Featured Release Roundup: April 5, 2018

Impotentie: Demonstratieve Opnamens 7” (Drunken Sailor) It’s not often that I listen to a new band and think “what the hell IS this?,” and far less often when said puzzling band is identifiably punk. Montreal’s Impotentie is, indeed, identifiably punk, but it’s punk like nothing I’ve ever really heard before. There are elements of things I know: the claustrophobic, straight-into-the-board guitar sound recalls obscure KBD and euro-punk (particularly when the lead overdubs come in super loud), the singer is somewhere between a hardcore barker and the intimidating shouts of Metal Urbain or the Screamers, and some parts sound like a band playing extremely loose and slightly out of tune Warsaw covers. However, it all adds up to something that is utterly singular. Maybe this is what early Zounds would have sounded like if they did acid all of the time? Really, I think Jonah Falco’s description says it all: “It's the sound of a greyly lit kitchen in some nothing town with pitched roofs and gables, the smell of stale cigars and vinegar and the taste of meat in a tube on moist bread with watery coffee.” More than recalling any particular era of punk, Impotentie capture a real vibe here, and it’s bleak and dour, but with moments that are distinctly beautiful. A very special record that I recommend highly to anyone who values originality in their punk.

The Fritz: S/T 12” (Drunken Sailor) Debut 12” from this Chicago-area band that boasts members of both CCTV and Liquids as well as a bunch of more hardcore-ish bands. The Liquids connection particularly makes sense because the Fritz have a similar way of bouncing back and forth between hardcore and more song-oriented styles, though the Fritz don’t ever get straight up poppy in the way that Liquids sometimes does. There’s also a distinct rock n roll element to the riffing, which brings to mind a number of different 90s garage-punk bands like the Rip Offs, Teengenerate, or even New Bomb Turks. Like all three of those bands, the Fritz straight up rip in the manner of a hardcore band, but at the same time they seem to be reaching backward to an earlier, even more primal era of rock and roll. And of course the production is piss raw in all of the right ways. I don’t know if the Fritz is going to blow up like Coneheads or Liquids because they don’t put the melodies right at the forefront like those bands do, but if you like your punk raw, ripping, and riffy listening to this record will be just as lovely as having your back scratched in exactly the right spot.

Preening: Greasetrap Frisbee 7” (Ever/Never) Latest 7” from this Oakland-based punk / no wave group. I really like Preening a lot, as they seem to have so much to say… as the label’s description indicates, everything that I’ve heard from them is just bursting with ideas, like they’re trying to cram an entire album’s worth of music into every single song. That can be disorienting if you just want to pump your fist and sing along, but if you like complex music that is intricately composed (or at least intricately improvised) with parts weaving across, between, into, etc., one another this is going to be right up your alley. One of the things I love about No Wave is that it’s more of a conceptual framework than an actual music genre, so the pallet of sounds available is theoretically unlimited, and Preening take full advantage of that… there are bits that recall the danceable new wave of Gang of Four (or newer bands like Shopping), the skronk of outsider jazz, and even a few moments that are pretty straightforwardly punk. However, none of these moments stick around long enough to get stale, and it always feels like the band is pushing forward, trying to do something as interesting and exciting as possible. If you’re looking for pop songs then skip this one over, but if you like your punk wild and skronking this is highly recommended.

