Saturday, October 30, 2010

If I Don't Do It Now It Might Never Happen



Sleepwall's farewell EP didn't draw too much notice when it was released at the end of last year, not that I'm pointing fingers, since I only just bought the record myself. Maybe people decided to overlook this one because they figured that since the band had broken up they'd most likely faded away with a bunch of crappy slow songs on their last record, like a lot of bands have done, but no, this is full of the same total Treepeople excess ("what a bunch of hardcores would sound like after they've moved onto something else") as the first two Sleepwall singles. The recording on this on is a lot stronger than on their earlier records, also, though that might be because it's coming through on a 12" 45. Sometimes this sounds like "Burning In Water" mixed with the good parts of "Fate's Got a Driver", but no matter how you want to describe it, it pretty much rocks the whole way through (though I sorta wish the drummer had played the last track, "You Got Me Bummin'", a bit more straight-up). Too bad I never got to see these guys, they probably woulda been alright.




Sleepwall -

"Since Third Year"








Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everybody's Pinned You But Nobody Cares



The first Dredd Foole 7" and the LP that followed it are two of my favorite records ever. I ended up losing contact with the 7" for the longest time (a fancy way of saying that some fucker stole it from me, or else I sold it), but I was eventually able to score another copy, which made me ecstatic because it's easily an all-time top-10 single for me. The a-side, "So Tough", has a great hook, with the guitar part sorta reminding me equally of the Byrds "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" and the Cockney Rejects "Bad Man". The b-side, "Sanctuary", is just flat-out awesome, starting out with one of the most unhinged whoops you'll ever hear before eventually fading out, nearly seven minutes and one pounding riff later, into a barely-recognizable version of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man". Like the sleeve says, "recorded on first impression". Great sleeve, too-- the back is upside-down, meaning that it folds out to a full 14" x 7" illustration when you open it up. A closer look at the sleeve reveals a bunch of names that I don't recognize comprising the back-up band; I'm told one of them was a future member of Kustomized, don't ask me which one, though.




Dredd Foole and The Din -

"So Tough"

"Sanctuary"


Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Am I Doing Here?



I've never been to The Warehouse before and I'll hopefully never have to go back, as the place looks like a Pizzeria Uno that somebody stripped before abandoning it, and the parking lot has more broken glass than Porcell's liquor cabinet (that's a joke, son, get over it)... still, if Medication are playing anywhere within 5 miles of my house, I'm going, even if no one bothered to hire a soundman for the night, which was kinda weird. Medication were solid, as always, despite the sound issues-- any Medication set is going to be the best 6 or 7 songs you could possibly hear at that moment... I think I've lost track of how many "ex-Dustheads" bands there are out there, Byrds of Paradise being one of them. Using Black Market Baby/D.C punk rock as a template and then adding a bunch of indie pop touches seems to be what they're doing, and even though they've got a couple of good songs, their success ratio so far is kinda low... plus their drummer has lots of hair-wag, lookin' like Dave Grohl in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video... from what I could tell the guitar player relies on effects pretty heavily, so not having proper sound in the building (plus the lead vocal mic ended up sounding like a dishwasher) didn't help Byrds of Paradise at all. I was taken back to the times when I'd go to the Anthrax and a band like Alice Donut, Shaved Pigs, or Porn Orchard would be on the bill, and instead of being enlightened by their "different approach", I'd just ended up getting annoyed... Circle Pit's new album is suitably all-over-the-place, sometimes sounding like a lazier No Age while still carrying plenty of thud, other times sounding laid-back and direct like Limes (not sure how I came up with that one). Their live set wasn't quite as hot-- the songs were still there, natch, but the duo had been turned into a Roxette-meets-Culture-Club five-piece, and the whole "we might be on heroin" gimmick gets boring anyway, making sleep seem like the better option, so by 1:00am I left... the best news of the night was finding out there's going to be at least one more show at Popeye's Garage (Tyvek, Terrible Twos, and Estrogen Highs on the 19th).


