Friday, October 24, 2014
I really can't chalk up the great stuff coming out of Australia to just being bombarded by releases lately. Send enough in and the sheer numbers will take care of the rest? I think it has more to do with some of the labels that keep being behind exceptional releases; Dick Diver on Chapter Music, Kitchen's Floor on Bedroom Suck or Woollen Kits, Royal Headache and Cured Pink on R.I.P. Society. Red Red Krovvy are also on the R.I.P. so the bar is already set pretty high. What you get it frantic post punk punk an entire EP that reminds you why the format exists and how exciting tiny vinyl can be.
A-Side's "Dreams" has four notes in that broken down gutter distortion set the pace of this fast and spastic Yips style busted punk. Those rising scale chords rev this up to speed and they're finished. Ash on vocals is making this loud and loose while Adam and Ben give it just enough bass-less structure that isn't weighed down sounding stripped down and sharp. Another version of a perfect three piece the way it should be. "Ratking" buzzing guitars on this one, back and forth of a kick and snare with Ash belting out "You are the rat king!" The exact reason that seven inch singles became the choice of punk rock - here's an entire album in a convenient size. On "ICU" the guitars provide that numbing rusty can of thin strums that gives Ash room to chant vocals like the ugly baby of Divorce and the Coathangers. There's nothing funny or approachable about these guys, the tone is perfect, recorded in a basement, mattresses propped up against the wall, an authentic level of fidelity here. Tin guitar through metallic amps and those vocals are like the scrappy smart punk of Kitten Forever, struggling to keep above the static hiss of practice amps On "People of Cairns" I'm having trouble following Ash's rapid fire delivery, the metallic chords and slappy drums have now taken over their sound and rush it along with these lyrics. It should work alongside hardcore but retains it's laid back feel if that makes any sense. Putting just enough effort into this art punk to keep that edge.
B-Side's "EZ Video" is pure caveman punk, instead of a brutal hardcore they spit this up into clever pieces with sonic youth style inside tunings and timings at speed. Like a rough slap in the face there's nothing delicate for miles, bash the drums and repeat the chords. Strings scraping minus any low end letting loose on "Desire" the open high hat blending into the harsh string vibration. No sense in making this any longer, short attention spans are getting shorter and this is the only thing that makes sense anymore. "Centrelink King" Actually slows down into a drone-y cutting rhythm and Ash even pauses between her vocals getting more unhinged the slower they dare to make this.
Get this from R.I.P. Society Records who give some good advice on the B-side center label for retaining sound quality for years to come.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Germany's Kidnappers are led by twin brothers who first picked up the guitar and bass in the High School Rockers a scuzzy blown out pop punk which is exactly like this project The Kidnappers. After a brief hiatus since 2010's Will Protect You they're back with this EP on Secret Mission Records.
On A-Side "Pills" strange little bass line starts the groove for these guitars to clang feedback out then to follow, going from that weird see saw to a thicker open groove and blown out distorted vocals revisiting that stunted, stumbly punk sound. There's a lot of the free roam garage sound from the early days of the stuff, the straight forward desires of the Dictators or The Dolls. Using blunt instruments with no finese to carve a path of classic punk. "I got a pain in my head / take pills until I'm dead" "East Berlin/Ost-Berlin" all the rough distortion comes in from the right side, splitting the channels up like the country used to be...fast and ripping tight chords like the german equivalent of 53rd and 3rd, the stutter bursts of Joey style lyrics and guitars. They seem to stick to this raw stripped down stuff that makes them lose their mind. A brief stop in the buzz always makes the return that much louder and frantic. Power pop punk that we should be hearing more of from that part of the world.
B-Side "Diamonds" blasts away with sweet glam chords with lyrics about wanting to get into fights. The bass line running groovy scales behind this fuzzy distortion like '70s flashier stuff. I'm starting to think they're The Cheap Time of Germany or The Hunx of Hamburg. Complete chaos over a screamy solo doesn't hurt things either, blasting away all of the candy coating for a minute. Essentially a real bad ass song about his diamond steel and what that's going to do in said fight but delivered the only way someone who's really looking forward to the best night of their lives would be.
Get this single from Secret Mission Records, plenty more full lengths from these guys once you get a taste.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Like the 17 year periodical cicaida's, The Mants have come out of hibernation. Their last record came out in the late '90s and these huge insects didn't go away, they just went underground. You can see right away they use their guitars to shoot some kind of beam into dogboy looking humans which melts the flesh off and turns them to skeletons. Now with Halloween coming they can basically walk around and play shows with impunity. I've been reading their facebook posts and they hate humans! Referring to us as filthy ape-descendants and still I'm covering their single. I'm not sure if these things are from another planet or where they learned English but why are we letting them get away with this! Because they rock? You win, where do I surrender.
