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)
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)
I’ve been following everything Mark (McCoy) has been doing with Youth Attack Records since the beginning….yup day one, I was there. For me to see the evolution of his label has been a pretty incredible thing to watch over the years. Its been awesome and makes me proud of an old friend. I still can’t help but to wonder why, and how he still does it to the degree that he does. He puts everything he has into the packaging, layout and the sound that many of the YA bands seem to carry. Then right after the record comes out, usually the bands break up.
At any rate, on to the record review. When I got this City Hunter 12” I was in awe just by looking at the complete package. It looks like every single slasher film that I’d stay up late for in the 80’s to watch on USA’s Up All Night. City Hunter are from from Colorado and feature members of Cadaver Dog, Civilized, andCreep Stare. This seems to be a very incestuous scene that have put that region on the HC map.
When I first put this on my turntable I had sort of the same feeling I had when I first heard Carcass. I’m not sure why, maybe because its extreme in a way I haven’t been exposed to in a while? I’m by no means saying these cats are as good as Carcass. I do however find the band to have some what of a Carcass feel that is mixed in with Void, and then a black metal element in the guitar melodies. The melodies have me able to hum along with the songs even though the music is so chaotic and rawly tuneless. The beginning of the song Schizo really had me feeling the Void thing. Fourteen killer songs that have had me listening to this on multiple occasions.
Advice…listen kids if you want to get signed to YA you must worship Void. Its a fucking no brainer!
Get this City Hunter if you still can, everything about this record is beautifully ugly.