Sunday, April 28, 2013

R.I.P. SOCIETY RELEASES

BED WETTIN' BOYS - READY FOR BOREDOM LP (R.I.P. Society)
Fortunately the title doesn't reflect the record's quality. To the contrary, Bed Wettin' Boys' (what a great name for a band!) debut full lenght is anything but boring. It's just as amazing as their previous two 7" releases. Bed Wettin' Boys play guitar-driven tunes with a undercurrent of  partly poppy melodies. The vocals are supportive and melodic for most of the time. They remain a certain kind of roughness and a tendency to sound a bit out or wrong in the most positive way. Apart from the vocals and guitar work everything else is more or less stripped down and this is one of the major secrets of Bed Wettin' Boys' songwriting. "Ready For Boredom" shows hints of 80s and early 90s indiepunk bands like Mega City Four, Hüsker Dü (without their effect loaded guitar sound) and mid-era The Replacements. Scott & Charlene's Wedding are another more current reference, but at same time they take influences from the Aussie rock'n'roll tradition including The Saints, AC/DC as well as Citadel bands from the mid 80s. Sounds great, doesn't it? And yes I really can't recommend this album highy enough! (Listen to it here)

 
HOUSEWIVES - S/T 7" (R.I.P. Society)
Houswives are another new fantastic band from Australia. They crank out four tracks of noisy punkrock. The lo-fi prodiction is super rough and that's just the perfect addition to Housewives damaged and weird style. Their songs sound furious, they're heavy blasting and filled with plenty of squeaking guitar solos. There becomes a protohardcore vibe obvious, that's simular to Keith Morris-era Black Flag. But Housewives push that kind of music forward to a more extreme level. Their numbers are more focused on punkrock than on hardcore, made with a certain kind of catchiness, which sharply distinguishs them from beeing some kind of "mysterious guy" like noisy hardcore. "Special Power" is probably the best track with it's brilliant hand clap beat. Housewives are comparable with the genius of The Homstupids - one of my favourite current bands, so this really top notch stuff! (Listen to it here
 
RAW PRAWN - S/T 7" (R.I.P. Society)
I'm totally into the frontcover's cheesy sense of humour. Even if I hate dogs. Probably it's because most of them don't wear sunglasses!? Anyway, Raw Prawn are a new Sydney based band featuring members of Holy Balm and Whores and this three track single is their very promising debut release. They play post-punk, but not in a quiet, dark or dissonant way. Instead of that they push the punk vibe in the forefront and keep it straight and furious blasting. If they had showed up 30 years earlier in the UK, they would have been a great addition to a Messthetics compilation. It seems like both Swell Maps and X (the Australian ones) have been major influences for Raw Prawn's style. Of course their fellow countrymen U.V. Race are another obvious reference, but it's definitely indepent and unique enough to be more than just a band that sounds like U.V. Race. This is their very own brand of postpunk and every single track on this single is absolutely outstanding! (Listen to it here

WOOLLEN KITS - FOUR GIRLS LP (R.I.P. Society / Trouble In Mind)
Many current bands are into 60s influenced music, but Woollen Kits are definitely an exception among them: No fuzzed out guitars, no psych, no folk. Instead of that they play songs with minimal musical arrangements. This reduction works like a focusing on the most important substance of their songs. Equipped with an arsenal of a clean and polished guitar sound, driving bass lines and simple drum beats Woollen Kits write gorgeous tunes with inconspicious melodies floating through. Members Tom and Tom are responsible for the vocals. They vary between a more supportive and melodic style and a deeper voice with a drained attitude. "Susannah" with it's brilliant horn interplay, "Cheryl" and the opening track "Back To You" are just astonishing great tracks. Velvet Underground have been an major influence for Woollen Kits brand of rock'n'roll. There are also simularities to the Christchurch sound of the early 80s, that used Velvet Underground as the main influence for their very own kind of punkrock. I've already been digging Woollen Kits' previous releases, but "Four Girls" is definitely their best effort so far. (Listen to it here)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FOUR NEW 7INCHES

