Tag Archives: proto-punk

Check Out “Mind Cancer”, from Virvon Varvon

ARTWORK BY @deuteromali ON INSTAGRAM

Virvon Varvon, Mind Cancer (Girlsville)


Assuming the internet isn’t lying to me (again, bastard), the words “virvon, varvon” form part of a ‘spell’ cast by young Finnish children dressed as witches during Easter, by which they offer decorated willow twigs in exchange for candy or other rewards. Fascinating, no? More pertinent to this review, Virvon Varvon are a five-piece wrecking crew of a band based – I think – in London (reading between the lines of a fine feature over at 50thirdand3rd.com). They’re debut EP, Mind Cancer, was released last month, and it’s been on repeat here at tgh hq ever since. 

Mind Cancer is chock full o’ turgid, roiling tracks best described by the umbrella term ‘rock and roll’. Like fellow travelers including NYC’s Vanity, Olympia’s VEXX (rip) and Perth’s Zerodent, Virvon Varvon decant a heady mix of punk (the hardcore, ℅ ’77, proto- and post- varietals), NWOBHM, guitar-oriented new wave (see, the chiming guitars in ‘Listen’), and 70s ‘hard rock’. At various points, I heard bits of Dead Boys, B52s, Black Flag, Judas Priest, Love Battery, and the Damned. While there’s plenty of roughness on display, some absolute melodic gems can be uncovered by sifting through the production’s layers of dust – but the real revelation here are the vocals of Hanne Highway, who has a knack for a tuneful roar. 

Highlight, “Radical”’s opening riff sounds like a revved up “Livin’ After Midnight”, guy/girl vocals rapidly going off in different directions – like trying to listen to two people simultaneously describe how that fist fight last night really started. Another personal fave, “What Did You Say?”, marries a Damned-worthy drum crunch underneath a B52s-y guitar melody, all crescendoing to an absolute rager of a chorus. There’s even a rousing shout-along about allergies. The whole thing is damn good and, flying by in a little under 20 minutes, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Go get it. 

Mind Cancer is available now, courtesy of the good people over at Girlsville. Haven’t seen anything yet about a tour, but would be great to hear these tunes live.

Web: label

Check Out ‘Poison Future’, from Montréal’s Protruders

Taken from Protruders’ discogs.com page.

Protruders, Poison Future (Feel It)


Protruders are a four-piece band of miscreants from Montréal, who have graced us with a slab of proto-punk goodness in the form of Poison Future, billed as the band’s ‘vinyl debut’ following several, self-released tapes.

Though hailing from the great white north™, you’d be excused if the album’s seven tracks had your mind wandering firmly towards the midwestern US and its many punk forefathers who embraced the weird. Poison Future is, throughout, shot through with late-Stooges/early Iggy glam-sludge stompers and more experimental sounding Electric Eels garage skronk. The vocals remind a bit of Richard Hell, at times, as maniacal saxomophone punctuates jittery rhythm changes. ‘No Stone’ marries Dead Boys sleaze with Kid Congo cheek, while other numbers deconstruct into long-form jam wig-out sessions. It’s a glorious greasy mess of a record – and highly recommended.

Poison Future is out now, courtesy of Feel It. The band have a few shows upcoming in Canada, with the label promising US midwest and east coast dates soon – find those dates here (scroll down a bit).

Highlights include: “No Stone”; “Tax 101”; “Fruit Hang”.

Web: bcamp label 

On “The Stooge”, CFM Delivers the Proto-Punk Goods

CFM, “The Stooge” (In the Red)

CFM is a four-piece band making good use of main dude Charles Moothart’s initials (Moothart is a frequent collaborator of Ty Segall’s, both on albums like Slaughterhouse and in side projects like Gøggs and Fuzz).  The group released its debut long-player, Still Life of Citrus and Slime, earlier this year, and is now back with a new EP, Homegrown Paranoia.  Recently shared track, “The Stooge”, offers a taste.

“The Stooge” is an open-faced, space-boogie jam sandwich, piled high with the taught, razor-sharp melodies and shag pile layers of fuzz you’d expect from a Segall co-conspirator.  Moothart’s voice has a bit of a keening, early Ozzy feel to it, particularly in the way he rounds out the tone on some of the lyrics.  Things begin to unravel around the 1:45 mark – clarion feedback changing the view through the tv eye of the track’s (almost) namesake; a completely deranged guitar solo feeding a full-fledged MC5-style riot goin’ on – and remains barely hinged through to the end, Moothart repeating the word “desperate”.

