Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I remember a friend once was in a punk band that wrote songs about movie villains and nerds - just completely ridiculous stuff and it was really a revelation to realize you didn't always have to be writing about serious stuff, making everyone care about every dumb relationship you ever had. Music could be about nothing but stupid fun. Little Seizures got the memo a while ago and these five dudes are obviously having fun playing the bubblegum punk on this EP. Almost the sort of thing that will always come off better live unless they manage to capture that energy like this. A little garage, but mostly the smaller, dingy bars of the lower east side. I see you Parkside Lounge.
A-Side's "Can't Take It No More" beats out the rhythm of the title lyric before this ramps up to all cylinders burning oil garage rock, the old hot rod stuff, flames and rolled up pants, grease on white shirts. Thick sounding with heavy hitting drums and massive amounts of room sound, the vocals from Tommy are placed behind the instrumentation with a snotty wink. He's pissed but this is more of a release not fueling the fire. Almost pop in places but because they really know what they're doing layering in bluesy technical solos.
"Got Me Scared" is a few decades earlier than the first track with solid, huge riff '70s fast bubblegum punk. Tommy's off in his own narrative, changing tempos from teen greaser into The Dickies. Of course it's about friends and ladies. A tough time for the characters sounding like the adverts. Classic stuff that's really well put together in the spirit of making it as catchy as humanly possible.
B-Sides "Can't Seem to Make you Mind" opens into a solo just in case you thought they were all about power chords. Tommy's into layered vocals here in a talky delivery like those '50s tracks about cars going over cliffs with boyfriends. Still anchored in late '70s style goofball bands who just finally gave into this kind of no bullshit stuff. There's even an organ break from the choppy riffs and screaming solos to make this more about just the sneering punk. "No Choices to Make" gets back to huge opening chords blasting away with kick drum thuds moving from the windmill stuff to brief bursts and if this doesn't reference a Ramones style chorus then I give up.
Pick this up from Brooklyn's own Go Ape Records.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Boston's White Pages raise an interesting seven inches dilemma. Is it cheaper to press a single sided 7" at 33 or press those same tracks on both sides of the disc at 45? Not that these guys needed to extra rotations, they manages four songs on the one side...and it's easier to not go over and flip this thing before running back to my keyboard then I'm all for it - although isn't that a CD then? White pages are treading on some weird ice. I'm torn. They did send me some WCW cards, Flyin' Brian who will take you on an aerial journey to "Hurt City".
In the end though I just wanted more of their raw, garage-y sound that takes me back to the best kind of shows. The ones that you can't get tickets to or read about in the paper.
A-Side's "Peace or a Nice Apartment", the eternal question. I love that there's some kind of bleeding over of a pick on strings into the thin jangle coming out of the right channel as it blows up into a real tossing and turning river tube ride. The back and forth of Joe and Christine is where this reminds me of the Yips or Times New Viking on hardcore mode. Playing with tempo and each other's rhythms and vocals, the call and response of this sweaty see your breath basement. That tiny heater in the corner never worked anyway.
"Terms of Endearment" opens on a bass line, cruddy and thin, the guitars are warmer here, the treble almost sucked out of this layer. Joe's in the back of this one covered in distortion, but not yelling, there isn't a sense of frantic trying-to-get-above-it-all sound, he's calmly back there having a good time. No aggressive punchout feel from these guys either just an all ages DIY good time. "Pill Poppper" like Tony Molina you capture this sound for just a brief amount of time and it just has to be this length. Christina is crying behoind Joe's vocal, waaa waa waaa. They have a stumbly, fast as hell delivery in and out of sync with this impossible to keep straight spastic guitar strum. The drums are off in their own path hoping the rest of these guys will follow. Push those limits, close your eyes and see what happens when the dust settles. On "No Hair No Flair" I love the mix they have going with the low end brittle sounding guitar and crashy cymbal percussion section mic'd in a rehearsal space with that telltale concrete echo when they stop. It's a little like the Minutemen, just keep it simple having more in common with garage then hardcore. A solid, blinders-on punk plow. Joe and Christine trade the track title lines, you can hear the connection of these guys and this bonkers out of character solo part takes this into an unexpected place. Not your usual punk but neither was Lex Luger, a.k.a. "The Total Package"
I love a Helvetica Bold font on single sleeves, letraset on an actual size foldover xerox cover and then sit around and handstamp the center label. Get this from Can't Stand Ya.
Friday, November 21, 2014
My Bloody Valentine is a mammoth touchstone that started an entire genre.*
*It's also lazy to compare them to any band but I went ahead and did it to Wildhoney. Don't hold it against me just listen to these guys for yourself. I also thought of Ride and Galaxie 500 but that just feels like a reach, like I'm TRYING to come up with someone not obvious so why not just go back to the source and call it. Are they the most referenced band in history? Do they get referenced far too often? Probably yes to both but if the shoe fits why are you trying on some other weird size just to be a weirdo. It's a compliment and there's not enough bands working in that style as far as I'm concerned.
