumb-charm on these songs, most of which are good-n-catchy. It’s simple, loud, raw and sloppy. And dumb. In a good way, of course. Scum stats: supposedly limited to only 100 copies.(LB)
(Swashbuckling Hobo Records // myspace.com/swashbucklingrecords)

Feeling of Love "Red Rhumba" 7"
Part of Squoodge Records ABC Club series: one-sided singles limited to 100 copies, with each edition featuring a band starting with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet (this being the latest, next up is a Garagekid 7" and this was preceded by an Elektras single...). A rather ambitious project, but it seems to be going good so far. FoL have two tracks here, one being "Oh Lord", which is a different version than on the 10" (and one of their best tunes), and "Red Rhumba" which is a pretty straightforward drum/guitar blues screamer recorded by Seb Normal. Scum stats: like I said, 100 copies, one-sided white vinyl, screened sleeves. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Flip Tops "Dangerous Game" EP
Whoo-wee, the Flip Tops are back. Whipdedooo. Is it just me or does "Dangerous Game" sound a lot like a Carbonas tune? Like, right down to the vocal phrasing? No, no, I like the Flip Tops just fine, and they're a hell of a lot more palatable than The Minds. Joel Jett is OK in my book. One time when I was in Amoeba in SF I saw a guy with a Flip Tops jean vest on. I wondered if it was Joel, but couldn't tear myself away from the used 7" bin to ask, as I had just hit paydirt via someone apparently trading in their entire Headcoats singles collection and I was hoping for "Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand" to pop (it did). It was a nice jacket though, had a cool-looking cartoon vulture on it. The guy wasn't wearing shades though, so I figured it wasn't Joel, because he seems like a dude who wears sunglasses 24-7. White frames probably. "Dangerous Game" is an alright cut, Carboners swipe unintentional or not. Not like they have the patent on that shit. B-Side is one forgettable pop-punk tune and a standard cover of The Simpletones' "TV Love". Joel's vox don't seem as hot on this EP as they usually are, I feel like he toned it down on this one. Doesn't help, as the Flip Tops are best when his larynx sounds raw and bloody. Scum stats: 500 copies on a nice shade of opaque blue vinyl, color coordinated with the sleeve in that impeccable Plastic Idol design style. The records always look great, I will give them that.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Francis Harold & Holograms s/t 7”
Wow. Noisy-noise. Say, you miss the sounds of early Pissed Jeans or there just ain’t enough Clockcleaner out there? Here ya go, son. The A-side “The Eagle Can’t Fly W/One Wing” will make y’all gleeful if you wallow in these things like I do. Lots of Upside Down Cross or Flipper to be referenced soon, I swear. The B-side, "Two Faggots One Cunt", is just as vulgar (pottymouth title and all) and damn near olden hardcore paced. More shit-can vox and squelch…yeah, great stuff. Website references Stickmen With Rayguns. Good call. Had no idea who/what this was when a friend gave it to me. Arizona is the new Texas…full of fried little brains. Man, that is some feedback. If you dig garbage-thug rock this will be a mighty fix. Buy that Mayyors record for a 1-2 punch. Scum stats: 4 copies on blue vinyl/25 in a Wooden Box Set (!?!)/112 on white vinyl/500 regular black. 2 or more different sleeves…this is gettin’ silly. (RSF)
(Going Underground Records/www.goingundergroundrecords.com)

Gagfactors "We Rock You Suck..." 7"
The penance for the occassional good records I get promo copies of for review at TB HQ is that I have to sit through a few new punk records from Italy every few months. Gagfactors are what you suspect...total eye-tie crap, but "Gag-factor" is actually bad pop-punk instead of the Nerds-like z-grade late-era GG/Dwarves worship I was expecting. Then they cover "Starry Eyes" and make Taxi sound like The Dead Boys in comparison. Thankfully, this was one-sided. No wonder Anus lives in Cleveland now. The thing I did enjoy about this record was the insert (printed in both Italian and English), which basically says "fuck record reviewers (who are all failed musicians) and trends created by record collector websites". I give them a legit bravo for that. But then they go next-level and give a list of reasons why you should like this record: "We sing in english without knowing how to speak it, Jay Reatard is not involved in the project, we don't piss in our own mouths to get attention, we don't have a synth, there are no ex-Oblivians in our lineup, we have no friends at MRR, etc...". What they may lack musically, they surely make up for in the belligerent humor department. These guys should be writing a zine instead of making records. Limited to 500 copies, which is about 490 too many.(RK)
(Rockin Bones // www.rockinbones.it)

Girls of the Gravitron "Malthusian Lovesong" 7"
Memphis kids, members of Barbaras/Kazalok and other bands of young bucks currently revitalizing the scene and backing up Jay Reatard. Title cut is reminiscent of the new lo-fi psych-folk type of thing you may have heard and loved on recent Sic Alps records...blown-out acoustic guitars, layered vox, hippie vibing, that sort of shit. Maybe a little Barrett-esque, this one, but too busy to really be Syd-like though. They do two more on the B-Side, sort of directionless versions of the same ideas on the A-Side, playing/experimenting with reverb, echo, theremin and patchouli and shit. It's OK. Sounds a little too intentionally obtuse at times, but I like it a lot better than that Barbaras shit. Sounds like this one could've used a few more months in the oven. It's OK to hone your craft, kids. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 in special tour sleeves. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)

Headache City "Teenage Grease" 7"
The "T-t-t-tonight" 7" from last year was one of my fave short-size releases of the annum and without a doubt the high point of the Headache City catalog. This single still showcases the superior pared-down keyboardless line-up of that single, and the title track is mid-grade garage rock played pretty close to the vest. No tricks or frills, just a semi-catchy rocker. The B-Side has two, "Hey Ugly" is an emotive sort of down-tempo anthem, seems a little UK/Brit-rock inflected even. Remisniscent of XTC perhaps. "Butterfly My Heart" is the sort of high energy jangle I loved from that last EP, with strong vox from Mr. Head and is my fave of this record. Overall, I gotta say I was a little let down on this one after the strength of their last record, but what can you do. It's not bad either and should satisfy anyone who has been into this band from the beginning (which I wasn't...). Scum stats: 500 on black, 150 gold editions. (RK)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Homostupids "Cat Music" EP
Full disclosure: Homostupids are my favorite rock band in the world as of the printing of this. Both live and on record. This 'Cat Music' EP could be their best vinyl since 'The Glow', and that's some real talk from a dude like me. "Beneath the Blackman" is perhaps their most majestic piece since "Mr. Payback", nearly beautiful in it's ear-clinging deliciousness. "Elves Children's Choir" will rampage through your living room like an army of small children off their adderrall and hopped up on Reese's Pieces. And don't get me started on the B-Side of "Fang Vs. Keyman"...a fucking anthem to nothing if there ever was one. Riveting, and it's backended by a small horn ensemble covering "Sixths". Sheer fucking genius. Someone give these guys the Nobel fucking prize already. Whereas Clockcleaner have apparently succumbed to the pressures of playing Skull Music, Homostupids seem to be getting stronger from it. This record is making me sick...sick of other bands. I bought a dozen just to be safe. Four or five copies should probably do you fine. Includes a very helpful insert, thanks. (RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)

