Monday, August 9, 2010

blessed is an open head...

CISTERN CORRUPT. ok, so um...yeah, it's been awhile. no excuses really - well maybe a few: band committments, head buried in books during a brutal and somewhat depressing newcastle winter that only encouraged such isolationist behaviour (not a bad thing always - sans the anti-social part) and well, a girl (i know - senger's losin' his edge), but the plus to these supposed minuses is that we have organised a bunch of shows here at the shop, and i've accrued quite a few records, tapes and zines since last, i should have more to type, correct? we'll see, we'll see, friends and enemies...

ROBERT POLLARD. i waltzed into jbhifi several days ago, curious to see whether it was as shite as whence i last waltzed in (and you never waltz out, fuckin' security will do everything bar searching your orifices for stolen goods, though they're mostly very polite about it). i found a small bin of cheap cd's and...three dollars (!) thank you very much for "from a compound eye" by mr. ROBERT POLLARD, formerly the main songwriter of GUIDED BY VOICES and a man whose philosophy to songwriting : 'why write one tune, when one hundred will give you more to choose from?' is, for once, as an exception - the ONLY way to create and continue to release fuckin' grand and consistent albums. the GBV m.o. is ever present: short songs that you wish were just that little bit longer and resolved (the secret, of course), riffs that are uncannily similiar to each other, but spaced out enough from one another for you to not fucking care (and i wouldn't anyway) and a voice, oh, a voice, that effortlessly finds THE perfect melody for each song it graces, and the delivery of which is no doubt god's (if there was one) fucking gift to us all, spawning love, warmth and babies the world over. i honestly cannot stress how beautiful and right-on POLLARD's pipes are, smooth and crackly when need to be, infectious beyond belief, absolutely gorgeous in their limited scope - pop innovation at it's best, because all the best pop music is at once freakishly familiar, an improvement of one's inspirations, while paying respect to them and molesting them at the same time. twenty-six songs in all, "from a compound eye" obviously has it's high and low-lights, but to pick apart an album such as this is to miss the point. just let it FUCKING play man, and learn to love it's inconsistencies, like i have and you will - especially if ya pick it up for three bucks. in summary, more keyboard strings, a more supposedly 'mature' palette, a little less noise, and less idiosyncratic lyrics - though by no means any less interesting. or maybe i'm getting old, fuck off.

DUNGEON TAXIS. a label of the aforementioned name got in contact with us recently, and thank fuck they did, because we have been hipped to what is to these eyes and ears anyway, the most interesting new-ish (mostly) tape imprint out there at this time. in this age of 'boutique' cassettes with ten dollar price-tags, DUNGEON TAXIS is a fresh of breath air (not dyslexia - thank you jason!). for a start, though not cheap, these tapes are beautiful, really, the packaging needs to be seen and held to be believed - but what about the sounds? pretty on the inside? the answer is an emphatic 'yes', not a dud release has passed these ears so far : xNO BBQx/BRUCE RUSSELL (seriously, the former's best and most brutally realised release, whlie BR is in fine, fine form - a limited but beautiful(!)investigation of sine tones and feedback), FUTURIANS (brilliant weirdo rock shit, live, buried beneath flange - why are people clapping?), STUART MCKAY (wonderful finger-picked acoustic guitar patterns, with a classic home multi-tracked background of television mist and unidentifiable noises, just the way it should be), ADAM WILLETTS (synth upon synth, dusty and clear meditations on an idea that should be played out, but most certainly isn't in the hands of said human), MUURA/PLANTATION (matt earle again, this time in his minimalist form, again pulling a rabbit out of a hat the smells like weed and is seemingly bottomless, while PLANTATION first came to my attention via BREAKDANCE THE DAWN - i have no idea who they are, but their usual improvisational fog is impeccably recorded here, and all the better for it). i could go on, but i shall not - just pick this stuff up if you can (though be quick, i doubt there are many copies of each cassette) and be stoked on tapes the way one should.

