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The last music reviews (#22)

 

Melanchoholics “A Single Act Of Carelessness” (Multi National Desaster/Deafborn Records; www.mndr.de; http://www.melanchoholics.de; melanchoholics@deafborn.de)
The debut album of this remarkable trio from Germany have been quite caresses by me though mood and emotions which it caused are completely not peculiar for me.
The new disk which has been released in commonwealth with Multi National Desaster Records has again forced me to feel sad and to start searching analogies.
Naturally, Scorn has come on mind firstly. However, as against Harrison’s collages-nightmares, Melanchoholics’ rhythm-section represents powerful noise wall, rolling from the speakers (musical critics like to name it with very informative word "drones") and the extremely ascetic; almost Lasvel’s set of bass guitar.
The guitar plays the role of the soloist tool (it makes the heart compresses so much and the soul trembles); fantastic sounding and beauty - as it is necessary (brevity is the sister of our brother, isn’t it?) are used very much dosed and, I’ll allow to notice, even avaricious.
In very moderate amounts the fragments of so-called “spoken word” and sounds of obviously industrial character are scattered as additional components in the compositions.
Despising the term “post-fate”, I would name this music - hypnotic surf for self-murderers.
(If these guys began to shout with bad voices and to thresh on drums it would sound as Neurosis. Not bad also…)

 

Filip “Bukowski” (http://www.filipsongs.com; andreasfilipsson@hotmail.com)
According to a history, the young man Filip has visited Tom Waits’ concert in the famous city of Amsterdam (he is from Sweden). Approximately at the same time he has bought the collection of Charles Bukowski’s verses. Having been inspired by both that, and that, he has taken a guitar and recorded this album himself…
Certainly, there is nothing from Waits – maybe, it is even better – countless unfortunate imitators with critical whistling were driven away!
With it’s ascetism and restraint the album reminds more likely Beck (- Just REMINDS! No more!). Shivering and breaking Filip’s voice, his touching intonations force to recollect the whole cohort of musicians from Kill Rock Star and K Records.
Touchingly, gently and romantically.

 

Filip “Sad Autumn Roses” (http://www.filipsongs.com; andreasfilipsson@hotmail.com)
Here is the magnificent 8-minute track by so-called Fruit Drops Orchestra. A contrabass, a guitar, drums and percussion - it is played valiant and with amazing impudence. Impudence of this record doesn’t allow me to attribute “Sad Autumn Roses” to the category of elite jazz or even lounge. It would be possible argue about improvisatory component of this composition but, in my opinion, it is too good to be an improvisation.
Probably, Nick Cave will play something similar if he stops thinking of feeding his family.
References of numerous critics on Tom Waits I sweep aside unconditionally - Filip is unequivocally adequate person and is in our reality.

 

Charles Van de Kree “Phoenix Rising” (Overlord Records; outworlder5@hotmail.com)
For the long years dusty Hawkwind (not very consecutive in this) personified space-rock for me, and something similar from kraut-rock. After I’ve opened Helios Creed for me - listening to Hawkwind became simply intolerable! I’ll try to look for something else in their music…
“Phoenix Rising” - a debut solo-album of Charles Van de Kree –Jet Jaguar’s leader, recorded with the help of the whole brigade of musicians. It is real space-rock – moreover, in the amazing combination of punk, industrial and gothic post-punk of the beginning of the ‘80s. In general, the album reminds the British indie-stage of the ‘80s, both by mood, frankness and honesty - qualities that are almost completely got rid nowadays among modern musicians (speaking about honesty and sincerity of the British collectives of the ‘80s, I mean not a cohort of poseurs occupied charts of those years. Recollect the Fall, the Jesus and Mary Chain or even the P.I.L.).
Slow compositions (rare lasts less than five minutes) with considerable internal drive and distinct (read - excellent!) melodies (industrial musicians have a big trouble with it), with interesting dramatic art and taste. It is interesting that in one of the songs Zodiac Laser has participated - EBM-artist, who managed not to break and spoil anything.
Collectors of bones will be pleased with completely not trite version of “Search and Destroy”.
Ah, one more thing… “Big Fuck” to the artist who made design of the disk – the covers of computer games from the beginning of the ‘90s are more worthless, but even they seems “pretty”…

 

Jet Jaguar “Billion Year Spree” (Aktivator Records; outworlder5@hotmail.com)
My soul is pleased when I notice in creativity of modern musicians elements of the directions have been forgotten for a long time. Please, tell me somebody who can distinctly tell something about space-rock now (that began, in my opinion, with “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” by Amboy Dukes, didn’t it?)? Every fucking collector of mp-3 music has a pair of albums of the magnificent New!, however nobody knows anything about not less significant collective La Dusseldorf (consisting, by the way, of the participants from New!).
I felt very well while listening “Billion Year Spree” for the first time - real space-rock, executed with punk energy, incredibly fascinating melody and drive. Rhythm-section, owing to the not very “alive” origin, has revived Big Black in memory (-he-he!) - or imagine New! but more powerful and more rigid! The abrasive guitar and vocal, different “space” effects (a-la Kraftwerk in the ‘70s) scattered in every song, and lunatic drive from the beginning and up to the end of the album! The meeting "romantic" moments do not force down the general heat but only help to take breath before the next bombardment.
As the tribute, on the album there is a cover on Robert Calvert’s (leader of the Hawkwind) “The Aerospace Age Inferno”. Good fellows!

