Monday, April 29, 2013

REVIEW: Cum Stain - The Challenger Disaster (A Love Story) b/w Rollin' Wrong 7" (Slop Bop)

On their latest 7" release Oakland's Cum Stain are doing what Oakland does best (rock n' roll a la bubblegum), but they're doing it their way- dirty...reeeeal dirty...even by their standards. Both sides are an homage to the rock n' roll pop song of yesteryear played intentionally (seemingly) as sloppy and fucked up as possible. It's hard to understand the lyrics through the distortion on the vocals, but the A-side is almost certainly an irreverent tale of the famous space shuttle explosion of the 1980s. Oh, good lord...God bless you, Cum Stain. It's available on Slop Bop Records.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

REVIEW: Ex-Cult - M.P.D. b/w No Fun On The Beaches (Goner)

Alright!  Some good ole' fashoned punk fury.  Ex-Cult's 3rd single (out on Goner Records) is frickin' sweet.  Sounds very British to me even though I know the band is from Memphis.  Their music churns and trudges with each downstroke of their overdriven guitars.  I haven't seen these guys live yet (and I stress "yet"), but I picture mohawks, duct-taped microphones and audience members launching loogies at the stage.  And even if not, the spirit's there.  It was hard for me to tell from the soundcloud page, but this might have been produced by Ty Segall?...if not apparently the LP is.  Get the 7" here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

REVIEW: Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let's Go / The Mallard - Over and Under split 7" (Famous Class)

This was the other record I picked up at Earshot Records (Winston-Salem, NC).  Holy Crap.  $7 well spent!  The A-side by the incomparable Bay-area juggernauts, Thee Oh Sees, might be my favorite track from them (and that's saying a lot 'cause I fucking love this band).  "Wait, Let's Go" starts out with a bubbly, hip-shaking rhythm  that unfolds into a sunny B-section that sounds like a 1910 Fruitgum Co. hook.  Don't get me wrong, I love their bare-knuckled, head-down, rock approach as well, but it's always nice when Thee Oh Sees just lay back and give fourth a good-ole-fashioned pop song.  The B-side features another San Francisco act, The Mallard, and its easy to see why Famous Class paired these two tracks.  To be honest, if it weren't for the absence of John Dwyer's vocals I would have sworn this was an Oh Sees track.  I'm not meaning that in a backhanded way at all though- this recording kills. "Over and Under" churns over minimal changes like a relentless hypnotic mantra until finally it bursts fourth to unveil a towering chorus that echoes and reverberates triumphantly.  It's text-book example of reductionist psychedelia and its got serious balls ta' boot.  Get it here.

REVIEW: The Men - Electric b/w Water Babies 7" (Sacred Bones)

Bored and on the road, I wandered into Earshot Records in Winston-Salem, NC.  It was there that I picked up a couple of choice discs, one of which was The Men's Electric b/w Water Babies 7" on NYC's Sacred Bones label.  This record provides two more reasons why this band deserves the hype they've been getting as of late.  Both sides are fuzzy garage-punk blasters that brim over with kinetic energy and 90s-style loser aesthetic.  If this band hasn't been featured in some skate videos yet they should be- they're music is fun and hard while not assuming too much macho energy.  I also appreciate the honest, bare bones approach to the recordings.  Simply put, this record kicks a fat ass.  Get it here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NEW VIDEO: Thee Oh Sees - Toe Cutter - Thumb buster (Castle Face)

Thee Oh Sees' new video has been taking some flak on message boards where I have seen it posted and I don't quite understand what the fuss is over.  The song itself is enough to bludgeon you over the head with so I feel like the canned corn featured in the video couldn't be a better metaphor.  It's ironic and funny, its gruesome but pretty.  Pre Order the album on Castle Face's page and try not to max out your tiny debit card account while you're there (Ty Segall, White Fence, The Mallard....)

NEW VIDEO: Cosmonauts - Emerald Green (Burger)

Every Cosmonaut's release - cassette and vinyl - are SOLD OUT on Burger's web store, including their latest, If You Wanna Die, Than I Wanna Die - and thats because these dudes rip.  They release tons of shit, and don't stop touring, worldwide.  This is the first video I have seen of theirs in a while and it is a heady psych voyage that might make you barf depending on the size of your computer screen and how many beer-shot combos you purchased last night...

