In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak checks out singles of various sizes by Ellen Allien, Wooden Wand, Castanets, Afrirampo, Justice, Meneguar, Pissed Jeans and many more.
Vol. 2 No. 1
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.
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:
PO Box 22183
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Records need to be shipped securely in sturdy mailing materials and marked FRAGILE because the post office will destroy them otherwise
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.
Ellen Allien and Apparat
Way Out RMX 12” EP
“Way Out” comes from Orchestra of Bubbles, the table-clearing and definitive statement record for Ellen Allien, and at this time for Apparat as well. Here it’s bent from the smooth-riding bullet train album version into a dance remix, presumably by the artists, which traverses more typical club territory. It does not go gently into that good night, though; plenty of synth rave-ups and a banging beat carry this through to the end, in more typical but by no means staid or boring fashion. The second remix, by Robag Wruhme, relies on old-school drum machine sounds, plenty of klang, and stuttering time-extended samples that vibrate the track at close to a molecular level. Minimal and searing, it’s a crusher to turn tamer times into a technoid rager. B-sides “Rotary” and “Sleepless” come from the CD version of Orchestra; their appearances on 12” vinyl are welcome, if not the most noteworthy tracks from the album. Of the two, however, “Sleepless” is the winner – hits hard enough to loosen teeth in spots.
Tarantula Downpour 7”
(Trash Skull Records & Tapes)
Argumentix is an outlet for Portland sound artist James Squeaky, who creates a sung-spoken verbal holocaust reminiscent of that breed of '80s trailblazers in the sound collage/spoken word department, a la Negativland or Steve Fisk's work with the late Steven Jesse Bernstein. The two selections offered here are uncompromisingly bleak and barely restrained; “Tarantula Downpour Glass of Wine for Dinner” provides cold comfort, an apocalyptic vision, and crashing tumbles of harsh percussion and general clatter as its sole backing track, while the slower, elegiac “Lend Me a Blanket I Want to Dream About You” mourns a dead mother over the sound of piano and ocean waves, vacillating between Jandek and post-Bebe Buell-breakup Todd Rundgren. Ideas here still seem to need some fleshing out, but if all Squeaky wanted to do was convey internal turmoil and heartache, he certainly succeeds here; with more development across futurer releases, and the nascent wave of juvenile experimentation gives way to its pop ballad heart hiding beneath, he'll be in the right place at the right time. Worth checking out on those dark nights of the soul. Edition of 500 (300 come with a DVD-R featuring eight videos made by Squeaky).
Macro-House 12” EP
One way to relieve the general tedium of a medium is to subvert it using its own strategy. Here, Beaupre accomplishes this by rebuilding rubbery machine-tooled micro-house with maximal sound sources and samples. Thus you'll get a complex, choppy melody sung entirely in bright choral vocal bites, or a sizeable, reverbing drum hit at the 4th beat of a measure instead of another kick or tight, pinched snare. This is an EP with lots of surprises for its gimmick, and its kitchen-sink production technique (due in no small part to size and length of its samples) is both surprising and novel. An excellent find, for sure.
Licorice Pizza and More 7” EP
Awesome fuckin' deal, man. Apparently the Licorice Pizza chain of record stores in California gave out copies of this SST/Unicorn 45 in 1981 to promote the impending release of Damaged, and when the promotion was over, the stores threw the records away, making remaining copies of the initial quantity of 1000 impossible to track down. Some genius has booted it, Dremeled out the matrix numbers, and tacked on a bonus track. The two songs from the single (“Thirsty and Miserable” and “Life of Pain”) are fucking FIVE PIECE FLAG, recorded live at the Target warehouse in San Francisco, and are the earliest recordings with Rollins on vocals. All downhill from there, some might say, but these push forth with earthmoving force and anger. “Life of Pain” in particular is totally destructive, collapsing into “Damaged I” before the cutoff. As a bonus, a Dez-led version of “Spray Paint the Walls” (from the '81 demos) is tacked on. Sound quality on that one is negligible, but hey, so is the song. Hank did that one better anyway. Comes with decent liner notes that explain the record away, and a photocopied reprint (small print) of a Flag interview from Ripper fanzine. Look at the picture of Hank on the cover. Ha ha ha. It pains me to think that there's a generation of kids out there for whom Black Flag means nothing. Their parents worry about them for listening to bullshit mall screamo and wearing eyeliner. That's bush league. Kids listen to Atreyu or Aiden and want to kill themselves. Kids listening to Flag in the teen years should want to kill their families, as well as destroy schools, cops, security guards, priests and any other authority figures. Clearly their music is still the real threat, and it's a threat that's missed amiss the prescriptions and self-abuse that have caged the beast which bands like this raised to attack.
