Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mutton - Mutton

Label: Self released
Year: 2013

The very definition of burly. An Australian noise rock band that comes hurling rocks and waving sticks indiscriminately at you, the poor listener, for no apparent reason but their own twisted enjoyment. Everything about their approach is unhinged, threatening to fall about at any moment, or simply explode the speakers straining to keep all that blunt force trauma in tact.
Whatever is happening "down under" (I mean, I know what's happening down under on my own body...and it's vile to say the least, but in this instance I mean in a geographical sense) must be in some way bizarre, cause Mutton fit into a lineage of other twisted, nasty, brutish Australian bands who've come before: Lubricated Goat, Feedtime, Scul Hazards, Cosmic Psychos, King Snake Roost, Bushpig (part Australian...still counts), Slub, and Grong Grong. Bands that sound genuinely menacing, like, in an actual fistfight you're going to get at minimum one tooth knocked out. Minimum.
Drano vocals, overdriven rhythms, and an overall gut punch of a's fucking what you want man. Trust me. If you're a Pissed Jeans fan, go for this. Again, trust me.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Double Boar - Wrong / Friction Circus 7"

Label: Bovine
Year: 1993

The year and label should be enough. Should be.
If not, try the personnel:
Bob Schaeffer - Festering Rinyanons, Virgo Snakes on bass and vocals
Tim Mescher - Tar, Blatant Dissent on bass (right...the other bass)
Todd Rittmann - U.S. Maple, Mercury Players, D. Rider on guitar
Mike Waterman - on drums (I'm sure he's done awesome other stuff...please fill me in)
Brad Wood - King Kong, Tortoise, Shrimp Boat recorded it
So, there.
Only complaint you could possible lodge with management is that this is limited to two songs. Two gloriously nasty and ugly songs.


Empty Flowers - V

Label: Atomic Action!
Year: 2013

You had me at "members of Cable". But truth be told, this band is made up of one half Cable and the other half Zodiak (who themselves had members of Balboa and Rosetta…will the circle be unbroken, by and by lord, by and by), and it doesn't showcase the bombast and howling rage that were hallmarks of Cable. Which stinks in a way cause I love that stuff, but in reality it's great cause..there was already a Cable and now there's something new. New is good.
Empty Flowers are coming from a different, albeit related, direction. There are all the hallmarks of the rock music you (we) like, the big guitar, the driving rhythm section, and vocals that have a sense of urgency, all the stuff that combines to make "good music" (patent pending). On this particular record, the elements take on a marked mid 90's emo (and please understand I mean the emo that isn't a bad word kind of emo…not the squealing, hand silk screened, basement, paper bag shit) bend. Like, Shiner, or Boilermaker for example. And there's another sorta post hardcore/emo band from that time frame that they share a similar sound to, but I cannot think of their name for the life of me, and it's fucking killing me! Arrgh! Bluetip comes to mind, but that's not the band I was trying to think of.
But, regardless of my oatmeal memory, the point is, Empty Flowers are capable of some really memorable moments of mature (alliteration!) rock music, that echo with sounds from your past (as well as theirs), but craft a new version of what made that music special the first time around. It's no nostalgia trip, it's simply people of a certain age revisiting some influences of a certain age that if you'll no doubt find some common ground with.


Monday, April 27, 2015

V/A - Our Band Could Be Your Life - A Tribute To D Boon and the Minutemen

Label: Little Brother
Year: 1996

Let's start by me telling you this, and it might rub you the wrong way...but..."I don't think the Minutemen were all that great". They were "fine" I guess. And maybe I was too stupid to "get it", or whatever, but ultimately they did and/or do, very little for me. They have a handful of really good songs, and a bunch of alright songs, and fair amount of shitty songs. Not a bad record per se, just not essential to these ears.
A lot of people are way into the Minutemen, and think they were very "important" or something to that extent, and that's fine, I'm sure they are very important to some folks. No one here is saying they're no good, or that they didn't contribute to this or that, or that we can't collectively respect what they accomplished in their time on earth.
I just like fIREHOSE better, that's all.
So then why am I posting this long ass album of other bands playing Minutemen songs? Good question.
Honestly, it's not a bad question at all.
I'll have to think about it for a minute and get back to you.