No Babies: Someone to Watch Over Me 12” (Upset the Rhythm) Latest 12” from this Bay Area no wave / punk band (oddly enough I just wrote a description for the new Preening 7”, so it’s a good week for Bay Area no wave fans!), and it’s a wild ride. Musically, No Babies sit somewhere in the area where no wave, avant-prog, and hardcore overlap… there are elements of all three styles in the band’s sound, but it feels like an organic combination rather than a superficial pastiche. From no wave you get the cacaphonous arrangements, with instruments playing wildly clashing melodic lines that still stick to a coherent—and occasionally even danceable—rhythm… it’s the musical equivalent of a chaotic Jackson Pollack canvas done in wildly clashing colors. From avant-prog (I’m thinking of bands like the Flying Luttenbachers) you get the incredibly intricate compositions, like you gave King Crimson an entire month’s prescription of adderall and forced them to play their complex compositions at hardcore tempos. And from hardcore, obviously you get said blistering tempos, but also a confrontational, aggressive attitude that finds the band lurching, lunging, and careening with the deft power of Damaged-era Black Flag. The musicianship is uniformly incredible, to the point where I find it kind of amazing that the musicians can even remember these compositions, much less play them all together at such crazy tempos. I also have to point out that the vocals here are particularly exciting (BTW said vocals are handled by Jasmine Watson, who you may know from Torso, Neo-Cons, and numerous other bands), not just punctuating the songs with rhythmic shouts (which is an approach No Babies certainly could have gotten away with), but creating rhythmic and melodic lines that are just as complex and exciting as anything the other players are doing. Someone to Watch Over Me is a real adrenaline rush of a record, and while I’m sure it’ll be too much for a lot of people out there I find every second absolutely gripping.

The Child Molesters: (I’m the) Hillside Strangler 7” (Meat House) The debut release on Meat House Records is an official reissue of this well-known KBD gem… the a-side was comped on Killed by Death volume 1 while the b-side was on volume 2, so there’s a pretty good case for them being the ultimate KBD band. Anyway, “Hillside Strangler” is pretty much what you’re looking for if you’re into raw KBD punk… lyrics about serial killers, music that sounds like an inept MC5, and production straight out of the bargain basement… it really has it all. And of course if that’s not “out there” enough for you there’s always the b-side, which is a Yoko Ono cover (!!!). You probably know both of the tracks, so I’ll just say that this reissue is all class (good sound and hand “blood” splatter on the sleeve just like the original) and that 90s (bootleg?) pressing is even going for $$$ on Discogs so ditch your copy there, pick up this version, and then go to dinner at Applebees with the money you have left over. Jalapeno poppers! Yum!

All New Arrivals

Amen Dunes: Freedom 12" (Sacred Bones)
Silent Era: O Horizon 12" (Last Hour)
Broken Spirit: Vultures and Pigs 12" (Last Hour)
Los Saicos: Wild Teen Punk from Peru 1965 cassette (Discos MMM)
Artcore #37 with Toxic Reasons: No Pity 7" (Artcore)
Minor Threat: '82 Live 12" (euro import)
Chrome Skulls: 6 Hits from Hell cassette (self-released)
Mueco: Mindless Instinct 12" (Konton Crasher)
Dissober / Honnor SS: Split 7" (Konton Crasher)
Blystex: Somos Salvajes cassette (self-released)
Dream Probe: Demo Coleccion 7" (Alonas Dream)
Evel Knievel Rice: Mr. Grover's Room 7" (Alonas Dream)
Silver Abuse: Consider The Pigeon 12" (Alonas Dream)
The Escavels: You Should Know 7" (Alonas Dream)
The Griffith Harter Union: Progress 7" (Alonas Dream)
Barb's Child: S/T 12" (Glued To The Genre)
Preening: Greasetrap Frisbee 7" (Ever/Never)
Leather Jacuzzi: The Whole Hog 12" (Danger)
PMS: S/T 7" (Danger)
Boris Dzanek: In His Own Words 12" (Danger)
Decemberists: I'll Be Your Girl 12" (Capitol)
Etta James: At Last 12" (WaxTime)
Thelonious Monk: Monk's Dream 12" (Southern Lord)
The Dark: Demons 7" (Darker Records)
Eagle Twin: The Thundering Heard 12" (new)
Zeke: Hellbender 12" (Relapse)
Sammal: Suuliekki 12" (Svart)
Giuda: Rock N Roll Music 7" (Rise Above)
Various: Musique Experimentale 12" (Finders Keepers)
Corrupted: Felicific 12" (Cold Spring)
Various: Cronica Tecnica 12" (Geometrik)
Nebula: Dos EPs 12" (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Various: Spiritual Jazz 8: Japan Part 1 12" (Jazz Records Limited)
Various: Spiritual Jazz 8: Japan Part 2 12" (Jazz Records Limited)
Brainticket: Psychonaut 12" (Lilith)
Brainticket: Cottonwood 12" (Lilith)
Various: Italia New Wave 12" (Spittle)
Various: Italia Synthetica 12" (Spittle)
No Babies: Someone to Watch 12" (Upset The Rhythm)
Lightnin' Hopkins: S/T 12" (Wax Love)
John Lee Hooker: The Great 12" (Wax Love)


