Friday, April 24, 2015

Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends - The Enemy Of Everyone

Label: self released
Year: 2015

Here's a good one for a Friday. A record that has an unabashed appreciation of fun and isn't afraid to pull from some reference material which includes things such as; smiles, big choruses, warm fuzz, and melody. Weird, right?

It's a mixture of things that seem very familiar, but synthesized in the way they are they take on a new life, even though you could swear you've heard this, or something like this somewhere. At some point. Start with a very solid base of mid-late 1970's power pop-esque hard rock. Think, Cheap Trick or Sweet...bands that celebrated the good times with big catchy hooks. Then layer in some mid-late 1990's post grunge kind of stuff. Think, Toadies or Local H...bands that had some dirt under their fingernails, but ultimately were playing relatively accessible riff rock. And finally, and this is the most important element as it elevates what would be mundane into something altogether enjoyable and interesting, play the previous elements through your heavy riffing thud rock record collection. Think, Melvins, C Average (second C Average reference in a week!), or Big Business...bands that troll the bottom end to drive their songs into your brain and out the back of your skull.
Make any sense? It's catchy music with a gnarly's ok to like it because it's not simple pop (even though that's ok to like too, just don't tell anyone I said that). You might just have to hear it.

If the mixed-up description I've come up with doesn't help sway you, allow me to let you in on the "secret" of the Secret Friends...maybe that'll help. Conan Neutron comes to you from the bands Victory and Associates, and Replicator...he's been featured on this blog previously...look it up. Backing him up on bass is Tony Ash from Coliseum and Trophy Wives, who you have no doubt heard of. And rounding out the trio is Dale Crover on drums, research tells me is in a band called "The Melvins" or something, but I can't really find any further information about who or what that might be. So, he's a mystery. In addition, Eugene Robinson of Oxbow stops by to sing a song with the band. Toshi Kasai of Big Business produced the record, and  David Yow of Jesus Lizard went through the trouble of designing the cover art for the whole thing. So, secret friends indeed. My secret friends are mostly just losers and nerds...certainly not up to Conan's secret friend level. Gotta work on that.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Henry Rollins - Hot Animal Machine

Label: Texas Hotel
Year: 1987

I shall forever give Henry Garfield a "pass" on whatever he does, no matter how ill-advised or corny it may appear (basically everything from 1990 onward). Much like his peers Glenn Allen Anzalone and Ian Mackaye, I cannot, and will not stand around and listen to you badmouth anything that they choose to do. Ever. Not gonna do it.
Henry Rollins was just too pivotal to my own personal history that he will forever be carved into the Mount Rushmore of personal heroes (along with Danzig, Ian Mackaye, probably like, Jeff Grosso and John Lucero, maybe Neil Blender, Raymond Pettibon, Pushead, Diego Maradona, and Woody's a big mountain).
So, whatever, you can go ahead with your potshots about how he's a self-aggrandizing jock with no sense of humor, but I shall just wag my finger in protest and sigh deeply. I'll listen to this record and bask in my own assurance that I'm right, and Rollins will beat you up for arguing with me in the first place.

But, forget all that, let's just talk about this record for a minute. After Black Flag had taken a long walk into the wilderness not to return, Henry Rollins found the next logical outlet for his musical pursuits. A trip to England with a newly christened backup band (not quite yet the Rollins Band proper), to run through some new material, some blues vamps, and a few covers for good measure.
The band at the time was Chris Haskett (Rollins Band, Pigface) on guitar, Bernie Wandel on bass, and Mick Green on drums, and they perform what could be seen as a logical extension of the later era Black Flag material. Slower, jazzier, blues-ier, and more open, ready for Rollins to layer on his motivational speech lyrical jags. The covers included ones by Velvet Underground, Richard Berry, and Suicide.
At the same recording session, the band also recorded the Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Childhaters ep, crediting it to a "different band". These songs (including a Wire cover, and a sorta Queen cover) don't have the same tight punch the proper album tracks do, and veer into novelty territory, but regardless...just go for the ride with them.

Pettibon-esque cover art by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thrall - Hung Like God

Label: Reptilian
Year: 2001

If you were to see this in a record store, this cover should be retarded enough to scare you away.
If you were to get past the messianic collage, the title of the album should be retarded enough to scare you away.
If you were able to process the cover, and come to terms with the title, then a few seconds of Thrall's dunder-headed take on Killdozer rock should be retarded enough to scare you away.
But you don't scare easy do you? Nah, you don't, and as well you shouldn't. There's nothing to be scared of here, just more Thrall music to binge drink to and later black out on your cousin's couch from.

