Reviews

Warttmann Inc.

Billiam Billiam Cassingles Club 2020 cassette

Goofy synth punk fun from this Melbourne solo project. This tape collects the twelve cassingles BILLIAM released in 2020, which is a pretty impressive run for such a crappy year. Most of the tracks are pretty straightforward mixes of lo-fi synth, garage guitar, and cheapo electronic drums. There is enough personality here to keep things interesting, and the vibe here is laid-back and good-natured with songs called “Flemwad,” “Crocodile Sandwich,” and “I Need a Robot.” They are all about exactly what the titles suggest. BILLIAM fits in nicely with labelmates RESEARCH REACTOR CORP. and GEE TEE, as well as vintage ATOM AND HIS PACKAGE. For egg-punk nonbelievers, this won’t change your mind because I could see it coming across as annoying. But if you are in the right frame of mind for some simple DIY fun that sounds like a guy making novelty songs with a keyboard, BILLIAM is a good time.

Heavy Larry Natural Selection cassette

Let me be far from the first to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the Aussie psychos recording weird-as-hell punk in their living rooms. Warttmann Inc. has become the sort of go-to tastemaker when it comes to putting out radioactive oddities such as these ten cuts of computer rock. Driving, crunchy, and artificial as hell—like an AI sipped a few too many pints of lager through the disk drive and belched out this damaged floppy of unpretentious cheeky Casio-punk. The whole package is driven home by the genuinely couldn’t-give-a-fuck attitude behind the lyricism and effects-laden vocal delivery. What’s left is a noisy batch of earworms that are just the right amount of bratty and ends on a note of total glitchy entropy with closer “Thanks.”

Tee-Vee Repairman Patterns EP

Latest project from Ishka Edmeades, whom you may know from his extensive résumé—he’s played in/as SET-TOP BOX, SATANIC TOGAS, GEE TEE, and RESEARCH REACTOR CORPORATION, and runs weirdo cassette punk label Warttman Inc. (co-releasers of this EP). But as great as those projects have been, Patterns might be his best release thus far. He’s taking that same NWI-worship you know from all his other projects, but this time he’s using it to construct some power/garage-pop tunes. His songwriting chops have always helped him stand out from the other eggs in the overcrowded DEVO-core basket, but hearing them applied in a slower, poppier setting really lets you appreciate all the disparate influences he’s working with. Throughout the four tracks on this EP, you can hear snatches of HUBBLE BUBBLE, SUPERCHARGER, HUNX AND HIS PUNX, the theme from the Heathcliff cartoon (…I’m only kind of joking), and of course DEVO—all tossed together into some seriously catchy numbers. Jump on it!