Tuesday, January 31, 2012
'I Trust My Guitar' was finished in summer of 2011 and it's just gone viral. It's an in depth, personal and very insightful view of African music. Rachel Aggs (Trash Kit, Cover Girl) reveals snapshots of the country's history and politics through snippets of lesser known (to me anyways) musicians and a great interview with Dream Beach Records. A ruddy good read and you now have the chance to catch up from the comfort of your own computer...
To find out; who Rachel's favourite band ever are, how musician Mohammed 'Jimmy' Mohammed was cursed, what happened when Rachel was chatted up whilst buying 50p old issues of the Wire and who wears "super flashy capes and head-dresses on stage!" LOG ON!
Rachel Agg's Tumblr I TRUST MY GUITAR
Yeti 12 has just been released with the promised first installment of a 7 inch series. The 45 features Grouper with track 'Desdemona' and the BSide is Fred and Annie McDowell's 'Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed'. Packed with drawings, photography and short stories - this zine is ALWAYS worth the wait.
More information on Yeti can be found here
Monday, January 30, 2012
The Men are a four piece from Brooklyn who released their third LP on Sacred Bones in 2010 and since have exhaustively toured their kraut inspired punk rock in basements, living rooms and other crevices of the US. The Men are about to embark on a European tour next month, if the hype surrounding constantly sold-out shows on their home turf is anything to go by, we are all in for a treat.
UK leg of the tour -
19 February BRIGHTON Prince Albert uk
20 February LIVERPOOL Mojo uk
21 February LEEDS Brudenel uk
22 February NORWICH Norwich Arts center UK
23 February LONDON Camp Basement uk
Full details of The Men's tour is on their blog
Find the record at Sacred Bones
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Australian based label RIP Society is going from strength to strength boasting releases from Kitchen's Floor, Royal Headache and Naked on the Vague. I had the opportunity to ask Nick Warnock who runs the label a few things about his recent travels, his own band Bed Wetting Bad Boys and his approach to running a record label...
You just came back from the states, how was your trip?
Amazing, the USA is a strange and wonderful place. We met so many great people and had a heap of pretty surreal experiences, the bits Americans would generally be embarrassed about we found most fascinating. Midwest singles newspapers trying to fix women in prison up with lonely farmers, evangelist Christian burger barns, the novelty of drinking cheap malt liquor (as we associate it with west coast rap artists), how dumb TV advertising is etc.
Any Bed Wetting Bad Boy show highlights from this US tour you'd like to share?
The very first show we played with Harpoon Forever, Royal Headache and Home Blitz! The rest of us had been in the US for a few days but Ben (guitarist/my brother) had to come over later due to university commitments. It was the day before the ten year anniversary of September 11 so there was security checkpoints all over Manhattan. He flew from Sydney to JFK airport, got straight in a cab to Ding Dong lounge and made it right on time to play. Although I wouldn’t say we were band of the night we played a pretty inspired, rockin’ set and held our own on a really strong line-up. Even with the kind of strange location of Upper West Side Manhattan (Brooklyn or the Lower East Side of Manhattan seemed to be the “happening” music districts), the intense anti-terrorist security and the L-train being down there was a good turn out of visibly enthusiastic people. The level of enthusiasm made me question if they were actually from New York or had just moved from Kansas. They even knew the tunes off our 7”s!
Which came first for you, playing music or running a label?
Playing music I guess, but with the circles of music I was first involved with in Sydney those who played music were generally invested in the community beyond just playing music. Booking show, making posters, releasing records etc. Somehow giving back to the music. I actually started R.I.P Society Records cause I was playing bass then later synth in Circle Pit. Their debut 7” had been recorded since before I was in the band and had gone unreleased for 10 months. I had a bit of money saved (it was probably the last time I had that much money to my name) and offered to put it out. Back then I never would have imagined running a record label would be such an important and engulfing part of my life.
Do you prefer putting out music or playing music?
They satisfy me on different levels. Playing music (either alone or with band) helps me relax and tune out from the frustrating elements that come with living in society. Don’t get me wrong I have a great quality of life but sometimes I have a hard time switching off. Running a record label can be downright frustrating! On a basic level playing music is 100% more enjoyable and than releasing music but the hard to classify music subculture(s) I‘ve been involved in mean a lot to me. Discovering rock n roll, punk and all its offshoots is one of the most important thing that has even happened to me and through running R.I.P Society, I hope I’m somehow preserving that tradition. Although releasing music often feels hopeless, it gives me a purpose, and is sometime even fulfilling. I have to do it, even at the expense of my own financial stability, being able to have a conversation with a normal person, potentially having a career etc.
