Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Solid Space : Space Museum

Maf Vosburgh and Dan Goldstein make up UK based Minimal Wave band Solid Space.  ‘Space Museum’ started as a project in 1980, and over the course of the next two years the pair assembled eleven home recordings that would become one of the finest lost albums of its kind.  ‘Space Museum’ plays off drum machines and synths against acoustic instruments whilst also experimenting with found audio clips.  The songs deal with space travel and a general sense of dejection supported by bright pop melodies; just from the sheer finesse of the album it’s hard to believe the duo were teenagers when they wrote it.  The maturity of the album is best shown on ‘A Darkness In My Soul’, the track is so striking in how desolate it is, rivalling Goth Rock records that would start to come out long after this was written (The Cure’s ‘Disintegration’ springs to mind).  ‘Tenth Planet’ is my absolute favourite, totally joyful guitar riff offset by numbed vocals alongside layers of synths.   It seems like a lot of people have worked on trying to get this reissued, whether this will be out again for general release is still hard to tell but it can be found online to tide everyone over.  ‘Space Museum’ is incredibly forward thinking for when it was written and I wish I could write more on the band but I’ll be damned if I can find much background on these chaps presently.   Is it acceptable to write a “review” essentially saying “this is amazing, you should listen to it”?  I guess that’s what I’m doing – when something’s this brilliant one doesn't need to pick it apart and question it.  This is really simple for us both, just click below!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Obnox : Know America

Garage Rock / Punk has had some pretty big moments in music’s frontlines.  From new bands spearheading resurgence in the last decade to the 90s and casting back to the bottomless pit of the 60’s.  I’ve been fixated since living overseas for a few years in 2006 where I got a baptism of fire in New York.  I would say nearly all the records I bought and relished were garage rock.     It was new and exhilarating to me, after listening to a lot of albums some material started to feel like mimicry of what had come before, and ultimately a genre I had become enamoured with felt stale at times.  Sure, there are truly great innovators but I’m not going to tire you with a list, suffice it to say there’s been nothing quite like Obnox. 

Obnox’s recordings are thrilling and challenge its predecessors.   It is clear beginnings in 90s garage punk still play a vital part in what Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas does, along with a penchant for all things underground.  I mean the Tommy Jay cover on this record gives a nod to one of thee great outsider albums made in Ohio – and anywhere else for that matter.  Previously working in several other garage and punk outfits such as Bassholes, Unholy Two, Puffy Areolas and This Moment In Black History, Thomas has only gathered momentum for his most raucous material yet.  Obnox’s gritty experimentation of introspective punk rock and soul began to emerge in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio around 2011.  Thomas has had some pretty great labels behind him already 12XU, Negative Guestlist and Permanent have all supported his releases with this new record finding a new home at Ever/Never.   There’s a real sense that Thomas’ surroundings informs his writing;  musicians, the streets, the community, people around him  - in searching of synergy in amongst all of it.  The havoc brought forward in Obnox’s material feels like ideas being brought into focus by chaos.   Sound is collaged and layered slammed against blown out guitars, pummelling rhythms and melody driven vocals forever driven to breaking point.  ‘Freaky’ hits with the full whack of how intense this record can get as it seems as though the song only just comes short of frying the equipment it was recorded on. 

The tempestuous nature of the song writing on ‘KnowAmerica’ is undeniable and it still stands from the last time I said it, Obnox’s approach is unbelievably refreshing.  For the first time there’s a chance to see him perform all this too at the end of the month at CafĂ© Oto you can buy tickets here, not to be missed!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Coneheads : L​.​P​.​1. aka "14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $​$​$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P​”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a band who I learned about after they’d been plugged by Brian Turner and Henry Rollins on their respective radio shows.  The Indiana based youths who make up The Coneheads left a huge impression with a wild cover of Nirvana (‘In Bloom’ I think… taken from a test promo) and then ‘Alien & Warm’ from this, their debut LP.  

