Featured Release Roundup: June 21, 2017

Can: The Singles 12” (Spoon) I’ve you’ve been paying attention to my writings over the past few months, then you already know that I’ve been on a pretty big Krautrock kick, but I think that the thing I like so much about this singles collection from Can is that it really casts their music in a totally different light than what I’m used to. In the last volume of the All Things to All People blog I wrote about how all of these Krautrock bands that I’ve been discovering put me into a different mode of listening, allowing me to enjoy songs that are longer and have a wider, more cinematic scope. That’s definitely true of Can’s classic albums, but that isn’t really the Can that you get on The Singles. While there are a handful of rare non-LP tracks (the most noteworthy being the excellent “Turtles Have Short Legs”), for the most part what is collected here are 7” single edits of songs that appear in longer, more fully-realized versions on Can’s albums. You would think that this would completely neuter Can’s power, but what it actually does is reveal that there are great little pop songs sitting at the core of Can’s extended psychedelic jams. If listening to albums like Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi is like watching an old French film, then listening to The Singles is like a highly-compressed montage, and an incredibly enjoyable one at that. The joy of listening to these tracks is only enhanced by the absolutely stunning physical product that they have put together. The jacket is beautifully-designed with a stylish spot-gloss finish (and the inner gatefold is even more beautiful), and these LPs sound GREAT, with deep, full bass and punchy drums that actually match the clarity and power of the original pressings (something I can say about a very, very small percentage of current reissues). Like the record that got me into Can, Cannibalism, The Singles is a great entry point if you’re curious about the band but haven’t really checked them out before, and if you’re already a fan it exhibits a side of the band that most of us haven’t really engaged with before.

Niku-Dan: S/T 12” (Fan Club) Fan club release from this obscure Japanese punk band from the early 80s. Despite the fact that they had several releases during their life as a band (including a split 8” with the great Japanese band Gas) I hadn’t really spent much time with them before, which ultimately made this LP hit with even more impact than it would have otherwise. While their releases came out in 1983 and 1984, Niku-Dan’s sound was much more grounded in 70s punk, and at times they bear an almost uncanny resemblance to the Stalin circa Trash and Stop Jap. While they don’t have any songs that rise to the anthemic level of the Stalin’s best tracks, they have a similar combination of speed and power, and the clear and punchy production (which, again, reminds me of the Stalin) makes this a real treat to listen to. Like the recent Sexual fan club release that popped up, this looks and sounds great (it’s almost certainly sourced from the official CD reissue, given that the insert is a scan of the CD booklet, staples and all), and if you’re fascinated with the 80s Japanese punk scene I wouldn’t hesitate to call it an essential purchase.

Skull Cult: Vol. One and Vol. Two 7” (Erste Theke Tonträger) Another gem from the fertile Indiana scene, and if you like stuff like Coneheads, CCTV, and Liquids it’s probably more or less a given that you’ll be into this as well. Skull Cult have elements of a lot those bands’ sounds as well as some of their own tricks. The claustrophobic, direct-in-the-board guitar sound and manic rhythms remind me of Coneheads and the big melodies paired with hardcore tempos reminds me of Liquids, but Skull Cult’s 60s-sounding synth work (which often sounds kind of like a farfisa organ) is all their own, as are the almost demonic screamed vocals (which, despite their harshness, manage to carry more than a little bit of melody). I’m kind of amazed that they managed to cram so much music on this 7”—it could have been pressed as a 12” and I doubt that anyone would have batted an eye—but the value you for money that you get here makes this record feel weightier and even more worthwhile than it would have otherwise, and personally I find the listening experience of vinyl a lot more pleasurable than shuffling out a couple of short tapes. Throw in some downright iconic cover artwork and you have a real standout EP… grab this one now before it becomes another one of those things with shocking Discogs price tags.