Cosmonauts - Emerald Green from Rob Williamson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

REVIEW: Magic Ian - I'm Having A Problem cassette (Manic Static)

If you're into the garage punk scene in Chicago you've for sure seen Magic Ian (Massive Ego + a bunch of other shite) out and about.  Whether fronting one of his many projects, spinning vinyl at some hipster dive, engineering sound over at Wally's World or just partying Ian is a pervasive force on the Chicago scene.  His latest, released last year on Manic Static, is a great piece of lo-fi-trashed-out-rock-n-roll.  I first heard the tape riding in Brent Zmrhal's (Slushy, Party Bat, Mickey) Buick (a popular spot for checking out great underground tapes...I highly recommend bumming a ride sometime).  The songs are simple yet catchy and the production embodies all of the best qualities of Chicago's thriving underground tape scene.  Its unfortunately out of stock at the moment, but I'm sure Ian has a few copies left.  Ask him about it the next time you bump into him or just check out his soundcloud here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

PICTURE SHOW: The Real Numbers / Magpies / Uh Bones / Slushy / The Bingers @ Wally's World


So I walked into Wally's World and got totally dusted (thanks Nathan) and then took these pics....good fucking times. Kickass showing by all the bands involved.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

OLD SHIT: Sleep - Dopesmoker

by Steve Wichelecki

Turn your speakers to full blast and prepare for the riff-filled odyssey that is Sleep's "Dopesmoker," an hour-and-three-minute trek through an otherworldly fantasy comprised of Weed-Priests, the Desert Legion Smoke-Covenant and a mysterious and distorted Biblical landscape. The story's bard implores the listener to "Drop out of life with bong in hand" and seek sanctuary in this ultimate stoner escape of heavy-as-fuck riffs and a rhythm section that grooves and pummels with caveman sensibility. A song that sends the earthbound pothead on a fantastic, transcendental journey, "Dopesmoker" envelopes the listener in warm and smokey riffs, monoliths of sound bearing down on his travels with the Stoner Caravan as rolling hills of sand are traversed under the caress of warm desert sunshine.

LIVE IN JOE'S APT: Sonic Angels

OK, folks...this is the first installment of "Live In Joe's Apt." Basically, its exactly how it sounds: I ask bands to come over to my apartment and play a few songs and record the ensuing chaos.  This installment features Montpellier's (France not Vermont) Sonic Angels.  These dudes have been at the game for a while now and they've really refined a unique brand of power pop/punk/garage/psych sound.  They are currently touring the States and don't worry if you missed them at Lokal a couple weeks ago...they'll be back in town next month before they fly back to Frenchland.  Sorry about the lack of song titles...I'll have them up as soon as I figure out what they are (well, except for "Try to Understand/Pushin Too Hard").  Nooge.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

REVIEW: The Raw Nerves - Sunburn EP (1:12 Records)

<3 The Styrofoam Drone blog.

Here's some things I know about The Raw Nerves:

1) They're from Aukland, New Zealand
2) They have a near perfect grasp of how to record punk music
3) They have a song called "Fuck Brooklyn" (couldn't agree more with this of the most overrated scenes in the country, in my opinion)
4) The lead singer's voice is awesome
5) They're songs are fun 
6) You will LOVE this band (a clear contender in our 'Best of 2013' list)
7) You can buy their latest EP, Sunburn, here.

REVIEW: The Lemons - FRESH SQUEEZED cassette EP (Tripp Tapes)

Once again, Chicago's Tripp Tapes have proved their ability to snuff out the obscure local pop savants.  Case in point: The Lemons.  Made up of members of Slushy (and probably other bands that I'm too lazy to research), The Lemons make sunny bubblegum pop that's delivered via choruses of unison voices, no-frills arrangements and tape-hiss laden homemade recordings.  This music has the same effect on the human brain as eating ice cream or petting a puppy.  If you don't smile upon listening to The Lemons you probably don't have a soul.  Redeem yourself, you poor devil!  Get it here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

REVIEW: Edible Arrangements S/T cassette (Comfortable On A Tightrope)

Brighton, UK's Edible Arrangements make the garage rock equivalent of modern minimalist music.  Their self-titled tape debut is a collection of two-chord lo-fi meditations.  The band's homemade sound delivers songs typical of a band of care-free young hipsters, but also is used a platform for more introspective, "heavier" messages. With track titles like "Secondhand shirt that you live in," "Teenage Quiche," "Dark Water" and "Secret Ceremony" it'd be hard to tell at first glance what this band is all about.  However you label it, the group's arrangements are interesting, engaging and...I guess...yummy?  Get it here.