AUSMUTEANTS - AH... WHAT AN UGLY FACE EVERY FACE IS 7" (Heinous Anus)
The small town Geelong (close to Melbourne) is the home of some totaly amazing new down under punk acts. I've already recommended The Living Eyes, but Ausmuteants are not any worse, even if their music is rooted in a different century: So don't expect any sixties garage influences here: this single is a excellent Devo worship. Ausmuteants nail down four tracks of fast keyboard driven punkrock with a sense for great melodies. Especially the two tracks on the a-side sound like a complete homage to late 70s and early 80s pioneers like The Screamers, The Units and Devo. The flipside starts with "Red-Bellied Black Snake", which is a lot more comparable to Jay Reatard and Lost Sounds. It's followed by "Bloody Rip-Off", a slower 70s punk number, that remains the keyboard influence more in the background. Limited to 300 copies only. (Listen to it here)

HEAVY TIMES - I'M SINGLE 7" (HoZac) 
Heavy Times have become one of my favourite acts within the HoZac label roster. I've been digging their "Jacker" 12" back from 2011 very hard and this brandnew three track 7" is just equally amazing. It starts with "Unsolved" - a true winner track. A energetic one and a half minute punkrock blast based on a super catchy and fuzzy guitar melody, that will stuck in your head after the first few spins. The vocals tend to be a little Ramones influenced, but during the forthcoming two tracks they turn into a blank spoken style. "Mysteries" and "Bath Salts" are way more poppier while remaining a good dose of their typical punk rock fury. Heavy Times succeed to play classic punkrock without sounding like a copy of a certain style or band. This is something, that distinguishs them from most other current punk bands. I love the drawing on the frontcover and I'm deeply terrified by the guy on the backcover. (Listen to it here)
OBNOX - A RAGIN' IN THE SUN 7" (Anyway)
No new month without a new Obnox release, but that's perfect: I really can't get enough of Bim Thomas' solo works. The a-side, which is named "pro side", begins with "Rock'n'Roll Babylon" a frantic, raw and noisy tune in the tradition of Pere Ubu style Cleveland protopunk. It's filled with catchy vocals lines and fuzzed out guitar solos. "Ciara" is a more MC5-like poppy high energy rock'n'roll number. The flipside is called "black side" and "The President Smokes" picks up where Bim Thomas left off with his brilliant "Smoke Woody Haze" 12": A superb mix of hip hop and his noisy garage punk. Totally unique and totally amazing. This four track single ends with the titletrack "A Ragin' In The Sun". It's based on a simple and classic late 70s punk riff and it's again filled with plenty of catchy vocal melodies. Obnox fuckin' rule just like this 7" fuckin' rules! (Listen to it here)

PROTOMARTYR - COLPI PROIBITI 7" (X!)
I've finally got a copy of Protomartyrs third release in 2012 and no suprise: it's another true winner record. "Baseball Bat" is by far their straightest and fastest songs. A wild punkrock blast. They slow things down with "You're with a creep", which is a lot more focused on poppy melodies.  "The Milk Drinkers" is the most memorable track. It compresses everything, that's so great about Protomartyr's highly unique style in one and a half minutes. The final track "Psychic Doorbell" leads to a more gloomy musical style, taking influences from early 80s dark British postpunk. Protomartyr's music is not really something completely new, but it tends to be a lot more interesting and various than everything else they are comparable with. The amazing guitar work and the highly distinctive more spoken than sung vocals are definitely two main reasons why this Detroit based band has become one of my current favourites. This 7" is nothing but a must have! (Listen to it here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Interview with WATERY LOVE

Watery Love from Philadelphia play their very own unique style of negative punkrock. They've released three brilliant 7"s for Siltbreeze, Negative Guestlist and Richie. Max was so kind to answer my questions. 

First of all, would you like to introduce your band? How long have you been playing and why did you start Watery Love?
Watery Love is Richie Charles singing and playing guitar, Max Milgram on guitar, Ben Leaphart on drums, and Dan Dimaggio on bass. Ben is a new member, but an old friend, who recently joined when Meg Baird moved across the country. WL started when 3 drinking buddies had free time and easy access to a room with loud guitars and a drumset. For some reason we stuck with it and have blossomed from 3 incompetent nitwits to 4 well-seasoned pros.

Your “Die With Dignity” 7” came out on Siltbreeze. Is it something special to be part of the Siltbreeze history together with bands like Dead C, Harry Pussy, Halo of Flies or Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments? 

Of course. Siltbreeze is one of the most important American underground labels ever. I'd even put them on par with ESP or something, so many different weird styles represented that no one else would have thought to connect. TJ's a friend and co-worker, has turned us onto so many wild records and cooking techniques. 

