HEADCHEESE • LP

Neon Taste Records

Headcheese • LP (Neon Taste Records)

Holy crap! Stay off my lawn you little snot-nose kids! I am pretty certain that these guys are dads that are just fucking frustrated with the day today of all the banal globs of garbage that we go through. Their music is refreshing and nuanced hardcore that harkens back to the early days when it was cool to go outside the lanes. “I Don’t Care” starts off with ripping guitars and then the chorus “who are you?, I don’t wanna know” I feel it and agree. I was talking to my pal Will last night and I told him I have enough friends. I don’t really want to meet or make room for new people and somehow Headcheese was able to fit that entire sentiment of that conversation into 52 seconds and capture the tone and emotion perfectly. By the time they get to cut 3, “Po Po”, all bets are off, all guard rails have been removed. It just explodes with an amazing and ridiculous and Animal-esque TM perfect drum intro which feeds right into “you got a dad, and he’s the best, he got you ice cream, when your aced test, he’s wit the Po Po, that’s a no- no”. “12 years of working fucking hard, and the only thanks I get is when I manicure a yard” from the song “Invalid” addressing school and jobs and the lies we’re fed as children and adults wherein if you work hard you’ll “be the best”. Here’s the thing about this that put it a cut above a lot of hard-core and music in general right now. It has an aggression to it that is rooted in the despondent and boring life. The energy of the music is the chaos of the universe and the lyrics are arranged in a way that is self conflict between wanting to do more /be more and also giving in to your life as the arc of time decides where you’re going to be no matter what you thought in the beginning. It’s as though the endless boredom has given way to a biped stumbling from a dried riverbed’s alluvium on its way to harness the dim power of it’s larval pin sized brain funneled into “day in and day out” to feeling that it can be more and bigger but in the end, it is
what it is.  Seriously, I got this record and I heard it and I loved it so much that I ordered another one for my buddy Derek. I feel like Headcheese would be best buddies with the Thee Elder Gods from Kalamazoo, MI. 


If you’re reading this and you are a citizen of the United States do yourself the most patriotic thing you could possibly do and buy this Canadian record. HERE. (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

GROUPIE • Ephemeral LP

Handstand Records

First things first, I’m a total jerk. Hands-down, I’m not covering anything, I’m not going to hide behind the pandemic. I’m not going to hide behind the fact that someone nearly stole my identity, I’m not going to hide behind guns shipped in my name across the United States, I’m not going to hide behind any family illness, I’m not going to hide behind moving, I’m not going to hide behind anything. I received this record over a year ago and simply due to my laziness, I have not addressed it in the respectful and proper way that it should’ve been addressed. So, without any further ado, let me tell you about this Groupie Ephemeral LP. For starters the cover has me completely perplexed. I can’t tell if these are dried little mushroom caps, flower petals or over priced healthy beet chips from your local over priced grocer.  They are maroon and bruised in color and it’s haunting and compelling at the same time. The record itself (as you can see from the photo) is also maroon. Here’s the juice of it, the music is haunting and unique but familiar. Calling this post-punk, although accurate, does a disservice to all the other things that it’s not and all the other things that it is. This LP has a mid to late 80s 120 minutes feel to me with a little bit of mid era DC crossover stuff like Jawbox. I get a little bit of a feeling that they think of themselves as rockers but in my opinion they are far better than that. They are not dazzling or overpowering with riffs. They just belt it out, earnestly, with passion filled and uniquely poignant lyrics. Groupie starts right in and blamo! gosh, I don’t know who exactly is singing (is it Ashley or Johanna) but regardless, when they get to the lyric “give up on perfection“ it socks ya right in the chest. By the time you get to the song “Industry” they’ve taken on a slight swagger, an almost Patti Smith feel in the cadence and delivery. We’re still on the first side when “Thick as Glue” comes on with a haunting guitar and lyrics that seem to cut to the heart of misguided macho and hipster male worship that comes at young women. It’s partially because I have a young daughter that is continually subjected to this type of junk but also, it’s because Groupie is quick to leave the fashion hero worship garroted in a pile that I like this sing so much. This is certainly worth a listen and who knows, now that shit is getting back to normal, we might get the chance to see them live somewheres.  (JD)

Buy this by simply clicking this fuggin’ link.