A-Side "Destroyed by Fuzz" has a scuzzy Hussy style guitar blowing in with that pop punk scum, not that they didn't warn us. It's fun and spazzy, in a goofy Cramps camp that announces who they are in the song and proceeds to tell you how they will destroy you with fuzz. This isn't some kind of garage threat, they are walking down the reverse sleeve of this single as giant mantis alien. I pray they wear these on stage, I want the complete scene, taking it all the way to the venue and playing their guitars with green claws. These mutants got too close to the nuclear waste in that movie and then became celebs after crash landing or something. I'm sure they have a song or two describing the Mants lore and maybe this is the only way they know how NOT to kill us. "Gimme Gimme Gimme" is The Mants anti-consumer anthem, and Andy's vocals are clipped with distortion singing about buying shirts and records, but what if it's Mants merch? Is it ok then? Even with the two of these tracks, there's lots of room left on this side. The rest of the band joins in the chorus, gritty with a sense of humor like The Mummies or really any number of halloween friendly bands to provide that adult thrill of drinking at a bar watching aliens attack these tracks with lots of attitude and power chords, singing along of course. I guarantee they are playing the 31st somewhere. It was made for The Mants.
B-Side "Just Don't Care" has a solitary kick in a solid trample beat for the bass and guitar to drop big chords in. Now these guys are singing about going to music school and dumbing everything down for the audience. This is hilarious, the stomp, windmill strums and cymbal crashes like some kind of swampy B-movie Art Brut, or Adaptation where they tell you everything they're about to do and then get away with doing it right under your nose. "Bug Out" has a dirtier punk sound with the speed of these chords or their power change that reminds me of "TV Party Tonight". They just want to have a good time, throwing heavy bricks of chords in a single made out of cinder blocks with holes for windows. Man they go crazy on halloween though with the spider webs and animatronic zombie torsos. This one could involve the most screaming chorus of the bunch, their good time is gong to get you. Then they'll break out that laser on the audience.
Get it on fluorescent lime green vinyl from Manglor Records.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
In Eric's note about his latest singles on Windian he mentioned that Mrs. Magician had recently broken up. I was already writing about Soccer Mom's self titled full length when I heard they also just called it quits. It's a sad reminder of how fleeting bands are or can be when you imagine four people playing together for longer than even five years let alone the pressures of touring and your album being responsible for peoples livelyhoods. On any scale it's tough to collaborate creatively and that's what makes singles special, for any one of these bands I've talked about in the last year this could be the last one.
"Friday Night" has a big kick countoff into the Magicians favorite form of harmony garage. I remember thinking their last few had surf inspired sounds and this moves in from the beach a bit with a deep back beat while those harmonies are getting even higher like Kurt Heasley's Kinks stylings. So much closer to psych their next one would inevitably be on Trouble In Mind. It's Friday night and she's with another guy delivered so upbeat in Adam Widener punk phrasing that to their detriment you think 'Yea, well it must not be a big deal buddy.' The whole thing slows down to molasses still sounding as good with a female backup section coming out with a new chorus changing the direction of the track. He's lost his mind a bit and is listening to this single and talking to her - I mean himself. An extremely long fade out on this last piece of pop psych, bittersweet is it's potentially their last.
B-Side's "Crosses" has a nervous dark jangle with synth backing with heavy weird barrages of reverb. The big strums with delay that goes on a full measure. Jacob is right away getting religious on a road trip across the USA, naming names. Heavy on the toms this changes too quickly to keep up with except it's rooted in that '60s american surf garage as much as it is the English Kinks raw or The Zombies unsettling optimism that comes off kind of manic like they could snap singing with a forced grin. Darker forces are at work in this narrative, hinting at vampires and zombies next to xylophone clinks and a slide down the garage scale. R.I.P.
Get this from Windian Records who just announced this Grave Walks record which is a side project of Dan Sartain and Jacob Turnbloom from the Mrs.
Wait - STOP THE PRESSES THEY ARE BACK TOGETHER? I am really behind the times.
Monday, October 20, 2014
This single from Flesh World is on the Australian label No Patience Records. It sounds like complete crap. It's probably due to jamming seven tracks on this record at 33 1/3 or the terrible mic that was attached to whatever tape deck they happened to have lying around and would be ridiculous to have this in any other form. This kind of vibrating speed hardcore would be suspect if it came off perfectly clear and well engineered onto two inch tape. It's a terrifying super punk that won't let you deal with it on your terms, you have to get it on theirs. Like stumbling down an alley and hearing a muffled rumbling through a broken basement window in the middle of abandoned warehouses. I would be excited these sounds were randomly happening in the middle of nowhere but scared as hell they would catch me staring and want to kick my ass. It's murky and unclear and shouldn't be recorded any other way.
