Acid Baby Jesus, “Selected Recordings” LP

cover - acid baby jesus selectedAcid Baby Jesus' last proper full-length, 2011's LP was kind of a hodgepodge of '60s rock tropes. There were sludgy stompers, flower-power psych jams, and jangly bouncy things. It was fun, but never quite got into regular rotation the way their "Hospitals" single had originally hooked us. In the meantime, they did a teamup with Hellshovel for the Voyager 8 EP, which was fun, but never really gelled the way I wanted it to. The two bands seemed to be doing their own things simultaneously, rather than finding a joint sound together, which really kept otherwise-agreeable numbers like "I Went Down" from clicking. So, why should you listen to their upcoming full-length, Selected Recordings, out November 17 from Slovenly Recordings? Because it's amazing! It's been a solid two years since the band's released anything of note (not counting the "Vegetable" single they released in advance of this back in September), and they've changed, but in a good way. The whole psychedelic rock thing is 100% in the forefront. The album manages to remain thematically and tonally coherent, while also playing around with tempos and textures. A big part of the problem with LP was that it sounded like a collection of singles, but Selected Recordings sounds like an album (although the names seem to suggest otherwise -- weird). Acid Baby Jesus remains the band they once were. You can hear echoes of LP in this new album -- "I'm Becoming a Man" rocks that dirty fuzz the same way "Tomboy" did, and "Row By Row" echoes the stomp and freakout of "Tyrannosaurus Rex." Also, in addition to just being recorded more coherently, Selected Recordings is sequenced in such a way that the album flows, rather than jumping from B to X to G to V to Z. By the end, you feel like you've journeyed down the river of Lethe, and things are groovy and all right. [embed][/embed]

Four new Slovenly singles from The Anomalys, PUFF!, Thee MVPs, and Useless Eaters

Three upcoming singles from Slovenly Records, as well as one (PUFF!) on their new imprint, Mondo Mongo. These all came into my inbox at the same time, so they're all getting reviewed simultaneously. Each review was limited to a certain amount of space, and I kept to that, in the interest of brevity. THE ANOMALYS -Deadline Blues- EP - coverThe Anomalys - "Deadline Blues" b/w "No More!" Ignore the a-side, which is pretty rote, even though there's a nice reverb on the guitar tone. The vocals are so high up in the mix as to irritate, especially given the tone-deaf delivery. The crazed drumming and insistent background vocals on "No More!" make it the far more interesting track on here. It's frantic and the surf bridge makes it completely danceable. You can freak the fuck out on that one. PUFF -Identitatsverlust- EP - cover 1PUFF! - Identitätsverlust Behind all the weird synth work, guitar insanity, and otherwise is a steady, motorik / mechanical beat. This German group might operate like Devo on speed, but there's a solid foundation behind all three songs that keep them from collapsing into complete messes. "Routine" is the least outre of all the tracks, yet manages to use its simplicity to provide a severe and claustrophobic discomfort. THEE MVP'S -Oh Sally- EP - coverThee MVPs - "Oh Sally" b/w "Amok Time" Jangly, shaggy garage at its most simple might not be breaking any new ground, but Thee MVPs know how to rope you in and keep your attention. "Oh Sally" is bright and sunny, "Amok Time" is a little darker and intense, and any song that uses Kirk battling Spock as an analogy for troubles in a relationship is aces with me. The wails and guitar workout in the last minute make this one a real winner. I also like the fact that these folks don't fade out -- both songs end with these great little codas. USELESS EATERS -Desperate Living- EP - coverUseless Eaters - Desperate Living Synth-y, Spits-y garage. It's dirty, like the contacts on Useless Eaters' electronics haven't been cleaned in a while, giving everything a patina of filth. I love the fact that the combined running time of both songs on the flipside is less than that of the title cut. "Desperate Living" takes its time and stretches out, but "Dungeon" and "I ThinK She Wants to Find Out positively revel in their brevity. "I Think..." even throws in a solo at the end, as if to say, "Oh, we've plenty of time." You can preview a track from each of these releases at the Slovenly Bandcamp page.

