Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve: Highs.... [a mix, again]

Yeah, so I promise f'real that I'll be posting new music, including all the albums that've been piling up in my PO box and email box, soon. But in the meantime, it's New Year's Eve and I have a date with any and all substances that come my way....said substances may include a bit of dancing, and I'd imagine you'll be having a similar night, y'dig?

In that spirit, this is some music to get mad crunkface to.
Lonely for the high scrapers....

1. TV Girl-I don't care
2. Les Sins-Lina
3. DannielRadall-Soulman
4. Niva-Ghost in my Head
5. Blank Dogs-Collides
6. No Wave-Clearing
7. Keep Shelly in Athens-Cremonia Memories
8. Okinawa Lifestyle-Black Sea Shark
9. Clive Tanaka y Su Orquestra-Brack Latin
10. Alejo Gui-Fuck
11. Waskerley Way-Pombo Pombo Pombo
12. Korallreven-Honey Mine
13. gngsgns.-wlknthnght
14. Luminary Youth-Darjeeling Temptress

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lost Cherrees-A Man's Duty, A Woman's Place

Man, I just threw this on at random as I'm sitting around my room trying to figure out something to do with my day off besides drink coffee and read stuff on the internet. Good story, right? Anyway, I was knocked to my proverbial feet (definitely stayed seated, thank you very much) by how fucking outstanding this EP is. It's the sophomore effort of Scottish anarcha-feminist punk band The Lost Cherrees and, if I do say so myself, stands out as a breathtaking platter of boundary-pushing, hip-shaking postpunk interwoven with a cutting feminist critique. One of the first female-fronted UK anarchopunk bands of the 1980's (A Man's Duty...was released in 1984), TLC (tee hee) was quick to establish themselves in the genre, rising up to number 4 on the UK indie charts and playing shows with the likes of Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Hagar the Womb...I'm sure it's all written on the back of a jacket somewhere. And John Peel thought they were hot shit. That dude had some fucking TASTE.

The the thing that stands out about this band to me, at least on this record, is that they take the rhythmic engine that was propelling pogoing pub punks listening to Blitz and The Varukers, and used it to create driving but sophisticated pop songs.

With the lead-off track 'Blasphemy,' TLC establishes an almost doomy atmosphere, but with hooks and rhythm that no doubt packed more than a few mid 80's British dancefloors. Shit's in league with Siouxsie herself, IMO. '

'No Trouble' picks up the ambiance a little bit as the band cruises through UK Postpunk Aptitude Test #6782: Competence with Basic Reggae. Probably the least interesting song on the record, but it's catchy and the guitar solo about halfway through adds a sort of surf/psych tinge that keeps things interesting.

'Living in a Coffin' is perhaps the standout track of the EP. It's fast but relentlessly catchy, at times almost resembling a seriously darkened and reverbed-out second cousin of pop punk. But on the whole this is unquestionably the more artsy/postpunky wing of the UK anarchopunk scene of the 80's getting fucking explosive.

'Sexism's Sick pt. 1' kicks off with one of the best post-punk hooks. Ever. Period. The song after that is pretty basic (though things get a little weirder in pt. 2) but it really doesn't matter. It's just one of those tunes that holds up on its own and can be played again and again and still sound good. Luckily, in the hands of TLC we also get to hear it creatively fucked with and, most impressively, turned into a tuneful, crunchy bridge/chant "Break down the wall/Bridge the gap/Sexism's sick!" Word!

'Sexism's Sick pt. 2' makes a perfect cap. Apparently not satisfied with simply making an uber-catchy driving postpunk song, TLC takes its basic chords and fucks it up a bit more, this time with wistful acoustic guitar plucking going into rough n' tumble fuzz-drenched madness. This massive EP closes with manically bouncing drums and bass overlaid by a guitar tone akin to the robo-buzzsaw effect on display in Blitz's 'Someone's Gonna Die' and wailing vocals carrying messages about feminist struggle that would be impressive from a band today, let alone in 1983.

A Man's Duty, A Woman's Place

Carburetor Dung: best of 2011 mixitup

I hate making lists these days but, good interweb pundit that I am, my Top [insert number here] lists will be up at some point around the New Year. In the meanwhile, here's a mix of some of my faves from the Lester Bangs school of noiseschlock to tide all you weirdoes over...happy boozin'!
smash it up!

