Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 5
Yours must be a single pressed on any size of vinyl. CD-Rs of singles will not be reviewed; they will be destroyed. We need the artifact here with original artwork, not some duplicate/digital copy. Only records released within the past six months will qualify for a review.
Singles must be postmarked by the 20th of each month to qualify for the next installment of this column.
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This column runs the first week of every month on Dusted (give or take). Its success depends on you sending in singles for review.
Please continue to send awesome records to Still Single, regardless of the genre. If it’s good, we can recognize it.
“Jet” was the jittery, analog, raindance builder from these two’s Orchestra of Bubbles album – here it’s remixed by Ben Klock (does not do much with what’s offered, even with a change in the rhythm) and Paul Kalkbrenner (massaging the uptight rhythm into precise, tech-ambient territory). Allien & Ring also rework their own “Sleepless” into a more infectious, glammy slugger, with tricky bass riffs, harp tinkles, and a slamming, assured pulse. Clear vinyl.
Armas Huutamo - Autinko on Kaunig Asia 7” EP
(Lal Lal Lal)
Sort of a preamble to Finnish “DIY art punk Band” Armas Huutamo, these are live recordings from 1998, when its two founding members were still teenagers. The five songs included here (of about 50 written and recorded) are simple, dynamically flat, frantic screeds of nervous, atonal youth oppression recession. It’s goofy, outsider spastication, and if that is what you want, and in Finnish, you’ll find it here.
Arms and Legs - “Alice” b/w “Loser (In Love)” 7”
You’d pass this single over, I’m sure. By its simple photocopied sleeve and the virtue of its scant information and standard fonts, it looks like a pile of crap. For me, a fairly obvious one-sheet sealed the deal. Then I put it on and my expectations were well shattered. This is a solo singer-songwriter deal, fashioned by a guy in Connecticut named Scott Daly. He’s working primarily in an Elliott Smith/Alex Chilton mode, but he’s got an approach that is at once classic, warm, authentic and familiar. This is sad bastard music, never forget it, but the songs are mature and gorgeous, the sign of a burgeoning talent just beginning to feel out his territory. “Alice” is the late-night swan song, its loneliness made all the more apparent by subtle e-bow reverb bends in the back, a la David Roback. “Loser (in Love)” is the more jangly of the two, revealing the heartstring pulling arrangements of his forefathers gone by. There’s a particularly odd warbling quality about Daly’s voice, but it is unique, and makes these songs all his own. Very surprising and worthwhile.
Bright Ideas - “Raincoats” b/w “Stay Down” 7”
This came in from a Scott Miller of Sacramento, CA. Could it be that Scott Miller, of Nar and the Bananas and the Loud Family? Really sounds like it could be, as “Raincoats” glides forth with effortless, mannered pop of the classic-that-never-existed variety (think New Pornographers). Big piano swells and solar-powered melodies grace both this one and the more moody flip, “Stay Down.” Flawless, handcrafted pop of the perennial variety which I’m sure a lot of you will enjoy. Hand-colored sleeves.
Changeling - “Astral Arch” one-sided 7”
(Not Not Fun)
One side of echoey, spooked-out drone with howlin’ and hauntil’ afoot, the lost souls of those in limbo rattling guitar strings and synth oscillators with all of their corporeal power. Did the Not Not Fun kids get turned onto shrooms? With runes screened into the B-side and a screened sleeve. Edition of 176, all numbered.
Le Chevalier De Rinchy - Mes Plus Belles Chansons D’Amour 7” EP
(Le Vilain Chien)
This one is jacked up, one of the oddest singles I’ve ever owned. “Le Chevalier” (probably one of the Les Club des Chats guys) kicks off about 25 to 30 dramatic bedroom orch-pop cantations, and that’s all he does – just a few bars of each, rammed with keyboard, acoustic guitar, and really affected, romantic vocals and then right onto the next. At no time did I ever question why someone would make a record like this; clearly the sentiments are inspired, novel, and bright. But each piece is separated by a noticeable pause, which makes listening to it a very disjointed experience (and even more so if you don’t understand French). Kind of insane, and comparable to very little, and at the same time, everything you’d expect. 500 copies.
