Tag Archives: post-punk

“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”

“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”.

Listen to “The Bridge”, b/w “Blurry Images” by London’s Sauna Youth…Now! Do It, Already!

London's Sauna Youth

London’s Sauna Youth

Sauna Youth, “The Bridge/Blurry Images” (Upset the Rhythm, 1/15/2016)

Better late than never to touch upon this “new” (as of January) single from Sauna Youth, a four-piece out of London whose members also play in other bands we like, including Cold Pumas, Monotony and Primitive Parts.

A-side, “The Bridge”, is a blisteringly fun track, storming out of the gate with a guitar buzz that would sit nicely amidst gabba-neat c/o ‘77 punk , rougher Jam and “waster” Libertines.  B-side (and personal fave), “Blurry Images”, blends the wry, ‘cheeky chappy’ bounce of Modern Life Is Rubbish-era Blur with the starker, repetitive groove-based post-punk of bands like ESG and Delta 5, shout-sung lyrics challenging the listener’s perspective to achieve focus.  Something you can think, fight and groove to at the same time.

“The Bridge” features on new full length, Distractions, which is out now on Upset the Rhythm – so I guess I’d better get going on a review of that, too…oof.  While you await that with baited breath, follow along with Sauna Youth on fbook and the twitt, check out their other musical offerings on Bandcamp and catch them on one of their upcoming tour dates:

9.22.16 – Chicago, IL – The Owl – W/ Kyle Kaos
9.23.16 – Milwaukee, WI – High Dive – W/ Platinum Boys, Midnight Reruns
9.24.16 – Detroit , MI – UFO Factory – W/ Fire Retarded, Growwing Pains
9.25.16 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
10.1.16 – London, UK – Kamio – W/David West, Score, Middex, General Echo Soundsystem