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Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 4

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In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak checks out singles of various sizes by Matthew Dear, Dani Siciliano, The Gossip, CSS, Fucked Up, and many (MANY) more.

Still Single: Vol. 2, No. 4


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:
Doug Mosurak
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.

2 AM/FM - Pt. 2 12” EP
(Spectral Sound)

James Cotton and D’Marc Cantu return to wield Chicago acid-jack overhead like a sledgehammer in the hands of a krazyman, bringing it down squarely in the center of the dancefloor. Three more all-out sluggers are presented here, blipping restlessly and happily without the common sense that would otherwise ground these beats. If it’s 2 A.M., and your teeth are grinding, this is exactly where you’d want to be. If you play B-side “Acid Planes” at its suggested 45rpms, wear a neckbrace. At 33, it seems a bit subdued, so pitch that shit up. Can you jack? Hopefully so.

Aluk Todolo - s/t 7” EP
(Implied Sound)

In which a trio of French men (two members of which have performed with/as black metallers Diamatregon and Vediog Svoar) play to the bleakness of their craft with a different set of expectations. The results are incredibly dark, carry a weight and intensity akin to their grim counterparts but a less stringent, more melancholic romp into the nethers of that dark forest of misery. Both tracks here are demarcated by runes, the one on the A-side locking into a two-note haunt that swells with occult intensity, and its flipside counterpart content to grind out in A with horizontal depth and a percussive imperative, racing towards some sort of outcome that belies the “do what thou wilt” philosophy I anticipated from the descriptions. That B-side is something, too, trading in one of those chords for a gear-driven space-rock windup and more confident sense of improvisational limits. I wouldn’t laud these guys for making this because of their backgrounds, and admittedly, many have come before and done better with direction-poor instrumentals than these guys, but there’s a rough mystery about their approach that will keep me tuned in, at least until next time.

The Ape-Shits/The Gash - split 7”
(Big Action)

Apes take shits bigger than the Ape-Shits, and probably harsher in content, too. The Ape-Shits poop out glammy garage rock with shouted atonal vocals as their concession to either not being able to sing, or to some sort of rock and roll abandon. Neither of their tracks here let off with any sort of steam, though you’d expect something called “Fuck the Pigs” to have some teeth left … right? Riiiiiight. Unnecessary solos. Very New York Dolls vibe on “Decadent Pig” that shouldn’t be able to live with itself. Yup, pretty dumb. The Gash broke up before this was released, but made the wrong choice – they have the velocity required to pull off more of that old time rock ‘n’ roll riffage, and more often than not don’t even need it. “Can’t Say No” is a burner to start but then the second, female-led chorus kicks in, out of the blue and very much welcome. Most bands of this like aren’t taking the time to go there. “Don’t Need You” is even more raucous, pounding and screaming till the gristle. The Gash redeems it. Cool.

Audion - “Mouth to Mouth” b/w “Hot Air” 12”
(Spectral Sound)

Matthew Dear is back in the alter-ego, inhaling rails of glitter and shitting out tinfoil stars once again. “Mouth to Mouth” sustains numerous attacks from a fuzzed-out alien sawtooth invasion (with lasers) but its initial, minimally arranged bassline is unfazed. It’s a long, disco-ish track, definitely nothing to peak with but it could get the crowd there in the right hands. The pick to click here is the flip’s “Hot Air,” starting with a defibulating bass and kick pulse and building up around cowbells and chording into something altogether menacing, evolved and fearful. The synths attack again, the creature completely intact by the end. I like the themes of battle and war within, slight as they may seem. They parallel our own times. Find yourself a copy, technorati.

Audion/Ellen Allien - Just a Man/Just a Woman split 12” EP
(Spectral Sound)

One track and one remix apiece from Mr. Dear and Ms. Allien, taking on each other’s works. Audion swings low here with “Just a Man,” a somewhat elusive, non-banging track that seems more concerned with the rhythm than with the track itself, and suffers in the process. Curiously, Ellen Allien finds its heartbeat, strips the rest away, and rebuilds on a sturdier foundation, ominous synth waves floating like mist at its base. And her “Just a Woman” rips here, again a minimal percussive assault, but much faster, denser, and insistent. Dear turns this one into a flangey African drum ensemble affair, breaking loose with bursts of melody by the end of the game. Three out of four certainly never sounded this good.

Bad Dudes - “Rollo Takes a Wack” b/w “King Kong” 7”
(Project Infinity)

Nimble but altogether questionable progressive pop storm on wax here. “Rollo Takes a Wack” rolls around instrumentally, gathering and losing steam as it hits the valleys, with ill-advised banging pianos making it clear that they are musicians, lest you forget. Rushes past and doesn’t really prove anything. They also cover “King Kong” by the Kinks, fucking it up with cheeky computer crap, like distorted and Vocoded singing, bloopy sequencing, and a general bastardization of the song in the process. Only 650 copies, in various colors of vinyl, and also a digital component. Good idea for a label, hope it works – please find better bands, though, and don’t blow your wad on full-color sleeves and crazy custom vinyl all at once. Pro attitude doesn’t necessarily require pro gear.

Matthew Baldwin/Sean Smith - Sailor on the Riverbed split 7” EP
(Russett Records)

2004 recordings of authentic-sounding instrumental folk, just issued now. Matthew Baldwin presents “Waltz,” which it is, and a gorgeously finger-picked instrumental of one at that. Sean Smith presents two of his own, less traditional than Baldwin’s example and maybe more in line with John Fahey, due to his ability to champion themes over styles, and follow them through to the finish. Not much else to say, but this one really cleansed the ol’ palate in midst of all this techno and punk rock. Numbered edition of 300, on green marbled vinyl.

