Monday, August 23, 2010
The Single Life – 7 Inches of Fun – Featuring The Holy Mess, The Life, Filter, and Frontier(s)
Hell yes!! The words “punk rock” seems to have been absconded by just about anybody these days who fancies themselves an outsider, dropping that tagline onto their pathetic noise regardless of what the music actually sounds like. But 90% of what comes across the Ripple desk with the moniker “punk rock” to me isn’t real punk. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I was spinning Fear, Anti-nowhere League, Circle Jerks, The Damned and The Sex Pistols back in the day. So much of what comes across as “punk” is really just cleverly marketed, barely disguised, annoying whining.
Which is why The Holy Mess was such a refreshing change of pace for me. From the very first second that the needle dropped down onto the pounding cascade of drums and chaotic guitars that started “A Soulful Punk Tune . . . “ I was hooked. Here was a band that found the wormhole time-tunnel to bring back the full-on vitriol and passion of classic punk, without losing any of today’s edge and skill. Barely contained vocals and a grab-you-by-the-throat chorus really nailed this song into my cortex. This has gotta be on my list of the top ten of new punk singles of the year! Yes, why can’t they all be like this?
Having first played the disc on the b-side, I was as elated as a schoolgirl when I flipped the white vinyl platter over to discover another steaming slab of pure old school punk vibrancy. Timeless in approach, these songs could’ve been written in 1980 or anytime since. Great hooks, sloppy everything. Can’t get enough. On top of that, Evil Weevil Records did a great job with the package, with an inserted photo lyric sheet.
Besides, you gotta love any band who’s myspace address is www.myspace.com/fucktheholymess.
A while back I extolled the virtues of long-lost Seattle record label, Green Monkey Records. With renewed energy, Tom Dyer, the fearless head Monkey maniac has resurrected the label that originally ran from the mid-80’s to early 90’s. If you like classic post punk, garage rock, and random pre-grunge madness, you gotta check these guys out. Their newly released It Crawled From the Basement Anthology has to be one of my favorite re-issues of 2010.
Now, they’re coming back with some cool brand new releases, but for today’s purposes, we’re riding the Wizard’s time machine back to 1990 and this crazy white vinyl slab of near-Cramps, perfection. With a deep throated vocal riding over a demented quasi-rockabilly beat, laced with intermingling, swirling, and singing guitars, “Do it Again,” has got it all going on. Add a touch of a post-U2 pop sensibility and we’re really cooking. Just down-home, balls out fun. Flipside, “A Broken Man,” doesn’t let up long enough for a hummingbird to flap its wings. Let’s toss some vintage The Call into our reference points here and toss in some killer loose-strung, western gunfighter guitar sounds, a mild-Doors-y mid song breakdown, and you’ll get the picture.
The Life were one of the clear highlights from the It Crawled from the Basement Anthology, and this killer single only reconfirms how good these cats were. With Green Monkey back in action, I’m hoping we get some reissued The Life stuff. In the meantime, this tasty platter (on white vinyl) can still be found. Check Green Monkey Records first to see if Tom has any in his closet.
Long-time industrial rockers Filter come roaring back this month with their first new album in a while, The Trouble with Angels, and lead off with the single "The Inevitable Relapse." Originally released as a Record Store Day special, we get two versions of this mechanized assault of industrial mayhem.
Filter, at their best, could always keep up with the best of them, and with "The Inevitable Relapse" we find the band fully-tuned and running on rocket fuel. This song is a kick-ass, pulsasting, dancefloor ready slab off grinding guitars, pummeling beats, and industrial crunch. Not to be out done, the flipside strips the song down to its bare essence. If you’re a fan of NIN, this is right up your alley.
I must have been very good in a previous life. How else can I describe the embarrassment of riches that Postman Sal slogged into Ripple North when the same package that brought the fresh true-punk sounds of The Holy Mess also brought the post-post punk treat that is Frontier(s)?
Leading up their debut full-length release There Will Be No Miracles Here, this juicy platter just screams to be heard. Bringing on a kinda post-Husker Du tuneful hardcore, mixed with indy rock, jangling guitars, and more than a little bit of the old Enigma Label chutzpa, Frontier(s) have crafted two serious cuts of brimming post-hardcore rock.
Featuring Chris Higdon, formerly of Elliot and Falling Forward, Frontier(s) cranks out two truly strong tracks of emotive, churning post-punk bliss. "The Plains" rides its reverb/feedback intro into a solid wall of guitars and pulsating bass lines. Drums dot the atmosphere like hail falling from a darkened heavy and pregnant sky. Higdon’s vocals, breathy, throaty, and raw work like a charm, deepening the emotional resonance of the song. "Radiomine" is more of a hallucinogenic, shoegazing trip through emotive lanes of post hardcore soul-searching. Walls of churning guitars crash against each other like waves of a turbulent ocean. Think of something like The Velvet Underground for a modern generation and you won’t be too far off.
Can’t wait for the album to come out.