"Scab My Fists" fades in on feedback and the dull smack of a submerged snare. Blasted from shitty amps in a tiny room and mic'd from a single source they still manage to get some nice guitar melody definition out of the shitstorm thats rising above this drone. It all stops for a bit for the guitar to take the reigns and trade off with bass to run right into the hardest punk and screamy vocals that are equally buried and happening so fast the pieces seem to be parts of separate songs. The bass goes solo and slows down so the guitars take their chance to freak out before they all come back into the spazzy hyper stuff. "Total Pessimist" is vocals and speed right out of the gate, with a slower section to work out this melody before going almost that black metal. The pieces land where ever they can, a couple measures of lead and the bass is out there on it's own in a digitized ringtone of the source cassette. On "Make It Fit" they don't want to worry about any levels or eq, they have some brutal dirty punk stuff to get out there, don't bother them with recording bullshit, The guitars completely lose it at points in great ways, they become instruments for texture instead of stupid melody. Who said notes one after another were good anyways. "I Don't Know" starts to remind me of days listening to the Gorilla Biscuits and trying to land a single trick, just one, off a splintered quarterpipe drug into the street between cars. Masochistic like this sound but is the only thing that would make sense.
B-Side's "New Sensations" is scratchy hiss and treble, barely thirty seconds of cable crackling and hum before blowing into a thousand pieces of vocal and fragments of guitar melody. Somehow "Modern Day Pleasures" and each of these tracks manages to have it's own special room tone, the blurry bleeding of tones all in on each other, like fighting animals which turn out to be in separate cages in the same room mutilating themselves. The instrumentation feel so separate except for working in the same cramped space and feeding off each other's insanity. The feedback squealing is intense on "Fuck Time" the second they stop playing between tracks is nothing but a splitting shriek. I think this benefits from getting slow the sludgy quality adds to their chorus. This whole side is played continuously with no real track break which is also the way it should be.
Get this locally from Grave Mistake Records, Ebullition or at the source from No Patience.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Got this gatefold extra wide single from the guys in Cables & Arms. It's their second single and a conceptual one at that both tracks being connected by the these tales of the sea. The packaging should be a give away these guys really know what they're doing, and this sound is a mystery. I know exactly what a cheap mic sounds like on a four track cassette, but these enormous crushing post hardcore swells are way beyond the brushes with recording I have. There's something undeniably powerful in this precision and vocal that reminds me of Sunny Day Real Estate or Atombombpocketknife.
I'm also a real sucker for muted dual guitar chords on A-Side's "November Gales" that are chunking away out of the silence, their crunchy distortion phasing in and out of a dense, concise equation. It's a humble beginning that runs into huge production that continues along the lines of Sparta down to those harmonies in the chorus that push this whole arrangements higher and higher. The palmed muted 'chk' at speed regularly lifts onto massive plateaus. They can't help but knock this back down though just to rebuild with rim shots and a minimal bass line. Here comes that heavy compression to knock you on your ass again. It's easy for the sea and boats to be a metaphor for just about anything, the sinking, the storms, being isolated while the life jacket on the cover is sinking down into the depths.
B-Side's "Drown on Your Shore" opens on the guitars again from Josh and Nick who also not coincidentally are both on vocals. They get the same kind of interplay in chords they do in vocal harmony, a really great match in both here. The drums pound away, stopping for those pin drop moments and The Hot Snakes are definitely an influence here or Sparta - this could be a long last B-Side. There's something undeniably rallying about this sound in the background 'whoaaaaaaa' vocal behind the main lyric that slides right behind it into a higher key. I have room for the drunken messes of bands that can't even play their instruments the same way I can appreciate guys like this that take the time for heavily constructed massive hardcore. I like this cycle they construct, this character is hoping the sea will offer some kind of redemption and then you go back to that A-Side to find - no not, really. I can't wait to get back to shore.
Get this from the band direct, really impressive package on clear vinyl.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
J. Waylon Miller or Joseph Kerr is the only consistent member of this pop punk one man project, Friends of Caesar Romero based out of Arizona. Changing aliases like rock styles, J. is doing whatever he wants sounding like a split with himself on this latest single from Snappy Little Numbers Records. A-Side is a tight psych garage pop tune while the B-Side goes for a harder decades earlier straight up rock.
The quivering hammond organ on A-Side's "The Hold" is playing under this hyper pop beat like that piece of Elvis Costello's "This Year's Girl except J. Waylon Porcupine (?) is delivering layers of vocals in his falsetto belting high above the jangly warm tremolo and perfect garage stomp drum sound. I can hear that Paul Messis psych pop done with a contemporary slant like the Ar-Kaics. They have a crazy attention to detail in the slight changes between chorus and verse with a labored over pop that belongs on an A-Side. 'The Hold' is the thing a girl has on him in traditional pop 45 style.
B-Side's "Teisco Telestar Stomp" is named after a cheapo japanese guitar company but this is far away from the twang and jangle of the A-Side or the garage Teisco sound. J. is in hard rock snarling mode here but not without those harmony layers to smooth this out like Joan Jett's Bad Reputation asking if what they say about you is true. The rest of the Friends are coming on heavy emphasizing that lower end lead by thick distortion breaking into a solo and bashing away at the drums. Completely different side of the project so you won't presume to have any idea about what J is going to come up with next.
Get this from Snappy Little Numbers, clear jukebox version or black.