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.
UK Band Evans the Death (Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’s Milk Wood) sound like the bionic version of the Primitives: bigger, stronger, faster. Their debut single came out last month on Fortna POP! It’s a double A-Side, something that usually leaves me scratching my head because nine times out of ten one of the songs is clearly B-Side material. No such problem with this record. Threads has a deadpan vocal from singer Katherine Whitaker over a taught and twisting guitar. Whitaker sings, “You put the fear of God in me, Why did I watch that documentary?” Reminds me of when I was a kid and I stayed up late with my friends at a sleep over and watched Faces of Death. The other A-side I’m So Unclean starts off with rattling bass and crashing guitars is slightly less intense (if you can believe that) but just as good. When Whitaker sings, “When I’m watching the shopping channel, I will think of you.” Evans the Death evoke the Smiths. This is a great debut single and worthy of its double A-side status and the gold that it’s pressed on. Looking forward to a full length.
stream: Evans the Death – Threads (head over to Fortuna POP! to download and purchase the single)
In other Fortuna POP! news, you may have heard that Comet Gain have a new album out called Howl of the Lonely Crowd. It’s been out over in the UK courtesy of Fortuna POP! for a couple months and will get released next month in the US by What’s Your Rupture so keep your eyes peeled. Howl was produced by Edwyn Collins and is an instant classic. If you are a Comet Gain fan you will likely want to snatch up the 7-inch single for An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls. It’s limited to 500 copies and contains two exclusive B-sides, a cover of Carla Thomas’s northern soul classic I Take It To My Baby and album outtake You’re Just Lonely.
This kind of came out of nowhere, though there was a gig at the Cake Shop in New York last year that Bill mentioned. Cinema Red and Blue are mostly made up members from Comet Gain (David Fek sings all the songs) and Crystal Stilts. The makeshift band also employs the services of Amy Linton, Hamish Kilgour and Gary Olson. When you daydream about all star lineups, no doubt a few of these names enter into your imagination. Throw in some covers by the likes of the Chills, Julian Cope and Vic Godard and you won’t want to wake up.
There’s an album due on 28 September on What’s Your Rupture. In the meantime here is the cover of Vic Godard’s Same Mistakes that appeared on his album The End Of The Surrey People back in 1993 which was produced by one Edwyn Collins. I digress, Cinema Red and Blue was recorded at Olson’s Marlborough Farms studio.
You may have heard (especially if you’ve been listening to the Finest Kiss Basementcasts) that Comet Gain have just released a cd that compiles singles, radio sessions and other ‘stray dogs’ from the past ten ears onto one of those new fangled compact discs. It’s been a while since the last Comet Gain album, 2005’s City Fallen Leaves, so it seems like a lot of people are rediscovering or just discovering their ramshackle magic. The new Broken Record Prayers compilation is a perfect introduction to band, treading that fine line between elegant beauty reminiscent of the Go-Betweens to ramshackle rock n’ roll akin to the Mekons. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s their best record, but it certainly has some of their best songs including the lovely You Can Hide Your Love Forever and the bouncy Love Without Lies.
Comet Gain are one of those bands that are hard to keep up with, constantly sprinkling in a 7 inch single here and ep there, and since they’re English getting those singles and eps can be a little difficult and expensive. So Broken Record Prayers brings you up to speed. Of course just as you think that you’re up to date with Comet Gain, they go and put out a new single, kind of letting you know that they’re not sitting still. I guess you could always wait another ten years for the next compilation to hear the new single. Nah, I didn’t think so, neither could I. It’s a good hot and cold single with the a-side a vitriol filled ode to Beat-hobo Herbert Huncke that sounds a little Rolling Stones and a little Blue Aeroplanes. The b-side No Spotlight On Sometimes is something of a cool down, showing off the more mellow melodic side of the band. There’s something about the 7 inch format that just doesn’t get old for me and this single definitely keeps it fresh.
Comet Gain are going to be coming over to the US in April for a handful of dates on the east coast, so you lucky people in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC should make the effort to catch a rare appearance of one of the UK’s most under-appreciated bands. I’ll just sulk out here in Seattle, wishing they were making the jump across the country, because I think I like Comet Gain more now than ever before. Here are the precious few dates which by the way are all with the excellent Crystal Stilts:
8 April – Black Cat – Washington, D.C.
9 April – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
12 April – Music hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY