Tag Archives: post-punk

Makthaverskan Announce Return with III, Share Lead Single “In My Dreams”

“In My Dreams” cover art.


Makthaverskan haven’t released any new material since 2015’s “Witness” 7”, but that all changes now.  The group has shared a new track, “In My Dreams”, and announced that a new album – the numerically appropriate, III – will be released in October.

“Dreams” finds the group continuing to mine the kind of swirling, cathartic melodies found on their previous work, but with a fuller sound.  Reverbed guitar jangle, an increasingly active bassline and propulsive drumming engulf and elevate vocalist Maja Milner‘s plaintive upper register, now rounded out with more lower tones and a wordless purr at the 2:27 mark recalling Siouxsie. Headphones revel tubular synth notes, which add to the overall depth.  The track positively shimmers, and we can’t wait for the album.

According to the band’s fbook page, III was recorded at Svenska Graommofonsutdion with the help of Hans Olsson-Brookes, and is due October 20, courtesy of Swedish label Luxury Records and US-based Run for Cover Records.

Check Out the Phenomenal Debut from Brooklyn’s Rips

Rips, Rips (Faux Discx; Wharf Cat)

Rips is a four-piece based in Brooklyn.  According to their bio, they’ve developed quite the following through “virtuous melodies and sheer ferocity amidst an endless flurry of shows” (crikey!).

Not situated in the Tri-State area, I had not run across the band until hearing their self-titled debut, and was hooked from the off.  It’s fantastic, start to finish, showcasing a host of styles and incluences – the ‘artier’ end of the early CBGB days, post-punk, 70s power pop and rock, 60s via 80s jangle, 90s psych-slack – blended in such a way as to make them new again.  “Break” is like REM covering Tom Petty; “Malibu Entropy” a woozy elegy to a relationship; “Save Room” as instantly familiar as the proverbial open road.  The arrangements are sharp and taught, vocals recalling, to these ears, Love Battery’s underrated Ron Nine or Pete Doherty in their ability to seem both plaintive and beyond caring.

While much seems to have been made of the NYC/‘downtown’ feel of the band’s compositions, using as exhibit ‘a’ the involvement of Parquet Courts’ guitarist Austin Brown as producer, it rings too limiting.  For me, the funneling of disparate eras and sounds into something so cohesive and, frankly, catchy gives Rips the feel of one of those ‘lost classic’ platters missed by many and later held up as a landmark.  Let’s not wait.

Rips is out now, courtesy of Faux Discx (Wharf Cat handling distribution in the US).  Follow along with the band Rips on fbook and their site, where you can find their current slate of upcoming gigs.

Highlights include: “Malibu Entropy”, “Save Room”, “Vs”, “Psychics”.

“Typical Girls, Volume 2” is the Comp That Keeps On Giving

Various, Typical Girls, Volume 2 (Emotional Response)

Compilations. “Comps”.  They come with a higher risk/reward factor than your average long-player.  Like soundtracks or anything filed under “V/A”, they can be a veritable goldmine:  a place to unearth new aural treasure; discover heretofore uncharted styles and territories; find a new band worth obsessing over.  For all they promise, though, comps are often fickle beasts.  Lured in by the inclusion of new or unreleased tracks from old favorites, you often find more coal than diamond in the rest.  Disillusioned, you create a playlist of the 3 or 4 good cuts and ignore the rest, cursing the heavens that you’ve been duped …again.  [Ok, that was a bit melodramatic, but it’s the first day following a long weekend]

All of which makes Typical Girls, Volume 2 – named for The Slits’ song and presented by the Emotional Response label as a “global celebration of female fronted bands” – such a satisfying listen.  Where the presence of tracks from bands including Flesh World, The World, Sex Stains and Cold Beat (this last a recent discovery) drew me in, what kept me hooked throughout was an impressively curated group of tracks showing a breadth of styles loosely grouped as ‘indie’, including post-punk, surf, punk, hardcore and straight up rock/roll.  New discoveries that had me running to the interwebs for a back catalogue listening party include:  the dizzying “Space is Bent” by Bent; the punk “La Bamba” of Midnight Snaxxx’s (yes, three exes) “No Time to Spend”; “Vallecas” by Juanita y los Feos, the now defunct – argh! – goth wave precursor to Rata Negra; the Wire-infused “Machine” from Naked Lights; the slinky mud-boogie of Soft Tug’s “Toys are Not for Children”; and the off the leash, old school hardcore of “Eat It“, by Patsy.  While I can’t say that every track here is my new favorite, and should be yours, as well (and, gentle reader, you wouldn’t believe me even if I did), what I can say is that each of these 16 tracks has something great to discover.  Explore.

Typical Girls, Volume 2, is available now from Emotional Response.  Once you’re done purchasing that, take a look through the label’s impressive catalogue (new and back) on bandcamp.  As for the bands, let your fingers do the walking.

Check Out the Debut EP from Boston’s Blau Blau

Blau Blau, S/T EP (self-released); “Glassy Eyes” (from Ladyfest Boston 2017 mixtape)

Blau Blau – a new four piece hailing from Boston, MA whose members have featured in bands such as Mini Dresses and New Highway Hymnal – released their hugely confident debut in January.

Short and sweet, it’s four tracks coming in with a runtime of ten minutes (give or take), it packs quite the ear punch.  Dream pop, indie jangle, psych, swirly shoegaze – deceptively simple melodies that will be jammed in your brain.  Opener, “No Heaven”, veritably gallops out of the gate – a rollicking jangly track that shows off both the band’s cohesion and the vocal range of singer Lira Mondal, who goes from whisper to wail and everywhere in between.  It’s hard to pick a favorite but, if forced, I’d have to go with the last two:  “Harm”, which has a bit of a kaleidoscopic, Banshees feel to it, and closer, “Kiss Kiss”, which comes off like a harder punching Sundays, all quiet rainy afternoon until the chorus crashes your reverie.  “Glassy Eyes”, the band’s contribution to a mixtape celebrating the Boston edition of Ladyfest, picks up where “Kiss” leaves off and is a wonderfully atmospheric track worth checking out.

The EP is available now, via Blau Blau’s bandcamp site.  The fantastic Ladyfest Boston 2017 mixtape can be purchased here – proceeds go to benefit Boston-area charities, so it’s good and good for you (read more about it here).

Follow the band on fbook for tour dates and to see how many times they can copy/paste the words “blau blau” ad infinitum, Jack Torrance stylee.

Check Out The Orielles’ Debut Single for Heavenly, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt”

The Orielles, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ (Heavenly)

Photo by Neelam Khan Vela

Halifax, England (not Nova Scotia).  Fun facts about Halifax (from ultimate lazy bastard encyclopedia, wikipedia): (1) it’s been a textile manufacturing hub since the 15th century – which is kinda cool; and (2) it’s the home of Rolo candy – which is extremely awesome.

What’s also extremely awesome, has six thumbs and currently hails from Halifax (and Liverpool)?  The Orielles, a trio comprising sisters Esme Dee (bass, vocals) and Sidonie Hand-Halford (drums) and Henry Carlyle Wade (guitars).  After self-releasing a few singles, and putting out last year’s fantastic Jobim EP via Art Is Hard, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” (from a line in the movie Death Proof, per this great write up on the band in The Guardian) is the band’s first single for the mighty Heavenly Recordings.  Starting, innocently enough, with a ride down the neck of a swirling, arpeggiated psych melody, it turns out to be a trip down the rabbit hole.  The track bobs and weaves its way through a smorgasbord of styles (jittering rock steady, Blondie or Factory Records’ style post-punk disco, a sprawling Floyd-like interlude, straight-up Troggs’ garage, some space truckin’) without coming off overcooked.  And despite a modern day attention span straining length of 8 minutes and change, “Sugar” fixes your attention throughout, like some kind of goddamn Medusa.  Brilliant.

