Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coyotes in the Room-Undress LP (2012)

Here's a friendly bit of advice for interwebs goers: Don't start your album with a cover. Especially if it's a song by someone as venerable as 'ole Dolly Parton.

That said, Kentucky's Coyotes in the Room do a  pretty funny pisstake on Dolly's disco jam "Baby I'm Burnin'". The rest of the album is a mishmash of styles, from the quiet bedroom downer "Animal Soup" to the ballsy swagger of "Deer Stand." Confusingly, these different styles are often counterposed right next to each other, making it hard to settle on one mood.

For my money, the best tracks here are "Precious Jolly Rascal" and "F-250." "Precious Jolly Rascal" is all about the slow-motion bass and psych-tinged guitar; the rhythm section engulfs the words so it sounds like dude's singing at the bottom of a well. Very effective. "F-250" is a convincing stab at a Neil Young-style folk ballad with a perfect balance between the murmured vocals and guitar.

Overall, my main problem with "Undress" is that it feels more like a collection of songs than a coherent album; the jumble of styles and moods breaks up any patterns that develop within a given song. But this is only the second outing by the Coyotes, and it's a good collection of songs, anyways.

Download Undress here, and also check out "Love Stuff/Cheap Smokes," which came out in June. The Coyotes also have a cassette out on Tent Revivalist Tapes.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Social Unrest-Making Room for Youth 7" (1979)

Raging it too hard last night=vicious hangover today, so nothin' new, just an '80s classic....

Social Unrest was one of the early East Bay (i.e. the cities just across the San Francisco Bay from SF, for non-American readers) punk bands. Their "Their Mistakes" was featured on the infamous MRR comp "Not So Quiet on the Western Front," and this is one of the best products of first-wave American hardcore.

 Social Unrest's work was incredibly economical: no pointless intros, wasted chords or unnecessary flash. "Rush Hour" is a moronically simple guitar pattern and stutter-step drumming, with Creetin K-OS (dontcha love those first-wave punk names?) hollering about....rush hour. The bridge features a sweet, lazy riff that veers into surf territory.

"Making Room for Youth" is a lot faster, closer to the Middle Class' first 7" than contemporary East Bay punk.  Danny Radio Shack and Doug Logic's guitar playing winds up and speeds through a typically naive punk call to arms for American youth: "The future of the world is up to us/but the older generation will only fuck it up..." Creetin chants, screeches, and lectures his way through the song. "Join the People that Join the Army" doesn't count as a song, really, more an afterthought-clocking in at 22 seconds, it flies by in a rush of stupidity and inspired succinctness.

MAKING ROOM FOR YOUTH. Social Unrest released a slew of albums throughout the '80s; read an interesting interview with a later member, not featured on this 7", here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dreamdecay-Fern EP (2012)

Seattle's Dreamdecay stumbles, lurches, and crashes through five tracks of carefully-constructed-so-that-it-sounds-clumsy noise rock on "Fern." The whole thing sounds like one long nightmare, in the form of a sustained fight between the drums and guitar. Occasionally the singer gurgles out some sub-lingual background burble but mostly it's just the cymbals dive-bombing over the guitar, which responds with staccato, savage bursts of feedback. Sometimes the bass is audible, sometimes not yet this is a lot more coherent than most noise rock that crosses my desk. It's mathy noise, or noisy mathrock. Perfect for when you're in the mood for Billy Bao but can't deal with something quite that shrill.

Listen to "Fern" here, and check Dreamdecay's blog for tour dates, etc. They're playing Total Fest with Walls in August, which should be rad.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ramlord/Cara Neir split EP (2012)

Continuing my celebration of all things Punk, and the break from garage/lofi blather, I bring thee a split EP featuring New Hampshire blackmetal/crust masters Ramlord and Dallas wizards Cara Neir.