Did you start RIP Society with a goal in mind? Or to put it another way, what do you want to say with your label?
Basically there wasn’t enough suitable outlets documenting Australian music. Punk/hardcore and noise/experimental circles had their shit together but there was this gap. Not completely marginal music but not your hip indie kinda stuff. It developed out of there being an obvious hole to fill and a desire for me to do it. No grand aesthetic or vision, I wanted to release music that I thought was important in a way that I as a music buyer would find appealing.
If you could have any band on RIP Society who would it be?
To tell you the truth I’m not really interested in chasing releases from established, happening bands. I’d prefer to bring attention to bands I feel are deserving of attention but for don’t fit in or for some reason (ie not being from Melbourne) have been ignored. So bands like Raw Prawn, Whores, Woollen Kits, Zond are the dream releases and the reason RIP exists. Maybe I’d someday wanna to re-issue records like the first Venom P Stinger 7” and LP, first Tactics 7”, early Cosmic Psychos material or The Shoes “Black Vinyl Shoes” LP.
What is your criteria when looking for bands to sign?
No fonzies, no artists types. Nothing angular or post-anything. I never look for artists to “sign” (we use handshake agreements at R.I.P Society), they’re usually right in front of my face and it obviously makes sense that we should work together.
How do you feel about reviews, when bands get too easily pigeon holed or perhaps misunderstood by listeners?
This one would actually take me a year to write about. Might skip the question sorry.
Have you put anything out that you’ve really believed in and had high expectations for and for some reason doesn’t get received the way you’d hoped?
Not really, seems that everything has found an audience eventually. Although there seemed to be a lot of “interest” around them at the time the debut 7” by Circle Pit was the slowest moving record I’ve ever put out. I’d pretty much sell one or two a week and now a couple have now gone for $30+ on eBay. Weird.
What's your view on other labels? Are there any you look up to at all?
Richie Records is my favourite record label from the USA. I have enjoyed all of their releases, “skull music” they sometimes call it. Any release with that little baseball man on the back is probably worth your money. I also look up to Chapter Records and admire the gusto of Bedroom Suck and Negative Guest List. I also admire the way In The Red Records operates, keeping prices down and much of their back catalogue in print. There’s lots of labels that I think do a great job but these five come to mind right now.
What would you say are helps and hindrances with running an independent label these days?
Unfortunately Australia has a large masses of water surrounding it from every angle and has quite a small population. What helps is there’s a support network and lots of very keen individuals out there, I honestly reckon the way most people find out about RIP releases is the 2012 equivalent of word-of-mouth communication (factoring in the internet and stuff now).
How long do you see yourself doing RIP Society for?
Until the world ends in 2012, so not very long at all. DONE.
What are your thoughts on special edition releases like the colour vinyl, pictured discs, limited 7’s and posters?
I hate coloured splatter vinyl and all that shit, it’s for listening not a toy! I see the purpose of limited edition records in particular circumstances but I generally think a record should be about reaching people, not conservatively pandering to your existing audience or so that the band and label can brag about their allusive “out of print” record. I do like special edition covers, non-digital printing methods etc. I think it can make a release more interesting and add a personable, human touch without being gimmicky or overshadowing the actual recorded content.
Do you have someone who makes the art work for the records on RIP – or do bands take care of that?
In all circumstances the band has had the idea for the artwork and asks whoever they think suitable to take photographs, design type etc. It’s their songs, their voice, the artwork should be their vision. I would feel like a real egomaniac forcing a label aesthetic on the bands, as the band and music is obviously way more important than the little logo on the back of the cover. I have assisted in the process of taking their physical artwork and laying it out for print in some instances (I studied graphic design at University), a few bands have sent me envelopes with their artwork and instructions on what goes where. I’ve been lucky enough to really like the artwork for all my releases and think they’re an appropriate representative of the music contained.
What’s the future of RIP Society?
