Tags: Comedy Minus One, Cops, Dischord, Edsel, Enon, Nation of Ulysses, Obits, Savak
Taking after Gang of Four, Joy Division, Dead Kennedys and more recently Viet Cong, Savak stir up the pot right from the get go by naming themselves for the Iranian secret police under the Shah of Iran. They probably won’t be invited to play at Oberlin College in Ohio, but I doubt they care. Featuring members of Obits, Nation of Ulysses, the Cops, Holy Fuck, Edsel, et al, these punk rock veterans know what they’re doing and will not be dissuaded or deterred.
Former Obits guitarist and Edsel front guy Sohrab Habibion and former Cops front guy, Mt Fuji records proprietor and Seattleite Michael Jaworski share vocal duties throughout. Their styles mesh well and lend themselves well to the earnest and tempestuous songs. You can hear the old DC punk influence of the Dischord sect mixed in with some good old fashioned That Petrol Emotion acerbic energy on Alive In Shadows, Drop the Pieces, Call It a Night and Early Western Traders. Traders also features some great skronky saxophone that makes it an easy highlight of the record. Elsewhere you can hear some REM influence on Reaction and Burned by a Fever which should keep listeners with fainter hearts engaged. Best of Luck In Future Endeavors is a solid record with something on it for old punks, new punks and punks in training.
Tags: As Ondas, Funboy Three, Jigsaw Records, New Order, Orca Team, Shopping, Tuff Enuff Records, Unrest
Take some Power Corruption & Lies New Order, Imperial f.f.r.r. Unrest and some current day Orca Team and Shopping and you could have a fairly good idea where the debut album from As Ondas is coming from. Andrew Milk from Shopping lends his bass this trio and is joined by Ochi Reyes of Wachi Wachi and Moema Meade of Joey Fourr.
The band sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish. and their slightly dancy, very minimalist and laid back sound has an effortless feel to it. The first track Iguale has New Order style guitar, but New Order never sang in Portuguese or Spanish, though they did like to hang out on Ibiza. The entire record has a playful and easy feel to it centered around tight rhythmic songs. Esta Noche is guaranteed to make you move something on your body and Vida de um Creep has an intro that sounds like the Smithereens‘ Blood and Roses and then morphs into a Funboy Three song. Looking for something cool and fun for the summer? This is it!
Tags: Animals That Swim, Beatnick Filmstars, City Yelps, Odd Box Records, Swell Maps, The Fall
City Yelps a three piece band from Leeds have just released an album called Half Hour. It’s rough around the edges, but like all good punk records its white hot delivery overshadows sound quality. In fact, the band seem to revel in their lo-fi. The liner notes state “City Yelps think they’re these DIY puritans but let me tell you now, you are being conned if you buy this record because they’re just lazy bums and nothing more.”
It’s noisy and rambunctious like Swell Maps and the Beatnick Filmstars, but has a literacy and outsider style that reminds me of Animals that Swim. They make the mundane sound interesting like on We Like the Hours which is about a girl who works nights in a bakery, and 11.99 about going to a theatre and having to sit down to watch a band. Another highlight, Music for Adverts takes some shots at bands that make advert ready music…”making people wish they were dead.” You can hear the spite and spit into the microphone. City Yelps’ Half Hour is the real shit with no polish!
Downloads and vinyl are available from the Odd Box bandcamp.
Tags: Andy Human, Pang, Play Pinball Records, The World, Upset the Rhythm
photo by mike rosati
If you are familiar with Andy Human who’s records are an Ohio elixir of Devo and Pere Ubu and and Pang who’s two 7″ singles pulled in influences like Kleenex and Long Blondes then you probably have a pretty good idea of what the World sound like. To get a better idea , throw in a couple of saxophones into that thought. Now put on the debut single by the Bay area band, close your eyes and you are quickly transported back to the late 1970’s into the world of the Specials, Clash and X-Ray Specs. Your legs begin to twitch and suddenly you’re skanking across the floor to this four song single. Killer!
