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.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Vickers - "She's Lost" on Cybertree Records / Foolica Records

I get a lot of my ideas about the world through singles. Take The Vickers out of Florence for example, what would a contemporary band sound like from the sinking city of canals and old paintings? Classical orchestral jams perhaps? Renaissance faire soundtracks? How about pop-psych garage, a real freakout of effects and layered guitars from this four piece exporting a futuristic processed haze.

"She's Lost" opens on piles of ambience interrupted by a bass line, real clean, Flaming lips clean. A haze of guitars roars in creeping louder and louder over the regular beat and steady piston bass. Just every shade of echo and reverb, they really hit on some super crazy effects here, next level type of technical psych. Bizarre loops and vocal distances are folded over and wormholed together. Crisp and clean like the antiseptic utopian future. The old psych is a crazy memory if they were ever referencing it at all. They have a stanglehold on every trick, the way the drum space changes, the way the guitars are working with every spectrum of wave in outer space. Some incredible sounds here, if there's a way to actually alter someones thinking with sound alone these guys are nearly there. If Radiohead attempted some kind of psych cover it would end up sounding a lot like this. Real heavy craft and singleminded precision here. They've spent countless hours reworking sound. Like some crazy blacksmith shop of the future, making laser swords out of iron.

B-Side's "All I Need" has thick pounding toms open into a warble chorus guitar jangle joined by another guitar swirl. The drums dominate on this one, feedback angles in haunting and filling the empty space with a blast. The psych is just as heavy but a little more organic on this side not as mathematical. When this drops down to vocals and drums, it even references a garage sound, dirtier and raw. The dense haze of psych guitar rules this pretty quickly though and once it joins the party it takes over the primitive side and launches straight into outer space. They keep coming back to this heavy beat that tries unsuccessfully to ground this thing, but it's way too high.

You'll have to import this from the band direct on their bandcamp page.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Todays Hits on Randy Records

Darren first told me about Today's Hits a few moths ago and he wasn't exaggerating. I admired Jay Reatard's work ethic when it came to writing and recording songs but James Swanberg from Kentucky has been posting songs every day for at least the last two years on his bandcamp site. It's not the laid back, smoke weed and play video games attitude this sort of heavy fuzz can have. This is taking your craft and Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 rule seriously. You get the best of both on this single, the experience of working through all sorts of material learning from each one previous and Randy's handpicked favs. I haven't seen anything else on vinyl out there and I could see a subscription series based around James himself. But put all of that aside and listen to these handpicked songs by James and Randy on this Sex Boys EP.

A-side's "Why Can't You" hits that opening chord hard with the sustain to spin this record a few hundred times and then dives into watery reverb depths. There's a layer of age and sheen to this, a gentle patina you wouldn't want to clean off with that sincerity and quietness to draw anybody in with this siren song. What they're going to do once they've got you and deliver track after track of these soothing '50s garage tracks is anyone's guess.
On "Number 4" he's counting down the lady friends in his life by the numbers. Sounds like he had problems with the other ones but number four finally makes sense. Just weird enough to work and still somehow be smart with the laid back and goofy. Mostly this mellow shimmery reverb vibe is what makes you want to keep putting this on.

B-Side's "If Ya Wanna" has warm echoey tremolo vibrating all over the disco ball dance floor. I love this slower Shannon and the C's stuff with this kind of gritty direction. This is actually coming off sweet, like Tony Molina and there's a fun freshness to his approach, like early Ty. Complete joyful desperation and abandoning everything that ever came before. Huge slow bellowing bass not even sticking around enough to put notes together in a melody, lumbering along behind the shimmery electric. Vibrating vocals confident enough to take their time in working this out, it doesn't need to be speedy or harsher to get this kind of La Luz feel. Psychey and sleepy. I also keep thinking this cover not accidentally says 'today shits'. Condoms singing on the back. "Why Baby Why" then goes psych with the amount of delay and reverb blasted on this thing, the slow minor chords start out on a single plane but when this thing gets going it's a Jesus and Mary Chain wall of shrill treble coating everything culminating in a great surfy solo that peeks around this haze and murk. Ghost serenading from decades ago, hushed flashback dreams. The bleeding of notes in the chorus because of these pedals and another gain or two attached boosting that silent weird signal with Crystal Slits levels of reverb and coolness. They're the guys leaning on the back of the wall in that slow dance - too cool to even be there but there they are - what are you gonna do about it.

This guy is writing a million songs, this is the tip of another Ty Segal size iceburg, get you paypal fingers ready.
Fantastic as always from Randy Mother Fucking Records it says on the inner label, which I'm assuming is a division of Randy Records.