Ramlord's epic 10-minute "Affliction of Clairvoyance" is an ugly, multi-sequence track that alternates between heavy sludge and thrashtastic speed bridges. One of my favorite LPs this year has been the new Anhedonist LP and, while it's not really the same sorta metal, fans of Anhedonist will prolly dig Ramlord.

That said, I'm not an expert on metal and can't really comment much on Cara Neir's side. This sounds like speed metal to me: blastbeats, epic (like, running around lookin' like a Viking killin' motherfuckers epic) riffs, gremlin vocals. It's not exactly my cup of tea, but I appreciate the contrast in styles on the split: I can't stand splits where the two bands sound the same. Smoke a blunt to this when you need a change from dub.

You can buy this over at Broken Limbs Recordings, or check it out before buying, here. Ramlord lives here,  Car Neir lives here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Whipstriker-Midnight Crust EP (2012)

A few weeks ago I was hanging on a Portland street corner with a good friend, who made an important distinction between punks and Punks: the former listen to punk but dress like civilians, whereas Punks look like these guys.
Although I haven't spiked my hair or worn a bullet belt since I was 16, there's an enduring soft spot in my heart for Punks and the music they listen to. In an era where every asshole around, from my clueless fratboy students to the jackasses in the band you just saw wear tight pants, Buddy Holly-by-way-of-Rivers Cuomo-glasses, and "ironic" thrift store clothing, Punks is keepin' it real: if you see a dude walking down the street in a Discharge shirt, tight black jeans, combat boots, a bullet belt, and charged hair with studded bracelets, you know EXACTLY what that dude's into and what's on his turntable. Billy Bao might've said "fuck separation," but I sez, sometimes subcultural ghetto walls should be maintained.

Rant aside, Brazil's Whipstriker makes it very clear where they stand in the culture wars: no ironic art-punk or "whitty" social commentary here, just crushing Motorhead-inspired riffs and raw, growled vocals condemning warfare, Christianity, etc. "Bombhead" could very well be the Discharge song "And Children": the vocal phrasing is exactly the same. The musicianship is top notch: these fellas certainly spent a lot of time playing along to Discharge and Motorhead records, and the solos aren't boring or inept, just heavy as a bombload.

You'll dig this demo if, like me, you feel that subcultures are tribal for very good reasons or if you just like gettin' drunk and bobbing yer head along to "Realities of War."

Check it out here. You can also read an interview with Victor, the singer of Whipstriker, here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coma Nova-Insect Sounds LP (2012)

The important thing to understand about Kalamazoo, Michigan's Coma Nova is that these gentlemen enjoy smoking weed. A lot of it. Preferably rolled up in "Psychic Rolling Papers," whatever those are.

I understand that there's a heat wave affecting most of the continental United States right now, and this is great music for a lazy summer day spent sitting in yr parents' basement, smoking as much weed as your lungs and that DIY bong can handle. "Crashing Cars" develops around a swaggering, brash riff with suitably blustery vocals and steamroller drumming. I think they're singing about gettin' fucked up and feelin' like yr on Mars.

That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album.There's a lot of weirdo acoustic interludes, maybe too many, and sometimes the band gets pretty self-indulgent (especially on "Pigger," a drawn-out stoner jam that has all the benefits and problems of Sabbath's extended instrumental noodlings). Nevertheless, they're indulging in the right direction, and that direction would be somewhere on a tribute to the legendary, all-mighty Sleep. I can safely say that these kids woulda loved Coma Nova, if CN was recording ca. 1976 and not ca. 2012. Toke up and freak out, people.

Coma Nova lives here, where you can also buy the LP. Check out their other stuff, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recommendations for file hosting

So the writing's on the wall as far as file-hosting goes: Mediafire seems to be shutting people down as fast as they can, and I'd like to transfer the files I have up there to a different file host before they gut me completely.