Byrds of Paradise -

"Omega Man"

Circle Pit -

"Another Trick"

Medication -

"Don't Die"














Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Hanging To The Floor



The Endtables stuff from 1979 was as ripe as anything else for re-issue, I guess, which is what Drag City did earlier this year, although Noise Pollution already did a pretty good job in releasing half of the songs on their "Bold Beginnings" compilation a few years ago. I'd never even heard of The Endtables until the Noise Pollution comp came out and Joe Stumble started talking them up on his blog, Last Days of Man on Earth (a totally excellent blog for "unheard" punk, by the way). Or, actually, that's when I found out that I had heard of The Endtables before; I'd seen David Grubbs do a cover of "Circumcision" at the very first Bastro show at CBGB's back around '87 or so, only Dave mumbled when he announced that the song was by The Endtables, so I thought he'd said Antietam. Well, at least I had the city right.

The six songs on this 12" represent the entirety of The Endtables' studio output; the CD version has a bunch of extra live songs on it, although I think Drag City is out of the CDs right now. Anyone who thinks a '79 punk band from Kentucky (with a six and a half foot cross-dressing lead singer, no less) couldn't possibly sound tough enough should buy this record and listen to the bludgeoning outro to "The Defectors", it'll change your mind.




The Endtables -

"White Glove Test"





Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've Given Up On This Place



I forget exactly how I got an mp3 copy of The Only Ghost In Town's "Like Candy"-- maybe from a post on Built on a Weak Spot, maybe from poking around on the Rok Lok website looking for info on the Weed Hounds split-- but anyway, I downloaded it to my computer back in July, maybe played it once, and then forgot all about it. Then a few weeks ago I listened to it again, just on a whim, only this time it got stuck in my head long enough to make me realize what an awesome friggin' song it is. There's a definite Summer Hits/Boyracer-type quality to the ghost-like vocals and drawn-out feedback throughout the song, and in fact, if you go back a couple of posts, it was listening to this tape that made me pull out the Four Letter Words compilation again. Most of the songs on the tape are rapid-fire (almost half of them aren't even two minutes long), and though The Only Ghost In Town seems firmly rooted in home-made '90s indie pop, this is way more rock than twee; sorta like Blanket/Sno*Boy or Incredible Force of Junior, if those names mean anything to you. Only 100 of these tapes were made, but I just bought mine a little more than two weeks ago, so there's definitely one left over for you. Pick up the Wax Phantom demo while you're there (roklokrecords.com), or buy it from somebody at least, it's pretty great.


The Only Ghost In Town -

"Shangri-La"

"Like Candy"





Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Will Become Strangers Faster Now



Popeye's Garage finished off their six-month run with a couple of strong local bills last weekend, including Field Recordings, Ghost of Chance, Dead Wives, and Escalator on Friday. This was actually my second time seeing Dead Wives (a local Danbury band) at Popeye's Garage; the first time was at the "Everybody Gets Rich" show back in July, which might've been Dead Wives' first show ever, even though they've existed as a home-recording project for a while now. The first time I saw them, I thought to myself, "wow, these guys are a dead ringer for a lot of the mid-90's Danbury area bands" (Creature Did, Atlas, Nevertheless, and so forth). The second time around, some Sebadoh, Dino Jr., and Guided By Voices started to creep into the equation, thought that was mostly because I'd since had a chance to listen to some of the demos. And while in person Dead Wives might not exactly bowl anyone over just yet-- the singer/guitarist can play a bit, but has almost no discernible singing ability, and the drummer constantly overplays himself-- the demos are a lot better than I expected. The transparently-titled "Lofi Daze" might be the catchiest song I've heard from any Connecticut band all year, even though it was recorded in '07, and "Crash Landing" is about as close to classic, early Nevertheless as you can get. I'm posting my three favorite Dead Wives tracks here, but there are several more on the two demos I have that are just as good. If any of these tracks interest you at all, you can download the most recent Dead Wives demo, "Demon Priest", in its entirety right here.

