Posts Tagged ‘Punk’

Chronophage

Austin’s Chronophage hooked more than a few savvy listeners last year with and out-of-nowhere gem of an album. Their LP, Prolog For Tomorrow funneled a heavy dose of ‘80s and ‘90s scuffed rock brilliance though a wet flannel, doubled-dubbed tape filter. With shades of Sebadoh compiling a mixtape of Swell Maps, Television Personalities and Pere Ubu covers, this one resonated with a good cross-section of alternate-current castoffs already scraping the underbellies of Columbus and Detroit for just such a rumble. With the follow-up hitting the shelfs this week they seek to cement their sweaty clutch on the punctured and pummeled pulpit, delivering another round of jagged-tin punk just in time for the end of the year. Just as strains of the sound tumbled out of windows of unfinished basements and into the pit at large a few decades back, they’re standing at a crossroads of cacophony, injecting clarity into the mangled missives, finding balance between the clamor and the catchy.

As they skid into Th’PIg’Kiss’d the band kicks the muffled cocoon from their sound and lets their mangled mass of post-punk rattle around the brain in brilliant mid-def glory. With the bump out of the wet breath of tape hiss, the band begins to parse out the layers of their chewed-wire wonderland. They wrangle in a bit of the heat-stroke twang of Meat Puppets, let their guitars twist their metal girder grind even further and even find a moment of tenderness on “Animated Rose.” The wider spectrum speaks to the growth between albums, though they’re still at their best when the manic edge of danger is present — their mild-mannered moments only a catch of breath before they let loose with broken knife guitar attacks and frayed wire organ lines. As an added bonus the band has sent over a new video for standout track “Any Junkyard Dreams,” pairing the track’s rusted guitar garrote and cool water choruses with an amusing attack by puppet crows with a lust for blood and robbery. The clip was made by Perry Hohlstein and is a lot of fun. If you missed out on the band’s last burner, Th’Pig’Kiss’d is a good point to jump into Chronophage’s particular punk burn.



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Chronophage – “Any Junkyard Dreams”

A nice surprise out of Austin’s Chronophage springs up today. The band’s last LP Prolog For Tomorrow checked a lot of boxes in the scuffed indie bin a couple of years back and news of a follow-up LP heading out on November 23 reared its head today. The new LP sees the band scrub a bit of the crust off of their sound, but the fidelity bump doesn’t dimmish their acerbic bite. First cut, “Any Junkyard Dreams” is brittle with shards of post-punk guitar butting heads with quite a cushy chorus. The tension between the guitars that seem about ready to break and Sarah Beames’ vocals drive the song deep into the listener’s skull. If you missed out on the band last time around, this is a perfect time to jump onto the wagon before The Pig Kiss’d hits in a few weeks.





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Civic – “Radiant Eye”

Hey its Bandcamp Friday once again, which means that the inbox is stuffed to bursting and I’m desperately trying to parse through the best of the glut. Aussies Civic return today with a new double-sided scorcher that puts their frenetic brand of punk at the forefront and adds a nice touch of horns. Not something I was expecting to enter the Civic arena, but “Radiant Eye” torches through the speakers with a whiff of ozone on the air and the band follow it up with a beaten and battered cover of The Creation on the back, making the familiar rally cry from Rushmore feel like less of a ‘60s jangler and more of a sonic scorcher in times when sitting still truly feels like a luxury. If you’re throwing around a bit of monetary support today, you could do worse than to give Civic some coin for this AA vision of punk bash.




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TV Eye – The Lost Studio Recordings 1977-1978

Like many, I’m sure, the death of Dave Kusworth has sent me spiraling through Jacobites’ back catalog and some solo Kusworth LPs, all wonderful examples of his idiosyncratic songwriting over the years, but the dive pulled up one I wasn’t familiar with. Dave’s first band TV Eye, which bears some deal of influence from the band that penned its namesake, has found its recorded output reissued in the last couple of years and its worth a rifle through the tracks in its own right. Kusworth and his cohorts were all still in high school when these tracks were recorded, all between 17 and 18 and while its definitely a bit rough, the band channels the snottiness of garage and the raw edge of porto-punk that came before it into something that radiates its own kind of glorious damage. The record pulls in some of that Stooges mania, but they never get that raw (who could) and more often they storm through some Voidoids/Heartbreakers territory that’s equally fun.

