Tuesday, July 30, 2013

GOODBYE BOOZY SINGLES

LANTERN - MR. MARS 7" (Goodbye Boozy)
You really can't go wrong, if you buy a single released by Goodby Boozy. This Italian label puts out music only by some of the best international punk and garage groups and this piece of wax is yet another great example. Lantern are a Philly based protopunk band, that I've haven't know before, but they totally rule. Titletrack "Mr. Mars" fuses some hints of 50s rockabilly and bluesy garage with MC5 "Back In The USA" era blasting rock'n'roll. It's based on a catchy chorus, piano lines, handclap-beats and wild saxophone solos, that also bring to mind Destroy All Monsters. The name of the flipside track speaks for itself: "Rock'n'roll Music" is a primal high energy rock'n'roll tune with brilliant short guitar leads. It's definitely a lot more The Stooges influenced. Fans of 70s protopunk won't be disappointed here and I can't wait to hear more from this brilliant band! (Listen to it here)

LIVING EYES - EAT IT UP 7" (Goodbye Boozy)
This onesided two-track single is yet another brilliant release by Living Eyes from Geelong, Australia. It follows their first full album, that came out earlier in the year. In contrast to their LP this 7" is less 60s garage TY Segall like and more 70s punk influenced. To express it with the help of compilations: they've developed from "Before The Birdmen Flew" to "Where The Birdmen Flew". Also the production is rougher and more in th vein of their first "Ways To Make A Living" single. You get two top notch cuts of straight blasting punkrock, that find the perfect balance between power and pop. When it comes to "power," both tunes stand out with no frills supportive drum-beats and crashing guitars. The "pop" is made with tons of catchy melodies led by Living Eyes' highly unique snotty vocals. This combination fits so well together like gin and tonic, vodka and lemon or coffee and cigarettes. Fabolous! (Listen to it here)

WARM SODA - TELL ME IN A WHISPER 7" (Goodbye Boozy)
Here we go with a smashing two-track single by Warm Soda from Oakland, California. Both tracks are as brilliant as their "Someone For Your" album, that came out on Castel Face earlier this year. They are taking influences from 70s glam, teen-pop, garagepunk and power-pop to write their own highly addictive tunes, that will stay in your ear after the first listen. Their songs are filled with sunny melodies, guitar leads and sugar-sweet choruses making them sound like they were taken from a 1970s TV show. Their lyrcis deal with one topic: boys and girls in love and all kind of compilactions, that could arise from it. It's  cheesy in the most positive way and Warm Soda's tunes capture the youthful abandon of kids on christmas eve."Tell Me in A Whisper" is a midtempo track made with their typical changle guitar, breathy vocals and countless of amazing melodies. "This Changes Everything" on the flipside is the kind of song you want to listen to over and over again. An immediate garage-popper, that's just totally outstanding and brilliant. Think of a mix of King Tuff, Smith Westerns No Bunny, Bare Wires and The Quick and you'll probably get an idea how essential this single is. (Listen to it here)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

MISS CHAIN & THE BROKEN HEELS LP

MISS CHAIN & THE BROKEN HEELS - THE DAWN LP (Bachelor, Burger, Rijapov, Tre Accordi)
Three years have passed since Italian four-piece Miss Chain & The Broken Heels' "A Bittwersweet Ride" debut full lenght came out on Screaming Apple. With "The Dawn" they continue to play their own unique brand of garage-pop, that's well known form their prior releases, but at the same time the record is characterized by a more varied and complex songwriting going beyond the typical patterns of a garage and rock'n'roll record. Their main influences are still rooted in several different music genres from the 50s and 60s. They merge country with rhythm'n'blues, beat, pop, folk, 60s garage-punk and a few hints of psych in the guitar-work. Miss Chain & The Broken Heels' focus is definitely on writing catchy-as-hell tunes filled with sugar sweet, yet dreamy melodies and immediate arrangements. The album provides a handful of excellent pop pearls with a deepness, that's really uncommon for this musical style. However some songs overstep the mark with a too obvious catchiness and too stereotyped harmonies. For my taste they lack of a counterpart to their too sunny pop. Nevertheless "The Dawn" has it's moments for certain and every fan of 50s and 60s inspired music won't be dissapointed. The LP is released by Bachelor and Rijapov in a limited edition of 500 copies on black vinyl and 200 copies on green vinyl. The CD comes out on Tre Accordi and Burger puts out the album as a tape.  (Listen to it here)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

