At first I thought Weedwere grunge. Maybe I thought it because they’re from the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver, BC to be precise, and their guitars rain torrents down on you. Their singer can also let loose with a monster scream, but also sound like he really means it…but not too much. You know, the cool kind of caring, emphatic but disaffected.
Then I thought better about the grunge thing, not knowing if they owned flannels or could grow facial hair in large amounts and they looked too young to have lived through the 90’s or if they did they don’t remember it. Yes on second thought, Weed aren’t really grunge, they’re more noisy slacker rock with a bit of 90’s shoegaze. like Dino Jr and Swervedriver with a little bit of Sugar. Who knows, if they existed back in the day they may have been offered a huge major label deal because they kinda sound grunge, and many bands were signed for lesser reasons.
As it is in these times, nobody signs to major labels especially a bunch of noisy popsters scraping the sky and tunneling the depths of rock with a great record like this.
NOV 7 – Vancouver BC: Em Carr Parking w/ Cindy Lee, Kiss Painting NOV 8 – Seattle WA: Heartland w/ Vats, Thee Samedi NOV 9 – Portland OR: Recess Gallery w/ Hausu NOV 10 – Eugene OR: Bonaroo Tattoo w/ Martian Manhunter NOV 11 – San Francisco CA: Vacation w/ Permanent Collection NOV 12 – Los Angeles CA: Almost Holden Gallery w/ Gangrene Gang, Mutant City NOV 13 – Temecula CA: The Dial w/ Crisis Arm, Underpass NOV 14 – Tuscon AZ: Topaz w/ Prom Body NOV 15 – Las Vegas NV: Hellpop! NOV 16 – Stockton CA: D Thrift Store w/ Surf Club, Monster Treasure, Satan Wriders NOV 17 – Olympia WA: Old School Pizzeria w/ Naomi Punk, Broken Water, Vexx
The 7-inch single has been around since 1949. That’s 62 years and counting! In my humble opinion the 7-inch single is still the essence, pinnacle and acme of pop perfection. Optimally, it’s one song, one side (Some try to squeeze on more). That’s no room for screwing up. You always hear that releasing a 7-inch is a money losing proposition, but that thankfully, doesn’t keep pop geeks from doing it. In honor of true blue pop geek vinyl junkies out there, here is the third installment of the annual Finest Kiss top 40 7-inch singles countdown.
11. Wax Idols – All Too Human (Hozac)
All Too Human exudes attitude, which doesn’t mean shit if you don’t have a song to back it up. No problem in that category either. Wax Idol’s debut single with it’s knifing guitars and big hooks immediately made me a fan. Yes I can get sucked in that easily. mp3: Wax Idols – All Too Human
12. The Silver Factory – The Sun Shines Over You (Elefant)
Part classic Scottish pop like early Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub and the Pastels, part Stone Roses and all Byrds (and a little Monkees too), the Silver Factory’s debut single was four songs of near pop perfection. mp3: The Silver Factory – The Sun Shines Over You
13. Terry Malts – I’m Neurotic (Slumberland)
Terry Malts are punks. They’re also pop geeks. This single came out of nowhere and cut to the quick. No filler. I’m Neurotic, Distracted and Where Is the Weekend? all kick sand in your face. I don’t remember sand in the face feeling this good. mp3: Terry Malts – I’m Neurotic
14. Hausu – She’s a Babe (LebenStrasse)
I kind of think of Portland’s Hausu as contemporaries of Seattle bands like Craft Spells, Sea Pony and Stephanie. Kids inspired by obscure bands (Orange Juice is an obvious reference here) that happened long before they were born. Who says kids don’t know any history these days? mp3: Hausu – She’s a Babe
15. Grass Widow – Milo Minute (HLR)
Grass Widow demonstrate their uncanny ability to simultaneously sound laid back and tightly wound. Milo Minute is their own, but it fits perfectly with their covers of two punk classics the well known (Wire’s Mannequin) and the not so well known but equally good Neo Boys’ Time Keeps Up. mp3: Grass Widow – Milo Minute
16. Whirr – Junebouvier (Tee Pee)
This might be some kind of record for me. We’re at number 16 and there hasn’t been a shoegaze song in the countdown. There, that’s fixed. mp3: Whirr – Junebouvier
17. Dizzy Eyes – Let’s Break Up the Band (Hardly Art)
