Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn Demos

Label: self released
Year: 2005

Back to Eric Bachmann, and the Crooked Fingers material that filled the Archers Of Loaf shaped hole in my heart circa 1998. As far as musical signposts go, I tend to re-calibrate towards Mr. Bachmann every few weeks, or at most, months. I've found that his (and his counterparts) songwriting cuts through a lot of what I want cut through, and hits in just the right spot (insert G-spot joke here). And hits hard.
The 'Red Devil Dawn' proper album came off the heels of the melancholic (even by Crooked Fingers standards) 'Bring On The Snakes' , and while retaining the spare Springsteen via Waits via Fahey via Jennings forward march against bad luck and meddling miscreants, the songs were injected with horns and lounge-y melodies and Mexican swing to great effect. Again, by Crooked Fingers standards it was a sunny day after a month of rain. The demos here are the skeletal and delicately plucked shadows of those album versions. Fully formed in their own rights, they carry the full weight of Bachmann's rasp, and are held aloft by the underrated, glorious guitar playing that he uses to map the darker corners of dying town, or a drawn out one sided love affair. There are few singer/songwriters who can wring so much emotion from such minimal composition. It's amazing to me. Which explains why I'm always circling back.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anodyne - The Outer Dark

Label: Escape Artist
Year: 2002

Described somewhere on, or adjacent, this very blog as "more Amphetamine Reptile than Hydra Head", I would wager Anodyne were slightly more Hydra Head then Amphetamine Reptile. And that may have more to do with the time period in which they were in existence, the era after Today Is The Day had finally been discovered and plundered by every Drowningman and Converge and Nineironspitfire out there bringing a super noisy and bombastic version of hardcore to VFW halls all across this great nation.
Anodyne have some of that Today Is The Day residue coloring their sound for sure, but they also skew more metallic in the pure sense of the word, like, they were coming from more of a Dark Throne background and less of a Downcast one. Could be conjecture on my part, but I imagine these three guys had pretty substantial metal collections in their record crates.
Loud, abrasive, thoughtfully articulated attack. That's Anodyne. Totally necessary.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Black Pus - All My Relations

Label: Thrill Jockey
Year: 2013

Brian Chippendale, most notably the drummer for Lightning Bolt, has over the years released a bunch of solo records under the name Black Pus, most of which are "too much" for my delicate sensibilities. Like, just too much of everything. Free jazz for art school noise rockers. Which, whatever, that's great if that's your bag, but it's never been mine.
Give me something I can dance to.
But this album, which I will freely admit went unheard by me for (I'm assuming) four years until recently it showed up in my face and ready to party. And, shit, I like party. You party?
It's still "a lot", everything is warped and tweaked and coming at you from every angle, but it's not "too much". Something about maintains a cohesion that I like, cutting through some of the rowdy experimental-ism, and revealing actual songs under there. I think.
Maybe it's the party talking? This fucked up, ant infested, barely legal party?


Monday, May 8, 2017

UT - Delta Gamma Epsilon Beta

Label: Marsiglia
Year: 2017

The Italian Stallion himself, Trento, Italy SGM Bureau Chief Aaron Giazzon comes through with another banger form the Old Country.
UT hail from Genoa, but, as noted the last time we posted them, you would be excused if you assumed they originated in the American Midwest. They bare many of the Rust Belt (and adjacent) hallmarks of a band in proximity to Shellac, Slint, Big'N, Rodan, Bitch Magnet, and Janitor Joe. But, again, we covered this the last time around.
So what's different on this new record?
Glad you asked.
Essentially it's just "better". The first one was really good, as it mined the rich vein of push-and-pull noise rock, with an undercurrent of melody to keep it from falling in on itself. And this time around, they do the same, only...better. The ugly parts are uglier, the driving parts are driving harder, and when they catch their breathe, those parts are more "Slint-y". Which is a good way to catch your breath. Delta Gamma Epsilon Beta also manages to weave in some indie rock passages, and the occasional big alternative rock hook. Which, hey, who's complaining? Those are all fun things to listen to, so why not work it all in together, like a well crafted sandwich?
I've been really enjoying this record a lot. I think you'll like it too.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Black Heart Procession - 1

Label: Headhunter
Year: 1998

One of the best shows I ever saw was The Black Heart Procession at the Casbah in San Diego. Full on, low lights, black jackets, sunglasses, creepy as fuck, and more powerful than most bands can muster. All with piano, guitar, vocals and the occasional drum and bass. Intensely captivating and moving in a way that I've seldom felt.
For when you're feeling bad after murdering your (ex)roomate.
The band is Pall Jenkins (Three Mile Pilot, Ugly Casanova, Blacksoulwater) and Tobias Nathaniel (Struggle, Three Mile Pilot, A Day Called Zero), and on this album they are assisted by friends, Mario Rubalcaba (OFF!, Hot Snakes, 411, Metroschiffter, Thingy, Rocket From The Crypt, Sea Of Tombs, Earthless, Clikatat Ikatowi, and million others), Ryan Hadlock, and Jen Wood (The Postal Service).


