Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bruiser Queen on Certified PR Records

Bruiser Queen is a duo from St. Louis, home to one of the first bands I ever bought a single from, Bunnygrunt. They must have been passing through NYC and played the basement of Acme, a weird southern food place in the lower east side, for some reason they had a venue under the restaurant. I must have been there with friends but loved this band immediately and bought Family Notebook at their mercy table. Ever since I've been picking up their singles here and there over the years - all from seeing them once. That's really what singles are all about for me, a random night, a couple of bucks, a band you're surprised by but even more it's about everything that surrounds that tiny record sometimes. Bruiser Queen are more than just from the same city, they happen to be super friends with the other St. Louis duo who are still releasing records twenty years later and have played shows together. Not that they sound remotely similar to the singles I've picked up, but any friend of Bunnygrunt is a friend of mine.

A-Side's "In Your Room" rips into the always huge sound of a duo and immediately reminds me of The Hussy's pounding reverb garage combined with Shannon Shaw's impressive vocals. Morgan Nusbaum has similar pipes with real bite and serious snarl at times in a lower end bellow. Completely comfortable to run this up the register and ditch the control she has and it's all recorded within range, not one piece of blown out, unrecoverable rock here. They deliver this loud but keeping within that solid bar of sound, her jangle distorted guitar and Jason on drums keeping a solid metronome beat. Morgan is her own waoooooo backup and this has something to do with the '60s jangle garage sound, especially the hot rod harmony stuff but it's so fast with punchy caveman energy that would just destroy anything else even in range. Morgan gets right up to the edge of almost losing control but it's so good it doesn't even have to be doubled to make you stand up and pay attention. Completely related to The Hussy in similar smash beat and party vocals, not in content, it's just the kind of thing that makes you happy, even if she's singing about some shitty situation.

B-Side's "Ms. Everything" has a squashed down guitar tone like that stretched reverb rubber band finally collapsed. This one gets far away from that garage prom sound and opens up into back and forth straight huge pop punk. Morgan lets go a little more in yelps at the end of her verses but still absolutely meaning business. I can't get over her crazy natural talent, like Karen O, a riveting personality in every lyric while those No Age sounding thick guitar layers plow ahead. This drops out to just a handclap and a cappella verses from Morgan as if you weren't already sure this all revolves around her.

On purple bruise colored vinyl, sold out from Certified PR, get this from the band's bandcamp page direct, deservedly not many left.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Die Rotzz / The Bastard Sons of Marvin Hirsch split on Go Ape Records

These two are bound by more than just sharing this split. In checking out Die Rotzz's tripod page the bio section mentions Marvin Hirsch on bass. It seems that the B-Side is a skate punk duo of his bastard children. All grown up, making Dad proud....sort of.

I also noticed the guys in Die Rotzz were also in the Attack of the Cockface Killers. The movie equivalent of the scuzzy punk single, I'll take heavy doses of this homemade insanity of either kind any day of the week.

On the Die Rotzz side "Can't Stand It" has the sticks count off to hollow sounding guitar punk with scratchy high distortion. Sticking to the easily reached clusters they work a back and forth thuggy dynamic of blazing power chords and drawn out bent three note melody. Something of a Ramones rhythm, not with the vocal quality of Joey and a more amped up party heavy rock. The way those guys pushed surf harmony to its limit Die Rotzz are their southern swamp rock equivalent that's been cranked up into an uncontrollable riot. They're scrawny and mean sounding, nothing but thin scrappy skeletons, the vocals straining to meet the volume of everything else. "Rott & Roll" sounds like a different band completely, the room space is totally different and I wondered if they split this up with a song from each band on both sides? But it's definitely the New Orleans trio with a punk blues sound this time. Andy is howling, sounding like this track was captured live, Marvin on bass works that classic scale in the most mellow tempo they could probably manage. Guitar solos wreck throughout in your basic standard love letter to the thing you're playing. How many songs about Rock and Roll are there? This is Rott and Roll dummy. Holy shit their drummer Paul was in Angry Angles with Jay Reatard?