Bleubird - Pilgrim of St. Zotique 12” EP
(Endemik Music)

I was about to call this one Bleuturd based on some previous examples, but maybe I have to eat that turd. I am not all about the delivery or the lyrics, as before, but at least this time the production isn’t enhancing the worst parts of Bleubird’s delivery – they build mood where only turgid Canadian English major tighty-whiteness would otherwise exist, and they don’t do so in any sort of obvious, Radiohead-influenced ways … well, not all the time, at least. But there are three worthwhile tracks on here, and they hit hard enough to bump the street quotient up to an acceptable level. So to that end, props to Sole, Skyrider, Alias, and DJ Mayonnaise. Now … where’s the instrumentals?

Breakup Breakdown - “Tonight” b/w “Hard to Love” 7”
“She Went Black” b/w “The Ballad of Stiv Bators” 7”
(Cordless Recordings)

I used to see guys from this band in their earlier incarnations, known as The Blow Up, and later as Girl Harbor. They were always pleasant enough as garage hobbyists, but since then they’ve been convinced they had the stuff for the majors, despite the track records of bands like Vue or Dramarama saying otherwise. Warner Music Group has since dumped them in their training-wheels dept., Cordless Recordings, a label in which the band will survive only on vinyl singles and digital downloads, with no traditional retail exposure. Which is, I guess, where bullshit like this should end up: in a gray area, caught in between their lack of recognition in the public’s eyes, and the used bins their CDs will never fill. Just looking at the finished product – high-design sleeves in hard chipboard, on bulletproof Czech colored vinyl – bespeaks records that will clog up the channels and remain unsold, largely made by production people who have never bought a 7” in their lives. They’ll never recoup on these even if they were worth listening to, which they’re not; it’s that faceless fucking “dark rock ‘n’ roll” with goddamn keyboards and random “cool” guys of various look, in case one of them happens to stick. Their blustery “Ballad of Stiv Bators” is one of the worst things ever, a horrid name-drop of someone who might have kicked these wieners in the chest. Everything about this band is meant to gum up the system, which would be perceived as cool except that it really sucks that bands like this won’t ever stop building dams in the general consciousness of what rock music can mean in this town. Also, their asshole website crashed my computer about five times. Available now, probably having rolled out of its sleeve, manhandled, in a Virgin Megastore near you. Puke, fucking puke.

Brimstone Howl - Blood on the Rocks, Blood in the River 7” EP
M-60 7” EP

Two singles bounded in from this Midwestern concern. They play really loud, blitzed garage rock with some early rockarolla tendencies. I’m digging on “M-60,” from the four-song EP of the same name, largely for its tenacity to that simple hook and the explosion of noise in the middle. Whether they know it or not, they’re holding onto the riff from Can’s “Oh Yeah” here, and that’s fucking cool. Sturdiness of deed does not go unnoticed on “Oak Tree,” a song that might have belonged to the Gibson Bros. years back. The two songs on the Blood on the Rocks 7” are better realized, with production from Jay Reatard that illuminates their songs more obvious dark corners and capacities for sonic aggression. “Lynne” gets all serial-killer, and “In the Valley” dumps the body. Their songs are getting longer as of the Blood single, indicating a possible move to a rootsier sound. I think these guys will do find wherever they land, with a sense of songcraft that many of their contemporaries would just as soon bash away. Blood single on gray marbled vinyl.

BRRR - “Jesse Todd” + 2 7” EP
(Rok Lok)

Some way twee folkisms here on the A-side, with “Jesse Todd” and “Row Row Your Boat” having too little substance to really offer anyone not dating a band member. The B-side, “Beauty and the Beast,” is a surprisingly upbeat retelling of the Disney ballad, to be sure, and since it’s the best thing here and also somewhat cliché, I really don’t know how to respond. It’s catchy, though, jangling along in that sing-song, I-have-Play-Doh-for-hands kinda way. Edition of 300 on clear vinyl in a silkscreened sleeve that fucking depicts two mountains holding hands.

Caustic Christ - Lycanthropy 12” LP

Finally album #2 for these lifetimers surfaces. Seeing these guys play earlier in the year (in between Subhumans and the now-fading Gorilla Angreb) was like getting beaten up by four steelworkers; a saturated and fierce assault of My War aggression and mid-80s thrash dynamics, played out by guys who saw it go down when it happened. Is anyone tighter at this level of ferocity in the USA? DOUBTFUL. Here’s ten new songs, including the genius anti-Bush anthem, “Doesn’t Anyone Want to Impress Jodie Foster Anymore?” Actually gets hotter as the second side rolls in with the steady punches of “Medicated” and “The War Has Come Home.” As good as it’s getting right now; a celebration of healthy, mechanized thrash assault that’s above preaching but not the message they have to spread, which in a nutshell, is that things are fucked, and being a werewolf doesn’t make it any better. Limited tour edition is a pressing of 300 on red with silkscreened, blood-spattered sleeves. Regular edition (sleeve shown) also available.

