I’ve been asked, nay commanded, to contribute to Doug Mosurock’s infamous Still Singles column, both at the tumblr site, and on Dusted. It’s an absolute pleasure to once again be part of the reviewing team (my last review for Still Single was written over two years ago), and I thought I’d share with you the fruits of my labors (in reverse order than on the site):
1069, s/t 3×7″ EP (self released)
This box mysteriously showed up at the record store I used to work at, a nice purple thing with a sticker reading “Limited Edition of 100” over the opening. Upon further review after purchase, it turns out to be a new project by Louisville punk rock pioneers Steve “Chili” Rigot (of the legendary Endtables) and Michael O’Bannon (of Blinders and Antman, among many other projects), aided and abetted by young whippersnappers Sandy and Van Campbell (the latter the drummer of the Black Diamond Heavies). However, if you’re expecting some fast, futuristic tunes, 1069 (named after the address of Louisville’s first “punk house” – whose lot is now occupied by a Taco Bell) will bound to disappoint: laconic, slow-chooglin’ yet tender country rock (with more emphasis on country than rock) is the order of the day here, which immediately brings to mind the first couple of Palace Brothers recordings – back when nobody outside of Louisville knew who Will Oldham was. Unfortunately, though the tunes are fine, it seems like every single old dude from the punk scene in Louisville has already “gone country.” While Rigot and O’Bannon’s take is more tolerable than some of their peers, at this point I’m a little over it. Still, if you like finding out where-they-are-now (as I certainly do), you’ll enjoy 1069. Just not sure where the hell you’ll be able to find this, since it’s self-released. Maybe try calling Ear X-tacy in Louisville to see if they have any copies left? Limited to 100.
Stillbirth/Prurient — The Mirror of Purification split 7″ (Semata Productions)
It’s been quite some time since I’ve checked out what Prurient’s Dominick Fernow’s been up to, whether that’s a function as now living in a flyover red state whose major city eschews noise (but they love it in Lexington, apparently), or being fully domesticated, I’m not sure. However, I’m glad I did, if only to hear something completely different from what I’m used to. The Stillbirth track, “The View Untangled,” has some nice mysterious computer sounds, almost akin to a chance meeting between Pita (the laptopper), the Caretaker (the V/VM-related weirdo), and pita (the bread) on a delicatessen tray. Fernow’s side isn’t much different, aesthetically, from Stillbirth, as processed synth and percussion sounds meld with some surprisingly suppressed spoken phrases I can’t quite make out, with a moan here and there. If anything, both tracks are too short, because by the time they’ve finished I’m still stuck wondering what’s going on. That’s not a bad thing. Grey marble vinyl, limited to 500. (http://semataproductions.com)
Smokers Please — “Flensing” b/w “Grey Christmas” 7″ (Yoko Ono Tribute Weekend)
Noisy one-man-band squall over viola drone and guitar fuckery on the A-side, which may or may not excite you. Having heard plenty of records by A Handful of Dust, I wasn’t particularly excited, frankly. The label says to play at 33, but 45 sorta sounded better. B-side goes into “quiet, please” territory, and I’m not sure that’s much more of a thrill, either. This single left not much of an impression at all, and if the label didn’t have such a goofy name, I’d probably forget it in the middle of writing this review. Further research reveals that it’s a product of a New Zealander (Ben Spiers, of Glory Fckn Sun – Ed.) 250 copies. (http://www.yokoonotributeweekend.com)
Pigeons — Lunette 7″ EP (Soft Abuse)
More post-Vivian Girls jingle-jangle and cooey female vocals smothered in layers of fuzz and reverb. Somehow, it’s surprising to me that this style is so in vogue these days. If you had a time machine, you could go back twenty-five years, play someone this record, throw a paisley shirt on, suddenly you’d be transformed into a 50 year-old dude from Los Angeles that nobody cares about. But I suppose if I could predict when musical trends would crop up decades later, I’d be running a record label. Not sure why this sort of skilled-yet-not ineptitude is so prevalent, or why this band with NNCK connections (as I discovered from Google just now) exists, but there you have it. (http://www.softabuse.com)
Dean McPhee — Brown Bear 12″ EP (Hood Faire)
Despite my initial skepticism towards Young Britons doing their take on Americana (though truth be told, some UK residents such as Ben Reynolds do it quite well), Dean McPhee’s solo 12” is a fairly decent take on late, reverb-soaked Fahey, or perhaps Loren Mazzacane Connors. That is, it’s certainly pleasant, though not particularly aggressive; perhaps polite in that oh-so-peculiar manner we Colonials expect. No rough guitar instrumentals akin to Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack, instead we get two short pieces on the first side, and a side-long piece on the second. And it’s over there where the politeness melds into a bit of sobering boredom, wherein McPhee smothers his once-again decent ability in typical guy-with-a-Line6 territory. However, if you like post-Fahey instrumental guitar, there’s enough here to at least point to some promising future releases. (http://www.hoodfaire.co.uk)
Dark Lingo — Little Black Glasses 7″ EP (Dear Skull)
Dark Lingo is a duo of Sandy Patton, of Memphis, Tennessee’s Wet Labia (who I’m not familiar with) and Nick Patton of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Centipede Eest (who I am), and what we have here is the rare single which actually sounds kinda fun. An art product germinated in the much-ballyhooed creative class crater that is Braddock, PA, they market themselves as some manner of “ESG meets Hawkwind” blather, but what I hear is more early-1990s quirkiness (Thinking Fellers, Trumans Water, etc.) stripped down to bass, drums, and vocal basics. Lo-fi, no frills, no frivolous attempts to mask the fact that it’s a duo playing, and hardly much treble or midrange at all, which is fine with me. Lyrics on the A-side, “Little Black Glasses,” even made me chuckle once or twice. (http://www.myspace.com/dearskullrecords)
More reviews are on the way!