Monday, December 18, 2006

Singles Column Volume Six...

“Man on the Ground”
HoZac Records

I’m not against it. French punks gone synthy with Big Black’s drum machine. “Couples” off their debut 12” is still the pinnacle of their output. Best taken in small doses as it can get shrill after awhile. Or maybe that’s just this lo-fi recorded at home single? Best instrumentation is on “Our Little Waltz” but the lyrics are utter self-referential garbage about trying to write lyrics. Wait, something about “the emptiness of the song and the chords” You’ve got to be kidding me. The nihilists in “The Big Lebowski” would like this stuff. Step up your game froggies.

“Growing Pains”
Art School Dropout

Breathy double female vocals on “Tourist Attraction” smack you in the face like Polly Harvey fronting a more-tilted line-up of Beat Happening. “Royal Jerx” is noisy no-wave that’d make DNA proud. Damn, lots of fakers try to claim it, but Kiosk owns it. “Ratt Boy/Breaking Them In” slides with Karen O scree and geetar cannon blasts. Not a stinker to be found here. Highly adored.

HoZac Records

Title track is about Manson. Alright I guess, a line like “let’s kill the piggies” sounds so blasé that you wonder if it’s tongue in cheek or if they don’t even know. I got scared for a second on “Witch Cookie”…there’s a confusing effect on the vocals and wearing headphones it feels like sound coming from beyond the ear pieces…as if someone’s calling your name. I literally pulled off my headphones looking for that phantom voice calling me. All the tones on this record are quite pleasing…fuzz guitar, warm organ, collected voices, deep fetal bass…and the songs ain’t half-bad either. A good start. I think they’re Spanish.

Thomas Function
“Vanity Lights”
DNH Records

My copy of this single has a slight edge-warp, easily my biggest pet peeve. “Vanity Lights” sounds like second-rate Strokes sound-a-like. “I Kept You (in a Pill Bottle)” feels more like the Ponys, which could just mean it sounds like a simplified Television. Amateur at best, these songs go nowhere and can’t even inspire me to write a clever bad review.

The Geeks
“Too Fat Pig”
S-S Records

Aimless free jazz. You know why they call it free jazz? Cause no one would pay for it. Archival release of songs from late ‘70s/early ‘80s. Cannot get into it, but appreciate the effort.

Die! Die! Die!
“Ashtray! Ashtray!”
Zap System

I like it. “Ashtray” is a rumbly number. Songs where the bass just hangs on the same note for an eternity always do it for me. “Shyness Will Get You Nowhere” has too much counting for my taste. But seriously, enough of the exclamation points already! Please! See! It gets annoying very quickly!

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