80s NEW ZEALAND LPs

BILL DIREEN & THE HAT - NYC 1989 LP (Unwucht)
"NYC 1989" features twelve tracks recorded within two days in November '89 at PPI studios in Manhattan. I think all of them were also included in the "New York Sack" CD, but this is the first time they have been pressed on vinyl. Bill Direen is well known to be the driving force behind The Bilders. The Hat are an allstar group including Hamish Kilgour (The Clean, Mad Scene), Allen Meek (Bilders, Victor Dimisich Band), Tony O’Blaney (Coloring Book) and others. The recordings stand out with a stripped down to the essentials approach. Bill Direen & The Hat write beautiful well-crafted songs buzzing with creativity and combining the conventional virtues of classic folk with the subtle charm of the singer-songwriter genre and their own unconventional postpunk approach. They create meandiring, accoustic stylings based in discreet percussions, warm piano melodies and mostly unplugged guiars. In the forefront there are Bill Direen's charismatic vocals and his excellent lyrics. This LP is limitied to 200 copies and it comes with a super heavy cardboard sleeve. (Listen to it here

RITCHIE VENUS & L STEVIE MCCABE - MY PRECIOUS THING 12" (Unwucht)  
In 1988 Ritchie Venus and Stevie McCabe from The Axemen spent a few month in the United States. The purpose of their trip was to perform and to make and renew contacts. Most songs of this four track 12" were written during that time. “Rebel Blood” was recorded during a radio show in Boston. “Bleeding Heart” and “My Precious Thing” are taken from a recording of a rehearsal with an expanded line-up for a performance, that never took place. “Angelina” is taken from a rehearsal in 1992 with Mick Elborado. All songs have been remastered. They sound powerful while maintaining the certain charm of a lof-fi tape release. You can hear the fun and looseness the tracks were made with. The 12" starts with "My Precious Thing" based on a catchy twofold lead melody. It merges a crushing garage inspired with a second acoustic guitar. According to their own introduction "Rebel Blood" is a Bob Dylan influenced tune, but it's paired with their very own kind of weirdness and destruction. The b-side features "Angelina" a poppy ballad underlayed with a primitive drum-computer beat and sugar-sweet melodies. The last track "Bleeding Heart" is probably the most memorable one. It finds a perfect balance between immediate pop and Thee Headcoats like garage with a focus on Ritchie Venus fantastic vocals. Limited to 200 copies, so be fast to get your copy! (Listen to it here)
  
SNAPPER - S/T 12" (Captured Tracks/ Flying Nun)
Flying Nun and Captured Tracks have collaborated to reissue this debut 12" by New Zealand's Snapper orginally released back in 1988, but it was quickly going out of print back then. Dunedin's Snapper featured members that are well known from other Flying Nun groups like for example The Clean, The 3Ds, Great Unwashed, Bird Nest Roys or The Chills. Their music is charactererized by roaring 80s styled keyboards, a wall of guitar distortions and monotonic but pumping drum beats. They took the best parts of Spacemen 3's mezmerizing psych, Neu!'s krautrock,Suicide's weirdness and Jesus And Mary Chain's fuzzy guitar to create their own unique sound. The songs plough endlesly along their own furrow based on hypnotizing loops, that get more overwhelming with every new run. The epic uniform interplay is stopped occasionally by short spacy keyboard and guitar leads. At the time Snapper's compositions are carried by plenty of fantastic vocal harmonies. The 12" kicks off with the stand out track "Buddy", a catchy-as-hell psych popper, that stays in the ear. "Case For You" is made with distinctive but discreet musical arrangements based on a warm pastoral keyboard play. The flipside starts with "Death And Weirdness In The Surfing Zone" with it's heavy droning keyboards and ends with the brilliant kraut-pop tune "Hang On". Listen to current Moon Duo recordings and you'll suddenly realize, that Snapper were ahead of their time. Today their music still sounds totally fresh, memorable and surpising. (Listen to it here)

