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Monthly Archives: July 2012

RATING: 7.7/10

This blog has covered BASS DRUM OF DEATH before, so we were excited to hear that there’s fresh sounds coming from the camp in the form of the Unwed Teenage Mothers, a new project from BDoD drummer Collin Sneed. Overall, the sound is similar – the vocals are coated in the same lo-fi slime as those on “GB City,” but this puts a toe on the brake pedal and ramps up the hooks. Opening track “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” is a mid-tempo tune which really, is barely garage punk at all – it’s more jangley pop-rock with a grandiose, sweeping feel, which I don’t have anything against categorically, but this track is a little lacking in the cojones department, and isn’t really catchy enough to make me forget about that.

Following this is a little bouncy ditty called “FFI,” which is less expansive than the first track, but is also a little less memorable, save for the stop-start chorus. It’s over before you even realize it, but fortunately it goes right into single “Why Does It Have To Be Tonight,” a driving number which is basically a poppier BDoD tune, but it’s not a bad thing at all – in fact, it’s probably my favorite track on here. Closer “Vein” is a mid-tempo tune which really, is barely garage punk at all – a tambo-lead beat and a fucking great bassline supporting a vocal melody(!!!). It recalls BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE in its lazy, bluesy lope, but still bears the punk edge of its creators’ other band – yeah, it’s really, really good.

Overall, despite a lackluster start, this 7″ is fairly impressive. There’s 4 tracks here, each in fairly distinct styles – a real achievement for a band I had somewhat pegged as one-trick ponies. Put plainly, this record is worth your money – just maybe start with tracks 3 and 4.

LISTEN: “Why Does It Have To Be Tonight” on Soundcloud

BUY: Speakertree Records

RATING: 8.9/10 – TOP TRASH

Swedish punk sung in French reviewed by an American writer. Globalization’s nuts. I know maybe 10 words in French, so I’ve no clue what they’re singing about, but it’s fast, it’s catchy, and it’ll get you moving. The band makes use of keytar, giving them a really strong LOST SOUNDS vibe, but it’s not used as a gimmick or a LOOK AT US – it’s just another instrument, put to excellent use on tracks like “Remords,” shooting the track through with some awesome squiggly Atari vibes. The song instantly burrows into your skull, even if you haven’t got the faintest clue what it might be about. This 84 second rager is over before you blink, but this veers into the utterly inexplainable “Le Voleur de Chaleur.” This track opens with a minute-long ye-ye detour – FRANCOISE HARDY vibes abounding, before dropping into a wasteland of fuzz as the party is suddenly crashed by ripping hardcore. Next comes “Le Vague Noire,” a mid-tempo song adorned by spoken vocals. The Game Boy sonic aesthetic works here really well. The keytar is immediately recognizable and adds to the music, but also shares space with the guitar on tracks like “Questions.”

The point is: Keytars aren’t a novelty here. It’s used to the same efficacy as any other instrument, and all 6 songs on this are winners. This isn’t being put out by any label yet, but it ought to be.

LISTEN: Cikatri$ Bandcamp

RATING: 6/10

Ghost Hospital play psych-influenced lo-fi garage. Though the easy comparison to make is the BLACK LIPS, there’s some sublter, weirder vibes at work. Combining trebley guitars and shitcan vocals the album feels made for a hot summer blunt marathon. It’s highly comparable to the HELLSHOVEL LP in tone and feel, but where that LP capitalized on shimmery, tweaked-out acid vibes and nailed them to catchy tunes, this LP lacks a little in the songwriting department. Side-A is dominated by hazy, sunny numbers, most of which recall (ugh) WAVVES. The tunes are simple, which isn’t a problem in itself – some of the best songs ever written are one riff and 2 verses at most – but in the case of this LP, the tunes just don’t seem to change much – they’ll cruise on the same couple bars, looped for the runtime. With the exception of tracks like “Sitting Duck” or closer “C+,” a lot of the tunes slide by without making much impression at all…which is a problem, given that the two tunes both show up 3 tracks from the end. This band shows potential, though – “Hard to Say” makes me think they’ve got some melodies in them, and the effects in “Salad Shjooter” and the sound effects hidden throughout the record make me think there’s some genuine good psych-ey things yet to come. This could be a really good EP, perhaps, but the tunes just aren’t all there for an album.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD: Ghost Hospital Bandcamp

