Tag Archives: surf

“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 “Oído Absoluto”, the Debut Full-Length from Madrid’s Rata Negra

Rata Negra, Oído Absoluto (La Vida Es Un Mus, 1/25/2017)

Violeta (bass, lead vocals), Fa (guitar, vocals) and Pablo (drums) make up Madrid-based Rata Negra.  Following 2014’s Corasones EP, the band released their brilliantly confident full-length debut, Oído Absoluto, in January.

I think Oído Absoluto, in english, means something roughly equivalent to ‘perfect pitch’ (or having an ear for music/tone), but I don’t trust online translation and I don’t speak very good Spanish, so apologies if I’ve missed the mark.  In any event, by whatever name (or any other name) the album is a killer set containing elements of skate punk, late 70s punk and new wave, even some surf and power pop, with an opening one-two punch (band manifesto “Ratas”; “Gente”) among the best you’ll hear this year.  Visions of early Blondie (“Aguas Negras”), Buzzcocks (“Ellos Dicen”), and Agent Orange (“Lo Oscuro”) funning about, but with a darker production sheen underscoring lyrical themes of discontentment, alienation and death, surrounded by (actual and metaphorical) rats.  The frustration conveyed through the shout/sung lyrics, and reflected in the stabs of guitar and cracking snares is palpable but unlike, say, the roiling indignation sometimes heard in hardcore, this anger feels more born of desperation; of observing and feeling but seeing no change.  Possibly less visceral, but no less affecting, it should appeal to those who like their punk aggressive and those who like it with smart, tightly-crafted melodies.  Why not both?

Oído Absoluto is out now, through a collaboration with Madrid-based Beat Generation and the great, UK-based La Vida Es Un Mus.  You can worship at the altar of the black rat on fbook, and check out their other releases on bandcamp.

Highlights include: Ratas, Gente, Aguas Negras, Lo Oscuro.

Single Review: Swami John Reis and Metz, “Caught Up”

Swami John Reis and Metz, “Caught Up”/“Let It Rust” 7” (Swami Records, 4/16/16)

Red beans and rice, corned beef and cabbage, guacamole and, well, pretty much everything – some things just go well together.  Consider, then, a musical smoothie featuring John Reis (a/k/a, “Speedo”, a/k/a “Swami”) and Toronto’s Metz, who got together on Reis’ home turf of San Diego to lay down tracks for what would become a 2-song 7”.

“Caught Up” is one of those songs, and represents a perfect blend of unhinged garage rock/post-hardcore of Reis and the heavier, detuned punk/Nirvana influence of Metz.  The warp speed Johnny Cash “train” beat prevalent on Reis projects like Hot Snakes (see, particularly, Audit In Progress), pulsed with Metz’s heavy riffage and Cobain yelps.  Throw in a little surfy wang bar action and you got yourself some boss tuneage.  Bon appétit.

The Swami/Metz collaborative 7” was released for Record Store Day on Reis’ Swami Records label. Physical copies (as well as mp3 downloads) appear to still be available, via Midheaven. Do it to it.

New Music: The Raveonettes, Junko Ozawa

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


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.

Track Review: Feels, Bitched

Feels, “Bitched” (Lolipop Records)

Joyously rough-edged rock from new (to us, at least) LA-based band, Feels. “Bitched” is a compact, three minute burr of surf rock, ‘70s punk, garage and ‘90s groups like Sleater-Kinney or even Elastica.  The buzzy guitar and sweet ‘la la la’ and ‘whoa, oh h’ backing vocals stick in your brain and won’t let go – kinda like those weird worm thingys in that Star Trek movie (google it, kids), but in a good way.

“Bitched” is taken from a live lp, recorded last summer at LA studio, Gauchos Electronics, out now on the ever-fantastic Lolipop label – it’s been out since January, but only recently burbled to the surface of our Soundcloud stream (we’ll hit “refresh” faster next time; promise).

The band’s debut long-player will be released in spring, 2016 on the equally loveable Castle Face, with production by neu-garage (is that a thing?) hero, Ty Segall. Go forth and like them on the Facebook.