Saturday, November 11, 2006

Singles Column Volume Three...

Standard Tribesmen “Picture Take” Borox Records

I listened to “Picture Take” twice in a row and each time I thought my phone was ringing somewhere towards the end. Shouldn’t there be a word for that? A-side is gnarly rock spooge, all lo-fi and sloppy, like the riff to Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” amp’d up and dumbed down. The bass sounds so wonderfully outta tune and I love it, like the strings are just all limp on the neck, barely holding on, you know…ploooong-plooooong-ploooong! B-side kinda lost me though. Spray-painted cover has a dude with a big afro on it? Is this standard among Tribesmen?

Arthur Lee “Unissued 1965 Demos” Norton Records

After being one of the ultimate reissue labels for around twenty years, you wonder if such gems just land on Norton’s doorstep? In regards to this single, it did not. They still hunt and dig and canvass the country for all kindsa rock and roll artifacts. These two jams supposedly surfaced in the collection of an old record promoter from LA. A-side “Stay Away” by the American Four is an alright tune particularly saved by it’s wild(esque) guitar break. The flip “You I’ll Be Following” presents more of a proto-Love sound in a song that lazily goes nowhere. Cover photo of Arthur Lee (and Love/American Four/Grass Roots co-conspirator Johnny Echols) in Beatle wigs is truly hilarious. In-depth sleeve notes by Echols give the ENTIRE pre-Love rundown of what he and Lee were doing. Paid $15 for this super-limited version on marbled vinyl from with the proceeds supporting Arthur Lee’s family. If yer a cheapskate, I think Norton has a proper lame ole black vinyl version coming in a few months.

Order “Kickball” Blood of the Drash

I can’t remember why I bought this. I think I just wanted to hear a song called “Kickball” or “Strokes vs. New York”. A little bit of hipster-ish attitude never hurt anyone. “Hang the bankers by their ties, for letting African’s babies die” is clever and snide lyric sung with a laugh interrupting, perhaps because of it’s audacity? I like asking questions in reviews that no one has an answer to. No real reference points for this one, barely original and a bit like rock music. But if you like kickball…

Home Blitz “Live Outside” no label

Wow. Recorded live on the corner of Mercer and Hibben streets in Princeton, NJ, the A-side “Stupid Street” actually gives a running commentary on cars you can hear driving past and how the amps are battery powered and wearing gloves because it’s cold and it’s hard to play guitar in them. Rudimentary at best, it flows along with a poppy, Jonathan Richman “aw shucks” air about it with a louder-than-everything-else-in-the-mix guitar solo like VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name” or the Who’s “Out in the Steets.” With lyrics like “I feel like riding bikes tonight” on the flip, you should pop on down to the soda shop and grab a malt with your steady. “Live Outside” is a modern classic.

Rat Traps “Complication” Ken Rock

Three songs on a one-sided single means it’s fast and quick like the one time you lost your virginity. I dig it…songs that clock in at about sixty seconds are pretty hard to screw up. My copy came a CD-R of Cheap Time (Jeffrey from the Rat Traps new band with Jemina from Be Your Own Pet). I was originally told Cheap Time was supposed to be a sort of Brentwoods/budget rock tribute band, but after listening to it, Cheap Time sounds like a slightly more-sedate and slower version of the Germs. Can’t wait to hear it on wax.

Angry Angles/Digital Leather tour single, Shattered Records

The Angry Angles finally falter and release something short of amazing. “In My Room” would be better as a cover of the Beach Boys song of the same name. Decent enough, but I find myself just waiting for the full-length on In the Red. It’s gonna be so good you’ll pee yourself. Digital Leather’s “Ruby Queen” serves an Ian Curtis-ian vocal with a backing track decidedly more cheery than Joy Division. The Farfisa sounded annoying at first listen, but now I get it. From now on, reviews of split singles will declare a winner. Digital Leather bends the Angry Angles over on this one. Kudos DL.

Wooden Shjips “Dance California (Radio Edit)” Sick Christ Records

Slow, droning laziness that owes something to the Spacemen 3. Sounds a little thin to me, but that could just be the panic talking. I’m not as geeked about this band as everyone else seems to be, just waiting for something to totally blow me away. Off to a good start, they will probably get much better. Would write more but I got a plane to catch.

No comments: