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Here are some new reviews of recent (and not so recent) releases, courtesy of Terminal Boredom online fanzine.
Blank Realm "Hey! Little Child" 7"
First in a series of NGL-curated jukebox singles (what we call one-sided 7"es in the States) that will feature chosen artists tackling cover songs selected by the label. Blank Realm have been a tough call for me thus far, their LP left me feeling like a man drowning in a sea of improv/noise with no life vest. The spectacular "Burgers In Our Midst" off the 'Wings Over Gabba' comp fell squarely in my wheelhouse however, a pleasantly Krauty drift in a contained one-track pool. This is probably the most trad-sounding this band is going to get, though they do go freewheelin' with the organ freak-outro. It's a fairly straight take on the Chilton-penned tune, and Blank Realm balance their more out tendencies well against the source material. While we can go on and on debating the merit of one-sided singles and the dollars-to-music ratio they present for those with a monthly record budget, lets just say this one succeeds as a concept.(RK)
Degreaser "Bottom Feeder" LP
Gnarly Aussie rooting from the remains of Sea Scouts, Bird Blobs and other shrapnel resting in the mind of Tim Evans. If you were following Sea Scouts back in their day, well I applaud you, because I myself have been playing catch-up with their work over the past year or two, and only then because of a tip from the Aussie sleuth who released this here record. So yeah, this thing goes deep in the burrow, perhaps if you didn't think Slug Guts went deep enough in the hole, well then you need dig no further than to follow this black rabbit. Dark layers of rhythm repeat and sway in a passively agressive lurch and flop, performing a No Wave application of the time-honored Aussie trogloditian swamp-swing. There's little variance from song to song, both rhythmically and aesthetically, vox are continuously delivered in a Yow-like drunk-murmuring-into-a-whiskey-bottle slur. There might only be one song here, who knows, there aren't even any song titles to be seen anywhere. The album leaves you feeling out of sorts. Sometimes this enhances the damage and adds a twisted psych quality to get lost in, and sometimes it makes it too much too take. Too much ugly repetition. When Degreaser leave you floating in some borderless dreamscape full of dust devils and shadow demons, they excel. The best couple of cuts off of this are as primal a scree you're going to scrape off the bottom of your shoe this year. A side long serving is plenty of time to get where they're going. Taking the whole thing at once might want to make you lay off the drugs for awhile. Which is a good thing, no? Scum stats: I'm sure there's only an unholy few of these, so get one now before you're paying a devil's ransom in 2012.(RK)
Eagle Boys "Kambalda" 7"
London-based band of Australian travelers that barely existed from what NGL HQ tell us, but who had the good sense to both name themselves after a bad Aussie pizza-chain and record these tracks on someones broken tape machine before packing it in. "Kambalda" is a jittery punk number about starting brush fires in the Oz countryside that presents some Wire-like tenison as played by drunken louts sipping the meths. Actually, the drummer sounds pretty sober and great. B-Side has two shorter and punker broadsides which do remind me of a younger sounding Bits of Shit. Sleeve and label present different titles for the tracks which is always makes for fun. A-Side is a real treat, but the flipside shows some deceptive catchiness on repeats.(RK)
Low Life "Sydney Darbs" 7"
I tried to talk the Low Life cassette up as much as I could - fantastic animosity from Australia, it was super-aggro even by Oz standards. Apparently NGL liked it a bunch too, which leads us to the 'Sydney Darbs' 7", that just gets right down to business with "Atomised". Sheer aural assault, fleshpeeling guitar, hatred-spewing vox, earthquake rhythm section - real streetcleaning shit. "Rewire" retracts the venom a bit but operates in a more neanderthal-like fashion. Blunt and rather rude. "Submission" kicks off Side-B (and your dick) with more of that skinflaying guitar sound, I think the first lyric is something about "old cunts" - real anti-human sermonizing that I can get behind. This one barrels along like a beat-to-shit pick-up blazing down outback roads, shooting guns at anything that moves. A legit corker, great lyrics included. "Down Under" closes up shop, and it's a fucking black hole. Exceptional. I feel like these guys are the closest thing to an Aberrant Records band I've heard in modern times, and they add a bit of NYC-scumrock filth to the proceedings. Even the lyrics are top fucking notch. I feel like taking a shower after a few listens to this. Watch out for their 'Dogging' LP in 2012. I know I will be.(RK)
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments "Burning Trash" 7"