1. The Band in Heaven-Sleazy dreams
2. Shoppers-I
3. Art Fad-.......
4. Piresian Beach-Take Me
5. Catholic Spray-Kiss the Smack
6. Kent State-Walk Through Walls
7. Whatever Brains-the Fisher
8. Bass Drum of Death-Nerve Jamming
9. Natural Child-A Man Makes His Own Way
10. The Alright Alreadies-Disconnected
11. Royal Headache-Eloise
12. Triptides-Beneath the Sun
13. Sex Church-Dull Light
14. Horrible Houses-Midlands
15. Sarongs-Police Chase
16. Acid Kicks-Masonic Tide
17. Opus Null-Alkotmanyos anarchia
18. Broken Water-Kansas
p.s.-I think that the Broken Water track actually is from 2010, but, uh, I got the record it's taken from this year...sofugginwhatyeah?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Metro Decay-Ypervasi LP (1984)

The computer I'm typing this entry on is from 1995, and I'm frankly amazed I was able to upload an image of the cover, so there ain't no verbal or lyrical fireworks in this entry, folks.

Anyways, Metro Decay's 1984 LP Υπέρβαση is a classic of Greek new/cold/whateverwave. Dudes gigged around Athens a lot in the '80s, opened for The Fall, Birthday PArty, etc.
"Εισαγογν στην κίνηση" is probably my favest track on heer: they totally steal the structure from Joy Div, but throw in some Greek instruments to give it a MD-unique feel.

The version I'm posting butchers the Greek-script track titles; they're posted below.

Merry Xmas, folks.

*EDIT, 10.31.12: I reup'd the file. DOWNLOAD HERE. *

"Υπερβασν" was recently re-released; check out an interview with the band from last year here.

1. Μαύρος Κύκνος
2. Ανάμεσα Σε Δύο Κρεσσεντα
3. Το Ταξίδι
4. Εισαγωγή Στην Κίνηση
5. Απειλή
6. Παιχνίδια Στην Επιφάνεια
7. Το Πάγωμα Του Πάθους
8. 'Έβενος
9. Υπέρβαση
10. Λίμπιντο

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Now Slaying in The Bay 2


Stressors is a group of upstanding young gentlemen from the suburbs surrounding the East Bay and, like their forebears of the 1980’s, they are busily showing up the city kids by playing fast, loud, mean hardcore steeped in discomfort and frustration. I have similar feelings about this band that I did growing up and seeing Chicago acts like The Repos, Fourteen or Fight or No Slogan: these dudes play straightforward USHC “the way it was meant to be done” but go beyond just nailing a time-honed formula. There’s a dark, ugly abyss rolling the always-satisfying combinations of breakdowns and scissor beats that makes Stressors stand out from the crowd of decent-to-good USHC acts around today. These dudes are making a profoundly fucked contribution to modern hardcore. Awesome.

Wild Moth

Noisy and wistful pop cranked through tortured amps cranked to maximum awesome. Wild Moth wastes no time in making with a cacophony of hooks and croons whose assault on your eardrums leaves a sticky residue in your brain. Pretty, almost bubblegum components are thrown together in a manic frenzy. The result is an absurdly satisfying fusion of big, lush songs played with a bare bones DiY fundamentalist aesthetic. More plz?

Your Enemy

Overwhelmingly fast and brutal grind from Oakland’s Lower Bottoms, Your Enemy, simply put, slays the motherfucking shit out of anyone within earshot of their brutal sensory assault. Featuring 3 members with a pedigree that includes such varsity-level sonic destructors as ThousandsWillDie and Circle of Eyes. They’ve got a demo up online for your listening pleasure, as well as their half of their upcoming split with HumanxWaste, a band soon to be featured here.


Bruxers is a new band out of San Jose who, as their first recordings are still getting ready to come out, have already made a name for themselves smearing audience’s faces in their nasty encrusted death metal around the bay. Truly unholy and rotten, Bruxers combine the brutal tonalities and breakneck speeds of old-school death metal with gnarly, doomish crust sensibilities and a raw, DiY aesthetic. This shit is absolutely not to be missed. Watch for their recordings on Deific Mourning and Gay Scientist Recordings in 2012.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home for the holidays, or, Terror Boys: A mix.

 *bands/people who have sent me music in the last week: I'm slowly working my way through it, your stuff will be up at some point soon.*

I'm catching a plane in an hour for my ancestral homeland of Chicago, which I haven't been back to in over a year. When there, I usually revert to the affective state I was at when I moved out, i.e., I become a taciturn, mindless drunk brimming over with meaningless vitriol.

