Friday, April 29, 2011
Pink Reason aka Kevin Failure, is about to embark on a European tour, has a new LP coming out and is starting work on his own writing project. He kindly answered some questions for Gilded Gutter to fill us in on his new ventures.
Let’s start off by getting a run down on your upcoming European tour. Are there any places you’ll be visiting for the first time? Do you plan on revisiting favourite spots?
There will be many places I will be visiting for the first time. On my last European tour we only really had the chance to play France, Belgium and the UK. Which was great, but this time I plan on hitting up a few other Western European countries in addition to Scandinavia and Southern Europe like Italy and possibly Greece. The focus of the tour; however, is on Eastern Europe and Russia. I will be revisiting some of the places I've lived and traveled through in Russia and stopping through many Eastern European countries for my first time.
It mentions on your website you’ll be compiling research on Eastern European Underground Music while on the road. Can expound on what motivated the project, what do you hope to do with the findings?
I lived in Kurgan, Siberia between '91 and '93 where I was exposed to the region's indigenous underground/punk music. It was a defining moment for me. Over time my interest in underground music from Eastern Europe developed beyond an interest into an obsession. I'm motivated by compulsion. I plan on publishing a book about Soviet-era Siberian punk. That is the main motivation for the tour. I'm using my music as a vehicle to get me back to Russia where I can interview the surviving members of that scene for the book. I'm also going to be doing research throughout the rest of Eastern Europe. What I will do with that info depends on what I find. At a bear minimum I'd like use that information to write columns or articles for punk zines to help educate Western punk audiences on the subject.
I read that you started writing first and then began to play music, which is more challenging writing or composing a song?
I guess I don't find composing songs a challenge because it's such an organic process. I can't remember ever sitting down and telling myself "time to write some music." It's just something that happens from time to time, which is why I don't follow a traditional rock 'n roll release schedule. It's almost like, a release valve or therapy for me. Writing is a much more deliberate gesture and because of that, I find it more of a challenge. With writing there are deadlines and it's important for me to connect with my audience so that they understand the information or message I am presenting to them. I wouldn't say the same about my music.
From the touring and traveling you’ve done through the States, Melbourne, Santiago de Chile and Russia any memorable characters or scenes that informed your outlook on music?
I had a really great time in Chile. That was a magical experience, not just for me, but for the friends I made there too, I believe. We inspired each other in many ways. I met so many smart and beautiful people down there and we were able to really, deeply bond. I spent a month in Chile, although I only played about ten shows. I spent a great deal of time just hanging out getting to know the people down there. It's a very complicated place. The people I met there have made great strides in trying to open things up for themselves and others. Many people I met there grew up with curfews and other restrictions under the dictatorship of Pinochet. Today they're skateboarding graffiti artists armed with guitars and San Pedro Cactii.
Is it fair to say your songs draw on personal experience and geography? If so, how have these things shaped your new material?
That's probably a pretty accurate assessment. Hard for me to put it into words though. Better that people check it out for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
What can we expect from your new album 'Shit In the Garden'?
Again, this is something I find difficult to put into words myself. I think fans of my music will enjoy the album, as I think it's probably the best thing I've done so far. I think it may also appeal to some that ‘Cleaning the Mirror’ did not as the album is much more lush and bright. I tried to expand my sonic palette on the new album. Unlike the last album and most of the singles, this album is much more of a collaborative work. The fidelity is also higher.
Do you prefer playing or recording?
I don't know that recording is ever really a "good time." It's usually a lot of hard work. It's ultimately more satisfying than playing, because I have a permanent record of the experience and I have much more control over the final product. Playing on the other hand is often very fun, depending on who is involved. I tend to be pretty critical of live performances though.
Some of your stuff reminds me of Ohio’s Tommy Jay and Ron House what do you think of this comparison?
I'm a fan of both of their work. Ron played my wedding last summer. Neither was an influence on Pink Reason. The Tommy Jay comparison makes more sense to my ears, but I think we're all pretty different from each other.
Danzig is said to have told an interviewer once that he was thinking of something so evil he couldn’t say it, what’s the most evil thought you’ve had?