Conelrad - Sluts & Slobs 7” EP

Gotta disclose here: at one point in time, before the group relegated itself to inactive status, I was going to put this record out. Fortunately, somebody else did, but failed to check the artwork or matrix numbers, as it is still credited to Version City Records. Let it be known that I did not have any hand in its release, which is why I feel I can still review it. Now that that’s off my chest … this is the final product of five-year fear ‘n’ loathing project Conelrad, a Pittsburgh duo of ex-Creation is Crucifixion guitarist (and Dusted scribe) Adam MacGregor (now of Brown Angel and Microwaves), and drummer Jeffrey Gretz, since drafted into the Lord’s metallic service by the band Zao. Conelrad played impossibly technical, excruciatingly heavy prog-metal, spindizzy and rigid, that achieved a feat no other tech-grind combatants have mastered: the ability to project the emotions of self-loathing, marginalized, altogether misanthropic sentiments far beyond the complexity of the music. Really, it’s the first thing you hear. Black metallers should be so lucky to recede into the black and endless forests of despair and loneliness; the music of Conelrad, by virtue of its own self-doubt, attraction to the perverse, and gravitation to the worse of any two choices available, is far more grim, as it seats itself in real-world despair. Three originals, including the blistering “Burdizzo” (with Gretz’s girlfriend screaming out lyrics like “Swallow my seed/Swallow a handful of fishhooks”), a slow, Rollins Band-esque number written by Zombi’s Steve Moore, and a cover of Nomeansno’s “No Fucking.” Named after the least successful publication in history (a pornographic rag that survived one issue, created by Mensen IQ’s with no grasp on what the public might want, and featuring a centerfold of Annie Sprinkle puke-porn), Sluts & Slobs succeeds in extending that legacy to a fitful and domineering display of men’s inhumanity, as scribed by the self-proclaimed “worst men available.” A few steps up the evolutionary ladder from Whitehouse, but the sentiment is there. Unbelievable and essential. Edition of 500 copies, available from the address below.

The Conversions - s/t 7” EP

Fresh off that split w/ Witches with Dicks comes six more songs from Boston’s Conversions, fast becoming one of the fiercest hardcore outfits in New England. Terry’s definitely gonna get phone sex voice if she keeps screaming like that, and the rest of the band is gonna get carpal tunnel for trying to follow drum monster Chris Strunk’s hefty, vindictively fast rhythmic meter. Kind of DC-ish in intent, in particular the sharp riffs and rolling bass of closer “The Worms,” but with the label’s address of Arlington, VA, it makes fitting sense. A fine, stressful couple of minutes spent pulling out someone’s hair in bloody clumps, brutal and damaging, but with a message. Edition of 300, probably all gone by now, but good luck searching.

CSS - “Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” 12” EP
(Sub Pop)

12” release of the strongest track from their Cansei de Ser Sexy album, maligned by some and evidently no worse for it, the group lighting up venues and dancefloors here and in their home of Brazil. LP and instrumental versions here, along with a Spank Rock remix that mostly leaves the track intact, and Diplo’s baile-zation of it all, recentering the rhythmic core and dicing it all up. I’m more into Spank Rock’s rapturous read, which is to say, I like the original too.

Death to Pigs - s/t 7” EP

Nine songs crammed in here by this French agit-punk group, all muscular bass and heedless warnings, tool-and-die drums and focused guitar slashery. Very angry and political, right down to the name, but with a sense of swinging urgency and sophistication that’s downright Australian (starting with the Birthday Party). Seriously, this thing could be passed of as McLusky demos to some, and in any event it’s so, so far superior to that band’s post-breakup project, Shooting at Unarmed Men. Intricate, careful, brake-slamming, and raw. Loving it, all of it. In layman’s terms, this is the International Noise Conspiracy, vastly improved (which will never happen, so enjoy this instead). My pick to click is the assaultive “La Bestia En Color.” Nice Samuel Fuller soundbite in there, guys. Edition of 300 numbered copies, and very nearly gone. Get on this or lose out.
(www.myspace.com/deathtopigs )

Dread Astaire - “Hipbeat” b/w “Bassassination” 10”

First strike from Greeks Dread Astaire, who focus on creating heavy, hypnotic, and simple grooves for you to wear out your shoes and ankles over. Unflaggingly repetitive rock with no roll, kind of flattened by “Real Wild One”-esque Iggy vocals, but bolstered on all other fronts by a steadfast allegiance to deep rhythms and guitar/synth noise slashery. 2006’s answer to Loop, perhaps, as it’s definitely closer to the center than Spacemen 3, but still delivers the goods. B-side “Bassassination” is the winner here, nearly eight solid minutes of thick, bassy throb. Can’t wait to drop this one at my DJ night and witness the unbearable lightness of booty. Numbered edition of 500, released by the band. Shipping from Greece is gonna be a pain, so hopefully someone will import a bunch for those in need.

Eats Tapes - “Dinosaur Days” + 2 12” EP
(Community Library)

Acid-electro posse from the Bay Area turns it up live here. “Dinosaur Days” is inventive and reckless, hovering a squelchy track and exhausting riddim over a space where bass can hang out and steamroll people. The beat is so fast that this would wear out a lot of dancers held at full length, but the sounds in there and the patterns for repetition are solid and arresting. The flip side continues the need to pitch-down, especially on the twitching “Ptery D,” jumpier than a meth lab about to catch fire. Eats Tapes has recorded for Tigerbeat6, and it definitely shows here in their iconoclastic style and bare-bones presentation. Good, if a bit trying, times. Edition of 700.

Excepter/Leb-Laze - split 12” EP

“The Troglodytes” suite of tracks captures Excepter live at a Washington, D.C. house show in 2005. Like any Excepter product, it can’t be weighed against anything involving the name, save who was in the group at the time, and what their headspace was during the performance. In this case, the rave sounds are brought, then stifled, then remembered by a fen of stoned ghosts, rattling their digital chains and demanding more. They are never relieved. Leb-Laze is an electronic ensemble on some more tangible shit, buzzing the synths out of the theme to “Airwolf” with some post-millenial urgency. It’s chill, but not either enough rock or technology to fit comfortably in either genre’s occasionally-deep pockets 500 pressed, 200 on clear.

