Doug Mosurock and his team run down another dozen or so pieces of wax, including Jailbreak, Daily Dance and Timmy’s Organism.
Still Single: Vol. 6, No. 4
Torn Throats 7” EP
Word to the wise, whomever wrote the label copy for this 9-song tear-along: calling a hardcore band “hardworking” is a bit like saying “she has a great personality” or “it’s really safe and gets great gas mileage.” Mixing influences here a bit: There’s enough youth crew in the mix to suggest someone here has or had the X. Yet it says “No God, No Masters” right there at the top of the insert. (The correct quoter has an “s” at the end of god – it was sort of Amebix’s point that anything can be a god, even record collecting!) And how about that Voidish cover illo. Then there’s the sample of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs from “Almost Famous.” Oy vey. Nevermind. “Hardworking” is about right. (http://www.televisionwrecks.blogspot.com)
Filled With Guilt & Diamonds LP
The cover features a man holding bolt cutters over his dick, and that’s a better review of this whimpering pabulum as anything I can come up with. Like Jandek at his most listless, passages of silence with trembling voice and gentle swells of guitar drones and mechanical garbage bubbling in an instantly forgettable soup of lukewarm horseshit. Like their equally awful 7”, this LP is “dedicated for better or worse” (worse … much, much worse) to some poor soul, Ashley Wolf. I can only imagine what she had to deal with. This whole record is ripe with passive aggressive hostility and blame, covered in a mask of delicate femininity. Let’s play a game: who wrote this, Phil Anselmo or Br’er? “God Gave you this/To penetrate/Why’d you mutilate/His gift?/This dress won’t mask what’s between your legs.” You haven’t felt sympathetic humiliation until you’ve heard Be’er intone operatically, “He trust funded his way out west/Sugar Bear got off on rape/Sugar Bear got away with rape.” There are more than 10 guilty parties listed as playing on this shit sandwich. Why didn’t any of them stop this? Only 400 copies, silkscreened sleeves, 180g vinyl – first one to destroy every copy wins! (http://www.edibleonion.com)
Winter 7” EP
Surely these Olympia folks know they gotta be the nth band to call themselves Christmas, right? (Guys who made made a couple of OK indie rock albums then turned into Combustible Edison we’ll never forget you and wow, that was a terrible idea.) A-side “Winter” blends that willfully primitive thing Oly just refused to even take a breather with twang-verb guitar and B-side gets some no-wavey GodCo motion going on “Gut” before the band devolves into something that might turn into a B-52s song on “Castle.” I’m sure they are fun live, except bands like this always yell at you for not dancing, which is hard when the rhythm section can’t quite manage basic swing or even groove (the drummer sounds “new.”), yet they yell at you anyway. Jesus, that’s annoying. (http://www.endlesslatino.com)
Pay attention, because we’re in FREAKOUT MODE this week. Daily Dance was a force-of-nature rock/improvisation duo from Washington Court House, Ohio in the early ‘70s. Mere months after the Love Cry Want opus was shut down outside the White House, Doug Snyder and Bob Thompson – who I am going to guess never heard that sort of music, or for that matter anything like what they’d make here, because such stuff, save for “Sister Ray” and extremist free jazz, did not exist for mass consumption in 1972 – let loose with a reddish-brown torrent of semi-solid guitar destruction and free drum headblast so severe it’ll make your head spin. You’d expect this sort of violence in the ‘90s, or even in the ‘80s, when it was delivered unadorned into the mass media via the nightly news, but you wouldn’t expect it coming out of a record; however, out of all the people in bands you’ve read about who had the good fortune to see the Velvets, the MC5 and the Stooges at the peaks of their respective powers, you’ve likely never heard anyone really bring those experiences forward like you would here. I’d guess they got hold of some Quaaludes instead and let years wash over them as they decayed in a bag of glue, quite the opposite of what happens here. Self-released in its mother decade, the record barely sold 500 copies. Time to change that. High-quality pressing, nice jacket with obi strip, and a well-considered booklet outlining the history of the band and its members. Roll this up and inject it into your bloodstream for best results, but playing it repeatedly will suffice as well. (http://www.cantorrecords.com)
