Saturday, June 30, 2012

Heavy Times-Fast Night CS (2009)

Have I mentioned lately how Heavy Times is my favoritest band from Chicago of late? If not, mea culpa, 'cause these doods shred in a way we haven't heard much of late late. Infectious, scratchy guitar riffs, dirt-simple riddim, and relatable tales of love, loss, and druggy tomfoolery 'round the city. Who can't relate, i ask thee?

Anyways, this was the first thing I heard by Heavy Times and, in lieu of gathering enough energy to critique something new, it's what I'm closing out June with. "Teenage Animals" opens with a killer, chanted "aaahhhooohaaaa" and doesn't get much more sophisticated than that-minor note guitar solos, hollered vocals, and that's all she wrote. "Stoned in the City" is the story of my life from ages 16-22: the sun's out, I've got some dope, gonna bike around Chicago lookin' for dat broad I saw the other day at some crappy noise show. Hell, I even have some beer to share, and sweet little nothings to whisper in her ear. Stoned in the city, dontchaknow?

"Good Looker" is the heart 'n' soul o dis tape. It opens with what sounds like drums played on empty paint buckets, more hollered, non-verbal chants, and single-note guitar majesty. The tale is totally something I'm familiar with: guy likes girl. Girl is way cooler than guy. Girl, in fact, does all sorts 'o' weird drugs dude is scared of. "She's a real tough chick with a bad attitude/coke 'n' grooves..." More importantly, "she stole my heart and there's nothing I can do/I feel abused, I feel abused..." Much of my time in several European and American metropoli have consisted of this very same feeling.

Whereas the vocals are slurred or mixed so low they're incoherent on most Heavy Times tracks, on "Good Looker" they're front 'n' center as they should be. Flip the gendered pronouns and anyone can relate to this song (well, if you're between the ages of 15-35, listen to rock 'n' roll, and do drugs, anyways-i.e., all my readership), so motherfuckers should be blasting it come August when the coke is flowing like rivers down yer crinkled doller bills and all ya cares about is more booze 'n' pills, y'dig? Priceless tunes, I tells yeh. If I were inclined to fall in love, this song would be on the mixtape I'd make for the (un)lucky lady.

"Night Swim" is a bit more plodding, clomping along as we're regaled with, uh, I think a tale of swimming at night. The epically simple guitar is what sets this tune apart, and keeps me putting this track on mixtapes I mean to make for girls I talk to in bars, but whose numbers I forget to write down...anyway, "Night Swim" features more majestic, minimal, lofi guitar madness and it's great.

Heavy Times is at the top of their game, and if yer in Chicago, you're n idiot for not having seen them already. Out of towners can be excused.

Download "Fast Nights" here. Check out a video for "Good Looker" here. The band has a new LP out on Hozac Records, BUY IT!

*EDIT, 11.16.12: RE'upd the file, get it HERE. *

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Post Teens-s/t EP (2011)

This is undoubtedly my favorite recording to ever issue from Gainseville, Florida (although that says as much about my disgust with the No Idea scene as anything else).

Post Teens smash through six songs in about seven minutes on their debut EP. Song topics include sitting around smoking weed, wearing black jeans, and not liking people. I can totally relate to all three of those topics! Awesome!

Musically the Post Teens stick to basics: direct, bludgeon-like guitar riffs pushed to the front of the mix, thundering drums, and snotty, snarled vocals that perfectly suit the snide teenager persona the band perfectly encapsulates.

Crack a beer, get on yr skateboard, and go ride the halfpipe, or beat up a hippy: Post Teens is a great soundtrack to either one of these activities.

You can buy the EP here.
*edited, 6.26.12: Apparently the download link didn't work. Post Teens doesn't have a bandcamp page, so in lieu of anything else, here's a live set:*
Check it out:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Middle Class-Out of Vogue 7" (1978)

Until the advent of online file-sharing, Santa Ana, California's Middle Class were one of those legendary early punk/HC bands that most punks had heard of without hearing (myself included). Regardless of whether this was the first "hardcore" record or not (and really, why does it matter?), this is a classic that I'm happy to be sharing with you lumpen masses.