On A-Side's "Seventeen" enter some heavy guitar loops, bent, buried underwater guitars just dying to burst out from that film, to break the surface tension they're nestled in. The drums suddenly kick into that dense and heavy My Bloody Valentine sound, a Jesus and Mary Chain sludgy layered distortion that is wallet opening. I love Lauren Shusterich's vocals that float above this in drawn out phrases with equal parts layered harmony. I will admit they're pushing the tempo more than most MBV stuff and are blindly focused on the pop but still execute all parts of that sound; infinite guitar delays and a melody appearing out of fog to disappear into something else. Constantly changing, shifting and rising into Explosion in the Sky heights with the chorus delay straight into the upper reaches of this atmosphere. It even goes back to Lush and the beginning English shoegaze, a complete surprise and appropriate if they are referencing the age of 17 which can be equally hazy and impossible to get to the bottom of, a swirling cloud of emotion that can't be separated.
B-Side "Get Out of My Dreams" is going to take that line back from Billy Ocean because I'm 17. Two beats wind this up into a crisp unnatural beat, hardly a snare with shimmering guitar work and Lauren on vocals breaks out of that dreamlike delivery a lot like Soccer Mom minus the sonic youth approach of seemingly ugly sonics. This is all the shiny, crisp parts collected and jammed together like a macaroni artwork. The bass line leads here while reaching for these insane heights and another set of risers up their sleeve. A higher distanced wail of guitars take the mystery back. "Soft Bats" They even give you three tracks of this, with no break? Love the way that last track runs right into this one. What I appreciate is this kind of density, it's like the Spinnanes laid back feel with a punk sound of Blonde Redhead. How much effort is spent on the mic distances and levels of every track of guitar. How often do you start with no sense of where this is going just knowing a melody is going to emerge out of this. Her vocal is always pulling this back together, as soon as they lose it with unleashed guitars they immediately take a backseat to this voice. The perfect balance of hard and loud with reason and content. Can't believe how much landscape they cram into a single, tell me they have a full length? (Coming soon on Deranged Records -ed) This could easily spread out but maybe the single kept this in perfect check as well? What do I know, don't change a thing, it's perfect.
Pick this up from Photobooth Records.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
We need Atlantic Thrills jangly summer harmonies now more than ever. How it got this cold this early is beyond me but it probably has to do with not spinning this blast of sunshine enough. It's all my fault guys and I'm working on correcting it immediately and at least this turntable is warming the heck up.
A-Side's "Day At The Beach" opens with a solo measure of warm high treble guitar, no stressed frantic lines or hard edge jagged stuff anywhere in sight, just the collected laid back rhythm of a four piece taking their collective places and letting things fall where they may. A little bit of the Nodzzz attitude with a precise put together dense haze of layered raspy vocals and double hit snare lines. Between verses someone lays in picked bent melodies, they can't help but finish this bubblegum garage with just a little more frosting. Like The Beets or King Khan they're just looking to celibrate those good times. There's a place for music having all kinds of messages and Atlantic Thrills are just enjoying one of the original reasons to play music; for the sheer joy of it and what better to sing about than a day at the beach. A spiritual releative to the Minks "Everything's Fine" or Real Estate - sometimes it's nice to wallow in the good stuff.
B-Side's "Hold Your Tongue" comes in with a bluesy distorted sound and garage stomp beat chanting that title lyric HOLD... YOUR... TONGUE against the soul main vocal delivery waiting for the bent solo to take hold of things in this southern classic rock style track. All shit kicking attitude and actually a lot in common with the Ar-kaics from yesterday with some Natural Child sloppiness here. Gets gradually looser as the song flows like they've been walking that line and had one too many. Things get emotional, words said that maybe shouldn't have been...an inevitable heated end to that long day at the beach. Could they have partied too hard on this one? Ask the bouncer - they can't remember.
Pick this up from Almost Ready, the new music division of Harry's empire, also released a ful length over there so he's in it for the long haul.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I think garage in 2014 ought to have a few things; a simple, caveman rhythm section, maybe even just kick and snare, it's good if you can find some kind of distortion that sounds like the cone is punctured for the single guitar, don't bother layering anything, play together in the same room while recording, no overdubs and for good measure run the whole take through a busted PA and mic that for the master. Oh and I almost forgot you've got to have a slightly smart ass, or let's just say really confident vocal style because there can't be any hesitation when you're channelling that primal, emotional stuff. Of course I also just described the Ar-Kaics, a four piece out of Richmond who I first came across thanks to Speakertree Records. They're back on Windian with all the graphic style of their brutish, primal rock as usual.
On A-Side's "Why Should I?" the heavy thud of a slightly distorted kick leads their lead foot/hand sound. This starts out primitive and landing on those snare hits with all sorts of spastic winding solo guitar psyching it's way beihnd these yelping vocals. The chorus then gets really poppy, the cranky creepy blues sound takes a backseat for these vocals about being monogamous to his girl. In two minutes they manage to head back to the bluesy windmill chords with plenty of raw silence between notes. That's the animal, dark side that's really after her so hopefully that pop chorus side of things is what wins out in the end for her sake.