THIS IS NOT ART. newcastle's festival of can be a shit fight up here over grand final weekend, with the football contingent having discovered methamphetamine and all, but we have decided to provide an antidote to disappontment and smashed faces. three days, 1pm to 7pm - live music at VOX CYCLOPS! our address is 515 hunter st. newcastle nsw 2300. these bills are confirmed and final, so please do not ask us if your band can fit in. there are other shows though and thus, other opportunities to play. anyway...enjoy! (note: artists are not in playing order, this will be worked out soon - all shows are all ages)

friday october 1st
1pm to 7pm

saturday october 2nd
1pm to 7pm

sunday october 3rd
1pm to 7pm

Monday, June 14, 2010

catalogue # 001...

PIGEON RELIGION. amongst other rad records swapped with our friend william, i have now had the chance to listen to a band that i've read a fair bit about (FLIPPER comparisons aside) but not heard a note from - PR's 'deadboss' 7" is spinning on the turntable, this time at the right speed...initially thinking it was a 45rpm record, i was dumbfounded when i played it at first, wondering what everyone had been referring to in zine reviews and such - was this 7" a joke played on it's audience? it sounded like sub-par synth pop at 45, but at 33 revolutions per minute, now it's starting to make a little more sense (yes, i am an idiot). beginning with a group-voiced 'woah-oh' chorus (from deep within the valley), that leads into a dirty pop tune that reminds me of the second LAMPS long-player - definitely a good thing, with the distorted vocals of the first and second verses being played out over the bass-line and drums only (with added minimal feedback and descending slides), then being joined with 'full' guitar for the rest of the song ('deadboss'). i must admit that i was expecting this band to wield a more menacing approach to their songwriting and execution (again, zines - don't believe the hype), but even though i'm always looking for sounds from the more fucked up and raw areas of expression, i'm not let down in the slightest, 'cause with so many bands these days trying to be things they most definitely are not (TWIN STUMPS for example... though i'm sure that many, many of you cunts will disagree - so please do), PIGEON RELIGION are refreshing, again, not unlike LAMPS, because this music is not forced in the slightest. their tunes have vocal hooks and a deft, delicate touch on the drums that allow me to listen to the first side again and again whilst typing into this computer thingy and not be bored retarded - in fact, i keep standing up and racing back to the record to hear the a-side's two tracks once more. side-b doesn't hold my interest as much - 'huge bummer' is not an appropriate title, it just can't live up to the expectations that the first side has set for me...and also, one two-minute track on the flip? lazy and weak, fellas. anyway, this single is lots of fun! whatever happened to fun? i don't know if it is an anomaly in their catalogue, and from all that i've read, they are a much more prickly and discordant beast live, but 'deadboss' and 'henderson' are fantastic pop songs played by people telling their truth - and that is to be respected.

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN. the above image is from a 1994 'lesbian vampire drama' entitled HOLES IN THE NECK, produced by GX JUPITTER-LARSEN. i haven't seen it and i haven't heard too much of the HATERS material either (his performance cum sound troupe - the sounds were always secondary to the performance, only used as time markers for an audience, for when a piece began and ended), but his BIG TIME CRASH BANG 2008 LP on RRR records has passed through the shop several times, again from our friend william - who incidentally, played his first solo show (RATS WITH WINGS) in more than ten years last friday night, and it was AMAZING, far exceeding ANY expectations, whether you knew how important these moments were or not - and now i have a copy of my own ($10!) to fawn over and blast relentlessly. the title is not misleading, the a-side is loops of car accident sounds repeated and over-lapped until PERMANENTLY burnt into one's memory. sound annoying? pointless? shit-house? you may be right, i may be crazy...but this record is one that i could listen too forever, for reasons that i was at first, unsure of. now, maybe i can add a little insight. firstly, it clears a room like no other record i own - which is useful at times such as this, when an old man with cancer (and hepatitis), profusely bleeding from his areshole, insists on sitting on the store's couch reading a book of american history - refusing to leave until NOW. success! secondly, the sounds are crisp and grainy - true, for lack of a more extensive vocabulary, and i enjoy the screeching, crashing, and jack-hammering echoes of metal upon metal. the repetition is key here, and not knowing (or caring) what JUPITTER-LARSEN's aims were for this release, i find myself lulled into a sense of calm - despite the apparent abrasiveness of the sounds and how they clash with one-another. this LP is a place that i can inhabit and interject with my own thoughts, wishes, desires and anger if i wish - it is a blank slate, like no other recording that i can recall, and i love it for this reason the most. it is both a release, and a cave to hide in - a wonderful creation of PURE ambience. ENO's pretty effective, if a little twee (ok, a LOT), but JUPITTER-LARSEN has trumped him ten-fold. BIG TIME CRASH BANG 2008 is without a doubt, one of my favourite records ever - one the presents the listener with the tools and allows, dares them to create their own story. my story is re-written every fucking day, but i know that said record will ALWAYS have a place for me to hide, develop my own narrative, and be uncomfortable in my leisure. FUCKING PERFECT.

