Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Single Life - Another 7 inches of Fun

No long introductory paragraph this time, just right into the fun.

The Garage Gods - Had Enough of Your Lies/She Don't Love You Anymore.

A beaded go-go skirt blast of classic garage-psych-pop, this 7" will melt the heart of all classic and new vintage rock fans out there who ever dreamed of owning a Nehru jacket. "Had Enough of Your Lies," has just about everything a fan of '60's mod haircuts and garage classics could ever want; layers of Vox organ, jangling guitars and a melody that could've come from a page torn from Ray Davies notebook. Dig that huge fuzzed out guitar solo midway through before the verse returns, rumbling with a righteous menace. Great harmony vocals through the chorus also work to lift this one above the ordinary.

Backside "She Don't Love You Anymore," doesn't let the sixties-garage passion fade. A slower, more haunting song, just perfect for a montage scene in some beach movie of some poor kid driving his roadster while he watches his girl walk away with some other man. Through both songs, the understated vocals work perfectly with the mood. Big organ solo moans through the middle, like some lost-lover's lament. Big melodies, catchy choruses. Yep it's all here. And just dig that crazy cover art. It looks like some lost go-go band from the Flintstones cartoon. Its just crazy cool.

Think the Blue Magoos, think early Kinks, think the Zombies. Think whatever you want, then stop thinking and go buy this.

While you're at it, check out the dynamite Lost In Tyme fanzine, a Greek creation, celebration of all things mod and garage. Each issue comes with a CD full of great tunes also.

Tigers Jaw - Spirit Desire b/w We Are Great, There is Only One/Crystal Vision

Spirited indie rock that splits the grey zone between drone rock and Joy Division inspired post-punk, Tigers Jaw are a cool new flashing red light on the Ripple radar. Released on the newly-formed Tiny Engines label, this is a band and a label to watch. Let's do the label first. Formed by a music writer and part-time music promoter, the love Tiny Engines has for their music is worn like a mushy badge of honor, draped all over this 7" like a mother's blanket wrapped around her child. I mean seriously, it's not often I'll drool over the packaging of something as simple as a three-song single, but damn if Tiny Engines didn't get it right. Wrap around parchment style paper surrounding the art, a free mp3 code to download the songs to your iTunes that includes a bonus track that's not on the disc, and then there's the vinyl itself; glorious shades of marbleized yellow and orange. Yeah, yeah, I know, you don't buy a 7" just because it's pretty, but damn it helps. And trust me, this one is pretty. A lovingly constructed package.

Now for the music. I've heard names like Superchunk bandied about in describing Tigers Jaw and I'm okay to start there, but really, the boys mine their own tunnel of claustrophobic, atmosphere drenched indy rock. Distorted guitar lead us in, the tension deepening when the tom-heavy drums kick in. From there, beautifully done off-time drumming drives the engine of this melancholic ditty. Shades of light penetrate the density through the elevating chorus, the drums picking up extra flare, the guitars layering on thick, the vocals disaffected but with a glimmer of hope. Nicely done. The flipside explores similar themes of light and shadow; nice bass breakdowns punctuating "We Are Great . . " along with some sparkling guitar, while "Crystal Vision," hunkers down into the droning of distorted guitars with bass driven verses. Spasms of guitars burp through the breaks, adding a lighter feel (reminding me for no good reason of a less poppy Gin Blossoms, or a more dissonant Weezer.) No matter which way you slice it, this one's a winner.

Promonium Jesters/Adaptive Reaction - split 7"

Leaving the indy world of rock and roll behind, this next 7" plunges us straight into the techno industrial world of underground S&M clubs, mind altering substances, dark eyeliner and women who carry big, spiked cat-o-nine-tails. Promonium Jesters attack us first with their blistering assault of old school industrial rock, "Skull Duty." Massive waves of thrashing heavy guitars, tsunamis of synths, and armored batteries of drums lead the charge as the band subversives their mix with samples and all sorts of unnamed psychedelic exploration. Revving up the BPM to levels that could cause your heart to fibrillate, the song escalates into a frantic mania of guitars and keys. Never losing that all important beat, this is dense, metallic and heavy as shit. Maybe the song should be called "Skull Crusher," instead. Influences like KMFDM and The Revolting Cocks are here, but so are all the industrial standards, thrown into their blender of terror and spewed back out fully frapped. Fortunately, the song isn't a one trick pony of high rev BPM and the crew inject enough nuance and play with speed to keep it interesting all the way through.