B-Side's "Slave to Her Lies" blasts in with everyone hitting that stomp beat all at once and the vocals sneaking in between those crashes. There's a little of that wet reverb surf sound that raises things up out of the muddy swamp. Plenty of silence and space in this between snarly kicks and the vocals gradually build up to shrieking eerie reverb buried and dark like Slug Guts and of course going back to The Cramps or The Mummies without any of their winking. Nothing but the serious matter of the opposite sex and lies with the nimble cuts from a scythe. Oops - hope you didn't need that arm.
Love the classic center label style from Windian and the Ar-Kaics on this one...they also put out their self titled full length which I'll be ordering from Windian as well.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
This split from Mines and Hunt Hunt Camp is an amazing sample of fuzzy, messed up electronics from two Chicago based bands on Maximum Pelt Records. I haven't heard sounds like these coming off a single in a while. Mines feels like they take a down and dirty approach, working with less is more and inferior equipment will only make me stronger while the Hunt Hunt Camp side is a Xiu Xiu meets Casiotone for the Painfully Alone feel, the mellow vocals against these harsh, choppy oscillated waveforms.
On the Mines track "Addict" the last time I heard far off clanging muddy no fi tones like this was from These Are Powers, the slow grandfather clock ringtones quickly turn into a no-fi dirty dance sound like Digital Leather or A Faulty Chromosome and the best use of the human voice from the Casio SK-1. I didn't think you could ever get away with using that sound but Mines does it effortlessly with a million unrecognizable others. The same way multiple melodies, especially this guitar section, just get piled on all seemingly working against each other. Lots of 4-track insanity happening here and in a high energy circuit bent rave. Something about recording to tape inspires that sloppy genius feel and is impossible to duplicate with a million digital tracks at your disposal...or maybe it was and he's even more of a genius. I have to hear an entire record of this, the possibilities he's barely presented feel endless and there's a full length from Lake Paradise Records. You bet I just ordered one.
Hunt Hunt Camp does "HVYMTLKDZ" a heavily ominous track with lots of scuzzy moog textures in chunky synth waves with panning metallic clicks from the keyboard stand when male vocals come in breathy and rising above these hard edge electronics turning into a sharp dancey Owen Ashworth side project in that same melancholic delivery. A vocal melody attempts to break out of it's trench with the help from female harmonies but the weird perfectly captured melted circuits is what really makes this great. The vocals are a perfect distraction but the instrumentation is so foreign and bizarre it's all I can hear. It's subtle and jabbing you in the ribs at the same time. There should be a full length in the works from these guys as well. Incredible.
Pick this up from Maximum Pelt Records who make me want to get a cassette player if they keep releasing stuff like this in that tape catalog of theirs.
Almost forgot William Satek from Mines was on Judge Mathis. Hilarious.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Tight Bros / Rad Company split on Rad Girlfriend, Drunken Sailor, On The Real, Throwing Things, 86'd, No Breaks and Soapy Hand Records
The Tight Bros and Rad Company have locked up seven inch sleeve art of the year. Not a cover you could overlook in the 7" bin or ever forget if you happened across it. Congrats guys. Tight Bros are four dudes from Columbus and Rad Company are not far away in Dayton, both plowing into a pop punk sound with heavy layers and have the collective support of no less than seven labels behind them. Obviously good choice to pair these two together and sweeping the 7inches awards this year they also won in the category of most labels behind a split single.
Tight Bros side "Not What You Asked For" has a feedback hum that opens into a stompy high tempo beat and upper register vocals blown out in a super produced power punk repeating that title lyric leaving plenty of room for the solo which is a bleeding one note number. The layered vocals have a Built to Spill sheen but the rest of this is all attitude in a party Andrew WK feel with cymbals constantly crashing, sticking on that chorus and playing out the harmonies. They know a good thing when they hear it, just run that out to the end. A tight two minutes bros. "Trapped in My Head" comes into the song already running in progress, the gated high compression guitars are poised to blast their bursts of chords, playing off the snare in that crazy fast back and forth see saw while vocally belting this out in thick layers of huge sustained notes fading away behind the fist pumping because they aren't just about the speed. Keeping the beat for the feedback and bass to take this out to the end, making the absolute most of the three minutes left on the vinyl.
The Rad Company track "Hang in There" feels even faster with hundreds more chages with all the singing together punk harmony of Cap'n Jazz with chunky guitars. They don't have to line up harmonies exactly, it's about that emotion from hitting a take that just sounds right. A sunny Lync punk, loud and fast and not obsessed with their own technical prowess just getting an undeniable optimism across with muted chords and no room to shake out. No echo or reverb on the drums because that would just take up extra space. "Under the Blade" feels like an H-Street soundtrack outtake, I can't really explain it except that I watched that video nearly a million times and this would be right at home with a fisheye lens riding right next to someone grinding curbs.
Get this from Rad Girlfriend, Drunken Sailor, On The Real, Throwing Things Records, 86'd Records and No Breaks Records.