Monday, June 7, 2010

lost tapes...

TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A. as group monikers go, this one is a fucking classic (VITAMIN B12 and THIS HEAT also come to mind as a favourites, along with dozens of new zealand groups of the eighties and nineties - WRECK SMALL SPEAKERS ON EXPENSIVE STEREOS, SANDOZ LAB TECHNICIANS...etc. etc.) and has been stored in my mental rolodex under 'something i MUST investigate further at a later date' for many years now. i have skimmed the surface with downloads aquired from my friend and taste-maker dale, but never really given the sounds enough time to penetrate my less than patient neurons - although i have spent time researching other bands and have noticed TOM SMITH's name (TLASILA founder and constant) appearing in print many times, leading me to the conclusion that i again, MUST hunt down some of this group's releases (burnt cdr's just don't cut it do they?) to satisfy my curiousity. fast forward to this morning - having a record store DEFINITELY has it's positives, as i can and do, take home cd's to listen to whenever i feel the urge...every fuckin' day! 'horoscopo: sanatorio de moliere' is the cd of discussion here, and this morning, something 'clicked' in my brain, and i found myself in awe of the sounds presented to me - i was now finally ready to inhale TLASILA and i was excited. as i sit here listening to this cd again, i find myself puzzled, because i'm not getting the same feeling that i did at 7am - leading me to the belief that i SHOULD have started writing about it THEN...seize the moment of inspiration, but fuck it, i will persevere. sampling is obviously an important tool of mr. smith and company - on this release joined by RAT BASTARD (LAUNDRY ROOM SQUELCHERS), ANDREW WILKES-KRIER (ANDREW W.K. and many, many other conceptual actions, such as BEAST PEOPLE), DON FLEMING, MARK MORGAN (SIGHTINGS), and other humans that i'm not that familiar with, apart from THURSTON MOORE, bringin' that DAD VIBE (another great tasmanian band with a ripper name, led by DAISY BUCHANAN) no doubt - and unlike plunderphonic excursions or the high-brow avant garde, their use of stolen source materials is not garish, or hidden for that matter, it is simply a jumping-off point for these pieces, sometimes looped for emphasis, but always infused with a certain mystery AND immediacy...soul, if you will. one could describe TLASILA as 'noise', but that would be a cop-out - this music is fully formed, difficult, minimalist/maximalist, and beautiful also. voices sometimes call out of the synthetic chaos, and sometimes swamp it too, but the emphasis is on micro-second loops of feedback-derived repetition...allowing the other elements such as digital blocks of unidentified sound to form the foreground or background, and lead the listener to take notice of the details - the space BETWEEN notes and sounds, the narrative that inevitably shows itself within each track, the more one is exposed to it. i've listened to 'horoscopo: sanatorio de moliere' twice now as i have been writing/typing this text, and it is making itself more clear and known to me with every second that passes - i don't wish myself to be sitting on my floor at 7am anymore, as the moaning voices, piano snippets, drum fills and decayed blocks make much more sense and are now a part of my brain, adding information instead of subtracting it...this being the trip that TO LIVE AND SHAVE IN L.A. has forced me to take part in - to disorientate and then calm, and for this i am thankful.