How did you get in contact with Negative Guestlist? Brisbane, Australia isn’t really close to Philadelphia.
Yeah, but everything's connected in our modern day internet culture. Brendon was a tireless and voracious music freak. I think he probably met Richie when he was in Australia but I'm sure there would have been some kind of correspondence no matter what. Just people being into roughly the same kinds of sounds and attitudes, smart negative punk vibes but not restricted soley to punk music.

Which current bands from Philadelphia are worth to check out? Please give us a short report of your local scene!
Birds of Maya (Ben is their drummer) are always the kings of the crop, the most organic blues/psych jamming around. They have a couple spin-offs, the best being Hoagie Jungle. Chris Forsyth is a solo guitar player, I guess I'd vaguely say he plays a loner, ultra-minimal strain of classic rock.  He has a band sometimes too, and they're excellent, lotsa scalling peaks in a Popol Vuh/Television kinda way. Strapping Fieldhands are still around, but rarely play, hopefully that'll change.  And the Bardo Pond people are always playing in interesting projects. The one I'm most excited about is a "desert blues" thing with local guru Harmonica Dan, really open and dusty sounding.

Correct me, if I’m wrong: You play most of your shows in your hometown. Have you ever been touring? Would it be possible for you, to tour Europe or the USA? Do you have any plans for tours?

We spent a weekend in the midwest that was fun but that's about it.  If someone wanted to pay for plane tickets for a festival we'd do it but other than that I don't think any of us have the means of taking off work for extended periods or even any desire to be in each other's company for the duration of time that would require. We just don't care about that aspect of being in a band. 

Your “Die With Dignity” 7” was limited to 330 copies only and I’m still searching for a copy of your debut 7”. Have you ever thought about repressing those 7”s? What’s your opinion about limited editions? Isn’t it more useful to release records in a higher quantity to keep them available?
That's not strictly true- I believe TJ did press up a bunch more so it's probably closer to 500 copies. 7"s are really expensive to make these days, and I'm not the one who has to pay for them. You don't make money selling them so there's no financial reason to have a bunch just sitting around for years. I think the pressing size is realistic, like there really aren't great quantities of people who want them and can't get them. We have toyed around with the idea of doing a 12" with all the singles compiled. So maybe that'll happen.

I’m wondering, if people from other countries are listening to bands from Germany. So what is your favorite German music?
I can't speak for the globe, but yeah, there's been decades of mind-blowing sounds coming out of Germany.  From all the krautrock to that whole 39 Clocks axis.  I don't really know about anything current, if that's what you're getting at, but the most "recent" (and this is still a good 8 years old at this point) band I liked was T.A.S.K., who are an offshoot of Floating Di Morel.  I can't pick a favorite German record, man. Too many great ones.

What are you future plans? Any upcoming releases?
We have a single coming out, 2 covers of NYC punk/hardcore chestnuts.  And then our full-length, "Decorative Feeding". Both these on In the Red with the "classic" Richie/Max/Meg/Dan lineup.  We've been holed up in the basement playing more than ever so hopefully some new stupid songs will trickle out eventually.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 NEW FASHIONABLE IDIOTS 7"s

AVON LADIES - S/T 7" (Fashionable Idiots)
Not matter which Fashionable Idiots release you puchase, I bet you won't be dissapointed. Avon Ladies second 7" is yet another great example. They are fronted by Chris Erba, who's well known from several Cleveland hardcore bands like H-100s, Ruiners and Upstab. He has formed Avon Ladies after moving to Arizona. Their first 7" came out on Katorga Works. They've disbanded before this second 7" saw the light of day. Avon Ladies merge origin hardcore rooted in the sound of classic midwest bands  from the early 80s with a more contemporary style. Both sides of this 7" feature one fast hardcore blast and a slower, gloomy track with a slight "mysterios guy" vibe. The fast songs are comparable with other 80s inspired US hardcore bands like Double Negative, Nomos, The Repos or Chronic Seizure. An excellent hardcore 7"! (Listen to it here

