Monday, July 29, 2013

Vaguess-s/t LP (2013)

If you hate Vaguess, you're a stupid asshole who hates rock 'n' roll. Yeah, that's right kiddies, the Drug Punk is back 'n' decked in black 'n' as full of spite as ever. If I've ever steered you wrong it's out of a sense of duty not duplicity and I do what I can to review everything that crosses my desk so if a record sucks, the following blurb is at least done in earnest (on my part, anyways)....

....anyway, you know yr gonna love it if a band's name is Vaguess.  Vaguess trafficks in surf slop garage blasts of genius, laying the nostalgia on heavy, quite like the much-beloved Hunx 'n' His Punx.* Sloppy, almost-4'4'-time-rhythm section, a singer who sounds like he took two too many Valium before appearing at the studio, and a guitarist who can't decide if he's Kurt Cobain or (Germs-era) Pat Smear. Fucking righteous. The fact that the singer sounds sorta (a lot) like Keith Morris or Mike Ness just makes these tunes a thousand times better.

A more sober reviewer would go into these songs individually, analyzing and dissecting, but that just ain't my way. I'm too faded on bad beer and bad pills to do anything more competent than this heer review. All I can say is that, if you've been paying attention this long (God bless), yr gonna love this garage gloop.


*If you don't love Hunx 'n' His Punx, then you probably hate things like love and sex too. I saw these fuckerz in Portland awhile ago 'n' dude was asking for tips so he could afford to go to the gay strip club down the street. Righteous. Vaguess is pretty cool too.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Whirr-Pipe Dreams LP (2012)

Sacramento's hometown heroes dropped one of last year's best LPs, and I completely missed it. Since I got back it's all I've been listening to. Along with Broken Water and Psychic Blood, Whirr is one of the only bands worth a damn, as far as the '90s-revival thing goes. Instead of simply crushing you to death with colossal Mascis-style riffs or drowning you in MBV tone, Whirr seduces you. Effects-laden guitar dreamworks and sedate synthesizer lines waft in and out of focus through, perpetuating the initial impression I had of Whirr: they sound like falling in love feels.

I'm too out of it right now to elaborate on that, so just go ahead and check it out for yourself. Then go buy a copy at Tee Pee Records!

*EDIT, 9.9.14: I re'up'd the file, you can get Pipe Dreams HERE! *

Monday, July 8, 2013

Alone & Forsaken XVII: Home is Where....

"I've traveled. Everywhere you go, it's the same. The water tastes weird, the food tastes weird. You get sick. And then, when you get can't figure out if it happened to you, or to somebody else"-character in Slackers

In fact I enjoy traveling, but sometimes it feels like you leave pieces of yourself in a place if you stay there too long. Anyway, here's the latest installment in my mix series. The songs just sorta feel like going home during summertime, for me, anyways.

I probably won't be posting much for the next week; go out and get a tan, get drunk and get laid instead of downloadin' music, kiddies.

...home is where we hide 

1. Songs:Ohia-Farewell Transmission
2. Heavy Times-Sunside
3. Husker Du-Celebrated Summer
4. Pink Reason-Storming Heaven
5. Electrelane-To the East
6. Beach House-Used to Be
7. Dead Moon-Don't Look Back
8. Tom Waits-Downtown train
9. Joe Strummer-Let the Good Times Roll
10. Kitchen's Floor-116 (Live at Real Bad version)
11. The Mountain Goats-Distant Stations
12. Broken Water-Kamilche House

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Teenagers-Demo II (2013)

Teenagers wowed me pretty hard with their first demo, back in 2012. I still stand my by original, drunken assertion that it was one of the best albums of its kind last year. Crisp, clean, hyper-melodic garage about love, love I had them pegged as falling somewhere on the Beach Boys side of the Beach Boys/Troggs split as far as neo-60s pop goes. You know the difference: music you can play in the car with your parents when you're home for the holidays, vs. ugly, nasty, lewd tunes about premature ejaculation.

Well, on their second demo, Teenagers seem to be hopping the fence and sliding into the slime of the Troggs' turf. The basic sound is still the same: dirt-simple guitar lines, stutter-putter bum drums, a singer who's perfected the art of the "I'm so elegantly wasted I just don't give a damn" voice. But the band has popped a few pills, maybe had a few bad one night stands, and gotten dirtier, muddier. The guitar is fuzzier, and the mix overall got dragged through a few backalleys and dive bars before winding up on bandcamp. "Sick and Tired," the demo's closer, is their best tune yet: a riff nasty and heavy enough that they mighta stolen from The Gits.

