Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confusion is Sex[ting]

....'cause only a teenage riot could get me outta bed/right now....

...and also cause I've been doing this blog for almost three years, it was probably time I posted something involving Sonic Youth. Why not their most pop song ever?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Still NOT taking new submissions for review....

Hey gang,

I apologize for the crankiness to follow, but:

Looks like 2014 will be another year in which I don't get around to reviewing everything people have sent me, and it's only April. I have about 100 new submissions that have arrived since January, and people are still emailing me new stuff.

While I appreciate the fact that y'all dig the blog enough to send new releases my way, PLEASE STOP FOR NOW! DrugPunk is a one-person, not-for-profit shitshow that's dysfunctional on the best of days, and I run this thing in my free time in between writing about and researching a bunch of stupid Old Timey crap, mis-pronouncing Italian words, and getting drunk. It's not a full-time operation, I'm not Pitchfork, I have intermittent internet access, and I'm getting sick of dashing off "I'll get to this when I have time" emails when I'm still catching up on stuff from November 2013. I run this blog primarily to draw attention to new music but also because I enjoy writing; I don't like reviewing stuff I've barely listened to, and shitty reviews are as annoying to write as they are to read.

That said, I'll let y'all know when I'm done with the mountain range of reviews already in front of me. I apologize to bands/labels/whatever awaiting reviews; like I said, this is a one-person operation.

I love you all.

hugs and kisses,

-Chief Drug Punk

Friday, April 11, 2014

Multiple Man-Guilt Culture 7" EP (Detonic, 2014)

Multiple Man ditches the clangy bangy garage funk on their second EP, and goes straight for dance-punk so cold it'll freeze your innards in July. The eponymous first track starts with a beat pretty close to the Vaselines' "You Think You're a Man", but it's far more frigid than those Scottish tricksters were. DIstance, coldness, and other vaguely displeasing emotional states are what come to mind on all three of these tracks.

MM has clarified and distilled the squalling misery they hinted at on their debut, leaving us with dance tunes that don't feel remotely pleasureable. That's intended as a compliment; really. C'mon, unless you're going to soul night at your local bar, who wants to feel warm and cuddly anyways, right? Right. Anyway "Guilt Culture" drones on in a numbly danceable key. "Boiling Down" could easily be mistaken for a lost track from some Liege or Innsbruck Cold Wave group ca. 1984. It has all the stylistic marks of Cold Wave pizzazz: a repetitive, bouncy bass line; layers of synth that run the gamut from hissing to damn-near-rhythmic; and an absolute refusal to deal in human emotions. It's all dead ends and frayed synapses stuck somewhere in an ice cavern. "Youth Forever," by comparison, is damn near upbeat. In fact, it's pretty fuckin' close to lo-fi Aussie rock's answer to Montreal's Grimes.  I was snorting drugs the other night and my partners in crime thought it was a fuckin' booty-shakin' hit! Then they started throwing beer cans at me, but that's another story.....

This story currently involves you going over to the Detonic Records bandcamp to listen to and purchase this three-track bit of Friday night soul shakin', soul-crushing hissrattle.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Always delays

So the internet hasn't been working in my part of the world for the last week or so, hence the lack of posts. Hopefully at some point the great god Bureacracy will see fit to take mercy on a sinner such as your humble narrator, and turn the wifi back on.

In the meantime, hey hey, Dinosaur Jr. did a Cure cover once upon a time to get goth girls. So check that out.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kippi's-Semplice Come Nuvole LP (Sick Room, 2014)

This blog mostly features horrible, shrieking noise that's either unlistenable yet good, or unlistenable, pure and simple. Yet contrary to popular belief I do indeed enjoy music that's complex and weird (like this guy). Some of this complex and weird music is also music of the sort that regular humans might enjoy. Hence Turin's Kippi's, composed of a Chinese teacher, a gravedigger, and the proud owner of a funeral home.*

Their press release says that they sound like Slint and Unwound, which is pretty accurate (lazy readers can stop reading here and go straight to the band's bandcamp page). I was busy listening to Wu-Tang around when everyone re-discovered Spiderland, though, so I still don't know what that comparison means. Therefore, here's my lunkheaded description: Kippi's is a band for the last installment of a long night of drinking, drugging, and sex. The sun is finally rising and you're still drunk enough that the headache hasn't kicked in. This also means that you don't yet regret all the weird shit you did several hours ago, so you're in an ambivalent-bordering-on-content mood. No doubt you're not at home, maybe you're at an apartment with a balcony, and the sun is cresting over the hills in a way that's decidedly pretty. Hell, birds are singing! Kippi's is that sorta weird feeling.