(it’s a bootleg; no further information given)
Burmese / 16 Bitch Pileup>
Bored Fortress Singles Series split 7”
(Not Not Fun)
Single number five in the series, featuring live recordings from both bands. Burmese reps with five short blasts of thick, hateful punishment in the WFMU studios; two basses, two drummers, a huge, fast-moving werewolf fueled bygrindcore-esque slashery, releasing tension with song titles like “JFKKK Jr. Must Be Killed Again.” 16 Bitch Pile Up, all-female moan/noise from Ohio but relocated to SF, ties tongues with “Acapulcopokalipstick,” again rolling the experimental clock back to the earlier days of '80s nihilism through industry, literally smashing through sheet metal with a hatchet, howling like Nell, and reverberating shotgun blast nightmares hiding behind the couch. There is a lot of trouble in this sound, and worth getting into at that. What came across as unmemorable schtick at No Fun Fest is represented here (recorded, ironically, live again) as a serious, ponderous, frightening thing to behold, even from the comfort of home. At press time, it's also the only single in the series left in print.
The Busy Signals
“Can’t Feel a Thing” b/w “All the Time” 7”
Not to be confused with that “indietronica” crap from a few years back - though these guys are going to have to find a new name soon - this five-piece from Chicago blazes across these two songs with brevity and purpose, with twin Telecasters set to split eardrums and a tightness that is completely necessary to pull off what they do. I got to see these folks in Chicago last month and had to spend about 10 minutes looking for my jaw on the floor afterwards. They had the energy of Le Shok, the focus of a mathrock band, and the songs and focus of Radio Birdman in their hearts and hands. “All the Time” is possibly the best single of '06 thus far, and the kind of song that would get a lot of stragglers back into punk rock if only they owned it … and a turntable (poseurs). First 100 were on red vinyl; long gone now, but seriously, settle for the black. It's that good. And if you can point me to their first one on Douchemaster, then much obliged.
Insound 7” Box Series No. 4 7”
Wooden Wand solo, without the trappings of the Vanishing Voice (which I believe has disbanded anyway), finds James Jackson Toth in warm, welcoming singer-songwriter mode - “Holla Din Joy” is a country ballad, lushly arranged and finds the man approaching all that he had lost when the Blood Group disbanded once more. Somebody hang up the Castanets, though, for real. Another Insound promo single you can't buy.
“Clara Venus” b/w “Superhero” 7”
Cheveu's second single walks all over the “Dog” 7” on S-Se, which in itself was good … but here's where you get a more integrated feel for Cheveu, and the traditions of electronics in French punk rock really come into play. Both tracks here totally rage, with charms that come fast and immediate, crashing Mark E. Smith-addled high-speed lyric delivery with terrific, grinding lo-fi electronic drums, simply filthy riffs, and non-stop energy that merge Metal Urbain and Cabaret Voltaire into an entagled pile of scrap metal. “Superhero” is the one to beat by a small margin, and watch out for that locked groove. Upends the vain struggle to relive post-punk that we've suffered in the past few years with completely uncool ferocity and messy sonics, hopelessly and perfectly out of joint with the times. It rocks harder than just about anything in this month's column, too. Worth digging for.