Stalins of Sound, “Tank Tracks” LP

cover - stalins of soundMore dirge-like than the Spits, less poppy than Devo, and more abrasive than Digital Leather is Stalins of Sound. Their Tank Tracks LP -- out next week on Slovenly -- took a few listens to really grab me. However, despite the slow build up to acceptance, some tracks immediately interested upon first listen. "Monkeys Attack" is insistently metronomic in its rhythm, and the guitar just buzzsaws along. I featured it on the podcast a few weeks back, and the more I listen to it, the more I get what Stalins of Sound are trying to do. Granted, it's pretty indicative of what Tank Tracks sounds like. The earlier tracks follow that pattern, and if you're only half-listening, it's difficult to tell some songs from others. "El Cajon Beatdown" and "Abominations of Fire" work way outside the repetitive beats, and album closer "Rules For Your Mouth" is this strange thing that sounds like someone took The Legend of Zelda's dungeon music and mixed it with industrial punk rock. While not a huge fan of things that are firmly in the chiptune vein, when bands mine video game soundtracks for inspiration and effect, it lends an element of levity and places tongue slightly in cheek, lessening the otherwise oppressive elements of the songs. Stalins of Sound's guitar is just relentless, and these occasional electronic elements shine brightly through the darkness. Stalins of Sound's Tank Tracks is out next week on CD and LP from Slovenly and you can pre-order it now.

Hobocop, “Half Man, Half Cop” 10-inch

cover - hobocopHobocop's Half Man, Half Cop is just the right amount of lo-fi. It's not quite as rudimentary as Apache Dropout, but it's fuzzy and dirty. The fuzz and distortion works with the music, though, rather than obscuring good songwriting. "Stench of Death" especially benefits from some extra dirt on its sludged-out garage guitar. The whole lo-fi aesthetic gives everything a sense of mystery -- is that keyboard or a weird guitar effect? Is that an acoustic bass or a weird guitar effect? The element of mystery makes the whole Hobocop thing entertainingly strange. You'll accept the fact that "Fairweather Scum" is remarkably catchy, despite the fact you've little-to-no idea what's being sung. Just lock onto "yeah yeah"s and "whoo-hoo"s whenever possible, and use those as your guideposts to take you from mumbled guesses to enthusiastic and confident sing-along. The downside is that Half Man, Half Cop would be an excellent record to crank, were it a little more cleanly recorded. Even at reasonable volume, it sounds as if your speakers are blown out. "California Biodome" sounds as if your stereo is dying in a fit of feedback and wa-wa wash, and I fear to think what might happen if I decided to push the volume any more than I already did. I'm all for punk brevity, but another flipside is that some of these songs seem more like sketches or incomplete ideas than actual finished pieces. "Big Deal" is just shouted "BIG! DEAL!" and "You're not a big deal!" -- seeming more like the bridge and chorus for a song that could use a verse or two of actual lyrics. "LIttle Green Bills" is much the same, but with a piano line and ground-out guitar line supplementing the titular (and only) lyrics. If the short, "conceptual" pieces were cut, you'd be left with a fine 7-inch. As it is, Hobocop's Half Man, Half Cop is still a fun listen, if a little incomplete. The album is due out next week from Slovenly, but you can pre-order it right now.

New Coke, “Duct Tape Your Mouth” 7-inch

cover - new coke duct tapeThe latest from New Coke isn't as deliriously weird as their first single. Can anything be as uncomfortably wonderful as "He Got Stabbed In the Throat"? I humbly submit the answer be, "No - no fucking way." Granted, the Duct Tape Your Mouth EP is still pretty uncomfortable -- it isn't as delightfully weird as its predecessor, but it's still super-uncomfortable. The title track is a strangely catchy tale of home invasion and hostage situation and (like the other two tracks on this single) suitably jittery and edgy. It almost seems like New Coke's material on this EP is thematically linked -- especially when you dig into the lyrics. Duct Tape Your Mouth sounds as if it's the rantings of a man who's found someone fooling around or doing something behind his back, doesn't know how to take it, and ties them up, rants, and starts a standoff. Based on the fact the final song is entitled "I Am Drunk, I Have A Gun, I Want Names," I'm guessing it doesn't end well. Not to spoil anything, but he "shot a man at close range," and considering they were calling his wife at the end of the title track, somebody's going down. You can pre-order the 7-inch from Black Gladiator / Slovenly.

