RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2009
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(AR: Acapulco Rodriguez)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(TO: Tm Onita)(SB: Young Steve)(RSF: Rob Vertigo) (A.: Alessandro)
Azarashi "Wagabunretsu No Mushisakitoki" MCD
I'm assuming that 99% of readers are unaware of who this band is and what they are about, despite my having reviewed their previous two releases in TB. Nobody listens to me. So it goes. Azarashi are a Japanese hardcore punk band that are more comfortable stretching out in four minute songs with multiple parts as opposed to a band like Conga Fury who try to get things done as quickly as possible. Their style pitches most closely with hard punk bands like early The Stalin, Kikeiji, or Masturbation, which is to say a heavy rhythm section moving the song with guitar noodling winding its way in and out of croaking/screaming vocals. Psych punk?
This is the band's final(?) release and has four tracks. The first two tracks are heretofore unreleased, but also mostly unlistenable due to the "raw" recording which sounds like a tape recorder in front of a bass amp. The latter half of the CD are final versions of two previously released songs (one from each previous CD) that lose some of their momentum as they stand alone and are unconnected with their particular place in the album's theme (Azarashi were big on atmosphere). Overall, I'm regretting buying this and if you are in the market for some new hard punk (it's not like there's too much coming out nowadays), I'd recommend the band's previous CD "Azarashism". It and this MCD were released by the band's label and for a non-Japanese getting in touch with them, I'd recommend myspace. (JC)
(Kyouhakukanentomo no kai // myspace.com/kusaremeguko)
Bad Dudes “Eat Drugs” LP
Oof. Not sure if I can make it thru this. Prog-rock made with some cheap electronics thrown in. Cutesy stuff that prolly has the crowd at Vice wetting their pants. The bass and guitar kick in here and there to try and save it, but it feels kinda’ dumb and soulless in the end. There’s plenty o’ prog jams & jazzy stuff I like out there (mostly from Detroit, not LA) and then there’s this. Too clean & polished for my taste. They aim for Brainiac I bet, but come off more like a complicated RatTatTat. Video game noise for Trans-Am fans or…God, I don’t know. Oh shit, there’s a LCD sound-a-like towards the end. No thanks.
To be fair, the instrumentals (like “Secret Protector”) are pretty rad…early-King Crimson, almost. There’s a couple of hair-raising drum breaks too. If this had 70’s flair it could work, but 80’s/90’s production and the electronic sounds leave me cold. Maybe there’d be a good 7” in this somewhere. Sadly, any enjoyment to my ears is squashed by thoughts of fucking irony tees and Ugg boots. The vocals throw out a “party?-yeah!” vibe, but if I want a party, the Coconut Coolouts are getting my beer money. Sorry kids. (RSF)
(Kill Shaman/Deleted Art co-release // www.deletedart.org)
Bare Wires "Let Down" 7"
Remember that Bare Wires SSLD 7"? I think me and Rob Vertigo were the only two people who liked it. I sort of forgot about the band as Snakeflower 2 seemed to become Matt Melton's main musical vehicle, but the second Bare Wires 7" has now arrived, and it's now making me forget about that Snakeflower LP. Possessed of the same sort of beautifully sleazy Seventies Stones-y, semi-poppy flavor that the Snakeflower 7" on TTT had, both tunes are immediately accessible, sounding somewhat familiar and comfortable but still maintaining an original/modern vibe. Looks like the chick from Time Flys is in the band now too, so maybe that helps. "Let Down" earns the A-Side nomination with rocksolid drum drive (heavy on the hi-hat, I like it), understated and catchy vocals and rhythm guitar/bass that gets blasted to the background during the piercing guitar lead excursions. Super fucking hooky while we're at it. "Looking For Some Action" on the flip is simple pop one-two with a dreamy refrain and a nice guitar/shakers workout at the end. I enjoy this guy's aesthetic, or least I think what he's doing in referencing late-Sixties/early-Seventies rock without pulling out the weird-psych acid shit or proto-punk heaviness, it's more of a mellow jean vest, joint-and-a-beer barrelling down the interstate in a Dodge Charger straight rock'n'roll thing. Looking forward to more, medium-fi recording sounds great. This is also the best looking Milk'n'Herpes record yet and I'm enjoying the "new" logo and label design. Get a couple of these. (RK)
(Milk-n-Herpes Records // myspace.com/milknherpes)
John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death “Stain Stick Skin” 7”
Hey, I went to high school with a kid named John Barrett. By the end of junior year I think he was hitting the ‘roids and was legitimately losing his mind. We sat together at lunch and he’d vocally daydream about having volumes and volumes of pocket pussies to staple up on his bedroom wall and pull down whenever horny. That, or he’d escape silence by breaking a conversation with “I’m losing my fucking mind, guys,” just to go mute again. No joke. Anyways... This is a super-minimal one-man punk outing, garage in nature with a cleaned up recording, pop sensibilities pouring from the infectious chorus of “Stain Stick Skin” and the (sparsely) clap-laden, swaggering flower-punk formula followed on “The Ballad of Bandit X.” B-side’s the keeper, I’d say, though on both it just sounds way too constrained and catatonic – like he’s strapped to a wooden board with only his arms free to get the hott lixx wanking. This thing just gets by on its own merit, being a tad short for its own good, and me thinks it cuts it a little too close. Wood lke 2 here mor plz. (BG)
(Fat Possum Records // www.fatpossum.com)
Bipolar Bear “Man Mountain” 12” Picture Disc
Herky-jerky Dischord style mash, like a slower tempo Battleship, or the occasional touch of Arab on Radar. Somebody was in The Manifolds (pre-Battleship) so it fits the MO. Gets a little math-y here and there, but I ain’t gonna’ fault them for it. “Swampy-assed blues rock”? Not really. No garage in this cacophony. Jagged knife stabs with some fret slide are apparent. There’s a Chris Thompson vocal vibe pumping through here I dig a bunch as well. Probably covered that in references above, line one. Shit rolls along nicely when they start to swing on side two and eschews the rapid attack for mid-paced noise rock. I’d go see this live. Pleasant Surprise. Mick Collins furry approved picture disc 12” with no song titles to be found. Get them off the web. Pressing number? Who knows? A few? (RSF)
(Yosada Records // www.yosada.com)
Beyond the Implode “This Atmosphere” EP
The Good: Beyond The Implode’s “Last Thoughts” EP is one of the high points of the UK’s turn-of-the-80s underground music explosion. Without any bells or whistles (or drums!) the duo churned out a masterpiece of psychedelic folk-punk that channeled both visions of Syd Barrett and the do-it-yourself aesthetic of the times. What they lacked in percussion they made up with extraordinary hooks and a home recording full of twists and fades. “This Atmosphere” is absolutely one of the era’s finest.
The Bad: This isn’t a reissue of “Last Thoughts.” Instead, this record has two of the five tracks, substitutes out “Midnight Adventures” for a dub version of the same (labeled here as “Mid Ad Version”) and leaves off the others entirely. An unreleased track is added and is great but I feel like they missed a perfect opportunity for a grand reissue. To replicate the original artwork (an ideal representation of the period’s aesthetic), to reprint the “Look Back” fanzine that accompanied some copies, to include all of the music (and, why not, add “Disperse the Clouds” as well), to include an insert reprinting archival ephemera and photos of the boys, maybe open the door for future reissues of their “11th Hour Breakdown” EP and “No. 1” cassette release...well, I can dream.
The Ugly: $11ppd domestic price tag on this one. And despite any negatives, you are a fool if you don’t cough it up. (DH)
(Siltbreeze // www.siltbreeze.com)
Black Pus "Down Down Da Drain" 7"
Is there anything Brian Chippendale can't do? Every side-project, spinoff, and solo outing by the skin-pounding half of beloved New England noisemeisters Forcefield is a revelation. If you see Chippie's name on a record, grab it quick but brace yourself good 'cos you never know what kinda sonic suckerpunch you're gonna get from this crazy motherfucker. Here's a partial list of the far-out shit I've seen this guy pull ever since I first started following his moves through the US noise underground: I was stunned when the sunnuvabitch stepped out from behind the kit to pop a wheelie in his biker-rock project Road Warriors, peeling off Foghat and Davie Allan licks on a circuit-bent guitar like Marisa Tomei peelin' off pasties in The Wrestler. He knocked my socks off and left us all with mouths agape when he delivered the hooks, bittersweet Merseyfied harmonies, and elegant Ringo-via-Charlie beats in Tafetta Block a couple years later. Fuck, I even saw him do interpretive dances for Bjork, replace the 100-watt GE lightbulbs in the men's room with environmentally-friendly "green" lights at Santos' Party House, and conduct an orchestra with his dick at the last Whitney Biennial.
So I was thrilled and -- I'm man enough to admit it -- a little nervous when I laid eyes on this new vinyl utterance by his latest solo project, Black Pus, on the adventurous and discriminating boutique label Corleone Records (a "fake indie" subsidiary of the monolithic Skulltones imprint).
Black Pus! With a name like that, you know there's gonna be some seriously dark, punishing shit popping outta these grooves. Needless to say, this little devil of a record peels away another layer of the sumptuous onion that is Chippendale's mind to reveal further new angles and unexpected approaches to contemporary experimental noise. It's not like he's abandoned the core aesthetic he explored as one-half of Mindflayer, Windtunnel and Corkscrew Wolfhunt, but imagine my surprise when I drop need on side A and out comes a mellifluous symphonic wash right outta the Curt Boettcher playbook! I listen for a minute or so, fully expecting Chipps' drums to erupt in a brutal 17/4 polyrhythmic barrage or some such thing but no: the man's got an ace up his sleeve. Just as the string section is stirring itself into a Pendereckian swarm of half- and quarter- tones, threatening to explode into chaos, Big B reins it in, brings it down a notch, and... WTF? That's when the ELECTRONICS kick in. And then: the voice. Is that Robert Wyatt dueting with himself? Holy mother of fuck-all. Mr. Day-Glo bowls me over with another sonic surprise from his unholy repertoire and delivers a lyric cribbed from one of Donne's "metaphysical" sonnets (I forget which one), teasing out the secret music from those centuries-old words...
The b-side is even weirder. Talk about a one-two punch! It's a fools game to spec about the maestro's listening habits, but it sounds to me like BC has been spending time with the first four Killed by Deaths and probably Bloodstains, too, 'cos this shit is punk as fuck. You always knew he had the pipes for it, but seriously, what were the odds that he'd really whip you across the face with that thing as he does on this bizarro refry of "I Don't Wanna Work"?
It's about time this guy got more respect from peeps outside the weirdo-noise ghetto and believe me, if this doesn't turn the average Termbro on to the insanely eclectic noise of this Providence polymath, nothing will. If this is what tinnitus does to you, sign me up! I mean -- what? Can you repeat that? (AR)
(Corleone / Skulltones // www.skulltones.com / www.corleonerecords.com)
PJ Bonneman "Jeg Kendte Dem Ikke" 7"
I would be hard pressed to pick a record to come out of Copenhagen in
the past six or seven years that I haven't liked in at least some
part; Hul, Young Wasteners, Amdi Petersens Arme, Hjertestop, Gorilla Angreb...
most of these do have some filler, but are generally stone
cold punk killers. This 7" is no exception. A one-man band in the
Jay Reatard and not King Louie sense of things putting three songs on
this 33rpm 7". The first song is ruined for me by the opening
out-of-tune chorus, but fixes itself after finding a groove and
pounding that hook into my brain. The next song, "Hey Ronni" gets rid
of the chorus singers and brings it just to the main man, which works.
The B-side is the real treat here though: a pure slab of '79
scandinavian melodic punk with perfect guitar and bass exchanges - one
track that will stick with you and make you play it for everyone who
comes by for a while. Can't recommend this 7" enough - a rare gem in
a sea of throwaway side projects. (JC)
(Spild Af Vinyl // www.spildafvinyl.dk)
Bored Straight s/t EP
I really wanted to like this one. Really did. From the tough-as-fuck cro-magnon-intelligence displayed on the photocopied cover to the heartfelt handwritten letter accompanying it lamenting over Harry Pussy and their hastily thrown together “3 legged dog of a tour.” Just didn’t pan out the way I’d wished. Not saying it’s bad by any means, just not the stroke of brilliance I was lead to believe. Instead, Milwaukee’s Bored Straight throw some second-tier ‘80s-flavored hardcore punk at us, sounding at times like Deep Wound covering Antidote (NY), but washing the most captivating dirt and grime from the era’s proverbial stockings whilst retaining the samey-same subject matter that’s about as stale as the ass end of the 40 they’re railing against in the likes of “Drink Beer LLC.” Not ‘Edge (though the homage to the most telling of MacKaye’s brain dead preach-rambles in “W” would have you second-guessing [seriously, “whether it’s fucking, or, whether it’s playing golf”? What the fuck was that protomonkey on about??]), but still stuck under the guise of hardcore’s oh-so-serious social implications. Yawn. The Die Kreuzen cover doesn’t add or detract much from the original, and sonic moot points don’t bring the boners like adding a kazoo to the mix woulda’, but who does that sort of thing? The right people will get this EP, and that’s all that matters. (BG)
(Data Control Records // myspace.com/boredstraight)
Brilliant Colors s/t EP
Sweet, lush guitar pop times four on this debut EP that can hold its own against any recent record making claim to those adjectives. This style is gaining some momentum but this may be my favorite group yet to revisit K Recs and Flying Nun, as they do it with some variety and with a knack for songwriting. Take “I’m Sixteen,” a slow punker with lackadaisical vocals that is completely infectious. Or “Over There” with a guitar refrain throughout that breaks loose and gets a little wild in the final minute-plus. Well executed, fun, and completely appealing stuff all around on this one.(DH)
(Make a Mess // www.makeamessrecords.com)
Bundle of Fags "Art School Asshole" 7"
Typically bizarro Dr. Filth collage-work on the sleeve had me pre-categorizing this as another unnecessary entry in the by-the-numbers weird-punk pantheon, but it's actually semi-poppy dum-dum punk, albeit of the offensive variety, which is OK with me. "Art School Asshole" is lyrically as stupid as you think, but not really of a caliber of stupid to get me to pay too much attention. Flip is more Rip Off-y sounding with some goofy gang vox and bringing more of the stupid. And while I've always been a proponent of the stupid = good equation, for some reason this time the numbers add up to stupid = average at best. I'm glad this doesn't sound like the sleeve looks, but that's small consolation. On Chicago's new Weird Hug Records imprint. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Weird Hug Records // myspace.com/weirdhugrecords)
Cheap Tragedies “Volume 1: Souvenirs & Evidence” LP
Hard(rock)core from Cleveland with a pedigree rooted in the city’s youth crew scene. The early word on the band was that they were Gorilla Biscuits influenced and maybe that’s true (I’ve only heard GB in passing) but I hear riffs with an obvious appreciation for 70s rock (think Rainbow, Deep Purple). There’s a professional feel to this—tight musicianship, adept solos, with a full, modern recording. Tony Erba is on vocals and provides some of the highlights on the record—good lyrics, voice, as always, teetering on madness—but his performance never gels with the slick production. I tried but I just wasn’t moved by this one.(DH)
(Mad at the World // www.matwrecords.com)
C.F.D.L. "Trash Punker Thrash" 12"
Here it is, the latest release from the label that never lets you down - Crust War. While we are talking about a current band (C.F.D.L. plays once a month or so in their hometown), the material on this 12" is from quite a while ago - a 1994 recording session, to be exact. It was shelved while they went to release some other stuff and has been dusted off by Crust War and remastered by Mr. Ippei specially for this release. I'm not sure what the original tapes sounded like, but this is definitely a great "lost" album to make available again.
