Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BornDead/Consume split 12" (2003)

Anarchopunk is a drug like any other: You come home feeling like shit. As you do every day. So you put on that [insert bad, vaguely political band name here-"Riot _," "Anti_" will suffice] record. As the trashed guitar notes and d-beats begin, you start to feel a rush of pure, self-righteous anger. It's a sea change from that futile, impotent fury usually following a normal day.

This self-righteous anger feels good. THEY are the enemy, it's THEIR fault, fuck THEM! We're gonna FUCKING OVERCOME, COMRADE! After all, you're just an oppressed wage slave tryna make it through the day, right?

Pretty soon, you're dancing around your room in a paroxysm of self-righteous indignation, shakin' yer fist and promising yourself you're gonna finally sit down and read that Bakunin reader gathering dust under your Aus-Rotten LPs.

But all good things must come to an end, and when the needle lifts on side B, you start to come down...aw, man, you've still got all those boring, non-political, very un-self-righteous problems you had before putting on your studded leather jacket-bills to pay, girl/boyfriend troubles, hate yer parents...fuck man...

Oh, this album? It's great. Easily one of the best political hardcore albums of the '00s. Fuck it. Anarchopunk is a great drug. I just prefer crushed Adderal and cheap beer, these days.

God save the queen.... This should still be available from here. Will, from Born/Dead, does a really sweet blog, Cold War. Check it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ora Miden-Demo CS (1988)

This is easily the most exciting demo I've heard recently and, go figure, it was recorded over twenty years ago by a band that released only this cassette and one EP, "Mona Lisa."

Oρα Μηδέν*, "see nothing/see zero", easily puts most late-80s punk to shame (YoT, this means you). I was hesitant when I first heard the ska guitar arrangements, especially on "Το Καλοkαιρη," but ska this ain't, and the band's unique
take on glum rock quickly grew on me.
Oρα Μηδέν were remarkably talented at creating an atmosphere of anxiety, especially on "Κόλαση" and "Πιρελλη Ελλάς Α.Ε." On "Κόλαση," "Hell," a swelling bassline and drums usher in the singer's sonorous hum, broken by sparkles of guitar strewn across the beat, which quickly switches back into a churning, anxious cycle. "Πιρελλη" comes close to industrial noise, with its chugging drumbeat and scratchy, reiterated guitar note. It's suffocating, and for the whole track you're just waiting for an explosion- it never comes. The gorgeous, mournful guitar lick opening "Αφιέρωση"alone makes the demo noteworthy. 
 Ώρα Μηδέν produced one helluva demo, and it's a fucking shame they only recorded one more 7". On the strength of this demo alone I'll put them up against any of your deathrock idols. Do yourself a favor and download this.

A fascist regime! // Κατεβάζω Ευχαριστώ πόλη /thank you very much to the guy at Social Subproducts blog for putting me onto this band. Check out that blog and this for some great Greek punk. 
*Thanks a lot for the correction on the band's name and translation! The demo didn't come with a picture, so I provided my own of Athenian graffitti. It reads "Class hatred." *

*EDIT, 9.8.12: Reupped the file. Get it HERE.*

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Proletariat-Marketplace 7" (1985)

Most people first heard Massachusetts' The Proletariat on the This is Boston, Not L.A. comp, where they stood out from the largely hardcore roster with their jagged, staccato guitar and prominent basslines-Gang of Four, not  DYS.

This is probably my favorite Proletariat record. The two songs are typical fare from the band: the guitar's mixed a bit more prominently than on the Soma Holiday LP, but the bass and drums still lead the band while the vocalist intones about the usual Reagan-era enemies. The production's a bit better than on previous efforts, but glossy it ain't.

The Proletariat all too often gets dismissed as simply a Marxist curiosity amid a sea of crypto-fascist straight edge Boston HC, but they really go beyond that-they were one of the only worthwhile American bands emulating British post-punk, and they've aged much better than most of their hardcore brethren.

They made you a moron.... Taaang released a complete retrospective awhile ago, Voodoo Economics, which is well worth owning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Darvocets-Are New Wave 12" EP (2008)

Since the Electric Eels' John Morthland used to go into steelworker bars in the early '70s, dancing with bandmates just to start fights, Cleveland, Ohio has turned out some of the, ah, most animated rock around. From the Dead Boys to the Inmates, Cleveland bands are infamous for their loud, trashy, proudly ignorant brand of noise, usually accompanied by beer-bottle-throwing fans and/or fireworks.

