Friday, April 24, 2009

Punk, Thrash, Garage and other Assorted Madness

Psychostick - Sandwich

Ok, here's the thing. I approached this CD with the same amount of trepidation that a nuclear plant worker approaches an unsealed tube of radioactive waste. Wishing I could don a full body suit and protective facial shield, I wanted nothing more than to find some twelve foot long tongs so I could pick up this potentially mutating disaster-in-waiting, and properly dispose of it where it would have no detrimental effects on humanity. Why this much fear, you may ask? Because in all my years of spinning discs, I've found that "humorous music," is usually neither, humorous nor music.

Damn was I wrong! Psychostick is an absolute, slap the knee, gag on your soda, laugh out loud assault of punked up thrash madness. This is toilet bowl rock for the ages. I have to admit, at first, I didn't get it. Having missed out on what I've heard is their humor-core masterpiece "Beer," I was unprepared for what lie in wait for me. But within mere moments, the veil opened and I was thrust head over funny bone into what I can safely say must be one of the most brilliantly executed albums of all time. Topping off their comedy central lyrics is a singer who can actually sing when he wants to, some damn intense riffing, and more time changes than a clock factory the night of daylight's savings time. Sure, the mid song lethargy of "Caffeine," could be predicted by the early thrash rampage, but it still cracks me up to no end when the re-caffeinated blast blows the snot from my nostrils. "Shower," is a downright classic while "P is the Best Letter," is a mini-masterpiece of ego worship. What sets these guys apart from other "joke," acts I've seen is that they can really play. I mean REALLY play. Without a doubt, if they had a serious bone in their body, they'd be able to take their Court Jester of metal, Anthrax meets Faith No More, shtick in any direction they'd choose. But then, if they had a serious bone in their body, we'd be deprived of the hilarity of "Don't Eat My Food," or the simplistic beauty of "The Hunger Within." Damn, I wish I had a taco.

The Shanks - Big Feelin'

Another massive wall of terminally fuzzed-out garage trash this time coming from Boom Chick Records. This two song single is a cacophony of garage distortion molded into two barely discernible songs. Of the two, “Casino” is probably the better with a meaty guitar riff to start things off, before dropping into a head bopping roar of fuzz and vocals that sound like they were recorded by being sung into an empty gasoline can. Dig the bass breakdown half-way through and again that meaty hook. Ragged and raw, home-brewed punk. Just the way we like it.

“Dead Flowers” the second song, is so encrusted in the lo-fi production of the garage you can see the oil stains and smell the diesel. Somewhere, here, there’s a beat and a melody, but I don’t know if the band even knows where it is. A screeching platter of noise and rusted car parts, with the gang vocals of every mechanic in town. Ballsy in its raged glory, it sounds like it takes the listener more time to listen to it than it took the band to write it.

Overall, both songs succeed in ripping through the delicate membrane of your inner ear with shrieks of feedback and fuzz, bringing on a raunchy amount of amateurish fun. Quick and nasty, short and raw. Garage punk for the short attention span generation.

Swankers/Atomic Suplex Split 7"

A double dose of totally trashy garage punk from Death Pop Records. The Swankers lead this off with “Fuck Off,”- a balls out female fronted attack of pure garage adrenaline crashing at you like a surging hybrid of the Slits and the Come On's. Fuzzed out in it’s lo-fi terror, you gotta love it when she’s screaming “Get outta my life, Get outta my way, Fuck off!” Nice guitar licks, great melody and beat. Mean and not very clean.

Atomic Suplex follows with a massively distorted rage of garage rock, “Atomic Suplexed by a Girl.” Billed as what Bill Haley would sound like if you had the worst tinnitus in the world, unfortunately, here the lo-fi production or actually no-fi production works against the band. There’s a killer riff and some tasty guitar parts in there somewhere, but it’s all lost in a screeching sea of static and feedback. While that may appeal to some, I like even my fuzz rock to be a touch cleaner than this. It’s a shame. Sounds like a great song under the noise, if the guys clean it up just a touch, they’ll have a winner.

Count Von Count - Biggest Hits

For this release, underground sludge metal cretins, Count Von Count culled tracks from their first two buried under a rock releases, 2005’s S/T, and 2006’s Dark Side of the Dune, branded them together, included a tag that orders you to play them loud and intoxicated,” burned down the city courthouse then sat back to watch all the fun erupt in a maelstrom of anarchic chaos. Brandishing a Buzzov*n and Melvins songbook blasted through a mountain of Sabbath and a touch of Mastadon, this one is certain to singe your eyebrows.

Things get ugly in a hurry. “New American Folklore,” explodes as a chaotic mess of near-hardcore, math-fused sludge, dropping down into the perfect doom vibe of “Colt 45,” and near COC drowning in the southern manure of “Voltron.” Actually, the music on the entire S/T portion is pretty fucking incredible, with the guys blasting through riffs meaner, filthier and nastier than a five dollar hooker in a blowjob factory. The second release batch of songs doesn’t light my bong near as much, with the riffs more chaotic, less structured and the drums less charmingly sloppy. Through both sets, the vocals-- which can only be described as sounding like the singer had just swallowed his own throat-- verge on the tiring. Not that there’s anything wrong with eating your own throat, mind you.

Still a valuable effort and worth investigating for the first half alone.

1 comment:

ElGuappa said...

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