Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Millions of Def Cops

Listen up, kids. This is what you'll be hearing out of the one-mirrored autos of Washington Beach in Summer 2007. It's Northern Aggression, a cassette EP and the first release by Columbus' Deathly Fighter on their own Def Cop imprint.
Essentially the tape equivalent of a 12" single, with a different version of the same track on each side, Northern Aggression plays out like a skeletal Industrial Records track dubbed out by the Scientist. A thick, analog drum machine beat consumes the entire tape, immediately locking into a groove perfect for a smoked-out midnight cruise. Minimal flashes of synth, tightly controlled guitar waves and loose, liquid bass lines direct the traffic straight to the planet Mars circa 1983.
I've been letting this tape roll in the car since Saturday eve and it just gets better with each drive. Although their recent live shows have been somewhat hit or miss - I witnessed one that sounded like a five-second S.P.K. clip on repeat (a good thing), another that reached moments of greatness but failed to impress the Bourbon St. elite - with Northern Aggression Deathly Fighter could not have brought out a better debut teaser. Cannot wait to hear what comes next.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Trouble Is a Farm House...

At last I have acquired a copy of this self-released tape courtesy of my main man Seanzilla, who's been busy digitally ripping his collection of rare vinyl and cassettes. I still haven't found an elusive hard copy, so if you're reading this Ms. Murphy...
Hole Class is Beth from Times New Viking and Rob of the Hospitals/Gang Wizard/other Cali bands. They formed after meeting in '06 and recorded these tracks while living at the Lambsbread compound in Delaware, Ohio, amongst various farm animals, exotic birds and ample recording devices. A Glimpse of Hole Class is a compelling reflection of rural life for city dwellers, collecting ten brief, lo-fi ghost songs and one longer noise piece smacked in the middle for good measure. The songs are stark and more than a little bit deranged. Acid-tinged country and folk numbers accompanied by fuzzy bass leads, distorted acoustics, tape hiss and the strong vocal performances by both Rob and Beth. Think Lee and Nancy singing anthems for some future apocalyptic lonesome town, or the last third of Not in My Airforce played beside a campfire.
Standouts include the twangy "What Doesn't Kill You" (Rob sings: "What doesn't kill you, makes you want to die") and "I Don't Love You If...", which would fit perfectly somewhere on a Messthetics comp. But really, every track is superb in it's own unique way, and none of them wear out their welcome, as most of the songs hover around the ninety second mark. Fans of TNV and Rob's outfits should definitely seek this cassette out. Unfortunately, this may just be all we ever hear from Hole Class. Either way, I'd like to see this one put to wax (with a few edits it would fit perfectly on a 7"!) before A Glimpse fades away forever.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CDR Singles Bonanza

After months of hibernation, contemplation and underground perspiration, the boys at Columbus Discount have emerged with four new singles, a new look (changed the logo and label art design) and a showcase at SXSW this upcoming weekend in Austin. What's really kept Misters Holesapple and Smith busy lately has been a long-term move of their Columbus Discount Recording Studio, a transition that not only quadruples the studio's square footage but also positions them to make big moves in Rontown, USA. Muscle like theirs will be of good use in Olde Town East. Look for it to be finished by mid-Spring.
Smith and Holesapple have been rather occupied with Necropolis as well, who have a new drummer - Mat Bisaro - in tow on their Stumpf 7" and utilize the last recordings with old drummer Kyle Heiberger on their Song For a Working Man 7". The songs on Working Man (lovingly fucked with by Mike Rep) are, fittingly, closer to the original Necropolis template - buzzy, pounding art-punk fronted by local record impresario Bo Davis and his collection of howls. Stumpf's songs are much leaner by comparison - both songs combine for a total of just over four minutes of music - and benefit from the tense guitar noise and fat-trimmed writing. Tightly wound B-Side "Van v. Art" is the winner out of all four tracks, the sound of a band refreshed and ready to pounce on any unsuspecting douchebag.
El Jesus De Magico's vinyl debut, the LGNO 7'', also showcases a
leaner, meaner band moving into a new phase. Recorded at drummer Mike O' Shaughnessy's family funeral home in downtown Columbus, these three songs have the humid, eerie sound you'd expect to come out of such locales. They play like five mystics toiling through a swamp, especially Dave Capaldi and Anthony Allman on guitar and keys, respectively. The two lead each song like dueling snake charmers marching behind shaman Jon Whitzky with a rhythm section controlling the hovercraft across the bayou. This is Columbus on drugs...any questions? Power plays to get you through to that point just before the sun rises.
Last but certainly not least is the official debut (a demo tape, recorded by Jared Phillips, had been circulating for a few years now) from Night of Pleasure in the form of the Godard vs. Truffaut 7". It's the most "Columbus" sounding thing CDR has put out probably ever, which if you've been paying attention is quite a feat. Three tracks of varying fidelity, all pushed to maximum redness with plenty of swing and speed like the Turks loved to do it. Singer Jim Cowman sounds like a classic Cbus frontman: muffled, literate and pissed at your utter stupidity. Pick this one up if you forgot where the best punk scene of the 90's existed. In fact pick up all of these babies and get a really nice taste of this particular piece of pie from the broad bakery that is Columbus Today.
They'll be selling these first in Austin, as the CDR hoodlums take over the Light Bar Saturday night. I'm sure that something formal in town will take place once they all return. I'm not sure what the distribution will be so for those out of town go to the CDR site or hang tight and I'll let you know which online retailers will be carrying them.