Oof. I don't know I want to go there. I've experienced a great deal of trauma in my life and struggle with some pretty wicked demons. I try not to let them out of their cages in public.
I've read that some of your influences are Wisconsin's The Sleds and Russia's Egor I Opizdanevshie, do you still listen to these older bands or are there any newer groups you’re interested in at the moment?
I still listen to those bands, but there are newer groups I enjoy as well. I've been really digging the Iceage album that just came out. Kitchen's Floor out of Australia and Yuppies out of Omaha are both younger bands that excite me. I have been somewhat disappointed with the underground in the US the past couple years or so. In Poland there is a band called Hercklekot that I'm very excited about. They've been around for a while now, but they're virtually unknown in the circles I run. They're brilliant and moving things to the future with a sound that's informed by anarcho-peace punk, breakcore/industrial and Eastern European folk traditions. Check 'em out online they have released two albums for free through DTrash and netlabel.
All the music I love has one thing in common, it makes me feel something and Pink Reason is no exception. Do you compose just for yourself or, is it an intention to affect the audience when you write a song?
I definitely make music for myself. I just figure that if I like it, others will as well.
Learning about your time in Russia where obtaining music seemed to be done through swapping tapes in parks and making recordings in kitchens, it makes me think about the digital age we’re in. Creating and sharing music is something we habitually engage in, internet or no-internet, what do you make of the digital era?
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. It concerns me, to put it mildly. I find myself more and more often rejecting and trying to escape technology, which is difficult considering the projects I'm involved in.
Punk has gone through many metamorphoses I’ve always felt like as long as it keeps getting challenged and pushed further it will still exist. What do you think of the current state of Punk? What makes Punk these days?
I'm pretty excited about it still. It's a large part of who I am. It not without its’ problems, but what isn't? Shortly before leaving NYC I started hanging out with some younger crusty punk kids. I grew up in that scene myself but started feeling alienated from it a little over a decade ago. I started dropping too much acid and getting into too weird of music for some people I knew in that scene which was falling apart locally anyway. These kids I met though, they're like hyper-realized versions of myself back when I was part of that scene. One of the kids I met even has the same tattoos as me. They were telling me about bands I never heard of from both Siberia and Wisconsin and unlike many of the drunken traveler kids I've met over the past decade while drinking under bridges and shit, who would act like dicks because I no longer have a G-Anx patch on my ass or an Amebix logo on my jacket, these dudes welcomed me in to their lives with open arms. One of 'em said something to me that I've been thinking about a lot lately. He said "The thing I like most about punk is how fucking different everyone is." I can't think of many other social groups that pair together archetypes as wildly different as GG Allin and Ian Mackaye. The thing that unites all these diverse types is our individuality and our self-reliance. As long as there are defiantly individual people out there doing things for themselves, punk will flourish.
What’s the future for Pink Reason?
Hard to say. There is talk of another Australian tour. I've started working on a third album, one that I'd like to record in a studio with a full backing band. I'd love to do another full US tour, as it's been a few years since I've done anything like that. I'm also unsure about the longevity of the project at times. I'm recently married and my wife and I are trying to find a place in the country to start organic farming and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I'd like to focus more on writing in the future as well. It keeps getting more and more difficult to do Pink Reason. Prices on everything go up, but there is less out there to make and there is only me doing this, which means when I tour Europe for two and a half months straight, I have to do all the work on that on my own, I have to fund it on my own. Everything in this band is on my own. No booking agents. No tour support. No advances. No nothing. In the future I would love to have an actual band, one where everyone involved contributes and carries their weight. This shit is getting a bit heavy for me.
“I’m full of dust and guitars” - Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?
Garbage. There is a reason why I am not an organ donor.
Siltbreeze Records - where first album 'Clean the Mirror' and new album 'Shit in the Garden' will be available.
Check out WFMU session on Brian Turner's show Pink Reason plays some phenomenal Russian Records.