LOTUS. sometime in the late nineties, i downloaded a recording of a radio show based out of providence, rhode island that featured a live set by a local two-piece named JAPANESE KARAOKE AFTERLIFE EXPERIMENT - kind of like LIGHTNING BOLT with synthesisers and a sampler, instead of bass guitar with an octave pedal. whilst said live performance was pretty cool, the real gem of this radio broadcast was the members of JKAE playing tracks by their favourite groups, many of which were part of the scene they inhabited - a sort of micro-extension of the whole FORT THUNDER group of artists and musicians (or at least that is what it appeared to be, to my unknowing eyes and ears at the time), lots of LOAD records-related bands were aired, but my focus was on this ONE group, known only as the LOTUS. i laughed out loud when first greeted with their sounds - rave samples replayed at normal speed then slowed down, juxtaposed with breaks and inane vocals, completely fucking annoying...but for some reason i continued to listen to it, repeatedly rewinding the cassette that dale had dubbed for me direct from the computer (backwards, i know - but it made sense at the time, we couldn't be fucked buying cdr's) and being reminded of the trance stations i used to listen to in '92, when i first moved to baulkham hills from victoria. this music turned me on to labels such as BREATHMINT, who released shitloads of cassettes, vinyl, cd's and cdr's by artists with names such as U CAN UNLEARN GUITAR, WHAT'S YR DAMAGE?, COCK E.S.P. and literally, HUNDREDS of other bands/solo acts that had fuckin' rad names and made music that appealed to very few. of course, the label and the artists didn't care - they were too busy creating their own culture and performing in people's kitchens and basements. when we started our shop, we traded a ridiculous amount of music with lucas abela for a favour, and we're still discovering cd's of interest to us, to this day - music we didn't even know that we had. a lot of this stuff was aquired by him whilst touring the world as JUSTICE YELDHAM, meeting fuck-knows-who and doing fuck-knows-what, inbetween destroying himself with pieces of glass he found somewhere near the venue he was performing at that day or night - and for all these reasons and more, we all owe him and swerve a great deal of thanks and good-will...cheers fells! amongst the countless cd's and cdr's passed on to us, was 'version 2.0' by LOTUS - many years after my initial introduction to their music via download, we were reunited, and i was stoked. i fucking hate breakcore for the most part (PASSENGER OF SHIT and DRILLBIT aside) and was worried that said cd would be a one-dimensional piece of shit. WRONG. mixing power electronics, eastern drum loops, breaks, the WORST (read: best) elements of dance music and vocals that, upon reflection, seem to be taking the piss out of THE LOCUST - the LOTUS are an epiphany for me. their pastiche of all the WRONG sounds, makes all the RIGHT moves and i'm crankin' this shit right now - for the fifth time today. this band of two humans in faux-WHITEHOUSE attire are long since defunct, but a visit to the BREATHMINT website informs of several other releases for me to track down and no less than twenty-six (!) gigs to download. maybe this internet thing IS worth all these fuckin' hassles?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

oh jimb...

