Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kitchen's Floor-Live at Real Bad

Well, my head feels as empty as a mollusk that's just been scooped out for tonight's dinner, due to a series of bad recreational choices this weekend. So I figured I should finally get around to reviewing the latest by one of my faves, Kitchen's Floor. And of course they don't disappoint, with 8 tracks of deadpan, ramshackle pop and slop.

This was recorded December 22 at Real Bad, a preemo-primo DIY center in Brisbane. Taking the tenor of 2012's "Bitter Defeat" to its logical extreme, this is a bare-bones live set featuring nothing but Matt Kennedy's sparse guitar, deadpan holler, and occasional audience ambiance. The recording quality's excellent for a live set, which lets you actually make out some of Kennedy's words for a change. That's cool, 'cause I've always loved the spirit of Kennedy's lyrics but usually can't understand a fucking thing. Thus, my new favorite verse of recent years is the chorus from "Down": "the wine has done its job/finally I won't think about this...." This is matched only by the opening couplet from "116," "The walls are rotting/and all my friends are dead...."

Kennedy said in a recent interview that he doesn't consider any version of KF tunes definitive, and it's weird hearing savage stompers like "Downed It" and "Regrets" stripped down to their bare skeleton. At first I only liked about half the set because of this gulf. Now I listen to this thing to get me outta bed in the morning. If anything, Kennedy's voice gains in power when it's not buried in layers of jangle rock; he belts out his tales of decay and boozy abandon in a flat, hoarse, declarative bark. No affectation, no tricks, no love from you. Ah hahaha.

Buy the CDR from Breakdance the Dawn. Or do yr bit for the Brisbane scene by downloading it from KF's bandcamp! All proceeds go to benefit Real Bad.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another petition v. internet censorship

I promise I'll start posting snarky reviews and noisy music again soon. In the meantime, as some of you prolly know, the largest American Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are planning on implementing a "six strikes" policy that will effectively kill free internet access if they decide you've been pirating music or infringing copyrights.

If you're reading this, you'll be targeted by this policy, rest assured. Please sign this petition! It probably won't do anything but it's better than doing nothing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Belgrado-self/titled LP (2012)

On the third night of a four-evening bender, I decided it would be a good idea to watch that Warren Beaty flick, "Reds." Yup, it had me in tears watching the situation unfold in the '10s. It got my so worked up emotionally, I hadda go get blackout drunk on the beach with my Marxist buddies. Seriously, we're coming up on the centenary of Red Oktober, and who but us weirdoes, punks, and losers will commemorate that anniversary?

Whatever, Belgrado is a distinguished representative of the deathpunk/postpunk/whateverthefuckpost- revival sweeping the globe these days. I still can't tell if this band is for real or just faking the funk, but whatever, I'm gonna give 'em the benefit of the doubt. Either way, they do a pretty good version of Gang of Four with female vocals. I'm guessing they cribbed the cover art from some WWII photo+photoshop. Plus they throw in that aesthetic touch of biting The Mob hardcore. No Doves Fly Here. Punk as fuck, right? Who cares. This band does a much more interesting version of ripping off a dead style than a lot of their contemporaries do. That's all.

Hang out with Belgrado then stay tuned for next month's installment of this blog, wherein your humble narrator relates his escapades abroad and/or in the Malian revolution for Tuareg independence. By staying home and guzzling gin and chompin' on Xanax, 'natch.

*Edit, 12.12.13: I re-up'd the file, so get it HERE, geeks.*

Monday, January 14, 2013

Padkarosda-s/t LP (2012)

From what my informants tell me, Padkarosda is doing its own take on a sound originally carved out by first-wave Hungarian punk bands in the late '70s/early '80s, when Sex Pistols and Clash bootlegs started filtering into Budapest. Whatever, I came lurching home late on Saturday night from one of those "I only wanted to have one beer at five in the afternoon, and here it is midnight and I'm blackout drunk" sorta benders and popped this on. After spinning this LP straight through, I wouldn't go so far as to say I felt rejuvenated. This LP, however, definitely made me wanna slamdance, pogo, and indulge in various other punk moves I haven't busted out since I was young enough to rock circled A's on my shirts and earnestly try to talk to other people about identity politics and stuff.Yeah.

Padkarosda plays urgent, hard driving punk that puts to shame a lot of what passes for said genre in the U.S. these days. One of the cool things about Padkarosda is how much mileage they get out of not cranking up the distortion to the max: the band's rhythm section is a lot cleaner, more distinct, than most punk bassists and drummers ever were; the result is a frantic, impassioned sound that doesn't sound like horseshit, if y'unnerstand. In an era when most bands are ripping off Disorder or Lebenden Toten for all they're worth, these guys are just keeping it real with tight song-writing and melodic singing. The guitar is top notch too. Given their songcraft and musicianship, this band could develop into the sorta group Pitchfork would deem worthy to interview, but I'm guessing they're content to swig 3 Horses lager on the Danube, listen to '80s Hungarian punk, and replicate the riffs they hear therein. Lord knows i can't fault 'em for that....