All I Give 7” EP
Whipcrackin' dirty, storming garage rock is the board of fare on this little yellow plate by Chicago's Cococoma, a trio pushing hard on romping, reckless, total sound. For just three people, they kick up a bled-through racket unheard since the heyday of the Estrus pyre in stature and energy, forcing each of the three tracks here to their limits. “All I Give” and “Don't Tempt Me” push the speed limit, while “Premonition” lays in on the mid-tempo grind; all are saturated in a thick haze of guitar noise, organ grind, Childish shouting and gang choruses. They're tight enough to play like they don't give a shit, but come off beyond being just some crummy band with an attitude. Takes me back to 1992, when things were better. 100 copies on yellow vinyl, the rest on black.
Split single from two Atlanta groups on a label dedicated to releasing only records by groups from Atlanta. Deerhunter appears here with “Grayscale,” evidencing that they've passed through their tumultuous roots and settled into a live techno/ambient hybrid with enough sting in it to keep listeners from drifting off into cloudland. The track lumbers along, slamming beats down to the floor while droning at peace with itself in the back ground. “Mad House,” by Hubcap City, is that sort of brooding man-core seethe we haven't heard done properly since Bob Schick (Honor Role, Coral, Dynamic Truths) stopped making records. A steady minor-chord dirge keeps things moving over waves of melodica, xylophone, creaking cello, found sounds, and the persistence of dread in the vocals ¬ not as in Mikey Dread, but as in “oh shit somebody please tell me why I have a reason to wake up tomorrow.” Effective as always, that dread, but a whole record of it might wear us all out. Good thing there's only one song of it here. Edition of 300.
Dsico That No-Talent Hack
City Stirs 12” EP
Newtown, Australia's Dsico is a corrections officer with a self-deprecating sense of humor. In his spare time, he crushes dancefloors with impunity, using leftfield electro, live instrumentation, and real-sounding synths (or at least really great patches) to assemble four spacious, dour tracks that exude cool. Each of the tracks has a retro vibe that doesn't ever date the tracks or hold them back, as they seal up the late '70s disco vibe, '80s new wave flourishes, and the acid '90s into them like insects in amber. And it's those organic hearts - totally separate between the tracks, by the way - that make this record a success. The most well-known counterpart working in areas this diverse is the Juan MacLean, which is a fairly apt comparison here, maybe if introduced to the entire Eskimo Recordings roster. Sweetness.
Party Down 7” EP
Loud NYC garage rock with the pro touches you come to expect from bands laying it down here; you can hear the attitude atop the songs and the material is about as surface as you could imagine (“Party Down” and its telltale “wah-hoos” give away what little M.O. exists here). There's a decent amount of soul for the genre here, with co-ed vocals and suitably trashy production recalling the earlier BellRays records (“Tearin' a Hole”). All the same, while not too much garage rock sets out to reinvent the wheel, bands like this aren't necessarily making it go any faster, or rolling it into four lanes of traffic. It's pretty safe stuff, pulling punches. Edition of 500.
(www.wickedsinglesrecords.com/a> / www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Bored Fortress Singles Series split 7”
(Not Not Fun)
This is the third of six Bored Fortress Singles Series 7”s, a mailorder series that, if you're just discovering now, you missed out on. Hospitals are a band I run hot and cold with, but the serviceable grind they lay down on “Sick Bird” gives me reason enough, as usual, to reconsider. Dummy pummel, you know. Dirge rock/roll with roll aspirations. Afrirampo are the beloved female Japanese duo that opened for Lightning Bolt on tour last year, and though their piece “Sore Ga … Guruguru Guru” is a bit of a throwaway call-and-response tune, it's remarkable that the Not Not Fun conteingent got through to them in the first place and nabbed a song for release. Probably the weakest single in the series that I've heard, but it's chill … not like you're going to find a copy or anything.
