Record of the Week: QLOAQA LETAL Nunca, Siempre LP

26 08 2014

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Recorded in 1983 in Valladolid, Spain, mastered 30 years later right here in California, and released shortly after by the Mallorca-based Metadona Records, this legendary punk tape has finally been properly dignified in the vinyl format. Like their contemporaries in Spain, you can tell their sound resulted from simultaneously digesting both first wave punk and proto-hardcore, recalling a bit of CICATRIZ and KANGRENA, but also the gloomy side of PARALISIS PERMANENTE. However, while exuding darkness, QLOAQA LETAL is not campy, just genuinely creepy and candidly cynical abouttheir social reality: “Life spits on me, luck deceives me, glory avoids me, death grabs me.” While becoming a classic of the Punk Ibérico repository, they definitely developed their own sound here and it’s amazing! The bass pulsing percussively over a crudely fuzzy guitar tone, Rouky’s warm and gritty vocals, as well as the intriguing electronic sound of the manual drum kit are all elements that make this stand out in their time period. Furthermore, they often infused their live shows with elements of theatrical plays. The package includes an insert with lyrics and photo clippings from the period showing their wonderful freak aesthetic, and prompting me to shudderthinking about what it must have been like walking around conservative Valladolid in the early ’80s looking like that. Possibly attributable to LA BANDA TRAPERA DEL RIO, the word cloaca (sewer) and its associated imagery became a Spanish punk signifier, which one could interpret as a message reminding the new pseudo-democratic regime obsessed with cleaning its own image that the shit still has to go somewhere. Awesome record and a cool artifact. (Metadona Records)

—Lena Tahmassian

MRR is putting together an especial Punk Ibérico issue to come out in January 2015. If you have anything to contribute, please send it to mrr {at} maximumrocknroll(.)com. Thanx, punx!

August 26th, 2014 by MRR


Monday Photo Blog: Nick Goode returneth!

25 08 2014

It has been some time since Nick Goode has visited us at the Monday Photo Blog. But as the youth of today are fond of saying these days, no time better than the present. Or something like that. Anyway, here are a few from Nick from the past few years of bands that have come and gone, and some that reappear every so often.

Blank Stare at A Warehouse, No Way Fest, RVA 2007. (photo by Nick Goode)

Government Warning at Nara Sushi, Richmond VA, sometime around 2007 / 2008. (photo by Nick Goode)

Socialcide at Flint St, Raleigh, NC, 2006. (photo by Nick Goode)

Blank Stare at Lunchbox Records, Charlotte NC, December 2007. (photo by Nick Goode)

Send your tour photos, bands that have come through your town, the best of your local bands, etc. to: photoblog {at} maximumrocknroll(.)com. Include your name, a link to your website (or flickr, Facebook, or whatever), and the band (or subject), date and location of each photo. Just send your best photos — edit tightly. Three to seven photos is plenty, and it’s best to send pictures of different bands. Please do not send watermarked photos. Please make your photos 72 dpi and about 600–800 pixels at the longest side. Not everything sent in will be posted, and a response is not guaranteed, but we do appreciate all of your contributions. Feel free to submit more than once. Thanks!

August 25th, 2014 by Matt Average


MRR Radio #1415 • 8/24/14

24 08 2014

This week Matt is joined by Berlin punks BLANK PAGES, who play an earful of great German punk, old and new.

Play

Intro song:
MUJERCITOS – A Mi Ruca

Blank Pages

Blank Pages

Matt pulls from the new bins
NAPALM A.D. – Lasermannen Sköt Igen
MAAILMANLOPPU – Haista Vittu Maailma
NAPRED U PROŠLOST – Poverenje Ne Kleci
S.O.R. – DMCS
EXTERNAL MENACE – What the Hell

Jan shares some newer German gems
PUFF – Identitatsverlust
THE LOVE TRIANGLE – Do You Think That You’ve Found Love?
MOMMY BOYS – Zimmer Aufräumen
DIAT – No Accent
DIE – Fatality
THE NUMBER ONES – Heart Smash

Alex plays German punk, new and old
THE SHOCKS – Asexuell
DACKELBLUT – Friseur
DOOMTOWN – Forever Fucked
MINUS APES – Concrete Spirit
CHAOS Z – 45 Jahre
THE HIGH SOCIETY – Schatten Über Nürnberg

Malle steers things into krautrock territory
CAN – Millionenspiel
NEU! – Neuschnee
NOEM – Panzer

Outro song:
BLANK PAGES – Shelter

Maximum Rocknroll Radio is a weekly radio show and podcast featuring DIY punk, garage rock, hardcore, and more from around the world. Our rotating cast of DJ’s picks the best of the best from MRR magazine’s astounding, ever-growing vinyl archive. You can find MRR Radio archives, specials, and more at radio.maximumrocknroll.com. Thanks for listening!

