Monday, May 28, 2012

Sonic Death-Gothic Sessions EP (2012)

...Or, the Sonics are back from the dead, and have taken up residency in St. Petersburg. Where they are suffering from the blues.

I'm a little behind on this one, but it blew me away when I played it yesterday with bong smoke billowing out my bedroom window. St. Petersburg's Sonic Death meld garage riffing and psychedelic melancholy to create an EP that's at the top of my list for 2012.

The opener, "Наслаждение," is a mellow, mid-tempo misery stomp, setting the scene nicely for what comes next. "Сейчас (Сукин Сын)" is more concrete, with a snare drum echoing off the basic guitar chords and the singer talk-singing over the hum. "Ко Мне" features a sick guitar riff no doubt stolen from a Thirteenth-Floor Elevators tune with a freaked out, warbling bridge I can't get outta my head. The last track, "Пол," sounds like Yanka Dyagileva on a good day, with a backing band: tambourines, gently strummed acoustic guitar, and mumble-mouthed vocal phrasing.

      What appeals to me the most about Sonic Death is the depth of these songs: the form is garage, but the ambiance completely lacks the cocky, swaggering feel of most American garage. In its place is a bitter(sweet), knowing weariness that most American bands can't muster. I don't know Russian but the music and words connect on a visceral level. As it happens, Dead Moon's "In the Graveyard" follows this EP when I play it on Itunes, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and compare the singer's voice to Fred Cole's: they don't sound alike, but like Fred Cole, this dude knows how you feel and would probably be happy to share some whiskey with you.

Get weird here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Walrus-Odobenus Rosmarus EP (2012)

Halifax's fraternal duo Walrus, unlike most bands featured on Drug Punk, doesn't sound like a drug-induced car crash. Instead, Walrus is the appropriate soundtrack to wandering down the deserted back alleys and empty boulevards of your hometown in the misty rain, searching for that pretty girl (guy?) seen from a distance just the other day.

This two-song EP has a lot more texture than anything I've heard recently. "Van Dyke Brown" opens with rain patter and feels murky, in a tranquil way. The singer's voice is distant and melancholic, but not despondent. The song floats along on gentle currents of electronic percussion and effects, and fades out slowly. "Weekdays" sounds like it was recorded on a blustery day, with more hazy electro-ambience.
The EP sort of reminds me of a more concentrated, compressed version of Herzog's first EP. It's an excellent accompaniment to the merry month of May, and I recommend it.

Check it out here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fun Guns-This Frontier EP (2012)

So, I wanted to write a review of this EP last night after a quick beer, but that quick beer turned into downing a six pack. Long story short, I apparently tried to walk through barbed wire.

Suffice to say, I'm in no condition to burp out coherent thoughts today. So I'll restrict myself to the basics: Fun Guns play subdued, jangly blues with a deep tinge of melancholia that's good for playing while having a nightcap as the sun sets.

But don't take my word for it, check out their bandcamp page, where you can listen to and download it. Also check out their new(er) EP, "Heads Gotta Roll"!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wild Moth-s/t 10" (2012)

Wild Moth is a new band from San Francisco that plays contorted, bummed out pop suitable for dark days and darker nights stewing in your own misery, often self-induced.

The instruments fight for space in the mix, until spilling over into crescendoes of howling guitar and stuttering drum fills, while the singer howls in the background. He sounds like he's having an argument with someone in the other room, who we can't hear. The mix is muddy (deliberately, I think), with the instruments sorta melting together during the choruses. "Morning Sickness" is one of my favorite guitar songs of 2012, so far. "Guilt" almost veers into stoner metal territory, with a plodding rhythm section and heavily downed out guitar sludge: the core of the album sequentially, it also plumbs the depths of squalid 20-something angst with aplomb. I have a skullcrushing, beer-induced headache as I write this, and it sounds like the violent apathy swirling around my brain.

You can download the EP here. Then, be a standup gent and/or lady and buy it from Suitors Club Records, here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crisis-White Youth 7" EP (1978)

Crisis, as many of you will already know, was the first-wave punk band started by Tony Wakeford and Douglas P., later of Death in June infamy, in 1977. The latter has attracted, of course, quite a lot more intention than the former. DIJ is unquestionably the better band (on purely musical terms), but Crisis banged out a few good EPs before callin' it a day.

