Monday, January 23, 2012

Tyvek 'Mary Ellen Claims' on X! Records

Here's another one in from X! Records, this one from waaaay back in their catalog from the guys in Tyvek, looks like X! repressed their first effort, and I'm glad to see you can still pick this up, it's a touchstone from the beginnings of this whole Useless Eaters, Cheap Time, Ty, Jay era of trashy garage-rock. The kind of thing that pays homage to the Sonics or Kinks while trading it all in for a no apologies, anti engineered sound that says, we don't want or need to clean this mess up. Take it or leave it.

So thinking back to 2006, this is exactly what I remember liking about the Tyvek tracks on the "Summer Burns" double 7" from What's Your Rupture. It's impossible to objectively take a listen to this, hindsight being what it is, but maybe it's an even more important document now at what I think was the beginning of a whole lot of this sound.

"Mary Ellen Claims" has a scratchy guitar, the treble turned all the way up, recorded with everything just peaking out. There's no depth in the drum track, just a thin smack of the snare slapping away. It's really related to that garage '50s or '60s(?) stripped down rock. A brief track, but what wouldn't be with those elements, you've got to get in there, slap the hooks together, can you hear the guitars? Great. Barely enough time to find working mics. What are you trying to undermine the whole thing? There's a great melody here, Kev sounding like an old AM radio held up to the mic, the guitars starting to feedback into themselves, the waves colliding briefly almost synth-like and fading out. This was six years ago? Totally classic touchstone, as fun and loose as the day it was recorded.

"Honda" on the B-Side, has to be one of the best Tyvek tracks, imagine their high peaking garage sound with Kev frantically asking:

Can you drive a Honda, like I can drive a honda?
Can you drive an escort? A fucking escort?
Can you drive a Geo all the way to Rio?

Totally inspired, and I hope someone who didn't know anything about these guys could hear the value in this reinvention of another splinter of post-punk.
So many questions about cars, and there's some kind of weird connection to the Sidewalk single - they really have some thoughts about modes of transportation. The big time bassline, and variety of textures on these guitars, from the shittiest, thin scrawl to a surf slight reverb. Kev is really losing his mind, the only lower end coming off that punk bass riff. This big, surf strum, and crackling belongs in that wing of the West coast garage resurgence section, in the glass case next to "I Don't Wanna Smoke Marijuana" You should be as ashamed as I was I somehow missed picking this one up. Get over to X!! (and get that Johnny ILL Band single, I'm still playing that one).

The "For Booking" phone number on the inner label brings a tear to my eye.

Printed right onto the white paper sleeve, with that Tyvek random typewriter narrative running down the streets of this crazy cityscape.

The reverse says this was recorded in Brooklyn...and they list their myspace page! What a missed opportunity for that company, they had people using their crap product from the beginning to the bitter end. Good riddance...what a black eye to see that terrible reminder of the worst music ghetto ever.

1 comment: