Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kent State/At the Heart of the World split CS (2012)

Wrapping up the Kent State tape series, this one features Bodymore, Murdaland's At the Heart of the World. You really need to be on different drugs to dig the two sides: I'd recommend booze and weed for KS, but break out the Valium and 'shrooms for ATHOTW.

The Kent State tunes veer away slightly from the  shoegaze bent of the previous two tapes, in favor of the jangle-pop displayed on the Walk Through Walls EP. "Past Lives" is wasted fuzz pop, while "Last Meal" sounds like something that one of the original Slumberland Rex bands coulda made. I wanna say that Nick's going in a Brianjonestownmassacre direction with "Big Iron Door:" chanted vocals, maracas, lightly-strummed acoustic guitar, etc.

At the Heart of the World is quite a departure from the Kent State side, and the split tape series as a whole. Instead of Nirvana worship (Airlooms) or orchestral dream pop (Doleful Lions), we get three chunks of vicious, sadistic noise a la peopling or Dominick Fernow's various maladies. I don't dig this stuff too much these days-turns out it's a bad idea to embrace one's inner demons-but I like these three crunching, lurching slabs of disgust with humanity. I think that the three songs are remixes or alternate takes on the same programming.

Dig it here, dear fux.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bad Indians-The Path Home 7" (2011)

I'm mostly familiar with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, MI's noise scene, but apparently wolverines can bang out garage just as well as sadistic drone.

From the opening, trilling guitar notes to the humming "oooo"s of the close out, this 7" is note-perfect garage rock in the great tradition of ? & the Mysterians. The first track is ultra-lo-fi, hum-worthy pop that coulda been recorded in a Seattle garage ca. 1964. "All Over Now" frames pretty, throwaway female vocals with a romping big beat and surf guitar, while the vocals for "So Long Sam" are a perfect recreation of the snarling, snide tone popularized by Mssrs. Jagger, Burdon, et. al.

This is one of the funnest records I've heard recently, and I highly recommend you pick it up via Bad Indians' bandcamp page. The Indians are playing in Chicago, next Saturday (Feb. 4th), with Heavy Times at a "secret" loft, the address of which is 1542 Milwaukee Ave. GO!

I'm reposting this from the tinygrooves blog, which you should check out, if you haven't already.

It's all over now.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kent State/Airlooms split CS (2012)

This is the second installment in the Kent State split tape trilogy. KS delivers three more of their trademark wasted dreampop. If MBV's "Loveless" had a cinematic quality to it, KS' stuff on these tapes is episodic: I find that it accompanies wasted nights spent aborting bottles of cheap red wine and downing painkillers quite well. I really dug the howling guitar denouement of "Interest Position."
 Kent, Ohio's Airlooms smashes out two tracks of churning alt-rock ca. 1993-94. I really can't make up my mind on them. The lazy guitar riffs and shambolic rhythm section are endearing, but sometimes the singer seriously overdoes the Kurt Cobain affectations. The vocals sound a lot better on "No One" than "Cheyanne." Best in small doses, especially if you listen to a lot of Nirvana. They're a lot closer to KS' sound than the other bands in the split series, Doleful Lions and At the heart of the World, so it's a natural transition.

You can download, and then buy, the tape over at Kent State's bandpage.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teenagers-demo CS (2012)

Warsaw's Teenagers blew me away with their two-song demo in December. This, consisting of those same two songs ("I want to know" and "leaving home") plus 3 new tunes, is simply rad.

I don't like to indulge in gushing about a band, but Teenagers is pretty much everything I look for in a surf pop band: short, melodic guitar lines; meaningless lyrics sung/hollered in an almost-harmonic way; and rolling drums that move like a wave.
The first two songs, "I want to know" and "leaving home" are a concise statement of Teenagers' appeal: simple and pleasureable, they're superficial in the best way possible. "All my friends are gone" almost sounds evil, prolly 'cause of the guitar tuning. "I don't care" is a put-down song in the best Nancy Sinatra tradition: dude left, fuck 'im, who cares, right? Right.

Revel in Teenagers' raditude here. Stay tuned for more info on this band, they're amazing and this demo is at the top of my list of 2012 releases (it's only January, but so what?).

*edited, 1.31.12.* Also, check out the lumberjack vibed vid for "All my friends are gone:"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kent State/Doleful Lions split CS (2012)

As a lot of you prolly know already, Nick from Kent State is inaugurating the new year in fine fashion by dropping a triad of split cassettes on us.

This one, with Chapel Hill's Doleful Lions (now based in Chicago), is an auspicious start. Whereas KS' previous release, Walk Through Walls, wore its Guided By Voices influences on its sleeve (to the point of covering "Pimple Zoo"), they're going for a heavier, washed out sound on this tape. The guitar is a lot less colossal than the heroes of this genre-Dinosaur, Jr., MBV-but the slurred vox, blurry guitar, and echoed drumming all make me think of flannel, long hair, and bad downers. "DNA" may be my favorite KS tune: artfully wasted double-tracked(?) guitar, hazy J. Mascis-esque singing, and an artfully wasted sensibility really set it apart.