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

NOTA • Moscow 7″ EP

NOTA • Moscow 7” EP

Artcore

Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.

Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country”  and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here. 

Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means.  (MA)

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Justin Dratson:JD Nate Wilson:NW  Matt Average:MA

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard 2xCD

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard CDx2

(Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records, 2013)

Late last year from Shadow Kingdom Records in Ohio, I picked up a copy of the Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records 2013 two-CD reissue of two late-’80s/early-’90s thrash metal albums—and more!—from the band Addictive in Sydney, Australia.

Despite some slightly goofy cover art by Oxx (AKA Simon Cooper) that’s slightly reminiscent of Adam Siegel’s Infectious Grooves lizards, the two records and assorted bonus tracks shine spotlight on a metal scene and band I have never heard or thought about before. Not that I’m fully well versed in all things international metal—my knowledge of Australian rock was pretty much limited to INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Hard-Ons before listening to this double CD—but the ‘80s Sydney metal scene is a scene with a history worth exploring. So explore I did. 

The two-CD reissue includes Addictive’s 1988 five-song demo, Ward 74; 1989 album, Pity of Man; and the delayed 1993 album, Kick ‘Em Hard (perhaps a riff on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All); as well as an unreleased cover of “Crazy Train”—Kick ‘Em Hard producer Bob Daisley co-wrote “Crazy Train” with Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads—a 1990 demo of one of the first songs the band ever wrote; and the 1995-96 demo of a song intended for an unreleased third album.

Interestingly, the CD set leads with Kick ‘Em Hard, a 1991 recording finally released in 1993 after 18 months of delay—and after the band’s heyday was perhaps over and done. While an able effort, it is the 1988 demo and 1989 album that make the CD worth checking out. Both are excellent local examples of late ‘80s thrash and hint at what must have been an interesting—and very fun—time for metal in Sydney. There are definitely discernible influences in the music, particularly Metallica and Megadeth (which shouldn’t come as a surprise; Greg Smith’s vocals at times remind this listener of James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine), but other influences can be gleaned from the T-shirts worn by band members in photographs featured in the insert. Such bands include Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica (natch!), Sacred Reich, S.O.D., Def Leppard, Cycle Sluts from Hell, Destruction, the Australian band Slaughter Lord—also from Sydney—and the underground comix character Mickey Rat.

Local record store Utopia Import Records—opened in 1978 by record collector John Cotter, and still active today—served somewhat as an epicenter for Sydney metalheads because the shop imported most of the NWOBHM and similar metal that inspired the Sydney scene. Bands active at the time included Detriment, Mortal Sin, Fester Fanatics, Massive Appendage, the Hard-Ons, the Melbourne-based Hobbs Angel of Death, and others. Shows occurred at local venues such as the Seven Hills Inn, Lewisham Haunted Castle, Kardomah, Springfields, Penshurst Den, Marquee, and Sutherland Royal. Mortal Sin might have been the biggest metal band to emerge from the scene, opening for Metallica in 1989 during the Damaged Justice tour and featured in Australian metal magazine Hot Metal, as well as the British magazines Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Addictive, in turn, toured with Mortal Sin multiple times and rehearsed at the same studio—earning its own coverage in Hot Metal.

Four band members recorded Addictive’s demo and first album—Joe Buttigieg, Matt Coffey, Smith, and Mick Sultana—and Coffey left after Pity of Man to be replaced by Steve Moore for the 1991/1993 album. Both recorded at Sound Barrier Studios in Sydney, Ward 74 and Pity of Man are excellent recordings—and the highlight of this release. The demo—released in two pressings of 500, one hand labeled—featured cover art by Oxx depicting two healthcare workers and a long-haired, straitjacketed patient. A sign states, “You are now leaving Ward 74. Have a nice day.” One of the two workers says, “Why do you spose he keeps tryin’ to escape, Doc?” The doctor responds, “Beats the shit out of me, orderly. I love this place!” The original Survival issue of the Pity of Man LP featured a fantastic painted cover by John Marten depicting a robot dropping people into a giant hourglass as a woman consults a glowing orb in the distance on a desert planet. (The people might even turn into worms at the bottom of the hourglass; email Bad Transfer and let us know what you think is going on!) Despite deprecating comments in Vlad Nowajczyk’s interview with the band in the CD’s liner notes, the songs—and sound—are awesome.

