Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Alone & Forsaken XXV (25th and Final): Never talking to you again

Never Talking to You Again (Alone & Forsaken XXV):

1. 13th Floor Elevators-You're Gonna Miss Me
2. The Abigails-Shadow of Our Darkness
3. Galaxie 500-Walking Song
4. Beat Happening-Cast a Shadow
5. Merchandise-Time
6. The Modern Lovers-Roadrunner
7. The Gun Club-House on Highland Avenue
8. The Wedding Present-Getting Nowhere Fast (Girls at Our Best cover)
9. Vertical Slit-In-No-Sense 1X2
10. Sex Church-I Don't Want to Die
11. Husker Du-Whatever.
12. The Adverts-Quickstep
13. Criminal Damage-Victory
14. The Gits-Second Skin (Live '93 version)
15. Jim Shepard-A Streetcar Named Desire
16. Broken Water-Kamilche House (live @ the Oly Library version)
17. The Wipers-Blue Cowboy
18. Dead Moon-Unknown Passage

Cast a shadow in my direction....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays....

Buon Natale/Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, to those who don't, crack a beer and hang with Fabrizio de Andre'!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Alone & Forsaken XXIV: Desert Shore

Well, I might as well do another one, no? yeah that's right, just in time for the holiday cheer, it's....

Alone & Forsaken XXIV: Desert Shore
1. Homer Quincy Smith-I want Jesus to Talk to Me
2. Six Organs of Admittance-Eighth Cognition/All You've Left
3. Fabrizio de Andre-Inverno
4. Songs: Ohia-The Body burned away
5. Herzog-Congratulations, Here's Your Mountain
6. Grouper-Heavy Water/I'd Rather be Sleeping
7. Loveliescrushing-Babybreath
8. Neil Young-Guitar Solo Six
9. Pere Ubu-My Dark Ages
10. Will Oldham-Black/Rich Tune
11. Dirty Beaches-Alone at the Danube River
12. Nico-Evening of Light
13. Brian Eno-Becalmed

(let me know if the link stops working or the files are corrupted, and I'll re-post the file)

"I don't get around much...."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The only sentiment that matters, right now

Even by my standards, it's been an atrocious last coupla weeks. Neo-nazis, racist quacks, and plain 'ole vanilla white supremacy have all received a huge boost in the US from one of the state's favorite judicial tools, the grand jury, twice in as many weeks.  I won't bother going into some sort of rant on this matter, since while the whys and whereofs of how we got to this sick situation in the States is extremely complicated, the sentiment any sane person is feeling towards our so-called protectors can be adequately summed up as:

Also, new in the general "Why bother getting out of bed when reality is this sick?" file, check this out!

Or, if you prefer it in punk terms, we have Texas' finest:

And then a third time because, no matter how juvenile, reductivist, and plain old silly it is, I never get tired of saying "All coppers are bastards!":

Friday, October 31, 2014

Humor me

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting regularly for months, for which I apologize. Suffice to say, although things are always unpredictable at Drug Punk headquarters, recent events have abolished the very idea of "planning" and "scheduling" from this Drug Punk's life.

 Anyway, I haven't deleted this blog yet and I also have not deleted the hundreds of emails asking me to review some new record that are currently clogging my Inbox. So I guess that means I'll be back in business when I sober up (har har har) or, more likely, when I find a place to sleep that also has a coffee machine, a fridge to store bad beer in, and internet service that lets me access bandcamp without crashing the whole fucking server.

Stay tuned (or not).

And, uh, happy Halloween, I guess?

I love you all.

-DrugPunk in Chief

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pink Reason & Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones-Split 12" (2008)

Whoah ho ho ho, here we go, I'm finally posting something for the first time in months....

....sorry for that, ah, blank space, kiddies. Been homeless, been vagabonding, been drinking, yadayadayada.

I might as well pick up in the same general place I started this blog with, a Pink Reason post. I just learned that Kevin finally called it quits recently, after a hiatus following 2011's Shit in the Garden and European tour. PR will be sorely missed, so revel in this, one of their more obscure releases.

Originally released on Florida's Dying back in 2008 or so, it features PR covering two Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones tunes and vice versa. The cover art, vaguely derivative of Exile on Main Street, adequately encapsulates what the songs sound like. Clattering, ultra-lo-fi, sub-blues rock scribblings like a junkie who's been locked in a room with a 4-Track, smack, and a 2-string electric guitar for like a week. The songs stumble, surge, and mostly just ebb along in a narcotic summer haze. Hue Blanc's rendition of "Down on Me" is more frantic than the PR original, while "By a Thread" drifts into psychedelic, Bardo Pond realms before drifting back into standard garage slop.

"Frolicked Walk Through Autumnal Bliss" is the standout track here. I haven't heard the HB&JO original, but Kevin does a rambling rave-up version that's good for gettin' drunk while watchin' trees change colors and such autumnal activities.

Hanging by a Thread. I'm pretty sure that this one is out of print, but check over at Florida's Dying to see if there are any copies left. RIP Pink Reason.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Not dead, just homeless for the moment

Hey kiddies, sorry for the long-time-no-post thing, been bouncin' around heer, thur, and everywhar. Now esconced in my ancestral Middle-Western Desert homeland, I'll be back to work soon. In the meantime, bid farewell to summer with de Andre's ode to Via del Campo. Soon come, mon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

American Waste: Black Flag and The Jeffersonian Imaginary of 1980s SoCal

So a friend of mine has been blogging on the political economy of the SST scene in particular, and the subtly reactionary aesthetic of Black Flag in particular. He's done three entries so far, the most recent one on Raymond Pettibon's films. Those of you who are into reading books and talking about ideas and stuff should CHECK OUT THE POSTS, everyone else can get back to crushing beer cans on their heads and singing about anarchy and stuff, preferably while playing The 4 Skins.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Looks Like Miaou-Handbrake CS (Bon Voyage Rex, 2014)

Many of my American friends who have never been to Europe think of one thing when said Continent comes to mind: electronic music. Some of you (myself included, at one point) might view this as a gross reduction and misunderstanding of a place old in history, culture, language, blahblahblah.

But there is a nugget of truth to it. For the past century, Europe has been confronting its own decline, rather obsessively, in a myriad of ways. These run the full gamut from extreme right-wing nastiness to the beauty of Walter Benjamin's prose, or Dadaist perversity for perversity's sake. I submit that Europeans' love of electronic music is, simply, another mode of grappling with this terminal decline. For what better way to deal with one's obsolescence (in the Hegelian, big-H-History sense of "obsolescence") than with loud, mindless, bass-heavy dancing?

I would submit that mannered yet excruciating noise is an equally good way of responding to said obsolescence. And Brussels' Looks Like Miaou dishes out early Sonic Youth-style noise in spades. They've got everything: Kim Gordon-esque hollering, stray trumpet notes, a desultory rhythm section, and plenty of subdued guitar squall. The band is part of a burgeoning noise scene in the EU's capital, along with the other acts on Tendresse Records. Take a walk through hollow, cacophonous soundscapes of your own neuroses with LLM. Their harsh clangor points straight at the profound squalor at the heart of the European Union's dream of nihilistic affluence and cultural superiority stuck in apparently permanent decline.

