Friday, March 7, 2014
Randy Records have been after my heart since their Uh Bones single and I've been working my way through the catalog ever since. I know it's way too early to start comparing them to Columbus Discount, Hozac or In The Red but damn this is a helluva start, and I'm super into this duo from Chicago, Slushy. Brent via It's Psychedelic Baby said about the recording - "It was last summer, on an extremely hot day and I was very ill."
A-Side's "Candy" - It figures these two laid back sunglasses types in front of a psych swirl would have laid down slow quivering vibes of echoplex pedal phasered reverb. All the plans they would have made but they're thinking about Candy. Like Hunx they've gone straight back to the gymnasaium and hung out the 'Welcome Home' letters with glitter and slowed down their staple slow dance number to wade through molasses chord changes. They've barely been able to keep up any kind of tempo on this watery jam, but it's clear and grungy that name making more and more sense. A duo of landlocked surfer types who flew forward in time to hypnotize?
B-Side "Pocket" - That A-Side just sounded like a classic tune you could spin over and over and get a little obessed with. This one starts with a tough muted chord strum and picks up to blow out with that heavy echo on the vocal and metallic strum, a broken surf sound trapped in a metal box, a thin aluminum box that's vibrating. There isn't a sound wave that hasn't ended up hitting a solid surface and reflecting off into a hundred of it's own. As super catchy as the A-side, like Wounded Lion or Khan or Nobunny; a fun loving loose sound that professes nothing but good times in a bouncy reverb, harkening back to catching rays and hanging ten. (You bastards. Here comes more snow.)
The washed out inner center label is a nice touch, this thing has been around a while on the dashboard of someone's car before they remembered to bring it in and put it on the turntable. Get yours from Randy. Does he have a subscription club already? Those sweet orange and pink splattered ones are LOOOONG gone.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Exorcisms, based in LA, play a ragged, busted up blues. I was watching Repoman the other day remembering how broken and crazy Los Angeles looked in that movie to a small town kid who didn't even know what seven inches were yet. It makes perfect sense to me that the West, the very end of the country, the final stop for all lost souls would lend itself to that genre of expression. Don't let the climate fool you, nothing is sunny and perfect.
A-Side's "Love Gone Bad" is dragged throught the back door like the echo beaten blues track it is... beaten with a garage feel to this they let the grit and fuel fly through these distortions. David Lopez even seems to have a slight bit of overdrive on his vocals and he isn't afraid to push things into the red on the mic or his vocal range in exorcising some kind of relationship. This could be a distant relative to the glittering prom rock 50's of Shannon and the Clams or Hunx. David's blue collar vocal isn't as theatrical, but the harmonizing ahh's from Hannah of White Murder or William Fowler are those tandem backup sunny harmonies in this sad bastard fest. Like Mark Lannegan with a full band, it's a bluesy back of the bar closer. The final track for the night, clearing out the drunks. A siren call to their alley's. Exorcising the drunks from their stools and the last few bucks from everyone's pockets. I don't want you no more. The rest of the band comes in, they saw it coming, it's no surprise. Then this protagonist goes beating himself up even more.
B-Side's "Two with Half" jumps back and forth between kick and snare with feedback and a stumbling stutter guitar with thick distortion fills in the spaces between those empty hits. It predictably rocks out, the blues can't ever stay quiet, and this turns into a Black Keys classic huge rock from down in the basement. You can hear the space that surrounds these guys, it's all been done in the same room together, that spirit of bendy blues and using that energy from each other to make things a little bit harder, it defintiely isn't the looking back and reminiscing of the A-Side. They're forward looking, barreling don the freeway this time, bass line driven. The lyric would have you think otherwise but it's the soundtrack to a tough party in a dark alley.
Get this from their band camp page.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Sometimes I wonder if the industrial genre I remember from the late '90s has completely imploded long ago in self seriousness but then the laser beams of light from Blessure Grave or Lust for Youth remind me this can be a viable expression that should be revisited. Sean Bailey, Justin Fuller and Simon Taylor are TÄX out of Melbourne who is making a serious case for not only Industrial's music possibilities but that it could have real impact when used in a political context if I'm taking anything away from the multiple burning riot images on the sleeve.