Liquids: More than a Friend 7” (Drunken Sailor) So, this latest 3-song EP was originally released on Drunken Sailor Records in a criminally small edition of 111 copies on gold vinyl, which was only available through the Drunken Sailor store, and of course sold out basically instantly. While they originally made it sound like that was going to be it, thankfully they’ve repressed another, probably still too small, edition of 390 copies on black vinyl that we were able to get a few copies of. I still listen to Hot Liqs regularly, but anyone who follows Liquids knows that they have some total gems scattered across highly limited, hard to find releases, and More than a Friend contains some of their best stuff. The title track in particular is an absolute scorcher… it sounds like a long-lost gem from the Lookout! Records catalog, though it’s also noisier and more aggressive than just about anything else I can think of on that label, and the melodies might even be better too. Seriously, this track is right up there with early Green Day in the way that it seamlessly melds punk rock with a delicate pop sensibility. If you like Liquids, you simply need this song, no two ways about it. As for the two tracks on the flip, while they’re not quite on the level of “More than a Friend” (which is, frankly, a band-defining song, though Liquids have a few of those under their belt), they’re as strong as any other Liquids track and you won’t have any problems wearing out that side of the record as well.

Hyena: demo cassette (Scavenger of Death) 7-song demo from this new hardcore band from Atlanta, which features most of the lineup of Sorry State’s own Bukkake Boys. While Hyena more or less picks up right where Bukkake Boys left off (though thankfully without a name that makes us wince!), there are some subtle differences in their sound. The basic framework is still heavy, full-bore hardcore that lies somewhere in the fertile ground between mid-period Poison Idea records like War All the Time and Kings of Punk and more Discharge-inspired stuff like Anti-Cimex’s first 12”. Like Bukkake Boys, Hyena is also elevated by absolutely brilliant drumming… Corey is one of my favorite hardcore drummers, and I couldn’t be more stoked to hear his distinctive and crushingly powerful beats behind a new band. Hyena do have a different guitarist than Bukkake Boys, though, and he peppers a couple of these tracks with blistering leads that push Hyena more in the direction of classic-sounding Japanese hardcore, but with the slight looseness and power of the aforementioned bands. If you’re into the kind of hardcore bands that Sorry State has put out in the past, this is pretty much a no-brainer. Highly recommended.

The Scam: Everything Ends in Rot 7” (Antitodo) Reissue of this excellent 1986 7” from New Hampshire’s the Scam on Spain’s Antitodo Records, which has been digging up quite a few interesting USHC obscurities as of late. The Scam were ripe for the picking, because while I imagine that their metal-tinged hardcore might have sounded a little bit de rigeur in 1986, nowadays it’s easy to appreciate the uniquely sinister vibe of this one. Basically, it sounds to me like the Scam’s music is informed in equal parts by early 80s SoCal punk like the Adolescents and TSOL, the more punk end of Death Rock (particularly the first Christian Death LP and maybe Samhain) and a touch of crossover / thrash (a la Animosity-era COC). I can’t think of another band that sits in this spot of the venn diagram, which is particularly impressive because they tend to adopt the best parts of each of those genres, namely the catchiness of SoCal punk, the spooky atmosphere of death rock and the musical sophistication / precision of thrash. Vibe-wise, the closest comparison I can make is some moments of United Mutation. While it’s not exactly like that, I think that it’s a safe bet that if you’re into those kind of “outsider” early 80s bands with a really unique vibe—UM, Mecht Mensch, Spike in Vain, Power of the Spoken Word, Die Kreuzen—you’ll flip out for this one. Highly recommended.