THE WORLD - S/T LP (Unwucht)
The World were an early kiwi allstar group formed in 1982. They consisted of Allen Meek (Vacuum, Victor Dimisich Band, Bilders), Charles Heywood, Bridget Mulcahy, Andrea Cocks and Malcolm Grant (The Bats). In 1983 they recorded songs for an EP to be released on Flying Nun, but The World broke up soon later and the recordings remained unreleased for 30 years. Thankfully Unwucht Musik has digged them up and now pressed them on vinyl for the very first time.The six songs marry the tradition of the early Flying Nun sound with folk, Velvet Underground's darkness and some hints of UK postpunk simular to The Fall. The airy vocals of Charles Heywood and Bridget Mulcahy are paired with Allen Meek's alternate use of a warm supportive keyboard or a subtle guitar, minimal but unique drum beats and the outstanding violin play of Andrea Cocks. It gets far beyond, what you would normally expect from this instrument and captures a certain melancholy, that's typical for The Worlds sound. All six song were remastered from the original tapes and they stand out with a powerful clean production. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

THE URINALS REISSUES

THE URINALS - S/T 7" (Superior Viaduct)
The Urinals formed in 1978 originally as a five-piece, but short time later they had to continue as a trio. Their early recordings sound like none of the three could play their instruments, but of course this isn't a disadvantage for a punk group. Some of their first songs were based on two chords only, but they are totally reduced to the basics and this one of the main secrets of The Urinals distinctive, unconventional and original style of art punk. They took the vibe of primal 50s and 60s rock'n'roll and merged it with the simplicity and hardness of punk. "Dead Flowers" is a great example. It's both a one minute punk blast and a 60s inspired tune packed with catchy-as-hell vocal harmonies. "Hologrom" is made with one moody riff and a simple beat. For all it's simplicity it's a impressing to the point tune. "Last Days Of Man On Earth" is an anger filled short and straight punk cut. The flipside features "Surfin' With The Sha" an instrumental, that captivates through it's monotonic and hypnotizing interplay of guitar and bass. All four songs on this 7" originally released in 1978 are true classics. And this whole 7" should be considered as a true must have. (Listen to it here)

THE URINALS - ANOTHER 7" (Superior Viaduct)
After several bootlegs here's finally a repress of The Urinals second 7" from 1979. All of their releases are totally outstanding, but this four track single is probably their best and most classic one. It was recorded on three-tracks only, but it yielded a more focused sound. "Black Hole" is probably the best track ever written by The Urinals. It combines everything that's so awesome about this band in 1:20 minutes playtime: an impressing two-fold lead melody, primitive but great beats, crashing guitars and a kind of catchiness, that will stay in your ear after the first listen. "I'm White And I'm Middle Class" is a wild blasting proto-hardcore tune, that illustrates why Black Flag were fans of The Urinals. "I'm A Bug" is characterized by a more common classic punk vibe. It soundslike it could have been taken from a Killed By Death compilation. "Ack Ack Ack" is the ultimate height of primitivity. A brilliant song based on two chord noise and a fast elementary beat. This is one of the best punk singles ever! (Listen to it here)
 
THE URINALS - SEX 7" (Superior Viaduct)
Here we go with third and last The Urinals 7" orginally released in 1980. It was recorded in a basement weight-room and it represents The Urinal's roughest recordings with a focus on heavy distortions. The titletrack is somehow comparable with the sound of 60s inspired power-punks The Last, who's keyboard player also recorded their first single. It's characterized by tons of catchy vocal harmonies and fantastic melodic undertones. The song finds a perfect balance between a lo-fi energetic production and sugar-sweet pop. "Go Away Girl" is a pissed off proto-hardcore explosion with flipped out screaming vocals in the forefront. This is by far the most angry song ever recorded by The Urinals. The b-side offers several different drones of electronic sounds and it's a nice disturbing joke. (Listen to it here)

