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!
New Program b/w Expensive Taste & Smoke Alarm 45rpm
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.
Yesterdaisy 7" EP 33rpm
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?