Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008 Year End List: Psych/Garage/Whatever-Punk Pt.1

AFCGT "s/t" 10" (Dirty Knobby) and "s/t" CDR (Fire Breathing Turtle)
I caught the A Frames Climax Golden Twins open up for Spectrum in Seattle earlier this year. Though the band didn't have anything released at the time, a few months later their self-released CDR popped up on the Aquarius Records new arrivals list. I snatched one up with little hesitation. Criminally, only 50 copies were released of the CDR, leaving all interested fans of either group waiting patiently for an official release. I did post the CDR to my blog and it has remained one of the top downloads from my Mediafire page. Luckily, Dirty Knobby, a Seattle based label who had thus far only released a few 7"s and a CD, pressed up 500 copies (on "manly" 10" red vinyl) of their latest recorded excursions.

Download the CDR here. (via moi)

I got me some copies of the 10". Gimme a shout of yr in need.

"Old Spy" taken from CDR (PS. give this one a minute to get warmed up)

Raccoo-oo-oon "s/t" 2xLP (Not Not Fun)
The final statement by these love 'em or hate 'em Iowa City psych-meisters is also one of their best. Flitting between full-on dirt-kicking psych strangulations, and their much more excursionary flights into electric ambience, Raccoo-oo-oon stuffed almost 5 years of their history into this 80-minute package. Twinkling keys, burning organs, melodica, trumpets, tribalistic drumming, and, of course, Shawn Reed's feverish and wordless incantations boil over together to create a swampy soup of dark psychedelia. The utmost recommendations go out to this record and everything the band has released and gone on to do (see: Wet Hair).

Over the past four years the Raccoo-oo-oon faithful have built up into a small army, and when this final release was issued by Not Not Fun, all 500 copies disappeared in about a week. Copies can be found at the usual suspects, though I recommend checking Fusetron asap. Also, for all locally interested parties, I have a few spare copies up for sale. Or you can just check the fucker out for free and weep at the lost opportunity...

Download here. (via No Not Fun Not No)

"Untitled II"

Cave "Hunt Like Devil/Jamz" LP/CD (Permanent) and split with California Raisins 10" (Permanent)
Chicago's Cave seemingly popped out of nowhere and dropped three jaw-dropping releases of fuzzy, repetitious proto-metal/kraut jams. Anyone a little disappointed by Oneida's recent dip into deep space explorations will find much solace in these here gems. Traversing the same kraut path as Oneida, Wooden Shjips or early Circle, Cave also manage to take things a little further and, consequentially, end up in the same neck-breaking stutter-groove as Lightning Bolt. Fiery wah, dense and hissy drums, repetitive fuzz lead guitar, and vocoder'd vocals climb up and down the kraut ladder so fast it's enough to make ya' dizzy. Anyone who's a fan of the above mentioned bands need to check this group out post-haste!

California Raisins
The flip side of the Cave split 10" is owned by the now-defunct California Raisins. I had no idea who this outfit was when I ordered this through AQ, and googling their name yielded nothing but those fucking dancing raisins. When the record finally arrived and I flipped the record over to the CR side, I was absolutely floored. The two groups shared the same penchant for repetitious and jagged rhythms, but the desperate, shredding Six Finger Satellite vocals were what really caught my tongue. Could it be that their existed a group who paid homage to my beloved Six Finger Satellite and drove that sound even farther than SFS ever did? Yes. Yes there was. I contacted Permanent Records in Chicago (regular readers may remember my gushing on about them here) to see what they knew about the band. I was crushed to learn that these were the only released recordings by the recently disbanded group. It comes as no surprise; any group molding themselves after SFS and taking that death-vibe even further is sure to not last long. At least we'll always have that ten inch.

Snatch both the Cave LP and California Raisins split here. (via Ill Formed)

California Raisins "Down at the Flophouse"

Cave "Butthash"

Billy Bao "Dialectics Of Shit" (Parts Unknown)
Keeping things heavy here, we move on to the pummeling punk sludge of Billy Bao, whom I've mentioned here before. Bao has concocted a violent mix of Jack Endino-era grunge riffage and the anarcho-punk leanings of The Ex, and has tossed in an extra layer of feedback, a coupla' lock grooves in the middle of the record, and pushed the whole sound well into the red. These are the makings of a damn fine and highly original punk record.

Capture the beast here. (via No Not Fun Not No) **Note: the band is viciously anti-copyright and freely host links to various uploads on their own site. Guilt-free downloads!