 

V/A “A Tribe Called Glitch Vol.1 Elements Of Circuitry” (Backwards Records; www.backwardsrecords.com)
There is a difficulty classified musical direction named IDM. It is clear that this name were transformed from EDM by banal replacement of the word “electronic” on “intelligent”. It is like here are not foolish dances but serious, clever music for serious and clever people. I do not know, but it seems to me, that the authors play jokes there.
This collection can be named as the assembly of intelligent electronic music: 12 bands, rather original and unfortunately not very innovative. Anyhow, but almost in each composition there are latent curtseys to Coil, Autechre, Mouse On Mars, Boards Of Canada or Seefeel. It is very pleasant to open new names, but I want greater originality …
I was pleased by the Syphilis Sauna - a track that get in a head and do not leave for a long time (pseudo-lounge-collage with set of layers and touching intonations); Nova-Sak – noisy improvising project by Tod Novosad (watch Carrion Crawler) reminding Z’ev’s best times.

 

In Ether “Insult To The Unconditioned” (Backwards Records; www.backwardsrecords.com)
Three already elderly men (Lucio Duran (ex-Xenophile and Atonal Patterns), Ezra Nye (ex-My Friend Maggot, Wither Stench, and Zahgurim Theorem) and Patrick Urn (ex-Asphyxia and Zahgurim Theorem) deal with experimental electronics since 1999. A lot of releases, almost cult status in narrow circle of devoted admirers, presence of hearings and conjectures obligatory for musicians of the similar plan (for example, that In Ether categorically do not use computers in their creativity. I think that a medal for such feat would be too much, and I hardly can find differences between notebook and sequencer/rhythm-machine/synthesizer in the given context).
In Ether’s music reminds a thoughtless version the Coil (in the beginning of the ‘90s) with addition of dark-wave and some occult pranks. In general, as I have noticed almost all post-industrial stage is interested in nazi fetish or in propaganda of the antichristian doctrine of some unknown man.
On a cover of the disk pugnacious Pinocchio is represented, and at once it made me think about dada component in In Ether’s music.

 

Zombina And The Skeletones “Staci Stasis” (www.zombina.com; skeletone5@hotmail.com)
Three songs of the young British band that should be popular (it is a pity!).
Very nice blonde - vocalist, fast fascinating punk with a decent part of garage, a little bit pop melodies jamming in a head, choral refrains, excellent arrangements - as it seems to me, such music is represented on MTV as an “alternative” (I do not have this channel. Here it is, Russian province…)
They have an improbable ability to balance between fucking pop-punk and the most magnificent garage punk-rock. They are from Liverpool, in a word.

 

V/A “Staring At The Sun Vol.4” (Blindspot Records; )
The compilation of the songs by 21 bands from San Diego. Rock, pop punk, power-pop and all around it. I have involuntarily reflected that power-pop-scene of San Diego consists of several tens of bands. I want to argue with our political scientists who say that America promptly sliding into a precipice…
The composition “Bent Revered” by Grimblewedge has impressed madly: it begins as Gothic rock of the end of ‘80s, then something almost grange appears there, after that the most magnificent pipe, “spoken-word” and guitar enter – all this develops in some kind of crazy drive a-la accelerated “Sex Bomb” by Flipper.

 

 

The Spring Collection “s/t” (Blindspot Records; )
Ugly rock-pop-punk with obvious stylization under Beatles (there is gratitude to George Harrison among the others). For some reason it is named power-pop.
One of the tracks – Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”. In general, total disgrace.

 

 

 

The Stereotypes “s/t” (Earthling Records; www.earthlingrecords.com; www.stereotypesmusic.com)
The most powerful, drive power-pop, sometimes hardly pop (“Stars”, “Outside”) and from time to time almost punk (“I Drink”).
Modern sound, no curtseys in the past (I do not know whether it is good?), excellent melodies (however, it is typical to this style), an often acoustic guitar - at once Saints came on mind…
They are rather sad, somehow …

 

 

 

Mismo “…And To The Republic” (MIM Production; www.mismoband.com; mismo_band@yahoo.com)
Mismo promo-CD (MIM Production; www.mismoband.com; mismo_band@yahoo.com)

Having read in some reviews that Mismo plays mix of Misfits and Fugazi, I felt the strongest interest to this band. The matter is that for me Fugazi are unsurpassed top of emo-rock (or emo-punk, or emo-hardcore – it is not so important), and all rest, with a prefix “emo” so fashionable now causes only disgust… Misfits, in my opinion, are so unattainable in horror-punk (I speak about the first half of the ‘80s) for uncountable set of imitators from all over the world.
Listening to “…And To The Republic” has puzzled me a little: it is really similar both to Fugazi and Misfits - wild drive, gloomy, almost spiteful melodies, intricate arrangements (he-he, you can break your head trying analyze the structure of this or that composition!), excellent playing on the musical instruments and very emotional vocal, singing in a beautiful pure voice, sometimes transfering on heart-rending shouts.
Mismo have added the general atmosphere of hopelessness, some fashionable new-metal peculiarities (“Ultraflesh”), and also a fair share of sociality in the texts.
It is very pleasant that there are no facts of the simple imitation, and we get acquainted with the really interesting band.
On the second disk, except for photos of the band, the biography and three songs from the album “…And To The Republic”, there are two video clips - real example for imitation – promo- disks should be like this!!!

 

V/A “Spellbound. A San Diego Pop Compilation” (Blindspot Records; )
The compilation representing five bands from San Diego: Dizzy, Static Halo, Victor Penalosa and The Melanies, Loam and Broken Dial Radio. All collectives play approximately in one style - pop rock/power pop, convincingly proving, that pop can be pleasant for hearing (-he-he… For my hearing, certainly!, spoilt by the Boredoms, Captain Beefheart and Sun Ra), interesting by way of construction of the compositions and even, do not laugh, intelligent.
The disk is released with the help of unruly Bart Mendoza, practically “the head” of that power pop-stage.

