Posts Tagged ‘New York’


Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Prong - ForceFedForce Fed LP (Spigot, 1988)

Seeing Decibel magazine give Prong’s Beg to Differ album the Hall of Fame treatment made me want to revisit their first two albums, as they have always been underrated and overlooked slabs of relentless and bleak thrash. While Beg to Differ is a fairly solid cruncher of an LP (not to mention that it features Pushead artwork and a live cover of Chrome’s “Third from the Sun”) I’ve found that their debut Primitive Origins and sophomore followup Force Fed really deliver the goods. Prong may have made a slight blip on the underground radar when Force Fed was first released but it was definitely eclipsed commercially by Beg to Differ, which was delivered with a slick polish on a major label and nearly instant acclaim for it’s dynamic songwriting and musical prowess. And while those qualities are all well and good, they don’t deliver the same visceral punch of a focused trio slaying it with monstrous riffs played at double speed. I used to think that all the guitar solos on Beg to Differ were what weakened it, but with fresh ears I’ve realized that Force Fed is packed with them too, although here they function to spiral the songs out of control instead of fancy finger flourishes. If your opinion of Prong is based on their later records, you might want to give this and Primitive Origins a spin.

Force Fed on Apple Music

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

Phantom Tollbooth

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Phantom Tollbooth
Homestead Records, 1986

Considering the year, the debut album from New York nutjobs Phantom Tollbooth could be considered an influencial landmark of screamo mathcore — had anyone heard the fucker. Their back catalog was a mainstay of cutout bins throughout the late eighties and nineties, probably the result of slightly weaker follow-up records and the lack of audience for the sort of selflessly unhinged and intensely cerebral hardcore The Tollbooth was dishing up. You can trace back the explosion of fractured mathy hardcore in the 1990s and early 2000s to this record, as demonstrated with bands like The Dazzling Killmen, Last of the Juanitas, and Brass Knuckles for Tough Guys. With discordant shards of guitar and jazzed-up rhythm section that wouldn’t find much of an audience until a decade later, this record should be considered a reference point for the evolution of hardcore punk.


Phantom TollboothPhantom Tollbooth LP (21.1MB)

Railroad Jerk

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Younger Than You / Ballad of Jim White 7″
Matador, 1991

Judging by the amount of unsold Railroad Jerk LPs I’ve seen around and the neglect of any mention of this stellar single on or, this NYC band never got the love it deserved. Once upon a time they were critically acclaimed and had a coveted touring slot with Extra-Width-era Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, yet somehow, anytime I play this or their excellent Third Rail LP for people it’s some big revelation and discovery. They caught my ear on the Matador label’s 1990 New York Ear & Eye Control compilation, from when the label was a little more adventurous, with a skronking, noisy mess of a song entitled “From The Pavement,” which I’ve included below. Railroad Jerk’s later releases became more polished and conventional, and presumably palatable to collegiate/indie/alt-country types, while their early work, like The JSBX, was a seamless amalgamation of raw punk noise with classic blues influences. In Railroad Jerk’s case, the blues influence had more of a chugging (in a non-metallic sense) railway hobo sound, with twangy vocals layered on top of sharp no-wave shards of bands like Mars, DNA, or Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. This early no-wave abrasiveness and snottiness, softened in later releases, is demonstrated perfectly on this single with two great songs only available on this 45.


Railroad Jerk – “Younger Than You”
Railroad Jerk – “Ballad of Jim White”

Railroad Jerk – “From The Pavement”
from New York Eye & Ear Control compilation