Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pillsbury Hardcore, "Wanna Check Out My Record Collection?"

Limber archivist jabberwocky, way pre-MITB: "Got all the Dischord, almost all the Touch and Go, almost all the Dangerhouse / I got the Bags single / Yes L.A. too / My record collection, my record collection / It's rad! It's rad! It's rad! It's rad!"

"Wanna Check Out My Record Collection?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sissy Spacek, "Song 9"

The preamble and constitution of a "new genre" (Tano, 1999). Wiese, at his best, and Ronnau push the misanthropic agenda. Masochists only.

"Song 9"
"Song 9a"
"Song 9b"
"Song 9c"
"Song 9d"

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Speed trials, the Weymouth way. With Deep Wound, a heroic foil to the might-makes-right crew monkeys crowding the Common by '84. Consummate brutality, smarter and heavier, telegraphing a grave new world.

"Drop Dead"
"Life of Hate"
"Grim Reaper"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Cheifs, "Eddie's Revenge"

Tattered harmonies run wild in the streets. Dyslexic Southland stomp indigenous to the SST micropolis: a steady diet of Weinerschnitzel, a surfboard, a conscience. "Guns don't kill people. Songs do."

"Eddie's Revenge"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sloppy Seconds, "The Candy Man"

Stand-and deliver Wonkavision. Queers peers quiver but don't back down: Destroyed is all this good. Unashamed, incorrigible sugar punk from the Indy City. Hungerectomy.

"The Candy Man"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

BRUNCH: Ampere

The state of the union, 1977–1993 passim, recalibrated, emulsified. Fire-breathing, and thus respectful, updates to a sinewy canon — dilated and routed through crossover, linking Gravity in a non-nonlinear way to established sources. Archaeologists they, and interpreters: cultural memory in the present.

"Bit Part in a Bad Movie"
"Money Stinks"
"Conspiring the Go-Go"
"The Regulator"
"Mr. Suit"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

La Piovra, "Contintasca"

Fly-by-night thrash mob cut deep: "La rivoluzione non sarà in un doppio vinile ne in chat ne su Heartattack." Breathless execution, unsparing snarl, brilliant economy. Smart Cops carry it on, but delicately: you break it, you buy it.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dir Yassin, "Spectacle"

Refusenik crust for the ages. Emo-violence flourishes drop by elsewhere, but this one is less dynamic: bass heroics progress, mixing their labor with blast beats that are tight but never rigid. Single-minded fury, really: screaming at a wall.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Poole, "Oregon"

Trans World pep pop stays the course. Dexterous bass harmonics balance hyperlinear high end; intermodal approaches tout transit and telecom ca. 1995; yes.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Flin Flon, "Colgate"

Robotic balladry triangulates, medicates Teenbeat neuroses. Mark Robinson gets some rest, finally, and somehow — one night only — represses all the syncopated thistles that gird the Flin Flon oeuvre. Like its namesake, barren — horizontal but oddly intimate.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skull Kontrol, "Camouflage"

Monorchid sequel approaches supergroup status, implodes. Thomson–Thompson dualism goads the fruitful collision of everything clouding its hindsight — DC, SD, Delta 72, Universal Order of Armageddon — and overcommits to neither "chaotic" formulae nor their sassy white-belt sanitizing. Even Froberg skulks, serpentine, in the back room. Braintrust?


Sunday, March 29, 2009

BRUNCH: Electric Eels

Gruff glam slop, pre-anything. Form and content, if nothing else, careen in perfect Cuyahogan communion: nuclear destructovisions, tension, and bile. Cut it, press it, distribute it.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Waifle, "Calling You Ten Nights in a Row"

Pained breakfast violence straight from the griddle. Another version graced the seven-inch that both constituted and exhausted the genre; this one will do. A study in contrasts: earnest but absurd, plenty "tight" but steadily rushing the breaking point. Cereal everywhere.

"Calling You Ten Nights in a Row"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Double Dagger, "No Allies"

Isolationist harborcore scorns strength in numbers. Four strings only, abetted by their good friend the fuzzbox: technical savvy flourishes in and around limited means, perfectly apportioned, tactically deployed. Hip-shaking in its own way: an anthem by which to slay the gentry. The name, though, is pure shop talk: they're typographers.

