We got in a ton of new records this week. Here’s a few that we are real excited about:
OCS – Memory Of a Cut Off Head LP
It is easy to forget (especially amidst the ringing of ears and aching of muscles after a typical Oh Sees show) that initially, OCS was a rather hushed affair. After the minimalistic brutality of Coachwhips, the band was the diametric opposite corner of John Dwyer’s musical world, quiet to the point of whispered in the wind, buffeted by the airy whirr of singing saw, soft and strange. Those early records especially had a rather contraband hush about them, as if the party had gone on all night and continued into the morning and everyone’s raspy from talking too much and agrees to whisper and pantomime as they watch the sun come up over the hills. Since then of course, things got gradually louder, faster, crazier…the band evolved into the Oh Sees everyone knows. For the 20th Oh Sees release, 100th Castle Face title, and 20th year doing it, Dwyer re-examines the quieter roots of it all in particularly baroque and homesteadly fashion. Memory Of A Cut Off Head was co-written with longtime collaborator and vocal counterpoint Brigid Dawson, recorded in total in Dwyer’s own Stu Stu Studio, and it’s lush, sumptuous in texture, but satisfyingly retains the gentle grace of the early stuff. There’s beautifully executed strings throughout, courtesy of Heather Lockie’s fine arrangements, horn arrangements courtesy of Mikal Cronin, and they even brought back the old saw—Patrick Mullins, that is—on saw and electronics. A return and a refinement of old forms, a few solemn meditations on life lived at high velocity, perhaps a respite from it…a softer side of JPD and distinguished company.
RAZOR BOYS – Self Titled LP
“Atlanta in the mid 1970s was not exactly the place you’d expect punk and glam rock to sprout, but with a little research into the quality of proto-punk bands descending upon the city during the 1973-74 era (NY Dolls, Stooges, Teenage Lust), its not hard to believe there would be a few brave souls who would take up the torch for dangerous and loose rock’n roll savagery and stake their claim as pioneers of this classic sound, well before it caught on elsewhere below the Mason-Dixon Line. So as history would have it, there wasn’t much real record label action that took chances on the very few real punk bands that dared tread these grounds, otherwise you’d already know the Razor Boys pretty well by now. With roots as far back as 1975, predating all the debut punk records released world-wide, Razor Boys were quite the anomaly, especially in the Deep South, and their outrageous & androgynous sleazy glam look wasn’t helping them win over many converts in the Allman Brothers/Lynyrd Skynyrd saturated cover band circuit either. Always honing their craft on the dangerous and damned side of the rock’n roll spectrum, these guys had a very distinct look that was somehow stuck in time between the post-NY Dolls glam era, and the upcoming LA “Hair Metal” look, but at least five years before that LA scene took root. The music on the other hand, is white-knuckled, trashy rock’n roll at it’s finest, delivered with pure dereliction, and always a side of extra sleaze. But make no mistake, these raw-dog recordings have very little of the trappings you’d associate with 80s pop metal, and definitely lean HARD on the punkish rockers, with nary a tame song to be found across either side of the LP. It’s too bad that these guys were so ahead of their time, as the studio recordings contained on this LP from 1978 will attest, the Razor Boys took their debaucherously seedy song material and combined it with air-tight punk precision, and dropped it into a world that just wasn’t ready. Thanks to our crack A&R team at HoZac Archival, we’ve rescued this monster from the depths of obscurity and the “first Punk LP from the Deep South” can finally breathe alongside it’s well-known contemporary bretheren, and rightly find itself back in the historical timeline, where they belong. Now, on the eve of it’s 40th anniversary, the Razor Boys are finally getting the recognition they should have had all along, and hopefully their legend will only grow from here, as their originally intended LP is finally available, so far ahead of their time, for the first time in any format.”—VictimofTime.com
THE COWBOYS – 3rd LP
“Bloomington, Indiana has something to really be proud of in hometown heroes THE COWBOYS. One of the most exciting and indescribable bands of the last five years, this band manages to escape all of the pitfalls of modern DIY punk/garage and break out into a field of their own instantly. First off, nobody is supposed to have vocals this good, like almost bewildering talent-wise, but to actually be able to sing like this and be sweating it out in front of a packed room of rock’n roll revelers all night is almost charity work. The songs have this hard-to-pin Midwest je ne sais quoi and and the guitar and rhythm section are just off-the-charts in their ability to bridge themselves between the polarity of tightness and looseness. Coming off like summery sons of The Gizmos circa 1981 at one minute, and then diving head-first into their other-worldly piano-based tracks, which surprisingly simmer along perfectly next to their punkish rockers without any abject knee-jerk derailment. Just arty pallet-cleansers? I wish it was that simple, but The Cowboys have too many chops to minimize their effort, and this LP is nothing short of a riveting ride through a range of rock’n roll styles that should NOT work when liquifyed as such, yet with this band and it’s subversive magic, their songs come off as perfectly original, yet warmly familiar.Housed in silk-screened LP jackets, and equipped with a rock’n roll wanderlust that keeps them in perpetual touring formation, The Cowboys new LP wont last long, and once the irresistibilty of their songs seeps into your pores, it’s going to be hard to pull back, and impossible to ignore. Definitely one of the Midwest’s finest musical operatives of the last 10 years, this band has really got it all, and we cannot wait for you to bathe in it’s pleasures.”—VictimofTime.com. First pressing of 500 copies.