Pink Reason's Website
Pink Reason Facebook
Pink Reason Twitter
Monday, April 25, 2011
Hunx and His Punx return with a brand spankin' new album on Hardly Art. 'Too Young To Be In Love' has a heart pounding rush you'd expect from Shangri-La's delivered with a big garage rock smacker. The most striking thing about this new material is the aptly shared boy/girl vocals. Hand clapping rhythms, sing-a-long choruses about flings and fun make up one feisty second album from this San Fransisco five-some. "Bad Boy" (which has an immense video) is a highlight on the album, and if it doesn't make you want dance around your bedroom, you should probably get your pulse checked. Candied synths, vivacious guitars and dreamy vocal melodies make up more irresistible tracks like "Tonite Tonite" and "He's Coming Back". "Too Young To Be In Love" is like viewing world from the back seat of a car at a drive in movie, changing things up a little while keeping all of the sass from the first album makes this a great follow up record.
Friday, April 22, 2011
London DIY band Hygiene answered some questions for Gilded Gutter to tell us a little bit more about them, their new album and a few other things too!
Let's start off with introductions - who's in Hygiene and how did you guys come to form a band?
Richard Lewis: I play bass, fellow resident of Holloway with Nat and keen to follow in the footsteps of my favourite bands, even in some token way.
Pat Daintith: I play drums. I was the last member to join. I used to work with Nathaniel, we went out & got drunk one night & he asked me to join. I said yes & three years later I'm still here.
Nathaniel Weiner: I sing and coordinate. Richard and I have been friends since 2004 and tried to start a band when we were flatmates in Holloway. It never got off the ground until we met Guy through a musician wanted ad and then, 9 months later, I convinced Pat to drum.
Guy Butterworth: I play guitar, sing occasionally, and do most of the recording and mixing. I answered an ad in the Dirty Water Club mailing list that mentioned some bands/music that I like, and that’s where the whole magical story began.
Last Saturday was Record Store Day - did you guys celebrate in anyway? Pick up any records?
RL: Most of us were spending the weekend holidaying in rural Wales where sadly record stores are few and far between as are any other shops although we did listen to a Welsh language folk and rock compilation in the van. I believe Pat went to a Crystal Palace match? I'm not sure how many notable records they've picked up...
PD: I went to a dismal football match that I'm not going to talk about. This week I bought a couple of Wailers 7"s, a collection of Japanese 60s pop & a Residents LP.
GB: I didn’t celebrate it at all, and I’ve never been to one. I think I might’ve wanted the Happy Birthday record from last year, but I’ll queue outside a record shop for no man, dead or alive.
Record Store Day is great on the one hand as it boosts music retail, on the other, stuff ends up on ebay and it defeats the purpose - what's your view on the event?
RL: I haven't been, but I actually quite like the idea of it. It's good PR and I like reading about the rise in record sales in the news.
PD: I'm in two minds about Record Store Day. Firstly, sorry to be pedantic but it should be Record Shop Day in this country. Secondly, although it's fantastic that people are going to record shops, it does seem to have been hijacked by major labels in order to sell Radiohead remix 12"s that will end up on ebay within five minutes of it leaving the shop. That's hardly in the spirit of the occasion. Also, it was these same labels that chose to obliterate vinyl in the first place, so it's a bit rich to see them crawling back to it now that sales of over-priced CDs are plummeting.
GB: I’m not sure who it’s aimed at, but I don’t particularly covet collectible records, and I’m not much of a shopper, so it really doesn’t appeal to me all that much. Plus, £8 for an Electric Eels 7”, when you can get the discography double LP for not much more?!
NW: It’s a bit of a joke really, I’ve never attended Record Store Day as there’s nothing I wanted to buy, but my flatmate works at a prominent London record store and his description of it makes it sound like a hellish free-for-all of mouth-breathing ebay flippers. Having said that, we actually released a Record Store Day single last year, so I guess we’re hypocrites.
