RECORD REVIEWS 2011 (N to Z)
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(SB: Young Steve)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich K.)(TO: Tm Onita)(RSF: Rob Vertigo) (A.: Alessandro) (ES: Eddie Schneider) (MH: Mike H.) (NG: Nick Goode)(EEK: Erick Elrick)
Nacho Business "Cotton Candy Dreams" 7"
We have a front-runner for worst band name of 2011. A couple of ex-Riff Randalls go for the girl-pop flavor-of-the-year, but at least execute it with a bit more energy than most. "Spend the Night" has a rather upbeat pulse that almost makes up for naming a song "Cotton Candy Dreams". Almost. Three songs in total, the other two essentially sound like whatever other band you want to pick that is choosing the Shop Assistants, Henry's Dress and/or Marine Girls as a starting point these days, token guy drummer included. Slumberland or bust. On Charles Albright's Sacramento Recs label, pink vinyl (gag), repeats program on both sides.(RK)
(Sacramento Records // charlesalbright-at-gmail.com)
Naked on the Vague "Abstract Figures" 7"
I sort of slept on NOTV for a bit there. I think I just lumped them in with Fabulous Diamonds (who sort of suck), maybe because they had Siltbreeze LPs around the same time. I dunno. They were OK on those first recordings, but I had rockier Aussie roads to follow. They have this new 7" on RIP Society, and it appears they've fleshed out the band membership a bit, and it helps. Two cuts of dark Goth-wave done with some real flair. A variety of sharp and dangerous sounding synth-moves and whirls, dramatically echoed vocals, steely guitar lines that sound like synths, bass playing that treads carefully in between it all. "Abstract Figures" is a bit off-pitch which somehow gives it a good hook with a throbby delivery. This is the punker/wavier number. B-Side is the moneyshot though, mournful eyeliner wearing depresso post-punk that has the guy's vox echoed out of the toilet and an absolutely killer sounding synth breakdown in the middle where the vox get all ominous and the synth lines are cutting each other while the bassline watches without emotion. What the fuck is gated reverb? Because I think they use it here. Sounds like a shitty digital handclap in the background, which is great. NOTV slip in a real Side B treat here.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsociety.blogspot.com)
Naked on the Vague "Twelve Dark Noons" 12" EP
A 12" to accompany a short film series shot in the Australian Outback (a Kickstarter project which actually made its goal) as a collaboration between between the band, Sacred Bones and Night People. A full band affair that has them coming straight out of the graveyard, all six songs have a pretty heavy Bauhaus vibe. Gothic post-punk with brooding/menacing basslines, goosebump guitars, vampy vox and eerie synths. Which is just what I was hoping for. Certainly cinematic and melodramatic, the guy and gal sometimes seem to trying to out-deadpan each other with their delivery, which adds humor or atmosphere, depending on how you're feeling. Titling a song "The Fridge" and having it be a creepy synth-heavy number seems funny, but it works. The guitar work on a few of the songs gets rather airy, in a NYC-art-rocker style, which takes some of the dampness off at needed moments. I've not seen the film, but the cover shot of this record looks kind of Peter Weir-esque, which I can imagine works out okay. A superb record for nightime goth-ing about the record room, do not attempt to listen to this during daylight hours. Perfect for the 12" format as well. Scum stats: a few special editions (and cassettes, shirts, prints, etc.) were available to Kickstarter contributors.(RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)
Natural Law “Slump” 7”
A quick platter of discordant, harsh bursts of negativity that sound like Pollution playing the Faith side of The Split. They’re pushing a strong aversion to harmony and a convincing Alec Mackaye impression. The A-side is pretty forceful, concise, and the spoken-word intro to the title track is endearingly nerdy before going into the best cut on the record. It peters out towards the end of the B-side, “Acclimate” gets to be a little too plodding and is a pretty sour note to end on. Knowing that it’s brought to you by one of the twitching tentacles of the most active mediafire-blog octopus in the whole little ____osphere adds a little context - they’re certainly making sounds that don’t really sound like anything else, and that’s probably their goal. At the moment it’s two clashing sounds that don’t quite sync up, but they’re cool ideas (and they could)… I’d like to see what comes out in the future. Get more vicious. (NG)(Katorga Works // katorgaworks-at-gmail.com)
Naughty Girls "Bad Habits" 7"
Snotty punk rock from Montreal released on one of the School Jerks' label. Standard trebly moves with slobbering vocals, three songs worth of by-the-book punk rock about hating your job and other bullshit. Recording sounds quite clean giving it a bit of a sharp in-yer-face quality that helps the tunes out a bit. Slightly better than mediocre, meaning you don't need to lose any sleep over not hearing this. One of those bands that are probably fun to watch while you drink a beer in a local punk house basement, but not memorable enough for you to take them up on the "We've got seven inches for sale.." post-set announcement.(RK)
(Bad Vibrations // schooljerks-at-gmail.com)
Needles//Pins "Drop It" 7"
Vancouver trio playing it somewhat twee and somewhat trite. Actually, it's not awful, I like the guitar sound, it's a little loose in a slightly inept way. "Drop it" is garage-pop in the Bay Area vein, "Kalifornia Korner" is just plain jane garage with a mid-tempo hook. Vox are a little squeaky but with a decent garagey delivery lending something different to their schtick. Actually reminds me a little bit of the Suspicions on the B-Side, the A-Side is just a little bit too cute but reveals itself to be a rather good powerpop song in the end. A less awkward and less charming Boys Club perhaps. (RK)
(Scum Buzz Records // needlesxpins-at-gmail.com)
Night Birds "The Other Side of Darkness" LP
It's cool that there have been a few good surf-punk bands making waves(!) the past year or so: Insubordinates, Mayday!, Moonhearts, maybe Thee Cormans even count, and New Jersey's Night Birds. NBs have released enough singles already to require a compilation (CD only, ugh) and "The Other Side..." marks their first foot long. These guys were pretty hot shit live; I saw a guy bust his head open mid-set at a show here, and it wasn't even the guitar player, who was doing laps around the room and sliding around with kneepads on. Seriously energetic this guy, and he didn't even miss a lick...even if wearing kneepads is kinda goofy. I like these guys when they're sounding like Agent Orange, blasting out punk tunes with surf riffs instead of going overly garage with it, sometimes even reaching mid-tempo HC speed. As I said, the guitar player is a dextrous mother, and the rest of the band keep up nicely. I also dig their B-Movie/horror aesthetic, songs here reference They Live, a Richard Matheson short story ("Born of Man and Woman"), Swedish-expoito classic They Call her One Eye (or Thriller: A Cruel Picture if you prefer), mental illness, sci-fi and other welcome and weird topics. Vox have enough sneer on them and they get some rousing choruses going. The only thing that bugs me about them is when the pop-punk seeps in and they start sounding a little too much like The Ergs (or whatever other pop-punk band you want to mention, as my frame of reference is pretty limited when it comes to the genre), but that's something a lot of people (other than me) might like, and they're certainly good at it (Mike Hunchback is in the band after all). All that shit aside this LP has a decent half-dozen punkers, fitting sleeve concept, and if you're having doubts, the live show will certainly make you a believer. It made me give them a chance...(RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com)
Nobunny "Raw Romance" LP
"Your Mouth" is creepy as fuck and pretty much sums up what I enjoy about Nobunny - that juxtaposition of freaky entendres under the guise of playful budget-pop. It's like Blowfly joining the Kasenetz-Katz Super Circus sometimes. 'Raw Romance' is the best Nobunny material in my humble opinion, as it lacks the drum machine rhythm track that bugs the shit out of me now that every replicant lo-fi pop band seems to be borrowing it. Acoustic guitar sounds great too, it makes the songs seem less cute to me, because behind all the schtick Nobunz is really a great pop songwriter in the purest sense. "C'mon let's get creepy..." and the entire lyric to "Mask's On" is the aesthetic personified. This LP also contains the superior versions of "I Am A Girlfriend" and "Mess Me Up", at least around this household. "The Gutter" could be on the 'God Less America' comp. You can blame Nobunny for inspiring some less-than-choice imitators, but it goes without saying that the guy is one talented and unbelievably outgoing weirdo and this LP is the Nobunny release I keep bedside. I couldn't be happier to see this guy getting flown to Hawaii to play, as I think he's toured non-stop for the past two years. Talk about paying your dues. An artist who really lives rock'n'roll and I have a lot of admiration for his tenacity. Burger Records also owe their existence to this guy. Scum stats: first press was 1000 (700 black/300 pink), now in a second press of 1000 (800 black/200 purple), and I imagine it can go into a third press any day now. This guy can shift some fucking units.(RK)
(Burger Records // www.burgerrecords.webs.com)
The Normals "Vacation to Nowhere" LP
Last Laugh steps into the 12" arena with this legit issue of the lost LP recorded by The Normals at a Memphis studio in July of 1979. I remember when that '78 demos CD came out a few years ago and the first thing out of my (and many others) mouth was disbelief that the band could have had that much great material in them. Those raw '78 punkers, plus probably one of the Top Ten KBD songs/singles in "Almost Ready", and all of the material that had been unearthed on the OOP 'You Punk Heritage' CD (and the slighty different 'Vacation Is For You' "demos" that were circulating). Mind-boggling that these Louisiana punks didn't make it further than they did with such a catalog of songs. This LP is a dozen tracks, some of which you could have heard on either CD in different takes, mastered from the OG tapes for damn good sound quality. As an LP it works insanely well, packed with tight hooks and frantic energy, great vox and harmonies (a la "Almost Ready"), some of the tracks show them heading toward a more powerpop songwriting direction but they still remain undeniably punk due to the racing tempos, sharp guitars and un-wimpy lyrics. "What Do You Think Of the USA?" and the title cut remind me of breakneck Belgians like The Kids or Hubble Bubble, stuff like "#8-36" has a nearly Real Kids-like rock'n'roll spirit, "Got You Runnin'" is unbelievably fast and makes you think of a "smart" Ramones, "Same Old '76" invents surf-punk a few years before Agent Orange. Every track here cooks, and if this had seen the light in '79/80 we'd be talking about it as one of the essential US punk LPs. As it is now, it's one of the essential reissues of this year to date, and I encourage you to listen and think of what could have been for these guys...maybe it's better it worked this way though. I mean, I couldn't be happier to be so impressed by this record right now, and as always, it's encouraging to know stuff like this is still out there, right under our noses in many cases...just waiting for the right enterprising label to pony up...Scum stats: 1000 copies only, with a handful of test press editions available on the black market as well.(RK)
(Last Laugh Records // www.lastlaughrecords.us)
Nuclear Family 12”
Long time coming, a glorious long-player from Albany’s finest. Half of the world-renowned dunce savants Acid Reflux, bringing the same level of catchiness and fury at a more measured pace. It sounds more than a little like the Avengers (Paul’s drumming is way more Danny Furious, a vastly different approach from what he does in Limp Wrist), but the guitars are a good bit more luscious than cutting. Bags-y for sure at moments, with powerhouse vocals that are all Jen’s own. She totally kills it - using her wide range to great effect that just sells the great lyrics even harder. Top-caliber songwriting all around, this thing is hit after hit… the whole record is of the same quality as their essential single. Melancholy for a second, inspiring for more. Both side-enders come to huge climaxes, appropriately reminding you that this band achieved something GREAT. The end of “Believer’s Voice of Victory” might give you chills? That sounds weird to say. It will. A series of tunes so finely crafted that listening to this is just an exercise in masochism, asyou’re just gonna get upset that you’ll never see ‘em. It’s too bad (or is it?) that they’ve called it a day, as this is a terribly accessible record that just about everyone can get down with. A late entry to my favorites in 2010 that might be at the top. RIP. (NG)
(Loud Punk // www.loudpunk.com)
OBN IIIs "No Way To Rock'n'Roll" 7"
No offense, but this Orville kid was certainly the best thing about the Bad Sports. I'm glad he's stepping out here, because he's got the knack for writing some genuine rock tunes. "No Way To Rock'n'Roll" is a look back to when garage-rock was gutsy and tough instead of the tepid indie-rock it's been perverted into these days. It's an attitudical strutter of an A-Side gem, sort of Stones-y via Thunders, but not lazy junkie-rock. Squealing lead gets the job done and Orville has some swagger to his vocal style. B-Side slows it up some for a stomping punker called "Got More Love" that builds forever...almost too long, but once it kicks in it's a real gasser, at least for a minute or so before they start breaking it back down. Kind of clever for a B-Side, but not that memorable. Scum stats: 300 copies only, which I think might turn out to be 200 or so too few. I have a feeling this kid's gonna be a hit. Great looking band pic too, it's like The Outsiders decided to start a rock group.(RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)
OBN IIIs s/t 7"
Second entry in the IIIs discography, this time a four-song all-out balls-out rock fest. "Runnin On Fumes" is all guitar attitude and cock-of-the-walk strut. Business seems to be pretty good. "Do My Thing" (which also appears on the latest installment of 'Casual Victim Pile') is another bad-ass-roller. "Mad" stomps with punk-rawk fervor, hotshit guitar and Orville's absolootley perfect delivery. "License Plate" closes with leather-jacket brudda dumbitude and a snappy chorus. A jam-packed rock'n'roll record served straight up that will remind you of the days when Crypt was releasing no-nonsense garage that actually rocked, the Devil Dogs were kicking ass all over NYC and The Makers were still tough. LP is already in the works, and it can't come quick enough. Scum stats: 500 pressed, housed in sweet pocket sleeves.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
OBN IIIs "Mark On You" 7"
Man, this review section is taking so long to finish you get a third OBNIII's review. I'm sorry. At least it's another good single. "Mark on You" is a departure from the hot-shit rock'n'roll of the previous records and is a simple wah-pedal rager. A locked down drum beat and subliminal bassline are the tablet on which is carved some serious guitar screem. There's a crafty falsetto backing vocal part too."Heavy Heart" is a great punk song, that is somewhere between The Saints and The Damned - tempo-pushing drums remind me of Scabies a bit, guitar riff is straight Aussie, has a real decent hook even if the vox get mumbled a bit. This kid has something going on - I'm not saying he's King Kong smashing shit out of the park at will yet, but he's smacking hard line drives all over the fucking field - he can hit and his average is climbing at an alarming rate. Rookie of the Year candidate for sure. According to the labels this a double B-Side! Artwork reminds me of a See You in Hell record, but what can ya do?(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
Obnox "I'm Bleeding Now" LP
Solo "joint" from Bim Thomas, rock steady drummer for post-Rich Lilash Bassholes and This Moment In Black History (who had their moments early on), with him playing everything (receiving only a couple assists on solos and backing vox) and writing all the tunes (except for two Howland-penned numbers). Surprisingly guitar-centric was my first reaction, lots of hard-sike fuzz and wah, and it really sounds like he digs on Human Eye/Timmy's O stuff, as he builds a lot of the same swirling guitar textures and echoed-out vox and lays them over his expectedly great drum performances. Title cut seems like a tribute to the misanthrostomp of the Cheater Slicks. "Daughter" obviously sounds like Bassholes with Bim singing, and I think this cut has the most soul behind it for apparent reasons. "Whaddup Young Bleed?" finally drops the blaxploitation soundbite we've been waiting for, and then rips into a "drum thundersuite" which is the most inspired bit musicially, a huge set-ending smackdown drum/wah-guitar solo outro. This thing has a couple moments of hard rocking, and some expected moments of self-indulgence, but it ends up as a good self-portrait, much like Ben Blackwell did with his solo LP in a more songwriter-ish vein. Both good glimpses of drummers coming out from behind the kit and getting theirs. Fans of the Columbus scene will dig more than most, and it makes sense that Bim is now the drummer for Puffy Areolas after hearing this. Miles better than the last couple TMIBH LPs, and an improvement on that cut on the CDR Bassholes 12" that just sounded like the Dirtbombs.(RK)
(Smog Veil // www.smogveilrecords.com)
Thee Oh Sees "Castlemania" 2XLP
A couple of misconceptions you might have about this record are, firstly, that it is a double LP. It is not. It's a 45rpm LP of 13 tracks with a bonus one-sided 12" made up of three cover songs. Secondly, that this a record by the BAND called Thee Oh Sees. It is not. It is more or less a Jon Dwyer solo LP with a couple assists from Ty Segall. Which might equate to an actual Oh Sees record, since Dwyer is the whole f'in show anyway, but I think a dividing line needs to be drawn between records which Dwyer does everything himself (this one, the stellar 'Dog Poison', 'Zork's Tape Bruise') and records that have been recorded by the full band of Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit and Mike Shoun ('Help', 'Warm Slime', 'Master's Bedroom...'), because they're certainly two different birds, and explain the prolificity of the project some. I don't have a problem with the guy calling them all Oh Sees records. I just think people should be aware of what's going on. Sometimes it hard to tell the difference - I could have bet that Dawson sang some on 'Dog Poison', but she swears she didn't (and I once heard her make the joking comment that Dwyer brought her into the band because she sounds just like him). At other times it's quite obvious - the songs lack the bombast of the full group sound and often retreat into his stock acid-psych meanderings. Some listeners won't and don't care, but I always feel a little jipped. 'Castlemania' is a fine record, but it also sounds like a record of demos. Real good demos of West Coast neo-psych (or "bike messenger rock" as another staffer refers to it), I'll admit. As far as the covers 12", Dawson sings on the WCEPB (done well) and Norma Tanega (not done so well) covers, and the version of Big Wheel's "If I Stay Too Long" is a perfect match (that's Dwyer harmonizing with himself on the refrain). The William Kiehn etching on the flip side is great, but I'm buying a record here, not a piece of art. Anyway, not disappointed in the music so much as I was hoping for some more rock action instead of solo Dwyer moves. In the scheme, it's almost as good as 'Dog Poison' and far better than the demos on 'Zork's..'. A bit bummed the gatefold was used to showcase a picture of someone's baby too, but that's a minor complaint. Here's to hoping 'Carrion Crawler' (Jon apparently owns a copy of the Monster Manual) is a full band affair.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Organs "Get it Right" 7"+flexi
"Six songs from NYC's king of garage trash!" Shit. Well, it's good to know there are still rock'n'roll bands in the Big Apple, even if Organs aren't quite kings. They are a competent garage band and are slightly better than average. "Get It Right" would be called a "rave up" by most, a stomper with a country-ish drawl on the vox and heated harmonica break. That's the top dog cut right there. The rest of the three 7" tracks flirt with a Demon's Claws-like blues-country thing and the closer is sort of a Bad Sports-like rocker. Flexi-cut is Brimstone Howlish heartland garage-rawk. I was wondering where the sixth cut was and then I realized it was a bonus track available with the download code, and Organs aren't quite good enough to get me downloading anything. A swell looking package though.(RK)
(Killer Diller // www.killerdillerrecords.com)
Ottawa s/t 12" EP
Hardcore reissue/repackage of Ottawa's side of their split LP with Jihad that originally appeared in 1994. Ottawa were from Dearborn, MI and these tracks make up their entire discography if I'm not mistaken. I can't say I was hip to this in '94, as I was probably listening to the latest Estrus Records release, but Ottawa seem to hold up well in retrospect, coming from a period of HC I'm generally not fond of. No generic youth crew moves, no slides into emo whimpering and they just barely get into grindcore pacing/drums. It's just generally ripping straight-ahead blaze, vox alternate from gruff bark to feral yell, heavy riffing, reminds me of a non-Chicano Crudos maybe. The thing I dig most about this are the total nerd references to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars ("Onslaught of the Uruk-Hai" is a beast), and I've heard the original record had a bunch of LOTR soundbites that were removed. Bummer. Heavy wax, great 45rpm 12" sound, limited to 750 copies.(RK)
(Resiude Records // www.residue-records.com)
Outdoorsmen "Play Tell Your Folks I'm A Goner" EP
I've been an unapologetic Outdoorsmen fan since day one, but even I was concerned how they were going to hold up after a half dozen great releases. Could they keep up the great tunes and great artwork without falling into a formulaic rut? How would they do it? I didn't expect them to change the concept so much or even get "weird" or go electro or anything. But they had to do something, and they were genius enough to realize that it involved taking a step backward instead of a step forward. This 7" has some of their absolute dumbest songs to date and it's just what we needed. Title cut reverts to the simplest drumbeat ever, as featured on many a Gories song, and they rescue one of the trashiest fuzz-guitar sounds ever from the garbage and use it here to bulldoze a caveman riff right into your BRAIN. Honestly, one of their best songs. Vox are extra savage and panting as well. "Stink Up the Bathroom" sounds like it was written in study hall by some freshmen laughing over a bad poop joke. Juvenile, but a good bridge to other winner here, "She Wants To Go Steady", where Chad actually fucking sings a retarded ode to trying to get laid. Great guitar break too. Outdoorsmen = still killin' it in 2011.(RK)
(Psychic Handshake // myspace.com/psychichandshake)
Outer Minds "Always In My Head" 7"
Sixties indebted Chicago rock outfit (formerly known as Sang Des Loups) with A-Ron from Baseball Furies and Zach from Black Beauties (both of whom also play in Lover, who are now based out of Chi-town full-time) follow up their Hozac 7" with this two-songer. "Always In My Head" features a majestic and nearly baroque arrangement with rich vocal harmonies, fancy drum work, tasteful Farfisa accents and plenty of glockenspiel. Sounds so authentically vintage pop-sike it hurts. "Of My Mind" plays more to the psych-side, with a watery vocal effect and a wandering verse leading into a stomping chorus. Backing vox have a church chorus harmony giving it a nice-n-soft background to bounce the aggro rave against. The drummer even gets some on the last blast. Well done adult-rock for the Ugly Things enthusiast looking for a modern band to get into. Scum stats: 300 copies released via three different labels (Goodbye Boozy, Eye Records, and Brain Records, the latter two of which I'm not sure actually exist), with each of their 100 having a different cover.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
Overnight Lows "Slit Wrist Rock'n'Roll" 7"
Jackson, Mississippi punk-rockers' latest, and a fine example of the Southern Fried Goner aesthetic that's been cultivated over many years. Title cut bucks the modern weird-is-better trend and is just a simple and upbeat garage-punk hooker with some twangy hot-sauce tang on the guitar. Reminds me a little of King Louie's poppier efforts. B-Side shows off their local pride with a cover Ed Nasty's "I'll Be Everything". Recorded by Alicja Trout, this one'll delight many a garage-turkey. I just realized this band is ex-Comas, whose Therapeutic Records 7" will get at least a track on a later volume of whatever the kids will be calling the KBD-esque series focused on Nineties "gunk punk" sometime in the distant future.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Pampers "Eruptions" 7"
"Eruptions" sounds like a warped copy of an Unsane 45 playing at 33. Rather emphatic pounding with squiggly guitar. "Samantha" blusters about in a catchier fashion with a reverb-b-b-b hook. "Monkey Drip" takes a more garage-noise tack, like a post-apocalyptic Oblivians or Action Swingers. Honestly, I had to check the speed on this a few times, and I'm fairly sure I got it right even after some pitch adjustment, which is a pretty good trick to get multiple listens...I mean, this record doesn't look warped...let me check it again. Either way, "Eruptions" is the stinger here and I'd gladly listen to some more by these guys if I was offered...Scum stats: 322 copies.(RK)
(Jack Shack Records // jkshk.blogspot.com)
The Paperhead "Yellow Book" 7"
