Archive for the ‘2010s’ Category

Watch It Sparkle

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Rocket Surgery CD
Like A Shooting Star, 2011

I had the good fortune of stumbling upon this raucous Seattle quartet after they were bumped into an opening slot of a Human Eye show in Lawrence last March. Their live show kicked ass, culminating with singer Justin scooting across the floor on his back, recklessly strumming his guitar, right into the handful of lucky bystanders subjected to their snappy mod-style garage punk. If you don’t find your head bobbing or your body outright flailing to their Billy Childish/Modern Lovers-inspired trash rock, than you’re about as useless as a limp dick on prom night. Lucky for you, their sound has been pressed onto a killer 7″ and this 10-song CD, so you can experience the Sparkle any damn time you please. I find the need to Sparkle every couple of days.


Watch It Sparkle on MySpace
Watch It Sparkle on Bandcamp
Video for “Your Heart Will Throb Hard”

Police Teeth

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Awesomer Than The Devil LP
Latest Flame Records, 2011

There should be a name for the genre of bands that play this type of punchy post-hardcore punk rock whatever, and this Seattle band’s third album should be considered one of the better examples of said genre. Witty song titles, razor tight playing and a willingness to playfully fuck with the conventions of this genre’s ancestry define this undefined genre. Police Teeth go from a searing lead track “Send More Cops” (which I’m hoping is an excellent reference to Return of the Living Dead) straight into a couple Superchunk-y anthems and lots of well-placed sonic elements like the clanging Sonic Youth guitar in “Hatchet Wound City” and some unexpected organ hits in “Public Defender.” And one of my favorite tracks so far this year is “Digital Snakes” which comes along and totally rips like the finest Trans Megetti track. You can hear bits of Bluetip, Fugazi, Guzzard, These Arms Are Snakes and a slew of other excellent ’90s bands — as well as some 2000s-style screamo — within the 45 minute runtime of this disc. But those are just touchpoints. Police Teeth synthesize these influences and create a sound all their own instead of merely aping the past. If there’s ever a good term adopted for the style of music Police Teeth play, this will one day be considered a landmark LP of that style. Watch for it on limited pink vinyl coming in April.


Police Teeth – “Summertime Bruise”
Police Teeth – “Rock & Roll Is A Pyramid Scheme (Parts 1 & 2)”


Latest Flame Records
Police Teeth on Bandcamp

Subtle Turnhips

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Terd LP
Hozac, 2010

Apparently the Turnhips have been around for a while — their first ragtag LP came out in 2002 — why the fuck hadn’t I heard of them? They’ve got a solid Hozac 7″ from 2008 and now this raging LP which begs to be blasted continuously at all hours of the day. Totally worth your time if you’re a devotee of the type of cranked tunes found on early Swell Maps records, with crazed singshouts over loose, blaring riffs and sloppy-but-solid beats. Although the Turnhips are a bit meaner, kinda like what you’d hear if you starved the Swell Maps for a week and then invited them to play a set of Brainbombs covers at your Sunday afternoon picnic. Brash and obnoxious, but completely endearing to coarsened ear holes. The songs on this album have a little meat to them than their early records, as shown with the start/stop song structure of “Sonic Tooth” and “Comment” where all elements blast off and then quickly fall apart, creating elastic time signatures that are far more interesting than your typical 4/4 garage banger. And the song “Two Two” is essentially a remake of “Files” from their first LP that transforms it from a decent but forgettable tune into a punchy jam from the gut with layered, mantra-like vocal effects and weirdness. Despite the ugly-ass cover art, you’re gonna want this Terd.


Subtle Turnhips on MySpace
Hozac Records


Subtle Turnhips Internet Album

Television Spaceman

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Rocket Trash CD
Rock n Roll Monkey, 2010

Here’s an interesting variant of the bedroom synth-punk explosion that’s a vivid pastiche of genres bent into a wide variety of sonic textures and catchy hooks. While Blank Dogs‘ music evokes a chilly ’80s vibe and Gary War‘s lush psych pop has elements of ’70s AM gold harmony, TV Spaceman pulls from ’50s sci-fi trash to ’60s pop guitar harmonies to ’80s canned beats to ’90 indie jangle and beyond. Without burying the melodic songs in layers of effects, TV Spaceman has crafted a solid debut that’s full of songwriting flourishes that reveal themselves with an attentive listen. While the recording at times feels a little sparse, songs like “Love Is Chemical” roll like a charming Of Montreal gem and the title track “Rocket Trash” plays to this sparseness with a staccato new wave riff that’s so snappy that you can’t help but convulse in a micro pogo dance. Like Cold Crank and Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey & The Robots, the latest project from Craig Campbell promises to join the annals of quality cult budget rock.