If all of the abovesaid is too sophisticated a description for you, dear readers, just know this: LLM's cassette is a good soundtrack to sweating out late July in a fetid, filthy apartment, guzzling cheap beer and waiting to go home not 'cause you like home all that much, in fact, but 'cause your Safe European Home isn't really home. But what's home, anyway? Nothing, really, except austerity and  refugees turning up dead on the European side of the Mediterranean, that's what.

Anyway, check out Looks Like Miaou, and get the cassette, HERE!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cum Stain-s/t CS (2013[?])

Even by my standards, Cum Stain is pretty crude stuff. These guys (one guy?) channel the puerile antics of Tesco Vee through the charming sonorities of SoCal beach rock, and the result is something like a 14-year-old loser masturbating to pictures of Britney Spears while a Dead Boys live EP blares in the background and his mom bangs on his door, telling him to stop hurting her. Juvenile onanism is just as old as rock, though, so it ain't as pathetic as it sounds. Indeed, some might argue that excessive penile fixation is the very essence of the genre. Throw on “Rocket 88” by Ike Turner (he of the Tina-Turner-battering fame), and it’s the same sentiment, but a bit cockier): Some dude really needs to get laid and feels an all-encompassing need to explain this fact to the listener, since he ain’t, in fact, gonna get laid.

But it’s been a long time since “Rocket 88” dropped, and since then we’ve come a long way [pun intended]. Whereas allusion and allegory were all the rage in sex rock from the 1950s, Cum Stain goes for the sort of graphic, in-your-face, no-imagination-needed imagery of our age of internet porn and sexting: “I don’t wanna love you/I just wanna fuck you/I’m just another cum stain on your rug.” It just goes on like this, through sub-Ramones slop with titles like “Broke my Dick,” “SuckHer4U,” and “Bachelor’s Life.” “No Hearts!!!” speeds it up a bit with cymbal crashes and frenzied (guitar) stroking, veering between hardcore breakdowns and ’77 punk headbangerisms. At some point there’s even a dialogue sample from what I’m guessing is a porn flick. Nice.

This has been a pretty snide review, but I can’t besmirch Cum Stain too much. The music’s halfway-tuneful beach punk, and CS is only as wretched as BrainBombs, whom I love. In fact, CS is a lot more innocent than the ‘Bombs, since this guy’s only singing about his weiner, not murder and snuff films. Cum Stain takes a certain current present most American music (i.e., horny-boy-alone-with-a-guitar) and runs out of the ballpark with it. The singer also sorta sounds like Hunx from Hunx & His Punx, except resolutely, passionately hetero. If this is your cup of tea, get over to the porn store and check out Cum Stain.

You can download the tape here. The cassette itself seems to be out of print, but you should go to Burger Records (i.e., the above-mentioned porn store and get CS' other stuff. It's orgasmic, lemme tell ya.).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

McBain-s/t EP (2014)

McBain's debut EP is as sweet as the candy that rotted out your teeth (like the tooth on the cover). Just when you think the band is going to descend into the standard hardcore speedslop, they jerk to a stop. Full stop. This is the sorta music best experienced in someone's crowded, filthy garage or basement on a hot summer night, half-delirious from heat exhaustion yet still guzzling Labatt's or some other Canadian pissbrew.

"I'm Exhaustion," opening with growled vocals worthy of the dood from Scratch Acid, exemplifies the McBain sound: as the guitar meanders through a postpunk number, the drums counterpoint the singer. Of course you can't understand anything he's singing about, but "whiskey" does get repeated a lot. One can imagine the song was written after drinking a lot of it, but the boys kept it together to throw in coherent choruses. Just when you think it's over, minor notes lurch into more frenetic, seething tension.

The drums win the fight on "Cooking with Feelings"; I haven't heard punk drumming this good since the days of Giant Haystacks. My guess is that "I Survived the Moe Earthquake" is a reference to a Simpsons episode I never saw, and Moe might indeed throw this one on to drive Barney Gumble outta the bar at 3 AM. It's that good!

At the end of the day, Mcbain is a punk band that's a little too clever to play retreaded retard rock with a mohawk cresting over the din. These Aussies is so nice, you can download the EP for free, here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trobecove Krušne Peći-S Mukom Žvaču Trubadurov Vrat LP (Doomtown, 2014)

You have to love a band that includes aquarium ambience on the first track. From what I understand, Zagreb's  Trobecove Krušne Peći (TKP) were a seminal part of the former Yugoslavia's underground scene in the early '80s. They never released a full record, so Doomtown has collected their recorded output for a latter-day artifact from the days of samizdat culture. 

This is taut, hop-along-jerk-along postpunk akin to [insert here the names of all the bands you're waiting for me to reference]. Like a lot of the European post-punk of the period, it sounds like dub with all the rhythm flattened out and compressed into a tin box: what comes through is the anxiety and brooding, with none of the expansiveness. That's not a criticism-most of the best post-punk worked in that manner. "Zvijezda" is, for my money, the best song here: it stutters along in an offkilter, stumblebum way, with bass and scratchy guitar notes merging with what sounds like seagull noises. "Boje Noć U Krv" could be a Brainbombs tune, stripped of the squalling dissonance-it's built around a lone horn twiling away as the singer intones about, well, something. In a bark that reminds me of the Brainbombs' singer. 

My guess is that one misses a lot by not understanding Croat (I don't), but the music is top-notch, neurotic Iron Curtain punk from the dying days of Tito's "Real Existing Socialism." You keep waiting for the explosion, and it never comes-history would take care of that a little later, of course. 

You can check out TKP here.  Doomtown has released this on a double LP with a fancy insert detailing the history of the band. If you're a geek for all things '80s and all things post-punk, as I am, you should probably get your ass over to Doomtown's site and BUY IT IF YOU LIKE IT!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Отстой- Сахара EP (2014)

So what if this thing came out back in April, Petrograd's Otstoy is a great summer soundtrack. Snide, off-the-cuff-'cause-who's-really-listening vocals, all the tone the Russian steppes can offer, and a drumbeat so basic it might just be someone tapping their foot against a tin can. That's it.

And man, is the one (ok, maybe 2) note guitar solo on the first song majestic! Majestic in the way you'd expect from a band that probably consists of one dude chainsmoking and sippin' on potato-mash vodka in the studio and bangin' out whatever comes to mind. The second song's even better. By song three you've probably moved onto your 5th beer of the night, so you won't remember it, but it's good too.

Go swimming, go drinking, go listen to Otstoy!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

бичкрафт- маскот LP (2014)

Grinding, excruciating noise rock will always get a fair hearing in these parts, and Kiev's бичкрафт passes muster. Wave upon wave of plodding, catharsis-denying feedback and clanging cymbals usher you into this echo chamber of squall.