Tags: Gang of Four, Lithics, Pylon, The Au Pairs, Water Wing Records
Portland, Oregon post punkers Lithics have just released a scorcher of a debut album. Fans of Pylon, Gang of Four and the Au Pairs should take note of this record. Borrowed Floors is chock full of rolling bass, jagged guitars and androgynous vocals. The songs sound like they’ve pulled in from the wild hinterlands of the Rose city. It appears as though someone tried to domesticate them, but failed. Careful entering the cage, this one will pin you down and make you buy a copy.
Tags: Acetone, Cate Le Bon, DRINKS, Keel Her, Syd Barrett, The Bin Bags, Time Presley, Ultimate Painting
The Bin Bags self-titled album is everything I had hoped DRINKS (the Cate Le Bon & Tim Presley collaboration) would be. The Bin Bags are from London and count Rose Keeler of Keel Her as a member.Their brand of hazy and playful psychedelia strikes a fine balance between pop and weird. It’s got bits of the Syd Barrett, Acetone and Ultimate Painting in it. Their confident and steady hand doesn’t seem to be trying to impress you with how weird they can be, rather they sound more like they’re trying to hide their weirdness.
The Bin Bags self-titled album is out on Permanent Slump.
Tags: Chunklet Industries, Cleaners From Venus, Guided By Voices, Honey Radar, Tall Dwarfs, Third Uncle, What's Your Rupture
When a band is in the zone the songs seem to come fast and they need an outlet. Lucky for us Philadelphia by way of Indiana Honey Radar seem to have the means to disseminate their tiny noise filled symphonies. They put out two top notch 7-inch singles at the tail end of last year, the Blank Cartoon LP out this month, and they’ve got another single queued up for next month.
The new album takes the punk rock blueprint of short songs filled with hooks packed in like sardines. Guided by Voices are an obvious comparison to the Honey Radar aesthetic, but you could claim to hear Cleaners from Venus and some Tall Dwarfs in there as well. I wonder how long main radar dude Jason Henn can drink from his prolific fountain of song. Will it ever run dry? Who knows, but with the high quality deluge of recent releases, even if it does your ears will be blissfully ringing too hard to notice when it does.
Tags: Erik Blood, High Dive, Hungry Pines, OCNotes, Shabazz Palaces, Turn-Ons, Vox Mod
Erik Blood at the High Dive, Seattle | 30 April 2016
Way back in 2008 two notable Seattle bands broke up. After four albums the Turn-Ons who were a top notch shoegaze band well ahead of the shoegaze revival released their final album Curse. The other band, the Hungry Pines released their only album that same year. It had some great guitar drenched songs and tons of potential. Erik Blood was a member of the Turn-Ons and he went on to release the under-appreciated and under-heard the Way We Live the following year. Irene Barber of Hungry Pines formed a new band XVII Eyes. Then in 2013 they both sang on Vox Mod‘s SYN-ÆSTHETIC and the following year Barber again contributed vocals to follow up The Great Oscillator. The results were astounding as you can hear on the track Flight of Fancy.
Erik Blood’s new album Lost In Slow Motion picks up where Flight of Fancy left off. It is an Erik Blood album, but Barber is so woven into the grooves of this album they could call themselves a duo. With Barber in the fold Blood has taken the shoegaze of his earlier records and added even more ethereal elements that are reminiscent of 1980’s 4AD to create his most fully realized album yet. Similar to one of those French producer geniuses like Bertrand Brugalat or Hector Zazou, Blood lets his collaborators take the spotlight. Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces and OCnotes provide vocals on a track each and Barber is featured throughout.
