Monday, November 26, 2012

The Bruises “Never Be the Same”

( Better than Bruise Springsteen! Rock with pop hooks that argues for vocalist Aja Blue as Pat Benatar 2.0 (first upgrade is her a better rock n roll name).

Maximumrocknroll #355

( So, this issue is actually more interesting than usual, because it opens with a letters section in which Mykel Board and the editors tussle about MRR's refusal to print one of his columns with some offensive content. What's interesting is that no one seems to be totally wrong, but Board is being civil and sensible addressing this, and the MRR content coordinators are being just as sensible, but kinda dick-ish in tone, especially in dismissing Board's older, less punk-centric readers. Not that they shouldn't be dismissed (they are just writing to rabble rouse because of perceived censorship/injustice without knowing much about the situation), but it's surprising how nasty and judgmental (and not particularly funny) the insults aimed at them are. That said, the current content the content coordinatrs are coordinating is pretty good -- this issue has great interviews with cartoonist Avi Spivak and Alabama/Chicago punk band Breathing Light, a good comic, and all the reviews/scene reports/cool ads you always read MRR for (when you were sixteen). And it has a Mykel Board column about getting his balls sucked. All is right in punk!

A Dash of Jones #5

Dann and Helen, of Betty Paginated infamy,  continue to marvel at and document their children. Looking forward to the 2022 prom issue! Note: rather than put fotos of their kids online w/o permission, imagine these two dogs were cute, blonde children.

Humongous “miniature pinschers”

(Adept) Awesomely all-American absurdity, combining Beefheart freakouts, new wave folk music, anonymous truckstop sex, and toe tapping audio deviance. This is the soundtrack to a James Bond porno, if James Bond was from Arkansas.

Wattamelon by David Huyck

( Charles Schulz spoke about the design issues that resulted from making Charlie Brown’s head so big (he can’t lift arms over head, can’t ride bikes, for some reason). But David Huyck take it to a whole nother level, exploring the tragedies of comic big head-ism. And it’s adorable! While being tragic. And designed exquisitely. And tragically.

Timmy’s Organism “Raw Sewage Roq”

(In The Red) This might sound like raw sewage but it smells like pure genius! Not sure if Timmy makes cacophony sound  catchy or if he makes catchy music sound cacophonous, but I am sure he’s got some profoundly powerful musical mojo!

Dance Movie "Interlopers"

( If this were the actual original sound track to a real dance movie it would be a movie about doing sad dancing at a ghost prom.

Sample This: Saustex 2012 Sampler

(Saustex) You know what this compilation sounds like? America! Highlights include one man band legend T. Tex Edwards, brilliant no-fi superheroes Copper Gamins, absurdist blues glamsters Glambilly, and a new band (to me) Gay Sportscasters, who play slightly goofy Americana, and I beleive they are the only Americana band to ever mention Grace Jones. You know with this label is all about? America!

El Pathos "Hate and Love"

(Saustex) Not much I can say other than that you should dig this record because of the great band name, creepy vocals, and fun drumming. They sound like the best bar band in the emptiest bar.

Bright Little Field “Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to the Replacements”

(Bar None) I sure used to love the Replacements, though I never listen to them anymore, so the first thing I’d like to do here is thank Jonathan Bright and Tom Littlefield for reminding me how solid and awesome and catchy and different that mighty Minnesota band’s music was/is. These ukulele cover versions certainly demonstrate the strength of the source material, and this is sincere and far from a novelty record. But as pleasant as “Treatment Bound” is, it maybe could be improved by being a bit more novel…I’m sort of shocked that this isn’t an instrumental record. They are paying tribute to the ‘Mats, but not to the ukes…they should have let the little guys have the spotlight to show off their unique musical character (and the non-lyrical qualities of Paul Westerberg’s compositions) more. While the whimsical qualities of the instrument (and the bang-a-pot percussion aesthetic employed here) are well showcased, by singing these songs straight (or at all) it takes away from the ukul-arious humor inherent in uke use, and obscures the mastery of the instrument by these fine pickers. Still, really nice record overall, and I’ll spin it alongside the Replacement records I’m playing this week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