Double-shot of unreleased '95 demos from the legendary TJSA that is a boon for cult-members and a real victory of a release for NGL Inc. "Burning Trash" swings with House's always authoritative vocal swagger and some filthy guitar work. My wife seriously just asked me if I was listening to Neil Young. I have no idea what to say about that. "Price of My Words" is an "eggy"(!?) version of "Lightin' Rod" from the 'Straight to Video' album according to House, and it ups the tempo and throws a bit more gasoline on the guitar. TJSA + raw "demo quality" recordings = big winner. Brendon should be very proud of this release, and hopefully this stokes the coals under CDR to get both the Psandwitch LP out and get that TJSA reissue campaign rolling...(RK)
Unholy Two "$$kum of The Earth" LP
Columbus' Unholy Two somehow slipped this full length out under the radar in the waning moments of 2010, and either I wasn't paying enough attention or not enough people were (and are) talking about this, one of the more diabolical long-players of recent memory. It's not something you can listen to passively. It requires attention, and takes it by force if necessary. Production is rawer than Tommy Rich's forehead after a dog-chain match with Buzz Sawyer circa May 1983. Yes, that raw. Six or seven different layers of feedback/distortion/scree on every song. Are the Unholy Two even a duo? I feel like there's more than just a two-man tag team making the racket there. They must need at least three guys just to carry all the effects pedals. Perhaps they're invoking the Freebird Rule. "Garvin Stomp" opens this affair with the utmost class, and by the time it's over you should know full well whether you've got the gonads to hang with nine more tunes. The assault isn't necessarily riff-heavy, as you'll be hard-pressed to pick the actual guitar out of the maelstrom for the most part. What they get going is more of a rhythmic din, a morass if you will, taking effects-pedal abuse and noise looping/fucking to nearly ridiculous extremes and creating a pretty soul-crushing sound. There's no light at the end of this tunnel. Bad vibes. Bad drugs. Music played by heels. "(Do The) Horsecock" is fucking garage-rock at its core, no matter what anyone tells you, and it takes what the Necessary Evils did and practically renders it a moot point. "White Devil" is $$kummier than any band in NYC right now even wishes they could be. I actually bladed when I listened to "Nazi Nailgun" for the first time. The inclusion of two live cuts to pad out the end of thisbloodbath of an LP is no great sin, as they sound like total not-giving-a-fuck hell. I'm sure these guys have done a lot worse things at afterparties. I'd love to see these gorillas pull this shit off live...500 copies with artwork I think was well chosen and whose screenprinting/design is as overdriven as the music therein. If Puffy Areolas are the Monoshock of today, then that makes the Unholy Two...Monster Magnet? Aussie edition of 100 copies available with alternate artwork and bonus cut on NGL.(RK)
V/A "Wings Over Gabba: The Best In Songs of Negativity" LP
If any modern fanzine reflects my tastes it's Negative Guest List (and not Terminal Boredom), so I was definitely stoked to dig into this compilation which collects the best of the CDs (which I unerringly manage to misplace) that have accompanied a few issues of NGL during its run so far. All exclusive cuts, which is how it should be done, and all from bands that are probably just slightly off the radar of all but the most attentive of current record nerds, which is also how it should be done. Mordecai are the best band in Montana and "King of Infinite Space" is yet another pristine example of their efforts at learning how to play their instruments in the shapes of actual songs, and this one is nothing less than fantastic. They sort of have an intro, build up a little steam, they horn two chord changes in this one I think, with a solo(!?) and then sound like geniuses just stopping on a dime. Maybe a nickel. BA's own band Meathump (which sounds almost as cool as Meat Thump) do an inspired bit of dueling guitars that sounds like an outtake from Alvarius B's "Blood Operatives.." LP. Sewers prove I haven't been paying enough attention, because I know shit about them. I'm assuming they're Australian, and they sound like the hobgoblin version of Pheromoans, which means I need to go diggin' through some back issues. Blank Realm are one of the few NWOAM groups I haven't given a total ball coddling this year, and "Burgers In Our Midst" is passive-agressive dronescaping that perhaps frightens me in its depth. A phenomenal cosmic voyage. Kitchen's Floor track is a grade-A certified slab of trash-rock sirloin that rescues me from that fearful reverie, I "Needs" more bands like this. Wisconsin "legend" The Jaguar kicks off side B, sounding like the short-bus riding Midwestern counterpart to Digital