My favorite's always been 1978's "White Youth." It showcases their early, creeping sound, which was distinct from the contemporary crop of UK bands. The best of these bands wanted to sound like The Clash (rip off some reggae riffs, rant about unemployment, and generally try to be Joe Strummer), while the rest simply sped up the Sex Pistols' guitar sound and writhed in their own misery. Crisis, on the other hand, slowed the punk wrecking ball down to a crawl. "White Youth" creeps along with minor guitar notes and a march-step rhythm section. Someone named Phrazer chants out the, well, very Clash-esque lyrics (minus the terse lyricism that made Strummer so brilliant and unique): White youth shouldn't be nazis, they should work with black youth, smash racism, etc. Not very original, but given the context, necessary. The song also stands as an argument against Death in June being nazis, although that's not an argument I care very much about.

   "UK '78" is an outraged piece of sneering against the British class system and general late '70s malaise. It's a slightly faster variant on "White Youth," musically: talking-style vocals mixed high, minor note guitar accompaniment, undistinguished drumming.

Anyway, listen to it here. St. Louis' Apop Records released a Crisis discography, with all their material digitally remastered, back in 2005: I recommend buying it, as their other material's good, too. You should be able to find it at the APOP store, here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Part-Iranyitott Lovedek EP (2012)

Budapest's A Part [sorry for the lack of macrons, blogger doesn't let me input  diacritical marks] specializes in the doom 'n' gloom, bass-heavy glum rock that's real good for dancing and/or crying yourself to sleep to.

The drums anchor A Part's bass-heavy sound, with scratchy guitar lines sprinkling themselves around and about the rhythm secton, like so much broken glass in the night. The sound is particular effective on "Dobjatok Le!", the opener, equal parts Leeds Class of '79 dance punk and goth'd-out, church bells 'n' black rain coats glumcore.

"Interlude (Uzenet FEntrol)" reminds me of little-known Greek band Ora Miden, as far as song structure goes: the band uses drop out effectively, with a limping beat punctuated by throw-away guitar fuzz, and the singer mumbling, either apathetically or in a drugged fog, take yr pick.

The title track brings it all together with swirling guitars and despondent vocals. The band deliberately takes the song apart midway through and reassembles it into desultory, chiming white noise.

You'll probably dig this band if, like this author, you spent significant parts of your youth listening to Joy Division in an apathetic mire, interspersed with dancing to Gang of Four when you could find uppers.

Download the EP here. Last year's LP, also available for download, is quite good. Check out the video for one of their other songs-it has some sweet natural disaster footage!:

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Janitors-Worker Drone Queen EP (2012)

Have I ever told you about the first time I took boomers, kiddies? Boy howdy, was that a trip...a trip I'll save for another post.

In the meantime, in the way of fucked up, psychedelic freakfuckouts, I offer thee Stockholm's The Janitors. Serving up trebly, heavily hallucinatory riddims to warm your karma by, The Janitors deliver cleverly crafted drug rock appropriate for sitting on a couch, popping the multi-colored pills that dude who kinda sorta knows your girlfriend  just gave you in exchange for that new Jefferson Airplane LP...
...wait, it's 2012, not 1967. Anyways, "Do it Again" is a slow, measured tune drenched in reverb and perfect for nodding out to. "Death Song" somehow manages to mix Nick Cave-esque vocals with instrumentation BrianJonesTownMassacre wouldn't sneeze at (or mebbe they would, but Janitors would withstand that particular exhalation). The bridge is a vicious drums-n-guitar duel that segues into a bright new day, like when ya sober up and start drinking again immediately after recovering from those pills ya just took.

"Coming Down" is a note-perfect morning-after jam. The thudding drums and scratchy, geometric riffing sounds like I usually do after a night spent drinking Olympia beer and arguing with friends about the relative merits of percocets over valiums. That is, vomitrocious and still, somehow, witty enough to catch yr attention, boppers.

