Reviews

Slovenly

Acid Baby Jesus Selected Outtakes 7″

Two early versions of songs that were renamed when they appeared on 2014’s Selected Recordings album. ACID BABY JESUS are from Athens, Greece. They incorporate some of their hometown’s traditional musical styles into their psychedelic garage rock. The result is droning, repetitive and slow with an unique atmospheric feel. I can picture lying on a rock by the ocean as the clouds move slowly overhead while listening to these songs. Groovy.

Bipolar Depression EP

First thing’s first. The title track is the most catchy, sing-along song about depression since BLACK FLAG’s. I also like that they were able to incorporate the phrase “I am a gentleman and a scholar” into the song without sounding goofy. Secondly, I do not like clowns. This cover photo is downright revolting. But in this case, these demented clowns are A-OK with me. BIPOLAR is out of Brooklyn, NY via Tehran, Iran. Their music is a high-energy, synth-led punk. In addition to “Depression,” there is also “Virus,” “Fist Fight,” and appropriately “Sad Clown.” Short bursts of frenetic exuberance. Fun stuff.

Biznaga Gran Pantalla LP

This record starts off with a warm guitar hum that’s almost ethereal. Then the vocals come in softly with some reverb while the drums build quickly in the distance. It feels like I’m being transported to a far-off land of mystery and fantasy, and that’s just the song “Ventanas Emergentes” (“Pop-Up Windows”). The next track comes in hard with their singer’s gruff, powerful shouts that carry a strong melody. I can’t get over how fantastic the guitar layering is, though I think they only have one guitar player. As a whole, their songs are post-punk inspired, fuzzy, angry, and sung completely in Spanish as they are from Madrid. My Spanish isn’t strong enough to translate it all, but from the album title (Big Screen) and song titles like “2K20” and “Error 404,” it’s not hard to sort out that this record is about technology. From the tone of the songs and what I’ve been able to find online in interviews, Gran Pantalla covers the dystopian cyber-hellscape of today with so many people transfixed by their phones/tablets/smart TVs/etc. BIZNAGA’s music is dripping with passion and drive. I love the treatment of cymbals in their recording—just these far off splashes that still pound and shimmer over the guitar and bass. Songs are fast and so fucking energetic. Bands like this reaffirm my love for reviewing records because had MRR not assigned this one to me, I might have never been introduced to their beauty and power.

Control Freaks She’s the Bomb LP

This local band is the latest Greg Ripoff combo. A fun garage punk romp with dual male/female vocals. On their second full-length, they have a new woman on co-vocals, and the songs are short simple, and catchy. A fun band live as well, if you can tolerate an insult or two.

CR Dicks Dick Moves LP

Sophomore entry from this Cedar Rapids unit (get it?), notable in my mind for featuring Andy from the HORRORS, a long-time bash maestro fave. Dick Moves sorta leaps out beyond expectations, defying garage in favor of sleaze-fire hootenanny, noisy with suitably busted hip-hop influences throbbing throughout. Hearty stuff, the kind of a stick-to-your-ribs exploder tailored for the after-hours set.

Des Demonas Bay of Pigs EP

The slinky ’60s organ on this will make you cry 96 tears, the rhythm section has a collapsing beat that almost feels like watching a movie about mechanical failure, the repetition inherent in the sound is hypnotic and eternal… and the vocals add to this mystery. Recommended for demanding cultists and mindless transcendentalists.

Gino and the Goons Rip It Up LP

A reissue of the third and my personal favorite LP by these Florida garage punkers. This album is just so great: a non-stop rocking experience featuring amazing songs, performed perfectly, and delivered with the perfect amount of attitude. Any band, from any decade, undoubtedly wishes this was their album. “Outta Control” may be the best rock song of the 21st century. It’s so damn catchy. If you missed out on this the first time around, there is no longer any excuse not to own this. Fantastic.

Green/Blue Green/Blue LP

An album of catchy, modern-style new wave post-punk featuring Annie Sparrows of the SOVIETTES and Jim Blaha of the BLIND SHAKE. The guitars and drums chatter with the bass pulses. The music they make is jumpy and jittery then it mellows out for a song before getting all excitable again. The female and male collaborative vocals sound great together and remind of a more polished LOST SOUNDS. I like it.

