Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sacto (CA) Institute for Record Collection Scrutiny
Arthrose Aujourd'hui "Slept in Again": Vancouver's chapter of French weirdpunk's Oreille Equitable "Triple Alliance" (including Cheveu, Crack und Ultra Eczema, A.H. Kraken, and others) translates to "Arthritis Today." When the band's psych anesthesia attack locks you into stupefied traction, you may become so crippled as to not even twitch a joint. But lock away the Icy Hot and enjoy the ride. The band is two members of Ladies Night plus a French guy who's soon to return to home. I vote for arthritis today, and for at least a few more prolific months. Do you know that sleazy feeling of waking up past noon for days and days and days, even as you try to break the habit? This song captures that perfectly.
Factums "Split Screen": This Seattle band are a cousin branch on the A Frames family tree with membership directly descending from the Intelligence and Popular Shapes. Their sound is not too unlike a cross between the droll DIY transistor artpunk of Boredom & Terror by the Intelligence and early Bruce Haack proto-electronica, perhaps also spiked with the more experimental edge of the British DIY music of the late 70's and early 80's featured on the Messthetics series. A release on Siltbreeze is slated for later. Dig the raddest, iciest keyboard riff since Head & the Hares covered "Lost."
M.A.L. "Seven Minutes to Midnight": Michael A. Lucas--yes, that Mike Lucas--made a couple albums in the early 80's released under his initials of dark, brooding experimental rock that's something like Factrix with a 60's psych fascination, especially on 1981's Compendium Maleficarum LP, the album which includes this ultra-creepy song about incest sung from the point of view of a perverse father.
Little Claw "Wayward Chief": Probably my favorite new discovery of the last year or so, this Detroit band almost slipped past my radar long enough to sneak their first LP past me, but fortunately I got a hold of the songs due to appear on their second LP, which will be out soon on Ecstatic Peace, and now I just want everyone to be ready for their onslaught of caveman pounding, scrawling psychpunk guitars, and the stunning performance of a female singer with delicate yin and ferocious yang in her voice, and her guitar playing. And sometimes it's all yang and no yin, and that's when Little Claw has the power to crush you.
Drivetrain "Time Is of the Essence": If this sounds even slightly like Dead Moon to you, then you won't be surprised to learn that (a) this guitarist/singer and bassist/singer are a husband/wife tandem, (b) the drummer Louis Sambora was earlier the drummer of Fred and Toody Cole's pre-Dead Moon band, The Rats, (c) according to the record sleeve, when the van needs repairs, the old man would rather fix it himself than hire a mechanic, and (d) the record was released in 1988 on the Coles' own Tombstone Records. And, of course, this song is a great example of simple, honest rock 'n' roll that is essentially timeless!
Superstitions "Hell on My Heels": Last year, I discovered a new world of young teen and early-twenty-something budget-rock appreciators that were--if barely on the edge--part of what we non-Southern-Californians have come to know as "the Smell scene." These guys are still into releasing a bevy of limited CDR and cassette releases, spackled in paint and glitter just like their DIY dayglo noiserock Smell friends, but they worship the Mummies and Trashmen like no one else born between 1975 and 1985, excepting the teenage Donnas. Erupting from the O.C.'s arm of this microscene came Party Fowl, whose ignited surf-trash-thrash showed incredible promise early. Now, Party Fowl's fully awesome, and the first band I'd recommend for a budget-rocker label honcho. Blew me away at the live show! Yet, I was not ready to be bowled over by the so much more mature sound of Seth from Party Fowl's one-man-band project, Superstitions. On his debut cassette, No One Gets Out Alive, I hear the traditional one-man-band set-up played well, like King Louie, but hybridized with another of Seth's fascinations, the Country Teasers. I hear it in the deliberate rhythms, his voice, and maybe even the lyrics...what I can make out anyway. Between this and Junkpile Jimmy, Orange County must be at the forefront of awesome one-man-bands.