EMERALDS. 'bullshit boring drone band' - the name of an earlier AMERICAN TAPES release by this three-piece group, and the first one i aquired. the title seemed entirely appropriate to me at the time (it's irony lost on me, also) - i was COMPLETELY disinterested and shelved it along with the other countless cdr's i have collected over the years, pricks they are to take care of as well, as i don't usually lose any sleep over what condition they may or may not be in (UNITED FAIRY MOONS being the exception to this rule) - unlike say, cassettes. i enjoy being proved wrong - really, it is much more enjoyable to be taken by surprise at a later date, than to be immediately satisfied...usually that initial reaction is a fickle one anyway and EMERALDS have indeed grown on me in ways that i did not expect. synthesisers, beautiful contraptions that they are, also encourage lazy behaviour for the most part - and one can easily fall asleep atop a keyboard, and make sounds that will at the very least, interest bedwetters and noise obsessives alike (HENRY ROLLINS?!). EMERALDS actually come at you with a unique vision, most wholly realised on their recent double lp on EDITIONS MEGO - 'does it look like i'm here' some ways, pure pop music, arpeggiations upon arpeggiations, clashing but always resolving, gorgeous filter sweeps and a tasteful (in a good way) interpretation of all things german and synthetic, funneled through lessons learned from factions of the american noise underground. EMERALDS have two self-titled albums, the one i am listening to at the moment was originally a tape release on HANSON (or so i'm informed, probably incorrectly, who cares...) - now reissued on cd by the same label and mixed with field recordings of a buddhist cremation for example, recorded by aaron dilloway during his time in nepal...less ENYA than that sounds, although there is a 'new age' feel to their most recent missives, crossed with memories of a long-lost commodore-64 game. the guitar playing is for me, the band's weakest link, too straight and informed by cringe-worthy 'post rock' moves from artists i have tried my best to forget, but the action of EMERALDS' synthesisers makes up for this, and i can ignore and thus accept the guitar's insistence on normality. i doubt that anyone reading this will be unfamiliar with said group, so i'm preaching to the converted or cynical - but either way, EMERALDS are three humans worth your time and money. ambient? of course. essential? not particularly. innovative? without a doubt. within this small scope of sounds are moments worth savouring, and best played on repeat.

Friday, June 4, 2010

owner's lament...

BORROWED. up at six, in the shop by seven - i'm here at the request of a friend who is filming a short entitled 'borrowed', in the book store next to us. i am greeted with duffel-coats (plenty of 'em), red dreadlocks on a white woman and a complete invasion of space by strangers who are supposedly invoved in said production, but seemingly more interested in discussing the application of foundation, how much alcohol they consumed last night, and a strong feeling that most of these humans would rather be at home playing warcraft (duffel-coats). the room is silent apart from nonsensical chatter ('is anyone drunk yet?') and the odd car or bus driving past, sound bouncing around our humble brick-floored echo chamber. i need to put some music on, but i feel it would be inappropriate, like chastising a mate for soiling themselves seems wrong, ya know - even though they've pissed all over your couch, YOU still feel guilty moving them, for fear of bringing this fact to their attention. our space is now their space - and i'm not entirely comfortable with it. anyway, i'm hiding in front of this screen, typing about 'em, in the hope that inspiration strikes. breakfast was promised, and apart from two pieces of bread with vegan butter inside to make a sandwich, it looks like taste is not on the menu. wait, there's a toaster on the way - there is hope fuckers, hope(!), and when all else fails, i still have my juice to keep me sane. 'ten minutes!' is the call - 'we'll be right in five...' sweet. now i can play some records.

SCRATCH ACID. whenever i'm asked what this band actually sounds like, i'm usually prone to describing them as a cross between BIRTHDAY PARTY and LED ZEPPELIN - maybe a tad lazy, but this isn't too far off the mark. there is plenty of classic rock in their songs, and said melbourne band is obviously an influence, however, their music could only have come from america - specifically, the north-west middle of the land of the not-so-free. their discography cd 'the greatest gift' (on touch and go, of course) collects all of their records and one previously unreleased track ('the scale song'), and it is still many years after it's initial release, vital listening for any self-respecting punk rock n' roll fan - especially in 2010, with so many bands pursuing an apparent 'noise rock' direction. SCRATCH ACID are by turns, disturbing, fun, ingenious and fabulously catchy sounding, recorded on the cheap, but not suffering at all (though the drums can LITERALLY sound like ice cream containers on certain tracks) - 'cause the songs are unique and so fucking good, the fidelity is of no consequence, in fact if anything, it only adds to their brilliance. david yow's words are delivered in a stream-of-consciousness manner (spoken, yelled, screeching), which is misleading in a way, because they are thoughtfully constructed tomes of low life and anger-ridden heart murmurs, cloaked in humour and obviously phrased in EXACTLY the right ways to fit each tune...and the music, well where to start? early songs have the feel of fifties rock n' roll/rockabilly, channelled through lysergic eyes and ears (ala THE CRAMPS, reaching a pre-BIG BLACK stop-start formula at times ('she said', for example), but much more unpredictable and occasionally laced with synthesiser, harmonica and strings, adding completely unexpected textures to an already uneasy and challenging listen for the uninitiated - and the going got even weirder, covering ANDREW LLYOD WEBBER ('damned for all time') and bouncing between seventies-style funk and metal licks, while somehow keeping it all cohesively menacing and hilarious. later of course yow and sims went on to form JESUS LIZARD, another group that changed rock n' roll forever, so fucking powerful and influential that today, people are still trying to get THAT guitar sound (MY DISCO) and out yow, yow (any prat with a microphone who is deemed 'uncontrollable' - good luck), but this is fruitless. start your own band and INNOVATE, or play covers - 'cause we're sick of all of your hero worship and shameless photocopies. the trip starts here. literally.

