Thursday, March 27, 2014

Burnt Skull : Sewer Birth

Burnt Skull are guitar/drum duo Dustin Pilkington and Anthony Davis from Austin.  Pilkington and Davis began playing together in 2011 whilst working on other projects.  Pilkington plays in Cruddy, Total Abuse and The Sneezes, Davis is involved with Gremlins UK as well as both recording under the name Best Fwends.  'Sewer Birth' is their debut album (12XU) featuring 10 alternative rock songs influenced by the experimentalism of vicious and discordant noise.  The album deals with, "sacrificing your mutant child to the underworld ("Sewer Birth"), painting the wall with the back of your head ("No Cross"), and becoming one with a sickening, ever-growing mass of human pulp ("Infinite Flesh")

."  Sure, this gnarly subject matter should give you a good idea of what's in store, however don't be surprised to find some curve balls that make this anything but another noise record. The feral "God Hole" is a grimy punk number featuring spluttered vocals, metronomic beats and barbarous guitars.  Another stand out track is "Abduction", which has an industrial feel to it as a conjuration of meshed effects and tribal rhythms swarm in a wall of fuzz.  'Sewer Birth' changes the game for what you might expect to come out of Austin these days, it's dark, twisted and fierce, listen to this on a day when the whole world seems wrong and it will make everything feel SO right.

Monday, March 3, 2014

V/A : Killed By Deathrock Volume 1

Sacred Bones have just come out with a fantastic compilation called 'Killed By Deathrock Vol.1'.  The eleven exhumed songs cull obscure, internet un-friendly singles released via modest labels from 1980-88 .  Deathrock deals with the charred Post Punk and Goth sounds, shedding a spotlight on some unsung treasures of the time.  Highlights for me are the first two tracks, 

Your Funeral "I Wanna Be You" (Denver, Colorado female three piece):

...and Kitchen & The Plastic Spoons "Liberty" (Swedish band who had little output before calling it a day): 

'Killed By Deathrock Vol.1' started as a project for Sacred Bones label founder Caleb Braaten back in 2007.  Both European and US bands are closely knitted together through their experiments in dark punk on this cohesive, exhaustively researched compilation.  This is probably your only shot at getting these songs at all physically, and it's not an opportunity you want to pass up.


Saturday, February 15, 2014


EX CON are James Dalgliesh/guitar, Alex Dunlop/durms, Catherine Maddin/bass and Joanna Nilson/vocals.  This 7" is their debut for Brisbane label Bon Voyage with Luke Walsh of Blank Realm recording a live session the band executed after hours at a bar.  The three tracks that make up this single dish out fistful of delay heavy noise by way of punk.  Ex Con's confrontational and abrasive approach is immediately arresting, whilst psychedelic and pop elements emerge through the tidal fuzz.  This is best shown on B-Side "Right Brain", utilising clouting drums, Nilson's deadpan vocals, bulky bass and a stormy guitar that unravels into a roving solo.  It's been a while since this single first came out and no word yet on whether there's anything on the way, but I'd keep an eye out because as far as debut singles go this is a doozy.

Check out the whole thing here on EX CON's Bandcamp

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Robbie Basho : Visions of the Country

It may be a little late in the game to come along and blog about the Robbie Basho like no one's heard of him before. But in fact, I hadn't heard of him, and maybe there are others out there too who have only just discovered Basho's recordings with this reissue on Gnome Life, 'Visions of the Country'. Initially released in 1978 this LP has been unattainable for over 30 years and now these songs made at the peak of his artistic career are available once more.  So far they've sold like hot cakes, going on ebay for silly money and earned Basho a whole new legion of fans.  These ten songs feature piano, 6 & 12 string guitars arranged together in sublime folk pieces that'll sweep you off your feet.  Opener "Green River Suite" introduces Basho's soulful vocals hymned alongside a stunning finger picked guitar.  And that's it.  He's got you.  The following songs, like the first, take you further out of this world and into his.  Blues tinged "Blue Crustal Fire" is a personal highlight, "Smooth singing sunshine, Smooth singing sunshine. Wrap your blanket around me, wrap your blanket around me, around me, my love!" Basho sings in such a tender way it makes me want to go and curl up somewhere.  'Visions of the Country' is absolutely unmissable and I'm glad to have caught it on this fitting restoration.  "My philosophy is quite simple: soul first, technique later, or 'Better to drink wine from the hands than water from a pretty cup'; of course the ultimate is wine from a pretty cup. Amen."   Robbie Basho

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nobunny : Secret Songs (Reflections From The Ear Mirror)

Nobunny's wild punk stylings have been strutting through just about every bar, basement and bunny-hole there is to play the world over since around the turn of the millennium.   Previously Nobunny's released three flawless full length albums as well as a gritty live recording on Third Man, 'Secret Songs : Reflections From The Ear Mirror' is his latest installment and second LP for Goner Records.  From opener "Bye Bye Roxie" 'Secret Songs' examines life's detritus and turning garbage into gold. Nobunny rolls out fourteen thrilling party stompers utilizing his flare for carefully marrying decades of rock 'n' roll ideas into short bursts of adrenalin.  There's no half-hearted play on having a good time on 'SSRFTEM' (yeah - that can be a thing?!), "Do The Stooge" features brilliantly scuzzy, cackling vocals sounding damaged from whatever he smoked the night before alongside swaggering beats, guitar and a big gulping bass.  Other highlights like "Little Bo Bitch" and "Pretty Girls" further celebrate American rock 'n' roll history while staying ahead of the curve of punk today.  Nobunny continues his salacious odes to girls, drugs and questionable life decisions to his already illustrious career whilst making sure he, and everyone else has a good time along the way. YESBUNNY!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Magik Markers : Surrender To The Fantasy

'Surrender To The Fantasy' is the new LP from noise-wave crew Magik Markers.  These nine new recordings feature a fresh line up comprised of: Elisa Ambrogio, Pete Nolan and John Shaw.  Joining the band in basements, J Mascis' attic, Pete's "old music room" and a practice space in Brooklyn were Aaron Mullan and Justin Pizzoflerrato, who captured Magik Markers most compelling work to date.  'Surrender To The Fantasy' focuses on familiar tools: guitars, keys, drums and bass, to refine the savage live approach used on earlier albums.  The record melts American rock swagger, psychedelia, folk and visceral noise together in a way that challenges what the band have done before.  This is fittingly shown on "Acts Of Desperation", with Ambrogio taking over drums whilst Nolan bliss-es out on guitar alongside a bluesy harmonica breezing through the track.  "Bonfire" kicks things up a gear invoking mayhem and destruction in a way that completely turns 'punk' on its head.  Songs tie in to places significant to the band like "Crabs" (Hartford, Connecticut) and "American Sphinx Face" (Holy Oke, Massachusetts) for example.  "American Sphinx Face" utilizes distorted/fuzzed/Wah-ed out guitar to needle notes throughout, apace with improvised beats anchored by Shaw's mesmerizing bass line.  'Surrender To The Fantasy' reveals curious twists and turns the more you spend time with it so don't be surprised to find it calling you back for repeated listens.  Magik Markers continue to tread through the underside of American ritual and rock 'n' roll with their usual zeal on 'Surrender To The Fantasy' whilst hitting a new stride as they go.