A-Side's "Bent Spear" took me right back to Skinny Puppy with a big chorus of distortions and all three members are behind these vocals while the drums pound away in that early nineties sound. It's dark, of course, but paired with an aggression and a real snarl. The electronics poke out and ground this into that synth period when it was in every house. The lower fi, no budget industrial attempts used to fascinate me because unless you had that equipment it just souded like it was completely from another planet. This is insanely dark. Fear the future. But not in a nihilistic punk way, this is a real calcualted jab at that genre and some of it's strengths. The drawn out distanced chords mirror the vocals that are somewhat buried in that eerie underground way. The baselines here even echo's early Joy Division which could have easily turned in this direction eventually. These three are taking it on, there's no poetic acceptance or giving up, like their imagery inside, they're fighting.
B-Side's "Arms" is pure industrial mechanics in the form of feedback and heavily echo'd snare. These instruments are their new industry. This guitar sound is gritty and garage-y but it's sweeping out over this huge sonic area. The drums have a Cure sense of distance while that massive Jesus and Mary Chain guitar binds this straight into that thousand pedal effects slowly falling away and I never even realized how closely related this density is related to shoegaze. They come up with a chant and abandon the usual kind of melody opposed to those antiquated delivery systems? Or it lives in that primal place that doesn't need to embellish. The tom polyrhythms and washes of distortions blend together in this final part of the track with a Bauhaus style vocal from Sean Bailey, it isn't very hopeful and makes for a real clear vision of the fucked up future we're headed towards and already in.
Pick this up from No Patience direct or Goner or Negative Fun have it stateside.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
One of my favorite records of all time and one that I came way too late to the party was Gang of Four's Entertainment!. Not sure why it took me until a few years ago to track it down but literally my mind was blown from beginning to end, track after track. It was one of the first records I went and shelled out a collectors price for it happily. A few records since have had the same 'WHERE HAVE I BEEN' brain meltdown like that one. The Wire's Pink Flag, The Embarrassment's Death Travels West or The Sediment Club's first single come close to that revelation and I've been chasing that post punk perfection ever since. Today add a single from Personnel, a band I know nothing about, except the fittingly brief bio from Double Dot Dash.
"Consumer Electronics" opens on this sharp repeating mechanical electric guitar. Piercing chords that don't even give you time to absorb this rhythm, it's in your face with straight assembly line cuts, whooshing past. It quickly develops into a minimal bass driven Prinzhorn Dance School track - my favorite kind of extremist post punk. Broken and braced together with haphazard pieces and a strong vocal track about the modern world, he's distanced and half speaking, but launches into melody when the chorus bursts apart. They're using those pop elements to the best effect, holding it back just waiting to speak popular language if they have to but it's only to show how inferior it really is. Not to mention when an English band criticizes in this detached style it just feels so much cooler coming from overseas. The guitars on "Modern Drab" reference everything from Devo to the Feelies. The jangle should be blowing apart - completely disntegrating but the webs of conceptualism are pretty strong here and vocally he's got that powerful monotone speaking delivery that pushes this into perfect. Gatefold pocket sleeve with the plain inner single sleeve stapled into itself that left me trying to pull the whole thing apart for a little while. It's also reminding me of the German Measles or The Zoltars that 'fuck it all' attitude putting together a scathing commentary about daily life. The things you have to do to exist in the world. The English have a monopoly on that cool punk post stuff like no one else.
B-Side "Hysteria" comes in with a single chord jammed in between a back and forth kick and bass. Exactly like Gang of Four, capturing that jittery nervousness with an aggression and air of giving up, nailing that aesthetic or lack of one actually - an casual unawareness. A textbook example of that song title literally driving the track or vice versa so exactly the definition changes. They hammer out chords with brutish serious energy mentioning Twitter and Youtube in the same verse as the Sex Pistols. No one else could get away with this. "Close Quarters" I think I forgot to mention how clean this sounds, the pile of junk it could have been - and maybe that's the difference between the Atlantic. I think on the U.S. side they wouldn't have even bothered to put this kind of effort into the message here, it would have been a static filled underwater mess but instead these blokes have made every effort to present a polished pile of jagged rust. An old saw blade on a velvet pillow, backlit and without telling anyone put it in a museum.