Homegrown Paranoia is due next month, from In the Red Recordings.  Credit to the excellent CLRVYNT mag for the tweet tip on this one – check out their write up on the band here, which includes upcoming tour dates (true story: I saw CFM open for Ty Segall and the Muggers in the spring; they’re well worth your hard earned).

New (To Me!) Band of the Day: The Jack Bennies

New (to me) Artist of the Day – The Jack Bennies

Difficult to find a lot of info on this band, but here’s what we think we know about the band, after exhaustive* research:

– they may have six members (website lists Idle Edsel – Vocals, Bobby Conquer – Guitar, Paddy Bullocks – Guitar, Lance Brainstrong – Guitar, Johnny Davenport – Bass, and Jubal Fearing – Drums) or 9 (Facebook page has a different list of names, aside from repeat offender Fearing) – side note: 3 guitars!! suck that, .38 Special!;

– their name may actually be The Jacked Bennies (website is under this name, but not Facebook, and it also comes up on the google); not sure.

Here are the things we can say for sure about the band:

– they hail from the land of Gabe Kotter;

– members were previously in bands such as Saint Bastard and the Candy Snatchers;

– they kick butt.

Gloriously sloppy, sweaty, down and dirty rock and/or roll from NYC.  Not young, perhaps, but definitely loud and snotty.  Chancing upon a magical spike found lying, unassuming, in a trash-strewn alleyway in the Bowery, The Jack(ed) Bennies tapped the Dead Boys/Heartbreakers vein, throwing in some Stoogey proto-punk and Motör(head)boogie for good measure, vocalist Edsel/Diedrick snarling and yowling like the reincarnation of Stiv himself.  Boss tunes that never go out of style.

Debut full length, Chopping Down the Weeds, is out now on Human Head Records and can be purchased through Goner, Slovenly or Juno in the UK, among other places.  Go forth and like them on the usual social media blah blah and celebrate them live July 25 at Otto’s Shrunken Head, if you happen to live near New York City.  Shout out to the mighty Late Risers’ Club for the pro tip.

Check out: “Sweet Sally”, “Plastic Pat”, “What You Want”.

*Actual research may not have been overly exhausting.

Link

Review: Ex-Cult, Cigarette Machine EP

Ex-Cult, Cigarette Machine EP (2/17/15; Castle Face)

New from the Memphis, TN gang, wherein we find the band shifting gears with an ep chock full of cuts that will surely be in the running for “jam of the summer”, courtesy of your local Clear Channel, mind-control radio station.  Just kidding:  Cigarette Machine is a continuation of what Ex-Cult has been honing since their debut in 2012; all manner of punk goodness to soundtrack your next street fight.

For the label obsessives amongst you, the ep’s six tracks run the gamut from proto- to post-punk and even heavy psych, with a stray elbow here from post-Damaged Black Flag, riff-heavy west coast hardcore and even a cuff there from oi’s rhythmic chanting to round out the mix.  Chris Shaw channels Rollins with his propensity for placing emphasis on…The. Last. Word. Of. Every. Line – drummer Michael Peery and bassist Frank McLallen bring the hammer and nails for this well-stocked garage.  Bottom line: whatever the funk you wanna call it, it works.

On tour in May (dates below; taken from their fbook page) – check ‘em out live, and on their website.

May 8 DALLAS, TX @ THE FOUNDRY
May 9 AUSTIN, TX @TBA
May 10 EL PASO,TX @ MONARCH BAR
May 11 PHOENIX, AZ @ CRESCENT BALLROOM
May 12 SAN DIEGO, CA @ THE HIDEOUT
May 13 LOS ANGELES, CA @ THE SMELL
May 14 LOS ANGELES, CA @ SECRET RENDEZVOUS
May 16 SAN FRANCISCO, CA THE HEMLOCK
May 17 SANTA ROSA, CA @ TBA
May 18 EUREKA, CA @ TBA
May 20 PORTLAND, OR @ THE KNOW
May 21 SEATTLE, WA @ BLACK LODGE
May 22 BOISE, ID @ NEUROLOX
May 24 DENVER, CO @ THE HI DIVE
May 26 ST. LOUIS, MO @ THE JUICEBOX PLAYER’S PAD
June 9 MEMPHIS, TN @ HI-TONE W/ ICEAGE, LOW LIFE