|Sonny Vincent - 'Cyanide Consommé' (Big Neck Records)|
I'm on it and will shout from the rooftops once more: Sonny fucking Vincent has a new record out and you should buy it because it's a killer release crammed full of fourteen noisey, punk rock attitude, rock and rolla, motherfucking songs! Now thats 'Cyanide Consommé' pretty much in a nut shell!
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Madison garage-punk outfit Fire Retarded‘s debut full-length, ‘Scroggz Manor,’ crams a lot more melody, swing, and space into the thwacking frenzy the band has cultivated at its shows and on last year’s ‘High Horse’ EP. (Previously, they’ve teased the album online with “Meat Stairs” and “Nothing Said.”) The relatively new band still centers around guitarist Tyler Fassnacht’s raw, often screamed vocals and drummer Alex Ross’ direct, shambling rhythms. The addition of Hussy member Bobby Hussy on second guitar (full disclosure: Bobby and I work together a bit at MadCity Music Exchange), who also recorded the album, helps to flesh out the approach here, including new versions of two songs from the EP. The album’s closing track, “Overrated Kayak,” is a much bigger surprise, running longer than five minutes to the band’s usual two-minutes-ish, and slowing down for a bit of jangly, sweetly sad power-pop. But for now, I wanted to focus on what the band does with the one minute and 45 seconds of “Brain Burger,” cramming a catchy vocal melody into the verses even as Fassnacht and Hussy’s guitars cultivate a deceptively unstable, messy feel before tightening up for a prodding, shouted chorus. Stream the song above.
A band who seem intent on trying to be this year’s Old Firm Casuals when it comes to most mentions in The Uber Rock Singles Club are garage punk rock leg-ends The X- Rays. Seemingly not content with just releasing a mighty fine split 7" with The Hip Priests. Gary X-Ray and his bunch of reformed punk rock reprobates return via Big Neck Records with a 3 track pink vinyl 7 " all of their own. 'Jameson Shot' kicks things off in fine form too all squealing guitars and overdriven vocals, this is supershitty punk rock to the max make no mistake.
'Drinking For My Baby' (I’m noticing a them here are you?) on the B side continues the frenzied attack bringing to mind Gary's days spent fronting those Hip Hop Priests. Whilst 'Retaliate Now' the final track here actually has guitarist G-Man conjuring up images of Wayne Kramer at times proving to be a welcome distraction to the usual nonstop chaos the guys conjure up. The X-Rays are back with a bang with this 7", but make sure you get your copy before it’s too late.
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Best Freeby: The Xrays Calendar - The Xrays took the time to create a cool calendar with Live Pics of the band and pics of their record covers. Pretty sweet.
Best Demo: Burnt Thrones Club
Burnt Thrones Club is a two piece rock n roll outfit from Berkeley and rock they do. They play a loud noisy fast rock n roll with a lot of blues thrown in the mix. This stuff is really good. Sounds a lot like the early rock n roll releases that Big Neck Records put out early on in the labels lifestyle. Stuff like Sagger, Bantam Rooster, and Blacks. If we weren't so booked up with releases this year I would be all over this.
FATAL FIGURES-Caterwaul (Big Neck, LP)
Most of this band’s membership was in The Blowtops, who hammered out dirty, noisy garage blues churn. There’s still something of that here and they drag their songs through the muck pretty well. The songs that favor a spirited shuffle work best here—“Party Girl,” “Break Me” or “Blue Zed,”the latter song previously appearing on a 2011 single. It’s less-successful for the dragged-out “Wayne Bent” and “New God,” sounding like a musical interpretation of a hangover. Maybe not as much “VROOM” as their previous band (you should check out the Blowtops’ Blackstaticif your curiosity is piqued) but they have the right idea at times. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20165, www.bigneckrecords.com)
PLATES-s/t (Big Neck, LP) Like Kim Phuc, Plates have been around for a few years, as well and and their self-titled LP is a volume-drenched head messer. Thick, huge slabs of guitar and, especially, bass (played by Biff from I Object/Brown Sugar/etc) stake out the band’s pummeling attack. I’m not sure about the point of calling one side “Flashing The Steel” and the other “Gang Shower,” but plenty of musical steel is flashed here (damn, that’s some crappy rock critiquery). This is the type of heavy, semi-abrasive rock that wouldn’t have been out of place on Amphetamine Reptile in the 90s. Nods to Hawkwind, with some of the whizzly guitar effects, and “Sentimental Jenny Jones Fodder” manages to be crushing and somewhat trippy at the same time. For pure punk-imbued raucousness, look no further than “Sociology 101” or “Under Suspect Tutelage.” Something tells me I’d need heavy-duty earplugs if I saw these guys live. I hope I get the chance. (Big Neck, PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com) – Al quint
FATAL FIGURES-Blue Zed/Alright (Big Neck, 7") Ugly, bluesy garage/slop with echo on the vocals for this pair of songs, one an original, the shufflin' "Blue Zed" and the flip being a cover of Pussy Galore's "Alright." The latter title sums things--'tis alright and nothing more. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com)
HOLLYWOOD-Stunts (Big Neck, CD) If you didn't tell me, I'd swear this was a new Mudhoney album, with the Mark Arm-type vocals, tongue in cheek lyrics and somewhat grungy, swampy guitar sound. It could even have been a new Monkeywrench disc, the sporadic collaboration with Mark and his Mudhoney compatriot Steve Turner, Tom Price from Gas Huffer and Tim Kerr. I've heard a new Mudhoney album in recent years and Hollywood's album is quite a bit better. Enough about those bands--let's get to Hollywood's rock 'n roll stew. The best song here is the raucous, rump-shaking "Toe-To-Toe," with a spacy instrumental break. The opener,"(Scary) Cemetery," borrows a lyrical line from the Ramones "Pet Semetary," and pounds along nicely on a sturdy bass-line, thunder-crack guitar and single note piano plink during the chorus. Bluesy, garagey, down 'n dirty rock done with simple, enjoyable aplomb. ( www.bigneckrecords.com)
WHITE WHALE-Widow's Peak/Rats In The Snow (Big Neck, 7") White Whale's previous demo and 7" were decent-enough but the two songs here don't immediately grab me. Frayed, semi-melodic punk working best on the higher-energy "Rats In The Snow," but something's missing, that extra spark to singe the ears. (PO Box 8144, Reston, VA 20195, www.bigneckrecords.com )