Violence Creeps: Ease the Seed Bag 7” (Drunken Sailor) Brand new 4-songer from this San Francisco-area band who have been a Sorry State favorite for a while now. You get four songs here, three of which you may already know, including an alternate version of their cover of Soft Cell’s “Sex Dwarf,” which originally appeared on their 12” EP on Total Punk (which, IMHO at least, remains THEE Violence Creeps record to get). While Ease the Seed Bag lacks the unity of sound and vision that some of Violence Creeps’ other releases have had, what it lacks in unity it makes up for with the strength of the songs themselves, as this EP collects some of the band’s most memorable moments. Too musical to be no wave but too musically confrontational to really be called straightforward punk, Violence Creeps have the same kind of stance as bands like Flipper, No Trend, and Public Image Ltd., and like those bands at their very best Violence Creeps have a way of wrenching jagged but memorable melodies out of the chaos. Keeping up with this prolific band’s bulging discography can be tough, but the rewards make it well worth it.

Tarantula: S/T 7” (Lengua Armada) Since, as of this writing, we’re already sold out of this EP and whether we can get a restock is very much TBD I won’t spend too much time raving about it, but I had to go on record as noting that this is definitely one of the best punk records that 2017 has offered us so far. I’m sure you know by now that Tarantula features a number of former Cülo members among their ranks and pretty much pick up right where Cülo left off, but honestly I think that this EP is better than anything Cülo produced, and I’m a pretty big Cülo fan! It’s funny, I mentioned to Jeff that for a band that didn’t even have a bass player in their previous iteration, the basslines on this EP are absolutely killer, and without a doubt one of the bright spots in the songs. The other reason I prefer this somewhat to Cülo is because they’ve slowed the tempos down just a hair. While this is still pretty much full-bore punk rock, playing at just a tad less manic tempo really makes the catchiness of these tracks jump out at you. I feel like I hear a lot of the classic punk sensibility of bands like the Dickies or even prime-era Naked Raygun in these tracks, though without sounding like a rehash or an homage at all. The lyrics are even really strong and well worth a read. Here’s hoping that we get a spate of Tarantula releases much like the deluge of Cülo vinyl that we saw in 2010 and 2011 and that they’re all as killer as this one.

Paranoid: Praise No Deity 7” (Konton Crasher) My favorite d-beat band in the world, Sweden’s Paranoid, grace us with another 3-track opus! Why are Paranoid my favorite d-beat band? Well, that’s a really hard thing to put my finger on. I think that ultimately what I like about them is that they have perfect balance of purism and progressivism. When you’re making the self-conscious choice to play a genre like d-beat with relatively tight formal constraints you need to find a way to honor what makes the genre great without simply rehashing, and Paranoid consistently manage to do that. The a-side (I won’t type out song titles because they’re all written in Japanese on the sleeve) is the centerpiece, and uses some of the same chords as Celtic Frost’s “Into Crypts of Rays,” which Paranoid actually covered on their excellent, highly recommended covers album. As the track listing for that covers album hints, Paranoid have more than a little bit of metal in their DNA, and this track achieves that perfect balance between Celtic Frost’s neanderthal chug and the almost breezy quality of first 12”-era Anti-Cimex. The b-side’s 2 tracks both exhibit slightly different sides of the band, the 1st track being a little rawer and nastier (sounding more like the Anti-Cimex 7”s, but with more modern production) and the second one is slightly (I mean really slightly) more technical with more complex changes than your typical d-beat track. I imagine that a lay person would probably throw this on and think “just another d-beat record,” but if you’ve spent some time listening to the genre closely and you have the background knowledge to appreciate what Paranoid is doing, then there isn’t a current band that does a better job of keeping this rich tradition alive.

