Posts Tagged ‘Post-Punk’

The Cool Greenhouse

Been kinda waiting on this one to reach U.S. shores and it just so happens that yesterday a crop of shops have this UK treat in stock. So have at it, and here’s a few reason’s why. The band’s chewing on the burnt ends of post-punk in a most satisfying way. The Cool Greenhouse locks onto repetition like a life preserver and paddles further out to sea and away from the stench of the masses of civilization they clearly can’t stand. The band shucks the concepts of hooks, chorus, and musical structure in general – snatching the sneers of The Fall and hot gluing them to the acid attack of Pere Ubu ‘round about their Dub Housing heyday. Even then, the band isn’t really tied onto influences so much as they’re just focusing the force of disgust and aiming it at a microphone with an intent to let the listener itch for three to five minutes.

The bass hammers at the temples, guitars floss the ripples of grey matter with a haphazard hand. Synth strains jump and twitch like they were stuck in a socket and it all weaves together into the kind of record that rumples in the perfect way. Atop the din and damage the band lays into the everyday drip of banality and atrocity that surrounds them at every turn. The delivery of singer (term used loosely) Tom Greenhouse is slouched but levied squarely on his victims. The disdain and exhaustion drips off their debut with the dead-eyed delivery of a spoken word take down with the victim sweating under the spotlight for everyone in the room to see. There’s been a good ol’ fashioned return to the ravages of post-punk of late, from the rubber snap of Lithics, to the acerbic insistence of Native Cats, and fried-wire infections of The Uranium Club. The Cool Greenhouse slots right in with the discomfort set. There’s no keeping the band’s eponymous LP in the background, it fights its way to the front and melts the smile from your face in a wonderful way.



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Naked Roommate – “Mad Love”

The exciting news of the new single from Naked Roommate is balanced by the equally sad news that it’s officially over for The World. The beloved Oakland post-punk outfit only had a handful of records, but they lit a disjointed fire on each one. The band’s Amber Sermeńo & Andy Jordan carry on the torch, but strip things back further than the sax-scratched sounds of The World. Alongside mems of Bad Bad, Preening, and Blues Lawyer, the pair embrace a skeletal beat that recalls ESG, C.O.C.O., or the disjointed funk of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. “Mad Love” bubbles in on beats inflated with recycled air, a loping bass and rubberized ripples of guitar. Ringlets of synth dart across the room with laser-guided glee and the whole song is held fast by the icy delivery of Sermeńo, who’s giving this a delightfully more lived-in approach than on The World’s output. The record’s a joint venture between Trouble in Mind in the US and Upset The Rhythm in the UK. The record is out September 4th and notably, the band & the labels will be donating any proceeds from the sale of the digital single for “Mad Love” thru the end of July to the Anti-Police Terror Project.




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Galore

Been really enjoying this scrappy, scruffy dose of post-punk from San Francisco’s Galore lately. The band’s hitting on the same intersection of influences as Aussie upstarts Primo!, Terry, and School Damage but they add a dose of sweetness that’s sometimes sanded away from those outfits, perhaps bringing them most in line with the windswept charm of Parsnip. The band employs an austerity that cuts through the fat of pop and hits straight onto the bone. Jangled and jostled, nervy, but emotionally raw, the band’s eponymous LP also draws a crooked line between Look Blue Go Purple, The Pastels, and Talulah Gosh. The songs are catchy without cloying, crafting hooks that knock around the brain but won’t latch completely due to the rough edges. Each go round with the album lets them stick in a different nook of consciousness and if feels just right.

