Posts Tagged ‘Punk’

CB Radio Gorgeous – “Decline”

Chicago’s explosive punks CB Radio Gorgeous knocked out a sweat-soaked cassette on Not Normal a couple of years back and they follow it with a four-shot EP that packs everything that clicks about the band into a short shaker that never lets up. The EP was produced with inspiration from Geza X (Dead Kennedys, Germs, Redd Kross, Black Flag, The Avengers and The Weirdos), seeking to jolt us all back to consciousness again with a West Coast punk breeze. The full EP is breathless and battered, but never ragged but “Decline” in particular puts the bands strengths at the forefront, blending their speed with their heat-sinked hooks. The band’s plucked from the ranks of CCTV, Forced into Femininity, and Negative Scanner but they seem bound to scratch out their own inch with more nods to the Mabuhay Gardens set and Northwest punk belters than their own native streets of Chicago. Get this on the list now and get the volume adjusted to scorch.



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Lewsberg

Dutch quartet Lewsberg will draw constant VU comparisons. Its inevitable, and largely, I don’t think the band is shirking the comparison. While they embrace the sparse, dry confidence of the band in their early days over the course of In This House, its unfair to hang this and this alone on them. They’re picking at quite a few other scars of the ‘60s and ‘70s as well and making it all simmer down to a rather tasty roux of rock that’s unfettered and yet instantly engaging. In the same way that the early aughts fought the rising tide of complexity in rock by embracing the lower rungs of fidelity and bringing the studio home, the band strips away any excess that may have built up in the past decade or so. They chip away production and chisel hooks down to their most primal qualities. They don’t forgo beauty or charm to do it, and that’s where the Velvets come in. The setup is simple, but in something like the swaying jangle of “At Lunch” there’s the same kernel of pop that made “Candy Says” a staple of mixtapes for generation after generation.

Elsewhere, the band falls into the same sonic baskets The Feelies, who were translating these impulses long before them, but still found a way to make the crisp collars of jangle pop feel necessary. The hum of the band’s gears is audible in the mix, but it only endears them further to the listener. The band wields the elastic snap of guitars and the brittle delivery of matter of fact hooks in the same manner that Parquet Courts have made their bedrock, but they soften the edges to make it seem almost effortless. Within the confines of In This House, despite it dredging up all these comparisons, there’s the feeling that the band just organically landed here. They’re unencumbered because they don’t feel the need to dress up the melodies with distraction. They’re straightforward with their songwriting because clutter makes them cringe and less is indeed more. There’s a reason that sounds like this have their own gravitational pull. We’re attracted to the sounds that don’t need us, the records that couldn’t seem to care if you listen or leave and that’s exactly what’s here. Its a record that exists of its own volition. If you engage, all the better, but Lewsberg are going to saw at the raw nerves valley that exists between punk, pop, and poetry all the same.



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Cable Ties

On their sophomore album, and first for US label Merge, Aussies Cable Ties retain the fire in their bellies, but stoke it with a few helpings of melodic pop and a quiet contemplation that may have been missing in the past. Throughout their early singles the band was a sonic jackhammer, tearing through injustice, sexism and classism while spitting in the face of a world that long since turned its back on the youth of today. Their first album refined the point on their knives, and did pretty good job of sharpening the rest of their blades as well. With a wider canvas they spared no one who’d earned their ire, and it quickly became evident that anyone on the receiving end of Jenny McKechnie’s gale force vocal torrents were lucky to get out with only a racing heartbeat and a clutch of psychic scratches. On Far Enough, the band barrels into maturity with the same bile in their throats, but also a good deal of calm contemplation as well. They balance their poles of their personality, and now when McKechnie lays into the full force of her anger, its a payoff that hits the listener with the whiplash force that makes the pummel all that much more powerful.

She picks up the lash from so many punk predecessors, and while there’s definitely a cocktail of Tucker, Hanna, and Styrene as the easy to top notes of the bunch, she and the Ties have taken the full force of progressive punk into their tank and turned out a record that’s much more than the fumes of its fuel. They chum the waters with the brooding calm of “Lani.’ They swallow the constant lump in their throats on the dizzying “Pillow,” — driven by bubbles of bass and vocals that cool to a croon. They’ve even captured the complexity of where we lie in wait at the start of 2020 with “Hope” — a song that brims with doubt and desire. Its a societal push-pull with uncertainty, age, generational distance, and the ideals of activism in the face of mounting evidence that no amount of rivets will stem the tide when the dam bursts.

Woven between these careful shadings lie the paint-peeler anthems that nail the fuckers to the wall, and when we hear the crack of bone on concrete its a satisfying snap indeed. On “Self Made Man,” Sandcastles” and in the titanic swells of “Anger’s Not Enough” the band shows that their fire’s never faded. Where the other songs stoke the coals and let the glow warm the listener, here they prove that those coals can build to a blaze bound to burn. What’s best about Far Enough is that it needs time to settle into the system. Their early singles and debut were instantly gripping, but like the best works this one takes a few runs through before it all locks into place. The builds and crouches become clear, the abrasive progressiveness of “Anger’s Not Enough” snaps into their place on an album that’s not a wild swing at its aggressor, but a patient plan of attack that topples its targets in good time.



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Cold Meat

There’s a time for cool waters and calm heads and there’s a time for the righteous infection of fire-forged punk. Somehow its been time for both in these past couple of weeks, but right about now the latter is feeling pretty apt. Perth scorchers Cold Meat have graduated from their early short-form firestarters to a full length that showcases their pounding, primal, elastic scratch. Built on a foundation of tire-thick rubber riffs, the band kneads and pounds the basics of punk through an emotional and musical ringer. The riffs are meaty and land with enough force to bruise heavily. The bass ricochets around the speaker space with a sinewy menace. While squarely in the mold of punk purveyors like Magazine, X-Ray Spex, or The Adverts, they borrow the alternating current corruption of post-punk terrors — finding common ground with the hot bile invective of The Au Pairs and the writhing discomfort of Pylon.