‘L​.​P​.​1. aka "14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $​$​$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P​”’ (Erste Theke Tontraeger) came out in February and an initial run of 500 copies has since sold out.  The record compiles recordings initially available on small runs of tapes released over the last year or so. I couldn’t believe it, the last year or so, on first listen they sounded like they’d fit right in the late 70’s to early 80’s weirdo musical underworld.  Although watching some youtube footage of live shows I’m pretty sure they weren’t even born in the 80’s.

Performing under a name associated with a film about people who have misshapen skulls, it’s safe to say they don’t take themselves too seriously.  It’s really bold, covering songs that people will most likely not want to hear; Nirvana, Talking Heads – how many ‘Psycho Killer’ covers are out there now exactly?!  But like the Nirvana cover they just totally transform it, the way the singer addresses “run-away” in the chorus just slays me, is it supposed to?  It at least sounds like they’re having fun.  That’s the refreshing thing about this album; there’s nothing out of bounds to chew up and spit out, taking on those iconic songs and dismantling the myth or reverence around them is brilliant.

The low fidelity recording style The Coneheads used certainly suits the cassette format, no fads here, it just makes sense for what the band are about. The LP is a strong compilation of what they’ve done so far which retains their DIY approach.   When I say low fidelity/DIY , I don’t mean they’ve just covered everything in fuzz and delay, the sound is actually pretty clean - each element comes through distinctly, you can just feel from the recordings it was made with whatever means they had … someone’s bedroom…. garage…. basement. It’s the skew whiffed vocals and hyper pace they play at that really grabs one at first.  The melody heavy bass creeps in and it’s clear this is tying everything down.  Frazzled and choppy guitars play alongside palpitating beats and then, there’s the totally demented vocals.  ‘1982’ is another stand out track.  It is 40 seconds long.  ‘Waste of Space’ is pretty fantastic too with its spooked versus monotone vocal delivery and jittery/convulsive synths.

Oof, just love this record.  ‘L​.​P​.​1. aka "14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $​$​$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P”’ is far and away one of the best albums to let loose from the last few months.  Has anyone ever wondered what it would sound like if The Urinals played Devo songs on a rollercoaster?  No, actually, to be honest, me neither BUT The Coneheads prove that it sounds pretty friggin’ great!

Check it all out right HERE


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nots : Virgin Mary

Nots have followed up their debut album ‘We Are Nots’ on Goner with a new single of unswerving garage rock which is more deranged, more scuzzy and even more commanding than before.  This new track has a raw live quality to it which calls back to their first singles, so it’s no surprise to learn that Keith Cooper who worked on those early Nots releases recorded ‘Virgin Mary’.  A menacing bass line, contorted guitars and keys beside bold rhythms frame a void of outright abandon.  Nots’ new single is packed with the drive to heighten their focus on synth punk.  It’s this ability to connect with likeminded bands that have come before and desire to push things further that makes Nots so exhilarating.  They’re reckless, unwavering and totally fun, go get Nots 'Virgin Mary' or Nots gripping new songs will come get you.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ausmuteants / Housewives Split 7"

Out this week is this split 7” by Ausmuteants and Housewives for Total Punk.  Both bands wrote a song then sent each other chords and lyrics for the partnering group to cover with no information on how the track is composed, so Side-A will be the original version Ausmuteants and Housewives wrote and Side-B will be their interpretation of the other’s song – clear as mud?  ‘I Wanna Sedate You’ and ‘Brown Out’ are the two original songs, interchanged and re-arranged by the Australian outfits.  Ausmuteants scored ‘I Wanna Sedate You’, a deranged strain of punk rock joy which is just as considered as it is totally rampant.  The Housewives’ contribution ‘Brown Out’ is a shrieking, sludgy force of chugging guitars veering on and off course commanded by forthright beats and a gulping bass.  The thing both bands have in common (apart from the same chords and lyrics of course) is a sense of complete disorder in well-formed and thought out songs.  And if you want to know what the covers of ‘I Wanna Sedate You’ and ‘Brown Out’ sound like, well you’ll have to get copy and find out!  

Ausmuteants will be playing here in London as part of their European tour at The Shacklewell Arms on Wednesday 10th June, get tickets HERE