Miranda Fisher

Plan Nine I Ain’t No Robot EP

Kinda all-over-the-place reissue of this ’81 release out of Calgary. It’s akin to a lot of stuff from smaller scenes of that era in the sense that while the songs pretty much fall under the banner of punk, they touch on a lot of different styles. The goofier side of the GIZMOS might be a fair comparison, albeit with a bunch of hard rock guitar solos thrown in. I found it all pretty enjoyable, but then read the included booklet and found out the title song here is about how the brothers in this band felt that socialism and communism are bad for people, which, uh, dampened my enthusiasm.

Hello Hooray American Burnout / Cherries Light the Way 7″

Boy, if you’re put off by the trash pizza cover art, I don’t blame ya. It’s fuckin’ rough. Luckily, the music on it is much better than the visual aesthetic would suggest. The ’70s STONES-style riffing makes this one very easy to enjoy, but the dude’s vocal style put it over the top for me. It’s so laid back and matter of fact that it becomes almost comical. It’s a strange choice that I’m really enjoying. The overall effect, especially on the superior A-side, kinda reminds me of a way (way) less jammy SPACIN’ or something of that ilk. Look, I know this one’s a hard sell, but I really think it’s worth your while to try to put the cover art aside and give it a fair shot. It’s definitely a keeper to my ears.

Chronophage Prolog for Tomorrow LP

I’m horrifically late writing this review. I’ve been putting it off because I’m so afraid I won’t be able to do justice to this brilliant, unique, compelling debut LP by Austin’s CHRONOPHAGE, one of the best and most interesting bands in the world right now. This record sounds like everything I want when I see the tag “DIY” applied to a band: it’s chaotic but confident, it’s off-kilter but unbelievably catchy, and it sounds like it could have been made only by them. They’ll probably get a lot of comparisons to the Messthetics compilations, and that’s fair (although I think the Homework series would be more apt, since CHRONOPHAGE sounds unmistakably American to my ears), but it’s also frustrating. CHRONOPHAGE doesn’t sound like the past; they sound like the future. Or at least they sound like the future that I want to live in. Prolog for Tomorrow gets my strongest possible recommendation.

Richard Papiercuts Twisting the Night 12″

Anyone who needs to read a review in order to determine whether to purchase this record almost certainly hasn’t heard 2015’s IF, the best LP of that year in my estimation, and probably one of the greatest of this dismal decade. This four-song 12″ EP continues in the tradition of that record, which is to say it’s wonderful. RICHARD PAPIERCUTS easily gives lie to the common punk fallacy that the best music is always made by those who don’t know what they’re doing—it frequently is, of course, but PAPIERCUTS proves it’s possible to use an encyclopedic knowledge of music to create something unique, rather than cresting the wave of whatever flavor of nostalgia is in vogue this month. This is all to say that while I’m sure there are specific reference points on this record, it’s hard to point them out because it’s all melding into something of its own (and because they’re probably largely bands I’ve never even heard of!). I can say that this record’s got a more ’80s pop lean to it than the last one: big sounds and big hooks and danceable rhythms. I can drop a reference to TEARS FOR FEARS or maybe even like PET SHOP BOYS or something (that one spoken line in “A Place to Stay”!). Or, just as impossibly, I can try to describe how this record makes me feel: peaceful, energized, optimistic—in a word, buoyant. But either approach is inadequate in conveying the beauty of Twisting the Night, a record that deserves to not just be heard, but to be listened to with focus and intent.