Brain F≠ (pronounced “Brain Flannel”, yeah I don’t get it either) is a rambunctious garage punk band from Charlotte, NC. On July 15th the band will release their followup to 2011’s Sleep Rough. The new album is called Empty Set and will again be released byGrave Mistake and the always stellar Sorry State Records.
Until that time, you’ll have to enjoy the first single to drop from that album called “Sailor Swim”. The track has a friendly face with it’s snappy tempo and melodic vocals, but underneath the track is a pretty snarly punk number with biting lyrics. Elise Anderson’s repeating chorus “I don’t give a fuck if you clear my name.” is almost a spiritual sister to Joan Jett’s seminal punk rock anthem “I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation.” It’s that kind of classic punk or riot grrrl attitude that makes Brain F≠ so much fun to listen to. Just don’t forget to check out Empty Set in a few months. Or just check back here. I’m sure I’ll be yapping about it one way or another.
Ask most people who are at least somewhat familiar with record label Kartoga Works which bands from their roster they dote on and they’ll probably say “well, I really like Merchandise.” And while it’s true that the Florida post-punkers have pulled a spotlight down onto the small label, there is a lot more to discover and love about the label than just one (buzz) band. Plus the label makes it easy for people to become versed in their output because they offer free downloads of the majority of their releases.
Take their most recent release Everything from Soup to Dessert from Cleveland band Bad Noids. Taking the hardcore punk formula and injecting it with radioactive snot and a twisted sense of humor, the guys have spit out an album of 12 blistering, blink-and-miss-‘em punk micro-explosions. Their music is fast and frantic with tons of youthful aggression, but most importantly it’s an extremely fun album. If you listen to more than a little punk then you’ll notice that Bad Noids aren’t taking themselves very seriously and they sound like they are having a blast doing whatever it is that they are doing. After a short pause following the last track the vocalist rants and screams “I have a headache!” over and over again through heavy breathing, and then finally uttering “Bad Noids…” These guys show their colors throughout the album’s short runtime, and if you stick around for its duration, those sentiments are cemented amidst maniacal laughter.
Everything from Soup to Dessert is unfortunately already sold out, but please do yourself a favor and download the tracks.
Title: Better SuggestionArtist: HolyPageRecords92 plays
Pig Welt // Root Porno
Sometimes I don’t think people realize just how much music passes through music bloggers’ hands. I get it from my email inbox (good Lord, you don’t even wanna know), on Tumblr, on Twitter, even on Facebook. That being said, I’m not complaining. I put myself in this position and it’s one that I’m happy to be in. It just gets a tad overwhelming every once in a while. All that serves to make it that much harder for artists to stand out in a crowd unless they are doing something legitimately insane. So on the heels of a cheeky Facebook message, I decided to revisit and share Pig Welt’s Root Porno. Let’s just say he made himself stand out.
The solo project of Rochester, NY native Zachary Rooney, Pig Welt is a strange little monster. Not exactly punk, not exactly garage rock, but existing uncomfortably somewhere between the two, his music mopes around languidly at a very intentional pace. It almost sounds as if he is playing his stuff from the bottom of a swimming pool. But not just any swimming pool. More like one that hasn’t been cleaned in a while and it has like dirty leaves and twigs floating on the surface and maybe a couple dead toads with bulged, white eyes rotting on the silty bottom. And yet after all of that Root Porno is an appealing release. Just be prepared to get your hands a little dirty.
Root Porno is out now on limited cassette through Holy Page Records. Cheers to Christian for this one.
Now this I really like. Like really really. Featuring members of prominent Melbourne rock bands like The UV Race and Eddy Current Suppression RIng, garge punk rockers Total Control have concocted something really snappy. I initially looked into them because I heard that they would appeal to fans of Merchandise, but as listening would show, that comparison isn’t exactly the most apt. While they do get a bit morose on some of these tracks, the 7”s LP is a much more energetic, firecracker sort of affair.
Much like OFF! did for their debut LP, Total Control has gathered all of their previous EPs and 7”s and released the collection as their proper debut. Looking to 1970’s and 1980’s punk weirdo characters like Devo, The Screamers, and Gary Numan’s various projects, Total Control has assembled a collection of tracks that bleeds personality from every orifice. I don’t know if the tracks play out in the chronological order of release, but there definitely seems to be a metamorphosis going on from the front of this album to the back. The first half or so wallows in fast, gritty garage punk numbers with a vibrant youthful energy, but as the album churns its way to the back it incorporates a lot more experimentation with dark synth and post-punk weirdness. Needless to say it’s an interesting spate of songs from a band keen to show off their diversity.