PS: here's a note that Adam S. sent me about the artwork and such:

"Here is the art. The scan isn't doing the el jesus one justice. There is a state of ohio notary embossed stamp on all of them and they are all different. The colored NOP singles (100) all have different, hand done ink paintings in the style of the one I sent you. **** did the Necropolis and the NOP covers, but I think he wants it to be a secret. We don't have art for the Nec-Rep session single yet."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Pick of the Weekend

Blargh! Still no "real" posts...I've been busy busy busy with stupid stupid work and right now I'm on a lunch break having some of my girlfriend Kellie's award winning matzo ball soup. Delicious. Luckily I do have time to recommend - and later tonight (Friday) feast my ears upon - the best show in Columbus this weekend, Blues Control at Cafe Bourbon St. Their Riverboat Styx cassette from last year was one of those weird, unidentifiable masterpieces that hypnotized me into hitting repeat daily. The Queens guitar and keys/beats duo are extensively touring their Puff long-player recently issued on Woodsist, and according to a recent Siltblog post the new vinyl is a doozy as well. Lax gives it his highest recommendation, which means it will likely be out of print before they reach Austin. So for those of you still in town, go check 'em out tonight and get that record! They'll be sharing the stage with locals Celldim Frequencies and Toledo's premiere noisemakers Puffy Areolas. And if you don't live in Ohio be sure to check out Blues Control elsewhere, as they're tearin' up the Midwest throughout March, including, of course, SXSW.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Up Yours, Old Man Winter.

Hey all. Whats up? Just laying low here, nursing a cold and cursing the return to bad weather before I go out tonight and see the Feelers/El Jesus/Pink Reason/TNV show in Columbus, but I wanted to give you a little view on things in general at the hq. If reviews have been a little slim as of late, it's probably because of our new puppy, Devo, has consumed about 98% of my attention over the last three weeks. Look how damn cute he is:

He was sick with pneumonia when we got him, so it's been a long road to recovery that is finally coming to an end. Stop by sometime and say hello.
In other blog news, there are a few good ones that I feel you should be pointed to. First is Sir Dustin White's Electric Pure Land, a little something he started while out in Los Angeles prepping for a tour with Sea Wolf. He's only three posts in but it looks promising. Today he slams Explosions in the Sky, which is awesome. More slams, Dusty.
Also, you all should be regularly checking out Jay Hinman's newest internet venture, Detailed Twang, one of my favorite spots in the whole interworld. His most recent (re)post is on Mike Rep, mp3 provided. Bookmark that fucker!
Finally, and I know most of you couldn't care less...the week's rotation. Expect at least two of these to be reviewed next week, with more to come soon.

Tim Buckley - Lorca
Pink Reason - Cleaning the Mirror
Sapat - Mortoise and Tenon
Conrad Schnitzler - Conrad and Sohn
Stone Harbour - Emerges
Hugs and Kisses - Casualties of Happiness
Columbus Discount's upcoming singles
Sword Heaven/Lambsbread - Split LP
Amolvacy - Ho Ho Kus
Tall Dwarfs - Weeville
Dub Specialist - Bionic Dub and Dub Store Special
Pharoah Sanders - Thembi
Wooden Shjips - Live at Cafe Du Nord
Mirrors - Hands In My Pockets
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Airway - Live at Lace
VA - Treasure Isle Presents: Tribute to Peckings
Klaus Schulze - Cyborg

See you soon...In the meantime, what have you been listening to?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Turning the Strobe Up to 11

Frogrammer 7''
Richie/Parts Unknown, 2007

In the matter of a weekend (last) I've gone from being a casual fan of Clockcleaner, somebody who picked up their highly-praised Nevermind album and liked it plenty, to full blown obsessive advocate of these Philadelphian buttheads. All it really took for me was my second helping of their seizure-inducing live show and a few spins of their excellent 7''s, in particular their brand new Frogrammer slab out on Richie Records/Parts Unknown.
There's something perfect about Clockcleaner existing in the USofA in 2007. Their antagonistic stage presence is genuinely terrifying. In a time when metalheads are turning around and falling into their amps and most noise acts have lost all semblance of performance whatsoever, Clockcleaner's display of psychosis channels equal parts wicked humor and fear. In a perfect world, Clockcleaner have no influences; every band which came before them are shit. In reality, they're three sweet people who share a love for those nasty creases of the 80's where an underground could only see the world in decay: East coast hardcore-metal (Cro-Mags, GG) and Texas noise-rock (Buttholes, Scratch Acid), mainly.
Still, amidst all this mean-spiritedness they retain a strong sense of melody and even (pop) structure, best exemplefied on "Frogrammer", where the band play a fairly straight cover (little to no effects) of Remo Voor's KBD classic. Sharkey sounds really different on the track - nervous and jittery rather than his usual aggro style. More Roky Erickson than Will Shatter for sure. The song is catchy as can be and Clockcleaner weird it up just enough to make it their own. Great choice.
"Early Man" brings it back home to the mid-paced grime of the Missing Dick 7'' tracks (both 7''s were pulled from the same 2005 session). Vocals drenched in reverb, guitars like the brainwaves of an electro-shocked monkey and the thickest rhythm section (Karen, bass, and Richie, drums) in the Eastern Seaboard. As with many Clockcleaner tracks, the song ends with Sharkey molesting the mic with wails and screams as if his toenails were being removed one by one.
Clockcleaner make the kind of clatter kids should be listening to while they make spitballs in detention. Get the vinyl and commit it to tape for your little cousin, immediately. Essential stuff for a new generation of miscreants and the first great single of the year.

Update: the good people at aQuarius are now carrying this puppy, so buy buy buy. You have no excuse. Or, go see the 'Cleaner on tour w/TNV starting this Thursday.