August 24th, 2014 by Matt Badenhop


“Too smart for their own sake”:
Toronto’s ACTUAL WATER

22 08 2014

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By George Lastman

How smart is too smart? How funny is too funny? For Actual Water, the answers to these questions are not mutually exclusive. To them, being Toronto’s resident “musically inclined intellectuals” (their words, not mine) goes hand in hand with being jokers of the scene. It seems natural to Actual Water that their lyrics, hefty in theme and resplendent in undergrad-informed verbosity, ride simple, guitar-driven tracks that simply rock. Still, there remains a sort of roundabout danger and uniqueness to the boys, as they prefer to do things like conduct interviews in very un-rock situations, e.g., in a public library.

Anthony Nemet, 24, enters the room in a brown blazer and well-fitting jeans. Sitting gracefully in the largest chair in the building, he crosses his legs and squints at a copy of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. A 19th century text exploring phenomena as wide-ranging as economic bubbles and alchemy, the text is both sensational and academic at once, almost as useful as it is thrilling and accessible. Watching the lead singer and Rickenbacker-swinger of one of Toronto’s most inscrutable rock bands read such a heavy tome could be disorienting, but Nemet is quick to clear up any questions about what he’s into what he’s into.

“This is a key text when trying to understand the psychosis people feel when confronted by rock ‘n’ roll,” Anthony says, looking down his nose at me. “Let’s be honest, what is a rock show if not an expression of mass hysteria?” He pauses, laughs, and looks over at Gary Pooni, 24, his friend and partner in songcraft. Clutching a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Pooni concurs with a nod, a smile and shrug of the shoulders, his body language suggesting that Nemet go on. The room goes silent as the two return to their books.

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It’s not easy to interview Actual Water. They often go off on tangents, talk over each other and speak in big words that rarely, if ever, make much sense. Pooni seems especially eager to confound anyone within earshot with his verbal dexterity. As drummer, percussionist and lyricist of the group, Pooni clearly wishes to loom large among other “intelligent drummers who write songs” like Neil Peart and Traffic’s Jim Capaldi. Speaking in measured sentences punctuated by rapid-fire invective as well as frequent use of alliteration and free-associative metaphor, Pooni speaks as if he is constantly trying to remind you of how smart he is. Rather than reading as a symptom of insecurity, it seems to be more of a giant joke that is always on the verge of going over my head. Still, when he needs to make a point, he does so with brevity.

“Look, the point is to make a record that makes you think and doesn’t stink.” He says as he leans forward, looking me dead in the eye and taking on a conspiratorial air. “All these other bands, most of them anyway, all they’re interested in is having a good time, shooting the shit and leaving the heavy intellectual work to the next guy. The next guy, of course, is a chimp who doesn’t want to do anything but play asinine riffs through a Big Muff.” His face goes grim for a moment before a smile cracks and he glances over at Nemet who also can’t help but laugh. Right as I feel like I’m starting to get the joke, however, Pooni flips the script. “I mince garlic,” he says, “not words. I hate to say it, but rock bands nowadays are just getting dumber”.

At times, Actual Water’s façade breaks down and you see them for what they are: two kids from Toronto who love making controversial statements about the politics of rock almost as much as they love the music itself. Their songs, acting as an outlet for this aggression against bands (no specific names mentioned) that they deride as being “chimps, chumps, chicken and not fit to chauffer an Actual Water roadie to Coachella”, often read as rock ‘n’ roll think pieces, both in form and content. They’re also fond of using terms like “entry-level” to place groups in a hierarchical structure that places Actual Water at the top, as if they have been appointed (or anointed) CEOs of modern guitar music. The end result of this barrage of invective is that the band appears holier-than-thou and narcissistic. Still, when you see them crack up, you begin to wonder if they actually believe any of what they’re saying.

Name-calling and bullshit politics aside, the group’s latest album, Call 4 Fun, is exactly what its name implies. “It’s a fun record. It’s like the best alcohol rock party you’ve ever been to at Foucault’s mansion,” says Nemet as he leans back, closing his book and placing a gold bookmark between its worn pages. “The idea of ‘calling for fun’ is putting the onus on both the listener and the band. You better know what numbers to dial.” Indeed, the title track is a thrilling stab at joyous guitar pop that isn’t far removed from early 2000s garage rock. Later in the record, on the beautifully dark dirge of “Waldo Jackson,” a reference is made to the titular character “falling out of his tree onto a stack of old NMEs”. When asked to connect the dots, Pooni and Nemet smile. Relishing the opportunity to talk about two of his favourite things at once, Pooni explains that Waldo Jackson is a “tired, whiney old indie guy who lives in the ‘90s and can’t get it up long enough to stop thinking about guitar tones and start having a good time.” Fair play.

There they are: rock politics. They creep up once again, as they often do with Actual Water, but almost always with humour. True to their status as jokers who love a good conceptual gag, the difficult inside jokes keep coming. They accumulate in front of me, piled high like paperwork in a language I don’t understand and can’t make any sense of. As it becomes more and more difficult to tell when they’re taking me for a ride, their music becomes more and more revealing. Still, when they really need to make a point, they make sure you know they’re serious. Actual Water’s mission is inject excitement into rock by any means necessary, even if that means doing decidedly un-rock things, like reading Gladwell in a library on a weekend. They want nothing more than to bring a pulse back to a genre that’s been lagging since Julian Casablancas started singing falsetto.