Chloe & Sascha Funke - Collective Vol. 02 12”
Minimal yet incredibly deep, Chloe (who?) and Funke (not to be confused with Dr. Tobias), break ranks with two collaborative tracks, “Point Final” and the incredibly hypnotic “Hand in Hand.” Beautifully-designed synth patches and a relentlessly inventive rhythmic sense (even for 4/4) make for a truly singular experience. Goes great with drugs, I’d imagine. Does Bpitch walk with my favorite techno single of this year? (Or is it because I seem to receive everything they release, and little from any others? HMM?) We’ve two months to figure it out, but man … “Hand in Hand” is fantastic, wearing itself down to nothing before one final crescendo. Super-sweet.
Creeping Nobodies - Half Saboteur 12” EP
Creeping Nobodies/Anagram - split 12” EP
(Blocks Recording Club/Dead Astronaut)
Recently I walked down the block to see the Creeping Nobodies guys play, after having heard greater and greater things from trustworthy sources for years. I left around the time the promoter was sucking out rainwater from the seams on the floor with a Shop-Vac (therefore missing the band and the risk of accidental electrocution, because if I die, who’s going to review the singles?), but not without these two records in tow. I was expecting a Fall tribute given the band’s name, and to be honest these kids can pull off the shuffling cash ‘n’ carry with the requisite skill level, but instead ended up with Half Saboteur mining that low-slung, agit-punk skein that bands like the Ex are known for. The edges are fairly well-sanded off, however, bringing about a not-entirely-unwarranted comparison to Blonde Redhead. Out of the five tracks here, I got the most out of the finale “Follow,” all whispering clatter, rewound tape, and organ hammering – actions guaranteed to creep somebody. It also came in a nice, textured silkscreened sleeve that’s actually the box to some sort of Canadian insecticide. Vive le economy! And vive le Blocks for stepping up on the artwork to the Anagram split, which is a gorgeous artifact -- tri-fold conservation board, black-on-black screen and letterpress print, and a screened red-and-cream banner wrapping the whole affair. Looks like that Grenadine “Gillan” 7” from way back when. Here, the Nobodies make better on the grotesquerie of Fall comparisons, with the rhythmic wallop framing a simpler set of melodies. Their two tracks here are far superior to the previous EP in its entirety, fully unlearned to grasp the dragnet sonics and providing hope to the flagging dream of ‘00s post-punk with ominous pounding, hissing vox and jagged guitarrage. Anagram are somewhat on the same tip, but lumpier and more prone to histrionics, with droll, deadpan vocals and a lurching rhythmic sense – definitely curious to check out more by them. The split is the winner by far; grab that thing as soon as you see it.
Daedalus - Sundown 12” EP
More alien spider virus X-Files jams from Daedalus, ghosting the machine with a pensive, TV on the Radio-sized opening and closing movement that detonates in the middle by an extended live batucada drum jam. It’s a gimmick, and it’s the most exciting thing about the track, so much so that I initially confused it for the Diplo “I Discovered the Favelas and All I Got Was This Lousy Manute Bol Game Shoe” mix on the other side. Surprisingly, it’s both Diplo (who evens out the mix with a consistent Brazilian influence, rather than a flare-up), and the contemplative, almost trance-like Lulu Mushi mix, that carry this record through; strong remixes that work on “Sundown’s” strength – namely that big, big break – and the possibilities that arise from its usage in a forward-thinking scenario.