C.F.D.L. were really influenced by European hardcore from the 80s (think Manic Ears, Network of Friends) and if you're looking for another Crust War noisecore killer, this isn't it. What it is, however, is a great example of the Japanese machine - take something good and make it perfect. They've added just enough swagger to liven up boring/sterile youth crew rhythms and singalongs, enough speed to make even Heresy's drummer sit up and take notes and perhaps the best part - the vocals are mixed just right (along with the singer's enunciation) so that instead of hearing the stupid thoughts of a flipped-hat flannel-crazy English vegetarian, it's just another instrument added to the mix, letting the listener focus on the intensity and raw tension of the sessions.
They have two covers that don't break up the feel of the other songs - "War System" and "Drop Dead." The album art was drawn by Gloom's chief bass player Jhonio (note the Z flexi rip-off art - nice touch). The liner notes (all Japanese) were written by Overthrow Records chief Mr. Morishita, detailing what some of the scene was like in the early 80s in Nagoya (C.F.D.L.'s hometown) and how he came to meet the band members - notably from a HERESY t-shirt. RKL label art on the a-side and Mystic Records rip-off label on the b-side. Thrash collage. Put this in a time capsule from the 80s and confuse future punks. Essential for hardcore punkers!! But start crying now - Crust War made 1000 copies and they sold out in Japan (with a few going overseas, I'm sure) in three days.(JC)
(Crust War // distributed by Punk and Destroy = punx.exblog.jp)
Charlie & The Moonhearts "Drop In Drop Out" 7"
I do love this whole little Moonhearts/Trad Fools/Ty Segall/etc. scene. If anything has been the second coming of Bay Area budget garage, it's these kids. Charlie & The Moonhearts put forth their best record here, and I've liked 'em all. Title cut is ballsy surf and "Obliteration" is hairy teenage rock. The thing that makes this band so great is the savagery they invest the songs with. It recalls the throw-caution-to-the-wind ramshackle stupidity of bands like The Mummies. Just 'cause it's surf or garage don't mean you can't imbue it with some real punk energy. They prove my point on the B-Side, the epic "Stoney Jam" which is a beast of fast-n-furious garage-punk hammering with a fantastic psychedelic prelude. M-O-N-S-T-E-R. Buy the fuck out of this. (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
City of Ships “Live Free or Don’t Tour” 12”
Shit man, know what this needs? Needs to be more dramatic. Yeah, way more dramatic. Not quite as many pinch harmonics as I like in my metallic emo hard rock either. A few more of those and this thing would take off. Fucking stratosphere material right here. (BG)
(Forcefield Records // www.forcefieldrecords.org)
Clockcleaner “Ready To Fight” 12”
This should be a great punk legend. The elders say to the teens, “Did you hear about the time when Negative Approach decided to hit the punk reunion circuit and played Brooklyn? Somehow this band from Philly called Clockcleaner got on the show. I don’t know how that happened since no one liked them and they had this fedora wearing loudmouth in the band who spent his life annoying people. One time he spit milk on my friend at some show in Philly! Anyway, instead of doing their set they decided to make a spectacle of the show and just played one long, 20 minute cover of “Ready to Fight”. They slowed it down, totally changed the thing to sound like fucking Black Flag from ‘86 or something.” But legend is not good enough so they had to go and press a record of it. I’m sure the DVD is coming soon.(DH)
(Fan Death // www.fandeathrecords.com)
Coconut Coolouts "We Drink Blood" 7"
No, not a RFTC cover (or wait, that was called "I Drink Blood" wasn't it...), but the Coolouts carving out a nice slice of garage pie with a surfy guitar feel and a slinky organ rhythm, some of their leaner and meaner and less balls-out party stuff, which I like. "Nerd Holocaust" brings the pain to all collectors of stupid shit via a goofy-punker, but the real meat on the B-Side is the brief anthem to the "Shotgun Heard Round the World" of 2008, playable at any party and sure to instigate the stabbing of some beers. Really love the A-Side and the B-Side has its moment. No special edition bullshit on this one NERDS.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Delirium Tremens “Pregagio De Muerte” EP
Rescued from obscurity by the great La Vida Es Un Mus, this vinyl issue of Delirium Tremens 1984 demo will likely be the first time it is heard by many. I suspect that few copies of this tape made it beyond the Basque region where the group was from and mentions of the band in old fanzines are few and far between. They lack the legacy of, say, IV Reich or Anti/Dogmatikss (to name a pair of their contemporaries who similarly did not release vinyl) who were able to widely distribute their cassettes and create a lasting buzz. Of course, reissues such as this are a reminder not to confuse lack of notoriety with lack of quality and while the lore is nonexistent, the noise is what’s ultimately important. Glorious noise it is too, the vinyl sounds like a third generation cassette, fidelity eroded at each step, but the machine-gun riffing cuts through for full attention. Their sloppy, noisy thrash (no trace of metal here) is pronounced with guttural yelps and energy that does not relent through the eleven tracks. It is world-class material deserving of more than its previous life as an unknown. (DH)
(La Vida Es Un Mus // www.lavidaesunmus.com)
Demon's Claws "Lost in the Desert" LP
As I said when I reviewed the 'Sick Chili' tape last year, it appears the Demon's Claws have plenty of demos and outtakes available to make up a viable LP of material worth purchasing. Here is a vinylization of just some tracks from that tape (sans any of the live stuff), only a half dozen or less are repeated here out of the twelve strong cuts offered up (fitting returns are the excellent cover of "Mexicali baby" and the swampy tracks with DM Bob on guest sax). The other half of these are from "newer" demos (that's all the info I can find) and are even more fantastic than the tape material! "Put On My Sunday Dress" might be the punkest thing they've ever recorded (along with "Kicked in the Cunt") and the rest of the bunch run the gamut from crawling Sixties reverb-soakers like "When You Walk Down My Street", uptempo C&W numbers ("Loudmouth"), ripsnorting garage cuts ("How the West Was Won") and even a Spaceshitty numbers called "Itchy Uterus". A really remarkable collection that is stronger than many band's studio LPs. This seems to be the year the Demon's Claws finally become a great band (as opposed to just good) in my mind, and this LP is what is pushing me over the edge right now. My only beef with this release is that an insert with some info about the songs (dates, recording sessions, etc...) would have been nice. But, back story or not, this LP is still a strong buy. Get it before it's gone. Out on Telephone Explosion Records from Toronto (who also did the 'Sick Chili' tape), who, with the release of Charlie & The Moonhearts, Black Time and Ty Segall records, look to be the most exciting label from the T-Dot since the glory days of Ugly Pop. Scum stats: 500 only, don't get skunked!(RK)
(Telephone Explosion // www.telephoneexplosion.com)
Demon's Claws "Weird Ways" 7"
Two tracks recorded in Atlanta amid their 2007 US Tour. Demon's Claws are a consistently good band that, for me, only occasionally break into the 'great' category. I always look forward to new releases though, hoping it will be a 'great' moment and feel slightly let down when they're just good. Not fair, I know. Is good just not enough anymore? I don't know...I guess when you've heard a band be great you set those expectations high because you know the potential is there. I never part with my Claws records, because I have that feeling someday it's all going to come together for me, much like it did with Deadly Snakes when they did 'Porcella'. "Weird Ways" is a Jeff Clark song, and is actually a quite beautiful country crooner with piano about the wiles of the fairer sex, of course. Makes me think of 'The Last Waltz' for some reason. Wait...are Demon's Claws the modern equivalent of The Band? Kinda makes sense. "9000 Feets" is a Pat B. compostion, and has more confident and heavyfooted rock in its sound but still lies firmly in the prairie overall. Really intimate feel brings these tracks home with that little extra something that makes me like this quite a bit more than the past few singles (even though the last Rob's House 7' was culled from the same session). I'm not going to say this is great, but it's better than good. Does that even make sense? A real nice little two-songer that perfectly encapsulates their Southern US-meets-Great White North approach though, and I'd be interested to hear the whole session now. I gotta think about this Demon's Claws = The Band thing some more too. Scum stats: 500 copies, already OOP from the label, which as ringing an endorsement as anything I just said.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
Druid Perfume s/t LP
It's tough to talk about this recording without coming clean on how you felt about The Piranhas. I fall into the camp that was into them through the first singles and LP, got turned off by 'Erotic Grit Movies' and trashed 'Piscis Clangor'. Still feel the same way. Wasn't into any post-Piranhas projects except for Red Red Red either. So, we come to Druid Perfume (featuring three ex-Piranhas) and I try to erase any mental baggage I'm carrying into this. But I really didn't need to. It's an album that's hard not to like. Just the right amount of weird, they still go exploring in the deep end of the pool, but keep it free of the cut-n-paste hacking that made me turn on The Piranhas. Druid Perfume songs maintain structure, but warp that structure into gluey rhythms that keep some rock backbone and curve it with weird-jazz breaks, nauseous horns and gutsy and guttural composition. A band that I have no problem saying play Beefheartian punk rock, as it's not a term you like to bandy around lightly. And they do it very well. "Life in the Bog" sounds suitably unctuous and slimy and most of the album has a real gooey feel, which the artwork seems to abstractly reflect...intestines, insects, larva, lava, blood...truly organic. "Feed Em Bugs" veers into heavy Debris-like proto-weirdo turf even. As is common with anything Beefheartian (and Beefheart himself), there's a blurry line where things can go south into Zappa territory, and Druid Perfume do slip a little on Side B. "Goat Skin Glue" has a vocal/rhythm that might be just a little too goofy and "Learning Spanish..." sounds a bit like something a Mothers tribute jam band might come up with for open mic night. But they finish strong with some of the more disjointed freak-out sounding stuff on the LP with "Ego Death" and "It Sleeps". In the end, a totally solid record, the A-Side is all killer and the B-Side reaches out even further, and Zappa-isms aside, I appreciate their all-out approach to creating a cohesively strange LP. Even with the few moments I'm not totally into, it makes for fun listening. Only 500 copies on beautiful brown vinyl (my all-time favorite vinyl color), I'd make sure you get one before they disappear.(RK)
(PIGS // mark-at-ickibod.com)
Drunkdriver "Knife Day" 7"
I'll admit I wasn't 100% sold on this band after listening to the LP a few times. I was feeling a disconnect somehow, wasn't really feeling where Drunkdriver were coming from. This single somehow framed things nicely for me, and it has made me fully appreciate their willingness to attempt to bring true aural violence to the listener via their music. Riffs and drums and yelling, that's all this is, and beautifully and simply so on this single. "Knife Day" is crashing down a long flight of stairs while Berdan hurls bottles at you as you tumble. "January 2nd" rides a triumphant heavy metal horse all over your skull, while Berdan this time berates you with bloody propaganda. I was fortunate to catch the live show not soon after hearing this, and it was all I could ask for and more. A band I'm really excited about at this juncture, powerful and scary and seemingly without any baggage to weigh them down. Brute fucking force perfectly encapsulated on seven inches of vinyl.(RK)
(Fan Death Records // www.fandeathrecords.com)
Dum Dum Girls “Long Hair” 7”
Oh god, my hair is starting to go grey, I constantly ask people to speak up, and when I plopped this on the turntable my first thought was, “This is what the kids are into? I don’t get it.” I hope this doesn’t all mean that I am turning into my old man. Perhaps this is the avant-garde of home recording. It is certainly ambitious, weaving choral styled vocals and an arsenal of fuzz and reverb into the songs. You can hear a diverse range of influences at play, from girl-groups to post-punk and twee. (There’s a cover of my grandma’s favorite “Let it Be Me”). As a whole, listening to this makes me crave something a little scaled back and simple. Despite their scope, I find the songs boring at best and sometimes annoying (“Long Hair” might as well be nails on a chalkboard). One thing is clear, though—considering the growing hype around the group, Dum Dum Girls won’t miss my affection any time soon. (DH)
(HoZac Hookup Klub // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
Ebonics "Rock'n'Roll/Partytime" 7"
San Francisco mash-up of a group featuring members of Les Hormones, Traditional Fools, Cointel Bros. and more on the always reliable Daggerman imprint. Honestly, A-Side totally reminds of DC Snipers-style no-bullshit garage party punk rock with an agressive twist. B-Side is pretty killer too, wheels seem just about to fall off, lots of guitar shredding, kind of makes me want to spill beer on people. "Hitler's Wife" is a great closer. Daggerman has a knack for finding these unadulterated garage-rock gems (LFD/VCR split, Pizzas 7", Photobooth, upcoming DC Snipers LP...), and I thank him for that. The world could use some more of this...Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.daggermanrecords.com)
Fontana "Not A Leg To Stand On" 7"
Fontana = the sleeper band of the next wave of Detroit punk. They might not get as many fest invites or namedrops as your Human Eyes, Druid Perfumes, or Terrible Twos, but they've gone and released a couple choice records without as much fanfare as their scene compatriots. I guess Terrible Twos might be their closest relative sound-wise (with a dash of first LP Cloney D's too), as they incorporate a similar choppy-punk approach, but do so with a bit more gruff muscle, less overtly weird bits and no synth. This record reminds me a little of a younger and punker Vee Dee in passages, with its blaring guitar assault out front and interplay with some understatedly deft bass playing hiding in back, and the somewhat psych-y digressions on "Not A Leg...", but they accent it with faster punk chops on the verses. Really interesting song construction, slightly complex but never frilly and when they go off on a tangent they always bring it back to the raw punk. Great rust belt rock with plenty of moxie. "Miss Calhoun" is a punk jammer all the way but with a bit of a wistful nostalgia about it and an evocative guitar solo to make it more than just a fast-loud excursion. Honest and creative rock invested with some emotion that hits you not just with the brute force of the punk hammer but hooks you with some gutsy songwriting too. The more I listen the more I'm impressed with the craftsmanship of these tunes. A lot of bands sound like they're just churning shit out assembly line style (riff + "weird" part and/or recycled hook + afterthought lyrics = hey, we just wrote the A-Side of our fourth 7" in six months!), but these guys have taken the time to create something more than just the run-of-the-mill. I'll take more songs like this from Fontana and less cookie-cutter weird punk all day. A+ recording job from Brooks Hitt as well. (RK)
(Milk N Herpes // myspace.com/milknherpes)
GG King "Adult Rock" 7"
What we have here is a fucking Carbonas record. Don't be fooled. They might be mixing up who is playing what (Jesse on guitar, Greg on drums/vox, no Clay [although he makes a sleeve appearance], Dave recording...), but it's a fucking Carbonas record. Looks like one. Smells like one. And this is a good thing. "Adult Rock" is a short-n-spiffy punk burner that's as catchy as anything on those early 'boners singles, the ones that got us all mushy and googly-eyed for 'em in the first place. "In the Terminal" might be the more interesting tune in the long run, as it sort of plays against their usual short/fast type, and has a sort of early LA punk torporific drag to it, which is offset by a melodic UK-influenced chorus, all the while being charged with a dirty modern feel as well. Very cool. Scum stats: first 100 on blue vinyl. Buy multiples and listen for the touching Termbo namedrop.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Ghost Hospital "D+" 7"
Florida continues to crank out the records (via PGH even!), this time from Tampa fucking Bay, and as bad as their baseball team is right now, I have to imagine the 'garage' rock scene there is even worse. So good on Ghost Hospital for operating in what must be one hot fucking vacuum. As I was searching for words to describe "D+", the one I could not shake was 'quirky'. They are a quirky pop band, near child-like in their approach, but belying their simplicity with a song titles like "Religious Bias In Nursery Rhymes". Clever, eh? People thought the Dead Milkmen were clever too. Kiddie songs for adults and all that. It's meandering and drifting soft stuff, lower-fi, echoey vox, and they aren't afraid to let their hair down and feedback just a little here and there. This single is going to hit fans of Box Elders and Wounded Lion squarely in the clitoris. Wimp party in queer city, queens! These kids sound like they got a little guts to go along with their lite-pop. It's cute and all, but I suggest if you buy this you claim it belongs to your girlfriend if anyone asks. Really. It has a baby wearing glasses on the cover for fuck's sake.(RK)