Track two, "кроссовки," lightens it up a bit with resolutely, passionately meandering feedback, again. I could probably go on for a few more paragraphs wherein I try to extrapolate upon the subtleties and nuances of this slab of drone rock from the Ukrainian steppelands, but you probably get the idea. There's a weird pseudo-techno segment tossed in just to confuddle you. This probably isn't anyone's daily soundtrack, but it certainly does surprise. Proving once again that rock is probably the most versatile genre of music known to humankind, including classical, because it's amazing how much variation can be packed into mutilated, butchered and necromanced blues chords. Especially when you've got synthesizers and a shitload of drugs to help you out on said quest. Hell, this LP runs the gamut from electronica to metal and back without ever, i think, changing key.

All of that makes the LP out to just be a pretentious heap of clever showmanship, but it's pretty fun, like guzzling tallboys of bad German beer (i.e., all German beer) on a hot summer night's fun. That sorta fun. FUN.

Check out this hellacious squall HERE!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1984-"Barranco" video (or, fuck the World Cup)

Everyone's going ga-ga over the World Cup currently, so 1984's debut EP is timely. Some of you may be following the on-going protests against World Cup spending in several Brazilian cities. If not, the basic point is that it's criminal to piss away millions of dollars/pesos/reales/whatever on a tourist circle jerk when millions of your citizens are living in desperate poverty. If you want a reminder of how little the money wasted on mass sporting events does for the cities concerned, take a stroll around the 2004 Olympics buildings in Athens, Greece.

In any case, 1984's "Barranco" is a savage bit of basic, direct hardcore. They sorta sound like Los Crudos, but with something approaching production (gasp!). The video intersperses footage of the band with shots from their hometown, showing some of the squalor that billions of people worldwide live in every day. I like football as much as the next person, but 1984's video is a timely reminder of what daily life is like in Brazil, and what it will probably continue to be like long after the 2014 Cup is over. Fuck JLo, check this out.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Milk Music-Beyond Living EP (2011)

So awhile ago two guys were sitting on some couch in Olympia, Washington. Neither of them had a job. But you don’t need a job when you can sell loosie tall boys of Olympia out of a shopping cart on the street, right? Right. And anyway, weed had just been legalized in California so they were enjoying the toasty vibes from south of the border and couldn’t believe how sweet it is to be at Evergreen College and gettin’ stoned and blasting Sabbath Vol. 4 on the MP3 player Dude 1 got from his big sister a few months ago. She had moved out of the house to drop acid and follow Phish’s reunion tour and said that he could have all of her material possessions (these mostly consisted of said MP3 player, a battered-but-serviceable hip flask, and something she had bought from some drug dealer in high school, thinking it was a book about Tibetan Buddhism but in fact turned out to be a ruined copy of Athanasius’ Life of St. Anthony). Anyway.

 Then some other dude came over with a vinyl record. These two dudes on the couch didn’t know that they still made vinyl, so they were pretty stoked. Suffice to say, Sabbath Vol. 4 was toasty fucking vibes, upon first listening, bro. A few songs into Vol. 4, dude Number One said, “hey bros, why don’t we start a band? I’ll bet these dudes in Sabbath get all the free herbs they want.” Dude two happened to be from British Columbia so he was like “yeah that’d be pretty cool eh, I just need to drink like 20 more Labatts and I’m as good as fucking Mo Tucker ever was, eh?” Dude Number Three, who had brought over that original vinyl copy of Vol. 4, then produced another hat trick: he had A SECOND VINYL RECORD! HOLY FUCK!  For the sake of conversation let’s say it was Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over me. Dude Number Three was like “yeah dudes I can totally play a mean bass lick, sure I stole it from fuckin’ Glenn Matlock but if you crank the treble all the way past 10, it sounds like a Chuck Dukowski riff anyways!”

These three dudes were STOKED. Soon they figured out 3 chords and pretty soon after that they managed to scrounge a SuperFuzzBigMuff pedal or 4 from a local pawn shop. In fact I think I saw the bassist from Mudhoney selling his SuperFuzzBigMuff pedals at that pawn shop like a week before the three dudes of as-yet-unnamed-Olympia band walked into said pawn shop, but whatever man. Anyway, with four SFBM pedals and three dudes steeped in the traditions of…well, those two vinyl records and whatever guitar rock was on Dude Number One’s sister’s MP3 player (mostly Jimi Hendrix tunes but these dudes thought they were fuckin’ Aerosmith tunes, c’est la difference in the internet age), combined with a few SFBM pedals…shit man, you got Milk Music.

Beyond Living goes beyond living over here.  I'm not sure if this is out of print, but try to find it on Discogs!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hold on Magnolia....

....(or, still well forked, but still not dead:)

Sorry, per usual, for the lack of posts. In this case, I have a perfectly valid reason for not posting that's entirely unrelated to my own laziness, fondness for alcohol, or other such subjective reasons: No stable internet connection for the last three months. This usually means that when I'm half-way through downloading one of the many albums due for review, said download craps out or I'm unable to upload a post. I love the country I'm living in, but fuck is it hard to do anything, at all, here. Ever. Even more so than when you're drunk all the time.

In any case, I'll be back to regular posting when I can. That may mean around the end of July, when I return to my beshitted, gun-wielding homeland (the United States). Whatever else we are, us 'merikuhns are good at providing internet connections. How else would the NSA babysit us all, right?

Anyways, I'll post reviews of new material as and when I can. I love you all, and sorry that I'm a snarky crank. Comes with the territory of running a music blog, dunnit?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ski Patrol-"Extinguish" Remix (1980s/2014)

I just read Simon Reynolds' Rip it up and start again, a history of British post-punk from 1978-1984. Through Reynolds' coy, slightly overwrought prose, it's clear that the UK spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of weird, resolutely avant-garde bands during the period. Ski Patrol is a good example of the sound and scene: dark, elliptical, and fixated on pushing the boundaries of rock-by-the-book. Borrowing heavily from the echo-space of dub, this track is a sprawling shower of guitar reverb and synth gloom. As the rest of the band drops in and out, the singer intones about, uh, some sort of apocalyptic scenario. Ski Patrol is, of course, noisier than their Rasta bred'ren, as were most white post-punk groups.

In any case, if you've played your Bauhaus records to death and need something new in the eerie-and-melancholic department, check out Ski Patrol. You can check it out on Soundcloud, and get physical copies of Ski Patrol's collected, re-mastered discography on Dark Entries Records.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Quicksails Mix (in Russian!)

Hey hey, it's mid-May and here I am. Segueing back into regular posting, here's a post that Ben from Quicksails/Tiger Hatchery/Druids of Huge put together for a Russian site. It's a lot more sedate than most of the aural atrocities featured on here, but hell, even drug punks need to chill out sometimes.

Check it out here!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

As many of you know, today's May Day, otherwise known as International Workers' Day. Here's a mix to mark the occasion; it's a combination of Italian partisan songs and leftist anthems from around the world (including Leadbelly's contribution to the anti-fascist cause, "Mr. Hitler"). The picture to the left is of Communist partisans during World War II, from L'Unita', the Italian CP's newspaper. Enjoy (or not)! I pulled a lot of these tracks off youtube, so forgive me for not having an artist designation. Do the research yourself if it bothers ya.....

*EDIT, 5.24.14: I re'up'd the file, it should work now. Get it here !*

...and the last fight let us face....