 

Tesa s/t (Old Skool Kids Records; Unbeliever Records; http://oskrecords.com; www.unbeliever.hardcore.lt)
Having read in the summary to this release that the group “… plays gloomy metal and slightly chaotic hardcore/space-rock…” I thought whether you there know about space-rock with your rumble?
From the first listening I felt a shame for my forecasts…
Well. The band is formed from the “fragments” of In Stora (the drummer and guitarist) - a year ago struck me by the elements of progressive-rock in hardcore. Certainly it was silly to wait for some kind of old-school-drive from these guys… Slow rate is compensated by the most powerful drive (in each song there are “soft” moments - the guitar with strong reverberator “walks” somewhere in “Misirlou” area, the drummer beats very complicated rhythm on the rim of the drum, the bass softly, almost gently sounds somewhere on a background… And then…! The wildest vocal appears (Loa Loa’s school?), drums come in transitions and all this happens on the background of the continuous sound wall (and guitar with reverberator continues to play somewhere there!)). It was not possible to understand the texts. However the mood of this album is rather gloomy, though and not without rare gleams of optimism.
The resume: Yan Mackey together with Neurosis plays space-rock. A dish for the real gourmets!

 

Jaialai "Rubberbody Dance In Neon Lights" (Old Skool Kids Records; http://oskrecords.com; www.myspace.com/jaialaimusic)
The band from Riga (to not confuse with post-rock trio Jai Alai), consisting of ex-participants of To The Limit and Because Eyes Were Closed.
4 songs (for 25 minutes) of slow, beautiful and sad post-rock with a fair share of emo. They have very much reminded Blonde Redhead (only without female vocal): complicated arrangements, magnificent instrumental skills, melancholy and grief have impregnated the whole album (there are also more or less noisy moments when the vocalist begins to shout, guitars make real emo-squall and rhythm-section is incredible that simply you marvel. And even in these places it is difficult to find out even the slightest hope. Fuck…). Not the worst comparison, isn’t it?

 

 

Nobu Kasahara “Requiem For Error” (Monopolka; http://noiseweb.com/monopolka)
The Japanese media-actor, despite of huge amount of releases (released in very small circulations on his own label Ammorlaga), is practically inaccessible for acquaintance. Recently one of his works has appeared on the compilation “Viva Negativa” – a tribute to the cult New Blockaders – it was more accessible material to find…
And here, as in a fairy tale, “the leader of noise here” Fil Volokitin releases this album on the “Monopol’ka” label!
As well as the majority of Fil’s releases, this one puzzles with its design: the disk together with the booklet are wrapped up in some layers of polythene. The booklet represents practically the book of format Ą4 consisting of horrible drawings by Nobu Kasahara (due, probably, to improve listening and recognition of his music).
The musical material makes very good impression: horrifying, multilevel sound landscapes-collages, not without Japanese colors, with absence of cycling on any elements (as in somekind of “drones” and the Haters) and inventive, also there are fascinating “turns” of subject lines of compositions.
Fil got the best mark for enlightenment!

 

Excess «Ģķčģīå įėąćīļīėó÷čå» (Old Skool Kids Records; http://oskrecords.com; http://excess.boom.ru)
Rather popular in ours “Southern States” band from Rostov-On-Don (the city with some rock-reputation: muddy “Ura Boom Boom” by Galina Pilipenko, bandit patriotism of “Zazerkal’e”, “Zapreschennie Barabanschiki” (the Forbidden Drummers)… Even on rock’a’billy concerts you can meet cossacks in the fancy dresses!).
The music is highly professional melodious punk with high speeds and mixed vocal (male/female, basically female).
I feel a strong smack of the American punk of the second half of the ’90s (a-la Epitaph Records - I hope, you understand what I speak about?) and texts…
Most of all the texts are similar to a literal translation of a personal diary of any American humanist. I don’t know, before I’ve never meet in the songs or in verses such expression as “… vice of indifference…”, “… tariffs for electric light…” or “… self-realization on a pattern…”
Probably, musicians Excess should engage in serious studying of the texts of such bands as Crass, Chumbawamba, Subhumans, Thatcher On Acid, the Mob or Apple.
(Anyway, in the plan of so-called “personal lyrics” they’ll never jump over Banan from Breakwar!)

 

Cut 'N' Run/Āūųźą! CD-split (Old Skool Kids Records, Karma Mira Records; http://oskrecords.com; www.diy.spb.ru; http://vyshka.nm.ru; http://www.myspace.com/cutxrun)
A very unusual on the format split: each band plays three own songs, plus a cover on each other, plus covers on Rolling Stones (-!!!).
The modern hardcore stage in Russia, at a first sight, represents not so pleasant show: hundreds of absolutely identical bands with the same texts, as obligatory attributes crosses on hands, rigid following to “the western hardcore standards” (it is necessary to manage to find them!), FNB on the week-end, circle pits, moshes, vegetarianism, aggressive antimilitarism, the aggressive attitude to the “system” with complete support of the most vile ideas of liberalism (I hear the advice not to forget to write about a sticker on a guitar “We remember”).
Closer acquaintance with its separate persons expands the representation a little…
Cut 'N' Run – the band from Saint-Petersburg plays high-speed hardcore. Texts are with social subjects, choral refrains, masterful instrumental skills (on such valiant speeds it is very appreciable!).
Vishka! – from Severodvinsk. Great execution of “Brown Sugar” (the guys should try themselves in garage!) Their music is noisy and chaotic, that hooked … The texts are in the same style (antimilitaristic “Worthy Sons” - a promising beginning - an insert of the citation from Minister of Defence Ivanov and Putin, and then their own texts - hardly holding up to a level of “Soldier’s Girlfriend” by Wheel Of Dharma).