100 FLOWERS - S/T LP  (Superior Viaduct)
100 Flowers are The Urinals under a new name. The band felt that The Urinals moniker represented the ugliness of their earliest days, but it didn't fit to their now more varied songwriting. 100 Flowers was taken from the Maoist cultural revolution quotation, "Let 100 flowers bloom and 100 schools of thought contend." This selftitled album stands out because of it's sophisticated songwriting that merges several different influences ranging from UK postpunk in the vein of Swell Maps, early hardcore, 60s garage and pop. It shows that the trio definitely learned how to play their instruments. They moved away from their one minute no frills blast to a more complex and deeper sound. With 100 Flowers they broke with genre boundaries and created a even more orgin, refreshing and open-minded style. Some of the sixteen songs are funky, some are straight blasting and some are true pop perls. Delia Frankels vocals vary between manic screams and stunning melodies. Also the lo-fi production of their early works was replaced by a cleaner and professional studio recording. One might think that all these aspects were no progress, but even if their new sound was different, it's not a bit worse. (Listen to it here)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DEUTSCHE ELEKTRONISCHE MUSIK VOLUME 2

VA - DEUTSCHE ELEKTRONISCHE MUSIK VOLUME 2 - RECORD A 2xLP (Soul Jazz)
"Deutsche Elektronische Musik" is focused on the best and most creative period of German underground music. Between the late 60s and the early 80s countless of young German groups and artists created their own fresh and highly unique sound. Krautrock was made by a generation who's parents were nazis refusing the memory of their own crimes and guilt. Furthermore many ex-nazis archieved high positions in the civil service and the government after the collapse of the Third Reich. Krautrock has to be understood as an alternative to oblivion and a conservative, bourgeois and fascist society. The result was some of the most visionary, open-minded and influental music, that got more attention abroad than in Germany. Soul Jazz did a great job covering bands and artists with a large variety of different styles. Record A of Volume 2 starts with A.R.&Machines, who were a krautrock project of ex-The Rattles guitarist/vocalist Achim Reichel, featuring lots of guitar and echo machines. Can are one of the best known krautrock bands. "Halleluwah" is a funky cut with moody swings taken from their "Tago Mago" masterpiece. Hans Joachim Roedelius from Berlin is a true pioneer of experimental electronic music. "Le Jardin" is based on warm piano harmonies and the chirping of birds. "Karussell" by Michael Rother starts with an impressing delayed synth melody and it is driven by groovy beats. Think of a more harmonic Neu!. Hailing from Munich Popol Vuh combined elements of classical music with psych and prog rock. "Der große Krieger" is a great example. Former Tangerine Dream member Michael Hoenig offers a cinematic and futuristic synth based tune, that sounds like it's coming from another far away galaxy. Michael Hoening was also a member of Agitation Free, who's track "You Play With Me Today" is a spaced out krautrock jam with impressing beats. DAF were something like the German answer to Suicide and they are probably the most important group among the second wave of German underground music during the early 80s. "Co Co Pino" is a weird and frantic synth-punk number. Harald Grosskopf's "Emphasis" is taken from "Synthesist". This record originally came out in 1980 and it's a Kraftwerk influenced and hardly overseen classic of german synth music. Amon Düül II were one of the ealiest krautrock bands merging sound collages with driving rock and highly uncoventional instrumental arrangements. Conrad Schnitzler was a student of Joseph Beuys and he discovered several different musical styles within his career. "Fata Morgana" was made in cooperation with Wolf Sequenze and it represents his synth-pop era. Bröselmaschine were a early folk influenced group with an esoteric sound based on accoustic guitars, airy vocals and the use of plenty of different instruments. "Base & Apex" is classic minimal synth cut by Berlin based masterminds of electronic music Roedelius, Moebius and Eno. Gila were a Popol Vuh side projects from Stuttgart with a simular musical approach mixing arty accoustic rock with folk influenced vocals. Wolgang Reichmann's nine minute trip "Himmelblau" is the perfect ending of thise fantastic compilation. The warm sound synth melodies are paired with cosmic sounds heavily influenced by both Kraftwerk and Neu! (Listen to it here)
 
