Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Lars Finberg

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Tinnitus Tonight LP
Mt.St.Mtn, 2020

Lars Finberg - Tinnitus TonightBeing a jaded old fuck who’s been subjected to more mediocre indie rock than one should reasonably bear, often not by choice, I tend to get rankled by music that doesn’t even try to conceal its influences or attempt to bring a single original thought to the table. When I hear an album like Tinnitus Tonight it’s hard to fathom why most bands and artists can’t bother to push themselves creatively just a little bit or at least find a well of inspiration that hasn’t been sucked dry for decades. It’s exhausting to find exceptional music, but perhaps the glut of mediocrity is the very thing that elevates the best records to the top of the stack.

The gift Lars Finberg has to disfigure rock riffs into minor chord marvels should serve as a glowing example for those who feel the need to pick up a guitar and make some noise to share with the world. Using the conventional tools of rock and roll flavored with a mix of garage punk, post punk, synth punk and mutant surf, Mr. Finberg, with seemingly effortless cool, has crafted or contributed to countless albums with bands like The Intelligence, Puberty, Rubber Blanket, A Frames and more, all with a magnetic pull and genius lyrics that stand out from the indie rock heap and reveal an exceptionally creative mind that’s actually done its homework.

Although this is his second solo release, this recording actually predates his debut album, Moonlight Over Bakersfield, and the songs collected here do cover some uncharted territory that exists somewhere between the refined sound of Moonlight and his more widely known work with The Intelligence. Ranging from the clean acoustic strum that grows with swells of surf guitar and vintage synth blurts on “Lord of the Files V2″ to the pummeling bass line and gnarly freeform guitar squeal of “Public Admirer” or the surprise synth blasts toward the end of “Kitchen Floor”, Tinnitus Tonight isn’t a mere collection of shelved material, it’s another proof point that creativity isn’t finite and that Lars Finberg’s particular strain of creativity expands even further than his prolific discography.

So kids, before you start a band and expect anyone to fawn all over your musical genius, study up on how you can defy mediocrity like Lars Finberg and then get to work. Thank you.

The Intelligence · Tinnitus Tonight

Buy Tinnitus Tonight at Mt St Mtn

The Spits

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

The Spits VI
Thriftstore Records, 2020

The Spits VIJust in time for Halloween in the epically shitty year 2020 comes a gift from one of garage punk’s greatest gifts: Spewing up from the post-apocalyptic Michigan wastelands that birthed this malformed mutant punk troupe infamously known as The Spits, comes LP number six , a full nine years after their last LP. It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 years since In The Red Records unleashed their classic record number 5, especially because, like their other releases, it hasn’t lost its fire and flavor at all over those 9 years. Stylistically The Spits don’t break any new ground on VI, but that’s not what you go to The Spits for time and time again. You go to The Spits to get your clock cleaned by catchy-as-fuck punk blurts that barely reach the 2 minute mark, slathered in fuzz, weird vocal FX, and so-simple-they’re-brilliant lyrics stitched together with an uncanny ear worms and a tinny trash rock beat. Recorded in various basements in the midwest by midwest bedroom punk luminary Erik Nervous, this record is a slight departure from The Spits’ Seattle output, but worry not, as the sound you know and love is all there, mixed for maximum brain-frying impact on cassette 4-track.

Although it appears to have sold out on its October 30 release date from the Spits’ Thriftstore Records Big Cartel site, you might be able to snag a copy on black or red vinyl elsewhere on the interwebs. Like all The Spits’ previous records, you’ll need this one and give it many spins.

LINKS

Listen to “Breakdown” on YouTube
Listen to “Up All Night” on YouTube

 

 

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.

LINKS

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

Factums

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Flowers LP
Sacred Bones Records, 2009

Sprouting from the same Seattle weirdpunk nexus that bloomed The Intelligence, A-Frames, and AFCGT comes one of the most mysterious and puzzling bands currently rearranging the sonic DNA of noisenerd earholes worldwide. Pulling together sounds pioneered by early synthpunk groups like Chrome and The Units, and tweaking them with a dose of tranced-out Can and Faust-style krautrock, every element of Factums music is a couple steps removed from normal. I recently picked up the special edition version of their latest LP on the stellar Sacred Bones label, Flowers, and have been trying to decode it for the last week or so. Far more focused than the sputtering soundtrack of A Primitive Future and their early Spells & Charms LP, Flowers kicks out 22 tracks worth of weird jamz with hardly a lull. They didn’t eliminate the blippy experimentation and random cut and paste aesthetic found in their earlier releases, but with Flowers—constructed from recording sessions dating back to 2006 and 2007—they’ve trimmed these excursions just enough to keep the album flowing and interesting. Last year’s LP, The Sistrum, made the NFZ Best of 2008 list and this release at first take seems to be even more finely constructed and dazzling. It’s one of the better releases you’ll hear this year…

LINKS:

Factums on MySpace
Buy Flowers at Sacred Bones

Tad

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Loser / Cooking With Gas 7″
Sub-Pop, 1989

Talking with a friend this weekend, we recalled a time when the term “grunge” didn’t conjure up images of ridiculous designer flannel and lame ’90s-style hard rock, before the gnarlier aspects of the term were sanitized and rationalized for mass consumption. For us, Seattle’s Tad embodied what grunge was really about: loud, burly, heavy dirtpunk for weirdos — in short, ugly music for ugly people. Long before every mall in America was teeming with teenagers sporting Doc Martens and flannel shirts, flipping their locks and blathering about Pearl Jam, Tad was punishing eardrums with gut-rumbling dirges that mainlined the colossal buzz of the Melvins and late-period Black Flag (they released a single featuring covers of Flag’s “Damaged I” and “Damaged II”) into a backwoods freakshow that made grunge scary. Their God’s Balls and Salt Lick 12-inchers are essential noise rock classics and this, one of many classic Tad singles on Sub-Pop, showcases the true grit of grunge.

DOWNLOAD:

Tad – “Loser”
Tad – “Cooking With Gas”

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?”

The Night Kings

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Brainwashed 7″ EP
Dope Records / Bad Vibe Zine, 1993

A recent repost on the excellent Detailed Twang reminded me of Rob Vasquez’s pre-Night Kings band, The Nights & Days, who I’d somehow missed after many years of being a Night Kings fan. I’d heard some of his other bands, like The Chintz Devils, The Gorls, and Right On, but the Nights & Days escaped my pursuit of all things Vasquez. Gotta do your homework, I guess. My introduction to this garage punk maestro came from a copy of the Chicago-based Bad Vibe zine in the form of this smokin’ 4-song Night Kings EP giveaway. The tracks pump Vasquez’ classic garage stomp riffs, delivered with a relaxed, defiant swagger, along with his soulful punk wail — a pairing that distinguishes his bands from the rest of the garage punk crop. Two of the tracks (“Death” and “Increasing Our High”) wound up on their sole Super-Electro LP, Increasing Our High, which can still be found HERE and in used bins across the country. I see it around more than I should, since it’s a bona fide classic in my book and should be snagged by any self-respecting garage punk connoisseur.

DOWNLOAD:

Night Kings – “Brainwashed”
Night Kings – “Death”
Night Kings – “Earthquake”
Night Kings – “Increasing Our High”