Reviews

Tetryon Tapes

Baby Tyler Vol. 2 cassette

Excellent hyper-spastic staccato punk hailing from Madison, Wisconsin. On my first blind listen, it had the feel of being recorded on a 4-track in an angry young adult’s bedroom while chain smoking Pall Malls, drinking Boone’s Farm, and reading too much David Foster Wallace. A few more listens and its layering emerged, with slow, emotive insights and complex change-ups balanced against the unhinged melodic bursts. This all makes sense, as the one man behind BABY TYLER is the similarly forenamed Tyler Fassnacht from the pivotally epic PROUD PARENTS. They are one of the current greats to take up the mantle of the frantic, melodic punk sound, like if the BANANAS and F.Y.P. were signed to Flying Nun Records.

C-Krit C-Krit cassette

Now, this is nuts. On their second cassette release, C-KRIT delivers some freako, lo-fi hardcore punk with plenty of attitude. The word that most comes to mind when listening to this is “obnoxious.” The vocalist makes practically no attempt to get in sync with the music, spitting and slurring the seemingly ad-libbed(?) lyrics in a particularly snotty demeanour and peppering in strings of gratuitous profanity along the way. As the recording continues, it sounds like they’re all getting dumber and dumber. The last two songs are two cliché hardcore covers: “Louie Louie” and “Stepping Stone,” except C-KRIT’s interpretation of these two tunes is certainly original. This is music entirely made for and by people who only possess two brain cells—I like it…

Ciggie & the Darts Liquor, Leather, Denim & Darts cassette

I was expecting a pack of thick-accented Aussies with this band name. Instead, I get a trio of Canadians outta Ottawa, which has to be at least second best in toothless alcoholic status. Seriously, this thing smokes, and even looks like a full pack of reds. A nice mix of MÖTORHEAD, ANNIHILATION TIME, and pub rock like EDDIE AND THE HOTRODS. The singer sounds like GARY GLITTER and MEAT LOAF on a sulphate bender. A tight trio musically keeps everything at just the right level of sleazy. There’s even a fucking piano! Not a loser song in the bunch. Smoke up, Johnny. Ha.

Danny’s Favorites There Still Punk cassette

English was my weak subject in college. I sometimes think I overcompensate for that now. Are they just trying to bug me with the There Still Punk title? Or are they being funny? It’s mostly irrelevant, I suppose, as it really has nothing to do with the music I’m listening to. I’m digging this. It’s melodic and up-tempo and catchy and the lyrics are pretty funny. This is my kind of thing. It’s got a sound that blends early punk and power pop nicely. They’re obviously not the first to do this, but their sound is one I like. And I’ll always be a fan of anyone willing to take on the Mormons. Looking at the credits, it looks like there are only two band members here, with Trevor Lake responsible for everything except the drums. This is worth looking for.

Evinspragg Precognitive Dreams cassette

Solo new wave/post-punk project from Eric Mayer of TENEMENT. This is a solid collection of syncopated beats, woozy synths, constant zig-zag guitar lines, and spoken/sung vocals that will speak to fans of URANIUM CLUB. There are a few short tracks that sound like electronic sketches, but most of these songs are just that: fully-realized songs with quite a bit of complexity and obvious talent, some of which pass the three-minute mark. The beats and guitar constantly change rhythm, giving each song a busy, off-kilter quality that is never not interesting. For instance, “The Magnetic Kind” changes time signatures several times before ending in a mini blastbeat eruption. The lyrics are also interesting, sounding like journal musings about everything from emotional introspection to the very nature of time. “Nothing is Real” has the following killer line: “I feel lonely / All the while craving neglect / Tapping the pencil / Will only break the lead.” This was a pleasant surprise of thoughtful, angular punk and is recommended for both eggheads and rockers.

Flea Collar A Hole is a Hole cassette

The guitarist from BROWN SUGAR and some of BAD NOIDS and SPIKE PIT get all riled up for a garage trash sloppy sex pile in “the city of rock’n’roll,” Cleveland, OH. It’s just as noisy and disgusting as you’d imagine. Completely devoid of morals and a blemish on decent society. Like SICK THINGS and EASTER MONKEYS but way more fucked. It’s great. Die.

Futuro Os Segredos Do Espaço e Tempo cassette

This release harkens to the psych sounds of GUIDA, the ethereal hardcore of CONTROPOTERE, and the dark corners created by RAKTA. FUTURO of San Paulo melds hardcore beats and drawn-out riffs similar to SLANT while presenting with a more melodic and cosmically-fueled aura. This is the kind of heart mainstream post-hardcore bands wish they had,  sounding organic and authentic and not postured and plastic at all. Some aspects remind me of BELGRADO or SKELETAL FAMILY, then surprisingly show up with a more IMPERIAL LEATHER energy, then fly away into the HAWKWIND or CAN night. Okay, this is actually fantastic, dreamy acid punk with hardcore and peace punk roots. Equally spacey, equally bumping, equally lashing. Every other song is my favorite and the bridges in-between have me totally intrigued and surprised. The musicianship and vocals are all tops. So excited I will get a copy of this. Definitely recommended.

Richard Hamilton Kiss Touch 2000 cassette

Longingly lonely romantic pop rock songs from the prolific Clevelander RICKY HAMILTON. Hooky synthesizer melodies that you don’t mind getting stuck in your head. It lands somewhere beyond where post-punk ends and indie starts. Reminiscent of post-Seamonsters WEDDING PRESENT, where a cover “Montreal” would fit seamlessly into this album.