"No Allies"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BRUNCH: The Nutley Brass

Every schoolchild should have this one.

Fiend Club Lounge

Friday, March 20, 2009

Red Eye, "Scarlet Night"

Non-obvious soundtracking from Ulysses ex-pat. Near-motorik organization arises from dilatory intro, signals crossing and swerving. Canonically imperfect grrrl voice — Sharon Cheslow's, specifically — duels with electronics atop the glorious repetition, some 3000 miles from the embassy.

"Scarlet Night"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Crabs, "Market Size"

K-pop surf and turf with faith in the backbeat. Wickedest Farfisa in the West, to be sure, nudging the bass guitar still further into irrelevance. Maritime twee for a summer of shellfish.

"Market Size"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reagan SS, "Pests"

Unreconstructed. Certainly the best SS squad — Dearborn, Tampere, Black, etc. — despite, or on the strength of, their relative parsimony. Old sounds new, and somehow angrier still. Eureka.


Sunday, March 8, 2009


Lilting indie with Tullycraft ties but fewer manias: lazy, lame, but sanguine all the same. Loose, levitating ditties burn slow, drift toward casual climax. Protracted somewhat, but thoroughly pleasing, the scrappy rejoinder to what easily, bloatedly passes muster under that compromised flag.

"Mow Your Lawn"
"Parris Song"
"Dragstrip Prizer"
"The Problem with 5"
"Something Special"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lost in Bazaar, "Akdeniz"

Shambling shardcore, a farrago of flavors swirling and recombining with the tide. Not unlike La Quiete, but viciously original: 'cross the Adriatic, 'cross the Aegean, something is right. From the still-warm demo, which begs the question of what could possibly be in store.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekend Nachos, "Trapped in a Scene"

One-time two-piece PV square pegs. Toward a methodology of organization: an indictment: power violence as marketing scheme: "Hide behind your genre, no need to be real / You'll all move on in less than a year." Lifers here.

"Trapped in a Scene"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BRUNCH: Thank God

Guyana escapees, Bickel-less, keep fighting. Looser and less linear than the GPL oeuvre, and also weirder: the less amped stretches of "Good Thing Highwaters Are in Fashion" and "Mr. Bluebird Shitting on My Shoulder" could pass for Ruins. Trad-core drag races emerge from calculated confusion, then phase out. Third cousin to the Richmond and Gainesville schools, but generally more offensive: the EP is called Thank God for Pregnant Virgins.

"One Hand Over Yr Mouth"
"Good Thing Highwaters Are in Fashion"
"Alligators Don't Cry"
"2000 Bees Can't Be Wrong"
"Breathing Concrete"
"Mr. Bluebird Shitting on My Shoulder"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spoonboy, "Fireball, or What I Learned from TV"

Plan-It-X goes to Washington. Downstrokes cut deep as Mr. Max Levine wails, squeezing in every last word against moving pictures. Dense organ harmonies show up to gild the vocal line; tension mounts. Old flames — "That's not reality" — fanned by the fierce urgency of 2004.

"Fireball, or What I Learned from TV"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Would Be's, "My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark"

Pitch-bending Eire pop, as told to John Peel. Top brass keeps it baroque; counts to seven keep it awkward. Odd enough to estrange jangle partisans, but catchy like the plague.

"My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark"

Sunday, February 8, 2009

BRUNCH: Loma Prieta

Cuisinart "skramz": guitar 3, bass 0. Wordy song titles collide with mathy melodrama, erupting into select moments of real transcendence. Paging Kirk Gibson.

"With a Moment of Silence All Was Lost"
"Welcome Spring Break 1989"
"It All Went Down Like on an Episode of 'Law and Order'"
"I Have a Fear of Young Asian Boys"
"Scream Triathlon"

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Brilliant Corners, "Why Do You Have to Go Out with Him When You Could Go Out with Me?"

Toward the ineluctable mope. Davey Woodward's laments are as grim as Morrissey's, but (see title) more plain-spoken; arrested by the "punchy" trumpet break at 1:05, they almost pass for optimism. Amelia Fletcher backs up the chorus, cherubic as ever (and an odd foil in the song's shameful, shameful video). She haunts the outro, too — "I know I should have told you" — while Woodward moans and ties a noose. Decadent jangle pop pushed to the very edge.