GoDIYRecords “Illinois III,” “Wisconsin II,” “Michigan II,” “Transatlantic," "Kentucky," "Virginia"

( In the age of Soundcloud, Facebook, and accessible roadmaps to actual DIY ways to release vinyl, CDs, and digital, it’s hard to believe there are still scores of bands that would pay to be on no frills compilations, convinced this is the path to success. On the other hand, I’m always excited to get these comps, because I want to hear exactly what kind of band goes for this. On the Illinois comp the ringer is Dot Dot Dot, not either of the two experimental bands that had that name in prior eras, but the successful reality show band, and their super slick production is not that compelling. Actually, super high production values are abundant on this. Maybe the same bands that go to expensive studios in the era of home recording also commit to this kind of comps. The Dylan/Tom Petty mimic act John L. Sullivan is maybe my fave here. Best band name is Shortstop From Tokyo, and their pop punk (with brass) is solid but not too original. And though Iguchi was born in Tokyo, I don’t think he ever played anything but second base for the Sox, so I believe there has never been an Illinois Shortstop From Tokyo. The only band I know on this is the Joans, the all-Joan Crawford drag band, who are, of course, awesome 9how could they not be…they are all Joan Crawford). I liked Convoy and Wet Ashes as well. Forgive me for being less thorough on my non-home state releases: For Wisconsin the best name is Cannibal Galaxy, but the absolute worst name, making it possibly the best name, is Random Maxx, but since they just sound like a terrible Christian Rock band trying to go secular, I will again nod towards Cannibal Galaxy, who are unoriginal proggy alternative metal, but that’s still better. Not a lot of standouts here, but the country grooves of Butcher Class Hogs are pretty solid. Oddly, no really good band names on the Michigan one, but way more good music than Wisconsin. The Sanger Brothers are outstanding and as far as monkey songs go, The Implants deliver a 4 bananas up tune. The Kentucky edition is pretty decent, one of the first comps where the best band names have the best songs (ROugh Customers, Japanese School Girls, Uh Huh Baby Yeah!"). Virginia had a surprosing amount of novelty stuff considering how unfunny that state usually is. The Accidents, Evan Wofford, and Feed GOd Cabbage all add whimsy to the mix. I can’t figure out the “Transatlantic” editions concept: the cover is just a giant Illinois covering up  a map of Europe (including Iceland). So, there are so many suckers in my state, and so few in the entire continent of Europe, that this odd configuration was a necessity? Fightball is the best name. And they have a pretty good song. Bewized might be a good name if I knew how it was pronounced and weird lo-fi belchy deathmetal is something I can get behind. If I knew if they were from Peoria or Transylvania it might help me get into it more, but they don’t give hometowns on the sleeves, and I’m not going to 20 websites per disc for more info. But assuming the weird brutal strange-voiced songs are from Europe and the power pop is from Illinois, I’ll give Europeans credit for at least not spending any money in recording studios. No-fi brutality is the way to go DIY in my book.

Penny Winblood (Forge)

(Forge RecordsMathematical post-post hardcore scramble noise that puts epileptic drum spasms, butter churning guitar work, horrifying lullabye sing song vocals, every production Albini has done since 1993, brain damage, and brain fixin’ into a unwashed blender and closed eyes while pressing buttons. Worth every Penny. And all the Blood.

Amy Gore and her Valentines “In Love”

( Rockin’ pop with solid singing, though not flawless vocal choices. There are moments when Amy Gore goes Pat Benatar when Joan Jett might be more effective, or 80s Heart when 70s Heart might be a better fit, but bottomline is Ms. Gore can sing, and this rock n roll valentine will warn your cockle.

The Abe Lincoln Story “What Time Is It?!”

( Upbeat ditties that sound like a fun-loving tweaker gloriously failing to compose a new season of Schoolhouse Rock songs with themes like “Fuck the Future,” “Getting Naked,” and “Play Marco Polo.” Produced by two of out favorite people in the world (the Millionaire, owner of some of Sammy Davis Jr’s clothes, and Kristian Hoffman, who helped Lance Loud, Klaus Nomi, and that reality show powdered wig glam opera singer make their musical visions come alive) and featuring both the funky and the punky, this will be bigger than any other Abe Lincoln-themed project this decade!

