Record Reviews For September 17th, 2019
I’ve been lazy. I’ve been a bad man. Everything has been moving slow around these parts as I try to stay up on the Chain Whip LP and the new Bootlicker 7” and their orders. If you’ve grabbed them then thanks! They are on their way to you. Here’s some of the newer things I’ve heard recently. It might seem like I’m not too enthralled by the majority of this stuff and the fact that it’s a short update probably won’t help that perception. Truth is, I like listening to stuff even if it’s not my personal vibe. I’ve been sitting on some of these reviews for a couple months and been involved in some other projects for Waste. The plan here is to get another update out real fast. Thanks go out to Kopper and Creeping Chill for sending me their stuff. Give it a listen. Side-eyes to Dais for making their records so fucking expensive. I guess the name of the game in this modern age has become more “try before you buy” but man, the buying part shouldn’t be so hard. When did a new-release record become a luxury item?
Dark, political, hardcore that isn't afraid to trade in the speed for a bit of mid-tempo ferocity. Burly, barked vocals kick off the first track of this demo before the speed kicks everything into overdrive and things get a bit murky. The vocals sound like they're shouted from a foggy battlefield and the production very nearly hides what sounds like some killer drumming. Overall I'm getting a slightly less metal Antisect crossed with the Oi-influenced thuggery of 86 Mentality in equal parts. Creeping Chill does evoke a modernity that keeps it from being any amount of pure worship. A cool, honest demo and worthwhile. They played Vancouver and were a cut above this demonstration.
Another one from Edmonton Alberta, this time playing urgent pop-punk with thanks credits to Toys That Kill which should give you a pretty good signifier as to what this sounds like. Ben from Real Sickies is in the mix lending his vibrato vocals to the backgrounds which help to give it some fresh breath. Good production throughout and the songwriting is good. Carbon Copies is not the kind of thing that I go out for but for the Gainesville zombies there is meat on the bone. I like things a little grosser.
Dreamy, lush arrangements wash over these eight new tracks presented in the guise of 1980's new romanticism and goth. Tracks about being lost in the ho-hum digital relationships of the modern era. For those somehow uninitiated, Drab Majesty is a modern take on cold wave and this new offering, offers up some commentary on modern relationships. The repetition in the first track sets the stage for a delightful listen but nothing really bounces out with the kind of pop sensibility I was looking for to anchor this. The signposts are all here, from New Order to The Cure and the sounds are accomplished perfectly for that place and time but I can't find myself getting taken with any single track. The sounds captured are perfectly reminiscent of the genre's golden era but I'm going to need something a little more than some Andy Warhol alien outfits and expensive electronics to draw me in. If Drab Majesty is trying to play pop music they're not hitting the mark. If it's a grower it's yet to happen in these walls. For what it's worth, the packaging is great and I love the style of what they're doing. The hype is real. I'm just not sure the band is.
High Voltage and Uncontrolled
Belgian Waffles Records
This came out last year but I only received a copy recently in a trade and though I want to stay current with releases that I write about here, this release is really great and I gotta spout about it. SIC was a Belgian punk band that only had a trio of singles and a voice to skin a cat to. It's raw, it's original sounding and scathing early punk. No hardcore, this is all swagger and mean energy. Dumbo-Ramones put through a fuzz filter, the vocals seethed through too much reverb and snotty as fuck. Euro-punk at it's very best. Danceable and properly demented. If you're like me and the name is foreign to you – get hip as soon as you can. No bandcamp or streaming that I can find so hop on the ole youtube and have a peek or better yet just buy with confidence. This thing rules.
A four track 12” from this new UK band features introspective songs that sit somewhere close to a less manic but still urgent Libertines and is encased in a stunning 12” disco sleeve that has been hand-screened and painted (also limited to 150 copies for the collector scum among you). Serious attention to songwriting on this which is maybe a little too self-aware in that they have a tendency to include more ideas into each track than necessary. I found myself impressed with sprawling 5 minute rock songs that didn't bore me to tears because they're bouncing all over the place but there is a problem here, in that the sum could be greater using only the best parts. Is it necessary to keep adding things to the pot? Are Kopper only going to write 4 songs and therefore have to make sure every idea is realized? And is each idea crucial to the finished product? They describe themselves as a post-punk band but that is no signifier of the sounds they embody. A bubbling combo of punk energy and frustration applied to psychedelic, indie-rock in a way that embraces a foreboding atmosphere without committing itself to the typical tired re-manifestations or safeties. A commendable approach but I shouldn't need to search so hard for the hook.
The idea here to bang out another review update in a couple of weeks. What am I missing? What should I hear? Do you have something you want to contribute here?