VA - DEUTSCHE ELEKTRONISCHE MUSIK VOLUME 2 - RECORD B 2xLP (Soul Jazz)
You don't really have to look for great German punk and hardcore groups, because most of them are'nt worth to check out. The most exciting German music was written during the krautrock era during the 70s and this compilation is a great example. A.R. & Machines' track "Als Hätt Ich Das alles Schon Mal Gesehen" is again taken from his "Die Grüne Reise" album. A kosmisch and folkish tune based on hypnotizing beats and sick and chaotic changes. Gila played a pretty poppy style of krautrock. "Sundance Chant" is a great example. Neu! are probably the most important German group ever and they were highly influential on industrial, noise and experimental music. "Isi" with it's warm and harmonic sound is taken from their third "'75" full lenght. Pryolator was the moniker of Kurt Dahlke a former member of the brilliant Neue Deutsche Welle band Der Plan. "Danger Cruising" is a impressing and highly innovative pre-synthpop cut. Sergius Golowin was born in Prague and later moved to Berne, Switzerland. He merged esoteric folk with electronic sounds. "Die Weiße Alm" is a crazy drug influenced trip with his spoken echo chants in the forefront, taken from his one and only "Lord krishna Von Goloka" album. You's "Electric Day" is based on a high speed synth-pop melody that's beeing paired with cosmic, disturbing sound collages. Niagara were a supergroup from Munich including Udo Lindenberg, who later releases tons of horrible solo records. They were a drum orchestra  featuring percussionists from different musical backgrounds."Gibli" is a brilliant track if you like mesmerizing rhythms. Popul Vuh from Munich offer a shorter piano based tune with folk-like guitars and bizzare esoteric vocal harmonies. "Der Prophet" is the titletrack of Rolf Trostel's album from 1982. He combines the cold sound of 80s synth pop with the more spaced out approach of 70s krautrock. Like so many other krautrock groups Electric Sandwich from Bonn drew a wide range of influences ranging from jazz to psych, blues and rock. "China" sounds like a wild jam session with Jimmy Hendrix like guitars. Asmus Tietchens works are heavily influenced by both musique concrete and Stockhausen. His industrial synth track "Zeebrugge" is a great example. Faust were one of the big names of krautrock. The final track of this compilation, which is also named "Krautrock", is the opening of their much thought after "IV" masterpiece and it's a fascinanting twelve minute trip combining several influences of different rock genres. (Listen to it here

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BIG EYES - ALMOST FAMOUS LP

BIG EYES - ALMOST FAMOUS LP (Grave Mistake)
It's a difficult task to record a punk record in 2013, that distances itself from the countless other groups with an simular approach. Big Eyes manage this feat and crank out a highly unique and fresh sounding record, that's powerful but not in-your-face, poppy but not conventional, straight but not brash, wild but not dull. The result sounds quite respectable: "Almost Famous" is a graceful punk record with a depth, that's also keeps it interesting after the first few spins. Seattle based trio Big Eyes defines it's sound with a brilliant guitar work combining crashing riffs with sugar-sweet melodies, a dynamic rhythm section and Kate Eldridge's heartful vocal harmonies in the forefront. Think of more powerful Muffs. Add a little UK powerpop, a ammount of Ramones' bop, some hints of 70s rock, Toys That Kills' and Scared of Chaka's punk pop and you've got a totally ripping collection of songs with a primitive but genuine approach. The album is filled with catchy as hell melodies, that will immediately get stuck on your head, but at the same it maintains a blasting no frills punkrock sound. This record will make you wish it's twice as long, because you really can't get enough of it. The artwork is packed with several band pictures that don't suck including a huge poster. Taken By Surpise has released the European version. A total banger! (Listen to it here)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MIKAL CRONIN - MCII LP

MIKAL CRONIN - MCII LP (Merge) 
This is the second full lenght by Ty Segall collaborator Mikal Cronin. Compared with his  previous releases "MCII" stands out for it's fanastics arrangements and it's thoughtful songwriting. Mikal Cronin finds a perfect balance between sweet pop harmonies and powerful punkrock. He still uses influences of 60s garage, psych and pop as a reference point of this tunes, but his compositions have developed from a complete 60s retro sound to a more varied and more well-crafted style. The blown out psych mayhems of this prior records have been replaced by an early 90s indie college-rock influence simular to Pavement. There's only a spare use of fuzz-pedals and some songs are entirely acoustic, nervertheless Cronin's noisy side is still apparent. His numbers are based on sunny melodies, rattling guitars, crunching drums and Cronin's top notch vocal harmonies. Lyrically "MCII" deals with self-doubts, worries and the inner life of a ageing and ironic mid twenties. One thing is allready certain: This beautiful and outstanding work will be one of my highlight records of 2013! (Listen to it here)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SWEDISH PUNK 7" REISSUES