So what better way to celebrate devolution than by throwing on some classics about violence, unemployment, Thatcher and....violence? NONE:


1. Blitz-Someone's gonna die tonight
2. The Clash-Career Opportunities
3. The Newtown Neurotics-Kick out the Tories
4. Decry-Falling
5. The Mau-Maus-Society's Rejects
6. Uproar-Rebel Youth
7. GBH-Sick Boy
8. Culo-Toxic Visioms
9. Filth-Banned from the Pubs (Peter & the Test Tube Babies cover)
11. The Partisans-Police Story
12. Cro-Mags-Hard Times
13. Minor Threat-Stand Up
14. Intensified Chaos-Intensified Chaos
15. Negative Approach-Ready to Fight
16. Ultimo Resorte-Violencia
17. Criminal Damage-Anesthesia

Monday, December 19, 2011

Horrible Houses-Midlands EP (2011)

Ok, this is the third Horrible Houses release I've reviewed for Drug Punk, and I still can't get an angle on what dude is up to or going for. I've also decided that this is a good thing.

The obvious influences-John Fahey, Guided by Voices, maybe some White Light/White Heat-era Velvet Underground-don't at all explain the end product. On this, the HHs' third[?] release, they've really found their groove. The previous two releases had highs and lows, but the three tracks on "Midlands" are focused and fine tuned.

"Out of Tune Piano for Meadow Man" (I love the song titles from this band) is probably the best cut out of the three. Opening with muttering and a minimal, warbling guitar line, it segues quickly into HH's trademark, myopic lounge jamming: hazy guitars, monotone drumming, and casually worded, throwaway vocals.

I still haven't managed to get all the way through "Tempel [sic] Jam," but it moves through several stages, from raga-esque droning to scratching guitar treble.

Anyways, if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you've probably heard Horrible Houses already. This EP doesn't move in a new direction so much as refine and purify what was already happening. Get into it, if you haven't already, here. Horrible Houses lives here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Observers-So What's Left Now? LP (2005[?])

"I was a teenage zombie...." pt. 4 (in a semi-occasional series)

The following account may or may not be a conflation of two different events. Don't make no nevermind nohow, noways....

Mid-way through high school, I fell in like with a well-read (she knew of Burroughs!) girl from Chicago's south 'burbs. All I knew about the south 'burbs back then was that Screeching Weasel was from the general vicinity, so she musta been cool, right?

Naw, no dice. First time we did an all-day hang, we wandered around Chicago, so young and uncool, we couldn't even score street drugs. What a dismal situation...ended up making out by the river. Don't ask which one. We were stone sober. The next time we hung out, we went to the beach, then to some rich kid's house by the beach, where  I proceeded to get so bombed on downers and anti-depressants that this girl  made out with a friend of mine (I think...I was on A LOT of vicodin and xanies)for 15 minutes while I sat across from them, so wasted I couldn't move, let alone protest. My friend drove me home that night with the counsel of "dude, forget about it." Words of wisdom.

Awhile later, we were hanging out at a friend's house. Shit was ok...she wasn't making out with my friend, right? Wrong. We smoked a spliff, drank some wine...did some dancing, even! Washed Out, Okinawa Lifestyle, all that good shit! Talked about life, love, and other such hippy time we got to the bar, I was 2 grams and a bottle 'n' a half of wine into the evening. By the time she disappeared with a different friend, I was too wasted to do other than lean against the bar's wall, chain smoking and incoherently mumbling self-pitying garbage ("why does HE get to have her...but I don't?!?") to a friend who courageously heard me out. I vaguely remember passing out to Pink Reason blasting from my speakers at full volume, dreaming of Xanax. Hey you! Got some Xanax?

This is probably the best punk LP of the '00s. It has everything: heroin-level addictive hooks, brutally introspective-yet-social lyrics, jaunty bass lines....Fuck you! Like it!

*EDIT, 1.5.14: Re-up'd the LP, get it HERE.*

Art Fad-Vatos LP (2011)

I had just gotten home and was headed beerward when this tidbit of Potato State garage crossed my desk. Since I was gonna close the night by playing Blitz at top volume, per the last five nights, I figured a little variety was in order....

....Caldwell, Idaho (where the fuck is that?)'s Art Fad (best clever-dumb band name I've heard this year?) blares out coupla 7-8 tracks of scratchy, trebly, hollered surf rock from landlocked climes. I can't imagine what life's like in Idaho-the very name conjures up images of Snakes (Rivers or otherwise) and radical Republicans....but this shit's good, dude.