Frustrations - “Nerves are Fried” b/w “Summer” 7”
(X! Records)

X! got the lock on what’s really good in Michigan right now. The Frustrations storm along like drunken animals, hollering like the forsaken on both tracks across mid-tempo and fast-loud raucous punk explorations. “Nerves Are Fried” slides down a razor-lined neck, thumping like a male porn actor in his prime around scattered, Hazelmyer-blessed noise-rock arrangements. “Summer” plods on even longer, with a tinny, twangy surf lead wrapped round the wrists, before careening into a more aggressive, skittery ‘80s punk reverie. Panicked, spooked, and paranoid, the songs surge above and beneath acceptable levels of sanity. A dark horse winner in a race where many bozos pressing vinyl never seem to get right, at least to this extent.

Fucked Up - “Triumph of Life” b/w “Neat Parts” 7”
(Jade Tree)

“Triumph of Life” appears here in a zippier, possibly higher-pitched version that which appears on their forthcoming Hidden World album. That record’s ability to turn hardcore’s rusty gears by a tiny yet significant amount remains to be seen, but if there’s any band/songs that could do it, it’s Fucked Up, teaching the kids to hold onto a riff and explore its undertones with strident urgency … at least we can hope. At the very least, it’ll remind ‘em of Lifetime, maybe. But it’s fun, and a headbangingly good time, to hear them bash through all six roaring minutes of “Triumph of Life” and never once slowing down or slipping up. The fist-pumping, one-awesome-riff-after-another school of rockin’ is in full swing here, leaking from broken blisters and bleeding all over the place. And for them, it works – little else could. “Neat Parts” isn’t even half the song, and knows it, content to bash away at three or four chords with gleeful abandon all the same. Inspiring, that punk can go this far. Mine’s on pink vinyl.

The Gossip - Listen Up! RMX 12” EP
(Kill Rock Stars)

MSRKRFT, Arthur Baker, and A Touch of Class all get their mitts on the Gossip’s new single. The song actually isn’t band, and Beth Ditto’s milky vocals are really welcoming, making the disco abuse that transpires here a bit easier to tolerate. Unsurprisingly, MSTRKRFT is the first and only team here to fuck things up, adding really corny guitar licks and predictable remix beats to the original. Baker puts this thing in a Jersey nightclub, and turns it out to very acceptable levels of synth torment. But ATOC take it, as they understand disco, and particularly the pan-sexual pomp that this group proffers, and add accordingly. There’s also a cover, but I’ve just listened to 58 records in a row, and I don’t give enough of a shit to figure it all out.

Home Blitz - Live Outside 7”

Yet another lump of lo-fi mashed potatoes by Princeton, NJ’s Home Blitz – a one-man band who, as it goes, was once my intern! – banging out one-man jams ready to explore and stay outdoors until it’s time to come in, like an ADD-riddled Jonathan Richman spelunking in the mine subsidence beneath Demolition Plot J-7. These two tracks were allegedly recorded outdoors on battery-powered instruments, and on “Stupid Street,” is narrated by Mr. H. Blitz, telling us that few cars are passing by. Sounds pretty good for a field recording (yeah). The ghost of Sister Ray floats over both examples, but the curious, spacious non-solo at the end of “Feeling Cold” is another accidental streak of genius, showing Tom Verlaine logic at their location and timing. Really something, once again. Edition of 500.

Hubcap City (From Belgium) - “Five More Minutes” b/w “Sally” 7”
(Ponce De Leon)

Similar in deep, dark depression but not in sound to the previously received Hubcap City split w/ Deerhunter, but not in approach – the band now reveals itself to be a four-piece “junkyard folk” ensemble, featuring Bill Taft of the Jody Grind and drummer Will Fratesi of Tenement Halls. The “(From Belgium)” tag is fairly incongruous, but so’s this record, a wound-down, single-mic recording of noisy, buzzing folk ballad (“Five More Minutes”) with a refreshingly loose improve breakdown towards its end; and the loose, liquored slur of parlor trick “Sally.” Pretty far removed from all things modern, and better off for it, these hole-in-shoe lapses in time compel with the natural momentum and lost-era charms they carry. Edition of 500, on colored vinyl.

Imaginary Icons - “Eye-Cons” b/w “Fade” 7”

New Brooklyn arty garage punk for the skinny tie set, featuring local promoter Tom Dash (ex-Shop Fronts) and folks from the Tie Reds and MHz. The brisk Shop Fronts beat has been slowed down to a cool-school, jimmylegging tempo, accentuated by lots of palm-muting guitar chug, simplistic bass lines, and the somewhat hiccupping vocal styles rocked way back when by the Vibrators, the Lurkers, or any other members of the ’79 set. Doesn’t approach classic status like the Tyvek 7” does (with virtually the same parts), but is a decent and clever diversion until their next single drops. Pretty good.

Kai - Particle 12” EP

Yo man, Kai is up on some micro-funk dermabrasion shit, with some truly rude rubbery bass bloops and squelchy synth bleeps fluctuate wildly between each other in a very controlled fashion. Content to burble beneath the meniscus, the four tracks that comprise the Particle EP are probably gonna stay down there, as they don’t change enough or get sufficiently lubricated to do the damage they could, or should.

Sami Koivikko - Pääjääsä 12” EP
(Spectral Sound)

Kinda getting’ down here in my chair to this one, Koivikko laying the umlauts on thick with the title track, a rhomboid techno builder with artfully-placed thumb piano and sawing faux string blitter coming in to add melody and tension. “Dore” works just as well, with even less, just a set of patches, some wild blipping, and a thick and dominant electro bass boogie line that lets into a nice glam-disco finale. “Pientare” closes the EP with a galloping beat, twinges of industrialist coldness, and another rock-solid bassline. A varied selection from a Finnish upstart to watch.

