Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm So Good At Making Friends

Shoppers -


Natural Law -

"Cheap Blood"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brain Killer interview, MRR #342

Brain Killer interview in MRR #342, with photos
that I took at The Whitney House

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Goals Have Now Become Our Regrets

I saw Veterans at Popeye's the other month and they friggin' rocked it out, alternating between totally pissed-off speedy thrash and slower parts that were really punchy, like Sabbath-style hard rock or something. I know I've written a bunch of times before about bands that do something similar (Napolean Complex is pretty good at it, and Escalator), but the approach that Veterans uses has a more technical-metal aspect to it -- like, they're branching out and taking a whole new direction within the song, it's not just a breakdown or mosh part or whatever. They have a split tape that came out just a couple of weeks before they played Popeye's (the song I've posted below is one of their two songs on the tape), and I've heard some other songs on their Bandcamp page, but none of it even touches how good they were the night that I saw them. On the recordings, the slower parts are made to sound more spacey and atmospheric, like they're trying to be doom/psych or something, but when they play the songs live there's less fucking around. It's just ripping thrash, and then all of a sudden there's a total SST-core/Ginn-metal breakdown. Plus two of the guys in the band (the drummer and the bass player) wore X's, so I had to like them.

Then Vaccine played, and I'm so used to their "thing" being 8-minute/15-song sets, but this time they hit the 8-minute mark and then just kept going, playing for what had to be at least twice as long as the first time I saw them (which was last summer at The Whitney House). When Vaccine plays, it's like a machine gun, a bunch of 15-second bursts with some 3-second pauses in-between... just amazingly intense. Afterwards I was all pumped up, walking around and saying to everyone I ran into, "We just saw Vaccine play a 20-minute set!" like some kind of idiot. I guess the "Crimes In Blood" 5-inch is still the most recent thing they've put out, so here's a rip I made of the entire b-side (neither side of the record is any more than a minute long).

Vaccine -

"Crimes In Blood" B-side

Veterans -

"American Hero"

Friday, October 14, 2011

I've Been Here Far Too Long

I don't expect any of you to give two shits about this record, just like I wouldn't give two shits about this record either if it weren't for the Alex Chilton connection: The Yankees' Jon Tiven produced and played guitar on AC's "Bach's Bottom"/"Singer Not The Song", while Alex co-wrote one of the songs here and sings back-ups as well. Parts of this record rise above some of the '70s pop-rock that was happening at the time (what exactly was "happening" in 1979? "My Sharona"? "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"? "We've Got Tonight"? Randy Vanwarmer?), although that statement is open to interpretation. "Take It Like a Man" almost sounds like shitty Wilco, or shitty Wilco almost sounds like it, one or the other; the vocals are mixed louder than on all the other tracks on the album, so I guess they were hoping that this one would be the "hit". "Everyday I Have To Cry" steals the chord progression from "Free Again", which I guess is okay because Tiven co-wrote that one, too.

Google says that Jon Tiven was originally from New Haven (where he had a fanzine called "New Haven Rock Press" that Tosches, Meltzer, and a bunch of guys wrote for), and a few New Haven-area musicians that you might recognize appear on this record, such as Christine Ohlman and Roger C. Reale. Also the album jacket makes me think of NRBQ, for some reason.

The Yankees -

"Take It Like a Man"

"Everyday I Have To Cry"

"Take Me Home & Make Me Like It"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Already Straightened Up In Here Once Today

I think this is one of the oddest rock records that I own, not to mention one that showed up in every used bin and was mailed to anyone who had a fanzine back in the late '80s. The Wild Stares started out as a Propeller band from Boston, and even though I've never heard any of their earlier stuff, I'm sure it had to be pretty crummy, since my only memory of The Wild Stares before this album came out was of them being on the butt end of the occasional snide remark in either Conflict or Forced Exposure. "Skorch Turth" received a better reception, though (I'm pretty sure Gerard gave it a good review, at least), and even though there's still a sort of an annoying artiness to it, it's a fairly reedemable record once you let it roll around for a while.

Holding this record in your hands and looking down at the grooves can be pretty amusing for about a second or two, as the tracks vary wildly in length, alternating between minute-long thrashy bursts and longer, more languid efforts. "Piece of The Picture", the opening track, starts off sounding like Men Without Hats with Ron House singing and makes you wonder what you've gotten into, but it gets better as it goes along and even piles on some scraping guitar noises towards the end. It's also about the only song on the record that sounds like this (synth-y, or whatever). The other more "rock" stuff comes off like a mutated Volcano Suns, or maybe a weird mix of The Birthday Party and The Embarrassment, only not really that intense. This is nowhere near one of the best records of all time, or even worth the two paragraphs that I just wrote about it, but it's not always just the great records that are worth listening to decades down the road. Sometimes it's the weird stuff that you felt like throwing away at the time that becomes the more interesting thing 20 years later.

The Wild Stares -

"Piece of The Picture"

"Lonesome Tiger"

"We Are The Gone Kids"

"Can't Watch You"

"Your Secret is Safe"

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Have Shit For Brains

Easily one of my favorite singles ever, if only for the b-side, "Shit For Brains" -- one of the earliest and best examples of the whole creepy-guy noise rock thing, before the inevitable cloning.

Bastards -

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Can't Count On You For Anything

I hafta* admit that when I first heard the Straight Arrows LP back at the beginning of the year, it was way too much like standard issue garage/psych for me, and I deleted it fairly quickly from my computer. This kinda made me not want to go to Popeye's to see them last week, though it's a good thing I changed my mind, because the show turned out to be a blast and Straight Arrows friggin' ruled. Any weaknesses found in the LP (and I did end buying a vinyl copy from the band, so there, I'm not being that much of a dick) were completely kicked to the side by their live set, which went a long way towards proving that underneath all of the "period-appropriate" production dreck, Straight Arrows have some amazing songs. They gotta be one of the top 4 or 5 touring bands I've ever seen at Popeye's, without a doubt, as well as one of the most hysterical bands I've ever talked to. Most people, when I drop one of my terribly dry jokes in front of them, just go "what the fuck", but these guys would pick it up and run with it until I was laughing my ass off. Australians...

Straight Arrows brought a tape with them that they'd made just for this tour, called "Hits From The Zong" (ahem), which as far as I can tell is a bunch of their early vinyl (like the "Can't Count" 7" and their split with The Creteens) plus some other odds and ends, like a cover of the Dicks' "Kill From The Heart". There's a whole bunch of songs on the tape that I hadn't heard before that are really great, and after about a week of listening to it I can definitely say that it's one of my favorite things I've heard so far this year. I don't know if you'll be able to track down a copy (they only made 100), but if you ever see one, try to grab it.

*old Flipside useage, don't try to correct my spelling

This was the last-ever show at Popeye's, making Estrogen Highs the last band ever to play there. As a result, they churned out a set that was nothing but heat, ripping through a handful of new songs ("Tell It To Them" keeps getting better and better, and I might like the song that they started off the set with even more, though I don't know what it was) and finishing off with a blood-letting version of Guided By Voices' "Quality of Armor". Wes kept randomly plucking the bass solo to Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" in-between songs, which led to Stefan remarking that they've been working on a '70s rock cover band, to be called "Hug" or something. Not sure what that's all about, and seeing how I "missed" Shotgun Dregs, too, I'll probably never find out.

Straight Arrows -

"Can't Count"

"Something Happens"

"Haunted Out"

Estrogen Highs -

(Flipper cover)