“Sugar Tastes Like Salt” is out now, on Heavenly.  You can follow The Orielles’ adventures on fbook, the twitt and instagram.  They’re also on tour in the UK – dates here.

Atlanta’s Death Stuff Share “Surprise Ex”

[Ed. Note:  this was meant to have posted back in November…oops.  Quoth Homer Simpson:  “It’s still good!  It’s still good!”]

Death Stuff, “Surprise Ex” (Monofonus Press)

“Surprise Ex” is a new track from Atlanta three-piece, Death Stuff.  Opening on a riff that threatens to go all ‘Earth AD” the song, instead, roils into propulsive, whirling dervish post-punk before a full-on art-thrash spasm is abruptly euthanized after 2:30 or so.  It’s noisy.  It’s a bit exhausting.  It reminds us of Girl Band, Running and early Butthole Surfers.  It’s great.  Get on it.

“Surprise Ex” is up now on the Death Stuff Bandcamp page – as is a fantastic set of demos from February – and looks to be set for inclusion on a self-titled release due later this fall on auto-correct darlings, Monofonus Press.  I don’t know much more about Death Stuff, except that their first fbook post looks to be from last December and they like to repeat the words ‘death stuff’ on their page – a lot.  Looking forward to more, more, more.

Mr. Twin Sister Unleash the Post-Punk Dub of “Poor Relations”, Donate Proceeds to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Mr. Twin Sister, “Poor Relations”

New York quintet Mr. Twin Sister returns with “Poor Relations”.  Eschewing the smoothed out, continental r&b and squelchy indie electronica of 2014’s self-titled album (which, btw, is fantastic) “Poor Relations” fires up a downtown, post-punk dub party.  The band’s rhythmic sensibility, so strong through all of the prior releases I’ve heard, is more aggressive – more ESG than Sweetback.  The lyrics, also, are more forceful, seeming to rail against the dangers of the acceptance of an abusive relationship.  In the band’s own words: “[T]his song meant something else when we first wrote it years ago; recent events have made us hear it differently.  We believe in compassion, empathy, and tolerance, and hope that you will join us in speaking out against the erosion of their importance in our world”.

In that spirit, Mr. Twin Sister will donate all proceeds from the download of “Poor Relations” to standingrock.org – do it at their Bandcamp page (linger, and browse through their catalogue).  You know what to do…and, while you’re at it, keep up with all things Mr. Twin Sister on fbook and the twit.

“Fire Dance” Brings Together Members of Wall, Parquet Courts and Merchandise

“Fire Dance” 7” (Wharf Cat)

Sam York, Austin Brown and Carson Cox (of WALL, Parquet Courts and Merchandise, respectively) have joined under a groove to bring us “Fire Dance”.  York’s dead-eyed vocals ride a churning rhythm that calls to mind the downtown, honky punk-funk of Liquid Liquid (the break during the second half reminded me, at least, of the sample from “Sing Sing Sing” used in Mantronix’s “Big Band B Boy”, but that’s prolly just me), while layer upon layer of squelching synth leads worthy of early Cabaret Voltaire and Art of Noise launch the track into overdrive.  Described as Cox’s “ode to downtown New York”, it seems both an ode to the city as it was – searching for “lost memories” of things that “came before”, even though you’d “hoped for more” – and a call to break free of such nostalgia and “search for more”.  Fantastic.

What might, back in the day, have come out on a label like Celluloid now sees the light courtesy of the reliably great Wharf Cat Records, who will release it January 6.  You can pre-order the vinyl here, and/or a digital copy here and on iTunes.

Washington DC’s Flasher Shine (Darkly) on Debut, Self-Titled EP

Flasher, S-T EP (Sister Polygon)

Members of Washington, DC's Flasher.

Members of Washington, DC’s Flasher.

Flasher are a three-piece project involving members of several current members of the new Washington, DC DiY scene (I’ll refrain from collapsing them all into the ‘punk’ category).  Their debut, self-titled EP for Sister Polygon records is a thrilling journey through a panoply of late 70s and early 80s indie sounds.