The Hospitals “Hairdryer Peace” LP
There’s a special relationship I have with Adam Stonehouse and his band. It’s like the retarded little brother than can piss you off to the point of drop kicking his lumpy water-filled head down a flight of concrete stairs, but…awww…damn, you still love him so much. He’s always tried to please you. No. Scratch the you in that. He always pleases himself first and hopes you’ll come along for the ride. Or he’ll punch you in the fucking face.
Hairdryer Peace is a long way, far removed from the first recordings and ITR LP. Originally, they were a hyper-blown garage rock duo…that from the get-go let you know they HATED garage rock. Now a handful of releases on, and it seems so obvious. Loud and clear. This is Adam’s Pet Sounds. He’s shooting for something I’m not sure if we, as outsiders, can truly understand. What frustrates me the most about the LP is prolly what Adam likes the best. That muddy distorted mix. At first needle drop, I was checking to see what dust...what lint…what type of vegetable paste (hummus?) is mucking up these grooves. He could have gone into a “semi-pro” studio and done did it proper, but Adam knows what’ll happen if you record things on a hand held or with just one mic. It distorts. It disorients. You start to hear shit that isn’t really there. Trumpeting horns. Odd electronics. Random animal sounds. Wait. Those are there…
Like an aural Rorschach test…everyone is gonna’ hear something different. Now throw a shit ton of (off-putting) overdubs, some serious guitar scree (Chris Gunn is on this!) and master it at max TNV levels. You’ve got yourself a complicated mess-terpiece that’ll poke its head out for years in the music guides like a Wildman Fischer LP or a Half Japanese single. That bass sound is like a fucking industrial press. Songs come off like ugly nursery rhymes filled with toy pianos and see/sawing stream of conscious choruses, all buried in a reverb wash you could surf on. SPK attempting Beach Boys (back to the Pet Sounds madness) trapped under shrill shrieks of atonal doom. Early Flaming Lips have a place in my heart and if you could peel back the 30 years of classic rock influence they (used to) have, gave them world rhythms and Dead C tapes to learn from, this might be where they would have ended up. A 'Twin Infinitives' under the Spector Sound.
It’s true. I LOVE it. Somehow. Though it doesn’t want me to. There’s these recurring themes and tones. Those haunting off-sync guitars & instruments recorded way down the hall of an undisclosed asylum. It’s all vaguely tropical. ?!?! Not in a fucking Jimmy Buffet way. Look at the cover, for Christ sakes. Steel Drums up in this. It could be all pretty n’pop smiles but insists on not letting you get too comfortable with your bad drug self. Early-man field recordings that I can’t quite get my head wrapped around. This record pisses me off. But there I go again…listening to it. And every time through, it gets better and better. Shaking my third eyelid open. I have seen them through the good (the early shows w/Rod, then Ned), the insufferable (the never ending battles w/Dwyer), the almost coherent and collapsing (this past line up) and I’ve eaten it all up no mater how frustrating it becomes. That’s The Hospitals. Frustrating. This is one for the time capsule. Maybe someone in tune with this “next level” shit can make sense out of Hairdryer Peace long after the Big One finally comes down. Scum Stats: 500 pressed on clear vinyl w/hand stamped labels (S-S, did you ghost release this?) and out of print. Check back, folks. There’s rumor of another pressing in the works. (RSF)
(Hairdryer Peace // www.hairdryerpeace.com)

Icon Gallery "Declination" 7"
Hard-to-genrify single here, I guess it needs to be called metal, or at least pseudo-metal. Riff-and-roll with a chick singer who can really belt it out makes for a unique blend. Some punk coloring around the edges of the tunes, but if you don't like metal at least a little, you probably might have trouble feeling this. Really strong vox keep you riveted though, particularly ferocious on the B-Side. Well-played, well-recorded, doesn't really slip into any metal wank-cliches, A-Side is more punky, with some wah usage and tasteful soloing. A pretty classy affair that I enjoyed, although it's tough to pinpoint where this band's audience may lie...too metal for the garage-punkers maybe, but not metal enough for true heshers either. I wish them luck though, they have a rather distinct sound and the girl really does have a great voice. Scum stats: 300 copies on clear vinyl.(RK)
(Dear Skull Records // myspace.com/dearskullrecords )

Ideal Cleaners “Tag, You’re Ick” EP
There’s not much I can compare this to, primarily because when my mom was giving me rides to little league in the mid ‘90s and some poppish “alternative” fodder spewed from an aspiring local radio station into my dumbo ears I tuned it out with every fiber of my prepubescent being. Not to mention I was probably preoccupied with pissing my pants and picking my nose and eating happy meals and doing other little kid things. Side A’s “Greco-Roman” starts off in the mutilated vein of Big Black – really damaged and rhythm section heavy with wallowing guitars, providing some hope that’s cut at the knees pretty quick. By the end of side B’s second cut it sounds like Incubus or something… a bog of comparisons I don’t even want to attempt wading into. Equal parts post-punk noise excursion and emotional, radio-friendly melodic vocal patterns. Not my cup of tea, but from a “musical,” or mechanical scope, it’s, uh, impressive. They’re great at what they’re doing. That said, my union welder friends call me a fag for listening to such utter trash as Shoot It Up, so who am I kidding. Surprising that they’re label-mates of the great Brimstone Howl… pulled the ol’ turd in a pile of Butterfingers trick I suppose. (BG)
(Speed Nebraska Records // www.speednebraska.com)

The Intelligence "Debt & ESP" 7"
I've grown to love the Intelligence more with each release, it took me a bit to warm up to them through the early releases on Dragnet and the first 12" or so, but I really fell for them with 'Icky Baby'. I was a little mixed on 'Deuteronomy', it had some of Lars' best tunes yet but also a few fancy-boy touches I didn't care for either. On this EP I think he nails what I like pretty hard. "Debt & ESP" is minimal and droney, vocals sound enchantingly lazy and the little sonar-like keyboard blip on the verse is the little extra thing that makes it wonderful. It's even got a deceptive hook there. "Chateau Bandit" is even more swell, faster and slightly frantic pace, vox get a little more peppery with some nice drawled enunciation. Cool little guitar curl (wait, is that the infamous Curly Pedal of Karate Party fame?) and the production on these is blown-out just enough. Mighty fine work from Mr. Finberg here, and I'm not just saying that in hopes he'll do some more interviews for TB. He's becoming one of the more distinctive artists out there, operating in his own sort of genre (post-punk-pop perhaps?), and seems to be meshing into that West Coast consortium of bands including Sic Alps, current Ohsees sounds, Hospitals, Eat Skull and a few others of similar spirit that I'm thinking might be the most happening sounds in modern sport. Looking forward to more this year (including a split 12" with Ohsees) and maybe a chance to finally see them live in person and not on the Food Network. One of my loose top-dozen of the year so far. Scum stats; 600 copies on black, sold out from the label so hit a distro soon. Mixed by that wacky Weasel Walter character, who I always think does a great job with other people's records, yet for some reason I can't really get into anything he's done musically aside from some Lake of Dracula stuff. Weird. (RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Jack of Heart "All Grey" 7"
I was hoping for something more on the nasty side of the tracks from this. Dug their tune on the split with Tunnel of Love, it was understated but had some glimmer of hate in the cracks. This one contains two VU-styled slow guitar downer jams that are really more boring than depressing or emotive or at all exciting. They publicized this as music to make you want to kill yourself, but these tunes barely got me to look at a razor blade in any sort of enticing way. The labels on this thing are fucking awesome though. I like to make my reviews be at least six or seven sentences long. There we go. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Johnny and The Limelites "Pizza Party" 7"
One-sided party disc, recorded in glorious no-fi by the legendary Tony Sagger and featuring Brian "The Coz" Costello as Johnny and a cast of Chicago scenesters as The Limelites (including my personal favorite MOTO member, Lawrence Museum of Death). This is exactly the type of record that doesn't need a review from me. Either you get it into the spirit of it or you don't. Fun-time ramamlama pizza topping recitation, goofball punk-garage-frat-rock, a surprisingly great guitar solo, caterwauling backing vox, served on a thick slice with extra ham. Probably an intense house party experience, I heard they dole out free pie at their shows. Absolutley nothing wrong with that. For fans of saturday morning cartoons, Animal House and competitive hot-tubbing. Limited to a few hundred on Sagger's Terror Trash imprint. (RK)
(Terror Trash // I believe you can order thru www.dustymedical.com)

King Custer McCarthy "Love Killed My Brain #2" 7"
Nasty Product supergroup featuring Fatals, Go Go Players, maybe a Kung Fu Escalator and Magnetix cohort King Custer. I believe the first Love Killed My Brain installment was a various artists affair, on this one the fellas holed up for three days in a French countryside farmhouse with some bread, wine, a harmonica, whiskey and a gazillion cigarettes to write and record these four songs. You can imagine what this sounds like already, I suspect...broken garage-trash, gruff Francois vocals, lots of amplifier torture. "Tired to Be Alone" is mean and surly, "Boogie Boogie" honkytonk struts and slides, it's some of that good ol' French blues. Must have been one hell of a long weekend. I would rather have been there than have to listen to it after the fact though. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Le Face "Salvador Dali" 7"
OC punks who released a decent single last year and bring some even better action to the table in 2008. "Salvador Dali" reminds me of a herky-jerk punked-up Wall of Voodoo tune. A killer cut, people might call it weirdpunk, but it ain't all that weird, man, it just well done punk. No synth or crazy noisemaker shit, just a nice and dark Cali-vibe. B-Side pairs two loner-with-a-boner numbers called "Isolation" and "No Scene", that are straight-up bad-vibes beach-punk. Really thrilled with this one, it's a somewhat unassuming little platter that will sneak right into your steady rotation pile. Reminds me of The Feelers a little, but slower and from SoCal and with monotone vox. Anyway, I likes it, nice to hear something that is just punk without any weird/gaze/wacky baggage. Just punk. Nice. The best of the Rich Bitch releases sent in, and FYI, the label is doing a Remo Voor 7" reissue this year. Now that's pretty cool.(RK)
(Rich Bitch Records // myspace.com/iwannabearichbitch)

