Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Destructors "Media Studies," "11-11-11 In Memorium" "POW! THAT'S WHAT I CALL KILLMUSIK VOLUME 2 REWIND" Destructors/Don't Look Down "Je Suis Radio" Destructors/Dun2Def "Wohlgeful"

( Here's the latest batch of releases from the Destructors, a 70s/80s UK punk band that reformed this century and have since been unleashing a Jandek-esque flood of releases, including lots of split CDs with younger bands, theme albums, and annual one-day-only releases. The latest of these one day wonders is "11-11-11" which is themed to correspond with Remembrance Day (WWI had its armistice signed at 11 o' clock on 11/11/18). Thus, rather than their Satanically festive "6/6/6" release or as digitally comprehensive "101010," this is a depressing depiction of war as a futile, dark death orgy. Despite having the same pub rock/Clash-attitude as always, the darkness gives this a metal edge. Certainly one of their best efforts yet. "Media Studies" is also solid, a theme record taking the press to task, with contemptuous lyrics about NME and Jonathan Ross and other references us Yanks don't quite understand, but we dig the sounds!  Don't Look Down are one of the best bands to split with Destructors, making music that is anthemic and rousing, but definitely not Oi (because Oi bands can't cover Tears for Fears). On the other hand, the Destructors covering Modern Lovers doesn't mean they ain't Oi-ish...there's lots of skins in Massachusetts! The split with Dun2Def makes the younger band look silly for celebrating their 10th anniversary compared to the haggard vets who respectfully let the youngsters put a little pub punk chocolate into modern punk peanut better. Then the Destructors show them how it's done with a sizzlin' set that even includes an anti-Obama song ("Yes we can...but we don't!"). Speaking of split CDs, the band has compiled a ton of tracks off past split CDs on their new POW! THAT'S WHAT I CALL KILLMUSIK VOL. 2 collection (and added an Easybeats and a Killing Joke cover to appease their clamoring Notting Hill and Sydney fans). While a few themes emerge (the expected anti-US government stuff and some unexpected anti-immigrant stuff, the latter far more nuanced and balanced than a racist pub-dwellers "Paki go home" grunts) this is mostly just a bushel full of kickass, refreshing, low down, awesome punk.

The United States of Toil "When the Revolution Comes, Everything Will be Beautiful"

(Phratry) If the Occupy protesters would rock out to dire Midwest post-hardcore with elements of noise, symphonic metal and monster movie soundtracks instead of those godawful drum circles than I'd be out there with them every day. P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L!

Swear Jar "Cuss"

(Phratry) Splittery lines make crooked angles to create math rock that doesn't add up but has all the right answers!

LKN/Kill The Symphony split

(Phratry) LKN: In addition to their drumtastic non-linear math seductively scrambled eggs songs, they pull a Queen "You're My Best Friend" left turn with a similarly titled song that's all pretty and abnadons percussion-spasms completely. Knife the Symphony: They get downright evil with three servings of tempo-tantrum weirdness that seems more aggressive than a castrated grizzly (and by that I don't mean a fat, cooled-out eunuch bear, but one that just had his balls cut off seconds ago).

Fatal Figures "BlueZed" b/w "Alright"

(Big Neck) You have to be impressed when a rock n roll band can manage to not only simulate musical projectile vomiting, but also simultaneously simulate a spacious spray of said sonic spew. Aaron (of the Blowtops, the band that has morphed into this F-word combo) is a special singer with a special style who'll make the janitor use up all his special orange sawdust.


(Big Neck) Evil blues punk that seems that manages to take you to trash rock heaven while maintaining demonic devilishness in every murky, seductive note. What I like about this record is that even though the weird, ugly, amazing tone and vibe would have been enough to make this a winner they decided to actually have awesome songs as well, including "Doctor's Note," which I can't quite describe, but also can't stop my brain from playing on an endless loop, and the powerful "Jack Crap" which makes the Ramones seem cerebral!