(Teen Ape Records // www.teenaperecords.com)
The Goodnight Loving s/t LP
Holy Shit. Prospects as to what’ll be the definitive summertime album of ‘09 have been quelled; here is, in all of its quintessential sunny-day BBQ, swimming hole, dame-chasing, cold-one-at-4:00 p.m. glory, thee perfect fucking soundtrack to getting in a beer-stocked boat and cruising around the lake enjoying life. Now, there’s some indie sensibilities here...and some of it’s sweet enough to endow you with diabetes if you let it. The fake country stuff is occasionally cringe-inducing. =But pop music doesn’t mean shit to me if it doesn’t have that patent streak of melancholia, ‘cause no stretch of the good ol’ days has been without those requisite hang-ups since I was a toddler unaware of my own consciousness, and this has that. It gets it. All the while somehow conveying strictly through certain bends and that heart-melting slide guitar that all these good times are different for everyone… let the music do make the explanations, and if it does it right, it leaves the necessary aspects and cuts out those that undermine subjectivity. And this does it right. Not by formula, or pulling out all the humblest aspects of their favorite folk-rock of yore, but by channeling with the medium of guitars memories from the astral heights they lay upon now, and production that compliments it perfectly. “Nerve Mountain” sounds like they’ve a hefty dose of the Byrds’ 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' in listening rotation, taking cues from Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” and capturing the sort of soul built into that cut in the process...actually, “Take You Home” strikes the same echoey, perusing-a-dark-back-alley-in-winter chord that “Ballad of a Thin Man” does, sticking out like an eerily intriguing sore thumb that’ll beg repeated listens just the same. Just an overall heartfelt if at times sweeter-than-it-should-be product. What’s up with Green Bay, huh? I feel like the Mystery Girls channeled that supernatural midnight mystique of drunken summer dawns where something in the heavy night air works the alcohol in your system into a memory-cementing aphrodisiac, whereas the Goodnight Loving took a sonic snapshot of the more content but equally ecstatic high noon, everything clear and crisp and bright as the golden drops of sun just peaking from behind a protective umbrella as you sit on the patio looking out at the lake, when the drinking that eventually leads to 'Incontinopia' commences. I almost feel like putting them on opposite sides of a tape, labeling this one simply “Day” and the other “Night”. You should too.(BG)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)
Gowns “Red State” LP
This here’s a two piece from the East Bay that’s evidently ex-Mae Shi & Amps for Christ. Not usually a pedigree I look for when buying records, but I was handed this platter blindly. Surprise, surprise. I’m digging this.
Things start off with a simple spoken intro, and sounds continue to weave despair through out electronic damage tunes and Sunn0)) worshiping artscapes. Haunting piano, strings and caterwauls abound. What started out like a bedroom folk record, kinda’ in a Carrissa’s Wierd vibe, slowly creeps into a damaged art project made for/by loners. Boyfriend & girlfriend in isolation kinda’ deal, I believe. Can be a little “indie” for my tastes at times, but it packs a punch when it wants to. There’s a bit of Evangelista to it, Esp. in the track Carla Bozulich helped with. “White Like Heaven” brings on the backwoods rickety psych of, say, the Wooden Shjips or Sic Alps variety, but with the backbone pulled out from beneath. “Mercy Springs” has a rolling thunderous drone that gives into searing echo and rapid percussion clatter fighting to stay a float within the collapse...then a creepy a cappella passage caries it on out. Fractured tape loops, radio twitter and Godspeed melancholia get the best of me. Good stuff for soundscape lovers & noiseniks to relax too. Or a drug binge come downer. (RSF)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
Groinoids “Radiobeat Sessions” EP
Known for their appearances on the This is Boston Not LA and Unsafe at Any Speed compilations and their lack of additional released material, Boston’s Groinoids have always been a bit of a mystery. (“Were they a real band? Did they even play shows? What about Decadence?”—variations of this were repeated at hardcore shows throughout my youth.) The band seems almost out of place on those comps, too. They did not compete to be the fastest, most frantic band. Instead, Groinoids songs are more brooding, with skuzzy distortion and spiteful vocals. They had more in common with Kilslug (who some Groinoids members went on to form) or Vile (musically, at least) than the bands they shared space with on the comps. There was a time when hearing “Angel” meant no more to me than “FUs are next!” but I can appreciate their sludge more now, so the “Radiobeat Sessions” is a much welcome release. The EP contains both of those previously released tracks plus three more. The unreleased “4.6 Billion Vampires” is the finest number here…as slow and drawn out as Gang Green was brief, but just as powerful. It is great to have a full release from Groinoids with a handful of songs in which to put the band into context without hearing them up against peers who took a very different approach.(DH)
(Fatalist // www.i-dealrecords.com/fatalist)
Happy Burger "Pizza All Around" 7"
French garagesters delivering odes to American foodstuffs. Jangly guitars and typically trashy Franco-American production. I'm glad someone is singing the praises of cheeseburgers instead of hot dogs for a change, and "The Ballad of Ray Kroc" is a nice touch. "Cyber Mendiant" is the rocker with stun guitar solo. Better than I expected it to be, yet still breaking no new ground. I appreciate the sentiments though. Scum stats: first 100on red vinyl.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterecords.com)
Hatewave “Sexual Healing 2” CD
“Recorded by Hatewave in 1995 on bad equipment in threadbare conditions on drugs in the Midwest in winter. Fuck metal.” That's what you read on the back of this piece of shit, and thats all you need to know really. Ten tracks of scumfuck grind noise in twelve minutes, evidently recorded with no fucking cares. Sloppy nearly constant blast-beat drums, buzzsaw guitar and fart vocals. There is no bass, but a Casio keyboard provides additional retarded sound effects. All gloriously metal free.
For idiots only = sounds good to me. I think I wanna smoke some speed with these guys.(A.)
(Apop // www.apoprecords.com)
Heartbeeps "A Boring Life With No Guitar" 7"
Heartbeeps, at their bery best, sound like a fully French (not just French Canadian) version of CPC Gangbangs but with less drug damage. Drummer and guitar player/vox are ex-TV Killers, a band I think released some real quality records in their day, and they have a chick on second guitar who is regrettably named Delly Schuss, but her lixx are hott enuff to forgive that. A-Side is real strong and gritty garage rock, the B-Side has one desperate rock'n'roller ("Losin' Control") and a passable Love cover. A decent Euro-rock record. Recorded by one of The Fatals, remember those guys? Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Frantic City Records // franticcity.free.fr)
Hello Sunshine s/t EP
Two-piece frantic attack action from Bordeaux, France (home of The Magnetix), these two blast the genre apart by not going for the garage/blues thing so much as just shredding some fucking guitar and fucking screaming like they're on fire. It works for the most part, referencing Nineties noise-rock in some visceral ways (on "Living in A New World" and its Action Swingers crunch in particular), but they're still beholden to the two-piece formula which can't help but sound samey after some time. They touch some areas that Feeling of Love covered a year or two ago but without as much charisma. Not bad, but not enough to keep me coming back again. Les Disques Steak is at least putting put some challenging French music though, those Bosom Divine and Meatards record were both fantastic, which is maybe why I was feeling a little let down on this one. Scum stats: 250 copies, three different sleeves.(RK)
(Les Disques Steak // myspace.com/disquessteak)
Here Comes A Big Black Cloud! "Black Mold" 7"
Clunky band name aside, HCABBC come through with some rammin'n'jammin weirdrock here. I never heard the previous 12", but Rob liked it, so that's good enough for me. Portland dudes making with the twisted punk. Heavy burl on the drum-n-rhythm with jabberjawing vocals and bits and pieces of synth noise and shit thrown in here and there making for a monstrous stew. Definitely more rock than weird, and it's not so much primo scree as it is a really rhythmic lumber. "Black Mold" is dark and inviting at the same time, a wee bit similar to some Detroit strangeness (Terrible Eye Perfume whathaveyou...) with some Pac-NW creep lodged in there as well. "Psychic Violence" keeps up the rhythmic bob, showing they can find a catchy groove and stick with it while allowing the weird gusts to blow around the rest of the tune, a winding organ slide, perhaps some theremin, a slightly surfy gui-twang...lots of pieces making for a satisfying whole, nothing sounds too forced or unnecessary. You can be weird and still adhere to some structural rock constructs folks. Don't let the band name or put you off, this is solid listening material here. I have to say that 3-D record covers are always a let down though, glasses included or not. Self-released, with a 10" titled "Party Vietnam!" forthcoming.(RK)
(Stankhouse Records // www.monkeyfucklove.org)
Henry’s Funeral Shoe “Everything’s For Sale” LP/CD
Yeah, everything’s for sale alright...these guys’ integrity included. Maybe they’ve got intentions of falling back on Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy and ZZ Top as examples of bands they technically sound like, but for all practical purposes, and to anyone without dirt in their ear holes, this shit is without a doubt formulated for the guitarist to lift his strumming hand from strings to the audience with a pointing finger and sneer in typically polished modern-rawk form to the cutest alterno-chick leaning up against the stage and bellow out a pseudo-soulful “How’s everybody doin’ tonight? Ready to ROCK?!” It’s hilarious. Straight up radio-friendly cock rock employing every recognizable aspect of ‘70s bluesy rock ‘n roll: strip-mined, sugar-coated, and mass-produced for the sheep. Yikes. (BG)
(Alive Naturalsound Records // www.alivenergy.com)
Les Hormones "Peggy" 7"
Bay Area garage rock'n'rolla with a French bent. "Peggy" is obviously the hit, sung in French by a punky lass and remiscent of the better parts of Nineties garage, a smasher with a heavy footed rhythm offsetting the feminine vox and a few psych-out tricks. Like the No-Talents going for a Sixties garage mash-up. Flip side has a male voxxed burner in "Drivin'" and reprises the A-Side with English lyrics this time and a more lo-fi recording job. You get the best song twice, which is a selling point I imagine. Enjoyable.(RK)
(Heads Up! Records // www.headsup-records.com)
Idle Times “Million Miles Away” 7”
Perhaps the best of the Hookup Klub bundle with hits on both sides. “Million Miles Away” sort of reminds me of some of the punkier songs from the JTIV album—distorted guitars, buried vocals, driving rhythm, good solo, it even fades out at the end. But as good a tune as it is, the flip is the star of the show. “Whatever Works” is such a monster—a full-on fuzztone glam masterpiece that’ll be played during the slow dance at punk proms from here ‘til eternity. (DH)
(HoZac Hookup Klub // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
The Intelligence "Reading and Writing About Partying" 7"
Stellar single from Lars Finberg and The Intelligence further cementing their rep as one of the top bands in the game today. "Reading and Writing..." throbs and bounces with those stretched basslines and pointy guitars and deep drums that Lars and Co. seem to be able turn into off-balance weirdpop/artpunk hits without effort. It's exciting to hear a band so confident and in control of its powers, able to turn it on at will. Sometimes it's as if they can't write a bad song."Like Like Like..." on the flip utilizes a bit of the A-Frames robot-repitition formula to spin another smasher. Both cuts on this are A++. I'm frightened to think how good the 'Fake Surfers' LP is gonna be. Scum stats: 650 copies on black with hand stamped labels. "It's A Miracle!" Haha.(RK)
(Raw Deluxe // myspace.com/rawdeluxerecords)
IV Reich s/t 2x7”
This is actually one of two near-simultaneous reissues of IV Reich’s 1984 demo tape (the other, an LP, was released in Spain by Bazofia, who also released the outstanding Cocadictos album a few years ago). Although from a relatively small city in Spain, IV Reich achieved worldwide notoriety by way of hardcore’s international network of zines, letter writers, and fans; in a short time, the band manufactured and distributed 1000 copies of the tape, their only release. Theirs is a typical story—youngsters with limited resources and skill who were influenced by bigger touring acts (the liners specifically note Dead Kennedys and GBH) and the ubiquitous Sex Pistols who felt out of place and were mad at the world. Their songs were violent and passionate, and the band would have been a perfect fit on Welcome to 1984. Although they never released vinyl, the word of mouth on their demo has remained strong and perhaps these reissues will lift them out of cult status. (DH)
(Desobediencia // myspace.com/desobediencia)
Jail “Pardono” 7”
Side A is ethereal tinkles of weirdo-hash-vibe and non-obtrusive coats of reverb laid atop a funky fuck-rhythm bass line and minimal surf drum beat. Sounds like cheap times had on bad drugs...or bad times had on cheap drugs. Some sort of beach disco oozing out the garage. Kinda gay! Side B, “Always Wrong,” is a very passive, texture-providing guitar coupled with a flawless rhythm section. Sounds like fluff until the vocal inflections get real sexy and WHAMMO! --- the chorus is a winner, and some of the wank work sprouting from its aftermath is Grade A musicality exalting the single from the schlock bin. Not sure why “Pardono” is side A, as B is the bees knees. Sorry we couldn’t get this review out in time for your February/March tour, fellas. Dontcha know how things work ‘round here?(BG)
(Decorated Records // www.myspace.com/jailjailjailjail)
El Jesus De Magico "Scalping the Guru" 12"
Two phenomenal sides of adventurous and wandering psych-rock from this Columbus outfit who delve deep into fried soundscapes, hypno-guitar, trance-inducing electronics alteration/drone and subliminally hard-hitting songs. I was never expecting this to be as good as it is, but repeated 3:00am listening sessions keep me riveted. One of the few albums of recent months that I actually find myself looking forward to settling in and listening to late at night. These guys go out there, but no too far "out", if you're picking up what I'm putting down here...There's always something to keep the listener grounded, even when they venture into alien landscapes. Hypnotic, with reverberating dub-like interjections, vocals from a man lost in space, but rooted enough in earthly rock to keep a conventional guy like me on the ship. Far fucking out and full of diversions and effects to make each listen better than the last. I hesitate to write about records such as this at times, as I never feel knowledgeable enough about this type of out-sound. But can you ever know enough? Reference points for me would be MX-80 and maybe Prince Far I...it's a lot of everything. It does exactly what I wish a lot of touted modern-pysch bands would do: leave my brain scorched every time I put it on. 300 copies only, which I think is a couple hundred too few. More people should be feeling this record. (RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Johnny Throttle "Stukas Uber Shoreditch" 7"
Holy shit, a new Wrench Records release! Charlie Chainsaw lives! Johnny Throttle are London punkers, and they certainly look like some fookin' punks. Phlegm Gibson on guitar and Johnny Quid on vox in particular. Sounds like a mix of pubby Slaughter & The Dogs and '78-style sneer. Great snotty enunciation on the vox, even sounds a little like the Pistols on "I'm Looking At You...". "City of Dirt" sounds like a Professionals B-Side. Stupid and true punk that I'm glad to hear coming from London, I thought everyone had gone all soft and arty over there. Ex-members of a bunch of B-list UK punk bands you've never heard of. Charlie says Wrench is back in business and already has another release in the pipeline.(RK)
(Wrench Records // www.wrench.org)
J.T. IV “Cosmic Lightning” LP
On the diptych “In the Can” “Out of the Can” John Henry Timmis IV sings of living a down and out life, addiction, and feelings of isolation inside a mental institution. In the more upbeat companion, he hints that might be heading toward a relapse (“that’s when I realized I’m starting to peak again…feeling so divine”*). The songs are masterful, stark, and depressing folk with emotional depth. And, apparently, the story is true. He spent time institutionalized and endured a lifetime of substance abuse problems.