So far the album is only available as a digital download on their Bandcamp, but the cover artwork is basically a j-card just waiting to be printed so… come on, now. Give the people what they want.
You wouldn’t be alone if at first listen you thought that San Antonio hardcore punk band SOHNS had two vocalists; a guy and a girl. But no, it turns out that the vocalist Alex Mendez is just super dynamic with his vocal range. Wavering between blood-curdling, shrill screaming and low guttural moans and growls, he is just one reason to check out this awesome band. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the instrumentation is great and the song structures are crazy either.
They deem themselves “doom-punk,” and although the doom elements are few and far between the punk tag is absolutely appropriate. Their latest EP Haus Helle is only two short tracks and a bizarre remix, but it was more than enough for me to want to go back and check out their previous releases. They play their unique brand of punk music with blistering highs, booming lows, and all with a spastic, frenzied energy. The guys surround themselves with a ton of dark imagery, which I suppose is par for the course, but I assure you that that doesn’t sum them up. They exude a ton of electric energy and are just a ton of fun. So if you like your punk music to be a bit, uh, weird, then SOHNS should be right up your alley.
PS - Oh, and don’t confuse them with the buzz artist S O H N. No, these guys have been perforating ear drums since 2006. Later.
My favorite Philly ladies are back with a new 7” on (insert genuine surprise here) Jade Tree Records. I told them this last night, but seeing them next to Pedro the Lion on the Jade Tree Soundcloud made me so happy that my head seriously almost exploded. These ladies are really doing it and people are taking notice and it’s everything that I’ve wanted for them since I first heard the promise on their gritty Sorry I’m Not Sorry EP. That was three years ago and they’ve come a long way since recording angsty punk anthems straight to tape in dingy bathrooms.
The two tracks on this new 7” find Slutever at their loudest and surprisingly sludgiest. The B-side gets a little raucous in its final moments, but for the most part these two new tracks find the ladies adopting a languid, mid-tempo demeanor with sticky guitars, thumping drum beats, and their usual distortion and reverb-drenched vocals. If you’re worried that the girls are growing up though, you can those frets put that to bed. This is still the same I-want-to-throw-up-on-your-face Slutever we fell in love with. The high school obsession lingers as well as lyrics about Courtney Love, bleached roots, and detention. They are still loud and bratty and they don’t care what you think, it’s just that this time around they’ve tricked someone into giving them studio time. Now all that’s left to do is strap yourself in and get ready to see who these girs conquer next.
Title: Ryan RowleyArtist: Donovan Wolfington93 plays
Donovan Wolfington // Stop Breathing
This album has been out on Bandcamp for a few weeks now, but the vinyl release isn’t until later this month (on Broken World & Community Records). So I’m hitting it right in the sweet spot between the two. I’ve actually had the album in my iTunes for a few months since the band intentionally “leaked” it to me as a good-natured joke late last year. So since it’s now out in the open for everyone else to hear I have no reservations in saying: Donovan Wolfington, I love you. xoxo.
Now they aren’t tagged as “emo” on their Bandcamp, but they certainly fit in with some of the better emo revivalist band of the last few years like Grown Ups, William Bonney, Old Gray, and even Snowing. That might seem like high praise, but I mean it. The kids in Donovan Wolfington have done their homework, their sound is tight, they have youthful energy pouring out of every orifice, they aren’t afraid to push the genre a bit, and they have the songwriting chops to back all of this up. Their debut album Stop Breathing comes on the heels of a few promising singles and is one of the more rounded punk releases I’ve heard this year. They know when to push the noise, screaming, veins pulsing in their throats; but they also know when to take their foot off the gas pedal and embellish the tracks with instrumentation and melody. It’s got the goods and it’s in no hurry to lay them all out on the table at once. So grab a copy of this album, take it as it comes, and just enjoy what this fun-loving band has to serve up.
I haven’t been so into a pogo-punk revival band as much as this in a while. Maybe not even since high school. Weird. Anyways, there is literally nothing original about the Brookyln punk band Sad Boys, but then again originality is not the name of their game. Featuring members of other NYC street punks bands like Zatsuon, NOMAD, Long Pigs, and others Sad Boys play it fast and loud with a surprising amount of shrieking melody. Their influences are shameless so feel free to bust out the liberty spikes and dye them green with Jell-O stolen from your parents’ kitchen. No one is judging here.
The 7” is out on Toxic State Records. Good luck finding it.
If you had told me that one of the projects to rise out of the ashes of famed emo revivalist band Snowing would be a sometimes-bluesy garage rock band I’d have been a tad skeptical (Then again this is 2013 and weirder things have happened). And yet that is exactly what has happened with Slow Warm Death. Former Snowing frontman John Galm has packed up his songwriting chops and set off in a completely different direction. A successful shift if I do say so myself.
