Wednesday, August 12, 2009

7inch Round-up

I've collected a few 7inches over the past few months and each of them is pretty wildly different so I figured I might as well collect them and show the crazy variety the underground has to offer.
Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn/Russian Tsarlag - Split [West Palm Beotch]
West Palm Beach's West Palm Beotch records is run by one of the subjects of this split, Nelson Hallonquist aka Lesson Lesson Lessen Relearn. His side "Ultra Cultural Bummer" centers around a manipulated tape of two dudes talking about the transcendental effects of sports on the body via metaphysics. The babbling is surrounded by smoky synth and oscillator squeals and an incredibly effective (at being eerie) thumb piano. The piece has a vaguely dub feel to me, it doesn't have any of the genre markings of dub but it carries itself with a loose implied groove that I hear in the trippiest of dub. Hallonquist does a good job navigating the tape through the piece never allowing it to overshadow or distract from the cool sonic ripples undulating through the rest of track.
A lot of people have been really into Russian Tsarlag stuff but I heard a few tapes never really connected with them. However, I knew the day would come when I'd hear a RT jam I dig and "The Master's Speech" is it. I had trouble figuring whether to play it at 33 or 45 at first. It sounded great at both speeds but the vox just seemed too alien at 45 so I'm pretty sure its 33 just like the other side. Anyway, enough jibberjabber. This seems to be Russian Tsarlag at his most electric so far and its real good. Chunky guitar chords, hollow trashcan drums and sleepy vocals. The whole jam is steeped in lethargy and smeary lo-fi production values. The track trudges along for awhile before hitting the almost too slow to be catchy chorus. The fact that this sounds great at both speeds is a testament to the quality of the songwriting; play it at 33 if you're into Pink Reason or at 45 if you're into The Bugs. All and all this is a cool split and it comes on marbled mauve vinyl (awesome!)
The Spread Eagles - Don't Be A Drag [9-11 is a Joke]
The Spread Eagles are Kansas scuzzbags Fag Cop plus two other members and this is their 7inch. While Fag Cop goes for a sound scummier than any other (which I love them dearly for) The Spread Eagles is more of a garage rock party band and pretty much just as awesome. The title track gets things rolling with a fantastic central riff and tears through the track with backing vocals in tow barely pausing for a guitar solo. "Saga of the Year 3000" throws on a spacesuit and goes all sci-fi with an effects-drenched guitar lead and so much energy that they all must have been drunk on rocket fuel. "I Wanna Be My Man" is a throwback to a bunch of styles. For example, this could be one of the fiercest garage bands from the 60s or some early 90s band formed by Dead Kennedys junkies. Another killer riff, that rolls and grooves until it can't anymore and more excellent use of backing vocals too. "In the CIA" is super brittle and garagey as hell with bouncy drumming, unintelligibly howled vocals and a slamming guitar solo. If it sounds like you'll be into this you will be.
Grey Daturas - Barren Planet [Heathen Skulls]
I was lucky enough to catch Australian trio Grey Daturas twice while I was in London in the Spring and they fucking ruled. Twice. I think they're really in their element in the live setting but this 7inch does nicely to stave back hunger for some live Daturas action. Generally I'm a little wary of one-sided 7inches but "Barren Planet" is a monster. Heavy and grimy and just so fucking cool. They ride a great riff for the whole track and pull all kinds of wah'd guitar freak outs. There's so many great little melodic licks in the midst of all it that it flies by causing me to keep playing it over and over again. Though I'd have preferred more music, there's a cool etch of the Grey Daturas logo on the B-side.
Bhob Rainey/Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase - Split [Sedimental]
A split between two of Massachusetts's finest sonic nutjobs, Bhob Rainey of Nmperign and Chris Cooper of Buddies, Fat Worm of Error and his solo project Angst Hase Pfeffer Nase. Rainey's side ""Ain't it Grand" wastes no time fucking up the sonic spectrum. Angry, waspy tones freak and whir in an as indiscernible manner as possible. I'm not sure if a listener is meant to be able make any sense of this scrambled mess but its fun to listen to. The second half is calmer (that term is very relative) and intercuts a recording of a hobo harmonica player and train noise. "Journey to the Center of Something or Other" is among the craziest stuff I've heard from Cooper. At first it's a bit more abrasive than usual but he tosses in the occasional hint of melody making it a bit more palatable than Rainey's side. The song mellows out for a while sounding like machines imitating an orchestra before moving on to noisier pastures but still exhibiting a sense of composition. Nevertheless, it still leaves you with that "what the fuck did I just hear?" feeling. Jess Goddard (Schurt Kwitters/Fat Worm of Error) does the artwork.

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