God's Gift "No God": From the Buzzcocks' New Hormones label comes something altogether unlike the Buzzcocks in every way except that certain unmistakable Englishness. Around 1979-80, God's Gift made this 12" and a 7" on the label before, I presume, fading into oblivion. Ungooglable, their story remains a mystery to me, but their completely dessicated plodding twangy postpunk is quite the rewarding test of patience, and again, not unlike the Country Teasers.
Dogbite 65 "We're Going to Tassle City": This Portland band was (still is?) a side project of Buck Rothy and Zack from Danava, and formerly Princess Sweepstakes, who became Danava after Zac Nelson moved down here to Sacramento and later started Who's Your Favorite Son, God?, and that's some crucial recent KDVS history that we'll be bragging about for the next decade or two. Buck and Zack made this three-song CDR-EP called "Motorbike Poop" with help from Zac Nelson on raucous, ridiculous background vocals. Musically, this reminds me of something you'd hear on the Nuf Sed or Brinkman labels about 15 years ago...psychedelic weirdpunk taking some cues from Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and maybe a couple from Caroliner, too. Ramp the progfactor to a stylish medium/high level for that final fugue. Shoulda been a vinyl-bound keeper!
Slicing Grandpa "Fence": Seattle’s supreme slingers of evil lofi dungeon drone drive a hooky bassline. Now, don’t think boring ‘cos I said drone. Writhing, scrawly, and creepy, their scuzzy noise reveals a great sense of humor. Not everyone will appreciate the joke, because of course it’s very twisted and misanthropic. But if you have the heart for black comedy, and especially if you reach again and again for Shadow Ring records when you wanna let the laffs rip, then you oughta get to know Slicing Grandpa…and while you’re getting familiar, also check out the related Kount Fistula, another branch of the Tractor Sex Fatality family tree of bands.
Deathgleaner "Life With Lice": Tons of teens these days dress up in the tight girljeans, eyeliner, and assymetrically screenprinted undersized shirts, and this is the uniform to enjoy some overproduced screamo-goth-metalcore amalgam with a five-word band name that glorifies pain and agony. But not Griffin. This teenaged noise phenom originally from Kansas City but now skating between Portland and Olympia has an incredibly mature handle on just what agony should sound like. I'd say that this particular track (taken from the "PDX Artix 2006 Mix-Tape") compares well with some of the best material by Prurient. The ominous prelude reveals patience far beyond his ADD-riddled generation's normal capacity, and the convulsive derangement of the possessed itch-fest crescendo is just plain scary. You will be scratching at little burrowing phantoms in your beard, yet Griffin's probably too young to grow one! The idea that he may improve with age is perhaps the only thing scarier than this song.
German Shepherds "Booty Jones": If M.A.L.'s incest song wasn't enough to turn your stomach, you might still wanna brace yourself for this song, which I can only assume is an autobiographical song about pedophilia. The voice you hear is that of a man who killed himself awaiting trial for child molestation charges. The prosecution would have been really smart to introduce this song as evidence. The defense could've also used the disorienting synth sounds and gloomy bassline and trembling voice--a'la early Cabaret Voltaire--to build a case for insanity. Truly courageous stuff, even if it's totally repulsive.
N.213 "Revenger": Nic Hughes is best known to most of you as the singer/guitarist of Shearing Pinx and the drummer of Channels 3 & 4, who have been two of the most exciting Vancouver bands of recent years, but he's still got enough time and spark between all that to be in no less than two other bands of high quality, AND also have his solo project, N.213, which is unmistakably Nic for the most aggressive sounding delayed vocals you might ever hear. You hear it in Shearing Pinx, and you hear it on this solo track which was taken from his "SX-79" CDR album on his own ultra-prolific vanity label, Isolated Now Waves. There's a lot of variety among the several N.213 releases, but "SX-79" was very much a dark electro or dark-wave sorta thing, essentially very authentic but with an icy no-wave edge.
Men/Eject "Draw": I've gotten two different stories about who this band was, but they remain a mystery. The sleeve of this 7" from 1980 had no band or label information, but the grooves contain some of the most compelling dystopian bleakness and alien-weird almost formless synthpunk I've ever heard.