La Urss: Maravillas 12" (Discos MMM)
Big Black: Songs About Fucking 12" (Touch & Go)
Neil Young: Harvest Moon 12" (Reprise)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists 12" (Constellation)
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight 12" (Sub Pop)
Hot Snakes: Jericho Sirens 12" (Sub Pop)
Sleater-Kinney: Call the Doctor 12" (Sub Pop)
Black Sabbath: S/T 12" (Warner Bros)
Green Day: Insomniac 12" (Reprise)
Green Day: Dookie 12" (Reprise)
Green Day: Nimrod 12" (Reprise)
Led Zeppelin: II 12" (Atlantic)
Swell Maps: Jane from Occupied Europe 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die 12" (Rhino)
The Cure: The Head on the Door 12" (Rhino)
The Cure: Disintegration 12" (Rhino)
Ramones: S/T 12" (Rhino)
The Pixies: Doolittle 12" (4AD)
David Bowie: Diamond Dogs 12" (Parlophone)
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust 12" (Parlophone)
Motorhead: Ace of Spades 12" (Sanctuary)
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea 12" (Merge)
The Scientists: S/T 12" (Numero Group)
Earthless: Black Heaven 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (mono) 12" (Capitol)
Arcade Fire: Funeral 12" (Sony Legacy)
Brian Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain 12" (Astralwerks)
Brian Eno: Another Green World 12" (Astralwerks)
Beyonce: Lemonade 12" (Sony)
Voivod: Rrrrooooaaar 12" (Noise)
Voivod: Dimension Hatross 12" (Noise)
Khalid: American Teen 12" (RCA)
Weezer: The Blue Album 12" (Geffen)
Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill 12" (Def Jam)
Twenty One Pilots: Blurryface 12" (Fueled By Ramen)
Nick Drake: Pink Moon 12" (Island)
Alice in Chains: Dirt 12" (Music on Vinyl)
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black 12" (Island)
Kanye West: College Dropout 12" (Roc-A-Fella Records)
Snoop Dogg: Doggstyle 12" (Death Row)
Tool: Opiate 12" (BMG)
Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire 12" (Epic)
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) 12" (RCA)
Misfits: Collection 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Collection II 12" (Caroline)
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain 12" (Westbound)
Autopsy: Critical Madness: The Demo Years 12" (Peaceville)
Bjork: Vulnicura 12" (One Little Indian)
The Black Keys: Thickfreakness 12" (Fat Possum)
Brand New: Deja Entendu 12" (Triple Crown)
Master: S/T 12" (Hammerheart)
Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West 12" (Glacial Place)
Power Trip: Manifest Decimation 12" (Southern Lord)
Power Trip: Nightmare Logic 12" (Southern Lord)
Propagandhi: Less Talk, More Rock 12" (Fat Wreck Chords)
Run the Jewels: S/T 12" (Mass Appeal)
Run the Jewels: RTJ 3 12" (Mass Appeal)
Taake: Kong Vinter 12" (Karisma)
Windhand / Satan's Satyrs: Split 12" (Relapse)
Baroness: Blue Record 12" (Relapse)

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