Lyrical content and song themes on Pity of Man addresses conformity and control, the End Times, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect, the Holocaust, mental institutions, parental expectations, alcoholism, and the threat of nuclear war. The instrumental introduction to the song “Come Before the Storm” is wonderfully energetic, and “The Forge”—ending the first side of the album—is itself a worthy instrumental. All five songs on the Ward 74 demo were rerecorded and included on Pity of Man.

Based on enthusiastic response to the demo and first album, later reissued on CD with new, less interesting cover art at the behest of the European distributor, the band’s second album—Kick ‘Em Hard—was fully intended to help Addictive join the ranks of Mortal Sin in terms of international attention. Mortal Sin even name dropped Addictive in a Hot Metal article, and Addictive opened for Motorhead in June 1991 at Hordern Pavilion as part of the Legendary Muthas of Metal Australian Invasion, or MetalFest, as part of Motorhead’s 1916 tour.

To produce Kick ‘Em Hard, the band enlisted Bob Daisley, an Australian musician who played with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, and other notable bands. Daisley’s songwriting credits with Ozzy Osbourne would later be the impetus for a dismissed lawsuit seeking back royalties. A video of the band playing the song “Crazy Train” with Daisley is available on YouTube. The resulting album, however, was delayed for 18 months, arguably causing the band to miss its window of opportunity for wider spread attention and success because of mysteriously missing master tapes. The tapes might have been taken to the United States by an engineer—on the encouragement of the band’s management—in search of a better recording contract. (Absconding with those tapes also led to legal action.)

With its higher production values, Kick ‘Em Hard is more polished and professional, which—though fun—isn’t always necessary. The differences between Pity of Man and its successor are as stark as the differences between the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Being recorded in 1991 and not released until 1993, the second album sits at the cusp of the decade, serving as a bridge between the two. And the band is in fine fettle. Perhaps slightly more Megadeth-like now than Metallica—Smith’s vocals are a little more pronounced and affected—the band’s technical chops are also more polished. 

Song content on Kick ‘Em Hard addresses societal injustice, personal strength, medical experimentation, the environmental impact of overpopulation, addiction, uncertainty, military action and natural disasters, suicide, and relationships gone wrong.

After Addictive folded, Buttigieg and Sultana eventually joined Mortal Sin, and Moore joined Dungeon and played in other projects, including Dark Order, Enticer, Ilium, Redeemer, and Vaticide. Oddly, vocalist and bassist Greg Smith, the front man of the band, was not included in Nowajczyk’s interview. Where is he now? What is he doing? Despite Moore’s extensive band lineage, Smith seems to be the driving force behind Addictive—even if band members shared songwriting credits. (That might not at all be the case, but if any readers know where he ended up, I’m curious. I’m especially curious who wrote the lyrics.)

The band’s artist, Oxx, is also interesting creatively—and seems to have been a lynchpin in the Sydney metal scene. An artist and musician, Oxx drew cover, flier, and poster art for multiple bands, including Cruciform, Dearly Beheaded, and Fester Fanatics. He also frequently contributed artwork to Hot Metal and played drums in multiple bands, including Fester Fanatics and Massive Appendage. He was profiled after his death in Unbelievably Bad #10.

All in all, this is a wonderful archival release by a little-known (outside of Australia) band that could have been bigger globally, perhaps, had the timing of the release of their second album been better. As it is, we have labels like Tribunal and Divebomb—and fans such as Nowajczyk—to help bring bands like this increased attention, even if well after their most active days. 