Hand & Leg Lust In Peace LP

Long-player #2 for this Greek duo. Within seconds, it’s clear that Lust In Peace avoids any lazy two-piece trappings, and that something a lot more ominous is afoot here. Rhythms generally thud, vocals chastise, and strings are mangled while an uneasy static grows and grows. There’s no comfort in the groove they build, but still so much to hear—experimental, fearful, and extreme as their sound may be. There is nothing “garage” about this either, just pure cacophonous, uneasy listening that prompts repeat plays. A very impressive record, and one that anyone prone to neg-vibe explorations should seek out.

Ladrones Ladrones LP

There aren’t many female-led bands doing the unhinged TY SEGALL garage thing these days. So it’s really nice to have this debut album from LADRONES. Vocalist Valeria Sánchez has a wild style with frantic yelps and elongated howls. The band plays frenzied, distorted garage punk. It sounds great. The best song, “La Pichaera,” sounds like it could be an outtake from the debut DAVILA 666 album. It’s so catchy and driving and makes you want to sing along. Excellent album.

Midnite Snaxxx Music Inside LP

On the one hand, reviewing the third full-length album from the Bay Area’s MIDNITE SNAXXX should be quick work. I could just tell you that this is simply the very best punk record of 2019 and leave it at that. And honestly, that could be enough. But I am a devoted MIDNITE SNAXXX disciple, and I need to tell you so much more. I need to tell you that Music Inside is a picture-perfect mix of snotty and sweet. I need to tell you that no one sings about cyborgs or gentrification more memorably than the SNAXXX’ dynamic frontperson Dulcinea Gonzalez. That this band alone proves that punk is somehow not yet dead. That I make coffee in the morning listening to this record, that I blast it while walking down the streets of my crumbling city, that I hum the songs to myself when I’m falling asleep at night, and then wake up and do it all over again. If you want just one song to convince you, it’s the monster title track, which will fit snugly on your next mixtape (or S*****y playlist) next to anything from the RAMONES to the BRAT to the LOST SOUNDS and back again. If you’re not yet a convert, give it a listen or three, and join the rest of us true believers.

Midnite Snaxxx Contact Contamination / Fight Back 7”

When you’ve got this band’s chops, two songs are all you need to make a point. The down-picked chug of the single’s opener pushes uncut adrenaline right out of the gate, and both tracks keep up a blistering momentum throughout. This band has only gotten more fiery and exciting over their decade-plus in existence, and these tracks continue to up the ante. The guitar work is scrappy, furious, and wonderfully weird, and lead vocalist Dulcinea continues to command attention with a presence that’s impossible to ignore. I can’t wait for more.

Model Zero Model Zero LP

Members of the SHEIKS (one of Jack Oblivian’s backing bands) and EX-CULT backed by one of MR. QUINTRON’s drum buddies from this Memphis supergroup. With a pedigree this cool, it would be hard to go wrong. MODEL ZERO does not disappoint. Theirs is a retro futuristic style with whirly synths and repetitive beats. The vocals are soulfully plaintive. Plus it’s got a wacky edge. Buy this.

Moron’s Morons Looking for Danger LP

This wonderful Polish band releases their first full-length of wild, ferocious and simply amazing chaotic rock’n’roll. It is impossible not to think of ANGRY SAMOANS as a reference but it also reminded me a bit of ANNIHILATION TIME. Advice? Listen loudly!

Pódium Pódium LP

This is cool. Super bouncy and fierce dayglo-style punk from Valencia, Spain. This was once a one-person show and now it’s a full-on steamroller of fun (that’s a full band to you). My mandatory attempts at comparisons may liken them to the SPITS, EPOXIES, TYRADES, and ALASKA Y LOS PEGAMOIDES. Favorite tunes me like are their theme song “Pódium,” “Magia Negra” (of course), “Psicopata,” and “La Noche.” The whole package is what one needs in their headphones as they ride a motorcycle down the coasts of Spain. If you stare at the cover long enough you see God. What more can you possibly want?

