First taste of the upcoming Unholy Two LP Talk About Hardcore (great title) due out on 12XU Records May 20th. If the aftermath of the corrosive pummel incited by their “Cut the Music (I’m the Nightstalker)” b/w “Razor” 7” (still available by the way) got you swillin’ battery acid in hopes to recreate the sensation, better prepare your stomach: the band’s still on the same tear. “Hard Times Daddy” is a drone strike aimed at every suburban cul-de-sac in the country, and there’s a kegger in the ruins while the smoke settles. One finger gets you a cup. Order up!
Johnny Cash, “So Doggone Lonesome” - live on Tex Ritter’s Ranch Party sometime in the 1950s
I’ve not reached too far into Johnny Cash’s discography, but the way that guitar line at the beginning sounds too tired to cross the finish line really does it for me.
New material from Brooklyn’s White Suns is always welcome in these parts, especially when it comes in the form of this hymn to expiration. Totem oughta garner such phrases as “fully realized” and “masterpiece of discord” for its reigning in of chaos, wires and blood and guts all neatly on display for inspection. On previous releases Waking in the Reservoir and Sinews (both equally worthy of your time/quest for complete brain damage), the band was at war with a maelstrom; here they direct it. Just listen to how the careening “Cathexis” seamlessly flows into “Fossil Record,” a 5-minute creeping pulse worthy of an Aaron Dilloway comparison. “Clairvoyant” marks a new high for the band, a descent into silence that returns as some slow-moving, ominous abomination. Totem is the sound of the setbacks incurred at the expense of advancing technologies, losing sight of the crossroads in which certain long-held practices could be corrected, and the desire to be separated from all of it. Go forth willingly into the blinding smoke to be freed.
White Suns’ Totem was released on March 25 by The Flenser. Check with Midheaven for vinyl copies, or your local shop. The whole teeth-grinding mess can be streamed/purchased on Bandcamp. Here’s hopin’ the boys can be coaxed into playing Madison, WI again someday, because this is a whole ‘nother beast than the one that came through before.
After several eternities, Leather’s long-awaited LP crawls out from the seediest corners of Philadelphia. No word on a physical release yet.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib “Deeper” from Piñata (2014)
This track was released a while back on the Deeper EP, but is now combined with other pre-release singles “Thuggin’” and “Harold’s” and “Shame” on Piñata. I loved “Thuggin’” and the rest of the singles - Madlib is an odd fit for Gibbs, but Gibbs nimbly tiptoes around the beats and makes them all his own. If nothing else, the album is worth a listen to hear how the two gel together; Madlib is able to reveal a pensive, conscientious side of Freddie never really seen before, as on “Deeper” (above). Just listen to that “Damn” those closes each verse. Hey, there’s still some bangers on here, like “Shitsville,” and the requisite hard street boasting, but Madlib helps to loosen Gibbs up, humanizing him with some light humor and beats that lend themselves to tales of regret and personal shortcomings. Another notch in the belt of the versatile Freddie Gibbs, an MC makin’ waves on his own terms. If you can’t get behind that, ya might as well go on home.
True geeks can pre-order the vinyl version of Piñata from Underground Hip Hop now.
Thor’s Hammer “Better Days” from If You Knew: Icelandic Punk & Beat ‘65-‘67! (2014)
Newly reissued on the reliable Ugly Pop Records, a compilation of Icelandic band Thor’s Hammer singles. There’s some rockers on here for sure, but its got a fair share of tender ballads for the softies out there, too. Very well-curated, a nice variety of songs, plus some sung in the band’s native tongue. Bone up on your Icelandic and grab a copy now so you can sing along. It is highly recommended that you bundle up with that Bent Wind reissue LP - that there is a real face-melter.
Eva Švankmajerová, Úsporná sebevražda (Cost-effective Suicide) (1967)
Sacred Product, “Tram and Train” from Wastex (2014)
I was blindsided by this release from Quemada Records over the weekend, a fantastic double-seven inch (!) from former Satanic Rocker Lynton Denovan. I missed out on the cassette he put out under the Sacred Product moniker last year, but chances are good that Wastex is gonna fill that Satanic Rockers-sized hole in your heart or head. Deranged double-tracked vocals are chock full of cynicism and sharp observations; you bet Denovan sees you eatin’ burgers with the cops, kid. But the real treat here is that the music isn’t quite as dour as the Satanic Rockers’ work, more light grey than sludgy black-brown - just listen to the coda of “Tram and Train” above for proof. It seems Denovan doesn’t dwell so much in the murk as much as he observes it and asks for the check. The record label calls it “doom pop” and I can’t call ‘em out on it. Hey, it’s a free ride away from all of this shit, no reason not to strap in. One listen to “Sonic Country” and you’ll be sold that this lil’ record(s) is the will of divinity, too.
Interested parties (I assume all of you) should buy the record direct from Quemada. Don’t get left in the pit of regret.