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.
Ok, so there’ve been a few punk/hardcore/whatever releases over the past few months that I’ve been trying to get around to and haven’t – so now I am. I intended to write up something individual and special to say about each of these but, fuck it, I’m gonna just put ‘em all into one, shortcut “combo” review. Since I said “fuck it”, that makes it kinda punk, no? No? Oh well, here goes…
The Lowest Form, Personal Space (La Vida Es Un Mus; Iron Lung)
Personal Space is the latest from UK hardcore punk band, The Lowest Form, and it slays. It’s part old school hc (I keep hearing alot of Wattie in the vocals, and Black Flag in the crumbling guitar sound (provided by Michael Kasparis, also part of Anxiety’s brilliant debut)) mixed with just good ol’ noise, all to great effect. Highlights are many, and include the repeated face punch of opener, “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, which slowly drowns in its own, rich stew of hiss and feedback, and the utter chaos of “Evol”. This record is cathartic in the ways of many a great, viscerally angry records. In years such as this one (have there really been any?), sometimes it’s more than worth it to swallow the bile in your throat, let it burn, then scream it out.
Fitting for a band that sound like they spend a lot of time ‘off the grid’, the band don’t seem to have much internet presence. Be sure to go and grab a copy of Personal Space (digital or “Bad Boy” vinyl) via the band,La Vida Es Un Mus or Iron Lung (in the US).
Highlights include: “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, “Gak Attack”, “Personal Space”.
Exotica, Musique Exotique #01 Demo (La Vida Es Un Mus)
Exotica wield bludgeoning, 80s (to these, admittedly, old and tinnitus-riddled ears) reanimating hardcore (I hear some of the old NYHC bands like (pre-crossover) Agnostic Front or Kraut, as well as the churning guitars of Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing-era Discharge on tracks like “Depresion”. Lead singer Lauren Gerig’s bilingual sing/scream/shriek is a revelation. The members of Exotica are based in New York, but hail from Mexico, Argentina – play this loud enough to be heard through your own wall.
Like The Lowest Form, no real interwebs presence to allow fawning – grab a copy of Musique Exotique #01 (digital or cassette) from the band or La Vida Es Un Mus. They also have a show coming up 12/29 in Guadalajara, MX – deets.
From earlier this year, the latest release from London quartet, Good Throb – and, regrettably, the last for a while, as members are now apparently geographically displaced. Good Throb (the record) adds layers of noise and feedback to the rhythmic, punk-funk hc of 2014’s also great (and succinctly titled) Fuck Off, with tracks like highlight “SCUM” and “The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock” recalling Crass, early Butthole Surfers and Flipper. Tasty.
“I’ve got a queer theory…” so beginneth “My Dickies” is the new one from western MA, USofA band, Urochromes. This 1 minute and change track bounces around like a kid hopped up on pixie sticks in a rubber room. Light speed hardcore. Cracked garage fuzz. Avant-noise skreech. Squirrel! Do yourself the favor of being tugged along in its wake. Here endeth the review.
Taken from forthcoming Night Bully EP, due January 27 from Wharf Cat Records (pre-order a copy and/or digital download here) – one more reason to be anxious for this year to end(eth).
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.
Been sitting with this single for a while now, trying to come up with something profound to say. Dreamy, lush. hypnotic, narcotic – all fit, yet somehow disappoint, in describing the two tracks on this new 7” from Seattle three-piece, Posse.
“Perfect H” – with its hushed call and response between Paul Wittman-Todd and Sacha Maxim, lightly reverbed guitar and hushed rhythm – is a great reminder of what made the group’s fusion of dream pop and psych with Sonic Youth downtown cool and Flying Nun down under jangle so compelling on their last outing, 2014’s Soft Opening.
It’s on “Voices”, though, that the band starts to toy with new sounds and textures. Where “Perfect H” sounds like a conversation in a closed room, “Voices” cracks the window and lets a hazy atmosphere swirl through, giving the track a weightlessness where other tracks feel more Earthbound. Wittman-Todd sing/talks, in an urban drawl reminiscent of Lou Reed via Thurston Moore, enigmatic lines (“who are these voices/I hear…from a century ago”), and snippets of remembered conversations with an ex (“and if i gave up my hobbies/and you gave yours up, too/would we/be ok/doin’ nothin’?”). The subtlety of the band’s approach fails to blunt the song’s overall impact as it unwinds around the 5:30 mark into an absolutely lovely guitar solo and slow fade out.
The single is available now, on Wharf Cat Records – a limited edition 7” or digital copy can be purchased on the label’s bandcamp site. Posse can be found fbook, and tmblr.