Saturday night at the High Dive in Fremont was the record release show for Lost In Slow Motion. On the album cover Blood is dressed in a black coat, hat and mask and Barber has the top half of her face painted red and the bottom white. Taking wardrobe inspiration from V for Vendetta, Seattle’s Ohnonos and Reykjavik’s Bjork, the duo emerged onto the stage dressed identically to the album cover. It was a stunning entrance as they were joined by OCNotes who sings the album closer and highlight Out This Way. Blood painted a Prince symbol on the projection screen at the back of the stage and then played the entire record with the exception of the Butler track. It was choreographed with a laptop as their backing band, but it didn’t take a way from the performance. Though Barber and Blood were eye catching and even their dance moves were tight, it was the music that was the most gripping. The guazy bed of strings and electronic sounds provided lush support for their guitars. The performance was more evidence of the Blood’s newfound well of ideas and felt like a natural extension of both the music and art of the brilliant Lost In Slow Motion album.
Tags: Bentcousin, Donna Summer, Kirsty MacColl, Orange Juice, Shangri-Las, St. Etienne
Bentcousin are a brother-sister (twins actually) duo Pat and Amelia who seem way to young to remember St. Etienne, Orange Juice and Kirsty MacColl but ably bring all three to mind on their self-titled debut LP. Their songs are full of spunk, spite and wayward coolness. The siblings seem like they were born to be pop stars. They write smart pop songs that swagger and swoon.
Their cover of Dinosaur Jr‘s Freak Scene is so original it barely sounds like a cover. In fact I bet if you heard it somewhere not knowing it was a cover you’d be hard pressed to recognize it. Elsewhere on the record Baby You’re My Jesus sounds like Vic Goddard getting together with the Shangri-Las recording at Edwin Collins‘ place. Rock & Roll Me wants to be Donna Summer baking a cake and leaving it out in the rain. Another highlight Uncertain has the tenderness and bravado of a Kirsty MacColl song and a great line about the Slits and the Go-Go’s.
For some this record might seem like it’s all over the place, but for any lover of pop music it will quickly endear itself. It happened to me and it’s now one of my favorite records of the year.
Bentcousin’s album is out on Team Love Records.
Tags: Field Music, School of Language, Seattle, The Crocodile, Week Of Wonders
Field Music at the Crocodile, Seattle | 29 March 2016
After six albums Sunderland, England’s Field Music finally made their Seattle debut Tuesday night at the Crocodile (though David Brewis played the Nectar Lounge back in 2008 with his School of Language). The band are often compared to XTC and Steely Dan, and could be accused of being a musician’s band. Meaning that you need to be a musician to appreciate them, and to be honest as I looked around the room that night it looked like I might be a minor and younger music nerd compared with many in the crowd. So this show was a long time coming for many Field Music fans, but well worth the wait
The Brewis brothers are supporting their latest and possibly best album yet Commontime which contains a new lightness of being that gives a new dimension to the band. They sound like they’re having more fun and of course there’s the added funk element. How much funk you ask, well Prince is a fan and the brothers have admitted to looking to both Beyoncé and Hall and Oats for inspiration. That was evident right from the start as the band blasted into the Noisy Days Are Over with its looping base. It was obvious that Field Music were here to have fun. It featured Peter on guitar and vocals and his brother David on drums. They would take turns on guitar and drums throughout the night. I kept changing my mind about which was the better drummer and which the better guitarist. Both of them seemed to in a jovial mood with lots of banter between songs and encouraging of hecklers. At one point they were invited to karaoke after the show, but declined saying they only did Michael Jackson BAD at karaoke.
Other highlights in the set included Disappointed and It’s a Good Thing from Commontime, Let’s Write a Book from Measure, If Only The Moon Were Up from their debut, and A House Is Not a Home from Tones of Town. It was a perfect combination of old and new in front of a truly appreciative audience. One of the best shows of the year to accompany one of its best albums.
The Quietus has an insightful interview with the Brewis brothers.
The setlist from the show:
The Noisy Days Are Over
Let’s Write A Book
Don’t You Want To Know What’s Wrong?
A House Is Not A Home
It’s A Good Thing
Who’ll Pay the Bills?
Them That Do Nothing
If Only The Moon Were Up
How Many More Times?
Just Like Everyone Else
(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing
Give It Lose It Take It