All New Arrivals
Pierre Et Bastien: Musique Grecque 12" (SDZ)
Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James McAlister: Planetarium 12" (4AD)
Terror: The Walls Will Fall 7" (Pure Noise)
Kreator: Pleasure to Kill 12" (Noise)
Kreator: Terrible Certainty 12" (Noise)
Kreator: Endless Pain 12" (Noise)
Kreator: Extreme Aggression 12" (Noise)
Big Thief: Capacity 12" (Saddle Creek)
David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust 12" (gold vinyl; Parlophone)
The Drums: Abysmal Thoughts 12" (Anti)
Mattin: Songbook #6 12" (Munster)
JJ Doom: Bookhead EP 12" (Lex)
Can: The Singles 12" (Spoon)
Fleet Foxes: Crack-up 12" (Sub Pop)
John Coltrane: Ole Coltrane 12" (Org Music)
John Coltrane: Giant Steps 12" (Org Music)
John Coltrane & Don Cherry: The Avant-Garde 12" (Org Music)
Past: Czarno / Biala 12" (???)
Spodee Boy: Sterile World 7" (Drop Medium)
Datenight: Sonic Youth 18 Years On Earth cassette (Drop Medium)
Datenight: Datenight Does Dallas cassette (Drop Medium)
Allvaret: Skam Och Skuld 12" (Erste Theke Tontraeger)
Muff Divers: No Muff Too Tuff 7" (Erste Theke Tontraeger)
Skull Cult: Vol 1 + Vol 2 7" (Erste Theke Tontraeger)
Self Abuse: (I Didn't Wanna Be a) Soldier 7" (Antitodo)
The Scam: Everything Ends in Rot 7" (Antitodo)
Tarantula: S/T 7" (Lengua Armada)
Venenum: Trance of Death 12" (Ajna Offensive)
Niku-Dan: S/T 12" (Euro Import)
John Coltrane & Wilbur Harden: Tanganyika Strut 12" (Superior Viaduct)
Relatively Clean Rivers: S/T 12" (Phoenix)
Brian Jonestown Massacre: Bravery, Repetition and Noise 12" (A Recordings)
Albert Ayler: Prophecy 12" (ESP Disk)
Ball: S/T 12" (Horny)
Golem: Orion Awakens 12" (Mental Experience)
Teenage Filmstars: (There's a) Cloud Over Liverpool 12" (Munster)
Generation X: Sweet Revenge 12" (Munster)
Alex Chilton: Take Me Home and Make Me Like It 12" (Munster)
Bruce Haack: The Electric Lucifer 12" (Telephone Explosion)
Reality Group: Demo 2016 cassette (Electric Heat)
Xertz: Demo 2017 cassette (Electric Heat)
The Sexual: Discography 12" (Euro Import)
Disorder: Human Cargo 12" (Rest in Punk)
Negazione: 1983: Pre-Early Days 12" (Disforia)
Ash Ra Tempel: High and Mighty Priestess 12" (Euro Import)
Ash Ra Tempel: Join Inn 12" (Euro Import)
Ash Ra Tempel: Schwingungen 12" (Euro Import)
Ash Ra Tempel: First Album 12" (Euro Import)
My Bloody Valentine: Loveless 12" (Euro Import)
GG Allin & the Jabbers: 80s Rock N Roll: The Singles 12" (Euro Import)
Misfits: 12 Hits from Hell: The MSP Sessions 12" (Euro Import)
Science Project: Basement Blues 7" (Neck Chop)
Process of Elimination: S/T 7" (Neck Chop)
Paranoid: Praise No Deity 7" (Konton Crasher)
Svaveldioxid: Ändlös Mardröm 12" (Konton Crasher)
Utanforskapet: S/T 12" (Konton Crasher)
Necrot: Blood Offerings 12" (Tankcrimes)
Fucked Up: Year of the Snake 12" (Tankcrimes)
Connoisseur: Over the Edge 12" (Tankcrimes)