 

Fe-Mail “Voluptuous Vultures” (PsychForm Records; http://www.psychform.com; http://femailmusic.com/)
The disks released on PsychForm Records are always pleasant unexpectedness for me - every new release, sent to me on reviewing, I insert into a player with an anticipation of opening of a new name and reception of improbable intellectual stimulation, each time of other sort.
Fe-Mail – electro-noise project of two girls - Maja Ratkje and Hild Sofie Tafjord. Several years ago they played in the mad improvising band SPUNK and as a duet they work together since 2000 (their debut has happened in Mecca of the similar music - in Tokyo).
Maja Ratkje has a reputation as the leader of the Norwegian noise-stage and has a unique voice. She worked with such musicians as Lasse Marhaug, John Hegre (one of the participants of the improvisatory duet Jazzkammer, and also Kaptein Kaliber, Golden Serenades and New Boiling Near The Fjords), Jaap Blonk, Ikue Mori, Otomo Yoshihide, Wolf Eyes, Matmos, Jason Forrest, Kim Hiortoy, Ulver, etc. Hild Sofie Tafjord is not less known on an experimental stage than her colleague and uses various horns more often.
Listening to the disk makes a fantastic impression! The rolled roar serves as the second plan for “the soloist” puzzled combinations of strange, sometimes mysterious sounds (not without micro-wave of course). Periodically there are severely deformed voice parts by Maja Ratkje which are easy to confuse with mad pipes by Hild Sofie Tafjord. Set of intonational layers create an atmosphere not comparable with anything, unexpectedly arising melodic lines draw attention, and then dissolved, the powerful analog component creates an aura of experimental ‘60s and Throbbing Gristle’s pioneering.
Most of all it is similar to Coil in the period of “Music To Play In The Dark” if it was conducted by Sun Ra.
The album “Voluptuous Vultures” is not the first in discography of the duet. It is necessary to find their previous work together with Lasse Marhaug, the album “All Men Are Pigs”!

 

Apoplexia 1973 ~ A Musical Research by Stan Reed / Gregor Jabs / Frank Rowenta (PsychForm Records; Jeans Records; www.psychform.com; www.jeansrecords.com)
“Apoplexia (greek) - paralysis, impact; quickly coming inability of a brain to functioning, i.e. suddenly coming unconsciousness and immovability, it is indifferent from what the reason was: whether from outpouring blood in a brain (apoplexia sanguinea), whether from outpouring a serous liquid (apoplexia serosa), or from the defeats of brain which are not depending on any seen anatomic reasons (apoplexia nervosa). Now under Ą., in the narrow sense of the word, we understand a hemorrhage in the brain, and suddenly or gradually there come the paralyses of impellent and sensitive nerves accompanying ordinarily more or less long unconsciousness. In the more comprehensive sense Ą. means any hemorrhage in any organ of the body. So they speak about Ą. of lungs, kidneys, skin (ecchymosis). Ecchymosis in last sense means the same as extravasate of blood.” (http://www.wikiznanie.ru)
Now, actually, about the album and people created it.
Stan Reed – the founder of PsychForm Records and PsychoChrist Productions. Also in his active it is necessary to write his own projects: PLETHORA, The Broken Penis Orchestra, The Broken Human Machine and Blue Sabbath Black Cheer - what a collection!...
Gregor Jabs - known because of crazy psychedelic project Grillhaus (in cooperation with the same persons).
Frank Rowenta - one of the participants of the duet Rowenta/Khan, together with Gregor Jabs has formed Grillhaus, actively works as solo musician and has founded his own label Jeans Records.
The basis of the album is the recording of the 1973 “Klinischen Anstalten Aachen” - conversations of the doctors and the patients with schizophrenia. The questions - the answers, monologues of the patients which have been pulled out from a context. The musicians have expanded this madness with the whole layers of senses and implied senses: ambient and noise fragments, fragments of speeches, the military marches, the deformed jazz cries, sound landscapes and noisy perversions… Nightmares are crossed with irony, pleasure by beauty is replaced by the real anxiousness, a picture is imposed on a picture - more “cinematographic” album I’ve never heard yet - if to close your eyes, the music fills in all your head and you are picked up with this kaleidoscope of emotions …
It is really terrible work. Even for myself I have not understood yet - whether it is necessary to create such things?...

 

The Windows s/t (http://homepage2.nifty.com/theWindows65/)
The Japanese surf - band (not only Boredoms or Merzbow all the time).
For the beginning of the disk it would be possible to put a monument to the band! First three compositions - simply bombs!!! “High Tide”, “Squad Car” and the most fascinating “Bikini Bra In The Surf” excite with the mad energy and new ideas. Due to two guitars their sound is rather dense, the bass player manages to make “contrabass” sound, and instead of expected retro-keys the electro-accordion is used (that only adds highlights in sounding of The Windows).
Further some relaxation follows - musicians show how to make their own things from the bothered “Miserlou” (we’ll hear it right at the end) and other classics of surf. All this alternates not very hit covers (“Time Bomb”, “Bombora”, etc.) on classics of the style.
The highest mark for optimism!

 

The Twinkle Arrows sep (Woody Tone Records; http://www.geocities.jp/sidewalk_surfer448/; sidewalk_surfer448@hotmail.com)
The extremely cheerful surf from Japan (on the photo there are three happiest musicians - you will involuntarily smile!). Four songs recorded in mono mode.
Despite of some minimalism in their sound, music is very interesting: equilibristic arrangements, smart solo and precise rhythm - section. They lack a drop of madness for the rank of real musical eccentrics.

 

 

 

Vegas Beach “Share The Sand” (www.vegas-beach.com)
Examining a cover I did not expect any dirty trick: classical design for surf (a beach, a skeleton with a board for surfing, a woman a-la Betty Page… On the return side - a photo of three not the youngest men on the background of vinyl plates), the standard names both of the band and tracks of the album (“Mexican Pipeline”, “Hip Deep”, etc.) …
In practice appeared that I am getting acquainted with practically new direction of surf-music - Surf Noir, and the musicians from Vegas Beach count themselves the pioneers of it.
In brief, it is possible to describe this music so: instrumental surf, with strong influence of gothic style and southern blues, melancholic and even from time to time gloomy on mood. No monsters and aliens! It’s a pity, of course, but for the song “Snakeskin Speedo” the band can be forgiven for any experiments!