Timmis was driven to create: he filmed the 85-hour opus “The Cure for Insomnia” (as well as a skin-flick), wrote a lengthy memoir of the same name, and recorded and released music under the moniker J.T.IV. Is his output just a means to battle with demons, or is it art? Would he have had the same creative ambitions if he’d led a “normal” life? Of course, this is unknown, but for many it seems too tempting to answer that, yes, his work is a product of his illness. The story becomes more about the artist’s biography than his art, and I feel this is a misguided path to take.
Timmis’ music comprises a varied and fascinating portfolio. J.T.IV released a handful of now impossibly rare singles, which were later compiled with some other recordings in 1987 on his “Cosmic Lightning” LP (which has a slightly varied tracklist from this album of the same name). Drag City’s “Cosmic Lightning” opens with the atrocious novelty song “Waiting for the CTA,” which wears its Velvets influence proudly but falls flat on offering any serious content. But from that point the album picks up: “Death Trip” (which was compiled on the Staring Down the Barrel album and presumably exposed the world to the band) is a blown-out psych punk gem recorded with the distortion and reverb turned to eleven. Throughout the album, Timmis mixes aggressive rock with folk-like acoustic tracks (sometimes within the same track, as on “Destructo Rock”), adding in fake crowd cheers, heavy reverb, and depressing lyrics. The LP includes a DVD full of bizarre video clips of Timmis, often outfitted in costumes, singing (or lip-synching) along to his recordings. Even in the clips with a full band, it seems as though the performances are staged; it feels like we’re witnessing him playing dress up, acting the part of the rock star he envisioned himself to be. (I also need to mention that he is playing a double necked guitar in some of these). Several of these songs are otherwise not on the album, including a cover of Roxy Music’s “Every Dream Home a Heartache,” allegedly performed after 48 hours with no sleep. (DH)
*Or, on closer listen, he could just be singing about tripping.
(Drag City // www.dragcity.com)
Leusemia s/t LP
In a way, it is hard to believe that this record was released in1985. Leuzemia’s eponymous debut opens with a riff lifted from the Ramones and what continues is a melodic, driving, powerful record cut from the same mold as Ivy Green, Hubble Bubble, Blitz, and friends. On the surface you might think it too late for the trend, but considering Peru was less than five years removed from a dictatorship, it is a position worth reconsidering. While the rest of the world had moved onto hardcore, which itself was starting to fade, Peru had to play catch up. Leuzemia’s LP was the country’s first punk release and remains one of the finest from the class of ‘77 (by way of ‘85). A highest recommendation on this one—it is first-rate and belongs in the collection of anyone who loves punk. (DH)
(Lengua Armada // try www.feralward.com)
Life "Warning" 7"
When I think about my favorite Japanese crusty bands, Life doesn't make its way to the top of the list too often, but after listening to this 7" a few times, things will be changing. My previous exposure to them was the "Master of Darkness" EP and some compilation tracks, which never made much of an impression on me compared to bands like Disclose, Contrast Attitude, Death Dust Extractor and the like. Having seen a live show a few times now, I developed more interest in them, which had me looking forward to this new 7" on Black Water Records from Portland.
Live, Life are a 1000mph blast of noise with guitar solos and vocals clawing their way out of the dense mix now and then, all to end in about twenty five minutes of the most intense headbanging you've seen at a punk gig. This record translates that intensity really well. It begins a bit surprising with a more mid-paced marching/churning song and revs up the speed for the remaining tunes. The mix is really heavy in the mid-range which makes it easier to distinguish what the guitar is doing, but when Life hits that 1000mph mark, you can't do anything but take it all in together until a divebomb splits up the verse and chorus. I feel like without knowing more about this band, I could easily peg it for a 7" from some Bay Area thrash band that played too fast for a major record label and never left those hairy halcyon days, but did pick up a few influences along the way from their punk friends who brought E.N.T. and Disorder records to the party sometimes. Great stuff. (JC)
(Black Water // www.blackwaterpdx.com)
Lost Cause “Walk Alone” EP
Hardcore pulling as much influence from Motorhead as from whatever blood-splattered alleys 86 Mentality dragged their sonic victims from it would seem. Vocals sounding like a raspy old biker dude accompany a pretty good interpretation of British d-beat with those demented Jap-flavored solos careening out of nowhere like kamikaze jets. Not the most engaging strand of hardcore out there, but they do it well and sound pretty genuine. I believe these guys share a member of Witch Hunt, who are actually pretty good for a Crusty type band these days, especially live. No, seriously, they are. SERIOUSLY.(BG)
(Love the Music, Hate the Scene // www.myspace.com/trackedtofail)
The Malakas "Too Good To Be True/Sorry ‘Bout My Drinking" 2XLP
The story of relatively obscure Malakas, and more specifically, Cranford Nix is a tragic one indeed. Operating out of San Diego (though Nix was a Detroit native) ‘round the turn of the century, the Malakas escaped my ears until Rockin’ Bones paired these two albums together as a convenient, if not a bit confusing, double LP with a few unreleased songs tacked on and released it, albeit in limited quantities, to the world. "Sorry…" (on black vinyl) was initially released in 1999 while "Too Good To Be True" (on pink vinyl) came out in 2000. Two years later, songwriter/guitarist Cranford Nix was found dead in his bathroom, the casualty of a heroin overdose.
Nix wasn’t discreet about his vices, either. Many of the songs openly discuss his love of ‘the boogie’ and not giving a shit about getting famous so much as getting fucked up…as a means of survival…at least for the time being. “Fading Fast”, “End of Time”, “Suicide or Alcohol” and plenty of others almost read like open suicide notes or otherwise odes to hopelessness and general apathy towards this shitty world. If Nix’s vices didn’t seal the band's fate of remaining an obscurity, his lyrics (basically an extension and explanation of his vices) did. All of the lyrics are here for your perusal, complete with guitar chords (with the exception of "Fading Fast", for some reason…which may be the most lyrically chilling) including the covers.
Musically, the Malakas were a bare-bones rock and roll band. Loose, and clearly chemically enhanced/imbalanced-- they were not sloppy, though. It was just rock and roll without any gimmicks, agenda or attachment to any sub-genre whatsoever with a bratty, cocky vocal sneer. Sometimes, the songs approach ‘bar rock’ a little much, but on the whole, a quality double batch of straightforward, loosely played rock and roll. The acoustic versions, added as bonus tracks at the end of “Sorry…” work as well as the full band versions, while a few straight up covers of Gene Vincents’ “20 Flight Rock” and Springsteens “Born To Run” are both unnecessary, but not out entirely out of place. Edition of 500 hand numbered copies on black and pink vinyl.(LB)
(Rockin' Bones Records // www.rockinbones.it)
Meatards "Blues Cranks" 7"
I kinda thought the name of the band was pretty funny, but apparently no one agrees with me. "Blues Cranks" has a monstrous bass sound, just huge, cut through with some static-cling guitar and hoarse gobbledy-gook vocals and a keyboard floating out there in the storm getting pushed all over the place by the onslaught. "I Don't Mind" repeats the formula to good effect. Quite punk and loud as hell. On the B-Side they temper the attack for a more swirling, yet still somewhat nasty, Sixties-esque grinder. Really like the A-Side of this one, better than your average French gork. At least they're not singing about hot dogs or some shit. At first glance the sleeve looked like ground beef, but on closer inspection it appears to be a salami of some sort. Or perhaps a soppressata. Some variety of spicy cured meat. Not capicola though.(RK)
(Les Disques Steak // myspace.com/disquessteak)
Dan Melchior Und Das menace "Dim Are The Lights" 7"
I still haven't digested the DM 2XLP fully, so I'm going to speak about this short-player first. "Dim Are The Lights" booms with a borderline hop-hop rhythm spliced up with some punky guitar work. Noisily rhythmic, touching on that blown-out aesthetic The Intelligence pull of so well. B-Side maintains the street beat, this time a bit more sing-songy and with a spacier feel. Melchior spits lyrics like an emcee on this one too. Underground head-bobber flavor. Listen for this one on Stretch and Bobitto's show. Melchior continues to move forward and expand at a remarkable pace. I only worry that people that get scared/bored trying to keep pace with him. Hard work is rewarded people, remember that. Great looking sleeves from Convulsive as well.(RK)
(Convulsive Records // myspace.com/convulsiverecords)
Miss Chain & The Broken Heels "Lie" 7"
Third single from Miss Chain, and much like the others, it's extremely proficient female-fronted powerpop from Italy cut from the same bolt as Suzy, Holly, Nikki, etc...Pleasant, hooky, light, no aftertaste, "Lie" is the down-but-still-perky heartbreaker, "He's Your Boy" is the sassy I'm-a-good-bad-girl mover (with hot guitar action), which is probably as good as most cuts on the Gentleman Jesse LP when you think about it. Can't complain about this one, really well done for the style. Produced by a Mojomatic, this is the only Miss Chain 7" still available, so all you young ladies better get moving. (RK)
(Shake Your Ass Records // www.syarecords.it)
Mosquito Bandito "Hello From Haiti" EP
You have to do something really special to get noticed when you're going the one-man-band route. We've all heard dozens of them, the novelty doesn't get you over anymore, and the whole thing has been done so well by so many already it's hard to be impressed. It's almost a dead genre. The Bandito's first 7" fell flat, but he does pick it up a bit here by adding extra players. The organ on "100 Years" gives it the extra resonance it needs to make it sound more than your average OMB. Really, it's an obvious remedy too. Don't want to sound like an average OMB? Don't be a OMB! I'm not being totally fair though. The other A-Side cut has a good blown-out and howling sound and doesn't rely on the usual one-two drum stomp. The B-side packs on four more, including "Oh Betty" which is borderline black metal, but it's nothing you haven't heard already. Not a terrible record by any means, but nothing I'd recommend you really need to hear either.(RK)
(Milk N Herpes // myspace.com/milknherpes)
Mystery Girls “Incontinopia” LP/CD
I have a lot of respect for bands treating the long player with reverence, not taking it as a smorgasbord on which to puke up a compilation of songs acting as unrelated segments, but as a blank slate of a format for songs to interact with each other in the confines of its time restraints. Especially when the band has a harmonica player sounding like he takes cues from “the Angry Young THEM!” (“I Don’t Need You”), the hatefuck vitriol of the Dwarves or Tractor Sex Fatality (“Cool It In Control”), all the while retaining a particularly great veneration for the subtle avant- erudite mannerisms of the Velvet Underground (“Oh! Apollo” being an ode to “Sunday Morning” if I’ve ever heard one, while “I Took The Poison” mirrors “Waiting For The Man” like a pristine mountain pond reflects your ugly mug back at ya you drunken Wisconsin duff). Actually… want to know something cool? Yeah you fuckin’ do. Okay then, I was playing this here album on the radio a few weeks back, following the Velvets in light of the spiritual oneness I reckon they have, and as “What Goes On” concluded and bled into the next cut I realized I hadn’t switched the channel for the turntable off and that “Oh! Apollo” was copulating over the airwaves with “Some Kinda Love.” And it was entirely synched. Totally in time. I let it ride out for maybe 45 seconds, captivated by my total idiot savant move. It was fucking awesome. You wish you were there, poser. But back to biznass: this album is fucking great. A real slow burn that eventually comes to fruition and dies right as you’re locked in its grooves, which is why I listened to the sleeping psychedelic undercurrents, reveled in its romping garage beat, and wallowed in the thick full-flavor of an organ-wielding five-man band permeating the entire album about three consecutive times upon receiving it. Seriously, it’s like the freakin’ rebirth of respect for the LP as a format here… as if I’m listening to a modern interpretation of The Young Rascals’ S/T or something, floated our way on fifty years of dirt and disillusionment. A beautiful inaugural trip, a stomping punk kick to the nads, just to relay the baton to the tear-jerking ballad of “The Magic Is Gone”. “We’re So Illegal” is as catchy as anything I’ve heard this new year, while the simplistic chord progressions of “Quit Your Flyin’ Around” coulda’ been lifted from Eddy Current himself. “Cold Feet” goes from light-hearted ramshackle romp to epic travailing across soundscapes the MC5 sometimes found themselves on in mere minutes. “Birds of Paradise” is the sound of natives in the Congo watching European colonialists arrive at their village by boat with only the most insidious plans in mind… Definitely not a hook-laden outing chock fulla’ cheap thrills and sugar highs, but a texturally solid work of good composure. A real cool time, this. (BG)
