Monthly Archives: May 2016

New Music: Primetime, Going Places EP

Primetime, “Going Places” EP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 5/16/2016)

Primetime are a four-piece punk band working out of Londontown.  “Going Places” is the second EP, following 2014’s self-titled endeavor.  Two word review: we likey.  Want more words?  Read on, then…

This is a seriously fun, poke in the eye of a record.  In the tradition of folks like Billy Childish (and related acts), Stiff Records artists like Wreckless Eric, The Slits and more recent artists like Nots and Nervous Twitch, Primetime sing deceptively simple songs about everyday concerns:  waking up/not wanting to wake up; relationships/not wanting to deal with relationships; being in control/feeling like you’re losing control; and pheromones, lots of pheromones.  It’s as deliriously snarky as it is insidiously catchy.

Highlights are many, but think fast, as the whole EP isn’t more than seven minutes long.  “Pervert”’s showcases a great, kind of inverted machismo, beginning with the line “if I’m a pervert/and you’re a stain on my dirty mind/…I want to tear off your shirt”, lead singer Claudia delivering a deadpan warning to an unnamed other that if he/she takes too long getting in da bed, she’ll “start without [you]”.  “Anyway” starts with a beat reminiscent of The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”, with lyrics describing being  distracted by someone while simultaneously not (wanting to) give a shit.  The bass/drum combo is rock solid, allowing the guitar room to move and the vocals to strut with a cheeky grin and a one-fingered salute (or two, depending on your locale).

“Going Places” is out now, via La Vida Es Un Mus – grab it now on the labels’ Bandcamp page.  More can be found about Primetime on fbook and the twit.

New Music: The Raveonettes, Junko Ozawa

The Raveonettes, “Junko Ozawa” (self-released, 4/29/16)

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We’ve been fans of The Raveonettes for ages – they had us at “Attack of the Ghost Riders” and we’ve never let go.  “Junko Ozawa” is both the band’s latest release and the April installment of their “Rave-Sound-of-the-Month” club, which sees the band releasing new material, well, monthly (Ed – cheers, Capt. Obvi).  This one’s named in honor of a noted Japanese video game music composer.  That’s her picture, above; the official, lyric video is below.

“Junko” represents a potent marriage of the JAMC-meets-Eddie-Cochran sound of their earlier material and the newer, sleeker noir/shoegaze/surf (shurfnoir?) dance party of their more recent output.  The track features a tight, minimalist electronic sound paired with blips, bleeps and bloops suitable for one of its eponym’s games.  Sune Rose Wagner’s treated, helium vocals – which sound a bit like Prince in his “Camille” days – begin unfettered, then are gradually weighed down by static and other distortive noises, as he sings “the friends I lost/were never meant to be”.  Game over.

“Junko” is my joint favorite of the four monthly tracks released by the band thus far, together with January’s icily beautiful, 808 inflected, “This World Is Empty (Without You)” – don’t make me choose!  Check that one out, here.

Happily, The Raveonettes singles club for the 21st century project looks to be turning into a full-blown full-length.  Head over to the band’s Pledgemusic page for more info.  Rave on.

Follow along with the band, and sign up to receive monthly ‘sounds’, on their website.

New Music: CC Dust, Never Going to Die

CC Dust, “Never Going to Die” (Perennial/Night School)

CC Dust is a project involving MaryJane Dunphy, lead singer of frabjulicious Olympia, WA punk band Vexx, and David Jacques.  With “Never Going to Die”, she brings the energy and passion of that band from the pit to the dance floor.

Dunphy here sounds a bit like a combo of Alison Moyet and Lene Lovich, croon-whooping over a long lost 4AD track, with Jacques weaving a Hooky baseline.  The deep echo and reverb overlay on the bass and vintage-sounding programmed beats cloak the song’s glistening new wave bedrock in a bit of a goth and early industrial chill – whatever you want to call it, it’s a well-crafted track as good for dancing to as it is for just being with.

As it is with Vexx, Dunphy’s voice inhabits the song.  Moving from gutteral to delicate and back, it’s physicality caroms around, over and through the melody in a way similar to Dunphy’s live presence (check the video below), further animating the already dramatic arrangement.

Recorded last year, “Never Going to Die” is taken from a forthcoming, 5 track 12” ep, due soon(?) from Perennial (US – preorder here) and Night School (Europe).  Speaking of Europe, CC Dust is playing dates therein (venues included where I could find).

June

5 – Osramhuset, Copenhagen (DK)
7 – Hamburg (DE)
8 – De Gym, Groningen (NL)
9 – Butcher’s Tears, Amsterdam (NL)
10 – Au Picolo, Paris (FR)
11 – DIY Space, London (UK)
12 – Hope & Ruin, Brighton (UK)
13 – Undertone, Cardiff (UK)
14 – Tenterhooks, Dublin (IRE) 
15 – Barcelona, Sala Almo2Bar (SP)
18 – Valencia (SP)
19 – Logroño (SP)
21 – Leeds (UK)
22 – The Poetry Club, Glasgow (UK)
23 – Servant Jazz Quarters, London (UK)
24 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester (UK)
25 – Berlin (DE)
27 – Klub Famu, Prague (CZ)

Album Review: Empty Markets, Stainless Steel

Empty Markets, Stainless Steel (12XU Austin, 4/8/2016)

Churning, relentless, fantastic new hardcore/punk from Austin, TX three piece, Empty Markets.