REVIEW: Solid Attitude - BB Gun Picnic LP (Rotted Tooth)

BB Gun Picnic, released last summer on Rotted Tooth Recordings is the sort of delicious lo-fi punk album that gives me night boners.  Iowa City's Solid Attitude have earned a well-deserved reputation for making music that is as exciting and raw as that of the first-wave pioneers.  They're also not afraid to throw a few slow jams and "dynamic" numbers in the mix.  However their playing though, its always chock full of daily, essential in-the-red vitamins....solid attitude indeed, sir! Solid attitude, indeed.  Get it (free) here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

REVIEW: Catholic Spray - Earth Slime 12" (Born Bad)

This one came our way via The Styrofoam Drone blog.  Catholic Spray (Paris, France) have a new 12" out on Born Bad Records.  The band's catchy songs and eclectic influences are caked with garage-punk filth on this release.  Not a dull moment.  Bonus points for the three-titted alien from Total Recall.  Get it here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

OLD SHIT: Saint Vitus - Born Too Late

by Steve Wichelecki

The ultimate loser rock, Saint Vitus' "Born Too Late" sounds like a bad hangover mixed with flunking out of school, getting dumped and fired all at the same time. Monotonous, thick doom riffs tangle with self-deprecating gloomy lyrics in this classic 1986 SST stoner/doom metal masterpiece. Scott "Wino" Weinrich's lyric "I know I don't belong and there's nothing I can do" off track one, "Born Too Late," sets the despondent tone for this chronicle of outsider life. Substance abuse, public ridicule, mental illness and loneliness are explored in songs marked by dark riffs, great hooks and gnarly winding solos. In 1990, SST re-released "Born Too Late" (this version embedded below) and included bonus tracks in the form of Saint Vitus' followup EP, "Thirsty and Miserable," which features a slow-as-shit doom cover of Black Flag's classic by the same name.

VIDEO: The Funs - "Reality" (Manic Static)

by Steve Whichelecki

An unlikely combination of punk rock and pastoral setting, the official video for The Funs' "Reality" has just hit the Web, promoting this week's release of the two-piece's S/T album on Manic Static. Borrowing the grainy aesthetic of an 8-mm home movie from the days of yore, the video features a dreamlike montage of rural Illinois images over which sweeps the crooned vocals and guitar jangle of "Reality." Get a copy of the LP at the record release show, Saturday, April 6, at Space Club with Warm Soda, The Sueves and Earring. Order the record here.

THE FUNS - REALITY (official video) from FOOD VHS on Vimeo.

GOOD TIMES: 4 Amazing Shows in Chicago Tonight!!!!

Acid Baby Jesus
We're spoiled for choice this evening...Due in part to the fact that LOOKOUT FEST II is going on this weekend in Milwaukee, Chicago is  awash with awesome shows tonight including a free in-store, 2 DIY space shows and a Cobra lounge shindig. Here's the skinny:

6pm - Acid Baby Jesus / Hellshovel (Slovenly) in-store at Permanent Records.

9pm - Twin Peax / Sister Crystals / Esoteric Tapioca / BIGCOLOUR @ Animal Kingdom

9pm - Acid Baby Jesus / Hellshovel / White Mystery / Nightmare Boyzzz @ Cobra Lounge

9pm - Magpies / Real Numbers / Uh Bones / Slushy / The Bingers @ Wally's World

Choices, choices...

Monday, April 1, 2013

REVIEW: The Resonars - Crummy Desert Sound (Burger)

While The Resonars latest LP is a bit of misnomer- sorry, no desert-psych concept album here- it definitely finds them putting on a slightly different hat.  On, Crummy Desert Sound, the band has turned up the volume and the production value (if only slightly).  Every track blasts out the band's signature power pop vocal harmonies and sugary sweet hooks.  And while their 1998 release, Bright and Dark (Burger), borrowed heavily from the Byrds toolkit, their latest sounds more like The Who at their most bombastic.  Drummer James Peters must've been sweatin' his balls off after these sessions cuz every track is a veritable fury of percussion.  Its a fury of bunch of other shit as well.  Long story short, these dudes are pros.  Get it (on Burger Records) here.

(P.S. I think this was a leaked track so I hope the band doesn't mind I used it)

REVIEW: The Lonesome Savages - All Outta Love EP (Kind Turkey)

When Bobby Hussy swung through town with his new Motörhead/Stooges?-inspired band, Fire Retarded (pics coming soon), he was kind enough to toss me a copy of this record.  The Lonesome Savages' All Outta Love is raw rock-a-billy served up with just the right amount of in-the-redness.  The band adopts a Cramps-like reductionist approach and execute it perfectly while still bringing their own personal touch to it.  The production by Mr. Hussy is intimate, honest and, above all, interesting.  A really cool record, IMHO.  Get it from Kind Turkey Records here.