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May 2012 new releases!
OFF! – s/t LP (Vice)
One thing I love about OFF! is their total lack of pretense. They could have taken the well paved road to the punk retirement castle, touring around the world playing the greatest hits of the Circle Jerks and Red Cross, trying to reenact some former glory. But luckily for all of us (especially those of us under 18) OFF! chose to skip the nostalgia and start from scratch. Their debut LP rips, again featuring the fascinating and demented artwork of Raymond Pettibon. Most of these 16 new songs are about a minute long, “Wrong”, “Jet Black Girls”, “King Kong Brigade” and “Harbor Freeway Blues” are outstanding. The genius of OFF! is their deconstructed punk tempos, all of which are hideously assembled, not to mention Keith’s microphone which is louder than shit. Am I crazy or are a lot of these songs about a certain Black Flag guitarist? Between the end of “I’ve Got News For You” and the line about Pollywog Park, the evidence is hard to ignore. That infamous show took place on July 22, 1979 outside at the City of Manhattan Beach where the band managed to play for about ten minutes before the crowd erupted into a riot. Singer Keith Morris was scolded by promoters for cursing, and after a five minute break the band returned to finish their set, but only after agreeing to censor themselves. And all of this happened in front of a crowd of angry teenagers who were screaming “FUCK YOU!!!” the entire time. The cruel joke here is that their audience (to a large degree) doesn’t care about grudges, personal or professional. Should they? Is there a guy willing to see Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen? Make no mistake, we’re talking about something much larger here. There are people who are content to live off of the past. But there are also those who are restless, the kind who scrawl lyrics in notebooks and can’t sleep at night if they aren’t creating new things.
Lower Dens – Nootropic (Ribbon Music)
Lush post rock from Baltimore. After releasing a 7” on SubPop and a 7” on Gnomonsong last year, I don’t know how they had the time to record all of this material, which by the way is a themed album about transhumanism. Personally I don’t think we will ever actually see the singularity happen (due to physics, not for lack of trying) but I still think this is one of the best things I’ve heard this year. Also: They put out a 10” single for “Brains” (which has a non-album track, “Hours”) which is worth tracking down. And they are tour this summer with No Joy, another incredible band that is also doing whatever-the-fuck-they-please with post rock. Psyched on this.
Mrs. Magician – Strange Heaven (Swami)
Strangely stoic new wave vocals meets garage rock in a very sweaty basement. But like the title says, this place is vaguely familiar, yet kind of uncharted. Great recording, lots of layered background vocals and high energy choruses to get lost in. From what I can tell, most of these songs are about partying, VCR’s, lesbians, ex-girlfriends and drugs, which of course will leave you just wanting more. In the verse of ?The Spells?, they lament “I’m 27, I can’t be this pathetic forever.” I assure you, there is nothing pathetic about this.
The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull (Wichita)
Streaming on Spotify now, vinyl and CD out in the states on May 15th. Their 5th studio album with enlisted help from Dave Fridmann and Steve Albini. CD version comes with a documentary film about making this record, stoked on that as well.
Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Fat Possum)
Eleven new songs. Unbelievably awesome that they are again recording, although let’s be honest – this is some pretty terrible artwork. Their last studio effort, ?Songs In A&E? came out in 2008 but this has a more progressive vibe, and frontman Jason Pierce has repeatedly stated that this is his rock n’ roll record. Really hoping this one grows on me.
Unrest – Perfect Teeth vinyl box set (Teen Beat)
Indie rock from DC reissued as 6 colored 7” records, originally came out on 4AD in 1993 along with 7 bonus tracks not available anywhere else. Ex-*Velocity Girl*, future members of Tone and Air Miami (and for a short period in 1986 and 1987, Chris Thompson of Ignition, Skull Kontrol, etc. although not on this recording) Comes with a 16 page booklet, stickets and all kinds of junk. Kind of amazing that this came out in 1993, sounds before it’s time, more mature and expansive than the best of Helium or Belly. Also, for some reason unknown to me (especially considering their disclaimer about NOT using synths on the record) Simon LeBon produced this.
K-Holes – Dismania (Hardly Art)
Ex-members of Golden Triangle and Black Lips taking the plunge into both full blown Cramps worship and avant rock by experimenting with some very ill-advised shit, the kind that most bands would normally avoid, namely horn sections and rattles. But don’t let that scare you away, there is a lot of going here, and most of it is pretty deep. If you’re expecting the upbeat stoner jamz of Golden Triangle, don’t.
Bloody Gears – Frozen Rain (Grave Mistake)
Downtempo post-punk from Massachusetts, a kind of Wipers meets TSOL sound. I could see this band really expanding on this template and taking it somewhere kind of awesome. Also really like their 2009 demo tape. There, I have now mentioned two bands from Massachusetts in three years. Pretty good track record if you ask me.
The Sound – Jeopardy (1972)
Reissue of this 1980 post punk classic, CD came out in Jan, vinyl is due in early June. They are also rereleasing their 1981 LP, ?From The Lions Mouth? at the same time. It’s hard to reduce both of Adrian Borland’s masterpieces to a paragraph but I highly recommend both, especially if you like early 80’s post punk. At the time, the media called The Sound “cold wave” and loved to obsess over their audience: legions of pale dudes in grey trenchcoats, too somber for slamdancing but too smart for Blitz. Personally, I would put The Sound up there with Joy Division and The Damned, all of their early material (although not as The Outsiders) is outstanding, not to mention thought provoking and ground breaking. Plus I’ve been wondering about that “wave” noise during the verse of “I Can’t Escape Myself” for years. What the hell is it and how did they make it?
Moss Icon – Complete Discography (Temporary Residence)
Double CD set and triple LP discography (400 of which are on colored vinyl), comes out on June 12th on Temporary Residence. First time I heard Moss Icon was on the Veriform compilation “Fear of Smell”, years later I picked up a few of their 7” EP’s and gained a new appreciation for their short bursts of post-punk and how they would either unravel or turn into the artiest songs Negative Approach never got around to writing. Bands like The Hated and Moss Icon occupy a strange space in history, they are revered and worshipped both because of their relative obscurity and because of the shadow that they cast onto the 1990’s. Moss Icon‘s take on punk was super personal, processing their lyrics in your brain was like reading someone else’s diary or hearing a stranger make a confession. But it’s lyrically where things get serious, some offer profound advice. Others are incomplete thoughts or insane ramblings. All of which are slowly muttered or begrudgingly growled. Their sound is loose and unrehearsed but at times it’s so rhythmically full that that it’s almost overpowering. Tonie Joy also played in Born Against and Universal Order Of Armageddon and later started Convocation Of with future Entrance guitarist Guy Blakeslee. Don’t have the vinyl yet so I can’t be sure, but according to the tracklisting on TR’s site this does not include their seven song demo tape from 1987 or the two songs from the 1989 Mahpiua Luhta EP. But again, haven’t seen the wax yet, could be wrong on that.
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