Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Used To Look Like Sean Penn But Then I Grew Up

You probably haven't been around long enough to know this (I realize not everyone's as old as Tim Hinely), but when bands like Killdozer and Drunks With Guns first started coming out, a few writers took the obvious angle that they were "anti-hardcore bands": like, thrash was supposed to be fast, and these bands were seemingly playing as slow as possible, so they must be trying to sound like the opposite of hardcore, right? I'm not sure if that was really the case (I'm also not sure that Byron Coley actually liked Lost Generation, either, but the review he wrote sure seemed like it), but if Killdozer sounded like anything early-on it was probably like a good American knock-off of the Birthday Party. Although hardcores like myself didn't know it at the time, I mean, who knew about the Birthday Party back then, other than they were some band that Tim Yohannan made fun of once (fuck MRR, too). To me, they just sounded like some cool Wisconsin rock band, contemporaries of Die Kreuzen and Couch Flambeau and Mecht Mensch and so forth. Sounds like a pretty good scene to me. Then Killdozer got older and everyone started liking their Neil Diamond and Black Oak covers, so they started putting one those on every record, which got old really quick and so they descended into some sort of novelty act, like Shel Silverstein does Flipper, or something. This single ("The Pig Was Cool") came out long after they kicked one of the brothers out, which kinda sucked. I've never bothered to listen to the EMF cover on the flipside and I'm not about to start now.

Killdozer -

"The Pig Was Cool"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Once You Realize That You're Not Doing Anything Special, You'll Be Okay

It's a wonder that I caught onto this record at all, since I don't really dig the first four tracks and at times the singer's voice reminds me of some song by Rash of Stabbings (you don't know who they are, but that's not a compliment). Then the fifth track, "Steady Hands", kicks in and sounds a lot like something that would've been on Ace of Hearts or one of those Propeller compilations -- like Busted Statues or Art Yard, totally -- and I'm completely sold on this record from there on out. Oh look, I'm comparing an Austin band to a bunch of bands from Boston, that's really brilliant of me.

Been waiting weeks for this one, or ever since I saw Cottaging in Providence and they pinned my ears back, leaving me wondering why I hadn't really been paying attention to them before (I guess being the only band left out of the whole Cult Maternal mess that's any good will do that) (or being in Impose, there's the fuckin' kiss of death). Live, they were some kind of alloy of Rifle Sport/Tar/Man-Sized Action -- i.e., tuff Midwest-Chicagoland style rock -- tho' on record they're a lot closer to pre-disko TV Ghost or any wunna those Cramps/Birthday Party type bands, I suppose, only with lotsa of other weird sounds/fucked-up hiss and industrial-noise shit added on top. Don't let my lack of unique vocabulary fool you, this is total pummeling swellsville from start to finish. I mean, New England isn't even really all that good (not as long as Chris Prorock still lives there) but if Cottaging isn't one of New England's top handful of bands then I haven't been getting out often enough, I guess.

I don't want to be the first person to compare DeGreaser to one of Timmy Vulgar's projects, although judging by the press kit, apparently I am. And while there's no way that "Rougher Squalor" carries any of Timmy's, um, nuance, a lot of this does sound like "Monster Walk", for instance. Which is to say, your appreciation for loudness, filth, and the excessive use of wah-wah pedals will probably have a huge role in whether or not you like this record.

Heavy alt-rock, like a cross between Bush and some shoegazey band, with a singer who sounds just like that jerkoff from Jane's Addiction. I'm probably making this out to be a lot worse than it really is, because this is way better than most albums I've heard where the songs are all five minutes long and sound a lot like any number of songs that I've already heard before.

Monofonus Press is one of my favorite labels, or they came out with that goofy John Wesley Coleman LP a couple of years back that I really liked a lot, at least, and they've had something-or-other to do with The Rebel/Country Teasers. This one took me totally out of left field (like Darrell Johnson benching Bernie Carbo) because I'm not usually looking for this sort of stuff -- meaning trippy psych-krautrock space jams from long-haired bands out of Italy -- but I wouldn't be listening to this Trans Upper Egypt album if I didn't really like it, especially with that killer new Breakout 7" laying just few feet away, practically begging to be listened to. Beats the fuck outta me how to describe this, what the fuck do I look like, Everett True? Fuck that guy.

Straight up, there's like two or three really good songs on this album, I'm not kidding. Not sure how they're getting away with calling this band "The Pagans" (it's a couple guys who were in Keel plus the piano tech from Whitesnake, I'm pretty sure), but "I Want a Date", "I Just Got Up", and "Detention Home" are damn-near ball-crunchers. Then there's a remake of "(Us And) All Of Our Friends Are So Messed Up", which actually tops the one on "Family Fare" (the last studio-recorded 'album' by the Pagans before this one, I think? (???)), except that Mike Hudson's voice is more phlegmy than snotty now, but still, he's great to hear. Dude's a legend in my lifetime, if you're not up on The Pagans then I don't know what the fuck you're doing. There's some lengthy spoken-word-over-Peter-Laughner-style tracks that are way worse than anything on that (similar but actually good) Hudson-Styrene album, maybe they should've scrapped those and pressed the rest to vinyl with a shitty xerox sleeve and it would've made one of the best 7"-ers of the year, or at least one of 2014's biggest surprises. Which is a whole lot better than "8 tracks in a .zip file that only Byron Coley and some smelly old misdirected newspaper writers will spend time listening to".

Mocking the press release when reviewing a record is generally not a good idea -- I mean, who among us hasn't been embarrassed by something they'd written when they were younger/not concentrating? Certainly not me, and that's just the six times so far tonight -- but the one for this record is so stupid ("punk isn't dead, it just has an identity crisis") that it almost makes you not wanna listen to it. Which would be too bad, because the record itself is pretty good. If you're into the whole Dirtnap Records/Ramones-core thing (Steve Adamyk Band, Marked Men, etc etc) but find yourself sometimes leaning towards something darker with heavier riffs like Nervosas maybe, then Neighborhood Brats should be your deal. And I'd offer Deranged to write their press releases for them, but between celebrity judge appearances on Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Battle of the Bands and updating this blog once a month, my hands are kinda full these days.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

There's People I Know Who'll Bug Me The Rest Of My Life

Counter Intuits is Ron House (TJSA, Psandwich, etc) and Jared Phillips (Times New Viking) collaborating on lo-fi rock shit, which, if you're anything like me, seems like a great idea the minute you hear about it. There was a full album last year, "Sheet of Hits", which I don't actually own, and then this tape, which came out earlier this year as an edition of 100. Most of this sounds pretty much like what you'd expect -- cheaply-recorded falling-apart rock -- but then there's the four-minute-long "Deep Storage Space" which could be some lost Gene Clark or Gram Parsons nugget and fits in pretty well alongside some of Ron's Great Plains/solo output. The same lab' is also working on a Mordecai tape, which you'll be able to pick up soon from Floridas Dying, and that one seems like a great idea, too.

Counter Intuits -

"Password (Is Password)"

Saturday, October 11, 2014

This Is What Parties Must've Been Like Before All The Squares Took Over

Apparently there's an Action Swingers bandcamp page now, to go along with the somewhat-of-a-reissue 7" that came out on Total Punk last year, as well as the "Quit While You're Ahead" LP vinyl issue due out on In The Red next year. Which probably means I'm falling behind with capitalizing on the Action Swingers resurgence by posting the one piece of Action Swingers vinyl that I own (other than that shitty Noiseville comp), the "Fear of A Fucked Up Planet" 7" -- a Public Enemy reference, presumably, though if it's not I'm still gonna say that it is. "Fear of A Fucked Up Planet" isn't nearly as good as the TV Eye ripoff "Kicked In The Head", but not much is anyway, and besides it's still a pretty good chunk of dirt-and-fuzz-laden junk rock presuming you don't really know any better. I'm chickening out and posting just a Bandcamp link here instead of an actual vinyl rip, so as to not deprive Ned Hayden of any well-deserved funds. Ex-members of Pussy Galore, B.A.L.L., Velvet Monkeys, Dinosaur Jr, Toto, Billy & The Beaters, Rupert Holmes' touring band (one of those I just made up, something that you'll find happens fairly frequently around here). Preparing to watch those Google hits rack up starting right now, brother.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

If We Bury You Ass-Up I'll Have A Place To Park My Bike

I tend to be wary whenever some indie band starts getting heralded as "The Return of Real Rock", since it starts giving me visions of The Cult's "Sonic Temple" updated with modern production values. That's not quite the level that "Chrome Cactus" is aiming for -- The Young are still well inside the boundaries of Bruno-rock, which is the Double-A minor leagues as opposed to the state-fairs-and-casinos circuit that Merchandise will be moving towards shortly -- although "Cry of Tin" does have cowbell in it, so you can never be too careful. This is still a decent album (much better than "Tim", at least, which it probably owes a reasonable amount of debt to), even if after a couple of weeks of listening to it I was down to about three tracks that I actually liked.