GRABBIES - SHUT UP & LEARN LIVE 7" (Fashionable Idiots)
This is some real stupid music. The Grabbies were a short-lived San Francisco based band formed by a bunch of Italian immigrants, Their vocalist says: "Fuck you I learned English from listening to punk rock records". This might be the reason why his vocabulary is pretty much focused on the words fuck you, fuck and fuckin'. This 7" features live recordings including messages like "I wanna be blind. because I don't want to to see your fucking shitty face". The recording quality is raw and lo-fi. You almost can't hear any drums and it's focused on loud crushing guitars. So it's not easy to describe The Grabbies music. It's primitive and fast, but it's more on the punk side. Like KBD punk on speed with a Stooges feel. It reminds me of early Dwarves recordings, at least that's my impression, but it's just too lo-fi. Don't get me wrong: This 7" is great the way it is and I'm totally into The Grabbies full retarded approach. So if you dig primtive music driven by stupidity and hate, you'll also bee digging this record. (Listen to it here)

WILD CHILD  - DEMO 7" (Fashionable Idiots) 
Another demo has been released on a 7" - no uncommon news in the current world of hardcore, but this demo is really one of the best I've heart during the last couple of years. Like so many other bands Wild Child from Minneapolis play 80s influenced hardcore, but it's done with a much more unique sound, which sets them appart from an average hardcore sound. It's not easy to put Wild Child in any categories. Their music is fresh and chaotic with a undercurrent of melodies. It maintains a early L.A. punk vibe even it's more on the hardcore side. The vocals are really outstanding. They are snotty in the vein of Darby Crash even if they are too various to sound like a complete reproduction. Wild Child have released another regular first 7" on Deranged, which should be great too. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

GOOD FOR YOU LP

 
GOOD FOR YOU - LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO NOT HOLD A GRUDGE LP (SST)
How would a new Black Flag record sound like in 2013? This LP probably gives you an answer to this questions. Good For You features Greg Ginn on guitar and in contrast to his former releases with The Texas Corrugators this full lenght is heavily influenced by classic punk and hardcore. "Life is too short to to hold a grudge" takes up were Black Flag's latest records left off and pushes this sound forward with the help of many more variations. Greg Ginn's guitar work ranges from typical Black Flag riffs to a more complex sound, rooted in progressive, psychedelic and classic rock as well as free-jazz. So there's a strong experimental element, but at the same time they keep it straight and it's definitely more on the punk side. Especially the vocals by skate icon Mike Vallely are responsible for an aggressive and ugly sound. He's definitely trying to immitate Henry Rollins vocal style and he's doing great job. "Stupid me" is one of the straightest songs It's probably the best track and it sounds like it could have been on the a-side of Black Flag's "My War" LP. This record is yet another oustanding chapter in Greg Ginn's musical work. It sounds fresher and tighter than most other current punk bands and I bet this LP is more interesting than his reunion shows with Black Flag. (Listen to it here)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

RETROSPECTIVE LP COMPILATIONS

VA - MINIMAL WAVE TAPES VOLUME 2 DLP (Stones Throw)
There's a current boom of reissues covering electronic music from the 80s. Most of them are pretty average, but this double LP compilation is totally amazing. It features music by fourteen hardly unknown artists, that released their music on limted tapes and vinyl releases. None of them was famous back then and only a handful of people took notice of their music. The editors of this compilation did a great job finding tracks by obscure bands from countries all over the world, which are the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Greece, USA, Canada and Belgium. Plus they've added pictures of all artist, all well as short informations. The first volume of this compilation series was already great, but this one is even better, because there's really not a single boring track. The music ranges between different 80s subgenres of electronic music. So if you dig minimal wave, trance, synth-pop and electro-punk you'll be digging this double LP. Felix Kubin's electronic version of the German punk classic "Japan Japan" (originally by Abwärts) is one of the standout tracks As well as Ohama. His song starts with the words: "My name is Ohama and I live on a potato farm in Western Canada". In Trance 95, Das Ding, Subject and Antonym are amazing too, just like this whole compilation. (Listen to it here)

VA - KETTERS VAN HET VLAAMSE PLATTELAND LP (Mauerstadtmusik)
Another brilliant release by the Berlin based Mauerstadtmusik label, which is focused on reissues of postpunk and electronic music from the early 80s. "Ketters van het Vlaamse Platteland" is a compilation that documents the punk scene of the smalltown (or big village with it's 10000 inhabiants) Hamont in the North of Belgium close to Eindhoven. In the late 70s and early 80s Hamont has been a cradle for a booming cold wave and postpunk scene. The center of the scene has been the "De Kwiet" bar next to Hamont's church. Most people in the small conservative town perceived punk as a serious threat for public morals and order. The result were house searches, raids and the shutdown of the "De Kwiet" bar. It's just amazing how many band full of creativity and energy Hamont produced between 1979 and 1983. The most famous amnong them are probably De Brassers, but Enterprise Incorporated, Struggler, Suspects and Camera Obscura are also worth to check out. In contrast to most other Belgian bands back then, the scene in Hamont was heavily incluenced by dark post-punk from the UK. So don't expect any The Kids like punkrock here. The LP features multiple tracks by each band taken from different sources like demo tapes, rehearsal recordings, live recordings and 7" releases. Some of the tracks have been unreleased so far. Plus the LP comes with pictures and detailed informations about the early punk scene in Hamont. (Listen to it here)