RATING: 8.1/10

Rumor has it this trio formed solely to open for TOTAL CONTROL…a worthy reason for doing anything, certainly. That’s the gossip, but realistically, though the TC influence is kind of there, Diät are mostly doing their own thing. A-side “Pick a Line” is a 3 minute ripper – coasting on minimal riffs (even using pretty much the same one for half the song), an amazing rhythm section, and ghostly Ian Curtis vocals. It’s brittle and haunting, but somehow tuneful. Call it a soundtrack for the apunkalypse.

Both the A-side and the B-side, “No Accent” are spartan tunes, all things considered, and this is why I’m inclined to downplay the TC comparisons – where TC is trancey, synth-based and paranoid, Diät are aggressive and prefer to grind guitars, rather than oscillators  – both these tunes have the same relentless feel as AUXES or TOKYO STORM WARNING…hell, even TV GHOST, in their more upbeat moments. Point is, there’s no pretension, no gimmicks here; just solidly executed post-punk, that’ll actually give you something to hum in the shower. And hell, you get some vintage lesbian erotica to boot! I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I’d buy that for a dollar!

LISTEN: Iron Lung Bandcamp

BUY: Iron Lung Records

JOEY GHOSTLY is the amp-murdering frontman for NYC trio THE ENTHUSIASTS, who are tearing shit up with their brand of 70’s inspired in-the-red rock and roll. After a 7″ last year which has been extremely well received (“Sinkin/Risin b/w Joanne”), they’ve finished their new LP, which is pretty fucking great. Joey took time to drop these 10 bangers on us; “it’s just shit I’ve been into lately,” he explains. “Actually its a good playlist to bump in the car on the way to a show…with the exception of the neil young track cuz that 1 is mad slow and depressing” – we’re inclined to agree. Get your ears bloodied at the link below, and check THE ENTHUSIASTS ON FACEBOOK

1. Timmy’s Organism –  ‘MONSTER WALK’ One of my favorite tracks off the new Timmy’s Organism LP.  Surprise surprise, Timmy’s still got it. duh.

2. Apache – ‘THE REAL SHIT’ A real gem from Apaches underrated debut – Boomtown Gems.  An anthem that makes us bummy dropouts and jobless weirdos look cooler than the college grads.  “you wanna be a scientist, suckin on your mommy’s tits” …need I say more?

3. Mujeres – ‘BLOOD MERIDIAN’ Good fast sloppy Barcelona garage rock.  For fans of Davila 666, Los Vigilantes, or for anyone who has a soul.

4. Jay Reatard – ‘MAN OF STEEL’ R.I.P. Jay.  Total genius and huge influence on me, blah blah blah.  One of the first Reatard tracks I’d heard was an old demo of this song. I love both versions.  You don’t know how badly I wanna hear the rejected version of Watch Me Fall.

5. Blondie – ‘YOUTH NABBED AS SNIPER’ I’m just now getting into Blondie.  I never thought the Lost Sounds were influenced by Blondie till I heard this track.  RIPPER.

6. Midnite Snaxxx – ‘GUYS LIKE THAT’ Catchy hooky sugary girl punk.  As fun as the first Donnas album.  These bitches can write hooks for days.

7. Baby Jean – ‘DANCE IF YOU WANNA’  Like i said – this is for anyone that has a soul.

8. Human Eye – ‘THE MOVIE WAS REAL’ The Movie Was Real!!!!!  From Timmy’s best album ever and modern psych classic They Came From The Sky.

9. Neil Young – ‘MOTION PICTURES’ Another song about movies.  Recently I was talking with a friend about whether this song was happy or sad.  I’m still not sure. All I know is that slide guitar kills me.