Fuck You Pay Me: Dumbed Down 12" (Tankcrimes)
Deny the Cross: Alpha Ghoul 12" (Tankcrimes)
Victims: Sirens 12" (Tankcrimes)
Vivisick: Nuked Identity 12" (Tankcrimes)
Connoisseur: Stoner Justice 12" (Tankcrimes)
The Shrine: Waiting for the War 12" (Tankcrimes)
Brainoil: S/T 12" (Tankcrimes)
Exhumed / Iron Reagan: Split 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul / Cannabis Corpse: Splatterhash 12" (Tankcrimes)
Municipal Waste / Toxic Holocaust: Toxic Waste 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: Wall of Death 7" (Tankcrimesew)
Cliterati: S/T 7" (Tankcrimes)
Annihilation Time: Cosmic Unconsciousness 7" (Tankcrimes)
Hyena: demo cassette (Scavenger of Death)
Danzig: Black Laden Crown 12" (Nuclear Blast)
Iced Earth: Incorruptible 12" (Century Media)
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound 12" (Southeastern)
Ataxxia: Demo cassette (self-released)
Mutoid Man: War Moans 12" (Sargent House)
Ride: Weather Diaries 12" (Wichita)
Piece War: Apathy 12" (Square One Again)
Various: Bingo!: French Punk Exploitation 1978-1981 12" (Born Bad)
Wicked Lady: The Axeman Cometh 12" (Guersson)
Wicked Lady: Psychotic Overkill 12" (Guersson)
MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday 12" (Metal Face)
Disfear: Misanthropic Generation 12" (La Familia)
Conflict: The Ungovernable Force 12" (Hätääpu)
Conflict: It's Time to See Who's Who 12" (Hätääpu)
Inferno: Anti Hagenbach Tape 12" (Power It Up)
The American Epic Sessions OST 12" (Third Man)
The Monks: Hamburg Recordings 1967 12" (Third Man)
Songs: Ohia: S/T 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Songs: Ohia: Axxess & Ace 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Jason Molina: Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Broken Hope: Mutilated 12" (Century Media)
Dying Fetus: Wrong One to Fuck With 12" (Relapse)
Ex Eye: S/T 12" (Relapse)
Tyrannosorceress: Shattering Light's Creation 12" (Tofu Carnage)
Helmet: Meantime 12" (Interscope)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Murder of the Universe 12" (Castle Face)
Raincoats: S/T 12" (We Three)
Iron Maiden: Brave New World 12" (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden: A Matter of Life and Death 12" (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden: Dance of Death 12" (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden: Rock in Rio 12" (Sanctuary)
Jeff Tweedy: Together at Last 12" (Anti-)
David Bowie: Hunky Dory 12" (gold vinyl; Parlophone)
Piss: II 7" (Static Age)
Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain 12" (picture disc; Warner Bros)
Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain 12" (remastered; Warner Bros)
Tigers Jaw: Spin 12" (Atlantic)
Carach Angren: Dance and Laugh Among the Rotten 12" (Season of Mist)
Immortal: Diabolical Fullmoon 12" (Osmose)
Municipal Waste: Slime and Punishment 12" (Nuclear Blast)

