Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Jams I: Cold Forever

Well, I said I might be back at some point (like Jason Molina said before he checked out forever, for real, "I will be gone/but not forever"), so here's the first in a three-piece installment of tunes for getting drunk, getting high, fornicating, enjoying life, etc. True to my native perversity, this mix is mostly synth-pop and cold wave: not very summeresque, but don't worry. More summer-like mixes (each of which will become more and more unabashedly summer-esque until by August you're so fried on summertime sunshine that you could use some more of Ian Curtis' lyrics!) will follow in volumes one and two, for those of you who care. I'm including my always-brilliant, perpetually-effervescent commentary on the songs, 'cause whateverbigshitwhocaresletsgogetsunbuned!.

Get it here

Per usual, have fun (or not), kiddies. Blast some tunes, pop a beer, catch some sun, life ain't so bad:

1. T.V. Girl-I Don't Care (super nihilistic, super summer: "I smoke a pack of Reds and drink a six pack every day/I wanna stay sane and there ain't no other way!")
2. Keep Shelly in Athens-Cremona Memories (Syriza and the Greeks are in trouble now and have been for quite some time, but, as usual, they produce some great tunes anyway; requiescat in pace, Anestis Kostis!)
3. Blank Dogs-Another Language (I'm sure Blank Dogs ain't cool no more, but real drug punks disdain coolness and focus on whatever intoxicant is at hand. As some stupidhardcoreband said long ago, "charge ahead/charge ahead/we keep on fighting to the end!")
4. Naked on the Vague-Old Leader (Aussie synth savagery. Misery never sounded more relaxed.)
5. Dirty Beaches-Belgrade (unrelenting synth, an overpowering sense of anxiety, and Alex's haunted and haunting vocals, synth-driven, propulsive sadness hurtling towards the Danube)
6. Lust for Youth-Sickness (Scandinavian. Scandinavians, as far as I understand it, have a real health care system, so who the fuck knows what's going on with them.)
7. Thorir Georg-Skiptir Engu (Even more remote than the continental Scandi countries, Iceland not only has health care but ACTUALLY SENT BANKERS TO JAIL FOR THEIR CRIMES. Sounds like Mars? Yeah, 'cause it is, and their minimal synth is pretty rad, too!)
8. Rosenkopf-Troth (They're (are/were?) from New York or at least claim NYC status, so who knows what to make of them until they do something outrageous enough to have some dipshit from Village Voice do a feature on them [no, I didn't ask Google if there is an interview with the VV).
9. Carol-So Low (This very well might be the sound of austerity closing its warm, seductive, suffocating hand across your throat as the EU strangles the life outta ya-er, they're Belgian.)
10. Joy Division-Something Must Break (demo version)-(yeah JoyDiv bigdealsowhat. But how many of you fuckers would know about half of the music you pride yourselves on knowing about without having first discovered JD's Unknown Pleasures? That's right, none of you and me neither, so we could all use some more Joy Division!).
11. RZA-Ghost Dog Theme-(No comment, much respect. RZA matched or beat Jarmusch here. Brilliant soundtrack for a brilliant film.)
12. Fausto Amodei-Non 'e finita a Piazza Loreto (Because I have to include some sort of overtly commie propaganda here. It's also a pretty good minimal keyboard piece too, though....As a friend said a long, long time ago of The Majestic Arrows, "sit alone and cry to this raw shit".).
13. Makis Prekkas-Morocco (Minimal synth from before Greece was famous for debt instead of all the classical/philosophical/etc. stuff. Anxiety and dread seep through Prekkas' work, and those emotions are much more appropriate to the capitalist apocalypse that is Greece than pride, anyway)
14. Mushy-Kshetrajna (Italian-Ethiopian/Eritrean lady makes some dope minimal dronesynth. Dig it.)
15. Popol Vuh-Gemeinschaft (needs no introduction)

The attached picture was taken in Italy, "3 summers, .and a thousand years ago," as Peachy Carnahan says to Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would be King). Or, as Slim Charles says in The Wire (season 4), "Yeah, well, life's strange."

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ciao, ragazzi!

After 3 years or so, I'm pulling the plug on this blog. 2014 was the year I realized I'd never really get caught up on all the stuff I'm supposed to review, and 2015 promises to have even less free time in store for yours truly to blather about music. I think I've had a good run, and it's over. Pink Reason and Dirty Beaches, two of my favorite recent bands, called it quits in 2013/2014 and I'll take that as an omen and get out while the going's good. I did three interviews (Kevin from Pink Reason, Matt from Kitchen's Floor, and The Wizard from Terminal Escape), reviewed a bunch of stuff-some good, some great, some decidedly less so-and in general I've hollered and whined in my online backalley long enuf.

I'll continue to occasionally re-up some of the music I've posted, and will respond to emails requesting that; same goes for the Alone & Forsaken mixtape series. I may at some future point get DrugPunk fired up again but for now I'm kidding myself to think I want to, or can, keep this thing going further.

I apologize to everyone to whom I gave assurances that I'd eventually review their music. I wanna thank all of youse guyse for reading this blog over the years, and especially those of you who I've exchanged commiserations, scene information, and other sundry bits of knowledge (y'all know who you are). Keep your heads up, and drink a beer for me.

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'!

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!":

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.

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 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!