Death to Pigs/Gu Guai Xing Qiu - split LP
(213/Acide Folk/Ben Le Millionnaire/Down Boy/Gaffer)
I wrote about Death to Pigs, who I found out about via Scott Soriano, last month and scored this limited-to-500 split LP soon after. I think I love this band. They come off with both hands around your throat, thumbs squeezing your Adam’s apple into a place it doesn’t belong, with the frenetic wig-out pulse of the 1985, Nation of Ulysses, early Rye Coalition, and the VSS. They beat the shit out of their instruments, trying to find ways to become even tighter and faster. Aside from some muddy mastering, this is as solid and reverent a throwback as I’ve experienced in a few years, and I’m going to be coming back to this brut, destructive chaos time and again. Nice “Dr. Phibes” sample kicking things off … we even like the same movies. Fucking. RULES. And so does Gu Guai Xing Qiu, fellow French countrymen who take their influence from wider and more violent sources (think Melt-Banana, Spazz, Boredoms, Brutal Truth, and things in between) for some thick and burly omnidirectional grind action. Avant-garde in the most useful of senses, these guys even find time to bring in their jazz conservatory friends on sax – and shred along right with them. They seem to be the more outwardly political of the pair as well. Duly impressed with this entire record. Only 500 made, and it’s on must-find status if anything I described floats your boat.
the Dream Dates - “The Mess You’re In” b/w “Search and Destroy” 7”
Buzzsaw power pop from Toronto, circa 1979. “The Mess You’re In” has some cool, retro-styled unison vocals, snarling lead guitar, and the sort of heat that was at one time attributed to the Saints or Radio Birdman, or even early Nervous Eaters. Cover of “Search and Destroy” is fun albeit obligatory. The original here is the reason for purchase, one that’ll end up on mix tapes until the death of cassettes. Search high and low, so ye may prosper.
Family Underground/Quintana Roo - split 7”
(Not Not Fun)
Family Underground perpetrate a low-buzzing drome, never really picking up with regards to dynamics; it just floats there. Quintana Roo does the same, albeit more tonal, with some eerie, hallowed moans and scrapes within. Did the Not Not Fun kids discover pot? Silkscreened wacko sleeve, handmade touch. Not a lot of these (under 300, I think).
Fuck Me Dead - “Circling Ahead” + 2 7” EP
Canuck-punks shoot hockey pucks. “Circling Ahead,” like the other two tracks on this single, is extremely short. Nothing crosses the two-minute mark, but it all remains fun and somewhat vital – immediate and ramshackle, like the PeeChees or the Drags, with a young Ian MacKaye, drunk with power, belting out the vocals. Doesn’t hold up as well on the flipside, but “Circling Ahead” has my interest piqued. Supposedly there’s a single forthcoming on Ugly Pop. Edition of 600 copies, black vinyl, and a few sleeve variants.
Fucked Up - “Dangerous Fumes” b/w “Teenage Problems” 7”
“Dangerous Fumes” is one of the more “bad-ass” of recent Fucked Up tracks, all about how you lose by making the scene your life. This one’s the ripper, torn through with ragged guitar solos offset against their trademark infallible precision. “Teenage Problems” is this fun little nutter about romantic ideals, surrounded by can-can and static. C’mon, it’s Fucked Up, you’re on board by now. You’re reading the lyrics and getting what they’re selling. Great little riff in “Teenage Problems,” by the way. Unsure how many of these there are, but it’s probably quite a few. Looking forward to the shows in Toronto at the end of this month – see where you stand @ http://lookingforgold.blogspot.com.
Ghetto Ways - “Hidden Charms” + 2 7” EP
(Wicked Singles/Alien Snatch)
“Winks & Blue Eyeshadow” b/w “Got a Feelin’” 7”
Jenna from the Ghetto Ways insisted that I continue to check her band out. I’m sort of glad that she did, as these two singles (which in all fairness could have been combined into one 100% awesome single). I’d shed “Got a Feelin’” and “M-O-V, I’m Movin’ On” and stick with the other three, in particular the fun pop of “Tanny Girls” and the darker, almost Wipers-ish “Winks & Blue Eyeshadow” (though that car alarm vocal trick has gotta go). Better than average and moving towards great.
