Saturday, June 29, 2013

THE MEN - NEW MOON LP

THE MEN - NEW MOON LP (Sacred Bones)
You never know what to expect from their newest record. The Men from Brooklyn, New York are a band stuck in a steady musical progress. They slough their skin with every record to create something fresh and new. During the past four years they've left behind influences ranging from post-hardcore to shoegaze, drone, noise and 60s psychedelia. On "New Moon" they are focused on writinging straight, but varied songs with a preference for fantastic harmonies. On the surface "New Moon" begs to be defined by 1980s indie rock of Dinosaur Jr., Hüsker Dü and SST, while the old fashioned but totally powerful and intense production shows simularities to late 70s punk records. At the same time the songs are deeply rooted in classic 70s rock. Neil Young & Crazy Horse have obviously been an major influence. But even if all those influences are apperent here, The Men succed to give their songs their very own unique style. "New Moon" sounds like a record made by open minded musicians aiming to redifine themself with every new song they write. It's filled with plenty of stand out tracks characterized by their warm sound, their brilliant vocal harmonies and their well thought out songwriting. I've been digging all previous The Men releases, but this album is probably their best so far. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PORTLAND MUTANT PARTY 7"s

VA - PORTLAND MUTANT PARTY VOLUME 1 7" (Jonny Cat) 
In addition to "PDX" on Blackwater "Portland Mutant Party" is the second current 7" compilation series covering only bands from Portland. While "PDX" is more focused on hardcore, wave and dark punkrock "Portland Mutant Party" features Portland's hottest punkrock, poppunk and surf groups. Each volume is hardly limted, so be fast, because all three 7"s are totally worth it. The first part offers one track by Mean Jeans, Chemicals, Leaders and Therapists serving some of the todays's best poppunk. Each of them should be well known from their previous releases on labels like Dirtnap, Taken By Surprise, Bat Shit, Jonny Cat and others. Mean Jeans are easily the best Ramones influenced band ever. Chemicals play keyboard driven poppunk. Leaders' punkrock sounds both snotty and catchy as hell. Therapists' play blasting punkrock with an early 80's L.A. feel, that's just as great as their full lenght. It's really not possible to point out a certain song, because this 7" as a whole is nothing but a true winner record and if you dig poppunk with a sense of humour, you'll probably also be digging all bands of this well done 7" compilation. (Listen to it here) 

VA - PORTLAND MUTANT PARTY VOLUME 2 7" (Jonny Cat)
Portland has produced countless of amazing punk groups during the past 35 years. Bands like The Wipers, The Exploding Hearts, Tragedy, Poison Idea, Dead Moon or The Neo Boys cover a wide range of different punk sub-genres. The only thing all Portland bands have in common is their variety and this 7" is yet another great example. Defect Defect merge late 70s US west coast punk with dark punkrock simular to The Observers. Youthbitch crank out one immediate catchy punk popper. Red Dons are probably the most well known band on this 7".  They play some of today's best Wipers inspired punkrock. The flipside starts with a raw blasting surf-punk cut by Guantanamo Baywatch. They combine 50s Dick Dale riffs with the way Agent Orange's surf tunes sound like. Fuckin amazing. The final track is made by Welcome Home Walker, who play 60s inspired punkrock not unlike early TY Segall recordings. (Listen to it here
 
VA - PORTLAND MUTANT PARTY VOLUME 3 7" (Jonny Cat)
Here we go with the third and (so far) last volume of the "Portland Mutant Party" compilation series. Thee Cormans are exeptionally not emerging from the Portland punk scene. They nail down one insane and rough surf-punk instrumental. Cyclops don't take things too serious and crank out one of their cheesy, but great poppunk gems with lyrics about leaving a boring party. Denizenz are a band I haven't known before. They play a moody style of Dangerhouse influenced punkrock. Last but not least P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S. contribute one track of their awesome 70s rock driven hardcorepunk. They throw in influences ranging from Poison Idea to The Hellacopters, Zeke, MC5, Discharge and Motörhead to create their own snotty and unique style. All four bands rule, just like this whole compilations series fuckin' rules! (Listen to it here)