Can anyone recommend file-hosting pages, preferably free, that aren't as trigger-happy as mediafire? It's in yr best interest to help me on this one, so please get in touch if you have any ideas. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fancy Dress Party-Letting Things Go LP (2012)

I started working at a record store when I was 17. Mebbe the 2nd-3rd week there, one of my co-workers did me the foolish courtesy of giving me the store copy of the third Pedro the Lion LP, Control. A courtesy, 'cause he was doing himself and the customers a favor since I was probably playing something equally awful, like Filth, at the store that day; foolish, 'cause that was all I played during shifts for the next six months or so. I think he actually gave me the store copy 'cause he wasn't allowed to play it himself, by general consensus of everyone else concerned. It definitely spoke to my narcissistic 17-y.o. self, who was undoubtedly crushin' hard on some uninterested girl at the time. I dunnowhateverit's been awhile.

Oh, uh, Fancy Dress Party. Yeah. They don't have much to do with Pedro the Lion, except the mainline of each band's sound is more or less similar: clean, undistorted guitar and snappy, crisp drumwork that frames the vocals. The vocals are kinda mopey, which I should condemn but actually, as anyone who's read a few entries here knows, I love mopiness. "Mind is Gone" almost gets into Monkees territory: cutesy harmonies and jangly melodies (or vice versa? I dunno I'm tone deaf). "Under Ground," which delves into psychrock territory, features Zsofia from Piresian Beach on backing vocals-it's probably the least straightforward song here.

To summarize, I probably should dislike Fancy Dress Party but I actually think this album's pretty damn good. In fact, people who dig Pedro the Lion will prolly dig this (no offense intended to those behind Fancy Dress Party!). Find out for yrself, dear reader.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Broken Cups-Slaves of the Grave LP (2012)

One of the best books I read as a teenager was Don DeGrazia's American Skin. Set on Chicago's North Side during the mid-80s, it's about a bourgeois suburban boy who runs away to the city, becomes a skinhead, and spends his formative years fighting it out in the vicious turf wars of the era between Nazi and anti-nazi skinhead gangs. When they're not bashing fascist heads in the gutter, Alex & his friends are working door at the infamous Chicago club Medusa's, home of proto-industrial Wax Trax acts, synthpunk, etc.

Broken Cups woulda fit in quite well on that scene. The band consists of a drummer who sounds like a drum machine, a guitarist specializing in minimal, Gang of Four-style riffing, and manic vocalist who either yowls like the singer for Scratch Acid or croons it like Dracula.  "Slaves" is 80s worship down cold: dehumanized beat, pulsing guitar notes on the riff, with the singer howling on the riff about bein' a slave. Spooky.

Most of the songs on the album are a variant on this, moving from from mid-tempo tunes you could dance to ("The Burnout", "She Thinks of Death") to speeded up robot punk ("Bank of Souls"). Although they hail from Budapest, they'd fit in quite well on a bill with American gloomrockers like Chicago's Population or Oakland's Branes.

Download and buy the LP here. Check out a video for "Flesh" here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Useless Eaters-Addicted to the Blade 7" (2012)

If you read Drug Punk and don't listen to Useless Eaters, you very well may live under a rock. Whatever, this 7", Seth Sutton's most recent, is as good an introduction as as any to his idiosyncratic songcraft.

"Addicted to the Blade" is built around an infectious guitar groove and Sutton's bratty, Class of '77 snarling whine. I think he's singin' about some girl he's in like with, go figure. The bridge has one of the best smart-dumb bass chords and guitar mini-riffs I've heard in months. In the background is an ethereal synth line, I think.

"Starvation Blues #2" is the sort of rigid funk produced by Brit post-punks like 23 Skidoo, Josef K., et. al.: repetitive, wobbly bass, chugging drums, slightly harmonized vox. Sweet, dood.

Check it out here. [password is "cantaloupe"]. Then buy the 7" at Midheaven, here. Useless Eaters is touring the eastern USA this summer, here are the tour dates.

I'm reblogging this from Iamtheleastmachiavellian blog, which you should be following if you aren't already.

