Thursday, April 3, 2008

Damn, 2008! You Have My Heart Already

No sense in wasting time on excuses. I'm going to try and get this thing going again, because there's just too much stuff coming out right now that needs heaps of praise and attention...The first of which is of course...

! Scrambling ensued to snag a copy of the brand new Skulltones 7", "Dead Families", as I missed their batch of surely incredible SXSW shows, because, like, I wasn't at SXSW. But I heard it was enjoyable. The edition of 300 sold out immediately, as is typical these days when great bands release hugely limited shit. Word on the street in anticipation for this record was that it would be better than their perfect debut and damn if it isn't just as good. All three tracks are round pegs for square holes but still make great mixtape material. The A-side tumbles out of the gate much like "Seeing Things" did, like those dead family members stuffed in the closet, with swirls of LOUD, off-kilter organ, and a bunch of scratchy guitar jangle and drum clatter, eventually settling into a second-half groove that cleans up the mess a bit. Still a little bit of blood on the floor, but everyone is safe. The B-side has a cover whose name escapes me right now, because I have the third song, "No Intelligence" lodged in my head. Is this song about Columbus? Hah. Hope not. It burns a little bit slower than their other jams, which tells me the upcoming LP on Siltbreeze will be a well-balanced meal of epic proportions. Can't wait. Go and listen to "Punk Trips" on their myspace and try not to wet your pants.

While Eat Skull's brilliance surprised nobody, this Box Elders gang are quietly surprising each and every pair of ears who hear their debut on Grotto Records. It could be that their bratty, amped-up live set a few weeks back sealed the deal for me, but I think this record holds up quite well on its own. The double A-side features two understated pop perfections, "Hole In My Head" the winner by a nose. They call it Cave Pop and I can't really top that, very much in the vein of scruffy Sixties anti-heros like the Troggs and The Primitives; dance to their songs as they steal your girlfriend. The drummer Dave (also of the Terminals) plays standing up and keyboards all at once, a MADMAN, and the guitar-bass tag team are brothers who trade vocals and back each other up perfectly. Sounds like a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Looks like they're not touring again 'til June, so go grab the reissue of this record (first pressing with beautiful screened sleeve are all gone) and spin it over and over while you wait. Mine's wearing out already.

One of the more enigmatic bands to come forth in the recent wave of greatness over the last three years is the Electric Bunnies. Their origins unknown, with a sound hard to pin down, all I know is that they come from Miami, they may or may not be Cuban, and they all have consistent day-jobs that will keep them from ever touring for more than a week. They've been around for some time now and apparently have a fairly deep well of songs to draw from, with a handful of releases on the plate for the Spring and Summer (including stuff for CDR and Die Stasi!). Chewing Gum is their second single on their official label home, Florida's Dying, and it trumps their promising debut by a considerable margin. How awesome would it have been if Jesus and Mary Chain circa '86 covered "Yummy Yummy Yummy"? As awesome as the title track to this single. Better yet - nearly impossible, I know - is "Love Radiation", furious and fun, like the Muppet band doing hardcore. B-side is more playful (ie: difficult), the last track a solid take on mid-80's avant punk. Great single and due to its quality a lock to sell out by May. Go get one, and snag that Shit Eagle single from Florida's Dying (hell, check out all their offerings, excellent mailorder they're running down there) while you're at it.

Another single that seemed to pop out of nowhere is the new Nodzzz record, "I Don't Wanna (Smoke Marijuana)" b/w "We Are the Only Animals". Two incredible tracks from this Bay Area trio, who play a rhythmic, stripped-down sort of pop not unlike Half Japanese, early Feelies or fellow San Franciscans Icky Boyfriends. It's quirky, catchy, and bouncy without being the least bit annoying, which is a feat in itself, but they do it with ease. How so? Impeccable songs, my friends. Both tracks are simple, brief exercises in geekery that have kept me entertained for weeks. Great lyrics about day-to-day situations, unafraid and completely original. After much deliberation I've decided I like the B-side a tiny bit more than "I Don't Wanna", though both have been in heavy rotation. Pretty sure the first pressing is gone, but I'm sure the demand for a repress is there so hold tight. In the meantime they have some new songs on their space and a lot of youtube clips of house shows. Anticipating what's next.


LauraB said...

Good first-quarter wrap-up Doug!

Tina said...

"No Intelligence" lodged in my head. Is this song about Columbus?

Pretty sure it's about Seattle. Also note the cover art: a plane crashing into the space needle