 

V/A “California Sun (Surf, Hot Rod & Garage Dance Party)” (Clapworks Records; www.clapworks.com)
For a long time I’ve suspected that surf and garage scene (as well as other musical styles) is very cool in Japan. Very rarely we managed to hear 5.6.7.8's, Guitar Wolf …
Here is the whole treasury of the modern cool garage and surf bands which have been recorded during one concert in the Japanese club (life is actually fine - except for this disk I also have DVD with video from that concert - each band in their special color suits, everyone is smiling and pleased as child, the audience have fun and enjoy the gig together with musicians …).
Except for already a little familiar to me The Twinkle Arrows and The Windows, there are 7 more bands on the disk (The Great Mongoose, Rat Holic, Jacky and Enocky, The Teenie Cheetahs, The Pebbles, The El Caminos and Terry Shimamura Group).
A lot of girls play on drums, saxophone, keys (The Pebbles is entirely girl-band).
About music - very valiant surf or drive garage and hot rod. I shall especially note Jacky and Enocky “Let's Go Bopping Tonight” - seven-minute track with long duel of the musicians; the incredible garage punk hit “Teeny Smash” from The Teenie Cheetahs; the most magnificent sounding of Rat Holic and mad drive of The Great Mongoose.
Well, I am happy …

 

V/A “The Ugly Truth About Blackpool. Vol.2” (JSNTGM Records; www.jsntgm.com)
We continue to study Blackpool’s stage with the help of punk-activist, chief of JSNTGM Records and editor of the “Blackpool Rox II” zine - Andy Higgins. The first collection retrospectively represented its local stage since 1977 till our days, this one allows to look at it’s nowadays condition (almost all tracks are dated 2005 or 2006).
I was impressed both by the amount of remarkable groups and bright palette of styles in which they work (in spite of the fact that a half of the collection can be attributed as the punk and derivatives from it, on the disk there are indie (in various variations), post-punk, guitar gothic style, progressive and psychodelia (not speaking about not classified The Sound Of Superstring or Sinister Footwear).
It is necessary to note:
Fes Parker “My Take Away” (recorded in 1999) - mad, drive grunge;
Hit By An Apple “Alien Brains” - 20-second hardcore-perversion;
One Way System “It Could be You” - the machine-gun punk. Under this song it is good to rush on any reserved jalopy, scattering police cars and obstacles on the roadside…
Sick 56 "Violence" - among my favorites! UK Subs today!
Section 25 “Dirty Disco” - gloomy post-punk, in spirit of NDW bands and Joy Division;
Outlaw “Get In The Van” - powerful female punk’n’roll. Donnas are in ass!
Higgins++ “Cool Britannia Uber Alles” - an excellent example of that it is possible “to recover” a good old song and force it to sound actually. For five thousand young punk bands studying “Anarchy In The UK” or “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” listening to it is necessary!
The Streetlight “Trust Me On This One” - maneuvers between the Smiths and the Clash. Sounds unexpectedly healthy!
Reporting Emily “One Liability” - punky Sisters Of Mercy with the fucking great vocalist. Good drive, very powerfully and at the same time very sincere.
Earthling Society “The Loom” – prog-rock with punk power;
Das Hasselhoffs “Rise Of The Idiots” - an unexpected combination of guitar indie with hardcore. Very non-standard and curious!
The composer of this compilation Andy Higgins has declared that he plans to release the similar compilations made of bands from other cities. I do not think, that he meant only Britain - contact him if you have what to suggest him.

 

The WHYs "Sanjyo" (Fivenine Factory Inc)
Female surf-trio from Japan. They represent themselves as: The Reverb Princess Diamond Arm “Ruiko” (guitar), Surfin’ Muse Scorpion Head “Naomi” (bass) and Stardust Beat Galaxy Bakery “Yuta” (drums). Modestly and with taste.
The beginning of the disk cools a little - standard surf with strong smack of exotic (“Por Que”), though played faultlessly. The middle of the album increases interest, and to the end the girls begin playing the real BOMB! “Satsujin Taiyo” - surfers like to call it “stomp”, and further three tracks, down to “Ebola Beach” - fast, driving surf with punk-rock energy!
Drive, speed, excellent instrumental skills and freshness of ideas – this is about The WHYs. And I’ve opened for myself one more great band!

 

 

The Mutants “Mutants Death Cult” (Ranch Records; www.spinefarm.fi; spinefarm@spinefarm.fi; http://run.to/mutants; themutants@gmail.com)
It is difficult to find one more band like this, so much made for popularization of surf-music, nevertheless, so removed from surf. I think, it is simply humiliating to name The Mutants surf-band… He-he, I’ll try to explain.
In the basis - surf and garage rock of the ‘60s. It is only hardly appreciable skeleton on which psychedelia of the ‘60s, jazz, lounge, excentric exotica (listen once again to Webley Edwards, Frank Hunter or great Les Baxter), elements of progressive rock, punk and rock-and-roll are strung. The rich palette of instruments allows musicians to make magnificent arrangements with duels between guitars, keyboard and horns almost obligatory in each song. The rhythm-section perfectly makes both aggressive rock-moments, mad jazz and funky rhythms.
Mood of the album… Here they are masters! Gloomy, frightening paints with sharp smack of exotic (watch the name of the band!)… Nightmares of Africa and the Caribbean islands rush into a room from the loudspeakers, infernal energy, speed and pressure do not fall down up to the end of the disk…
The smartest audio adventure of this year!
(If under a pistol somebody demanded from me the shortest definition of The Mutants music, I would answer: “Aggro-Voodoo-Lounge!”)