10. Ty Segall Band – ‘WAVE GOODBYE’ Sam from the Nubians showed me this one and I was surprised how much I dug it.  This is one of the only Ty Segall songs I really like. Heavy as fuck.  Good job, Ty.  Maybe theres more up yer sleeve than I thought…

http://www.mediafire.com/?q1qbcjqkxqrdxes

RATING: 7.2/10

This 12 song LP is based primarily on the notion that even if brevity’s not the soul of wit, it may be the soul of songwriting…despite the title. The band was meant to be, according to frontman Davey Hart, ‘an experiment in rapid, unfiltered songwriting…indulging my deep love for 70’s power pop, punk, and new wave.’ It’s a fairly spot on characterization – the songs here are pretty short, but they’re not simple – the shortness is very much in the vein of the UNNATURAL HELPERS, who actually sound kind of similar. Christmas Brides’ rapid songwriting translates into short little nuggets that sometimes work and sometimes don’t – though tracks like  “Ge Rm Ans” have a goofy charm, tracks like “He Thinks I’m Experimental Gay” get stuck in the mud, repeating the title, or stuttered chunks of the title ad nauseam, or just rely on lyrical clunkers like “your pussy commands me like a noose” (yeah, really).

Despite some woeful turns of phrase, the record has some pretty good moments – the best moments are when the BUZZCOCKS influence shines through – tight, polished numbers that can shift rhythm or riff on a dime…see “New Hit Mekanik” or the closer “I Know What Girls Don’t Like.” Even if it’s all a little silly, I can appreciate a band that doesn’t take itself too seriously – between the awesome cover art, and the toss-off Doors-copping intro for the sake of a pun, the LP manages to win me over. I could criticize it for scattershot songwriting, but that just seems to be the nature of the beast – there’s enough good moments here for me to keep this one in the collection.

LISTEN/BUY: Sophomore Lounge Records

RATING: 7.7/10

The Greek are pissed off. Really, really, really pissed off, and this album is proof of it. Gay Anniversary are a Greek noise-rock band specializing in high-speed noise-rock assaults, anchored by pummeling programmed drums. The obvious comparison to make here is BIG BLACK or RAPEMAN, and St. Stephen of Albini’s influence looms large over this 10″. It’s all droning fuzz guitars, boom-chick-boom-chick drums, and jesus fuck – did they actually get a guy to play the Drill on “Cop City?”

The first two tracks are spit, fire, venom, and aggression – I don’t know really how to qualify the first track, “Lazy Boyz,” besides “fast,” “awesome,” and “will crush your stupid fucking face.” Then for track 3, things slow down (relatively), and there’s a cool little guitar solo. The whole affair moves forward with military precision, in lockstep with the drum machine, but then it’s right back to the races. “American Yard” is pretty cool as well, but “Choke This” approaches a new level of fury – hinting at cybergrind like AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED, but…ya know…good – I keep Altered States of America around to play for friends as a novelty, like “you think that’s fucked up? well listen to this…”, but Gay Anniversary will easily merit actual plays for actual people who like actual good, extreme music.

By the end of the thing comes, and “Fat Punks” rolls around, I’m more or less tuckered out. It’s a short little thing, but that’s just fine. There’s few things I appreciate more than a band that knows how to leave you wanting more – Gay Anniversary certainly do. They know their trade and perform it well – if I had to fault New In Class for anything, it’d be its lack of diversity. GA have one gear – skullfuck – and they can work it, but I’d also love to see what else their capable of. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but maybe they just beat you over the head with a tire iron instead.

LISTEN: Bandcamp

BUY: Slovenly

RATING: 7.4/10

With cover art like that, I wasn’t sure what to expect – maybe another faceless hardcore group. With a name like Tropical Trash, I guess I was ready for 3 chord lo-fi garage dreck. Instead, I got this Louisville band who practice a relatively spartan brand of post-punk – reserved vocals, fidgety drums, and stabby guitar. The A-side of this EP, “Baltimore” starts off and finishes intriguing, a rising guitar figure accompanying low, droning vocals – their promo page cites the Fall and Killed By Death, but these guys are far too competent at their instruments to sound like either. The band shifts things up a lot rhythmically, there’s distinct sections that all fit together well, but at…probably about the 3 minute mark?, the band seems to get lost – the steady chug of the song gives way to a couple minutes of pointless guitar scratching. It’s a little disappointing, because there’s parts of the song that are pretty good.