God Equals Genocide "Rattled Minds"

(Razorcake/Dirt Cult) This LP is heartily stocked with rousing, poppy hardcore with humor and punch. Better yet, it has a hidden garage rock single stuck behind some awesome locked grooves! Thanks God!

Chumps “s/t”

(Forge) When it comes to making dark, dreamy, hard punk messes sound downright inspired, these Chumps are champs.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In Cages

( Despite all their well-controlled rage they are still just some rats in a 90s alt-rock cage!

Sindie 4 “Inside! Inside! Inside!” “Look But Don’t Touch"

( Weirdly wonderful ambitious pop (from Russia! And not jailed for music making!) that combines Max’s Kansas City 70s oddness, Ringo b-side quirks, and bizarre narratives (if the illustration and Track 2 of “Look But Don’t Touch” are not things I hallucinated, it’s about stealing the Meg White statue from a rock n roll sculpture museum), and some kind of alchemy where grand production somehow results in intimate, almost claustrophobic, music. The tunes here reference everything without ripping anything off. Era-less and errorless.

Mike Rep and the Quotas “Rocket to Nowhere” b/w “Quasar”

(Mighty Mouth) This is a pretty legendary single being reissued: DIY superhero Rep’s 1975 (though supposedly it was not distributed til 1978 when Bomp got their hands on some copies) debut was a garage trash meets stoner metal meets bedroom pop meets outsider weirdo meets Detroit gutter rock HIT on one side, with a flipside that’s just ambient stereo-headphone phasing space noises…in mono! Though the record (with original sleeve, insert and label reproduced faithfully) says 33 1/3 rpm, it’s supposed to be played at 45, but if you play the ambient side at 33 1/3 you get extra minutes of confusion!

Dave Arvedon “The Best of Dave Arvedon”

(Mighty Mouth) A reissue of my favorite kind of private press record. While the Plastic Crimewaves of the world dream of finding one of the 100 copies of some visionary genius’ psychedelic workout that is more mind expanding than anything San Francisco’s psyche superstars cranked out, when I find a that-don’t-look-right LP in the reject bin my hopes are that it is an idiosyncratic, goofy, novelty record with humor that either succeeds or fails so spectacularly that joy drenches me like the shower in Silkwood. By that criteria, this batch of Boston bizarre-ness (circa 1971, though Arvedon did 60s garage and still records) more than qualifies for my Hall of Freaky Fame. This cornucopia of kookiness includes a streakin’ song, a better basketball tune than Kurtis Blow’s, a pottymouthed ode to the Untouchables, the only non-racist (and the catchiest ever) white pride anthem, and a few functional pop songs that are as good as anything out there (“Find Something Better to Do” and “Roller Coaster Baby” can’t be fucked with). And you have to give Mighty Mouth credit for releasing this record with the original no-frills packaging. Pure weirdness should be kept pure! Again, his “Whitey White” song is not racist…this record is about weird-o purity, not racial purity!

The Nubs “I Don’t Need You” b/w “Dogs”

(Last Laugh) Reissue of ultra-expensive late 70s New England weirdo punk double A-side with a fuzzed out New Wave garage workout on the first A-side and the seconf A-side showcasing a Dr. Demento meets Question Mark’s keyboard player’s index fingers meets Captain Beefheart’s cousin’s cover band meets an actual talking dog meets a New Wave “ban” on a 1982 sitcom masterpiece. Killed By Deathers prefer “I Don’t Need You,” which is reasonable, but “Dogs” is the kind of thing I dream of when I find a weird, unknown, small press record. 

Grand Trine “Say It” b/w “I Need You Baby”

(Almost Ready) Contemporary Canadian band covers songs by the Bohemians, the 60s garage band one of their dad’s was in. Better than both the Frank Sinatra. Jr. tribute show to his dad and WAY better than Louis Prima Jr’s show! The wailing “I Need You Baby” is especially impressive, and even if it’s not as good as the original, it’ll cost you about $80 less to get this version

The Incredible Kidda Band "Bitch" b/w "She's A 50"

(Last Laugh) This 70s/80s Brit power pop punk act released a bunch of cool singles, and their reissues/comps have outpaced their original releases in recent years. These are two killer demos, which it’s hard to believe have sat on shelves since the leisure suit era, but maybe they went unreleased because the band was already Stones-y, and at some point had a Keith and Mick in the band, so perhaps releasing a song called “Bitch” was just too much. 