*EDIT, 9.9.12: REupd the file, HERE. *

Friday, July 13, 2012

Batu Kan Pesti Rokona-Mezofoldi Kosmosz EP (2012)

Being that this is a solo project of the guitarist for Hungarian noise boys Opus Null , I was expecting raucous cacophony from "Mezofoldi Kosmosz." There's a bit of that, especially on the first track, but mostly the album features daring, varied improvised guitar that mostly succeeds.

"Az Apeh Gyermeke" is the closest song, musically, to Opus Null's work, although a bit less raucous than most of their stuff. Trashy guitar fuzz, rambam Ramones-style drumming, and heavy bass; along with "Araben," it marks a transition from the contorted thrash of Bencze's band. "Panelhazi Ugros," however, marks the real departure point: song structure is replaced by meditative, brooding guitar sketches that sound like distant thunder peaking over a mountainous landscape.
   The main strike against the album is the track arrangement: it jerks back and forth between the ambient stuff and more traditional psych rock. Whatever, "Felrehangolt Letelem" is truly idiosyncratic: as far as I can tell, it's just an extended bass solo with interspersed guitar: sort of like listening to a song on the radio, then changing the station and getting a completely different song.

"Zenit" and "Mezofoldi Kosmosz" are the heart of the album, and the most interesting songs. These are searing, minimalist pieces of guitar improvisation. It's only the guitar, scratching out patterns against an utterly empty, expansive mix. The closest parallel I can think of is Neil Young's majestic score to "Dead Man": raw, haunting noise that meanders in and out of focus. Whereas most rock music tells a story, music like this sets a scene, or paints a landscape. This is lonely, barren music that reminds me of driving through Wyoming: nothing but open country, malevolent skies, and yourself.

"Mezofoldi Kosmosz" surprised me, and all to the good. It's not as good as the "Dead Man" soundtrack, of course, but given that this is a first solo effort, I can't wait to hear what this guy does next.
Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Petition against imprisonment for online file-hosting

If you download music (which is all of you reading this now) or watch television online (probably all of you, too), you should sign this petition:

This guy, a British citizen, is facing extradition to the US and ten years in US jail for setting up an online television site. If it happened to him, it can happen to any of us, and probably for a lot less than that. 

More music to follow, I promise.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Alone and Forsaken XIII: Po' Boy Long Way from Home Blues

It's 2:15 am, I've been up for about 17 hours, and I still have a few hours to go before drinking myself to sleep. It's getting to the point where I think I hear stuff in the halls of the office I work at, but then realize it's just dust settling on the fan, and I can no longer tell if it's night or morning.

In that spirit, here's a collection of spaced out, atmospheric tunes, pieces, and improvisations suited for drifting away on cosmic rays of insomnia, workaholism, and/or drug abuse.

I should also mention that this installment in "Alone and Forsaken" is partially a shameless plug for a good friend of mine. You should check out his music, here.

Fade into you.

1. Νικκ Καβε αντ Ωαρρεν Έλλης-χάππυ Λαντ
2. John Lurie-Bella by Barlight
3. Popol Vuh-Tanz der Chassidim
4. Michael Wohl-Variations: Melatonin Blues
5. Γρουπερ-Δισενγαγεδ
 6. Cavedweller-Poison II
7. Will Oldham-Do What You Will Do
8. Sun Kil Moon-Heron Bloo
9. Josephine Foster-Where There Are Trees
10. Dirty Beaches-The Death March
11. Moon Dog-Theme and variations
12. βριαν Ενώ-Αλλ θε Σταρς βερε ούτ
13. Crimewaves-Sun Rays
14. Peaking Lights-All the Sun that Shines

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Solar Snake-s/t EP (2012)

 * Bands/musicians: if I take a long time to respond to you or post yr stuff, it's not indifference but the fact that I have to act like an adult in between bouts of imitating Lester Bangs.*

Solar Snake is from Murmansk, Russia, a lovely port fronting on the White Sea. This drug punk in chief ain't no dummy, and knows where Murmansk is! It was a major shipment point for military hardware goin' to Crazy Uncle Joe during The Big One (World War II), and was also where Elizabeth I of England's emissaries landed when initiating diplomatic contacts with Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century.