Girl Talk - Bone Hard Zaggin 7”
I wouldn’t want to hear this shit, nor MSTRKRFT, in the club. So why am I giving Girl Talk a pass and not the other? Because I’m not in the fucking club right now, man. I’m sitting in my new bedroom next to my turntables, listening to a huge pile of records that shows no sign in shrinking reasonably anytime soon. And let’s face it – there is so little that’s actually “cool” about everything Girl Talk does, and who he is – that its lack of suavity adds a legitimacy to his drill-between-the-eyes mashups of dozens of songs you’d hear in a supermarket or a dentists’ office. And I’m of the mind that no matter how dated either of their records becomes over time, the idea that someone might smash CeCe Peniston into the Doobie Brothers, then throw Nirvana on top, will always strike me as the more novel, the more clever, of the two ideas. Plus there’s only 333 copies of this single to go around (on red vinyl, nonetheless), whereas untold thousands of that MSTRKRFT CanCon crapola will be choking used bins and landfills for years to come. The choice is made.
Homostupids - The Glow 7” EP
(My Mind’s Eye Records)
The Brutal Birthday 7” EP
Mystery golden crud from Cleveland, OH here, existing for no real reason other than to piss people off. The Homostupids sound as dumb as their name, and that, my friends, is why these records rule. Why not upset people from the get-go? Why wait until they’re already at the show to spring this scuzz on ‘em? These two singles come packed in white paper sleeves, reminding us all of those old Rip Off and Planet Pimp singles, and if they don’t fetishize Hatchetface-style ‘50s squiggy gee-gaw punk, they are in the same ballpark of primitive, pounding musical terror. The Glow contains three songs of charged-up spray-rock spew, blistered and bleeding, a real skull-cracker of a single that never washes its hands. Vocals are barely intelligible, and the band knows the value in building up the noise from loud to louder. Mine came on pink vinyl and I don’t think there are more than 400 copies floating around. The Brutal Birthday EP loses the drummer in favor of a machine, and crams six songs onto one side of a 7”. Here their noise is made even more cryptic by circuit-bent electronics and Krelboine nerd-wave ideas. Mens Recovery Project comes to mind (and the cover art doesn’t really do anything to discourage such a comparison), but this is truly lost sound in its own right, having no real beginning or end despite the record actually beginning and ending. Gloriously fucked. There’s not too many of these around either, probably less than 500. I’d recommend you buy both, then stick your head in the fucking sand.
Javelin - “Oh Centra” b/w “”
(Lal Lal Lal)
Providence art school kids on a Finnish label … hmmm. “Oh Centra” is a sleepy bedroom “rap” steered in the direction of Ween via Barnes & Barnes; pretty stoned, goofy, albeit deeply-layered track that is surprisingly durable, given its jokey roots. Not something I’m going to go back to all the time, but far more than what it needed to be. The untitled flip is a simple, Nu Shooz-style light dancefloor school touting the benefits of education. Despite the novelty feel here, I’m really digging this single. Maybe you will too.
Paul Kalkbrenner - Keule 12” EP
Reworks 12”/1 12”
Kalkbrenner holds the unofficial title as the official Timekeeper of the chromium-plated Bpitch roster. He produces some of the sternest, most direct beats this label has to offer, and on “Keule,” he takes it even further, racing one note across a loping techno gallop. The message is clear: focus and pressure makes a diamond, and the tension created here is palpable. “Atzepeng,” over on side B, continues in the direction of stark minimalism, riding a moody, electrocized bassline beneathblips and strains of piano and uncomfortable synth on top. “Freund Blasé” rounds things off with a similarly bare bass ‘n’ rainstick thumper. On the Reworks disc, collecting artist-commissioned remixes of Kalkbrenner’s tracks, the one to beat for last year (“Gebrunn Gebrunn”) is worked over into a steadily driven, filed down peaker, courtesy of Alexander Kowalski. All he’s kept is the tempo and the vocal samples, content to distance the track from the sharp metal-on-metal grind of the original into something you’d hear in a Polish disco. Much more interesting is Joris Voorn’s take on “Press On,” here fortified into a lattice of big round bass and alarm drill chirping before culminating into several bars of all-at-once urgency. White vinyl on the remixes, bros.