What record stores did you visit in your formative years, any current favourites? Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
RL: The backbone of my collection was passed onto me by a guy who just had them in his garage in Stevenage. He heard I was into punk and just gave me the lot. There was a healthy number of The Jam and Sham 69 singles and albums which I shall treasure forever. Since then I remember this fantastic little record shop by Holloway prison called DOCs which was very smelly but a really distinctive, interesting shop. Sadly, the guy running it recently died and so there is no longer a decent local shop near me and hence I usually order mine or go into Soho. I still have a number of records from DOC with the hand-written price stickers on.
PD: I was lucky to grow up in Croydon which had a plethora of decent records shops. Beanos was a huge, sadly missed, second hand place that is probably responsible for my record collecting habit. Equally important was Shake Some Action - also now gone - which sold cheap punk, HC, garage indie etc. records, had bands playing on a Saturday afternoon & had a rehearsal room (of sorts) at the back, which is where I first learned how to play the drums. It also allowed me to meet like minded music fans for the first time. As a child I was also taken to many car boot sales & obscure church fetes across South London, so probably my obsession with searching through dusty detritus comes from this. My current favourites are Casbah in Greenwich, Sounds That Swing in Camden & Wanted Music in Beckenham. The first records I owned were 'Hey Mickey' by Toni Basil, 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' by Tight Fit & 'Karma Chameleon' by Culture Club.
NW: I grew up in Toronto where, when I was 15/16, I bought my first punk CDs and records at Rotate This and a shop called Full Blast! The first vinyl record I bought was either the ‘Against the Grain’ LP by Bad Religion or the Evaporators’ ‘I’m Going to France’ EP. By the time I was 17 I’d moved on to buying old records from Vortex in North Toronto and Rick’s Collectable in the East End. Rick’s is a crazy mess of records, VHS videos and used stroke mags - its where I bought the ‘There is No Future’ compilation, which had a formative influence on me. In terms of current favourites, I like Flashback on Essex Road and some of the stalls in Notting Hill Market and various London record fairs. I find most of the shops in London to be way over-priced to be honest. AND the stock is always completely battered – British record sellers seems to price all their records from the book and grade them as “near mint” no matter what the condition. For contemporary records I have to order most things online from the USA, usually from Vinyl Richie’s Wiggly World of Records (aka Florida’s Dying) in Orlando although I also buy from Chicago’s Permanent Records and Memphis’ Goner Records.
GB: I think the first vinyl I bought might’ve been Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘No More Tears’, or possible a purple vinyl Spinal Tap 12”, with a scratch and sniff cover. Then I switched to tapes/CD’s; next I remember picking up a Hard-ons comp LP, and lots of pop punk on Leeds’ Crackle Records in the mid-1990’s. I used to frequent Action Records when I lived in Preston, but there aren’t many good ones left in London now. I like Sounds of the Universe and Sister Ray. Sadly a lot of good places closed over the last few years, such as Selectadisc, Daddy Kool, and Rhythm, in Camden. Goner Records is a great place to buy from online. As is my own mail order, www.hodistro.com, of course.
How did your new album ‘Public Sector’, come to be released on La Vida Es Un Mus?
GB: Paco recognises true art when he sees it, but he put our record out anyway.
NW: It was originally going to be released on a fairly pedestrian American garage rock label, but the guy running it was giving us serious misgiving with his control issues, his constant requests that we pad out the album by re-releasing songs that were still in print and his refusal to contribute any money towards the costs. I was also strongly advised by people who had had bad experiences doing records with him to steer clear, so we parted ways citing “creative differences”. We were left without a label but our friend Paco who does ‘La Vida Es Un Mus’ stepped up to the plate. At first it might seem like strange matching but ‘La Vida Es Un Mus’ is fairly esoteric and he’s recently reissued the Crisis and Astronauts LP, who I think we fit in nicely alongside.
Can you expound on the influences in your song writing? It sounds straight down the middle - musically, Punk and then the lyrics and delivery in the vocals come across as Post Punk.
RL: I like classic punk, 60's stuff, Oi!, and also bands like The Fall and I've always had a healthy interest in post-punk. I'm not sure how purposeful the Hygiene 'sound' is to be honest as we've all come to it from slightly different angles.
PD: The Hygiene 'sound' is more accident than design.