1. The Ex-No Pasaran
2. Bandiera Rossa (pre-1922 anthem of the Italian Socialist Party, and covered by Angelic Upstarts, among others)
3. Bella Ciao (unofficial anthem of the Italian partisans during World War II)
4. Fischia il vento (another partisan song)
5. Per i morti di Reggio Emilia (commemorates a massacre carried out by the Nazis during the occupation of Italy, in retaliation for partisan attacks on Nazi & Fascist troops)
6. Paolo Pietrangeli-Contessa (see below for a video)
7. Joe Fallisi-Ballata dell'anarchico Pinelli (commemorates an Anarchist train worker framed by the police for a bombing carried out by Fascists in 1969, and suicided by the police)
8. L'Internazionle (Do I really need to explain this one?)
9. Chumbawumba-The Chartist Anthem (the Chartists were a radical democratic English group in the first half of the 19th century)
10. La ballata di Franco Seratini (Seratini was another Italian anarchist murdered by the police, in the early 1970s)
11. Come out and Fight (traditional anti-British/Black & Tans song)
12. Leadbelly-Mr. Hitler
13. Pete Seeger-Solidarity Forever
14. Woody Guthrie-I Ain't Got No Home
15. Rino Gaetano-Nun te reggae piu' (Communist beach music, try it!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reatards-Get Real Stupid 7" (1997)

Most of you probably own this one, or at least have played it to death. Some benighted souls may, however, still be ignorant of the illuminated crudity that was Jay Reatard & his minions.

In any case, this is the Reatards' first, majestically moronic release. All the elements we love in the Reatards are here: Jay's trashed howl; pitter-pat paintbucket drumming; and two-note guitar rumbling that barely makes it to 3 chords the entire EP. It's nice when song titles adequately encompass the emotional range they express, and boy is that the case here. "You Ain't No Fun No More": Man, you ain't no fun no mo'! Other target-topics include fashion victims, Chuck Taylors, and so on.

Really there's no point in prattling on here. Either you love the Reatards or you haven't heard them. In the unlikely event that someone reading this actively dislikes the Reatards, that's cool, check back in when I post more cold wave.That's all for now. Get it here.

Then go see if Goner Records ever re-released this thing. I think they dropped a shitload of Reatards re-issues last year, so buy those if you can't find the 7" per se.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Urbanoia-Svart Sement EP (2013)

Well, I haven't reviewed any hardcore records in awhile. Hell, I haven't reviewed anything at all in awhile. So why not get back to music-writing, and the music of my youth, with Stavanger's Urbanoia, eh? Following in a venerable tradition of heavy Scandinavian ragers, Urbanoia presents thee with four tracks of 'eavy, 'eavy blitzkrieg bop.

 I'm pretty sure it's obligatory to mention Discharge if you're reviewing a hardcore punk record these days, but actually Urbanoia doesn't really do the d-beat thing. As far as I can tell, who knows, maybe d-beat has morphed into how Urbanoia sounds. In any case, this is heavy (not metal-heavy, though) hardcore that goes for mid-tempo, clean production instead of a wall of shrieking feedback. It's raining, I'm hungover, the sun hasn't been out in days, and I'm pretty sure lots of bad things are happening in the world right now: Urbanoia's just as good a soundtrack for this mood as anything else.

You can listen to Urbanoia, and possibly buy their EP, here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confusion is Sex[ting]

....'cause only a teenage riot could get me outta bed/right now....

...and also cause I've been doing this blog for almost three years, it was probably time I posted something involving Sonic Youth. Why not their most pop song ever?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Still NOT taking new submissions for review....

Hey gang,

I apologize for the crankiness to follow, but:

Looks like 2014 will be another year in which I don't get around to reviewing everything people have sent me, and it's only April. I have about 100 new submissions that have arrived since January, and people are still emailing me new stuff.

While I appreciate the fact that y'all dig the blog enough to send new releases my way, PLEASE STOP FOR NOW! DrugPunk is a one-person, not-for-profit shitshow that's dysfunctional on the best of days, and I run this thing in my free time in between writing about and researching a bunch of stupid Old Timey crap, mis-pronouncing Italian words, and getting drunk. It's not a full-time operation, I'm not Pitchfork, I have intermittent internet access, and I'm getting sick of dashing off "I'll get to this when I have time" emails when I'm still catching up on stuff from November 2013. I run this blog primarily to draw attention to new music but also because I enjoy writing; I don't like reviewing stuff I've barely listened to, and shitty reviews are as annoying to write as they are to read.

That said, I'll let y'all know when I'm done with the mountain range of reviews already in front of me. I apologize to bands/labels/whatever awaiting reviews; like I said, this is a one-person operation.

I love you all.

hugs and kisses,

-Chief Drug Punk

Friday, April 11, 2014

Multiple Man-Guilt Culture 7" EP (Detonic, 2014)

Multiple Man ditches the clangy bangy garage funk on their second EP, and goes straight for dance-punk so cold it'll freeze your innards in July. The eponymous first track starts with a beat pretty close to the Vaselines' "You Think You're a Man", but it's far more frigid than those Scottish tricksters were. DIstance, coldness, and other vaguely displeasing emotional states are what come to mind on all three of these tracks.

MM has clarified and distilled the squalling misery they hinted at on their debut, leaving us with dance tunes that don't feel remotely pleasureable. That's intended as a compliment; really. C'mon, unless you're going to soul night at your local bar, who wants to feel warm and cuddly anyways, right? Right. Anyway "Guilt Culture" drones on in a numbly danceable key. "Boiling Down" could easily be mistaken for a lost track from some Liege or Innsbruck Cold Wave group ca. 1984. It has all the stylistic marks of Cold Wave pizzazz: a repetitive, bouncy bass line; layers of synth that run the gamut from hissing to damn-near-rhythmic; and an absolute refusal to deal in human emotions. It's all dead ends and frayed synapses stuck somewhere in an ice cavern. "Youth Forever," by comparison, is damn near upbeat. In fact, it's pretty fuckin' close to lo-fi Aussie rock's answer to Montreal's Grimes.  I was snorting drugs the other night and my partners in crime thought it was a fuckin' booty-shakin' hit! Then they started throwing beer cans at me, but that's another story.....

This story currently involves you going over to the Detonic Records bandcamp to listen to and purchase this three-track bit of Friday night soul shakin', soul-crushing hissrattle.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Always delays

So the internet hasn't been working in my part of the world for the last week or so, hence the lack of posts. Hopefully at some point the great god Bureacracy will see fit to take mercy on a sinner such as your humble narrator, and turn the wifi back on.