C.H.E.W / PENETRODE – Split 7″
A split between Chicago’s C.H.E.W (formerly CHEW, currently a supernatural musical being of paralleled ferocity) and Philadelphia’s PENETRODE (another hardcore act of comparable ferocity, and make no mistake, that in and of itself is a fuckin’ achievement) originally released on cassette sometime in April of 2017. If you’ve got a penchant for pummeling the ever-living shit out of your eardrums with some unrelenting hardcore brutality, then this record is a thrill you surely need to chase. Behind every vocal wail—be it the rabid, nigh-animalistic howls of C.H.E.W. or the dry, strained moans haunting Penetrode—lies an intense wave of uncontrollable energy. Behind every diseased riff, a full-bodied jab to the gut. Behind every destructive drumbeat, a brief moment of pure fucking catharsis.
COLOR TV – Paroxeteens 7″
If you ever felt that your life was dry—or just horribly devoid—of rock bands genuinely playing their fucking hearts out by way of utterly tantalizing spectacles of sugared, razor-sharp songwriting and endlessly captivating melodies, then you need not look further than COLOR TV’s freshest slice of power-pop rock and roll bliss. Being a 7-inch single truly compacted with enough cloyingly sweet, slick, and unequivocally aplomb swagger to wholly occupy any listener’s hearing receptors with its colorful, angular guitar harmonies and echoed croons from a set of vocalists who really know how to fuckin’ sing—all demonstrated over the course of five minutes.
GEE TEE – Death Race 7″
Originally conceived as a solo-project by GOLD COAST’s KEL MASON (also of DRAGGS), GEE TEE’s Death Race EP is the total antithesis of its title. For a “death race”, simple-minded listeners couldn’t feel more enlivened by Kel’s goofy, lighthearted brand of synth-infused, surfy garage rock lined with an ear-pleasing arrangement of mechanical whirls, buoyant keytones, alien-like vocal distortions, and of course, spindly, simplistic chords emanating from a guitar most assuredly decorated in all sorts of sweet flame decals. What derives from this unorthodox assemblage of instruments is something of an otherworldly orchestra, a perky, lo-fi charade that’s more incapably delightful than it is confusing or overwhelming. Death Race is a unique, spacey venture in the vein of the most infectious of garage rock bands, while remaining pleasantly digestible to satisfy even the least adventurous of listeners.
JACKSON POLITICK – Paste V.1 LP
When it comes to rock music worthy of the titular “outsider” label, being embellished in enough surprisingly-sensical idiosyncrasies to separate the sound from a more straightforward style, history has shown time and time again that you can’t go wrong with someone like ANDY JORDON. Serving as a frontman to the ever-swoonworthy ANDY HUMAN AND THE REPTOIDS, as well as the semi-lucid guitarist to Oakland’s THE WORLD, there exists an Andy-bred solo project that toys with conventions similar to those explored in both these projects, that being JACKSON POLITICK. Save for the single name attached, the band is about as cryptic as any other self-released punk record. It’s driftless, sporadic, and oftentimes frenzied, coursing through an array of subgenres during its 27-minute runtime. Contained within this eclectic collection of punk-tinged chunes are lulling, generally low-energy jams spotted with light, fuzzy, sparkly melodies and charming instrumental arrangements, a lo-fi auditory soundscape sheathed in summery vibes, all ruptured by an occasional stint of fiery guitar licks and pulsing drumbeats more oriented towards punk territory.
KNOWSO – Look at the Chart 12″
With a vile propulsion of flared, twang-loaded riffs and borderline-asinine rhythms, Cleveland’s KNOWSO couldn’t have conjured a more churlish, crude, and otherwise unsavory opener to the group’s debut 12” LP. You sit for a moment, cocking your head at the baneful repetition of instrumental slurs, perhaps questioning if you’ve either unearthed an ungodly cacophony of punk rock absurdities or just another broken fuckin’ record, before the grossly-distorted vocals blows its way to the forefront of the album—warped, corrupted, and somewhat villainous—the sound of which resulting in your head sharply veering 90 degrees off the base of your neck. But considering these sounds are emanating from the same damp, utterly depraved fuckhole that spawned the likes of CRUELSTER and PERVERTS AGAIN, listeners should expect nothing more from these disturbed group of musicians, knowing that they will always, without fail, somehow come up with a project even more deranged and obnoxious than the last. One-sided 12-inch.