BRÜLBAJZ - DÖDENS APOSTLAR 7" (Re-Ken)
Brülbåjz from the Swedish small town Borlänge started playing together in 1979 and released their one and only "Dödens Apostlar" 7" one year later. Members of Brülbåjz were later actice in Sator Codex and Sator. "EAP" is probably the most well known track, because it has been included in the Back To Front Volume 6 compilation. But the other two tracks are also totally worth it. Brülbåjz played raw primtive punkrock, that sounds like they've first started the band and then learned to play music along the way. There's a certain simularity to the way later Sator Codex records sound like. Their songs are pretty fast compared with other bands back then. They were definitely influenced by UK '77 groups, but their style is rougher and even more reduced on the essentials. So if you dig simple no frills punkrock and if you have a preference for classic Swedish punk, you'll probably  also be digging this 7". (Listen to it here)
  
E.A.T.E.R. - DOOMSDAY TROOPS 7" (Hardcore Survives)
E.A.T.E.R. stands for Ernst And The Edsholm Rebels and they are one of the most classic early Swedish hardcore groups. Don't confuse them with the 77 UK punk band Eater. Distortion records released a E.A.T.E.R. compilation LP two years ago, but their first "Doomsday Troops" 7" from 1983 hasn't been included, so thanks to Japanese label Hardcore Survives for making this classic available again. And they really did a great job: The 7" includes an 8-page printed booklet with lyrics and band pictures as well as an exact reproduction of the original cover and insert. E.A.T.E.R. took the sound of UK '82 groups like G.B.H and The Exploited and merged it with their own style of furious straight blasting thrash. You get five tracks of high speed hardcore, that's primitive, catchy and outrageous at the same time. It's fun to read to the lyrics, because they are from a present day perspective pretty cheesy.  Nevertheless this 7" fuckin' rules. (Listen to it here)
 
IQ55 - DÜR ÄR SÄ SÄRBAR 7" (Slyngel)
IQ55 were Linköping's first punk band. They were founded in 1978 and released their classic "Livet Är En Bluff (Balladen)" two track 7" one year later, which is in my opinion one of the best early Swedish punk 7"s. In 1998 the Swedish label Massproduktion released another so far unreleases IQ55 track on their "Vägra Raggarna Benzin - Punk Från Provinserna 78-82" CD compilation. Now 34 years after their first 7" came out, Slynkel records put out this brilliant 7" with two more so far unreleased cuts originally recorded in 1980. IQ55 played a brilliant mix of classic '77 UK styled punkrock and power-pop. They wrote furious songs based on razor-sharp guitar riffs, tons of melodies floating through, brilliant vocals and catchy as hell "aaahh" refrains. The guitar goes far beyond the quality of most other early punk groups, because it's a lot more varied and complex. "Du Är Sä Särbar" is a straight punk popper, while "En Kort Sekund" on the b-side is a little bit slower and moody. Limited to 300 copies.(Listen to it here)

Monday, July 8, 2013

ALLAH-LAS - S/T LP

ALLAH-LAS - S/T LP (Innovative Leisure)
This LP by California's Allah-Las already came out in 2012, but I've totally overseen back then. It's really nothing but a killer record: Many current bands are influenced by music from the 60s, but Allah-Las are probably the best or at least the most unique among them. They combine influences ranging from surf to psych, folk, garage and primal rock'n'roll. Don't expect any heavy fuzz or distortions, the focus is more on writing harmonic beautiful pop tunes. The result are songs with smart instrumental arrangements based on a delay-loaded and reverb-friendly lead guitar, a warm sounding second guitar, dry rhythmic bass lines, no frills beats, a few percussions and plenty of brilliant vocal harmonies. This is how Allah-Las take the best parts of early Rolling Stones, 13th Floor Elevators and Velvet Underground to create their own fresh style of 60s inspired music. Compatible with this, the oldfashioned but powerful production underlines this 60s vibe very well. Think of a more heart-warming and dreamy side of Jacuzzi Boys, Black Lips, People's Temple and Mikal Cronin and you'll probably get an idea how fantastic Allah-Las' selftitled debut full lenght sounds like. (Listen to it here)