Out just this week is the Woollen Kits LP, a record I’m really proud to be involved in. I can let you know that there’s 7”s in the works from two great Sydney punk bands Raw Prawn and Whores, as well as LP’s from Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys and Model Citizen due somewhere around the middle of the year. A 7” from the Mysterious Ruined Fortune and the debut full length from Constant Mongrel - Everything Goes Wrong. Other releases have been discussed but it’s a little too early to announce.
Any new releases from Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys we should look out for?
Since getting back from the USA we’ve been talking and thinking about doing an LP, wrote out a list of all the songs we’d either finished or jammed on and finally recorded some crude demos before heading separate ways for Christmas. We’ve got a few months of working the kinks out of some newer ones, maybe bringing a few more songs to the table and then heading into the “studio”. I say “studio” cause I doubt we’ll go into an actual studio but it will by no means be a lo-fi record.
What records are you playing at home right now – anything you’d like to rave about for us to check out?
Just got the new Midnight LP and on first listen it slays! Crude heavy metal with a strong Venom, Celtic Frost and Motorhead vibe. Like most good metal records would probably appeal to the punks more than the metalheads. Been on a pretty big Guided By Voices kick of late after reading the 33 and 1/3 book on Bee Thousand. In their “classic line-up” they’ve gotta be one of my all time favourites. I recently bought the Blitz - Complete Blitz Singles compilation LP, a band that started out doing Oi! tunes and somehow ended up in synth pop territory, kind of sounding like what people may term “cold wave” now. I like this record from start to end, no idea how a band would go from Never Surrender (tuff as nails) to Solar (which you could probably trick someone into thinking it was the b-side to a Total Control single) in a period. Got a copy of the excellent Cleveland Confidential compilation from 82, amazing punk tunes from bands like The Pagans, Styrenes, Jazz Destroyers and The Easter Monkeys. Mines a reissue from the 90’s and it was about $7, would’ve paid 5 times more for it! Other records on repeat at the moment Fang - Landshark LP, Television Personalities - The Painted World LP, Watery Love 7“s, The Kinks - Lola Versus… LP, Dead Moon reissues, Brian Eno - Another Green World LP, Gauze 7” on Prank records.
“I’m full of dust and guitars” – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?
An old computer that doesn’t work very well, bus tickets and whatever fruit/veg was cheapest that week. Probably eggplant.
RIP Society Tumblr Facebook
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
New album from Texan "trash poet" John Wesley Coleman III is now up for pre-order through Monofonus Press. The B-Side is a collection of wrong-footed pop songs Coleman recorded on 4 track, then embellished on Side-A by Morgan Coy.
Side B features core songs 'Wild Zoo', 'Cancer Inside', 'Psychiatrist', 'Curious Piano' and 'GG Allin for Mayor/President'. These chalky blank verses are accompanied by acoustic guitars allowing Coleman to turn his oddball (meant in the best possible way) stories loose. Side A amplifies the unvarnished 4 track recordings by adding synths, string arrangements, sitars, lush rhythms and polished vocals creating bright psychedelic pop. This new release is another addition to a catalogue of brilliantly beguiling work that extends from music (also see Golden Boys) to painting, writing and movie making, if you like your art to come from left field John Wesley Coleman III is your man.
Full Stream of Album & Pre-Order from Monofonus Press
John Wesley Coleman III Blog
Monofonus Press, John Wesley Coleman III and Morgan Coy also made a video game for you!
North Carolina four piece has just released their full length debut at the tail end of 2011 on Static Shock Records. 'Sleep Rough' features ten songs packed in under 25 minutes rooted in punk tinged with garage sounds of today. From the get go 'Connerie' unleashes a furor of amphetamine rhythms, disaffected boy vs girl vocals and racing, crunchy guitars. 'Hand's In The Jar' rolls out strutting sludgy guitars and rubbery bass through a wall of fuzz amalgamating rock into their punk approach. 'Sleep Rough' is burst of adrenaline by the young, about being young delivered with a snotty attitude and pummeling pace tying the record together like one continuous circle pit where one thing is for sure - you're bound to walk away missing a tooth or two. I guess we'll find out soon enough as they'll be over in the UK for some shows in April, may be see you there...