Stainless Steel marks the group’s debut, lead singer/guitarist Drew Schmitz having previously been involved in bands like Cruddy and Hex Dispensers.  While there’s definitely a whiff of the old school – “Pink and Barren World” sounds like an interpolation of “Teenagers from Mars”, and the sonic energy recalls past masters like Black Flag, The Offenders and Die Kreuzen – Empty Markets, like other newer bands like Ex-Cult and fellow Texans, Institute, incorporate noise, post-punk and post-hardcore (think Drive Like Jehu) ambience into the punk template, elevating it past d-beat rehash or mid-tempo, street punk boredom.

Front to back, this is one of the best new punk records I’ve heard in years (coming from a somewhat jaded, ‘old school’ – like, early 80s – h/c guy).  The arrangements, as well as the playing, are both muscular and extremely tight throughout.  Schmitz’s guitar playing is inspired.  The rhythm section of drummer Jordan Rivell and now former bassist Wendy Wright create crisp, sharp rhythmic blasts.  Wright (replaced, since the album’s recording, by Stephen Svacina) has a driving, out front bass style that recalls folks like Mikey Offender, and her vocal interplay with Schmitz is a consistent highlight.  Loud.  Sweaty.  Cathartic.  Recommended.

Stainless Steel is out now, on 12XU, and can be purchased via Empty Market’s bandcamp page or the label’s site. Find out more about the band on their fbook page.

Highlights include: “New Religion”, “Pink and Barren World”, “Rash Decision”, “Bulging Affidavits”.

Review: The Monsieurs, “High School Star” 7″

The Monsieurs, “High School Star” (Goodbye Boozy Records)

Following their crazy good (and, in parts, just plain ol’ crazy) 2014 self-tltled album, Boston scuzz-punk rockers The Monsieurs are back with a new double-a side single, “High School Star/Jack of Hearts”.

We here at thegrindinghalt wanted to give a glowing review of The Monsieurs (the album) but were, frankly, to busy listening to it and breaking shit to actually get around to writing one, so…if you haven’t yet experienced that aural Misfits/Ramones/Monks/Sha Na Na knife fight (actual knife fight, mind, none of that West Side Story or “Beat It” nonsense) do so, ok?  Great, thanks.

Anywho, “High School Star” continues the three chords and a cloud of dust assault of the full-length.  The band is at full strength here, piledriving their way through roughly two and one-half minutes of relentless rock.  Singer Andy California still sounds like he’s sing/screaming through a swarm of bees over a Hilken Mancini guitar slash reminiscent of “Wild Thing”, while Erin King provides the rhythmic stomp.  While I’m missing, a bit, the backup ‘sha la las’ so prevalent on the album, this still rages.

“High School Star” is out now on Goodbye Boozy Records, a label out of Teramo, Italy that is also home to other great bands like Sick Thoughts and The Husbands.

Check out The Monsieurs on fbook or the twit.

Album Review: City Yelps, Half Hour

City Yelps, Half Hour (Odd Box Records, 4/22/2016)

After a few blistering singles and 2014’s Cheap Psych cassette, Leeds, UK-based City Yelps are back to delight us all with a brand new long-player, Half Hour.

City Yelps channel a whole host of bands in crafting their own take on skewed indie pop:  the woozy, lo fi psych-pop charm of Flying Nun and C86 bands; the wiry, spiky tones of Swell Maps, The Fall, even Half Man, Half Biscuit.  Singer/guitarist Shaun Alcock delivers wry lyrics with a withering sneer – amidst a maelstrom of detuned guitars, layers of reverb and snare shots that sound like a slap – sounding like the acerbic uncle who you not so secretly love to hang out with at the holidays.

What counts most, though, are the songs – and these are effing fantastic.  Tracks like “We Like the Hours”, and the raucous one-two punch of “Light and Classical” and “Making Noise”, twist, swing and sway like a punch drunk fighter who might be going down, but is taking folks with him.  Unwind the gauzy bandages of tape hiss and distortion and what you discover are strong, tightly arranged melodies, played with the righteous indignation of a group with courage in their convictions.  After spending a Half Hour with them (see what we did there?  Get on with it?  Ah, yes, ok…), you’ll be convinced, too; hell, you may even tell two friends, and so on.

Half Hour is out now, courtesy of Odd Box Records.  Order it now on the label’s bandcamp page, and check out the band’s newsletter page on fbook.  While you’re at it, hop on over to the band’s own bandcamp page and pick up a copy of Cheap Psych.  You know you want to.

Highlights include:  “We Like the Hours”, “Now”, “Light and Classical”, “Music for Adverts”.