Occasionally I get a record where one day just isn't enough, they are doing everything right in a genre I love, and and EP like this opens all kinds of new possibilities. They recorded this in two hours. What? Half the bands in Brooklyn just broke up. I hope some decent domestic stores are carrying this slap in the face.
Get this from Double Dot Dash Records.
Monday, March 3, 2014
From Cat Piss studios in Portland, OR comes The Hot LZ's EP, "Bringdown - Comedown - Putdown" at classic 33 1/3 speed. Four tracks of laid back punk designed to bring you down by the glow in the dark light of this screen printed sleeve. After the electric has been turned off you'll be able to put this single on one last time - if you still had electricity....ok it will light the way to your gun cabinet - WHOA take it easy buddy.
A-Side's "Margins of My Mind" has the sound quality and vocal delivery thanks to Mark Death of late '80s 7 Seconds or early laid back Black Flag TV Party stuff. There wasn't such an emphasis on speed and making things as rough and unintelligible as possible. Hot LZ still has something to say after all. The dueling guitar solos twist around hook back up in a flatlining smash. Could be that Suicidal Tendencies feel but with a sense of humor. Their weird arrival at their own trailer park version of punk metal. It's not hard or dark but fills that same spot, they 'aint exactly after tapping kegs either. A classic '80s punk sound with a casual vibe like Nodzzz meets The Descendents. "I'm a Bring Down" has raw solid distortions mic'd in the center of the room punched through a tiny practice amp. Mark is whining with a little bit of echo, bringing you down and Taking those few chords and rocking them into eternity. He's delivering these verses like all of those conventions of putting melody together don't even matter, this is about getting that point across. May as well be a reissue from Last Laugh, that's what it's come to now, something recorded a few months ago just makes me think about the Last Laugh sounds that started it all. Like The Minutemen with bratty attitude but not completely over the top like Liquor Store, bad and raw.
B-Side's "Wrong Side (of Right)" rakes in the jagged sea of riffs that slow down into a huge buzzsaw chipping away in a lunging heave ho against this cliff. The vocals are what's got me sticking around way back in the studio, a separate track to give you a sense of this guy so you can perfectly understand every word. This heavy dirge is going long enough for a solo even. For "Dumb it Down", a tom rhythm and bass line start this one off with an entirely new feel, the guitars still overwhelm everything with a weird scraping sandpaper sh-sh-sh sound and an organ turns this sinto weird new wave Feelies post punk. We're still in the era of those last laugh reissues though. It's more melodic than the rest of the single rolling along in that semi monotone cool delivery. A little looser than and melodic and the solo even has an extra kick. Everyone comes in yelling 'You've got to dumb it down!' really exactly what these guys are up to. Give it to you straight, no filler, don't get too smart. The lowest common denominator can be the real deal. Homemade junk punk.
The best is this sleeve, taking a piece of regular letter paper and screen with heavy black raised ink and squeegee glow in the dark paint over it turning it into a thick wrinkled mess like the tracks inside. On dark purple vinyl with center hole punch out. What is that called - UK jukebox or something?
Get it from Interpunk.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The thing I really love about Trouble in Mind is the serious lengths they go to to curate this psych pop collection of artists. At first I thought it was a pretty incredible exclusive to have landed Jacco Gardner and brought his genius Cabinet of Curiosities to the world, but this latest single from Klaus Johann Grobe is just as mind blowing and off my radar. In a world where anyone can post their recordings online I think TIM becomes more important as an editor of the impossible amount of stuff out there. They're that cool friend who's always telling you about some crazy new band they saw or heard. They do all the work and you just have to click a few buttons to get records right to your door. IT"S ALMOST TOO EASY.