Historical geography lessons aside, Solar Snake gushes through some sloppy, noisy, distortion-overloaded blues-meets-shitgaze on what I assume is their debut EP. This falls somewhere between the tuneful end of drone and the harsh, anti-social end of lofi indie: there's a thick, muddy layer of guitar fuzz slathered over everything like peanut butter covering mouldy bread. Deep beneath the guitar squall, the singer intones in what could be Russian or English (honestly the vocals are mixed too low for me to tell) while the rhythm sections plods through their sections. "Rumble" brilliantly plagiarizes the riff of "Yr Gonna Miss Me" by 13th Floor Elevators, but slows it down and strips it to a savage, naked howl. Definitely the best track here. Instead of shredding, like the Roky original, it slithers along, draggin' you in its oil-slicked wake. Nod out to this after guzzling a bottle of robitussin and downing some acid.

I just got home, wasted and alone, and Solar Snake is shaping up to be a good accompaniment to a July evening where the sun doesn't go down til 9 pm: the noisy guitar licks are my companion in isolation, and there's a chilly, frigid feel to the whole thing that has something to do either with the guitar-domination nature of the recording, or the fact that this band is recording in the most populated city north of the Arctic Circle. Either way, keep on keepin' on, Solar Snakes!

Listen to the Snakes here. ROCK ON, RUSSIA!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lebenden Toten-Cataleptic Noise Contamination CS (2008)

The Fourth of July is one of the few annual occasions upon which I will post things political on Drug Punk-for my problems with the genre of anarchopunk, read this. I'm not fetishizing apolitical apathy, but rather tacitly acknowledging the inherent silliness of protest music. Anyway, enough blabbling; last year it was Tragedy's best record ever, this year it's a 2008 tour cassette from Portland's finest.

The tracks on here are nothing radically different from previous and future LT releases: savagely distorted dbeat misery, with contorted, frantic drumming and guitar that sounds like electrodes sparking just before they hit yr neuron receptors. Noise punk has been trendy lately, but Lebenden Toten is the only band that can hold their own against the originators of the genre like Disorder, Confuse, Gism et. al.: the band is incredibly tight (playing this fast is an art form unto itself), and there's nothing superfluous in any of the songs. Chanel's lyrics cover a variety of topics, but can be summed up pithily: late capitalist society is a cancerous body too atrophied to kill itself, and instead keeps itself going on the productive energies of us all. We built it, why don't we destroy it?

So throw this on, and melt yr brain on fireworks or distortiontildeafness, it's yr choice. I'm reblogging this from Robert's most excellent blog, Terminal Escape.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Horrible Houses-Kathy EP (2012)

'Nother Sunday, 'nother hangover, 'nother Horrible Houses EP to review. I'm in fine Grumpy Gus mode, so this one'll be short.

 If you've been reading Drug Punk for any length of time, you've prolly stumbled upon previous reviews of previous HH releases. If you dug the earlier ones, you'll dig this: dude's up to his same 'ole tricks. Extended guitar noodlings over basic (like, hi-hat 'n' snare basic) drummin', talk-hummed singing. Meandering tunes with sweet melodies buried just beneath the surface. I think I  like "Kathy (Psychic Ending" more than "The Yellow House," but there's something enchanting about the prolonged, minimal 10 minutes of "Yellow House" such that it's all I've been playin' today.

For some reason I'm always hungover when reviewing HH work, and it's pretty good hangover material 'cause it's avantgarde in a non-noisy way. That said I'm gonna go stick my head in a bucket of ice and chill out, y'dig? Whatever.

You can listen to the two tracks over at the HH Soundcloud page. Y'know you wanna. Do it.