Friday, August 29, 2014

Fatal Figures on Big Neck Records


Fatal Figures are the members of The Blowtops latest, a band I'm just getting to know also on Big Neck Records. These guys are making it happen in way way western New York where it's winter six months a year. Buffalo was the big city we would occasionally drive to to either go across the border to drink in Canada or go to Darien Lake and see a huge show. I played with someone from Buffalo who would tell me about all kinds of cool shit that was happening and I imagined living there one day. Their latest builds on that garage intensity with some hardcore influences while keeping that raw, live sound.

A-Side's "Blue Zed" has an awesome live rehearsal space sound which is a hollow marshal cave sound in the scrunched distortion sounding like the tape slowed down right before this made it to vinyl. Screaming into the void of a PA echo with a bouncy metallic bass line of thick rubber bands. This stuff has the polish of a back alley, burning garbage can with shifty characters standing around asking if you want to take a swig of this bathtub jail hooch. It's bad news and they seem to keep shooting this riff into the ground and loving it. A backyard rifle range that annoys the neighbors but god dammit they can't do anything about it.

B-Side's "Alright" is a pussy galore cover and that tape warbles to a start again with a lot more ferocity and straight ahead danger sound than the A-side that seemed to be in the middle of a lot of drinks. They spoon the cream of this thing into the gutter, taking liberties with the original the only way a band can, hell bent on reminding everyone how much that source matters. Distortions long and short, cable humm, ungrounded sizzle, solos if you could call them that, yelling into the single mic that shocks your face. I've been there. A worthy tribute with the drum stool creaking and sticks clattering to the floor.

Get this single from Big Neck Records. Sample below from their full length.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Parrots - "Loving You Is Hard" on Bachelor Records


Is this some sort of Cramps swamp rock? A vampire echo Deadbolt? Down in the lab monster mash? No, I'll bet these three guys from Madrid just like getting drunk and dressing up like maniacs for their single covers. The Parrots are a raw, stripped down garage vocal harmony sound and attitude that's part Natural Child and part Hunx and the Punk.

A-Side's "Loving You is Hard" has that swinging garage sound with all kinds of treble hiss. The reverb is huge on these vocals and snotty and like King Khan with a goofy weird attitude paying homage to the original sound and also prying it apart into sticky, sugary chunks. The background screaming acting like backup vocalists never did, kicking and screaming their way to the front. It's an optimistic party sound that should be played on the open deck of a cruise boat, drinks in hand and pattered shirts - or none at all. A regular jabbing beat, with those vocals buried in distortion and echo except 'oh baby' and 'Wooooooo!!!' The jangle expands in this middle section to add even looser, rawkus guitars with a slow picking strum that leaves you thinking, man that was a long minute and a half.

B-Side's "I Am A Man" opens with a bass line lead in that huge 13th floor elevator reverb echo from "You're gonna miss me". Diego on vocals has more distortion all over this lead and those guitars are heavy in the back working on the lower end competing with the frantic vocals trying to get each other more wound up. Who's going to be the center of this track? Take your pick, they switch off with insanity. A brief pause toning things down to a warm slow warble this rest isn't nearly enough. Really intense and wild, a sort of unhinged sound like Screaming Jay Hawkins, and all those bending blues sounds that made some kind of deal with the supernatural.

Get this from Bachelor Records - import only or check your usual distro's. These guys also carry a Mess Folk full length I've never seen anywhere...worth the airmail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Pale Faces on Punk Fox Records


Punk Fox isn't making things easy, these mysterious singles come in from the UK with no online presence and no way that I can find to pick them up domestically. If they're trying to make their releases more enticing by creating this scavenger hunt then this is the way to do it. Maybe everyone doesn't need to be on every possible social media at all times. I worry about getting to the point where I'm so busy with keeping up with everyhting for 7inches that I might not even have time to read anyone else's blogs and they won't either and it will be this self centered future where no one even cares what anyone else is doing and you have an audience of yourself. Snap out of your own mind with this dense psych freakout from The Pale Faces.

A-Side's "Guru" has a heavy bass and thud kick, all lining up in rhythm. I swear I just heard a thunderclap just as this is getting started in that progressive serious complex way. It's the math equation that's going to lead to huge chunky riffs and the slightest vocal of Janice and Danni. The bass is a scuzzy rumble like the Death From Above stuff chunking away as dirty as possible. The vocals and shaker start to get psychedelic, something of a lyric but mostly the idea of a vocal as another instrument to be layered and played with harmony. The press release mentions something about a lot of these performances being first takes but hat has to be impossible, this kind of precision and odd rhythm structures have to be rehearsed into the ground to get this right. Janice picks up this verse into a more primal raw version of the lyric drawing out the rest of the instrumentation to follow and go off on this impossibly dense journey. Repeating the lyric "I can (or can't) help you heal your soul" Maybe both? It's a gradual build with weird experimental samples and electronics pushing this over the raw guitar '70s metal stuff into a hardcore psych - one of those unclassifiable pots of sludge.