The B-Side opens on The Bastards playing "Lock Me Up" and what exactly is skate punk? It's a tricky thing to differentiate from any other punk I would bet and these two play and deliver vocals as snotty as possible with a narrow range distortion in a slow gut punch, begging to be locked up. That attitude says it all really, they aren't even satisfied playing on the record. The drums attempt a cavernous thickness but its the sound of a Suicidal Tendencies demo. I want to think these guys just got together, started a facebook page and then got to work writing a couple of tracks that made it on this single. Still wondering how they know Marvin but they've played a few shows with those guys. I really hope they actually are his kids and it's two generations of punks united on a 45. I'm getting emotional. "Skate & Destroy" gets the tempo plowing right along singing that title lyric over and over boiling things down to those essentials. You hope things won't be more complicated than that. Slow down the tempo for a sec, take a break, bang on the snare and get ready for that punk speed to come back. The literal sound of picking up instruments and being jerks for nobody but themselves. The story of every band. Record Store Day has me feeling sentimental.

Get this from Go Ape Records.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Radio Shock on Decoherence Records

There are those people who come up with a personality to deal with performing live on stage and those that have always had it lying in wait for the day when they would start a band. Radio Shock's M*P* Lockwood probably has always been a performer, getting weird from day one in every part of his day. Traveling to gigs via a greyhound, the band is made up of whatever equipment he can carry along, he doesn't use a mic and the audience usually ends up finishing the set playing the setup while M*P* looks on. It's a crazy mess of a sound that changes every show, to even commit this to vinyl is impossible, nailing down the performance and vocals to this time and place and you only get a small window into the process and performance of this conceptual project.

A-Side's "Trapper Keeper" is a jacked up mixed bag of riffs, the guitars seem to be falling apart and slightly coming back together in ever devolving rhythms. It's looped, slapped together pop chaos with a drum machine just blindly flailing away in perfect time. Throw in bass, low end no effects and M*P* on vocals is way off in the distance with a cheap mic here, making an appearance but this chorus of thundery cheap chords blowing in saying TRAPPER KEEPER makes perfect sense. It's the very song manifestation of that office supply object. Shiny, injected with gel glitter and smacked right out of your hands the first day. The crowd from the Savage Weekend audience gets involved to provide that crazy riot sound of the masses praying to the TRAPPER KEEPER! Like some kind of blood crazed gladiator, this pulse continues to pound while they jump around yelling the name of this essential middle school item.

B-Sides "Imagine Yourself As Me" is a Wolf Eyes cover which clued me in as to where this whole single would be going checking out the reverse of this sleeve. Regular machine beat and who doesn't want this kind of regularity? He's probably going more minimal than Mr. Dilloway with his heavy, guitar as loud as possible in the mix with pieces of feedback and high pitch squeals of electronics . It's palming chords right down the neck over and over in a maddening primal way with a beat that will continue to thump away in a plastic broken speaker for the rest of its days. Guest vocal from Admiral Grey's high falsetto while the guitar breaks into junkyard scrap, spiraling in finger dynamics. Crazy glitches buried in here. He's got a snarly growl behind this hypnotizing beat, overcompensating for the monotony. It's dark in an unintentional way like if you raised a child in a dim cave with the first drum machine and guitar on Killing Joke and Digital Leather.

On dark green clear vinyl and cover art of the year from Decoherence Records.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Room 101 "The Grand Prize Game" - self released

Roburt Reynolds is the man behind Room 101. He recorded and played everything on this five song EP and even tours by himself from the looks of it. How the hell he's putting together these hardcore bursts live has to be worth catching, it's weirdly intricate even mathy at times but loud while sounding buried back in late '80s hardcore.

"Recognize You" is hard out of the gate, real rough with treble guitar bursts chopped into pieces, Roburt is delivering these lyrics before they even have time to settle into meaning. Jangle spazzy guitar, this hits a double time section that gets him going even faster, vocals breaking. Low end chords that ramp up to high ones, he's programmed this drum machine to completely malfunction and then rehearsed for a LONG time to get these changes...a serious exercise in complexity. "Popularity" speeds in an off kilter rhythm, Roburt includes a little melody in this and it's almost garage if it weren't so crazily buried, so muddy it must have been ripped straight off the cassettes. The speed is also something you don't expect from this kind of catchy pop punk. He's got a manic tongue biting mental breakdown delivery of early Dead Kennedys combined with an almost late '90s industrial sound.
"Soul Finger" weird klunky chords with heavy echo in that 4track scary style, the presence of those recordings this is exactly what worried you a little bit, the punk that seemed to be right up to the line of too extreme for the guys in the garage. The bass line takes over revving this up and grinding to a hault in a free jazz vocal, screamed over the meltdown of guitars and out of tune chords.