(In The Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Jeffrey Novak “After The Ball” LP
I loved in high school when these total Phish listening motherfuckers would be over drinking in their nu-hippie/jock hybrid getups comprised of Dead tie-dyes and Hollister shorts, belting out requests for Pink Floyd while I’d get out the Nice Pair set and throw one of ‘em on. “I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you’ve like…” starts pouring like cream soda from the speakers and you watch these douchers’ substance-assisted smiles revert as their highs come crashing in on themselves. Even before “Hello Hello” spurred into its tasteful take on one of the more popular but less-respected moments of the Floyd’s catalogue, a total, unabashed ode to Syd Barrett was playing out in front of me. But the Brit influence doesn’t quite stop at that rough-hewn, chemically imbalanced piano-pop – seems the demented anti-riffs of Wallers’ acoustic proves that Jeff’s got a bit of Country Teasers in listening rotation as well, with the foreboding minimalism of that band recreated to a tee, with maybe some Ziggy Stardust polishing up the project. That old Clevo band the Styrenes were really good at turning pop songs on their head with a certain sinister satire and Jeff seems to do that as well. Call me a faggert, but I think I like this better than Cheap Time. Is it true Jeff recreated and recorded the entire first Velvet Underground album when he was a teen? Someone’s gotta squeeze that jem of a skeleton out of his closet…(BG)
(Sonic Assault Records // www.myspace.com/jeffreydavidnovak)
Outclassed “This Could Be Coincidence” 12” EP
Whoa. I find it baffling that in the harrowingly expansive, uber-derivative state underground music exists in today that more people don’t catch onto it being as much about what you don’t do as what you do. And that those who don’t catch on send this tripe over to fucking Termbo. Good call! I don’t think I’ll review this. But here’s what I will do. I’ll leave you with a sample dollop of their beautifully pretentious upward-reaching scarf-wrapping prose they’ve set atop erratic, emotional math-metal tinged nu-hardcore: So consider this my letter of resignation, of slurred word on cracked concrete, life cannot be defined by these lines of symmetry, this sterile pulse, this silent motive. But we keep searching the sky for answers, when will we realize they are held firmly in our hidden wispers (sic) locked deep in the silence of our greatest fears and dearest friends… Oh, okay. My friends almost graduated high school. Now they make fun of kids like you from their bar stools upon returning from the mill and warehouse. Sometimes I wish I could fool myself into believing in the sincerity of this schlock, as I’d estimate they impress more babes with their ability to turn a supposedly damaged psyche into a an extroverted quest for a hug than say, oh, I don’t know, Black Flag did with their relentless masochism. Life is tough, y’know? But it’s not a lost cause. Keep on keepin’ on. Keep dreaming. Girls always buy that shit. GO STEELERS. (BG)
(Forcefield Records // www.forcefieldrecords.org)
Outdoorsmen "You're A Tattletale, Baby" 7"
The fucking Outdoorsmen are back with another fucking single and I couldn't be fucking happier you fuckers. No one else probably cares, but don't say I didn't warn you. Their first seven-inch was absolutley overflowing with potential (and "You Aint Got No Chains" still makes it on mix tapes almost a year later), and they absolutely fucking deliver on this sophomore effort. Title cut/A-Side is badass and all, but I think they really take steps towards claiming the garage-punk Intercontinental title belt with "Hey, Jessica", a totally catchy ballbuster dripping with snot and dirt. No fancy shit, just piss-on-yer-leg lean-n-mean garage goods. You want me to name names? Ok, it's like the Brides or Captain 9's reinvented for a new age. Put that in your fucking pipe. These three kids are from the Bay Area, and I NEVER hear anyone mention them. They don't dress up like Seventies dirtbags? They don't wear Beatleboots or have pageboy haircuts? They don't sing enough tunes about pizza or kissin' dudes? Nobunny doesn't write their songs? What gives? Scum stats: not enough copies, with a continuation of the fantastic art that graced their last single. A+. "Get on it you boners."(RK)
(Wild American // www.wildamericanrecords.com)
Outer Spacist "The Mind Is As Outer Space" 7"
Outer Spacist are from Columbus but sound quite a bit like what's going on in Detroit these days. A-Side is future-punk a la Terrible Twos, but without as much synth, splaying the song with speed-changes and dips and dives. Early Piranhas maybe? B-Side switches the speed to 33 for a longer sprawling jam with some blasted Sixties garage-psych guitar overtones, perhaps halfway between Human Eye and Clone Defects. Weird but rhythmic rock that keeps you guessing as to where it's going next, a bit like TV Ghost if they were more tied to conventional punk rock. These kids have some potential and the Mormons-from-outer-space gimmick seems like it could have a few miles in it.(RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Paintbox "Genseki" 7"
(Please check the below review of "Relicts" for the history of Paintbox if you're unaware of who they are and what they have done.)
At long last, a new Paintboxsong is released and if it doesn't make you want to cry the first time you hear it, you're obviously "not a lifer." After waiting for five years for a new release to come out (not counting the Poison Idea comp), playing this and hearing what you've been expecting to hear more and more of for such a long time makes you believe that a lot of stuff can actually come true, you just have to wait long enough (is this good or bad?). Chelsea's guitar absolutely sings from the first note and is supported during the choruses by the female vocals of Mayuko Sakai who may or may not be Mayuko Sakai the J-pop vocalist.
An absolute melodic dream for the first three quarters of the song; muted verses with Mune's vocals going on melodically, a lyrical guitar hook which is echoed in the choruses by Sakai, Chelsea's guitar backing up Sakai's voice in the verses, the bridge adding in some organ and bringing you back to the familiar verse - it all just comes together and gives you goosebumps. This is what we've been waiting for, Paintbox fans.
Then, not completely unexpectedly, the song changes gears for the ending and for the best. I won't give away the surprise, but if it doesn't bring a smile to your face, you need to diversify your interests a bit more. The song's title "Genseki" translates to "ore" or "unfinished gem" in English, which makes me feel that if this is unfinished, a finished gem must be a blowjob in a box or something, because this song is simply perfect for my ears.
The B side seems inconsequential when paired with this new song (which will be on the upcoming "Trip, Trance, Travelling" LP in a different version), as it has the Poison Idea tribute medley (minus phone call) and a half-baked version of Slade's "Cum on feel the noize". I won't lie that after one listen to the B side, I haven't listened to it again in the two weeks I've had the record.
Absolutely essential. Again, Prank Records will be doing a USA/World version of this to supplement HG.Fact's Japan-only release of 300 on black/white vinyl and 700 on black for a total of 1000 copies.(JC)
(HG.Fact // www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact/)
Paintbox "Relicts" CD
A little bit of history for the unknowledgable: Paintbox began in the mid-90s after a legendary Japanese hardcore band by the name of Death Side finished playing. Paintbox's main attraction was the genius guitar of Chelsea from the aforementioned band, and he was joined by three other heavyweights in the scene. Paintbox released two full lengths, four EPs and went through a few different permutations before the untimely death of Chelsea in 2007. Their third full length remains unreleased, but all are hopeful for it coming out this year, 2009. That said, Paintbox have received releases outside of their home country, Japan, thanks to Ugly Pop and Prank Records, so you really have no excuse not to know them if you consider yourself a fan of modern hardcore punk music.
This CD collects their EPs, compilation tracks and a limited live CD that was available at gigs only. For the casual fan who never bothered to track down the Japan-only 7"s (three out of the four here), or wants to hear how different the band would play live vs. in the studio, or for the hardcore fan who does own all this stuff and just likes to have it in one place/wants good mp3s of their ipod, this CD is great.
The first EP, "Honoo/Sabaku" shows the band playing straight-up Japanese hardcore, similar to the first full length. The next EP, "The Door/Provided Railroad" served as an advance notice for the second full length, which freaked out quite a few on first listen with horns, classical guitar, etc. A great example is "Provided Railroad" which features these unfamiliar sounds, as well as a samba part. Who else can put it together but this band? The flexi (gig-only?) "Back Reporter" shows a more playful side with a breakdown of the bassist and guitarist playing the Super Mario theme. Finally, the "Cry of the Sheeps" EP shows the band moving into a much more anthemic style, which judging by the new single is what the final stage of Paintbox is. Compilation tracks come from the Masami tribute (another classic Japanese hardcore band with a member going before his time) and the Poison Idea tribute, with their Poison Idea medley and hilarious phone call (some may say it wasn't before anybody's time in PI's case).
The sound quality for the live material is not spot-on, nor is it rough, but what you might expect from soundboard recordings from different clubs. There aren't too many foreign takes on songs you already know and love, but it's a blast getting to hear the songs at a live tempo, as well as some of Chelsea's different solos.
Word has it Prank Records will be pressing this as vinyl for the USA/World in the near future, so if you're diametrically opposed to CDs, don't worry.(JC)
(HG.Fact // www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact/)
Perdition "Perdition" 7"
Maybe there's hope for the East Coast after all! New York City's (can you even play gigs in NYC anymore?) hardcore punks Perdition combine a youthful rage, acne, beer, punk rhetoric and a record collection comprised entirely of Disorder, Chaos UK, Framtid, and Discharge records to make this six-song rager. It's refreshing when each song's style feels different than the last - this way if you have a dud, it's not really noticable, thanks to the gear shifting going on in the listener's head.
I mean, let's face it, there's nothing new here, but Perdition manage to pay fitting tribute to some of their favorite bands in sound. I'm a big fan of "This is Hell" that opens up the B side. I haven't been too keen on lyric sheets with punk music for a long time due to most of my listening being to non-English speaking bands whose lyric sheets I can't understand, so I decided to check out what was inside the black and white sleeve of this record.
Two fold outs with excellent collage work and minute-long treatises on society follow the skimpy lyrics for each song. One page features a full-side manifesto/complaint/appeal for the band which I could only make it halfway through before I stopped reading. Youth! Watch as the joke's on me and these guys are almost 30 or something.
A solid hardcore punk record, one of which hasn't come out of the USA in a while, so I'd recommend picking this up. It's not going to replace the Paintbox single on your record player, but will be good to listen to now and then. Better than not having it!(JC)
(Mountains of Madness Label // 302 Bedford Ave. Box 367, Brooklyn, NY 11211)
Personal and the Pizzas "I Don't Wanna Be No Personal Pizza" 7"
Full disclosure = I was totally expecting this record and band to be stupid, and not in a good way. I was ready to hate it. "Oh, great, another goofball band singing about food...oh, they have a gimmick? And they're from the Bay Area? Awesome...pffffffffffft." Yeah. I was wrong. Who am I to doubt the brain trust behind the Gooc Entertainment conglomerate. Surely smarter men than I.