On B-Side's "Nature Calls" a damaged organ delicately explores a tiny repeated section with a bass taking front and center. This time Janice and Danni's vocal harmonizes almost exactly close in key, manipulated after the fact in places, even getting talky at one point. Experimenting with these already weird sounds, mathematical and odd, not the serious stuff that you repeat over and over, the same problem a hundred different ways but that math that seems to make personal sense. Finding those numbers in everything feeding pigeons in the park talking to yourself. "Can't help being a beast" you just catch a lyric like that among this swirling stuff that has no limits and seemingly every color and recording option has been explored to wind up forever concrete in these grooves.

No site for Punk Fox, but this solitary online store has it for import only purchase to the US.

Great cyan colored pressing, thick as hell gram and with a dvd that doesn't work on a record player.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Negative Scanner on Trouble In Mind Records


I really appreciate the eclectic mix of artists on Trouble in Mind, I'm still listening to the '80s pop 3108 record that just came out not to mention the baroque psych of Jacco Gardener or prog garage of The Resonars for that matter but then they go and drop something like this single from Negative Scanner, a hyper precise punk and I have to remind myself not to start assuming anything about a single release except where to paypal.

A-Side's "Ambitious People" launches right into the track with metallic heavy jangle guitar with incredible vocals from Rebecca Valeriano-Flores yelling abstract bursts rising in intensity with a Sex Pistols prime '70s cut sounding chord change - a real punk ride up the scale. They let these strings fly bouncing all over the boards, the clang and rattly vibrations intact through this high tempo precision punk. All I can hear is that bass rattle like they mic'd the strings themselves. Rebecca's vocal is perfect, switching from a melodic style to a rapid fire burst of punching syllables. These guitars seem to take a hint from that structure and equally strum all the way to hard choppy sections. It's such a plowing forward punk that wastes no time, there's nothing extra, no embellishments, just dense and pure. "Evening News" comes on such intensity and massive punk fast leanings with a lot more melody in this one and a vibrato waver in the vocal, which is fantastic like a restrained Shannon and the Clams. She's got a naturally gifted vocal with power and a delicate touch when she wants it. Like a combination of Love is All and Chin Chin frantic and not overly hardcore or distortion just for it's own sake, it's that great talented balance of ... and thats how this track ends literally in the middle of a verse. Wow talk about leaving you wanting more.

B-Side's "R.I.P" cuts big riffs in pieces, even more of a bumpy ride, a string of potholes scored as toms and incredibly Rebecca's vocal doesn't seem to follow any of this coming up with a barrage of spit and punch on their own, in conversational rapid bursts. The guitar has a moment to breathe and you hear a hardcore Feelies or Pylon's weird origin which was folk informed new wave, one foot in the past of hardcore and the other in some kind of unknown future. All as incredibly fast as possible, the perfect material and delivery on a EP like this that's hard to forget.

Get this from TROUBLE IN MIND Records - OUT TODAY

Is there a full length coming? You bet. 2015.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Korean Gut on Mammoth Cave Records


Paul Lawton passed this Korean Gut single on to me at a show he was doing with The Ketamines over a year ago it seems like now. It's always so generous of anyone to share their releases and he handed me a handful at their show to have a listen to when I could get a chance. This is long sold out from Paul's label, Mammoth Cave Records and the band have since broken up but I still wanted to make sure anyone interested in an instrumental surf Tiki Men sound would seek this out on discogs or one of those auction sites.

On A-Side's "Your Misery, Our Benefit" a couple of notes open the melody into the staple primitive stomp rhythm, blown out and recorded by Paul himself with the jangle and static high ranges emphasized for that frantic feel. When they sat down to actually record this the mics caught TOO much of the hardcore surf sound, hitting that melody and then riding it like those waves in to shore. "If You Want" has all that garage hissy sound of Frankie and the Outs and her tambourine on the toms. The bass really barrels through - even at 45 it's dominating the entire waveform and peaking brown tones on the speakers. Like the Ar-kaics they nail that modern loose garage sound switching gears, still incredibly precise and complex but shaking it at the same time. Whistle track in the left channel, a descendent of the Shannon and the Clams sound with doubled up serious vocals. Strong reverb and a perfect fit for a member of The Ketamines to committ to tape or hard drive - whatever.

B-Side's "The Creeper" opens into a low end splash. That's the thing, it's like the middle has been cut right out of this and I really like the place these lyricless tracks get to, swampy and southern weeping willows at midnight with a hint of those waves breaking, a merging of voodoo and surf boards? "Gingold" has a fast countoff into huge tom hits and whoops from the band in the back of this instrumental quickness with an acoustic and that lead electric riding more in the middle. They get the rhythm going and find that tiny sweet spot to slide a lead melody, the echo always strong, with more of a chorus sound. Sounding almost eastern influenced with this particular cluster of minor key elements but that hollaring from the back of this room is exactly how this track should feel. The cymbals and high crashing parts are muted in favor of this run straight down the hill as fast as possible. You get excited and your legs start to give up they can't run any faster and that fall is coming.