Vintage popsike moves from a group of Nashville teenagers that are disturbingly vintage-sounding. "Yellow Book" is dreamland psych full of wet vocals, farfisa and wicked guitar with a Doors-y interlude in the midst of a pop Nugget. "Dear Mr. Vacant" is Golden Age British psych-pop that sounds a bit like early Floyd or later Beatles. Well played rubble with a broken-up jam section where the farfisa and guitar poke at each other smilingly. I like this a surprisingly good bit, it's straight-up retro hamboning, but incredibly well done and without much pretense. Tracks are taken from a cassette release I'd like to hear more of. Scum stats: 300 copies in company sleeves.(RK)
(Nashville's Dead // www.nashvillesdead.com)
Peach Kelli Pop s/t LP
How fucking adorable is this chick? Peach Kelli Pop is the girl that every power-pop picture-sleeve-collecting, vintage clothes wearing, thrift store haunting pop-punk geek dreams about meeting every night as he falls asleep alone in his bed with his cat. Ten songs of varying fidelity and hookiness, some of them with a pronounced AM-radio vibe, some with a more jumpy Nobunny hyperactivity, some are just straight power-pop. "Girls of Summer" has a cute girl-group/boardwalk sound going on. A wide range of slight variations on the budget-pop style and a genuine knack for writing syrupy hooks is in evidence here. Top level stuff for the genre, and she's Canadian to boot. What does that have to do with it? I dunno. When I was a kid, we always vacationed at a cottage in Canada. I met cute Canadian girls at Crystal Beach and had no idea what to say to them. Those were simpler and more innocent times. I think Peach Kelli Pop reminds me of that. For guys who love girls who love The Ramones. Or just girls themselves can dig this, as PKP dedicates the record to gals everywhere. Painfully cute. Chris Lutzko's favorite LP of 2010.(RK)
(Going Gaga Records // goinggagarecords.bigcartel.com)
The Penetrators "Gotta Have Her" 7"
Reissue of the #1 band in town's debut single from 1979, which is obviously and absolutely essential. Both cuts did appear on the LP (and were on that EP that Rave Up did along with their reissue of "Kings of Basement Rock"), and showcase the more bashing and serious side of the band, as both of these tracks are straight Teenage Shutdown from the Grave lo-fi garage-slop killers. I think we all fell in love with the goofballs who sang hits like "Shopping Bag" and "Rock'n'Roll Face", but it's mean tunes like these that really enhance and offset the greatness of their more stoopid anthems. Nothing bad can possibly be said about this band. Well done. There's no excuse to not own these tracks on at least three different records. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 with stamped sleeves.(RK)
(Windian Records // www.windianrecords.com)
Per Purpose "Heil Progress" 7"
A quite busy 7" EP from Brisbane's Per Purpose here, who dive headfirst into a jazz/post-punk Minutemen-styled aesthetic. More starts and stops on these six tracks than you can count, the singer is rather perturbed about things in a snotty way and they attack in a nearly Nomeansno-ish cacophony at their wildest points. Bass player earns his bread, drummer can swing, guitar scratches and slashes. Cameo appearance by the adjective funky and there's what sounds like a clarinet freak-out on "That's Respite". I'm a tough audience for this stuff, being a marginal Minutemen (and jazz) fan at best and prefer my rock'n'roll to be of the stupid variety, but if you're into smarty-pants post-rock there's a good chance you'll get along with these three fellas. Press release says they sound like the Go-Betweens, which I do not get at all.(RK)
(Bedroom Suck // www.bedroomsuckrecords.com)
Personal & The Pizzas "Dead Meat vs. Joanie" 7"
The Total Punk offshoot label of the Floridas Dying empire debuts with the latest two song lunch from Personal & The Pizzas (or Pizza, as there seems to be only one other band member here), and it starts with a Stiv-solo style leather jacket power-punker called "Dead Meat" that I think has a motorcycle chain solo on it. Tough as grease. "Joanie" mashes together "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Swallow My Pride" (and maybe a dozen other Ramones cuts) with a ballsy little fuzz guitar thing for an ode to eating out and Happy Days perhaps (insert garage Fonzie gag here, harhar). Total 'End of the Century' vibes. Scum stats: 600 pressed, hand stamped and totally punk. "Peter Davis = dead meat"?!(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Pheromoans "It Still Rankles" LP
Much anticipated long player from these UK wunderkinds and it's a delight. As their releases become more familiar I find them sometimes scratching the itch that used to only be sated by Benjamin Wallers and the Country Teasers, which is the sort of high praise I'm hesitant to let spew from my mouth (fingers?), but it's true, I swear. Shambolic is the word you'll find mentioned the most times when checking the box scores, but it's so wonderfully apt. Art-punk from the kids who are probably most likely to get kicked out of wine and cheese gallery shows of their vegetarian classmate's performance pieces. I always say I like their spoken word bits the best, as they just sound so damn British and clever. They do play several songs of post-garage punk here as well, sometimes almost on the same wavelength as their Aussie peers the UV Race. Many of the songs sound held together with just the slightest traces of structure in accordance with traditional DIY rules and regulations. But obviously the rule is that there are no rules, as nonsensical as it still sounds. One of the smartest records you'll hear this year, perhaps too smart at times. Favorite moments: the punk rock head smash of "Soft Targets", "Monged on Valium"s interception of shortwave radio transmissions during piano practice, "Vitae Life" as a kinder gentler Wallers, "Funny Names" should be the theme to some BBC show I wish I could watch...The genius foil to Hygiene's post-pub creeping, as I've created in my head this rivalry between the two bands to see who are the true heirs to the throne. It's still a pretty even fight. Scum stats: 500 copies, that Convulsive should be long sold out of now that this review has finally posted.(RK)
(Convulsive Records // convulsiverecords.tumblr.com)
Pink Reason "Desperate Living" EP
Pink Reason morphs into Punk Reason on this 7" which sounds unlike much else Mr. Failure has done so far, with the 'Borrowed Time' EP being the closest in feel and texture. This is supposedly the first PR record done with a full band in an actual studio and that obviously changes the game played thus far. A-Side has two originals that blend together, the first half being a rolling ball of grunge-punk that's heavy on the wah-pedal and whoever he has hitting the drums here is a real masher. Sounds closer to the psych-punk of Puffy Areolas with some sharper lines, than anything from the shitgaze spectrum. The tail-end cut is a real gunner of dead-end hardcore. Dark stuff. B-Side is a cover of V3's "Your Girlfriend" that somehow reminds me of Pretty Girls' "The Kids Are All Fucked"...listen to them side by side. It's a total coincidence, but I just felt like mentioning that. Great choice of a cover though, both musically (heavy-duty hook and the rhythm section weighs a ton here) and aesthetically (a loving shout-out to Columbus and Jim Shepard). Honestly, this might be my favorite Pink Reason record to date, but I've always liked the punker side of Kevin's art - which seems to be the opposite of how a lot of people who loved 'Cleaning the Mirror' feel. I've tried to not listen to any sneak previews of 'Shit in the Garden' because I want to be surprised when I throw it on the turntable the first time, but I have my fingers crossed he continues in this direction...(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Predator s/t LP
The Frantic were the unsung heroes of the "first wave" ATL bands I consider to also include the Carbonas, Lids, Beat Beat Beat and maybe even the Black Lips. They were possibly the punkest of the bunch in retrospect, and maybe their lack of pop-hooks shuffled them to the back of the pack while everyone was tapping their feet to the 'boners. So it goes, fair or not, but I always dug their records. 2/3 of Predator are ex-Frantic, and their debut single has had me jonesing for this LP for almost a full year now. I thought that record had a real dead-end LA/What? Records quality, a little bit death-rocky, a little OC sounding, and their full length continues down these paths, fleshing out their sound over thirteen tracks. There are punk gang-vox anthems ("Pet Zoo"), "Choke" sounds exactly like a song Rikk Agnew would write in 2011 (it's the real hit here), "March of the Confederate" is their death-rock instrumental, "Dancing Queen Bitch" is cut of the same cloth as "Kill Someone You Hate" and we get a reprise of "DLDD" from the 7" to end Side A. B Side has it's share of smokers too, "Bite" is sleazy and frantically LA-sounding rock, "Archetype" is a wonderfully dark re-imagining of the beach-punk genre, "Alright" sounds right out of the early Eighties where first wave Brit-punk was still a fresh inspiration. The only bad thing I can possibly say about this record is that's it's not the best full length to come out of Atlanta this year (hello 'Esoteric Lore'), but other than that it's top shelf modern punk. Hey Douchemaster, thanks for releasing a punk record! Scum stats: 1000 copies on black wax only, bitch.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
Prefab Messiahs "Franz Kafka" 7"
Almost Ready showing off his hometown bias here, unearthing this 7" from Worcester, MA (aka Wormtown) garage-punkers Prefab Messiahs, who existed for couple years in the early 80s, were pals with Bobb Trimble, had a full length released (posthumously I believe?) and have a Gary War connection somehow (don't hold that against them though). "Franz Kafka" was recorded live with abundant energy and some killer hot-n-sloppy guitar lending their retelling of 'The Metamorphosis' a certain Prevost-like garage charm. Perhaps even a tougher sounding Fleshtones. Ace cut, recording is cleaned up nicely. "Prefab Sun" is a sunnier number, natch, almost verging on power-pop, again with stellar guitar work and monotone vox. I've heard there's more material from the vaults being unearthed soon, keep an eye out if this one intrigues you at all.(RK)
(Almost Ready // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
Psyclones "Different Thinking People" LP
I'll be honest here and tell you I knew jack shit about Psyclones before Permanent released this record, aside from the fact they were arty and did some shit on Subterranean. This LP compiles all unreleased material from the band's formative years. They refer to themselves as "industrial-pop" and that works just fine, as their songs definitely come from a pop-inluenced brain. This is not Chrome or avant-noise. This is more a long the lines of Devo and other Eighties "New Wave" acts dabbling in the electronics field. Aesthetically it definitely has a Mothersbaugh thing going on, sort of lighthearted and intelligent. Not ugly music by any means, even if it does possess a few sharp edges. "Weak As A Sheep" is broken-jazz and delivered with a bit of sex on the female vocals that also have a great effect on them. They never really use the same sound twice, operating with what must be an arsenal of tape decks, primitive samplers, synths, circuits and other electronics. There are moments of nearly raga sounds, "Tribulation" is a desolate instrumental that is as close as they come to "dark", "Radar Rock" has a great fuzzed-out bassline that is basically the "Courageous Cat Theme". It's exactly what I think about the lighter side of early-Eighties California art-punk: Gary Panter, Residents, Mothersbaugh, Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo. Maybe even a little Zappa-esque zaniness as well. An interesting document of times past, well done packaging with old fliers and album art on the inner sleeve. One time pressing of 500 copies (first 100 on yellow wax) and honestly far more interesting and smart than what passes for synth-punk these days.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
Pygmy Shrews "You People Can All Go Straight To Hell" LP
Brooklyn heavies who actually sound heavy come at us maniacally with their second full-length and it's a real ballbuster. Side A is five (six?) songs. Side B is one song. Oh shit. Right now, I'm preferring their work on the A-Side, the riffs are hammer-down on most of these tracks, flying out of the barrel at post-AmRep velocity, very much like the first couple of Hammerhead records (before they went far off on the sci-fi tangent) or, oddly enough, some more recent Vaz records at times (and I'm glad to see them teaming up for a tour this summer as well). Might be some tangential touches to (first-coupla-singles) Vertigo, and a slight, slight Helmet wall of noise feel, but without any of the sheen. Absolutely devastating, as it can (and should) be when some people who can really play their instruments know how to bury a riff headfirst in the dirt. Male-female vocal trades add a little something extra to the vibe, instead of just some dude growling. A relentless and powerful set of songs and a good step ahead of their first LP. So, Side B, I suppose we should talk about it. I don't dislike it. The soundbite intro is brash and adds some needed NYC snot, and then you hop on the train for a full side ride. It's pretty hectic, with peaks and valleys, drumming really chugs it out while the guitar goes on a half-dozen different solo runs/shreds/squeals as the bass rides shotgun in an attempt to aid and abet. It's fucking ballsy, that's for sure, and I suppose it balances the riff-heavy A-Side with some adventure and experiment, even if they don't really achieve anything as good as any of those songs for the duration of this exercise. Some people will probably prefer this side even. As for me, I like my riffs served in meaty chunks. This side-long jam-out shit is for hippies. But you still gotta buy this for the A-Side, and let yourself decide on the flip.(RK)
(Jack Shack Records // jkshk.blogspot.com)
Ralph s/t 7”
A real nosebleed of a debut from a bunch of young Atlanta punks - sounds almost exactly like the Teen Idles reappeared and got a lot better at playing, but still comes off very fresh. The vocals are endearing, snotty; there's a guitar barrage very similar to the aforementioned Georgetown ponx (but much more competent). The bassist is way more on the Zero Boys side of the tracks - maybe Brains ROIR tape, even. “Nothing Changes” sounds like the Faith playing Bad Brains, for sure. That one and “Infectious” are the hits, and they wisely save em for the end. An odd and spectacular mix of sounds, played cool and interesting, “cheap not mysterious”. Great start for the newly founded Scavenger of Death Records & Tapes empire/recording group run by Greg King & Ryan of the Bukkake Boys… man, Atlanta is still putting everywhere else to shame. How long has it been now?(NG)
Absolutely exceptional hardcore-punk from some Atlanta youngsters. A real ear-opener. Sounds equally influenced by Jerry's Kids and Subhumans as Loli and The Chones and Reatards. Rugged recording, vox are belted snottily and clearly, riffs blaze, lots of burly basslines and stun-guitar soloing. Kicks you in the balls right off the bat with "I Can't Breath"(sic), "Destroy The Church" sounds like The Mummies covering RP. "Death of a Delivery Man" is East Coast hardcore running off the rails (this drummer is out of his fucking mind), "Nothing Changes" rams it down and "Infectious" might close with their best number, an unholy blend of hardcore and hook. Fucking blistering from start to finish, seven songs at 45rpm, all hits. Sounds sleazy and sloppy and owes nothing to Void, NA or any other outfit emulated by 95% of other kids playing hardcore these days. "Cheap not Mysterious" says the sleeve. Amen. Scum stats: 300 copies, buy multiples.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death Records // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)
Ramma Lamma "Tiger Don't Change It's Stripes" 7"
Latest project from Sir Snacks-A-Lot and his old lady. Continuing in the power-pop/glam worship direction they were heading towards on the later Plexi-3 records, you get four songs here with guy/gal trade-off vox, moptop haircuts, vintage clothing and undeniably slick guitar playing. A couple cuts have a Fifties rock'n'roll vibe in a Dollsy way but with more of a swing than a strut. "Good Tyme Johnny" has a nearly funky piano part, and I imagine this one gets the gals shaking some booty. If you're digging this fetishized retro stuff that abounds in Wisconsin these days, you can't really go wrong with the Norton/King songwriting axis, as they have all the right chops and the right look. I know I say this all the fucking time, but I liked these Wisconsin kid's bands better when they actually played punk rock. Wherefore art thou, Teenage Rejects? Scum stats: 500 on garbage vinyl with gross URP advertising on the labels. I hope they gave up a good discount. Ben Lyon cartoon art that fits the band like a vintage t-shirt.(RK)
(Certified PR // www.certifiedprrecords.com)
Ras "Vill Ha Mer" 7"
Swedish-language two-song punker that melds the karate-chop punk of HFOS with the pop hooks of The Manikins and has members of both bands in the fold. "Vil Ha Mer" is the harder-edged (i.e. better) cut, "Ett Folk, Ett Ras" is the poppier side, about mainstream Swedish TV and radio as far as I can tell. Ras = race? Pretty average stuff here. Red vinyl, bad artwork, lyrics printed on back.(RK)
(Push My Buttons // pushmybuttons.se)
Rational Animals "Bock Rock Parade" LP
Getting right to the point here, let's begin my saying this is one of the better punk albums you're going to hear this year. I will guarantee that. Rational Animals have always been at the head of the Rochester class and this LP is their graduation, unleashing them on to the world-at-large after wowing the local populace with the earlier work on their singles. The easy out is the Black Flag comparison, but when it's true, it's true. But they're more than a single-trick pony, summoning all the furor of Eighties corepunk and incorporating a dark and raw energy, a determined drive and menacing sense of pace. At the centerpiece of it all is the best-in-class guitar playing of Will Machi, who might be the best student to come from the Ginn-school in years. His riffs scorch and the solos have more twists and smoking frettage than you'll believe, showing just enough restraint where he's not playing circles around the band or himself, but enough balls to get you thinking he could if he wanted to. The Richie/Cam rhythm section is sturdy and Zach's echo-vox are perfect for delivering lyrics that are simple and intelligent. "Someone Like You" is a high fastball that brushes you off the plate just when you were settling in the box after the acid-dream of "Darker Shade of Blue", and "My Treat" is the best song '84 Flag never wrote. It's swinging. Man. A-Side will knock you on your ass, and the B-Side is all ground-n-pound. A punk band that remembered to write songs to go along with the ripping, and they're as powerful as they are fast and as smart as they are primal. Fantastic effort all around.(RK)
(Katorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Raunchy Sex "R.S.M.F.T." 7"
Raunchy Sex. Western New York's best worst band. Not many around these parts dig these kids. Which makes me want to like them that much more. At their core they're a two-piece drum-n-guit trad-garage outfit, which occasionally sprawls out into a four-piece. They certainly have a good "look", which might distract you a bit from the deficiencies in the chops department. Possessing the always-endearing quality of not-giving-a-fuck about what's hip, they play these five songs with all the skill and finesse of the first Statics single. "My Dead Broad" has an awful(ly good) guitar solo and some attempt at a hook. "I Need You Now" sounds unintentionally like a bizarro world Cheater Slicks, with the guitar player wandering off into some other song it seems, and I think a harmonica might be buried in the slop. Their hit is "I'm In Love In World War III" which barely stays in its simple time signature. These songs go from bad to good-bad and back to bad again with alarming swiftness. The B-Side must emanate from a different recording sesh, as they sound fuller, louder and a little tighter if you can believe that. "Hospital Bed" has an attempt at Thunders-esque swagger with vox recorded in a bathroom. "Lonely Road Blues" is lonely all right. I don't mean to slight these guys, as I know they're trying pretty hard here. They have rock'n'roll beating in their hearts. The thrill here is listening to them stumble as they try to pour that passion out onto vinyl. I think they get that. That's what truly makes a band fitting of the "trash" descriptor, right? My only regret about this record is that their cover of "Human Fly" is not on this, because I've never heard a band fuck up that song so terribly that it becomes great. It's the high point of their live set and leaves me grinning every single time. 300 copies only.(RK)
(self-released // mvongoethe-at-gamil.com)
The Reactors "It's Not Important" 7"
Rerun Records have a shitload of killer reissues on deck, with the Bob 7" and this single from The Reactors (Austin, TX version) just being the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if this was ever comped, and I don't think I ever heard it until the days of slsk/blog downloads. Always reminded me of the Wipers a little bit, in a less dynamic and more primitive way. Dark punk. "It's Not Important" is a mid-tempo creeper with dementia-inducing guitar line, a nice shard of vintage 1980 punk rock. "Cold Eyes" picks up the pace slightly, but is just as brooding and unnerving. Vocals are sort of menacing in a nonchalant way - like he sort of whispers/hisses them at times and then goes into a clinical deadpan delivery. Disturbing in its unemotiveness maybe. Band leader Mike Runnels (no relation to Virgil) continued to release solo records through the Eighties, most of them (including this single) on Jeff Tartakov's Stress label, whose main claim to fame was putting out the early Daniel Johnston cassettes. An incredible package, with a repro of the OG sleeve, extra photos and liners inside (including a short interview with Runnels) and most importantly, it sounds fucking great. Both songs are worthwhile and for what might be considered a second-tier KBD-band, these Reactors will far exceed your expectations - at least they did mine. For fans of the Last Laugh series of reissues, this is of equal quality and perhaps greater obscurity.(RK)
(Rerun Records // www.rerunrecordsstl.com)
Real Numbers "Tear it In Two" 7"
Round three of vintage UK DIY/power-pop straight outta Minnesota. Bouncing basslines, electrified tin guitar, sing-song vocals, factory-made hooks. Both tracks hit the spot, "Tear it In Two" is the TVPs-styled pop hit, but I'm more partial to the nervous energy of "Pinckney St." and its "shredding" solo. A real good time, so upbeat it hurts. A nice little companion piece to the 12". Scum stats: limited version on yellow vinyl comes with a silk-screened sleeve, featuring more European automobile artwork. I've not seen such tenacious dedication to an aesthetic since the glory days of Japanese practicioners of the replicant arts like First Alert or Tweezers. Absolutely impeccable and essential.(RK)
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Red Mass "Happy Endings" 7"
Red Mass continue their non-stop recording schedule into 2011 via the label that was made for them to release a record on. A-Side has Roy and Co. going schizo with a pair of songs whose edges blend into one another, beginning with a murky and fuzzy roller that seems to act as intro ("I Wish I'd Live in A Treehouse"), which tails off into a nicely psychedelic-pop stretch ("Happy Endings") with church organ, a wonderfully subtle bassline and some eerie background coo-ing, which then gives way to a reprise of the first portion with a biker-fuzz outro and wolf-whoops. Pretty damn good. B-Side has two more, a shithouse Diddley-stomp ("Miss Hurricane") which they weird-out with synth zips and what sounds like an airplane taking off during the part where the solo would traditonally be. "Pow You're Dead" ends on a cowboy-synth number with power tool background clamor. The A-Side of this exemplifies the flashes of genius that make Red Mass a great band (and Roy a great artist) and makes this record worth owning, the B-Side is why I feel like I don't need to own all of their records in the long run. Scum stats: 300 copies released via three different labels (Goodbye Boozy, Chaos Records, and Red Mass Records), with each of their 100 having a different cover. Actually, the GB version is 110 copies, and the other two 95, just to make the math more confusing.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
Red Mass "Suicide" 7"
It's sort of shocking that there's not about 10 Red Mass reviews in this update, but Choyce has slowed up a bit this year it seems, and I'm missing a couple 2011 releases, but who can possibly be a Red Mass completist these days anyway..."Suicide" is a slinky bit of rock'n'blues with a peculiar recording that I enjoy. It has an unidentifiable rumble in the background at times (it sort of sounds like an oven firing up), the guitars are ghostly, the drums are separated in another room somehow, there's some weird percussion (that I think is a typewriter) that pans to good effect and the whole thing has a real otherworldly aesthetic. Cut-n-paste production done on a budget. It's a decent song made much better by the recording touches. "Crawlspace" is a real punk song, no shit! I always say Choyce excels when he's summoning demons, and this cut is evil. Guitar has one of the nastiest fuzz tones I've heard in some time and it's used to deliver a satanic riff which is the backbone around which other effects are layered - more fuzz, synth whines and wails, Choyce's basso vox and more bad trip accessories. Two strong sides on this one, which isn't always the case with Red Mass releases...that means it's one you should probably own. Someone should probably talk singles comp LP with this guy, but exercise some quality control on it....Scum stats: 300 copies, 50 with alt cover...this guy must be getting the nice price at United, getting both the "let us put our logo on your label" and the "garbage mixed vinyl" discounts. Can't blame him, the economy's in the shitter...(RK)