"Why Do You Have to Go Out with Him When You Could Go Out with Me?"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fat Day, "Knute Rockne"

BCS violence, fresh-killed. So much with so, so little. On and emblematic of the first seven-inch, before things got complicated: more slobber, less squeal.

"Knute Rockne"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

BRUNCH: Jawbreaker

Dear You discards, still topical as Thorns of Life take root. Skinned knees and shredded vocal cords give way, DGC and all, to a more subdued trio. "Shirt" moved Kurt; "Friendly Fire" triumphs at 2:00, then comes back for more; "Boxcar," juiced but not reduced, remains the definitive implosion of scene politics. Such Promise, such Vision, such Profit Margin: two out of three ain't bad.

"Into You Like a Train"
"Friendly Fire"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Omega Cinco, "El vecino del quinto"

Lisping Spanish psychos ride the SD–BCN axis of anomie. Italiano and the boys package inchoate noise tropes into the tightest thinkable Gravity manqué. Before, E-150; after, (The) Cheese–Les Aus; briefly, Omega Cuatro. Something for everyone, and some of the best there has ever been.

"El vecino del quinto"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snack Truck, "Peyote"

Warped collage rock from the James River rapids. Two Ultra Dolphins meld '70s-metal flourishes with jabbering, eccentric post-HC until the floor caves at 0:44, rolling out an unshakable, ineffable groove — what specialists would call a game-changer. They never recover, and that's just fine.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

BRUNCH: Fujicolor

Jackfruit violence. Chaotic in the best sense, octaves raining down on the populace, voices quickly growing hoarse. Odd-time hiccups spruce up but don't convolute the structure, punctuated by a few epic moments of conflict resolution. The third track, meanwhile — in name, at least — implicates Kellogg's in the global emo armageddon. From Battle Creek to Klang Valley: who knew?

"Disappointed People with Sentimental Error"
"Captain Oh Captain, My Life Exploded"
"Crackle Noise in Your Violent Breakfast"
"Your Own Blood Are Not Enough Paying"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Reactionaries, "Cheap False Teeth"

Portside corndogs — before, not after. The Boon–Watt dialectic is at work, with Hurley around for moral support, but it's sublated by a fourth wheel, Martin Tamburovich of New Alliance, and held in thrall by the prevailing '77 blueprints. This surviving shed session holds more than artifactual interest, but it also lacks any of the outcast-funk provocations of which history lessons are made.

"Cheap False Teeth"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Artificial Peace, "Wasteland"

Flexible rent-a-core from the crabgrass frontier. Bethesda boys give the lie to harDCore's underclassy alias, in the process assembling a more credible immanent critique. The sentiment may be commonplace, but its expression above 200 b.p.m. wasn't yet.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

BRUNCH: Ottawa

Husky crustwork from Current's id. Essential side from hardcore's roaring '90s describes one alternative to the enmetaling enshrined by Jihad on the flip. Ottawa broadcasts a fierce but freewheeling urgency, the careful articulation of speed with sludge, and an "emotional" discipline, especially in "Victim of Dedication," that many contemporaries altogether missed: anguish, but not arrhythmia.


Friday, January 9, 2009

The Sleaze, "Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs"

Bored teenagers strip down, light up, go Cockney. The perverse reversal — which is to say, unqualified acceptance — of the Fashionable Idiots credo lends a hyperreal sheen to every trope we've digested and then expelled from the system. Absurdly flawless: 111 seconds of suspended disbelief.

"Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cuddle Machines, "Bombast"

Plucky bass-driven punk rock nears end of days. Kings County know-it-alls mobilize impeccable influences — Big Boys, Skull Kontrol for starters — and hit purée. More than a touch of Minutemen dapples the batter, and the Spiv sass factor is never far, but it doesn't feel citational, just equipped. One more time with feeling?


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Surf-and-turf novella: must love bears. Bedtime travelogue, precious but never smug, confirms all roads lead to Portland. Bikes, kittens, freshwater fish all stop by, each track a tightly focused exposition of the ursine everyday. Bright-eyed honey pop, ages 2 and up.