NW: Is that a roundabout way of suggesting I can’t sing? If so, its accurate.
GB: Our creative process can be quite spontaneous, although we do sometimes think we ought to have songs with particular elements to them in terms of tempo or structure. We worked to try and make it so that the album didn’t have too many similar-sounding numbers.
Where did you record the album and how involved were you in the recording/mixing side of things?
PD: The LP was recorded in Stoke Newington & in Guy's flat.
NW: Guy did all the recording and mixing with a little bit of input from me.
GB: I acquired recording equipment over the years, sometimes by doing ‘mystery shopper’ purchases at the now defunct Turnkey Music on Charing Cross Road, and I record and mix everything we’ve put out, with the exception of the ‘Town Centre’ EP. That one sold for the most on ebay the other week, and that’s probably due to the fact that our friend Pumuky recorded it for us.
Who made the artwork for the sleeve? It’s a great cover – what are some of your favourite album covers?
RL: 'The Game' by Sham 69, I find it such a challenging, transcendental piece of artwork. Also 'A Way of Life: Skinhead Anthems' by The Last Resort. The provocative stance of the iconic monochrome skinhead figure has become a unifying symbol for the cream of British youth.
PD: I think the theme of the cover was to be not unlike a post-war dystopian SF novel. I love many, many record sleeves, but off the top of my head some of my favourites are the first Killing Joke LP, 'Relics' by Pink Floyd, any Nick Blinko artwork, 'Black Moses' by Isaac Hayes & 'Friends Of Hell' by Witchfinder General. I am also very fond of Linder Sterling’s work for The Buzzcocks.
NW: Our friend Joanna Coates did the painting in the style described by Pat. I didn’t know she could paint until I saw the cover she did for unofficial fifth Hygiene member Johnny White’s band, the Rollercoaster Project. It seemed like a perfect ‘fit’ with our aesthetic. Off the top of my head, some of my favourite album covers are ‘Fighting’ by Thin Lizzy, ‘My Generation’ by the Who, ‘Sell Out’ by the Who, ‘The Good, the Bad and the 4-Skins’ by the 4-Skins, the Clash s/t, ‘A Touch of Class’ by the Ejected, ‘We’re the Meatmen. and you Suck’ by the Meatmen, the Undertones s/t (both versions), ‘Live at the Witch Trials’ by the Fall and ‘Cause for Alarm’ by Agnostic Front. I also really like covers of not-quite-as-good sophomore LPs from first-wave punk bands such as the Jam, the Boys, the Damned and Generation X.
GB: I like the Stone Roses’ action painting/template style of doing things, the way that they had a theme to the art. I also really like the Beastie Boys’ ‘Paul’s Boutique’ cover, with the 360 degree photo. The Smiths’ pin-up shots are also pretty iconic for me, as are Pedro Bell’s Funkadelic LP cover paintings.
What do you enjoy more playing or recording your songs?
RL: Depends on the gig and if I'm in a good mood but I can absolutely love a live set. I like getting out and about however we don't gig that often so it's fair to say the recording and rehearsing side of things is a bigger part of being in the band.
PD: I generally prefer recording as I prefer to listen to a record than hearing it live.
NW: I find both quite taxing. I always read about how much bands love performing because they get to unleash tension or express themselves or whatever but I certainly don’t feel that way when we’re up on stage.
PD: Yeah, I generally feel more tense afterwards, & slightly embarrassed.
GB: I find recording stressful and tiring, since I have to sit there for 6-8 hours straight usually, so I’d say I like to play live more. Having said that, it’s not that much fun when there are few people in attendance, which is usually the case.
Any advice for bands in London trying to get where you are, or thoughts on the city’s underground scene currently from your experience playing in Hygiene?
RL: Buy smart clothes and get a haircut. Also use a firm handshake with the promoter.
PD: Don't endlessly nag people to come to your gigs. Avoid any 'Myspace/Big Cheese/NME et al presents unsigned band' competitions at all cost. Drink Jaegermeister if you must, but don't be fooled into thinking it is remotely rock'n'roll. Don't do endless soundchecks & if your set is over 20 minutes, ask yourself if it's really necessary. Be polite.