Brain F INFO Facebook
Static Shock Records Facebook
Thursday, January 19, 2012
SDZ Records brings us a new single from Dan Melchior to follow up his latest album 'Assemblage Blues' on Siltbreeze. Opener "Red Nylon Valance" is an off kilter number sounding as creeped-out as it gets. A track dealing with wariness and doubt featuring unbounded psychedelic guitars, rumbling rhythms and Melchior channeling a catatonic state to murmur his words across "I don't like it here at all". B Side "Dogbite Meltdown #1" plays out a repetitive guitar and echo laden vocals balanced with intermittent bright synths off setting the eery tone built up from consistent beats at the core. Dan Melchior has a catalogue of work stretching around 14 years which, as this new singles attests, continues to evade being pinned down and always delivers a thrill.
Video for 'Red Nylon Valance'
Here both tracks on SDZ's Bandcamp
Dan Melchior Website
SDZ Records has copies
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Woollen Kits' debut album is out imminently on RIP Society Records. The three piece from Melbourne have played out their infectious ramshackle pop numbers alongside bands like Kitchen's Floor, UV Race and Bed Wettin' Bad Boys over the last year, and are about to embark on a US Tour. These days, whatever RIP Society get excited about, I get excited about and Woollen Kits is no exception. Since 2009 Woollen Kits have put out a 7" and EP showcasing their pyscho-pop via garage rock songs featuring gritty guitars and a low voice that would rival Calvin Johnson. If track "Out Of Whack" is anything to go by the threesome have polished things up and delivered fully realized pop songs, I'm very pleased to say this is my first record purchase of 2012.
"Out of Whack" - taken from the new album
Woollen Kits Tumblr Facebook
Checkout the 7" and EP on Bandcamp
Find copies at RIP Society
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sometimes someone puts an album on while you're in a record store that stops you in your tracks, and Jim Sullivan's 'U.F.O' was this title for me last Saturday, unearthed by Light In The Attic (Jim Ford, Michael Chapman, Michael Hurley).
The mysterious way Jim Sullivan disappeared sets the tone for the record. In March 1975 his VW Bug was discovered ditched in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and the hotel he was staying in was found fully intact. Some think he walked into the desert and never came back, some think he got into trouble with a local family linked to the mafia and others theorize he was kidnapped by aliens. No one knows really what happened, the only fact that remains is Jim Sullivan was never seen again.
Recorded in 1969 'U.F.O' is American Pop woven with folk and a singer fraying at the edges. Complete with a Wurlitzer, string arrangements and wind instruments this album is both lush and bright weighed down with undercurrents of dejection in Sullivan's lyrics and singing, just listen to "Rosey" to see what I'm talking about! Turning the tables "Roll Back The Time" features a simple acoustic guitar and soft beats revealing a stripped down number that is just as moving. Closer "Sandman" is an exquisite weathered folk song that deals out feelings of love and loss in equal measure. 'U.F.O' is a mind-blowing piece of lost American folk/pop and well worth your time.
Jim Sullivan - Sandman by Gilded Gutter
Find copies at Light In the Attic
Monday, January 9, 2012
Thee Oh Sees latest offering on In The Red is the first full length by the San Francisco band that has really hit the spot. There's no rhyme or reason for it, but 'Carrion Crawler' just hits the garage rock pleasure centres. Having never disappointed in a live setting may be this record captures everything I love about watching Thee Oh Sees in action. Their unhinged guitars, feverish vocals and rigorous rhythms are immediately engaging on stage and this translates on 'Carrion Crawler'. "Chem-Farmer" is a four minute instrumental piece with a minimal guitar melody on repeat peppered with meticulous beats, under-stated rumbling bass and shredding roaming in and out of focus throughout. "The Dream" hands down is a real favourite on this album, urgent guitars and racing rhythms descend into brilliantly crafted freak outs boiling over with anxiety. Nine albums in and the ballistic 'Carrion Crawler' is the one that's made a believer out of me.
Thee Oh Sees - The Dream by Gilded Gutter
Thee Oh Sees Facebook Website
Penultimate Press has published a catalogue of 100 drawings by Graham Lambkin (Call Back the Giants, Shadow Ring), made over a period of 5 days in Miami, Florida. There are 250 available; first 100 are hardcover, numbered, signed with a CD and the remaining 150 are hardcover, numbered accompanied by the CD. The CD is a curious ten minute piece of a small haunting sample, looped endlessly never quite resolving itself. A really wonderful book if you manage to pick up a copy.