Chapel Hill/Chicago's Doleful Lions have been around since 1996; this is the first I've heard by them. "Solar Christmas" and "Night Castle" are clean, undistorted, tightly constructed pop tunes. The arrangements are beautiful, and somehow remind me of this rich girl I accidentally fell for in high school.

 KS and Doleful Lions together are a good antidote to January depression. Pop this on, turn on your sunlamp, and get wasted, bro.

You can download the tape for free, and buy it for $5, on Kent State's bandcamp page. Or you can save some cash and buy this with the other two tapes in the split series. Which I'll be reviewing in the next week or so.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fuck SOPA!

Couldn't figure out how to blackout my blog for the day, but if you're an American citizen, please email spam your congressperson!:


Monday, January 16, 2012

Stable Boys-This is "2 Songs" CS (2011)

Stable Boys delivers two extended tracks of delightfully ramshackle garage punk on this cassette.

Both song titles ("Dioenning It" and "schwartz illustrated! 666") are rather mysterious, and whatever these dudes are howling about is artfully hidden behind a scree of distortion and thunderous drumming. "Dioenning It" is fairly straightforward garage punk: semi-melodic guitar leads, time-keeping rhythm section, semi-harmonized howls acting as a fourth instrument.
"Schwartz illustrated! 666" gets a bit weirder. It sorta has a screamo structure, but garage content, if that makes any sense: off-putting instrumental sections, yowling yowls, a plodding bridge, and an extended instrumental conclusion that sorta drifts off into feedback ether.

I don't know too much about this band, but this cassette has me intrigued enough to check out the physical copy, which you should do too-you can buy it from Ranch Records, here. Or check it out online at their bandcamp page. Stay tuned for a review of their 7" EP.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alone & Forsaken VIII: Morning in America

After all that year-end madness, and in lieu of posting something from the numerous new releases piling up in my inbox, here's some old American hardcore standbys from the Era of Reagan.

We are the sons of Reagan....

1. Reagan Youth-Reagan Youth
2. 7 Seconds-Fuck your Amerika
3. Middle Class-Insurgence
4. Really Red-Modern Needs
5. The Dicks-Dicks hate Police
6. Social Unrest-Rush Hour
7. Bad Religion-Fuck Armageddon, This is Hell
8. Adolescents-No Way
9. T.S.O.L.-Property is Theft
10. Circle Jerks-Live Fast Die Young
11. The Proletariat-Purge
12. N.O.T.A.-Propaganda Control
13. Negative Approach-Can't Tell No One
14. The Teen Idles-Commie Song
15. Artificial Peace-Artificial Peace
16. Youth Brigade-Moral Majority
17. Septic Death-Terror Rain
18. Citizen's Arrest-Death Threat

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Druglust/Ratface split CS (2011)

Yet another heaping dose of ugly East Coast punk...
....this time from Pittsburgh. Drug Lust plays barebones, downtuned, raw punk: sorta like a caveman howling down a cavern on a particularly gusty, torrential day. The recording's a bit muddy-I think this is a live set-but the essence is audible: squalling, trashed punk with a snarling frontman.

Ratface goes for a more propulsive hardcore sound. They've been called "Pittsburgh's Anti-Cimex," which isn't far off the mark: heavy guitars, d-beat pummeling, and a singer who sounds like he's snarling in a wind tunnel. No doubt snarling of war, atrocities, and general human decrepitude. They sorta remind me of Born/Dead's later work.

Victim of a bombraid. I think the tape is out of print, but you can find a copy of Ratface's "Cursed by the State" cassette here. Will post a link for the bands and/or how to get a copy of the tape when I get more info.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 Best Of

Let me start this by saying that, although I run a music blog, I'm pretty thoroughly isolated from most happenings in the music world: I either like something or I don't. I can't afford to buy much new music, and I don't go to a whole lotta shows.

The point is that this list is extremely limited, and probably won't match most of your (the reader's) favorites for the year. Fuggin' deal with it, bro.

I. LPs

Royal Headache-s/t:
2011 was Royal Headache's year. Most of us Yanks missed 'em completely on their US tour, but followed up their stellar debut 7" with this magisterial piece of garage pop. If you've ever wandered the streets of your hometown, broken up over some girl or guy, alone and forsaken, this is your fuckin' album. But the sad parts ("Honey Joy," "Down the Lane") are balanced by jaunty tunes ("Psychotic Episode"), and the result is the most emotionally visceral punk LP I've heard in years. Hell, I even like the instrumentals.

Sold out, but keep checking the RIP Society Tumblr page-there's supposed to be a repress coming this month.

Total Control-Hedge Beat:
I haven't heard their EPs, but Total Control won me over completely with their debut LP. The first song, "Love Performance," is brilliant, and would redeem the rest of the album if it sucked-but it doesn't. This is weird, tightly constructed and intelligent post-punk played by people who know the genre inside and out. Find out for yourself.

Sold out, but apparently gonna be re-stocked, here.

