Reviews

Telephone Explosion

Chandra Transportation 2xLP

I first heard of CHANDRA at the height of the Making Waves zine / tumblr explosion of about ten years ago, when all these cool girl-punk sound detectives started finding all these wild Subnormal Girls-style musics from 1977 onward. The first two CHANDRA EPs were reissued on a 12” a while ago, but this is a deluxe reissue, remastered with two extra tracks, and anyone who would begrudge a super sick twelveyear-old girl circa 1981 fronting a no wave art punk downtown NYC group a deluxe reissue is a brain-free freak. The gatefold has a bunch of absolutely incredible images of CHANDRA performing and just being a kid, which is almost worth the price of admission. The music is dense paranoid art school wave, the sound of a band who would play the Mudd Club and The Kitchen. The lyrics are mean and cool like twelveyear-old girls and like NYC. Prior to writing about the nausea of riding the subway and girls called Kate, Chandra wrote songs about climbing out of a 60ft window and throwing babies in the trash! The music is truly the sound of downtown NYC, the backing band were previously released by John Cale’s own label. The second EP was recorded by an all-teenage band after a show Chandra performed where the audience was made up of her peer group, and it was clear that was the answer! It has a cooler, more lo-fi feel, punker. The unreleased songs are truly incredible and totally worth the price, paranoid lofi synth-punk for the ages! Beyond perfect. Buy or die. All teenage girls in bands now.

New Fries Is the Idea of Us LP

The spirit of 99 Records lives on in NEW FRIES, a minimalist neo-No Wave trio from Toronto who, in true ESG/LIQUID LIQUID fashion, aren’t afraid to work a single repetitive, hypnosis-inducing rhythm for as long as they deem necessary. Is the Idea of Us consists of six “proper” songs, and seven brief interstitial instrumentals all uniformly titled “Genre”— the latter suggest anything from static to sirens passing outside the window of a late-night bus to the muffled sound of a band practicing as heard from a few rooms over, while the more structured tracks balance on an ice-thin foundation of slowly pulsating bass throb, blasts of sampler noise, high-tension guitar scrabble, drums stripped to the most austere beats possible, and impassive vocal incantations reverberating through the negative space left between those elements. The very SNEAKS-like “Ploce” is carried almost entirely by a few endlessly-cycled bass notes and some punctuated, electronically-treated percussive hits, and the modern mutant disco anti-jam “Bangs” speeds and slows at unpredictable intervals like a dubbed copy of the ROSA YEMEN 12” played on a faulty tape deck. Dance music for the heat death of the universe!