Or: if chamber-pop is now a genre, Kippi's plays chamber punk. Most of the songs on this album begin in hushed, almost somnolent tones. Daniel has a compressed, breathless vocal styling perfect for setting Italian lyrics to an off-kilter post-punk beat. Eventually, though, Kippi's usually does lurch into punk rock spazz-out. But in a really restrained sorta way. In fact this LP is a testament to how it pays off to not freak out completely. "Festina Lente" is tops partly as a showcase of the Kippi's sound, partly 'cause it's a nod to one of the early modern papacy's favorite sayings: "Hasten slowly." Playing off the dynamic tension between bass and guitar, the song rumbles and stumbles along at mid-tempo, with the drums being let out to play occasionally.

Most of the Italian music I listen to consists of Partisan songs and Paolo Pietrangeli. Kippi's ain't that good (what is, these days?), but they're pretty fuckin' good. You can preview the songs on bandcamp. LPs can be purchased care of Sick Room Records.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rizoma-s/t EP (2013)

New in the "less talk more rock" category, Rizoma is Madrid's answer to Chicago's bratnoise outfit Birth Deformities. Succinctly stated, if you've been mourning the demise of Government Warning as much as I have, you'll love Rizoma. On their debut, Rizoma shouts, strums, bangs, and kicks their way through six mid-tempo shout-along bits of bratpunk, tailor made for those of you still living with your parents. Which is half of the Europeans between 18-29 reading this, apparently, according to the Guardian.

If I had any experience in said subject, I would heartily agree with the proposition of the second song: "It feels so good to kill my neighbors while listening to the Stooges." As it happens, I only have experience getting blackout drunk and throwing bottles at them while "Death Trip" blares from my bedroom window, but whatever.

Point is, as March's winds usher in the pissant spring downpours of April, why don't you download Rizoma's debut EP and let your miscreant misanthrope misery burble over like fine wine? You know you want to. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Der Tanz-Vatta LP (2014)

Well, between the whole Crimean debacle and the Front National sweeping local elections in France two days ago, it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be just about as shitty as 2013 was.* So Der Tanz, in their roundabout way, is just as relevant as ever. Like I said in my review of their debut LP, Der Tanz isn't "conscious" or "political" or any such wanna-be-Crass-type jazz, and that is what makes them so brilliantly of their moment.

The production quality is better (that is to say, there is any) on round two, but the band has preserved what made their debut so good. That would be: a grinding, tormented duel between guitar and rhythm section; stentorian, Nick-Cave-on-a-good-day singing; and a knack for stop-on-the-dime soft-loud dynamics. Taken altogether, Der Tanz sounds like a great kraken battling through geological sedimentation on the bottom of some paleolithic sea, the Pangean, like as not.

But that isn't to equate them with wanky post-metal acts like Isis. Rather, Der Tanz conjures up more depth and darkness in a single song than most (post-)punk bands manage their entire careers. Take "Slow Tilt," for example: originating in seething, churning bass chords of doom, the song gradually broadens into an artillery barrage of improvised drumming and hollered vocals. Midway through, the song crystallizes into an agonizing, gradually increasing misery index before plunging back into a pool of squalling, hissing feedback as  the singer numbly intones that"god is a scarecrow". Whatever that means."Elvis has left the Building" is almost nothing but fingersnaps and vocals; somehow it works. The album's closer, "Tatra," is remarkable even by Der Tanz's standards. From piddling synth percussion, to menacing repetition of "in for a pound," to the dessicated insect hum of a few, solitary guitar notes, it's impressive how much this band squeezes out of minimal hissing and squawking.