Powersolo Backstab / Nedtur 7″

The second TAV FALCO-sounding band I am reviewing this month. I understand it. He’s got a cool style. This one is from Denmark. Two songs of garage-y rock with a lo-fi dirty attitude. The A-side “Back Stab” utilizes “motherfucker” quite a bit. “Nedtur” is in Danish, so it could also be using that word for all I know. Even still, the songs are catchy and edgy. Interesting stuff.

Priors New Pleasure LP

Insistent, kinetic fuzzed-out punk pop. Itchy repetitive guitar riffs serve as foil to the just-this-side-of-annoying keyboard melodies that drive the songs. The vocalist’s delivery is snotty yet deadpan, detached yet sneering: little escapes their disdain. PRIORS pound their way through fourteen songs here, most of which come in around the two-minute mark, save for the epic title track, which despite its five-minute-plus is no slow burner.

Priors Call for You EP

Montreal buzz’n’scuzz. The title track recalls the streamlined charge of the POINTS: totally breakneck, modern and impressive. The tunes on the flip twitch a bit more, particularly “Swelter,” which may be the crown jewel of the affair. No subtlety to be seen, just pure drive. A nice jaunt for the chemically-enhanced in our readership.

Puppy and the Handjobs I Hate Everything EP

Imagine if Beavis and Butt-Head had eventually, um, Grown Up Fucked Up, somehow learned to read via overtly sexist garage rock zines, and got into the GERMS and the JABBERS more than GWAR, and you’re enough of the way there. Gross declarations of sexual frustration and an accompanying music video for the song “Cocksucker” on Pornhub (I’m not kidding) turn to creepy stalking and kidnapping fantasies with the song “Predator.” The decent garage scuzz underneath you can find elsewhere without all this nonsense.

Sore Points Not Alright EP

Slovenly Records and Sticker Guy Pete never fail to release some no-frills, hard rockin’ garage punk. Vancouver’s SORE POINTS are no exception and rage here through four songs that could compare to the best of the INFECTIONS, USERS, or Canada’s SUBHUMANS. “Not Alright” is a current personal anthem, but “Not Coming Back” is the one that kills it for me. Thanks Pete.

Tandoori Knights Temple of Boom EP

I’m sure this is already sold out, as it features King Khan and Bloodshot Bill (not Barbecue Bill, as I have written down here in my notes), so act fast, if that’s your thing. I think you kinda know exactly what to expect with this. Super bare-boned, early BILLY CHILDISH-inspired, distorted even though it’s acoustic, wonderful harmonies, yet still ridiculously simple. I feel this shit gets more credit than it deserves, but at the same time, it’s really fucking good. Yeah, I wanna be a snob and hate on this real bad, but I just can’t do that.

Telekrimen Culto a Lo Imbécil LP

Kitchen-sink punk noise from Mexico City. TELEKRIMEN are about as “garage punk” as a band like early LOST SOUNDS were, which is a wonderful thing: dark and bloody punk with a recognizable ’60s garage foundation, but damaged enough that it mutates into something more interesting. The less-compelling moments (barely-beyond-trad surf and R&B swipes) are basically just workouts designed for live gyration rather than at-home pondering, so sweat appears to be of more concern that brains here. Fitting as they probably kick ass live.

Th’ Losin Streaks This Band Will Self-Destruct in T-Minus LP

Has it really been fourteen years since the first TH’ LOSIN STREAKS LP? Well, that certainly is too long to wait for a second album. During those lost years they may have discovered a time machine and gone to London to play some gigs at the Railway Hotel. This Band Will Self- Destruct in T-Minus has a mod-y garage rock feeling reminding me of a more restrained, early period the WHO. The songs are catchy. The guitar playing is punchy and crisp. Great album.

The Cavemen Lowlife EP

I’m not sure why, but this record has a sort of Rip Off Records feel to it. Maybe it’s the black and white paper sleeve. Maybe it’s the relatively lo-fi production. If you’re a fan of straightforward punk rock that is raw and gritty, but still catchy and melodic, this is definitely for you. The B-side even gets a little swampy, but doesn’t lose the feel of the other cuts. This is worth going out of your way to find.