BEANFLIPPER. face first on to our tiled floor in front of the cast of 'borrowed' - not my finest moment, and then they ask me to turn down the stereo? fuck off, it's the ONLY thing from keeping my thoughts of ripping your throats out as just that, thoughts. thank fuck for BEANFLIPPER...'mongrel guts'! i don't dig dreadlocks on white people, but these dudes get a pass on that, simply because of my love for 'rodent ulcer' and 'garden variety manic depressant'. the label 'shagpile' is responsible for these two fuckin' ripper cd's, though apart from FRONT END LOADER, the majority of said label's output is shite - but we won't waste time or space with such negatives. BEANFLIPPER were a mess - a fantastic collage of metal, grind, punk/hardcore/crust, rock n' roll and whatever else interested their weed-addled brains at the time of writing each tune ('glass eyed stare' even features a ska breakdown as the bridge, with added synth damage - and it WORKS!), with an obvious interest in film also - as there are samples of dialogue throughout both releases. though stylistically quite different, they shared an affinty with DAMAGED - australia's greatest metal band ever, and who i would propose as the closest comparison to BEANFLIPPER, as they blended many different modes of attack when composing and performing their music...though where DAMAGED are ridiculously precise and realised, BEANFLIPPER are neither - not even close, and i believe that both these points are each group's greatest strengths. they both wholly achieved what they were reaching for and are criminally overlooked, by ourselves, and the world at large. 'matt skitz' is now a brand name (like we didn't see that coming...), and vocalist james has remained quiet after reforming the band, then bailing again (i'd much rather 'collaborate' with him than the aforementioned glory hound), but BEANFLIPPER remain an enigma - a band of scummy dudes that are i'm told, still gettin' around melbourne and playing music...but all i have to hold on to are these recordings, which, after moving on some god-botherers from the shop's entrance, are even more useful - who can argue with an angry cunt when 'bucket o' blood' is blasting at you in tandem? agreed. not them, not anyone.

Monday, May 31, 2010

good thoughts, bad thoughts...

FUNKADELIC. this shit's all about rollin' ya shoulders and swingin' your hips - slow, baby, slow...and if you can't find your own language through dancing to this troupe, then you're in some trouble, friends and enemies. FUNKADELIC music is about as close to sex through sound as is humanly possible - sure, the METERS, SLY STONE and JAMES BROWN are funk, but albums such as 'standing on the verge of getting it on' are IN my mind AND body, possessing my entire being with a purity so fucking down n' dirty, it plain hurts to HURTS, and i'm fine with it - 'cause i know it's alright, i have this music to educate, corrupt and console. first we start with the hi-hat, kick and snare - on the one, then behind it and ahead - so you know where to be, then it's all gravy from there, with layer upon layer of souls contributing noises - but trying to pull these sounds apart is completely pointless, it's about a unified front...truly the sum of all parts combined, to make a special brew that inhabits you and THIS moment. don't think, just enjoy your inhibitions falling away with every second that passes - 'standing on the verge of getting it on'. don't fight it - or you'll miss out on all that is vital about breathing in this shit life, 'cause it ain't shit, it's beautiful...and here he comes, EDDIE HAZEL!