(Certified PR // www.certifiedprrecords.com)
Resist Control "Dissipation" EP
First non-split/comp vinyl from Buffalo's Resist Control, one of the more brutal acts on the current scene. As you've guessed from their name, they deliver some ultra-fast hardcore, which is crosses over into powerviolence and/or grind at times, with a machine for a dummer, one of the best guitar sounds in the city and intelligent lyrics to go with the raging (covering topics ranging from obscurities like filibuster William Walker to your usual anti-system rants). I'm not generally a fan of blastbeat drumming (or the double kick as used in hardcore), but they don't use it exclusively, and perform with such precision that I'm not even thinking about it most of the time, in particular when they change speeds on breakdowns/outros and such. Vox sound great and settle perfectly into the mix, and are thankfully not overly distorted so you can actually hear the lyrics. 11 tracks on a 7" that actually don't sound stretched too thin for all of you Cap Cas/Crossed Out fans. Smart hardcore from some scene vets who know a few things.(RK)
(Feral Kids Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)
Rocket From the Tombs “I Sell Soul” 7"
One of the very first Termbo reviews I ever laid eyes on was for these dingy rock-Gods/de facto proto-punk legends’ reunion show CD, which was “bad idea” ad infinitum. Never heard that disc. Necessary evil that the modern follow-up is, as the legacy compounds year after year, I’ll go into this thang blindfolded (‘cuz the band photo ain’t the prettiest, ho hum, though Mr. Chrome is looking healthier than ever). “I Sell Soul” is a punk-roots 3-chord thing, by-the-rules solo laid atop, Dave’s voice given the FM-radio treatment in its slightly less audacious modern incarnation. Nothing too special about this one. Give “Romeo & Juliet” a close listen and you’ll notice a heavy Neil Young presence (“Powderfinger”), but equipped with Cheetah’s patented rock-epic leads, which send it into the stratosphere. They actually did pretty good capturing Laughner’s opaque Berlin-esque downer rock, with a special Stonesish “Wild Horses” optimism to it. This song is great. While a new Rocket release isn’t too necessary in my eyes, I’ll count my blessings that I’m not listening to a new cut by the Morton-equipped Mirrors, as I’ve a hunch it’d be saturated in Morrotta’s businessman aura. For what it is, I’m impressed. Like hanging with an old friend you barely know anymore, this.(BG)
(Hearpen Records // www.hearpen.com)
Roman Candles "Whatever Happened to VBK" 7"
Roman Candles jump from the Termbo Demo//Zone pages with an actual vinyl release, extending a giant middle finger to me in the process. Well done gentlemen. I mean, well done in that you released an actual record and all, even if it is not real good. Two songs of painfully goofy and "playful" pop that owes a debt to Camper Van Beethoven in the worst possible ways. What the Zodiac Killer referencing sleeve has to do with this is beyond my understanding.(RK)
(Young Foole Records // romancandlesmusic-at-gmail.com)
Royal Headache s/t LP
Australia's Royal Headache follow up their well-received 7" with what might well be the most pleasant record of 2011. A far cry from the slug-n-chug we sterotypically expect from our Down Under bands, Royal Headache are one of the sunniest and poppiest outfits on either side of either ocean. A garage band that somehow shoehorns incredibly hooky Buzzcockian power-pop moves and classic soul into their sound in equal doses seems like a concept doomed for failure. But they succeed in executing this feat, aided in no small part by the singing of a man known only as Shogun, who could give Mark Sultan a run for his money in the crooning department. This guy belts with such an exceptional amount of heart that it gets the songs over by his sheer performance alone at times, not to short sheet the band as a whole, who charge alongside the vox just loosely enough to give the songs a bit of slightly rough-hewn charm. That they manage to play a majority of these tunes at a frantic up-tempo pace and maintain pop melody is a great feat and one that also allows them to avoid the pitfall of too many slow-dance numbers. It almost seems like they're forcing themselves to slow down and play mid-tempo at times, which thankfully keeps things moving briskly and refreshingly. The medium-fi recording helps as well, keeping them from over-produced slickness that might have made the high saccharine content too much to take. It's one pop zipper after another, with a couple deft instrumentals snuck in as change-ups. In true power-pop wimp fashion, all the songs deal with girls, love and relationships (of both the good and bad varieties) delivered with convincing emotion. I won't try and claim they don't get a bit sappy throughout the dozen tracks, but again, the delivery is so exceptional all is forgiven. If a song like "Honey Joy" doesn't lift your spirit even a slight bit, well, you're a bigger curmudgeon than I. Serious punks should stay home, but those with an ear for power-pop, garage-soul or whatever we're gonna call the subgenre Royal Headache have created here will get a lot of repeat plays out of this one. Play it at your girlfriend. Bonus points for having a great band logo. Scum stats: seems to be a pressing of 500, but for the truly scummy it seems there was a test press/release show edition with alternate art, and there's also a Euro press coming on a French label as well.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsocietyrecords.tumblr.com)
The Sailors "Guilty Pleasure Blues" 7"
In the early oughts there was little to talk about when it came to Aussie rock, which is hard to believe in the midst of today's Antipodean Rock renaissance, but it's fact. Alongside some old-timers keeping the faith (Cosmic Psychos, Mad Macka and such), there was one new and bright shining light in those dark days in the form of The Sailors and their bawdy brand of homoerotic rock. They released a couple LPs and a few singles worth of hard-to-acquire and fantastically humorous and rocking roll, did a barnstorming tour across the US (which occassioned one of my all-time favorite shows and afterparies) and the last we heard of them was 2003's "Failure, Depression and Suicide" CDEP (which I still pray will turn up on vinyl someday, as "Abattoir Blues" and "Slut for The Booze" are two crucial moments in their discography). Apparently post-tour they'd split up, with Victor retreating to Taiwan and the rest of the crew moving on to other vices and bands (Ooga Boogas and Bits of Shit most recently), and that appeared to be the end of the story. Until this 7" showed up in the mail slot, much to my delight. Two songs, with Side Victor being "Guilty Pleasure Blues" recorded in Taiwan by Vernon, Victor and his 18-year old concubine on drums, and it's another of the Sailors' surprisingly heartfelt and emotional anthems about life, love and loss. Great oscillating guitar solo, some tasteful wah pedal work and a rousing chorus make this a direct hit right to the heart. Some will say it sounds ECSR-esque, but I say it sounds like vintage Sailors. Side Hector is Vernon and Hec in 2009, spitting out a raucous rock-smasher in oppostion to Victor's emotionally weighty A-Side. The "chromin'" discussed in "Let's Go Chromin'" is a Saturday night pastime involving taking some pills and smoking some Ice (a favorite drug Down Under from what I've been told) and perhaps sniffing some glue alongside your standard alcohol consumption. It's a real masterstroke of a party anthem with a careening drum drive and belligerent vocal that really does makes me want to smoke some Ice someday. Or maybe not. I don't think this single means The Sailors are active again (although I do wish they were), but it's a welcome addition to their discography and should please any and all fans of irreverent rock'n'roll, Australian or otherwise.(RK)
(Aarght Records // www.aarghtrecords.com)
San Francisco Watercooler "Five Song EP" 7"
This band's LP really bugged me for some reason, but I'm not so sure what I was so irked about while I spun their latest single. It's nothing more offensive than your average indie-rockers playing fast and loose with GBV influences and the sloppily stoned Nineties grunge revival that seems to be trying to take place out West. Awful and barely-there vocals, loud guitars that really have no reason to be turned up, "lo-fi pop", and by the time they break the cowbell out for the last song I'm remembering why I thought the LP sucked so bad. This is what Milk Music might have turned out sounding like if they had no balls or chops. Only in California....(RK)
(Sun Sneeze Records // sunsneezerecords.blogspot.com)
J.C. Satan “Sick of Love” LP
Using Thee Oh Sees clatter and sunshine psych as a lift-off, 'Sick of Love' moves quickly towards dank and mustier corners, filling them with their own brand of downer-creep vibes. Modern flower-punk bent on the usual 60’s pop nuggets, waiting for the brown tabs of acid to kick in under their headbands. Something like an international Gris Gris, methinks. Well crafted jangle and ‘verb uplifted from the bedroom and planting root in the Tropicália jungles. Songs like "Prehistoric Love" do more for me than most of the shimmery stuff that has been washing to my shores as of late. There’s a Kool-Aid party going on down here. One with a whole lotta’ noises (the pleasant kind) and whole buncha’ co-ed sing alongs. I feel like for all the brouhaha around the blog scene for the Hozac newbies and message boards sporting wood for the SF scene, that some of you knobs would be chomping all over this. It’s far better than most of the competition. And the competition is thick these days, let me tell ya’. Multi-culti bipolar garage (not punk) damage that wouldn’t feel too outta’ place in the international rock sections of the hipper West Coast music stores. If yer having a pig roast soiree, wearing a cape and crown, drinking festive mixers with fruit, umbrellas and shit sticking out of ‘em…then throw this fucker on the hi-fi. People will get all loosey-goosey, real soon like. You could win entertainer of the year, just like Z-Man Barzell. This is my happening…and it freaks me out. Happy 100th Pete! (RSF)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)
Scarcity of Tanks "Bleed Now" CD
Scarcity of Tanks is the ongoing concern of Matthew Ming Shank Wascovich, a reclusive poet perched on the shores of Lake Erie. Despite his playfully anti-social tendencies, “Wasco” has managed to rope many a talented Cleave musician (and sometimes beyond) into his free-rock band, flirting with noise, jazz, and the more avant-garde offshoots of hardcore punk. 2008’s No Endowments brought all of these disparate factors together in a satisfying long-player. Bleed Now finds the group as close to a “normal” rock band as they have been yet, maintaining a relatively solid line-up and playing shows on a consistent basis. The album storms out with “August,” establishing the template, as Wasco declares his lyrics over Ted Flynn’s guitar, which peels off new directions in Classic rock shred, like Joe Baiza raised on The James Gang. The rhythm section is all muscular throb, bassist Sebastian Wagner occasionally finding the hidden melodies beneath the avant-thrum (like on “Cardboard”); the drums are in the capable hands of journeyman Clevo skinsman (and painter), Scott Pickering, Puff Tube himself, member of bands ranging from Spike in Vain to Speaker/Cranker. At the mid-century mark, he still pounds harder than kids a third his age. The man is a rock.
Not content with just monotoning his abstract lyrics, Wasco sings more on this release than ever before. “Requisite Fire” has a meditative Lungfish serenity, which is blown apart by the hardcore gallop of “Melt Dove Miles.” SoT has gone through some interesting transformations over the years, but this newest version may be the best yet. On Bleed Now, they come across like some sort of mutant post-punk avant-garage Jim Carroll Band, sans the Catholic guilt, instead a heaping pile of Rust Belt blues on their plates.(EEK)
(Total Life Society/Textile // www.textilerecords.com)
Ed Schrader's Music Beat "Sermon" 7"
Baltimore's Ed Schrader is one of those guys who tries to wear as many hats as possible in expressing his art - I seem to recall him doing stand-up comedy here at some point, he apparently has his own local talk show, is a part of the Wham City artist collective and has this Music Beat thing. The premise of this art project is Schrader banging on a drum and yelling a repetitive mantra while accompanied by a bass player. Industrial-style repetition delivered loudly and forcefully that does remind one of other acts on Load in its basic premise. "Sermon" has a couple lines of lyrics before a chant of "This is my sermon..." takes over. Kinda sounds like Perry Farrell singing on this side and I was almost sure this ended in a lock-groove, but it's just actually that repetitive. "Rats" is a bit more interesting as the repeated parts are a bit lengthier, the vox have a bassier feel that melds to the music better and it has some small semblance of a song in a vague call/response construction. Maybe. Full length coming soon for you experimental art-types.(RK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)
Scott & Charlene's Wedding "Para Vista Social Club" LP
Limited edition LP/art project from Melbourne's Craig Dermody (also the man behind the Divorced LP), with a backing band of what I'm told is a super group of the scene, meaning it's dudes from a bunch of bands I've either never heard of (Spider Vomit, Lindsey low Hand, Panel of Judges) or have heard and didn't think much of (Love of Diagrams, Beaches, Dirtbag). Regardless of these associations, Dermody has created a semi-listenable LP's worth of tunes that lean heavily on the VU influence and sound more Christchurch than Melbourne. Indie-rock with zero punk influence, mid-tempo strumming, slightly awkward singing voice, lots of songs about taking trains, loneliness and the mundanity of everyday life. It's a bit of a bummer vibe, but hey, we're dealing with modern indie-rock here, when isn't that a bummer? I'm thinking he's more of an "artist" than a "musician" if you know what I mean with those quotes there. Limited to 200 copies, each of which repurposes an old LP sleeve augmented with Craig's painting on them. Not exactly rugged, but personal and rough hewn enough to make things interesting to the point where I'm not gonna dog it, even if it isn't a worldbeater and seems to come from a pretty hip scene for a square like myself. Terrible, terrible band and album names though. Artists...(RK)
(Untapped Resources // craigdermody.tumblr.com)
Secret Prostitutes “Fantasi Di Auschwitz” 7”
Indonesian snot from the jungles of…Texas?! I don’t get it either, but I DO get it. Full tilt and choppy KBD quickies that’ll get the 70s loving collector scum inside all of you fist pumping or wall punching or what have you. Seems everyone is already in the game with these fellas, so what’s left to say? Solid stuff with a hint o’ the Spits-ish stoopidity and the Mentally Ill’s mouthwash. If yer into throwback sounding goodstuffs from foreign lands (Ratas Del Vaticano, etc)…this is a no brainer. Texas is a separate country, ain’t it? There’s 300 pressed. Some on grape ape vinyl. Some not. Yr probably too late anyways.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)
Ty Segall "Live In Aisle Five" LP
Recorded live and direct at the Southpaw one year anniversary party in the summer of 2010. Young Ty burns through most of his hits with the utmost energy, from the "early days" ("Skin", "Pretty Baby", etc..) through 'Melted', wedges in a couple covers (GG, a showstopping version of The Vibrators "Baby Baby Baby" and an uncredited Zep riff) and achieves great sound quality throughout (except for some weird warble/speed changes on the B-Side that I'm not sure are a pressing error or an intentional goof). "Sad Fuzz" comes off sounding like Sic Alps (isn't he in that band now or something? And M.Donovan gets credited with some back-ups as well as getting a live shout-out...) and the up-tempo rollers are the modern Bay Area garage "thing" personified. His backing band sounds proficient enough, I'm not sure who they are, but I imagine they're in a few bands of their own. Ty gets some good guit-noise via fancy pedal-work, bringing some "psych" to the party as well. I think I can hear Vinnie Martini in the audience requesting "Caesar" at one point. This kid is certainly going places and if you've been enthralled by his LPs this is an adequate live version of them. Very fitting with the Southpaw demographic as well. My take: I think he's got a solid set culled from his three LPs, and he writes a good-n-hooky garage song in the West Coast style du jour, but I think the young fella needs to slow down a bit and try and add another layer to his sound at this point. He's written essentially the same record three times now. Hopefully all his hang time with Dwyer will rub off somehow. Because Thee Oh Sees still rule. Scum stats: 1000 pressed, with 200 on color, which I imagine will sell out quickly. I imagine he's easily breaking the 1K barrier with his releases at this point, and you have to think a bigger label might come calling soon, although Goner can probably still handle him for awhile yet (Hellooo Drag City...see what happens when you wait so long to publish these reviews? - ed.). Artwork is supposed to be "simple" to give the appearance of a a bootleg according to the labels' notes, but I'm sorry, I think it just looks sloppy.(RK)
(Southpaw Records // www.southpaw-records.com)
Sex Church “Growing Over” LP
Alrighty, let’s see if I can swing this without repeating too much from my prior ramblings. I love this band. Biased as hell (truth), but if you ain’t down with the sounds presented here, we probably shouldn’t even be friends. If you’ve been on board with their singles, EPs and tours tapes up until now…brace your shit. Load has dropped a fully realized, straight up epic downer ROCK record…and possibly the best one they’ve ever pressed. Wait, Load Records? Crazy, I know. There ain’t one stuffed animal sewn onto the britches of any of these lads. No one’s wearing pantyhose masks, even. Let’s not forget Load’s released some stone cold classics over the years…Brainbombs, Clockcleaners, Six Fingers and so on. Ben seems like a solid dude, and here’s another winner for the less arty side of his roster. I feel like the recording time and budget was on the Church’s side. Grand scale hook heavy skull music for mature adults…who probably hate everything offered up on the music market. Not an angry hate, just really frustrated. Life is shit and this world flushing itself down the toilet. This is the soundtrack the collapse…and it’s a toe tapper. Imagine the Cheater Slicks gloom without the garage. Or a Jap-damaged psych that has actual well written parts instead of just scuzz-blown freakouts (but those are there too). A stellar Kraut combo loosing consciousness and fraying apart at the seams. The Spacemen 3 on a come down, remembering to add a twist or a turn to their tracks to actually keep shit interesting. Gun Club was just as death rock as Joy Division, let’s face it. This is a voodoo dance blissfully buried under a wall of shoegaze, and it’s come time to bury the corpse of Termbo under its tombstone. Growing Over lay waste to a hundred-million n’one loftpop/goth puds that stand smoking outside Brooklyn’s overpriced flats…all without trying to be goth or loftpop. Rattle those fiberboard walls. Thee band to see for you nug headed degenerates and/or actual MUSIC fans out there. Go to their show. It’s well worth it to put yr head against the monitors, and crumble to the floor, blissfully fried.(RSF)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)
Sex Cult "Errand Boy" 7"
Memphis bands will now and forever be held up to the Jay Reatard standard, and it's a tough test for a band to pass unscathed. Jay still casts a wide shadow across many genres, and rightfully so. Sex Cult has kids from Vile Nation (ok), Magic Kids (ugh) and a couple other local acts and add some punk edge to their modern indie-garage sound with some lo-fi production and ragged and confidently delivered vocals. "Errand Boy" is treble-rock with a playful UK-DIY spirit and grade-A hook, "Sid Visions" is a bit more frantic and reminds me of River City Tanlines with a guy singing. "Start to Wonder" on the flipside is a simple and enervating minor-key anthem, very ECSR-like in its construction and tacking on some psychy guitars (OhSees style perhaps) for a rather striking and well crafted song, the quality of which I honestly wasn't expecting. Exceptional single from the next generation of Goners, and this combination of kids comes closer to passing the Reatard litmus test than most. Vocals really make this one. Kinda wish they'd thought of a better name, but what the hell...(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Sexpistolstanten & Mockfjardsvapnet "Det Arliga Cv:t" LP
Swedish punk is apparently go, once again. Baddat for Trubbel, Moralens Vaktare, whatever Brainbombs dudes are doing (No Balls, Krig in Hudik), whatever else Stefan KenRock is throwing at the wall. It's enough to have me firing up Google translator on a weekly basis at least. This "project" is ex-members of Skitsystem, Local Oafs, HFOS and CCCPn/(Latex) Novelties (who released a couple good-to-great under the radar singles) and I think it means "Sex Pistol Girl" or something close and have no idea what the rest is about...there's certainly some piss-taking here, but the Swedish lyrics are beyond my comprehension (although I did figure out "Vit Natt, Vit Skit" = "White Night, White Shit") aside from a tribute to smoking cigarettes called "Cigg Hail". Musically, it's solid high treble punk with effectively sultry and punk vox from a blonde who can go. Some sing-along HFOS-styled action-punkers, some icy rockers, some Dangerhouse-meets-PF Commando moments, a few slashes of Tyrades-like angular demolition. I'm sure this is jam-packed with gags I can't translate, but there's good enough tunes to keep one's attention on both sides of this platter. Quite decent for those of you not scared off by foreign language lyrics and/or girl vox, and one of the better things I've heard recently with the ex-HFOS tag on it, which is a good majority of modern Swede-punk. As a side note, Skrammel has a reissue of "Genius & Brutality" coming up for those of you who still have good taste.(RK)
(Skrammel Records // www.skrammelrecords.se)
Sharp Balloons "Evening News" 7"
Newish Memphis outfit featuring Zac Ives (Final Solutions frontman extraordinaire and Goner Records co-conspirator), Joe T (Rat Traps, Feelers, TSOT) and a gal named Heather. Each member contributes one song, and they're also all playing instruments that aren't their specialty - meaning Joe, who usually plays guitar, is on drums here, Heather is just learning to play bass, and Zac attempts to play guitar. It works out in a pretty charming way. Zac has a great amateur hack-n-slash style. "Evening News" (by Heather?) has a repetitive UK-like style, maybe a little Slits-esque. "Genetic Disorder" is Zac's song if I'm guessing right, and it's stripped-down punk not unlike a Final Solutions number without all the wackiness. That means "Orange Plates" must be Joe's tune, and it's a plain-jane 1-2 garage lunker. First two cuts are a bit more interesting, and this thing was fun to spin a few times. A bit of a novelty-band element to it, but I don't mean that as a slight. This will be of far more interest to rabid Goner-philes than your average garage turkey.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Sharp Ends s/t LP
Full length from a band that was never very impressive on their (many) singles, which doesn't bode well. Looking at this you might you think they're adventurous weirdos a la Factums or Pink Noise based on the mysterious found-images appropriated as grainy album art. But in reality it's far from adventurous, just another band playing rote post-post-punk (many of which are Canadian for whatever reasons), intent on sounding like something in particular (again, grayscale post-punk) but not bothering to really write songs or play them in any way that makes them stand out in a line-up. At times they sound like TV Ghost if they weren't trying very hard, and those are the best moments had here. Vocals seem to be mimicking a better singer and I can't say I remember anything too much about any of these songs. They somehow don't even manage to come up with an interesting guitar sound, which might have given me something to say some positive things about. I wasn't expecting much from this, and got even less than I imagined. Not exactly unlistenable, but so generic and uninspired it's sort of depressing.(RK)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
Shaved Women s/t 12"
Another exceptional example of the Rotted Tooth "sound" here, snuggling in nicely next to Butcher Cover and Solid Attitude. The perfect blend of pummeling Nineties scumrock and screaming Eighties hardcore velocity. St. Louis seems a perfect locale ("Hey, aren't Drunks with Guns from here?") for them to be operating out of. In between misanthropic Midwest-core, the most aggro of the post-hardcore Touch & Go roster, a dash of the least arty things Skin Graft had to offer and smothered in Texan rust and dirt via Rusted Shut and the Trance Syndicate roster. The rhythm section moves mountains, drummer is a machine and the bass tone is real gutsy. The vocals are savage, but not ridiculous. Certainly not shaven. Guitar player has the monster riff down pat and throws some off-speed scree when necessary. Four songs per side, half are high-speed truckers and the other half are drug-slugs that they drag through the dirt behind them. They do it well both ways and are concise enough to leave you wanting more. Scum stats: initial press was 150, there's a second press now available for another 150 people who slept. Nice four color screened half-sleeves.(RK)
(Rotted Tooth // Permanent Records seems to be your best best for these...)