I'm not gonna say that Darvocets don't fit in with their brethren, but Flyin' Tricheros they ain't. Midtempo, guitar-driven songs about aliens, Big Foot, and anti-gravity craft predominate over misogynistic drivel, and this album is more suited to getting zonked on acid than slamming Budweiser and starting fights at redneck bars. Fittingly, this LP appears just before Young, Loud and Snotty when I listen to it on itunes.

a potential H-bomb. Fashionable Idiots is out of these, but there's a whole bunch 'o' awesome stuff on offer, so check it out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Neo Boys-s/t 7" (1980)

Portland's been producing great punk bands since day one: the Wipers, the Rats, and the Neo Boys. Produced by the Wipers' mastermind Greg Sage, and released on his label, Trap, this EP is a forgotten classic of first wave U.S. punk.

Usually overshadowed by the aforementioned bands, Neo Boys definitely did not fit in with the nascent U.S. hardcore scene of the early 1980s: i the ladies of Neo Boys offered bouncy, oblique tunes closer to what these folks were up to than, say, Minor Threat or The Nihilistics.

"Never Comes Down" opens with a spritely, echoing surf guitar line accompanied by a hyperactive rhythm section that never slips into thrash. "Give Me the Message" might be the strongest of the three tracks, though-
I really like how the guitar chord punctuates the vocals, and it has a weirdly sunny beat. " The husky, slightly sneering  quality of Kim Kincaid's voice appears most clearly on "Rich Man's Dream."

God save the Queen.... This is available as a bootleg from Bowery Records, no idea where to get an original-EBay? Peeps this for a good history of Neo Boys, and some live footage. Fuck PDX stenchcore, this is the real deal, folks!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Heavy Times-Dead LP (2010)

Boyhowdy, boppers,  is this a departure from the Priority Male Rex cassette I reviewed back in June, Sick Listens!
Whereas said cassette was a freeform jumble of tunes, "Dead" is a fucking statement. Starting out with the wicked bad raditude of "Welcome to the Graveyard," the Times immediately lurch into a different key with the lite crooner "Poison Ivy". The LP grooves its way towards the epic freakout jam of "Dead Lake," where all of Heavy Times' druggy brilliance is on display.

 Shit is fuckin' crucial, man. Perfect for sex on a mixture of Valium and Adderal. Totally.
...she ain't no human being!  "Dead" is still available from Permanent Records. Look out for a new Heavy Times LP in the near future-pop over to Tiny Grooves for a preview.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"We Are the Future...nothing can stop us!" mixtape

I'd be lying if I said I didn't spend a good amount of time last week smoking weed on couches. Some of this quality herb time was accompanied by an unheralded masterpiece of modern avant garde cinema...if you don't know what I'm talking about, that's your problem, Teacher Teacher!

There is no future....

Track list:

1. Tennis-South Carolina
2. Emily Reo-Metal on your Teeth
3. Grazhdanskaya Oborona-Na nasyh Glazah
4. Heavy Times-Poison Ivy
5. Alright Alreadies-Aquarium
6. Loose Dudes-Father’s Day
7. Mika Miko-Zombies take One
8. The Repos-Half a Hole
9. The Ropes-Down in Flames (Dead Boys cover)
10. Cacaw-Bye Bye Dodo
11. Pink Reason-Borrowed Time
12. Black Tambourine-I Was Wrong
13. Wipers-Return of the Rat
14. Whirl-Leave
15. Sun Kil Moon-Lily and Parrots
16. Cat Power-I Don’t Blame You
17. The Raincoats-No Looking
18.[hidden track]
19. Dead Moon-Unknown Passage

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crazy Spirit-I'm Dead 7" EP (2011)

I didn't want to post this, since it came out two months ago and Crazy Spirit is currently king shit of the DIY scene, making this readily available on the 'net. But goddamn! Since picking this up yesterday it's all I've been spinning (well, besides ABBA, but that's between me and those Swedes...).

The bizarrely superb drumwork; Walker's tortured gremlin snarl; the perfectly-timed, minimal guitar solos. All these set CS apart, But there's an undefinable something to Crazy Spirit such that they excel. Maybe the stars are simply aligned properly, but I don't get sick of them despite heavy listening over several months.

"I'm Dead" continues the strain of their first 7", but "This World is Not my Home" takes them a step beyond. Opening with a wash of white noise, the song really starts with CS's famous "galloping horses in the pit" drumming: here, a stutter-step beat crashing forward into a tale of existential alienation. I dunno if it's actually an old blues standard, but Walker nails the vocal phrasing and the guitar sounds like Blind Lemon Jefferson on amphetamine.
The other two songs are good, too, but "This World" is the centerpiece, and shows just how audacious Crazy Spirit is. What's next, a crust opera double 10"? I can't wait!