The songs sorta melt into each other like sequences in a downer binge (think MDMA-Vics-Cods), and the singer just hollers clipped phrases over insistent percussion, and the result is something I'd like to see in a basement, 10 beers into a weekend bender. The minor-note soloing on the seventh track is particularly sick.

Shit was recorded by one of the masterminds behind Teens, for what's it worth. Fuck you, listen to it!

Cemetery-demo CS (2011)

Ok, so I'm obviously re-posting this from Terminal Escape, but it's justified for two reasons: 1) I've known the singer since high school, which means cronyism demands I draw attention to this; 2) this is one of my favorite demos of 2011.

Awhile ago, I was ranting about the sad state of neo-post-punk. Death/goth punk has also been making a massive comeback lately,
and Cemetery knows their history inside and out, but this isn't a mere nostalgia trip. These hard-drinkin' dudes from my hometown drone out 6 tracks of grinding, lightly distorted and atmospheric death punk a la Christian Death, et. al. "Reptile Walk" is a blaring, hellishly well-done call to arms for all of you who rock bullet belts to the goth prom. "Voices in the Ceiling" and "Voices in the Walls" nicely cap off each side with atmospheric, synth-drenched mood-setters.

What really sets Cemetery apart from the competition is the songwriting. These guys have constructed 6 tight, remarkably well-executed songs, not just a squalling mess dumped on cassette tape. The guitar is especially cool, confirming my suspicion that guitarists in this genre owe a lot more to Dick Dale than, say, Tommy Iommi.

GET INTO IT! Hang out with Cemetery here. Stay tuned for info on their first record....

*EDIT, 10.10.12: Reup'd the demo, get it HERE. *


Friday, December 16, 2011

Police Repression in Indonesia

So some of you have already heard, but for those of you who haven't, earlier this week police in the Indonesian community of Banda Aceh conducted mass arrests of all the punks they could find.

They're being subjected to "moral re-education," which means humiliation, illegal detainment, and general deprivation of basic human rights by the state.
You can read about it here.

Aborted Society Records is doing a MIXTAPE CHARITY DRIVE that you should totally participate in.

Send mixtapes (cassettes or CDRs in slip cases) with as much music as possible crammed on by December 30th to:
Aborted Society Records
attn: Mixtapes for Aceh
1122 E. Pike Street #1377
Seattle, WA 98122-3934

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kent State-Walk through Walls EP (2011)

I have to respect anyone brazen enough to cover Guided by Voices, and a classic like "Pimple Zoo," nevertheless. Kent State does it pretty well, and they do shoegazey, chainsaw pop pretty well, too, on this, their third EP.

Featuring members of Baltimore's Deep Sleep, Kent State blasts out seven tracks of slouchy, buzzy, '90s-worshipping noise pop on "Walk Through Walls."  The best track is "Secrets for Sale," a wonderfully echoing, reverb-drenched slacker jingle-jangle perfect for summer days spent sippin' lemonade (or winter days wishing it was summer and drinking Jim Beam).

Like I keep sayin' on dis heer blog, the various strands of '90s underground rock-shoegaze, jangle pop, grunge, etc.-are back with a bang these days, and Kent State is doin' it well...check it out if you've worn out the grooves on your copy of "Alien Lanes" from excessive play.

Kent State lives here; you can buy the EP here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teenagers-2 song demo (2011)

Any music critic at some point has to face the arbitrariness of taste. For example, there's no essential, objective reason that I absolutely love these two songs, whereas I find Best Coast's whole catalogue offensive, and couldn't get past the schmaltzy schlock quality of Tennis' first LP.

So don't get pissy with me if you think these two songs are just more surf-garage nostalgia. They are. But there's something to them that makes Teenagers rise above the legion of bands quarrying the Phil Spector sound for all it's worth...the vocals have an open, naive quality that fits the music exactly, and the instrumentation is almost note-perfect girl-group garage: minimal guitar chords and a rollicking beat.

Teenagers is from Warsaw, a city not noted for its surf or beaches, but they've captured the California sun in musical form remarkably well here.

Winter is well upon us in the northern hemisphere, but Teenagers' demo is gonna be keeping me warm until the New Year. Check it out, here!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Alone & Forsaken VII: I don't live today [...maybe tomorrow].