Livefastdie "Bandana Thrash Bloopers" EP
The funny thing with LFD is that I love them a little bit more with each record. It's like getting drunk with your buddies as a kid, each time you get hammered and do some stupid shit your friendship grows a little more, your shitfaced shenanigans forming that iloooveyoumaaan kind of bro-bond that only dudes and cheap vodka can forge. If any band deserves a gag reel, it's obviously LFD by a fucking mile. Regrettably, this isn't on VHS (or Beta) or hosted by Dick Clark, but a 7" EP of outtakes from the LP demos or something like that. Mr. Werewolf joined by his usual collection of NYC session cats and homeless drifters on a very Ramonesesque cover of the criminally under-rated Wards' "Gonna Have Some Fun" on the A-Side. Great guitar sound and hot lixx, as is standard on any LFD outing. Two originals on the flipper, the ultra-trash "Not Gonna Go To Niagara" with a brief yet incredibly blistering lead and a the ultra-dumb lude-punk "Paradactyl" with some monster fretwork yet again. Not the most blazing LFD single, but if you're a completist, and I know you are, you're dropping some change (and your pants) on this one. Complaints Dept: A) all LFD releases should have mandatory lyric sheets from here on out and B) when do we get some LFD records featuring the mighty Sarim in the line-up? (RK)
(Turborock Records // www.turborock.com)

Magnetix "New Dance" 7"
I'm a die-hard for the Magnetix, but even I've been a little bit overwhelmed by their relentless releases. There can be too much of a good thing. Back when the 10" was all I had, they were like a dream come true. Exotic. Then a trickle of singles that were like manna from heaven. Now, like a dozen records in two years later, I'm not so in love. I'm taking them for granted. For someone who hasn't been hanging on their every release like I have, I can recommend this record to you, because the Magnetix formula is hard to beat. Reverb overkill from Looch, steady drum-thud from Aggy, they do it as good or better than anyone. They generate some seriously mean guitar tones. But, for someone who owns every Magnetix record, you won't hear anything you haven't heard from them before. If you haven't heard The Magnetix yet, you definitely need to, and this is as good a place as any, with two generous portions of gluttonous guitar/drums feedback feasting. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Marvelous Darlings "The Swords, The Streets" 7"
Canadian outfit bringing some hybrid Motor-City rock action with a poppy edge. Title track is the hookier side, borderline junkie-guitar action but the chorus gives it a soft edge. B-Side is more punk, less pop, blazing guitar in the driver's seat. I dunno, like The Humpers meets The Tranzmitors or something? Pretty clean-cut recording/sound wise, and they know how to play for sure. Too slick for me, but there are probably some broads and Interpunk shoppers who will be into this. Scum stats: 100 on red, 400 on black.(RK)
(Wallride Records // www.wallriderecords.com)

Midnight Kicks "Youre Not The Scientist" 7"
This thing sounds hissy as hell, all treble and cymbal crash, "Youre Not The Scientist" is actually a little catchy in a grade school sort of way, slidey guitar action and mid-tempo stumbling-fun rhythm romping around the classroom. These kids are from the UK somewhere, and as terrible as the sleeve art for this thing is (look at it...it's awful), I just can't dismiss it as being as bad as it looks. Since it really ain't all that bad. Sounds like they're having fun. It's as good as the last dozen Hipshakes releases at least. The B-Side is far less charasmatic than the sloppily nonsensical A-Side, but they punk it up as best they can. Goofy British garage-punk. That's what this is. Three songs worth, one of which is slightly above average. A European label (i.e. pricey import) release. You do the math. Scum stats: 76 copies in "blue ink potato stamped letters" (what the fuck...) edition, 424 copies of the "normal" (terrible artwork...) edition.(RK)
(Iekk! Sounds // iekksounds.tk)

Mosquito Bandito "Stay' 7"
One man band action from somewhere in the US (I thought he was European until I saw this...) that I've sampled before on a comp and Eurosingle. This one is recorded by ex-Horror Andy Caffrey and is total roaring distortion over all four songs. Shit just bleeds all over. Vocals are buried and garbled, guitar sounds huge, drums muddle all over. It's sort of traditional OMB-stomp buried under blown speakers and bad recording. It sure kicks hard, but it's so in your face that it's tough to pick anything exceptional out. I'm kinda split on this one. I love the sound, but it's just that...a sound...that seems to be concealing the songs or something. I dunno. Just not a lot to grab on to here. Might be too shit-fi even for me. Record came with a beer coozie though.(RK)
(Make Them Touch Records // myspace.com/mosquitobandito)

Movie Star Junkies "Lipstick" 7"
I liked what this Italian outfit brought to the table on the split 10" with Feeling of Love. They bring some good cheese to this picnic as well. Says it was recorded in the refrigerator at Boto's apple factory, and I have to say that walk-in cooler has great acoustics. Both of the tunes on this are worthwhile, "Dialogue Between Zachary Swenson and Timothy Leary" is all up in your weirdpunk-gluewave face, but with a guttural kind of slaughterhouse pigfuck aesthetic that I find endearing. Has a dread-inducing sort of rural vibe to it, genuinely scary at times, but not via overwrought theatric effects or "creepy" bullshit. These guys have some deft moves, the break on "Lipstick" is really crafty, and it's the top-o-the-heap of recent Italian vintage. Sublime organ sounds, slick guitar slinging, troubled vocals. A little bit more country this time around, but I like it really well. The best of the recent batch of Nasty Products. Scum stats: 500 copies, I'd get one.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Naked on the Vague "The Blood Pressure Sessions" LP
I've always been a fan of Throbbing Gristle, but I always wished that they would have at some point combine the eerie pop qualities of "United" with the aggro sound of stuff like "Subhuman." The split worked for them, for sure, but why not try to do something where it's meshed like that for a whole LP, or even half? Well, years and years and years later, Naked on the Vague have done just that with their debut LP "The Blood Pressure Sessions," thanks for bridging that gap for me, guys. Not to say that NoTV sounds so much like T/G, it's just that they curb their chaos with the tunes. Besides, I'm sure they love T/G. Like we all must.
But, of course, Naked on the Vague are their own two-headed Australian beast. What they've brought to the table here is some legitimately scary music, with the BIG BEAT and the kind of bass guitar sound I'm obsessed with: clanky and dry as a heave. That's the instrument that opens "All Aboard," my favorite song on the record. I can't not bob my head to this thing. The best death-rock song about a terrible maritime situation, ever. The beat of that song won't give up, guys. I wish this was what people thought "dance music" was.
Plenty of other grabbers on here, one example being "The Horse, He's Sick" a rare occasion where the song title sounds like the song itself. "God Nor Devil" is 0:49 long, but it manages to have really great changes and it's not 252bpm's either. There's 3:35 worth of ideas on that song.
In 12 months of great releases on Siltbreeze, it must be really hard for you guys to decide a favorite. Luckily, I don't really think about that kind of stuff, though that decision would probably make me get a nosebleed.
This band is incredible live, by the way. (MS)
(Siltbreeze // www.siltbreeze.com)

Naked on the Vague "Poltergeist Palm" 7"
I'm going to try to write this review as if I didn't literally just finish the review I wrote their LP. Well, let me exhume the thoughts of the LP a bit, first. I held off on listening to the LP more than once when I first got it because I knew that these guys were coming to town and I wanted to (hopefully) be really into them live and then go listen to the LP a lot. Well, that's exactly what happened. And since then I've been eagerly anticipating the next bite. After a frantic battle with the internet in order to get this (why is this happening so much?) I'm immediately taken with the perfect color of the sleeve. Because I am a terrible person, these thoughts of "perfect colored sleeves" actually happen to me. Needless to say, the single is more of where the LP left us last time we hung out with Naked on the Vague records, a great combination of interesting noises all hemmed together with a slice of song. "Poltergest Palm" rollicks along with a metallic drum-machine beat and a Peter Hook bassline. Great male/female chant version of call-and response vocal trading. Great song, and nowhere near tedious, even past the 6 minute mark. Ltd. to 300 and gonegonegone.(MS)
(Skulltones // www.skulltones.com)