There's too many bands to list, but the ones you have a better chance of ever having head of before are:
Oswald Five-O
Meat Puppets
Nels Cline Trio
Overwhelming Colorfast
Free Kitten
Thurston Moore
Joe Baiza
The Meices
Lou Barlow
D Boon (hey, that's not fair!)
Minutemen (for real, that's not fair!)

*originally posted 03-23-10, reposted 04-27-15


Friday, April 24, 2015

Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends - The Enemy Of Everyone

Label: Seismic Wave Entertainment
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...


Thursday, April 16, 2015

My America - Hurry Up And Chill

Label: self released
Year: 2010

I'm excited by this band, even though I'm late to the party (read about them on Noisey today...that's how far behind I am). They have a new record coming out soon which I'm very much looking forward to, but in the meantime jump on the retroactive bandwagon with me! 2010 wasn't THAT long ago, it's cool, we can still be sorta in on shit. There are older releases out there to seek out as well, but let's focus today on this particular one.
Most immediate comparison to my (calloused) ears is: JJ Paradise Players Club. Not that this is a cover band or anything, but they seem to share the same DNA in so much as they play a frighteningly aggressive hybrid of noise rock influenced hardcore. The guitars are very loud and sufficiently gnashing and ripping. The vocals are feral roars from behind the basement furnace, documenting a litany of complaints and transgressions. The song structures can swing violently from stomping mid tempo broils, to half time sludgy workouts, and some meth'd out speed freak moments. I appreciate that My America aren't afraid to veer into some more metallic territory when the song warrants a little chugging abrasion. Again, it's a lot of the same elements that made JJ Paradise Players Club so fucking rages and is mean and nasty, but at the same time there's nothing disposable about it. The songs linger in your head after the record plays out...and until you inevitably play it again.
Definitely a band to keep tabs on...know that someone was nice enough to bring them to my attention 11 years after the fact. One day I'll get current...eventually.
Highly recommended.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Railroad Jerk - The Third Rail

Label: Matador
Year: 1996

Apologies for the absence the last few days, but I have been out of town, followed by out of my gourd sick. Sorry dudes (and lady).
When you heard the band Spoon for the first time, did you think to yourself  "dang, that's a Railroad Jerk rip-off"? No? Me neither. I only thought that after I revisited Railroad Jerk in the early 2000's after having not thought about them for many years. I'm not the clever.
But really the Spoon comparison is but one element of the band's sound. They built on a bluesy base, and injected some garage punk energy, and some NYC "cool" (however quantifiable that may be). This, their final album (not including an unreleased fifth record), shows a more tempered approach, with some genuine melodies and catchy hooks mixed in to the gutter scraping booze rock. You can hear a bit of the John Spencer Blues Explosion, some Alice Donut, some Royal Trux, some Mekons, and some of the folk junk Beck material, if you need the comparisons. Truly, Railroad Jerk don't sound like anyone in particular, which is a novel concept, but makes it hard to describe their sound if you're as lazy as I am. Bottom line is, they delivered one of the great unheralded indie rock records of the 1990's with this one (even though most people would say the album before, "One Track Mind" has the big hits, but I am partial to this one). Chances are, you'll find something in this album that you love too.
A couple members went on to form White Hassle. Bassist Tony Lee was in Motherhead Bug and a brief stint in Lubricated Goat.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Playing Enemy - I Was Your City

Label: Hawthorn Street
Year: 2005

The virtual kaleidoscope of riffs and rhythms that followed in the wake of Deadguy (that followed in the wake of Today Is The Day) and begat the late 90s "noisecore" sound was a witchy woman. She could congeal into bruising blasts of frenetic bombast, or degenerate into wanking collections of unrelated sounds strung together for what appeared to be nothing more than shock value. It took a steady hand to coral these riffs into a song that became both effectively gnarly, and memorably...uh..gnarly.

