Wednesday, March 5, 2014


HELDON - INTERFACE LP (Superior Viaduct)
Richard Pinhas was the leading head behind Heldon, a French group that put out seven albums during the 1970s. "Interface" is their sixth and probably best album. It is characterized by an refreshing fusion of progressive rock, avant-jazz and electronic sounds. On these recordings Pinhas cooperates with Francois Auger (drums) and Patrick Gauthier (synths). This line-up provides a perfect musical framework, that creates a wild and unfettered masterpiece, a storm of ear-bending synth-attacks, wobbly guitar leads and inventive, edgy rhythms. The discordant synth sounds and propulsive beats give the music an multidimensional aspect, that was far ahead of it's time. The songs find an accommodation in the historical space between the spaciness of 70s rock music and the colder and more gloomy sound of early synth pop. The titletrack is probably the record's most memorbale tune. It extends for the whole lenght of the b-side and proceeds slowly and endlessly into it's own futuristic orbit. Yet another killer reissue on Superior Viaduct! (Listen to it here)

NEGATIVE TREND - S/T 7" (Superior Viaduct)
Superior Viaduct has finally reissued this long-time collector-fave in it's proper form. Negative Trend's one and only 7" is nothing but a true classic of early Californian punk. The band has to be mentioned in the same breath as other influential San Francisco groups like Crime, The Avengers, The Sleepers, The Nuns, The Units or VKTMS. Negative Trend members Will Shatter and Steve DePace later formed Flipper. This 7" still sounds as wonderfully ignorant today as it did in 1978 and makes an excellent introduction what punk should sound like. You get a fantastic mixture of snotty vocals, provocative lyrcis, razor-sharp riffs and melodic hooks. The four songs balance between influences of early UK punk,. a more typical melodic westcoast flavour and some gloomy undertones (best illustrated with "Black And Red"). Essential! (Listen to it here)

Saint Louis based duo Strangulated Beatoffs feature Stan Seitrich, who formed the band after Drunks With Guns broke up. They recorded their Beatles cover album in 1989, but only four songs from this session were released on their second 7". Now Skin Graft has released the entire ten tracks on a full album. You may think, that only Beatles fans will like this record, but I'm not really sure if Strangulated Beatoffs pay a tribute to the Beatles or if they try to destroy their annoying radio hits. One thing is for sure: this record goes beyond a pure immitation. By transforming pop music into broken and noisy songs Strangulated Beatoffs push their own personal note into the forefront. The songs are perfectly poppy and rough at the same time One of the most persistent elements you will hear throughout the record is the fantastic raw lo-fi production. This is probably the best cover album ever! (Listen to it here)

During the late 70s and early 80s the U.K. D.I.Y. underground produced incredibly fresh, direct and unique music. Tronics were one of the most important band of this huge postpunk scene, that is best documented in the Messthetics compilation series. M'Lady's has now put out a vinyl reissue of their obscure cassette only album "What's The Hubub Bub" from 1980. The album features stripped down, live recorded tunes only made with cheap conga drum beats, a rock'n'roll guitar, vocals and occasional used weird sound fragments. The first thing that grabs you is how unpolished and improvised the songs are. Then you realize that it all comes down to the fact that Tronics' musical approach is far ahead of their time, but their aesthetic is punk as fuck. Some songs like "Shark Fucks" are  insanely catchy, but most are painfully minimal. A post-punk classic! (Listen to it here)
Released in 1995 U.S. Maple's "Long Hair In Three Statges" debut full lenght is one of the most crucial masterpieces of 90s noise-rock. The band moved away from the typical heavy time signatures and repetitive heavy rhythms into a more experimental and noisy direction. This is the kind of music that paved the way for bands like Lightning Bold, Arab On Radar or Aids Wolf. The album offers discordant, destructive and complex music. Propulsive beats and driving bass lines create a thick groove while walls of guitar noises pop in and out like breaks in the asteroid belt. The musical peformance applies a jazz-like looseness to create a stunning record, that still sounds fresh and innovative from a present point of view. Skin Graft has reissued this killer album on vinyl for the first time in more than 15 years. Back then it came out in a limited edition of 1000 copies with a metal-cover, but the reissue comes with a regular standard sleeve. (Listen to it here)