Still Single, Vol. 6
Yeah, it’s a month late, I know. It’s kind of your fault as much as it is mine. You folks wanna see a singles column, then we need submissions. To date, I am astounded by the response I’ve gotten from this thing – surely one of the most satisfying music writing ventures I’ve ever undertaken, one which uncovers so many loose ends and bright spots across the musical landscape that would have otherwise stood alone – but Still Single is as much about Dusted as it is about you, the readership, and the labels who have not given up the struggle. Send us your music and be judged like all the others. You can’t possibly be as bad as some of the stuff I had to trudge through.
Longtime A Frames supporter Scott Soriano digs out these final two remainders from the band’s Chris Woodhouse sessions, finding them as younger men in regal shitkicker mode. Much heavier and rawer than the band Sub Pop may have acquainted some of you with, these tracks are as scummy as their early singles you probably don’t own. “Police 1000” bashes away in discordant mayhem, in a way the Country Teasers might not be afraid to try. But “Traction” reaffirms the band’s sordid, AmRep-collecting, uglified roots down to the core by stripping off their pants and letting their junk hang out all over this swampy, nasty deep groove and then they embarrass the men and leer at the women and then pole dances happen and another kind of pole dance as well. The big winner where so many others lose, this is one must-own slab of birdshit. Put your post in the punk. Pressing quantity unknown, white vinyl.
As Andersson gets closer and closer to the relase of his debut LP on Bpitch, the tracks he makes keep getting clubbier and clubbier. “Stoli Boli” might be his most commercial-sounding track yet, lively but somewhat flat higher-energy techno with a slight Asian feel to it. “Hip Date” is the stronger of the two tracks; darkly buzzing and heavily percussive, but still with a pop edge to it, even though its drum break is programmed to confuse. Neither cut really builds to anything, which gives each track a feel of being more an exercise than the epics he’s known to produce.
Second release on S-S to dig its source material from the cassette underground movement of the ‘80s. Baby 63 was primarily the work of one Karin Fletcher, who released several tapes of somewhat Residential, rust-flavored art noise rock from out of the DC area under the aforementioned name (and also as Big Red Stain). As it stands, two sides of a 7” single might not be the best way to get a feel for what she was going for with this project, but what we do get to hear is a hostile, anti-popular evacuation of various percussives, bowed guitar, atonal vocals and unmitigated grinding noises, particularly on the favored “Shark Watch Maker.” Not an easy listen in the slightest, but I will always applaud guys like Soriano for picking up the slack on lost music where others fail. Check out his excellent blog Crud Crud, chronicling the strangest records he can find, at http://crudcrud.blogspot.com. 500 copies of this single exist.
Babys Breath sounds like there’s some Manifolds members involved (see below for reviews) and it’s on the same label, which would make sense. This one is the heavier of the two bands, with a much more forceful approach and a steady rhythmic foundation beneath the slightly Gothic-tinged heavy dark rock, with long-dead groups like the VSS and the Great Unraveling existing as two very obvious roots to their sound. As the track’s descending bassline slows to a crawl, thoughts of black hair dye and sleeve tattoos seep into the unconsciousness. On their own side, 24K Gold do just about the same thing, but more pronounced; slashing and screamy eem-rock that owes about as much to Fugazi as it does to Bauhaus. These bands don’t complement each other so much as they could be each other, which is either a tip of the hat to the listening skills of the person who put this record out, or just a lack of inspiration/call for unity amongst bands with a narrow field of view. 300 copies, clear vinyl.
Bad Dudes offer up two schizoid, hyperactive, brief compositions that jump all over the place, from sequenced grandeur to airtight math stop-on-a-dimery to heavily processed guitar/prog shred mayhem. Like their namesake, they could be scoring the music to videogames, and seem to have the attention span of those who spent their entire childhood playing them. Still, they’ve got a lot of ideas, and they don’t wear their welcome out. The Pope is an LA-based two-piece of bass and drums, and you can only imagine how creative they bludgeon with such a configuration in this day and age. Let’s just say they’re on the underside of DFA79, and don’t even rate with someone like Lightning Bolt, or even the 400 Blows. Oh well, one out of two isn’t so bad. 300 copies, pink vinyl.