In the meantime, hey hey, Dinosaur Jr. did a Cure cover once upon a time to get goth girls. So check that out.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kippi's-Semplice Come Nuvole LP (Sick Room, 2014)

This blog mostly features horrible, shrieking noise that's either unlistenable yet good, or unlistenable, pure and simple. Yet contrary to popular belief I do indeed enjoy music that's complex and weird (like this guy). Some of this complex and weird music is also music of the sort that regular humans might enjoy. Hence Turin's Kippi's, composed of a Chinese teacher, a gravedigger, and the proud owner of a funeral home.*

Their press release says that they sound like Slint and Unwound, which is pretty accurate (lazy readers can stop reading here and go straight to the band's bandcamp page). I was busy listening to Wu-Tang around when everyone re-discovered Spiderland, though, so I still don't know what that comparison means. Therefore, here's my lunkheaded description: Kippi's is a band for the last installment of a long night of drinking, drugging, and sex. The sun is finally rising and you're still drunk enough that the headache hasn't kicked in. This also means that you don't yet regret all the weird shit you did several hours ago, so you're in an ambivalent-bordering-on-content mood. No doubt you're not at home, maybe you're at an apartment with a balcony, and the sun is cresting over the hills in a way that's decidedly pretty. Hell, birds are singing! Kippi's is that sorta weird feeling.

Or: if chamber-pop is now a genre, Kippi's plays chamber punk. Most of the songs on this album begin in hushed, almost somnolent tones. Daniel has a compressed, breathless vocal styling perfect for setting Italian lyrics to an off-kilter post-punk beat. Eventually, though, Kippi's usually does lurch into punk rock spazz-out. But in a really restrained sorta way. In fact this LP is a testament to how it pays off to not freak out completely. "Festina Lente" is tops partly as a showcase of the Kippi's sound, partly 'cause it's a nod to one of the early modern papacy's favorite sayings: "Hasten slowly." Playing off the dynamic tension between bass and guitar, the song rumbles and stumbles along at mid-tempo, with the drums being let out to play occasionally.

Most of the Italian music I listen to consists of Partisan songs and Paolo Pietrangeli. Kippi's ain't that good (what is, these days?), but they're pretty fuckin' good. You can preview the songs on bandcamp. LPs can be purchased care of Sick Room Records.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rizoma-s/t EP (2013)

New in the "less talk more rock" category, Rizoma is Madrid's answer to Chicago's bratnoise outfit Birth Deformities. Succinctly stated, if you've been mourning the demise of Government Warning as much as I have, you'll love Rizoma. On their debut, Rizoma shouts, strums, bangs, and kicks their way through six mid-tempo shout-along bits of bratpunk, tailor made for those of you still living with your parents. Which is half of the Europeans between 18-29 reading this, apparently, according to the Guardian.

If I had any experience in said subject, I would heartily agree with the proposition of the second song: "It feels so good to kill my neighbors while listening to the Stooges." As it happens, I only have experience getting blackout drunk and throwing bottles at them while "Death Trip" blares from my bedroom window, but whatever.

Point is, as March's winds usher in the pissant spring downpours of April, why don't you download Rizoma's debut EP and let your miscreant misanthrope misery burble over like fine wine? You know you want to. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Der Tanz-Vatta LP (2014)

Well, between the whole Crimean debacle and the Front National sweeping local elections in France two days ago, it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be just about as shitty as 2013 was.* So Der Tanz, in their roundabout way, is just as relevant as ever. Like I said in my review of their debut LP, Der Tanz isn't "conscious" or "political" or any such wanna-be-Crass-type jazz, and that is what makes them so brilliantly of their moment.

The production quality is better (that is to say, there is any) on round two, but the band has preserved what made their debut so good. That would be: a grinding, tormented duel between guitar and rhythm section; stentorian, Nick-Cave-on-a-good-day singing; and a knack for stop-on-the-dime soft-loud dynamics. Taken altogether, Der Tanz sounds like a great kraken battling through geological sedimentation on the bottom of some paleolithic sea, the Pangean, like as not.

But that isn't to equate them with wanky post-metal acts like Isis. Rather, Der Tanz conjures up more depth and darkness in a single song than most (post-)punk bands manage their entire careers. Take "Slow Tilt," for example: originating in seething, churning bass chords of doom, the song gradually broadens into an artillery barrage of improvised drumming and hollered vocals. Midway through, the song crystallizes into an agonizing, gradually increasing misery index before plunging back into a pool of squalling, hissing feedback as  the singer numbly intones that"god is a scarecrow". Whatever that means."Elvis has left the Building" is almost nothing but fingersnaps and vocals; somehow it works. The album's closer, "Tatra," is remarkable even by Der Tanz's standards. From piddling synth percussion, to menacing repetition of "in for a pound," to the dessicated insect hum of a few, solitary guitar notes, it's impressive how much this band squeezes out of minimal hissing and squawking.

Hell, I haven't even bothered discussing the best of this album. Just do the shimmyshammy over to Der Tanz's bandcamp page, where you can listen to and buy this thing, before I puke up beer all over you for being tonedeaf. Ha!

*Also that knife attack in China, atrocities in the Central African Republic, et. al. Although Fred Phelps finally died, so at least we don't have to hear from that vile puddle of puke anymore.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Feral Future-Haematic LP (Western Medical, 2014)

Six reasons to buy the new Feral Future LP:

1. This is the best American punk rock I've heard since Crooked Bangs' 2012 debut LP. As it happens, Crooked Bangs and Feral Future are on the same label, Western Medical Records.

2. If you thought all Austin, Texass bands were carbon-copy Discharge rip-offs, you're wrong: FF dishes out heavy, brazen punk that ditches the d-beat and goes straight for the throat with massive riffs rising above a wall of sound.

3. Feral Future's singer can actually sing real notes, instead of howling. This gets them pretty far in the category of "worth more than one or two listens."

4. Sooner or later this band will catch on with the Pitchfork dweebs, upon which time their shows won't be fun to go to. Catch 'em while they're still a punks-only thing.

5. "Hostile" cops a riff from The Clean, and is almost as good as that song. No mean feat in 2014.

6. Feral Future rocks out the way Bikini Kill would have, if BK had been a band instead of sonic terrorists and the cheerleaders for 3rd-wave feminism.

That's about it; go to the Western Medical site and buy the LP! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rest in Peace: Jason Molina, 1973-2013

So Jason Molina died about a year or so ago (give or take 2 days) today. My guess would be that he'll be forgotten within 5 years, re-discovered in 20, forgotten in 22, and then lionized as a "long-forgotten" member of the canon of great American folk singers 40 or so years down the line.

I don't really give a shit if that prediction comes true or not. The point was that Molina's work was brilliant, it made sense, because so few people were interested in it. That's not to say that great art is only great because the few cognoscenti appreciate it or understand it (they don't, especially when they say they do). Rather, most people who are willing to look into the abyss of failure, misery, frustration and the inability to communicate that makes up about 75% (if not 85% and upward) of human existence will, simply, never be embraced by the rest of the human community.
Just watch the video of "Back on the Top" that I posted. While the whole production may seem a bit stilted-I won't argue with you there; fundamentally, these were just Midwestern dudes forced to make a music video-the lack of pretension is marvellous. Molina and his co-conspirators never did anything they didn't believe in. That sets them apart from about 95% of the competition. It also earned them reams of shit from the jackals who read and write for pissant rags catering to people too stupid to listen to music they love, instead of music that will get them plaudits at their university's Theater Department parties. I still remember listening to kids, back when I was a young'un, lambasting Songs:Ohia albums as somehow boring, overly melodramatic and soforth.