Waters of Nazareth 12” EP
(Ed Banger/Because/Vice Recordings)
Blistered and overdriven nearly to the point where its very structural integrity is compromised, the French electro/noise duo Justice bangs out hard on this, their second EP, down to the crumbs. The tracks themselves aren’t too complex, largely because the very nature of their sound couldn’t withstand all too much subtlety; the mix on these is all in the front, very pronounced two-track affairs, where acid stops being lysergic and starts to corrode. The 8-bit crunch of “Carpates” works as both melody and artillery, and the title track puts potholes in the runway, but my pick is “Let There Be Light,” where the approach meets a dramatic, Barry DeVorzon-gone-electro cinema disco showdown. This track is so sharp it could rupture eyeballs at the proper volume. Much respect.
The Marked Men
“Nothing’s Changed” b/w “She Won’t Know” 7”
Now signed to Swami, Texan power-pop quartet the Marked Men just released their third LP; here's the single that precluded it, and it's a burner. Skimping on neither the power nor the pop, their attack is a little more traditional, but every bit as infectious as the former US kings of the genre, the FM Knives, they fly through these two tracks with feet barely on the ground (“Nothing's Changed”) and with hearts in their throats (“She Won't Know,” recalling the entire recorded output of the Paul Collins Beat rolled into one track). Unrelenting melody and hooks that totally dodge the adult crash. What a great fucking single. 100 mailorder copies got colored vinyl and a silkscreened sleeve; these are now long gone, but the single's still in print on regular old black vinyl. A solid couple minutes of undistilled excitement.
“Bury a Flower” b/w “Freshman Thoughts” 7”
After releasing the same EP now a total of four times across formats and labels, two new songs from Brooklyn indie rockers Meneguar finally surface. Songs like these and the style in which they're played are the mark of timelessness (if we can consider 1991 the beginning of time, I suppose). That said, there's more at stake here than merging Superchunk with Polvo and the Archers of Loaf, and Meneguar's take on the Chapel Hill songbook is inspired as that of its makers, full of introspection pushed outward, and ready to grab the attention of the kids formerly held sway by Q and Not U and “poppy emo.” I'm a big fan of the ADD-ness of this band, with large and complex melodies that never sit still, and vocal talents (in three parts) that match them with breathless verbosity, the product of tight arrangement and the sort of instrumental interplay rarely witnessed in bands at this stage. Both songs here kill, with “Bury a Flower” holding all of the angst and “Freshman Thoughts” the better riff and the one closest to Sebadoh in its build. Edition of 1000, 300 on white vinyl.
The Mind Controls
Prelude to a Fight 7” EP
This is Mark Sultan of BBQ's non-one man band, fresh out the gates with a forthcoming full-length on Dirtnap/P.Trash. It's a scuzzy affair, possibly obscuring sloppy musicianship and definitely hiding instrument tone and intelligible lyrics underneath the Edison Canister-quality recording, but it is fast, riffy garage punk with a vaguely 'billy feel to it, as well as a TV eye on early Damned. The jams on the A-side are passable, but they really let loose on the hyperspeed “Self Immolation Man,” saving the record and making it as essential as any/all other P.Trash releases. This one, to my knowledge, is gone already, but give it a shot. There's definitely not many of them.
My Little Red Toe/Foot Foot
Bored Fortress Singles Series split 7”
(Not Not Fun)
This is the second in a series of six limited-edition mailorder singles released by Los Angeles's daring Not Not Fun label, whose output to Still Single has been mixed but always in some form appreciated. Bored Fortress is where they hit a stride with their releases that is undeniable. Maybe it's the noise zeitgeist peaking, but I'd like to credit it to the label's personnel having their hearts exactly in the right place. My Little Red Toe is a local proposition for them, a duo of simple guitar and drums somewhere in between the raw innocence of early Cat Power and the musical simplicity of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. I'm into the more abstract “Firemen” than the tell-tale “Clicky Clicky,” but I have a newfound appreciation out of their side for a band I probably would have never heard otherwise. Foot Foot squeezes folk music into amateurish yet determined hands, with Appalachian vibes, acoustic drive, slide howl, retreat into quiet spaces and the eventual burst back into outdoor voice. It's the most narrative of all the pieces in the collection, and another very worthwhile discovery for fans of slightly broken but better-for-it pop music. As with the rest of the series, this is now out of print, and I'm covered in glitter for handling it. Each release comes with a two-sided note explaining why the artist was chosen for the side. It's great reading. Anyone with a lead on the first installment (Coughs/Nightwounds split) for a decent price (under $10), get in touch. Now.