Sheglank'd Shoulders "Skate Assassin" flexi
I LOVE skate rock. It's a pretty loosely defined genre, I'll admit, but just going by the first half-dozen volumes of the Thrasher comps is okay by me. I still play the Bark Hard LP at least every couple of months. I own a Skatemaster Tate 12". Haven't skated in a dozen-plus years, and could barely skate in my "prime" anyway, but what the hell. I lived vicariously through the pages of Thrasher and Gonz video parts. Jake Phelps is an idol of mine. I just wanna know whatever happened to McShred...alright, enough already. These guys are from Calgary. When I think of skating and Canada I think of Kevin Harris and his classic "Mountie" Powell deck. A dependable Bones Brigade footsoldier. Skull Skates was based in Canada too (and was partially owned by Rick Ducommun, who is somehow related to a former TB staffer, if memory serves). Appleyard is Canadian. Uh....that's all off the top of my head. "Skate Assassin" is kind of a lame generic punk song, not too many degrees off from Fat Wreckords. "Skate Pit" is a little meaner and sounds far more "real punk", nearly crossover-style, and seems more in the spirit of authentic Eighties-style Skate Punk if you ask me. Good cut. Pretty nice sound and pressing quality for a flexi, thick enough where I didn't need to weigh it down, comes with download.(RK)
(Handsome Dan Records // www.handsomedanrecords.com)
The Shirks "Cry Cry Cry" 7"
Single number three (or four?) from DC's Shirks, here sounding their most ex-Problematics-like. "Cry Cry Cry" has a Baseball Furies-esque street toughness, but with more of a concern for a hook than Buffalo's masters of mayhem. "On Time" mixes Rip Off Records with The Saints. Side B's "Prostitution Summer" goes even further into Saints worship, this guy does a real good Chris Bailey imitation, I must say. Not too shabby for an actual garage-punk band, and a choice listen for those of you sick of reverb and pop. Scum stats: 100 on red, I'm guesing 500 total.(RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com)
Shock Value “Yellow Peril” EP
Australian youngsters playing a sound reminiscent of DC and Boston skins duking it out at one of The Abused’s last shows, with the throat-shredding gang vocals of Jap street punk(!), probably attributable to their self-proclaimed status of being “the only embryonic all-Asian band in the country playing punk music”. A romping, stomping good time by this Laotian group comprised of two brothers, a sister, and a cousin, singing about hate and soccer. For fans of where less memorable mid-‘80s HC acts were using The Fix’s blueprint of trusting their 4 brain cells in the songwriting process. Similar in its dunderheaded sincerity to what 86 Mentality were doing, as well as contemps Wiccans. Ace.(BG)
(No Patience // www.nopatience.org)
Sic Alps “Napa Asylum” 2XLP
It’s been a few years now since “U.S.EZ” was released and Sic Alps have been relatively quiet in the interim. Sure, they’ve released the fantastic “L’Mansion” single on Slumberland and a handful of (okay) comp tracks, but offerings from the Sic Alps camp have been relatively limited. In this period of time however, Sic Alps have managed to find their way onto the upper echelon of indie labels: Drag City.
“U.S. EZ” was easily one of my favorite records of 2008, and probably of all time, so the bar has unfairly been set pretty high. I’d be a liar if I said that I wasn’t a little bummed out by “Napa Asylum”. Sic Alps has never been the easiest band to listen to, but in the past, the sometimes wandering and overindulgent folk/psych/pop/garage or whatever the fuck it is that they do, was at the very least, rewarding. This time we get a 22 song, 45 minute double LP of sing-songy folk(ish) tunes (and one Led Zeppelin copping track admittedly called “Zeppo Epp”). Much of the blown out rock and noise of “U.S. EZ” is pretty much gone on “Napa Asylum”, save for songs like “The First White Man to Touch California.” Don’t get me wrong though, there is PLENTY on here to be into: the 60’s pop of “Cement Surfboard,” and the killer bass tone on “Do You Want to Give $$’” just to name a few. But at 22 songs, it’s just a little too much with nothing that really sticks.
I am fully aware that Sic Alps are a smart band, and much of what they do is probably 100% intentional. So despite what this crybaby white boy has to say, “Napa Asylum” is probably exactly what Mike Donovan and Matt Hartman wanted. It is what it is. Also, I feel that I should also note that I absolutely LOVE Sic Alps, and six months down the line, I will probably be calling anyone who doesn’t like this stupid.(ES)
(Drag City // www.dragcity.com)
Sic Alps "Breadhead" 7"
I gave up on 'Napa Asylum' after falling asleep (or forgetting it was even playing) halfway through it more than a few times. Too much, too slow. This single gets me back in the mood again, and "Breadhead" is a hit with short-circuiting fried guitar noise and lazy rhythm making it close to "Jellyroll Gumdrop" revisited. Pretty great. As with most Alps records, it's two actual songs with an extra minute-or-so ramble filling out each side with another song title. I've given up trying to figure out who is actually in this band now, but it appears that every person in the Bay who owns an instrument guests on the cover of Bob Marley's "Can't You See" (Dwyer, Segall, Melton, Petey Dammit...) that actually sounds a little like a hippie-fied Equals. Not a barn-burner, but at least it's a rocker instead of a folker. One of the Comets on Fire dudes gets a credit on the title cut, which makes me want to hear the next LP a little bit more. More rock, less snooze this time around, please.(RK)
(Drag City // www.dragcity.com)
Simple Circuit "Teenage Ghost" 7"
Punk-pop outfit from Austin playing quite serviceable songs for the genre. I thought their 7" on Super Secret had some good vibes. This is more of the same, one real strong side and one average cut. If they had combined the good songs from both they'd have one stellar little record instead of two just OK ones. Again, the stronger cut reminds me a bit of the quirky-wavey punk of Blank-Its, "Rathead Submarine" is a loveably ludicrous title and they wrench a great death-ray sound out of the guitar here, bolstered by a good vocal and subliminal organ hook. Peppy and hooky and punk. "Teenage Ghost" again reminds me of the straight mid-tempo garage-pop of The Pets. Actually has a nice oh-oh chorus and I always dig some handclaps. I think I just wrote the same review I gave their first single. Hey, it's not like it's not accurate. Decent stuff here and their cut on Casual Victim Pile II is damn swell too. This is actually their first single, so apparently I let this sit for awhile. Sorry kids.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/simplecircuitbeep)
Singvogel “Disneyexorcist” LP
This long player starts off with some sorta’ danceable workout that feels like it’s got the theme to Ruben and Ed hiding beneath an industrial thump, only slathered on top with gross guitar interplay. Not really sure if they know they sound like Ethyl Meatplow or not. Huh. After that it becomes more synth-punk, like a thick bottomed, but plunky Metal Urbain. Shit then goes right back into the headscratch trashcan with a
Foetus-esque Gothic cabaret number. The singer sometimes sounds like Blixa trying to tug an indie pop record out of his beret. There’s xylophones tucked away on here. Always a perk to my ears. Mid-paced garage grinders pull up to the light next to chopped & screwed Roxy Music gutter glam. Sometimes it hits a junkified Aussie cowboy stride, only to be tossed back into the Kurt Weill songbook. Hard pressed to find any more worthy or less confusing reference points. This slab goes everywhere, for better or worse. A hint of The New Thrill Parade perhaps? It’s a messy platter, but played with conviction and has some swell production. If anything, they sound pretty darn original, and this label is constantly brings wildcards to the table. In custom painted & screened recycled sleeves. (RSF)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)
The Sleaze "Weird Truck" 7"
Minnesota's #1 punk rock snots The Sleaze fling this two-song bogey right at your face. "Weird Truck" is trebly as shit (dig that solo!) and catchy as fuck with great nasally vox. Punk song of the year. Every time I hear a new single I say "This might be their best song yet, duh..." and it's true once again. That's a good sign, dummies. "Splotch" is wonderfully inane and fulla cymbal hiss and piss and blabbery vox. One of the best young punk bands of today, and this single adds to their catalog of singles you should already own. Like any good band, this one leaves you wanting more...Scum stats: 300 copies. Artwork: ridiculous.(RK)
(Three Dimensional Records // www.brainlapsefanzine.com/threedimensionalrecords)
The Sleaze "Called You Once" 7"
...so, here we have more of what I wanted from The Sleaze, who are proving to perhaps be the true heirs to the Rip Off Records crown in these modern times. Short, fast, dumb. The three necessary ingredients. Although "Retro Sexy In Blue" is actually a slow-mo beater. I think it's about jerking off. Gets real lively at the end there, very interesting and shows these kids have a couple tricks up the sleeve. The A-Side is the money shot though, high speed hookery and total punk action, guitarist plays connect the dots for a great solo and the whole affair sounds just trashy enough. I feel like these kids should be making a great 15-minute long one-sided LP right now, a la 'P.S. We Hate You', because they haven't made a bad single yet. I don't feel so bad that Shoot It Up are broken up now that these boners have hit their stride. Hand-stamped sleeves in accordance with the running Total Punk aesthetic.(RK)
(Total Punk // www.floridasdying.com)
Sleetmute Nightmute "Night of The Long Knives" LP
Recorded back in 2003, and quickly vanishing into a haze of on-again/off-again possible release (mostly through that notorious scene-hopping label par excellance, Troubleman Unlimited), this legendary (to a certain scene of people at least) album finally sees a proper burial via Gossip guitarist Nathan Howdeshell’s new-ish label, Fast Weapons. The Portland group was a No Wave nightmare, a post-hardcore/math rock MARS, chops to burn, especially the drummer, who executes some truly sick rolls, and alternately pleading and pestering vocals. “INTERFERENCE….B&B Girls” is nearly 6 minutes of relentless No Wave pounding, stripped of all the gimmickry of the majority of Skin Graft bands, leaving the song itself lying in the street, a naked, mutilated corpse. “Scaring the Birds…Don’t Speak My Name” sounds like what you always thought acid rain felt like. This is dark stuff, confronting the more uncomfortable aspects of flesh and its desires, similar to the body horror expressed by contemporaries like early Chromatics and Shoplifting. The slash-and-burn attack of The Scissor Girls (and even Bride of NoNo) comes to mind, but Sleepmute Nightmute shows no sense of humor, instead clamoring forth with an intensity and focus rarely seen in today’s underground. The musical dexterity is off-set by the palpable anxiety and despair. It’s certainly not a fun listen, but I find myself continuously returning to the album, surrendering to the corrosive sheets of guitar and agonized vocals, but most especially those drums, which sound genuinely pained. Despite all the emotional turmoil in these songs, it makes me happy to see this lost slice of early Ought noise is finally out there for the general public.(EEK)
(Fast Weapons // www.fastweapons.com)
Slug Guts "Livin' Evil" LP
Live companion piece to to 'Howlin Gang' (their second studio LP which was a good few yards better than their debut) that actually only features two songs from that LP via a back-to-back run through "Howlin'" (which might be the high point of the set, or at least finds them furthest in the pocket) and "Chrome Crucifix", fleshing out the rest of the set with material which will appear on their third LP. Recording sounds pretty cavernous, the guitar ricocheting throughout the room (which sounds nearly empty based on crowd reaction, or perhaps filled with Dead Meadow fans who could give a fuck about the opening band), rhythm section covering the floor in rubble and the singer dead-panning the whole affair. The performance is pretty loose and free-swinging for the most part, culminating in the most exciting of the new tunes, "Skin Problems" which has some sax (that I wish this whole thing had more of) and an energized and brutal cover of Lubricated Goat's "In the Raw". Some might say it sounds like a plodding set, but it really comes off as a controlled anger, like a pissed off Birthday Party sans the theatrics. There's nothing fancy about this band, it's just raw meat hanging there on a hook dripping blood and gristle on your new shoes. Primal goth.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com - or go to Goner in the US maybe)
The Slugfuckers “Three Feet Behind Glass + Instant Classic” LP
The Fuckers of Slugs practically wrote this review for me. Contained within the thick-ass record jacket, in true Dada fashion, is a manifesto. It trumps any references to Down’s Syndrome PiL, Psychedelic Horseshit in a particularly foul mood, or even merely typing the names People With Chairs Up Their Noses or Makers of the Dead Travel Fast.
CONCEPTUAL OPACITY – AN ABBERRANT MUSIC: The Slugfuckers’ Test of Musical (Dis)Taste [a selection]: “This band is one big joke, one endless experiment, one eternal orgasmic wank, one in TERMINabLe BORE.” “…our only recourse is to be anti-music, therefore pro-noise.” “The audience as beggar.” “The music is just an excuse.” “…better than eating or sex sometimes.” “The sound of stoppage and breakdown.” “We spray it all back at you.” “You dose yourself with mucus, booze, and downers…”
They almost break the spew/spell with a list of “friends and heroes” that includes SPK, N-Lets (who?), TG, Pere Ubu, Lee Harvey Oswald, ATV, The Pop Group, Yippies, Tristan Tzara, Luigi Russolo, etc. But the “CRAZYMIX, SCAPDASH” rant continues, and concludes with a threat of an invitation: “We advise you to keep away. We want to pulverize you with our maniacal love squeeze, hot tears up your cunt, shove spiders up your prick, force hedgehogs up your nose: We want you to feel like us and die. Throw away your strings.” (EEK)
(Insolito // www.insolitorecords.com)
Snakeflower 2 "Memory Castle" 7" EP
Four song EP from Matthew Melton that pretty much sounds just like any other record he's spat out over the past year or two. He has a good couple of songs, this guy, but he just keeps re-writing them over and over. Trebly garage-pop with some sike leanings, he breaks out the phaser effects on the title track lending some time-warping vibes to the wistful pop. "Wild Child" is a Sixties-garage throwback with a grandiose bridge-n-chorus. "Wild Magic" is Melton doing his boilerplate fragile-popsike thing. "You Can't Erase A Mirror" has a great guitar lead and some more time machine gimmickry. This a good record, don't get me wrong, and I like the space/time concept that seems to loosely link the songs together. This is far better than his Bare Wires work, and every time I put one of his records on I'm ready for it to be the one that put me over the edge into either not caring anymore or calling it great. Melton has a good "sound" down pat, I can't lie, and he has progressed a lot from his Memphis Break-Ups days. I think I'm just waiting for him to totally knock one out of the park, instead of just another double-bagger. An extra base hit is always good. Home runs are great though, and Melton has yet to go yard. 300 copies only, which will make it more attractive to some.(RK)
(Southpaw Records // www.southpaw-records.com)
Soft Encounters one-sided 10"
Holy shit, a one-sided 10". Monofonus Press have discovered how to make one of the worst formats ever even more painful. Soft Encounters are a two-man collaboration of what I'm going to call "artists" who I'm thinking maybe play lap-tops in front of psychedelic visuals live. This sounds like someone playing a loop of steel drums and recording it through an electric fan. The second "track" is at least a little bit of a creeper, even if it plays the same looped-drums/noise effects card. Label says: "(a) delicious morsel from a hitherto sequestered royal chef." !!! Silk-screended flipside, stock chipboard cover, limited to 300 copies and part of a series. Man, why couldn't they have sent the Rebel 12" instead...(RK)
(Monofonus Press // www.monofonuspress.com)
Soft Healer one-sided 10"
Is there some reason both of these bands have Soft in their name? I just realized there are also bands called Soft Moon and Soft Metals, which is makes it the new "beach" I guess. Soft Healer are Captured Tracks-friendly vague indie-rock of some sort. Far better than Soft Encounters. "Grand Isle" is maybe a jazzy take on The Doors' "The End" with some gals caterwauling in Jimbo's place and horns instead of an organ? They really stretch out on this one. Pretentious but not godawful. They then do a lounge act cover of the Zero Boys' "Civilization's Dying" which they describe as "grooved up" (and I swear they're putting on French accents here), that is either a stroke of evil genius or the most despicable cover song ever recorded. Or both. I'll let Satan be the judge, I'm not touching this one. Silk-screened B-Side on this one is rather fetching though. Limited to 300.(RK)
(Monofonus Press // www.monofonuspress.com)
Sokea Piste "Oire" 7"
Stark Finnish hardcore-punk from members of Kyklooppien Sukkupputto. Three tracks sung in their native tongue, but with English translation on the insert, which is a nice touch. And I should mention the packaging effort here is exceptional, the eye-catchingly designed (and screened) sleeves in particular. Musically, it's dark and brooding foreign punk, A-Side has two tracks on the more aggressive side, first one actually sounds a little like a Finnish Double Negative, second track has a choppy broken rhythm/timing that makes it intriguing to follow. Heavy too. B-Side is a lengthier and colder track with some desolate post-punk leanings. A little heavy-handed at times, but executed well for the genre and country of origin. I find it entertaining the same label that released this also released the latest Figgs LP - talk about diversity. 100 copies on mustard yellow, come with download that contains a bonus track as well.(RK)
(Peterwalkee // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)
Solid Attitude "Prison Water" 7"
Punk rockers from Iowa City who exist in the grey area where the heavier/rawer side of hardcore and sloppy garage punk meet and comingle, an area that this Rotted Tooth label have seemingly come out of nowhere to cover fairly well. I haven't heard all of the label's releases yet, but the ones I have are delivering the goods. Solid Attitude step up with six songs, all soldiering forward at martial paces and characterized by blown-out bass, squealing guitar reverb, junkyard cymbal crash and the singer's charismatic drawn-out sneer-n-drool voxing. Reminiscent of the moments of the early Crypt catalog when punk bands were only called garage because they sounded like shit on hillbilly-stompers like "Squirrel Trap". "TV Life" espouses an aesthetic not unlike a dumbed down Clone Defects. "Ghost Worthy" is a formidable opponent for a Slices or Kim Phuc heavy monster sound. "Constant Garbage/Totally Droll" sounds like raw punk Detroit of recent times. Repeat listens allow you to pick out these high points, and also realize it's a little flat overall in the long run. They have the sound down but need a little more...excitement maybe? I dunno. I like where they're trying to go, and while they might not quite be there yet, it's a fun little spin. Member(s?) of Wet Hair, which bums me out a little bit because that band is straight garbage. Scum stats: 200 copies with top notch silk screened sleeves and killer art.(RK)
(Rotted Tooth // solidattitude-at-gmail.com)
Son of Monkey “Love More” 2CD
Fuck me. Did I sign up for the next installment of Garbage Can? I didn’t think so...so why have I been burdened with this drippy hippie shit? Not one but two (guh) CD’s of folk rock and meandering primitive (inept) world soft-funk. The soundtrack to all day hacky-sack battles in the parking lots of Phish shows. There are hand drums…bongos…BONGOS, people!?! Let’s not forget the sub-par Dylan harmonica breaks and unabashed stabs at Cracker-isms. I’ve been listening so long I sickly start to believe this is some hemp-suited attempt at a Butthole Surfers or Ween styled in-joke. No such luck. I figure these hella brahs really do drive Volvo wagons, complete with Sublime or Marley stickers. Christ, it just goes and goes. And goes…I’m sure they’ve swept the awards at the Alameda county fair’s battle-of-the-bands, but I was too busy eating over at the corn boil tent to pay attention. Patchouli stank leaves my blood congealed. At least the Hootie & The Blowfish guy had the balls to cut a country album. Some research has lead me to their MySpace page (remember those?) of which they have collected 19 friends…and half of them are flyer promoters and sex-chat fakes. They probably shoulda’ held out for a few more actual listeners before unleashing this beast onto the review circuit. If this is considered garage music now…or even college alt-rock…I’ll climb into a backpack full of whiteboy hip-hop to escape it. (RSF)
(Dragonbones Records // myspace.com/sunofmonkey)
Sperm Wails "Lady Chatterly" 7"
Anyone who is hip to the Sperm Wails knows that it’s a goddamn tragedy that they didn’t release more material. I don’t care if they toured with My Bloody Valentine, I don’t care if they personally rolled Kevin Shields’ spliffs every night, I don’t care if they wore their mums’ knickers when she went to church on Sunday mornings, I don’t care if they diddled dogs’ assholes with their tongues, I JUST WISH THEY HAD PUT OUR MORE SHIT. A 12”, a 7”, a flexi (hey it was the ‘80s), that’s it! Argh!! They had a modest legacy of being a relatively forgotten great band that time forgot, until five years ago, when a video from the Shelter Video Compilation (whatever the hell that is) was posted on YouTube. The video was for a song called “Lady Chatterley,” that didn’t appear on any of their records, and was perhaps their most vicious song (and this is a vicious band). The video seemed to hint at dark and terrible things, while the music sounded like Pussy Galore stripped of everything but the hate and yeah fuck the blues, we got plenty of depression and spite to draw from. A small-scale web sensation for fucked-up losers clued into such things. Enter S-S Records, beloved label of those same FUL, and now this song finally feels the kiss of wax. “Mr Wonderful” is a throwaway, a dalliance, but who cares when you’ve got that song on a little 45 rpm single. What is “Lady Chatterley” like? As scissorkicks comments on the youtube: “This song makes me want to smash everything ever.” (EEK)
I didn't know much about Sperm Wails before this S-S recovery project, and that's what you have to love about the label: Ol' Soriano is always teaching you something. The short story: Sperm Wails were a late Eighties UK outfit who were apparently tight with and toured alongside My Bloody Valentine (although they're hardly similar in sound) who existed for two or three years and released a trio of obscure records (one of which was a flexi) before fading into the sunset. Everyone forgot about them until a live clip of "Lady Chatterly" turned up on Youtube and got some people digging. SS rescued this "hit" from one of their singles, and it's bizarro post-punk with tribal drumming, guitars that sound like a swarm of bees, rubberband bass and vocal yelp. Aggro and arty at the same time and rather unique. B-Side is a previously unreleased cut of Fall-like noisescaping and lyrical waxing that's not as enthralling as the A-Side, but the real purpose of this record is just to get "Lady Chatterly" on wax anyway. Mission accomplished. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Spider Bags “Take It Easy Tonight” 7"
Didn’t enjoy the LP too much, but I’m not sure these guys’ songwriting propensity can be yanked and contorted enough to provide us with an interesting, dynamic big-sized record. This single, though, is their best stuff yet. They’ve got a deep nighttime-sounding cacophony that’s as much Tonight’s The Night ditch-era Neil Young as it is Walk Into The Sea Cheater Slicks-minus-the-downers. Or at least most of the downers, considering side A’s almost elusive, non-committal structure sounding like some sorta summary of itself, and B’s “it’s too dark to put the key in my ignition” thing going on. Emotive country rock that knows its sonic roots are buried deep in the garage. (BG)
(Churchkey Records // www.churchkeyrecords.com)
Spiv "Oh You Beautiful Child" 7"