...in England's dreaming! BUY HERE!!! from Mata La Musica Discos. Big ups to ICDT blog, from whom I learned that this thing existed.

*EDIT, 9.20.12: REUP is HERE.*

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nohopekids-s/t EP (2011)

So this whole Olympia punk thing is starting to wear a bit thin. All these teen punks in heat actin' like it's 1995 all over again with their lifestyle politics and horrible B.O....boy howdy, dear readers, it's enough to make this senior citizen wanna crack an Old Style, load up on Klonopin, and zonk himself to death on yonder sofa.

Bring on Nohopekids, Budapest's biggest, baddest scuzzfuckers. Despite being recorded closer to the Kremlin than Ford Motor Works, this cat has the mid-60s garage thing down pat. Relentlessly monotone sheetmetal drumming! Almost-melodic guitars! Hollered, indecipherable caterwauling! Yes!
The highlight is "The Lonely Surfer pt. 2" where Mr. Nohope cuts the sonic squall for some truly pretty guitar work.
If your week has been as freaked out as mine, you'll dig this as you sink deeper into your Thursday night spiral of booze 'n' pills.

Don't be told about what you want.... Check out dude's bandcamp page for his other releases. I'd totally buy the physical product if I had a clue as to how to do so.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Piresian Beach-s/t EP (2010)

The flophouse I've been crashing at for the last few days is called Poopy Pants. Given the serious disconnect between reality and my current condition, I figured some drugged down, fucked up Hungarian shitpsych was in order.

There's a hazy, phantasmic quality to these songs. Despite a bruising, dominant drum track on every song, the EP is rather free-form. The keyboard/drum beat of "Lost" swaggers along, with the Zsofia's husky voice just strong enough to sustain it.

"Lazy" opens with a stuttering kick drum and shimmering guitar notes. Zsofia's at the bottom of the Coral Sea, with the guitar swirling in and out of focus. It's what smoking hash on Tahiti must be like: everything is so pretty, this must be a dream, right?
Then the frenzied, moaning synth note and pummeling beats of "Filthy Dreams" drag you through the late-night scuzz. Throw it on to accompany sloppy, sweaty fucking after a hot August night of drinking cheap gin and popping any and all pills come your way...gross, but kinda fun!

Don't be told what you need! This very talented lady has a new album, "Fuck Your Mind," out; check out her bandcamp page for samples of it. No idea of how to acquire a physical copy of this EP, try emailing her at the address given on the bandcamp page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Hands of Cain-The Only Sound (2009)

Formed in Athens in the early '80s, the Hands of Cain recorded a handful of tracks before ubmerging into the raki stew of Εξάρχεια.

This collection could pass as a flagship release of Minimal Wave or Wierd Records. All the classic elements of "cold" wave are here: mournful, gusting synth lines, semi-automized drumming, and an inaudible, halfdead vocalist.

But this isn't simply a Greek Bauhaus imitation. The tracks are uneven, spanning as they do three years and various recording sessions. The mood is autumnal, mournful. Yet there are occasional bursts of warmth and sunlight, like when the motorik drums on "Two Steps to the End" cut through the droning synth. The most impressive song is the 7" version of "Pristine Passion." The synth layers aren't so heavy here, and the individual instruments stand out: robotic, clanging drumming, a numb synth line, and guitar that's distinguishable from the synth, instead of being drowned by it.

It's a shame Hands of Cain didn't stick around longer; it sounds like they were headed away from the uniformly grey ambiance of their early work toward something more dynamic.

There's no future! //[kατεβάζω!] //Annalogue Records seems to still have copies of the collection, with "Pristine Passion" included on a separate, white vinyl 7". Props to Urban Aspirines, from which I think I got this originally. The tomb picture has nothing to do with Hands of Cain, it's a sepulchral sculpture from a 13th-century tomb. Deathwave, eat your heart out!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Ropes-Demo II CS (2011)

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you should know what to expect from the second Ropes demo: short, blazing, retardedly amazing Chicago hardcore.

This release is well on its way to being more sought-after than Mark McCoy's used condoms: it was super short-run, contained a mini-zine, and was dedicated to Ohio. Falling somewhere inside the punk side of the punk/HC border, this demo kills. The cover of "Down in Flames," in your humble narrator's opinion, blows the Dead Boys original out of the water. The wrestling interlude really puts it over the edge.

