Posts Tagged ‘punk’

The Chewers

Monday, September 14th, 2015

TheChewersDead Dads CD
Self Released, 2015

Right as the July heat began to simmer the sickly humid air and warp the atmosphere into a sweaty stew, the latest collection of madness released from this Nashville duo became an unexpected soundtrack to summer, permeating the psyche with tales of madness and absurdity told through the most weirdly seductive freak bungle. Plodding, lopsided, and spacious, The Chewers have honed their oddly odd sonic stew on Dead Dads, their third album, with disciplined songwriting that forces every pit and peak of their idiosyncratic music and madcap storytelling to shimmer in the haze. While they’re completely in a league of their own, those who are susceptible to the spaces between Tom Waits and King Missile, or in league with indie oddities like The Guinea Worms or The Country Teasers, may also be attracted to this lumbering freak feast.

LINKS

The Chewers on Bandcamp

The Chewers on Facebook

The Chewers on Soundcloud

The Chewers website

Red Monkey (Reissue)

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

How We Learned to Live Like A Bomb LP
Our Voltage, 2014

Scan through the reviews section of any recent issue of MRR and you’re likely to see gallons of ink touting a substantial percentage of vinyl being pressed of 10+ year-old punk. Many of these reissues pimp bands that continue to sell to an established fanbase, while others give light to some bands unknown and underrated during their day. This reissue from the German label Our Voltage is a record you’ll want to take note of as it gathers some of the most essential tracks from one of the late ’90s most underrated bands. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with Red Monkey yet, check out this previous post about their first 7″, then find yourself a copy of this vital collection before it disappears as quickly as the original pressings of these killer slabs of angular post-punk. 18 remastered tracks (16 on red vinyl, plus an additional 2 with album download) collecting all their 7″ releases and compilation tracks, plus a 20-page zine style booklet featuring anecdotes and art from the band members make this an essential release for those new to the razor-sharp sounds of Red Monkey as well as longtime fans.

LISTEN
Listen to the first track “Trespass” on Soundcloud

LINKS

Get How We Learned to Live Like A Bomb from Our Voltage

Basic Cable

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

I’m Good to Drive LP
Permanent Records, 2013

There are a number of higher profile groups pulling from the AmRep handbook of knuckle-dragging pigfuck noise rock, but this Chicago unit (with members of Heavy Times, Loose Dudes, and Running) plows deeper and harder with a dose of dark humor that draws a line of influence from groups like Scratch Acid to Mudhoney to Tractor Sex Fatality. Featuring vocals that oscillate from David Yow-style mumbling lunacy to full-throttled Mark Arm wails, backed with the lowbrow gut-punch of Tractor Sex Fatality, Basic Cable delivers the goods in a manner that won’t get them pixel plastered throughout the blogosphere. Heartily recommended for those with refined tastes for the unrefined.

LISTEN

LINKS

Basic Cable on Bandcamp
Permanent Records

Three Legged Dog

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Loaded LP
Bomp!, 1990

Like other small college towns across the midwest, Columbia, Missouri has had its history of raging bands that flame out and disappear before fully putting their town on the map. This trio knocked me over at an Outhouse show in Lawrence before this LP came out and it was years before I finally managed to pick it up. I couldn’t recall what they sounded like and even now it’s hard to pin ‘em down. There’s the loose Black Lips garagey tracks that fit along with the Bomp! Records imprint, but there’s also crazed dirges that come out of left field like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, sounding like Tales of Terror on a bender. Throw in some thrashy riffs that could hang with the best of the emerging crossover metal bands of the era and you’ve got a noteworthy slab of vinyl that defies easy classification or dismissal.

DOWNLOAD

Three Legged Dog – “Fast Bent”
Three Legged Dog – “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”
Three Legged Dog – “Triplets”

Crimson Scarlet

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Sanctuary 7″
Cool Summer Records, 2011

It’s been a while since a decent wave of goth-tinged punk has circulated, so this succulent swipe of darkwave punk from Santa Barbara was a welcome surprise. While cheesy, costumed goth groups are as common and dull as your local Hot Topic, it’s a rare treat to find groups or scenes that really do it well and avoid being a formulaic, melodramatic joke. The amazing stuff coming out of the Bay Area at the turn of the century comes to mind, exemplified by bands like the Phantom Limbs, The Vanishing, Sixteens, and Black Ice. They had theatrics, but it wasn’t their focus and there was an earnestness to what they did that made their music so compelling. Most of all, they never veered into the comicbook tones of horror punk, which certainly isn’t a bad thing — just not as rare or powerful. Crimson Scarlet’s music eschews the synthpunk of those scenes and pulls its inspiration from the deeper goth veins of Siouxsie & The Banshees and mixes it with punch of SoCal deathpunk like TSOL and 45 Grave, bringing a straightfaced and sincere take on this form into a contemporary setting. You can check out the two killer tracks on this 7″ on their Bandcamp page or pickup the beautifully packaged crimson scarlet-colored vinyl from Cool Summer Records.

