Tag Archives: glam

Settle in and Submit to the Debut from Taiwan Housing Project, “Veblen Death Mask”

Taiwan Housing Project, Veblen Death Mask (Kill Rock Stars)

Thorstein Veblen was a late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century economist known for coining the term ‘conspicuous consumption’ (not, sadly, ‘priming the pump’) and lending a name to a “Veblen good”, one whose demand corresponds with its high price – a status symbol.  So, basically, Veblen was an early identifier and critic of the douchebag economy.  Which brings us – hard segue – to Veblen Death Mask, the debut long-player from Philly’s own disrupters, Taiwan Housing Project.  We’ve previously extolled the virtues of this particular project following release of their fantastic self-titled EP in 2015, and Veblen does nothing to mute this adulation.

As a statement of intent/table-setter, you’d be hard pressed to do better than “Salt Sugar Fire”, as Kilynn Lunsford’s multi-tracked, warbled and distorted voice projects the album’s overarching feel of an image deconstructed and rearranged in a room of fun house mirrors.  Threads of punk, no wave, glam, industrial, jazz; Wire, PJ Harvey, Diamanda Galás, Girl Band – core duo Lunsford and guitarist/feedback shaman/dial-up modem impersonator (“Authentic Alien Perfume”) Mark Feehan fleshed out the group with new members and new instruments, including violin, synth and everyone’s new/old fave, spazzy tenor sax grunts.  “Authentic Alien Perfume” is a heady brew of Cramps-y strut over a Peter Gunn rhythm, “Ideal Body Alignment” a fuzzed-up take on Pink Flag-era Wire, dissolving into a cacophonous rush of a chorus.  It’s a stunner from beginning to end, a series of disorientating soundscapes seizing control of the transmission to your TVs, smartphones, tablets, etc., that, despite flirting with the oft-derisively used “arty”, never succumb to self-indulgent wankery.  In fact, a less cruelly bland musical universe, the ‘rip her to shreds’ glam-stomp belter, “Multidimensional Spectrum” would be your go-to summer hit.  Request lines are open.

Veblen Death Mask is available now from Kill Rock Stars.  According to the press release accompanying the album, THP will be on tour in the US in July/August and in Europe in October/November.  In the meantime, you can stalk the band on fbook and the twitt and check the video for the title track, above.

Highlights include:  “Authentic Alien Perfume”, “Multidimensional Spectrum”, “Ideal Body Alignment”, “Eat or Be Eat”.

“Negative Growth”, the New Album from Ex-Cult, Is a Must-Listen – You Must! Listen!

Ex-Cult, Negative Growth (In the Red, 9/23/2016)

We love Ex-Cult, so word of new music from them is always welcome.  In this case, that news comes in the form of a fantastic new album, “Negative Growth”.  Working again with producer Ty Segall (he worked on their self-titled debut, and Ex-Cult singer Chris Shaw fronts one of Segall’s many (many) side projects, Gøggs), the album powers and moves just like you want an Ex-Cult record to, but also showcases some newer tricks.

Previously shared tracks, “Attention Ritual” and “Let You In”, set the tone pre-release.  Both are furious reminders of the band’s punk/hardcore side, each swooping like a Crimson Ghost for the throat.  Shaw continues to possess some of the best punk pipes out there, his hoarse (read, not “hoarsely”) cries imbuing these new tracks with the same shadings of rage, confusion and angst as on earlier releases.

Where things get even more interesting is where the band stray a bit, rhythmically and vocally, from the punk foundation.  Lead track, “Mr. Investigator” begins with an almost Devo-like spazzy new wave beat – and if the title sounds, to you, like something from The Fall (and it does to us), listen to Shaw channeling Mark E. Smith in his intonation, particularly during the chorus.  “Dogs Roll In” (which also featured on the “Stick the Knife In” single) and “Panic In Pig Park” both feature a bit of cow-punk guitar twang, and the noise breakdown during the middle and end of the latter adds to the frantic tension.  “Hollywood Heatseeker” positively swings, while closer, “New Face On”, is a riotous conflagration of punk, no wave, death rock and just good ol’ noise in the tradition of bands like The Birthday Party, and includes a positively Stoogesian saxophone squawk, courtesy of Ty Segall Band member Mikal Cronin.  With Segall at the decks, the heavy superfuzz cream is turned to 11 – the only exception seemingly the snare, which snaps and spits insistently from underneath, like the shiny flecks in a piece of coal.

As with other Ex-Cult output, it’s as much about the energy as anything else – you can almost feel the band collapse on the studio floor at the end of each track.  It’s infectious, and it continues to make Ex-Cult one of the best bands out there today doing what they do.  Thrilling.

Negative Growth is out now, on In the Red.  Ex-Cult is on tour in the west/west coast of the US of A.  Check the dates here.

Highlights include:  “Let You In”, “Hollywood Heatseeker”, “New Face On”, “Panic In Pig Park”.

Review: The Oscillation, Monographic

The Oscillation, Monographic (All Time Low/Hands In the Dark, 3/11/16)

The Oscillation is a project of UK-based multi-instrumentalist Demian Castellanos, who we first encountered on the excellent Kyvu Tapes, courtesy of our friends at the Cardinal Fuzz label.  Monographic, released in March, is a psych tour de force that packs a lot in while never losing its focus or continuity as a complete album.

From the off, the phaser set to stun effects introducing the opener/title track’s Clinic/Brechtian oompah drone grabs you by the scruff and leads you thro’ fields of stars on a sci-fi psych trip to the next whiskey bar at the edge of the universe.  As mentioned, there’s lots going on here, with the album’s seven tracks (the CD also contains two, bonus mixes) embracing elements of psych, epic Spacemen 3 drone haze (“Lonely People”), Hawkwind-style space rock (“Another Attack”), Scary Monsters style guitar wailing (“Take Us to the Moon”), early industrial, dub, dream pop (“Let It Be the End”), and chugging glam pomp (“Truth In Reverse”).

It takes work to bring all of these musical pieces together, and here they are brilliantly curated by Castellanos, whose sneering, breathy vocals recall Mark E. Smith, Robert del Naja, even Ian Brown in parts.  He plays all instruments on the record, save the drums, which are provided by live band member Valentina Magalietti.  Take the trip – it’s all about the journey.

Highlights include: “Truth In Reverse”, “Let It be the End”, “Monographic”, “Lonely People”.

Monographic is out now as a joint release of UK-based All Time Low and French label, Hands In the Dark.  The album, and much else both Oscillation and Castellanos-related, is also available on The Oscillation’s bandcamp site.  You can find out more on fbook and the band’s site, where you can also find their summer touring schedule.