Glam wackjob moves from the Mighty Mouth Music empire, built on the back of the man known as Laurice, the same person behind the wonderfully naughty Grudge 7" (also just reissued) along with dozens of other songs/pseudonyms, many of which will be released on the "Laurice - Best of - Volume 1" LP that should be out any second. I like that people are going to totally get this confused with Thee Spivs 7" released on Almost Ready at the same time. Title cut is about as hardrockin' as glam gets, complete with intro by Snagglepuss, an almost irritating yet ultimately catchy guitar hook, totally hammy vocals and the simplest of stomping backbeats. And a wicked solo! B-Side is an about face into rock'n'roll territory with the piano AND organ laced Birdman-esque "Little Girl" which also contains a ripping solo and is of a far more serious tone. No camp here. A great two-sider. And songs about girls and children will become even more weird once you hear some of Laurice's further catalog. Thank god there are people out there willing to dig singles like this out of the junkshops, because there's no way I would ever have the fortitude to sift through the amount of shitty glam it must have taken to unearth this gem. Both this and the Grudge single are worth their weight in glitter.(RK)
(Mighty Mouth Music // www.mightymouthmusic.com)
Thee Spivs "It's True" 7"
UK outfit who've already released a couple singles and a 12" on the ever-reliable Damaged Goods label, home to pretty much everything Childish/Medway related these days. Other than recording with Liam Watson, there's no direct connection to the Medway scene in any way other than the fact that Thee Spivs sound quite a bit like Armitage Shanks on the A-Side. "It's True" is a deserving A-Side, full of bottom-end whallop and a mangy guitar sound. Simple and effective and easy to sing along with. The B-Side is also the title cut off their (import only) LP, which sounds far punker and pub-pop in a Raw Records style, rousing gang chorus and all. I have to imagine we'll be seeing these Londoners invade our shores soon enough now that they have some product available on a US label. Scum stats: 500 copies (with no repress sez the boss) plus a few test presses available for only the most astute of collector dorks.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
The Stalkers "Lady Sonia" 7"
I have to tell ya, I was really really rooting for this single to be fucking awesome because the sleeve art is just fantastic (yes, I am a child who still likes records with drawings of naked ladies on them). I've heard of these NYC rockers before via message board scuttlebut from men-about-town like Vince Clortho and others who seem to be in the know, so I had my fingers crossed. The bad news is that this thing is far from "fucking awesome". The good news is, uhh...how 'bout that sleeve art?! Stalkers do well played Underground Garage friendly rock'n'roll that Little Steven would groove to. "Lady Sonia" is lightweight pop with vocal harmonies out the ass and some attempt at rocking. B-Side is slow number....zzzzzz. I dunno, they sound a bit like fancy boys. Or Nice Boys. They supposedly have a following in the UK, where their LP was released, and got a nice NME blurb and did some festivals. A+ for the art, D- for the tunes.(RK)
(Oops Baby Records // www.oopsbabyrecords.com)
Stnnng “The Smoke of My Will” LP
That’s pronounced “stunning”, not “sting”. FYI. Glad that’s outta’ the way…What we have here is a bunch of blokes from the Minneapolis area and their long running band, made up of ex-Chambermaids & Heroine Sheiks (or something like that). The press release that came along with this LP likes to tell me about all the folks who LOVE Stnnng and the big names they’ve played with…but honestly, guhh. What I hear is just so-so mathrock. Rhythm heavy with progressive tendencies and a hint of Brainiac at their most violent…or maybe 400 Blows if they complicated things up a smidge. The noise in the rock does flare up now and again but the production is killing it for me. Even though I got friends who would be certain I’d dig this, it ain’t moving me at all. I’m sure they “rage” live, but it sounds stale off the press. I found a MPR interview with ‘em online. There’s one for the Smith Westerns up there too. Enough said. Do you like that band Triclops? I don’t…but if YOU do, have this one on me. Too good for their own good. The singer looks like he could whup my ass, so I’m gonna’ shuddup now.(RSF)
(Modern Radio // www.modern-radio.com)
Superdestroyers "You're Being Erased" 7"
NOLA punkers led by Goner Message Board legend and ex-Spit (and Silverking) Joe Pestilence. "You're Being Erased" is actually sort of a conceptually deep mid-tempo garage rocker comtemplating the fickle hand of fate. "Slave to the Urge" is a mongo-punker about the banality of the life-drugs-sleep-death cycle we're often trapped in. Dumb punk that actually says something in an interesting twist. This won't set your turntable on fire or anything though. "Nice guys". 500 copies total, with 350 on black and 150 on color as part of Windian's singles club.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)
Sweet Tooth “Japanese Void” EP
After a stellar demo that hit my mailbox a year ago, St. Louis’s Sweet Tooth hone the sonic nuances of buzzsaw walls of guitar phasing in and out of junction with the rhythm section and uncompromisingly wit’s-end vein-pop-vox, all justifying the title of this here EP: a more Japanese sounding Void. Not to say the very American traits of character-rich, endearingly imperfect hardcore aren’t there, as they’ve nailed the aural tension my faculties can only describe as huge lumbering creatures of sound trying to fuck while they don’t have the right parts to do so. A blistering assault that’s even more potent live. The Jap influence is definitely present in the throat, sparkling with fiber glass, while side A begins sounding more like the whirlwind that was (is?) The Repos, trying to pierce the catatonia that is the Midwest. Add to this high-octane thrash the initial riff of 30-seconds-over-Illinois annihilation, a knuckledragging syringe of synthesized testosterone, and the finale of the last ever lunar eclipse put to notes and you’ve got a pretty solid little hardcore plate. (BG)
(Cowabunga Records // www.cowabungarecords.com)
Telecommande "Panique Devant L'Ecran" 7"
It's been so long since the Telecommande tape came out that I can't remember if these songs are from the cassette or not...and the fact-checkers tell me they're both new cuts. I'm glad someone finally took the time to give them some wax, as they're a welcome addition to the Glue Wave stable. I believe they hail from Lyon and they peddle le synth-punque, perhaps crossing Cheveu with the Spits. "Panique..." is punky and mid-tempo with an Eighties drum machine drive wound up with twin snakes of synth-drone and bass-throb and a pretty chunky riff as well. "Pixels" really sounds like aggro Spits-like apocalyptic synth-punk with a one-note guitar solo and dumb guitar. Short and stupid, just how I like it. Another one-sided release from Leather Bar, with great artwork from the Ratcharge zine fella. I'm thinking 300 copies only...(RK)
(Leather Bar Records // myspace.com/leatherbarrecords)
Terror Visions "World of Shit" LP
Expanded and remastered edition of what is probably Jay Reatard's least appreciated project, which first saw light of day as a CDR and then a horrendous picture disc featuring a pile of blow and Jay's (?) bare ass. If I'm recalling correctly this came out in a time when Angry Angles were still together (and probably nearing their end) and Jay was transitioning into his greatest success with 'Blood Visions' and the solo career that came after. The music sounds closest to the damaged and visceral synth-punk of Destruction Unit (led by his close friend Ryan Wong/Rousseau, whom both Jay and Alicja played with) and darkwave style of Digital Leather (outlet of Sean Foree, another close friend and collaborator) and I guess you could mention Lost Sounds since there are synths involved, but this material really lacks any of the garage-punk tendencies of that band. This is straight electro-punk, digital drums, squealing and slashing synth moves, minimal guitar playing, Jay's vox are pretty savage for the duration, and the songs themselves hint at the darker recesses of his mind. A good majority of the tracks are about violence, blood, abuse and bloody sex, topics Jay surely covered throughout his career, but they seem a lot darker here. It's hard for me to be judgemental now that Jay's gone, and as a fanboy who has the CDR. Is it a necessary part of his discography? Maybe not for casual fans. Probably moreso than Nervous Patterns are to say the least. It's certainly not a record that's going to change your opinion on his work if you're not already a superfan. But for believers I think it's an interesting record, one that contains some of his more troubling themes from what I can only imagine was a difficult time during his all too short life. Pitchforkers who came late and only knew his solo work might run scared, but lifers (and Digital Leather fans in particular) will reap the rewards. Every Terror Visions song is contained here, plus two unreleased tunes, and the Eno cover is actually quite good. Scum stats: 1000 copies, with gatefold sleeve.(RK)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)
Them, Themselves or They “Angel Dust & Magick Wands” 7”
Weirdly gloomy and lumbering along in the dope haze psychedelia. Bass rhythms carry the A-side solely so the guitars, organs and electronics can slow build a creepy crawly atmos-fear. Vocals are hushed, giving off an almost lullaby feel. The B-side’s an instrumental sprawl that speaks to the soundtrack collector, world damaged Kraut fan and, hell…even the 'Meddle'-era Floyd lover in all of us. Or maybe just in me. The guitar gets to pedal about more in the forefront this time around. A less hip Shjips? Either way, cool. Drugzzz. (RSF)
(Malt Duck // www.maltduckrecords.com)
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments "Burning Trash" 7"
Double-shot of unreleased '95 demos from the legendary TJSA that is a boon for cult-members and a real victory of a release for NGL Inc. "Burning Trash" swings with House's always authoritative vocal swagger and some filthy guitar work. My wife seriously just asked me if I was listening to Neil Young. I have no idea what to say about that. "Price of My Words" is an "eggy"(!?) version of "Lightin' Rod" from the 'Straight to Video' album according to House, and it ups the tempo and throws a bit more gasoline on the guitar. TJSA + raw "demo quality" recordings = big winner. Brendon should be very proud of this release, and hopefully this stokes the coals under CDR to get both the Psandwitch LP out and get that TJSA reissue campaign rolling...(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)
3 Toed Sloth "...Against The Odds" 2X7"
A truer title couldn't have been chosen for this package, a half-dozen tracks recorded by 3TS during the dark days of the early Nineties when the indie scene was perhaps at one of its lowest points, a session that certainly seemed doomed for the dustbin. Recorded live in one sitting by a engineering student/fan at a college studio, the band work out on four longer jams and a couple shorter snippets. You can feel the impromptu nature of the setting, and the recordings are left intact, warts and all. "Spark" revisits the stark simplicity of Venom P. Stinger and feedtime. "The Odds" strips down the sharper X formula even further. "Hangin'" and "Consuman Being" are perfect time capsules of pissing into the wind and shouting about boredom and the human race. Things were fucked then, as they still are now. Cheers to Unwucht for their Australian vinyl program and for taking up the thankless task of making this document available to the public. This 2X7" will of course have more meaning to those of us who slave over Australian punk minutiae, but can be equally as rewarding for those simply interested in rock music delivered in one of the more direct and unpretentious styles you'll ever hear. This is the sound of people making music in the middle of nowhere simply because they have to. And isn't that what we're all after? Scum stats: 295 copies, and the fold-out pocket-style sleeve is an enterprising example of how to make a stylish package on a budget.(RK)
(Unwucht // myspace.com/unwuchtmusik)
TIREFIRE "Weapons" 7" EP
NOLA's premier black trash metal outfit fulfill the prophecy with their debut on cold black vinyl after releasing one of the bloodiest cassettes of all time last year. Featuring ex-members of Mangina, Persuaders, Die Rotzz, Kajun SS and other infamous punk outfits, TIREFIRE (the only band I will allow to be typed in ALL CAPS in the Termbo reviews section) offer up three sacrifices to the horned one on this EP. "Cruel Rulers" rolls across the land like the best European practioners of the dark arts and "Black Kettle" shoves the double bass thunder down your throat. And speaking of throats, Matt Muscle sounds more evil than any dwarf here. "Hammer of Violence" turns down the death knob a notch, and stabs with a thrashier attack. The recording sounds a bit rawer on this one somehow as well, which I dig. Sinister breakdown slashes your skin but the guitar solo will sear those wounds shut. These titans are right there with Midnight in the poverty metal hierarchy. I'm thinking the arms stockpile on the sleeve is the band's actual personal armory. Do not fuck with them.(RK)
(Death Rattle Records // tirefire504-at-gmail.com)
To Hell and Back "Will We Be Torn Apart" LP
Hard rock from WNY, with members of Devoid of Faith, John Brown's Army and other Albany 'core bands breaking loose with the hard rawk action on their second LP. Heavy stuff drawing influence from the stoner genre and the hard-rock revival that was the bread-n-butter of the Man's Ruin label a few moons ago. In the vein of Lizzy/Motorhead worship, a bit of the metal, some Scando-rawk moves a la Gluecifer/Hellacopters, but without the Skynyrd worship. Epic solos, cowbell, dual guitar workouts, tough vox. A competent genre exercise. Limited copies on blue vinyl.(RK)
(Peterwalkee Records // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)
Topless Mongos "Hey My My" 7"
Topless Mongos sounds like the name of a European blues-trash band, but these guys are apparently from Alberta. Geography aside, they're still peddling the garage-trash Euros love. Half Oblivians, half Gories maybe. Trebly twin guitars and cardboard drums fight it out inside a paper bag with belligerent vox. "Theme From Human Centipede" is an instrumental in the style of The Drags but without the chops. Sounds good and junky, but isn't anything you couldn't hear done better by throwing a dart at the Crypt Records catalog.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // mammothcave.tumblr.com)
TV Ghost "Mass Dream" LP
With 'Mass Dream' Televison Ghost have created the LP I always wanted them to make. The 'Atomic Brain' 7" was one of the best debut releases of the past dozen years or so, but the band endured a lengthy slump afterwards, with the 12"on Die Stasi sounding unrealized and half-baked and 'Cold Fish' showing some further promise but ultimately being an exercise in treading water. Things began to look up with the Tom Shannon recorded single on CDR (you have to think if the Slicks are paying attention, there's some gold in them hills) which was visceral and edgy. During this time Tim Ghost seems to have come to terms with his vision for the band and the voice he wants it to have, and the band went through some personnel shifts, becoming shockingly tight in the process. The A-Side of this record is a perfectly sequenced five tracks, each one surpassing the dread of the previous, sounding like the most evil surf record you could imagine, the modern interpretation of the Cramps' horror/sci-fi aesthetic cut through with quivering vocals and synth ripped from the score to Halloween. Menacing weird-punk with cascading chills and thrills that is equally perfect skulking in the shadows and running directly at you at top speed. This is an album of the year candidate just by virtue of the perfection of the A-Side, but the flip is equally as potent, containing even stronger horrors like "Doppleganger" and "The Inheritors" and the album-closing title track perhaps showing the most unhinged performance of all. A fantastic record, and one of the more essential purchases of the year. And if you get a chance to see them deliver this freak show live, do not pass it up.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Two Bit Dezperados s/t LP
Femme powered rootsy garage that might appeal to the new school Davila 666’ers or those who have kept tabs on Holly Golightly in recent years. Itallio/Brazillian product sung in Porch-a-goose, true to their Tropicália bloodline, but has a definite 90’s Portlandia indie-records thing going on too. Classy, clean and laid back. Sip some sangria and possibly enjoy. Not sure of what else to say…you dig the lighter side of the shit-punk-blues spectrum? Here ya go. Their third LP!? Jesus crispies…’dem foreigners grow records like weed s now don’t they? Always a shock to me. And like real weeds, it’s pressed on green wax. Shitty segue, I know. (RSF)
(Jeetkune Records // myspace.com/jeetkunerecords)
Two Tears "Eat People" 7"
Kerry Davis is a beautiful woman making beautiful music as she travels the globe, picking up a side player here and there in Italy, Paris, the Middle East, or wherever she roams, and belting out a demo or 7" on the ride. She's a vet of the game all the way back to the Red Aunts days, and she doesn't write bad songs. "Eat People" is twangy strut with a hustling hook, "Heisse Hexe" is a rocker in the Delmonas mold with luscious vox and a dark turn. "Senso Unico" inhabits the B-Side with a psych-flecked Italian crawl that has some subtle theremin and more soul than any Vermillion Sands record. Two Tears records are like seeing an old friend: an enjoyable and familiar few minutes that you find yourself thinking about for days after. Scum stats: first 100 on color.(RK)
(Kind Turkey Records // www.kindturkeyrecords.com)
Tyler Jon Tyler s/t LP
After two efficient yet largely unmemorable seven-inches, Chicago's Tyler Jon Tyler step up to the 12" plate, which also happens to be the debut release for Slow Fizz Records. Good luck to all. TJT is Nathan from The Ponys, one of the guys from Daily Void that wasn't Ilth, Mac Blackout or Rob Karlic and a gal named Rebecca who does sing her heart out, I have to admit. She's the best part of a lot of these songs, which are, again, played and constructed well, but seem to lack much in the way of punch. They don't have "it". There are hooks but no "hooks". Are those quotes helping you pick up what I'm putting down? It's just really safe and by-the-book indie-pop that goes in one ear and flies out the other with ease. Sometimes bands just aren't meant to make it outside of their own zip code. There's nothing wrong with that either, every town needs their local talent who bring out some friends to the show and won't show up the headliners.(RK)
(Slow Fizz Records // www.slowfizzrecords.com)
Tyvek "Time Change" 7"
More vinyl documentation of "punk era" Tyvek, which is certainly a good thing. These songs might even be more punk than anything on 'Nothing Fits'! "Time Change" is pretty much a dumb rock song with a dumb riff as played by these darlings. "Inter City Walks" is a punk bomber, shit they're almost getting hamfisted here, just bludgeoning the guitar, drums haphazardly barrel ahead and they wedge an assortment of guitar solos and effects into the framework pretty sloppily. A wonderful mess with a great ending too. "Hole In My Mind" continues their degeneration to shitty punk band, but the art shines through here with some start-stopping and time-shifting feedback breaks. It almost sounds like a guitar/drums loop that they're manipulating. One of Kevin's more savage vocals as well. Another necessary piece in the evolution of the band here, there's no treading water anymore it seems. I couldn't be more excited. Supposedly a new LP for In the Red is already in the works.(RK)
(Les Disques Steak // disquessteak.bigcartel.com)
Ultrabunny “Volume Merchants/Unsafe At Any Age” LP
Two live sides. Two separate themed EP’s. All songs about war. One 12” inch party plate. The A-side rollicks along in early Sonic Youth and tribal percussion paired with guitar improv build ups that set the thing afire. Jammy, but driving towards something…not just zooming off the cliff’s edge into wanksville. Pleasantly building a rump shaker under all the deranged squalor. Four individual tracks that flow together, virtually seamless. I can get behind this. Still waiting for Kim Gordon’s vocals to appear. Only changes up from the Kraut-cum-NY mode to flap about in jazzville during the last few fleeting moments. If it feels good, do it. Side two has more of the spastic guit-fit and abrasive feedback I expected, pinched off and carried within the shouts, yelps and disjointed quirks. These six tracks make me think of all things…Japan (but I ain’t been there). The drums still power on. Throbbing garage black-leather-boogie gets pisstaked by the Butthole-ish processed vocals, harmonica shrapnel (played thru nostrils) and power tools mistaken for instrumental leads. The side collapses in cacophony as we stumble thru a funhouse door, caught up in the gaze of the mechanical “Laughing Sal”. Good driving music to crash the gates of Wallyworld. 300 numbered copies out there. Features ex-Bunnybrains members that claim 20 years of aural terrorism. Give ‘em 20 more years and they’ll be Smegma! (RSF)
(self-released // www.ultrabunny.com)
Under Al Kritik s/t 7”
Dane-core that has some tite fuckin’ changeups and nifty noise rock angles bearing in their attittude. "Insomnia" has an almost Minor Threat DC thing coming at ya’. "Konflikten" starts with a brooder of an intro before hitting you with an all out speed attack. The breakdown is equally as doomy as it is damn near psychpunk. Quick fist pumpers and 80’s crossover gets a nod on "Robot". This has nothing to do with 90’s punk. At all. Violent pit-pushers for the flipped-bill crowd, who’s still out there throwing ‘bos like it’s a Napalm Death/Exodus show. "Skygger" is the catchy tune. Catchy in the way it chugs along in a moody and constant buzzsaw churn. Nice throw back to pop-punk - if you mean popped in the nose and dislocated bones...you bet. Pretty darn good. Another Mastermind Record. This label must be subsidized by the government. Wow. Sorry State released it in the states. (RSF)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)
(Sorry State // www.sorrystaterecords.com)
Unholy Two "$$kum of The Earth" LP
Columbus' Unholy Two somehow slipped this full length out under the radar in the waning moments of 2010, and either I wasn't paying enough attention or not enough people were (and are) talking about this, one of the more diabolical long-players of recent memory. It's not something you can listen to passively. It requires attention, and takes it by force if necessary. Production is rawer than Tommy Rich's forehead after a dog-chain match with Buzz Sawyer circa May 1983. Yes, that raw. Six or seven different layers of feedback/distortion/scree on every song. Are the Unholy Two even a duo? I feel like there's more than just a two-man tag team making the racket there. They must need at least three guys just to carry all the effects pedals. Perhaps they're invoking the Freebird Rule. "Garvin Stomp" opens this affair with the utmost class, and by the time it's over you should know full well whether you've got the gonads to hang with nine more tunes. The assault isn't necessarily riff-heavy, as you'll be hard-pressed to pick the actual guitar out of the maelstrom for the most part. What they get going is more of a rhythmic din, a morass if you will, taking effects-pedal abuse and noise looping/fucking to nearly ridiculous extremes and creating a pretty soul-crushing sound. There's no light at the end of this tunnel. Bad vibes. Bad drugs. Music played by heels. "(Do The) Horsecock" is fucking garage-rock at its core, no matter what anyone tells you, and it takes what the Necessary Evils did and practically renders it a moot point. "White Devil" is $$kummier than any band in NYC right now even wishes they could be. I actually bladed when I listened to "Nazi Nailgun" for the first time. The inclusion of two live cuts to pad out the end of thisbloodbath of an LP is no great sin, as they sound like total not-giving-a-fuck hell. I'm sure these guys have done a lot worse things at afterparties. I'd love to see these gorillas pull this shit off live...500 copies with artwork I think was well chosen and whose screenprinting/design is as overdriven as the music therein. If Puffy Areolas are the Monoshock of today, then that makes the Unholy Two...Monster Magnet? Aussie edition of 100 copies available with alternate artwork and bonus cut on NGL.(RK)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
Useless Eaters “Mr. Oscillations” 7”
"Mr. Oscillations" is a herky-quirky-surfed up take on that off-kilter Urinals cum Wire kinda’ splunk-punk. Read that a few times. It’ll sink in. I’m startin’ to write like that New Bomb Turks guy. The flipside has two tracks. "Defective" is a stiff robotic stomp with dry vocal delivery that leaves very little room for extra fat. It does offer up a simple (and effective) quick change-up for a heartbeat. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. "White Gurls" gets playful again and hearkens back the Sixties beach vibe/guit-play of the top side. It ends with some slight weirdo-damage. Doesn’t shake me up as much as the Panic Attack single, but it’s still simple, short and catchy as shit. White vinyl with a hand stamped label and inner sleeve. What a cutie. (RSF)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)
