Friday, January 31, 2014

His & Hers-The Worst People I Know EP (2014)

This EP confused and confuddled me upon first listen, and it wasn't 'cause I drank 5 beers beforehand (I did). What other adjective can you use for a band whose sound veers wildly between the call-and-response vocal chants of the Mekons and the contorted introspection of Mineral?

Bristol's His & Hers offers us five tracks of brooding, shouting, thrashing, sometimes-hollered post punk in the most not-Gang-of-4 way possible. There are tempo changes and jerky guitars, but the shouted spurts of emotion are too warm for this to be sheer derivation.

I'm pretty sure that as an amateur critic and professional jerk I'm supposed to hate this kinda music but it's actually kinda good. His & Hers have a knack for catchy blasts of feeling that almost make yours truly wish he was an 18-year-old fan of Ihatemyself again. It's chaotic without being ill-conceived, clever without being cute, and some of the hooks make you wanna pay 3 pound for it (I don't know what that converts to in dollars but given how fuckin' expensive London is for us Yanks probably like $5,000).
 Fuck your feelings here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Big Air-Buds CS (2014)

I was gonna review the new(ish) Cuntz LP, but then I drank a few beers and ate a pizza so I no longer feel like human garbage. Now I just feel sorta sedate and out of it. So instead I'm reviewing this EP by Charlottesville, Virginia's answer to the '90s revival currently sweeping the nation.

Continuing my ongoing spiel about how fuckers need to clean a little bit of the goop out of their bandcamp programs, Big Air got my attention 'cause their guitar riffs are crystalline clear. Hell, even the drums are mixed clearly! Mirabile dictu! And guess what, some of those riffs and beats are fun! Like making out in your parents' car and it's 1993 and we're all gonna have jobs when we graduate college fun! Like Kurt Cobain ain't dead yet fun! Like being mopey and sorta stoned fun! Like, Big Air isn't a pain in the ass like most music today fun!

But I digress. "Laughing in the Sand" is probably the best tune here. It's a raveup in the best garage band tradition: bouncy, basic guitar and drumming, and neatly spliced and segmented song sections. "Out of this World," though, is the bee's knees as far as melodramatic teen angst goes: I think the next time I pick a fight with a girlfriend or good friend on a roadtrip I'm gonna put this one on as the camera cuts to a montage scene.

Altogether, this EP is a funny, and fun, take on power pop as filtered through smalltown mopery: Big Air is sorta cutsey, but they can still write throwaway gems. They're apparently opening for The Men now (or were, or something); hopefully they won't start taking themselves too seriously, like The Men do, and start writing bullshit conceptual albums that are too busy reviewing the entire history of DIY Americana to just have fun of a flannel-clad sort.

Physical copies of the tape drop on February 4th. Check out Big Air if they're touring through yr pissant burg, or listen to them for yourself HERE!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gustave Tiger-Mitanni Mares LP (2014)

This is the best rock album I've heard in quite awhile. Budapest's Gustave Tiger have written a helluva an album: 6 original tracks plus a Venom cover, all of them winners. Not only that, the production is clean enough that you can discern clear sequences to each song.  Noise is an ambivalent thing-done right it's delicious, and deliciously obnoxious, but it's often used as a cover for a lack of ideas or simple incompetence (this isn't a problem if you're a punk band but if you wanna sound like you're from Seattle ca. 1992, it is). The songs are bouncy, not boring, tender not maudlin.

The LP opens with "Jeunesse Doree," which sorta sounds like it should be the theme song to that TV show Girls. Don't hold that against G.T. however; it just sounds sorta earnest and is propulsive like running through the city chasing someone you just were awful to, like the characters on that show. "Eutropious" walks the line between punk and something heavier, without being grunge: one of the things that sets this band apart, besides top-notch song-writing skillz, is the singing. The vocalist has a high-pitched, paper-thin wail that buts up against the menacing, heavy-as-nails music. It makes for a sense of paradoxical vulnerability in what's  pretty macho style of music. Which makes it way more interesting than most of the garbage taking its cues from the early '90s set these days. There's pockets of squalling noise squirreled away throughout the songs and they're welcome because they're unexpected.

I won't spoil the LP for you by describing each song, just DOWNLOAD IT! Apparently GT is on tour currently, so go see 'em if you live in Hungary. Stay tuned for more from this band in 2014, i expect great things from 'em.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wau y Los Arrrghs-Todo Roto LP (Slovenly Records, 2013)

Franco was still in power when this sorta rock was peaking in the States, but it was worth the wait for the Spanish version. Wau y los Arrghs, unlike a lot of the total trash I review, can write real songs with identifiable segments that don't blur into each other. Hell, I bet this wasn't even recorded on garageband! Maybe in a real studio!

This LP is nothing but rave-up '60s garage bangers: one after another, they're the sorta jams American high school bands played at mixers before the fucking Beatles released that heaping pile of shit known as Sgt. Pepper's and convinced everyone that endless ragas are somehow pleasurable. High school bands shoulda stuck with this organ-and-guitar based melodic party music, man.

"Fruta Podrida" perfectly encapsulates the Wau sound: the singer howls in a controlled way, like Wolfman Jack. The guitarist busts out vamp after vamp, the organist trills away mightily, and the rhythm section strives to keep up. "Tres Cabezas" gets even nastier: nuthin' but a rat-voiced vocal line snarled above a manic organ cluster, with a weird lilting beat somewhere in the background.

If you've always liked the Nuggets collection more than anything the Beatles ever produced (like me), you'll love this. This woulda been on my Best-of-2013 lists if I had heard it last year.