Having the rhythm section of Kiss It Goodbye (and Rorschach prior to that) doesn't hurt at all. They helped refine singer/guitarist Demian Johnston's ideas as he was coming out of Nineironspitfire (who owed quite a debt to Kiss It Goodbye/Deadguy themselves) and took his spastic guitar work and focused the songs into much more flowing, complete works. Bassist Thom Rusnak left the band prior to 'I Was Your City', but the band had by that time established their own version of noisecore that was less reliant on 100-riffs-per-song, and more so on discordant waves of mutilation (Pixies ref...who would of thunk it?). The result was almost a direct continuation of what Kiss It Goodbye was doing, but with Johnston's more straightforward lyrical bite (as opposed to Tim Singer's scathing vitriol). Good shit that rose above the din of bands of that era trying desperately to "out ironic" each other and pack a million ideas into each song.

A label called Corpse Flower pressed this on limited vinyl a year ago, but it's gone (as far as I can tell).


Helmet -- Biscuits For Smut ep

Label: Interscope
Year: 1994

Well Clark, the last time you was here, you commented on how much you liked mine...
People seemed to like the last Helmet post, even the ladies chimed in with approval. What's up ladies? I see you!
So, here's another ep from the "Betty" era, or as we previously discussed "the last time I cared about Helmet era", complete with de riguer "remix" that was so hot back then. Damn you Judgement Night soundtrack and your mixing of rock and rap! Damn you straight to hades!
It's Helmet, I mean, what the fuck? Fucking get on this. Fuck.

*Originally posted 03-09-10, reposted 04-07-15



Monday, April 6, 2015

Isis - Sawblade ep

Label: Hydra Head
Year: 1999

This era of Isis, shit, this era of Hydra Head, could do no wrong as far as I could see. Total crushing, total suffocation, total riffage. Isis were insanely heavy at that point, and while still greatly indebted to Neurosis (which, if we're being honest, isn't a bad thing to be indebted to), they were beginning to mold that influence into a newly fashioned, colder, and more brutish form.
And the two covers they perform hear absolutely bookend their influences to a tee. The mechanized grinding pulverization of Godflesh's 'Street Cleaner' demonstrates their desire to explore the droning pound of the "big riff" as a repetitious assault. And the hazy swinging boogie of Black Sabbath's 'Hand Of Doom' show that Isis had a firm grasp of where that "big riff" originated in the first place.

Originally this four song ep was literally bolted as a cd to the back of a saw blade and sold on tour with...who else? Neurosis. Later, Tortuga Records pressed it as a clear vinyl 12", and ultimately the songs would show up on cd versions of ep rereleases and the Hydra Head 'In These Black Days' Black Sabbath covers series. So, maybe you've had these tunes over the years, but here they are in their original glory.

Also, totally unrelated to Isis, as I write this Crystal Palace are up 2-0 on Manchester City in what would be a beautiful upset (first goal being offsides notwithstanding), and would keep my Red Devils in third place going into the Manchester Derby. C'mon Crystal Palace!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Craw - Live at The Brighton Bar, Logbranch NJ - 06-08-96

Label: Bandcamp
Year: 2015

By now maybe you have heard about a Kickstarter campaign that aims to release the first three Craw albums on double vinyl? Have you? The initial version of that campaign didn't hit its goals (cause the world is mostly Philistines), but they are regrouping  and will be launching a second version on Kickstarter soon that you should look into. I mean, if you're here, you should be there too.