VA - KILLED BY SYNTHS VOLUME 1 LP (Rave Up)
I don't like the concept of most Rave Up Records release: A usual Rave Up LP contains of 2-4 songs from a band's classic 7" plus tons of shitty demo and live recordings to make it a full lenght. This compilation is a lot more intersting. It follows the Killed By Death concept of the "all American" volumes, but it's focused on 14 bands using synthesizers. No foreign junk, only American punk, taken form hard to find records released between 1977 and 1986. Informations about the bands and their releases are missing, which would have been interesting, but the music is great and there's not a single filler tracks. The musical styles range from Devo like synth-punk to classic punkrock and a more nervous and noisy sound. Bob, Big Boys and Screamers were the only three bands I've known before. Rave Up made some strange mistakes: on the cover they say: "16 nervous Synth punk tracks from the earliest days" even if there are only 14 tracks included and the tracklist on the backcover is wrong. The songs of Active Ingredients and BPA are misprinted. Instead of that you get songs by Big Boys and Nervous Gender. But the following not mentioned bands are really part of the compilation: Shox Lumania, Last Four Digits, Red Asphalt, A-Mos, Asbestos Rock Pyle, Oil Tasters, F-Systems, The Girls, Anti-Matter and Cardboards. This is the style of music modern bands like Lost Sounds, Jay Reatard, The Spits or Blank Dogs took their influences from. (Listen to it here)

VA - STRANGE PASSION LP (Finders Keepers)
The subtitle does a good job summing up the concept of this compilatation: "Explorations in Irish Post Punk DIY and Electronic Music 1980-83". Of course there have been tons of punk and postpunk bands in the whole UK including Northern Ireland, but I until now I thought Ireland as been a black hole in the history of punk. I haven't known a single Irish punk-related band before I picked up this LP. Thanks to this compilation I have now learned, that punk also found it's way to Ireland. Back in the early 80s there have been perfect conditions for punk and teenage hate: social conservatism, a desperate economic situation and religious hegenomy. This compilation features 14 tracks of different 13 artist, varying between different undergorund subgenres of the 80s, which are post-punk, cold-wave, minimal-wave, synth-pop, indie and shoegaze. Most have them have a dark, gloomy sound influenced by Joy Divsion, Bauhaus or Killing Joke. My personal favourites are The Threat, Dogmatic Element, Chant! Chant! Chant!, PH, Tripper Humane, Choice as well The Peridots contributing "No Water", probably the best track of this LP. The compilation features detailed information to all artists and their discographies and it's just a very well done document of the Irish underground scene during the early 80s. Highly Recommended! (Listen to it here)

V/A - WE GOT POWER: PARTY OR GO HOME LP (Mystic)
Mystic Records released countless of amazing compilation LPs during the 80s, but this is probably the most classic among them. Originally released in 1983 "We Got Power: Party Or Go Home" documents the Northern American hardcore boom on it's peak level. It must have been a lot of work and a big effort to bring 40 bands together for one compilation. The result is one of the best hardcore compilations ever. It never ceases to amaze me how many great hardcore bands existed during the early 80s in the USA and Canada. This compilation features the "big names", but in addition to that you also get tracks of bands, that are less famous. So this LP is also a great opportunity to discover bands, you probably haven't known before. "I hate cops" by The Authorities is one of the standout tracks, but it really doesn't make sense to point out more certain bands and songs, because the whole LP is nothing but a masterpiece. Just have a look on the following list of bands and you'll know what I mean: JFA. Dr. Know, White Flag, Stalag 13, Ill Repute, Big Boys, Adrenalin O.D., Willfull Neglect, Minute Men, 7 Seconds, Dayglo Abortions, Red Cross, White Cross and tons of more classic hardcore. (Listen to it here)