Council Bluffs LP
This is the best part of reviewing records. Some nondescript looking thing shows up, vaguely named, looking like an Ebullition release from 1995, and then it totally blows your hair back. Council Bluffs is like a wild, basement level Exile on Main Street. Saxophones freakout and wail, guitars switch from cleanly overdriven to ratty $2 fuzz box feedback, and the whole thing takes on this air of desperation, teetering on the edge of sliding out of tune. Despite its punk looseness, a lot of ideas are worked out in a classic rock tradition, from big riffs, to slacker choral groups, big stomping soul numbers, and some country touches. At its core Dimples remind me of a non-Vegas Rocket From The Crypt, and Come on Everybody Let’s Rock era Oneida. The singer sounds a lot like Speedo Jr., and to wit, a sneering Axl on the slower numbers. I believe it’s the project of young Stones & Stooges worshiping Gainesville to San Diego transplants. A guileless and fun record that isn’t likely to be welcome at the moody, image crafted party of the current zeitgeist, but I’d still urge people to track down a copy. I’d love to know more about these guys and girls, but there’s no information to be found online, outside of an empty Myspace page with a dreadful layout. (http://www.myspace.com/dimplesband)
The Rocker LP
Blast o’ wax-loosening, guitar string garroted sidelong shrapnel blasts from Heather Leigh Murray (Charalambides, Scorces, Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast) on electrified pedal steel, and Chris Corsano on drums. No idea who’s singing, but that person is channeling Haino Keiji. Don’t let the Thin Lizzy refs fool you – this was made in Scotland. The choice of guitar here provides for the most brutality, a prolonged assault of scorched-earth distorto blues/noise cage-rattle with no space to breathe. Corsano does his best to keep up with this maximalist assault, though he’s the kind of drummer I wish would play around with more than closed snares and brush handles. He’s got enough control, and plays with the energy of the goddamn teenager he resembles, but only after a particularly long and painful stretch on “Sugar Blues” does he roll into overdrive, and it’s the moments like these (which are plentiful here) that make this very long, very samey assault worth experiencing. Straight pain and aggression from iron minds (so good to find). (http://www.family-vineyard.com)
Karlsson is a Swede, and a recognized cartoonist in his country, which explains the brain/fetus/spiky lamprey orifice tentacle bulge creature drawings which adorn much of the gatefold sleeve’s surface area … I guess. Lystring is a Swede label that took the honors of releasing the latest Brainbombs album, which, y’know, has a time and place, but was done before, and better, many years ago, before people started taking their music at face value. It’s hard to do much else for labelmate Karlsson, who rants in native tongue over some vaguely musical electronic coloring, beds of bondage soundtracks, and the occasional song. It’s not hard to envision the artist, bald and turtlenecked, at a podium, shaking the floorboards while displaying imagery of ridiculousness. Germany’s Most Disturbing Home Videos … AAAAAAHHHHHH. The loss in translation removes most of the impact of whatever he’s grunting about, and reinforces the American stereotype of Scando Europe as this foreboding, incomprehensible place of dread and terror, which may have well been the anticipated response by foisting this upon the world. The few engaging moments that crop up on the B-side head into Mummenschanz terrain in not such a good way, like we’re being led to the performance naked, shackled, sodomized and in pain. An instafile release, for sure. (http://www.lystring.com)
Liechtenstein/The Faintest Ideas
Searching for the Now Vol. 5 split 7” EP