They sweep from strums and the lilt of jangles that populate much of the album to the sonic shrapnel of “Cucaracha,” and the bent tin twist of “Lydia,” executing the switch without so much as a skid on the pavement. They make the juxtaposition feel natural like the flow of an 80’s college station. The songs crunch confessionally, detailing days spent lolling in the bed, creature comforts, dashed hopes, and sneaking suspicions. The bubble-wrap snap of drums skitters in the background and the bass feels like its just getting its land legs back on more than a few songs. The whole record comes together in a lovely slump on the bed — conflicted, content, confused, and catchy. It’s holding up a long tradition of jangle n’ bop that doesn’t quite fit into the boxes that folks want to try to stuff ‘em into and Galore comes out shining all the brighter for their refusal to take shape.


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Lithics

Post-punk in the new age has a pretty wide berth. While many feel free to ascribe the tag, their brand of the brew certainly feels welcoming, eschewing some of the raised hackles tendencies that made uncomfortable seem so appealing. Lithics have spent their tenure embracing the itch of post-punk — the brittle guitar gasp, the rubber-legged rhythms, and the leaden vocals that aim to knock you off your perch. The band’s been building steam through an ace run of labels, hopping from Water Wing to Kill Rock Stars, with a stop at Thrilling Living before they land their barbed attacks at Trouble in Mind for Tower of Age.

The qualities that endeared the band to the curdled masses the first (and second) time around remain in tact. The band still wields a hook with intent to maim and the rhythm is infectious in a clinical sense. While they often conjure up the bare-bulb flicker of minimalist austerity they employ a subversive strain like the best of their forbears. Where Au Pairs and Pere Ubu let discomfort crack the glass on the comfortable life, Lithics pick up the shattered shards and twist them into the wounds their influences left behind. The album festers but somehow you’re drawn in closer. The woolen weight of Lithics cannot be ignored and eventually it gets under the skin to stay.

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Powerplant – “A Spine / Evidence”

London label Static Shock has been a solid bet over the past few years, culling in some of the best punk and post-punk from fields afar and corralling them all under the SS umbrella. They nab London via Ukraine new wave miscreants Powerplant for a new EP that finds the band both tucking into their Screamers / Devo / Units foxhole and grasping outside of it. They employ tweaked, frantic synth/guitar grappling that begs to be bagged in plastic and freeze-dried to a flaky crisp. Yet on the opener there’s a loose and limber bout of post-punk at play. The bass line lassos and grabs, with expectations high for a nasal wormhole of wobble on the vocals, but instead the band swerves to an almost cartoonish croon. It almost sounds like the band is playing at one speed and the vox at another, but somehow it works. As they careen into the rest of the EP the pace picks up and the rubber grooves get traded for some frantic scratch, passing their new wave wavelength through an MX-80 torque and letting it sizzle and smoke. Most of the songs here barely let the band take a breath, but the invigoration feels vital and vibrant. Recommend throwing this on the table and turning the volume ’til it snaps.




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Galore – “Lydia”

One of the standouts from the recent comp from SFs Rocks in Your Head, Galore packs up what works when things are just barely hanging on. The band dredges up visions of Kleenex’ early days, Olympia upstarts, and NY No Wave luminaries (from whom the song takes its name). Gnarled, unpolished, and unapologetic, “Lydia” is an untethered careen through post-punk, loose-linked jangle, and garage pop that feels like even duct tape couldn’t keep it together and yet it works. The song is infectious even when it tears itself apart at the seams. Grit never sounded so good and the band has a full length of more of the same on the way June 1st. Definitely worth a couple of spins through the speakers.



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Parsnip – “Adding Up”

Parsnip’s album from last year was an exhilarating breeze of post-punk devoured by indie pop and the band keeps up the pace on a follow-up single this May. With a bouncy strum and their color drenched splashes of organ leading the charge, the band expands on charms of When The Tree Bears Fruit, throwing in their sightly askance harmonies for good measure and letting a breath of spring waft in as the last note trails away. This time the single shares space at their usual hang about Anti-Fade (a true barometer of Aussie pop if there ever was one) and over at Episode Sounds in Japan. The band seems built for the short format so, while in other hands an EP would seem like just a stop-gap, this one’s a necessary pickup for Parsnip fans and indie-pop hoarders alike. The record sidles onto shelves May 15th.