Electric Blood "Single 2011" (aka "Elect Ric B Lood")

(Spacecase) For all you New Zealandiphiles out there this is a holy grail of sorts, Robert from the Clean's late 70s/early 80s band, this being the first vinyl appearance of tracks from obscure ancient cassette releases (so this is also great for Messthetics fans) that sound weird and shambly and slightly spooky and loose and kooky. There's a genuinely awesome, I-think-I-can train/I-think-I can train rhythm mimicking 1982 track called "Pennsylvania" (which I was hoping when I first listened was called Pencil Man") that's like 10 seconds long -- if all the folks who tried to make songs about the 50 states and failed like the Dambuilders and Sufjan had limited themselves to this length they could have finished their project in an afternoon! I would vote for Ric B. Lood in a second! Especially in the 2012 Republican Primary - no competition!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paul Williams: Still Alive

(Guest Review by Robert Dayton) I recently had the opportunity to see the documentary “Paul Williams: Still Alive” at the Toronto International Film Festival. This documentary came about because director Stephen Kessler was a massive fan and didn’t know that he was still alive! I am normally wary of docs that feature the director as a character, but this works, it really makes this documentary all the more human. There is great levity from both sides as Kessler struggles to convince Paul Williams to be the subject of his documentary (and eventually succeeds, of course). Williams is wary as he doesn’t want another ego trip. This doc explores how his personality has shifted these past twenty years and has a great many things to say about ego, being different and wanting to feel special, addiction, being an entertainer, living in the now, and that happy endings are possible. It’s also very funny, a favourite moment is when Kessler is terrified to accompany Paul Williams to his shows in the Phillippines but knows that it is integral to his doc. Archival footage, while not dotty and pristine, is used to appropriate effect, especially at the emotional climax.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dagger zine #44

( Dagger? I dig 'er!

We're All In This Together comp

(Suburban White Trash) it's not surprising that the only ringer on this comp has the most memorable songs. Hearing Dave Dictor rail against rap, hypocrites who chant "U.S.A.!," and (of course) cops (and rail for Tim Yohannan of MRR) would make the MDC tracks here stand out, even if they didn't have a tune that opens with Southern Rock guitar wailing, before gearshifting into soccer hooligan chant punk. But it's not the best stuff here. It's the two Indonesian acts that win this Battle of the Bands. Triple X deliver an earful of joyful Oi-fullness in a killer cut called "Our Noise," and Hanker Hoax Haphazard demonstrate such a gloriously awkward non-mastery of English and punk conventions that it's hard not to get pure joy from them shenanigans. Crackbox and Asspiss also deliver some tasty anarchy. That the album ends up with Dictor doing a moody ballad about the betrayal of corporate sellout punk rockers that is actually eloquent and kind of moving is a surprising bonus. Although it has less bands, this stands alongside the classic hardcore comps of yore as an important slab of dinosaur remains. 


( Sean the Sean's boisterous broadsheet zine is quite simply breathtaking - a beautifully cluttered explosion of words, comics, photos, jokes, lists, interviews, collages, cut-out novelties, craziness and kookitude that unquestionably is right about everything: the music (goofy garage), comics (seductively strange stuff) candy (all), and culture (l-o-w) they choose to celebrate is all killer, no filler representing perfect taste, while never being in good taste. This is basically Roctober if we had any design sense!

Lei Do Cao/Crippled Fox split 7"

(Suburban White Trash/Satan's Penguin/Hiroshima/Death Crush) Sweet lord -- Brazil's LDC play so insanely fast and evil and powerfully that it felt as gloriously painful as having pubic hairs ripped out -- which is why they call that "a Brazilian."  Crippled Fox from Hungary will not leave you hungering for brutality or ridiculously destructive hardcore. I'm not sure how Suburban White Trash records has been able to fill their roster with punk bands that (other than using awesome movie soundbites) deny the 90s happened the way Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. This is an awesome EP.

A Fight with Sledgehammers "Dogmatic Deception"

(Suburban White Trash/leaf lust) Furious political-anarcho-crust-like-h/c sermons that made we thrash around my room and made me want to break down the system, but I just ended up breaking a bookcase and some bobbleheads that were on a shelf and possibly my left clavicle.

Gain to Lose "Gunlock Germ" EP

(Suburban White Trash Records) Oddly accurate classic hardcore with crossover strains that profoundly pummels. This will either rekindle your love affair with punk or rekindle your hate affair with drinking and fighting.

