Monday, November 28, 2011

Bootblacks/Monozid split 7" EP (2010)

 I hate Interpol. Those bastards didn't respond to Peter Hook when he submitted his CV to them, when they were looking for a new bassist! MOre broadly, I despise the revival of the dancey end of post-punk over the last decade, in anodyne, safely depoliticized, rhythmic form for the moronic suburban masses. Those bastards don't deserve Gang of Four. They deserve Miley Cyrus, or whatever it is that civilians listen to (is Miley Cyrus a musician, even?).

Like Talking Heads said, "this ain't no party/this ain't no disco."  At its best, post-punk was dangerous, provocative, nerve-wracking, and, yes, funky. But there was always a message and a point behind the sinuous basslines.

So I was pleasantly surprised when that "post punk" the guy from Leipzig's Monozid used in his email linking me this split meant "post punk like The Pop Group," not "post punk like Gang of Four/some dance band." Brooklyn's Bootblacks churns out two taut, threshing floor tunes built around pummeling drumwork and laser-wire guitar. Monozid grinds out the sort of frantic, anxious, declamatory buzz dance that I associate with mid-period Ex or The Pop Group. The guy's voice is suitably hollow, the guitar dense as steel wool, especially on "Shame of the Nation," where it sounds like a howling insect.

The post punk revival in the States has, for the most part, produced a heaping pile of hipster shit, with Pitchfork media buzzing over the pile, leering away. But these two bands convinced me that, even at this late date of the 2010s, people can still do something worthwhile with off notes, stutter-step drumming and leading bass.

Check it out here. Monozid lives here. Bootblacks live dissa way.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Alone & Forsaken VI: November.

I've been wired on cheap speed and bad beer and worse coffee for the last fort-eight hours. So I hereby legally and officially disclaim any responsibility for this post. It's all on you, as Bane said in some shitty song about unit pride I loved when I was a teenager (I wish mofos on livejournal had catalogued their show in Chicago in 2003...stagedives and bro-downs with bullet belts, eat yer heart out!).

Some of y'all might take offense to the fact that Beirut is included on this mix, and follows Joe Strummer, nonetheless. Fuck you. I ain't comparing Zach Condon to the venerable Strummer legend, far from it-no one's gonna match Joe. He's a hero in deez heer parts. I just happen to think "East Harlem" sounds real good. Deal.

Go away, blow your brains out!...November.....

1. Pink Reason-Winona
2. Tom Waits-November
3. Grazhdanskaya Oborona-Ej, babica blevani!
4. Joe Strummer-Good Times Role (Rude Boy outtake, Joe Strummer solo!)
5. Beirut-East Harlem
6. Glass Cake-Friend Forever
7. The Mekons-Garage D'or
8. The Scrotum Poles-Night Train
9. Elvis Depressedly-Turn Blue
10. Dirty Beaches-North West Sea
11. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis-Moving On
12. Popol Vuh-Selig sind die, die da hungern
13. Eluvium-Requiem on Frankfort Ave.

p.s.-Bands/musicians that have been sending me stuff-I'll post reviews of your material soon, shit's been hitting the fan here at Drug Punk HQ lately.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(Young) Pioneers-We March! 7" EP (1995)

Please don't misunderstand this. I'm not going folky on ya, nor am I a huge (Young) Pioneers fact, I find their LP downright obnoxious. The whole folk punk movement was and is fucking stupid; back when I was 17 or so, I was real into dressin' all in black and acting like I was part of some sort of political movement.
I wasn't. Even more so than most sub-niches of punk, folk punk was and probably always will be a haven for overprivileged white kids (like micelf, natch!) who feel super-duper guilty about being...uh...white and overprivileged...and take it out by dressing like hobos and signing about...being hobos.

But this EP Is fucking great. In fact, Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer's Mescaleroes work aside (which really ain't part of the American folk punk schtick anyways), this is all you need to hear from this end of the punk spectrum. (Young) Pioneers specialized in poorly-constructed, ramshackle and "heartfelt", mildy distorted anthems about...uh...whatever Vermiform Rex bands sang about. Politics? Point is, usually this was an annoying formula but for whatever reason these four songs are majestically inept, instead of just boring and smug.