None of the garments of the past quite fit them, though, and that’s to their credit. They chafe at categorization, but Cold Meat mostly look to take a hammer to the societal mirror and do it with a wicked smile on their face in the process. Doesn’t hurt tat they’ve got the twenty megaton howl of Ashley Ramsey in their corner as well. While the music beneath her squirms in pain, Ramsey rounds up every last inch of sneered and seared animus and hurls it at the listener. I’m a sucker for a voice that packs a versatile volley of grievance, pain, disappointment, and derision and she nails the nuance every time. While I can’t say I levy Andy unsettled scores with ZZ Top and their fanbase as the band seems to, elsewhere Cold Meat seem to bring good reason and welcome harbor to their various picked bones. Its a record of its time — bred on the scraps of the past but fueled with the earned anger of a younger generation left in the cold to fend for itself.



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The Cowboys – “The Beige Collection”

Bloomington’s garage-soul swelters The Cowboys are back and the carefree flow that was palpable on The Bottom of a Rotten Flower seems to have evaporated overnight as we head into their new LP, Room of Clons. “The Beige Collection” is a dark, brooding introduction to their new LP, driving deep into the night with a hungry riff and the vocals of frontman Keith Harman hovering over the listener with a sinister edge. Seems the rest of the album might return to some of their homegrown punk roots but here, for the moment, The Cowboys are post-punk purveyors of a measured menace that’s hard to shake. The record hits shops and mailboxes alike on April 4th.


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Cold Meat – “Bad Mood”

Perth punk hammer Cold Meat graduates from the singles bin to a proper full length stretched across a slew of proper litmus-test labels threaded through the US/UK and their home habitat (Static Shock, Iron Lung, and Helta Skelta). They’ve offered up a couple of cuts from the LP and both flay the skin from the listener immediately, peeling back the bullshit layers from their outer core with a breathless punk assault that’s as snotty as The Dead Boys ever got, but with the added bonus of Ashley Ramsey’s vocals turning the once upon a time sneers of The Saints and Dum Dum Boys into the gnashed teeth yelp you need right now. Every inch of this song reverberates catharsis. If the mood’s this bad, only a proper sore-throated throttle could shake it loose and Cold Meat aim to be the bludgeon to knock ya sideways. The album’s out March 20th.






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Moody Beaches – “Stay Cool”

Aussie trio Moody Beaches are back and they show no sign of tempering their turbulent brand of indie rumble. “Stay Cool” is the first thing I’ve heard since the band’s 2018 EP Weird Friends, and it kicks just as hard as anything on the short, but powerful, predecessor. The band taps into ‘90s alt-tentpole hooks, with a scathing fuzz attack and just the right quiet-loud tension between the bars. With a dark energy swirling around the track, the band pushes their bile and bombast out of the speakers with a turbulent force and its definitely whetting the appetite for their upcoming 2020 debut on Poison City. Ha, as I was looking around for pictures I noticed that the band self-described themselves as “Resting bitch-face, post punk, grunge trio from Melbourne. Australia” and there probably couldn’t be a better description than that. If you missed the EP, get into them here.





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Flat Worms – “Market Forces”

Perennial favorite Flat Worms made the jump last year from small indies (Castle Face/Famous Class) to Ty Segall’s GOD? Imprint over at Drag City. Their sound has only widened in the process, shedding the threadbare punk of their early works for a burled and thick thump that comes to a head on “Market Forces.” The album was produced by Segall and Steve Albini and as such carries the studio heft of those two particular poles, soldering the austere ache of Albini’s works with the punk pummel and fuzz cloud rumble the band had been fostering in their come-up alongside. The song shares some of the same appeal that latter day Purling Hiss, pushing aside spindly hooks in favor of a punishing wave of guitar cresting the horizon with each new track. The band smears their Dino Jr. throb with the West Coast fuzz coatings of Meatbodies and the Midwest rumble of Axis: Sova. The album arrives April 10th.



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Cable Ties – “Self-Made Man”

Fully excited for America’s embrace of Cable Ties. The Aussies have long been a staple here on the site and their move to Merge only goes to prove they’re the band we need right now. The trio takes on the prosperity gospel of bootstrap billionaires in their latest, “Self-Made Man.” The current political race / everyday reality of our country (and their own) pretty much plays out between the bars of the four-minute firestarter. As always Jenny Mckechnie’s sonorous screeds etch themselves into the consciousness with the ferocity of the best youth anthems. Cable ties are the air raid rabble that ignite the soul. I can’t wait for this one to land on the decks. Play this one louder than you think appropriate wherever you are today.



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Wasted Shirt – “All Is Lost”

Another great single/video from Wasted shirt seeps out into the atmosphere and its an offering at the altar of gnarled noise that won’t be ignored. The duo of Ty Segall and Brian Chippendale is pretty much everything you think that combination would warrant — frantic, frazzled, brutal, and, well, beautiful in a way. Their brand of noise-punk chews glass and spits out the dissolved shards of shape and shake onto the pavement below. There’s something inherently heavy about “All Is Lost.” Its a nihilistic grind through the futile ravages of time in an era when each day seems to bring new horrors. This was a frustrating week on a national level, perhaps nothing can sooth the savage burn like Wasted Shirt right about now.



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