Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tropical Trash, Think Back, Kick a Beer

This album was reportedly recorded by Dracula in 2013, so I figure it's good fodder to review this week, what with Halloween coming up. 

I don't think Tropical Trash fucks with me with malicious intention, I just think they enjoy easing into my alveary and then turning on the Sunday chicken dinner afterwards. I think we're going to eat Tacos on a Thursday, but they show up with chicken dinner on a Sunday. What am I supposed to do?

Think Back, Kick a Beer is the band's follow-up to Fear of Suffering, and it's a different mouth. The members have altered some. Jordan Richardson has moved from drums to bass. Kirk Mattingly has moved to a farm. Jeff Komara (of Alcohol Party and Sapat) has joined on drums. Jim Marlowe has lost his gawdamned mind. Everybody is getting tans and working out, burning Playboy bunnies into their skins, surfing, eating louder.

I'm kidding. They all live in a haunted house that eats cats through mouths in the walls and pencil-skinny hands come from the basement to grab broken guitar necks. Besides that, I'm not sure if the switches or changes in members really decided the fact that this seven-inch sounds different than the last one, or if it's the fact that Tropical Trash doesn't fuck around with stagnation. I've been to a lot of their shows, and they keep it interesting. It's never the same. And I appreciate the switches.

Where Fear of Suffering ripped open the cadaver of noise-punk and pulled out its organs and just started sprinting headfirst into an occult, Think Back, Kick a Beer gut-hooks the corpse, lubes it with aloe, sets it on fire and sleds it down Satan's inner thigh with a loathing grin. Jordan makes for a fucking sick bass player. Jeff's drums are a dismaying, frenzied, monstrous attack. Jim screams and harrows his guitar faster than ever. And everything is off-balance again, throwing three songs on one side and giving you the epic three minute, 45 second masterpiece that is "Ritual Bath" on side two. This song was made to drive your motorcycle into a 27 car pile-up. Fuck you, Motorhead.You should have tried to write this.  

These folks are bound together in a snarl of yells and sonic creases that are good for hurts. Recommended.

Out on Sophomore Lounge Records.

Julie of the Wolves, Create/Destroy

All of these people are back in a new form, and that's a good thing. I fear calling every band that is pursed with established players a "supergroup" because it seems to diminish the origins of the band and its pursuits, and makes it sound like a one-off project. There is a layer of staying power here. The members of Julie of the Wolves have all been in several bands in Louisville, are all well-respected musicians in their various endeavors about town, and all happened to be friends who decided to get together and start an all-female rock band.

JOTW is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Carrie Neumayer (Second Story Man, Early Age), Stephanie Gary (Venus Trap, The Frequent Sea), Salena Filichia (Madame Machine, Venus Trap) and Becca Lindsay (The Red Nails, Minnow). Those are only a partial listing of the bands these people have been in. This lineup has a lot of musical history running through it.

The name of the band comes from the 1972 book by Jean Craighead George, in which the title character must face changes and dangerous challenges forced upon her from culture, the elements and humankind. Like the book, both Neumayer's cover and the means contained within Create/Destroy address conflict and serenity in and amongst the beauties and dangers of existence. These are challenging tunes that do not shy from pushing and pulling simultaneously, a teaming between catchy melodies and a pounding aggression.

The production of these songs, this album, is gigantic, and it brings the listener into these energetic compositions. Hints of Sleater-Kinney, but much more and many other directions combine and oddball each other through a variety of time signatures. The gun-fanned riffs spread through and into the songs, often reacting to each other much like Carrie and Stephanie's voices weave in and out and sometimes on top of each other. Both are strong singers with completely separate sounds and waves of hooking intonation. Becca's drumming is a secure strand that drives the rhythmic vessel here, strong and loud. Filling any cracks, as well as anchoring and driving is Salena's always enterprising bass, which walks, dances, turns and runs through and amid the other instrumentation.

The lead single "The Things They Say" plugs the album well: intelligent and captivating fucking rock. I'm fond of "Youth Wish," with its sludge start that breaks gates into a frenetic fury, washing onto a side-swerve of up-stroked jangle before changing again for the chorus. "S. Y. L. M. F." exemplifies the pound and noise this band can cross through, as well. The title track is another head-nod that slams, and comes armed with a video.

Julie of the Wolves will celebrate the release of Create/Destroy on Friday, November 1, 2013, at Zanzabar. Special guests Twenty First Century Fox will be there, too. The album is being released on Noise Pollution Records.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Club El Rancho, Noise Pollution Records Showcase, 10.20.13

Club El Rancho 10.20.13 by Club El Rancho on Mixcloud

The first hour is a Noise Pollution Records showcase, featuring interviews with members of Julie of the Wolves, The Teeth and Straight A's, as well as songs from the NP catalog, including Shipping News, Ousia, The Aasee Lake, VRKTM and more. Second hour features new music from Lady Pyramid, Gangly Youth, Andy Matter, Sweatermeat, Dirty Bitch, and Huh Robots, as well as tunes from The Fervor, Juanita, Black Kaspar, Derrick Wade Manley and Great Floods. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mu + Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble, Mangled Guts

This is a tumble into educational madnesses; it's the matricide of my Buffalo Trace hangover that has mothered me all this day. It's how my bowels, neck muscles and brainwaves have functioned for 12 hours: a coarse chorus of bedlam, purposefully vindictive against my sanity. I was already in pain; this is pushing me past it.