Hell, I haven't even bothered discussing the best of this album. Just do the shimmyshammy over to Der Tanz's bandcamp page, where you can listen to and buy this thing, before I puke up beer all over you for being tonedeaf. Ha!

*Also that knife attack in China, atrocities in the Central African Republic, et. al. Although Fred Phelps finally died, so at least we don't have to hear from that vile puddle of puke anymore.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feral Future-Haematic LP (Western Medical, 2014)

Six reasons to buy the new Feral Future LP:

1. This is the best American punk rock I've heard since Crooked Bangs' 2012 debut LP. As it happens, Crooked Bangs and Feral Future are on the same label, Western Medical Records.

2. If you thought all Austin, Texass bands were carbon-copy Discharge rip-offs, you're wrong: FF dishes out heavy, brazen punk that ditches the d-beat and goes straight for the throat with massive riffs rising above a wall of sound.

3. Feral Future's singer can actually sing real notes, instead of howling. This gets them pretty far in the category of "worth more than one or two listens."

4. Sooner or later this band will catch on with the Pitchfork dweebs, upon which time their shows won't be fun to go to. Catch 'em while they're still a punks-only thing.

5. "Hostile" cops a riff from The Clean, and is almost as good as that song. No mean feat in 2014.

6. Feral Future rocks out the way Bikini Kill would have, if BK had been a band instead of sonic terrorists and the cheerleaders for 3rd-wave feminism.

That's about it; go to the Western Medical site and buy the LP! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rest in Peace: Jason Molina, 1973-2013

So Jason Molina died about a year or so ago (give or take 2 days) today. My guess would be that he'll be forgotten within 5 years, re-discovered in 20, forgotten in 22, and then lionized as a "long-forgotten" member of the canon of great American folk singers 40 or so years down the line.

I don't really give a shit if that prediction comes true or not. The point was that Molina's work was brilliant, it made sense, because so few people were interested in it. That's not to say that great art is only great because the few cognoscenti appreciate it or understand it (they don't, especially when they say they do). Rather, most people who are willing to look into the abyss of failure, misery, frustration and the inability to communicate that makes up about 75% (if not 85% and upward) of human existence will, simply, never be embraced by the rest of the human community.
Just watch the video of "Back on the Top" that I posted. While the whole production may seem a bit stilted-I won't argue with you there; fundamentally, these were just Midwestern dudes forced to make a music video-the lack of pretension is marvellous. Molina and his co-conspirators never did anything they didn't believe in. That sets them apart from about 95% of the competition. It also earned them reams of shit from the jackals who read and write for pissant rags catering to people too stupid to listen to music they love, instead of music that will get them plaudits at their university's Theater Department parties. I still remember listening to kids, back when I was a young'un, lambasting Songs:Ohia albums as somehow boring, overly melodramatic and soforth.

Looking back on those years, as an adult with real problems, all I can say is that, if anything, that was a mark of Songs:Ohia's enduring value as musicians, and Jason Molina's enduring brilliance as a lyricist. This was a band (in its many permutations) that simply made music you wanted to listen to (or didn't), and sang of problems most of us who stay alive long enough will experience. Completely and utterly humdrum, yes. Boring? Never.

Blahlbha, none of this has done anything to explain to you, the reader, why Jason Molina's memory should remain evergreen in yr youthful(?) mind. He wasn't a pathfinder, he wasn't audacious, he simply was what he was*: a depressed, even despondent, lonely, and very, very gifted guy from the Midwest of the USA in a time that did not value intelligence or earnestness, especially if it came from somewhere west of the Appalachians and east of the Sierra Nevadas.

In any case, here's one of Songs:Ohia's eternal classics, "Captain Badass." The song goes on long enough that I can imagine it accompanying most any human activity besides writing a thorough-going demolition of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the most part, though, it's simply a beautiful, spartan bit of Americana sung in the darkness.

Love him and the bands he led or not, I, for one, will miss Jason Molina and would like to bid him a fond farewell transmission on this, the first anniversary of his death.

*Of course, I never met the guy. People who in fact knew Molina are welcome to tell me I'm full of shit. I'm simply extrapolating based on lyrics, interviews, and what I've seen of the Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. live footage.