Hopefully Teenagers will record a proper EP or LP soon and the great mystery of whether they're Troggs fans or Beach Boys fans will be clarified. In the meantime, check out this demo.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Peopling-Bulbout EP (2013)

Following a familiar course for noisemakers over the years, Peopling's second EP finds Ronnie progressing a bit from his debut: after all, most of us have trouble listening to pure noise for sustained periods, let alone making a career out of it. Whereas that was 9 parts all-out, aural assault to 1 part beat, Bulbout has adjusted the ratio more towards 6:4. There's still plenty of noise fuckery, especially on "Bulbouts in Bloom." But even that has a discernible, if patchy, beat fighting valiantly with the aural fuzz for room on the mix. The opener, "My Glitchy Kelly Roland," sorta reminds me of Pere Ubu's "Laughing." There's the same tension present, between the puerile desire to offend and a more measured attempt at making a collage out of different found sounds. Not bad for a 3-song sophomore effort, indeed.

Check out "Bulbout," and BUY IT, here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Royal Headache-July 2010 Tour CS (2010)

Well, if you haven't heard of Royal Headache by now you probably hate rock 'n' roll, and may also have no soul. Civilians (i.e. the rest of the world) have gotten real into these guys in the last two years, and I wish 'em all the best. This 2010 set, recorded on tour in Newcastle and Brisbane, contains 6 tracks that would make it onto the self-titled 2011 LP and one that didn't, "Little Star."

It opens with a scratchy, infectious guitar riff before the band blasts into its trademark sound: sharp, snazzy punk with Australia's answer to O.V. Wright on vocals. I wish they included it on the LP, since it's as passionate and frantic as every other song I've heard by RH. The rest of the set rushes by, with some of Shogun's witty repartee v. hecklers: the songs aren't as polished as they are on the LP, but they sound just as good blurry as they did with slick(er) production. The recording quality isn't all that clear, but it's still pretty damn good for a basement or bar show.

Basically, if you love Royal Headache, this will tide you over until they drop a new record. I hope that's very soon, since my friends are getting tired of me hyping this band.

"I know that you don't want me, baby...." The tape is long out of print, but the band just re-pressed the LP, so go buy that from them at bandcamp or via their own website.  In full disclosure, I stole this one from I Am the Least Machiavellian blog, which you should be following if you aren't already.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lowtronik: Cuts, Edits, Versions LP (2013)

I was gonna review this album sober, but then I got in an argument with one of my best friends about the evils (joys) of drugs. Out of pure nihilistic spite towards my well-intentioned friend, however, I popped 2 Xanax and drank a bottle of red wine before spinning this. So let's see how far I can get before passing out in a pool of wine and my own drool....

Turns out it was a good decision, since down-tempo electronica* is perfect for sitting still and watching the world go about its business while taking no part in it. This is a compilation of several years' worth of odds and ends from Lowtronik, a fixture of the indie electro scene in Greece.** I'm told that it's trip-hop, whatever that is.  It's pretty much perfect for a lazy summer afternoon when it's too hot to go out and you just wanna chainsmoke and drink gin 'n' tonics. 

The album starts with "Interlude 128," which could be a Deathgrips outtake, minus the annoyingly shrill rapping. Most of these tracks are so chilled out they're almost catatonic, the exception being "Hungry." The taut, massive beat is mixed all the way forward and stomps all over yr eardrums. My favorite cut is "Weekend Mellotron." The vocals are mixed a bit too high, but the beat is expansive and breezy, complemented perfectly by clusters of synthesizer notes. It feels like a complete track Lowtronik would play in the club, instead of a sketch he's still editing and trimming. 

Reality is starting to turn into a blurry gray splotch as I finish up this review, and "in a slow (tempo)," the LP's closer, is just right for a head full of pills and a stomach full of wine. Before I pass out, I'll encourage you to check this thing out, even if you don't dig electronic music, typically (I'm assuming that's most of my regular readership). 

You can listen to the LP and download it for free at here. Physical copies will be available soon from DNA Records. Lowtronik has his own website, too. 

 *I don't know a thing about musical terminology, let alone electronic music, so for my purposes "down tempo" means what you'd listen to at the end of the night, instead of what's playing while you're huffing coke and dancing (is that what people do at clubs?). 

**With due apologies to denizens of Thessaloniki and Patras, I assume that mostly means Athens.