This is a pretty muscular rock record that's bound to draw comparisons to Jesus Lizard, even if Yes I'm Leaving's approach is a lot more straight-forward than that, i.e. there's no real sense that the guy singing is going to drop his pants or anything. I tried to imagine this as sounding like a Bastro record, since it's got some of the over-the-top-ness of "Diablo Guapo" for instance (loud drums, heavy bass), but the lack of any tangible math-rock shiftiness torpedoed that theory, too. Actually most of this sounds like an Australian version of a less-political Killing Joke, which probably doesn't sound all that exciting; I mean, it's not like there's a ton of Killing Joke revivalists roaming around out there, at least in my neck of the woods (besides, didn't Metallica pretend to like Killing Joke for a while? christ). And so while I'm not sure if anyone is even asking for an Australian version of a less-political Killing Joke, there's one available for when someone eventually does.

I've never thought of 12XU as a thrash label (tangent: how did all those '80s Youth Crew bands miss the point that Minor Threat covered freakin' WIRE? Most of those Revelation-style bands didn't think beyond anything more experimental than the unreleased Justice League album), but the a-side to this sounds like it could've been lifted straight from one of those Double Negative "Hardcore Confusion" seven-inches, and I'm not even slightly joking -- the guitar sound is that beefy. "The Knife" is great, too, dropping-in some pop-punk hooks almost like a Teenage Bottlerocket record or something. I'm probably making this sound like it's some awful garbage, but it's not, it's actually pretty fuckin' awesome.

I'm psyched as hell for the Cottaging 12" that's coming out on Wharf Cat any day now, but this Ukiah Drag outfit -- which is practically the same band as Cottaging, meaning most the same guys, just on different instruments -- isn't doing shit for me. Kinda weird, kinda spaced-out rock stuff, some of this sounds like a guy sat down in the studio to work on a few things and by mistake they put it on a record. If you took the best parts (like most of "Final Prayer") and threw John Brannon's voice onto them they'd sound almost exactly like Laughing Hyenas, but even that isn't all that great. I saw them live once, and I was equally puzzled.

For a while now I've been making the case that The Gotobeds are sorta like Obits and Tyvek mixed together, but then the other day I went back and listened to some This Moment In Black History stuff that's been on my computer ("Cleveland Finger" I think) and thought, "a-ha! maybe that's a better comparison!", but really none of it is, The Gotobeds are too clever for that. As a test I flipped through all of the tracks here, one after another really fast, to check if any of them sounded alike to each other and darned if none of 'em do. Same sounding voice and drums and guitar, obviously, but like Kick Boy Face said, "there's no style", it doesn't sound like The Gotobeds are intentionally trying to sound like any particular anyone else, and if that doesn't seem all that remarkable to you then I've got a whole bunch of really shitty Soundcloud promo links for you to check out. No doubt "Poor People Are Revolting" is one of The Rock Records of 2014, the kind that everyone with a medium-sized vinyl collection will probably own (my own collection's pretty small, someday I'll get around to working on it), but don't take my word for it, there's that guy who compares every band like this to Pavement and Parquet Courts, for instance.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keith Hernandez Looks So Much Younger Without A Mustache

When I got the new Half Japanese record in the mail, they put a pack of Sour Punch candy in the box, which I thought was kinda neat. It's good to know that record labels are looking out for you. I mean, a can of chicken noodle soup would've been a lot healthier, but it probably would've broken the record.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Killed Byron Coley With My Big Fuckin' Thread Title

Issue #3 of Incremental Decrepitude out now

PayPal your address and 94 cents to rock_in_my_shoe @

or see me at a show and ask for one

There's only one staple, because staples are what The Man uses to hold us down
--copier paper