Friday, July 5, 2013

PURLING HISS - WATER ON MARS LP

PURLING HISS - WATER ON MARS LP (Drag City)
Purling Hiss are a Philly based indie-rock trio. Their previous four LPs have all been been characterized by a radical lo-fi production. Also Spacin' and Birds Of Maya, who they share members with, waive a professional studio production and exactly this lo-fi roughness has been one of the major secrets of Purling Hiss' prior releases. "Water On Mars" marks the first time, they've recorded their songs with a professional studio production. Thats why the album is initially somewhat difficult to get used to and it takes some time to get familiar with it. Musically Purling Hiss continue the development they've taken with their "Public Service Announcement" record. The blown out 70s rock and Stooges protopunk vibe of their early releases is still apparent, but they push a 80s and early 90s Dinosaur Jr. SST rock influence way into the forefront. The focus is more on writing immediate melody-fillled tunes, rather than cranking out wild, dirty and loud rock. The clean production helps to point out how varied and outstanding the guitarwork is, which previously got a bit lost in their lo-fi sound mush. They add pulsating bass-lines, unfussy but groovy drum beats and countless of sparkling vocal harmonies. "Water On Mars" is a timeless and complex record with it's own fresh sound and it's getting better with every new spin. (Listen to it here)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

FOUR LP REISSUES

BLITZ - SECOND EMPIRE JUSTICE LP (Desire)
This LP probably marks of the most radical musical change in the history of punk. Blitz are best known for their violent and brutal brand of punkrock. Their early singles and their "Voice Of A Generation" album are true UK oi-punk and protohardcore classics. All of them came out in 1982. One year later Blitz released "Second Empire Justice" - the complete opposite of what they've been playing before. They transformed their music into a mix of wave, synth-pop, goth-rock, industrial and postpunk during a time when most other early Birtish punk groups lost their intensity. Blitz' change really deserves highest attention. They simpley refused all expectations of their surrounding scene. "Second Empire Justice" is heavily influenced by New Order, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Cabaret Voltaire and The Stranglers. It sounds like it could have been released on Factory records back then. Non the less it's unique and independet enough to be more than a complete imitation. The songs are made with an arsenal of moody keyboard melodies, powerful bass lines, quiet supportive guitars and groovy drum-machine beats. Blitz gave a fuck about genre boundaries and wrote songs that are dark, poppy, cold, catchy and dissonant at the same time. A true postpunk classic! (Listen to it here
 
BRAINBOMBS - OBEY LP (Armageddon Label) 
After "Burning Hell", "Genius and Brutality - Taste and Power" and "Urge To Kill" also Brainbombs third full lenght "Obey" from 1996 has finally been reissued. For everyone who's not familiar with the Brainbombs: They are probably the best and most influential Swedish punk group. Their sound is charcterized by grunting heavy distorted guitars, ripping bass lines, phase drum beats and a harsh vocalist scearming his English lyrics with a heavy Swedish accent. Most of their songs are based on a loop of a single riff. They get more painful with every new repeat and sound like a merciless mess of squeeching distortions and feedbacks. Songtitles like "Kille Them All", "Die You Fuck", "Anal Desire" or "Lipstick On My Dick" allready illustrate that the lyrics are not any less ugly. Most of them are dealing with rape and violence against women. They are difficult to endure, but I think their real purpose is a blunt analysis of how repulsive, dump and marbly human life can be. All Brainsbombs records are true noise-punk masterpieces and "Obey" is no exception! (Listen to it here)