In case you haven't noticed, I both like The Janitors and prefer to describe their music in non-musical terms. Deal with it. If you enjoy effects-laden, blues-croon driven, neopsych space oddities, you'll like The Janitors.

Listen here. Buy here.

Rosenkopf-Dispiritualized CS (2011)

As most of you know, cold wave, deathpunk, and all things vaguely cold, melancholic, chilly, and synth'd to the nines is in vogue these days. Most bands stripmining the early 1980s for stolen sounds go straight for Joy Div, Brigade Internationale, Chromagain, and such Eurosounds for "inspiration." The result is pretty hit or miss.

Lately, however, some bands have started stripmining American stylings such as WaxTrax et. al. for said inspiration, and Rosenkopf does it pretty well. "Dispiritualized" offers four tracks of synth-heavy, glacial misery. "Burning Spirits" is built around monotonously fixating synth lines and handclaps, with echoy, reverbed howls; the live mix is even more agonizing. "Heed" is similarly numbing, in the way that too many nights spent chainsmoking and staring meditatively at David Lynch movies is.

Anyways, Rosenkopf would fit in well with recent heavy hitters such as Cemetery or Crimson Scarlet. As it happens, they're playing Chaos in Tejas on the Ice Age/Xeno & Oaklander bill. Any cute goth girls who wanna do the deathdance with me, consider yourself cordially invited. I'll bring the beer, you bring the mirth.

Listen to it here. Check out Rosenkopf's website for info on the Chaos bill, show flyers, etc. Rosenkopf's debut LP is dropping on the 15th, which you can purchase at WIERD REX.

*Edit, 10.18.13: I re-up'd the file, so get it here. *

Friday, May 4, 2012

Aliosha Give me a chance!-s/t EP (2012)

Even for a blog that specializes in weirdo, left-field eccentricities, Aliosha, give me a chance! is pretty fucking bizarro. These Belorussian punks burble out seven tracks of longform, clanging, relentless glum rock, and in the process manage to turn a Bob Dylan song into something approximating the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray." Which they also cover, incidentally.

I'm usually pretty down on bands that record covers, especially if the covers constitute most of a release. How hard is it to scrape together original material? Apparently Aliosha began as a Sex Pistols cover group(?!?), and morphed into a real band when they started playing real drums instead of books (?).

Anyway, I will say that this thing is a partial exception to the anti-covers stance. The only one remotely close to the original is the "Sister Ray" version, and, as noted, they morph the other covers into droning, humming, bass-driven torment closer to Throbbing Gristle-style industrial misery than good-times rock.

"All I gotta do" scratches out an almost-danceable beat in the midst of xylophone- and bass-driven torment. Forlorn words float in and out under the din, and the end result is the sort of dance music that PiL specialized in ca. 1982: yes, one could dance to this stuff...if the Black Death was the only other gig in town, y'dig?

I have no information on this group beyond their facebook page. I really am at a loss on this stuff, but it's interesting enough to keep me coming back to it, again and again. With no firm conclusions.

DIG IT...or not.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cease to Exist-Heptaparaparshinokh EP (2012)

I first found out about the DIY hardcore scene (as opposed to being into punk as a historical genre of music) when I was 17 or so. One of the first LPs I bought after I started going to basement shows was Deathreat's "The Severing of the Last Barred Window." I can still remember the amused look on the woman behind the recordstore register's face as she rang up my eager young friends and I. "Oh, yeah. Deathreat. I'm a little too old for them now." Of course, being 17 year old kids, we thought this was preposterous-how could one EVER be too old for a hardcore band?!?

Much the same thought crosses my mind with Cease to Exist's EP. It's not bad: fans of His Hero is Gone, especially their first 7", will enjoy it. Brooding, downtuned guitars, spastic drum pummeling, and harsh, scratchy, growled vocals sprawl over the six tracks. I would have a lot of fun catching them at a basement show, and they actually remind me of some band I saw in Olympia last time I was there, which sounded like From Ashes Rise. I just think I'm pushing the maximum age limit as far as "ability to enjoy this on a visceral level" goes.

Check out CeasetoExist on facebook here. Download the EP here.