Record Reviews For May 17th, 2019.
May 16th, 2019
Welcome to the new review page. Here are some things we’ve been digging lately. Have a read and listen along if you’d like. As always, no rating system. Just words and honesty.
Andy Human and the Reptoids - Psychic Sidekick LP
Total Punk Records
Total Punk Records released Andy Human and the Reptoids’ Sidekick Psychic LP. I’ve been on a kick as of late after seeing them live at Toast Collective here last weekend. If you read that review here, you’ll know the general gist as to what the sound is. Quirky and angst ridden punk. Side one is classic, bouncy punk with some cool synth lines tying in the UFO theme. If you were waiting for a little more wacky Reatard-esq band to throw on your turntable, this record should fill that void. Opening with the alien anthem that is ‘Fissures’, we’re set up for a sampling of outsider punk. Standard guitar, bass and drums is complimented with sweeping synth lines and beeps and boops that break up the sound. It’s playfully dark in the same way the psychedelic nightmare of an album cover is. The best track of the LP is tucked in at number three, ‘Echo Pedal’ takes on everyone’s common enemy: social media validation and the algorithm lifestyle. It swells into a chanted chorus that sticks around for days. ‘Cul De Sac’ is proper swagger that dad could have wrote if he wasn’t an asshole and it closes off the first side. The second side is different and in creeps some Midwest experimentation. Like Devo on a diet of Neu and psilocybin but bratty with some dreaded condemnation in tow. ‘You Like Your Job’ is likely the most offensive thing you can accuse a person of and is the obvious standout in the more groovy side of this sophomore LP. It seems that many people got into punk because they lamented their outsider reality and wanted to belong, Andy sees it as a blessing. No, we don’t belong and we don’t want to. We’re fine in the cracks. We’re fuckin’ better in the cracks. So send your preconceived yearnings for reality television payoffs and trust fund(ed) cocaine habits to the stars where the Reptoid’s UFO can blast away at it with lazer beams. Tune out, drop in and fuck off.
RAKTA - Falha Comum LP
Iron Lung Records
Rakta’s third 12” is more of the experimental, tribal rhythmic tension that you’re accustomed to from their earlier offerings. If you’re not acquainted, sit back and take it in. Hymns from the witches sabbath sung with a trancelike affect with synths and space-echos churning through the airwaves breaking into cacophonic screams and chaotic noise. Obvious notes of krautrock hypnosis merge with the alien soundtracks of Chrome while Gristlized vocals cast underwater spells in a dub vacuum. All in all, Rakta are generating (end of the) world music that is as bewitching as it is beautiful. Whether or not it’s representative of a nightmare of our own doomed existence or from another planet altogether is besides the point? Whatever it is it's as terrifyingly lovely as a walk with thru Mirbeau’s ‘Torture Garden’. One of the best punk bands going, the Portuguese language two piece from Brazil have been performing since at least 2013 and every release is more enthralling than the last. Beautiful packaging and cover art. A monolithic record that had me muttering “fuck this is good” over and over on the initial listen probably to just break the tension of what sounds like the audio version of wandering the desert in search of water. Suck sand and listen to Rakta. 100% worthy of any nervous breakdown.
DOA - 1978 2xLP
Sudden Death Records
You know how good it feels to get a new DOA release that you are actually really excited about? How is it possible that these demos have lasted this long without being unearthed and released properly? We’ve been on a DOA reissue trend lately but at least Shithead and company had the decency to stop before doing the abomination that is ‘Lets Wreck The Party’ and instead went backwards. This double LP titled simply‘1978’ , is like hearing DOA for the first time. Total power and tough rock ‘n’ roll that vibrates with energy. The classic lineup of Shithead, Rampage and Biscuits fire on all cylinders, dropping massive anthems and blistering early hardcore punk that serve to remind you that there is a reason that Black Flag, Circle Jerks and everyone in between cited them as being one of the best machines in the early touring circuit of American punk. Most interesting here are the tracks ‘Bored and Suicidal’ and ‘No God, No War’. The first showing just how far our favorite Burnaby city councilman has come. I can’t be fucked to figure out how a track like ‘Bored….’ never received a proper release at the time as it’s a total macho, nihilistic anthem that bleeds much of the sentiment of the era and is just as good as any burnt out anthem from the same time. The guitar change in ‘Smash The State’ give us the gnarliest guitar tone ever put together by these Vancouver titans and if it was the only thing they’d have done it would have been a standout on a Killed By Death compilation. Filling in the blanks (and all of the 4th side) you are treated to some remastered versions of the first E.P. and The Prisoner 7”. I still throw on the first 7” as it’s a supremely underrated example of over-the-top mutant punk rock with exaggerated vocals, blitzkrieg musicianship and extra dumb lyrics. If you need one DOA LP (and you do need at least one) this is absolutely a worthy cop.
Slant - Vain Attempt 7”
Iron Lung Records
Members of D-Beat masters Bloodkrow Butcher and Scumraid put together a totally unexpected version of raw hardcore. Instead of the cut-throat chaos of those groups, Slant stick closer to the classic DC hardcore roots than and deliver a convincing model of SOA in 2019. You know the type - tight, simple pissed. I’d call it amateurish but it’s clear that this was an attempt to produce a copy of something by-gone that is held dear by these members. It succeeds in this exceptionally. If you prefer your hardcore bands to be love letters to the glory years, you’ll find that here. Aside from some modern production this sounds like it could have been plucked from a certain ice cream stand in 1980.
Fatamorgana - Terra Alta LP
La Vida Es Un Mus
Patrycja Proniewska and Louis Harding started experimenting with synth-pop as a bedroom project and released a self-titled cassette that I was lucky enough to grip while they were on their North American tour last year so i’ve been anticipating this full length. Vocally this isn’t dissimilar to Belgrado, Patrycja’s other project but musically this is a far more minimal approach that plays out in a polished, DIY dance party. I still consider the best moment to be the track ‘Historias del Oriente’ included here for the second time. This track was burned into my brain for weeks following their live performance in Vancouver with the counting hook repeating ad nauseum matching my footsteps as I walked to work. For dreamlike, monophonic synth delights, Fatamorgana is a worthy pick up. The skittish, childlike affect in the songs make things charming enough for myself.
Jozef Van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch - An Attempt To Draw Aside The Veil LP
Sacred Bones Records
A new collaboration since their last work in ‘Apokatastasis’, ‘An Attempt to Draw Aside The Veil’ finds Wissem and Jarmusch once again exploring esoteric thinkers, this time, Russian occultist, Helena Blavatsky. Only guitar, synth and lute are left to explore the content of what is a huge sounding project. Clandestine music performs best when words are few and here we’re left with only the song titles to accompany the experience of droning, experimental soundscapes until the last track when some computer generated speech closes off the album with a tail of feedback. It paints a picture of massive proportions and if you’re lucky, it can take you into the vast expanse it has developed for you. I’ve listened to it repeatedly and find it is always delivering something fresh. Percussion is nearly non-existent save for some single drum hits in the final track. There is no beat or rhythm to the progressions as they occur and leave the space open for a meditative listen. Much of the record is a heavy, whirring drone provided by Jarmusch with some overplay by Wissem’s lute. Two tracks do treat us to the lute at centre stage with some neo-classical, mournful and yet bright string arrangements on a backdrop of feedback. A recommended, accessible record with some fantastic album art.