Richard Hamilton My Perfect World cassette

Sickeningly sweet glam pop with heavy ’90s indie vibes. Vocals are soft and smooth with femme backing accents floating in the mist (sometimes), and the whole thing creeps under your skin something fierce. On this cassette version of last year’s CD on Quality Time Records, RICHARD HAMILTON (a.k.a. Ricky Hamilton, Ricky Hell) proves (again) that he’s not only versatile, but that he’s one of the unheralded treasures of modern DIY music. A truly magical, masterful collection of should-be hits…pure, mature, perfectly polished and presented for your enjoyment.

Richard Hamilton Memory Palace cassette

My introduction to RICHARD HAMILTON was as RICKY HELL AND THE VOIDBOYS. I’m 100% in favor of giving the elders of punk a hard time. I was amused, then I was fascinated. Only the name seemed joke-y. On this cassette, RICHARD HAMILTON delivers introspective, indie pop songs. Like seemingly the majority of recordings made in these pandemic times, Memory Palace is a one-man-band affair with HAMILTON handling every aspect of it. It gives me ’80s flashbacks with a bit of Madchester stylings thrown in. The result is a sweet and melancholy collection of songs with great lyrics. It’s catchy from the onset. The highlights are “Happy Go Lucky,” “South of France” (I’m a sucker for any song that mentions specific places in San Francisco) and “Traffic on the 5.” This is a great cassette.

Spike Pit 2 Heavy Metal 4 Punk cassette

The non-stop, hard-working Clevo wrecking machine SPIKE PIT pumps out yet another, and this might be the best so far. Technically, this is three songs from the upcoming magnus opus Bastard of No Future LP, with a couple bonuses like the insane title track and the aptly-named “Annoying” (I dare you to listen to the whole song). Thrash, bash, slash with no cash could be this band’s motto, as they slay with CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER metallic-testicled PUNCTURE WOUND/GSMF-like hardcore punk fury. “White World” is clever and tasteless as hell. Pure genius. More please now give me!

Spit Kink Get It cassette

From too damn cold and funky Buffalo, New York, SPIT KINK has hocked up this wet, sticky loogie headed straight for your ears like a sexy wet willie, full of klang drum machine, industrial-sized bass lines, and sawtooth synths. These are some seriously sassy party rockers that give me major GENE DEFCON/PRIMA DONNAS vibes, and I love it. Get a few dozen strobe lights going and this duo can probably turn a Rust Belt living room into the sweatiest dance floor.

The Shine The Shine cassette

We’re starting off with a very rock’n’roll/rockabilly vibe. This is reinforced by the packaging of the tape. Good for me that it moves beyond that. Almost every rockabilly band I’ve ever heard sounds like a cover band to me. The sound sort of bounces around with clear influences from rockabilly, power pop, ’60s soul, ska, and more. At times it’s got a great jangly catchiness. Overall, I like it, but I find the sound a bit scattered.

Thee Hearses EP II cassette

I bet you wouldn’t believe me if I told you that THEE HEARSES was a one-man electro-punk band that views the punk scene and modern life in general with a sarcastic slant. Songs about poseurs and frauds sung in a robotic monotone, with a clean drum machine drilling away and some synth noise coloring inside the lines. Well, believe it or not, this tape is actually a pretty decent listen—you’ve just heard this done before, and probably better. Still, this is what’s in the player so chill, aight? After all, “Space invader / You can fuck off” is the kind of chorus that we’ll make an exception for.

Utah Jazz In Retrograde cassette

Full collection of the recorded works of Buffalo’s UTAH JAZZ—truly one of the most wildly addictive bands in recent memory. I remember Biff telling me how much I was gonna like them and me only kinda believing him because he really likes some stuff that I just think is marginally “fine” (check his reviews, his enthusiasm is suspect…an affliction that I enthusiastically share), But these fuckers? It’s like ’80s UK twee on a diet of ’83 Touch and Go. Like fukkn DOLLY MIXTURE doing a set of NEGATIVE APPROACH covers…but, like really bratty. So if you like to get wild, here’s your chance. Again. Biff was right.

Werewolf Jones Terminal Velocity cassette

The eerie and dreary garage rocking of WEREWOLF JONES falls sonically somewhere between FLIPPER and the GORIES, giving off a vibe of being comfortably at home amidst the bad vibrations they emit. You have four tracks here, all heavy garage bummers that share a backbone with the likes of the DRAGS. I know that the band is named after a Simon Hanselman character, but I can picture an actual werewolf singing these songs, especially when he gets all riled up like on the title track. Crank it up and celebrate ennui.

Woodstock ’99 Woodstock ’99 cassette

This is a nice little package that includes this band’s debut EP plus a bonus tune from a future release, all on one cassette with a goofy skater pic on the cover. In case you don’t already know, WOODSTOCK ’99 is folks from Richmond, VA’s CEMENT SHOES, relocated to Cleveland to tear it up Midwest-style. If you were a fan of the previous combo, you won’t be disappointed, as this rotten apple don’t steer too far from the magnolia tree. You even get a reworked CEMENT SHOES tune here. It’s pure USHC with lovely slurry/screamy Darby-meets-Cookie Monster vocals. Maybe not the most essential release, but if you’re a lover of the plastic-spooled rectangular format, you’ll most likely be picking this up pronto.