Pink Reason-Shit in the Garden
Despite its rather wretched title, this one surprised me twice: first with how much of a departure it was from PR's previous work, and second by how much it grew on me after repeated listens. From the twisted electro beat of "Holding On" to the extended banjo solo of "You Can't Win," it sounds like Kevin DeBroux's tentatively moving beyond the doom 'n' gloom of his past-what direction he's headed in is anyone's guess, but this LP bears careful, repeated listening. Do it.

Buy it here!

 Piresian Beach-Fuck Your Mind

"Fuck Your Mind" was a marked departure from PB's 2010 EP: less pummeling drumwork and savagely direct guitar lines, more weird ass guitar haze that, you eventually realize, is an infectious hook. Whereas most bands doing the shoegaze revival bit today go for the colossal riffage of My Bloody Valentine, Piresian Beach is mining the pysch-garage vein sketched out by a far older crew of bands, as featured on the Nuggets comp. The band sounds tighter, the hazy, shimmering quality is still there, and this LP is great for smoking weed to: what more do ya want?

Piresian Beach lives here.

Bass Drum of Death-GB City

I got into this late-like, December late-but holy fuck! This thing smokes. Swaggering, absurdly overconfident garage blues from Oxford, Mississippi (home of one William K.). Jingle-jangle whizzbangs blowin' outcha amps, swiggin' Schlitz while trying to finagle seven minutes in heaven. Y'dig?

More info here.

Other hot LPs: Natural Child, 1971; The Men-Leave Home; Maria Minerva-Sacred and Profane Love

The Band in Heaven-7 Minutes in Heaven
"Sleazy Dreams" might be my favorite rock song of the year. An absolutely slamming, hypnotic beat and a relentless guitar line, cold as ice vocals. "If you only knew" sticks it to the complacent listener by diving into Brian Jonestown-esque raga territory. Try and keep up with The Band.

Bash yer head in.

Broken Water-Peripheral Star EP

Broken Water sounds more confident with every outing. On this, their third proper recording, the Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth references are more fluid, the MBVisms more natural, than ever before. Great for a rain-drenched, stoned out day spent staring off into, uh, space.
Buy it.
BW's bandcamp.

Elvis Depressedly-Save the Planet, Kill Yourself

This is not an uplifting, goodtimes album. Butcha already knew that, right? Mr. Depressedly wears his emotions on his chin, and happened to bang out one of the best EPs I heard this year. Apparently the cool kids are into "witch house" instead of chill wave these days, and ED was billed to me as witch house. Whatever else this is, it's deeply felt, at times painful music that swirls in and out of your ears, challenging you to engage with it as something more than whateverthefuck house.
Check it out.

 Crazy Spirit-I'm Dead

Crazy Spirit's my favorite among the new crop of NYC-area noise terrorists (Perdition, Nomos, Omegas, et. al.). Their demo and first EP smoked, but "I'm Dead" finds them branching out into...uh...blues, with "This World is Not my Home." These three tracks showcase all the elements that initially got us all into the band, while hinting at much larger ambitions.

Buy here.

 Dirty Beaches-Practical ESP Ost
I feel like a jerkoff for listing this one, since it was limited to 100 cassette copies, but that's not my fault.

This is four songs of delicate, haunting ambient soundscapes that float in and out of your ears on wings of ether. One of my friends used to cry whenever he heard Sigur Ros' first album. That's not quite the case with this EP, but I come pretty damn close. Dirty Beaches is the band to watch in 2012.
Shit's sold out, duh. I'll post the file at some point soon.

Other hot EPs: The Ropes-s/t EP, Keep Shelly in Athens-Hauntin' Me, Weed Hounds-Beach Bummed, Niva-Feverish Dreams, No Hope Kids-s/t, Okinawa Lifestyle-Under Water

Other shit I don't feel like making a complete list for:

Top Three demos (that I heard): The Ropes-Demo II, Cemetery, Kontaminat, Wild Child

Best 'Zines: Overdosing in Republican World, Feel the Darkness, No Thanks (Fuck Everything)

Ramlord/Condensed Flesh split CS (2011)

I figured that it's ppropriate to start the new year on Drug Punk with a little heavy-hitting sludge from the bleak wastes of New Hampshire. Ramlord and Condensed Flesh turn in the sort of bludgeoning, melodic doom/crust that all the kiddies were trying to play back in the early '00s: Tragedy, call your office. Then the hipsters picked up on it, sometime 'round 2006, and everything went (even more so) to shit.

Most bands in this genre put me to sleep at an alarming clip, but I threw this on in the hopes of working through a nasty hangover and cold the other day, and, while it didn't dissipate said maladies, I'm still spinning it.

Ramlord and CF go straight for the throat with brooding, savage, heavy hardcore a la Artimus Pyle. Ramlord sounds more versatile than Condensed Flesh-the first track, "Restrained," is probably my fave: the fast-slow dynamic works well, and the ghoulish barking doesn't sound cheesy.

Condensed Flesh is harder to get a feel for, mostly 'cause their side is a live mix: the tape hiss is like a fourth instrument. From what I make out, they're doing the From Ashes Rise/Tragedy/et. al. thing: I'd like to catch 'em live.

You're next!

As far as I know, the tape is still available from Stimulation Addict Records, check it out! Ramlord lives here, Condensed Flesh here.