Friday, June 21, 2013

LIVIDS 7"s

 
LIVIDS - MIDNIGHT STAINS 7" (Goodbye Boozy)
Livids are a new punk group from Brooklyn featuring fromer New Bomb Turks member Eric Davidson on vocals. Their first four releases are a series of 7"s, that all came out during the last couple of months on four different labels. All songs together would have been enough material for a first full lenght, but of course this kind of music works the best on 7" format. Eric Davidson's highly distinctive vocals are the reason why the New Bomb Turks are an obvious reference, but Livids' music is definitely self-reliant enough to be more than just a imitation. Their songs are deeply rooted in US punkrock of the late 70s. They take the best parts of The Pagans, Dead Boys, The Ramones, The Misfits, The Stooges and The Dictators to create their own unique blasts of straight punkrock with a primitive approach, that's comparable with Rip Off releases. The Italian Goodbye Bozzy label is well known for releasing singles by only the best punk and garage groups. This 7" is on one level with the label's whole fantastic discography. It's strictly limited, comes with three different cover artworks and it's one sided with one track only. It can be argued, that one track is too short, but I rather listen to one brilliant of track instead of a bunch decent ones. It's totally worth it anyway. (Listen to it here)

LIVIDS - SHE LIKES ZITS 7" (Twistworthy)
Here we go with the next Livids single released on Twistworthy records from Austin, Texas. Livids crank of three more tracks of pure classic punkrock based on sharp riffs, short but brilliant guitar leads, an undercurrent of melodies, straight pounding drum beats and their highly distinctive vocals. The titletrack "She likes Zits" is also the most memorbale one. An unfussy immidiate punk tune with great sing alongs and a kind of catchiness, that's comprable with early Misfits singles. The first riffs of "Spoof Attack" sounds like it's stolen from a Ramones record, but then it turns out to be a more varied one minute punk blast. "Savage Eyes" is a cover version of Belgian protopunk pioneers Rollerball from their one and only 7", that was orginally released back in 1977. Even if the Livids' cover is really well done, the original version is even better. In case you're interested: Sing Sing reissued Rollerball's 7" in 2010, so it might still be available for a fair price. (Listen to it here)
 
LIVIDS - (SOME OF US) HAVE ADRENALIZED HEARTS 7" (Oops Baby)
If you care about name droppings, Livids not only include Eric Davidson from the New Bomb Turks, but also a bunch of more guys, who are well known from other bands like Jami Wolf (Zodiac Killers, Shop Fronts), Daniel Kelly (Dead Ringers, Paper Bags, Complaints) and Creg Collins (Radio 4). Joi Lacour on bass is the only one non ex-member (at least I don't know her previous bands). Of course beeing a allstar doesn't necessarily mean, that the music is great, but in case of Livids the music is at least as great as their previous bands, but at the same time it speaks for itself. This 7" offers four frantic punk assaults. The titletrack is a midtempo protopunk gem with hints of The Stooges and MC5. Primal rock'n'roll driven by fantastic 70s rock guitar solos and Eric Davidsons vocals. "Nerve Wrecked" is equipped with the speed of hardcore and the elementariness of three chord punkrock. This track totally sounds like something that could have been released on Rip Off in the mid 90s. The b-side includes two more track. "Ms. Bluff" is a mid-paced 70s punk influenced popper, while "Theme From Livids" is another fast no frills one minute smasher. Timmy Vulgar (Human Eye, Timmy's Organism) is responsible for the nice artwork. Released in a edition of 500 copies. (Listen to it here)

LIVIDS - YOUR HOUSE OR THE COURTHOUSE 7" (Slovenly) 
Last but not least Slovenly released this three track 7". First of all the monster artwork looks fantastic and the music is not one bit worse. The titletrack "Your House Or The Courthouse" is probably the best Livids track so far. A fast garage punk tune, that combines Rip Off style three chord punk with New Bomb Turks "Destroy-Oh-Boy" era pure rock'n'roll. Particular worthy of mention is the brilliant guitar work ranging between short leads and driving riffs. "Zilch" is a simple high-speed punk number with parallels to the sound of the Zodiac Killers. The flipside is cover song of the titletrack from Iggy Pop's "New Values" full lenght originally released in 1979. Livids tie up the quality of the orginal, while merging it with their own unqiue style. So if you have a preference for classic punkrock, you really can't go wrong with this excellent 7". (Listen to it here)

Friday, June 14, 2013

POISON IDEA + TSOL 7"s

POISON IDEA - FILTHKICK 7" (TKO)
First of all Poison Idea are one of the few bands, that's allowed to use band pictures for their front cover. It's simpley not possible to supect this bunch of weirdos a desire for a rockstar like self-portrayal. There has been a wave of Poison Idea reissues and bootlegs during the last couple of years. Not all of them are essential, but this EP is definitely one of Poison Idea's very best releases. At least if you share the opinion, that "Feel The Darkness" is the peak point of Poison Idea's discography. "Filthkick" takes the classic 80s hardcore vibe of "Kings Of Punk" and "Pick Your King" to merge it with a heavy dose of 70s hard-rock and metal. This EP paved the way for their two years later released "Feel The Darkness" masterpiece. Blown out guitar riffage and heavy solo penetrations are paired with pounding drums, driving bass lines and Jerry A.'s own punk as fuck vocals. The result are totally oustanding punk tunes, that are nothing but true classics. You get three tracks plus a cover version of The Damned's "New Rose", that's at least as great as the original. (Listen to it here)