LIVING EYES – Modern Living LP
A collaborative release between Australia’s Anti-Fade, France’s Gone With The Weed and California’s Neck Chop Records, Modern Living a new twelve-track LP from Geelong’s LIVING EYES. The band has sprinkled enough inklings of genius between their records to show that, yeah, they do have a genuine aptitude for hooky, kooky chordage besmirched by a vivid, squeal-prone lead, all overlaid atop a catchy set of rhythms to bring a sense of pungent opulence to an otherwise filthy, irreverent endeavor, and that no, their band is a hell of a lot more than songs about cheap malt liquor and dicks the size of a man’s thumb—though it would still be safe to expect songs about either of those. Because at heart, The Living Eyes is about as smart as it is stupid, as any good punk band should be. It’s completely demanding of your attention while being, in itself, utterly confused by whether or not anyone, including themselves, should be taking their band truly seriously.
LOWLIFE – Leaders 7″
Canadian punk is a rich tapestry of angry delights, and as long-time fans of our northern neighbors’ rock’n roll output (don’t forget the powerful punkish glam of Nick Gilder’s debut LP, too), we’re absolutely chuffed to bring the Lowlife ‘Leaders’ 7” EP back into the fold. Self-released in 1979 and known as the first punk release from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lowlife were a band with a lot of blanks to fill in, and if you did not become exposed through their reissue appearances on the Smash the State Vol 2, or Screaming Fist compilations as most of us youngsters did, you’ll revel at the brazen punk bravado, barreling off the rails and bursting with agitated urgency in each of the three tracks here. And although this EP’s release just made it across the line for inclusion in the 70s, all three screamers on this release seem to careen recklessly toward an obnoxious early 80s hardcore punk vibe, although still melodic enough to draw comparisons from the Dangerhouse bands, Negative Trend, Dils, and the Authorities. Limited edition of 500 copies.
SURFBORT – Bort to Death 7″
Well look at this, a Brooklyn band that isn’t taking itself too seriously and is somehow actually dripping, and/or seething with raw punk ooze??? Look no further than Surfbort, a rock’n roll mutation with living, breathing, tentacles of terror, and even and traces of Texas punk royalty. Started a few years back and with only one EP under their belt, band leader Dani Miller is a one-of-a-kind force of nature both onstage and on record, as her presence just leaps right out of the grooves and clocks you in the face immediately. The music is stripped raw, painfully precious mid-tempo punk, all salty & agitated, not far off from the late 70s vibe of The Eyes, and if that wasn’t enough, they’ve got Sean Powell (The Chumps, FuckEmos) on drums and Dave Head (Motards, Headache City, White+Outs) on bass, to round out the ringers in the rhythm section. Dani’s vocals are right where they need to be, front and center and commanding from the get-go, the perfect snarl of 70s punk lingering on the edge of early hardcore, but holding onto that impeccable tension that’s usually sorely lacking in most cases. She’s got to be one of the best aggressive vocalists of recent note and the deranged delivery is a taste of pure punk honey that you won’t forget. First pressing of 300 copies.
SWINGIN UTTERS – Drowing in The Sea LP
For thirty years, few bands have relished getting their hands dirty as much as SWINGIN’ UTTERS. In celebration of the Utters’ three decades as a band, as well as their continued forward momentum, we’re proud to announce Drowning In The Sea, Rising With The Sun, a 33-song best-of compilation that serves as a testament to the band’s peerless punk rock attack. This double LP collects songs that represent the band’s history. There are live staples, fan favorites, and even a few tracks that never work their way into the band’s live show. Touching on every era of Swingin’ Utters—from 1992’s Scared—to their 1995 debut album The Streets of San Francisco, all the way up to 2014’s Fistful of Hollow—this collection is a testament to a band that never tried to fit into anyone else’s box.Swingin’ Utters’ passion for what they do has always been palpable, and it’s why the songs that comprise Drowning In The Sea, Rising With The Sun are as crucial now as when the music was first released.
WHIP – Self Titled 7”
Like the resounding crack of a lashed lithe of leather, Winnepeg’s WHIP careens out of their recording space with the group’s first-ever vinyl release. To say the band’s material was “worthy” of the ol’ Neckchop™ wax treatment would only be selling it short. Etched within these grooves are what some would consider to be the essence of the punk rock spirit, something that is honest to its role as the idiot savant of rock subgenres. Something that exhibits both near-ineptitude and borderline-brilliance with simplistic, oftentimes repetitious riffs that have no business being as invigorating as they are, with a frail, limp power chords to contrast the vocalist’s genuine frustration with the world around them. This EP not only makes roaring returns to songs previously featured in the band’s three preceding tapes, but also introduces a fresh dollop of raw, hook-laden laced with an ever-so danceable tempo.
GEORGE MUKABI – Furaha Wenye Gita LP
An almost mythical giant of African guitar, whose reinvention of acoustic fingerstyle quickly spread from western Kenya throughout East Africa, before his tragic death in 1963. Spellbinding guitar lines, sweet harmony vocals, every melody an instant classic, and a life story steeped in legend. 12-song LP comes packaged in a deluxe spot-color jacket, with a 12-page full color booklet featuring an oral history by GEORGE MUKABI’s family and peers, and lyrics in English and Swahili. Co-released by Raw Music International and Olvido Records.