Atlanta’s lush-sounding, accomplished Blame Game deliver seven extended proggy post-punk compositions of serpentine complexity that borrow as much from Don Caballero 2 as they do from early Genesis. You and I have heard this sort of thing before, but not for a while, and rarely this good. If it sounds like these guys have been playing for years, it’s because they have, as this band has weathered many incarnations, from a screamy ‘90s hardcore start to this well-worn but still vibrant math homework. Sounds as much orchestrated as it is improvised, with the interplay between musicians speaking a language that only comes with experience, as exemplified on “Slidin’ Highway” and the nearly Rodan-esque “Subtle Parts.”
Over the years, Owen Ashworth’s musical output as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone has evolved from sounding like the tangled ball of AC adaptor cords and discarded toy synths that it rose from, into a fairly refined and sequenced affair, yet retaining the weepy but determined sentiments that were with him from the beginning. He is catching up with James McNew’s somewhat similar solo project Dump in terms of song quality, which is saying something. Here we get two fine examples of Ashworth’s “new style” with “Holly Hobby,” a crusher both lyrically and musically, and the expansive “Lonesome New Mexican Nights.” Rounding this out is the short “The Only Way to Cry,” proof that this guy can still work wonders without chords involved. Halfway between Calvin Johnson and Blake Schwarzenbach, Ashworth’s songs ascend the genre of indie pop with meaning and self-contained beauty. They’re also a long stretch from Fox Pause’s amateur bedroom preset synth-pop on the flip, sung and played by Sarah Han in the most timid of ways. It’s almost hard to criticize music this innocent, aside from actually targeting its innocence and simplicity, which make her four short songs kind of embarrassing to get through if you’re older than 18 or a virgin. Namedrops of George Chen and Ben Valis notwithstanding, this is too cute and cloying to enjoy. Thanks to CFTPA for keeping this one out of the tank. Edition of 350 in a very nice color sleeve. First release on this label; looking forward to more.
You listen to hardcore records now and again, and you figure most of them are made by young kids whose ideals haven’t been torn from their bodies yet, and the scarring process has yet to begin, hardening these young minds into cold, beaten down well-wishers of the apocalypse. They haven’t yet stopped screaming for change, haven’t learned how to effectively redirect their anger to effect change where it really matters – through concrete actions, well-timed, that benefit all of humanity, rather than screaming, getting tear-gassed by the boot squad they had the nerve to call out, and moaning about injustice and abuse. This is not the band Caustic Christ is. These are old men by punk standards, where we tend to find most of the scene’s proponents moving on or getting out in due time for one reason or another. So what happens when you outlast all that happens around you? You could slow down and turn into a Warped Tour sellout … or, you could retain your ideals, button down your stance on how things are, and play like furious hardcore MACHINES, which is what’s gone on here. Caustic Christ are one of the most brutal bands in political hardcore around today. Corey and Eric were in Aus Rotten and Bill was in the Pist and React; having their screws tightened in the scene for well over a decade, the band responds with furious invective, dark lyrics and reckless energy. At a recent show I attended, there was blood, smashed furniture, beer everywhere. Not once did it phase or even slow these guys down. There’s five songs on this, each one paranoid and angry and bleak as all get-out, but still bearing hope as we’re in on the horrors they speak about, finally reminding us that “the ultimate form of protest is just being alive.” Chew on that in your old age, kids. 2500 copies pressed, 400 on green/white vinyl. See this band as soon as you can.
When not on the road backing any number of musicians (Magnolia Electric Co., Jens Lekman, the Impossible Shapes) these three specimens of Midwestern corn-fed manhood go out and inflict minute-long punk/comedy spiels on unsuspecting bar patrons. The results are often spectacular and these guys have quite a way with a riff, as shown on this record’s “Jesus Speed Freak” – a justification for purchase alone, breakneck Buzzcocks-style punk-pop rage. Turn it over and Mr. Mallman and friends play “In Love Witcha,” somewhat innocent stalker-ish revelry that’d probably make more’n a few pairs of panties go moist. Fun times and the most solid release yet for this label.