TSOL - YOU DON'T HAVE TO DIE 7" (TKO)
Here we have the next realese on TKO by a classic American punk group an it's another must have. Note that this single is not a reissue. The titletrack "You Don't Have To Die" is taken from TSOL's first demo tape originally released in 1980. It's a complete mystery why this top notch tune didn't made it on any of their later vinyl releases. It's one of their very best songs, because it compromises everything, that's so fantastic about TSOL: They took the best parts of dark goth music and melodic punkrock simular to The Adolescents, Agent Orange and other early westcoast bands to create their own unique brandmark sound. Without any doubt TSOL are on of the most important US punk groups of the early 80s and "You Don't Have To Die" is the perfect proof for it. The flipside offers two raw live cuts. "Property Is Theft" and "Dance With Me" are well known from their first Posh Boy 12" and their first "Dance With Me" album, but the recordings is a bit too rough.  That's the reason why the whole b-side is more or less negligible. Nervertheless this single is worth simply for "You Don't Have To Die". (Listen to it here)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

FOUR NEW 7"s

BÄDDAT FÖR TRUBBEL ‎– DINA VÄNNER HAR RÄTT 7" (Skrammel)
After two brilliant full lenghts and a single on Ken Rock Bäddat För Trubbel are back with another excellent four track EP. Forget all the much-hyped Swedish 70s retro bands, Bäddat För Trubbel are easily Sweden's best current punk group. From the alcohol abuse cover art to the very last chord, this record is nothing but another true winner record. Bäddat För Trubbel combine British pre-punk pubrock not unlike The 101ers or The Sleaze with a strong Stiff Little Fingers influence and the best moments of the Swedish Killed By Death Volumes #50 and #51. The result are simple, unpolished and primal rock'n'roll tunes with their own smart kind of catchiness. On top of that there's the harsh and brutal sound of the Swedish lyrcis performed by highly distinctive, gnarly vocals. To make it short: This is yet another must have record in the Bäddat För Trubbel discography. (Listen to it here)      
 
CONDOMINIUM - CARL 7" (Sub Pop)
Minneapolis based hardcorepunks Condominium are back with a brandew 7" after a two years lasting release hiatus. "Carl" follows a bunch of hard to find 7"s and their latest "Warm Home" full lenght from 2011. I've been digging all their previous records, but this 7" is probably their best effort so far. The opening track "Show Them" is an uncompromising no frills hardcorepunk tune. Tight, primal and to the point made with pounding beats, harsh furious vocals, a wall of ugly guitar and bass distortions and a clean, but powerful production. Like a modern version of Poison Idea "Pick Your King", but a lot better than the tons of current retro hc bands. "Eating The Universe" is slower hardcore song mixing elements of Black Flag's "Damaged" masterpiece with slight hints of noise-rock. Titletrack "Carl" on the flipside is a more unconventional noise-rock meets sludge number with a dissonant bass line and non typical drum beats in the forefront. It's simular to the sound of their new label mates Pissed Jeans. I'm definitely not into all Sub Pop releases, but I think it's really remarmakable, that a label on this scale still releases fantastic no frills underground punk and harcore records! (Listen to it here
 
PLEASURE LEFTISTS - ELEPHANT MEN/ NOT OVER 7" (Katorga Works)
Pleasure Leftists are a Cleveland post punk four-piece made up of former Nine Shocks Terror members. After a full lenght on Fan Death Brooklyn based label Katorga Works has released their new two track single. Pleasure Leftists take the best parts of late 70s and early 80s UK wave groups with influences ranging from Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Sound, The Cure, Killing Joke, New Order and Factory releases in general. They merge an array of reverb-friendly, discreet guitars with an melodic undertone, hard driving drum beats and energetic bass lines. Their songs are characterized by creating a desperate, dark atmosphere and Haley Morris' totally unique vocal style. "Elephent Men" is an incredible, immediate and catchy-as-hell wave gem with an super cold twang. On the flipside the early 80s UK indie vibe becomes more obvious with great subtle melodies floating through. Many current bands want to revive classic dark British post punk and wave, but Pleasure Leftists are probably the best among them! A superb single! (Listen to it here)

