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.

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