"I'm Billy Bao, Right Here Right Now"

Nothing People "Anonymous" LP (S-S)
After 2 well received 7"s on S-S, California's Nothing People finally drop their debut full length. The band is firmly entrenched in their post-punk fixations (Chrome and Pere Ubu easily come to mind) but they're careful to not wade in those waters for too long. By adding fiery guitar solos, fuzz bass, hook-laden choruses and some bouncy synth, the four piece have concocted a record almost listenable enough for Dad.

Cannot find this one any where, so yr on yr own.


Factums "The Sistrum" LP+7" (Sacred Bones) and "The Primitive Future" LP (Assophon)
Great year for Factums albums! First up is the release on the fledgling Sacred Bones label. Factums are pretty much the archetypal Sacred Bones band; weirdo synth burbles, heavy post-punk leanings, creepy instrumental passages between tracks, and a general lo-fi/DIY vibe throughout the record. Lock grooves at the end of both sides to keep you entranced a little longer. Fans of the above-mentioned Nothing People who are looking for something a little murkier oughta try and get this locked in their sites.

While The Sistrum is a more "formal" Factums record, A Primitive Future is an entirely different beast. Fashioned as the soundtrack to an imaginary film set 2,000 years in the future where plantlife has reclaimed our urban space, APF is a space-swamp, mostly instrumental affair that seems to be heavily influenced by the late 60s tape collages of Burroughs and the mechanical failures of The Dead C, though still standing unique in their own right.

Download Sistrum here. (courtesy of my own damn self)

No sign of Primitive Future in mp3 form, but it's still available here.


Los Llamarada "Take The Sky" LP (S-S)
Los Llamarada is the sound of a band feeling their way through their music rather than methodically rehearsing it until the original spark is long gone. Most of these damaged psych tracks sound as if they were made up on the spot, recorded live, and immediately put to wax, leaving the fresh stench of burnt-out amps in it's wake. The drums and guitars sound as if they're heading in different directions, while the synths carve out their own niche in the melee . Where most bands would have to work at attaining this sound, Los Llamarada make it sound effortless, as if they're communicating on a telepathic level. Urgent music that words can never do justice, so's I'm just gonna quit already.

Yr just gonna have to go over to S-S and fork over some money, honey.

WAVVES "s/t" LP (Woodsist)
Another beach bum wunderkind from California (San Diego's Nathan Williams) drops outta nowhere and delivers one of the most exciting Cassettes/LPs these ears have come across. Sure, the No Age comparisons are inevitable (*Yawn*) but are pretty lazy, if you asks me. The two do revel in lo-fi soaked, hi-energy garage pop, but where No Age seem to be covering the hallowed ground of the early 90s lo-fi , recorded-in-a-closet vibe, Wavves is reaching a little farther. Recording everything himself (guitars, drums, and ohhhh, those layered vocals) in just a few days, the record has a mad-genius feel to it. His layering shredding guitar leads (the kid can really play!) against his fuzzy and elastic rhythm guitar, then combined with several layers of vocals (some soaring pretty high, too) adds up to a lo-fi, sugar-damaged Brian Wilson. The kid is dropping all kindsa' noise in 2009, including a buncha' 7 inches on Young Turks, Fat Possum, Release The Bats, and Post Present (Dean from No Age's new label), so he should be pretty hard to miss.

"California Goth"

"So Bored"

Part 2 is dropping early next week...


pinto said...

The AFCGT record is fantastic! I really don't know how your get your hands on all of these super-limited pressings like you do. Thank again.

Raphael Lixo Jovem said...

Thanks for the Soggy records!

Bjorn said...

Wavves interesting... looking forward to the next move (on Fat Possum!)

I've listened to a lot of Factums and decided that they are not for me so I didn't explore them at all this year.

Yr review of Los Llamarada is mostly right on but elucidates its problems rather than its strengths.

Nothing People are amazing.

Eveything else I will have to check out at a future date.

Mark E. Rich said...

Love the Wavves. I hope he can ride out this current barrage of hype. The potential is there.

Los Llamarada: the world of music should not revolve around hooks and choruses or, fuck, even cohesion. There must be chaos to balance this world.

Glad we can at least agree on the Nothing People.

Check out that Cave album. Pure muscle.

I'm sure you wont care for either the Raccoon or AFCGT. But you never know.

Deerhunter can suck my dick. That double album has less than 4 good tracks, while the rest is strictly wallpaper.

Glad to see Hairdryer Peace making your list.

Also, that new Dalek is killer, though not nearly as heady and ambitious as Abandoned Language.

Bjorn said...

Don't tell anyone, but I still haven't listened to the second half of the Deerhunter album.

Mark E. Rich said...

Hah! Thats's where my favorite tracks are, man. And don't worry, you're secret is safe with me and the blogosphere.