VA - BONEHEAD CRUNCHERS VOLUME 4 LP (Belter)
The first two volumes featured wild protopunk from the USA. The third volume was focused on UK bands many of them with a glamrock influence. This fourth part of the Bonehead Crunchers series leads us to continental Europe. All bands included offer a heavy dose of gritty, brash and snotty 70s rock. It seems like the Netherlands had a big scene of dirty underground rock groups during the 70s. At least this compilation features six Dutch groups: Mushroom sound like a complete worship to Black Sabbath with Ozzy like vocals. Next up Silence crank out two tracks of MC5 influenced protopunk. Corporation are another Dutch power trio playing straight no frills rock. Tiger offer one of the stand out tracks. Bombastic wild protopunk. Forget  Chris Montez, forget The Ramones: Tykes version of "Let's Dance" is the most ripping one. The last Dutch group are Good Time Joe with a heavy NY sleaze influence simular to New York Dolls and The Dictators. From Holland to Germany and here we go with Propeller's heavy blues rock tune. Blackbirds 2000 merge MC5 incluences with krautrock in the vein of Can. Maternal Joy are the German progrock group Nine Days Wonder under a new name. Their record label forced them to play straight and rude hardrock - for good reason. Cindy and Bert's debut single "Der Hund von Baskerville" is a brilliant cover version of Black Sabbath "Paranoid" with different lyrics. In the course of their later career they turned into a aweful schlager band, but this song total fuckin' rules. The two Belgian groups on this LP are probably the best: Angie's song about "Streetlight Fight" is a violent and stupid protopunk burner, that paved the way for later Belgian punk groups like Jet Staxx or Rollerball. Mothers Of Track are a dirty proto-metal group. Their tune is called "Motorcycle Rock" and it's a super cheesy and dirty slab of pure rock. Last but not least After Shave are the only Swiss band and you'll love them, if you like Led Zeppelin. Bonehead Crunchers captures the sound of tight jeans, leather jackets, long hairs, sun glasses, motorbikes and big balls. If you like straight and dirty 70s rock, you'll be freaking out while listening to this compilation. Limited to 300 copies (Listen to it here)
 
VA - THINGS FROM THE CRYPT LP (Dark Entries)
Thanks to Dark Entries for this official reissue of one of the best and hardest to find UK postpunk compilations. It originally came out in 1981 and features two tracks by eight bands all coming from Watford, a town in Hertfordshire, England, located 20 minutes northwest of central London. The original liner notes sum up the compilation's idea very well: “‘The Thing From The Crypt’ neither attempts to sell a ‘Wotford sound’ nor claims to be a comprehensive guide to the area’s best beat bands. Like all good compilations, its essence is variety: some tracks will make you come whilst other will make you vomit.” Actually none of the bands make me vomit, instead of that I'm really amazed how good all of those unknown groups are. Flying Beachcraft offer two postpunk poppers simular to eraly Televsion Personalities. Soft Drink play a weird and gloomy brand of synth-punk not unlike current bands like Blank Dogs and Black Bug sound like. I like Image in Ruin's mix of Joy Division like bass lines and frantic synth-pop, but in the booklet they claim to be militant patriots believing in the unity of English people - what a bullshit attitude. Next up Exibit A serve a nice Stranglers worship. S-Haters merge synths with Wire influenced postpunk and sick echo vocals. Sad Lovers & Giants nail down two brilliant cuts of wavepunk somewhere between Crisis and Warsaw. Mex dish up a slow and dark mix of wave and postpunk. Gambit Of Shame combine 60s garage with postpunk and spaced out synth-pop. Both songs are catchy as hell and totally awesome. If you like early 80s UK postpunk and if you think that TV Personalities, Stranglers, New Order, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Cabaret Voltaire, Happy Refugess, The Fall and Wire are important bands you'll probably also be digging this compilation! (Listen to it here)

Monday, July 1, 2013

BLACK BUG - REFLECTING THE LIGHT LP

BLACK BUG - REFLECTING THE LIGHT LP (HoZac)
Black Bug are an electro punk duo emerging from the hot current French underground scene including Jack Of Heart, Frustration, Catholic Spray, Le Chomage, Crash Normal, Feeling Of Love, AH Kraken and countless more oustanding postpunk, garage and wave groups. "Reflecting The Ligh" not only succeeds to maintain the high quality level of their previous album and five singles, but it also features some of their best recordings so far. Black Bug from Bordeaux find a good balance between dark and futuristic electronic sounds and no frills punkrock. They combine the best parts of 80s synth-pop with The Spits like punkrock and the frightening sound of dark and cold wave. You get eleven short tunes based on a fuzz-loaded guitar, simple pumping beats, anxious vocals and an arsenal of electronic arrangements sounding like they are made in a far away galaxy. The production captures a preference for the charm of a lo-fi tape releases. It suggests, that it could have been taken from a obscure cassette released in the mid 80s. Fans of Blank Dogs won't be dissapointed here, even if this album totally speaks for itself. (Listen to it here)