 

The Gecko Brothers – “Demolition Of The Rehabilitation” (Drunkabilly Records; http://www.drunkabilly.com; http://www.thegeckobrothers.sucks.nl/)
It has happened in the middle of September. I was coming back home after successful job from one of mine constant client (my pension is hardly more than two thousand rubles (yeah, bro, these reviews are written by the old man – pensioner; have you represented me as a brisk young men?), therefore I have to repair computers to earn money. No sweat, practically no dust, but moral loadings as at psychiatrist). Evening, near 11 o’clock. Nobody on the bus stop, only near a booth there were some gloomy persons, occasionally cars on mad speed passed by. In my CD - player the disk with snotty indie comes to an end, I took CD The Gecko Brothers - “Demolition Of The Rehabilitation” from the bag. I insert it, put on the play button… I stand, looking at a distance waiting for my bus.
AND SUDDENLY I WAS SHOCKED!!!
In my head ten hurricanes Kathryn have rushed! … No exit for them – headphones in the ears, from below - the neck, from above – the skull, so the only thing that remains – stand with the opened mouth and goggled and to enjoy this ruthless elements…
The storm, ruthless punk’n’roll with rough (fuck, everything is rough here!) vocal, hit melodies and severe texts!
I forget about that hooligans!... I also haven’t noticed how the bus has driven. I sat on a forward seat and with delight and horror watched how we drove night streets… It is a pity there were no 100 watt loudspeakers - they could be put on a roof…
While we drove I’ve listened to the disk two more times.
(Closer to the end of the album The Gecko Brothers make covers on the Motorhead (“Speedfreak”) and the Tumors (“Stuck In Suckcity” - probably, the best track on the disk). And the “hidden” track fucks in all holes so-called techno-punk.)
I would give much to visit their concert…

 

The Caravans “No Mercy” (Drunkabilly Records; http://www.drunkabilly.com; http://www.purevolume.com/thecaravans)
Fortunately, I am not alone who feel ashamed because don’t know this band. 23 years of existence and 11 released albums - whether it is an example of fidelity to the interest?
The title has cast romantic associations - camels, the East, sound of the ‘60s…
Fuck, such a bomb is hidden there!
I skeptically concerned to modern Rockabilly, preferring different mad bands from the ‘50s. The Caravans have forced me to reconsider my sights cardinally. (I can’t forget the panic made by swisses the Peacocks in the end of the ‘90s who played mix of ska and rockabilly. Well, more likely, it was an exception to the rules).
The Caravans play a great mix of rockabilly and old English punk (such as Angelic Upstarts), flavouring it with metal guitars. Classical rhythm-section for this style (contrabass and drums) and completely unexpected guitars - with real metal sound and Rock’N’Roll solo (the song “Miracle” can easily drive the whole stadium of readers of the Metal Hammer magazine!) – firstly, two guitars have weighted the sound, and secondly, arrange such duels, that the spirit grasps!
The album touches with the first song and pumps up with adrenaline up to the end! There are no ordinary songs – boom-boom-boom-boom! - fuck, it is not easy to force me to move, and here I cannot help to drum on a floor with both foots!
The composition “Faithless and Faceless” is more noticeable, it begins as standard guitar country (without banjo, of course…), and in refrains passes in wide punko-billy with magnificent guitar solo.
One of those cases when it would be desirable very much to thank musicians for the delivered pleasure!
(Separate respect to the designer of this digi-pack! The Australian magazine “Cyclic Defrost” regular organizes charts of releases with unusual design (http://www.cyclicdefrost.com/) - the winning place is guaranteed!)

 

Cenobites “Snakepit Vibrations” (Drunkabilly Records; http://www.drunkabilly.com)
Wow! Having changed the members, this band from Rotterdam (if you only know how ambiguous this name sounds for the Russian ears!) hasn’t reduced power - on the contrary – now it is difficultly to say what is more punk, hardcore or psycho in the music of Cenobites? (I don’t speak about heavy-metal guitar solo such as in “Hell Of A Night”). An expressive vocal, gloomy melodies and good speed.
On the song “Supercharger Heaven” it is possible to notice a degree of “weighting” of the sound of this band - simply improbable for classical psycho!
In the “hidden” track the keys unexpectedly appear and the composition gets gothic intonations, reminding famous Lucas Trouble.

 

 

Kinski Spiral “Hymns And Fragments” (Cut And Paste Records; http://members.aol.com/cutandpasterecs/; cutandpasterecords@yahoo.com)
It happened so that the term DIY had been privatized by punk – hardcore scene. Meanwhile, there is a set of musicians and labels, various in the musical plan, however adhering to these ethics. My acquaintance with indie-pop-underground (started with Don Campau, Dino DiMuro and Robin O'Brien) has led me to creativity of such significant figure of home-made-music as Ray Carmen.
Kinski Spiral - duet of Ray Carmen and Bob Ethington to which vocalist Joe LaRose has joined (later on this album it is possible to hear also Erin Carracher’s voice). “Hymns And Fragments” is the debut album in the extensive discography of the band. It was officially released in 2001 on Ray Carmen’s label Cut And Paste Records.
Listening to this disk, help you to understand the difference between emotions and feelings of these people and corporate freaks, parasitizing on love of the listeners to frank and sensual music. Talking about the music, this disk - is a treasure for the real fans of indie-pop! A psychodelia, power pop, bubble-gum, post-punk, mad home-made-avantguard, psychedelic-pop of the ‘60s and almost baroque ballads… It is very similar to the soundtrack to any mad film by Lynch.
That is interesting, practically each song is made… oh, I can’t pick up a word… incorrectly, whether that… With any superfluous details because of which this music seems so unusual: the claps, the tape played from back to front, loud and aggressive drums, bongs, cyntie-pop keys …
My favorite tracks: “Every Day And Every Night” and “The Kinski Spiral”.