Get this from your collector scum back alleys.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just Handshakes on Bleeding Gold Records


One summer, for work, some friends and I painted peoples vacation houses listening to the same few cassettes we owned to play on an old paint splattered tape player hanging from an extension ladder. The Posies, Dear 23 and The Sundays Reading, Writing and Arithmetic was how I spent the summer doing a terrible job miscalculating how many gallons of paint we'd need or relying on our friend Nate's moped to get from job to job. Ridiculous. Just Handshakes out of Leeds was taking me back to that place with the same ease of melody and vocals. It's not just the jangle indie and thrift store keyboards but the impressive sense of pop they manage to have at the core of both of these tracks from their Bleeding Gold records single released early this year.

"Kiwi" has a great understated start with Clara sounding a lot like Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays which always reminds me that Reading, Writing and Arithmetic hasn't been reissued on vinyl. She's right in front with that sentimentality already developed in this unfamiliar song. No matter, they have that immediate feel of looking through a dusty photo album or better yet these guys remind me of the Spinanes, and their confidence in this slowcore sound. Like Rex they have a complex quiet way with the massive monolith of nostalgia by their side. A jangle thin electric with Modest Mouse style string bending those peaks don't get so overwhelming, just a surprise driving down the coastal highway. Solid drumming, this whole package isn't obvious, the melodies all twist around each other in this expert way. The vocals and even bass takes liberties completely going in their own direction, you could have followed any one of these paths already established but instead they keep breaking further down into tiny capillaries like a tree's spread. Alternating washes of strums with fingerpicking, a sincerely optimistic melody can sink way in without getting under your skin just absorbing straight through.

B-Side's "Sink in" get supremely slow and it's just Clara on vocals with a brushed kick, timidly stomping on that pedal even slower. She can compliment this warm chorus sound perfectly, I don't even dwell on what she's saying, it's really secondary. That tone wanders through these syllables to the point you can't hold on to a single word long enough to remember the beginning. Not only feeding the nostalgia but making sure to do it in a complex way, but that's those twisting melodies again and the ride cymbal fading out on her angelic vocal.

Pick this up from Bleeding Gold records who don't ever disappoint with pressings - this one is clear with a green blob and black splatter. Hot damn.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The People Electric - self released


Scuzzy southern blues rock like the fuzz from The People Electric really doesn't matter where it comes from. These guys happen to be from Portland, OR but this raw electric swamp party could have originated believably from just about anywhere in the US. If anything I want to think this is what at it's core defines 'merica. The stuff that isn't happening in the fringes, or the extremes of yet to be adopted sounds but the music that will remain, like punk and garage, played year after year. Not because it's ever trendy or a way to get paid, but because it's what drunk friends want to perform for themselves and each other. Freedom rock, turn it up.

On A-Side's "Detroit Hooker Fight" a long barely audible feedback atmospheric thing leads into a windmill strum warmup where really they're just fucking with you because even after the drums and bass come in on this rehearsal space sound it's nothing compared to the thick handclap whoop filled swampy blues sound that suddenly blows out the speaker. A real dirty Rob Zombie or Tom Waits style vocal, swallowing gravel behind that wall of reverb. The handclaps never let up and these guitars can't ever be loud enough in the heavy riff '70s classic rock sound in something like this. A combo of JSBX and Hot Lunch, the thickness of Thin Lizzy recordings and then dragging this into a Cramps blues swamp sound. Finding that riff, you know that three chord thunder and making it boom over and over pausing for a wah solo, rumbling bass and drum fills. They even drop out for an actual hooker fight sample of girls yelling at each other, I almost completely forgot about the title. I couldn't have imagined a better midsection to this beast.

On B-Side's "Sister Cybele" a slow shallow drum jam meanders in with a screamy ibanez or fuzz box guitar sound that quiets down for a jangly distortion to pick this tempo up with wailing solos on both channels to work against that chunky rhythm. The vocals here are jagged with that blues slant still, swinging dicks and microphones. Which came first? This rhythm and then the vocal or the attitude and that riff? One of life's unanswered mysteries. It's no mystery that they're singing about a girl here. Ozzy was into the devil and all these guys care about is girls and drugs. Psychedelic ones from the sound of where this eventually goes with all sorts of organ and a distortion wah breaking apart that solid riff. Another change into darker wah and heavy sounding guitar, the vocals begin to sound like a fight to stay above water. The waves of these distortions all lining up and sinking the ship like a tsunami wave. The jam here never ends on both channels! They had so much to work out it happened in both ears. These tracks find themselves wasted, spinning out of control in a live epic concert which I hope would be outdoors with bikers.

From their facebook page -

We still have some copies of our first 7" left - hit us up if you see us on the street, or if you prefer home delivery you can Paypal us $5 at peopleelectric503(at)gmail.com.