I love a good mystery. Vancouver, BC’s Dizzy Eyes released a single single and then there were rumors of the singer being deported. Could it all have been an elaborate scheme? Release a single live it out and then disappear, it’s been known to happen. mp3: Dizzy Eyes – Let’s Break Up the Band
18. The British Public – Bears (Tip Top)
There were a ton of bands that were aping the 90’s in some form or other this year. At first it was like candy and then it was like too much candy. Not the case with the British Public. I still can’t get enough of Ba Ba Ba Ba Bears! mp3: The British Public – Bears
On first listen you might file this one away as garage rock, but it’s just too damn hi-fi to be garage. Recorded by Nick Waterhouse (who we’ll be hearing from again on this list I suspect), no record sounded better than Catamaran blasting from my stereo this year. mp3: Allah-Las – Catamaran
20. Ketamines – Line By Line (Hozac)
This song is like a drug, oh wait, I think it’s about drugs. Line By Line sounds like a twee version of the Intelligence (on drugs). I can’t really think of a better compliment than that. mp3: Ketamines – Line By Line
I have been amassing a ton information that has come to the tipping point where I have to let it out. Some of this may have been tweeted, but who remembers anything they read on Twitter? You possibly have heard half of it, but then maybe you haven’t. Here’s the mid-summer digest of the finest kiss music news.
Allo Darlin’ set to release new single
Last week Allo Darlin’ announced the release of a brand new single due in August. You can hear it and pre-order it over at their bandcamp. It’s a picture disc and contains one song about former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman and one song about the Wu Tang Clan which is a cover of another Hayman band the French. How’s that for confusing?
Art Museums Break Up
After a short but fruitful run San Francisco’s Art Museums have said their splitting up. According to their Facebook page, they just couldn’t handle it anymore. They had recently released two 7 inch singles one on Slumberland and another on Yakamashi. I don’t know about you, but I could have handled a few more records from them. So long Art Museums. See you in the funny papers.
I stopped by the Crocodile the other night to see Blouse. So far the Portland new wavers have released singles on Captured Tracks and Sub Pop with an album due this fall on CT. Their singer was totally going for the 80’s vibe with her poofy feathered hair and white pleated slacks. Their short set (25 minutes) much better than their fashion sense, playing light airy sounds accented with muscular Cure-like bass lines.
Chicago band has a Brain Idea, Sound Like the Clean, Name Their EP after CCR
I’m kind of possessed this week by the new EP from Brain Idea on Mexican Summer. It’s part Clean, part Kraut, of course the Clean always have had a Kraut element to their sound so maybe it’s all Clean. Whatever, it’s good. I just ordered their first album that came out on Permanent last year.
Castle Face the San Francisco label part-run by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer have just unleashed a book of flexis. Bare Wires, Blasted Canyons, Thee Ohs Sees, The Fresh & Onlys and Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin each contribute a song spread across Five 7 inch flexis discs. It comes packaged in a ringed notebook and it ain’t cheap at $30. I thought flexies were supposed to be cheap. They use to come stapled inside of magazines and sounded like crap on your turntable. I’m assuming the quality of these is slightly better.
Another band on Twitter hips me to another new cool band. Seattle’s TacocaT tweeted the other night how Detroit’s Deadbeat Beat are their new favorite band. A couple clicks later, they’re mine too.
Felt: Gone But Not Yet Forgotten
Felt have been defunct for 22 years now, but way down in the depths of the internet they never went away. A couple years ago the San Francisco band Girlsinterviewed Lawrence for Magicrpm and just recently the Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess was interviewed over at The Quietus about them. I didn’t know that Burgess was such a superfan. He drops a few debatable nuggets like the idea that She Lives By The Castle was written about St. Etienne‘s Sarah Cracknell. If you are a Felt superfan you probably already know about the book written by JC Brouchard called Felt : Ballad of the Fan.
