Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Kaputt – “Very Satisfied”

New one coming atcha from Upset The Rhythm and as usual its knocked pop on its ass. Kaputt’s “Very Satisfied” is an ode to the comfort of repetition, the strange calm of the mundane rendered exquisite. The lyrics are betrayed by the music, though as Kaputt are fare from rote. They mangle pop, trip it to the ground and roll it into the funhouse mirror. The post-punk bounce, scratches of horns, and nasal delivery slap a copy of Frankenchrist out of your sweaty paws with a handbag packed with the ‘70s ZE Records roster. The band pairs the song with a grotesque video that comes one like Thanksgiving at Troma Studios. Gonna want strap in and twitch for this one, its just the thing to get you going on a Monday morning.

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The Pheromoans – “The Sixth Bell”

UK DIY outfit The Pheromoans have been a lot of things over the past few years, but consistent is not one of them. The band is historically chameleonic – adapting to fit whims rather than trends, swerving through garage, autumnal pop, and the more driven sound that fits their current iteration. With a new album on the way for ALTER, the band unleashes a breathless single, “The Sixth Bell,” that’s clenched to the teeth with an itchy beat that only relents as the song skids to a close on a dirty mattress of relief. Shot through with siren stabs of synth and puffs of flute, the song jostles the listener around the room, careening and curving at the edges, but driving them nonetheless like base impulses that can’t be ignored. I’m always keen to see where The Pheramoans are at when a release lands and this seems like good ground to chew for nine tracks or so. I’m all in to see where this one leads.



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Jeanines – “Either Way”

Brooklyn do Jeanines have announced their debut LP for Slumberland today and the first cut wafts in on memories of classic Slumberland, Sarah, and Cloudberry singles gone by. Lead by Alicia Jeanine and aided and abetted by My Teeanage Sride’s Jed Smith on drums and bass, the band picks at a whole host of favorites from Marine Girls, The Pastels and Talulah Gosh to further outliers like Tiger Trap and Cub. Its sweet and simple and decidedly breezy, just the kind of jangle pop that brightens a day. There have been a lot of heirs to the jangle-pop throne, but the true secret is not to overthink it. So many of the originals shone brightly because they weren’t trying to overcomplicate the sound, and instead just got together with friends to knock out sparkling singles dipped in simple syrup and sunshine. Jeanines seem to capture the haphazard brilliance of the original set. Get this one on your list for 2019.



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Vital Idles – “Careful Extracts”

Got another peek at the new Vital Idles EP, out today on Upset The Rhythm, and it cuts just as hard as “Break A.” Clangin’ the post-punk dinner bell hard and making the call out to those with a hankering for a crunchin’ crush of guitars, clipped rhythms, and the strident slash of Jessica Higgins’ urgent vocals – “Careful Extracts” is another stunner. Jessica weighed in on the track, saying, “Just me and my, who cares! I wrote the words from bed, who cares! Really, it’s trying to shout or work through or against the looking for something with which to build a rationale, or being rational, or even being asked to be rationed, as in economic or efficient, while actually, sensually, potentially (phrasing not my own) having a rationale all the while of undoing and of trying to spread into that gap between being in a private space and anticipating the requirement to present.”

The band paired the track with a video that’s obscured and claustrophobic – the members flashing camera bulbs over themselves in barely seen snatches. It’s a complimentary take on their sun-parched propulsions. Grab that EP over at UTR ASAP!

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Working Men’s Club – “Bad Blood”

UK post-punks Working Men’s Club act as a testament to the binge influence of the internet in 2019. Hailing from the tiny town of Todmorden, were it not for the heavy spread of access and rabbit hole drilldown of influences that pervades the tubes it seems unlikely that a group of seventeen-year-olds would produce a single that effortlessly echoes the rubber band snap of The Monochrome Set commingling with new wave keys and a touch of Medium Medium’s dance freak streak. “Bad Blood” shouldn’t sound like such a natural amalgam of the past while still feeling modern enough to drop in beside newer body shakers like Lithics, Future Punx, or School Damage but it does and we’re all better for it. This single certainly puts the band on the list to watch, but first it puts them on repeat, domineering the speakers with a brittle beat.




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Rattle

Nottingham duo Rattle throw out the pop formulas in favor of a percussive ping pong between members. The pair, Katharine Brown and Theresa Wrigley, weave a tapestry of hypnotic dance and percussive patter, both picking up the sticks to spar rhythmically with each other with only occasional forays into vocal volley. Sequence drops the listener into a trance, playing off of subtle shifts in ever evolving patterns, with each of the four songs on the record stretching towards the ten-minute mark. The songs have the effect of stripping away the surroundings of the listener, like a sonic suspension in sensory isolation, or in this case suspension in the rarefied air of rhythmic thrum. The record is best listened to in dim surroundings or with eyes closed altogether. Let the rhythms play over the mind, pushing accompanying brainwave patterns to the beat that the two women pluck out of thin air. In that environment Sequence begins to toggle the tumblers of the mind into new positions.

When vocals do arise in the mix, they’re often wordless – cooing, humming and moaning entwined with the insistent, ecstatic beats. They finally break into discernible phrasing on “Signal” but even then, the pair are all about repetition, turning their words into mantras that eventually push meanings to the background in favor higher states of consciousness. While the record is propulsive and even at times frantic, the overall effect is absolutely soothing. There’s a sense of natural evolution to each song, each player anticipating the other completely, and that ingrained trust is passed through the speakers to the listener. Brown and Wrigley are spirit guides, sonic Sherpas, clatter-packed chiropractors come to align your vibrations to their natural thump.