So, the whole Bowser/ShaNaNa schtick is a little thick and corny sometimes, but you can't fight these tunes. "I Don't Wanna..." is the perfect combination of The Dictators and Ebenezer & The Bludgeons with lyrics about...mozzarella cheese. No kidding. Once the music gets going you kinda forget about the whole novelty aspect. They follow it with the gentle AM radio dude-ballad "I Don't Feel So Happy Now No More". And the lyrics aren't about cheese either. This is the one that gets stuck in your head. Well played. The flip is a straight lo-fi/lo-brains Dolls-y r'n'r&b guitar blazer ("I Can Read") that gets wild and turns itself into a "Raw Power" jam/swipe complete with primal sax bleating. Tasty! Sure, it's a gimmicky record, maybe a little corny (or would that be....cheesy?), but all-in-all it's just a hell of a lot of fun. And that's what budget rock is all about in the end, ain't it? Hey, whatever happened to DD and The Meatballs? I smell a split 7" in the making! Fire up the ovens! Scum stats: 298 copy black vinyl first press with hand-stamped labels, 48 of which were the special Pizza Box edition sold only at the Budget Rock '08 fest, and that I desperately need a copy of. Repress is in route.(RK)
(Gooc Entertainment // myspace.com/personalandthepizzas)
The Pheromoans "Revamper" 7"
Talk about a total package. Great art, great songs, great vibes. The Pheromoans, as little as I know about them, are my current favorite UK band not named Black Time (and with Hygiene a close second/third). They remind me quite a bit of the Male Nurse or very early Yummy Fur, oddball Brits using The Fall as a starting point and running free throughout genres/styles. This IS DIY. "Revamper" is deconstructed rock-garage with talked and shouted lyrics and a simple yet effective guitar line and creative percussion. "Penis Envy 96" is a slinky beatnik/spy off-the-cuffer full of non-sequiturs and nonchalant cool. "The Man Who Wolf Whistled" is spoken word with accompaniment from a garbage can and what sounds like a damaged horn. English as fuck and smarter than you (or me). Far more exciting than Pencils or Grafitti Avenue or Male Bondage or any of that other pasty and fey shite. Quite simply, an outstanding and memorable record and I would take an LP of this immediately. Convulsive Records come out of the gate strong with this (and the Melchior single), very excited to see how they progress as a label. They have the art/packaging aesthetic nailed already, lets hope they keep up the good tunes as well. (RK)
(Convulsive Records // myspace.com/convulsiverecords)
Photobooth "Da Me Tus Besos" 7"
I'm just gonna talk about the B-Side of this record first. Two loose garage-poppers par excellence, "You" treads ground covered before but does so with a catchy bounce and a standout vocal/lyric performance and "3 in the Morning" has an endearingly nerdy vibe. Two great cuts that I enjoy more than the A-Side, "Da Me Tus Besos" ("Give Me Your Kisses"), a cute Spanish lo-fi popper (and a Giorgio Moroder cover/interpretation) with a little gum/glam fringe that might be just a little too cute for me. Maybe I'm not pop-oriented enough, maybe I'm just ignorant, who knows. I highly endorse the flipside of this pup though and look forward to Photobooth 7" number two. Featuring ex-FM Knives/Lyme Regis and Mothballs (who's got a copy of their second 7" for me?), and it shows in a good way. Scum stats: first 100 on purple vinyl.(RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.daggermanrecords.com)
Pierced Arrows “Straight to the Heart” LP
My gal and I were listening to this album and I said to her, trying to make a point about the Coles’ remarkable consistency, “Well, there’s proof that nothing’s changed besides the drummer and band name—they’re even playing Dead Moon songs on this!” And, of course, I was completely wrong. None of the songs are holdovers from the Dead Moon days, or at least none that were released under their former name. (And, of course, I was scolded for saying such an idiotic thing). “Caroline” is the song that I was referring to, but the reason it was familiar is because it was on the Arrows’ first single. But, I think that still says something about this album. The Coles’ formula has not changed, nor have they lost a step. Fred’s wailing guitars have never sounded better (in fact, they sound the same as always). A surprising number of the songs still stick to your ribs. If you go a few months between listens you, too, may think of them as the same songs you’ve been listening to for years.(DH)
(Tombstone Records // www.deadmoonusa.com/tombrecords.htm)
Plates “Garth Butcher” EP
First things first—the song on side A is called “Sentimental Jenny Jones Fodder Has Been Around For Fucking Ever.” That’s just uncalled for, guys. Not only would it not fit on a single line of a Maxell cassette track list* but is Jenny Jones even alive anymore? Anyway, three tracks here and, honestly, I’ve been listening to this for about a month and still am not sure what to make of it, and I think that’s a good thing. Plates’ sound isn’t easy to pigeonhole—much like some of the American underground in the post-hardcore years, they sound as though they’re drawing influences from a wide range of styles. Songs swing from melody into crunching guitar breaks, can be tuneful or aggressive. I suspect that if there were another four songs there’d be as many variations on their sound. Nice silk-screened sleeve, to boot. Between Brown Sugar and Plates, it seems like something is brewing in Buffalo.(DH)
*A definite rule of thumb for song title length is not to exceed one line on a Maxell J-card.
(Feral Kid // www.feralkidrecords.com)
Psychedelic Horseshit “Golden Oldies” LP
As the title hints, this is not a collection of new Psychedelic Horseshit material; “Golden Oldies” compiles the band’s earliest 4-track recordings. Of the 20 songs here, 18 were released as the “Paper Singles” series of CD-R’s, but this will be their first wide release. In terms of quality and style, this is on par with the first single — coarse, blown-out pop songs that are consistently interesting, fun, grating. (DH)
(self-released // try www.floridasdying.com)
Rednecks "Lose a Border" 7"
This 7"s cover makes me wonder, "UK thrash revival?" "Swankys tribute?" and it doesn't seem to fall under either broad category. I bought the 7" after seeing an excellent live performance by the band, which was 15 minutes of full-on d-beat fueled Japanese hardcore. The 7" changes this dynamic a little bit, but at its heart is Japanese hardcore. The d-beat doesn't take over and unfortunately, nothing else takes over either.
There's no real guitar hooks, no catchy drumming or interesting vocal patterns to set this out from the pack. It does have a breakdown here and there, but nothing that changes the pace long enough to register in your head. It's a shame because it is a real raging record, but is one of those ones where after you listen to it, you ask yourself if you were listening to the record at all!
So, if you're cool with having a record you can put on to impress friends about this not-so-well-known Japanese hardcore band, order this, or look for a copy of a Blood Feast 7". If you want something that'll make you debate why you should play it instead of Paintbox, a good Fucked Up single or that Judgement 7" you just scored off ebay for $100, look for something else. Scum stats: hand numbered out of 500.(JC)
(S.T.C. Records // www.geocities.co.jp/the_red_necks)
Reports "Bill Wyman Metal Detector" 7"
More MA action from the Ride the Snake label, via Reports, a band whose LP I seem to remember Dave Hyde giving a posi review to in TB long ago, which I always meant to check out, and of course never followed up on. I probably should have, because I dig this din. "Bill Wyman..." is noisy 4-track pop-rock with a very New Zealand-y bouquet, quick and melodious with a careening vocal performance. B-Side is a basher with a more distinct garage-beat and some high-pitched lead squeals. Nothing fancy, but very enjoyable in its no-nonsense delivery. A concise racket that hits its target in the red and manages to be sneakily catchy to boot. No contrived gimmickry, no trendy moves, just a well executed rock'n'roll record here folks. Which sadly means no one will pay it any attention. Fools. PS: Bill Wyman actually has his own model of metal detector.(RK)
(Ride the Snake Records // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)
Romantic Robots "Blues By..." 7"
Sick Italian fucking garbage...these dudes are from Verona, which they tell me is where all Italian assholes come from, and the mastermind behind this is supposedly king asshole. At the least, he's a good friend of Alessandro's, which immediately makes him suspect. I recall liking half of the Romantic Robot's first single. I think I like 3/4 of this one. They're showing improvement."Miss Outerspace" is rock'n'roll recidivism at work, scorched voices yelling lyrics at top volume over primitive guitars/drums backing. It somehow maintains an air of dignity to it. Baffling and very listenable. "Astropop Sixteen" is blues-rock, and may be they only misstep here (besides being pals with Alessandro), as the Robots are at their best when they're being punk. "R.I.P." brings that punk, "Shuttle and Rattle" is Oblivians-retro and "Lookin'" is deathtrip trash. Not bad for a bunch of Eyetalians. (RK)
(Romantic Records // www.romanticrobots.com)
Scorces s/t LP
In the fifteen years since Charalambides’ ethereal droppings first covered the Texan landscape, the Carter surname has turned into a shibboleth among folks with the boundless patience and pocket money needed to absorb every utterance by this family of willowy ladies and quiet, bearded males. Heck, just a few weeks ago a certain Manhattan record shop was flogging some new mystico-dronework or other with what seemed a rather desperate pitch: “Mastered by Tom Carter.” Would I lie to you?
The Charalambides cottage industry is prodigious as fuck, squeezing myriad projects out of a small clutch of names – “Christina Carter,” “Tom Carter,” “Heather Leigh Murray” -- and the endlessly generative “And Friends.” I’m no algebraist, but color me impressed when I received in the mail a further permutation of this splendid American gene pool in the form of Scorces, a generous, double-LP helping of string, vocal, and echo box explorations by – brace yourself – Christina Carter and Heather Leigh Murray. Thank heavens, and finally! As if that weren’t too much excitement for one man, the cover art for this particular project was crafted by none other than former Double Leopard Marcia Bassett in a rare moment of repose between compulsive collaboration and myriad side projects. Take a look:
Hey, leave her alone, she’s a busy girl!
Now, let’s say a young lady settles into the divan for an evening of solitary pleasure in the company of a volume of salacious nineteenth-century prose, or perhaps a book of suggestive underwater photography and a hand-held mirror. It’s easy enough to figure out how she might begin the operation at hand, but how will she ever know when to stop?
It’s easy enough for us gents, for nature has built her own vexing restraints into our anatomy. Suddenly, the sheets are smacked with a dollop of salty cream, and that veiny vessel, once aching to be touched, is now throbbing and raw, the slightest rub yielding agony, not pleasure. Absent such an unequivocal braking mechanism, I suspect that we fellows would simply stay home all day and enjoy wave upon cascading wave of happy tingles, traveling through space and time, across the ecstatic fourth and perplexing fifth dimensions, gazing upon eternity and the void all at once, finally collapsing into beautiful, narco-erotic brain death. Free of these biological constraints, does our lady onanist stop only at exhaustion? Or is there a point at which she sublimates her pleasure, substituting musical petit-fours for the little earthquakes of her petits-morts? Little sandwiches, I mean.
I’m not saying that it woulda been a good thing for the girls to try'n shape these watery textures for pedal steel, electric guitar and voice into coherent, purposeful structures. At all. But atmosphere isn’t everything, and after Susan Alcorn’s magisterial And I Await the Resurrection LP of a couple years ago; after Grouper’s sublime first album -- jeezis, after Charalambides, even! -- the notion that reverb and sustain, a head full of cannabis and some languid lalalas will add up to more than the sum of its parts comes across as, um... presumptuous. Self-involved, even.
See, what we've got here is a long, solipsistic procession of mellow tones, washes and washes of liquid =weeeeee= string tones minus the sound of pick on metal, the attack of pick on metal all but disappearing into the ladies' volume pedals. It’s a lovely, intoxicating sound that bears only a trace of the guitar’s natural timbre. Scorces are obviously as addicted to that sound as they are, no doubt, to their Hitachi Magic Wands. Or to the aformentioned Ms. Alcorn, who, god bless her, understands the nuances of her instrument and makes it sing in a way that Mlles. Carter and Murray simply can't. Scorces didn't bother with all that practicing and listening and honing, so they beef up these lifeless -- excuse me, ghostly -- textures with a touch of vocals. When their voices appear, untreated save for a touch of reverb and delay, they sound harsh and intrusive. The whole trip grinds to a halt and the mothership comes crashing down to the parched Texan ground. It's a poor decision to say the least but one that will probably go unchecked by the group’s built-in audience. If that sounds like you, hey, knock yourself out.(AR)
(Not Not Fun // www.notnotfun.com)
Sedatives "Cannot Calm Down" 7"
Punk rock from Canada's capital city, where there seems to be a bit of rock activity as of late. They need the excitement, because the Sens fucking blow. This reminds me of post-'Black Album' Damned a little bit, lots of organ grinding married to faster and darker tempos and some hidden goth moves. Very emotive and anthemic, a little bit poppy, some would call this Wipers-influenced as well, but only in its down-n-out vibe. Sounds Canadian to me somewhow, like a less annoying and punkier Tranzmitors or Statues. Fans of The Estranged and their ilk would do well with this. Scum stats: 300 copies with hand-colored sleeves, being repressed by P.Trash as we speak so someone is digging it. Point given for Debbie Harry tribute sleeve.(RK)
(Going Gaga Records // myspace.com/goinggagarecords)
Silla Eléctrica “Hundir” EP
Hot on the heels of their debut EP on Spain’s Solo Para Punx*, Madrid’s Silla Eléctrica clock in with another four over-too-soon tracks. Infectious singalong (en Español) punk with vocals split between the sexes, this EP is the type to jump along to, fist pumps and air guitar strums aplenty. Not a second is wasted here, and my only complaint is that it seems over just as soon as it’s begun.(DH)
*If anyone has a spare copy of the Mexican compilation of the same name get in touch.