The guns of New Year's Eve. I bought this off Martin, the singer for crudos/Limp Wrist, when Straightjacket Nation toured the States...good luck scroungin' a copy, and no, youse cants haves mines!

*EDIT, 9.15.12: I reup'd the file. Get it HERE. *

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Culo-Toxic Vision EP (2011)

Ever since these guys crawled out of Elgin back in 2008 or so, my friends can't stop raving about 'em. Elgin, for non-Chicagoans, is a benighted suburb somewhere out in the cornfields west of Chicago. I'm guessing it's a boring, intellectually crippling place to grow up in.

This EP spouts anger and frustration out of every pore, like a lonely alcoholic on a Saturday night. The first few tracks are atonal thrash, with the guitar and drums careening into brick walls completely removed from each other. Slowly, coherence starts to emerge, especially on the last self-titled track: the "Discharge-meets-Ramones" comparison I keep hearing from Chicago friends finally makes sense on "Toxic Visions."

This EP bears out my friends' claims that Culo is one of the hottest new(ish) HC bands in Chicago...they're not reinventing the wheel, but they know exactly what they wanna do, and they do it perfectly. Bash in a few brain cells and get in the circle pit, dipshit.

Tired, bored, angry. Buy it! Over at Deranged Rex.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Raw Nerve-Midnight EP (2011)

He took another drag of his cigarette.
"Sounds familiar. Just the same old's like Sally Timms said, in that Mekons tune, back in the '80s...what was it? Oh, yeah. This. 'But if I never see you again, I'll die....
Whatever you want, you'll never find the beginning of it. That's why you'll always be too late...Whatever happens, it'll be the thing you didn't want to have happen. Whatever doesn't happen will be the thing you want. Take your choosing. As you like. You always get what you don't want. Now you're talking just like me. It's an eye for an eye, as we move over the darkness...."
"Yup, cycle of shit. What are we doin' tonight?"
"dunno. Ain't shit to do."

....oh, yeah, Raw Nerve's Midnight EP. It's good. It's loud. It's noisy.

"These things happen. Mistakes are made." This is out of print. Buy other shit on Youth Attack!, support the cause. Whatever that is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fuseism-Keep Movin' 7" EP (2011)

I should start this review by saying that I'm not an expert on contemporary emo, and certainly not the international scene. I was a bit surprised that emo (in its original, Revolution Summer, post-harDCore sense) caught on across the pond, since it seems like such a quintessentially  bourgeois, American indulgence.

That aside, this 2-song EP ain't too shabby. One of the things I couldn't stand about Rites of Spring was the whiney vocals that were mixed way too high. Fuseism (is this a new ideology? Budapesters,let me know) thankfully keeps the preachy/confessional stuff to a minimum, and bangs out some good mid-paced punk. The singer certainly sounds like RoS/Embrace-era Ian MacKaye, but his voice is more one of the instruments than the show-stealer, which gives this EP a leg up on some of their mid-'80s influence. The opening guitar riff on "Believers of Fuseism" especially caught my ear, although the song drags a bit at the end.

Are you a believer in fuseism? Check out their bandcamp page for more info, and on how to pick up a physical copy of this. I really dig Fuseism's aesthetic sensibility.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Punk, que punk? Y Ahora que? Compilation (1983)

The older I get, the less I understand how I was able to imbibe such  heroic amounts of booze as a young'n....I feel about as lively as a wet ferret hung out to dry by a fur trapper, and half as smart.

So, dear reader, I'm dumping this on you: a 27-track compilation of early '80s Spanish (Catalan, Murcian, Galician et. al.) punk...there ain't a dud among them. It sounds like all the bands recorded live into a boom box, but whatevs.

I'm re-posting this from Robert's original on Terminal Escape. Hopefully this is justified (hangover aside) by how good the music is, first of all. Also, I re-formatted the tracks so that the individual bands appear as the "artist," which should make it easier to find more information on each band, for those who want to.