Television Spaceman on MySpace

AmRep 25

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

It goes without saying that the Amphetamine Reptile label weighs fairly heavily into this blog. The word ‘NOISE’ appears in all caps behind its logo for fuck’s sake, and since 1985, the label has been releasing burly, weird, and most of all NOISY records that have become a genre in itself — although I still don’t think the oft-mentioned “AmRep sound” is a good descriptor of music when you consider the wild diversity of bands that found a home on the legendary Twin Cities label. This weekend the label celebrates its 25-year anniversary with a huge bash in Minneapolis, resurrecting a number of its flagship bands (God Bullies, Vaz, Hammerhead, The Thrown Ups, Boss Hog) while bringing some currently active bands to the party (Today is the Day, Gay Witch Abortion, White Drugs, and the almighty Melvins) to blowout eardrums and deliver a rumbling suckerpunch to the gut of tepid rock and roll. For those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to attend the festivities, Tom Hazelmyer’s been kind enough to serve up a taste of the ultra-limited fare available with a CD compilation of the show-only record releases. I’m happy to say that the mostly dormant label is true to form with this compilation, offering up some quality tracks from AmRep legends and newcomers alike. The CD even includes Vol. 12 of the ace Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets compilation series, with amazing new tracks by the God Bullies, Boss Hog, Vaz, and the Thrown Ups, plus solid, rocking tracks by Gay Witch Abortion and White Drugs. It matches the quality of the legendary early volumes of the series, which says a lot since Hazelmyer was always able to coax all-killer material from bands featured in the series without a single throwaway track in twelve fucking volumes. Seriously, how many compilations can you say that about? It’s rare to find a comp without at least one stinker. And at $2 ($5 with shipping) you’re probably not gonna find a better use of your time and money.


Buy the “AmRep 25th Anniversary Non-Collector Scum” compilation
The Amphetamine Reptile Discography
AmRep 25th Anniversary Article at Noise Creep


Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This Quiet LP
Self-released, 2010

The debut album by this Austin quartet has been slowly wrapping its tentacles around my DNA since its release earlier this month. At first listen, their influences came in loud and clear, with aggro Hot Snakes riffs and clever Les Savy Fav songwriting prowess backed by a rock-solid Drive Like Jehu rhythm section. Further in, Markov also evokes the better moments of John Reis’ and Rick Frohberg’s pre-Hot Snakes, pre-Drive Like Jehu band Pitchfork, with a more direct attack from the gut that doesn’t get too mired in cerebral approaches to methodically dispensed hardcore aggression. There’s also a nice rambling Barkmarket quality to the delivery of the vocals, with a pinch of mania and a looseness that ebbs and flows with waves of soaring guitar, both pleading and demanding, often at the same time. Beyond these reference points, Markov — named after a famed Russian mathematician — have formulated a uniquely potent mixture of these influences that give them an x-factor that elevates their music well above any dismissive math-rock comparisons their moniker or cover art might suggest. You can stream This Quiet at the link below, but I recommend picking up a digital copy (only $5) in order to fully understand the intricacies and charm of this band.


Buy digital album at Bandcamp
Markov on MySpace

The Spook Lights

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Teenage Maniac / Night of the Queerwolf 7″
Self-Released, 2010

Like the previous post, here’s another underrated midwestern freakshow featured in the Horror Punk 101 countdown last Halloween. Lawrence, Kansas’ kings of reverb-drenched Cramps worship finally got pressed to wax—red wax no less—the perfect format for their brand of throwback garage stomp. And don’t assume that this is some showy retread tribute group dimly aping their heroes. The Spook Lights craft an aesthetic that draws from and extends their influences, keeping them as relevant and vital as anything you’ll find seeping from the underground in 2010. This debut 7″ captures their outstanding track “Teenage Maniac” from the KJHK Farm Fresh compilation and backs it up with a slithering B-side, “Night of the Queerwolf”, packaged up in fine, screen-printed PBR case paperboard. Fans of Haunted George, Kid Congo, and of course The Cramps, take note.


The Spook Lights on MySpace

Nothing People

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Soft Crash LP
S-S Records, 2010

After last year’s sleeper LP Late Night, and the short but sweet Enemy With An Invitation 7″ on Permanent Records early this year, a lot of people were getting worked up over this, their 3rd album, and I’m pleased to say that it’s looking like one of the best LPs of 2010. While Late Night took a number of spins to fully absorb due to its sophisticated, slow-mo aesthetic, Soft Crash has the immediate hooks and scrappy charm of their first LP. Their sound has moved well past the Roxy Music/Bowie tags their early Hozac and S-S singles got and into something distinctly their own. There’s sustained synth and a subtle glam polish to their songs, but the mood of Soft Crash exists in a grittier, electropunk realm that echoes the wild buzzing pulse of Chrome and the rich aural textures of modern day Sonic Youth. All in all, that’s just a fancy way of saying that this record sounds great at first spin and continues to sound great after weeks on the turntable.


Buy Soft Crash at S. S. Records
Nothing People on MySpace