Graham Lambkin - Dripping Junk by Gilded Gutter
Penultimate Press blog
A seven piece at the time of recording, New York's ever enigmatic Excepter made 'Presidence' in 2010. Their 13th full length recording poignantly is the last before a shift in line up and sadly, the loss of percussionist Clare Amory to cancer. Excepter seem like they find the part between notes and beats and play inside them, revealing a thrumming synthesized vortex morphing from one unsettling place to another. These guys are brain-twisters/mind-sleazers/riddle-makers/crypt-o-teasers, don't be afraid to step into the void, with Excepter as your guide you're in safe hands.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
What can be said that hasn't already about Jay Reatard? I'm going to resist gushing, although as an avid lover his records to be honest, it's kinda hard. FDH Records have given Jay's abrasive electronic record 'World of Shit' the reissue treatment. Released in 2007 this is the only album Terror Visions released, made just before Jay started to turn heads with his solo material. FDH dates the recordings between 2002 and 2006, not finding a suitable home in other projects Angry Angels, Lost Sounds et al it seems only fitting they were given their own identity with a new band. Boasting 4 new tracks, 2 which were previously only available on CD and two unreleased pieces including a cover of Brian Eno's "Baby's On Fire", FDH have certainly made sure you get your money's worth. Thoughtfully, they've repressed this on 180 gram vinyl, as the first edition was a picture disc the label have gone to the lengths of improving the sound on the LP, which sits in a gatefold sleeve featuring new artwork and rare pictures of Jay. Terror Visions allowed Jay to let loose unlike anything else he did, the only thing that is on par with the high levels of jittery turmoil is his earliest work in The Reatards. 'World of Shit', and his work in Angry Angels for that matter, pre-dates so much electronic-punk we hear today and attests to the fact Jay was not only prolific but one step ahead. This record best expresses the fearless person Jay came across to be.
You can find copies at FDH's store
I know, I know, this has been out a while but here's the thing...when 1-2-3-4 GO! Records said they were putting out the new Shannon and the Clams record I went back to debut 'I Wanna Go Home' and the live session on WFMU, and they stayed in rotation for what seems like ayons. Then everyone's top 10 records of 2011 came out most of which featured 'Sleep Talk' and realized I'd left it behind, what a dummy! Because, this is such a great pop record, not least due to Shannon's incredible voice. Packed into twelve songs is something dreamy, ballsy and a little creepy. "The Cult Song" and "Old Man Winter" fall into the wonderful-weirdos camp letting vocals freely roam alongside melodies and arrangements you might expect from bands played on Mad Mike's radio show, but with a distinct West Coast/surfer feel. 'Sleep Talk' has softer moments with "The Woodsman" and "Done With You", setting a forlorn tone before launching into another raucous number. Cue "Toxic Revenge", a take-no-prisoner stomper with crunchy guitars, palpitating bass and howlin' vocals leveled off with crashing rhythms. Shannon and the Clams is everything you could want from a modern day girl-fronted garage band, taking the very best bits of the 60s and flipping them on their head 'Sleep Talk', as many worthy bands and labels have already said, is a great, great record.
Shannon and the Clams - The Cult Song by Gilded Gutter
'I Wanna Go Home' - http://www.mediafire.com/?13fldzwnaiydfnn
Find copies at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
Shannon and the Clams Facebook
There are some unbelievable punk bands around right now and Kim Phuc rates right up there with the best of them. 'Copsucker' (Iron Lung) is the long awaited debut album by the Pittsburgh 5 piece. The record channels raw, primal energy fluxed with menace creating a perfectly formed anxiety attack about the down-trodden, fed up and pissed off. These ten songs are super consistent and the album really kicks in for me at "Heathens", featuring swarming guitars, forthright vocals and pummeling rhythms producing something turbulent and arresting, a feeling that doesn't let up throughout the album. Another highlight is "Razorblades", loaded with heavy, moody guitars set to a metronomic pace, matched with Rob Henry's dead-pan holler- further enforcing frustrations with the daily grind. Kim Phuc have been together since 2004 but this feels like it's just the beginning, charged with animosity 'Copsucker' will hand your ass back to you on a plate.
Kim Phuc - Heathens by Gilded Gutter
Find copies at Iron Lung
Kim Phuc Blog Facebook