Landed - Times I Despise 12” EP

2001 recordings from Landed as a four-piece, prior to an initial breakup and released in part due to their 2006 reformation. This does indeed sound like I remember them back then, at their most obviously rock ‘n’ roll, but tampered throughout with Dan St. Jacques’ primate vocals and a reliance on repetition and a hard, toothy sound that sounds like a variant on AC/DC with Brian Johnson’s balls twisted off. Nice theft of Godflesh riddims on “The Longest Winter” there. I think the song titles here (seven in all) are mere suggestions. I also think this kinda rules; destructed rock slobbering with more of a backbone than ever before.

Leprechaun Catering - Male Plumage 12” EP
(White Denim)

Oh my lord, insane robot time. Baltimore duo Leprechaun Catering (featuring Megaphone label guy and Jad Fair collaborator Jason Willett) don’t just ghost the machines, they run them far beyond capacity into a confusing, yet syncopated state of organized confusion. Kling-klangs harder than most things I’ve heard this year, and wholly amazes on two fronts: one, a fractious, sputtering twist of live improv samples chopped up to squelching mania, then let loose to destroy, and two, a remarkable steadfast concession to the beat, one which few if any of their “contemporaries” (and by that I mean any half-bake noiseniks, from Neon Hunk to [D] Yellow Swans) have truly been able to master. Could Raymond Scott orchestrate a rave at its most cacophonous? Leprechaun Catering intend to show us how that might have played out. Beyond weird bouts into a restless twin consciousness. Support Matt Korvette with your purchase of Male Plumage. Edition of 326 copies on orange/red splatter vinyl in a chipboard sleeve.

Live Fast Die/VCR - split 7”

More of the same no-fi punk rock rage from LFD, fresh off a full-length and a previous single on Your Permanent. They sound a lot hotter here then I remember, with a nice re-read of Richard Hell on “Love Dogs in Space” and a curious instrumental to close this out. VCR sound mopey and unfocused by comparison, concerned more with writing a sort of half-assed song with an almost obscured melody (due to production). These guys could use a bit of pro experience in the long run, it seems. This effort is too messy to stick, but LFD are doing just fine, so if you’re gonna buy this, do it for them.

The Long Blondes - Appropriation 12” EP
(What's Your Rupture?)

Are the Long Blondes turning into the feminist answer to Pulp? “Appropriation (By Any Other Name)” would seem to say so, with Kate Jackson tamping down her vocal trills from “Dizzy Stratospheres” to something more grounded and ruefully droll, a la Chrissie Hynde or Joe Jarvis Cocker himself. Since the first round of WYR? singles, the Long Blondes come of as the most susceptible-to-bend of the whole bunch, now aiming directly at the UK pop charts, despite what this hand-stamped, artwork-free 12” might insinuate. This is a reissue of some previously-import-only singles tracks, three from an Angular label 7” and “Separated By Motorways” (the best, most fun track here) from a single on 679. They’re fairly figured out and methodical at this point, with round, elliptical arrangements for Jackson to slink all over. Only the yelling and general cheer of “Separated” really rises to the occasion, all shouty and energetic, the one place where the disco beat doesn’t sound tired or overdone. And it is overdone. Fun times in store here, though those looking for more rough-hewn thrills would do well to seek out the other releases on this fine label.

Luci - Rapatapaton 12” EP

Third EP from Montreal duo Luci, obsessives over the intersection of ‘80s fonk and oughts’ persistence of micro-rhythms. “Da O” morphs out of some overtly groovin’ R&B styles into a repetitive, disc-locked wall of echo, vocal samples emerging from in new, panicked organism states, all to a very hypnotic effect. “Weeners ISO 9001” is a fucking trip, 96 tears of organ beating steadily beneath a cooing-and-hiccupping female narrator and a various jabs of calliope synth, slowly changing lanes to a more traditional micro-house groover, which eventually grabs the lady and whisks her away to hump in the forest where Pac-Land takes place. “November Pain” closes this 12” with a quieter, more pensive, somewhat gloomy shade of open-air minimal techno. Nice builders throughout.

Lusine - Emerald 12” EP
(Ghostly International)

Third and final EP in a series by Seattle’s Lusine, a/k/a Jeff McIlwain. On a whole, this is like a more urbanized version of what Ellen Allien and the Bpitch crew manages to accomplish most of the time, which is to create a new landscape out of analog corners and white noise siding, and explore its many flashing lights. “Weaver” does so in a tripped-up 7/8 time sig, which is both daring and crazy in the confines of electronic music, so that’s to be applauded, but the winner here seems to be track #4, “Rubberhands,” with its decidedly Kraftwerkian view of the electrotopography, lots of sudden dropoffs and 90-degree cleanliness affecting its outcome.

Monolake - Alaska Melting 12”

Two more immense sides of nanotech-infested natural sprawl from the German forges of Monolake, with names as big as they sound. “Alaska” is a dark, reductive fall through blackened, minimal waters, pounding on bass squibs and a cracking, late ‘80s drum sound that eventually recedes into a puddle, at no point allowing for a reflection to be cast. “Melting” is the harder and heavier of the two, a symphony of giant robots ripping a forest apart and using the trees as percussion against metallic surfaces and giant cannons, the wind created by their speeds enough to destroy all life as we know it. This one has some legs on it, and they’re moving on the dancefloor, bending with the heat of mechanical exhaust. Just fantastic.