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Primo!

Aussies Primo! only strengthen their hold on me with the release of their second album for Upset The Rhythm — a cracking burst of post-punk that’s somehow both tightly wound and about to unravel at the same time. The sound is raw, not underproduced by any means, but not shined to please the masses either. The chords whack into the listener, crunching bones like a solid piece of timber broken in two —jagged but effective all the same. Aesthetics aside, the band’s got a good grip of hooks under the hood and they drive Sogni as hard as their last album. The guitars stretch with elasticity, crunch with a crinkle, drive breezily and then stutter-stop with glee. The bass comes atcha from all sides, formidable but still hungry. The band’s sound has space built in and nothing suffocates, even if it dominates. Tack on some three-part harmonies that jostle just a bit atop the whip-crack of drums and the album feels like its been hiding in the stacks for more than a few years.

That’s the real charm, and one that they’d employed on their last album as well. Primo! know their influences and they wear them well. The album could easily slip between the shelf-worn brittleness of Kleenex, Oh-OK, and Pylon but they don’t commit to one corner of the post-punk playground for too long. The sound skips from the pogo-pop of “Machine” to the rubber-legged saunter of “Rolling Stone” and never sounds out of sync with itself. The band shares two members with Aussie upstarts Terry, and there’s certainly a crossover appeal, but they come out like a softer, slyer version of the pop upset created within the confines of Terry. The lowered barriers make it a more sinister sister album to Terry’s last. Once inside the confines of Sogni the band’s no less cutting but they’ve already burrowed under your skin and once they’re in there, its impossible to shake ‘em.




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ES

London quartet Es communicate a caustic brand of post-punk — paint stripped of any excess embellishment and set to rupture the rabble around them. Driven by laser-focused bass lines that don’t play well with their queasy synths, tension threatens to tear each and every track apart before it even reaches the speakers. Add in the vocal drill downs by Maria Cecilia Tedemalm and this record begins to drop a sinister shadow over 2020. The band released an EP a while back on vital underground siphon La Vida Es Un Mus, and their debut, Less of Everything doesn’t let up from the acerbic venom that they laid down in the short form. Guitars recoil from the sun, staggering through disjointed rhythms stricken with angular afflictions gone green around the edges. The drums are driving, but not insistent. The band knows how to play with the knife-edge of uneasiness, creating an environment where at any moment the ground shifts beneath the listener — tempos sideswipe each other, instruments devour one another — but the gleam in their eyes says they’re enjoying the upset.

The band picks at the scabs of the ‘70s, yet that doesn’t mean they don’t share some similarities with their concurrent peers. Shades of Flesh World, Hierophants, Naked on the Vague and even labelmates Sauna Youth (also recorded by Lindsay Corstorphine, behind the boards here) abound. This is dance music for the floor clearers, the kinds who revel in the end of the night noise that DJs seem to employ to get ‘em in the cabs. They seem to enjoy the disjointed dance they create — teeth gnashed but smiling with wicked glee at the corners of their mouths. Upset the Rhythm has a habit of finding the one’s that don’t fit neatly into the boxes genre creates and this year is no different. Es is yet another barbed offering from the label and one well worth sickening the speakers with this week.



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PRIMO! – “Machine”

Another gem out of the Aussie cabal of excellent musicians today. In anticipation of their upcoming second album, PRIMO releases the driving jangler “Machine” — a sandpapered, yet loosely slung bit of post-punk if there ever was one. The band’s seemingly perfected their sound on this one, and it stands as one of the band’s most engaging songs yet. The standout single crackles with life — anchored by the brittle drum snap, worn-in guitars and those four-part harmonies that make it all gel just right. The band pairs the song with a motor-heavy video that has a ‘70s charm. There are plenty of Aussie exports that tend to get overlooked here and PRIMO’s last album got glossed over here, hoping that audiences abroad don’t make the same mistake twice.

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