The comp contains five studio cuts and the rest are culled from some rehearsal sessions, which give a working mindset to their songs and inject a bit of raw edge to the collection. Its certainly not the sound that Kusworth has been associated with for the majority of his career, but along with The Hawks and Rag Doll, it make up a good trifecta of his formative years. The collection is put together well and 40 years on, these sound as sharp as they ever did. This one has appeal to the Kusworth completists, but hey for the roots of punk crowd, there’s plenty to hang onto here as well.




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R.E. Seraphin on Empire – Expensive Sound

Ray Seraphin’s released a pair of great EPs over the past year and both have embraced a line between power pop and indie pop toggling the line of the ‘80s underground with a delicate grace. Over the years Ray has joined up with bands on the more punk half of the divide — Talkies, Apache, Buzzer — but as he’s moved further into the year Seraphin has been pushing into Sarah Records territory with ease and it looks good on him. I asked Ray to chip in a pick for the Hidden Gems series and he’s nabbed an underground favorite that’s a bit far from either end of his spectrum in terms of its source, but not so far from the tender impact that Seraphin’s music has on the listener. Check out his take on Empire’s Expensive Sound and hear how it came into his life.

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14th Wish – I Gotta Get Rid of You

HoZac has remained one of the most consistent houses unearthing vital punk treasures these days and its in no small part due to their mining of the 1980’s catalog of David Peel’s Orange Records. Peel’s stable included some notable nuggets in among the crust, including early GG Allin, Eddie Criss with Wayne Kramer laying down guitar, and David’s own ramshackle records. This pretty much unknown single by 14th Wish. The band has pretty much zero presence in the punk history books, but this two-sider captured by Peel is a nice slice of chugging punk that’s got a bit of NYC sneer and a good hangover of Modern Lovers running through its hair of the dog delivery.

The A-side’s got a bit more grit in its gut with a fuzztone that’s practically vomiting fuzz but its tempered by not giving into the frantic tempos of the time and that sauntering bass. The vocals by Halo Peace are appropriately nihilistic/caustic and the guitar jags at the end are worth the wait. The label’s pulling some Tapeworm comparisons (I can hear that) but the cut kinda reminds me of the Twinkeyz b-side “Little Joey” with its mid-tempo stomp and finger-in-the-socket guitar shanks. The flip is a bit more staid than this one, but still a lot of fun. Haven’t seen this one knocking down any doors in 2020, but its a good piece of the puzzle in the NYC punk swarm that barreled out of control around the time.




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Naked Roommate

I was always a fan of Oakland post-punks The World, and was ultimately saddened that along with the announcement of the debut from Naked Roommate came the news that they’d ceased to exist. Amber Sermeńo & Andy Jordan of the band continue their exploration of past impulses, however, with their new endeavor. Still teetering on the edge of post-punk and the void, still tethered to the Earth by a rubber-bound ballast of bass, the new band isn’t worlds away from what they’d set to explore in their previous pursuits. Yet, where The World burned hot and insistent, Naked Roommate exists their reclined and refined sibling. It’s easy to see the slide from one to the other. The World triggered their tension via blasts of sax and shards of guitar that were set to slice, let slip a few years further down the post-punk pike and like the punks before them they pick up dub, gutter-spliced dance, and the hangover of pre-public acceptability disco.

With members of Bad Bad, Preening, and Blues Lawyer in tow, the duo create a record that feels reckless in its pursuit of repose. With their credentials it would have been easy to pick at the scabs of punk once again, but the band shows a fascination with ESG’s bare bones debt to dance, Northwest slow-simmer unit C.O.C.O. and the tape-hiss pile-up from the early aughts that was packed with bands like Vibes, Psychic Reality, and LA Vampires. It works together into a record that feels reverent to the past, but not precious enough not to get caught up in recreating anything with any air of accuracy. More than anything, Do The Duvet feels like a few friends having fun and working out a kind of crash-house soundtrack that’s fun and frivolous. It’s not aspiring to knock the moorings out of the world, but sometimes just bringing people together and vibing is a political act.