Kiki/Lee Van Dowski - Collective Vol. 01 split 12”
No idea what the whole “Collective” tag is supposed to imply with regards to these artists, but here’s the first of two available thus far. The always reliable, always glamorous Kiki gets somewhat serious on “Motorized,” kicking off with a busy, almost Balearic intro into full-on progressive house/buzz mode (replete with piano chords), riding this 8th-note riki-tiki all the way through to an instinctively hot, busy finish. Broken up into tangible segments, it’ll be easy to add this one in wherever it’ll fit, depending on your mood. Over on the flip, Lee Van Dowski – new to me – works it in a minimal drill beat sort of fashion that grows into a very fit, lockstep lattice of polyrhythm and a bit of glam to it.
Larsson - Automat 12” EP
“Automat” is spare, propulsive, minimal techno, very busy but with a light and somewhat polyrhythmic speed to it; an effectively beat-driven, energetic track that doesn’t expend a lot of energy and thus can build nicely over its runtime into a deep, bassy finale. “Point” tries similarly, but fails to make the same impact; however, “De Luxe” jogs along nicely in a simplified, motorik sort of fashion. Will only work under certain conditions, but could be an excellent builder for minimal sets on a world-class sound system.
Loney, Dear - “The City, The Airport” b/w “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl” 7”
(Something in Construction)
Newly licensed to Sub Pop, here’s some teaser tracks from this one-man Swedish pop/electronic sapster. “The City, The Airport” is unbelievably saccharine, recalling the Postal Service in the versus and some sort of AM gold-cum-beyond indie pop chorus, sounding as if it is as buoyant – and substantial – as Styrofoam, despite however hard the song swells to the catalog showroom heavens. The flip is all nasal scat over a busy track, until the autotuned, monotone lead vocals creep over the top in half-time. There’s not enough innovation or classic sentiment here to sway me either way; it just is, like a burnt match.
Lowfour - Stenmark 12” EP
It’s the return of Andreas Tilliander, here as Lowfour, with a few mixes of the same track. “Stenmark” the original is far and away the best thing here, with more action and character than its rather faceless remixes (choose from Tomi Kiiosk’s “Remikksi,” or the tepid rave action of the Future/Past mix) or the mildly acidic builder “Wassberg.” Really wanted this one to start sounding different but no amount of alteration on my behalf could get it moving.
Machetazo/Total Fucking Destruction - Slimewave Vol. 1 split 7”
Machetazo are from Spain and grind up two disease-ridden death metal tracks with some fairly ponderous playing and simple, unchallenging thrash breakdowns. For what it portends, you’d expect more. And you deserve more. TFD is a side project of Brutal Truth’s Rich Hoak; it’s rattling, dynamic grind with enough changes to keep things moderately interesting. I wish the recording and mastering on this thing were better, less compressed, out of the mid-range. I’d like to hear more of what’s going on. First of a six-part series of singles with interlocking squicky cover art. Edition of 1000 numbered copies, 900 on white/red splatter vinyl, 100 on clear/red (not for sale).
Margaret Thrasher - ]Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Thrasher 7” EP
Four songs of basic, busy punk rock with harried female vocals – you take Elisa from Magik Markers and put her in front of a punk band beginning to find its way around traditional fast/loud songs, and this is probably what you’d end up with. Still, I’m enthralled by the spindly guitar narrative on “Dead To Me” and the altogether pissed-offedness of “Anti-Reverence Anthem.” Ballbustin’ p-rock punchers from some altogether furious women. Edition of 300, some of which are on blue/green vinyl.