Speed Freaks 7” EP
(Pick Your Face)
Three more songs on a second 7” by Portland skatepunx the NiX. It comes off like people who make inept punk rock want it too - with a shitty recording. Three songs on one side, all to do with amphetamine abuse and the unbearable nature of those who practice it (and yeah, “Bad Teeth” qualifies, lest I dig up that JPEG of “meth mouth.”) The band has the right attitude to pull off the music, but it's pretty much right on the line between inspired and terrible, the line drawn under many a Killed By Death type single … which is inevitably where the first NiX single ended up, and this one seems destined for as well. B-side is grooved but completely blank; you could go Christian Marclay on it and make your own single, or better yet, you should put this thing back in its protective sleeve and in your crate (under N) where it'll likely sit until some kid with money wants to buy yours. Want to buy mine? Maybe in 10 years, when my yet-to-exist kid needs braces. Pressing unknown; no label contact; and best of luck to you in finding this.
“Don’t Need Smoke To Make Myself Disappear” b/w “Love
Pissed Jeans' first single was covered in the very first edition of this column, roughly one year ago. In that time, people have noticed - Sub Pop, for instance, who elected to release their first 7” single in years for this bunch of Allentown, PA misfits - and it's a punisher in both spirit and deed. “Don't Need Smoke” lumbers along a la My War, side two, with depressive, pushed-to-the-limit intent as it unfolds the tale of a working stiff spending his lunch hour anonymously isolated among businessmen who he has nothing in common with (“And those shoes are tight/They must be new/Wouldn't mind if you tripped in a puddle or two”), with Killdozer-esque grind and a sociopathic charm not unlike smeared brown stains in three-star hotel sheets. “Love Clown” is the fastest song the band has played yet, and it's equally as depressing, but shreds with a determination found in all their other material. This is a record designed to inspire the weak and bum out the masses, and for that I got nothing but love. A+, would listen again. A fitting release for 6/6/06. Apparently Sub Pop has colored vinyl for mailorder customers, so clog up their inbox and 800 number with your orders, pronto.
(Not Not Fun)
Sixth and last edition in the Bored Fortress Singles Series. Raccoo-oo-oon are from Iowa City, and apparently are ex-screamo kids who've been touched by the spirit of the woods. Whether that's the case or not, they lay down some thick and formidable pummel here, rolling from pensive gamelan moments to a full-on punishment ride of tribal percussion and shattering groove. The track is called “Visage of the Fox”; the band's tour is ending right about now, hope you caught it. They channel that rare instance as of late in today's young experimentalist world where they don't lose the song, but build a diorama of wonder around it instead. Sword Heaven's contribution, “Town Hag,” relies on the notion that noise and experimentation is not about fun and amazement; it's all about kill, kill, kill … and the people they kill get up and kill. Tarpit screams, artillery percussion, and scraping, piercing noise mash down upon one another in an unholy hatefuck of rustbelt proportions. Early Swans would be an apt reference point for the sort of aural destruction they traffic in. Not so much to the point, but the point is made from the get-go. Do not fuck with Sword Heaven. Like all the other singles in this subscription series, this one's out of print already. Search if you dare.
Hammer I Miss You 7” EP
Pushing on the nascent power-pop revival - a far cry from the gut-punch of the Reatards or the Gothicized crunch of Lost Sounds - we find Jay Reatard going solo, cheering up as he dislocates his sensibilities, putting an British spin and a wall of noise against songs that could have fallen off of Powerpearls or Chuck Warner's Teen Line comps. Each one is a bona fide winner, with the title track built around the most basic and catchiest riff here and scaling up to a massive chorus. The two on the flip are just as strong, with “It's So Useless” thrashing out in skinny-tie-wearing infection vectors, and “All Wasted” lamenting zombie terror in an almost New Romantic/post-punk crossover style. Totally caught me off guard here; this single is fantastic, and the full-length Jay's working on probably will be too. Very highly recommended.