Useless Eaters "Space City" 7"
This kid has released quite a few records already that a lot of people like a lot more than I do. Many people whose opinions I respect are all over this guy, but I just don't get it yet. Serviceable garage-punk on the A-Side that sounds to me like a lesser version of stuff Jeff Novak was doing a few years ago. "Market Rat" is garage-pop that sounds nice and all, following a Jay Reatard-esque template, and again well done, but nothing we haven't heard already. Even has an ascending guitar-part ripped right from a Cheap Time cut. Constructed with all the right sounds, but I'm still trying to find the main attraction here, maybe hearing a bunch of cuts together on an LP will help. Am I crazy to think it's too soon for a singles comp from this kid or am I just losing touch? 300 copies in company sleeves.(RK)
(Nashville's Dead // www.nashvillesdead.com)
Useless Eaters "Difficult" 7"
Hey, a one-sided single with two songs from this guy...just what the doctor ordered. I really like the sleeve variant I got though. These two songs have a bit more personality than the other 7" reviewed above. He's just running through every weird guitar sound he can find and then rattling something off on the 4-track or whatever he's recording himself on. "Difficult" uses a generic underwater effect, "Who R U" has a great shit-fi bass sound with a piercing trebly solo. Both are sub-two minute flashes in the pan. Maybe a bit more on The Spits side of things this time. I've lisetened to this a half dozen times and still find little nutritional value here....300 copies, three sleeves, one side, two songs...(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
Useless Eaters "Daily Commute" LP
This is the Useless Eaters record that I finally dig. I think being presented with a full LP instead of single servings helped quite a bit. He's never going to shake the Jay Reatard comparison though, and maybe he doesn't need or want to. He played in the last touring line-up of Jay's band, and Sutton obviously learned a lot from him through osmosis. Jay's death obviously had a huge impact, and maybe it's now becoming more tribute than anything. The Wire/Adverts influenced punk hooks are bountiful, and some of the best tracks here have a real Devo-influenced jerkiness to them ("How U Doing" and "Drug Store" in particular). All the tunes are self-recorded (with a couple detours into recording at other people's houses it appears) and Seth plays all the instruments, all the time. As someone astutely pointed out though, these tracks are kind of just demos being trotted out as an LP, which I don't have a problem with as I'm obviously a proponent of the lo-fi style, but maybe finding a band to record with would help flesh the sound out some more. Take some time with the songs. He's got to make the leap someday, as he isn't the solo-technician Jay was (and very few, if any, really are) and having a band to push around is the next step. It took Jay years of honing his craft to make something like 'Blood Visions' on his own, and it seems like this kid is jumping ahead of himself a bit to that stage. Anyway, "Neon Light" possesses a cool Drags-like trashcan recording and "Space City" and a couple others mine a synthy-pop angle with some edge. Not great, but good enough for now, and something I'd hope he can build upon and maybe step a little further outside the shadow of his friend/mentor a bit more. There's a good four or five tracks here that show it's possible. (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
UV Race "Acid Trip" 7"
UV Race add to their continually expanding and surprisingly stunning discography with this concept single about drugs. You almost get a sense that these tracks were nearly toss-offs recorded during the session for the 'Homo' LP, but somehow even their more half-baked ideas work out splendidly. The funniest thing is that these songs are exactly what you think - "Acid Trip" is precisely what you might imagine a UV Race track about taking acid might sound like. The wandering rhythm lulls you into comfort, much like the zone you find yourself when tripping balls. Sort of a parallel universe. The song gets further and further "out" as we go, "Never ever coming back...", vocals are distant, joined by the ladies on back-ups towards the finale which starts getting a little rubbery and weird. A pleasant excursion for sure. "Speed Freak" uses the exact same formula, in reverse or sideways or whatever. An up-tempo middle-of-the-night driver with a paranoid sounding organ line. Lyrics work in repetition again, this time driving home the teeth-gnashing pent-up energy of your amphetamine race. Marcus doesn't actually sing this one either, the story's in the liners, which are a welcome addition once again. Can't wait to read his notes on 'Homo' almost as much as I want to hear it on wax.(RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
V/A "Bloodstains Across British Columbia" 7" comp
The second (? - I think we received the Alberta entry of this comp, which I proceeded to give to a certain staffer for review, who has since apparently gone AWOL...) in an admirable campaign of releases that will focus on a province or city of Canada with all bands contributing a one minute song about their home. This one centers on Vancouver, BC and has "names" like White Lung, Manic Attracts, Shearing Pinx, Nu Sensae alongside some unknowns making up the 13 team roster. It's pretty remarkable what you can do with a minute and all the bands seemed to take some care with their tracks. Whether it's songs about landmarks (Nu Sensae's "Tea Swamp Park") or humorous observations like the B-Lines "It Rains", I think the concept works surprisingly well. It's all garagey-punk in slight variations (Role Mach throw some horns in there, Ahna play Cthulhuian scuzz, etc...) and the time constraint works in everyone's favor, as you can't really sound too terrible in sixty seconds. White Lung do more with their minute than most bands do with an LP. I want to say I wish they would've let the bands go longer, but this works just fine as it is. Informative liner notes take longer to read than most of the songs. I'm dying to hear the Newfie entry in the series now. Well done and worth a go if you can roll with the concept. 300 copies with download.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // www.mammothcaverecording.com)
V/A "Bloodstains Across Ontario" 7" comp
Ontario entry for this series (the third volume if you're scoring at home), sticking to the one-minute song premise (almost) and the big "name" being instrumental legends Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet pulling a tune from the vaults for all you completists...I gotta admit, I think I own every SMOASP full-length and they've survived more than a few collection purges. It's as good as they can be in 1:26. Strange Attractor are in the win column with their ode to "Nickeldale", First Base are always welcome and fit into the constraints of the comp just fine, Peach Kelli Pop continues her quest to be the cute female answer to Nobunny, and the first I've heard of Dagger Eyes wraps up the A-Side with a tough punk shredder. Leave it to Young Governor to totally blow the minute-long standard with 2:39 of a sappy pop song...should've kept him to sixty seconds fellas. Also appearing in this edition: Steve Adamyk (who does give it a good pop-punk go), White Wires, Tonetta 777, and a couple others you won't remember. A little more diverse than the BC edition, and I was expecting Ontario to blow them away but it's a pretty close contest. I might give BC the nod just because Young Guv really stunk it up...Scum stats: 300 copies with download.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // www.mammothcaverecording.com)
V/A Brimstone Howl/Hell Shovel split 7”
This release looks like a piece of shit. Mr. Certified PR guy looks to have written “promos are 4 homos” on the cover, but I’d argue that grossly pixilated fuzz font and record labels as United Record Pressing advertisements are pretty gay too. Brimstone Howl, however, are graced with an honest Midwestern workmantude that transcends the shambled, much-too-easy act of putting out a garage punk record in 2010, which is why this thing’s a mash-up of philosophies. I suppose you can just tell that the library of influences loosely guiding/being fallen into by BH’s work wasn’t made or projected from a computer, but out of a stereo bought with coin made plowing the fields, or something close to it. Beyond the thing’s cosmetics, “Cross Wind” shares the simple but emotive two chords galloping at a lifetime frontiersman’s mid-tempo. A rolling stone of a tune, one callused by its inability to ever settle comfortably, giving it a nocturnal libertarian-rock sorta feel, not unlike “Gimme Danger” or something off of the Dead Boys’ second album, but imbued with farmhand sensibility, safely away from decadent coastal metropolises. Pleasantly surprising. Hell Shovel mix bare-bones 4-chord garage tumble with makeshift warble/haphazard key-pushing, unabashed multi-vocals and some charmingly imperfect clean lead guitar, culminating in a Black Lips’ 'Let It Bloom' style beer-on-the-beach number, perfect for warming you up this time of year. Good stuff. (BG)
(Certified PR // www.certifiedprrecords.com)
V/A "Buffalo Brutality" comp 7"
Believe it or not, the Buffalo music scene (and WNY as a whole) is currently riding as high as I've seen it since the heyday of the Baseball Furies, Big Neck Records and the Rust Belt Revolt. Labels like Feral Kid, Warm Bath, Art of the Underground and Peterwalkee are doing good work documenting a wide range of bands and genres from garage to hardcore to metal and this 7" compilation does it's part showcasing the...well, brutal side. Resist Control kick the jams off, and are my personal favorite band on this release, contributing two cuts of exceptionally fast and proficient hardcore. Inerds bat second, and manage to squeeze in three powerviolence ragers with sick vox from two of Buffalo's toughest gals. Scheisse Kreig play manly and crusty 'core, and this is the first vinyl appearance of this now-defunct band, which is a tragic story unto itself. It's an epic cut at least, with vocals cribbed from some guy named Epicurus. Rochester's Ordinary Men and Women close the side with a slow and skull crushing finale. Onto the flip, Avulsion have been kicking around Buffalo for what has to be the better part of a decade now and are still the Nickel City's premier grind act. Ancients of Earth are the band I know the least about here and operate in the more melodically heavy end of the spectrum, nearly screamo. Morax finish up with some old-fashioned 'core with growling vocal presence. A lot of care and time went into this project, right down to locally-flavored artwork that depicts either 1890 downtown Buffalo or Attica, depending on which version you get. Large-sized foldout insert. My only beef: where are Hoglust?! If you need references, the bands have members of legendary locals such as Towpath, Gas Chamber, Running For Cover, Lieutenant, Able Danger, Utah Jazz, They Live, Slave State and more. I don't generally like to review local releases, as I tend to feel I can't be objective about the home team, but Buffalo is so stacked with good bands these days I don't think it can be ignored without doing a disservice to both my fair city and the general listening public outside the confines of WNY. That's all. Talkin'proud!(RK)
(Warm bath Label // warmbathlabel.wordpress.com)
V/A "Busted At Oz" LP
Chicago punk has never been my favorite regional delicacy. I enjoy a minimal amount of Naked Raygun, am thankful that Articles of Faith are not on this LP and think The Effigies are the cream of this scene (which of course doesn't include the exceptional crop of KBD-ers from the Windy City, i.e. Mentally Ill, DV8 and personal faves Meaty Buys). My opinion aside, this truly is an essential piece of US punk rock history and is one of the better live documents of the era as well. Subverts and Effigies steal the show and their four cuts are real deal Midwestern hardcore classics. The early Naked Raygun line-up documented here is in fine form and these rawer versions of songs like "Libido" and "When the Screaming Stops" should be heard by any fan. DA are the dark horse of the comp, contributing two cuts of dark rock that show a shift towards post-punk sounds already beginning. "The Killer" is particularly striking. And speaking of striking (oof), Strike Under's "Anarchy Song" is probably the best thing they ever did. Silver Abuse round out the line-up, and while I've never been a fan of their goofball art-punk, I guess you need to hear it once or twice just for context. Spinning this a few times reminded me how great The Effigies still sound, how under-rated the Subverts are today and how awful Silver Abuse really were. This is a record that should be a standard piece in any respectable punk rock collection, and the reissue job done by Permanent is impeccable, with tip-on sleeves made with actual original prints of the art left over from the OG pressing, a loud remaster job, a replica of the original printed inner and retrospective liner notes from some of the players that add quite a bit to the history of the LP. 500 copies only, with 100 on red, sold out from the label which means you should get one now before you have to pay horror prices again in a year.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)
V/A "Casual Victim Pile II" LP
Honestly, I thought the first volume of this comp series of Austin (and Denton and other close locales) kinda stunk. Curated by Gerard Cosloy, a guy who knows his shit, I just thought it was a little on the weak sauce side as far as songs and bands, was too long (2XLP) and didn't really throw too much out there that we didn't already know (The Young are good, most other bands in Austin suck). This volume, which is on the resurrected 12XU label (an old Matadog offshoot that used to release Spoon records and other vileness) instead of Matador for some reason, is actually rather effective. The A-Side is almost all pure gold from one of the most fertile lands in indie music, for better or worse. Opening with an OBNIIIs song is a great idea (even if it's a track that appears on a single), the Cruddy song is sharp and post-punky and represents them well and the fucking Rayon Beach song really pisses me off. Because it's a great song called "Death Rides A Horse" that is a million times better than anything off that tepid 12" they released on HozAc (and this is apparently swiped from the Plastic Spoons EP), and is certainly of a better quality than a Woven Bones side-project deserves. It's total 2011 "indie-psych" cheeze, but done really well: rolling bassline, outer space solo, affected vox, effects all over. I had this one stuck in my head for a few days and was not happy with myself. But hey, a good song is a good song. You can't argue with hooks. Punk rock darlings-of-the-month Women in Prison are next, "Kill Kommie Kops" sounds more KBD than their Aussier-sounding 7" stuff, but it's lewd and crude and just what you need. Naw Dude are honestly an amazing band, live and on record, and they get zero respect/attention so I'm glad they get included here. "Steal From Your Parents" is the toughest ripper on here, total fury. Find their records, see them live, do whatever you have to do to get them in your life. Simple Circuit have released some good singles I talk about elsewhere in the section and "Sattrash" is a great example of their Intelligence-meets-B52s wave-punk. Total Schneider vox on this one, and I dig it. Crisis Hotlines are trying to make a career of ripping off The Spits, which means pop-punk kids are gonna love 'em. It's not terrible. Hatchet Wound is some totally lame fake-lounge act stuff that sounds like they should've made a cameo appearance in Swingers at some hipster bar or something. Yet, I actually don't skip this song for some reason...what's wrong with me...I'm not a fan of what I've heard of Literature, but their cut is certainly anthemic and all. It's like Harlem if they were a pop-punk band. Sally Crewe closes the side, shitty indie-rock that doesn't need the attention. But still, you can let this side roll for about eight songs and it's all pretty killer, which is rare for a comp these days. The B-Side of this it totally another story though. I wish they would have put the Serious Tracers (above average dumb garage-punk) on the A-Side, because then there would never be a reason to flip this record over. You just know bands like Coma in Algiers and A Giant Dog are gonna suck as soon as you read those names. The good thing is that this LP is cheap as hell (like $12ppd I think), the A-Side really brings the goods, hopefully getting some deserving bands some attention (and the song selection is superb, even if they are pulling from singles and other releases, which makes it a little less attractive than if it had exclusive cuts though) and really, it's a noble effort from Cosloy and his crew to shine some light on the Texas scene. Scum stats: there's actually a limited white vinyl 180g version, that comes with a screened two-sided cover/insert and download, which I assume the black contains as well.(RK)
(12XU // www.casualvictimpile.com)
V/A Diet Cokeheads/Neon Blud "Compact Heat" split 7"
I saw Neon Blud live and they were pretty decent, I remember someone describing them as "Sonic Youth Attack" jokingly, but it actually made sense. The guitar player even looked a bit like Lee Ranaldo and slung some potent guitar scree, while the other two guys looked like...well, like a band on Youth Attack. The girl singer sort of acted as the bridge between the styles, going for a cold monotone delivery. "Neon Nite (7-inch Edit)" is their cut here, and it's a post-hardcore affair, building a dirge-punk bass-heavy foundation for the first minute or so, while the guits transform from sharp pluck to wall-of-feedback shred, and ending with a slow-down/speed-up reprise you can see coming. The vox are a little too disinterested to really get you engaged, but I guess it fits the formula, which is perhaps AmRep-gone-art-school or something along those lines. Diet Cokeheads do a five-minute reverb excursion of glacial tempo with what sounds like some horns run through effects or maybe a sperm whale on backing vox or something else ridiculous. It does an effective job of going absolutely nowhere slowly. Scum stats: 550 copies. I'd say something about the label's name, but what can you say about that, really?(RK)
(West Palm Beotch // www.westpalmbeotch.com)
V/A "East Infection" 7” Comp
Quad-pairing of Eastern Candian rock/pop/punk/puke. Who’sa? What’sa? These here, Jack:
Mess Folk does their best attempt at getting all Pissed Jeans with "No Jobs". More attack than I’m used to with this slack jaw. But after listening to the tracks Mr. Tarr’s got coming up, this seems to be his new M.O. Pretty fuggin’ groovy. Meat Curtains’ "Get Rebel" is a bash-it-out grrrl punker that sounds like a less grungy L7 cross-pollinating with Super Wild Horses…or even Hole on a good (dumbed-down) day. Pre-Cobain taint. Did Jenna Tyrade move to the Great White North? Strawmen redneck slop it up with a drunken rootsy jangle n’ yelp called "Devil Be Gone" that appeals to me greatly. A Gun Club infused Mekons? The lead guitar swing should reach out to the Demons Claws fanboys, but that could just be the Canadian rubbin’ off. The Shats bring a bastard jab at junkshop pop with "My Swingin’ Girlfriend". A sloppy organ refuels its scrappy 70’s power-punk at the ¾ mark and thrusts it off in a Spector-esque Ramones outro…or something. Not a bad set o’ tracks. 300 pressed are the new 500 pressed. (RSF)
(Foul & Fair Records // myspace.com/foulandfairrecords)
V/A "FM-BX Society Tape 001" LP
Vinyl issue of an obscure cassette-only comp released in 1981 by a Brussels radio station documenting the post-punk/DIY sounds of the era, with two Belgian bands and one Scottish act. Unit 4 were all-girl four-piece who contribute four songs of wonderful Kleenex/Delta 5 influenced offbeat pop with Petticoats execution. Strong vocals, minimal and tight rhythm section with textural guitar work, "Growing Up" is as perfect a song in this vein as you'll get, "Hidden Faces" is nearly mechanical in sound but imbued with soul, "Rules" has a tribal beat with punk spirit. The one band here that are currently "lost" to time, as no members have yet been found. After the treasure that is Unit 4 (their name makes we want to make a Unit 5 joke no one is going to get...) you might think it's all downhill, but my favorite band on the comp appears next, and they are simply called Topplers. "Pat McGluskey" is certainly very indebted to the TVPs, but it's done with personality(!) enough to forgive the rather obvious borrowing. Not even their best cut though, that goes to "Slave Train" a frantic little number that sounds wonderfully like a minor league Swell Maps and "Flack Town" which is very much in a Vic Godard vein. Again, you can point their then-contemporary influences out, but it's great stuff that's more nostalgic than copycat. It should also be noted that Allan Henry of Topplers also runs the current label of the same name, which is the connection that made this record tangible. Imagining these three songs as a 7" surely makes one wonder where it would rank on a Kugelburg list. Top 20 at least. Isolation Ward are probably the most well known act here, as they had some run post-comp, and they do a stark post-punk DIY-synth thing, with "High & Low" being the stand-out with its martial snare and hauntingly whispered vox and "Dangerous" being an almost New Wave dance cut. Another stand out in the S-S catalog, and one of his most obscure finds yet that totally lives up to the legend with quality tunes. 500 pressed with art interpreted from the original cassette packaging and a brief history from Henry.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)
V/A German SS/Perscription Pills split 7"
Kryptonite Records returns with more of the zero budget punk rock they've built their legend upon. Two "mystery" groups here. German SS seem to have some connection with both WI punk has-beens (or never-weres) Angina and the Arrythmias and shitgaze superstars Pink Reason, and they traffic in broken thrift-store synth-sounds, eye-piercing guitar and a Germs-like approach to making a racket. Dark and crude stuff for the shit-fi set. Three songs, with "Hermaphrodite" being the trophy piece. Perscription Pills (no, I'm not fucking spelling it wrong...) are Franko Amerikkan and good ol' MC Monkey himself banging it out Supercharger style, "Zyklon B" is straight out of the Rafflehead playbook and "3rd Homosexual Murder" twists the Forgotten Rebels song into a Fingers style blowout. Unnervingly catchy and poorly recorded. I imagine Shane White would approve. There's an uncredited third song here that is a preview for the upcoming First Times 7" in a brilliant bit of promotion. It sounds like Manitowoc. The only thing missing is liner notes from our old pal Wang Chung and an Ape with Attitude appearance. This one brought a smile to my face and reminded me of the good old days when being punk still mattered...I can never recommend any Roy Oden product heartily enough. "For fans of obnoxious split 7"s that sell poorly." Scum stats: 320 copies, with two sleeve variants for those who care. Which is me and Mitch Cardwell.(RK)
(Kryptonite Records // royoden-at-hotmail.com)
V/A Hollywood/Mean Jeans "Mark?" split 7"
Hollywood are one of America's underappreciated treasures of junk-rock. When I first heard them I was ready to anoint them the heirs to the heavy-garage throne vacated by The Mistreaters, and since then they've added some some nice cock-n-balls swagger to their schtick and have become a little thicker and slicker. "I Prefer Drugs" maintains the deadbeat attitude of past hits but the band plays this one in a nearly hooky rawk-n-roll style...sounds a little more Man's Ruin than Big Neck, but hey, evolution and all. As long as they keep it sleazy, I'm ok with it. So, this one was released as a tour single for these two to sell on their recent jaunt, and I was just informed that Mean Jeans have an ex-Hollywooder in their midst. I'm pretty sure there's only two of them, so it shouldn't be hard to figure out. The Mean Jeans have been riding the crest of the pop-punk-wave lately, with records on Dirtnap, ridiculous eBay auction sales of their first 7" (what the fuck ever happened to the Rehab Records guy anyway?) and some higher-profile hype/shows/whathaveya. Their track is par for the course, which is wacky pop-punk with "funny" spelling and shit...I'm gonna stop now B4 I get N2deep. Scum stats: 500 copies, and kudos to Bart for stepping up the graphic design at Big Neck HQ.(RK)
( Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
V/A Human Eye/Sex Beet split 7"
There’s plenty of talk on “the Scion issue” spread amongst various forms of readily available media, so let’s skip that and address the music itself. Human Eye’s side was recorded by Ivan Julian (Voidoids) and he’s got a nice touch, softening the Eye up a bit for their take on Timmy’s “Martian Queen.” It works. You can hear early Alice Cooper band in the rolling drums and melodic psych guitar action. Somehow these guys can take that in-bred Detroit influence and twist it into something fresh.
