Monday, March 19, 2007

Singles Column Volume Eight with Local Detroit Supplement...

Pink Mountaintops “Single Life” Jagjaguwar
Where Axis of Evol was an acoustic “play once and file away” misstep after their impeccable self-titled album rife with rockstar jamz a la Spacemen 3, what we get here is more of those sleazy, mountain fucking moments. A-side pummels with low-end bass drum drive and cheesy Suicide style organ wheedles. Flip is low-key acoustic ballad much more memorable than Axis and wanders into Alice Cooper “Dwight Fry” territory. Choice.

Car Commercials “Jar” Leaf Leaf Records
Featuring Dan from Home Blitz, “Make Me See Joanne” is spooked piano fumbling with no room for structure and sounds like someone just bought their first Jandek record. “Holland” shows some promising moments of thuggy git strum, but (though?) the drums never properly lock in. That could precisely be the point though. Flip starts with “Water” warped tape manipulation and “Rest Stop” is more Corwood Industries-worthy anti-talent. Just don’t get me started on their limited-edition lathe-cut split 78 with King Dwarves that comes with 3 bonus lathe-cut records (two of them on cardboard Coin Recordio Gram discs). That shit is intense.

Wax Museums “Claw You Like a Cat” HoZac Records
Do bands like this grow on trees? Passable punk reminiscent of Clone Defects at their speedy moments (“Cheetah Eyes” particularly). But the mix is so generic…I feel something on here should pop out at me, yet nothing does. If you’re gonna play punk like this you gotta add something new to the mixture and the Wax Museums fail to do so. B-side cover of the Vomit Pigs “Babys Playin Games” works while the sing-along chorus of “Jakoff Rat” is the highlight here. I expect something a little more distinctive from the HoZac crew.

Yellow Swans/Goslings Not Not Fun Singles Club January
Do yellow swans even exist in nature? Or would they just be swans that are soaked in their own urine? Yellow Swans track “1.” is static-heavy vocal-less noise with occasional audible bass notes. This is what urinating into a contact mic sounds like.

Goslings with “Saw-Horse” presents the same phantom fuzz build-up on your needle. My gut reaction is this is supposed to spin at 33rpm, but at 45 it makes a lot more sense. Usually the vocals are my guide as to speed choice when none’s listed, but “Saw-Horse” is perplexing in that at 33 the vocals sound proper and all the music sounds slowed down to the speed of the earth’s plate tectonic shifting. And at 45rpm, the vocals sound way too sped up, but the instruments sound logical. It’s probably a 45, but have fun playing it at 33 to decipher the vocals.

Goslings totally win as they at least had the balls to name their song and pony-up with something remotely musical.

GHQ/Ex-Cocaine Not Not Fun Singles Club February

GHQ features Pete Nolan of my infatuees Magik Markers. Sprawling atmosphero jams with what sounds like a use of bell trees. I’m curious as to how bands like this “create”, as it were. Does someone ever tell someone else in the band what they’re doing is wrong/bad/out of place? Or do they all just roll with it like Steve Winwood? This was recorded live in Seattle. I’m sure whoever was at the show will totally not even remember so because this is so forgettable.

Ex-Cocaine is a drums and drums two-piece. They win already. Dig that NNF has hipped me to some out-there shit in the world of noise percussion outfits. Does anyone have a copy of the Rhythm Chicken 7” while we’re at it? The world needs more ‘just drums’ stuff. One day I’ll release a 12” of myself playing the beat to “Scentless Apprentice” for an hour straight. Rawk.


The W-Vibe “Hi-Bouncer” Top Quality Rock and Roll
Forgotten duo that never seemed to fit in anywhere in this town. Did you know the “W” in their name stands for the Who? True story. “Hi-Bouncer” was a live favorite…always (sometimes?) accompanied by a flurry of superballs tossed into the crowd. I don’t quite hear that on this recording. Instead, you get lo-tech ploppy synth keyboards with lyrics that are (fully) “Hi-bouncer, bouncing ball” and a song that is fairly uneventful with its campy canned electro percussion. B-side “Candy Cane” is exciting pseudo hardcore that clocks in at less than sixty seconds while “Candy Coated Laughter” recalls a low-rent version of a song you’d find as a hidden bonus track on a Beck record. Got mine for $6.99 and it’s not worth it (though if mine had the custom W-Vibe superball with it I’d be all smiles). Now if they’d have thrown in their live cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” then we might have something.

The Displays “Baby Just Go Away” D-wrEcked-hiT Records
Glad to finally see this thing out. Sadly, after seeing them live it feels like these recordings are light years behind what the band has evolved into. A nice and dirty early document of the band, but bet good money the next record kills. It’s adept teen garage punk without any frills. Thumbs up for bassist Andrew Hecker sporting a Dirtbombs “Blackula” t-shirt on the back cover as that image alone is worth the price of purchase.

The Sirens The Sirens are Dead Wiped-Out Records
Different versions than those featured on their More is More full-length on MuSick. “Tear Me Down” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch is cleverly reworked to reference Detroit and specifically 8 Mile Road, the ’67 Riots and everyone’s favorite mayor named Kwame. “Tumble With Me” is a Hollywood Brats/Boys cover and is pristine glamtastic gold. The flip of Bowie’s “Rock and Roll Suicide” is a song that is impossible to do injustice to.

The whole purpose behind the Sirens is just to have some fun and to look any further or deeper is to completely miss the point.

The Fondas “Make You Mine” Sympathy for the Record Industry
I prefer them on record as opposed to live and this slab sounds like their best yet. A-side is robust with its standard Kinks-ian ‘slide your hand up and down the guitar neck, repeat, lyrics about insomnia (optional), wicked solo from Dave and it’s a wrap’ style. Flip of “In Your Room” is chugging bass/drums combo that could be that long lost Parallel Lines b-side. On peachy-keen colored vinyl.

Whirlwind Heat with Lightspeed Champion Lightspeed Heat Brille

When I hear “How Do You Do” I think of the Dave Grohl solo song of the same name on the soundtrack for the movie Touch that was my reason for being for a week or two in high school. So it’s also strange that I’m somewhat reminded of the Foo Fighters (who’s debut album guitar tone is matched here, intentional or not) with this collab between the boys Heat and a member of Test Icicles.

The seductive “oooo-ooo-oooo-oooooo” (rhymes with “woo-woo-woo-woo”) alternating with the song’s title sung as a chorus provide for a truly catchy romp. This is radio-friendly to the max (supposedly charted in the UK) and is really just a song about a car breaking your heart. Genius.

B-side “My Dreams” is lullaby-ic (am I hearing their Weezer infatuation slip in here?) and it’s clear adding a guitar does wonders to the trio. The first show the Heat did as a threesome (early 2002 at the Lagerhouse) was a bit of a let-down…they were obviously still figuring it out and there was a lot of empty space that still needed to be dealt with. But they grew into a fierce unit afterwards and didn’t look back. I pulled out the WWH Free Lance demos yesterday that were recorded when they still had a guitar player. ‘Twas some noisy Contortions-like skronk going on back then. Lightspeed’s guitar here is nothing of the sort and that’s not a bad thing.

For what amounts to a fun goof-off done in a day, this single is deceptively great. Recommended.

Solid Solution “Think About it Girl” Soul-O-Sonic Records
Schlocky soul from ‘78 bordering on disco original thought to be LP-only (on Silver Spoon) but apparently 45’s do exist and are rare as me actually caring about this stuff. I do not understand how people dig this. Oh well. Fry it.

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