Who knows when Slumberland went from being a label that was searching for the good, not the “now,” and not what shows up on side one of this series’ fifth installment. Liechtenstein slip from an already slippery slope and land mouth-first on an unfortunate mediocrity tit, located somewhere between Tiger Trap and Vivian Girls, neither of which is even remotely related to mediocrity. Sometimes it just bees like that. If The Faintest Ideas sucked, I would have spent an hour or two laboring over the funniest ways to correlate the band’s moniker with the band’s crap peddling, but they might just be the best thing on Slumberland since the Lorelei LP some four-hundred years ago. This band has an idea, alright; a sucker-punch for unprepared listeners, namely the ones that rolled their eyes through side 1. The Faintest Ideas rock – hard – especially throughout the expertly-titled “You’re Going to Wake Up One Morning and Know What Side of the Bed You’ve Been Sleeping On.” Not many bands have understood how MBV’s Isn’t Anything or the Lilys’ In the Presence of Nothing achieved their respective brick-to-the-head moments within the context of original-wave shoegaze. These folks get it, and so much more. Since these 7”s are, at their core, a type of focus-group study for Slumberland to determine who will be lucky enough for a 12” EP or full LP, I say give this band a blown-out box set. (http://www.slumberlandrecords.com)
Love Cry Want
Holy sheepshit. Weird Forest got the rights to press up the Love Cry Want album on vinyl. Released over a decade ago on CD, this is the real thing, a beyond-gone hard/nuclear fusion quartet unlike anything we have going today. Larry Young’s on organ, right around the time of Lawrence of Newark, the singular sensation named Nicholas is on hot-rodded, ring-modulated prototype guitar synthesizer, and the double-drumming clusterfuck of Joe Gallivan and Jimmy Molnieri brings up the rear, situated in the park across from Nixon’s White House in 1972 and intensely focused, or so the President thought, on making that motherfucker levitate. (He had Halderman shut it down, that pig). Sounds like a weather balloon filled with gasoline rolled over hot coals – POUNDING freeform jazz/groove/rock that does not – cannot – let up. If you enjoy substances that temporarily alter perception and mindstate, this one just might kill you. Chocolate city meltdown envisioned as Vietnam protest, and every bit as relevant then as it is now. 500 copies, flying out the door. (http://weirdforest.com)
Molnbär av John
I Wish I Could Draw Her Nose 7”
This one-man Swedish tape-collage artist stakes out an anthem of unwinding with this 7". It’s one title, split over two sides, but two distinctly different beasts. The first half is innocent and playful. Voices and delicate melodic tones are juxtaposed with unraveling loops and the usual staticy hiss, but it breathes gently. It sounds timid at times, but so carefully assembled that it resembles a monument to the aesthetic. The pleasure is in finding and curating, and Molnbär av John know exactly what detritus to pick out. As night falls so does the second side, which stumbles along in its own circular logic. It’s a bit uneasy, but not uneven. It’s an inviting world, and one that can be menacing without any traces of distortion or noise. (http://tonaserenad.com)
Mr. Dream Goes to Jail
s/t 7” EP
Though the cover looks like the “Auto-Tune the News” crew taking the piss out of Rumours, these four fast songs from this young Brooklyn band bear little resemblance to Lindsay Buckingham or Katie Couric. Instead it’s that timeless style of guitar-based rock that has practitioners hiding in every corner of America. These guys don’t seem particularly self-aware as the usual subjects are addressed (girls, society) and it actually takes longer to read Curtis Hanson’s liner notes than it does to listen to the record. “Movie Metaphors,” the opening cut, is probably the best – had it appeared 30 years ago, we’d now be dialing it up from one of Chuck Warner’s Teenline compilations. The melodies aren’t earth-shattering, but the band is trying; you could probably file this alongside Smoking Popes, or whatever "pop-punk" is known as these days. Here’s 300 more slices of vinyl to go into that pile. (http://mrdream.goestojail.com)
Squeeze the Giant 2x7” EP