Fine Arts Showcase’s Gustaf Kjellvander Dies
Sad news from Sweden a few weeks ago, when Gustaf Kjellvander died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was only 31 years old. Kjellvander lived in Seattle until he was 15 when his family moved back to Sweden. He made some great albums as the Fine Arts Showcase. My two favorites were Radiola and his Rough Bunnies covers album Sings Rough Bunnies.
Green Pajamas Go To Green Pajama Country
Seattle’s Green Pajamas are back with album number…I lost count. No matter, this time they claim to have gone country. The first song from the record, Pass Me Another Whiskey doesn’t sound particularly country. It just sounds good.
Hausu Continue the Northwest’s Flirtation With British New Wave
Led by former Seattleite and underage organizer Ben Funkhouser and his Edwyn Collins-esque croon, Portland band Hausu‘s ringing guitars and smart sound bring to mind Collin’s former band. They also claim to be influenced by Bruce Springsteen, but what red-blooded Amercian isn’t (whether you want to be or not)?
Australian Record Label Presents Two New Records From Two Old-Timers
Lost and Lonesome has just put out two records, one by former Lucksmith Mark Monnone who is going by the moniker Monnone Alone called Pink Earrings. Not surprisingly it sounds kinda like the Lucksmiths, expect Monnnone sings. While you’re checking that out, be sure to consider the latest from Bart and Friends. Bart Cummings of Cat’s Miaow and the Shapiros ended his long silence last year with Make You Blush is back again with a 10 inch EP called Stories With the Endings Changed.
Get Your Medical Records
Much has been written about Medical Records here in Seattle, but I’m not sure if the word has gotten out beyond Seattle and in the know circles of “classic synth, cosmic disco, wave (cold/new), and future music” aficionados. So far, the Seattle label specializing in reissuing nearly forgotten synth records, has released eight albums by Guyer’s Connection, OGI, Der Plan, Chrisma, Deutsche Wertarbeit, and Alexander Robotnick. All the records are limited to around 500 copies, and come in some very pretty shades of vinyl. Many are already sold out so head on over, have a listen and see what’s left.
Geoffrey O’Connor Comes Out of the Crayon Fields
Crayon Fields frontman Geoffrey O’Connor takes a break from his band to cut loose and get icy cold and synthy. The first song is a study in cool, suave and sophisticated. Can’t wait to hear the whole album. It’s called Vanity Is Forever and is out in September.
The Capitol Hill Block Party is this weekend in Seattle. It’s three days beginning this Friday. I’m heading up on Friday for sure, and may go Saturday (the afore mentioned Hausu play Saturday) as well depending on my ability to tolerate large festivals. A festival more my size is the third annual Pizza Festwhich takes place Funhouse August 4-6. The line-up is pretty sweet if you’re into garage, punk and fun. Not sure if they’re having a pizza eating contest like last year, but I’m sure you’ll be able to get a slice along with a Rainier and some ringing ears.
Servants Are Served Up Again
Captured Tracks has a pretty relentless release schedule so keeping up can be a chore. Glad to see the label doing god’s work in releasing long lost gems from years ago in addition to the many new bands they release. The Servants ran with the C-86 crowd and actually were on that now legendary cassette. The band’s Cherry Red compilation has been long out of print, so Captured Tracks has picked up the slack and just released a record that collects the majority of their recorded output. It’s called Youth Club Disco.
Michigan’s Swimsuit have just released their debut album. Besides having my favorite cover of any record this year, it contains some pretty good songs as well. Yeah, reverb heavy surf inspired music is kinda played out, but give them a break, you can only surf on a great lake if there’s a big storm.
Tiny Microphone Finally Gets a Non-Cassette Release. Still Wait For Vinyl
You may remember Tiny Microphone from a few years ago when we did the One Last Kiss redo. Tiny Microphone is Kristine Capua (also of Very Truly Yours). Tiny Microphone are like twee-shoegaze and I mean that in the best way. Up until now you could only get her Home album on cassette from Italian label Best Kept Secret, but now Japanese label Happy Prince has released it on CD. Expect a vinyl version to come along in another three years…