The World's Lousy with Ideas Vol 1

(Almost Ready) The best song on this three track comp is Boys Club’s snotty off-fi impudence punker. But Home Blitz delivers some fine speedy trash rock (thrash trash?), and Nothing People do their best to hypnotize with bizarro drones.

10¢ Fuck Flicks “Eight Songs About Drugs and Sex!”

(Drug Front Records) A half dozen (plus two…plus more on the digital download) high speed rock n roll car crashes caused by the driver receiving a sloppy, inebriated blowjob while negotiating a tricky turn. The car crash, and in my mind this record, is followed by a gloriously satisfying sad trombone (which is a sound effect, not a sex act…or is it?). The record also contains some trash rock that qualifies as primo dryland surf, which also should be the name of a sex act.

The Stags "Told You So" EP

(Drug Front) When I was a kid I played on a baseball team called the Staggs (we played at Stagg Field) and we played a team from Lab School. When I went out to 2nd base after the third inning my Labbie equivalent had etched "Staggs are Fags" into the infield dirt. I changed it to "Labs are Fags." I wish I had been sensitive to gay rights and clever enough to have changed it to "Labs are Scabs," because it rhymes better, and in Chicago being anti-Union always got you beatdown quicker than being gay. Anyhow, I wouldn't call these Stags names because they sound like they could kick my ass and because their song about butter is tastier than actual butter.

Big Dipper “Crashes on the Platinum Planet”

(Almost Ready) You can’t know every band, and I have to admit I never really get a grip on what Big Dipper were all about, knowing a few songs from college radio, but never buying their records. Listening to this new album of high sheen, flawless ethereal power pop doesn’t exactly make me regret this path, but I guarantee that I’ll pick up “Crap” next time I see it in a used bin – I always liked that cover. All the songs here are pretty good, but an ode to a guitar named Desire and an ode to cancer, and an ode to the father of the heroine of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are all stellar.

The Joe Hebert Band “I Don’t Wanna Be A Preppy” b/w “First Date”

(Almost Ready) This reissue of an ultra-rare 1981 45 by Rockin’ Joe Hebert (Ocean Staters know him for his comedy stylings) has some amazing balance/imbalance magic happening, where Joe has crafted two can’t miss, morning radio novelty numbers, an anti-preppy tune to cash in on the Preppy Handbook fad (don’t feel like explaining it to folks under 40, just  google away) and a bouncy number about going on a first date. But his band, while delivering the kind of bouncy pop the songs require, can’t help but engage in the kind of fuzzy, nasty punk that undermines the commercial possibilities. Nothing succeeds more than failed novelty!

Live Fast Die “Practicing for the Gangbang”

(Total Punk) I get so many punk/indie/garage/trash singles, these days (and a lot of cassettes for some reason), but it is genuinely ultra-rare that one of them is so good that I imagine someone comp-ing it on the 2038 equivalent of a Killed By Death album. But both of these songs are so stupid, catchy, awesome, and ridiculous that I won’t sell this for 400 holo-laser-dollars, or whatever the money is in the future.

Golden Pelicans “Hard head” b/w “Jump in a Lake”

(Total Punk) Obnoxious trash rock so sloppily intense that I imagine the band has seen things in their rock n roll exploits that would give Viet Nam vets chills. Go jump in a lake, indeed!

Cop City Chill Pillars “Hosed”

(Florida’s Dying) This band is as strange as anything from the demented state of Florida (and my experiences in America’s penis have never been less than dramatically decadent, abusive, and confusing). CCCP are most impressive because their singular sound (can’t really think of who to compare them too with any accuracy) seems to take arty elements (time signature shenanigans, chanting, ancient texts lyrically referenced, post-psyche experimentation) and make them sound lowbrow and regular instead of asshole-ish and elitist. I’ve been listening to this record for two or three hours and I’m as high as a fucking satellite just off the audio buzz.