 

Coreline "Please Keep Moving Forward" (Infekted Sound Records; http://www.infektedsound.com; www.coreline.net; info@coreline.net)
I remember the middle of the '90 when I have come to my comrade - fan of the very fashionable shit named "rave - culture", and among huge amount of electronic hand-made recordings I choose a wonderful compilation. I don't remember it's title - may be "Extrim hardcore" - or something like that... The names of the bands didn't say anything, it was impossible to find any information about them, but I was impressed by the wonderful infernal electronic rythms mixed up with real noise.
Coreline - the solo project of Englishman Chris McCall which has been released on CD by the young label Infekted Sound Records. On the disk there are 9 his own compositions and two remixes (on Dyspraxia and Eva/3). He-he, and in fact it is an excellent dancing music, in which basis there are IDM and Powernoise together with noise, breakbeat and amazing melodious inserts. It is difficult to imagine more harmonious combination of mad drive of electro-hardcore, harsh-noise and sentimental melodism!
The general mood of the album is more likely disturbing - exciting with share of grief, than crazy-joyful - it is impossible not to move under it. But it won't cause grimace of happy disco idiocy - it is not bad.
One of my friends dreamed of times when somebody start to arrange discos for noise-fans: you come, and in a dark hall under flashes of stroboscopes happy, clever and beautiful people rush, and from the loudspeakers you hear the Haters or Merzbow. Paradise...
It seems to me, these times really come nearer.

 

The Jigsaw Seen "My Name Is Tom" (Vibro-Phonic Recordings; http://www.vibro-phonic.com; http://www.thejigsawseen.com)
It was necessary to try very well that such remarkable band, which has released the first single in the end of the '80, remained unknown for a lerge amount of the listenners till now.
This disk is a reprint of EP of the 1991 "My Name Is Tom", plus five more bonus tracks. The best gift for the fan of garage rock and a psychedelia you can't find! 1991! Kurt Cobain sang to us about his unfortunate life, Biafra recorded the album with Nomeansno, wizards the Pixies have released "Trompe Le Monde", and at this time guys from The Jigsaw Seen have made a fantastic travel in time, having recreated not only a sound, but also spirit of the '60. (At this time I served in the Soviet army - as the commander of artillery gun. We watched attentively for the events in Iraq - there were encouraging hearings that the set of volunteers on this war will begin soon. On whose side we should be at war - nobody cared.)
Classical for psychedelia elements of the east (guitar solo, the drums reminding tambourins, melodic), real melodies (beautiful and remembered not because of their three accords) and fine voices... And all is given with decent drive - garage moments sometimes turn almost into the real punk - rock ("Persephone Again").
I want to notice surf "Murder At The Luau" - here are the bonuses come - taking into account The Jigsaw Seen's love to clear guitars (melancholic "I'm So Happy Today"), it is necessary make an analogy with the Pixies... The Answer to the Rolling Stones - "Off Track" - the question is, certainly, about Rolling Stones in the period of "Beggars Banquet"... Garage horror "Eight Lancashire Lads" would honour any band from the Crypt Records. The disk however is ended with gloomy and grandiose "The Best Is Yet To Come".
It seems, that the dot in the album was put very early.
P.S.: fans of Love will find very pleasant gift on this disk.

 

The Jigsaw Seen "What About Christmas?" (Vibro-Phonic Recordings; http://www.vibro-phonic.com; http://www.thejigsawseen.com)
Christmas is not soon, behind a window in the street there are clouds, slush and cold, and gifts already start to fall in my box...
In internet I've found out that the band has a lot of admirers in the States, especially in California. Well, this glory is doubtful, try to stir up real gourmets for example in Volgograd.
Well... On the disk there are 5 songs: the electric version "What About Christmas?", three concert tracks ("First Of May" the Bee Gees, "Jesus" the Velvet Underground and surf-stomp "Sleigh Ride" the Ventures) and an accoustic version of the header composition.
Christmas? Well, it is absolutely quite good to spend the following after the holiday day in garage-psychodelic melancholy The Jigsaw Seen, to stay in bed and to feel sad...
By the way, The Jigsaw Seen has not similar on anyone distinctive spirit - I speak not about the sound, recollect for example such geniuses in the field of creation of mood as the Velvet Underground or Mr. Airplane Man... And the aura which arises at listening to such music definitely is pleasant to me.

 

Atomic Workers "Embryonic Suicide" (Acme Records; http://www.acmerecords.co.uk; atomicworkers@aol.com)
I was excited by the da-da cover and put a disk on listening. To the third song I was clung by this music because everything turns around psychedelia. Not, where "children of flowers", but studio drive by the Cream (they had such things - I got video!) or Hendrix's concert things such as "Machine Gun". And also something familiar on periphery of consciousness flashes, I can't understand what it is... Very pleasantly familiar. Certainly with positive.
And then... ooops! The fifth track - "Hurdy Gurdy"!!! Almost in the initial version!!!
Oh, guys, thanks!
And at once all was put on the places.
No Dylan!
Butthole Surfers in the beginning of the '90 (still not mocked on John Paul Jones) invite ot the band on vocal the most ingenious French freak Lucas Trouble and start to play powerful psychedelic-garage with magnificent kraut instrumental pieces (magnificent "walking" guitar, organ and swinging great rhythm-section - as the bass player I'm crying with envy!). In final 10-minute "Breakfast On The Ocean (part 1)" the guitarist makes such laces, that the composition picks you up and as at hypnosis, completely seizes consciousness (even distributed on the sixth minute coughing seems to a place). The greater satisfaction from music you can't imagine!
Yes, in Atomic Workers there are participants of That's All Folks and legendary Gary Ramon from Sundial (to someone he is more known for the participation in Current 93. Pity, inutile people).
Didn't think, that someone now will force me to experience so positive emotions. Thanks a lot.