Ahora que!

Alone & Forsaken V: The Guns of New Year's Eve.

I got falling-down drunk tonight and won't remember most of whatever it was I did tomorrow. In that spirit, this installment in the A&F series wallows full on in the moronic '90s revival currently sweeping the nation.

Whereas everyone else (including me, usually) is fixated on shoegaze and grunge, this mix goes trawling through the monument to quiet, defiant failure that was the '90s punk scene.
I haven't listened to most of this stuff since I was, at the oldest, 17. Looking back, the early '90s were a much more innocent time in the punk scene: these bands wore their hearts on their sleeves, unabashedly and without the violently nihilistic, sneering tone that's dominated DIY punk since the early '00s. Los Crudos should be on here somewhere, but I lost their discography a long time ago. Two of the songs are not from the '90s, but thematically and emotionally belong there. The last one is a surprise. Dig it.

...I shoulda been kissing you....

1. Jawbreaker-Kiss the Bottle
2. Crimpshrine-Second Generation Junkies
3. Smoking Popes-Not that kind of girlfriend
4. Fugazi-Merchandise
5. Operation Ivy-the Crowd
6. (Young) Pioneers-The Guns of New Year's Eve
7. Filth-The List
8. ihatemyself-Conversations with Dr. Seussicide
9. Some Velvet Sidewalk-Cat & Mouse
10. Black Tambourine-For Ex-Lovers Only
11. Crash & Brittany-It is Chemistry
12. Lorelei-Sometimesmethinks
13. Glass Cake-Foster City
14. Electrelane-To the East
15. a surprise.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Psychic Blood-Strain 7" EP (2011)

It seems like the cultural necrophilia vulture has full alighted upon the late '80s/early '90s. Like any revival wave, this one has had some ups and downs. The last time I was in Olympia, I saw a certain band, which shall remain nameless, shamelessly referencing....Staind. Seriously? What the fuck?

Psychic Blood lands quite opposite that strain of stupidity. I've read a lot of stuff calling them "shoegaze," but I don't think that fits. Both these songs are a bit too dynamic for them to fall among the MBV acolytes. The title track opens with a massive, rolling riff that eventually melds into contorted drumwork and snarled, echoing vocals-kind of like a grunge song if those assholes in Seattle were angry more than apathetic.

"Drudgefest" is just that: in the best grunge tradition, Psychic Blood melds fast punk aggression (especially in the blown out guitar) with slamming, brooding metal. The whole thing sorta just melts into squalling contortions towards the end.

This is a lazy review (I've been reading about this crap for 8 hours, gimme a break!), and I'm not doing Psychic Blood justice. They definitely tip their hat to more than a few Touch & Go/SST/Sub Pop luminaries on this EP, but their tightness and aggression really set them apart from most of this current wave of wanna-be-Seattle '91 kiddies.

You can download the "Strain" EP here. Or don't wait for the download and instead get high while listening to it on Soundcloud. If your copy of Tiger Beat magazine (do they still publish that thing?) hasn't arrived yet and you need some new teen heartthrobs, doods have pictures here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Now Slaying in the Bay

I hate loading stuff onto Mediafire and also happen to live in a magical fairy land where each morning the sun rises and shoots supernatural rays of awesome at the ground, incarnating rad new bands wherever they land. This combination of factors has led to the creation of "Now Slaying in the Bay," an excitingly irregular feature where I will get my blurb on about rad bands playing around recently. Now, without further ado, the first installment of Now Slaying in the Bay:

Lycus-This band, both live and recorded, is a truly destructive sonic force to be reckoned with by anyone with a predilection towards the heavy/crushing/plodding end of the musical spectrum. Lycus plays melodic, even lush, funeral doom that is as decadently slow as it is calculatedly excessive in its brute heaviness. I think there are still copies of their Demo MMXI tape floating around out there, and if you can grab one, it’s one of the best ways around to spend a few bucks. If not, or whatever, or something, kvlt, uhhh, anyway you can listen to it at their Bandcamp.