New Bloods "The Secret Life" LP/CD
New Bloods started up a little while ago and quickly ascended to their current "Best New Band in Portland" status in what seems like a blink of an eye. Not being from Portland, knowing nothing about Portland, and not knowing anyone in Portland might help me in this assessment of this record, because I'm a total outsider and not in the scene, man. The fact it's on Kill Rock Stars has no effect on me either, because I never bought anything on the label save the Kleenex/LiLiPUT reissue 2xCD from a ways back. Not that I don't like Bikini Kill or whatever, it's just I never bought it or paid attention to it. No big deal.
Coming swiftly off their 7" released on Raw Sugar records, here's the New Bloods debut LP. The first immediate reaction when you hear it has got to be Raincoats. The violin, the heavy tom attack on the drums, the chanting group-harmonies all point very clearly to a sound that's between the first and second Rough Trade record. Osa's violin might have more of a distinct American/roots feel, almost in a country/folk fiddle kind of way. But, these ladies are American, so, why not? There's lots of nods to Carribbean and african music, some Pop Group, ESG and I even detect a little Art Ensemble of Chicago and Michael White thing in there as well.
The ingredients are all there, so how did the sauce come out? Well, it came out very good indeed. New Bloods manage to take these sounds and make them fresh and even dramatic. "Eyes" and "No. 17" are two standouts, both with unclear melodies that somehow manage to become hooks. The great bass/violin interplay come through pretty great here. There's a few tracks where the "spoken" parts are just a bit heavyhanded for my taste, but they don't jeopardize the proceedings.
Solid debut outing from this group, and if there is any overt political leanings, I don't really hear it. Which is good, right? Right? I don't even know anymore.(MS)
(Kill Rock Stars // www.killrockstars.com)

Nice Face "Thing In My Head" 7"
More mystery action? Is Nice Face a band? One guy and his bedroom orchestra? The possibilities boggle the mind. I'm scared. The A-Side has Nice Face located in the Blank Dogs neighborhood, but maybe with a little more bounce, some more swagger in their step...less introspective and more danceable while utilizing some similar synth/guitar/vox aesthetics/motifs. Interesting. I think the B-Side excels though, it reminds of some of the poppier stuff off The Intelligence's 'Deuteronomy', awash with bright waves of heavy-synth (as opposed to the wall of darkness this 'genre' often brings) and bubbling background blurbs, a monstrous moving sidewalk of a rhythm. It's nice. Refreshing even. Really, the B-Side is awesome, I want more of this. Looks like HozAc has them (and just about every other band on earth) tapped for an upcoming single. Watch for it. Scum stats: first 100 on gold with alternate sleeve. Artwork by the legendary Mike Sniper.(RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

No Fucker "Conquer the Innocent" EP
I snatched this single up at the Straightjacket Nation show because Dave Hyde mentioned they were pretty much the only recent hardcore band that mattered. And when Dave Hyde talks, I listen. It's a four song ripper with monster guitar sound (total Disclose-esque death-ray/wall-of-screaming-distortion, with some hot little licks thrown in), voxxer is a growler with palatable intonation, drums are haphazardly great, and the shit moves, one of those recs that sounds more and more intense right up to the last moments when they run into a wall of feedback. Pretty heavily dark-vibes, big Discharge/Swede-core influence obviously. It's good for a d-beat band from Utica, and exactly what you'd expect from a B&W sleeve with dudes in hazmat suits on it. Realities of fucking war, man. If you're someone who can get into this style and look beyond the genre imagery, this is a good one. I'm not a fanatic for this shit, but can appreciate it when it's well done. I hope they're terrifying live. (RK)
(No Real Music // www.hcholocaust.com)

No Peace “Zombie Brains” 7”
Cleveland seems to foster some Jap-crazy bands, and No Peace is no exception. This is what I’d imagine Dry-Rot covering Gai to sound like, but with the myriad of intertwined effects pedals that painted the unprecedented sonic wails that Gai, Confuse and Gastunk all took parts in forging thrown for a loop – Americanized, if you will. There’s more emphasis on the crunchy granola axe tone a la Cider buzzing right up front of your ear holes, without any attempt at perceived depth, instead of the renegade radio frequency fetish said Jap bands ejaculated onto hardcore back in the early ‘80s. “I Don’t Really Care” is a gem of a pisstake on punk sass, and the title track might as well be an unmastered outtake from 9 Shocks Terror’s epic Paying Ohmage album. Hateful Clevo mutants aping the nuances of the only truly post-apocalyptic culture on earth… seriously, what’s not to like? And talk about a tight squeeze on the spindle… whaddaya guys want me to break your little plate o’ wax here? That sort of thing’s reserved for when a record like this drops on my fizace and I’ve no choice but to stack furniture in my room and jump through the window off of it. (BG)
(Decision of Fate Records // try bistrodistro.com)

Nothing People “Anonymous” LP
A slew of great singles lead to this puppy and it still caught me totally off guard by how awesome it is. NP’s LP has been on the turntable since arrival two weeks ago, and now that my gal-pal has heard it, it may not be lettin’up during her rounds as well. Everything from No-Wave NY to Sacto-Proto gets a nod on this fucker. There’s still a post Stoogified-glam riff here and a basement-fi git-fit there, but also a lot of eastern block rock and Suicide-style back beats (electro and physical) thrown in for good measure. Shoegaze-y hazed & psych one moment, then sparse or ang-U-lar the next. Sounds like nothing particular, other than themselves. They’ve been known to play the disorienting Joy Division infused track “I-5” at shows for as long as that dreaded North Cali-drive takes…and I’m totally down for seeing this. Real time. Hard to describe in a paragraph, fer sure. I could blather on track by track and come off like a fanboy idiot, but I’m not gonna’ this time. All I can say is get it and slap it on your year end “best of” list. Great album of genre-defying rock. Limited to 600 on clear vinyl, with awesome sleeve design, and only one carry over tune from the singles ("In the City" - which is a great lead off, nonetheless). (RSF)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Thee Nymphets "Feels Like Motherfuckers" 7"
I'm guessing these Montrealites hail from a primarily French-speaking background, because the a-side has one of the better ESL song titles I've come across since the glory years of Japanese garage. Which is rather fitting, since "Feels Like Motherfuckers" conjures memories of "Chloroform" era bands like Engine Boo, Cockscratch, and perhaps a slightly less-frantic version of Tonight. It's a well written punk tune, but I would likely be pouring on the superlatives like the syrup I drowned this morning's pancakes in if they had taken Accept's advice to heart and gone - ahem - balls to the wall when recording. I think this tune would sound perfect if the band had recorded drunk. A live-to-four-track recording quality wouldn't have hurt either. As is, this sounds bit too clean and composed to really reach its maximum potential. Still, a fun tune to listen to while brushing your teeth or putting away the laundry. That's a compliment. The b-side has been described as being heavily influenced by bands like the Brentwoods and early Bobbyteens, but to these ears it's got an undefinable indie-rock quality those bands didn't possess. It comes across a bit stilted. Radio X records felt like the recording session must have been an all-night party, but this sounds like it was recorded early in the morning, live on a college radio station with a really professional set-up. That's not a compliment. Constructive criticism aside, they seem like a band that's only going to improve with time. They just need to loosen up when recording and they'll be fine. Mark Sultan should start a month-long summer camp up in Montreal for bands like this and give them a crash course in how to get nuts in the studio. Come to think of it, that's a pretty excellent premise for a movie. I'm think I'm going to start working on the screenplay once I finish writing these reviews!(SB)
(Psychic Handshake Recordings // myspace.com/psychichandshake)

Okmoniks "Party Fever!" LP
Damn. I wasn't expecting this. Being a big fan of Justin Nobunny's tune "Not that Good" I was chagrined when he told me the Nobunny version would never see official vinyl release since he wrote it for the Okmoniks LP. Now I liked the first Okmoniks single a lot - but it wasn't up there with the A-side of that Sneaky Pinks single, or a lot of the other Nobunny songs he "played' live - so I came into this with a chip on my shoulder. Said chip was promptly knocked the fuck off, along with my socks, the first time I heard "Party Fever." The Okmoniks always struck me as a band better suited for the seven inch format, but fuck if this isn't ten times better than any of their singles. The reason for this increase in quality is a proportionate increase in catchiness. There's never a point on here where I wish I was listening to another tune; every song is a fully developed entity with a reason to exist - a rarity for LPs - and it makes this an album that works really well as a cohesive whole. When I listen to this record I get the same feeling I used to get as a teenager listening to the Rip Offs, which is a rare accomplishment for a new album. There's no new ground being broken here - and God bless 'em for it - but the Okmoniks have managed to make a genuinely exciting straightforward garage LP in the year 2008. They deserve some sort of rock 'n' roll medal of honor for an achievement like that. At the very least they deserve more people talking about - and buying - this record. (SB)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

