Sunday, September 13, 2009

Antiquarian Listening Post

What's been on my turntable of late. This excludes any new releases, of course.

September 13, 2010
CLANNAD - Dulaman LP (Shanachie) 1979
When I usually listen to Irish folk music, it is often of a more rollicking nature (Planxty, Cheiftains, Dubliners etc). This album however stands up pretty damn good and serves as a reminder of the good old days before they achieved elevated commercial success in the eighties. Beautiful melodic vocals and top notch tunes steeped in history, melancholy and joy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

TWELVE OF INCHES WAX 2009 alphabetical

Botox Rats - Modern Caesars LP (Meaty Beaty)Who are these guys? Coming out of the gate like a spunky stallion, this UK outfit deliver great trashy fun. The vocalist sneers like the bastard child of Johnny Rotten and Ten Pole Tudor while the guitars are catchy as hell bringing to mind the Dolls and the Pistols (naturally).
The songs are instantly hummable with lots of hooks, efficient lead guitar, tambourines, piano and hand claps. The lyrics, dealing with the decadent side of life, are the only weak link to this otherwise great record. The subject matter does not offend but seems run of the mill and gets a little tedious at times. Still, the natural swagger and infectious vibe easily outweigh this minor complaint.
This is the best glam punk release in recent memory and is recommended for your next reckless weekend drinking party. We hope to hear more from these lads soon. (RA)

Flamin Groovies - Flamingo LP (Norton/Sony)
The Groovies are a band whose recorded output should be put into historical context to be fully understood. The year was 1970 and this San Francisco band was definitely going against the grain in the city of brotherly love. Having been dropped by their previous label Epic due to their debut album Supersnazz selling poorly, these boys remained steadfast and true to their convictions and delivered another album of pure unfiltered rock and roll inspired by 1950's originators as well as the British beat groups of the sixties. This idealism did not exactly lead the way to the pop charts nor did it endear them to the majority of the youth who were tasting various mutations of the rock and roll genre. Their energetic stripped down performances did however garner them a devoted cult following that they still enjoy to this day. From start to finish, this record is an anomaly in comparison to the output of their contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Deep Purple and fellow SF denizens the Grateful Dead. The closest thing that comes to mind is Back In The USA (1970) by the MC5, the second album by Detroit's proto-punks who also reveled in the glory of original American rock and roll music. Highlights on Flamingo are many but let's look at a few of my faves. The superb Headin For The Texas Border sung by guitarist Tim Lynch is a boss garage punk workout clocking in at just over 5 minutes. Their version of Little Richard's Keep A Knockin features a guitar break so good that it hurts. Second Cousin easily measures up to the Stones circa 1964 when they were still obsessed with Chuck Berry and the bluesy Jailbait also brings to mind Messrs. Jagger and Richards in all their unrefined glory. The fine folks at Norton have been working hard for years trying to reissue this on vinyl and what a job they have done. The sound is great and it looks superb with the original gatefold package. Don't hesitate. Buy it now if you don't already own it.

Wolfbrigade - Comalive LP (Deranged)
It's great to see that this band is active again after a brief hiatus. For those unfamiliar, Wolfbrigade (formerly Wolfpack) are a current day Swedish hardcore powerhouse. Drawing influence from Discharge, Motorhead, 80's Swedish hardcore and death metal, this group is more than competent on a musical level and deliver quite a punch. Lyrical content on this latest studio effort, is decidedly dark and mostly personal in nature, but not always obvious and is open to interpretation. The performance here is stellar as always and production is top notch. The most noticeable difference here is that the lead guitar has taken a more melodic approach and sometimes ventures into a more conventional rock/metal territory. This, however, does not lessen the intensity or vitality of the tracks and merely serves to embellish in a different manner. While I cannot say that this is my favourite Wolfbrigade release, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to the collection and will no doubt get repeated plays on the turntable. (RA)

SEVEN INCHES OF WAX 2009 alphabetical

Brain Killer - self-titled 7" (Deranged)
Wow! This one threw us for a loop. We were expecting pretty generic angry hardcore of the studs and spikes variety but what we got was an explosive mix of Discharge and Extreme Noise Terror played with a furious tempo reminiscent of the glory days of Japcore. It's noisy and loud but very well performed. Not much info is known to us except that they're from Cambridge MA and have released one demo prior to this record. Deranged has certainly become a very versatile punk label and we here at AKG appreciate it. (RA)

Fear of Lipstick/The Creeps - split 7" (Fucking Scam/Scared To Death)
Here we have two Canadian bands (from Ottawa and Moncton) trading off cover versions of each other's material and then each adding a track of their own. Both bands fit in the pop-punk mold nicely with punchy Ramones-inspired guitars and good melodic vocals. Not one dud in the four songs but the obvious standout is the FoL track "In That Town" which details a not too fond memory of growing in Riverview NB. It's nice to see two indie labels working together on this release. (RA)

Marvelous Darlings - The Only One For Miles b/w Follow Me Home 7" (P.Trash)
The A-side is what you expect from this band. Good medium-paced number with great vocal melodies. The flip side has great bubblegum stylings and is perhaps superior. Why aren't these guys famous? Rock n' roll radio should be all over this. (RA)

Marvelous Darlings - Shoot The Piano Player b/w I Want My Brand 7" (Taken By Surprise)
With a vocalist that can sound equally sweet or angry like the Sweet's Brian Connolly at the forefront, this band's compositions epitomize catchiness. adddd jhhjsahfaflf. I Want My Brand is a fast rock n' roll number which is not common for this band but works well. (RA)

Statues - We're Disparate 7" (House Party/P. Trash)
Another excellent release by this Sudbury trio showcasing their trademark angular stop/start hyperactive punk pop. The playing is fast and sharp with crystal clear vocals and is a welcome addition to the record collection. For fans of the Buzzcocks, The Jam, Pointed Sticks and Futureheads. (RA)

The Strawmen - Jack Rabbit 7" (Foul & Fair)
Two noisy guitars, some high pitched yelps and a primitive drumbeat make this release instantly memorable. This trio of local scenesters are channeling the ghost of young Jeffrey Lee Pierce to great effect on the A side which could have easily been a lost Gun Club song circa 1979. The B side offers up two tracks of equal quality with the first being an old Greg Cartwright composition "Sour And Vicious Man" and then the acoustic "Red Barn" with tasty harp playing added to brighten things up. Impressive and recommended. (RA)

Suspect Parts - Change Your Mind b/w Then He Kissed Me 7" (House Party)
This is a pop-punk supergroup of sorts with members from Clorox Girls, the Briefs and the Red Dons. The A-side is a great danceable power pop number featuring nice retro vocal harmonies. The flip is a cover of the Crystals' classic Then He Kissed Me. It's been covered by the Hollywood Brats, Hard-Ons, Rachel Sweet and the Flying Lizards among others but this is by far the best version because they don't speed it up and it sounds like it is played from the heart. Cool release by a cool label. Ugly picture sleeve. (RA)

Tyranna - self-titled 7" (Boppa Do Down)
This band was a minor player in the fertile Toronto punk scene of the late seventies. They were known for their provocative female singer and their appearance on the No Pedestrians compilation. Local drumming legend Cleave Anderson (Battered Wives, Blue Rodeo) also joined their ranks for a stint. Here we have five songs from two sessions dating from 1978 and 1979 and make no mistake - this is authentic punk from the golden era. Something about the songwriting and the delivery automatically distinguishes it from today's crop of fine imitators. I hear a bit of the Avengers and some bubblegum laced with negativity. Top track is "Neighbour". (RA)