It’s a shift from the usual dose of post-punk and that drops from the bucket at Upset The Rhythm, but the DIY spirit is just as punk as anything else on the roster. Brown and Wrigley are working the crease between jazz, post-punk and drone and it works as a feast for the ears. Highly recommended as a background beat to get your own weird Birdman-esque mania working for you, or just to drop out in the negative zone for forty-odd minutes of float. Either way Sequence is a damn delight.


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Rays

On their previous album Oakland’s Rays merged wiry post-punk with the current wave of Aussie indie that’s been riffling through Flying Nun singles and Go-Betweens B-sides as inspiration. There were bright spots of jangle that jutted through the din last time around, but on You Can Get There From Here the band has embraced their more melodic impulses upfront, giving the album an accessibility they’d sometimes rebuffed in the past. Like fellow West Coasters Massage, they’re clearly dog paddling through the best Aussie upstarts – cherry picking bits of Boomgates, Blank Realm and Terry – while leaning on a double-dose of detergent-core from The Clean and Cleaners From Venus.

The slight scrub-up feels good on them, though they’re not wiping away their grit completely. The record leaves plenty of un-sanded edges that give their sound the same kind of unfussed and genuine weight that their South Hemi counterparts have been cultivating in kitchens and practice spaces over the last few years. So many of those bands have embraced a laconic style that gives the impression each humble hummer has sprung fully formed from idle strums and stream of consciousness divining of the universe’s whims. Likewise, Rays, too, have perfected the art of sounding effortless. There are moments on You Can Get There From Here, that were no doubt fussed over in the writing room, but feel like they dropped out of the sky shaggy, shaky and catchy enough to crush your resistance on first listen.

While the particular strain of pop that burrows out of OZ on a regular basis, peddling curdled sunshine and tarnished hooks is still appealing to a niche base with a hunger for a less pristine pop present, its good to see more US bands adopting the model. Rays are proving to be ones to keep a constant eye on and with You Can Get There From Here, they’ve jumped up in the ranks on the list of 2018’s jangle pop essentials.



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Sauna Youth – “No Personal Space”

The recent album from Sauna Youth is a welcomed blast of bracing bile that chewed up wage gaps, gig economies, personal space issues and cultural collapse through constant distraction. The band’s ode to a bubble one’s own to have and to hold, “No Personal Space,” is a match-lit highlight of the album and thy give the track a DIY video treatment through lo-budget means, even leaving in the technical difficulties that arose.

The band notes that, “This was filmed in 5 minutes in the Peckham Arch practice space that we wrote the album in and whose electrical interference from the train tracks above features throughout this song. We used an iPhone 5, two iPhone 6s’ and an iPhone 7 using their inferior front cameras and it was edited in the free software Hitfilm Express in a couple of hours. It’s about constriction and liberation and having no personal space.” If you haven’t picked up the LP from Upset The Rhythm, now might be a good time!

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Sauna Youth

Sauna Youth have a handle on the brittle bite of punk that’s long served their country’s history. Their previous LP balanced a crucial clutch of frantic, diesel-paced guitar explosions with caustic hooks. There’s also a thread of art punk that often finds spoken word elements propping up in their work, pushing them out of the standard DIY tenure track. On their third LP they maintain their trajectory, melting away some of the hooks through sheer velocity, but never once letting up on their dedication to the raised hackle wild swing of punk’s fiercest proponents. While there’s not a single as potent as “Transistors” here, the whole package rubs the soul just as raw as anything they’ve brought forth in their catalog.

The album opens with the sucker-punch pounce of “Percentages” and it’s a good indication of the kind of bile and bent aluminum aesthetics the band is pushing to the front on Deaths. The bile in question finds them venting frustration out of multiple channels – the economic impact of sustainable arts and gig economies, political realities that outlive our dumbest estimation, and the daily distractions that threaten to kill our creative core. While the band channels all this into an intense half hour of cranium crunch, the venting of frustrations comes off cathartic more than angry. It’s destructive in the way demolition should be, but they’re smiling while they swing the hammer.

The band still leaves room for a spoken word piece here, which I appreciate, though it does derail the momentum of the album. The choice to forgo streamlined listening for their own indulgences and strange sources of joy seems to be the core of what makes Sauna Youth click. Like a pill that gets stuck in the throat, they’re still hitting the body to full effect, even if the ride’s sometimes uncomfortable. Deaths slots in nicely alongside the rest of this year’s stellar Upset The Rhythm roster, another disjointed slap to the face that’s sorely needed.



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Doe – “Heated”

UK trio Doe follow on their 2016 album, Some Things Last Longer Than You, with a sophomore record for Glasgow’s Big Scary Monsters (on Topshelf in the US). The album embraces themes of getting older, finding freedom in maturity and solace in death. While the subject matter is heavy, there’s still plenty of room for hooks. The first track, “Heated,” dredges up visions of ’90s crunch pop from Veruca Salt and they’re picking at a lot of the same alt bones that drove last year’s standout from Charley Bliss. The band aren’t content to be backed into a genre corner, though. The track pushes and pulls between quiet, grinning contempt and explosive fuzz riffs that push for the kind of catharsis that fits their aim of growing up without letting the anchor of youth weigh you down or tie you up. Gonna want to hear some more of this record, but this is a nice opening shot and a step up from their DIY past.

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