Of course, when I make this Strokes reference to the group, they go serious. Nemet insists that his falsetto is “the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear.” Pooni adds that listeners “cannot yet afford to hear him sing in his nightingale register.” I try to read their body language to see if they’re joking and feel as if I’m floating aimlessly in the middle of a Chomsky text without an intellectual paddle. They’ve done it to me again, and they’ll do it to you as soon as you play Call 4 Fun. I’ve gotten used to it, and I don’t regret it. Neither will you, trust me.

August 22nd, 2014 by MRR


Create to Destroy! Robin Wiberg

21 08 2014

CreateToDestroyLogo

You may know Robin Wiberg as the drummer for DISFEAR, or from his Instagram account where he regularly posts his punk art. His drawings are stylistically very raw, which is fitting as he hails from Scandinavia, which is the birth place of “raw punk.” Here is an interview with Robin for Create to Destroy!

 

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What was growing up like for you?
Well, I was born and raised in a small town called Nyköping, Sweden. My childhood was good, I guess, with secure surroundings and supportive working class parents. But when I got into my teens I outgrew my small town…having long hair, wearing studs, ripped jeans and Doc Martens was not very popular among the older raggare (greasers) and skins who beat me and my friends up on a regular basis and tried to cut our hair. I sang in my first punk band called REVOLT when I was 12, and later began playing drums in various punk and hardcore bands until I finally ended up in a band called DISFEAR. We started to tour Europe on a regular basis and we had a blast! During this time (1997) I met my wife-to-be, Linda, at a party with mutual friends (Jallo from NO SECURITY/DISCHARGE and his girlfriend). We moved to Gothenburg, then a few years later to Stockholm. Now we live in a house with our 6-year-old daughter and we are pretty satisfied with our lives.

Did you grow up listening to Swedish punk?
Yes, I did! The first punk band I heard was SEX PISTOLS, when I was around 11 years old. Before that I only listened to bands like KISS, Iron Maiden, Wasp, Accept and Mötley Crüe. I was totally blown away by the simple structures and the roughness in the Pistols and wanted to explore what punk was. Some older friends introduced me to bands like ASTA KASK and THE EXPLOITED. Then I discovered DISCHARGE (we called it thrashpunk at the time) and I couldn’t believe my ears! I was amazed over how fast they played and how raw as fuck and bleak the production on the Why 12″ was. After that everything came natural, and bands like ANTI CIMEX, TOTALITÄR and MOB 47 became my gods. I was going to gigs as often as I could, and I lived and breathed punk and hardcore.

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When did you start drawing?
I started to draw at a very early age and drew very often as a kid, but when I was was around 14 years old I completely lost interest. It wasn’t until maybe a year ago when I rediscovered drawing and started to think that it was fun again.

What’s it like being a punk dad?
Well, it has its ups and downs for sure but it’s pretty awesome! I’m trying to introduce her to the scene and sometimes she likes the music I play and wants to “dance,” but mostly she’s like, “Why are you always listening to that angry music!?” Haha!

Does your kid draw?
Yeah, she draws more than me and she’s really good! I really enjoy the times when we sit down and draw together.

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When did your art start mixing with punk?
In the 6th grade I think…I always drew punks and crusters whenever I got a hold of a pencil.

When did your art start getting recognized internationally?
Maybe a year or two ago when I started to publish my drawings on Instagram and the response was very positive. I work with mentally challenged adults that like crafts and to draw. So I am very lucky to be able to sit at work and draw at a daily basis.

What punk artist has influenced you the most?
I have to say Pushead. He’s art is close to perfect if you ask me. But I try to do my own thing!

RobinWiberg_9

Where was your art first used on a record release?
I think the first person who wanted to use my art was a guy called Martin (HERÄTYS, INSTITUTION). He wanted me to draw a picture for his hardcore/käng band named MISÄR-83. That release is not out yet though, due to his many other projects. The first band that actually released anything with my art on must have been WARVICTIMS. I have also collaborated with a couple of record labels who wanted my art for flyers/webpages/t-shirts and upcoming releases.

Where was your art last used?
The last commission was for a T-shirt design for the American band CHAIN SHOT.

What inspires your style?
The struggles in everyday life — the system, injustice, war, music and so on.

What are you currently working on?
I just finished a gig poster for the club Dead Rhythm with such bands as: DISTRESS from Russia, FREDAG DEN TRETTONDE, MYTERI AND UTANFÖRSKAPET. I have more stuff in the making but it’s to early to mention at the moment.

How can we best stay up to date with you?
If you need anything done for your band or label, you can email me at: final.agony {at} gmail(.)com
Check out my stuff on my Instagram account at username: fear_my_nerves

Any last words, punk?
This past year has been overwhelming with a lot of assignments from bands and labels who want to use my art for their releases. I really enjoy doing this, so don’t hesitate to contact me for whatever reason. Thank you for the interview, Amelia!

August 21st, 2014 by Amelia