B-Side's "Fascion (with XVC)" has a dirge style slow krunky opening, the drums even sound slowed down a bit - wait this side is pressed at 45? Still slow but with an groove hard edge kept in line with the the guitar that's off on its own anti-melodies. Something like the mathy powerhouse parts of Unwound. His wife yelling "FASCION!" is a nice touch, everything direct into a 4-track and teased out vocally. Echo damaged guitar, the bass trying to keep this on a solid even keel, but the whole thing keeps careening around completely off course and it doesn't take long to just sink directly to the bottom. "Los Desaparecidos" is the shortest protest, super spazz hardcore, kick snare machine gun style, stops for a second for a bassline to break this up, but it's got to be a ten second song tops. Maybe this one is supposed to be at 33?

On purple vinyl with lots of insets, like the 0 dollar bills with US Treasury facts on the reverse. They aren't fun but as long as this paper buys me more single then I don't CARE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Still Sweet on Edible Onion Records

Darian has been running Edible Onion Records since founding the label over five years ago. I've always been impressed with the hand crafted details of his releases like in a Br'er single a while back that had cutout windows on the sleeve with layers of vellum underneath. Handpainted and numbered they were tiny artifacts themselves reminding me of Sam from Eau Records mix of singles and art, Darian takes the packaging as serious as the tracks inside. It doesn't matter this is his own project with Benjamin Schurr from Br'er and Gabrielle Smith of Eskimeaux, tiny records should be given this attention from the day they're conceived to finishing each one of these 220 with a handpainted sleeve. The incredible amount of work that goes into each one makes you want to spend a little more time with them while the record is spinning.

A-Side's "Pirouette" opens on a warm reverb electric melody and plotted out bass that's referencing a lot of that '60s girl group harmonies and phrasing until this outer space synth sound warbles in running it straight into today. Darian and Gabrielle have a perfect combination of wandering harmonies in their deliberate, soft delivery. A quivering synth takes over it's every appearance, like an emulated saw but there s a massive range of understated electronics going on here, a dense mix of instrumentation. It's a dreamy kind of indie with echo's of the Vivian Girls and Magnetic Fields in the use of unique elements that drive the tracks and give them character. Just when it might be too beautiful or sweet, these odd tones remind you of reality that might not always be as beautiful as it seems on the surface.

B-Side's "Holey Bones" cranks up that reverb distance with wet springs in a slow trembly rhythm. Vocally it's wading through the molasses of this thick haze with triangle strikes, shuffling brushes on the snare and Gabrielle's ahhh's from the rafters of this prom. I like that these bones are full of holes and not the sacred kind. Minimal compared to the A-Side until sharp feedback shreiks come in breaking the spell with an orchestration of various synths piling into a jagged slippery wall, droning out the tenderness we started with. An unsettling piece hinting again there's always more to the siren call.

Get Still Sweet's single from Edible Onion Records. Head over there for samples of the tracks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Podcast - Record Store Day is coming

We talk about the Insound Fresh & Onlys clear exclusive preorder and the Mexican Summer one which comes with a single. Third man insanity for Record Store Day. Our plans for waiting in line and a few of our picks. Tyler from TRAGWAG is cutting records in Brooklyn at Human Head Records. A crazy collaboration on Temporary Residence with Eluvium and Explosions in the Sky called Inventions. A new one on Light in the Attic from a '70s Sabbath cover band, Iron Claw. Bands that 'caught RUSH' and how I describe records by the cover and can't remember anything else about them.

My pick this week is Tony Molina's reissued full length on Slumberland Records.

Darrens pick is Mikal Cronin and Wand split on Famous Class Records.

Listen/Download over here.

New record from VOSR - Shockwave Riderz out April 25th.

The Yolks on Randy Records

I've been over it before guys, you know it by now, Randy Records is pressing up essential singles over there in Chicago, which is still getting snowed on, sorry guys. This one is from locals The Yolks who you also should know aren't new, these guys have been around for at least seven years now and put out a full length back in '09. Still coming up with crowd pleasers these two new ones are hand crafted in small batches in bathtubs. Not exactly USDA inspected or sanitary.