Sex Beet, on the other hand, seem completely out of place on the flipside. Their tune, “Alone,” (and it really is a “tune”) is a pleasant enough slice of catchy, vaguely psych, pop, but, really, what’s the point? You’ve got to try a lot harder if you’re gonna be on a split with Human Eye. Saves the trouble of turning the record over, I guess.(EEK)
V/A Indian Wars/Primitive Hands split 7"
Indian Wars are from Vancouver, sound like Demon's Claws understudies, snooooooze. Primitive Hands is an actual member of Demon's Claws (Brian Hildebrand, drummer), and both songs are damn good - of a quality similar to the first 7" (which was great), not his second 7' (which kinda stunk). One psych-style stomper that sounds like a Ty Segall song if the kid was Canadian and ballsy or a more garage-y Red Mass moment, and "Priscilla" which is fragile psych-folk with generous reverb and some dextrous picking. I like these cuts and their vibe, too bad they're buried on a split. Primitive Hands are batting just under .500, and while I don't feel like I need to hear LP by them (him?) I do feel like I want to hear more....Scum stats: 300 copies, sporting a couple different label names with three different sleeves all drawn by Canadian artist Bob Scott, the coolest one of which is pictured.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)
V/A Lab Coast/Extra Happy Ghost split 7"
I like the name Lab Coast. I thought their "demo" CDR had its charms, even if it's not really our bag. Canadian indie-folk that I find more appealing than most Sic Alps tracks at this point. "For Now" has a toy piano accompanying the gentle guitar reverb and soft vox. Exceedingly pleasant from an aesthetic standpoint. Extra Happy Ghost sounds like a Japanese band name, but they're actually from Calgary and sound a lot like Lab Coast but with some heavier feedback and computer noises instead of children's toys as their "thing". Lightweight indie-pop, "Mechanical 111" is all synthy and could be mistaken for a Pink Noise track. No one reading Termbo will probably pay this any mind, but I can't knock it for what it is. Which reminds me of the days when we used to be a punk rock "zine".(RK)
(Saved By Vinyl // www.savedbyvinyl.com)
V/A Leaders vs. Tokyo Sex Destruction split 12"
I had no idea Tokyo Sex Destruction were some kind of retro Stax soul/funk outfit. Hammond-driven strutters and rockers with congas and shit. The kind of stuff that only Europeans (or Ian Svenonius) think is a good idea. These cats are from Spain and kick out five jams (they've all adopted the last name Sinclair...) of fancy and well arranged schtick. Meh. I always thought The Leaders had some promising moments. I felt they toughed-up the Pac-NW synth-punk sound in an interesting way on some seven inch cuts. "Creeping Dose" sounds like a smarter Spits, "Holographic Eyes" almost gets a Distraction-like herk-n-jerk going, "Cell 7D23" mixes guitars and synths like Lost Sounds at their poppiest. "Pig Sweat" (!) is nasty in a sexy Digital Leather way, and "Powervibes" goes old-school New Wave style and it's the best cut with a hooky and cheezy key-squeal with some punk spi(ri)t. There's a couple good tracks here. Nothing too great, but worthwhile if you're into the Dirtnap or FDH Records "sound". I don't think Muzz Meercaz is in this line-up of the group either, just in case you were wondering. An odd pairing of bands, as I don't think fans of one band would generally dig the other. Maybe it was out of necessity instead of inspiration. Whatever. Of course the Red Lounge guy makes this thing look way better than it sounds with an immaculate glossy gatefold sleeve with interesting collage artwork and thick-as-a-brick vinyl. This guy is obviously nuts, but I love his dedication.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)
V/A Le Face/DVA Damas split 7"
I like Le Face more with each release, at first it seemed like they were too goofy or trying too hard to be weird/dark, but once you get a good grip on what they're really doing (goth/death/punk?) it makes for good tunes. Their two tracks on this are rather cutting, "Nothing Cult" is sharp and rhythmic with great slicing guitars, a bassline that weaves through the sewer skulk with deft precision and great tin-can drum sound. Reminds me of a nasty Chokebore for a second or two, but from the gutters of LA. Desperate and driven. "Piss Golden Pills" opens up the vortex for a Slash-n-grab Angelino punk boxcutter. Modern goth-punk done properly. Never heard DVA Damas before, but I guess calling them a sister band to Le Face is appropriate, two songs of slower and darker goth-punk action with monotoned female vox, more of a drone-death approach, "Man Skin Pants" is a monochromatic spy theme with vocals dripping from the ceiling and a cold guitar line. Heroin nod dance music. Very worthwhile for a split and very vintage LA-sounding in a good way. The rear sleeve looks like a page from the yearbook of whatever the modern equivalent of The Masque is...cool gothy looking chicks and the guys who act aloof around them but really just want to peel off those black lace panties. Insert "I hate splits, but this one is great..." commentary here.(RK)
(Psychic Handshake // myspace.com/psychichandshake)
V/A Liquor Store/Natural Child split 7"
Tour split in ye olde bands covering each other style. Not my favorite format. Nasville's Natural Child do a completely pedestrian version of "Gas Station" that isn't exactly horrible but doesn't do them any favors either. Liqour Store can really do no wrong, being one of the few American Rock Bands these days who really "get it", and they give "Crack Mountain" a fittingly loose run through the wringer. And really, this is a song they could have written anyway. They win. Tour sleeve limited to 100 would make a nice memento of actually seeing them play in your 'burg if you're that kind of collector.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)
V/A Mayday/Brown Sugar split 7"
Long-awaited split release from two of Buffalo's shining punk lights. Mayday are part of the new surf-punk vanguard that exists only in my head, but consists of them, Insubordinates, maybe Night Birds and Moonhearts. I dunno, I'm just making this up. "Shark Sandwich" is not a Spinal Tap riff, but a quickly accelerating jammer that barrels down on you like a massive curl and slams you into the rocks. "In It To Win It" is a dark one, a real Rust Belt "Misirlou" with a couple of tricky solo runs, some emphatic f-bomb drops and a creepy crawl outro. The Shug open their side with what is their current hit-du-jour, "Urban Prairie Blues", one of the best songs about fighting I've heard this decade. Great slurred vox, great slurred riff. Drum sound is bizarre, it's like he's playing roto-toms instead of a snare. It works. "Cocksmoker" is equal parts Black Sabbath and Nine Shocks Terror. "Kinga' the Road" revs the shit up even more, with a smash-n-grab move on the breakdown and great lyrics again, like "you knucklehead chump monkey ass son of a bitch/you make my face wanna vomit"! "Valu Menu" was what I used to think of as their "weird song" when they first started playing it at shows, and it's got some more odd drum moves and guitar projectiles. Man, they really packed 'em on this side. Nothing but hits here folks, get in on the ground floor. Screened sleeves, elaborate insert, you should probably get this before it disappears like the 'Deportation' EP did. (RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)
V/A Moralens Vaktare/Roda Sten split 7"
It took me forever to figure out this was a split and I'm still not 100% sure who is playing what, but I think I've deciphered the thing. Because Moralens Vaktare are pretty damn great. A lot of people are flipping over Baddat for Trubel, but I dig MV more. Straight-up high energy punk rock a la The Kids, huge hook and killer vocal on their first track, second one is a bit on the wimpy pop side. Roda Sten are harder-edged, almost a Motorhead-ish Scandorawk thing happening, but their first cut is a ball-buster with hot shit squealing guitar soloing. ROCK. Second cut is Fifties-style hamboning complete with piano. As many splits go, you get half a good record here, but the two good cuts (one from each band) are outta control good. The sleeve of this still confuses the fuck out of me...although I get the class picture/report card vibe now...sort of...(RK)
(Avgångsbetyg Records // available in the US through www.sorrystaterecords.com)
V/A Primitive Calculators/Slug Guts split 7"
Sweet Rot pull a hell of a coup here, getting what might be Australia's finest post-punk act to contribute two versions of what might be Australia's finest post-punk song and pitting it against a cover version by one of the better modern exports from Brisbane. The demo/practice version of "Ugly Pumping Muscle" is fookin' savage and the highlight of this EP. Guitar sounds jagged and rusty, the rhythm track differs a bit from the "studio" version adding further interest. Just a great raw take of the song, and you know I love it raw. Slug Guts version is up next, and they push the song through their Birthday Party sieve, use a human drummer and give it a good (but short) go. Honestly though, this is not a song I would ever suggest covering, but they don't embarrass themselves. B-Side is the Calcs doing the song live in 2009 in a backyard(!) at some fest. I'm not a fan of live stuff, but this hardly even sounds live or modern. I would've believed this was from 1979 if you told me so. Brutal drum machine headpound, vox sound uncomfortably mean, guitar and synth are again razor sharp. I hope there was a strobe light involved in the making of this. An absolute necessity for lovers of vintage Aussie punk rock. Sleeve concept is very clever as well.(RK)
(Sweet Rot // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
V/A The Rebel/Bomber Jackets split 7"
The Rebel side of this one has Wallers in Gameboy mode, composing a nifty little digital soundtrack for the boss level of the latest Castlevania installment and a noisescape piece with a typewriter and a casio and a spoken word vocal. Pretty decent if you're into this side of the Rebel sound, which I'm usually not, but in a brief single serving like this I can swallow it. Bomber Jackets are a Pheromoans side-project that produce one warbly experiment in mutant spoken word post-dub somethingorother and one track of maximum synth-thump symphonics and is uh...British. And arty. Total Control, sans the danceability? Scum stats: 300 pieces.(RK)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)
(Savoury Days // savourydays.blogspot.com)
V/A Schiller Killers/IV Eyes split 7"
The Rubber Vomit label returns to bring us more of the absolute worst "punk rock" this wonderful world of ours has to offer. The deal = in the heyday of Chicago's garage-punk scene of the decade past, members of bands like Baseball Furies, Functional Blackouts, Hot Machines, Clone Defects and the staff of Horizontal Action would gather after hours in a home studio and jam out, coming up with joke bands and songs and sometimes recording their antics for posterity. Here you have two of these super-groups (I'll let you guess who the guilty parties are), one being the female-fronted Schiller Killers with "(I'm the) Wicker Park Strangler", an ode to panty-sniffing in the style of casio-backed garage-pop with some premier retardo-backing vox. Sounds like they had the four-track submerged in the aquarium at the time of recording. Label suggests it's a bit of a piss-take on the Black Lips. I can see that. I.V. Eyes offer up a semi-topical dum-n-dummer punkeroo called "They Saved Terry's Tube" with some hott licks, and apparently someone stuck their head in the fish tank this time to record some backing vox. It's fake fake-punk at its best! Almost as retarded as the artwork on this thing. For some reason I can't find the Vice/Scion logo on this anywhere though....Scum stats: I honestly forget how many of these there, but it's gotta be 300. Right? Also, look out for various pre-BS style slash/cut cover variations that will be getting a king's ransom on eBay in 2025 when no one remembers this was all a joke. Looking forward to the Glazed Cherries/Tan & The Lines split forthcoming...(RK)
(Rubber Vomit Records // kingsongproductions-at-gmail.com)
V/A Secret Prostitutes/Talk Sick Brats split 7”
Dammit. I had to cut the seal on the bag to play this dumb thing. So much for the big Ebay dollars down the road...Bat Shit delivers thee olde school punk rock in the form of an all Texan exclusive forty-five. Talk Sick Brats flame on thru a mid-paced rock n’ puke sorta jive that reminds me of the Epileptix by way of Toxin III. Either what way, good…and actually catchy…mongoloid tunes. Not buried in hiss or feedback, just some solid rock action. Secret Prostitutes give you more snappy blunt trauma in the vein of, well, what they do best (see earlier review). Anyone else feel like the Plastic Bertrand fella’ stopped in to barf all over some Spits tracks? Me neither.
No sleeve. No insert. Just a clear plastic bag holding either red, white, or blue wax…and that pesky seal I had to butcher to open it. 300 of them. Support the troops! (RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)
V/A Alex Shade & Thee Haints/Tundra Fucks split 7"
AS&TH are from somewhere in Virginia and of course they play trash-punk. That's all there is down there, trash-punk and bluegrass, right? Super-fuzzmuff guitar riffing, drumbox and vocals that sound like the guy who does the announcing for tractor pulls. Stupid, sure, but not really remarkable. Tundra Fucks are from Sweden and have a 7" on Ken Rock under their belt already. More trash, a little more bloozy in the European style. Better than the A-Side, but still not worth digging in your pocket for. Out on the Dirty Ugly Records label, which I've never heard of before, but it seems to specialize in one man bands and schticky horror-garage and has some sort of alliance with the ol' Squoodge label and that guy's wacky 5" singles clubs and shit like that. I'm sure I already know what bands called Invisible Man's Revenge and The Fly and His One Man Garbage sound like, but the kid in me really wants them to be good. Scum stats: the "sleeve" on this (a 3x6 slip of paper) says 100 copies on blue vinyl. Apparently a "regular" version with actual artwork exists as well.(RK)
(Dirty Ugly Records // www.dirtyuglyrecords.com)
V/A "6x2x12"" LP
3 songs per side on a 12" EP seems to explain the titular math. Maybe. Side A is Canada. Vancouver's Defektors do a rumbly punk-bouncer that comes off pretty snappy sounding. I've enjoyed some of their other work, and this is the best song on the side. O Voids are quite adept at being boring, and this dirgey instrumental really shows off their skills. Alberta's Sharp Ends are at the forefront of a Calgary scene that I think is way more prolific than it is talented. Lots of bands up there with records out on bigger name labels that I don't really think sound all that remarkable. This is a decent enough song though, even if "Whiteout" sounds like a dozen other bands doing the stark post-punk thing. I called post-punk as the new pop-punk a year ago, and I'm sticking with that rash generalization. Side B is USA. San Diego to be specific, and another scene that's a little strange to me and that I'm not really feeling. Ale Mania however have a certain something that I dig, and although "Fawkus" doesn't hit me like some of the total Eighties Brit-wave highway robbery of their LP, it has a regal sort of post-punk ominousness, cut with some awful hipster moves that I find cluelessly endearing. The Beaters 7" was confusingly likeable as well, but again "They Don't Really Care About Us" sounds a little half-baked. In other words, a typical comp song. High bpm dance-wave. Spirit Photography do their best Blank Dogs-lite thing here. Murky and muddled in both production and general quality. There's not enough of merit here to really discuss any further, you could do yourself a favor and get that Ale Mania LP though.(RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.blogspot.com)
V/A Timmy's Organism/John Wesley Coleman III split 7"
Timmy side is a throbbing slab of slimy Motor City rock'n'roll that hits on the Defects side of the plate more than Human Eye. Last time I saw these guys live Timmy went on some diatribe that was pretty well summed up in the mantra "Fuck pop-punk!" (or was it power-pop? What's the difference, right...) and this track delivers the same message. Heavy mutant rock, "Eatin' outta garbage can" lyrics, one of his best songs under the Organism banner. This side of the sleeve also has one of the best Vulgar live pics I've seen since the Icki octopus-head snap (credited to none other than Tom Perkins as well!). Controversial recording artist John Wesley Coleman shares this split and obviously gets blown away (not like it's a contest or anything...), armed with a backing band that includes celebs like Greg Ashley and Sir OBNIII and peels off an adult-rock tune that is essentially a Reigning Sound song with weirder lyrics. Oh well. Organism side is good enough that Vulgar-diehards will need this though. (RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
V/A "Wings Over Gabba: The Best In Songs of Negativity" LP
If any modern fanzine reflects my tastes it's Negative Guest List (and not Terminal Boredom), so I was definitely stoked to dig into this compilation which collects the best of the CDs (which I unerringly manage to misplace) that have accompanied a few issues of NGL during its run so far. All exclusive cuts, which is how it should be done, and all from bands that are probably just slightly off the radar of all but the most attentive of current record nerds, which is also how it should be done. Mordecai are the best band in Montana and "King of Infinite Space" is yet another pristine example of their efforts at learning how to play their instruments in the shapes of actual songs, and this one is nothing less than fantastic. They sort of have an intro, build up a little steam, they horn two chord changes in this one I think, with a solo(!?) and then sound like geniuses just stopping on a dime. Maybe a nickel. BA's own band Meathump (which sounds almost as cool as Meat Thump) do an inspired bit of dueling guitars that sounds like an outtake from Alvarius B's "Blood Operatives.." LP. Sewers prove I haven't been paying enough attention, because I know shit about them. I'm assuming they're Australian, and they sound like the hobgoblin version of Pheromoans, which means I need to go diggin' through some back issues. Blank Realm are one of the few NWOAM groups I haven't given a total ball coddling this year, and "Burgers In Our Midst" is passive-agressive dronescaping that perhaps frightens me in its depth. A phenomenal cosmic voyage. Kitchen's Floor track is a grade-A certified slab of trash-rock sirloin that rescues me from that fearful reverie, I "Needs" more bands like this. Wisconsin "legend" The Jaguar kicks off side B, sounding like the short-bus riding Midwestern counterpart to Digital Leather's Shawn Foree. BA should be seeking restitution from the pressing plant, as it sounds as if they pressed the Future Blondes track backward and at the wrong speed. Either that or it was recorded during a tornado. Caped superheroes Butcher Cover save the day once again with a gristly Chaos UK cover that should have you running for it. One of this LPs true gifts is another Hatefuck track, this one called "Well Dressed Man" that provides further evidence that they are one of the lost treasures of the decade. It makes you think about what could have been (or what actually was that you just weren't there for), but also realize that sometimes it's best to not have all your dreams fulfilled. Totally brutal heavy rock made by criminals. Closing out are two more gems, Rubbish Throwers released one of the better and more slept on singles of NWOAM singles last year, and this instrumental sounds like the smog monster surfing a tsunami. Closing are Bits of Shit, whom I've given a good tug on my own based on one of the best punk singles last year in the worldwide field, and this cut holds its own with that collection of tracks. Sheer Australian dunderheadedness in musical form from tough bald men wearing cut-off denim vests. I think BA wrote somewhere that the singer is a real John Rotten type or something along those lines, and I enjoy imposing that description onto my mental image of the band and their sound. Blokes you can trust, for sure. Housed in plain black sleeves with labels proofread by Helen Keller seems only fitting to the edge-of-his-knickers lifestyle I'm sure BA must lead every day between assembling issues of NGL, plotting record releases, playing in bands, reviewing records and interviewing interesting people, being interviewed by Vice, growing Tav Falco-esque moustaches and being perhaps the most important scribe and doer-of-things in the international underground music scene right now. I can't imagine you not buying this.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com - or go to Goner in the US)
V/A "Tarantisimo Summit: Vol. II" LP
An el-pees worth of tweaked solo experiments from some of the major Midwest scene players/polarizers. Shit, Bat Shit beat me to the punch. A couple years ago I was thinkin’ it’d be cool to do a series of one man projects…and more than half the genetic make up of this LP was on my hit list. What do ya get? Some sort of Subterranean/Ralph style compilation of eclectic madness. Chris Ilth cuts loose with damaged cinematic soundscapes, beat-box blows and Gristle-y Voltaire love notes. Some of the strongest “experimental rock” stuff I’ve heard in recent tymes. He could stand a full length of this ilk on his own. Timmy V. brings more Organism soundwarping that would nestle up nicely within his Sacred Bones full length. Some of it rocks. Some of it tells you what brand of pork cracklins to buy. !?! Just in case yer too stoned to make the decision on yer own. Mac Blackout has been slinging his gluey solo stuff for a while and you prolly know if’n yer on board or not. I find his off-kilter, home-crudded poptunes to work better within this kinda’ mix. Nice breathers (or comedowns) to the Cannibalized tape loops and shortwave splices that traumatize you. Jamie Easter proves that his hair-feet are firmly planted in the primordial bog with a collection of tribal hiccups, cartoon marches and mouth-fart-bleats. Just when ya thought those drugs of their youth hadn’t taken garage punks class of the ’00 down a dark dank corridor…Jesus. Fuckin’ deranged. And more entertaining than a whole stack of Not Not Fun platters. 100 copies come wrapped in a special outer sleeve with plum-tongue colored wax. 400 regular versions…for the losers.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // www.flyingrodentfecalmattter.blogspot.com)
V/A True Sons of Thunder/Wizzard Sleeve split 7"
First recorded appearance of TSOT, whose destructive reputation from live show reports has many a dork intrigued, myself included. With Eric Oblivian and a bunch of other heavy dudes from Memphis in the line-up and a song titled "Butt Bong" expectations are obviously high going in. And I'm not 100% what to make of it. Absolute sludge, for real. A knuckle-dragging bass pulse seems to be the anchor, drums sound a little ad-libbed at moments, or as improvised as 1-2 thump can be, while what I'm guessing are at least three guitar players let their axes feedback at will. No riffs, no chords, just bleeeargh. I think there are some backing vocals happening whilst the "singer" sounds like he's telling one of the other guys a story...about a butt bong, apparently. The song has zero structure, it just sort of falls into place and then maybe they decide to stop playing at some point. Free-form freakout style. For like five fucking minutes. I feel like I need more to get the gist of this whole thing. As it stands, I'm on board for the sheer ridiculousness of it all. I also imagine they are one of those bands you have to see live to get the full impact. Wizzard Sleeve I've seen live (fantastic) and I get exactly what they're doing. Southern synth-punk of the lysergic variety. These synths seem to be stolen from John Carpenter's non-existent soundtrack to Deadbeat at Dawn. "Setting Fire To Your Loft" is hopefully some sort of missive at "loft-pop", as I would like to take a shit on the bathroom floor of that genre as a whole. Really sick and testing the time limits of a seven-inch piece of vinyl. The only band that actually brings the punk half of the synth-punk genre title these days. Hecubus likes this. Scum stats: 500 copies, 60 copies come with an elaborate acetate sleeve concept with a transexual motif that is really quite striking.(RK)
(Jeth-Row Records // jethrowrecords-at-yahoo.com)
V/A "Under the Covers Vol. 2: A Tribute to Paul Collins, Peter Case and Jack Lee" LP
All-cover and/or "tribute" records are usually a recipe for disaster. Rarely do they ever work out well enough to actually need to own the LP after listening to it once. But sometimes they do work, and I'm one who is more forgiving than most when it comes to this despicable format. I just like covers a lot, when done well. Whether it's a full LP by one band ("For Ladies Only", "Pajama Party") or a bunch of bands covering the catalog of a single artist or genre ("Groin Thunder", the "Killed By Trash" series), I've liked and own more than my share. I have a bad feeling about this one after looking at the tracklist. It's a veritable who's-who of bands I could give a shit about: Grass Widow, Reading Rainbow, Cowabunga Babes, Audacity, White Fence, Ratas Del Vaticano...shit, I don't even like Davila 666, and they might be the biggest "name" here. Well, let's dive in: if Grass Widow followed by Reading Rainbow doesn't make you want to stab yourself, well you've got no business being here. White Wires track is forgettable and Canadian. Leave it to Hunx to step up to the fucking plate though, as he and His Punx sound like an actual fucking band instead of a bad joke for their run through "When U Find Out". Well done ladies. This is backed up by a winner from The Mantles, who give "A Million Miles Away" some real depth and emotion. White Fence then foul up the hitting streak with a turd gurgler, but Audacity save a little face with a loud and sloppy "Why Am I Lonely" done as only a bunch of spoiled rotten