So crack a beer, turn on wrestling re-runs from the '70s, and get rad!

There is no future ... I'm sure this is long gone; check Ebay. Meanwhile, the 7" may still be available; check The Ropes' blog. Rock out!

*EDIT, 9.20.12: REUP is HERE.*

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weed Hounds-Beach Bummed 7" EP (2010)

This EP reminds me of Slacker. "Beach Bummed" and "Skating away from the Cops" drift along in a pleasantly stoned blur, much like the denizens of Austin, Tx. ca. 1990.
  Weed Hounds get better at the soft/loud, slow/fast dynamic with every recording. Opening with a few shimmering chords, "Beach Bummed" is a charming summertime tune. The singer's airy lament for boyfriend blooz nicely frames the squallingly harmonic guitar.  The fuzzy haze is great for smoking a blunt by the seaside, watching sailboats and life slide by.

"Skating Away from the Cops" has a bit more forward momentum to it, and  is awesome cool kid makeout music (Kevin Johnson, get in line). It has all the essential shoegaze elements: a wash of mildly harsh feedback, chiming drumwork, spritely singing....aw man, where's that MDMA?

 There's no future Check out the Hounds' website for shows, news, etc. The Beach Bummed 7" is still available from Iron Pier. Also, Weed Hounds is supposed to be dropping an LP on Katorga Works sooooonnnnnnn!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Birth Deformities-Demo CS (2011)

 To celebrate my return to the U.S. of A., I'm posting something quintessentially Amerikuhn...

... brash, willfully ignorant, and mildly offensive. Bring on Birth Deformities, Chicago's newest vomiterrific offering from the Culo (blogger won't let me enter an umlauted "u") kids.

These swaggering young deformities offer a heaping dose of snotty midtempo punk. The instruments are mixed at the same volume, which lends more weight to the galloping, tight drumwork, especially on the opener "You're Deformed." The "Never Again"-style guitar work really comes to the fore on "My Walls," while it's hard not to chant along to the closing vocals on "Hate Group"...oh, and the breaking glass/giggling burbling closeout is rad, too.

BD's lastfm page says they're hellbent on "ignoring their town's PC bent," which makes no sense to me-Chicago's never had the sort of uptight, self-righteous PC gestapo element found in DC or San Francisco; if anything, retarded, apolitical lunkheads usually dominate the field. But whatever, it's actually more PR to spazz out about imaginary scene problems than real existing ones, right? Party on, Wayne!

There's no future for you! Cowabunga Records seems to be sold out of the cassette, but drop the good folks at Narrow Mind blog (from whence I stole the demo and picture) a line and they should have some kicking around. Anarchy in the USA!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chromagain-Any Colour You Like 12" EP (1985)

I'm moving back to the States tomorrow after a couple of months living in Italy. As a way of saying arrivederci to Il bel paese, here's a delectable slice of mid-80s synthwave, care of Chromagain, from Torino (Turin). Besides having a great, Ernst Junger-esque title, "Storm of Steel" is the stand out track with its glacial beauty.

 God save the Queen...  It looks like Rome's Mannequin Records has repressed this gem, so hop on over there and pick it up (although I prefer the original cover art, personally)!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Monogamy-Posture Smiles Upon You (2011)

Since the advent of the internet, everyone's been talkin' tall shit about overconnectivity, there's no new ideas 'cause we steal 'em from the interweb, blahblahblah. Well, lemme tell ya: isolation fucking sucks. It leads to all sorts of neuroses and it's not something to fetishize.

Enter Monogamy, a one-person project outta whereverthefuck Michigan. The recording is monotone, and dude's deliberately skewed warble prevents you from understanding him, but what kinda dumbass looks for texture and baroque vocalizing from bedroom music? My fave track on here is "She's Wierded Out" [sic]-it has a mean, urgent guitar note that counterpoints the relentless drum machine nicely. If this was recorded in the '70s, I'd say it was the product of a kid freaking out on Lester Bangs, Ziggy Stardust, and too many Quaaludes; as it is, I'm looking forward to what dude produces next.

We mean it, man! You can buy the physical product from the Rok Lok Rex distro; dude also has a website. Rad, man!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-The Boatman's Call LP (1997/2011)

"Stars will explode in the sky/but they don't, do they?/Stars have their moment, and then they die."-Nick Cave

Easily one of the best albums of the 1990s, The Boatman's Call is also, according to Cave, one of his most personal. This album is brutally introspective. It's intense, while eschewing the hell for leather, brutal rock 'n' roll that characterized much of the Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds' output.