"When your late night friends leave you/in the cold grey dawn..."-The Rolling Stones

Hope and despair are the same damned thing. Hope consists of winged flights of absurd elation, detached from any tangible reality, that feeds on its own momentum until something triggers a crash-landing back in reality.

Despair, similarly, is a sucking void that, left to its own devices, separates you from reality and drags you down its twisting path of blackness until, ideally, one of your friends smacks you over the head and forces you to start interacting with the world again...
In that spirit, here's another chartbuster in the A&F series. I may have already put some of these songs on previous mixes, but ask me how much I care.

"Hush, little thrush...."

1. The Wipers-Doom Town
2. Middle Class-Out of My Hands
3. The Mountain Goats-Hellhound on my Trail
4. Neil Young-Tired Eyes
5. Rosa Eskenazi-That'll Teach you [Για να ξερής Αλανιάρα]
6. Tom Waits-Innocent When You Dream
7. Sun Kil Moon-Heron Blue
8. Songs:Ohia-The Black Crow
9. Pink Reason-Thrush
10. The Rolling Stones-Loving Cup

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Peopling-s/t EP (2011)

I've been meaning to review this thing for weeks, ever since it showed up in the mail, and I apologize to the guy behind Peopling for my sluggardly ways.

Anyways....Peopling is a one-man operation outta Brooklyn. This 6-song ep is somewhere between Dominick Fernow/Prurient-style savagery and fucked up, bedroom synth punk. Usually Peopling verges closer to the former, but on the opener, "come home eccentric," there's a trashed synth beat lilting along with the warbled voiceovers. "Regprog" is simple, hulking, lunking, clunking power electronics; sorta like what Fernow might make on a softer day.
I think that "summer such and such" is the best song on here: strummed acoustic guitars leaven the usual squalling hiss, and there's some cool found-sound type burbling in the background....

I really don't listen to much power electronics these days, but this EP was versatile enough to hold my interest. Unlike most power electronics albums, it's appropriate for smokin' weed on the beach as well as nodding out in a heroin haze.

CHeck dude out, and BUY THE EP, here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kontaminat-2011 demo

Punk bands in 2011 generally boil down into two groups: those who are young, inexperienced, and eager to learn-as-they-play (Culo, Birth Deformities, et. al.) and those who, like Kontaminat, have been doing this so long, punk is in their DNA.
Hence, it's no surprise that this demo fuckin' slays. Whereas they seemed headed in a crushing, Framitid-style wall of noise in the live videos I've seen, on this demo Kontaminat has headed in a direction closer to Deathreat than Kochi City Madness. Everyone's favorite Chicago HC hearthrob, Mike Thrashberg, has mutated into Joe Denunzio's (Ebro's?) ghost on this demo: harsh, admonitory barking rides a wave of unrelenting, but refreshingly well-mixed, US hardcore.

I don't have a lyric sheet in front of me, but with titles like "Tenure Hellstorm," you can't go wrong. The mix is relatively clean, which is great 'cause all the instruments pull their weight-the guitar fuzz on "Team Player" is closer to post-punk than hardcore butchery, and I love Pat's bass riffing, especially on "Costume." In short, Kontaminat is one of Chicago's best new HC bands, and you should, uh, getcha punk on and catch 'em on the 27th. Details to follow.

They say it's lonely at the top.... I'm reposting this from One Track Hell, which I cordially thank for boosting the volume on the recording. Contact the band, and try to scrounge a copy of the tape, via THIS!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hedge Fund-demo 11.11 (2011)

Hardcore punk has reached an interesting point in the last few years. As the grunge/shoegaze revival gathers steam, there's a temptation for bands to jump ship to the sunnier climes of MBV-/Nirvana-worship. Despite musical disparities, I see the whole "mysterious guycore" thing as riding the wave of '90s fetishism percolating of late: "oh cool! these guys were in bands in the (late/mid-)90s! They must be cool!"

Hedge Fund, a new band from Boston, straddles the line between HC and sloppy, gazey mucky muck. This four-track cassette demo is essentially hardcore punk played with a grunge attitude (or grunge played with a punk attitude). The opener, "Locutus" (sick Star Trek ref., no?) mines the vein Thulsa Doom quarried ages ago-piledriver drumming and overloaded guitar chugging.
But the next three tracks go in for the sort of fuzzy, squalling, meandering guitar I associate more with new bands like Psychic Blood as much as traditional HC name checks like Siege. It makes for some interesting listening: straightforward, shrieking intensity mixed with more complicated, grinding sludge.

Y'know ya love it. You can buy the radness here.