Goth, death rock, new wave.  Those willing to reduce these genres to Dippity-do’d hair, corpse paint and Tiger Beat pin-ups, whose bloated corpses are reanimated on throwback radio and by tribute bands, miss the point (we dig Rio as much as the next blog, but there was more to it than that).  This was (largely) meant to be music for an uncertain future and, at its best, the attendant razorwire nervousness underpinning much of the musical output reflected the feelings of anyone actually paying attention to what was going on in the world at the time.  Small wonder, then, in the current climate, that so many newer bands are turning to this brooding, greyscale music as a framing device.

Flasher nails that feeling of unease right from the off on opener, “Tense”, with its tightly coiled, nervily picked guitar lines and short stabs of siren-like synths, and doesn’t let go.  In fact, it’s quite difficult to tease out one particular track here, as the whole EP plays more like a series of movements than individual songs.  For a band who, according to a write-up in WAMU’s bandwidth.fm, are still settling on a sound, it’s remarkable the way their energies fuse, the feel and texture of the tracks seem fully realized.  Highly rec’d.

Flasher’s self-titled EP is out now, digitally and on cassette, through the band’s Bandcamp page.  Sister Polygon Records will release it on vinyl November 18 – preorder your copy here. The band is also on tour (dates below):

Oct. 24 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle w/ White Lung

Oct. 25 – Ottawa, ON @ House of TARG w/ White Lung

Oct. 26 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ White Lung

Oct. 27 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ White Lung

Dec. 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Swim Team

Dec. 8 – Allston, MA @ OBrien’s Pub w/ Swim Team

Dec. 9 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Swim Team

Dec. 10 – Queens, NY @ Knockdown Center w/ Parquet Courts

Highlights include: “Tense”, “Throw It Away”, “Destroy”

Washington DC’s Flasher Shine (Darkly) On Self-Titled EP

Flasher, S-T EP (Sister Polygon)

Members of Washington, DC's Flasher.

Members of Washington, DC’s Flasher.

Flasher are a three-piece project involving members of several current members of the new Washington, DC DiY scene (I’ll refrain from collapsing them all into the ‘punk’ category).  Their debut, self-titled EP for Sister Polygon records is a thrilling journey through a panoply of late 70s and early 80s indie sounds.

Goth, death rock, new wave.  Those willing to reduce these genres to Dippity-do’d hair, corpse paint and Tiger Beat pin-ups, whose bloated corpses are reanimated on throwback radio and by tribute bands, miss the point (we dig Rio as much as the next blog, but there was more to it than that).  This was (largely) meant to be music for an uncertain future and, at its best, the attendant razorwire nervousness underpinning much of the musical output reflected the feelings of anyone actually paying attention to what was going on in the world at the time.  Small wonder, then, in the current climate, that so many newer bands are turning to this brooding, greyscale music as a framing device.

Flasher nails that feeling of unease right from the off on opener, “Tense”, with its tightly coiled, nervily picked guitar lines and short stabs of siren-like synths, and doesn’t let go.  In fact, it’s quite difficult to tease out one particular track here, as the whole EP plays more like a series of movements than individual songs.  For a band who, according to a write-up in WAMU’s bandwidth.fm, are still settling on a sound, it’s remarkable the way their energies fuse, the feel and texture of the tracks seem fully realized.  Highly rec’d.

Flasher’s self-titled EP is out now, digitally and on cassette, through the band’s Bandcamp page. Sister Polygon Records will release it on vinyl November 18 – preorder your copy here.  The band is also on tour (dates below):

Oct. 24 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Cercle w/ White Lung

Oct. 25 – Ottawa, ON @ House of TARG w/ White Lung

Oct. 26 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ White Lung

Oct. 27 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle w/ White Lung

Dec. 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA w/ Swim Team

Dec. 8 – Allston, MA @ OBrien’s Pub w/ Swim Team

Dec. 9 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Swim Team

Dec. 10 – Queens, NY @ Knockdown Center w/ Parquet Courts

Highlights include: “Tense”, “Throw It Away”, “Destroy”