Molten Rectangle #3, Sensation #1

( Booth (and everyone in his family) take film history/criticism/appreciation/spectatorship to the blissful purgatory between highbrow heaven (or hell) and lowbrow hell (or heaven) with MR's best-ever collection of essays, articles and artworks exploring human interaction with cinema. This issue explores a classic theater's history, a classic movie's memorable line, an extra's extrapolations, and a movie-cular menu. Best of all, it comes with a DVD featuring three shorts that explore the cinematic possibilities of improv in very different ways (that's assuming the proto-Beavis and Butthead in Danny Plotnik's 1980-era Super-8 non-road movie were freeballing their insult comedy). Booth and Grace Tran also put out Sensation,  a mini-comic/mini-women's study cheat sheet about a conceptual feminist Wonder Woman which is oddly pleasant, as feminist Wonder Woman would apparently do a lot more talking, a lot less brawling.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Drugs Dragons "The Milorganight EP"

(Dusty Medical) I never understood how when low down bowery punk rockers took copious amounts of heroin they sounded like a fucking mess but when jazz-bos with their cerebral bebop got all fucked up on junk they could play their difficult instruments with bizarre dexterity and seem smarter. This glorious vomit-core album is what Chet Baker and Miles and Bird should have sounded like when they were strung out. That is, ff they were playing rock instruments, toy pianos, budget electronics, and all their monster-sounding songs were about ice, death and pestilence. Not sure my point, I'm kinda nodding off right about n....

Crisis Hotlines "(Don't Wanna Go To) No Jail"

(Eradicator) This is about as good as an 80s-esque punky-wave slab o' sound sauce can get! Don't mess with Texas, no matter how pathetic their presidential candidates may be.

The Happy Thoughts

(Hozac) Imagine of you saw a piece of bubblegum sitting in the trash, all dirty and gritty, yet you popped it in your mouth anyhow, and shockingly, some sucker had spit it out even though it was still full of flavor! This trashy slab of bubblegum (with genuinely teenage energy and innocence despite the grit) tastes even better than garbage can gum!

People's Temple "Sons of Stone"

(Hozac) These Michigan meshugas open their new LP with a psyche statement as tall as an obelisk-sized lava lamp. But it's that rare strain of spare psyche that uses a conservative amount of noodle-free notes to make hooks actually hook. Though it's suposed to be like five minutes long, it sounds like a glorious lifetime. They get going with more down to earth 60s garage pop on the rest of the record, but it's no let down, it's a low key rave up! Kind of amazing...everyone should own this.

Wax Idols "All Too Human" b/w "William Says"

(Hozac) Badass pop garage that makes you want to use the vinyl as a weapon to vanquish any Rock n Roll Hall of Fame voter who checked off Chili Peppers instead of Joan Jett. Heather's singing is scarily good and these two killer cuts qualify this slab for the Awesome Asskicking 45 Hall of Fame!

I.V. Eyes/Schiller Killers split 7"

(Rubber Vomit) Can't decide if these two bands are competing to write the soundtrack for the first garage rock snuff film or to the 17th lo-fi auto-erotic asphyxiation audio companion. This is on the jukebox in hell!

Red Mass "Drink My Blood" b/w "Freak Show"

(Hozac) Sounds like Crass was hired to compose the music for the Mad Monster Party II puppetronic halloween special!

Shrapnelles "My Mom is Hot" ep

(Hozac) I don't know if these Canadian she-rawkers are in fact dirty girls, but I know their instruments, amps, recording heads, and cables must all be filthy to get these kind of nasty, overdriven, garage rock trash bombs! I shrap-kneel before them!

Dalai Lamas "I Want You" b/w "I Lost You"

(Hozac) Creepy, seductive, and frighteningly demanding. Just like the real Dalai Lama.

Indian Wars "Walk Around the Park" LP

(Bachelor) Oh never let us down! Well, maybe I don't need to hear that second Rush song on Two for Tuesdays, but in general, you continuously remind us that when it comes to rockin', you are technically America, too! Balancing the jangles and ghostly rumbles of garage, blues-ish rock, country, pop, Americana (again, technically they qualify), and whatever it is Dylan and Neil Young (Canada!) think they've been doing the last fifteen years, these Native American warriors stand victorious. Pretty damn awesome!

Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project "Seriously"

(Smog Veil) Thankfully super sideman/saxual somethin' else-dude Carney is more playful than serious about his jass/jazz/ass on this hootenany of a jump blues/swing/big band/little combo/Andrews Sisters-fetishist/detective jazz/lap steel lap dance par-tay! The SJP's craft a kooky new cannon that features the handiwork of the Duke, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Barnett, Richard Rodgers, and Freddy Mitchell (sadly, they cover FM's toe tapping tribute to Alan Freed and not his boogie-bastic ode to White Sox manager Larry Doby), and it's seriously fun. But overall, this album feels a lot more carny than it does serious...I wonder if in addition to every kinda sax, clarinet, brass and woodwind on god's green earth, Ralph would also consider putting a live chicken head in his piehole? Now that'd be carny!

The Younger Lovers "Rock Flawless"

(Bachelor) Who doesn't dig the Bay Area decadence/adolescent-ish/bubblegum/punk scene? Correct answer? No fucking buddy duzn't luv it! Lee rodent-ish than Nobunny, hunkier than Hunx, clammier than Shannon, and taller than Vice Cooler, Brontez the Younger Lover will not only make you a lover of his vague desperation-laden pop but will make you a younger of it as well.

The Tee Pees "You're A Turd" b/w "Do the Smog"

(Bachelor) Makes the Mummies sound like ELO!

Joe Jack Talcum "Home Recordings 1984-1990"

( A Dead Milkman's ultra lo-fi home strummings dating back to when he was a Dead Milkboy, and apparently pleasured himself to Daniel Johnston recordings (OK, we all did that). Discerningly charming.

Orca Team"Take My Hand" ep

(HHBTM) Nautical awesomeness!

Will Galison "Line Open"

( Profoundly pleasant pop! With hot harmonica hummations!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Xerography Debt #28, #29, 30

( Even if you're zine-aphobic, this mag will turn you into a zine-ophiliac! Not just reviews, but columns, context, and an awesome "where are they now" feature about long-lost zinesters. Plus in her review column Liz from Quimby's just revealed that she has Paramore on her iTunes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Grace Jones "Hurricane Dub"

(PIAS) (Guest Review by Edgar EaViL) You have to face your fears we are told. I was scared of Grace Jones as a child. Who/What/How is she?  “This is my voice… my weapon of choice” – this is the first line uttered by Grace on Hurricane Dub in “This is Life.” She goes on to say “This is what I’m focused on… this is my head on straight.” Grace REWERKED 2008’s Hurricane and it is finally available in the USA. This album has only gotten greater since thawing and sprouting a second disc. Arms and legs. “William’s Blood” is so far the closest to autobiography and openness Grace has become. She seems to be turning the camera inward that was always snapping her. The song is a wonderful collaboration with Wendy & Lisa (Viva La Revolution!).  There is almost a gospel energy which touches on her religious upbringing. This is further enforced by the songs ending with “Amazing Grace” backed by her mother. “Corporate Cannibal” is extremely relevant now in an age of “digital criminals.”We see them on the trains multiplying, outnumbering and plaguing the downtown area. There is also a reference to one of her past songs “Slave to The Rhythm” and some nice distorted guitar. In “I’m Crying (Mother’s Tears)” there is a lyric that chokes me up: “I was there by her side when my grandmother died.” It’s so potent how she describes the loss they shared.  The song “Hurricane” unleashes the mass destruction of “Hurricane Grace” with the help of Tricky. In “The Devil in My Life,” Grace addresses relationships that no longer serve a positive purpose.  Some people need to be excised/extracted/exorcised from our lives. This past summer my wisdom teeth were in fact the DEVIL IN MY LIFE! Then there is the DUB disc: There is lots of Grace fading in /out, serenading, searing and scaring. You should bring Grace to your next bashment and drop legs (Jamaican decode)!  In the “Hell Dub” Grace gets down in sparkling hat and smoke.  Hopefully it won’t be much longer before she appears again!