(Blind Owl Records // blindowlrecords-at-gmail.com)
Sneaky Pinks "Loner With A Boner" 7"
Vinylization of the ultra-rare Sneaky Pinks tour cassingle, featuring the Nobunny-flavored boombox jingle/cartoon theme song "We're The Punkles" on the bottom and the real "meat" on the top, the Black Randy tribute "Loner With A Boner", which will amaze all you shit(fi)eaters with it's invigorating blend of buzzsaw guitar, crappy Casio throb and monotone vocal punkitude. You might think this is a little on the short side to be paying import 7" price for, but then you'd be thinking like an idiot. "Loner With A Boner" is so beautiful and brief in its realization of the Devo+Ramones+no-fi dum-dum-dummer punk subgenre that even The Spits are envious. Score one now and stash it for when you decide to start listening to punk again. Fuckface. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)
Spider s/t 12”
That Spider single on HoZac is truly one of the best releases in the last few years so it was a shame that it went without a repress and has remained tough to find. So, nice to see this hit the streets—not only does this 12” contain the HoZac single in its entirety but it adds a trio of previously unreleased tracks. They picked the best songs for the single, but these don’t lag too far behind and it would’ve been a shame had they stayed in the closet. Great, simple silk-screen design on the sleeve as well.(DH)
(self-released // )
Georgiana Starlington "Hard Grave" 7"
Reverbed-out cowgirl strum produced by King Khan and with an ex-Black Lip in the band, which ensures them instant credibility with the Vice Magazine crowd. It's actually quite good, Georgiana possesses a fine voice on her own and sounds even better when paired with her male counterpart. The somewhat minimal accompaniment sounds as if it's echoing around a prairie campfire casting shadows on desert rocks. Both A-Side downers are keepers and even taste a little of peyote. The B-Side's "Ode to Love" might be the high water mark, a dusty duet with a psych-guitar lead and a pleasant gait. "Cowboy Lullably" is nod-out filler, but three out of four is fine with me. A great little record from a label I always incorrectly associate as only putting out synth-punk. Wrong again. Scum stats: 300 copies, gold vinyl, 50 come with an actual wooden sleeve, all come with bonus CDR, which seems to be the usual (and welcome) bonus with ABL releases. (RK)
(Army of Bad Luck // myspace.com/armyofbadluck)
Sudden Walks "Haulin' Ass Gettin' Paid" EP
I was very high on this band's debut 7" from almost two years ago, and we now finally get the follow-up. There's no monster hit here to compete with "My Nerves Are Fucking Shot" from the first one, but it still contains four of the best modern interpretations of the early Rip Off sound (pre-full color sleeves era) I've heard these days. Dirt-fi mashers that always make me think of The Motards and other Tex-ass crud for some reason, garage moves done with real punk spirit. Vocals are perfect, shouted/screamed with the right mix of ferocity and attitude, simple and catchy punk guitar action, drum-n-bass that bleeds together into a pleasantly gluey mix of crash-n-throb. And I take my previous statement back, "She Keeps Me Depraved" may be the monster I was looking for. Fuckin' savage howling with a real dirty breakdown and hardcore speed. Worth the wait, I'd most likely enjoy an LP's worth. Scum stats: 350 regular sleeves, 150 special editions w/silkscreen. A split release via FDH and P.Trash.(RK)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
Sweet Sixteens s/t EP
More no-fi budget pop from the Romance Novels/Eric & The Happy Thoughts camp. Drum machine driven cuteness a la Nobunny, but without the songwriting aptitude of the Rabbit. A-Side contains the Sixteens theme song, which is just a couple minutes of goofin' off, and "She Said Alright" which has its charms. The B-Side is an extended Casiotone "slow jam" for close dancing or napping. If this record were actually played by a bunch of puppets, I would be impressed. But I'm pretty sure it's real people. Oh well. Looks like it's already sold out, so what do I know. I would've rather had a First Base record. (RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // myspace.com/spinthebottlerecords)
The Love Is So Fast s/t 12”
Apparently related to Los Llamarada, The Love Is So Fast is the most recent release in a flurry of disks to document the Monterrey, MX underground scene. It is also the least interesting of the bunch, sounding more as though we’re eavesdropping on a practice than listening to something ready to be heard. There’s a track with a steady drumbeat and some noodling, a Madonna cover, and a couple that sound like they could end up to be decent songs in a couple of practices. I can listen to Llamarada and XYX all day long but I’m not so sure I needed to hear this. (DH)
(Siltbreeze // siltblog.blogspot.com)
Timmy's Organism "Squeeze the Giant" 2X7"
Timmy Vulgar solo-project (backed by some of the Terrible Twos where needed, I've heard) previously available via CD-R sold at Human Eye shows. For the most part it does sound like a more insular Human Eye, as subtle as Timmy can be while still retaining his genuine weirdness (and I say genuine, because I do believe there is a lot of forced weirdness being pushed these days, but that's an argument I'm not going to sully this review with). The fried guitar explorations work really well (and push for more Helios Creed references) and there's a lot of landscape to cover over four sides of vinyl. "No Hassle" is a real outer space jam, "Body of Love" is the closest to rock-out HE territory (and a song they do live as a band), "Squeeze the Giant" is loopy noise-skronk and "Tree Thirsty Earthquake" might be the oddest of the bunch, with Timmy crooning over warbling organ and effects. For those Human Eye fans who feel the need to go deeper in this guy's psyche, you got it right here. It's not the best record he's ever played on, but it's an interesting and deeper look into his painted, glittered and octopus-wearing dome.(RK)
(Sacred Bones Records // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)
Tyranna "Back Off Baby" EP
Archival release from a new Toronto label, presenting the works of Tyranna, local TO female-fronted punks of 1978-80 vintage. Tyranna's only vinyl appearance was "Back Off baby" on the 'No Pedestrians' comp, which is comped here (in a different version) along with four other originals. Recordings are raw and it adds a bit of character to somewhat by-the-numbers punk songs, although they have some surprising twists and turns in their repetoire. "Johnny" sounds like mock New Wave stabbed with a punk shiv, "Shockface" is good'n'odd, "Back Off Baby" is the hooky high energy "hit", "Neighbour" is Canadian sing-song powerpop. The real killer cut is "Revenge" leading off the B-Side, with a slowly sung intro which gives way to serious punksaw riffing and with the drums and bass racing to push the tempo faster. And there's even a false ending! I play this one a lot. Reminds me of something one of the What? Records bands might come up with, somewhat sinister and sounding actually dangerous. Cool punk name = girl singer is credited only as Rabies. Double-sided sleeve repros various fliers, news articles, etc..."Revenge" would be a welcome addition to any KBD volume, and the rest of the tracks are certainly worth hearing especially for Canadian punks. Well done. (RK)
(Boppa do Down // myspace.com/boppadodownrecords)
Useless Eaters s/t 7"
Finally, I can use my reviewing powers for some good: don't buy this
crap. Save the money. You and your beer can thank me later. "But
Jesse, I love Memphis punk! And they're gonna have a record on
Shattered!" you say. I'm guessing that if Useless Eaters had any good
songs, they saved them for Shattered and poor Goodbye Boozy got the
rejects. The A-side is the only memorable song out of the three and
that's just from repeating the chorus so much it seems like there was
never a verse to begin with.
The other two songs? I listened maybe twice and they have left
absolutely no impression on my tender young mind. So, I'll repeat,
and take it from me, I'm a professional: don't buy this three song
abomination with sleeve art that is gonna make you put your Feederz
record to work either on the sleeve or on your eyes themselves. At
least there were only 300 copies made.(JC)
(Goodbye Boozy // leaning tower of pizza, ITALY)
Vagina Boys "Traitor" 7"
I gotta say, I thought that first Vagina Boys 7" was surprisingly good. This one has it's moments too. Your first reaction is to think this is some jabbering shitrock/Grabbies-esque mess. But it's not. It's more like really creepy slower-tempo punk rock (maybe even darkly post-punk, shit...) with Mr. California's deadpan nerd vocals about revenge lending the songs a real stalker vibe. Both tunes have great intro parts, with "Traitor" being the more semi-direct rock song, albeit a dark and menacing one (and not menacing in some meathead/heavy way, but menacing in a sex offender way). The flip side is the really uncomfortable track ("Enemy"), with a dirge-like pace and total put-the-creep-on lyrics/delivery. The soft synth accents add extra nausea and remind me of Last House on the Left, but I'm not sure from which character's viewpoint. For all of you so amazed by assembly-line weirdpunk acts, here's some legitimately weird dudes bringing their vision to vinyl whether you want to hear it or not. You will feel sleazy after listening to this, and not in a "cool" way. This record = real deal weird shit. If you can't take it, go back to your fantasy world of wacky punk hijinx and limpdick pop confections.(RK)
(Proud To Be Idiot // myspace.com/vaginaboys)
V/A Beck/Jay Reatard split 7"
Hello! File this under pathetic, and fuck it in the ass.
OK,what Beck performs here is (of course) a somewhat catchy and cleverly produced mainstream pop number, disguised as a HIP tune with the help of a bunch of fancy studio tricks and overdubs. Something boring and safe enough to be packaged and sold to all the misguided faggy AlternativeRock kids out there. And the bastard is right on it, OUT with the Nineties grungy production and IN with the "new" surfy more rockendrolly sound of the quasi-edgy groups of today, yay! Nothing shocking there, sure, but I've gotta say this thing did catch me by surprise for many reasons:
NUMBER ONE: I didn't know that pseudo (anti-)rockstar whinin' loser Beck wanker was still at it. I guess only the best of them OD and fucking die.
NUMBER TWO: The fact that this useless fucking record even exists. I mean, what we have here its a seven-inch single with a cut from Beck's latest (-gag-) masterpiece on one side - "Gamma Ray" - and a virtually identical cover version of it by garagerock idol Jay Reatard on the flip. Yes, it only makes sense if you consider sad marketing reasons: you know, give the MTV dude some (fake) underground appeal, and give the up-and-coming wannabe MTV dude some exposure and money. Are you vomiting yet? Good.
NUMBER THREE: Here's a Jay Reatard related item that does NOT display a gigantic picture of his chubby face on it staring over dramatically into the camera - pretending to cut his own throat or wearing cool sunglasses or whatever (and don't forget to digitally add some blood somewhere). No, it does not look good (just black and white geometric lines and shapes) but i'll take ANYTHING over the ego-maniacal shit the guy feeds his many fans and minions these days.
NUMBER FOUR: Sadly for all of you who still worship JR, even if his stuff has been progressively tamer for years now (will you fucking wake up?), Beck's side - with more relaxed and less pretentious vocals - is probably the better one, for what matters.
Genuine TV ROCK garbage, that's what this is. Two sides of it, and with the same fucking song on both. Congratulations to everyone involved!(A.)
(Matador Records // www.matadorrecords.com)
V/A Expo ’70/Rahdunes split LP
Expo ’70’s side is a slow building drone track. Not bad background stuff, but really…how many drone albums do ya need? Nothing really sets it apart from the pack. It could use a gong or something. Oh well.
The Rahdunes side kicks things off much better with something that sounds like The Cannibal Holocaust theme revised by Tod Dockstader, Martin Rev, or, hell…even Wolf Eyes. Pretty cool. Dying sea mammal calls sloshing about in a funky bass groove. Vocals are dusted into oblivion. Second track is some seriously damaged pluck n’strum looped and jazzed about. Panic inducing until a thick industrial thump buries the scrambling strings. Sloppy tape repeats. I like this. It annoys me in a good way. Healthy dollop of early Kraut seems to be topping this side nicely. What the hell is the vocalist babbling about? Last track wraps things up with a skyward shot into of the E.A.R. variety. David Cronenberg should talk these dudes into rescoring Scanners at this point. A smattering of Coil or early Severed Heads starts to wash over the ending. This side would look good wrapped in a Woodsist or Sacred Bones sleeve. Not to shabby. A solid flip fer sure. Enough to make me wanna’ keep it. (RSF)
(Kill Shaman // http://www.killshaman.com)
V/A G.A.T.E.S./Burning Leather split 7"
I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first? The bad news? The bad news is that G.A.T.E.S. did a split 7" with a totally uninspiring, unmoving, undeniably unoriginal heavy r'n'r band. The good news is that at least you can still play the G.A.T.E.S. side and get your money's worth.
"Whoah whoah whoah now" you're saying as you sit in your crust chair and type on your chain-encrusted airbook; "you're calling Burning Leather unoriginal in the same gasp as G.A.T.E.S.? If anybody is unoriginal..."
Shut it, hippie. At least G.A.T.E.S. changes tempos and has the decency to sing in uncomprehendable howls as opposed to plodding through three and a half minutes of the same drum beat while I learn about having nowhere to go because of some weird rash. It's not my fault you can't ride a motorcycle. (JC)
(H.G. Fact // www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact/)
V/A Greatest Hits/Luxury Sweets split 7"
V/A Greatest Hits/Tough Shits split 7"
Enter the Greatest Hits, a band so ridiculous that when I had the misfortune of seein' live i didn't even nother heckling. Too clumsy these clowns were, you see. Wrapped in them wacky punky costumes , very very carefully pussyfooting around the stage with choreographed moves and the dumbest forced sneers, addressing a baffled crowd of maybe eight idiots like they were a sold-out fucking stadium, AND I SHIT YOU NOT , apparently even complaining before the show about the men's bathroom not having a mirror to fix their hair in (cuz doin' your hair in the van sucks you know?).
Well, I sure did not want to cross these Seattle fagoids tragicomic path ever again, but here I am now holding not just one, but TWO goddamn split 7"es they share with like-minded and equally laughable bands: Luxury sweets from SF, and Philly's Tough Shits.
Both records feature the expected colored vinyl, the horrid photoshop artwork (with the cute shots of all the band members you wanna see) and pretty much the same clueless brand of mediocre poppy washed-out “punkrock" crap...but obviously everyone's main concerns here are stupid pants and makeup , so who cares about the actual music, right? Anyways,
the Luxury Sweets attempt a classic powerpop-punk sound, and fall short of anything that would be good or exciting in that genre. Maybe coming off in the end like a 3rd tier Dirtnap band (and fuck those Dirtnap bands too by the way).
The Tough shits go for more of a vintage style...total and utter J.Thunders aping galore here, minus the trouble, the balls and the fun. On their side they've got one song about how cool tattoos are, and another about some bitch who kisses on the mouth. What are they, fucking twelve years old?
And finally, winner of this bloody battle of comedy acts, the Greatest Hits unleash both a glam punk ballad so long and painfully bad it's not even funny, and (on the other single) two cuts that while a bit faster, are still totally unoriginal at best, half-assed, watered down, and overall - excuse my French - AS GAY AS FUCKING POSSIBLE.
Man I really don't have any fucking patience for these kinds of abominations. May the drunken ghosts of the dead junkies these posers idolize haunt their asses forever.(A.)
(Desert Island Discs // myspace.com/desertislanddiscsseattle)
V/A Holocaust In My Head/Motorbreath split LP
Antiplayax "Valencia Marca Registrada" LP
Valencia's Trabuc Records sent in two LPs of european HC that while truly of the much dreaded GENERIC kind, are possibly worth your interest...if studs and bands patches over black clothing is your game (thus you are either under 20 years of age or a retard). Otherwise, I'm afraid its just pretty solid but formulaic shit you've heard many times before, and done much better by many others. Play it once and file away. Care for more? Me don't think so.
Anti-Playax's 'Valencia Marca Registrada' is a bouncy straight-up decent punk-hc album with a nice not-distorted guitar rippin' away. Too bad it does not stand out in any way and it's just one in a million derivative fucking slabs, complete with the boring political lyrics the sub-genre requires.These guys even have a song against smoking cigarettes at shows, because ya gotta be respectful man...come the fuck ON!! Boyscouts/PUNKS? Im glad I missed THAT meeting.
Holocaust In My Head is your typical crustcore stuff, with all the songs built on the same Discharge-like beat and two guitar riffs. The noisy production and the lyrics being yelled in Spanish (hence not understanding what the fuck they're crying about) help me to not totally hate it, but again this is trite as fuck. And unfortunately they do include an insert with English translations, so I can't actually escape being bothered by their gloomy and extremely serious bullshit blahblahs, thanks!
Flip the record and you get Motorbreath from Sweden blasting through their side in more rockin' manic style, and they're easily the best band of the lot. I would gladly do without all the annoying guitar metaaal solos, but these mongoloids aren't too bad, with crazy soundin' distorted vocals and, more importantly, some lyrics like this winner here: "Drinking for days, Hawaiian shirt on, lettin' all go, drivin' in rusty car - get on the back seat of a rusty car". Gotta at least love that.(A.)