Pink Reason "Borrowed Time" 7"
With this single, Pink Reason's oeuvre is fleshed out a bit more as the band displays a more aggressive sound than on prior releases. "Borrowed Time" plays a simple riff—muddy-sounding distortion pedal on—with almost no variance for about a minute. The vocals are drenched in reverb and despite the up-tempo and unquestionably "punk" structure, the mood and feeling is very similar to the band's other releases. On the flipside, a simple metronomic drumbeat supports a wall-of-noise. The formula is reminiscent of Jesus and Mary Chain, but this is much angrier, much less inviting. "Scared Shitless" has moments where its various sonic elements merge into an industrial racket akin to an old factory, dying machinery cruising at full speed. It's not pleasant but it maintains a certain rhythm that grows on you.(DH)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)

Plexi-3 "We Know Better" 7"
Second single from the King/Norton hit factory, "Stabbing Fantasies" is the pick of this record, a mix of hooky power-pop musicianship and a Nineties-punk stab-something/somebody ethos (and the blisteringly short closing guitar solo and high pitched scream feels really Ripoffy too, in a good way). This tune would really have been a perfect formula for the next wave of Rip Off bands, were the esteemed Mr. Lowery still in the game full time. "We Know Better", while a great quick-fast pop-punk number, just doesn't sound as good without the dual female vox it originally had, but if you haven't heard the first version then I guess you won't have that prejudice. I think the band as a whole worked a little better (visually and musically) with two girls out front, but Fran has been replaced with a dude, and I guess I'm just adjusting slowly. B-Side of this is a standard cover of the Radiators from Space's "Enemies". Not as likable as their debut release on Dusty Medical, but if you're into upbeat Wisconsonian punkish-pop, look no further, as this trio is quite adept at their thing. Scum stats: 500 on black, Gold Edition of 150 with b&w sleeve. (RK)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Pop Horror “Child of Modern Times” 7”
This is a pretty intriguing cannonball into a cheesy ass caricature of goth and new wave’s interplay in post punk, all executed with an intentionally juvenile proto-monkeys-with-six-strings slant whilst retaining some songwriting competency. Yeah, sounds like someone with too much time on their hands’ attempt at reproducing Peni’s 'Cacophony' album. Pretty rough stomaching the god awful Hot Topic-esque cover art, but this slab having no serious groove to speak of leaves that open to interpretation… or at least spares it some ridicule. That said, this shit sounds the way Captain Beefheart, the Screamin’ Mee-Mees and Sockeye’s spawn would look, but with all of their recessive traits retained, somehow. Now that’s an ugly little turd, isn’t it? Fuck, I made myself sick. You’re 1-1, Rich Bitch. (BG)
(Rich Bitch Records // www.richbitchrecords.com)

Poppets "Get Back" 7"
Lo-fi fun-time party rock from these Swedes, a guy and a gal, at least one of which was in The Heartattacks. Never heard their first single, but this one was pleasant enough, lightweight good times, jangle guitar, lots of "Oh Yeah"s...actually, I think like every other lyric is "Oh yeah!". Anyway, cute stuff, Ramones-via-The Spits bubblegummery with a dash of Nobunny/Sneaky Pinks havin' a fun-time all the time bounce. A total good vibes platter for all you happy faces out there. It's a guy and his girlfriend goofin' off with a shitty drum machine and guitars, how can you say anything bad about it? I mean, I don't love it, but it's an undeniably likeable, and their cover of the Mo-Shuns "the Way She Walks" gets nothing but smiles out of me. Good on ya, kids. Scums stats: 300 copies and moving fast, get on it if you're interested.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Real Numbers "Radio World" 7"
Three-Dimensional Records working overtime here to carry the Radio X/Superteem/Lipstick Records black-and-white torch of AM radio fidelity pop-fun hits. Real Numbers feature at least two-thirds of Boys Club by my guess and there's obviously an aesthetic link betwixt the two, although this outfit somehow sounds a little bit more adept. Or perhaps less awkward is the phrase I'm looking for. Way power-pop on the A-Side title track, sounds tinny in a good way, and they turn up the twang knob for the solo(!). B-Side is more punk and could have been slotted in somewhere in the first dozen or so Rip Off releases and fit perfectly. Recorded by a Fever, this is for all you Romance Novels, Nobunny, Yolks and Supercharger fans. (RK)
(Three Dimensional Records // myspace.com/threedimensionalrecords)

Jay Reatard "Blood Demos" Oz tour 7"
I would imagine at this point that most of the Terminal Boredom audience has heard and has an opinion on Jay Reatard's 'Blood Visions' album. After a year and a half in my listening rotation, I have some mixed feelings about it. The songs are great, but there's something about the recording and production that's less than ideal to my ears. I want my guitar trebly and loud with the vocals buried behind them; I tend to prefer more stripped down and minimal recordings that are unedited and keep the add-ons to a minimum. You get the idea—I only mention this to give this review a bit of context. Released for Reatard's recent Australian tour, this EP has demo versions of four "Blood Visions" tracks that are more stripped down than the versions that we've become familiar with. I am sure many will find this release to be disposable as it features no otherwise unheard songs, but it's essential for those, like me, who have wished that "Blood Visions" were recorded more like "Hammer, I Miss You."(DH)
(Stained Circles Records // www.stainedcircles.com)

Jay Reatard "See Saw" 7"
First installment of the semi-monthly 7” singles series that is part of the much talked about Jay Reatard signing to Matador Records. You can say what you will about the guy (and there is plenty), he’s worked hard to get where he is and is delivering the goods for Matador on this record. I won’t lie...I listened to 'Blood Visions' for a few weeks and filed it away; it just didn’t grab me the way it grabbed a lot of folks. I thought maybe I was finally all Reatarded out, but this record has my interest again. It is an expected progression for Jay, as he’s toned down the power (both vocally and musically) in favor of some really catchy songs. "See Saw" is based around one intensely catchy guitar riff (some say it sounds like Superchunk, and you can’t really argue that), and the tone is scaled back considerably with some clean guitar strumming in the mix here. It’s the kind of song that will gain him new fans while being solid enough to keep the respect of the ones who have been along the whole time...or most of them, anyway. The flip, "Screaming Hand", is more of the classic jerky-type stuff that has been his thing for quite some time, arguably a better song even, it too scales back the power relying on the catchy hook the song is based around. It works. Great single. Scum stats: 2,500 pressed I've heard.(LB)
(Matador Records // www.matadorrecords.com)

Reptilian Civilian "Dog Factory" EP
Felony Fidelity continue to operate under-the-radar with little to no web/message board presence, churning out sometimes nondescript (any Neins record) and occassionly under-ratedly great (I still dig that Howie & The Hot Knives single) product ala Rat City or Regal Select or your choice of old-time PAC-NW singles label, to little if any fanfare. I always try and do 'em right in reviews when I can, 'cuz I dig their locals-only vibe and limited-fi aesthetic. Every town/region needs this sort of label and they are part of a long history of 'em with that peculiar brand of Northwest pride (Portland in particular here). I think this Reptilian Civilian EP might be their high point so far. Really reminds me a lot of the work of Mr. Rob Vazquez, Nights & Days and maybe some Gorls in particluar. Keep-it-simple-stupid upbeat thud-n-punk done with character, "Dog Factory" is built upon a great little one-string guitar "solo" and a real catchy "Im a dipstick/Im addicted/Im a dickhead" refrain. "Shoeshine Boy" is a winning hoot-n-holler jangler, sort of like a less obnoxious Spits at moments, not really refined, but less apt to paint their facse and don cowboy costumes and build a drum kit that spits at you. These dudes just get drunk and forego the showmanship I imagine. I like it. "247-6911" closes the record on a high note, great guitfuzz slopping all over a martial beat meat-pounder. Reminded me bit of a lower-fi Menthols even, but maybe that's just a numeric thing. Great shakes either way. A welcome respite from listening to yet another Columbus band side-project or bedroom wizard synthola overkill. Dumb and fun, well done FF. Scum stats: I got some green vinyl here, I imagine this is in the 300 copies range, art by Kyle from Leper Print.(RK)
(Felony Fidelity // myspace.com/felonyfidelity)