Mu is here as Douglas Lucas, playing objects, some of them instruments, some of them not. The Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble are a pickled herring that surrounds, protracting sounds from the air made through some physical manipulations, as well. Jim Marlowe's baritone sax is murderous, clamping on and twisting. Kirk Mattingly has a guitar, which is always dangerous. And percussion is a sleight of hand performed by Raw Thug, a master of ceremonies unto its own entity, tucked behind the wrinkles of guitar feedback and cord tugs.

At points, the percussion is a jazz tap on hi-hats, while high-pitched wails cover the waterfront of the sax, moaning in tumultuous agony. Somebody left the fire going in the still and the moonshine is burnt, but I like my corn blackened. There is a calm in the confusion. A singing bowl is placed near my upset heart and wrung. Strings are plucked as a catgut harp. The beats increase as the sax begins to scale, and hover, ofttimes sounding like a wet balloon being pulled from The Blob. The guitar pinpricks the moon. And at 17 minutes in, everything you thought you could anchor to as nature, stops, strips and reassembles into an orbital crisis zone.

The second half of this barrage goes electronic whir and burr, and the noise begins. Feedback becomes our human geography, except the map was lost in the fiery still. This is when the Invaders take over. We are lost in the audial woods, and the Mu/Peeling Wallpaper Ensemble Blood Clan has the doused torch. The guitar unleashes sheets of fossilized intermetallic ballast and the road is cut. It trips. It flits. They backsource dirt fields and make them unsafe for play. Everyone is left holding their own grinding tooth in their hands, staring at the ground, hearing the ring of copper, getting lost in the guts, wriggling. So what.

This is a cassette released by Loin Seepage. It's available. Get it if you want 38 minutes of instrumentation that knows not of borders. I feel better now.

i got a candy bar. i got an apple. i got a cookie.

i got a rock.

i envy us.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kal Marks, Life Is Murder

This a heavy record. The vinyl is thick. The words are dark mysticisms pondering porches and brisk-banked rivers and comfortless parking lots and a whole landscape of involved emotion(s). The music is melodic, striving into the Autumns of thought with the words themselves, blending a cold emotion with a warm depression, an occluded front that often leads to a bleeding second chorus that will rip the urine from your heart and the love from your intestines by the overturned drum clanks and fedbacked stringscreams at the end.

I love a lot of Sophomore Lounge's catalog. I don't lie about that. I think this might be nearing the top of the devoted soundheap.

Kal Marks is a trio, not a person. They come from Massachusetts, a state I know little about and realized (while typing this) that I don't actually remember how to spell. I've never heard their music prior to this release, other than what was released on a Cropped Out sampler I listened to a week before that celestial/bestial fest acided my brain away and away. I missed their performance because I was either a) interviewing people for ART-FM; b) eating; c) peeing or...nope, that would be it.

The song Ryan of SL included on Cropped Out was the title track to this album, and it perfectly exemplifies what is contained therein. Vocalist Carl Shane's voice is a gray gulch that is hard to specifically define, striking me somewhere in the ribs as part nasally, part Southernish, part nerdish, part firepit storyteller. It is distinctive, and it immediately catches the ear. The song strums forward with a striding lurch of bass, the guitars swarming, sometimes straight downstrums of accordant and controlled power chords steeped in soldered depressions, until the back-end chorus culminates by recognizing the build of destruction and abyss, all instruments opening into a trough of drive and stringy blame that Dan Hoerner could have penned, with hopes flopping high and descending into declining crescendos and chaosed spirit.

This LP speaks to me. I'm glad there are people making music like this. Fucking angry I missed their performance at the fest.


You can buy online from bandcamp, as well as record stores in Louisville and probably MAsssachusssetss.



Club El Rancho Episode 10.13.13

Featuring new music from Whips/Chains, Robert Beatty, Black God, J Marinelli, Empiria Vultura, Street Gnar, Tropical Trash, The New Shitbirds, Babirusa, Tiny Tiny, Harpy, Howell Dawdy, Salad Influence, and RED M, plus tunes by Belgian Waffles, Phantom Family Halo, Poor Girls, Gaj Mustafa Cell, Quiet Hollers, Bad Blood, Bill Widener and lots more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Straight A's, Humility the Hard Way

Straight A's have returned after two years. Humility the Hard Way is the band's follow-up to Self-Help and its split with Prideswallower.

Like many of its labelmates on Noise Pollution, including The Teeth, Madame Machine, Julie of the Wolves, and others, to label Straight A's a prole in the post-punk genre is far too generic. There's something in the tea that these bands on NP are drinking, or perhaps it's something in the Louisville air in general, that adds an unpredictable left-turn progressiveness to their music. It's never just punk, just prog, just metal, just new wave. They all make challenging music, acting as obscurants to the genres they all toy with, causing the listener to crane neck, turn up, listen more. The hikes in these rock songs are never predictable, like the discordant chorus in "Wait for It" followed by a harmony that sounds like it was sung backwards.

It's an aggressive avant-punk that dwells here, well-recorded and in your face, with every song offering something different that the preceding one. Fifteen songs that present intelligent and demanding rock that showcases the talent of each musician. There is a lot happening here and it serves the grub pile. A tune like "Alpha Rock," led by its bass guitar and drum interplay, makes you want to dance. The rhythm might be too complicated to find your step, so you just start flailing for release. And that's something found in Humility; a heavy release, filtered through some confrontational gauntlets of sound.

"Stomach Speak" is ghostly with a driving lead riffing you into "Winner," the danciest of all the selections here, until it suddenly noises up and out and gets dark. The experimentation within the second half of "Seance" that bobs into the electro-destructo-distorto of "Wavetek" catches me off guard and it's these moments that are scattered throughout that make me arch an eyebrow and really appreciate all the work these folks are pulling off to make good loud musicks.


Available at the Noise Pollution site, and rekkid stores.