Not to be outdone, Adaptive Reaction on the flipside plow a similar field but do it all their own way. Throwing more dissonance into their timewarp, high-N-R-G BPM beats and downtuned guitars, shades of Foetus or Throbbing Gristle reign supreme here. Adding to the intensity, Adaptive Reactive explode in brief, momentary flashes of dark-trip ecstasy; each of their punk industrial bullets rammed down your throat in less than 2 minutes. Of the two, "Nightmare," is my favorite. Aptly named, this is the theme music for some horrific underground club scene in a movie where all the patrons pierce their bodies under the laser lights while sipping on human blood. An absolutely charging methamphetamine shot of horror vocals, droning synths and mutated guitars and one catchy-as-fuck riff. That's not to say "Gangrene," is a slacker, it also leaves an indelible mark on your cranium with its synth heavy layers and crushing metallic guitars. Female vocals here remind me of X lost in a horror show and attacked by a morbid light show. If you can picture that. Not for the timid.

Mos Generator - Jam Room Demos

It seems that things wouldn't be normal here at the Ripple if we didn't drop in every so often to see what our good friend Tony Reed is up to. For this visit we're dropping back to the Mos Generator crew and this gorgeous slab of green-and-black camouflage vinyl single; Jam Room Demos. Two monstrous sides of doom-laden, riff-mad heavy rock await us here. "Step Up," buries itself into the Black Sabbath gravesite, unearthing some brutally heavy riffs of the ilk that'd make the Iommi-man proud. Big and doomy and heavy. What else could you ask for? Some inspired drumming, a steady bass and a fine emotive Tony Reed vocal performance make this one a winner. Just wait until the riff kicks in at the choral break. Yep, that's gonna get played on Ripple Radio.

What the first track alluded to in style, the flip side make clear in title. "Godhand Iommi," bursts out in guitar tones reminiscent of Sabbath's "Faires Wear Boots," and takes off from there onto one mad, hellish highway of guitar histrionics. I mean, damn, can that cat play. Not to be outdone, Scooter Haslip rides his bass in huge looping Geezer Butler passages, while Shawn Johnson pounds away like a maddened Bill Ward. Time changes, mood shifts, gentle passages, and moments of pure rage, make this instrumental a burner. I always said (to myself and anyone who'd listen) that there's nothing more boring than a doom metal/stoner rock instrumental. Damn, looks like I was wrong again. Mos Generator fans and fans of Sabbath and great heavy rock, don't miss this one.

Ze - I am Glam

Perhaps not something that you'd expect to be reviewed on the Ripple, but then we always told you there were no barriers to our mad search for music, as long as it entertains us. And that's exactly what this one does. This time coming from Kuala Lumpur, Ze (pronounced Zay) teamed up with Belgian producer Ruben Debusschere to create a short-strapped handbag worth of radiant trashy dance music. Or as Ze says herself, she is one loud and bitchy electropop singer. And trust me, what she says is true. "I Am Glam," is her self-penned piece-de-resistance, an absolute gutter-fest of the trashiest electropop drum and bass you'll put your eye shadow on to. Looping Yaz-style synths, programmed beats, and then there's Ze, wailing on in her raving bitchfest that "I am what I am/Glam is what I am." And it's her attitude that makes the song work and the whole thing so endearing. Rather than coo like some puffed up diva, Ze belts the song out with so much passion and conviction, it's almost punk. And that's the way I'll leave it. Absolute trashy punky electropop, guaranteed to get the bodies moving on the dancefloor, the boys bouncing under the strobe lights, and girls fighting over their Gucci bags. Just what the doctor ordered to get the party started.

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