Rock N Roll Adventure Kids "Boobies" 7"
With every release from these "kids" I hear this is their last record, they're broken up, whatever...what do I know, I live like 10,000 miles away from California. I can, however, firmly state that the RNR Adventure Kids have never made a record I didn't like. I can also vouch for the fact that they have become an icnreasingly better band with each release...well, maybe better isn't the best word...let's say tighter or more adept or something like that. The A-Side of this (officially titled "Boobies Rock'n'Roll Hotdog and a Jellyroll") is a high energy gasser, rife with that uninhibited Bay Area goofin'-off spirit that weirdly sounds more NYC than Oakland, but either way it's danceable and rockin' shit that is definitely good for the soul. Pretty tightly played for this outfit as well. This would go nicely sandwiched between listens to, say, 'Big Beef Bonanza' and Go Girl Crazy!'. "Teenage Caveman" is the flip, it's a song they born to play, a little on the heavier side of the spectrum, but still a funbanger with a hot guitar riff/sound and some whuppin' vox. This thing is just in time for summer BBQ mixtapes and could perhaps help you get laid. Maybe. Scum stats: 500 copies on black, nice full-cover sleeves and slickly designed lyric insert. Bachelor is really putting out some of the best product from a Euro singles label right now, one of the few whose packaging and quality control make the import pricing worth it. (RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Screamplay "For Adults Only!" EP
Two-piece homegrown synth-punk, with the visually pleasing Sissi 6000 on vox and guitars and the stoic (or is it creepy-looking?) Lord Badonna on synth and drumbox. "Don't Tell Me" has a canned beat and a layer of moog-raygun effects over Sissi's repetitive guitar crunch and sexy vocals. It's a little on the long side and it sounds like a lesser version of a Lili Z. solo song, right down to the four-track home recording style. Really, you gotta wonder how much of Lili's stuff they've heard. Because it sounds like exactly like an Italian knock-off of her style on the first two cuts, and then they go for the fuller Volt sound on the last one ("I Don't Give A Fuck"). Formulaic to say the least. I'm a fool who thinks any chick with a European accent saying fuck is kinda sexy, but the music, while not terrible, is more than a little, uh, redundant. Limited to 300 copies, the ass and boobs labels are a nice touch though. Really, if you crave Volt enough enough that you want to hear someone emulate them, here you go. On a semi-related note, Screamplay is the title of a film from the always wonderful George Kuchar.(RK)
(Lady Kinky Karrot // www.rockinbones.it)

Sex/Vid “Nests” 7”
I don’t own their previous releases. I’ve heard them, and sensed some real potential. I know they were a tad longer, more blown to utter shit production wise (good thing). Definitely didn’t agree with the Die Kreuzen comparison (which may have been forged by Layla Gibbon and the MRR ilk in an attempt to cosmically solder bands they all happened to like at the time, who knows), not to mention the fucking Void one. Regardless, they’re a cult staple. So much hype-laden ink has been spilled on this contemporary Seattle outfit, to the point of mythic status. I haven’t even bought their records, and thus haven’t stirred myself a glass of kool-aid, but there’s somewhat of an indication herein. It’s raw and chaotic fighting music; one big sandpaper-masturbation fest that has an unprecedentedly authentic vibe to it – like something important was actually captured during recording, and not siphoned out of a mixing board and perverted with tools of the trade. The slow transitional chorus of “Exorcism” is legit psycho hate-fuck music for drunken sociopaths who get off more to punching a girl in the face then seducing her. This following the title cut, “Nests,” which with a few simple notes channels genuine doom. Sex/Vid almost embody the type of psychedelic drugs they suggest are beneficial for life-view… inherently simple yet arresting and unimaginably potent. I wouldn’t be surprised if side B’s “Always Home” is a product of the shitshrooms. It’s repetitive and without complexity, which is what tapioca-brained derelicts who cassette-record trucks driving over potholes and play them en loop to themselves for hours on end seem to dig. Good shit. (BG)
(DOM America // too mythic for contact info – try www.bistrodistro.com)

Shoot It Up "Outta Control" EP
I'm really fond of this trio of drug-abusing youths and their gonzo approach to punk-fucking-rock. Somehow Mr. Crim IQ got them to record their cleanest sounding material to date, they actually hold it together pretty well and they sound like an actual band this time around instead of three high-as-fuck teenagers puking all over their practice space while kicking some drums into a guitar. This newly found semi-pro approach could have been anathema to a group whose shit-fi trashiness really made them stand out previously, but you'll find there're some real chops and tuneage behind all the mess. Drum-led led primitive punk squall rhythms jerk around Ginn-inspired solid-state riffing while Hecdog spits out some of the best near-incomprehensible vox I've heard in modern times, like Chavo with a mouthful of pills. Shit like "Skitzin'" and "Indestructible" is really powerful stuff, sort of a deconstruction of the classic Flag/Jerks HC-Punk formula. True punk attitude that could only come from the back alleys of some California shithole. Probably their best record, or at the least their most listenable and least disastrous (and I love those other ones too).(RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)

The Singulars “Pet Sounds (For Alexia)” 2x7”
Seattle gooftards embark on a quest for major pussy, dedicating this double 7” release to a gal named Alexia in response to her showing interest in songs about beavers or some shit. The Mirrors had a song called “Beaver Girls,” didn’t they? Sorry Alexia. Hope she’s not a dude, dudes. Or 12 years old. Or a 12 year old dude with cerebral palsy… Anyways, there are some good ideas floating around this set of 7”s and its haphazardly construed hodge-podge of a sleeve. They’ve got a good name, some pretty off-putting doodles (just for sheer juvenility), and include Mel Gibson and “Mettlica (you guys rock!)” in the Thanks list. The music is lo-fi, made-up-on-a-whim frills-galore novelty slop though… as if that’s a surprise. I think the first few grooves of the second record prove this release to be the careless butthole-fingering of some college students whose primary musical efforts lay with coffee house sing-a-longs, all acoustic, revolving around poetic ditties about what-the-fuck-ever kids like this think is funny, quirky, and cute. I fucking hated these kinds of people in high school… such a waste of ability and resource. And I’m not too keen on them now. …I guess I’m just too dedicated to the notion of punk’s forte’ resting with the economy of it all: such minimal effort, such profound results. This strikes me as one big self-gratifying inside joke. You’ve got the no effort requisite nailed! But where’s the payoff? (BG)
(Rehab Records // myspace.com/thesingulars)

Slab City "Friday Nite Boy" 7"
Two brief yet assertive tracks from Slab City, both punchy shouters of the rock-punk variety with a bit of organ (it’s more up front on the catchy "Caguama Rama" on Side B). A short record for sure — its all over in an eyeblink. Loud, simple and pretty fun - though it’s not the most memorable sounding record. It’s not bad by any means, pretty rockin’ actually. It just left me wanting a little more, that’s all. 500 pressed on black bean vinyl.(LB)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Snakeflower 2 "Talk About it" 7"
Two song teaser single preceding the upcoming 'Renegade Daydream' LP, and you may know Mr. Melton as a former Memphis player (an early incarnation of RCTL, the under-rated/unknown Memphis Break-Ups) relocated to the Bay Area. He's also doing work under the Les Hormones and Bare Wires monikers, but this Snakeflower stuff is the cream. Matt plays everything on these 2007 home recordings and it sounds great all over. "Talk About It" is trebly Stones revisionism, with heavy tambourine vibes and a wonderfully tinny and crisp drum sound. End of times rock'n'rolling for the next Altamont. Dig it big time. "Running From the Night" is mellower, moustache and leather jacket (with no t-shirt) balladeering, twistedly dreamy and evocative. Great record, I hope everyone pays attention to the LP. Really love the full-color art on this as well. (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Swinehood "In Bad Shape" 7"
Ugly and feral Scandanavian dirtbag-punk. A-Side is four songs worth total slime, muscular and wildly careening minute-long blasts that are total punkfuck middle finger shits. "Girl Cops" and "Swinehood Hardcore" are just base-level neanderthal blurts of testosterone, but I think "Sex Drunk Girl" has a little something extra...a slight finesse it, maybe the only tune with a time change in it, but it has that little something extra. So, A-Side is four scorchers on 33, B-Side is one stomach churner on 45, the titular "In Bad Shape". The guy sounds like he means it, intoning the mantra over a repeated monster riff that might induce nausea after repeated spins or until it breaks into some feedback wailing. The type of thing you might expect from Brainbombs associates (members?). Although these guys sound a little bit more human. But not much. Sick stuff for fans of Euro-filth only. Scum stats: 400 copies = 300 black, 100 clear.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Terrible Twos s/t LP
From start to finish, the Terrible Twos' debut long-player is an unyielding, energetic force. Sped up and out of control, the band has followed the path of the Piranhas—early era, pre-jazz*—by folding keyboards and synths into an aggressive punk mix. A lot of bands have done this over the last half-decade or so, but very few stand out to me the way this album does. The Terrible Twos aren't holding anything back and execute the style as well as I've heard.(DH) (*Incidentally, I think the Piranhas peaked at the end and went out on top.) (Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)

