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RATING: 9/10 – TOP TRASH

Well folks, it’s finally here. After “Cement Tomb Mind Control,” one of the best albums of last year, Midwest favorites The Hussy are back – and not only do they avoid the sophomore slump, they’ll probably end up as one of the best albums of THIS year, too. The LP is 14 tracks of fire, whittled down from 35. They’ve moved into some territory that’s definitely a little more psychedelic, away from the more straight forward garage-punk sound of Cement Tomb. The thrashing, surging crash is still there, especially on tracks like “SFB,” but the record opens up in a more subdued tone, with the grinding “Undefined,” which cruises along on a slow, steady beat and a guitar line which really reminds me of punk weirdos WHATEVER BRAINS, who put out one of the other best albums of last year.

The Hussy have expanded their musical palette in a really great way for this one.  Though the basic elements are still there, they’re deployed in what sounds like a far more careful, artistic way, in contrast to the 500 miles an hour whirl of CTMC. There’s a really strong influence of THEE OH SEES, especially on tracks like “Feeling Dry” which could fit in comfortably on any of that band’s 12 billion releases. There’s a whole lot going on here, and it really does demand a few listens to get a sense of it all.

The record is mostly split between two types of songs: white-hot, stomping Bobby-led guitar workouts, and shuffling, catchy Heather-led songs. Both are great, but they come together on “I Don’t Really Want To,” which is without doubt the standout track here – a 1:27 minute rager which channels “Heavy Days” era JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD in a fucking incredible way. I have but one complaint about this song, which extends to the rest of the record: the songs on here are so short, they seem underdeveloped at times – there’s so many great things going on, I really wish the band had given them a chance to develop. But that’s like complaining about needing to find a parking space after being given a free Maserati or something.

Calling any moment a highlight is difficult, though – the Hussy are firing on all cylinders here. “Dog Said Yeah” is a good example of their whole game – not punk, not garage, it’s straight-up rock and roll. This one goes into the tense, yet appropriately named “Harsh My High,” which reveals another strand of Weed Seizure’s DNA: the BUTTHOLE SURFERS. The playing on this record is really, really tight, man, but it’s not without it’s loose moments, like album closer “The Moon Rules #1,” a seriously slow, stoned noisy jam which reminds me of No Age, except it’s not boring.

It’s hard to summarize this record – all the bands I’ve namechecked are reference points, but the Hussy are mostly in their own galaxy at this point. Though there’s elements of different sounds here, The Hussy are a great up-and-coming band who capture very well the sonic landscape of modern garage/punk/whatever, but succeed very well in creating a record that’s utterly their own. Seriously, buy this now, or pay out the nose for it later – this won’t be leaving anybody’s collection any time soon.

LISTEN: http://thehussy.bandcamp.com/

BUY at Tic Tac Totally

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REVIEW: 4.5/10

Obvious Records is a Midwestern Punk label; I suppose they’re a new one, because this release will be their first on wax. This is straightforward – 5 songs from 5 bands for 5 bucks.

First up are Dekalb, IL’s Stockyards, with “Goons of Dekalb.” This is probably one of those cheeky “we’re so weird” songs, but there’s nothing cheeky about it. This is pretty awful. It starts off like an awkward high school talent show punk attempt, then turns into an awkward high school talent show punk attempt with quasi-screamo vocals. The Stockyards’ facebook says they play “high energy, socially-conscious punk music.” It’s anybody’s guess how socially conscious they are, because the production, vocals, and playing are mostly a big earache. I’m kind of sad I paused “Astral Weeks” to review this.

After the first abortion, Madison, Wisconsin’sDharma Dogsstep up to the plate. “Hoka Hey,” recorded by Bobby Hussy is ‘sap-suckling gunk rock.’ Whatever that means, this isn’t bad; there’s a good beat here – the kind that gets bodies moving at a show – but it’s also paired with a nice thrashy screamy section. The vocalist is content to sound like himself, which is something I really appreciate now that everybody seems like they’re either forcing their vox into some weird imitation of someone else, or submerging them in lo-fi muck and fuzz. There’s great energy here, and it’s convinced me to push on.

Uh-oh. Side B kicks off with another Dekalb band,The Phantom Scars.Fortunately, this is pretty good. This reminds me a lot of THE PENETRATORS, but with more bite and a lot more fuzz. The loose feel of it makes me think this was made up five minutes before recording it, but sometimes that works – and this does.

In the number four slot is Kalamazoo’sInflatable Best Friend,with their song “My Dead Bird.” This might be good, but I’m not sure. The recording is sub-Mummies quality, which makes it sub-sub-sub anything else. There’s a pleasant little PIXIES-ish middle-section, the quiet-loud-quiet thing that millions of bands do, but this one isn’t bad. The rest of the song doesn’t fare so well – it reminds me of THE PROMISE RING, but with squeaky, pained vocals. The band has some interesting ideas, though.

Last up isTHE OVERHEATERS,who are the best thing on here. A stomping, commanding riff and banging drums provide a nice counterpoint to the rest of the single, which has playing that’s amateurish at best. There’s a good gang vocal chorus; and some paper-thin vocals that actually work really well here – for some reason, it reminds me of “Heavy Days” JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD, but with a full band, and maybe less stoner-weird. This is a 1:40 blast of snot and punk energy that’s natural, yet also firmly in control. If you’re gonna check out any of these bands, make it this one.

Save for the Overheaters and maybe the Dharma Dogs, this is something to skip over. It’s only five bucks, and it’s a collaborative effort by some clearly new bands on a new label – I appreciate the spirit, and I do think there’s some potential here, but it’s just not something I’m dying to have on my shelf.

LISTEN:

Side A-
“Goons of Dekalb” by The Stockyards. From Dekalb, IL. 
“Hoka Hey” by Dharma Dogs. From Madison, WI. 
Side B-
“Under My Hood” by The Phantom Scars. From Dekalb, IL.
“My Dead Bird” by Inflatable Best Friend. From Kalamazoo, MI.
“Broken Bones” by The Overheaters. From Zeeland, MI.
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