Hang out with Padkarosda HERE. Thanks to Gabor from Fuseism for telling me to check out this band.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Stand Alone Complex-Antidisestablishmentsatanism EP (2012)

Damon Marcus' third release as Stand Alone Complex finds him tightening his focus sonically, and developing within this narrowed groove. His September LP, Broken Sleep in a Minor Key, was a sprawling take on several different moods. Here, the mood is one, and that is the feeling of watching traffic alone at midnight, dead drunk, out the window of your bedsit at the top of a twenty-story high rise.

On this EP, Marcus sounds like an acoustic, solo version of Leatherface. If you don't understand that analogy, I can't help you; if you do, you'll probably dig this EP. All these songs rely on the interplay between Marcus' plaintive, wistful, slightly high voice and rapidly strummed acoustic guitar. The recording is crude-as-dirt 4 track, which is the best way to capture this sort of sound. "Ictus," the fastest song here, uses a cool trick to multitrack(?) Marcus' voice so it sounds like he's cranked out of his mind on speed and tripping over his own words. The best song here is "Channeling": Marcus slows the pace down enough that you can follow his narrative a bit. It's a heartsick tune (as far as I can tell) set to slow, bittersweet guitar. It's sentimental in the right way (watch the movie "Say Anything" to understand what I mean by that, as an example of sentimental in the wrong way). On "Hell is Other People," Marcus is channeling early Mountain Goats, musically-the riff coulda been lifted straight from Nothing for Juice.

There's a noisy surprise towards the end, but I'll save that treat for your ears, dear reader. To conclude, you'll enjoy this if you associate January with cold-induced depression and drinking alone, and need a good soundtrack for said state/activity.

Hang out with Stand Alone Complex here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alone & Forsaken XVI: Teaching you the Fear

Hey hey, whaddayaknow, kiddies? 'Nother mix, this time a primer in American Hardcore. Most of you probably know the bands featured herein, but maybe some 13 year-old kid will stumble upon this and it'll prevent him or her from identifying "punk" with Fall Out Boy. It could happen...if you're an aging (21 or above) punk like myself, on the other hand, get blackout drunk and slamdance around yr room to these classics. 19 songs in 33 minutes.

Flex your Head!

1. SSD-Boiling Point
2. The Fix-'Cos the Elite
3. the Ropes-Down in Flames
4. Middle Class-Situations
5. The Observers-Walk Alone
6. Youth Brigade (LA)-Violence
7. The Germs-Circle One
8. Adolescents-Wrecking Crew
9 Social Unrest-Making Room for Youth
10. Circle Jerks-Back Against the Wall
11. Artificial Peace-Wasteland
12. The Dicks-Lifetime Problems
13. None of the Above (N.O.T.A.)-Propaganda Control
14. Millions of Dead Cops (M.D.C.)-Born to Die
15. Opinion Zero-Mass Society/Pawn to Futility
16. Reagan Youth-U.S.A.
17. Hoax-Faggot
18. Negative Approach-Negative Approach
19. Cro-Mags-Survival of the Streets

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hure-s/t EP (2012)

Take one look at a video of these guys live, and their sound isn't surprising at all. Colossal, mindlessly repetitive drummachine beats, fucked noise boxes, and propulsive guitars channeling a psychotic breakdown. In a word, noise.

A lot of people were doing this sorta thing in Chicago back around 2006-'08, but leave it to the Germans to do it more systematically and efficiently than us Midwestern Yankees. Noise like this generally adopts one of two tactics: It sometimes attempts to pop your eardrums with piercing, streamlined feedback (for that, go to Bloody Minded). Or the noisebots go for towering walls of guitar-and-drum sludge, hammering away at your forehead anvil-fashion, until you succumb to the numbing repetition of it all. Hure does the latter. This is ugly, savage music played by guys wrapped in duct tape. "Kopf" is the best track here, encapsulating Hure's line of attack: insistent guitar strumming, a drum machine that relentlessly slams and whams, and fucked feedback trilling in the background somewhere.

Needless to say, it's not for casual listeners. You either like noise or you don't. Many of us got into it after years of listening to hardcore, and being bored by its stupidity. Well, noise is dumb but in its own unique ways. Hure knows what they're doing, and does it well.

Listen to Hure here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mirrorism-Fly Eye EP (2012)

 Mirrorism is a Ferrarese three-piece trafficking in slow-burn psych punk. Sometimes plodding, sometimes awkward, this EP's a lot of fun towards the end. "S.P.O.W." is a lumbering composition of heavy bass, soft drumming, and erratic guitar that drops out, dub-style, only to come shooting back into the mix with staccato bursts.

"Slow Homo" deepens the groove: centered around the drums, the song coulda been written by a math rock band that smoked too much weed and came up with a reggae song unintentionally. Mirrorism really finds its stride on "Night Flight": it's the sort of jittery, jerky tune The Ex specialized in, back in the early '80s. Complete with bursts of saxaphone. It wouldn't be out of place on one of those "New York Noise" compilations, maybe. The last third of the EP is the best: from "Night Flight" on, this EP transforms from lilting squawking to compelling post-punk psych that I wanna dance to.

If Mirrorism continues the rhythmic squall sound they've developed here, I expect good things from 'em in 2013. Check it out and buy the EP here.