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Rock Is In The Wrong Cradle

If you haven't already picked up Birth of Flower's "Deity" in any of its earlier incarnations -- shitty CD-R, Bandcamp files, half-formulated cassette tape -- then now's your chance to own it on vinyl, and you really should try to get a copy of it somehow (whichever format you chose) because it's definitely one of the best recordings to come out of Connecticut in the past whenever-years or so, or since any of you can remember at least. I realize that my saying Birth of Flower are Connecticut's best band (circa 2012-2014) doesn't carry much weight anymore, now that I no longer live in Connecticut, but maybe I can say that they're one of the best live bands coming out of New England right now and still get away with it. You can buy the alb from them for ten bucks in person, or from any of the better record stores around CT (Redscroll, Willimantic), or I think they've even figured out how to sell you a copy of the vinyl through the 'merch' tab on Bandcamp now. If you go to their Bandcamp page -- google 'The Horrible Truth About Flower', it's not the actual best way to get there but it's funny -- you can even swipe a free download of the album (and all of their other records, too) while you're visiting, which is a pretty easy thing for you to do right now, seeing as you're already on the internet. I mean, have I ever steered you wrong before? Probably, I guess.

Birth of Flower -


Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Can Barely See The Road

One of the few interesting things to show up unannounced in my mailbox back when I was doing Brushback in the late '90s was a Thee Psychic Hearts single, which had practically no information on it (blank label, almost nothing on the sleeve other than a sticker) but featured an amazing song called "The Tongue of The Killer" -- a six-minute b-side, no less -- that had a weird false ending and was as hooky and anthemic as all get-out, sounding somewhat like Portastatic crossed with some of the other experimental indie-rock stuff that was happening in San Diego at the time (Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession). It was actually released under the name "Thenceforth Psychichearts", but whatever, that's just someone being a little too cute. I still have the single, but it's way too scratchy to post here, so in its place I'm posting the first Thee Psychic Hearts single, which I bought some time later. I still don't know exactly when either of these singles came out-- I'm just guessing from memory that it was '97/'98 or so. This one maybe isn't up to the same level of quality as the other single, but there are still some points of interest; "Post Meredian" (which I think should actually be spelled "Post-Meridian" but, again, the lack of info isn't helping) is your basic mopey Shrimper-metal with a drum machine, while "Frenching" starts off by mimicking the opening riff from "Cradle Will Rock" and finishes with a locked groove. The picture of a toilet is an actual Polaroid slid into the sleeve, with the band's address and phone number hand-written across the back with a marker, which is how I know that this was Sean Brooks -- later of Minmae -- if that helps you at all. Didn't think so.

Thee Psychic Hearts -

"Post Meredian"


Saturday, July 26, 2014

If The Universe Is Just Us Then That's An Awful Waste Of Space

Here's the Blessed State interview that ran in Incremental Decrepitude #2, which not a lot of people saw (completely by their own choice, I understand) so I figured I'd scan it and post it here. As usual, you can right-click on the images a couple of times to make them bigger. Blessed State have a week-long tour out to Milwaukee and back coming up in August, and their "Head Space" EP came out on Safety Meeting on June 24th. I'm not gonna say 'dropped' because that's so Anthony Fantano/'90s MTV. Anyway, the rec is pressed on 12" 45, which is pretty neat, and as you can see from the pic below -- which I stole from the Safety Meeting website -- it looks pretty snazzy, too. Here's the first couple of tracks from the EP, and you can also listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp. People can 'follow' each other on Bandcamp now, did you know that? Weird.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Run Into The Woods A Lot To Lick The Toads

It took me long enough to get around to posting the Kitty Badass CD, mostly because I'm full-on dumb and lazy and partly because CDs are just pieces of boring plastic. Well, they're nice for the car, I'll give them that, only just not as fun to take pictures of when you've got a blog, or something. I'm pretty sure "One Cell At A Time" was pressed up as a 12", too, though for the life of me I've never seen one. Kitty Badass were definitely one of the better Connecticut bands of their time, only to have mostly escaped notice as the years have passed; their ability to meld off-kilter melodies with tempos that effortlessly shifted gears (from almost indie-pop to almost-thrash) lead to some killer hooks, and the first six tracks on this album, as a group, match up fairly evenly with anything else that came out of CT in the last half of the '90s. Of course, I'm going to be a dick by only posting four of the six songs here, though this CD shouldn't be a hard one to track down (I think Elevator was having a fire sale not too long ago, you can pick up that J.C. Superska 7" while you're at it) anyway.

Kitty Badass -

"Brand New Vampires"

"New Vow"