* Originally posted 09.02.10, reposted 04.22.15


Honor Role - Album

Label: Merge
Year: 1997

By request, but this one should have been here a long time ago.
This record is a compilation of Honor Role's entire discography sans the first 7" (which I will post at a later date). It includes the two albums, "The Pretty Song" and "Rictus" and some other recordings. Those albums were originally released in 1986 and 1989 respectively.
The band came out of Richmond, Virginia, and evolved from a simple hardcore band into a math rock monolith, eventually disbanding when part of the group wanted to explore heavier, more aggressive music (Butterglove...which I will also post here eventually). More famously though, they went on to be Breadwinner, another math rock masterpiece of a band. Other bands that benefited from Honor Role alumni included; Kepone, Labradford, Ladyfinger, Coral, Pillow Talk, and Dynamic Truths.
Musically, the band blended the straight ahead, vaguely metallic punk of Husker Du, with the wiry art punk of say, Gang Of Four, and the moody introspection of their Dischord neighbors to the north. All in all, this yields particularly impressive results, churning up some alien and moving sounds. I remember not knowing what to make of the "Rictus" album when I first heard it years ago since it didn't have the jarring attacks found on "The Pretty Song" (which was released by Reed Mullin of C.O.C. so you know it's good), or the atonal guitar scratches. I put that record (cassette actually) away for many moons, and didn't hear it again until I was literally throwing away a bunch of tapes out of my car (since tape decks were being phased out), and turns out, surprise, it's a really great record. Slower, and more nuanced, but great.
I'd be curious to hear some one's opinions on how this one who has not heard the band before. Part of me feels that it might not stack up these days, and I'm just remembering it's impact on my impressionable brain 20 years ago. Let me know.

*Originally posted 12.19.09, reposted 07.28.12, reposted for the final time 04-22-15


Ed Hall - Love Poke Here

Label: Boner
Year: 1990

By request, the second full length from Ed Hall. If you have been following this here blog for the past few months you will have already noted that we got pretty balls deep into the early 90's Austin, Texas / Trance Syndicate / Cherubs / Drain / Ed Hall / Johnboy / etc. scene a few months back. And there we described the music of Ed Hall, and I'm sure we gave a very lucid and well developed synopsis of the band and why you should invite them into you home. I'm sure we did, it's what we do. 
This particular album features the distinctive vocal "talents" of Kevin Whitley who would later go on to front Cherubs, in case that's what you need to hear before taking a chance on this.

By the way, happy mother's day to all the special ladies in my life who have had the honor of birthing my prodigy, and do my main dookie stain, the lady who brought me in to this world, Penny. Big ups!

*Originally posted 05.10.09, reposted 04-22-15


Daddy Longhead - Cheatos

Label: Touch And Go
Year: 1991

Haven't posted any acid baked Texan music lately, so I thought I'd remedy that situation for you real quick. Daddy Longhead was a side project of Butthole Surfer Jimbo Young for his wealth of bizarre music. And while this is less harsh than the Butthole Surfers, you can certainly hear their fingerprints on it. I would say, take the "Texas weird" of Butthole Surfers, combine that with the guitar rave ups of Helios Creed, and then play some straight up FM radio rock in the distant background (Allman Brothers "cover" not withstanding), and you get the idea.
The three dudes on this particular recording have spent time in the following (very impressive) bands; Butthole Surfers, Big Boys, Scratch Acid, Rapeman, Didjits, Ministry, Euripides Pants, DDT, Jackofficers, Areola 51, and Honky. Pretty good right? Also this was produced by Paul Leary, and has guest drumming on a couple tracks by King Coffey, in case those band names weren't enough for you.
I will say, if you are turned off by guitars soloing, and soloing, and soloing, you might want to stay away, but if you enjoy a good six string freak out, then this one is for you.