Opening with an impossibly taut, frantically repeated guitar riff and wobbly bass line, "Out of Vogue" careens through a Ramonesclone song structure, dragging you along as singer Jeff Ata intones against the brave new world of mass media: "we don't need your magazines/we don't need your fashion show/we don't need your TV/we don't wanna know!" The music is so fast, the shouted words are like a ritual incantation at breakneck speed. The song ends with a clipped "OUT OF!..."

"You Belong" starts off slower, building up momentum until the crushing transition to more sonic oblivion; Ata's singing is even more rushed as the Middle Class careen through a tale of...I dunno, the words are incoherent. The beginning drumfill of "Situation" is killer, holding you in suspense until the divebomber bass line and savagely strummed guitar hover into focus. The song is slower than the first two, effectively slowing down and intensifying the groove so that you can almost make out Ata's words: "no use in trying..." The slow down only sets the scene for "Insurgence," which flies by at one minute, one second. The whole band gallops along at top speed, trying to beat its own pace; there's no center to the song, it's pure rush: Johnny Rotten's "I just speed/that's all I need!" dictum taken literally.

This EP blew me away when I first heard it, and I still spin it at least twice a week. It's the essence of punk as a musical genre, condensed and compressed to the point where form becomes content: a formalist's wetdream. Yet this isn't retarded, inept, slipshod thrash in the tradition of the early harDCore bands like Teen Idles, SOA et. al. Middle Class were great songwriters, and would go on to prove their deft handling of tempo, rhythm and harmonies on their next outing, 1980's Scavenged Luxury EP. "Out of Vogue" was a perfect statement and on Scavenged Luxury they were already headed in the direction of 1982's LP, "Homeland": tense, despondent goth in the vein of early Fall or Joy Division.

Basically, if you don't like this EP, you don't like punk or hardcore. YOU BELONG  You can buy a repressing of the 7", or an LP-length collection of the first two EPs plus outtakes and demos, at Frontier Records. You should also read an interesting 2011 interview with all the original members, here.

*Edit, 9.10.12: Reup'd the file, get it HERE. *

*Edit, 1.6.13: Re'up'd it again, AGAINAGAIN.*

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy New Year/Nite Fields split 7" (2012)

Bridging my current fixation on dreampop (guilty pleasure of the last two months 'round here has been the new Beach House LP) and my ongoing obsession with all things -wave, this split EP throws up two tracks of effects-laden dreaminess suitable for those who enjoy thinking about doom 'n' gloom gothiness when getting fucked up.

Happy New Year's "High Sea" opens with pensive, (melo)dramatic piano and distant, echoing gongs. The singer intones from a distance, her words lost on misty trails of cold ruin as the musicians hammer home a Gothic, lost-on-the-moors ambiance fitting for smoking a shit ton of weed and watching "Game of Thrones" with the sound off, to better absord Happy New Year. Y'know, wizards and death and swords 'n' shit.

Nite Fields' "Come Down" picks up where Happy New Year left off; the song picks up after the swords 'n' dragons battle to dwell on a ruined, haunted landscape. The drums are propulsive but heavily treated with echo, the singer sounds like he's singing from a ship passing in the night, his words vanishing into the ether.

Last night I tripped over some goth girl's 12-inch black docs while walking out of a bar-it seems like goth is back in a big way in Portland, so all you ultra-cool West Coast kids, be sure to pick up this piece of Australian glumrock, pronto.

You can do so here, courtesy of Lost Race Records. Listen to it before ya buy it, over at soundcloud.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Preludes-The Swan EP

Drifting by light as a feather and drowsy as a Klonopin bar, Brookyln's Preludes sounds like a dream ya don't wanna wake up from on this, their second release.

I've always been of the opinion that dreampop always hovers between masturbatory, self-indulgent pap and holding the listener in a sustained, blissful moment in a way that 4'4 time rock can't. Upon my third listen, I'll say, tentatively, that Preludes manages to fall on the latter side. The songs on "The Swan" are all of a piece, and that piece is something like walking around Seattle, stoned out of yr mind, on a sunny day; people glide by, there's gently moving water everywhere, and the world is melting into a pleasantly nebulous mass of good feelings.

"The Swan" sets the mood with barely-murmured vocals and muted, hushed percussion that's barely audible on first listen. "Sleepy Eye'd" wakes up from the dream a bit, with a sustained synth figure framing the singer, who sounds a lot like Beach House's Victoria LeGrand or Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval on this one. The heart of the EP, however, is "In Central Park," the most dynamic of the tracks. Lilting along in slumberland, buoyed by what sounds like violin samples and handclaps, the vocalist narrates, uh, walking in Central Park. This one's going on the mixtape for the next girl I fall in like with.