Two Philly bands signed to different labels meet up off their respective turfs here. Coyote are stuck in the early 80s, but they’re not mopey about it, jittering about like the Talking Heads on “Sugar” and – wait for it – Japan (in ballad mode) on “White Fox.” They’re playing in the same box of Legos that so many other bands, from the Rapture to the Walkmen, are sorting through, but their house is just as sturdy. Bottom of the Hudson, on the other hand, is working through a New Zealand fixation by the sound of their two offerings, at once chintzy psychedelia and stoically singer-songwriterly. Something tells me this isn’t all they’re about, but it’s an interesting side of original music to discover. Edition of 300 copies, in a meticulously silkscreened sleeve, with about eight colors of ink used in its completion.
Perhaps the United States Post Office knew better in their systematic destruction of this record as it first reached my P.O. Box several months back. Daradrome offers up two sides of club music. Euro club music, that is … the hair gel, the shirt wide open, all that. There’s some massive Brunhilde sounding vocals with a Belgian accent barking out orders about how she is a lamentful lover, or how summer has ended, every inch of it Autotuned to ridiculous proportions. Duran Duran samples too. I am so confused and perplexed by this. No pressing info given, though somehow this has sold out of its initial run already. Music made for car commercials and the soundtrack to untidy suicides. Complete crap.
Cavewoman garage-psych all-in-the-red lo-fi monster sounds from a Brooklyn witches’ coven. The drums sound like war. The guitars and bass fill out one of the thickest, fugliest ur-Rock growls in recent history, like Cro Magnon in sun dresses, hairy pits blown out like ten Wookiees in a headlock. Only not, because the ladies of Fireball are hotter than you can handle, have better record collections than you do and take on heavy rock Special Ed style – as a mission, not a small time thing. You may be reminded of bands of yore like L7 or 7 Year Bitch, but where those bands were insistent on playing guys’ rock to a ragged end, Fireball understand the weight and density of the deepest and most underground grunts of classic rock and psych down to its core, and aren’t afraid to be ladies about playing it hard and loud. “Witchy Ways” channels the Swell Maps via an Earth blessing, where the fuzz and crumble of “Meat Heat” almost renders the notes as afterthoughts. “Arsonist” is hands-down the best three-chord stomp you’ll hear this year, with a percussive countoff that feels like junked cars being dropped on one another. And they cap it off with a wide-eyed and intensely loud cover of Amon Duul II’s “Archangels Thunderbird.” And still people wanna front because they’re from Brooklyn, aren’t professional, etc. The stigma has got to go. This record will devour all and anything which would attack it. Beware. Edition of 500, in beautiful silkscreened jackets and very nearly out of print.
British black metal that has almost a Gothic-cabaret sensibility at the outset of its title track “Soul,” which is quickly obliterated by feedback blasts and a relentless rhythmic attack. There’s a bit of thrash to be had here, which for me makes for a much more enjoyable listen than some arcane, funereal grind act feeling miserable for itself. Frost is a much more threatening creation, assaulting the listener with a storm of hammering drums and thick, sturdy guitar slashery. Still the most hateful and upsetting genre around next to dancehall. Edition of 1000 copies, most likely snatched up by now; there’s also a 3” CDEP counterpart containing an extra track, also in an edition of 1000. Sorry ‘boutcha.
This band was recently described to me as “emo-noise,” a term that I found trite and discounting … until I heard Gang Wizard, who are pretty much that. Depending on how you felt when you woke up this morning, their hyperactive, forceful music could either be the great release that brightens your day, or just more cacophony; another log of shit in the bowl. The fact that their recording and performance is so casually regarded and tossed off here, with a refrigerator note replacing song titles or liner notes, speaks volumes to how such a thing came into existence. The fact that music like this exists so dangerously close to quality free-rock (a la Magic Markers) is kind of troubling, but in the end, some folks have it, while others don’t. I wondered why only 100 of these were pressed, and it took the efforts of seven labels to get it there. Now I understand. These folks were all in some sort of diabolical pact to foist this free dumb rock on anyone duped into its alleged collectability. Don’t be fooled.
Compositional experiments from one Jeremy Nissan. “For Candice, the Pregnant Lady with No Teeth” is a regal-sounding stumble through some acoustic guitar chords, clawfist style. There’s an electronically processed seasickness about “Byron + Shelley,” and the B-side (“I Built a Mall with Human Intestines”) does sorrowful lost-at-sea drone with echoed-out metal percussion, tape loops and other noise elements. Hey, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em – maybe if there were some information provided with this release, you would be reading some more.