Listen to, and buy a vinyl copy of, the LP here!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Filipina Bitch-A EP (2014)

On their debut EP, Chileans Filipina Bitch (I'm assuming they're from Santiago but dunno for sure) present three songs of long-form, somber rock easily mistaken for another derivative of mid-90s crap like, uh, Pearl Jam. But several listens in, FB has won me over, provisionally. Like, this is the sort of band you could lurch drunkenly in place to while they rock out on stage, that sort of band.

What does that mean? A sputtering rhythm section, tenderly aloof vocals, and the loud-soft dynamic pioneered by the Wipers but ridden to chart-busting success by one Kurt Cobain. "Hambre en el cemeterio" is a slow-burner ballad sure to be popular among kids making out and touching each others' genitals for the first time. "Silent Violence" is the best song here: it's a squalling, plodding piece of five-minutes-plus hard rock that not only holds your attention but makes you wanna headbang.

Don't take my word for it, though, because you can download the EP for free and then (maybe)buy it, care of Ciudad Bombardeada Records.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Lorettas-Fuck the Lorettas EP (2014)

What comes to mind when you think of Canada? Probably empty spaces, hockey, beer, and the COLD. They're wallowing through  a "polar vortex" right now, whatever that is. This is the perfect climate for claustrophobic, raging garage punk, and Winnipeg's The Lorettas are here to meet your deeply felt desire for icy anger.

As with most records that stumble across my desk, production values are non-existent: this is nothing but single-track guitar riffing and neanderthal paintbucket banging. And it works. "Teenage Hell" flies by in a guitar whirr as Erica belts out tales of, I think, teenage hell. She sounds exactly like one of Mika Miko's singers, and her vocals give the EP a delightful edge of spiteful brattiness that set it apart. Dick Dale they ain't, but The Lorettas almost pull off a sweet surf riff on "I'm so Done." Same deal with "Blue Ribbon Blues." Altogether, the EP sounds like a 16-year old's shouted retort to her parents, after they grounded her for the week: rage all you want, nuthin's gonna get better, but man does this EP shred, as sheets of ice descend from Hudson Bay.

Check out the EP, then PAY FOR IT, HERE. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eyes on U-My Eyes on U EP (2014)

A new year, and new synth crudity from Budapest. Eyes on [Yo]U's bandcamp tagline is "moody suffering on cheap synthesizers," and that adequately summarizes the situation here. This is one of those EPs where most people's first reaction is gonna be, "hell I could do that on my Icrap." But you didn't, did you? No. So shut up.

Anyway, these song aren't exactly internally dynamic internally. That's either a result of the cheap equipment or of underdeveloped ideas, I dunno which. They're fun, though, and they don't all sound the same despite the severe audio and instrumental limitations. "I don't care" is synth by numbers, but  "Horror Vacui" is what I'd imagine the Vyllies might sound like, without the big budget production and backing chorus. menacing guitar reverb, a clanging beat, and the singer melodramatically intoning in the background.

"Alright" veers into fuzz-punk: there's even a slight variation in the vocal pitch on the choruses! Woah! The production got cleaned up considerably for "Pseudo Love Song, so spin it on your next date night, if you're into that sort of thing.  But the best song here is the last-"That's Why" is damn near anthemic, and that's why I'm ending my review by mentioning it. The guitar riff is laughably crude and is also fantastic.

In sum, Eyes on U is pretty good and they'll probably be releasing more basic, enjoyable dirt pop in the coming year. You can download the EP for free, HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Selfies-Bad Blood EP (2014)

Between his slew of releases as Sick Thoughts and his growing pile of collabo-efforts, Drew Owen's got a work ethic to put the Krauts to shame. While Frau Merkel & co. specialize in financial neo-colonialism in southern Europe, though, Owen settles for milder pursuits like recording trashed noise. On this one, he's teamed up with a partner in crime from the D to dish out more goods.

This EP consists of six tracks that wouldn't be out of place as an installment in the legendary Live at the Roxy 1977 series. Ditching the psychotic, Iggy-on-crank Reatards vibe of Sick Thoughts, Selfies has an undeniably British feel. That consists of plodding drums; desultory, mildly distorted guitar; and a vocalist who sounds like he popped some Klonopin and a sixer of Carlsberg before walking into the studio on a rainy day. Song topics include "Police Dogs" at your door and fear of going outside.

None of the tracks blew me away, but there's potential here. If Selfies records again, they could grow up in public like the Adverts: Half the reason to start a punk band is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

Perfect for jerky, twitchy nights at the bar ogling your new crush while you impotently sip your over-priced beer and contemplate how many New Year's resolutions you've already broken.

Check out Selfies HERE.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Alone & Forsaken XIX: "Out with the old...."

"So out with the old, in with the old. Nothing replenishes itself, not even horseshit!"-Lester Bangs, "New Year's Eve," 1980

'Cause it's one of those days.

The graffiti reads: "you never hear me say [for]give me."

1. Criminal Damage-Anxiety
2. Husker Du-First of the Last Calls
3. Sick Thoughts-Take my Hate
4. Running-Klassic Rok/Classic 'Ron
5. Brainbombs-Ass Fucking Murder
6. Sewers-Human Spray
7. Flipper-Ever
8. The Dictaphone-Acute Anxiety
9. Grazhdanskaya Oborona-Detskij doktor Skazal
10. The Fix-Signal
11. X-The Unheard Music
12. The Germs-Going Down

Download this squalling heap of noise HERE.