Californian kids could. Speaking of jokes and California, Personal and the Calzones do an exceptional acoustic "Any Day Now" with some brudda-ed up vox. Davila 666 do "Hanging..." in Spanish. Pffft. I still do not get the appeal of this band at all. At the end of Side A I'm gonna grade this 3.5 out of 9. Side B is led off by Tijuana Panthers, who I've never heard of and never need to hear again after they turn "One Way Ticket" into a heaping serving of mediocre garage. Speaking of mediocre, this band Neverever you never ever need to hear again. HAHAHAHA!...So Cow does "Working Too Hard" and it's par for the course for this slightly above-average nutter of an "artist". Moonhearts rip through "I Need Your Love" and sound like fucking Grand Funk doing it. It's OK. Le Face turn "Paper Dolls" into the most interesting song on this record by sounding like Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet covering 45 Grave. This band keeps getting better. It can only go downhill from here. Shark Toys are blander than Melba toast, Ratas Del Vaticano are somewhat energizing at this point and give "Are You Famous" some needed velocity. The Forgery Series? Are they forging a Blank Dogs record? Well, they're not even doing a good job of it. I've talked about how bad the Cowabunga Babes suck in other reviews, and this cover of "Many Roads to Follow" makes me wish I would've been meaner. That's all...but is it? BONUS TRACK! NO idea what it is, sounds like a demo from Jack Lee, which may be of interest to superfans. Shit, I think there were like 1.5 good songs on the B-Side. That's rough. Best track/band: Le Face, go buy some of their actual records. Worst band/track: I'm going to go with Grass Widow, because that is some serious garbage. This was a tough one to sit through twice (the miniumum number of spins an LP must get before it can be reviewed here at TB HQ), and overall just turned out to not be a good record.(RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.blogspot.com)
V/A Woah Hunx/Cowabunga Babes split 7"
Woah Hunx are from LA, do a riot-grrly take on the current indie-gal sound, which was recorded by Viv Grrl Kickball Katy for extra authenticity. It's actually not too bad for what it is, as they play more to the punk side of the crowd than the omnipresent "dream-pop" style girls with bangs the world over are currently writing in their diaries about. Cowabunga Babes were from Austin last time I checked and go for a simpler and more generic indie-pop style. They have a song called "Boner". Yeah, hilarious. They pigeon-hole themselves pretty good with the sleeve, which was apparently taken directly from a Vice magazine "Do's and Don'ts" rogues gallery of hipster fashion. These people all look terrible.(RK)
(no idea who even put this out, no info at all on the record)
Vegetable “C.F/Sol” 7”
This is possibly the best fake out I’ve come across in quite a while. "So, this ain’t a reissue?" I’m not up on much of the UK DIY post-punk oddities of the gone Messthetics age, but I’ll be damned if this don’t reek of the real deal. All the way down to the flimsy newsprint onesie insert and off-putting name. But they’re really young and from Tempe AZ. Punk funk, quirk stunted guitar jabs and stand-up trashed n’ bashed traps holding their own underneath co-ed vocals. This aught’a get some of you Kleenex or Delta 5 friendlies reachin’ for the PayPal button. Guaranteed to sound great on a warped TDK tape mix. (RSF)
(Gilgongo Records // www.gilgongorecords.com)
Video "Leather Leather" LP
Denton, TX punk rock outfit led by TV's Daniel (of Wrists, Wax Museums, etc..) from what I can tell, along with other members of Wiccans, OBNIIIs, Bad Sports and dozens of other bands. The Denton family tree is getting tougher to follow every day...this will be Video's first record, and I've always enjoyed the ballsy and risky move of releasing an LP before an EP/7". It's a tough maneuver to pull off, but Video do just fine. It's a pretty tough sounding record. Hardcore speed alternates with slow yet aggressive lumbering punk, the opening three song salvo ("Make Me Bleed"/"In Control"/"Images") will get you excited and interested and you won't be let down by what follows. Legit punk rock, but without the goofy Wax Museums schtick or poppiness of some of these guys other outfits. Great sneering vox dripping with reverbed snot. Extended guitar jams on a few songs, but not in a garagey sense, more in a space-punk vein. They manipulate a phaser sound to great effect making for swirling psych-punk trips. Hooky tunes, but not in a soft power-pop style - just distinct and memorably aggro riffs and choruses. Makes for a great compliment to the Wiccans, GG King and Women in Prison records. Shit, this might even be better than the Wiccans LP. Tough call. "Any Worse" closes the LP by stomping a mudhole in your ass. Spectacular bass-heavy recording by OBN3-PO, top flight guitar work by Payton G. Great record, look for it soon?!(RK)
(Play Pinball! // www.playpinballrecords.com)
Violent Students "Party Addiction"LP
Long-awaited document of the last live gasp of this Philly outfit, whose membership includes former/current players in Earth Crisis, Blues Control, Clockcleaner, Watery Love and/or Conviction, depending on who you believe. The A-side is that last ever live show, and if you're familiar with any of their cassettes (or the CD, these guys love shitty formats apparently), you know how they do it: formless globs of semi-improv hate that lingers somewhere between Drunks with Guns and Psycho Sin, without being as mindful of melody as either of those groups. For a good portion of this I was convinced they reversed the tape and this thing was playing backwards. Or at least the vocals were. The last track is said to be a cover of the 'Mags "Seekers of the Truth", but it sounds more like them covering Merzbow or some other Jap-noise weirdo. The B-Side of this compiles the ultra-rare "A Handy Musician" tape, and makes the live side sound like Albini recorded it. Extreme noise abrasion that tries very hard to get into your head and under your skin and does a good job of it. Wonderful liner notes by the wonderful Tony Rettman, the music itself is for sickos, although the A-Side would be thee V.S. record to hear if you're game.(RK)
(Richie Records/Testostertunes // testostertunes.blogspot.com)
The Visitors "Avenging the Visigoths" LP
There are many many cool things about Canada that I enjoy. Curling, touques, back bacon, Aero bars, Du Maurier cigs, the list goes on and on. One of the things I dislike about Canada (aside from bagged milk) is some of their citizen's allegiance to bad pop-punk bands like Statues, Tranzmitors, New Town Animals, Smugglers and....The Visitors. I want to slap the singer in the face because he whines like a little girl when he sings. Totally balls-free pop-punk shit, with the added annoyance of artwork in the style of an eight year old child with a box crayons. Which would be cute if it was my niece, but is just sad in this instance. I give this four thumbs down. (RK)
(Going Gaga Records // goinggagarecords.bigcartel.com)
Vomit Squad “Amon Ra Bless America” LP
Puke punk by Mon’ Ree-all all-scars Choyce V., K.A. Khan, D. Fuckin’ Marx, and some guy named Dick Ritalin. Stoopid Red Cross vibes ooze all over this sumbitch; it’s catchy and sloppy and might lower your IQ a few dozen points, but do you listen to punk rock music to get smarter? (I do, sometimes, but I’m an idiot) My favorite thing about this is how some of the songs (“Rapture Gun” “Howard Ruark”) almost sound like The Fugs. The chorus of “ABCDEFG” goes “ABCDEFG FUCK YOU,” which pretty much says it all. (EEK)
(Psychic Handshake // myspace.com/psychichandshake)
Vril s/t 7"
Debut self-released single from Huntington Beach punk rockers. Fitting stablemates to Francis Harold and other members of the Going Underground roster, A-Side has two lo-fi cruisers with reverbed vocal sneer and dark vibes, I dig the lack of production values, drums sound trashy and the bass throbbing really propulses things along. "Red Asphalt" is mongo-jamming, "Soul Snatch" rides a scaly phased-guitar trip into the nether reaches. "Howling at the Moon" is the B-Side weird-punk saga, with a trance-inducing bass/drum set-up over which the singer hams it up and the guitar plucks out some haunted licks. Beach punk played on the banks of the River Styx. Cheap thrills. Scum stats: 300 copies with three different covers, mine came in a cool hand-made pocket sleeve type-thing with a screened logo sleeve.(RK)
(self-released // rickydouglas-at-hotmail.com)
The Vultures “Chingus” LP
I couldn’t make it more than a couple of tracks deep. Unmemorable rawk songs that hit all the wrong chords and left little impact beyond the throwback memory to seeing any number of alternative or, better yet, grunge bar bands playing at an outdoor fest (something I’ve had to endure at least once a summer for the last 15 years). Might work well on a snowboarding video or something but it ain’t for me. Hey, only 250 copies.(DH)
(Safety Meeting Records // www.safetymeeting.net)
Wallrides s/t 7”
JFA skate worship that works out real nice-like. Even a bit of those flatlanders Minor Threat comes thru in the sounds. Shit is totally righteous flipped-bill 80s action. Swedes, I hear…but it all sounds so Amerikkkan. Think of the solid Upstab material, but scrubbed clean from all the Cleve-o-filth so you can hear all the chords and vox loud and clear. I’m sure there’s other bands that sound this good at this kinda throwback…but no one sends ‘em to me (sniff, sniff). If you ate up that Negative Lifestyle sniggle Bat Shit also offered up, you’d be a dummy not to pick this up as well. 300 pressed with 100 on what seems to be marshmallow baby duck yellow.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)
Weird TV "Sufrir" 7"
I was excited to finally hear this band after reading good things about the cassette which I never got around to acquiring, and it lives up to expectations. Girl-fronted Olympia, WA rock with lyrics in Spanish sung in a tough and confident manner that can't help but remind you of The Brat, but with a harder backing band, a doomy vibe and killer guitar sound. "Sufrir" is about suffering of some sort - I'm gonna guess it has something to do with some asshole dude. "Sex" is about wanting just that, and is somehow the scarier of the two tracks. Raw and savage from a female perspective, which is a great change-up from the dozen "dream-pop" singles I've had to review or just decided not to. Has some great tripping guitar solos as well. Firm, powerful and punk. I'm thinking Layla and Miriam over at MRR like this one a lot. I do too.(RK)
(Perennial // www.perennialdeath.com)
White Guilt s/t LP
Blackened modern hardcore from Upstate NY in the vein of Youth Attack faves like Vile Gash and Cult Ritual and the harsher California crews like Timebombs or maybe Human Mess. Rabid dog vox with a half-tunna reverb caked on, extra crunchy guitar with a side order of fried, grim lyrics about genocide, sterilization, and being a victim/slave/useless human being. Zero positivity, maximum carnage. When not shoving riffs down your throat the guitars embark on screeching "solo" lines of scree and feedback that suck the songs into fatal white noise undertows. Drummer runs rampant behind the wall of noise with frightening dexterity. The vox get to be a little much at times, but hey, the guy's gotta bring the hate. They get so ridiculously overblown it sort of grows on you. 80% balls-to-the-wall speeders, and they slip a couple sludgier crawlers in there for good measure, like the epic and quite metal Side A closer "Human Flood II". Bands of this ilk are a dime a dozen these days, but I think White Guilt rise above the pack on the strength of their riffs (which are certainly pummeling, and delivered with an appropriate measure of distortion) and serious drumming. They also don't seem to be trying too hard to be "ugly" like many of their contemporaries, they just sound vicious in a more organic sense, if that's possible.(RK)
(Video Disease // vdrecords.blogspot.com)
White Load "Fuck Jams" 7"
I love that White Load seemingly get worse with every release. It's an interesting twist to the usual band-improves-with-each-record story. Because in getting worse, they've actually got better. Supposedly recorded live in Providence, this just sounds ridiculous. As close as I've heard any American band come to sounding like Inservibles. "Fuck Jams" is a fucking jam that I imagine they open the set with, and the crowd of fifteen sounds pretty stoked about it. Just wandering around the concept of a song and sounding righteously blown-out doing it. B-Side shows off their "chops" on "Armageddon" and "No Reason To Live" which they must have stole from someone, because it actually seems to have a chorus and verse structure. Total garbage. I could listen to the A-Side of this all day. Scum stats: 200 copies only (that's about 175 too many, because I think I can personally name every person in the world who might even slightly like this alongside myself), 100 of which are a Japanese "tour" edition on white vinyl, with white obi-strip, sleeve and insert. I think these guys are racists.(RK)
(Bat Shit // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)
White Walls "The Milk of A Lonely Man" 7"
Lowest common denominator mysterious-guy scuzz, melding the most obvious components of Pissed Pants and the Youth Attack roster. Heavy thud that is actually quite well recorded and has legitimate power/skill, the title cut skulks at a convincing enough crawl that you'll be checking the speed. It's a bassline, a loud riff for the chorus, and the guy takes some cues from the singer of Sub Pop's heaviest band. "Lady Parts" is the B-Side and speeds it up slightly, getting a little metallic chug going. Derivative at best. Trying very hard to be offensive/edgy with the imagery (which looks like a guy with crisco smeared on his face) and lyrics (rape fantasy of the high school level) but ends up only being offensive in how hard they are trying.(RK)
(Video Disease // vdrecords.blogspot.com)
Wiccans "Skullduggery" LP
One of my favorite current "hardcore" bands get that tape they were peddling on tour released on full length wax via NYC's Katorga Works (also soon to be home to the Rational Animals debut LP, I like where this label is heading...). If you never read their interview on Termbo, now's the time. The punkest dudes in Denton (including members of Silver Shampoo, Video, Wax Museums, Bad Sports and about twenty other bands) join forces to make the toughest sounding record that Texas burg has spit out since....since forever I think. This isn't garage-punk or poppy shit, it's just tough American hardcore. I like to think it goes well with YDI, Poison Idea is definitely a touchstone (on the almost-metal guitar solos in particular) and your unavoidable Negative Approach/Zero Boys/Die Kreuzen Midwest Holy Trinity. As I've said before, the feature here is singer Adam Cahoon's over the top vocal performance which never ceases to get me motivated to break some shit - eyeball-bursting burly delivery that's a welcome departure from your usual hardcore screamer dude. It's like Damian from Fucked Up, but just a bit more hoarse and out of control. Lyrics and songs touch on occult and sci-fi themes but without the bullshit mysterious guy pretension. Twelve songs that blast ahead into the future with ample breakdowns for creepy crawling and absolutely sick solos and riffs. A legitimatley fucking tight USHC band that's not reliant on heaps of reverb and echo, B&W torture imagery and rape fantasy lyrics to get you hard-pitting. "The Third Estate" closes the record, and sums up the sentiment in the previous sentence perfectly - they out-skulk, out-riff and out-pummel any of those feedback whores that prop themselves up with limited edition packaging, bondage pics and six tracks worth of delay by just playing a fucking heavy fucking song. The real fucking deal. Get on it.(RK)
(Katorga Works // katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)
Witch Hats “Solarium Down the Causeway” CD/10” EP
Greg Ashley managed to make this band stop pigfucking about the death-rattled swamps long enough to hone their art-rock chops. A blunt and percussive hard indie sound that sometimes can feel more like the Liars (listen to "Check the Center". Damn.) of now than The Boys Next Door of before (tho’ that vibe continues to shine through with tracks like "Stomach in Your Hair" or "Fucking With the Atmosphere"). Ultimately, I find this to be a whiplash inducing journey into the noisy, angular TV Ghost territory, and not as chaotic or grunt-splatter as their predecessors in the Aussie bloodline. I bet it’d pair up nicely with the new Slug Guts LP, though. In whole it reminds me of the Fall-like, less garagey output of the early Horrors (UK). It sure doesn’t sound like Greg Ashley had a hand in it. No sir, not at all. This fucker ain’t bad and it could (should) even chart overseas, if given the proper push in major music rags. Still, I wish it was a bit more punishing/ugly like the first 12”. There’s vinyl of this, but damned if I’ve ever seen it on this side of the pond. (RSF) (Ed: Didn't the Male Nurse already use this artwork?)
(Z-Man Records // www.zmanrecords.com)
Women in Prison "Strange Waves" 7”
Hey all of you heavy-hitting punk collectors out there, I got some news for that ass: Great punk records are still being made! I know, crazy, right? Here (along with that Lognhal… platter) is one of the best of recent memory. Straight-up raging scuzz-punk from Austin TX. This here 45 contains three of the world-beaters from their six-song demo that came out last year. I thought “Suicidal Exit” was the hit, but it’s not to be found here. Doesn’t matter cuz these guys got songs for days. Yeah, they actually remembered to write some!
I, for one, appreciate that kind of forethought.
This is what this record sounds like: Your cool friends just spontaneously formed a band, they’re bursting with a couple ideas, they get a case of beer, they go down to the basement (I know it’s Austin but bear with me), they turn on the old dust-covered PA, the one from the Seventies, the one with the sick reverb that’s got presence and depth unlike these goddamn tinny pedals of today; they crank the guitars up to a nice Saints-like roar, and as the drummer deals with the fact that the drum kit is a piece of shit, a reverse pride starts forming as a matter of fact. “I’m gonna make this pile of junk sound good,” he thinks. They start playing. You are three floors up, reading a book about autoerotic asphyxiation, slowly squeezing a lemon, when you realize that the distant thunder you feel shaking the house is actually the dudes downstairs and they are fucking killing it. “Strange Waves” makes you wanna freak out, fuck anything that moves, then snort it up your nose, hell shove it up your fucking ass. A lightning bolt hits you: “My dumb-ass friends are the best punk band in the city, the state, maybe even the whole country….?!”(EEK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
Wonderfuls "Piss Fist" 7"
Brendon NGL extends his empire into the world of vinyl with the release of an EP from this Brisbane-based duo who must be some pretty weird dudes, or are ready to die trying to convince you they are. These songs are sourced from recordings done from 2004-07 before they guys were probably committed to the psych-ward or took jobs in some factory sweatshop for malt liqour money. I think the "Royal Trux if they were on the 'Waste Sausage' comp" vibe Brendon prepped me with before hearing this is more apt than anything I'm going to go reaching in the chumbucket for. They certainly propagate a certain shite-gazing aesthetic, one part guitar-folk and the other half barrel-bottom art-punk trash, or at least poking irreverent fun at such things. "Piss Fist" itself is vulgarian acoustic rock'n'roll with perhaps ad-libbed lyrics and a shockingly catchy guitar part recorded while relaxing in a truck stop bathroom. "Hated Man" is mock-psychedlica whose "hook" seems to be only the wonderfully sleazy pronunciation of the word "maaaan". I have to think glue was the preferred drug of choice while recording this one. "Sick Individual" is so loose it hurts, a real showcase for their troubadoring skills. Could also be a piss-take on NZ-pop. They end with the tour-de-force of "Young Hearts", a snaggletoothed bit of emotionally difficult brain-damaged grunge rock. A peculiar record that becomes a little bit more odd each time you listen to it, and straddles the fine line between total garbage and absolute rubbish with unnerving panache and is an interesting throwback to the days of yore when Australian music was truly fucking bizarre and uninviting.(RK)
The title tune gives off a weird stench of Pink Reason-y acoustic gloom and Dave E snot-filled storytelling. For a song torn from the pages of an AA/NA meeting…this slurry named "Piss Fist" is (dare I say) quite catchy. After the minute or so of 12 step confessions, "Hated Man" hightails it into acid casualty territories and outsider guitar wank-isms. This shizz is stewed. A steady stream of 70’s retrofitted psychosis, heaped upon a moderne strum-punk that mumbles and collapses through the flipside. "Sick Individual" and "Young Hearts" seem to reference The Geeks or that now famously heralded Unwanted Christmas Presents LP everyone's been fighting for. My kinda’ glop. A head-scratcher that’ll become an “ooh-lookie-what-I-found” treasure for record nerd show-offs for years to come. This is pretty sweet slab…and it’s heading to a Shit-Fi Mix-tape near you.(RSF)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)
Woollen Kits "Maths" 7"
Holy fuck, another Australian garage record recorded by Mikey Young...it's like someone fed a fucking gremlin after midnight. Or spilled water on one. I forget which. Stupid shit aside, you'll remember Woollen Kits as the Aussie band that sounds a lot like Beat Happening from their first 7" - this dude really just sounds so much like Calvin it's impossible to not make the connection, and the 12-year-old-with-a-magic-marker artwork helps too. Certainly tougher sounding than Johnson & Co., but that's the mostly the band's doing, as "Out of Town" is a pretty ballsy Sixties stomper - a real rave-up if you'll let me say that, with the excessive baritone vox giving it a monster sound and a killer noise-guitar solo. Great cut for sure. A-Side is "Maths" and it's not as boss sounding as the B-Side, a bit more pop-oriented with a better hook perhaps, but not as much gusto in delivering it. Guitar solo shines through yet again though, and it's still damn good. Very personable, if that counts. You can't shake the voice. A-Side is rated good, B-Side is rated very very good. Worth a pick-up if you spy one stateside.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsocietyrecords.tumblr.com)
X-Ray Eyeballz "Crystal" 7”
What’s the proper nomenclature for a group of bands that are all connected? A gaggle? A flock? A murder? What about “shit-ton?” X-Ray Eyeballz are part of the incestuous Brooklyn scene centered around Golden Triangle(band)/Live with Animals(art gallery/showspace)/Beacon’s Closet(vintage/used clothing store). You see a lot of these same people in a lot of bands (K-Holes, Heavenly Blows, etc.), but the fact is, most of these bands are pretty damn good. X-Ray’s got OJ and Carly from GT (on vox/guit and vox/bass repectively) plus Rop, late of PeeChees and a friend to dogs everywhere. They have a sort of woozy, spooky vibe that doesn’t quite ever fully plunge into the swamp or the garage, but sounds just strange enough to carve out their own identity. Part of that is Rop’s weird keyboard and synth moves that add little bits and layers for your ears to pick out. The A, “Crystal,” is a good example of this; it seems kinda familiar and traditional, but there’s something about it that worms its way into your head (there’s a great video up on the webs for it too). The B has two quick numbers, the first of which is a decent Oh Sees rip, the second of which, “Kam Sing Nights,” has a nice shuffle and more prominent keys.(EEK)
(HozAc Records // www.hozacrecords.com)
The Zoltars "Party At The Batcave" 7"
Drum-n-guitar duo from Austin, TX who have a cassette release behind them and an appearance on the Gerard Cosloy curated Causal Victim Pile comp (Part Deux). Four songs, simple and child-like construction, pretty annoying tendency to repeat words/lyrics. I guess that might be part of the schtick, but if I hear him say the word voodoo one more fucking time...All the songs have a "dark" theme ("Homicide", "Voodoo", "Misanthrope", the whole Batcave thing...) but delivered with aw-shucks lightheartedness. Perhaps trying for a Half Jap or Tall Dwarfs angle. Overbearingly quirky. The musical equivalent of being repeatedly buzzed by a fly or something else mildy annoying. It did make me want to listen to Deja Voodoo, which will be an infinitely better experience.(RK)
(Sundae Records // www.sundaerecords.com)
Zulus 7” EP
Zulus are a Brooklyn combo with a core of Oakland transplants, ex-Battleshipmen Aleks and Daniel. Aleks steps behind the drum kit but still provides his special brand of hectoring vocals; Daniel hasn’t lost a step on playing oddly catchy sharp riffs that both pummel and bite, like on “Blackout” where a snippet of a “trad” blues lick pokes its head out at just the right moments. Some of the pounding on here recalls the best of the Hospitals oeuvre’, like if the Gories got real pissed off and real stoned. This bad boy is self-released and hand-packaged and it’s rock-solid. Scoop it.(EEK)
(Wizard Mountain // www.wizardmountain.org)
To read reviews for records A through M go here.
To read past reviews go here.