Markus Acher and Valerie Trebeljahr of Lali Puna spin off this side project of Magnetic Fields and Smog covers, with just about the results you’d expect: electronic, lounge-worthy, vanilla. Not a lot of edge to this music, though to be honest there wasn’t much to the originals either. Stripping the guts out of these songs reveals some interesting synth patches, but you’ve probably already made up your mind as to whether you need this type of record in your collection or not. Personally I’d stick to Casiotone for these sorts of thrills.
Umpteenth release for this fine Finnish techno producer, who starts out in trance mode then gets super-stompy on all three of these tracks. “Rocksoul” (though it has nothing to do with rock or soul) is the most likely to succeed of the bunch; when it breaks, seek shelter. On the flip, “Tulasi” provides a nice counterpoint with a more minimal but still pounding approach. Quite nice, this.
This is the better of the two Manifolds splits received, with a more consistent sound and more dynamic recording, but it’s a lot more of the same – bendy, twisty indie twigs yelling in somewhat deliberate accents and thrashing about. Some organ is brought in on “Sedition” to juice things up a bit. If this music wasn’t so myopic, I tell ya… I had to check the run-out groove to figure out which band was which, as there’s no labeling to identify it otherwise, and Die Princess Die aren’t that radically different from Manifolds in attack or approach. They have a delay pedal and a Hot Snakes hard-on, and a need to roll the hi-hat out on the disco tip a bit. They also scream more and probably wear hair products, as the lines between indie and emo and mall punk blur even further. These bands are fine, what they do is fun, but it’s not new and it can’t travel anywhere but back, can’t get any smarter than it is without losing fans, can’t go anything but steady. It’s pretty safe. Edition of 300.
The Days End fills their side with a three-note hook that, when it feels like it, builds itself up into macho groin-pull screamin’ and hollerin’. It’s an interesting track if you haven’t been yelled at in a while, but the further we get from the ‘90s, the less appeal this sort of thing has overall. Plus the song really doesn’t go anywhere, which is the greater problem. Manifolds contribute three songs of all-over-the-place skinny white rock, from a sorta Jehu-ish practice-space stringbender (“Red Hanky”) to bouncy yet aggressive indie enunciation. They want to be invited to the party and crash it all the same, but the practice-space-quality recording may leave them at the gates for this round. 500 copies pressed.
Jesus Christ! Where the hell did this come from? Super-stupid punk noise attack from Wisconsin. Renegade shit-fi frat-rock (in the Sam the Sham sense) sped up and littered with screams, cowbell, and lasers that often drown out the song itself. This could have come out in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, when weirdos would just cough out some indigestibly awesome noise blat for guys like Hyped2Death’s Chuck Warner to rediscover decades later. I especially like how the mayhem stops abruptly on side 1 and picks up just as suddenly on the flipside. Manic of energy and retarded of reason. No contact info listed, but I suppose if you really were in the market for this sort of record, it would likely have found you already.
The Chunder from Down Under return to melt on your turntable and make a big mess; primordial sound scrape that will make you doubt that conscious minds created it. These three tracks flow light elements of a nightmare, where notes, beats and even the spoken word can’t coalesce into something more tangible than the raw need to exist. When “drums” come in, it’s mixed in such a way that sounds like a force cannon is willing it into existence against the other elements of sound, only to have it recede back into stasis. Count “Rwanda” as extra crispy, and the two tracks on the flip as boneless. Untainted by structure but married to restraint, Menstruation Sisters have found a way to devolve past music, past communication into something perhaps only they can understand. 303 of us will be able to witness this via ownership of the records the sound is pressed onto.
It just wouldn’t be a Still Single column without a bizarre record from Sacramento, CA, I guess … this is a one-man-missing-chromosomes noise project replete with overamplified, repetitive grinding sounds and something approximating a synth and a human voice. Most interesting track on here is “Shoot Your Pants,” an exercise with a sampling/delay pedal and baby gurgle vocals. Edition of 100, yellow/white vinyl, color sleeve, and probably not flying off the shelves.