Miracles of God - II 7” EP
Pop duo from Iowa here, riding a very thin and difficult line – there seems to be an honest love of power pop within, but these guys are just … really hard to take. Maybe it’s the really tactless lyrics (“Rape City” doesn’t particularly encourage, and when you get inside of it, it’s worse than you thought), maybe it’s the crunchy, clipped, overmodulated digital production and shit-job mastering, or maybe it’s the appearance of so many fringes on their songs. These guys can’t even sit still without throwing in some “tasty licks” everywhere, and it’s pretty embarrassing. A lot of people who are too nice to say anything probably encourage these guys. Stop.
Mojoe - “Yesterday” b/w “3rd Coast Anthem” 12”
Smooth, San Antonio, TX hip-hop from Mojoe here, with the muted trumpet riff and organ ramble within that denotes smooth, dinner-hour screeds a la Mos Def. It’s cleaned up and not thugged-out in the slightest, borrowing more from the Roots or D’Angelo than anything currently booming out of vehicles. Red wine motherfuckers, man. And it’s well-done for that matter, but not entirely original or convincing. More spice, please.
MSTRKRFT - Work on You 12” EP
Hey dudes, it’s more of this fucking insipid cumbubble bullshit “electro” from MSTRKRFT. This time out, they’re saved solely by Para One, who mixes them beyond recognition into a huge, glittery, elastofunk maximal French madness jam. This gets a pass for some reason, just by virtue of making the track remotely listenable. Otherwise boys, I hope they fucking shrivel up and fall off. Oh wait, they already have. For jagoffs only.
Numbskull - Final Days of Torture 12" EP
(My Mind’s Eye/Collinwood)
Archival discovery here – Numbskull hailed from Cleveland around 1985, and stuck around long enough to put out Final Days of Torture (a rack ended up on a CLE magazine comp in the ‘90s as well). ’85 was kind of a weird time, as hardcore was reaching its nadir, and nothing was effectively taking its place. Numbskull likely found themselves in no scene when they recorded this forward-thinking vocals/bass/drums knuckledrag material, full of negative attitudes and simple, repetitive, primitive basement grind. Aside from Flipper or maybe the Nig-Heist, these songs seem to come from nowhere at all, save three agitated and troubled minds that take time out between tracks to smoke up and then claim that they’re “too fucked up” to play. The tension in between is enough to bust open a huge pimple, uncomfortable but satisfying in its denouement. There’s a couple of levels this thing operates at, but most of you who give a shit about punk music from the fringes will find so much to appreciate here. Apparently the 300-copy pressing has been cut in half due to some water damage, so you’d better hurry if you ever wish to own a copy of this insanity. Destructive, full of bad vibes, and thoroughly messed up. “Heavy Metal Gods” is my favorite thing here. Both middle fingers extended!
Nunslaughter - The Bog People 7” EP
(My Mind’s Eye/Non-Commercial)
Cleveland-area thrashers, gargling up four tracks of demo-quality ‘80s crossover, gore-obsessed and ready to fight. Something about the lack of polish here and the natural, live feel to these cuts recreate the feeling of standing in a packed basement with about 50 other headbangers, listening to these guys pound away, no women in sight. Totally fun, ridiculous and raging metal. 400 copies.
Of/Greg Davis - Div/orce Series 5 split 7”
Fifth installment of this odd series of split singles. Of is Jewelled Antler/Thuja member Loren Chasse, performing live and in reclusive mode, his track “Ferns Will Crumble” giving off a sedate, soundtracky feel, with drone and Eastern stringed instrument elements falling together in a spacious slumbertime vibe. It’s minimal, careful, and altogether a sublimating experience. Greg Davis’ side, “Fennel & Tangerine,” seems to swim out of the murky expanse created on the other side, jingling and splashing through gloriously before settling into a contemplative acoustic guitar elegy. It’s kind of slight, but this marks what might be the first altogether great record in this series, so give it a little moment in the sun.