As I'd said before, I was looking forward to my first chance at seeing Ghost of Chance live, since their CD has some pretty decent Lilys/Teenage Fanclub-type songs on it (see "Jennifer", posted below, which has a hook and a half), but I think I'll have to see them again in a different room to get a better impression. Layers of sound, two guitars always doing different things, hushed vocals buried a bit in the mix, etc. etc-- it's an approach that works fine on the CD, but in a live setting I found myself wanting for something to grab onto, and not getting it. I'm not writing them off just yet, though, because I'm pretty sure the problem was with my ears, and not with Ghost of Chance.

The Field Recordings have a new album coming out, finally, called "The Elastic Nostalgia"; the photo shoot for the album cover was yesterday, though I don't know how it came out (actually, it's next week-- well, whatever). You can hear one of the tracks from the album ("We Will Become Strangers Faster Now", probably the track I like the most so far) on SoundCloud right now, though who knows how long it'll stay up. Although I don't think anything will top the last time I saw them at Larry's in Danbury, or the CT Indie house show before the cops showed up, their set on Friday was a pretty good example of what this band can accomplish on stage, even if the between-song jokes were kept to a minimum, and I don't remember them playing "Fixed Points" at all. Sometimes I walk around, looking at the merch and stuff, and I miss things like that.

Escalator played last, and their set was actually my favorite one of the night. It was sorta funny to see how the crowd situation was the reverse of what it had been up to that point; for the first three bands, everyone stood against the back of the room, but when Escalator played, everyone there was standing right up against the band (Stefan even crowd-surfed once). I think most people expect Escalator to be doom or sludge, because they're a two-piece, but they're really not; some of their riffs are about as speed-metal as a genuine hardcore band can get, and all of their songs are heavy and punchy as fuck. There's a new recording in the can, I'm told-- recorded somewhere in Brooklyn or NYC if I remember correctly-- and I can't wait to hear it, because when it comes out, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a monster.


Dead Wives -

"Horrified"

"Crash Landing"

"Lofi Daze"

The Field Recordings -

"Automatica"

Ghost of Chance -

"Jennifer"

Escalator -

"Phosphenes"
































Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Skin Off My Ass



The booklet for the "Going Against Maz's Advice" compilation has to be one of my favorite booklets ever: "Jangle, my ass!", "Fuck with Us and We Fuck with You", "Total Running Time: 15 Fucking Hours!" Plus the fact that the label is called Four-Letter Words, I mean, it still makes me chuckle every time I flip through it. Clumsily, I chopped up the booklet with a pair of scissors years ago, trying to make it fit into a jewel case so the compilation wouldn't keep getting lost in my CD tower (the compilation originally just came in a bag). How was I supposed to know that someday I'd eventually be scanning the cover for some internet bullshit. Fuck that.

"Beaches and Canyons" is a great lead-off track, gliding into a huge swell, and in fact both Summer Hits tracks on this are fairly ace. Even if you're not completely sold by some of the other stuff on here-- Cat's Miaow, Belmondo, Holiday Flyer, etc-- you'll still be able to tell where Weed Hounds get most of their ideas from (not that I don't love Weed Hounds, plus they're playing Popfest New England this year, which is weird but great). This was also the first time I'd ever heard Boyracer, whose tracks somehow got stuck at the end of the compilation, as if they were an afterthought. Boyracer, of course, totally floored me; terrifyingly hooky, blown-out, one-minute pop songs, how could you not like that? "Meadowhall" starting off with a tossed-off improv bit and then suddenly switching over to the real song with the click of a recorder button reminded me of Guided By Voices, another band that I was just getting heavily into at the time, and Stewart's laugh as he flubbed the vocal but kept going was sorta Westerberg-ish. "Meadowhall (acoustic)" isn't even the same song, much less entirely acoustic. (Tricycle Popstar is shit, as always.) We need more dumb humor in music.




The Summer Hits -

"Beaches and Canyons"

"Spanish Films"

Starstreamer -

"Halo"

Belmondo -

"Girlfriends' Revenge"

Orange Cake Mix -

"The Doctor's Wife"

Tricycle Popstar -

"No Skin Off My Ass"

Boyracer -

"Meadowhall"

"Meadowhall (acoustic)"