FNU RONNIES. reading an interview with members of this band is hard work - they come off as COMPLETE FUCKING WANKERS, flexing intellectual machismo, attempting to offend all and sundry with 'implied' violence, 'implied' racism and jock-ism's (read: inane in-jokes and references to baseball cards etc.) that are obviously, solely aimed at impressing a small number of cronies (see also ROT SHIT, and other groups i won't waste my time typing the names of) that most likely aren't inhaling said text. and it is a waste, because FNU RONNIES are a fantastic band - their music says so much more than these pricks could ever muster from their mouths in conversation (in an interview context at least), so it's all lost on me - as is their desire i presume...but seriously guys, SHUT THE FUCK UP. you are embarrassing your art, and it can't bare to look at you. anyway, 'night people' released a one-sided 12" of their music sometime ago, and it's an AMAZING ride that is devoid of genre classification - pretentious? of course, what good music doesn't originate from one's own arsehole? FNU RONNIES blend electronics and pure punk splendour in equal measure, but they aren't derivative or easily boxed in, the sounds of this extended-player are new to me - they haven't re-invented the wheel, simply found a method of barreling it down a hill near their homes, in way that is unique to them, and them only. the entire recording is smeared with an ever-so-slight echo that gives it a sheen that recalls early eighties synth-pop production, thus making it an easier listen, but more menacing at the same time. weird. just don't look the their way for anything other than good music, they're too busy high-fivin' an imaginary (and dead) ALEX CHILTON. 'you can't have me'...i never asked to, cunt.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

this is pop (cultured)...

GREEN. take a punt, and ye shall be rewarded - a three-piece from chicago that formed in nineteen eighty-four, similiar in scope to paisley groups such as DREAM SYNDICATE, but with love songs damaged with wit and a rough n' ready approach that recall THE EMBARRASSMENT, GREEN are a revelation for people such as myself. meticulously crafted, lotsa ooh's and ahh's, bratty harmonies and post-BEATLES, 'twist and shout' shrieks that simply don't care what you think - just what SHE does. clean guitars, with everything else too, in it's right place, which would have been at odds with a mid-eighties chicago scene that featured NAKED RAYGUN, MINISTRY and BIG BLACK. these three brats obviously didn't fucking care about fitting in, and with a british invasion-infused sound that also reminds me at times of SPLIT ENZ, tunes such as 'i play the records' and 'she's not a little girl anymore' show you where their priorities lay: girls and music - not a bad place to start, by any means. this compilation cd collects the majority of their material from what i can make out, and if you're at all into classic american power pop, then buy this shit, 'cause the FEELIES are great, but GREEN could well be your next sugar rush, thus addiction. 'i don't wanna say no'. you shouldn't either.

HANOI JANES. this cd is a complete surprise, as it's on 'captured tracks' and isn't some boring 'cold wave' rehash of either the eighties, or another BLANK DOGS clone. germans - who list their instrumentation as baileys, flirtini, bier mit ananas and doppelter wodka (read: they have a sense of humour). the sixties wall-of-sound creations of PHIL SPECTOR and his girl groups are the blueprint for this album - 'year of panic', with guitar, bass, drums and a huge assortment of tuned percussive instruments, keyboards, and vocals that sound straight out of a primary school fete attraction. EVERY song is catchy beyond belief, annoying (read: charming) and a masterclass on how one SHOULD put together pure pop songs and present them to the listener. the PHIL SPECTOR reference is not lazy either, the production presents the tunes as fully realised mini-symphonies that recall a sixties past, whilst pushing forward with a 00's retard-staying-power (thanks jarrod!). this album is truly fucking ESSENTIAL, and make ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI sound like the shit on the sole of my shoe they always have been. word.