P&L jackhammers through “Silent Tyrants,” and almost runs right off the tracks in the process; grinding electronics square off against an explosive rhythm section. Better production than previous efforts have offered, and wow, what a song. It’s not hard to see why these guys are so much fun and are gaining such a strong following around here – big hooks, strong songs, unstoppable heaviness, potent positivity. Aa retreat from their fort made of drums with “Summer Surgery,” an all-electronic composition of burbling synth scales, heavy 303 kick and, of all things, rapping. Their science is too tight. Blue-green opaque vinyl, limited to 300 copies.
Cardboard Records was started by members of the band Parts & Labor to release some music of their own, and that which they found was underheard. This is their first release, for a band you may have read about in these pages before. Pterodactyl is an impossibly tight prog-funk band, three Oberlin grads who play as though they’re being electrocuted, all shrieking and systematic and intense. Four new songs on this record, and once again, the one thing really holding them back is adequate production – a rehearsal space tape, or even 8 solid tracks with decent mics is going to be unfair to a band this sonically specific. The good news is, the songs are much stronger than on the debut single, in particular the shuffling, Can-like “Good and Evil,” showcasing a new side to their noise. Check it out – and for God’s sake, somebody get this band into a real studio next time. Edition of 500 on blue vinyl in a really elaborate, die-cut, silkscreened sleeve.
With a self-proclaimed fixation on pirate shanties, the Barbary Coast, and the Manson Family, and a slot on the Sun City Girls’ Abduction roster, you might have some high expectations for the Sea Donkeys. Put those hopes away; this is the most uselessly theatrical record in their whole catalog. Remember the Girls’ hobo/campfire period? “Jacks Creek”? Okay, water that down to bike club/pirate antics level, the kind of pure corn that a Mike Patton/Barbez/Eugene Hutz collaboration might generate. The Sea Donkeys stampede through a litany of standards such as “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” and “Black Freighter” with a cosmetic, backhanded and referential treatment, then find their way into rambling improvisations, all shot through with community theater brio. Somewhere, someone is laughing and singing along to this, but it’s not me. Edition of 300, pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
Silver Daggers has horn players, a nimble rhythm section, and a singer who makes their recordings seem to be on the wrong speed. Too squeaky on 45, too slow on 33 – he sounds like Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Orchestrated skronk stumble songs here, a lumbering style of performance despite their agility and deftness, and interesting Eastern European-meets-prog song structures give these kids something to cry about. They definitely put the fucking lotion in the basket, that’s for sure. No song titles. None either for Blue Silk Sutures, whose garish stitched-wrist artwork and haunted, femme-goth balladry actually strikes a nerve, with quality dual-vocalist interplay that elevates some trite lyrics into something a bit more substantial. They may be playing a game for fools (how many more Suicide Girl-esque bands does Los Angeles need, anyway) but they play the game well, and that says something. Once they get their head out of the fashion of it all and write some more memorable tunes, they may be something to shout about, as they are in control sonically. 300 copies exist.
Technically this one was outside the limits I impose on this column, but in this case, I bought the record; I don’t fucking care about the goddamn rules. What I do care about is that if you even give a smidgen of shit about rock and roll, punk or hardcore, you find a way to own this. It’s the second 12” by this insane bunch of Swedes who recreate a natural disaster of crust, grime and dirt and leave sweaty tangled bodies caught in the mosh behind them. If you could imagine Turbonegro’s Ass Cobra played on 45, with all the ridiculous fun and fist-pumping somehow doubled, you might have an idea of where Skitkids are coming from. There’s some politics in their punk, but there’s no English translations, and what little there is for us to read on the insert say cryptic things like “SMASH THIS FUCKING SYSTEM WITH A TOFUBLOCK IN YOUR HAND, LIFE AFTER REVOLUTION WILL BE A NEVERENDING FOOD ORGY.” I like the way these guys think, and they instill such a sense of triumph and rage and positivity into such blazingly fast and heavy hardcore, you’ll listen to this record and feel like you just flipped over a car with your bare hands after kicking Karl Rove in the back of his fat fucking head. From the Hives to Dungen, we Americans are getting inundated with Swedish music these days. It’s great to know that even on the side of d-beat, things are just as exciting and refreshing for us to hear. Onna for Pleasure is on its third pressing of 500 right now, and a handful of American and European distros still have copies for sale. It’s worth the import price. Excellent cover art features prominently a photo of a female chimp masturbating. The best; highest recommendation available. Six stars!