 

Los Banditos promo Cd (www.losbanditos.de)
One of the best modern surf-bands, as well as monsters of surf such as Man Or Astroman or Fifty Foot Combo they managed to create their unique sound in very narrow frameworks of the style . Powerful, guitar's drive, "magic" keys and magnificent, not giving to a rest, rhythm-section. Some compositions come nearer to prog-rock by the complexity of the arrangements (more precisely, even, to space-rock), and sometimes something in spirit of crazy orchestra of Paul Maria slips.
In "Oh Madchen Komm" and "Ca Plane Pour Moi" (aha, remember the name?!!!) musicians sing (are you searching for non-standard garage rock?) and also arrange rodeo on space synthesizers.
Thanks to God, there are no versions of "Miserlou" or "Pipeline" - to listen to thousand covers of these disgusting standards is intolerable!

 

Battleship "Presents Princess" (OnOnSwitch Records; http://www.ononswitch.com; http://home.san.rr.com/tasteslikepoison/)
Not in one review I has paid attention that Battleship's music is described as mix of the Birthday Party and Black Flag. I'll complicate this formula, having added Big Black in it (I am one of those maniacs who can distinguish Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac on several seconds). The dish, as you understand, turns out inflammable!
Chaotic rhythm-section slipping in squall, hysterical guitar and the heart-rending vocal overloaded with average frequencies (listen to Billy Childish). Certainly, speaking at the beginning about influence of Black Flag, I meant their last period - I name it "blues" (throw me with stones!). There is something from Rye Coalition, if not deliberate mathematics of the last a-la Elliot Sharp...
The bass reef in "This Shit" in general can be considered as an essence of "Hysterie" by Lydia Lanch - with a mad humiliating guitar this thing sounds simply great - though, he-he, they almost don't shout and don't rage (Well, why not to imagine, for example, that Lanch flirted with Albini. And "This Shit" is as their kinder... He-he.).
I've made many comparisons here, haven't I? All this is shit, it is only provisional reference points. Battleship are not like anything, their music is really outside of any obvious frameworks and this band deserves the most steadfast attention and respect!
As a bonus on the disk there is a 6-minute video-madness - a fragment of the Battleship's concert. Here we got the continuers of the Boredoms' affair!


Battleship "Hearts Addendum" (OnOnSwitch Records; http://www.ononswitch.com; http://home.san.rr.com/tasteslikepoison/)
For the beginning I'll explain - "Presents Princess" has been recorded in 2004, and released in spring 2006. After half-year I receive new "Hearts Addendum" release.
It is great!!! Really great!!! All these hardcore-poseurs do not reach even the 100-th share of that power by which music Battleship is charged! Emo? Fuck off your emo!!! Listen to real emotions on this disk - here are REAL feelings and they are to be trusted!
First three songs, shooting practically non-stop, at once adjust on the necessary wave of perception: ultra-high-speed rhythmical noise-punk (certainly, Albini) with mad arrangements and hardly controllable chaos - yes, they can restrain from going to self-destructive coda and breaking their instruments directly during the record. It is a miracle, probably...
Further ("Bringing Home Jerusalem", "No Basis For Optimism") the graceful curtsey aside "no wave" follows (no funk a-la James Chance, fortunately!), reminding a mix of the earliest Einstuerzende Neubauten and Birthday Party - as for me, personally I miss such music.
The rest five compositions hardly will give you time to be bored or distract on reading of the book - they take away all your attention!!! I never tested such feeling - as if I've been switched on the most powerful emotional additional charge...
In the album here and there are scattered set of surprises for the attentive listenners - to tell you the truth, with huge interest in mind I prepare their sounding and with delight listen to the set of bass, drums, guitars. They can play greatly, their music energy will be enough for the large city, and their unusual ideas push them straight to Olympus of musical freaks.
I am very impressed! He-he, and it is very pleasant to me!

Susan & the Surftones "Fluid Drive" (ACME Brothers Records; Susan L. Yasinski 12390 NW Barnes Rd. #294 Portland, OR 97229, USA; www.omomworld.com; www.susanandthesurftones.com; surftones_2000@yahoo.com)
So you live day after day, have affairs, pleasant cares, not very pleasant too... Someday you visit the post office and receive an envelope in which the compact disc is. You read whose album it is, and then rush home and, making the loud-speakers louder, you flop on a sofa and enjoy a meeting with the old and favourite friend.
Several times already I talk about my love to what Susan makes (Susan L. Yasinski) - I didn't meet so sensual and touching my soul surf (in surf there is little that touches my soul - I have other things in common with it. Therefore I am impressed by what Susan and the Surftones do with me). Well, who knows, may be I am the one on all the planet who enjoys this music so much - oh-ho-hoh...
Susan's manner of playing is very non-standard for surf: besides that there is no any "vanity", her compositions melodiously are so... wrong. Not similar to anything else (the person writing this text now, for the last month have been listenning to 12 Gb of surf in mp3!). And she plays solo so unusually, that I watch the flight of a melody as hypnotized and I see a great ammount of emotions and moods in it.
As for speed, by the way, it is rather constrained album - without hysterics and fast hits.
As usual, it has not done without several covers on cult compositions: "I Can't Stand It" The Velvet Underground - not the often visitors on surf-albums, "Come Together" The Beatles, "Free As The Wind" The Myddle Class, "Who Have Nothing" Terry Knight and The Pack - widely known due to Tom Jones, and the surf-standard "Blue Moon" (Rodgers and Hart).
My favourites are - Susan own things - "Fluid Drive" and "Ramona Ritz".
P.S.: I do not know why, but for me this album associates with old Scandinavian film "Beat the first, Freddy!". I have already forget it, I remember only the plot and the mood remained after it...

 

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Pavel Baleevsky
PO box 654, Volgograd
400065 Russian Federation

realart@mail.ru

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