Mountain High/No-Fi Soul Rebellion - split 12” EP
(Wantage USA/Hot Dog City)

Really was hoping for bigger things following a lackluster 7”, so here comes 12 solid inches of Mountain High, Philly’s premiere guitarmy and drumline. Maybe someone involved can tell me why they continue to traffick in muddy recording values, and why the songs (much, much stronger this time around, wading in the waters of a glam-marching-band percussion unit, with accordingly chonga’d riffage) seem to suffer as a result. Could someone close to the band please introduce them to some treble, or maybe some depth of sound? It’s kind of hurting their chances any other way, them sounding taped off an AM radio and all with this little headroom. As for No-Fi Soul Rebellion, if you like yourself, you will not play their side. That’s all. Silkscreened sleeves, edition of 600.

Mr. Ip/King Honey - split 7”
(Man Vs Ape)

Demo reel-esque beats too hard for tape from both Ip and Honey (who you may remember from his shit on Sound-Ink). Mr. Ip’s “Activation” twists “Starsky & Hutch” soundbites, video game squiggles, and fusiony, Miles-esque horn riffs around a whiplash-thick beat, and thus it rolls out with the authority such a hard and inventive production would warrant. Over there, King Honey lays down an aggravated, dirgey lo-fi sting on “Bad News,” featuring Bad News’s battle-ready, unpretty flow. His lyrics definitely trump his delivery, but the beats meet News halfway and run this jam home. Nice vellum sleeve, no info whatsoever. Have fun finding it!

Nudge - “Stack” b/w “Div” 12”
(Community Library)

Surprisingly potent man-dub combo Nudge manages to recreate the excitement of some of Tortoise’s and Ui’s early triumphs with the reverberative, pipe-cleaner funk of “Stack.” Flubber bass and snaky sine waves roil atop a pensive sea of melodica wanderings and gutbucket drumming, achieving the effect of dub but never getting too far from what makes dub so vital: the riddims and roughness. Though deeper and more precise in its intent, “Div” doesn’t stack up as high, with long drone passages downplaying the busyness of the beat and overstating the mood of the piece. There’s enough going on here to definitely warrant a visit back when new material surfaces, too. Edition of 700.

The Observers - “Where I Stay” b/w “Manipulator” 7”

Breaking the rules a bit here, but since these guys got back together, and I didn’t catch it on the first go-round, here we go. The Observers are just too great to ignore. Portland punkers, feet firmly in early ‘80s Posh Boy territory as well as the general rain-streaked anger that fired the Wipers up for so long. In this original incarnation, the band released a handful of singles and one must-own album called So What’s Left Now, along with this final single. Both songs kill it, tightly wound but never veering off into chaos, mechanically running singer Doug Burns’ demons down. One of the best general era throwbacks I’ve heard, one which could also find a place against the harder, gloomy output of early Teardrop Explodes or Echo & the Bunnymen, especially on “Manipulator.” Burns sounds more like Julian Cope than maybe even he gives himself credit for. And when you can line up Liverpudlian murk with SoCal desperation punk like Agent Orange like these guys have, you have successfully revitalized one corner of punk rock for us all, by bridging both scenes circa 1980. Unstoppable band, makers of some of my favorite records in recent memory – looking forward to their new lineup and single. Wholeheartedly recommended.

Pimps Up Hoedown/Mr. Marcus and the Hollow Sisters - split 7”
(TBA Records)

Pittsburgh’s Pimps Up Hoedown plays incompetent traveler folk-punk, an atonal mess of acoustic instruments only coincidentally in tune with one another. I feel embarrassed for their examples here, but we’re probably speaking different languages anyway. Mr. Marcus and the Hollow Sisters is a vocal ensemble, no need for instruments, and they’re probably better for it. It’s five women and one man (the Mr. Marcus mentioned above), and they all have strong, expressive voices, if not the ranges to overextend themselves – which is smart. Were these songs conceived in a holding cell? I’ll bet they were. Anyway, it’s heartfelt and within abilities of the performers, which immediately makes it superior and more listenable to the other side, and its cheery and tough solidarity wins out in the end. Look for them at a Pittsburgh protest near you.

Pink Skull - Unicorn Harpoon 12”

Hey hey, faceless cocaine sex jams ahoy! Take with plenty of water, lest you choke.

Plastic Little - The Jump Off 12”

“Edgy” hip-hop bullshit from Philly, highly touted, and as such, will ultimately fall. If an ad in Vice magazine could rap, it would sound like this shit, Caucasian refried rhymes that haven’t sounded good since similar phrases fell from MC Serch’s chapped lips back in the early ‘90s. If Larry Clark decides to make a sequel to “Kids,” I’m sure these bums will end up on the soundtrack; self-serving, shitty towards women, and without a care in the world: the worst way to be. Ruined my day, this did.

Reanimator - “Clicks and Drones May…” + 3 12” EP
(Community Library)

Removing the stigma of minimal techno being minimally effective, or at the bare minimum weirdly danceable, Reanimator strolls in and shows us all a new way for it to work. “Clicks and Drones May…” is pure sublimated, low-level stun-blooop electronica that descends scales gently and effectively, total trance that requires your full attention. The remaining three tracks skew harder, but all rely on heavy delay, be they machine-funk or more transcendental, hard-hitting or mellow; somehow, the same effect is achieved (through arrangements, perhaps) on all four. Engrossing patterns and satisfying crunch. Liking this one an awful lot; haven’t heard much this good in a while. Edition of 500, and don’t expect the rest to last.