Somewhat downtempo electronic pop instrumentals outside of the trappings of IDM twiddle or out and out club bangerisms. Both sides play like movie soundtracks, carefully constructed to reveal more about a scene as they progress. I like the hovering harmonies in “Magic Shopkeeper” quite a bit. Not to much else to report, I’m afraid – these are major-key, positive, bouncy little songs that are as substantial as that description would merit. First in a series of “limited and highly collectible” singles on this label (their words, not mine), yet they did not include a pressing quantity. Comes in a die-cut sleeve that I think the series is going to see a lot more of.
Some disclosure is necessary: at one time I released a full-length CD for this band. Here’s some more: sometimes, and just occasionally, my name appears in the thank you lists of some of the records that get reviewed here. Should that discredit me from writing this review? That remains to be seen. But truthfully, there are thousands of records out there I wouldn’t even bother to put on the turntable, or even click on the Myspace page to listen to. What’s that tell you? I like the SSION. A lot. Always have, probably always will. The man behind their music and image is named Cody Cody Critcheloe, a young artist out of Kansas City who has higher ideas about low culture than a lot of you, and the ability to translate them into caustic and hilarious art that gouge where others might merely pierce. Previous SSION releases have been recorded piecemeal and performed live without instruments but with video accompaniment, but here are the first releases by Cody’s new backing band, winning death disco anthems that’ll burn on long after the slightly touched nu-wave fixations that pin down independent music from Glass Candy to Bloc Party are forgotten. “World’s Worth” is the world beater Cody promised us all, “Don’t Celebrate” continues his shot-calling against the culture industry, and there is a painful cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on here that’ll break your lease. And your teeth. Nice job. Edition of 2000, with 317 on clear vinyl. Comes with a rant by Misty Martinez which links this music to evolution, and a CDR of Quicktime videos to accompany these songs.
Goofy, late ‘80s-style beer-drinking hardcore punk soy bomb fart music. The message it carries is as clear as singer Dan enunciates it: fuck this job, leave me alone, you’re crazy. There’s one real standout track out of the five here, the apocalyptic “Nothing Lasts Forever,” complete with massive apocalyptic intro and a nice, chugging mid-tempo verse for circle-pitting. The rest is just fine, albeit samey and a bit jokey. 300 copies are around. Good times.
“Miracle” cleans away any effigies of rock that may have been stuck to this band under their old moniker, El Guapo. Auto-arranged Spanish guitar, driving beats, wah-leads, and a spare arrangement says it all: this is Brooklyn, we dance here, and sometimes we get moody about it. “Click-Click” is a marked improvement; the beats are more stern, the message clearer: they spin you right round like a record, baby. The Eastern flourishes on the guitar leads are well-defined, making the proceedings sound like Out Hud on anabolics. Flip it over and the Rapture’s Mattie SafeXedge and Dr. Uzzi get functional on the track with a knob-twiddling, blippy remix of “Miracle,” a slight improvement on the original.
When press releases throw around disparate references to the Smiths, Joy Division and Belle & Sebastian, and confused hipsters blog about seeing a band like Voxtrot complete the very simple task of filling a 300-cap club in NYC, credibility tumbles before the needle ever hits the record. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to report that this Austin, TX quintet surpasses such vague comparisons and feeble sweater-rubbing and brings a sense of self to these two songs. Yes, if you make your ears squint you will hear similarities to how Morrissey or Dean Wareham carries a song in “Raised by Wolves,” and the same scope and hazy targets attacked by B&S on the flip, but we also have an excellent, non-trite lyricist and singer in Ramesh Srivastava, extremely accomplished musicianship and dense, often surprising arrangements. Memorable hooks too – that fucking “Wolves” song is still in my goddamn head, an hour after having listened. Goddamn it. If there is any fault here, it’s that the band may be too perfect, that their set will collapse upon itself under the weight of overarrangement and preciousness. It’s clear that these guys are reaching for the brass ring; the buzz and the audiences they’ve been pulling are pretty significant, and it’s a welcome surprise to know that a band behind this avalanche of accolades, booze ‘n’ cooze and sleepless nights actually has a great deal of substance behind it. You can’t say the same for Elkland or other clones. If they find ways to expand this sound, rather than parade on as sort of a po-mo “best of” bands that have come before them, they’ll make the biggest impact of all. No pressing info available, but I’m guessing 2000 copies.