LINKS:

Crimson Scarlet on Bandcamp
Buy Sanctuary at Cool Summer Records

Black Angel’s Death Song

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Nothing Equals Nothing 7″
Dionysus Records, 1991

Following the line from the namesake Velvet Underground song “Black Angel’s Death Song” all the way to current Austin psych darlings The Black Angels, you’ll find a number of VU-inspired troupes carrying the underground freak rock flag. This loose-knit Los Angeles group from the early 1990s put out some inspired singles like this one, which falls somewhere in between the nonchalant scrap pop of Pavement and slo-mo guitar haze of Spaceman 3. The title track “Nothing Equals Nothing” is sneering ’80s So-Cal punk accented with ’60s bongo beats, neatly connecting the counterculture strains of each era to create a timeless hybrid that’s as relevant now as it was in 1991. In fact, it may be even more relevant today in the sonic blender of the MP3 age, where decades of rock genres and subgenres are so easily condensed and referenced.

DOWNLOAD

Black Angel’s Death Song – “Nothing Equals Nothing”
Black Angel’s Death Song – “What Do You Mean?”

LINKS

Black Angel’s Death Song on MySpace

Les Thugs

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Electric Troubles LP
Vinyl Solution/Sub Pop, 1987

Anytime I play this, or Les Thugs’ other smoker, I.A.B.F. (International Anti-Boredom Front), someone inevitably asks “who is this?” At their prime, this French band’s sound contained the full-on speed and energy of hardcore punk blown out to form a massive wall of sound that could be mistaken for My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless sped up to 45 rpm, contrasting an huge blur of guitar with catchy, echoey, harmonized vocals. Just check out the shocking intro track “Dead Dreams” that starts with a quasi-Native American chant and snaps into a tidal wave of roaring guitar that doesn’t let up until the end of the A-side. And even though they toured the U.S. a number of times, sung in English, had good distribution through reputable labels over the course of 15 years, they never got the recognition or fanbase they deserved. Les Thugs’ later albums are decent, and although they’re driven by a huge guitar sound, they don’t quite have the fullness and instantly memorable early albums, which are absolutely essential.

DOWNLOAD:

Les Thugs – Electric Troubles LP (42.3mb Zip)

LINKS:

Official Les Thugs website
Les Thugs on Sub Pop

Babyland

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Who’s Sorry Now? LP
Flipside Records, 1995

Back in 1995 when about 85% of the music released on punk labels was Buzzcocks or Green Day-inspired pop-punk, Flipside magazine’s record label released a second helping of Babyland’s electrojunk punk, which promptly ended up in cutout bins by the dozens. It’s a damn shame too, because what Babyland brought to the turntable was co-opted in the later ’90s by a punk scene that shifted away from the safe confines of pop-punk to the wild possibilities of Screamers and Suicide-inspired synthpunk of the later nineties in bands like Subtonix, The Vanishing, Replikants, ADULT, Black Ice, SixteensThe Lack, and the whole Digital Hardcore scene that came to light with the popularity of Atari Teenage Riot — not to mention the overall acceptance of synth elements in punk with early 2000s groups like xbxrx, Lost Sounds, Digital Leather, Phantom Limbs, etc. I think a lot of punks were wary of Babyland’s big drumbeats almost sounded like techno, which was justifiably loathed at the time. But digging deeper, Babyland supported those huge beats with a scrappy and abrasive barrage of samples and textures, paring the experimental clang of Einstürzende Neubauten with the manic percussive fits of Crash Worship. While Babyland’s later releases smoothed the edges into more of an industrial-style punk, and their grating, but excellent debut LP You Suck Crap is heavier on the 8-bit bleeps, Who’s Sorry Now? has a full, seductive sound with a darkwave edge that has made it an unsung winner in my book.

DOWNLOAD:

Babyland – “Slow News Day
Babyland – “Form 95B”
Babyland – “Cancer Beat”

LINK:

Babyland website

Holden Payne & The Agonies

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Shuffle Along 7″
Empty Records, 1996

One of the low points of 2008 — just about a year ago — was the announcement of longtime Seattle punk ‘n roll label, Empty Records, calling it a day. While I didn’t love everything the label cranked out in its heyday, the Empty roster always had a handful of bands that absolutely tore it up, from Dead Moon to The Motards, to The Reatards, X-Rays, Lost Sounds, Tokyo Electron, Destruction Unit, and many others. Buried within that impressive punkrock pedigree was this perfectly boozy bluespunk rager, the only release from Holden Payne & The Agonies. The band was made up from members of The Latch Key Kids (who I know nothing about, so if anyone can enlighten me, please do) and the Kent 3, and featured a brash, blaring, reverbed guitar sound that paired perfectly with swaggering, drunken vocal warbling and a few blasts of harmonica. During my Zeen zine days, I tried to get an interview and more info on this NW punk powerhouse, but to no avail. Whether they were too punk or too drunk to cater to nerdy fanboys, they remain a mystery, so I’m still wondering why they only left us with these 3 brilliant songs on a 7″ that no one has heard…

DOWNLOAD:

Holden Payne & The Agonies – “Shuffle Along”
Holden Payne & The Agonies – “Drunk Tank
Holden Payne & The Agonies – “California… Why?”