"Hello, My Name Is Kuma"
"I Like Salmon"
"My Little Sister, Haruko"
"Broken Bike"
"Working Is Tough"

Friday, January 2, 2009

McCarthy, "Charles Windsor"

Soufflé-light regicide from the left of Raymond Williams. The least dialectical statement on I Am a Wallet, or the least subtle, insofar as it lunges for a public figure and the not the commodity form writ large. Still fiercer, indeed more material, than anything on ethereal Sarah, the other last best hope ca. perestroika. Just can't wait to be king.

"Charles Windsor"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Embarrassment, "(I'm a) Don Juan"

Twitchy call to arms from behind horn rims. Prairie polyrhythms fall in line, clearing room for bleached, offhand yeh-yeh echoes and that restless bass. A plinky digital mix can distract, but the life-affirming video (1981) more than compensates if KBD-and-seek seems a chore. The heart of the matter with Kansas.

"(I'm a) Don Juan"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Devils Hole Gang, "Isn't It"

DIY shrapnel from the Desperate Bicycles milieu. Ferocious in the most oblique way: start–stop hook erosions keep it earthy, but the sentiment is thoroughly modern, a jaundiced electric eye sizing up received pieties of the early Thatcher days. A swift seminar, also, on the title's grammar-defying valences in British dialect — illogic the Homosexuals aired with "It's What's in It, Isn't It?" Timeless crackle pop from a distant island kingdom.

"Isn't It"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Yolks, "I Do What I Do"

The newest in new from Criminal IQ. Urgency without untidiness, revival without regression, and, incidentally, the perfect melody. Over. Easy.

"I Do What I Do"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

BRUNCH: Amy Linton + Stewart Anderson

Popstar dalliance, 1996–1999. Four tracks that sound, respectively, like the Aislers Set, Boyracer, the Aislers Set, and Boyracer. A tremendous primer at any rate, but synthesis this is not, and we're left, swooning, to wonder: What is that middle ground?

"The Lights Are Out"
"Romance, Baby I Don't Care"
"Hipsters, Scenesters, Teenstars and Fakers"
"I Cut My First Tooth on One Just Like You"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Last, "Looking at You"

Minimally reflective freeway punk. Aside from coffee, fish, and fast food, the Descendents' lone influence — a fact evident on the "Ride the Wild" single but hidden by the time of Fat. Hyperreal harmonies, triplet fills, and beachy bravado. Surf Nazis, basically.

"Looking at You"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cardiac Arrest, "Old New"

Thug lite from the shores of the Mississippi. Throaty barks, structure, and everything else recall Negative FX, but themes stay closer to the vest — "You used to push me in the halls / Now you push me in the pit" — and betray a boyishness that Brannon could never ratify. Forever 17.

"Old New"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

BRUNCH: Sin Orden

Crudos disciples sloganeer, counter-hegemonize. Reductionist migra manifestos still hit hard, biggish breakdowns and an impossibly militaristic snare drum lighting the way. Recent splits and some airspace on the first Histeria also merit attention, but this EP is doctrine.

Intro/"Pesadilla americana"
"Nuestra historia"
"Somos la mayoría"
"Cuándo va terminar"
"Puños en el aire"
"Leyes y reglas"
"No a la guerra"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Softies, "Hey Hey Girl"

Central Valley popcest. Rose Melberg and the other one scrub Rocketship clean with nary an organ in sight, tasteful bells doing the evocative with plenty of room to breathe. Eclipses the Talulah Gosh cover on It's Love and, by furlongs, every Softies original. Ambience through absence.

"Hey Hey Girl"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Indigesti, "Nessuna ragione"

Germy thrash, Italia '82. Speedy shock therapy: brat-pack yowls, Piedmont populism, grainy messthetics. Tighter than the Wretched split — and tighter than Wretched — but resolutely anti-technical. Molto espressivo.

"Nessuna ragione"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

(lo:muêso), "Rented Mistakes"

Catalan anglers hoard punctuation, dramatic structure. Give it time — specifically, 2:30, at which point the choppy dissonance wanes, funneling into an extended up-the-ladder second act that promises transcendence and almost delivers. Jehu freaks with a touch of the baby's-breath vocals that kept Party of Helicopters in flight — but also some questionable prog tendencies of late. Never forget.

"Rented Mistakes"