(Trabuc Records // www.nodo50.org/trabucrecords)
V/A Marked men/Birthday Suits split 7"
After recalling how lame the last Marked Men LP was, excitement level was at zero when I got around to listening to this. Fortunately, they surprised me a bit. "Lost It All" isn't primo Marked Men, but it does sound like it could be an outtake from the first couple of albums. Tough garage pop. Nice. Then they get all sentimental and cover Sweet JAP's "Oh My Pretty Face", which was one of the JAP's best tunes, and they make it sound just like Marked Men: The Rip Off Records Days. Hearing them play this actually made me really happy, as it reminded me of the good old days. Swell job fellas. I'm sorry about all the bad things I've had to say about your recent releases. Nothing personal. And thanks for all the good times in the past.
Birthday Suits are the definition of band that works out great live, but on record they pretty much blow. The live energy between Matthew and Hideo is tough to replicate via recordings, and the odd dynamics of the songs never seem to work out right without that visceral personal impact. I'll go see them live any day, but the recordings don't move me in the slightest, and the one original tune they do on this is no exception. They cover The Reds' "It's About Time" and do it justice via a pretty straight version...again, it brought me a smile, thinking about those innocent days when The Reds were one of the most exciting bands on the planet. Fun times. We could use a little more of that these days. Scum stats: 600 pressed on clear vinyl, sure to sell out quickly as every wimpy pop-punk kid is now into the Marked Men.(RK)
(Nice and Neat Records // www.niceandneatrecords.com)
V/A "Messege - Now is the Time to Howl" MCD
This is a three-way split MCD with some of modern Japanese hardcore's finest examples providing two tracks each. Providing a tense intro is Mie's Total Noise Accord and in the five minutes of their first song, they go through quite a lot of territory. Builds and bursts of speed and drawn-out howls from their singer, they pick up where they left off in their Crust War 7". A mix of high-speed verses and complex bridges with spot-on changes. No chances for the listener to get bored here.
ORGANISM from Osaka take on the next round with their type of Discrete-records styled japcore (read; light on the solos like you'd expect from a Selfish records band from years before). One of the main draws of Organism used to be their twin vocalists, but on this recording, it almost seems like they're fighting for the mic at times. Aside from that, two solid tunes that might remind you japcore fans of bands like Bandit or Swindle Bitch - raging parts with just enough hooks to keep you interested.
Tokyo's Akutare provide the last two tracks and a great change of pace from the first two bands. Granted, each band change is a good change of pace, but Akutare's is definitely more drastic than the first. Japanese hardcore with a swagger. Not exactly War Painted City Indian, but this three piece know when to sing and when to throw in a guitar solo. While the first two bands decided to go as fast as they wanted to, it feels like Akutare are deliberately slowing things down - they could go faster, but they're more concerned with rhythm. Not a bad idea, and it keeps the MCD fresh, time and time again.
Compilations/split 7"s and the like are generally trash, but this is a keeper, just like a lot of older Japanese compilations - 'Thrash 'til Death', 'A Farewell to Arms', 'Great Punk Hits', etc...Get it.(JC)
(No Master // get it from Punk and Destroy = punx.exblog.jp/)
V/A Neutralboy/9 Pound Beaver split 7"
Not a lot to say about this very dull split 7" by two poopy WA state bands. 9lb Beaver (great name choice guys, really) give us a fast punkish tune with (not really) humorous lyrics about killin' child-star Jon Benet. Lousy sounding by-the-numbers Queers-inspired stuff. Pretty fucking terrible and all, but at least these jerks don't seem to take themselves seriously.
On the other side, Neutral Boy have slightly higher ambitions, delivering a mid-tempo track called "Your Friends Suck" that really wants to sound like the late Descendents of "Everything Sucks", but misses whatever it is that makes the Descendents a classic band, and therefore just fucking SUCKS. Apparently they even got Mr. Stephen Egerton (all the way from his Tulsa, OK based studio) to do the pre-production, which makes me wonder how much money have these fanboys wasted on that? And even more, what the fuck does PRE-production even mean?
Bottom line, this is one of those unlucky records whose destiny is to just sit with countless others in the darkness of a 50 cent shit bin, waiting bored and unplayed until the end of time. Occasionally, MAYBE looking up for a second at some ugly nerds face as he's flippin his way trough searching for something else. What a life, huh? Well don't feel too bad, only 300 of these have been pressed and forced to the eternal void.(A.)
(Big Steve Records // myspace.com/bigsteverecords)
V/A New Kids on the Block 7"
Compilation of new jacks on the new jack Randy Records label. Denton's Bad Sports kick off the festivities with one of their stronger songs, sounding like a punky Marked Men. Decent cut from some career minor leaguers. Columbus' Day Creeper bat in the two hole, and contribute a nice lo-fi number with an organ accent, sort of an unhinged pop style. Very likeable. Eric & The Happy Thoughts kick of Side B with another AM radio anthem with a good hook, reminds me a little of a Touch-Me-Nots song. Every time I hear an E&THT record I just wish I could hear these songs with a fuller sounding band. I love no-fi, but I think there are some great songs being obscured by the thin sound which kind of makes them all sound the same. Bradford Trojan (the first of the NKOTB that I haven't already heard something by) bats clean-up for the comp and does a near acapella doo-wop-ish number which sounds pretty great. I was in love with a girl named Amanda for many years as a youth (it ended badly), so I can relate to the dude. Bradford croons backed by some girls la-la-la-la-ing throughout and some vague drums/handclaps. Was that a cymbal or did someone drop a pan in the kitchen where they were recording? Nice gently plucked guitar part as well. Best song of the bunch! I'd like to hear more from this weirdo, who has apparently been kicking around Tucson for some time, and has a Nobunny connection somewhere along the line for all of you fans of the lepus. Nice themed compilation, I'd like to see Randy do further volumes. Scum stats: 500 pressed, 225 with white sleeve, 225 with yellow sleeve, 50 with transparent sleeve.(RK)
(Randy Records // myspace.com/randyrecs)
V/A Personal & The Pizzas/Bobby Ubangi split 7"
The big beef here is that Personal only gives up one new song on this and repeats "I Don't Feel So Happy Now" (well, they do change the title slightly, but it's still the same damn song...I'm not falling for that one.) from their debut 7" for some reason. It is my favorite song of that record, but what the fuck. That's what we call weak sauce around these parts. The one new cut is a primo slice though, another acoustical attitudical Dolls/'Tators-styled ballad that might even slide into kinder-n-gentler Dead Boys turf. Splendid, but I still feel slightly cheated. The Ubangi side has him doing two one-man garage slower tempo strummers. Ramones-esque (think "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend") in structure and simplicity. An interesting take on the self-recorded/one man idiom from these two, when you think about it. Not just Myspace weirdos and Sacred Bones recording artists are capable of operating a four-track by themselves in their bedromms/basements, you know. For that, I give this single bonus points, but still feel slighted by Personal for the rehashed tune. Two records in and that's all you got? I thought you was from Jersey? Scum stats: 600/black.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
V/A Pink Reason/Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones split LP
This is the rare occurrence in which two bands can release a split covering each other’s songs and not be relegated to novelty status. In fact, all of these tracks are given a new life and can stand next to the originals without embarrassment. Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones take on “Down on Me” and “By a Thread” full band style. Great. Pink Reason’s songs are so versatile* and these treatments attest to that. With pounding drums and yelled vocals, this is a much more aggressive take. Likewise, the addition of a prominent organ changes the feel of “By a Thread”—still haunting but with less sense of abandonment. Pink Reason’s ominous, folkpunk version of “Frolicked Walk Through the Autumnal Bliss” is followed by “The Lecherous One.” As on the flip, the songs are fluently translated and as evocative here as the way they were written. (DH)
* I am breaking no ground by making this statement, but that these songs hold up to PR’s ever changing lineups and style changes is a testament to their quality. To see “Borrowed Time” done acoustically one week and with a full band the next and have nothing lost in translation, well, I don’t think most could pull it off.
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
V/A The World's Lousy With Ideas Volume 7 7"
G'day, mate. Word has it Almost Ready Harry gets wild as a wallaby soon as you put a slab of Foster's in his furry paws, and that's all right by me if that screamer's case of the crazies means he's gonna deliver as fine a joey as Vol. 7, the best installment of his World's Lousy series since prob'ly the first. Let's have a Cap'n Cook, shall we?
The four Antipodean ensembles on this forty-fiver play with the -- ahem -- conviction of Paul Hogan in a divvy van. That's a bloody oath -- men at work, indeed. And women! You'd have to be a dingo, or dry as his donger, not to crack a fat on the opening cut sung by the "sheilas" of Super Wild Horse. It's a halting, bog-standard, one-chord garage rave-up that opens the door to UV Race, whose toon sounds so much like fellow big-booters (sandgropers) Eddy Current Suppression Ring that I was gobsmacked when I looktit the cover and saw it was a completely diff'run band! Hit me like a boomerang to the nuts. The main dif's in the singer, who don't do much but yelp away at how he's feeling tired after a walkabout. But don't take that the wrong way, mate -- that's life on the outback for you, "I'm So Tired"'s a real Sherlock-Holmser and the perfect setup for the kangaroo punches that hit you on the flip.
B-for-"barbie" starts off with my favorite cut on this eep, a corker by the Straight Arrows called "Magic Sceptre" that summons the fuzz and tension of the Prunes and the Litter and filters it through the banana-bending punk-rock detach-o-ment that characterizes all four of these koala huggin' bandies. Sweet as fairy floss, this.
Finally we boomerang to what us seppos think of as the "stars" of this set, ECSR, turning in a solid ECSR post-post-post-pre-punk-midtempo-motorik-velvet-wombat-garager like how you like it, and it sounds a lot like UV Race (and a little like the Strokes) on the flip but with better vocals and so what.
Ask the oldies for the 3 or 4 quid this spinner'll cost ya, put another shrimp on the barbie, whip out the ol' doodle and go to town on the Bavarian beave adorning my cover variant (see?) Remember, it plays from the inside out! Fair dinkum.(AR)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Vermillion Sands "In the Wood" 7"
The debut 7" from Vermillion Sands was an under the radar import hit last year, romancing many of us with its Holly Golightly-like Americana-reverant swinging country-rock. Anna is now back with her second 7" accompanied by her Italian-garage All Star backing band (Movie Star Junkies and Mojomatics members) and she delivers three more heartfelt retro-rockers. "In the Wood" takes an uptempo country shuffle and augments it with some classy keyboard and ringing guitar making for a catchy and sexy A-Side. The B-Side adds "May", a playful and twangy serving of country-garage and her version of the gospel traditional "Trouble in My Way" is again cut directly from the Golightly playbook, but done with just as much, if not more, endearing panache. More of a good thing is always welcome on my turntable, and Anna exudes sexiness but isn't relying on it to sell these songs. She has talent to get by on, and the sex appeal just makes it that much better. Released on the new and improved Fat Possum label, who are trying hard to be a relevant label with their recent slate of new releases.(RK)
(Fat Possum // www.fatpossum.com)
Kurt Vile & TheViolators “The Hunchback” 12”
Like many, I’m guessing, when I first heard the name Kurt Vile I was sure it was an ingeniously snotty punk moniker he’d adopted, but apparently it’s the one on his birth certificate (not that I’ve seen it). The first vinyl appearance of Vile with the Violators (shouldn’t that be spelled Vileators? Just sayin!) sees them channeling the swirling fuzz of Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine and the guitar noodling of 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere', with Vile’s nonchalant, dreamy singing adding a bit of 70s singer/songwriter ambiance. The record opens with the title track, “The Hunchback,” which sounds like it begins mid-song (I like how you can actually hear the tape starting). Likewise, side B opens with a kind of instrumental reprise, hence the name “Hunchy’s Back”—I’m not sure why but I find this mildly amusing (though not in a bad way). It’s a slightly noisier album than 'Constant Hitmaker' but it’s definitely still in the same vein. A+, all in all. I just wish it were longer. (SJ)
(Richie Records // www.testostertunes.blogspot.com)
Watery Love "Debut 45" 7"
No idea who the fuck these fucks are, but seeing the label they're on and the lack of information available at my fingertips I get the gut feeling they're krimpet-eating Phillies fans, but I could be wrong. Either way, their inclusion of a non-sequitur sleeve blurb from Charles Willeford makes me want to at least smoke cigarettes with them sometime. The big hit here is "(I'm A) Skull" with it's forceful titular declaration really driving the point home, stopping for some Robitussin and a sub-genius guitar solo on the way. I get the impression we might finally have a band that can hang tough in the heavyweight class with Homostupids and FNU Ronnies. They then proceed to piss me off on the second track by covering a band I've never heard of and making it sound good. Flipside of this is called "All Night Long" and it's what the Brainbombs might sound like if they were American shitheels with a crappy four-track and taste enough to leave the Sotos books in the dumpster and then pass out next to it. Invigorating. Looks like this is limited to 300 or so copies so you better hope you get some good tips on your paper route this week. (RK)
(Testostertunes // testostertunes.blogspot.com)
The Weakends s/t LP
It's easy to write off Feench garage-rock bands these days. "They all sound the same - blown out production recorded by one of the Fatals or the Kung Fu Escalator guy..." or whatever excuse. And a lot of it is true. Too much of a good thing and all...Yet I repeatedly find myself reaching for this Weakends LP. I want to say it's nothing special, but apparently my ears are telling me it is. It does sound French, but not overbearingly so...the production isn't too blown out, they're not trying to be overly savage. It's a good combination of bluesy Demon's Claws-esque songwriting, but even a bit more poppy, and maybe Looch from the Magnetix's use of reverb and echo. It's not an album trying to melt your face off, instead it warrants repeated looks on the strength of some well crafted tunes and well placed effects. Medium-fi production doesn't distract from the songs. I don't want to make this record sound too mellow either, as there are definite rockers here. It's just a solid LP reflecting the past few years of the French underground. Better than the Sonic Chicken 4 LP (and they have a slightly better band name as well) you boobs were flipping over.(RK)
(Rob's House // www.robshouserecords.com)
Woven Bones “With You Alone” 7"
I don’t know how else to say it: Jesus and Mary Chain’s “In a Hole” with a drawl. They’ve got the steady snare, reverb drenched vocals, plenty of feedback, and a good, driving riff, only it’s all laid on thick, at a leisurely pace. Both tracks follow this formula which makes for a first-rate single. This is the debut from these Austin, TX, kids, and it looks like they’ve already released a split with Jacuzzi Boys and will follow with a single on Sweet Rot so the future is bright. (DH)
(HoZac Hookup Klub // myspace.com/horizontalaction)
To read past reviews go here.