Quem Quaeritis/Child Pornography - split LP
(Not Not Fun)
QQ are on some sort of manic wild poverty third world music tip, forcing across ridiculous rhythms and large clusters of round, preset synth low-budg righteousness, like if On-U Sound systems were to have overrun Los Angeles. I’m not as down when they start rapping, but there are plenty of moments here that are worthy of your attention, as the group subverts the traditional stylings of international music like a non-mescalated Sun City Girls. The Band Whose Name Could Get You Arrested trafficks in harsh, minimal synth freakout with precision noise pummel. Apparently CP members used to play in Volume Eleven, and that’s pretty obvious given the spasticated roots. But their trcks deal directly with the problems facing their general worldview (acceptance by Wire pundits on one side, and dealing with cornball rich kids like Steve Aoki and that Last Night’s Party choad on the other, with little room for attention in between). It’s not coming from a place of jealousy, but one of almost laughable concern that anything takes itself that seriously. I mean, to parade around with that name, you’ll do anything. Both sides are a go. Green vinyl and comes loaded with glitter, so be careful.
Sagan - Resisting Pleasures 7”
Stuck with sampler presets, Sagan arranges a small group of familiar bits of sound into slow, slowly mutating 8-bit jams, the kind of things you might have expected Prince to have thrown out in writing Purple Rain. Astronautical, and the green vinyl and sleeve suit it just fine. An altogether enjoyable time. Edition of 333, with the first 100 including a bonus 3” CDR which I did not listen to (I’m on a schedule, and this is vinyl only, folks).
Sapat - Tongue-Tied & Staid 7” EP
(Black Velvet Fuckere)
Large-ensemble jazzbo wackiness skronk from Louisville, KY, placing itself in rocky terrain between the swing of the Johnsons Big Band, the off-kilter lean of Royal Trux, and some more creative tendencies that land on the Beefheart/Alvarius B/Tom Waits “special area,” leaning more towards Waits in the vocals and the Magic Band musically. The kitchen sink approach to these three shambling songs works a bit at crossed purposes, but there is so much jammed into these grooves that not appreciating one part of the band as much as the rest isn’t necessarily a qualifier for overall approval. Edition of 500 and going fast; get in now or else you’ll be fighting over this at the record fair some balding, assmouthed Wire devotee who doesn’t clip his nails.
Sex Vid -s/t 7” EP
People aren’t going to get why I say this (and will probably attribute it to a limited punk vocabulary), but if (first 12” era) Antioch Arrow played like Void, they’d be Sex Vid. Not so much the drama element or nascent Hot Topic-isms so much as the paint-peeling, flesh-eating corrosiveness of sound coupled with sheer hardcore thrash velocity. Six songs on this single, produced to peel skin with just the right amount of snot in the vocals, fall-apartness of long breakdowns, and ripped up snotty vocal harangues are in place to put this up there with the best punk singles of 2006. No more questions, you just go get one while you still can.
Kate Simko - Strumm 12” EP
Chicago-based lush electronix from Ms. Simko, creating space and fluid within some fairly chilled-out original tracks, “Strumm” (the poppier “hit” of the two) and “Machine War” (a more workmanlike cut, rather downtempo and unassuming). Remixes by Jonas Bering (made for the runway) and UNAI (with more of an acid-house feel) round out the package.
Slits - Revenge of the Killer Slits 7” EP
(Only Lovers Left Alive)
I picked this up at a local record shop and was told “it sounds like Cypress Hill” by the guy behind the counter. True, you’re probably never going to listen to “Slits Tradition” more than once; it’s pretty rough, thinly-produced “rap” along the lines of a less honkified Northern State. Still interested? Well, they do resurrect “Number One Enemy” from the Y3 LP with traditional punk sounding instrumentation, in a lineup including Steve Beresford and former Adam and the Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni. The urgency of that track hasn’t gone away, which is noble and moreover important for this whole thing to qualify as a Slits reunion and not just some Ari Up insanity passing off as such. “Kill Them With Love” sees the group retreating back into “rude” territory, and it’s just rough to listen to, as it’s more like Cathy Dennis toasting over some jungle trills than anything useful. Out in the States on the SAF label, so go bug them if you’re still interested. I wouldn’t expect this reunion to appease too many fans of their original work, so proceed with caution.