NW: Pretend to be into punk by blogging for Vice about some mp3s that you downloaded and getting your drummer to put Hygiene on in the middle of nowhere without paying them. Play your first gig at a DIY benefit show and make friends by demanding to know how much you will be paid. From then on, only play indie showcases, using your industry connections and the fact that your father signed Oasis to generate a buzz. Release a faux-punk single with badly digitised Crass-style artwork on a subsidiary of a major indie label. Remember that being allegedly "punk" is your selling point. If you follow all these steps you’ll soon get signed to One Little Indian and will be paid a monthly 1000 pound retainer each.
GB: I don’t know much about any underground, as I go to few gigs that don’t involve touring bands from the USA. I think a lot of how we’ve ended up getting records out and touring is due to us having friends who are passionate about what they do, and due to our making music that they appreciate enough to make them feel like helping us out, which we’re grateful for.
How do you feel about file sharing and downloading from the point of view of an underground band? Do you see it as a help or hindrance?
PD: As I like record shops & hunting for vinyl in strange places, downloading music seems a bit anathema to me. It also renders record sleeves obsolete. That said, I couldn't care less whether people download our music or not.
GB: I download music and then buy the vinyl if I like it enough. That goes for older, usually dead, artists though, not current bands. Myspace is still essential for checking out a band before I buy a record in for the mail order.
Any bands you guys are fans of that we should know about?
NW: People probably already know about them but some contemporary bands that I currently follow are First Base, the UV Race, ECSR (Eddy Current Suppression Ring), Skipper, Boys Club, Firestarter, the Rantouls, Personal and the Pizzas, Slippery Slopes, the White Wires, Mickey, the Pets and the Real Numbers. Locally, there’s Black Time, Love Triangle, Wake Up Dead, and the Pheromoans.
PD: Kipper, Razzle, The Electric Treats, Forces’ Sweethearts, The White Spades & Bronx Warriors II are all ones to watch.
GB: There’s a lot of good French stuff coming out on Sweet Rot Records such as the Dictaphone, Love Tan, AH Kraken. The Limes are a great Memphis band, too.
RL: The Sceptres
What do you have planned for Hygiene in the future?
PD: A couple more 7"s which we've recorded, plus a Christmas single which we've not recorded nor written.
NW: Hopefully a US tour next summer.
"I'm full of dust and guitars" - Syd Barrett, what are you full of?
RL: Biscuits and cat litter.
NW: Comic books and Pepsi Max.
GB: Irie vibes.
Pat's mail order www.hodistro.com
Interview in Maximum Rocknroll
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Second volume of Austrian punk compilation 'Es Chaos Is Die Botschaft!' (1978-84) is out after over a decade since the first was released on Laziprak Records. Obscure, weird and brilliantly snotty punk songs that make you want to spit on someone when you're walking down the street. The bands who have been unearthed on these compilations have extremely modest discographies, if any at all, truly hard to find songs that are well worth your time.
First volume http://www.mediafire.com/?uxdx08clh69cu8b
Second volume on sale here
Friday, April 15, 2011
Sandwiched between Convulsive Record's February release 'It Still Rankles' and upcoming LP on Red Lounge, Onec has put out 12" 'My Mind Is On The Anti-Climb Paint' from London's Pheromoans, with the sleeve masterfully hand crafted by band member James.
Opener "Limited Scope 1&2" features a steady bass and metronomic rhythms shuffling in the first part of the song apace with Russell Walker's spoken word confessions, "eye of the storm, I was always anticipating disaster". Interference from electrical bleeps at a radar pace tuning in (or out?) otherworldly fairground-like music. A curious slap from reality comes from sounds of cutlery and crockery scrapping together alongside prickling guitars feels brilliantly unsettling. "Newsagent Hop" is an out of tune urgent track coupling humor and apathy in the lyrics and it's this unique take on the tragicomic that remains a constant theme in The Pheromoans material. This is best summed up in final track "Conviction St. 1&2", "come back merchant all is forgiven, the man who liked to look at himself spoke like ninja turtle" is sung/spoken alongside bleak, sinking violins closing "it feels good to be in the eye of the storm". This 12" is a must have for anyone following the band if not just for the seven magnificent songs on here, but also the meticulous and lovingly hand made art work. The Pheromoans are going from strength to strength and this blogger is keeping her peepers peeled for that new LP on Red Lounge.