Listen to the EP here. Also check out the "Dresden" single, which came out in March. Dream on, dreamerz!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Teen Suicide-Goblin Problems EP (2012)

From its crudely-drawn cover to the Ramonesesque ramalama bambam of the music, Teen Suicide's three-song EP is probably the funnest thing I've heard all June.

"Goblins cry too" is sunny blitzkrieg bop that tears by in a flash: guitar and drums are sync'd up perfectly, and the beat reminds me of the Go-Gos, for some reason. The vocal harmonies don't hurt the sunny feel, either. "Hayden's getting a ddr pad" is punk-by-numbers: fast, blurry, bratty 3-chord schlock. "I wanna be a witch" is the unexpected gem here: gently-strummed acoustic guitar, tambourine, and muffled, sad bastard vocals give this EP a depth it would otherwise lack, and moves this duo beyond the wound up garage punk they excel at. It really reminds me of the last track on Sonic Death's most recent EP.

You can download the EP for free on bandcamp. Check out the previous two Teen Suicide releases, too, while yr at it. Rock on!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Psychic Blood-Autumn Curses CS (2012)

Psychic Blood returns for another round of guitar savagery on their follow up to last autumn's debut EP, "Strain." If you dug that, you'll probably enjoy their full length.

"Visions" picks up where "Strain" left off: heavily distorted, clanging guitar bashes it out with echoey drums, the result falling somewhere between something off MBV's "EVOL" and a Nirvana b-side. "Annihilator" is built around a cascading guitar riff worthy of J. Mascis, although the guitar is mixed at the same level as the drums, so it isn't quite as, well, tyrannically monolithic as a typical Dinosaur, Jr. track. Psychic Blood demonstrates its understanding of the importance of texture with "Roving Mind," a quiet tune with humming, electronic white noise that's almost dreamy. It's effective in setting the first two headbangers apart from what follows, the chaotic "Here is no truth," which could've turned up on one of those old mid-80s SST comps with stuff like BLasting Concept or St. Vitus.

The rest of the album follows the same dynamic, alternating between towering guitar blitzkrieg bashing and downed out noise weirdness. The band's developed their sound a lot since "Strain," and this is worth a careful listen. Check out tracks from the tape on Psychic Blood's soundcloud, here. Damage Mailorder is distributing the tape, out on FeebleMinds Rex-buy it here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tachycardie-Be Nice to Music EP (2012)

I don't think I've explained how much I hate southern California on Drug Punk, yet. That's kinda a different spiel than I wanna hold forth on here, but it's relevant insofar as listening to Tachycardie makes me wanna throw very sharp rocks into all the private pools that dot the (non-)neighborhood around my apartment. All those filthy rich bastards soakin' up the sun while the rest of us grind...
...anyways, Tachycardie blasts through seven tracks of twisted, constipated noise in the Big Black tradition on this EP. The wrecking-ball drums are mixed to the front, the guitars are a squalling mess in the background, and the singer's words get lost beneath the sonic muck as you empathize totally and completely with the noxious misery that would lead people to produce such contorted, misanthropic muck.

Really, they're a lot friendlier, sonically speaking, than Drug Punk favorites such as Billy Bao, Bloody Minded, and Brain Bombs, but they perfectly suit the misanthropic mire I'm in right now, so whatever, go shoot yr boss and then throw this record on. So there.
On Cocktail Pueblo Rex. If you read French.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cavedweller-2016 pt. II & III CS (2012)

Richard Linklater's "Slackers" is one of my favorite movies. In case you live on Mars and haven't seen it, the film meanders through 24 hours in the life of Austin, Texas and in and out of the lives of a bewildering variety of characters. Events take place, but mostly it's the story of the spaces between people as opposed to the story of a traditional hero(es).

I don't mean to peg Austin/San Antonio's Cavedweller (Dirk Michener) as in any way associated with the movie, but they share an important sensibility. The songs on this LP, like Linklater's first film, meander in and out of focus in an entrancing, strangely hypnotic way. This is very quiet music, that on first listen is dead on arrival.