Silver Daggers/Death Sentence: PANDA!
Bored Fortress Singles Series split 7”
(Not Not Fun)
Single number four in the series. Avid readers of this column should be no strangers to LA death-jazz-noise-rock outfit Silver Daggers. “Faithful Unfaithful” presents the band in a longer form than either earlier single allowed for, and yet the band sounds more together here, from the saxophone drones to that start things off to the rhomboid, warrior-minded second half, all distorted bass, synth wash, relentless rhythm and tireless brio. “Friends of Friends of Friends of Friends,” by Death Sentence: PANDA! is a suitable match here for its dependence on reeds and winds, but is more of a juxtaposition this time around, with the gentle toots of flute and clarinet challenging the low-end growls, shouted vocals, and attack percussion, an unstable piano riff trying to moderate between the two. Another nice note is included within to remind us all of the love and care that went into these releases. They're as fun to read as the records are to listen to. Which is a lot. But how will you know, as it's OUT OF PRINT too, bub.
Valkomma Till Paradiset… 7” EP
(Kick n Punch/Instigate)
Coming off a lot more straight-ahead and a little slicker than on earlier releases, Sweden's Skitkids are still pushing a righteous political agenda, and making sure that rock and punk are meted out in equal fistfuls and sprayed forth with each fingerpoint. The surprise here is the general concessions to straightforward rock breakdowns, even a guitar solo here and there. They're at the intersection where Motorhead meets the circle pit, and that's fine. The title track, denouncing Swedish royalty, is the standout here; the other tracks hold up well, covering hatred for cops, the rich, and the importance placed upon higher education. Look for it in a distro near you soon.
Yellow Asteroids 12”
Most acts on Bpitch are dedicated to moving forward with their sound, and likewise pushes the state of techno along with them. But it seems as if the electro duo of Smash.TV, having experienced a height of popularity in the electroclash era, is now content to spin its wheels somewhat. “Yellow Asteroids” plays out nicely as it can, in a big cavernous repository of bass and electro/acid pinging, overcut with needling synths and a steady 4/4 bounce. The bendy arpeggio lead kind of wrecks the vibe, where something less predictable and more powerful could have taken its place. That it’s the worst part of the track makes its presence on the subdued B-side “Star-like” remix somewhat of a bummer, but the mix trades off the persistence of the beat for a spacier, bassier rubber room in which to reside.
“Eurotunnel” b/w “Calibration” 12”
Tejada's first single for Pole's ~scape label is a continuation of what he does best - steady, minimal, groove-oriented techno with distinctive, repetitive sounds. There's something very soothing about the “bong” hit in “Eurotunnel”; sounds like dropping a quarter into an old Atari coin-op machine. “Calibration” is even more sublimated and skeletal, relying on string stabs positioned around deep percussion cycles to give the faintest hint of disco. Engrossing in the absence of a great deal of sound, and very excellent.
Bara Rock ‘n’ Roll 7” EP
(Kick n Punch)
Goofy '70s style punk from Umea, Sweden, fronted by a guy who looks like David Cross if he were to bottom out on meth. Tristess's hearts are totally in their music, though, which is a faithful reproduction of Dangerhouse-esque West Coast bomp, riffs and hooks indebted to early rock and roll but pumped up with punk's energy, and definitely loaded with snot. Can't tell you what the songs are about (we're not afforded an English translation) but the attitude, right down to their cobbled-together weirdo/outsider/nerd look that you can't fake … well, aside from the guy with the skull-and-bones tattoo across his throat … it's all vintage 1978, right with their sound. Swedish lyrics make this sort of thing sound more immediate in 2006, and it ultimately gets the pass for charm and as solid a reproduction of melodic verse-chorus-verse since Teengenerate hung it up. Limited edition, of course, but I was too chickenshit to ask the quantity.