I find that kind of fan archive activism… addictive. (HR)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

CORRUPTED MORALS • Chet 12″ EP

CORRUPTED MORALS – Chet 12″ EP

Lavasocks Records 

2020

This is a reissue of the 1988 CM chet 7″ ep that originally came out on Lookout Records, but with 5 extra songs from that same demo session.  This version came out on Lavasocks Records. It’s been remixed and remastered and somehow nobody fucked it up. These guys were hands down my favorite Bay Area band ever.  Yes EVER!  They were able to cross metal and hardcore in a perfect way that others were trying way to hard to make work. It was organic, and didn’t reek of trying too hard.  They were formed out of the Bay Area metal band Desecration with Bob Yost (RIP) on vox.  CM was basically Desecration without Bob on vocals. 

 I was lucky enough to see them a ton and got to know Joel Wing (the bassist) a little while helping to build the stage at Gilman street in maybe 86-87?  This stuff sends shivers down my spine, and thirty years later I still know all the lyrics. These dudes were super political, and really helped to change a crossover metal heads way of thinking a little.  I traded Joel my old band The Romper Room Rejects demo for the first CM demo.  

The only thing that ever bummed me out about these guys was that about five years ago I’d tracked down the singer (Rik) for an interview. He said he’d do it but he just kept stiffing me to the point where it felt as though I was harassing him. Oh well… Still a fav for sure. Track this down if you can, it is great. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Wilson  Nate : NW   Matt Average: MA

THEE ELDER GODS • Kill ’em All

the THEE ELDER GODS – Kill ‘EM All LP
17 songs in all!


Do any of you remember the 1990 movie Night Breed wherein a bunch of misfit friendly monsters are living underground, terrified of humans, until one day they boil over and take a stand against us…the dreadful standard humans? There was more junk going on than that, but at the core of it is how I feel about the Thee Elder Gods. The Thee Elder Gods are nice monsters trying to coexist, but folks just keep pushing them until blamo!! And the wreckage they leave in their wake is beautiful, unsettling, and compelling.

Lyrically and musically they hit the 80s classic HC but with nods to Th’Inbred, NOMEANSNO, Rhythm Pigs, and even a little bit of Schlong. It’s easy to follow along with the lyric insert and then a surprise musical uppercut just floors you. Starting off the LP with the song “Don’t Have a Cow”, “Senators in Love”, “I Am Satan”, into “Well-Heeled Baron” sets the pace for a truly one- of-a-kind experience. The lyrics are frightening and poignantly filled with a palpable and beautifully and sometimes misguided rage. Most of the time you’ll hear a band shout out some vague angry shit like “I’m broken and I’ll take you to the crusher” or some junk like that. However, when the Thee Elder Gods belt out “I got so mad when they remade Ghostbusters, that I went outside and burned down a cop car” you can really feel it. Eloquently putting a face to something that actually is irksome (like remaking a classic) vs someone yelling some vacuous junk like “my anger is a cancer to destroy your rules”. Take into consideration that we’re all trapped in this very peculiar time, an album like this swoops in and carries the precise amount of first human “thump thump” thinking and acting without consequence eg. “there are two reasons to go out after dark, first reason is to make the neighbor’s dog bark, the second reason is to turn into shark and eat up all the girlies selling hand jobs in the park”. Follow that up with “You might never be Lee Harvey Oswald but can still be someone’s hero” from the song “1981” and that gives you a reasoned sense of where they land on issues. “Well-Heeled Baron” starts right in with the gut kick of “A circumcised and well heeled baron, had it sweeter than a blowjob from the ice-cream man’s mother” and then the song takes a dark(er) turn. I won’t even get into the lyrics for “Octopus Hands” because I don’t want to give anything more away.

This album is the most unabashed, yet unpretentious, and the quintessential grey skied Middle West record I’ve heard since maybe Negative Approach’s “Tied Down” and an essential addition to everyone’s plastic stacks. This is going to be one of those records that in 20+ years you are going to say you had….but, in truth, you didn’t because you slept on it because you weren’t comfortable stepping outside your box.  Look, give it a shot.  If you get it, play it, hate it, shelve it for 5 year and try again, and do that 4 times and if it still hasn’t connected with you then in 20+ years you’ll be able to sell it for a ton of cash to someone much more musically evolved than you. (JD)


Contact them through Bandcamp if you’d like a physical copy of the LP
Contact them here for a hard copy of the actual vinyl!