The LP is sold out and they saved the last copy for auction to raise money for the Japan Tsunami Appeal, for more information click here
Interview from Russell for Gilded Gutter
MP3s for 'My Mind Is On The Anti-Climb Paint' here
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Feelies stormed back on to the scene in 2008 for a reunion show with Sonic Youth in Battery Park. Since then, the band have been regularly playing their universally loved indie songs spanning the first part of their career from 1980 to 1991 in New York and their native New Jersey. 10 years on from their last album The Feelies offer up some brand new material on 'Here Before'.
Aptly, the album opener "Nobody Knows" muses "Is it to late to do it again, or should we wait another ten?", it's this double viewpoint simultaneously acting as a self-reflective statement and acknowledging the listener that best sums up why their songs are so inviting. This is reiterated in closer "So Far" where Glen Mercer sings in his Lou Reed-esque voice, "now it's time to say goodbye". The first part of the record really warms up with "When You Know", abound with zestful guitars swarming at head rushing speed grounded with veracious vocals. The album cools off from here introducing some sugary bell jangles in the slower numbers. Shortest track on the album, "Time Is Right" stands out for its sense of urgency with siren guitars chiming out apace with a bold vocal delivery. This record delivers exactly what you expect and want from The Feelies, layered guitars shimmering with melody, harmonious vocals and locomotive rhythms. Like putting on your favourite sweater it's familiar, comforting and feels GOOD. When a band can create something as beautiful as The Feelies can, it doesn't need to be questioned, 'Here Before' attests that these guys are just as good as they ever were.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I'm beyond excited about Pink Reason's upcoming album 'Shit In The Garden' on Siltbreeze. Spanning a career that must be reaching a decade now, Kevin DeBroux has released nine 7"s and one full length to date. His squalid blues songs instantly sound isolating but, don't describe being lonely but being a loner. His approach to writing songs turns the ugly into something beautiful, from using broken equipment to dealing with crass subject matter his brilliantly disaffected songs are Lo-Fi in the very truest sense of the word, even debasing it.
To wet our appetite for the upcoming album Almost Ready has put out EP 'Desperate Living'. DeBroux's songs continue to have an element of emotional violence in them, "Alienation, my best friend" is sung/spoken through noisy thrashing guitars and drums on second track "Song With No Name". The abrasive manner in which the instruments are played combined with a wall of reverb and cold, tinny recording quality puts all of the sound upfront making the songs confrontational. The thing I'm really thrilled about is, in 2008 Pink Reason put out single "Borrowed Time" (Fashionable Idiots) which was a head spinning Punk number and my personal favourite song by him to date. 'Desperate Living' picks up and builds upon where this single left off by flipping Punk into Hardcore. There are few bands that can test the limits of Lo-Fi and achieve what Pink Reason can - this is as raw and real as it gets.
"Song With No Name" on Soundcloud
Pink Reason Facebook
Monday, April 4, 2011
Lion Productions comes through again, this time round offering up Mexican psych wizards Los Dug Dug's second album 'Smog', originally released in 1972. At the centre of the trio was Armando Nava who, after a rocky start to the album, composed the entire thing while locked away in his house for two weeks. Sung entirely in Spanish the first half of the album is dominated by twelve minute jam "Hagomoslo Ahora". The rest of the tracks are much shorter, "Cual es tu Nombre?" best shows off the album's chunky and brawny style with a rock 'n' roll sound you'd expect to find on an MC5 record. Los Dug Dug's then slam on the breaks with "Meditacion", an instrumental track curiously somber but equally as powerful as the rest of the songs on the album. 'Smog' is an unrelenting psych rock treasure reissued just in time for the melting summer days ahead.