A-Side's "2 Dollars Out the Door" launches right into that title lyric with what seems like the chorus but switches to a harmonized doo wop '50's trio with the guys going jacked up Beach Boys behind Nathan belting this one out with that bit of overblown distortion running through the mic. Someone cranked up the gain just a little bit too much again. It was that frantic surf party feel that made him do it, all the 'wa wa waaaaoooo's' forcing this right onto the peeling checkered floor. Not that they're taking any of this too seriously except to hit that punk party rhythm immediately and not waste time dragging the track anywhere else. This is the spot I like, I'm going to party right here, no sense in walking all over kingdom come for the same PBR. The mics pick up on someone saying 'nailed it' at the end of this and I really want to believe with all my heart this was recorded all at once in the same room in just a few takes. They've cut their teeth for long enough - just hit record Randy. Sign these guys up to a seven LP deal, nationwide tour supporting Natural Child or something, they need to whip the crowd up before the bongs come out for the openers.

B-Side's "Pretty Thing" opens on a tortured scream and some distanced serious twang electric. A bad ass harmonica also buried in reverb from Nathan's brother, Spencer. He Blues Brothers in between Nathan's versus while Aaron is banging on some cardboard boxes Doo Rag style. Slapping old beer bottle together this has all that crazy junk blues and soul of One Foot in the Grave. As damaged as those ancient recordings an old demo from a blues obsessed English rock band from the '70s with that swampy Cramps style danger and absurdity to this. The metallic strings ringing out in the same chord while this harmonica takes over, doubling up in multiple tracks. I'm sure this was originaly released on 78 or one of those hard acetates and they found at a garage sale. Thank god they just took the '60s garage band aesthetic and welded it right to an old washboard and it's awesome. Salvation on a two song single. Old tyme religion.

The insert here name drops everyone awesome you also know and love; Nobunny, Shannon, Cococoma, Heavy Times and everyone else who ever put out a record with Randy or partied with these guys - you know who you are. Get this from Randy Records. God Dammit you've done it again Randy.
I hope one day to order quick enough to get my hands on a personalized center label by the man himself.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Erasers - Autumn EP on Metal Postcard Records

Not much to go on with this band Erasers from Metal Postcard records except that they're from Perth, Australia which is unwillingly becoming a theme of the site now. From all angles and labels I can't seem to escape talking about that part of the world and it's a complete coincidence. I'm seriously going to have to start picking out records by checking out where the band is from. I have to give local bands a freaking chance here guys. Sadly it seems this duo Rupert Thomas and vocalist Rebecca Orchard have called it quits since this was pressed but it's a great document of when everything lines up just for a minute and all the possibilites of where this could go are pressed in four tracks.

A-Side's "Two of a kind" starts out with a Dodos kind of clicky sticks and odd timing combined with something like OK Computer's odd repetitions and synths. There's even brief moments of Explosions in the Sky's delicate high register melodies over the precision that they build up layer by layer. A breathy female vocal floats in over this like Young Marble Giants, hardly registering any sort of emotion, just passing by. A cool background vocal plied with chorus and delay for that otherworldly feel. The rhythms work in mathy ways while she barely pieces syllables together, it's abstract and post punk while being as mechanical and precise as any instrumental Tortoise tracks. A combination meant to set the two sides of this against each other. "Safe / Sound" fires synth sine waves up that remain the ever present straight line of grinding drone while loops from a Line 6 are the weird cyclic foundation for more and more tiny bits of melody to start germinating. Kicked on and off they float in sporatic directions from the trunk of this tree. Not a lot of real 'singing' here, just creating that kind of unsettling lack of emotional delivery on the track. The repetition and this angelic vocal continue to grind against each other with that slow, deliberate pace of Young Marble Giants. Cool with an almost drug psych of the Velvets to this, that downer sound passed out on the couch, except for the intricate woven mat that her vocal sits on.

B-Sides "Window" has the delicate electric opening like something from Don Cab that would then explode into heavy chunks of low end bursts but here an odd timing rhythm trips this waltz beat into the harmonium that barely changes. Droning along in that psych or weirdo folk sound, like Pocahaunted, Rebecca Orchard's vocal really starts to act like another textural instrument, lurking back there in the mix adding to the jerky layers of the track without getting in the way or taking front and center. Plenty of percussion all getting it's two cents in. "Autumn Trees" has an echo of New Order in this simple melody but the polyrhythms remind me of tunng, the way it's almos ancient folk music sounding, very traditional bu tthe way it's put together is new and impossible. There's a lot of hypnotizing and psych happening in what at first sounds like a minimal post punk ripple.

Pick this up from Metal Postcard Records.