Download from their bandcamp
Thee Elder Gods – Kill “Em All, Side A
Thee Elder Gods – Kill ‘Em All, Side B

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

DROPDEAD • Dropdead LP

DROPDEAD – Dropdead 2020 LP Armageddon

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Dropdead both musically and as long time friends. Interaction with them helped change my life for the better and helped form some of my opinions in the 90s. Yes, I will forever gush about them (and this new album). I don’t think it’s much of a secret that I’ve been a pretty apolitical person for a good few years now. I must say though that this is maybe one of the most raging of political records I’ve heard in forever and I fucking love it! Lyrics are printed big enough for old timers like me to be able to read ’em (unlike the past). This shit is so catchy.

I’ve often worried about Bobs vox for a little bit (sounded like he was really straining and losing them). Whatever has happened to them has made them have a great metal crossover feel to them. I love the idea of metal heads picking this up and it changing their musical outlook forever.

This might be their best album to date. I know this is blasphemy to say, but the songs, the production, the layout… everything about it is just tops. It’s not a short 45 rpm LP, it’s straight up 33.

Don’t snooze on this. This will def be a top 10 for me and 2021. (NW)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

LMI • Excess Subconscious LP

LMI – Excess Subconscious LP
9 songs
Handstand Records


This is LMI’s third LP (first two were CD only, but whatever) and I feel that this band is at a very intriguing point in the ark of where the band started and where they are now. This is a style of hard-core that has a crossover metal tinge with some surprisingly great upbeat hooks and LMI do a very good job of it. I feel as though they’re at a point where if they stay exactly where they are, with the slightly muddy production, great bass playing and dual vocals that they will add fans. However, if they decide to overextend themselves and get a little more technical and add clarity to the production, they might collapse from rising start to black hole. Lyrically, it’s the sort of angry poems that a kid would write in high school and the delivery is dependable. Here’s where I struggle, it’s a great record, there’s no doubt about that. However, compared to some of the other Handstand Records releases I’ve heard, and combined with the overall latest batch of stuff that I reviewed, there’s nothing about it that stands out. This is a very good record to put on while you’re doing stuff and it will definitely keep your heart rate up and moving through the day. If you’re trying to get your 10,000 steps in or you have to prep for a dinner party and you just need your chopping skills amped up a bit, then this is the record for you. Conversely, if you’re looking to sit down with something and read along and feel like you’re part of the experience, this doesn’t quite have me connected in that way. Some of the guitar lines are melodic and catchy for the style of music and for a power trio, it’s uniquely complex. Let me be clear, I’m not an expert on this but I do know what I like, and I think a very simple thing that could connect me to this are the lyrics. I like to sit down and read along with the record and with the vagueness of some of these, it’s hard for me to really find an attachment to the band. Musically, I think that they are great and if the singers could just maybe consider adding something personal about themselves, their day, or to be more precise, identify a theme of a song whether, specifically what you don’t like, what you do like, the way a tree looks in winter, a crush on Jessica Rabbit…I dunno. It’s that the constant anger and sorrow pushed off in vague ways with the standard adjectives isn’t quite grabbing me like it usually something like this would. I felt that somewhere along the way there wasn’t really that suffering and anger they are trying to express but moreover they are trying to stay within the sonic guardrails of the music is that they are making. Again, this is a great musically thoughtful record but could it have been more moving and captivating as an instrumental record for me, maybe. I like words and I appreciate when lyrics are authentic even if they are silly or hurtful or uncomfortable.

I do recommend you check this band out and decide for yourself. The musicianship is terrific and it’s entirely possible that I’m being overly critical considering I am well aware that overall lyrics in hardcore have become uninteresting and less evocative. (JD)

Pick up the LMI – Excess Subconscious, LP here!