Turpentine Brothers s/t LP
Turpentine Brothers always seem to slip through the cracks for me. I liked a single or a track or two here and there, but never really loved anything enough to generate a lot of spins. I think they get lumped in the garage-turkey genre unfairly though, as they're more a straight-up rock'n'roll band than any sort of blues-punk rehash that I think their name (or the Mr. Airplane Man association) might bring to mind amongst the casual fan. So, they work out guitar/organ/drums trio-thing with definite skill, and I love that this is an LP that plays at 45 speed, and the A-Side of this is rather fetching. "Time/Min", "DDT" (great wild guitwork on this one), "Plans", some of the best tunes I've heard from them. They switch from rollicking fun garage-punk to moody rockburn to direct-hit semi-punk missiles without missing a beat. Modern-day comparisons that ran thorugh my head at different moments: a less punk DC Snipers, a more punk and less emo-indie Ponys (particularly in the vox at times), a less garage Headache City. Pick whichever works for you. I think I like the Headache City one the best myself. They start the B-Side off with a nice pop-garage number in "Ritalin" but run out of gas after that. Or at least that's where I lost interest. The last cut smolders pretty good with repeat spins though...To reiterate, the A-Side is a rock solid five tracks. Nothing too spectacular, but solid. I know that's like a kiss of death review, but I have to call it like I hear it. Good enough that I would go out and see 'em live, let's put it that way. Scum stats: 100 copy pink vinyl variant available via mailorder.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Unholy Two "Kutter" 7"
Throwing this on I was ready to bail, or least be bummed, 'cuz "Kutter" starts off sounding like some jack-off noise-band bullshit for the first minute until they spin the intro into some gold-plated kick-in-the-dick mean rock'n'groove. They hit it like the Mayyors did on their 7", repetitive and unstoppable, the sort of thing you can't turn away from. Heaps of reverb on the vox (maybe even more than a Clockcleaner record! Yikes!), severe guitar oscillation, soundwaves flying all over the fucking place, grindstone drumming, all sorts of special effects damage. This is what they call a face-melter around here. "Porkys" on the flip gets right down to business. Total fucking stun-gun overdrive, drooling vocals, drummer hits the groove hard and relentless, multi-pedaled guitar assault (one heavy like lead, the other smeared and slippery). Brewtal. I get a slight whiff or art-school noiseband faggotry from this, but what do I know...the tunes are pummeling enough that I could care less. And this thing reeks of cocaine so bad I can't really pinpoint any other telling aromas. There's a shitload of bands in Columbus, this is one you should probably hear. (RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecording.com)

Uptown Bums "Just The Other Day" 7"
Denton, TX outfit that surprisingly does not include any former or current members of the Marked Men or Wax Museums. That I know of. A-Side is very capable power-pop with a UK punkish tinge, slightly Buzzcockian perhaps, but with an identifiable Texaswagger. B-Side is two more American sounding garage-pop numbers, reminiscent of a less fiery Brimstone Howl perhaps. Middle-of-the-road stuff. Scum stats: 100 on white vinyl, 300 more on black. (RK)
(Shake Your Ass Records // www.syarecords.it)

The UV Race s/t 7"
"Teenage idiot punk" as hyped by the Aarght! label, which just happens to be Melbourne's finest at the moment. UV Race are a buncha nippers (including DX from Distort 'zine/Straightjacket Nation on drums), the loose story I've heard is a bunch of them got together and decided they'd start a band that sounded like the Electric Eels, or at least a band that subscribed to their aesthetic. Five throwback punkaroo songs that are primitive and exuberantly discordant and juvenile, wheelbarrows full of enthusiasm hauling loads of muck and mire around these tunes, vocals get mumbled and howled like a dog, there's some talk of blues, bleating keyboard shepherding underthunk-drumbeats and jabbed/strummed guitar...it's Australia(2008)-via-Clevo(1978), sometimes it doesn't make total sense, but that's how you know they're on the right track. Not totally nasty either, but still giving you the finger, booger included. Includes insert detailing the R. Meltzer tale that they swiped the name from, a nice little two-sided sleeve with some background on the songs and a membership entry for the UV Race fan club. A cool little record, and it's deceptively catchy as well. (RK)
(Aarght! Records // myspace.com/aarght)

UV Rays "…Are Sick of Humans" EP
Long running Rochester, NY band the UV Rays have been driving basements crazy around these parts for years, but their recorded output has always left me disappointed in the past. Be it the songs or the half-assed recordings, something had missed the mark for me. Up until now, anyway. This new 7” boasts their finest recording to date, five songs that train wreck Seventies hard rock with the rage and intensity of Eighties hardcore punk. It’s dirty, too. Plenty of driving leads over top of these loose thumpers, which only starts to tail off with the semi-inside joke, "Party Pat" (an ode to burly guitarist of the UV Rays). A wild and crazy live band who finally walk the walk (stumble?) on record.Handsome silk screened covers on various colored cardstock. Scum stats unknown. (LB)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Vagina Boys 7" EP
Ridiculously named SF-based project of Mr. California and an ex-Grabbie, supposedly already defunct. Content-wise, you get tunes with titles like "Cum" and "Andy Loves Fishy", but the music accompanying the dirtball ethos is surprisingly not the overdriven garbage-rock you'd expect. It's actually mid-tempo hookery with a slight dark post-punk touch via Mr. Cali's megaphone-monotoning and angular guitar playing. This would probably qualify as weirdpunk if these guys gave a fuck about such genre branding bullhock. "Go Down" actually sounds a little bit New Wave, and is catchy as fuck. "Cum" has the chops to make it more than just a joke about unloading on someone's face. "Gay for You" is sharply anthemic punk with a nice murmuring vocal-loop as backing to the stabbing instrumentation. More in line with a Feelers record than the Grabbies/OWAB lunacy you might be prejudiced to lump this in with before hearing it. The recording isn't really super-trashy either, it's surprisingly clear and actually quite well-played. I went into this with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Some sleeper hits here. Scum stats: 300 on black 100 on pink. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

V/A Gentlemen Jesse/Joseph Plunket split 7"
This is a cool collaboration between Jesse and Joseph in which each contributes a song and the pair hit the studio together to record in tandem. Each member of the duo compliments the other nicely, with both their song selection and performance; it sounds as if they have been playing together for years, and perhaps they have. With a couple of solid releases under his belt, Jesse is establishing himself as a bit of a craftsman. Here the two guitar tracks play off one another impeccably to form a captivating rock-pop melody. Plunkett's cut has an American rocknroll anthem feel, built on big guitars that climax in a blunt, chant-a-long chorus—"You ruined everything for me!" It's also worth noting that the pic sleeve montage makes for one of the sharpest looking records I've seen lately.(DH)
(Rob's House // www.robshouserecords.com)

V/A Gentleman Jesse & His Men/Fever B split 7"
They sure seem to love Christmas in Atlanta; hot on the heels of the Black Lips' Xmas themed split single from last year, Gentlemen Jesse and Fever B follow up with one of their own. (Does it even snow in Atlanta? Christmas ain't the same without the stuff.) About the record: these well-paired bands each contribute a tune good enough to win over a hard-nosed power-pop-phobe like myself. The theme is a hindrance; lyrics like "I'll be getting over my hangover on Christmas morn', 'cause that's the way I celebrate the day that Jesus was born" are an obstacle but if you can ignore them then the music will be plenty rewarding. Jesse's track is cut from the same stone as The Loose Diamonds or Exploding Hearts. Led by strong guitar tracks and vocal melodies, he writes an infectious tune. Fever B was new to me, and this track is one of those things where if you heard it and didn't know better you could easily be talked into thinking that it was a lost demo recording by, oh, Big Star or T.Rex or someone like that. It nails the early 70s pop-glam aesthetic and is a fun cut. Another split to add to your yuletide playlist next winter.(DH)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dieslaughterhausrecords.com)

