One year in, time keeps slipping into the future. Smooth noise for jerks, skewing modern, avoiding the punk and hardcore records that would monopolize my best of 2011.
1 / Magic Dragon Egyptian Radio 1981
2 / Strange Boys A Walk on the Beach 2010
3 / Eric Copeland U.F.O.s 2011
4 / Simon & Garfunkel Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine 1968
5 / Deux Decadence 1985
6 / Spectre Folk Fourth Dimension Refs 2011
7 / Gonjasufi The Lows 2011
8 / Demdike Stare Of Decay and Shadows 2010
9 / Soft Moon Total Decay 2011
10 / Television Personalities Happy All the Time 1985
11 / Zombies What More Can I Do 1965
12 / Television See No Evil 1977
13 / Tom Waits Innocent When You Dream 1987
14 / The Carter Family John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man 1928
15 / Freddy Cannon Palisades Park 1962
16 / Sic Alps Bric Jaz 2008
Is it gay to love The Men?
The new track from The Men sounds pretty pop punk, but I’m not complaining. Click the cover to listen.
Hey Toronto, I know that you’re not allowed to like both hardcore and any other genre, but Pissed Jeans are playing at Sneaky Dee’s, and I’m going to be in Vancouver, but I really think you should go. They’re not even THAT hardcore. It’ll be good. Even the openers are decent.
Pissed Jeans with Anagram and TV Freaks at Sneaky Dee’s, Friday, January 20th. doors at 8:00 / 19+ / $15ish
Morgan Willis has a new website with photos and etc. I especially like this glamourless but affectionate disposable series,of mostly buildings. I’ve been missing the west coast lately, and these photos don’t help. I’m going home this weekend, and the forecast for rain everyday should mute the longing.
"Mostly in Vancouver / mostly live." Still in high school, living in Abbotsford, starving for new exciting records, I drained hours on transit to spend a couple hours in a wet, cold, smoky East Hastings basement. Despite the excitement, I felt queasy when Emergency Room Vol. 1 came out, numbered. No one imagined there was no expiry date, but I knew that ambitious optimism would turn sour when the cops “Not In My City“‘d it. In a couple decades we’ll see the Volume 2 DVD (obsolete format). Until then, this ultra-limited clear lathe-cut 10” is the appendix we have.
Reasonable clarity, bands picked to play their best songs, glossy photo book accompanying, Emergency Room Vol. 1 was a scene’s healthy pride. Contrast, Hex Forever is ten scratchy tracks off the scabbier, anti-entertainment edge of weird punk. It knows how abrasive it is, and the record runs together in the blown-out hiss. Jesse Taylor’s vanity took nine recordings he happened to have and cut them into a record, nobody can own, and anybody can ruin.
Through the scars, Hex Forever is an honest document. The cover, via Nic Hughes, is the style that soaked Vancouver’s socks, and sets the tone. Everything’s raw, and doesn’t always work. You can’t hear what’s going on half the time and impressions are limited to vague attitudes. Often being abrasive is tedious, but Mutators' Paper Words is as intense as their singles, and completists can find a lost White Lung song that someone “Are you recording it?”s through.
Is anyone going to romanticize the $4 cans of PBR in cold concrete bunkers? Hex Forever might sober them up. You can hear the excitement in Emergency Room Vol. 1 and a lot of the singles from that time, but Hex Forever is a little more what it was like to be damp and uncomfortable and barely hear what was happening at a show with bands trying to abuse a crowd who would stand there, bored but tolerant.
1 / Female Health Cax Coders “Ms. Ts 2002"
2 / White Lung The Pharmacist “Lamplighter 2007"
3 / Nons Figure it Out “The Royal 2003"
4 / Night Wounds Black Humour “Live in Napa, CA 2007"
5 / Die Monitr Batss Girls of War “Holoscene, PDX 2004"
6 / Twin Crystals Christian Wife / Cancer “Pat’s Pub 2006"
7 / Mutators Paper Words “Lamplighter 2007"
8 / Shearing Pinx Crime Waves “Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City 2008"
9 / Modern Creatures In Patterns “Emergency Room 2008
"All tracks recorded live by J. Taylor on mini-disc / mostly in Vancouver / mostly live, except #8 rec. by SHPX on cassette. Cover art by Nxc Hxghxs. 31 copies lathe cut in New Zealand 2009."
12 01 13 / Die Monitr Batss / Female Health / Modern Creatures / Mutators / Night Wounds / Nons / Shearing Pinx / Twin Crystals / Vancouver / White Lung / record / review / 2009 / criticism / media
Weeks later, I’m posting this here instead of where it was going to show up. “I don’t know what I just read or attempted to edit.”
I walk into Whale Tooth’s press-kit-clear pub rock at the Horseshoe on Thursday, December 1. They’re stomping with seductive force; any cougars reduce themselves to torn hosiery and running mascara. The “we’ve-heard-of-punk” pop rock is tight, but drips with a naive, “we’re a real, hard-working rock n roll band” ardor that’s more deluded than gritty. It’s telling when singer Elise Legrow complains that the mall has Christina Aguilera on repeat. Are you the teen tearing into obvious targets, as if Britney’s decades of airplay are the last obstacle between you and your Joan Jett fantasy?
Do you have any other boring opinions? What gets Whale Tooth off? Facebook says: the Beatles, Bob Marley, Mother Mother, Tegan and Sara, Dylan, Pink Floyd—all the sophistication of supplementing your dad’s CDs with the smoother side of college radio circa 2005.
Am I out of touch or is everyone in those crowd photos tasteless? Whale Tooth is recommended for your friend’s mom who casually repeatedly mentions that she saw Heart when she was eighteen.
Crystal Stilts lurch onstage, Stooge decrepit, and blanket “Sycamore Tree” and “Through the Floor” in all the records’ somnolent reverb, but somehow even more exploding plastic inevitable. The friendly psychedelic backdrop doesn’t shake the feeling.
The set leans on the songs they’ve rehashed since 2008. Crystal Stilts have a mood and sound bred by balding men haunting the boutique record shop where you found that White Light / White Heat import. The low, bored vocals are drawn out through standing still impressions of her losing control. They have synth figured out. The swirling screeches marry phantom feedback and tape disintegration on the rhythm section’s loose leash. Are they the last refugees of ‘80s Velvet imitation chic, surfacing a quarter century late? Re: the lights: “They’re never supposed to see you sweat.”
“Love is a Wave” comes 11th, a playful pick me up after ten cuts of copacetic lethargy. Notes fade and everyone leaves the stage, amps left on.
The crowd that chanted for an encore from Whale Shit assembles scattered mumbles into enough noise for Crystal Stilts to “OK, we’ll play some more. Someone had a great compliment for us: ‘I checked you out. Some of your songs are really short.’ We’re going to play the CCR version of ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’.” Instead, the bass starts blending the building, and everyone starts swaying and nodding, pace, direction and intensity uncoordinated. It’s the appropriate, polite response, until the second song’s grinning misanthropic climax hits, the guitar juts out, synth fucks in circles, and feedback disrupts the comatose junk vibe. Nothing as conceptual as walking with Jesus, just guys listening to good records.
Crystal Stilts, Whale Tooth, and Doledrums at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, December 1, 2011