Looking back on those years, as an adult with real problems, all I can say is that, if anything, that was a mark of Songs:Ohia's enduring value as musicians, and Jason Molina's enduring brilliance as a lyricist. This was a band (in its many permutations) that simply made music you wanted to listen to (or didn't), and sang of problems most of us who stay alive long enough will experience. Completely and utterly humdrum, yes. Boring? Never.

Blahlbha, none of this has done anything to explain to you, the reader, why Jason Molina's memory should remain evergreen in yr youthful(?) mind. He wasn't a pathfinder, he wasn't audacious, he simply was what he was*: a depressed, even despondent, lonely, and very, very gifted guy from the Midwest of the USA in a time that did not value intelligence or earnestness, especially if it came from somewhere west of the Appalachians and east of the Sierra Nevadas.

In any case, here's one of Songs:Ohia's eternal classics, "Captain Badass." The song goes on long enough that I can imagine it accompanying most any human activity besides writing a thorough-going demolition of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the most part, though, it's simply a beautiful, spartan bit of Americana sung in the darkness.

Love him and the bands he led or not, I, for one, will miss Jason Molina and would like to bid him a fond farewell transmission on this, the first anniversary of his death.

*Of course, I never met the guy. People who in fact knew Molina are welcome to tell me I'm full of shit. I'm simply extrapolating based on lyrics, interviews, and what I've seen of the Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. live footage.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nnevteiga-New Codes of the Unfun CS (Tendresse, 2014)

So the other day, some jerk was giving the Wizard a hard time for having nice things to say about most of the records he reviews, even if they're abrasive and/or boring. Apparently it never crossed the kid's mind that the Wizard MAY ACTUALLY ENJOY painful, abrasive noise and in fact SAYS WHAT HE MEANS AND MEANS WHAT HE SAYS when he raves about music that most humans find completely unlistenable. As longtime readers know, the same goes for me: most of what I like is what most people hate, and often the more miserable a record is, the more enthusiastic I am about it. On that note:

Blame it on the recession or blame it on the numbing dominance of the European Union's ruling class, Brussels' Nnevteiga excels at droning, hypnotic noise that digs into your psyche like toothpicks to yr fingernails. Their second cassette-LP finds these Belgians digging deeper into the carrion pit of misery they began excavating on last year's self-titled debut. There's the same mix of grinding monotony, sheer brattiness, and a knack for hummable beats buried beneath sludge.

"Cold You and I" epitomises the band's sound: squalling feedback yields to a moronic metronome and the singer gulping, gurgling, and intoning beneath the grey film of choleric bathwater (that would be the synthesizers, I suppose). There's a delightfully numb-yet-tuneful bassline, added layers of vituperative noise gunk, and still that fucking gurgling bloody mess called singing.

I could continue this review, but that would be like describing my mental state: you can guess what the rest of the record is like without me spelling it out for you, right kids?

Sure you can. So hurry yr asses over to Nnevteiga's bandcamp page. There you can blow out your eardrums in style, before BUYING THE FUCKING THING. Which you should do; the artwork is gorgeous and the good folks at Tendresse Records send you weird 3D cards when you order copies of the tape. Said cards are really fun to waste hours staring at when you're cracked out of your mind on cheap beer, Varnelli, and whatever drugs you managed to scrounge from your longsuffering housemates.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mirrorism-s/t LP (2014)

Everyone's favorite Ferrarese really pulled it all together for this LP. 2012's Fly Eye EP was a bundle of messy ideas; this LP is a single idea developed over nine individual tracks. The band traverses a good amount of ground here, from dub to squalling proto-grunge, without sounding derivative.

"I Cracked" bounces and rattles its way through a song structure dangerously close to jam band territory. Never fear though: halfway through it slams into aggro jitterrock worthy of The Ex. In fact, the Ex are a good reference point for where Mirrorism is at now: they're not ripping off the Ex, but they have the same talent at mixing genres in an abrasive way all their own. "Again" floats in and out of focus, the guitar a razor-thin line on the horizon, while "Nihilistic Pillow" is caustic cretin hop worthy of the No New York knuckleheads. "Exciting" is the stand out track of the LP: opening with mid-tempo bass sputter that gradually widens into something Sonic Youth coulda done during the Daydream Nation era, complete with talk-sung Thurston Moore-isms. It's a beautiful song for springtime, somewhere between grunge irony and emo (real emo, i.e. Rites of Spring) earnestness.

Apparently Mirrorism is on hiatus for the time being, which is unfortunate since their sound crystallized on this LP. In any case, you should check it out!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Alone & Forsaken XX: The Secret History of British Post-Punk, 1977-83

Well, there's nothing very secret about most of these bands, but that's my title and I'm sticking to it. All of you will know some of these bands, some of you will know all of them, but you will not all know all of them, hence my justification for this mix. That and really, who doesn't need more weird British music in their lives? Anyways, I read Simon Reynolds' history of UK post-punk recently and man that thing is fun.

So here's a slew of great tunes by great and not-so-great bands. Enjoy!

1. Elveesh Kawstello-Benvenuto alla working week
2. Television Personalities-I Was a Mod Before You Was a Mod (short version)
3. Warsaw-Warsaw
4.Girls at Our Best-It's Fashion
5. Buzzkawks-Lipstick
6. Wire-It's So Obvious
7. Swell Maps-New York
8. Scrotum Poles-Helicopter Honeymoon
9. Marine Girls-Tonight?
10. Josef K-Citizens
11. the Pop Group-Kiss the Book
12. The Slits-I Heard it Through the Grapevine
13. the Raincoats-Dancing in my Head
14. Bauhaus-God in an Alcove (flexi version)
15. Gang of Four-5:45
16. Blitz-New Age

Get it HERE!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Red Traces-Once Were EP (2013)

March is prime Old Sad Bastard Music time: y'know, music that isn't exactly depressed, in the way that Joy Division is, but rather bummed out. Bummed out the way a cranky record store clerk is. Bummed out the way the characters in High Fidelity were-the book from which I stole that catchphrase, as it happens.

L.A.'s Red Traces is just such Old Sad Bastard Music. These two songs shimmer in and out of focus like a mirage in the desert surrounding the band's hometown. Slightly downcast, "Once Were" is fueled by somber keyboard notes, an exquisitely slow drumbeat, and the singer's morose intonations. Sorta like if Tindersticks weren't so damn dramatic, and instead were simply sad. I kept waiting for Red Traces to slam into a heavy part, but it never happened: it's just bittersweet pop in a blue tone. Same with "Nothing South": Red Traces has a knack for writing tunes that are maudlin without being boring.