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Sweeping Promises

Been sitting with the debut from Boston’s Sweeping Promises for a few weeks now and the record only endears itself harder with each listen. The band’s set the record up to neatly echo a lost generation of punk, post-punk, and New Wave, threading a rhythmic urgency, fluorescent keys, and the velvet right hook of Lira Mondal’s vocals through the speakers. The band recorded the whole LP live to a single mic in the room, which seems like it would flatten things to a lo-fi lump. Yet, while this is by no means a polished album, they use the austerity to their advantage, letting memories of no-frills punk like Kleenex, The Germs, or The Slits act as a blueprint here. Hunger For a Way Out in turn feels like the sonic equivalent of a xeroxed show flyer — instantly inviting, vibrant, and urgent, but not overwrought in any way. They drop into the ranks of newer DIY punks who’ve found space to play within the classic sounds, making it clear that they’re picking up the baton and running forward rather than retreading. Fans of Lithics, Shopping, or Primo, will find a lot to love here.

As I mentioned in my write-up of the band’s single “Falling Forward,” one of the things that really makes the record work are the vocals from Mondal. Despite the rudimentary recording setup, the band’s able to let her voice flex over the top of the elastic energy bubbling below her. Its a shaded delivery, not going into the obvious yelp or affecting the flat delivery that post-punk so often produces. She can attack when needed, letting that high crack fit the fury, but there’s a good amount of Debbie Harry in the DNA here, if only Blondie had gotten wirier rather than more polished in their tenure. Not a lot of debuts drop out this fully formed, and while there’s clearly room to see if the band can apply polish and retain the percolating pulse that Hunger possesses, there’s also a little hope that they retain this ragged glory forever.





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The Red Lights – S/T

It’s always nice to get a little more context on rock’s mythical figures. For some, The Gun Club looms large as a totem of punk that refused to fit the format and hew towards any set of agreed upon standards. Their 1980 debut is often seen as the match strike for Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s career, but the unearthing of these demos from The Red Lights give just a touch of context and background to his songwriting. Pierce was West Coast based at the time and writing for Slash Magazine — enamored with reggae and helming a Blondie fan club. With reggae’s looseness and power pop’s pulse he began writing songs and opening some gigs at The Whisky. The Arena, and The Rock Corporation. The five songs here are a far cry from the sweaty, possessed visions of The Gun Club, but Pierce’s persona still comes rippling through.

With an earnest approach that lets all the light of power pop into the picture and occasionally at white reggae bounce that would make even The Police blush, he sketches out the start of a career that would get much deeper and darker quite soon. The voice is undoubtedly the focus. It’s raw, but its Pierce finding his bearings and getting ready to rip a punk hole into blues for us all to enjoy. Lovely to have this archival EP out into the world. Probably one for the collector’s but any punk upstart would do well to see how a career gets going. Split pressing here between In The Red and Spacecase.



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Osees – “Dreary Nonsense”

What kind of year would it be if there wasn’t a new Oh Sees (now it’s Osees, I guess) on the horizon? I wouldn’t know what to do. The tides would be off. At the very least, the axis would slip a few degrees on the ball of dirt and water we ride through the cosmos. The band’s latest, Protean Threat is preceded by the short, but cratered track “Dreary Nonsense.” The cut bursts out of the barrel with a full force blow of guitar and a squirm of keys that’s constantly crushed into new and more uncomfortable positions over the course of the track’s brief tenure on your speakers. It shies away from light, bears its fangs and leaves a light laceration before retreating into the walls of weird once more. From the sounds of things the new LP is bound to let even more blood than they do here. Check out a rehearsal for the LP captured live at Zebulon in March. Protean Threat is out September 18th, naturally from Castleface.




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