Listen closer, however, and you start to pick up on the subtle crests and dips in Michener's work: the lightly plucked minor notes and guitar crescendoes on "Kevin Grows Gills," the lowkey guitar buildup and gradual ebbing away in "Poison." This is psychedelic music, but not in the sense of howling, heavily distorted guitars and screaming vocalists. Rather, it's music appropriate for a variety of moods, and which warps and shifts depending the mood you're in. I was extremely depressed today at the office and it resonated just as much as it does now, at the end of the day and in a good mood. That sounds trite, but take a moment and think about the albums in your collection: most of them are one-shot, single-emotions pieces. Michener's work manages the tricky feat of responding to a number of moods, from sullen despair to blissed-out calm.

This is the first recording I've heard from Michener, but apparently he's been at it for twenty years, now, long before "lofi" became the hot buzzword for the shitbirds at Vice Magazine. He deserves your support, so you should buy the tape here. You can read the detailed, well-composed liner notes here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Year One: Or, Alone and Forsaken Dodici: "It's the end of a fucked up year...."

Hey there, folks, lookit me! I've been doing Drug Punk for a year now. That's actually quite an accomplishment, given my favored past times, and the fact that I started Drug Punk mostly as a way to act productive while being hungover.

Bigdealyeahsowhat, this is a mix to commemorate the fact that the blog's made it this far. Since the main themes surrounding Drug Punk are heartbreak, frustration, and (self-induced) misery, that's the general theme.

Enjoy or not, non mi ne importa.

Have fun.
(password is: "exhilirated").

1. Flipper-Ever
2. The Dictaphone-Krank
3. Social Unrest-Rush Hour
4. Dusker Hoo-First of the Last Calls
5. Royal Headache-Girls
6. Buzzkox-Ever Fallen in Love?
7. Government Warning-Self Destruct
8. The Gun Klub-She's Like Heroin to Me
9. The Fagettes-You're Destroying Me
10. Wild Moth-Morning Sickness
11. Pink Reason-Livin' in the City
12. Dead Moon-Can't Help Falling in Love
13. Marine Girls-In Love
14. The Mountain Goats-Color in Yr Cheeks
15. Glass Cake-We'll work it out

Sunday, June 3, 2012

YK Decay-Rasah do Cangkamanaaan demo (2012)

Yogyakarta City, Indonesia's YK Decay wears their influences on their sleeves (YK Decay...UK Decay...clever, yeh?) while thrashing through 8 tunes of ugly, minimally recorded punk on their demo.

In a time when "lofi" has become a genre more than a sound-by-necessity, YK Decay is a reminder that basic recording isn't always a chic nod to the trend of the moment. There's nothing separating the listener from the band: squalling guitars and a howling singer fight with ram-bam beats, and I don't know if there's any bass.

The singer sounds like the dude from Raw Nerve: talk-screaming over the band, he might as well be having a shouting match with someone in the street. The music is basic street punk that usually falls apart into noise towards the end of each track. "Urepmu Ra Seru!!!" stands out for its sick, bugs-crawling-across-yr-skin guitar solo towards the end.

You can listen to the demo on YK Decay's bandcamp page, here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Miami Dolphins-Neon and Foam LP (2011)

Last time I was in Olympia, everyone was raving about Minneapolis' Miami Dolphins, so I finally decided to see what all the hubbub was about.

"Neon and Foam" isn't breaking any new paths, but it certainly is fun. I call this genre contortion punk, since the Dolphins and akin bands take 4/4 punk song structures, chop 'em up into strangled guitar notes and spastic drumming, and piece them back together in confetti fashion.

The Dolphins remind me of Chicago's late, much-missed (by me, anyway) Coughs: high-pitched female vocals, frantic guitar that usually doesn't go in for solos, and drums mixed well to the front. They're not nearly as harsh as Coughs were, though: this sounds like the sort of music noise scene veterans would play if you spiked their 4Loko with ecstasy, took 'em to an amusement park, and set up a 4track on the carousel.

But don't take my word for it, find out for yercelf.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dirty Work-Demo (2012)

Kansas City's Dirty Work bashes out four tracks of bare bones, no frills American hardcore on this demo. They're about as subtle as a punch in the face, and the only image that comes to mind when listening to them is sweaty, gross punks slamming into each other in someone's parents' basement before the cops show up and cite everyone for curfew violations. If that image is a blast from the past for you (as it is for me), or sounds like fun, you'll dig this.

Check it out.