Check out Red Traces here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Middle Class-Homeland LP (1982)

 Top contenders for the pointless title of "the first American hardcore band," Santa Ana's Middle Class was miles ahead of their peers in every sense. In 1978, while most American bands were still ripping off "Anarchy in the UK" and "White Riot," they were cranking out true blitzkrieg bop, frantic enough to put the Ramones to shame. By the time everyone else was stealing from Greg Ginn and Dr. Know around 1980, Middle Class  had slowed down and grooved out, leaving the hardcore goon squad eating their dust.**

Between 1980's Scavenged Luxury EP and 1982's Homeland, the band slowed down and developed a sense of rhythm: dark, even somber, but rhythmic, almost funky at times. Widely reviled by hardcore kids when it was first released, this LP has slowly been making the internet rounds and the band's finally (I hope) getting their due as unsung path-breakers in the move away from hardcore punk and towards something more considered and intelligent. Mission of Burma are usually held up as the standardbearers of U.S. art punk, along with the No Wave crowd, but Middle Class' musical progression is quite impressive: hailing from a suburban backwater, they defied the nullnode, idiotic simplicity of the California punk scene to jump straight in the deep end of UK-style post-punk with this LP.

The LP opens with "The Call": a glacial piece of postpunk framed by an ominous bassline and distant, lumbering drumwork. Jeff Atta's voice has done a 180" from 1979's Out of Vogue: there, he hollered and shouted over the impossibly rapid guitar, trying to keep up with the rhythm section. Here, Atta's presence is funereal, almost sepulchral: his voice echoes in and around the instrumentation, speaking allegorically and obliquely of frigidity, miscommunication, tension. There's anxiety everywhere, a sense of imminent crisis. "A Skeleton at the Feast" ratchets up the tension  a notch, as Mike Patton slams out a bit of cold riddim. The chorus injects a bit of light, with cymbals crashing over Atta's injunction to "split the night right open/see all the secrets there...."

One of the strange coincidences of post-punk is that Middle Class was slowing down and grooving out while Gang of Four, comparatively at least, started rocking out on 1981's Solid Gold. "Mosque" is midway between the jerky post-punk of early Gang and the solemnity of Homeland's darker tracks: an ambiguous tale of revolution in the Islamic world ("sins of all the fathers/visited upon the sons....a plague of liberation, a plague of liberation"), the music is jerky, writhing within a tightly controlled framework. "Ritual and Deceit," with its effects-laden, gothic opening, marks the beginning of the end, marking time until the majestically sparten closer, "Everything."

It's fitting that this was the band's last recording. There's a sense of finality here, that the Middle Class had come full circle from the impassioned savagery of Out of Vogue to the glacial reserve of Homeland. From the tentative, groping basslines of "The Call" to the chanted chorus of the closer, "Everything" ("I've got a lot to learn/about the price of dreams/I've got a lot to lose/I've got everything...."), this LP is the sounds of doors slamming, people dancing nervously as night falls, of lights going out everywhere.

To conclude an overly long review: this is one of the (heretofore) forgotten classics of the U.S. underground of the 1980s. If you don't believe me, download the LP and find out for yourself. As far as I know, no one has re-pressed the LP.

You should, however, buy the benefit LP that Frontier Records recently released; proceeds go to Mike Atta's cancer fund. Help the dude out, he helped found hardcore, kiddies!

*EDIT, 4.2.14: I fixed the link, the file should work now.*

*None of this is to besmirch the Bad Brains, who were equally adept at breaking out of the hardcore ghetto, besides being about a million times more talented, musically, than 99.99% of all other musicians of the 1980s; throw on I Against I if you dunno what I'm talkin' about, punk!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Proletariat-Indifference LP (1985)

Boston's Proletariat were, to quoth the Bard, men out of time: if they had been British, everything would have made sense. If they were recording in 1979 instead of Reagan's America, it would have made sense. Conversely, if they were part of the recent crop of post-punk revivalists (Radio 4, Interpol, et. al.), they would have been quite successful. Instead, they were a Boston punk band trafficking in intelligent, bass-driven fury at a time when everyone else was simply furious.

The Proletariat made a career out of tracing the contours of an American take on Gang of Four, Delta 5, and so on: sinuous basslines, muted, squalling guitar, and howled vocals above the din of misery. This sound was accompanied with brutally intelligent lyrics confronting the typical bugaboos of Americans too smart for a society based around rampant individualism, greed, proud anti-intellectualism, and violence: the genocide of Native Americans ("Trail of Tears"), mindless consumerism ("Marketplace"), American gun culture ("The Guns are Winning"), and the pathetic stupidity of American nationalism ("Homeland").

All of this was, of course, straight to the point in Reagan's America. And all the moreso today, since we live in the world that Reagan and Thatcher made in their image. 1985's Indifference is hard to listen to at times: like The Clash's "This is England" or Gang of 4's "We Live as We Dream, Alone", it's the product of a band whose existence was based on the idea that change is possible if we struggle, colliding into the brute reality that the Reagan Revolution was here to stay. That the stupidity, patriotism, and unthinking pursuit of money was the only thing on the horizon. There's no hope to this LP, beyond the simple fact that it exists. We're in a similar situation right now: I think everyone's finally realized that Obama is even worse than Bush II was, and that under his all-seeing gaze, the United States has become the spymaster and murderer par excellance, at home and abroad.

What else is there to do, though, but sing, dance, and soldier on through the darkness? On that cheerful note, let me present you with one of the forgotten classics of the U.S. underground.

Get it HERE.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Beast Fiend-Beast Fiend Rules! EP (2014)

Back when I lived in Chicago I used to drink at a bar called Medusa's from time to time. Those of you familiar with the frozen hell I call home probably know Medusa's quite well. If not, let me describe it: Medusa's is (was? Fuck it) a bar on the second floor of a walk-up in what used to be a shithole neighborhood now given over to yuppies and other true shithole-dwellers (i.e., not punks).

Tuesday nights were punk nights at Medusa's, but that didn't mean weirdos, outcasts and cranky commies such as me and you, dear readers. Instead it meant a smorgasboard of assholes from the nether regions of Chicago's white suburban sprawl: by that I mean you had the full range of shittiness from apolitical '77 punks, through anti-racist yet patriotic, misogynistic, and homophobic SHARP skins, down through Republipunks (such a thing does indeed exist) all the way to members of FSU and outright, dyed-in-the-wool Nazis. This cranky commie usually kept mum and tipped generously when his friends would wanna go there, for obvious reasons.

None of this has anything to do with Beast Fiend, a punk band from San Francisco; they just sound like the sort of loud, howling punk raucousness that would be playing when the chairs go flying at a shithole like Medusa's. Actually this EP's fun and melodic punk in a slightly soulful note.

You can listen to Beast Fiend here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vaguess--I Hate Rock 'n' Roll EP (2013)

This dood beats himself at his own game every time out. 2013's Back off Warchild EP was a perfect slice of bratpunk from the sunny slums of Southern California: how can you hate someone who writes songs about "Cali Swag" (yeah, that's a thing)? It just gets better on I Hate Rock 'n' Roll. Kicking off with a killer riff and a brilliantly dumb organ line, the title track is pure teen spite from start to finish.

I love this whole EP, in fact, but "I'm Bad" is the best track here. Opening with a stomping, raunchy rhythm that sounds like the New York Dolls on speed, the tune hums and hollers and sleazes its way to your heart in no time flat. Vinny chants along to what sounds like a hummed harmonic line somewhere in the background. It's a perfect piece of jangle pop filtered through Southern California sleaze, and closes with one of the best lyrics I've heard in a long time:  "I don't wanna be a deviant/but I'm always gonna be a pile of shit".