Spider and the Webs - “Frozen Roses” +2 7” EP
Hey hey, it’s Tobi Vail’s new band – and it freakin’ RULES. Eschewing edges for an overall thick, reverbed guitar smear, the three tracks here range from Sonic Youthy cotton crownisms to Some Velvet Sidewalk-esque badassness (“Mister Hypnotist” was co-written with Al Larsen), and the classy, Sarah Records-informed lazy sprawl of the title cut. How so many artists have been able to keep this boiler plate Olympia sound alive and vital for so long is a mystery to me, but it has something to do with the way they process the sound, as this group doesn’t sound too soft or too obvious about it. This is just great noise pop, the kind you will already know if you need or not. Personally, I do.
Tranzmitors - “Look What You’re Doing” b/w “Teenage Filmstar” 7”
Joyous, revved-up, inspired pub-pop from Vancouver, BC. “Look What You’re Doing” is one catchy powerpearl of a leadoff track, filled with appropriately tricky wordsmithery and the bashing riffs to match, vocal harmonies, handclaps, and a spirited jangle for a spine. “Teenage Filmstar” rolls out at 33, and slowed down the inner machinations of this band become more apparent: faux-Brit vocals for authenticity, but precision-tooled musicianship which would suggest these guys might be ready to graduate to full-length status sooner than later. But we all know that singles are where the action is, and if you wanted action, you’d want this record. Its simple charms will work their way to the center of your brain within no time. Unfortunately you’ll probably have to go searching for this single as it’s been out of print for a minute, but it’s one of those kinds of records where, if you were to pay more, you’d see the value in it almost instantly upon first spin. If you’re going to go through the trouble of emulating past glories of rock, you’d better come off like you mean it, and the Tranzmitors certainly sound as if they do. Crazy high recommendation.
Laurence Wasser - “Der Lift” b/w “Die Frogg” 7”
(Le Vilain Chien)
Another French ingénue from the Le Vilain Chien doghouse, Wasser lays down some highly active, clanging, dissonant noise-dance freakout action, executed with the precise, acute beatdown style of the Ex, Nomeansno, Contortions, or (it’s a stretch) Public Image Ltd. Unforgivingly steep, brutal dance-“punk” of an immediate, raw nature. Both tracks kill it; you need this if any of the above happened to catch your eye. Edition of 500, so hurry up.
Wrists - Freak of Nature 7” EP
New Texan punk shock, guitarless but playing very much like a rock band might. Bass, keys, vocal shrieks, and washpail drums murk and struggle amidst 99 cent production, which sort of enhances the band’s outsider tendencies. Very much enamored with panic rock a la Le Shok, but grounded in Texas punk history (think Really Red) and Undertones singles, if that makes sense to you. Comes across as transcendent of what new wave poseurs would do under the same circumstances, and actually skews towards Lost Sounds in the final track “Final Few.” Really fucking nice. Edition of 500, with some of that on white vinyl. Grab yours soon.
Various Artists - Paper Rad Uniform 7” EP
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the effort that goes into Paper Rad’s artwork. It’s that I can’t stand it. It really reeks of an obsession with the worst parts of child culture, re-jiggered into its baby-man ideals of adult/acid life to nauseating, ultimately destructive ends. So you can imagine what their musical output sounds like. Let’s just say that the visuals really help this shit to go down your throat – and that’s not saying much. Irony-soaked hometape garbage and stadium tracks, unrequited and completely in their own heads up their own asses. I don’t think Euro club music, “deep” metallic guitar elegies, or releasing everything you make, including experiments with My First Sampler, unadorned, are worthy of any sort of praise, and am thoroughly against the mentality that would have it any other way.
By Doug Mosurock