B-side track 1 is a little closer to the hardcore I expected, a churning little ditty called False Crypt. This is pretty fucking cool – it’s hard to nail down exactly who they sound like – I’m tempted to say WHATEVER BRAINS for the weirdness of it. “Pentagram Ring Finger” follows the same plan, and it’s equally good – it’s got a weird free jazz interlude…maybe a saxophone? guitar squeaks? I dunno – where “Baltimore” went wrong, this one nails it pretty hard. I imagine seeing these guys live might be a real treat.

Despite a somewhat lackluster A-side, this 7″ has not only some good tunes, but enough surprises to warrant repeat listens. Tropical Trash are at their best in the sub-1:30 songs – aggressive when they need to be, weird when they wanna be, and somehow tuneful despite it all. 200 copies on white vinyl.

LISTEN/BUY: Sophomore Lounge Records 

RATING: 8/10

I really do love bands that are able to straddle a fine genre line well. Honeycomb Bones are a UK duo who seem equally influenced by BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB as they do the 2-step-dub-house-laptop-bass-step-wave that England has coming out the ears right now – spiraling psych guitar lines crossed with crisp, snapping drums. It’s an interesting mix – similar to THE KILLS, but more developed, less slinky. If use of a drum machine was all that HB had going for them, though, there’d be a lot less to say. Fortunately, the Bones also bring some good tunes to the party. Opener “Catherine Wheel” features a slow, dirty guitar line, with nimble drum programming that keeps the thing moving along – it gives the impression of a steam train that takes a while to start up, but is impossible to stop once it’s got going.

It’s hard to know what exactly is going on sometimes, the vocals are buried in the mix and some reverb, and the guitars are huge sounding, but this record takes a few listens to get a feel for. There’s not really a bad track on here, but it’s not easy to find a hook. Fortunately, there’s enough cool rhythmic work – especially on 3rd track “Penny Black” – to keep you coming back. I won’t be getting rid of this any time soon, though, and I look forward to whatever else is coming.

LISTEN: MEDIAFIRE (courtesy of the band)

BUY: Honeycomb Bones Tumblr

RATING: 8.5/10 – TOP TRASH

Hey guys, how ya doin? It’s been a while…things come up, I’ll do better. I guess I’ve also been listening to a lot of older stuff recently, so you don’t always get around to new stuff. Anyway, the new stuff I have been digging pretty hard is this fearsome threesome from Atlanta. Blood Bleeds is a wild, 11-track slab of rock-and-roll, shot through with a bitter vein of creeping tension. Opener “Red Eye” slithers along with a bass-driven groove, until it all suddenly explodes in buzzsaw guitars – the intensity is only ratcheted up further with successive tracks. The whole affair feels like the ROYAL BATHS LP that we liked so much earlier this year, but if it had been written and record after each member put down a bottle of rotgut whiskey.

“Hell Ride” is a more upbeat track in position 4, the bouncing bluesy vibe giving it a GUN CLUB feel which is not only entirely appropriate, but entirely ass-kicking. Or entirely awesome. Fuck. The vocals are strung-out, but also seem like they’re about one minute away from losing their shit, Alan Vega style – see exhibit 1, minute-long creep-out interlude “In My Bones”, which falls right into the churn of “Radiation Lady.” If I had to find something to take issue with on this album, it’s really only the vocal sound – I feel like these guys pen some interesting lines, but I wish I could hear them a little clearer. But don’t let that make you think I don’t really like this album – when you churn out tracks like the heroic builder “Gravity,” or the out-of-nowhere stomper “Stone Girl” you can do whatever you want. Got-damn! This is good. Buy it.

LISTEN: Vincas Bandcamp

BUY: Douchemaster Records

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