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

El Buzzard - El Buzzard

Year: 2004
Label: self released

I've posted another record by this band earlier on this blog, and I had this one cued up and ready to go a long time ago, but forgot to get it up here. Sorry about that. Not that you knew I was going to get it up here...but...well, you get my drift.
If you liked the aforementioned "Gringa" record then you'll like this one too. It was their first album, and it leaned a little heavier to the faster, more unhinged side of their songwriting prowess. Later in their "career" they slowed things down, started fucking with odd (anti)production techniques, and coated the punk with a creeping sludge. This version is kinda of a noise rock via west coast power violence attack. Whatever you describe it as, these motherfuckers were going for it, and the results were pretty alright by me.

*Originally posted 10.02.08, reposted 04.26.17


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bad Brains - Live - Wabash Hall, San Diego, CA - 10-11-85

Label; bootleg
Year: 1985

Pretty impressed that this audience-sourced bootleg does such a commendable job capturing (that you could) the whirlwind of blurred heat that was this era of Bad Brains. Certainly not "pristine" in terms of a recorded artifact, but, it's far better than it should be.
Did you (and I suppose technically, you still could) see Bad Brains? And if so, what was the general reaction when the band went from breakneck ass whipping into hackneyed reggae noodle? Mass exodus (pun intended) to the restrooms? Yeah. Were you ever lucky enough to catch the Bad Brains on a full irie mellow toke night? I was. So lucky. I count my blessings every time I think back on it. Either way, as per the deal, the set chronicled here gets a bit wonky in spots when the band take their foot off the gas and #blessup (historical footnote: I believe that marks the first ever hashtag in this blog's illustrious run. We've hit a new low). Soon-to-be-released 'I and I' jam "Hired Gun" takes some of the momentum out of the night, which they rescue, but then torpedo again with some extra Jah luv, but ultimately rescue again with also-soon-to-be-released 'I and I' stomper "Re-Ignition".
So, like every Bad Brains show ever, you roll the dice and cross your fingers that things go ok for at least 75% of the time, and on October 10th, 1985 in San Diego they seem to have.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Them Teeth / Sofy Major - split 7"

Label: Corpse Flower
Year: 2016

Volume one in a four part split 7" series by the quietly incredible Corpse Flower label (volume two came out this year with Gizzlor and Godstopper). Well, not "quietly" in the sense of decibels, but more "quietly" in the sense that their promotional machine seems to be running on two cycle lawnmower fuel. But believe me, their arsenal is deep well honed and poised for maximum damage.They put out a Playing Enemy record, they put out the Celan record...they aren't to be trifled with, let's be clear.
To bear, check out these two songs. Two big, grossly loud and over driven songs of ill repute. Two songs that haven't washed their hands or called their mothers in years. I mean, Sofy Major's contribution is called "Bed Intruder". Say it out loud, "Bed Intruder". Gross, dudes. And Them Teeth, good heavens, Them Teeth appear to have no manners whatsoever. It's terrible to think how they must treat their own bodies. Shameful even.
Only 300 physical copies. so good luck.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Victory Hands -Bernstein 7"

Label: Headphone Treats
Year: 2017

It's been almost a year to the day that we posted the first record by this Nixon-centric Atlanta trio (which you can find here), and they are still charting the same bizarre course of releasing a record in tribute to each journalist who was considered an enemy of the Nixon administration (boy how things have changed...), and using only Nixon's own text as lyrical content. And thank god Victory Hands have taken on this challenge.
This time around they craft four uneasy math rock odes to Carl Bernstein and his exposes on abuse of power during the Watergate scandal which would eventually unseat Nixon and draw into focus the underbelly of the modern political machine (or maybe not so modern). Also, points for the first "Checkers" reference of the series!
Musically, they fall into the tense, roiling Arcwelder/Tar/Raymond Brake family of noisy math rock. Each song has something more to grab onto, a catchy melody buried in there. A hook. Victory Hands have been doing this a long time in various bands in and around Atlanta (and in some of the best bands to ever lurk in and around Atlanta if we're being honest), so they are very familiar with how this music works, and it shows. Full economy of movement, and precision to craft are their hallmarks. No wasted space.
You really do need the physical version of this record to get the whole picture. As with the previous 'Anderson' 10", the amount of detail and energy they have put into the packaging is beyond commendable. You'll need to see for yourself to get the full immersive experience.
Hail Victory Hands!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blonde Redhead - Fake Can Be Just As Good

Label: Touch and Go
Year: 1997

Opening track on this album 'Kazuality' is near perfect in it's noise washed motorik pulse.
And from there it stays pretty great through the remainder of the record. I mean, great if you're into Sonic Youth and Unwound and stuff like that. Which...you are, right?
Oh, and speaking of Unwound, Vern Rumsey plays bass on this one, which is added "fun fact" factor.

Their next album got less noisy and rocky, and more dreamy and moody. And every album since has gotten more dreamy and less rocky, which depending on your disposition (private parts) is either very appealing or very yawn-inducing.

Super recommended. Maybe you AND your lady friend can enjoy this one together (paired with a full bodied chianti and a bowl of olives...that you feed to each other...allowing the juices to drip across your naked bodies...oiling your skin as your limbs become intertwined...heaving...breathing quickens...your now glistening forms melting together as her warm mound beckons you to slowly enter her...)


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