It sounds like Cave poured a lifetime of bittersweet melancholy and hard-won wisdom into this album and it shows, in the music as well as the lyrics. The more you listen, the more nuance emerge from the music: a beautifully-placed violin here, just the right piano note complementing a vocal phrase there. Cave's dissolving relationship with his ex-wife and PJ Harvey form the main lyrical concerns, along with his new-found Christian faith; this is passionate music from one of those guys, like Lou Reed and Iggy, that surprises you by staying alive as much as his consistently remarkable music.

We love our Queen! Boatman's Call was recently reissued, and you can buy it from the Bad Seeds, here. Cave's solo work with Warren Ellis is also fantastic.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brett Naucke-Southern California CS (2010)

Somewhere in an 1970s interview with Lester Bangs, Captain Beefheart compared his music to sculpture, and said that he created music with a sculptor's vocabulary, not that of a musician.

Similarly, it seems appropriate to describe this cassette-only release as if it were a painting:
"Southern California" unfolds like a medieval triptych. The first tracks sketch out the ambience. A sense of expectant calm pervades the music until "Clouded Sky:" "Valley" conjures up someone watching a sunset from a California mountaintop, hemmed in by sea and desert.

Things get fuckin' weird in the second panel, with "Clouded Sky:" continuing the triptych, the saved are being sorted out from the damned and things are starting to get evil[...] Ok, enough of this nonsense. This is a great accompaniment to your August roadtrip, or, if you're me, sitting in bed day-dreaming 'cause Bologna's too damn hot.

God saves... This is long out of print from Arbor Records, but Brett runs his own awesome label, Catholic Tapes, one of my favorite Chicago labels.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brilliant Colors-Introducing LP (2009)

If it wasn't so fucking hot here in Bologna, I might be dancing to this thing. Brilliant Colors has been around for a few years now; on this, their first LP, they managed the difficult feat of producing a punk LP that has a uniform sound, without boring the shit out of the listener. It's sugary not saccharine, and definitely hearkens back to the first wave of '60s garage punk, without slavishly imitating any one band.

 The standout tracks here are "Over There," from their first EP, and "Mythic," with a menacing guitar line that sticks with me even though I've only heard it when drunk. My main complaint with the album is that on most of the tracks, the guitar is mixed so loudly that the drums and bass are only intermittently audible.

The closer, "Should I Tell You," also found on their first EP, is probably the all-around tune on "Introducing." It showcases the guitar-vocal harmony pairing that makes Brilliant Colors effective, and feels like the culmination of the LP (by which I mean, you wouldn't fast forward to this if listening to it on CD).

God save the Queen  "Introducing" is still available from Slumberland Records, along with Brilliant Colors' subsequent 2010 EP and 2011 LP, "Again and Again." Support some very talented ladies! Be sure to catch 'em live if you live in the Bay Area, I've heard they're fantastic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Canadian Rifle-Facts 7" (2010)

Canadian Rifle is one of my favorite Chicago bands. I've spent many a winter night, Goose Island in hand, hollering along to them in filthy basements filled to capacity with fellow disgusting, sweaty drunk folks.

Canadian Rifle is the perfect accompaniment to wasting a summer's night in a bar, nursing whiskey: fast punk rock replete with offhand guitar riffs and Jake's trademark ashtray croon. The recording is more raw than on their previous efforts; CR loses nothing in the change.

'cos tourists are money ...You can and should buy the fucker over at Residue Records. These guys have been around for forever (well, Nick's my age, but whatever)-check out their previous bands: 4th Rotor, Ambition Mission, Hostage Situation, blahblahblah.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Repos-S/T LP (2003[?])

Ok, somehow I weaseled my way into a Bologna hotel that's fancy enough to play wanky early-90's Paula Abdul-soundin' R&B lite (gimme Little Richard, mofo!).

It's weird pretending to be a fancyschmancy adult, lemme tell ya-a feeling I'd imagine the Repos know quite well. This band was like someone giving a speech s/he doesn't believe in and-trying to look very serious about it, but can barely keep from cracking up and laughing at themselves. "Look, we're in a hardcore band in 2003! We release records on a label run by an asshole! The joke's on you...and us! Ha! Gimme a beah!

and our figurehead...  This is a Youth Attack! release. Surrender all hope of paying less than what Mark McCoy's farts go for on EBay to get it. So go buy something from THE ROPES. N'duh.