Gary War "New Raytheonport" LP
Gary War wins the "where did this come from" award for this set of reviews, for me. Some unassuming guy walked into the store with his new LP. When I saw it, I remembered, "Hey, this guy's playing with Blues Control this weekend." So, we listen to it, and oh man, it's so goooood.
Written and recorded between 2005-2007 on a 4-track, "New Raythenport" is a great melding of psychedelia and post-punk, yeah, we've all heard that many times before, I know, but don't let my lazy and limited reviewing talents dissuade you, this record needs your attention. It's just that I immediately recall the fragile pop songs of Nick Nicely and Legendary Pink Dots, and how those records managed to be psychedelic with typically non-psychedelic instruments like synthesizers and drum machines, all layed with dreamy, effected vocals and lots of echo. But don't fret, there's plenty of guitar on here as well, at times recalling those two Bobb Trimble records, another thing that pops in your head at first listen. "Edge of Mess", the closer, is a brilliant track and an internet search for "Gary War" will lead you to it. If you like it, then buy this record.
I'll be listening to this a lot in the near future. How is there a version of "Eye in the Sky" that I like? Now what am I supposed to do?(MS)
(SHDWPLY Records // www.shdwplyrecords.com)

Weakends "Death Ride" 7"
I don't want to go into it again, I'm getting overloaded with French stuff, waaaah, I got it so tough. You know, it takes a pretty good Franco-recording for me to get all excited anymore. I like this one. Sort of primo-garage feel to it, dare I say a continental Demon's Claws perhaps? Weakends are from Bordeaux, I don't think there are any ex-Fatals in the mix or anything, they have that soulful blues/country swagger without getting all overblown about it. Tastefully done fellas, and I appreciate that. B-Side sounds a little Black Lips influenced, and I got no shake with that, it's screechy and fuzzy and a little bit stumblebum. A nice debut. Mastered by those dudes from Cheveu, if that scores points with you.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Wolfdowners "Wolf It Down" 12"
With the band's lineage boasting time logged with Cider, Inmates, and Ruiners, to name a few, it would be tempting to slap the Wolfdowners with the tag "Clevo hardcore." And that's not entirely inaccurate, as the band wallows in the same scuzz as the aforementioned, but this isn't quite the relentless disorder that you'd expect. A better point of reference might be "B.Z. Blues," the Inmates' "answer" to "L.A. Blues". Like that track, the Wolfdowners 12" is pronounced by free form sax throughout. The 'Downers songs slow the pace to a crawl, giving members' all the time they need to let their heavy feet run wild on a multitude of pedals. Polly Wog on bass digs his Big Muff and the fellows on guitars live on their wah. Sometimes the effects and solos can be excessive but when they hit on all cylinders and it comes together as on "Monster" or "Get It Right" (which borrows pretty heavily from Iggy and the boys) it's a beautiful mess. I can't quite say the same about the cover art; my love for the amateur apparently does not extend to adult education Photoshop work.(DH)
(Parts Unknown // www.partsunknownrecords.com)

Wooden Tit "Return to Cinder" CD/LP
I first thought the creation of Wooden Tit meant Howland was done with the Bassholes, but apparently a new 'holes record is in the works, so I guess it's more of a side project of Don's with some Asheville, NC locals, and a project that is now apparently on hiatus as well after their Euro tour and three hard-to-find Euro releases. This full length is tried-and-true Howland, and his strongest long(er) player since the Bassholes' "Out in the Treetops" deuce-pack of seven-inches. Don's distant vox permeate the recording, sounding as if they are emanating from purgatory and the bass/drums/guit (and some snippets of clarinet) line-up packs a little more beef than the sparser Bassholes combos. Certainly dark, and I'm caught up in the purgatorial line of comparison, as Don always sounds as if he's singing and playing to atone for wrongs he's done in a grippingly authentic whiteman-of-the-blues style. There's nothing false about the soul contained herein. Don raids his own catalog yet again, cooking up revamped versions of "Jack At Night" (from the Bassholes SSLD 7", here with some added harmonica blowing), "Life Goes On" (from the previously mentioned "...Treetops" 2X7"), and perhaps covers himself covering Blind Willie McTell (another huffing version of "Broke Down Engine", done once before on the last 'holes LP), and adds five more originals, the highlight being the sublime album closer "Spinning", a roaring amalgam of Forties blues and Seventies punk. No one does covers and owns them as well as Howland however (well, maybe Mick Collins...), and here he hacks up two fantastic tributes, a fantastic "Street Waves" (as difficult as it is to believe an Ubu cover can be pulled off properly, he does it) and a tip of the hat to his Ego Summit comrade Ron House with a version of TJSA's "Half Off" that just makes a whole lot of sense. As a whole, this LP is a bit cleaner-sounding that most of hiS output, but makes up for it in shadowy tones and a touch of basement-psych. This will probably cost and arm and a leg as an import, and I'm not even sure if the vinyl is still available, but if you're a Howland devotee it's a no-brainer/must-have. (RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Wooden Tit "Sex Beat" 7"
The shortest of Wooden Tit's triptych of hard-to-score Euro releases (LP on Hate and a 10" on Red Lounge completing the trio), this one finds Howland working his way through a pair of classic Cali-punk tunes. He turns "Sex Beat" into his own tune, as he is wont to do with other's material, an absolutely shit-kicking and haunting version of what should be an impossible-to-cover song. Nastily good. On what is actually the A-Side, he delves into Darby Crash songbook once again and runs "Strange Notes" right into the ground with a vengeance, keyboard riffing included. I'm partial to the Gun Club number, but both are top notch. Also of note is the fact that the band pic is by none other than Chas Ray Krider, of the fantastic Motel Fetish photobook, and the layout is by Ellen from Gibson Bros. A class act from all angles. Scum stats: 350 total, 50 on black/300 on deep purple.(RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Yokohama Hooks "Turn On" 7"
The chances of you liking this single ride 100% on how much you can take of this girl's voice. It was pretty refreshing when I heard it the first time (on a split 7" in a brief dose), but now that I've sat through two more EPs worth of it, it does start to grate a bit. "Turn On" is a great tune though, stark and wiry, possessed of a strong Anglo-sounding bassline that drives it home. Her overly affected vox match nice here. "Time Square"(sic) gets a little scratchier and punkier, the angles are a little sharper but the guitar player bends some nice strong stuff out on this one. The A-Side is definitely strong post-punk reminiscing that I can get in bed with and the vox work for this side. The B-Side is a flop though. Sounds like a less powerful Tyrades covering Agent Orange's "Bloodstains" sung by a girl with a voice even more irritating than Jenna's, if you can believe that. If you combine the A-Side of this and the A-Side of the single on Lipstick Pickup, you have a good record. You should never flip either of them over though. (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Yokohama Hooks "Cleveland French" 7"
Is it just me, or does it seem like there are a ton of bands hitting the old female-fronted Rough Trade post-punk sound recently? Not that I really mind. I love the Au Pairs as much as anybody. "Cleveland French" is desperate and angsty in that early Eighties UK art-school way, I like how the guitar solo slips in all nonchaltantly at the end and the singer's Brit affectations sidle up to the musical angles nicely. Very pleased. Things slow up a bit on the B-Side. "Boy Oh Boy" borders on the irritating ("I want a boy - the perfect toy"), although I think those with vaginas may find it more enjoyable than those without. Personally, can't take the vox on this one. On "Creepy Crawl" she re-enacts a scene from When Harry Met Sally. Loved the A-Side of this. Not fond of the B-Side. First release from Lipstick Pickup records, a label that will focus on releasing limited-run vinyl from current bands of the female persuasion. A noble venture. Scum stats: 300 copies, first 75 (on red vinyl) had limited hand-designed sleeves with all sorts of accoutrements (mine had little fuzzy balls, some naked broads and Rod Stewart on it).(RK)
(Lipstick Pickup // myspace.com/lipstickpickup)

The Yolks "Wandering" 7"
The Yolks just keep on impressing me. "Wandering" is yet another delightfully understated yet fulfilling garage-pop number, catchy and lo-fi and chock-full of "bow-bow-bow/la-la-la" back-up harmonizing. A real pleasure to spin. They fill out the single with "Don't Blame Me", another of their should-be-patented scratchy aw-shucks-honey tunes, and a super-soulful electric-piano-fied instrumental strut called "Mob City Hustle" which should the have the teens at the local high school gym hopping all night long. Glad to see some kids out there still loving the good old time rock'n'roll, I'm into this big time. Not weird, not punk, just good tunes from a band that sounds like they're having a blast and doing it with zero pretension. Refreshing is the word for this, I believe. Not reinventing the wheel here, and that's what I'm digging about it maybe...Scum stats: 500 copies, mine came with a cool hand-drawn sticker.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)


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