Leather's Shawn Foree. BA should be seeking restitution from the pressing plant, as it sounds as if they pressed the Future Blondes track backward and at the wrong speed. Either that or it was recorded during a tornado. Caped superheroes Butcher Cover save the day once again with a gristly Chaos UK cover that should have you running for it. One of this LPs true gifts is another Hatefuck track, this one called "Well Dressed Man" that provides further evidence that they are one of the lost treasures of the decade. It makes you think about what could have been (or what actually was that you just weren't there for), but also realize that sometimes it's best to not have all your dreams fulfilled. Totally brutal heavy rock made by criminals. Closing out are two more gems, Rubbish Throwers released one of the better and more slept on singles of NWOAM singles last year, and this instrumental sounds like the smog monster surfing a tsunami. Closing are Bits of Shit, whom I've given a good tug on my own based on one of the best punk singles last year in the worldwide field, and this cut holds its own with that collection of tracks. Sheer Australian dunderheadedness in musical form from tough bald men wearing cut-off denim vests. I think BA wrote somewhere that the singer is a real John Rotten type or something along those lines, and I enjoy imposing that description onto my mental image of the band and their sound. Blokes you can trust, for sure. Housed in plain black sleeves with labels proofread by Helen Keller seems only fitting to the edge-of-his-knickers lifestyle I'm sure BA must lead every day between assembling issues of NGL, plotting record releases, playing in bands, reviewing records and interviewing interesting people, being interviewed by Vice, growing Tav Falco-esque moustaches and being perhaps the most important scribe and doer-of-things in the international underground music scene right now. I can't imagine you not buying this.(RK)
Wonderfuls "Piss Fist" 7"
Brendon NGL extends his empire into the world of vinyl with the release of an EP from this Brisbane-based duo who must be some pretty weird dudes, or are ready to die trying to convince you they are. These songs are sourced from recordings done from 2004-07 before they guys were probably committed to the psych-ward or took jobs in some factory sweatshop for malt liqour money. I think the "Royal Trux if they were on the 'Waste Sausage' comp" vibe Brendon prepped me with before hearing this is more apt than anything I'm going to go reaching in the chumbucket for. They certainly propagate a certain shite-gazing aesthetic, one part guitar-folk and the other half barrel-bottom art-punk trash, or at least poking irreverent fun at such things. "Piss Fist" itself is vulgarian acoustic rock'n'roll with perhaps ad-libbed lyrics and a shockingly catchy guitar part recorded while relaxing in a truck stop bathroom. "Hated Man" is mock-psychedlica whose "hook" seems to be only the wonderfully sleazy pronunciation of the word "maaaan". I have to think glue was the preferred drug of choice while recording this one. "Sick Individual" is so loose it hurts, a real showcase for their troubadoring skills. Could also be a piss-take on NZ-pop. They end with the tour-de-force of "Young Hearts", a snaggletoothed bit of emotionally difficult brain-damaged grunge rock. A peculiar record that becomes a little bit more odd each time you listen to it, and straddles the fine line between total garbage and absolute rubbish with unnerving panache and is an interesting throwback to the days of yore when Australian music was truly fucking bizarre and uninviting.(RK)
The title tune gives off a weird stench of Pink Reason-y acoustic gloom and Dave E snot-filled storytelling. For a song torn from the pages of an AA/NA meeting…this slurry named "Piss Fist" is (dare I say) quite catchy. After the minute or so of 12 step confessions, "Hated Man" hightails it into acid casualty territories and outsider guitar wank-isms. This shizz is stewed. A steady stream of 70’s retrofitted psychosis, heaped upon a moderne strum-punk that mumbles and collapses through the flipside. "Sick Individual" and "Young Hearts" seem to reference The Geeks or that now famously heralded Unwanted Christmas Presents LP everyone's been fighting for. My kinda’ glop. A head-scratcher that’ll become an “ooh-lookie-what-I-found” treasure for record nerd show-offs for years to come. This is pretty sweet slab…and it’s heading to a Shit-Fi Mix-tape near you.(RSF)
New items in the distro: KITCHEN'S FLOOR 'Too Dead Notice' LP $20, ABOVE GROUND LP (Members of Axemen and Vacuum) $20, FAR OUT FANGTOOTH 'Pure and Disinterested' LP $20 and WATERY LOVE 'Die With Dignity' 7" $10. All from Siltbreeze and all prices w/out shipping.
NGL fest looms. All of Brisbane don't forgot to head over the the Spring Hill Hotel on Dec 10 for the year's best night of live music, social drinking and hand rolled cigarette smoking.