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

CASUAL BURN • Mean Things 12″ EP

CASUAL BURN • Mean Thing 12″ EP, 9 songs

Handstand Records

Casual Burn
I was pretty stoked to get this Casual Burn 12inch. The cover alone was intriguing to me because it reminds me so much of the cover of the “Smashed Hits” comp of singles by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. I thought that if this record heads down the same path as Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’s early singles then I am in for a treat. Besides, other than Lost System, I haven’t heard a good goth band in a while. I put this 12 inch on and it’s not a treat. Look, it’s actually really good but I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around it. If it weren’t for the distinct vocals of Monet Maloof, I would think that this was a compilation of bands or a compilation of all the bands that she’s been in. If you are a fan of Goner Records, Neck Chop Records, and some Emotional Response Records then this is definitely your tea bag. Sonically I’d say they sound mostly like they are influenced by the bands on those labels and Brain F≠ (Brain Flannel). In more detail, it’s a mix of garage and angular post punk. The vocals are hollowed and coated in reverb and there are some kinda hardcore parts, too. I can totally see why folks would love this but I just don’t have the ear for it today. What will most likely happen is that I’ll go to a friends house and they will be playing this EP. An exchange like this will happen:
Me – Wow, this is cool. What is it?
Friend – The Casual Burn 12″. I got it because of your succinct and honest review. I really like the way you did your best to not tie any emotion or disinterest in the music to the record and still managed to frame it in a way that made me want to find out more.
Me – I should dig this out again. I was probably having an off day.
Friend – Fair.
Check out more here.
https://handstandrecords.com/store/items/casual-burn-mean-thing-12-inch-lp/

(JD)

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

MUTANT SCUM • self-titled LP

Mutant Scum • Mutant Scum LP

Handstand Records

Mutant Scum

This album came with a sheet of other reviewer’s online reviews and I tore that paper to shreds. I really didn’t want to read about what other people thought for two reasons.

Reading music writer’s written reviews nauseates me (and yes, I’m aware of the paradox). I like the reviews at Bad Transfer because I know the folks and trust their opinions. I was turned off by reviews years ago due to reading too many verbose nonsense descriptions of the music. Know what I mean? I really can’t take shit like “the guitars sound like orphans toppling down a flight of stairs to the back beat of thundering hail storms” et al. = gross

Why include other reviews with a review copy? You want to see if I can measure up to Rolling Stone or Metal Headache or whatever/whoever you also sent this to? Guess what, I can’t because A: This is not what I do for a living. I love music and I pinch these reviews into my free time between being a dad, husband, friend, employee and other slivers of everyday stuffs. B: I don’t think for a second that my words will in any way sway a person (you) into picking this up because I either like it or hate it. I’m betting that you’ve already decided.

So, here’s what is going on for me with this Mutant Scum LP. I really dig the cover of this. It harkens back to the days of high school art projects and my youth’s fascination with global nuclear devastation and whatever is left of humanity being forced underground to live. Seeing this cover, I was transported back to 1984 when I watched the Toxic Avenger for the first time with my friend Matt Kinney. Off the bat I’m intrigued so I took my iPod, wiped it clean and replaced the 10,000 songs with this Mutant Scum LP. I had around 8 hours of solid flight time booked for work so my plan was, that for 4 hours in each direction, I was going to immerse myself into this record and write the review on the plane. I didn’t do that. I tried to but I ended up turning it off and staring out the window for part of the time and watching part of the Dora the Explorer movie for the remaining time in transit. I was later in a hotel and able to sit down and get into this without distraction. Sound wise this a metal/thrash/sludge record. After I really opened up to this I started to get into it and following the arc of the album. Mutant Scum started
to remind me of the Cocteau Twins. OK, hear me out, not in sound insomuch but in the way that the singer of Cocteau Twins, Elizabeth Fraser, doesn’t sing words but she sings sounds and melodies over the instruments to add an entirely new depth to the music by using the voice as an instrument for conveying urgency and emotion without words. And Mutant Scum are doing the same thing! How cool is that! Mutant Scum is the Cocteau Twins of metal and thrash and sludge. Or so I thought. When I got home and pulled open the gate fold, I saw all of the lyrics to the songs. They are mostly about radiation, wizards, blood mentioned a few times, demons, slime and sludge, and did I mention blood? Oh, and they sing about skin problems such as melting off, mutilation, discolorations, itchiness, scars, all the usual skin problems, a dermatologists dream come true. Well, I guess they don’t mention sun burn but that is probably because they do sing about how cloudy it is all the time.

I have a great appreciation for anyone that is willing to put something out into the world. The time to build and practice the songs, create and articulate the vision, and the monetary investment totaled with the other points is commendable. This isn’t quite my thing but it certainly has a place in the world, or at least the underworld, or the world after global nuclear disaster when we’ve crawled from the sewers and relearned how to make record players work. The record is a radioactive slime green and you can buy your own from here:
https://handstandrecords.com/store/items/mutant-scum-mutant-scum-12-inch-lp/

(JD)

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