The Cavemen Night After Night LP

Traditionally, I would object to any band cleaning up their sound. I mostly prefer my records to sound like the live experience: distorted, messy, and lo-fi. Even though I love all the other CAVEMEN records, I have to admit I am glad they cleaned it up a bit for this one. Night After Night is filled with stronger songs and better melodies. The playing is top notch, and the vocals powerful and tough. The songs retain the attitude and tastelessness I expect. They’ve developed into a more thrash-y version of the DICTATORS and I like it.

The Cavemen Euthanise Me EP

New Zealand scum punks the CAVEMEN return with four tracks of their particular brand of theatrical faster-and-louder rock‘n’roll. The results are solid, with nothing feeling particularly evolved from last year’s full length Night After Night. But that’s not really the point with music designed to hit hard and as to-the-point as possible. It’s a good bit of fun, though the music does sound a bit friendlier than I might expect from titles such as “Eat Your Heart & Wear Your Face.” There’s something charming about the band’s preoccupation with writing “evil” tunes, I just wish I believed them a smidge more. Less cracking wise and more cracking skulls!

The Monsters I’m a Stranger to Me / Carpool Lane 7”

These MONSTERS are a Swiss trash-garage combo that started kicking rocks way back in the ’80s and are fronted by the honorable Rev. Lightning Beat Man. Beat Man runs Voodoo Rhythm Records, so the dude is not a stranger to loud-ass dirt rock, but I was still surprised by the grit that’s caked over these new recordings. The A-side is a hi-energy rave-up that shows a generation of Burger-fed youth how it’s done. Gnarly. “Carpool Lane” slows down just a hair so that herk-jerk verses can alternate with heavy bursts of fuzz as an analog synth zaps the aliens lurking on the side of the road. A cassette version slathers on a host of extra tracks.

Tommy and the Commies Hurtin’ 4 Certain EP

They did it again! After the excellent Here Come LP in 2018, they come back now in 2020, once more with an amazing power pop, punk explosion. This power trio from Sudbury, Ontario gives us brilliant and cool classic punk, just like BUZZCOCKS but also something like the #1S. I can’t stop listening since they released this EP! A sad fact that it only lasts four songs; waiting anxiously for the next records.

Total Rejects Total Rejects LP

This is pretty rad. A not-at-all-modern-anymore noisyasfuck take on the garagecore genre permiates this band’s tainted soul. With the amount of screech and distortogration dripping from this wax, I want to immediately cry “Japan!” typing out random blurts of TEENGENERATE, Bag of Hammers-era GUITAR WOLF and even CONFUSE and GAI. This would sorely miss pinning this band to the mat in any kind of style or substance though. From their photos, the thin moustached hipster look of fourteen years ago has not been lost, but seeing that these gents are from Russia, I am left humbled by their mighty Euroness and ten-years-behindness. Total Rejects begins and ends with a spooky synth soundtrack to a Russian monologue not of my easy deciphering but surely having clues on how to control the president. Sandwiched in between are wonderfully angst-ridden psalms easy for one to slam spit or dance to, often precluded by a Ginnlike squeal of feedback. The REATARDS might be an easy go-to comparison but this mind is whisked back in time to days and lost evenings listening to the likes of the CARBONAS, BEAT BEAT BEAT, GAYE BLADES and the late BOBBY UBANGI if only for their spirit, attitude and facial hair stylings. Love it. Buy it!

Xenu and the Thetans Xenu and the Thetans LP

Brandon Welchez from CROCODILES and Johnny Otis Davila aka Dr. Papi, from DAVILA 666, joined forces in Mexico City to form XENU AND THE THETANS. It’s as if they had been held back by their previous musical endeavors and decided to play as fast as possible. Luckily, they are able to pull it off without sounding unhinged or disjointed. The drummer is pretty great. Excellent cover of the SAINTS’ “This Perfect Day,” sung in Spanish.

Young Skulls Bomb Train Blues / We’re Gone 7″

This guitar-drums-organ trio of heavy-hitters from the likes of CHROME CRANKS and TRANS AM announce themselves with swagger. Two thick-necked, grinding garage rock numbers with the sweaty intensity of a rawer JOHN REIS project.