Celebrity Handshake


Celebrity Handshake Final Education LP

Attention, weirdos. Portland, Maine’s CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE has released the newest in a long line of shattered, no-fi blues-noise records. Read their other MRR reviews to see how divisive this band can be (and it’s not hard to hear why) with their room-clearing take on art-punk. They sound like a blues band falling down the stairs, every player clinging on to their last strangled pattern. The vocalist is the grouch behind you in line who talks to himself about how long everything takes these days, and how back in his day, kids had respect, etc. Imagine the energy of HARRY PUSSY mixed with U.S. MAPLE mixed with your uncle, and you get the idea. That’s not to say it’s terrible (well, it is terrible, but I think that’s the point); the spoken non-sequitur lyrics like “A dictator without a mustache? / That’s no dictator” and “Take your lunch to work / Flush it down the toilet / You can eat next week / Blame it on the cigarette snake,” sputtered out against the band all trying to solo at the same time, is interesting. If you’re into heavy skronk, check it out. If you like it, you’re in for a treat, because they have released a whole bunch of this stuff.

Celebrity Handshake Move Back to Outer Space LP

Wowee! Now here’s something interesting. Maine’s CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE’s four-song, aptly-titled LP Move Back to Outer Space is some truly out-of-this-world “music.” The vocals bark and bellow—sometimes coherently, other times anything but. The guitar is sharp and fuzzed-out, very occasionally jamming out an identifiable riff. The drums keep some kind of a beat sometimes. The production—non-existent. The thing that makes this album so right to me is how wrong it is. My favourite track on the album is the total spontaneous free-for-all known as “Meet Me in the Iron Cage,” a free-jazz-inspired cacophony of sound overlaid with a bellowing malcontent challenging you to a one-on-one “tonight!” over the top of it all. God bless this mess.

Celebrity Handshake Bottom Of Your Bucket LP

I swear, for the last couple years, this Portland, Maine trio has had a record reviewed every other month here at MRR. I keep on seeing the name and I keep on not listening to the music. Now, dear reader, I’m strapped into the chair like Alex in that one movie about clocks and oranges and my ears are being forced open with an intricate series of chains and hooks. And I’m here to tell you a secret: This shit sucks. For some reason, I thought these guys were on a HARRY PUSSY tip, which would have at least resulted in a distracting blur. Does CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE think that they’re the second coming of ART PHAG? Listen, once was enough, you wangheads. This is half generic garage punk and half lame-ass improv with bad—like really fucking bad—singing. There’s all sorts of constipated growlers this guy reminds me of but I already listened to the goddamn record, so I ain’t gonna waste any more time conjuring up a couple “sounds like”s. It sounds like shit!

Celebrity Handshake No Space/No Time LP

We’ve been playing reviewer roulette with this band’s records due to there being so damn many, so now I take a turn. Everything you’ve already read about them is still here. Stream-of-consciousness, outsider (the other/original Portland, to be specific) garage punk with an actual wild thing not so much singing, but ranting and crooning and howling (among other animal noises) as the rest of the band coolly jams underneath. Sometimes they get more wild too, like with the bizarre piano damage that ends the first side. This record listens more like a series of jam or improv sessions than a collection of songs, and for all I know, the vocals are 100% off-the-cuff, but it’s fascinating to say the least. If gigs still exist in the future, I hope to catch them sometime.

Celebrity Handshake Eat the Bandages 12″

The aural taunts from Maine’s CELEB H-SHAKE continue long past logic on this, their 74th release this week. Is it better than prior efforts? Well, it’s newer and bigger. But mostly… Of course, ’cause it’s dog food suicide music, perfect in every way, and I crave it endlessly. I wanna melt it down and eat it from a bowl. All of you thudding, knuckle-drag fucks really wanna get confrontational and shitty? Lick this taint and absorb some real nightmarish genius. Limited to 100 copies? Straight up fucked.

Celebrity Handshake Death In Aisle Twelve LP

Could this be a spoken word LP from my favorite Maine panic rockers? It seems like it. Minimalist instrumental sounds punctuating the vocal storytelling. I lie on the couch with my eyes closed / letting the tales unfold. “I started being harassed by the future.” I’ll decipher the meaning one of these days. Until then I’ll just enjoy the yarns.

Celebrity Handshake Religion On The Outside / (Float) Don’t Take Care 7″

One could simply rubberneck and tag CELEBRITY HANDSHAKE as some kinda broken blues exercise, but the glorious noise and madness that they place on all sides is the real frosting here. Both tunes begin with recognizable budget blooze groove, but lumber toward this caterwaul collapse that just levels me. Tears of joy, I tell you. Fucked in every direction, though when the keys spring up, my spirit soars. Hell, each tune is damn near five minutes apiece, and that’s too short—make this goddamned contortive boogaloo endless! Start here for instant conversion, as this is surely one of the finest 45s of the year.

Celebrity Handshake This Is Real Life LP

You know, this doesn’t groove at all or fit into any cute category I can regurgitate back to you. It sounds like it was recorded accidentally onto your ancient Walkman while still in your backpack. It’s most certainly quite strange, and wild as hell. It’s like if a caveman on acid were attacking some random instruments with the amp settings all on 11, locked in a shitty bar overnight with someone who I think knows how to play the drums. This is a definite room clearer, a show ender, an immediate bummer, a reminder that life is too short, and I really fucking love it. The very last song has actual words that you can understand, but fuck that, you little shits aren’t going to make it that far.

Celebrity Handshake No Magic Show Tonight CD

Could this lot really be related to my beloved JUMPIN’ BEANS AND WILLIE??? ’Tis true, but of an altogether different bewildering bash. CELEB HANDSIES wallop mightily from the jump: noize noise noize and barking weirdness that would do the Bulb and Blackjack imprints proud. Four really rough gems in total, each “centered” by the maddening-yet-spirited blur of their attack (drums, guitar scree, unhinged keys, bleeding and blown “production”). I was not prepared for this…Goddamn. Now I must obsess over their every move.

Celebrity Handshake Political Future EP

These guys have a crazy rambling-shouting singer named Hot Dog Haines. He probably needs hospitalization, unless this is part of his therapy. He is from the great white Maine, so maybe this is just normal sounding for there. Their frittered noise rock sounds fitting. CRAMPS or such. Numbered out of 200 copies.