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

KISSED BY AN ANIMAL • self-titled LP

KISSED BY AN ANIMAL – Kissed By An Animal LP

Handstand Records


The gatefold cover, the printed inner sleeve, the download code card and the he creamy yellow of the vinyl are all visually stunning. I feel like this record should have come with a set of game pieces, rules and directions to uncover the mysteries held within the elaborate artwork. I was so distracted with the gatefold that I didn’t look closely at this record and put it on at 33. I was so struck by the opening guitar that I had to sit down. My first thought was that their opening song was a cover of “Mercy Seat” by Ultra Vivid Scene. What a way to start a record, with an obscure
cover of one of the best Shoegaze songs ever written and with both bands being from NYC, it made perfect sense. However, as the song played on I realized that it was similar to “Mercy Seat” but the song was their own. No matter, I still liked it. It was around the last song on side A, “Animal” that I started to think that the singer was dragging a bit and there could be two reasons for this: 1. The dude drank a bottle of Robitussin and it’s starting to kick in. or 2. I have this on the wrong speed. Sure enough I looked at the spinning 12 inch record and saw a bright red 45 spinning at 33.


Restarting from the beginning this record now has a completely different feel and it’s catchy as hell. Imagine taking all the great Shoegaze songs and speeding them up to a Buzzcocks velocity and whamo! you’ve got Kissed by an Animal. Now that these songs are at the proper speed and have the hooks hitting in time doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and flowers. There is a subtle sorrow and darkness to a few of these tunes, a longing and lamented mistakes vibe, yet playful at the same time, as if to reassure the listener that mistakes are ok and keep making them. There was a label called Plan-it-X Records in the mid-90s (a little research shows that they are still a label…well what do you know … ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ) that filled out their catalogue with
bands that parallel the sound of Kissed By An Animal. However, where the difference lies is that, well, let’s say a bunch of Planet X bands found a pot of gold, they would return it to the leprechaun and ask him if he wanted to join them in a meadow to play kickball. I get the feeling that if Kissed By An Animal found that same pot of gold they would ring the doorbell, leave it on the porch of the leprechaun, watch and giggle from the bushes as he realized that all of his lost
gold had been peed and farted on. This is another Killer release from Handstand Records and if you mix up the speeds, like I did, you get two records for the price of one! (JD)


Kissed By An Animal pretty gatefold link

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

DRILLING FOR BLASTING • Fingers Are the Best LP

Drilling for Blasting – Fingers Are the Best Eyes LP
This record knocked my socks off. I’ve been a fan of Doug Ward since, I guess, 1986 when I heard the song “Bella Lugosi’s Not Dead (You Are)” on a mix tape from my cousin. After hearing that, I couldn’t find flaws with anything he’s touched and that includes a collaboration with Ben Weasel, from the band Screeching Weasel. The times I saw 8-Bark left me staggered but let’s get to the band at hand, Drilling for Blasting. 

There is a recurrent problem with people who stay in a music community for a long period oftime. A.) Staying relevant. B.) Keeping the same level of torment and fury that you had in your teens and have it be authentic and compelling. Drilling for Blasting manages to do that with a message and delivery that hits with each note and syllable. Doug’s guitar is at times, very direct (what you’ve come to expect from a punk veteran) however, at other times, there is a blues influence that jolts in, adding to the angst and anger of the lyrics. For me, what gives this superiority over peers and the general quagmire of music these days is the drumming of Kammy Lee. Her drumming has me on the edge of my seat. There’s a mountain of weighted tension waiting for things to fall in line but she’s staggering her rhythms, adding punch precisely where it’s needed and not backing down. She lets off the gas enough to let you know she’s in control of this ride. The song “Run Out” has my favorite drummer rock trick of all time and that’s the sound of clicking wood on metal. Then this bass line that’s seems to be from outer space drops in (although they have no bass player, like The Doors). Lyrically it’s encapsulating everything I’m feeling right now in these peculiar times; sarcastic, dumfounded, hollow, unsteady, bored, busy, anger, confused, etc. There are a few more surprises on this but I want you to enjoy your own discovery. I’m floored by this record. Please go buy all the copies.  (JD)


Drilling for Blasting link to MP3s and where you can get a beautiful smokey blue vinyl copy

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Justin Dratson: JD   Nate Wilson: NW   Matt Average: MA