PYPY, “Pagan Day” LP

cover - pypyPYPY's debut release, Pagan Day, has the unfortunate timing of coming out after Savages' Silence Yourself. It's all too unfortunate that it's going to be compared to that bit of disco-tinged post-punk. This is, however, a less focused release than that, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Pagan Day meanders and engages in psychedelic freakout workouts, making the moments when PYPY focuses that much more intense. There's a lot of build-and-release on this album, and it makes for an involving listen. "New York" will just work a dance bassline for a good half minute before turning the burbling, underwater guitar into pointed riffs, simply exploding from your speakers. You'll be nodding along, then suddenly rocking out, thrashing about the room, like you've been possessed by a fucking demon. Then, of course, the song following it, "Molly," is a pretty standard psych-rock number. Guitar solos all over the place, flanged vocals, and an end that doesn't so much build as collapse upon itself. It's the sheer unpredictability of PYPY that makes Pagan Day such a fantastic, intriguing listen. It certainly doesn't hurt that, smack-dab in the middle of the record, comes "Daffodils," an absolutely perfect dance jam. Slovenly and Black Gladiator make mention of Liquid Liquid in the press kit, but the track also manages to work in some evil proto-metal fuzz and a bassline that's quite reminiscent of Delta 5's "Mind Your Own Business." You're then sent into the jittery, uncomfortable "Too Much Cocaine," which might as well have been recorded during a full-on bender in the studio. It will make you feel like you've slammed a pot of coffee, then topped it off with a shot of DayQuil. It's twitchy, yet manages to find a way of getting your feet tapping, even with someone screaming "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" in the background of the song. It's not due out until February 11, but you can pre-order it on Bandcamp. There are 50 mailorder copies on white vinyl (out of a pressing of 100), and plenty available on black or CD.

Missing Monuments, “Blast!” 7-inch

cover - missing monuments blastConcluding our week of power-pop this week, we're looking at another release from Slovenly Recordings -- in this case, the newest single from Missing Monuments, due out on 7-inch on November 26. With releases on Dirtnap, HoZac, and Douchemaster, it only seems logical that King Louie would eventually find his way to the Reno label, renowned for their discerning tastes in garage and punk. The title track, "Blast!" is a stomper. The guitar line cycles around and around, while the drums pound and pound, with a harmonica bleating out on top of it. Louie's vocals are harsh and shouted, making this the punkest blues you've heard outside the Gun Club. It's tough as nails. Then, you've got "Ghost HWY" and "Covered In Ice." The former one's a jangly blast of catchiness, sort of like an amped-up R.E.M. The other's almost like a bit of classic rock. I hear bits and pieces of late-night AOR jams rocking through, but there's a serious amount of skinny tie in there, too.
Rocking jams, all. Not nearly the dirtiest music the combo's recorded, despite what Slovenly would have you believe -- there's lots rougher songs on their Painted White LP -- but it's a fun bunch of gems.

Nightmare Boyzzz, “Bad Patterns” LP

cover - nightmare boyzzz bad patternsOh, man -- can power-pop be the next big thing in underground rock 'n' roll? We got the ball rolling with the Exploding Hearts, Missing Monuments, and Mean Jeans, but it hasn't seemed to become a "thing" like lo-fi, shitgaze, or whatever. However, given that we've got the #1s getting released in the states, and this Nightmare Boyzzz LP hitting about the same time, I'm hopeful. Bad Patterns, out in two weeks on Slovenly Recordings, is truly wonderful. I've been returning to it more and more over the last week or so, and with each listen, I find something new to like about it. Granted, it's not like these Huntsville boys are breaking out for new territory with this release. It hearkens back to quite a few other artists, taking pop-punk's energy and the bouncy guitar rhythms of glam, and merging them with any number of early '80s acts that came on the heels of the Buzzcocks and the Undertones. It's what the way Nightmare Boyzzz work everything together, though, that makes Bad Patterns work so well. The fuzzy guitar intro to "You're A Star" reminds me of every song that's ever grabbed me by the ears and wormed its way into my brain, yet deftly avoiding any lifts you can accurately pinpoint: "Well, that's kind of like Slade ... no, wait, that's kind of a Marc Bolan thing ... is that a Thin Lizzy solo? Fuck, man -- you wanna listen to it again?"
And it does that over every single other song on the LP. This might be the new release for me to get evangelical over. It's been a while since something had me this excited about a band. I know I'm into someone when I see their tour dates gets posted and start to consider road trips to check them out. Get on that "whoa-oh" train and pop over to the Slovenly Bandcamp to pre-order this beauty.

