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Friday, November 16, 2012

reviews from the counselor


Sweaty Hands LP
Negative Guest List NGL-040

A band named after my favorite cleaning product puts out a another solid record on my favorite Australian scum label; tis a hard day at the office! This, Degreaser's follow-up to 2011's quaking Bottom Feeder, continues main duder Tim Evans's well-illustrated commitment to the hungover-and-cranky corners of punk weirdness (see also his take on Pop Group dynamics in Bird Blobs and the mope-grind of Sea Scouts). Scoff if ya must at the Birthday Party apeage howlin' around these parts (i.e. Brooklyn) of late, but these folks don't fanny about like some. Though guitars rasp, throats moan and bellow, and the rhythm section clamps like a 1000-year-old die-cutter, as they have elsewhere and many a time before, it ain't always what ya do but how ya do. Feel me? Right from the jump on "Lizard," these lead-sinkers reach stoner-metal depths of heave-n-wheeze with nary a second to call out the fathoms. The focus remains a desperate thud on the deck of a listing boat, even through what I take to be a cover of "Eyes Without A Face" (?) on the flip. (No titles on this one; just guessin' from the Discogs entry.) Never do they leave the confines of their grem-clotted alley, but the hypnotism this lot casts was enough to keep me glued down. Nice!


Useless Eaters
New Program b/w Expensive Taste & Smoke Alarm 45rpm
Anti-Fade ANTI-011

Bout the closest I ever get to garage is when I need help diggin' a spike outta my left front tire. Always thought there was somethin'...underachiever about it; for those about to maybe rock, ya know? But I reckon that's what folks find so galldern American about it: desperate, entrepreneurial shots at convincin' some local, maybe regional, and perhaps national, tail to shimmy. Just a little. It's that very attitude that makes it so suspect to me; I say, go XXXL or go sit a spell. Anyhoot & holler, perusin' the Anti-Fade back catalog gave me the spins, so I called up ol' Bertrand Russell for advice. Bein' a  loud skeptic of garage rock himself, I figgered he'd know the score. "In studying [a garage rock label], the right attitude is neither reverence nor contempt, but first a kind of hypothetical sympathy, until it is possible to know what it feels like to believe in [its releases], and only then a revival of the critical attitude, which should resemble, as far as possible, the state of mind of a person abandoning opinions which he hitherto held. Contempt," ol Betrand warned, "interferes with the first part of the process, and reverence with the second." Whatever you say, chief; I'll give it the ol' college. Maybe there's some new tricks a-turnin'?
Useless Eaters is helmed by one Seth Sutton outta Nashville, Tenn. A Nashville one-man garage band on a Victoria, AU label? Why not. Hell, he's already put out about 5 other records this year alone, and 9 others since turn of the decade; ain't many spots on this circuit he ain't shot through. A-side cut is either an indictment or winking endorsement of corporate drudgery in the guise of an android march. Another "why not" herein is Sutton's application of positively classic Athens GA moves. I detect the liver-spotted claw of Peter Buck on "Smoke Alarm," though it be fed through some homegrown Johnny Marr effects. In fact, this is near the Blank Dogs cult philosophy of tryin' to apply cheapie-creepie goth tactics to mopey drug punk. It's still a fair bit better--but just about anythin' is an improvement to that late model! But keepin' ol' Bertrand on the dome, I didn't mind the half dozen flips I gave it one bit. And I ain't about to jeer the folks that find the fun in this one second more.
Five hunnid hand-numbered.
The Bonniwells
Yesterdaisy 7" EP 33rpm
Anti-Fade ANT-008
What a pwecious wittle wecord. From the knitty-witty packaging to the Victorian cats & mice in eternal pursuit on the labels (wabels?), I was expecting either a So Cow offshoot or something light, feathery, with a sturdy inheritance. Which is to say, I was prepared to gag. But actually, this trio bears more marks from early K Records, the Vaselines and the Marine Girls than what I'd call garage rock. Maybe the rug on this whole genre done got yanked from under me, but these sunlit melodies, mid-tempos, and titles like "Pigeon Pizza" gimme those twee goosepimples. Some kids somewhere in Melbourne are dancin' their couch cushions to pieces and the sophomore in me kinda wants to join in. If it wasn't for my trick knee and all...
300 pressed on colored vinyl. Mine looks like rain-soaked pavement with a chewed gum smear. What you got?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Some new reviews from still single

Southern Comfort – “Silver and Gold” b/w “Don’t Cry No Tears” 7” (Black Petal)


Fuck this Blanche Blanche Blanche shit, how about Angela Angela Angela? That’s as in Bermuda, standing at the center of the storm that is (was?) Circle Pit, rockin’ hard in the Straight Arrows and Ruined Fortune, and stepping into the wind tunnel with Harriet Hudson of Ratsak for some two-guitar/no-drum steel-eyed staredown. Rock Music can exist without percussion, particularly when all the ambient room sound and peals of reverberated distortion coming out of their amps fill in the blanks for you. Anyone looking for that King Blood/Dum Dum Girls collab that never happened may get their insane wish here. Plus they gently push the Neil Young cover to its limit, with some seriously echoed-out soloing that punches a hole right in the horizon and sweeps upward. For me, right now, this record is perfect. Silkscreened looking panel covers, 265 copies. (

(Doug Mosurock)

Straight Arrows – First 2 Singles 7” EP (Anti-Fade)


Straight Arrows’ full-length It’s Happening wasn’t the cleanest-sounding record (and come to think of it, sounds a good bit like the template for the way Owen Penglis produced the Royal Headache album), but the singles which came before it threaten to break the stylus and eat through the turntable, so corroded are they with blown-out, room-mic’d splay. If 2007 taught you anything, it should have been that crazy dimestore saturated recordings don’t cover up the bar band stink beneath, but there’s something about those who are so utterly ENTHUSED about the process that breaks through the layers of dead skin and crust to the spine of punk rock, and gives it a good hard squeeze. The Hospitals got there, Eat Skull got there, and the Straight Arrows got there on these records, a standalone 45 and a split 7” with the Creeteens from as many years back, the sweet SA songs from both comped on this #’d-to-300 reissue. “Can’t Count 1-22” is so fucked it was hard to tell if it was even on the right speed. Holy shit this record. #1 In Noise, plus bonus points for having a song called “Jeepster” that’s not a cover. (

(Doug Mosurock)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

yellow green red review

Gooch Palms R U 4 Sirius? 7″ (Anti Fade)

First Chook Race, now Gooch Palms? I can’t tell if these bands are messing with us or if there really is some new Australian dialect I am not privy to. The cover art was practically taunting me to flush this record down the toilet and pray it didn’t clog the pipes, but I gave Gooch Palms the benefit of the doubt. I had a feeling it’d be cool anyway, and yeah, Gooch Palms are quite alright – they play super-speedy jangle-punk ala Jay Reatard or The Dickies, tempering the bubblegum with grey shades of Naked Raygun here and there. I didn’t want to like a song called “Houston We Have A Problem”, but Gooch Palms somehow turn that line into a charged-up power-pop doozy – it’s like they set up these obstacles for themselves, just to make success more exciting. The other three tunes are real cool too, always verging on a cartoony level of giddiness but never to the point where it’s a detriment. Hey HoZac, you wanna do some good in this world? Sign up Gooch Palms for an LP!