SCHONWALD - MERCURIAL/ GEMINI 7" (HoZac)
Don't be confused by the German sound of the bandname. Schonwald are a duo from Italy. After a four year release hiatus this single finally follows their "Amplified Nature" 12" released on Belgian Pocket Heaven label. Schonwald's electronic tunes are eqipped with an arsenal of simple pounding drum machine beats and minimal, cold, cosmic or dreamy electronic sounds, that are smartly and varied used. Schonwald write thoughful, deep, but minimal songs with a wide range of different influences. On the surface there's an obvious early 80s European synth-pop and minimal wave influence. The atmospheric, hypnotic and spaced out  electronic overtones show hints of Chrome and 70s German electronic music in the vein of Neu! and Kraftwerk. But in the end it's Schonwald's very own brand of modern postpunk with their playful and gripping vocals in the forefront. If you're dig current releases on Sacred Bones, Captured Tracks and Night People and if you're into bands like Terror Bird, Zola Jesus and Soft Moon, you'll probably also be digging this brilliant two track single. (Listen to it here)

Monday, June 10, 2013

LOST DOMAIN - AN UNNATURAL ACT LP

LOST DOMAIN - AN UNNATURAL ACT LP (Negative Guest List)
"An Unnatural Act" features recordings from 1990 by Australia's long-gone noise-makers Lost Domain. It's dedicated to their guitarist David Mac Kinnon, who passed on in 2012. In difference to their last double LP on Negative Guest List this record sounds straighter with a more radical and painful sound. Lost Domain take the experimental approach of Dead C and early Flying Nun releases to create their own merciless cuts of pure noise. The guitar work is highly unconventional, destructive and noisy as hell. A mess of feedbacks, reverbs, distortions and mesmerizing repeats of sick blown out riffs. It is impressive, how varied their ugly tunes are. Most other noise bands sound boring and monotonic, after the first few spins, but Lost Domain are just deeper, more complex and you'll discover new sick, fascinating details with every new listen. Some tracks are underlayed with spoken word samples, that are the perfect lyrical addition to the hopeless fuck life attitude of their compositions. The raw lo-fi production with it's strong cassette four track aesthetic captures a claustrophobic, dangerous feel making it sound like a auditory horror trip. Fuckin' brlliant! (Listen to it here

Friday, June 7, 2013

ASHTRAY BOY - TOGETHER LP

ASHTRAY BOY - TOGETHER LP (Jelly Fant)
Ashtray Boy are one of the longest running Australian indie groups. Fronted by former The Cannanes member Randall Lee Ashtray Boy have been based in different places wordwide during their almost 30 years lasting band history: Sydney, Chicago, Vancouver and Melbourne. During the mid 90s there have even been two working Ashtray Boy line-ups in Chicago and Sydney both fronted by Randall Lee, who's the only constant Ashtray Boy member in their long history. "Together" is not a regular studio album. It's a collecton of hard to find tracks taken from several compilations and 7" releases. It also offers some so far unreleased material. The thirteen songs were recorded between 1995 and 2008. The recorded starts with a fantastic cover version of "Dead End Street" my alltime favorite The Kinks track and it underlines Ashtray Boy's preference for music from the 60s. Their influences range from 60s folk to psych-pop, garage and UK postpunk, but in the end it's Ashtray Boy's own unique brand of indie-rock. The songs are driven by Randell Lee's striking deep voice and his well thought lyrics with his own great sense of humor. "Holiday" is the most memorable track of this fantastic collection. A catchy as hell poppy garage-punk smash hit. "Raymond E. Feist" is a well done instrumental, that's probably the records most heartwarming song. The great thing about this records is it's variety of different styles. You never know what the next song will sound like. There three more cover versions of New Order, The Go-Betweens and Ian & Silvi are a perfect example for Ashtray Boy's open-minded musical approach. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MILK MUSIC - CRUISE YOUR ILLUSION LP

MILK MUSIC - CRUISE YOUR ILLUSION LP (Fat Possum)
Milk Music are part of the huge current Olympia underground rock scene, that produces bands sounding like the history of music stopped sometime in the early 90s. Broken Water, Family Stoned, Weird TV, Son Skull and Milk Music have all a late 80s and early 90s SST indie vibe in common. But in contrast to Milk Music's earlier releases "Cruise Your Illusion" emamcipates them from being a complete Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth worship to a more varied, deeper and unique sound. They've developed a strong 60s rock influence in the vein of classic Neil Young records. Milk Music's tunes are focused on a excellent guitarwork including well done leads as well as plenty of blown out, but melodic solos. Of course Alex Coxen's highly charismatic vocals are another main secret of this record. The rythm section is pretty much stripped down to the essential, nevertheless it gives the songs a supportive driving groove. "Cruising With God" is the winner track here. An immediate, catchy as hell indie-popper underlayed with a warm guitar harmony, but the record as a whole is a total banger! (Listen to it here)