Podcast #102, “In Advance Of”

comingupThere are times where I wish I'd just use all of the outtakes to the show, just so you can see how utterly amused I am by myself. It gets a little silly down here in the basement sometimes -- there are things I say and do that leave me utterly in stitches. Additionally, I feel Like I should let you know what i listen to as I type up these previews as the podcast encodes. Currently: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Damn the Torpedoes. I've not had a copy on vinyl in the decade I've been in possession of a decent turntable, and it's astonishing how much better it sounds than any of the innumerable singles when they're on the radio. All ranting aside, we've some great music from Slovenly Recordings, amongst others, to say nothing of an interview with Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids about the upcoming three-way split double LP they have with Los Straightjackets and the Fleshtones. It comes out October 1 on Yep Roc, and is entitled Mondo Zombie Boogaloo. You can find tour dates and order the record at Yep Roc's site. Podcast #102, "In Advance Of" The Replacements, "Takin' A Ride" (Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash) Heavy Times, "Might Not" (Fix It Alone) Old 97s, "Jagged" (Fight Songs) The Front Bottoms, "Au Revoir (Adios)" (Talon of the Hawk) --- The Penetrators, "Baby Dontcha Tell Me" (The Kings of Basement Rock) Diarrhea Planet, "Ugliest Son" (I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams) Bent Shapes, "Brat Poison" (Feels Weird) Terry Malts, "Well Adjusted" (Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere) --- Interview with Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids --- Los Straitjackets featuring The Fleshtones & Southern Culture on the Skids, "Que Monstruos Son" (Mondo Zombie Boogaloo) The Atom Age, "When You See Me Hurt" (The Atom Age EP) Wau Y Los Arrrghs!!!, "Rescate Griego" (Todo Roto) The Stooges, "Fun House" (Fun House) --- Big Boys, "TV" (Wreck Collection) Murphys Law, "What Will the Neighbors Think?" ("What Will the Neighbors Think?" single) The Humpers, "For Lovers Only" ("Fast, Fucked, and Furious" single) Psyched to Die, "Permanent Solution" (Sterile Walls)

Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!, “Todo Roto” LP

cover - wau y los arrrghs todo rotoMy day job requires a healthy amount of time in front of computer, so I spend a good portion of my time in the office listening to music. New albums, day after day after day. It's a great way to start to draw conclusions. Firstly, the new album from Wau y Los Arrrghs!!!, Todo Roto will likely sell far fewer copies than the newest release from King Khan and the Shrines, Idle No More. And, I mean ... it's fucking great and all that Khan's back, and the story behind why it's been a six-year wait for a new album is absolutely fascinating. However, after the entirety of the Shrines' output, Idle No More just seems like a letdown. It's a better album than most, but for a recording from King Khan and the Shrines, it's fucking dullsville. Which is why the fact that Todo Roto will sell fewer copies is such a fucking shame. It's a party platter of the first level. It's entirely in Spanish. It's dirty. Above all: it's fun. There's been a sense of reckless abandon on every previous Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! record, and it's entirely present here. While the band obviously takes their music seriously -- translating Kinks lyrics, layering the sound with Farfisa and wicked licks, and the absolute intensity with which Juanito Wau delivers his croaking scream -- there's an element of laissez faire about the whole thing.
It's not that you'll notice flubbed notes or anything like that, but the band dances on the precipice of destruction. Todo Roto moves fast, and it moves hard. If you were dancing to it, you'd likely slip a disc. It's intense, and to properly tear up the dancefloor without injury, you'll need a rug-cutting professional to assist you. The way "Maldito Modales" switches from surf-rocking fuzz to organ-pounding hip-shaking and back again so swiftly, it astonishes. Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! Todo Roto comes out on October 15, but you can pre-order it now on CD or LP from the Slovenly Records Bandcamp.