*Originally posted 01-13-10, reposted 04-22-15


Blind Idiot God - Blind Idiot God

Label: SST
Year: 1987

All instrumental, but only half good I'm sorry to report. You see, this band had a good thing going, and that was a brutal strain of pounding rock. They sound not unlike Zeni Gevi or even Head Of David with an SST twist, real nasty, merciless type stuff. The type of stuff I like a lot.
But then...oh boy...then. Then they had to go and put a bunch of "dub" tracks on the second half of the record. For the love of god, why? It's the same question everybody asked the Bad Brains, "hey Bad Brains, you guys sure do rock out real good, so what's with all these super shitty reggae songs polluting your records and live sets?". Remember asking them that? Well, same thing here. Why fuck up the momentum of a scorching rock record with some watered down faux-reggae dub bullshit? Why? Are you a rastafarian? No? That's strange, cause I assumed a bunch of white guys from St. Louis would be, and that would explain your attempt to re appropriate from that culture. But you're not, and by the way, that culture is fucking retarded, so why ape it anyway?
Ugh, please don't get me on a reggae tangent. I seriously find that shit to be the most revolting of all musical styles, and the lifestyle that accompanies it even worse. Ugh.
So Blind Idiot God sorta messed up with the dub stuff. That's okay, it's not the end of the world. I mean, hell, Godflesh did it, and they're still spoken about in hushed reverence. I think Blind Idiot Gods finer qualities will also carry the day.

*Originally posted 06-08-10, reposted 04-22-15


Re-ups, and re-ups, and re-ups!

I have gone back through the emails we've received over the last year requesting that we re-up certain old posts, and while you know I find that tedious to do, you also know I am a big ole softy at heart and generally a "people pleaser". So, I have dug up a handful of those requested items and will be re-posting them today. Hopefully that makes those folks who asked happy. Get 'em while they're hot and all that though, cause once an item has been posted a second time, that's pretty much it.

There are still about 10 or so things that were requested that either I don't have (they were originally posted by someone else), or I don't have them readily available (for example Dead Low Tide, the Loud and Ugly compilations, and the Fiesta Comes Alive compilation), and those I will try and get to. Especially the Loud and Ugly 7"s, since those have been requested by numerous people, and truthfully speaking, they are two of my all time favorite records, so I kinda don't mind.

Ok, there you go. A little housecleaning this morning. Have a great day wherever you are, and we will be back tomorrow with something new (to the blog anyway) to post.

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thrones - Late For Dinner

Label: Conspiracy
Year: 2010

Two songs of total clear-cutting, deforesting, steamrolling, bulldozing power. Sorry, I should have said POWER.The only way Joe Preston knows how (unless you count the OTHER only way he knows how, the noisy washes of guitar experimentation...but just hold off on that for now.). It's a brutal Melvins/Harvey Milk/C Average styled full frontal assault. It's Thrones at their (his) most accessible, very much a straightforward heavy sludge that feels so incredibly right. Perfect almost.
About halfway through the second song ("Trmph Lfe"), when Joe downshifts to a half speed knuckle-dragger, you'll be hard pressed not to punch a hole in whatever wall is closest to you at the time. I love it!

All hail Joe Preston!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Genki Genki Panic - Ghoulie High Harmony

Label: self released
Year: 2015

First off, not the music I had expected that serial misanthrope and friend of the blog, Chris (last name withheld for legal reasons) would come out with as the follow up to the criminally underrated Uncle Touchy's scraping hardcore noise rock. Second off, I underestimated just how great of a guitar player Chris really is...dude can work it out.
So, just what exactly IS this foreign and unexpected music?
Try, instrumental surf rock with a pronounced horror theme and a darker influence. Like, if Link Wray was paying tribute to the golden beaches of southern California, Genki Genki Panic is paddling out in the muddy toxic soup of southern New Jersey. No tiki dolls and girls in bikini's, unless it's the Bride of Frankenstein choking out Gidget in the shore break.
What I like the most on this record is that you can tell the band has punk roots, and you hear the Agent Orange, or Rocket From The Crypt styled frenetic energy pulsing out of each serpentine guitar run. On the surface, it's good time fun music, cowabunga and all that, but just below the water line there's a scum covered sea monster lurking to pull you off your board and into the black depths.
Beyond your Dick Dales, and Ventures, and Duane Eddy's and the aforementioned Dick Dale, I'm not too versed in this music, so I'm not sure if there isn't an underground current that Genki Genki Panic have tapped into. Probably is I suppose, but for someone who doesn't usually listen to it, this record is an adrenaline shot that I found highly enjoyable. It's no novelty, it's legit shit.

Also, points for the Boyz II Men reference.

Still waiting on Chris to send us the unreleased Uncle Touchy album too...

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