Other song topics include hating school, getting fucked up on the beach, and hatred of reading. On that note, further description is pointless: like I said in my review of this guy's debut LP, if you hate Vaguess, you're a stupid asshole who hates rock 'n' roll (even though Vaguess does, too). And this EP is even better than that LP was: these are songs! With choruses! And refrains! And identifiable instruments mixed separately!

So go find someone who can stand being around you for ten minutes, get her/him drunk enough to dance, and ROCK THE FUCK OUT to this bit of sunny slime!

Across 110th Street....

Just a reminder that, no matter how cool you are, you're never gonna be as cool as Bobby Womack was and is. That is all.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Subtitles-Just a Little Bit Brighter EP (2014)

Leicester's Subtitles go straight for the guts with barebones, unpretentious rock 'n' roll. Most bands in this genre focus on the "punk" in "garage punk." The Subtitles, however, inject some over-the-counter Dexadrine into the mellifluous sound of Carl Perkins and start frothing at the mouth.
Not like an epileptic fit, though, more like "holy shit! I just kissed a girl for the first time! Oh fuck!" frothing at the mouth, y'dig?
These songs shake, stagger, and bark their way through the high school prom dance routine in fine form. "High School Confidential" shoulda been around back when I was a wee lad so I coulda danced to it insteada Ace of Bass or whateverthefuck: wound-up vocals, twitchy guitar vamping, and a killer rhythm section specializing in simplicity. "I'm Gonna get Spooned by You," the debut single with a goofy video, is more of the same. "Gonna get wasted, gonna get high, gonna get spooned by you": with a chorus like that, it's hard to argue.

In short, Subtitles do a bangup job and have given us yet further proof that, while garage originated in musty American suburbs in the mid-'60s, the sound is evergreen if you have the great good sense to keep it simple, and keep it direct.

Put this on at the next co-ed mixer, or maybe the next time you wanna offend yr parents with raucous good fun. So give it a spin over at bandcamp, before Sam the Sham calls the truant officer on you, kiddies!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Отстой-Тупым EP (2014)

Everyone's shitting their pants right now about the Sochi Olympics and Putin's terminal cretinism. Really, though, y'all should really be shitting yr pants to this delightful bit of jerky, psyched-out garage from St. Petersburg.* A one-man act from the city that gave us the October Revolution, Отстой is crude and bratty. Yet beneath the brazen fuzztone fuckery lurks songs that are, uh, real songs: vocal phrasing that changes with the verses and choruses, squalling peaks and valleys, etc tc.

The first song wallows in dissonant tone waves before it jerks into what BrianJonestownMassacre mighta sounded like if they were a punk band recording on 4-track instead of a bunch of LA hipsters doing mountains of coke. It's got the same arrogant nonchalance and this guy manages to pull off some stellar guitar licks with too-cool-for-school wasteoid vocal stylin'. The next two songs are more of the same: crude, not stupid, garage rock filtered through a "whogivesafuck let's drop acid and record" sensibility. I have no idea if this guy is in fact an acid fan but this EP gives me the image of a bunch of people hangin' round on a cold winter's night guzzling vodka and getting fried on acid, babbling about how they should start a loud garageband pisstake on BJM. This is the result.


*Otstoy is just one of several hot bands coming out of St. Petersburg. Interested readers should check out this article on the Far From Moscow site for more information.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Grazhdanskaya Oborona-Optimizm LP (1985)

This was the first LP I posted when I started this blog (as Peachy Carnahan says in The Man Who Would be King, "Three summers. And a thousand years ago."). GrOb is a band I could spend a long time perorating about: why their music is so idiosyncratically brilliant; why they embody the 1980s as a cultural moment; why they made so much sense as a form of protest at a time when pop-music-as-protest had pretty much run its race in Europe & the States; and so on and so on....
....but as y'all know, that sort of pseudo-intellectual garble-gook is a waste of time. This is a brilliant album by a band that's still not very well known outside their motherland, despite Kevin DeBroux's heroic attempts to draw attention to them, including a feature in Vice Magazine. They should be as much a household name in the Anglophone punk world as venerated hardcore heroes like Bastard, Anti-Cimex, or Negazione.

They never will be a household name outside the Slavic-speaking/Cyrillic-reading world, though, by my guess. Why? It has nothing to do with language barriers, per se. Rather, it's because GrOb made fundamentally tender, vulnerable music with humor and dry wit and a sense of subtlety that's lost on people who just wanna be beaten over the head over and over and over when they listen to music. Which is basically everybody, from your average Katy Perry fan to kids drinking themselves stupid to Whitehouse: at the end of the day, what's the fucking difference between the two? One is offensively obvious and the other is obviously offensive, that's all.

GrOb is a rare band that resonates outside its language-group and, despite Igor Letov's turn to Great Russian chauvinism in the Yeltsin years, they remain an inspiration to dissidents and marginals everywhere. Like Ray Davies said long ago, "there's weirdos everywhere."

Listen to this piece of brilliance HERE! If anyone knows of recent re-issues of the GrOb LPs, please get in touch-I would happily buy and promote said reissues if they exist.*

Same goes for the Yanka Dyagileva LP, Aquarium, et. al. This stuff needs the sort of loving repressing already visited on nullnodes like the Exploited!

*Edit, 2.4.14: Re-up'd the file, this version should work!*

*Edit, 9.05.14: Re-up'd the file again, THIS should work.*

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vagabonding (not slacking off)

An unforeseen series of fortuitous events led me upcountry to Italy's Wild East (and a great trip it was, thanks in part to the potent local liquors and the raucous natives), hence the lack of recent posts. I'll get back to regular reviews soon. In the meantime I'm putting another temporary freeze on new submissions. This is because I received about 20 review requests in the past week alone, on top of what has piled up since the new year, leaving me with around 30-odd records to get through. I'm gonna try to review everything that crosses my desk this year, but that means drastically paring down the amount of material I collect for review.

In 2014 I'd also like to incorporate more interviews and scene reports into the blog's usual repertoire of spiteful reviews, drunken mixes, and periodic ramblings about politics and such. One of the main goals of Drug Punk has always been to draw attention to neglected or little-known scenes, bands, and collectivities of weirdos. Maybe something like the scene reports in MRR, maybe something more informal like interviews with bands you think exemplify your local scene. Think you can write? Think your town's got the hot new noise for this baleful year of our lord? Got an amazing band no one's heard of but who should be interviewed? Get in touch, especially if you feel like writing about it yourself. I'm happy to post interviews and such in foreign languages.

Anyway, rambling aside, just wanted to thank everyone who's been reading Drug Punk since I started this thing back in 2011. Who would have thought I'd be around this long? Certainly not I. Like Ray Davies said back in the '70s, there's misfits everywhere and it's good to know that some of us are on the same page as far as obsessions, loves, hatreds, and other unhealthy passions go.

I'm gonna head off for a beer and a shower; in the meantime, enjoy one of my new favorite bands, The Chills, doing their knock-down-smash-it-up classic, "Pink Frost":