Whirl-My friend and I saw this band play live the other day. “They sound like falling in love” was the immediate review. That pretty much sums it up when it comes to SF shoegaze fundamentalists Whirl. They’re overwhelmingly huge; I believe I counted 3 guitarists, a bassist, keyboardist, and drummer. Their pop hooks are so fucking sugary sweet you can’t stop taking them in until you’re in a coma, and they’re too catchy to get out of your brain for more than a few minutes. It’s almost too much, but it’s not, so it’s damn good. Stream their entire Distressor LP at their Bandcamp!

Swamp Witch- If you do drugs and like droning, tortured doom metal, then you’ll probably understand why the concept of chopping and screwing a droning, tortured doom metal track is a thoroughly good one. Swamp Witch has now done us all the courtesy of incarnating that concept as a reality, forever etched into the B side of their debut tape release Gnosis. On the A side, SW lumbers through three massive slabs of humidity-putrefied drone doom for the truly wretched. Tapes just sold out, but the whole A side is streaming at the Swamp Witch Soundcloud and can be downloaded here. The B-side version of the title track, as chopped and screwed by DJ Dreemz, can be found on Youtube.

Connoisseur- Like the finest hardcore bands of the 90’s, Connoisseur’s lyrics speak for themselves in absolute terms. All you need to know is they are straightforward doomy grind with lots of blast beats and slow parts. Now for the quotes:

“What if one day/A burrito ate you?/Think about it.”

“Hand me a beat bong/And pay with your life/Broken glass shards caked in resin…”

“When life has you on the edge/And you think you’re going to fall/Smoke marijuana.”

“I’ve smoked more weed than you’ve/Ever seen in your life/Fuck you…”

Now, look inwards. Based on your reaction to these quotes, you now know whether you like this band. I think they fucking rule, and they’ve started playing new songs live that are above and beyond what’s recorded on the Stoned Back to Life demo whose tracks you can listen to at their Soundcloud. If you’re not high now, you never were.

The Repos/Fourteen or Fight Split (Gloom, 2004)

First of all, can I just comment on how amazing this cover is? I can only say that I wish more hardcore kids were rockin' DIY '70s stoner metal jeans these days instead of crotch-crunching designer denim.

On that note, if you're familiar with this blog, you're familiar with my love of The Repos. Not much to be said about their side: seven retarded, magisterially executed tunes about...uh...whatever.
Not many people outside of Chicago remember Fourteen or Fight, which is a shame. They were just getting started when I began going to DIY shows; I saw them maybe 3 or 4 times. They were great. No fuss, no muss, no fancy art school shit; these guys belted out direct, barebones hardcore with Frank's desperate, earnest vocals cresting the

Light up that bong, and dive into this fucked feast from Gloom. It's long out of an aggressive collector, and try EBay.
*EDIT, 9.20.12: REUP is HERE.*

*EDIT, 1.9.14: Re-up'd it again, HERE!* 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sarongs-s/t CS (Prison Art/Velidox tapes, 2011)

Like the work of DNA, who deconstructed rock 'n' roll into twitching bits and glued it back together with twisted rhumba bridges, Sarongs' first album is a series of precise arguments as much as a collection of songs. Almost unique among the slew of bands that have resurrected no wave in the last few years, Sarongs keeps the distortion to a minimum, and the result is a remarkably versatile album.
"Pedestrians" begins as a fairly straightforward post-punk tune, but chops up into two or three distinct parts. "North Face" jerks the listener in the other direction, into frantic drum fills and yelped vox-the singer sounds like he's trying to jump out and away from the rest of the band, and the song's held in place by the sneering female chorus line. It's like hearing two people get in a screaming match with an epileptic fit going on.

This would be a very boring release if "surf+no wave song arrangements" was the only thing going on here. Not so.  On the last two tracks, "Mineral" and "Goodbye Horses," Sarongs veers into truly fucked, truly evil ground. Using sustained, pulsing guitar, plodding drums, and plaintive vocals, both songs create a distinct sense of lurking the feeling you get walking home late at night, with someone following you just out of sight.