Seba - “Don't Wanna Lose You” b/w “Morning Glory” 12”

Wasn’t expecting to find any drum & bass in the stacks, but here it is. Seba’s on point here, with a sophisticated, crisp jazz drum patterns and classy synth stabs on the dark, rolling “Don’t Wanna Lose You.” Flipside “Morning Glory” breaks loose of “Apache” and “You Bad” riddims, tied with a moody sitar-esque break, angelic oohs, and a more restless, later-night vibe than on the A. An excellent example of how abilities to express mood via a challenging, airtight genre such as D&B can be accomplished.

Dani Siciliano - “Why Can't I Make You High” b/w “Who's Blues” 7”

Mrs. Matthew Herbert sounds like she’s shying away from the honking, righteous mini-funk of her last album here, eschewing decadence for a back porch swing, and seemingly trying to electronically emulate the Squirrel Nut Zippers or Mungo Jerry, or more aptly, gunning for a licensing credit for the new season of “Weeds.” At least that’s the way it seems on “Why Can’t I Make You High,” trading in bottleneck slide and mint julep as Dani croons hey nonny nonnies. “Who’s Blues” actually finds some common ground with her new, sprightly singing approach, the shade tree mechanics of Southern folk-pop, and Herbert’s elastic production techniques. I like it; it wins out over the A-side.

Snake Apartment/Workdeath - split 12”

Two-songer Providence, RI splitsville, population: 300 (all those who can own this, growing smaller by the day). On “Fourth Blood,” Snake Apartment’s membership soaks its clothes wet, stares at a particularly ugly wall, and decides to serenade it in the style of “Shut Down (Annihilation Time)” or some Flipper, or Drunks with Guns, or any other believably dead-headed punk fallout. When the vocalist’s mumblemouth, nice-Michael-Gerald vibe wears thin, the band shifts out into some loud, throttling basement screams, singer following in kind with some very decent lungbust. Ugly like Clockcleaner, Pissed Jeans, and the bands of their likeness, and lumbers on longer than either. A definitive statement, to be sure. The Work/Death side captures a live performance entitled “The Fragile Ego of Any Half Successful Comedian,” beating down a once-talkative audience with violin drone and what sounds like electronically processed bass vocals, becoming more intense when someone turns on an air conditioner and the whole place goes bananas. It’s the slow, straight, cleansing punishment that cheapo, generator-forged power electronics can, and only can, deliver. With its evenly spaced attack, the content is at times leavening, balancing out its harsh, high-end portions with timing and a semblance of grace. 300 copies, like I say, with six variations of silkscreened sleeves on 50 apiece. Mine’s the fake Man is the Bastard cover.

SOTM (Need New Body) - s/t 7” EP
(no label)

OK, what the fuck is this. Single came into Dusted HQ, no info whatsoever – blank labels, poster sleeve, no label or contact whatsoever – just a busy, full-color mess of NYC locations and other jumbled weirdness into a sprawling layout. The word “SOTM” appears on top (not an easy or workplace-advisable Google search, I’ll have you know), and beneath it is a picture of a Need New Body t-shirt. Is this them? It doesn’t sound like them. What it does sound like is five postulate tracks of crud-fi keys, guitar, and drum machine, shooting below shoegaze and above Imp Records-quality 4-track fabrication. No song titles, though the last one on the B-side resonates with guitar/psych/loner tendencies fancied in the record-scum hive. (no contact info)

Strangulated Beatoffs - “Jacking Off With Jacko” b/w “Beat It” 7”

Stan Seitrich at it again, delivering two truly munted tributes to Michael Jackson, perhaps years after anyone might care. “Jacking Off With Jacko” is rough vocal samples stretched over careening tape loops of sax and brass swells, discussing the pleasures of helping out the King of Pop at his private amusement park. On the flip, a distorted, busted-up cover of “Beat It.” Someone must have thought this to be hilarious at inception. Guess what? Edition of 300 copies, undoubtedly still very much available.

Strategy - “World House” b/w “I Have to Do This Thing” 12”
(Community Library)

Buoyant, Balearic, and altogether boring house offerings from Strategy here, clanging guitars all up in disco-punk’s grill but the rest of the tracks gyrating awkwardly in a club for men. Can’t tell you much more. 1000 copies.

Strotter Inst. - Ann 7” EP
(Implied Sound)

From turntable manipulators come suitably manipulated records for turntabling (or not, if you’ve seen that Christian Marclay Record w/o a Cover, and you actually care about your turntable and stylus). Swiss sound artist Christoph Hess explores four unnamed built-up loops here, which run from the edges of the grooves into a locked middle, from both sides. Engaging stuff, in league with Philip Jeck and his ilk, with somewhat dramatic passages eventually brought to very pregnant pauses in the middles.

Tall Birds - “Internalize” b/w “The Sky Is Falling” 7”
(Sub Pop)

Hey hey, it’s the Catheters with a new bass player, and a more relaxed and accessible sound, all big-city snarl facing up spirited bar-bands that end up in compromise. “Internalize” is a two-note walking anthem that’s kind of facelessly rousing for its first half, with a don’t-get-your-hopes-up bridge that speeds things up by half. I’m more partial to the sleepy Seeds-style apocalypse fantasy of “The Sky is Falling,” a more directioned approach that skirts around the possibility that exists to nice up the dance, and instead chooses to brood. Decent enough, maybe wanna hear some more some day when they can produce something more figured-out.

Terminals - Takin' Care of Brooks 7” EP


Gleefully unaware of the New Zealand band the Terminals, comes these kids, riding down that dead end street of moody garage punk that in ways isn’t too far off from the band to whom this name rightfully belongs. Mods covers “Ritual” kicks this off right down Dead Man’s Curve, and it’s the most measured thing here. The two originals on the flip trade in speed (“Alley House”) and reverb (“Coons”), but neither match the destructive streak in the A-side. Decent garage action, if a bit basic, and bothersome that they didn’t check to see if anyone had used said name before. Gray marbled vinyl.