Debut vinyl for both bands (Pittsburgh’s WW being current members of Brain Handle and Shit Mayor, ex-Crucial Unit, and featuring MRR columnist Greg Mantooth on vocals; and Toronto’s EB featuring ex-members of Shank and Ebola). The Womyn bust off a whole bunch of violent, aggressive grind riffage with slow and often moshworthy breakdowns (as on “Magma Digestor”) – under the minute mark for each – and endcap it with brazen and stench-ridden slow doom in the instrumental “G-9” and the closer “Drug Mule,”an epic display of ceaseless, Union of Uranus-esque punishment to buffet the blasts and bleary homages to Crossed Out and Man is the Bastard. What’s it all about? The lyric sheet tells you to “U-Lock your neck to the front of a bus/Your bike is a fucking car” and also “Your teeth rot in your mouth/Your hair falls to the ground.” In addition, “Take my shoes/I’ll kill you motherfucker!” When these guys mutate gills, they will find a way to lay their eggs in you. You’re fucked. On the flip, the Endless blockade bring two songs that track as one and fill up the entire side with slow, noisy, heavy grind sludge akin to Corrupted but not as heavy. It’s fine, but might be on the wrong side of a record like this. Warzone Womyn totally dominates this release. In between pressings right now, so look for more copies in a month or so.
Thus far the Marriage Records label has brought the world closer to Elvrum-approved pop a la Thanksgiving and Dear Nora. This record won’t fit into that box. It’s seasick, dizzying post-post-punk whose closest points of sonic reference are U.S. Maple and Midwestern no-wave band Swob in terms of its attack. Four songs with no titles, no real direction, and no future, so why can’t I stop listening? The two on the B-side seem to find some of the direction that’s missing on the two from side A, but all the weirdness remains intact. Unintelligible lyrics are shouted off as guitars fire and drums pound. Give these guys a round of meds to chill them out a bit. Fun stuff. Silkscreened cover.
Import-only 12” that YYT brought over as merch for their recent pair of shows in NYC. Here is an accomplished band of the Japanese rock avant-garde, not content to mine any one genre and instead creating (and recreating) several decades of Western pop music in their own voices. “Soft Death,” from their latest album Sweet Spot, appears here in two versions – one extended remix across the A-side to include a thickly swirling power electronics solo atop the track’s tribal, loping heartbeat and intertwining, hypnotic guitar lead, building to impossibly tense and gripping heights before receding back into form; and one instrumental remix on the B-side, featuring only the guitar and some processing, retaining elements of the rhythm and prefect to use as an interstitial in between songs in a set. They also include a cover of Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop” from a Japanese new wave tribute compilation called Fine Time 2. If you wanted to hear this song sung in Japanese, here you go; it doesn’t stray too far from the original source material. Exciting sounds from a band we’re just beginning to get to know. Good luck finding this thing. Try www.mesh-key.com, perhaps (it’s their American outpost label).
The sheer heaviosity and burliness of Zeke’s bottom-feeder, Grand Funk-meets-Poison Idea-style punk rock is probably what got them signed to a metal label such as Relapse in the first place. They also sing really stupid shit like “We are kings of the underground” to an audience that would not only take stock in such a phrase, but would look up to Zeke for asserting such a sentiment. And me, of course, shaking my head in disagreement. The riffs are there, the heaviness can’t be denied, but this is the kind of band that people who are “over” Queens of the Stone Age look to for the same type of synthetic thrills. No rules, dude. 2000 copies, half on black, the other half on gold.
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 15th of each month to qualify for the next installment of this column.
ANY genre of music will do – don’t hesitate to send punk, hardcore, metal, goth, pop, rock, country, hip hop, electronic, experimental, dub and reggae … all genres accepted and welcome.
Information on your pressing (quantity pressed, color vinyl, etc.) should be included if at all possible.
Submissions can be sent to:
This column runs the last week of every month on Dusted. Its success depends on you sending in singles for review.
By Doug Mosurock