Weirdly related to that B-Side of Walter Hus' yesterday the A-Side of "Traumhaft" opens with a real coincidence of cool organ tones and strong bass lines that BROMP over this with German vocals proving that these kind of grooves transend any lyric, in this case it's completely irrelevant. Like those louge compilations, or a Besson soundtrack there's a mysterious european element closely tied to the '60s and delivered almost too clean and weird to actually have been created them. Theremin volleys with tom fills and that organ feels like something from The In Sound From Way Out the way they tapped into those primal deep grooves, it's almost a crossover with Electric Cowbell or Colemine and The Paperhead. It recalls that era while being so obviously in its own element. You feel smart just listening to the crazy feedback groove loops of reverb. It's kicking throughout, bouncing echo fills, like Stereolab playing with those clever, hyptnotising loops of rhythm. I miss Empire Tomato Ketchup and this fills up that empty place. Five minutes of endlessly shifting psych pop grooves.
B-Side "Nicht zu stoppen" brings in that bass to establish a big structure right in the center of this. The spoken word vocal is distanced and distorted far off from the mic, delayed into oblivion which works as an instrument since I'm not getting it as meaning anyway, having been reduced to these repeated sounds. It's damn good and they work the repetive nature of this track, that last vocal repeating into infinity. It's got that Histoire De Melody Nelson rock and roll colliding with classic elements into this pre hip hop; a future that's trapped in amber with '50s organs and deviled eggs. Bizarre crafty food colored entree's that I've only seen in cook books. This is that future where we still haven't reached the moon and cars have fins, trapped in this endless loop of groovy baby yea! A super crazy world all it's own.
Turns out this is a reissue of a single on Sunstone Records in the UK which is long sold out, same goes for this once word gets out. pick it up from the Trouble in Your Mind Records. I call the 'Trouble in Bank Statement Again' records.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Wolf Banes contacted me about a split single with Belgian composer Walter Hus they just put out this last week. For the B-Side Walter reinterpreted their polished layered pop through a Decap organ which essentially is a crazy computer controlled music installation with drums, synths, pipes...(see below)
The result is a pretty crazy project that starts in one place and by the B-Side ends up with an entirely different result. That super pop gets stripped down by the second version on the A-Side and then built back up into an equally intricate and mind-blowing piece on the B-Side.
"Meldoy in G / pop version" opens with serious cello in a jittery tempo with Wim on vocals, his raspy worn out Tom Waits delivery fighting the crisp vibrations. Out of nowhere this blows your hair back with massive production, a lone perfect kick drum Wim drives straight ahead, eyes fixed on that far off horizon. The scale of this reminds me of a heightened Futureheads or a punk They Might Be Giants. A towering mix of super pop highs, a sparkling sort of Franz Ferdinand that seems way too seductive detailing his plight of trying to write this melody in G. The Non pop version starts out with the same string arrangement and Win still singing solo maybe a little less processed on this take. The strings never let up on this one and keep this sounding serious and dignified. It's like when a successful band finally gets big enough to dabble in those orchestral arrangements they know they've really made it. So where do these guys go from here? Superbly recorded they keep the structure and pop feel of the original even with the formality and precision of an entire string section.
"Corridor" by Walter Hus finds that staccato melody played on a breathy organ synth thing, mic'd in a live room, you can hear the space alongside those notes like a bunch of pvc pipe they've been forcing air over. The melody is still here but the vocal from Win has been transposed to this massive organ that has such a weird sound, almost toy sounding but enormous like a Godzilla size baby that means business. This melody in G continues to be repeated while this seems to shift from organic into more digital sounds while slowly piling up into a jumpy nervous ticing mess with it's own kind of logic that's barely connected to the A-Side by the time this takes shape. Really unbelievable noise. Fluttering and awkward at the same time. That dreamlike carnival shudders and like an ostrich it throws itself into the air and manages to take off. Super interesting to hear how extreme this can be reinterpreted on the same single. You can spend an enormous amount of time on a mere fraction of a second or work it all into this towering classical structure.
Email these guys to order direct - (thewolfbanes at gmail)