So, in the run up to that box set, the impetus behind the project, a guy named Hank Schteamer has put up a Bandcamp page with some Craw material to get the proverbial juices flowing, and my own personal juices (gross...sorry) get the most flowing (again...just nasty) over this live set from 1996 in N.J. Craw material is so tough to come by, that a fully intact show of better-than-average bootleg sound quality, well, that's just some of that ole manna from heaven shit, isn't it? Getting to hear the band twist, turn and squeeze every last ounce of power out of the 35+ minute set is a genuine treat. Honestly. I only got to see the band once, and maybe in was 1996, I can't really remember the date, but I do remember being in awe that they could muster up so much intensity and brawn in a tiny room in front of a small and (as was typical of a college town crowd on a weeknight) mostly ambivalent audience. The music comes across so percussive in nature, the song dynamics push you back and forth, and those vocals...those are an instrument in and of themselves. Lyrically, it's as if that weird old Vietnam Vet homeless dude is berating you with his conspiracy theories about "bugs" and whatnot on the street corner, but sonically he wails and groans and barking take on a musicality that accentuate the bombast the band provide. It's truly an incredible mix of performers, the likes of which are seldom seen. Like, you could say, "Dude, Craw was super good, let's write some songs that sound like they did", and you would never even come close. Nobody could. They had an aura about them that you can't duplicate, not that you should anyway, but it would never sound the same. It boggles the mind how Craw as slipped through the cracks. It's criminal.

If you agree, then you need to hope on the boxset bandwagon and keep the Craw fires burning bright.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Fall - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong, 39 Golden Greats

Label: Beggars Banquet
Year: 2004

"If there is one thing I can't stomach, it's all that retrospective shite. That's something that I have never been into and never will. It represents a trainspotter mentality, little men collecting things. I don't like that at all"
 - Mark E. Smith 2003
So then chalk up this two disc collection, subtitled "The Very Best of the Fall 1978-2003" as yet another thing that Mark E. Smith hates. Add it to the very long and rapidly growing list.
But in reality, to someone approaching this band now, The Fall's discography isn't just daunting, it's downright impenetrable. There are dozens upon dozens upon dozens of releases to sort through, not including the live albums, the compilations, and all that. It's a lot to digest. A compendium of the band's long career is not only justified, it's almost a necessity. Who has the space in their house for all those records?!
You're in luck then. This survey here will take you on a chronological guided tour across an essential band's essential tunes. Starting with their very first single, "Repetition" through the 2003 release "Green Eyed Loco Man". Listen as Mr. Smith (the main Fall guy, no relation to Lee Majors) hones in on a cutting, sharp angularity of repetitive jags which pull you into his dark Mancunian slur (an instrument in and of itself). The wry wit and piercing jabs find their targets early and often, keeping the legion of bands who have tried to assimilate this particular sound at bay. Think about how contrary the band sounded to their punk rock peers in 1978, as the Fall eschewed the grandstanding sloganeering and revved up garage rock of Sex Pistols, Stranglers, Chelsea, or Generation X, and instead deployed droning lurches of black humor and acerbic hatred. And look where it got them...30 years later and Fall are still kicking about in some form or fashion, and Billy Idol is relegated to the County Fair Greatest Hits circuit (Rebel Yell indeed).

DL - disc 1

DL - disc 2

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Smile - Amanita / Staring At The Sun 7"

Label: Nemesis
Year: 1991

Did you know that Smile was the original name of the band Queen? Fun fact.
This is a different Smile. This is the OC post hardcore band of the same name. The Helmet influenced post hardcore band. The one that had members of Headfirst, Big Drill Car, and Fu Manchu. The one that had a major label dalliance in the mid 90's when major labels were super convinced that the next Nirvana was playing all ages shows in SOME city SOMEwhere.

Not many people seemed to have heard Smile back when they were a band, for whatever reason. I would cite "grunge fatigue" (possible new band name!), but this 7" was on the front end of any grunge movement, and subsequent releases got more and more "rock" and less grunge anyway. So, I'm just not sure. Generic band name? Don't know.

I'm open to suggestions.

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