Sarongs is up to no good on this, and it fuckin' rips. Winter's just around the corner, and this is a good soundtrack to curling up under a filthy blanket with a bottle of peppermint schnapps, hiding from the cold and your demons.
Listen to it and BUY IT here. Check out Prison Art tapes, too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Brainbombs-Urge to Kill LP (Load, 1999)

"I was a teenage zombie..." pt. 3

My first year of high school was noteworthy for the cast of freaks, druggies, and general n'er do-wells whose constellation I entered immediately upon matriculating from Catholic elementary school. I was a spry young lad with brain cells to spare, and boy, was I sparing with them that first year!
One of these characters, whom I'll be referring to as Ally, was extra-special special. She had arrived in Chicago from Nowheresville, Midwest (i.e., Indiana), and alighted upon my fair 'burg with a vengeance. By which I mean, this girl raided her father's medicine chest each morning for a cocktail of...what didn't she have? Codeine. Valium. Adderal. That antihistamine that rednecks use to make meth. Dayquil. Nyquil. Oh, and just for good measure, a Sunny Delight 20 ounce screwdriver.

Sometimes, Ally would share her bounty with me. One sunny Wednesday morning, we got started early. Popped some Valium at 10 am, an Adderal each at 11, and split the screwdriver over lunch. By 12:30, life was melting all around us. Nothing the teachers said made sense, the other kids kept telling us to stop drooling, and apparently Ally started nodding off in the midst of a chemistry set while I was ranting like a machinegun about Jorg Haider (yes, Jorg Haider). This merry day was brought to an end when Ally swandived into a bleacher during gym class. I made my escape out a back door and spent the rest of the afternoon hiding in the bathroom, mumbling to myself about globalization in a drugged fog.

The Urge to Kill LP is the history of that day on record. I just didn't realize someone had predicted it so accurately, a year before it happened! Listen to this and understand Billy Bao.

Mass murder on a scale you've never seen.  Dee Brainbombs lives here. You can buy this LP here.

*Edit, 12.10.13: I finally got around to re-upping the file. You can now revel in Brainbombs' majesty HERE *

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alone & Forsaken IV: In a lonely place.

 "Hidden cracks that don't show/they just constantly grow..."-Elliott Smith, "2:45'

It's finally almost cold enough to start rockin' ye olde black
leather motorcyle jacket out in these here parts, so it's probably also time for a small dollop of misery to start emanating from yonder mediafire files while you sip some box wine and sink deeper into autumnal malaise, dontcha say?

Enjoy, dear fux.

The Cure-The Hanging Garden
Xeno & Oaklander-Shadow World
The Hands of Cain-In a Dark Cell
Metro Decay-Iaonio (itunes butchered the song title, sorry)
Total Control-Love Performance
Twent Four Hour World K 7
Joy Div-Isolation
Autumn-Not Afraid to Die
Iggy-Tiny Girls
Blank Dogs-Racing Backwards
Maria Minerva-California Scheming

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ultratumbados-MMVII demo (2007)

Ultratumbados was just getting started when I left Chicago for sunnier climes, and I only saw 'em a coupletwotree times. They killed it, always.  I first heard them mentioned as "that band that just does Warsaw covers," and they shared members with Population.

This demo contains nary a Warsaw tune, although there is a sick take on my favorite Eskorbuto song. This, their LP-length demo, still surprises me three years later for its snotty, fresh blast of songwriting and how well these guys threw '77 punk and goth into a melodic stew all their own. My faves iz "Soy un Elegido," with its pummeling drumwork, and the hollow guitar tones on "Desnutrido Como un elefante."

Peeps dis shit if you like your punk melodic, your goth rockin', and/or your guitarists large.

Mierda! Only fifty copies of this were made, but contact the band here, and you should be able to find copies of their 7" and, I think, LP(?).