Tiger Lou - “Until I'm There” b/w “Days Will Pass”
(It's a Trap!)

Feels like a vault from 1985 has been opened, and the stink of 20-year-old spilled cologne wafts out and stings the eyes. For in this crypt, this major-licensed single by Tiger Lou could have very well existed, in between the manufactured white-lines mystery of Corey Hart and the compromising turn the C.S. Angels (nee Comsats) had to take to truly bottom out. That familiar ringing guitar bullshit on “Days Will Pass” signifies what was feared from the outset: here’s another Interpol knockoff looking for their share of the dark gray pie. Let ‘em have it, just leave me the fuck alone. Edition of 400, 100 on color, all numbered, but what’s the point? Two songs from a full-length. Gimme back my bullets, honcho.

Touane - Spree Baptism 12” EP

And hey, Touane’s back on Persona. “Spree Baptism” and “Fahrrad Control” ride bikes all through Berlin, a speck under the gigantic techno overhangs and passageways artificially constructed in that burg, virtually undetected and with a persistent yet recognizable distance from the outcroppings themselves. When “Fahrrad” finally clicks into third gear, however, the effect is palpable, and the floor lights up in a question that answers itself. Over on side two, we’re hearing music-from-across-the-street type vibes off of “Ikea Dog Parking,” the slightest track here, and then the winner, the shifting, thick, abstract twitter-groove of “Drops.” Kind of a step back in action from the last 12” I heard from Touane, but nevertheless a challenging and cerebral minimal techno builder, in particular “Drops.” Sign me up for that kind of action.

Tyvek - “Mary Ellen Claims” b/w “Honda” 7”
(X! Records)

Lots of bands have been aiming for that original Rough Trade label sound, the sound of discontent in 1978, and they’ve been missing by miles. Tyvek are from Detroit, circa now, and fucking nail it, from the grotty production value to the traditionally rock ‘n’ roll construction of its songs, its ability create an anthem where one desperately needs to exist. “Mary Ellen Claims” combines the best of the TVPs at their angriest (say, “King and Country”) and elements of the Swell Maps or even the Electric Eels in terms of relentless approach. “Honda” flips off the American car industry from its dead homebase – Michigan, where these guys are from. Closest thing I’ve heard to the righteous revivalism of just-post-punk, especially from America, to date. Sounds like What’s Your Rupture? could (and should) have put this out. Biting and harsh, shaking itself nearly to pieces by the end. Single of the month, perhaps. Can’t be many of these left, so get yours soon.

Velveeta Heartbreak - “I Shot the Invisible Man” + 2 7” EP
(Semper LoFi)

I ask you … blog rock? I tell you … yeah, sure, it’s fine. But in all seriousness, blog rock? Seems so just Google this guy, see what he had for lunch or whathaveyou. Musically this is notches above what I expected. “I Shot the Invisible Man” is a pretty glorious little brace of power-pop, all angelic boy vocals and piano pound surrounding a catchy, substantial riff. Belongs on a Powerpearls somewhere down the line, I’d say. The small, insignificant instrumental that rounds out side 1 (and the extremely noisy pressing) be damned, but the work on “Secret Beach Boys Pt. 2” over on side B indicates this one-man band’s possible ascent into orch-pop notables given time, experience and above all, studio resources (because not everybody can be Saturday Looks Good To Me). A noble, if slightly flawed, first effort, with a really strong start. Edition of 1000.

Vollmar/Microwave Background - split 7”
(Third Uncle)

Microwave Background approaches loner hometaper status with a quiet dignity, like My Dad Is Dead trying to learn the Hood catalog, and getting stuck on page Magnetic Fields. Because this whole thing sounds so abjectly cookie-cutter in that it could be described as such, I don’t quite know of its general appeal, as it’s fairly anonymous sounding and annoyingly nasal. Vollmar has written stronger songs, but somehow fared even worse on this recording, suffering dropouts and windshear almost to a fault. Echo sirens rise up a bit against the gentle, quiet songwriting and timid performance. Sadness and regret from Indiana, cooked up on gold vinyl. Vollmar’s side will stay with you. 500 lonely copies pressed.

Zulu & DJ C - “Animal Attraction” b/w “Version” 7”
(Community Library)

US-label grime! Hoodie hoo! Nintendo hits punching straight through a tightly-stitched, ruff riddim, with tuff delivery by Zulu crosscut with his singing abilities, sounding rough and sincere like Dervin from the Equals. A poppy, soulful vibe underscores and contains the sonic violence one might expect. The dub on the flip side jams hard as well, building rhythms in the space between beats and withstanding attacks from large 8-bit monsters that project bass as weaponry. Good times, good times. Edition of 400 copies.

Various Artists - Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats Vol. 2 12” EP
(Essay Recordings)

Diplo walks this earth, and the Rub is killin’ it somewhere every month, so you can be certain that the baile funk storm that opened up last year isn’t going to be leaving anytime soon. Perhaps some dinero has trickled down to the participants, though, because the production and sound quality on these four tracks are a significant improvement from Essay’s offerings of last year. Which is funny, because two of these tracks were last year’s offerings, the O Carrascos and Jack E Chocolate selections coming from the original Rio Baile Funk comp. On the flip we have two forthcoming offerings from Senor Coconut’s CoconutFM mix, culled from his extended stay in South America. “Pega Pega” by Vanessinha is the hot one of the two, holding down those victory horns and jarring, syncopated beats for a whole continent. Sadly, Malha Funk’s “Nova Danca” has all the rhythmic prowess and charm of a car alarm at 4 A.M.

By Doug Mosurock

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