This is the much spooged-about, solo moniker-ed effort from Timmy Vulgar, a/k/a Timmy Lampinen, a/k/a that balding dude what fronted Human Eye and gave us the Clone Defects, two crews that never could quite decide if they love garage or art rock more, never a bad spot to be in, because who can’t sympathize with that? Dummies can’t. Sometimes you want the Mummies, sometimes you want the early Dead C. stuff (the ones with actual songs). He wants both at the same time, God bless him. Points deducted for double-seven-inch package, an eye-rollingly annoying format that should have died with the 90s indie rock crash. I choose to blame Sacred Bones. “Squeeze the Giant” layers wah vomit with no discernable drumming while the flip, “Free Thirsty Earthquake,” channels some serious Jim Shepard vocal-croon over grotty synth beebs n guitar guzz that aims for the stars only to find that he’s been looking at those glow in the dark things kids stick on the ceiling (and this basement has a low one, indeed). “Body of Love” leans more to the garage end, while “Toes in the Grass” seems like his idea of make-out music. Ladies of Michigan, no war stories please. Speaking of ol’ Jim Shep, the throbbing crybaby solos on “No Hassles” could have wandered off a V-3 demo, and I frankly don’t think there’s a higher compliment for this sort of gunk. (http://www.sacredbonesrecords.com)
The Tough Shits
“Pretty Wild” b/w “Why You Gotta Roam” 7”
Judging by the cover (one of my favorite pastimes), I fully expected some dirtball-come-lately Hellacopters/Gluecifer misstep on each side. The roots-a-billy meets roots-a-billyfied college rock a la The Connells might not be tough or wild, but it’s not shit, either. B-side is also ‘billy-informed until a nice Replacements-esque feel takes over the mild guitar/organ rave-up during the final 45 seconds. While we’re on the ‘Mats, this has the distinct scent of those forgotten roots-savvy power-pop bands that released a single on Twin/Tone, or maybe even an album, before the band became three or four full-time bartenders because those types of bands didn’t GET IN THE VAN very well. If you like your rock to refrain from rocking and instead fully embrace the retro-confusion suffered by anyone from the early ‘80s who was scared shitless by hardcore, then The Tough Shits are for you. Nonetheless, when presented with such calculated nostalgia, it’s never the shitting that I find so tough, it’s the swallowing. (http://www.ramorecords.com)
Clan Destine Records Vinyl Compilation LP
Here’s a throwback: a full-length vinyl compilation of "some of the best DIY sounds from around the globe," and it’s a refreshing reminder of a time past. What’s retro is the presentation. It’s an old-school compilation, with one song carefully chosen to represent each artist, and a hand-sewn, Xeroxed ‘zine inside to give us some info on the bands. There’s some tuneful bits here, with the delicate melodic gem “Celebrate the Goodness” by Mary Cotter starting things off. The artists here are mostly unknown to me, with the notable exception of Italian outfit Vermillion Sands, who repeat a track from their “In the Wood” single. I have no idea what actually links these artists together except that the Clan Destine label (from Cornwall, UK) likes them all, and that’s a good enough reason. There’s a real ramshackle feel to many of these tunes, some feeling like a modern reboot of Beat Happening (though Kate Ferrenz’s great “Sitting in a Tree Kissing” might owe more to Toni Basil’s “Mickey”), and some featuring dimestore atmospherics. The more simplistic bits work well against the punkier tunes but they’re all united by their lo-fi approach. Lost Girl get into a shoegazer vibe on “Quiver,” and Erasers have an Factory-esque Aussie duo groove that is strangely inviting. I admit that in the middle of side 2’s eleven tracks it starts to become difficult to distinguish, say, Wetdog from Royal Headache or Satans Youth Ministers. That minor sequencing quibble aside, this compilation is pretty diverse. But in an era where eclecticism is the only rule, this manages to maintain an aesthetic focus, even with outliers such as Tantrums “Beat the Happy Pavement,” an electronica track that should stand out like a sore thumb but, in this context, reminds of mid-period Bügsküll. If you’re feeling out of touch with the “underground” – if band descriptions like “split tape on Hi Shadow with Ancient Crux, and a track on summer bummper tape comp on Bathetic recs, run by Pink Priest, as well as a tape on Room tapes” are gibberish to you – then this compilation is a good way to dive back into things. (http://clandestinerecords.bigcartel.com)
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By Dusted Magazine