5025 AD 12” LP
Here's five pieces by a violent-sounding, extremely aware improv ensemble from Baltimore. Trockeneis is a five-piece using bowed metal, voice, percussion, musical saws, and that ever-popular instrument, “dry ice with heated metal.” Skitterish, Jaap Blonk-esque vocal improvisations sit next to unsteady drones, sirens, and scrapes punctuated by rhythmic howling. I can't say as I can pick out The Most Popular Instrument Sound of the 21st Century (DRY ICE! HEATED METAL!) but I can say that I was duly impressed with the structure of these pieces and how well this completely non-traditional ensemble has learned to play off of itself. Out of all of these pieces, the fifth movement shines brightest, a massive, dampening piece owing a debt in construction to Xenakis, and maybe even Charles Ives. Fantastic stuff. Edition of 500 in beautiful silkscreened sleeves. This is the challenge sounded to all latter-day noise fanatics. Go forth and fall.
Waiting 7” EP
Near as I can tell, Young Wasteners had a 12” out several years back, which is totally unavailable now. These tracks were leftovers, allegedly finished by one member of the band while the others split up (and I believe most if not all are now in a new band called Dansetten, with a forthcoming LP on this label as well). What's left here is dark, unrelenting Anglicized death-punk, recalling the hoodoo blast of the Big Boys on the title track and the garish hiccup of, say, the Lurkers on “Who to Be.” Interestingly, they veer into full-on Gothic carousel terror-pageant mode, once trod by the Birthday Party and Scratch Acid (that reference holds more water here than you'd give it credit for) on the finale, “Selfallowed.” With spidery, descending guitar melody, and sung in English with totally mad Lydon-esque accents - even giving lines from “Demolition Man” garish credence - these guys were clearly onto something, pulling the string out of the dirt and letting the ancient tripwire drop the past right on us under cover of night. Let's hope Dansetten carry on the vibes presented here. Great artwork, excellent package, a must-own if you're even vaguely interested in the unwashed underbelly of punk rock in 2006.
Tales from the Asphalt Dancefloor 12” EP picture disk
(Vodka Tonic Media)
Six bands from all over Arizona, united by what I can only describe as a mutual rediscovery and fanaticism over both My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Lords of Acid, come together on this aggressively-marketed picture disk. Digital Leather and Destruction Unit, both products of Tokyo Electron's Ryan Wong, are perhaps the best-known band here, but the rest of this is so 'Zonied out it might as well be German. Liner notes exclaim that the compiler and the artists within haven't a clue what “dance-punk” or “disco-punk” is (though the author goes far enough to explain the genre), so don't confuse that shit they don't know about with this music, okay? Trust me, though, you won't. This belongs in some college town goth club. I'm getting horrible S&M visions of really out-of-shape Myspace fetish group people in my head from listening to this. After the Destruction Unit track, this thing goes downhill - fast. Blanche Davidian (ho ho, what a clever name) goes so far as to tuck a sample of Toni Basil's “Mickey” in there if you weren't choking on your Tanq and Tab already. I really don't want to get into what a band called Sex for Cigarettes can offer you, but it's not much; ex-Tit Wrench member Billy Druid's Atomic Gospel fares marginally better, only to be shamed in between a Digital Leather track I already know I don't like (as it was on their letdown of a 7” in different form), and this “naughty” song called “Fuck Pain” by the Cutters (hee hee, another shitty name). The included postcard attached asks you, the listener, what you normally listen to, your name, and other highly personal information, then asks you to send back the card to get MP3s of the tracks, which is printed on the wrong side, so that if you cut it out you'd compromise the integrity of the liner notes sharing space with the attached form. Completely awful artwork; this is such a haphazard collection of moment-specific music that it's as funny as it is astounding. Numbered edition of 1000, though the sticker that bears this demarcation is going to eventually peel off of the plastic sleeve. That seals it. Unaware and completely unnecessary in only the loftiest and misguided of ways.
By Doug Mosurock