Baroness: Blue 12" (Relapse)
Baroness: Yellow and Green 12" (Relapse)
Brand New: I Am a Nightmare 12" (Pmtraitors)
Death: Human 12" (Relapse)
Death: Scream Bloody Gore 12" (Relapse)
Death: Spiritual Healing 12" (Relapse)
Geto Boys: S/T 12" (Rap-a-lot)
Geto Boys: We Can't Be Stopped 12" (Rap-a-lot)
Joey Bada$$: All Amerikkkan Bada$$ 12" (Cinematic)
King Diamond: Conspiracy 12" (Metal Blade)
Modest Mouse: This Is a Long Drive 12" (Glacial Pace)
NOFX: The Decline 12" (Fat Wreck)
Jay Reatard: Blood Visions 12" (Fat Possum)
Royal Headache: S/T 12" (What's Your Rupture)
Run the Jewels: S/T 12" (Mass Appeal)
Run the Jewels: 2 12" (Mass Appeal)
Run the Jewels: 3 12" (Mass Appeal)
Slayer: Show No Mercy 12" (Metal Blade)
Swans: Filth 12" (Young God)
Urchin: How to Make Napalm 7" (Roach Leg)
The Coneheads: 14 Year Old High School PC-Fascist Hype Lords 12" (Erste Theke Tontraeger)
Dystopia: Human=Garbage 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: Dungeon Bastards 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: Transmission Zero 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: Maniaxe 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: We Came for the Dead 12" (Tankcrimes)
Ghoul: Hang Ten 10" (Tankcrimes)
Fucked Up: Year of the Dragon 12" (Tankcrimes)
Death Cab for Cutie: Transatlanticism 12" (Barsuk)
Downtown Boys: Full Communism 12" (Don Giovanni)
Elliott Smith: S/T 12" (Kill Rock Stars)
Elliott Smith: Either/Or 12" (Kill Rock Stars)
Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition 12" (Warp)
Alice Coltrane: World Spirituality Classics Vol 1 12" (Luaka Bop)
Led Zeppelin: I 12" (Atlantic)
Metallica: Kill 'em All 12" (Blackened)
Radiohead: Kid A 12" (XL)
David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World 12" (Parlophone)
The Cure: Three Imaginary Boys 12" (Rhino)
The Replacements: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash 12" (Rhino)
David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust 12" (Parlophone)
Green Day: Kerplunk! 12" (Reprise)
Operation Ivy: Energy 12" (Epitaph)
David Bowie: Hunky Dory 12" (Parlophone)
Motorhead: Ace of Spades 12" (Sanctuary)
Jay Reatard: Watch Me Fall 12" (Matador)
The Cure: Disintegration 12" (Rhino)
Metallica: Master of Puppets 12" (Blackened)
The Replacements: Let It Be 12" (Rhino)
Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool 12" (XL)
Nirvana: Bleach 12" (Sub Pop)
Metallica: Ride the Lightning 12" (Blackened)
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures 12" (Rhino)
In School: Cement Fucker 7" (Thrilling Living)
Blitz: Voice of a Generation 12" (Radiation)
Broken Bones: A Single Decade 12" (Havoc)
Chaos UK: The Singles 12" (Radiation)
Dezerter: Underground Out of Poland 12" (Nikt Nic Nie Wie)
Discharge: Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing 12" (Havoc)
Discharge; Why 12" (Havoc)
Discharge: Realities of War 7" (Havoc)
Discharge: Decontrol 7" (Havoc)
Discharge: Fight Back 7" (Havoc)
Discharge: Never Again 7" (Havoc)
Discharge: State Violence, State Control 7" (Havoc)
Extreme Noise Terror: Phonophobia 12" (Agipunk)
Sacrilege: Time to Face the Reaper 12" (Havoc)
Jack White: Blunderbuss 12" (Third Man)
The Melvins: Houdini 12" (Third Man)
The White Stripes: S/T 12" (Third Man)
The White Stripes: White Blood Cells 12" (Third Man)
The White Stripes: Get Behind Me Satan 12" (Third Man)
The White Stripes: Elephant 12" (Third Man)
Zero Boys: Vicious Circle 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Zero Boys: History of 12" (Secretly Canadian)
Die Kreuzen: S/T 12" (Touch & Go)
Big Black: Bulldozer 12" (Touch & Go)
Big Black: Atomizer 12" (Touch & Go)
The Fix: At the Speed of Twisted Thought 12" (Touch & Go)
Negative Approach: S/T 7" (Touch & Go)
Husker Du: Zen Arcade 12" (SST)
Beastie Boys: Hello Nasty 12" (Capitol)
Death: Leprosy 12" (Relapse)
Funkadelic: Free Your Mind 12" (Three Men with Beards)
Funkadelic: S/T 12" (Three Men with Beards)
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain 12" (Three Men with Beards)
Misfits: Collection 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Legacy of Brutality 12" (Caroline)
Misfits: Static Age 12" (Caroline)
New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon 12" (Mecury)
Pearl Jam: Vitalogy 12" (Sony)
Velvet Underground & Nico: S/T 12" (Vinyl Lovers)
Weezer: Pinkerton 12" (Geffen)

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