To be honest I wasn’t really expecting much from the album seeing that garage rock is as popular now as it’s ever been. Call it oversaturation. But surprisingly these ten tracks serve up a punching, punk energy and plenty of surprises. The highlight for me is probably the amount vocal melody on display. Way too many garage rock bands skimp on the vocals opting for something between a mumble and shout drenched in layers of fuzz and reverb, but on SLOW WARM DEATH John really goes for it and it serves to give the tracks that much more personality. For being such a modest release, I’m surprised at how much this debut has a lot to offer. Really loving this one.
I was super late to Loma Prieta’s most excellent album I.V. last year. It would have easily made my favorite album’s if only I had heard it several months earlier. I won’t be making that mistake with Nervous. The three-piece rock outfit is the new project of Loma Prieta bassist Jake Spek. And while it maintains some of the noisier elements of his other band, Nervous is undoubtedly much easier on the ears. Fitting more into the vein of outright rock, the band hammers their way through their tracks with punching, pounding, and yelling.
Earlier this month the band uploaded three tracks to their Bandcamp page that are apparently a taste of a forthcoming release. I’m not sure when that release wil drop so these tracks should be enough to tide you over until then. In the meantime make sure to catch the band on tour with Loma Prieta as they make their way to SXSW.
Last summer I shared the infectious debut album from Richmond/Brooklyn pop punk band Life Coach. Well that band was sort of an offshoot of and shares some members with another Richmond band called Sports Bar. The two bands definitely share a flair for the energetic, but where Life Coach played straight up pop punk, Sports Bar play a more punk-infused garage rock.
As you can tell from their artwork, track names and an album title like Tyler Perry’s Sports Bar, Sports Bar is a band that makes fun its #1 priority. They slather on the bouncing bass lines with poppy guitar licks and a generous helping of gang vocals. It’s the kind of music that elicits a strong urge to sing along even if you don’t know the words. The kind of music that can only truly be experienced in a crowded bar full of sweaty kids and maybe with some beer being slung around in the air.
I was pretty stoked on City Dweller’s self-titled cassette that they put out early last year. It flew under the radar, but fans of good old fashioned post-hardcore would do well to check it out. Unfortunately the UK band has decided to call it quits, but not before dropping one last cassette tape for their fans to obsess over.
Embracing a more straighter 1990’s punk sound, City Dweller shreds through the five tracks on this EP. With only three releases during their brief one year stint, I am always surprised at how authentic these guys feel. The styles they are aping were popular over 20 year ago, and yet these guys pull it off with ease. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to picture them playing on the Warped Tour alongside bands like Fugazi, Social Distortion, Rancid, and Bad Religion. Listening to these guys I feel like I’m in 7th grade again with my black clothes, spiked bracelets, and bad attitude (why couldn’t my parents just let me dye my hair green?). If thinking about that stuff gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach then grab a copy of I Will Become Unique before it’s sold out for good. It’s out now on Regicide Records.
Title: L.I.F.E (Life Instead of Sleep)Artist: Cerce189 plays
Cerce & I Kill Giants // An Miracle
I finished wrapping all of my gifts and so I’m just sitting here surfing the web on Christmas Eve and listening to Carly Rae Jepsen (Don’t hate. Did you hear her song “Hurt So Good”?!). Anyways, I stumbled onto this new split EP by Cerce and I Kill Giants. I’ve not talked about how much I love Cerce here yet (although I’ve mentioned them more than once on the Facebook page), but just know that are one of the best surprises of 2012. Raw, unbridled powerviolence with enough youthful energy to paste a smile on the most ardent skeptic.
Anyways, this split finds the bands swapping two songs each and covering them in the most brisk of fashions. Now, I’m not familiar with I Kill Giants, but I’m really digging their emo punk re-imagining of Cerce’s “Weary” and “Choices.” What I really came for though was to hear Cerce shred their way through some new material (whether it’s their own or not). The band takes two I Kill Giants tracks and, true to form, unleash a sonic fury akin to a crazed, ferocious animal backed into a corner. There are only about 2+ minutes of music to grab onto here, but it’s certainly enough to get the blood pumping.
You can download the split thanks to Mayfly RecordsBandcamp page. It’s a pay-what-you-want download so it’s free if you desire, but know that any donations made go directly to the non-profit C.A.R.E. (Community Animal Rescue & Education). Pretty cool! Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!
Really really really digging this new Congenital Death track that the band posted on their Soundcloud a few days ago. I knew that the band was recording in preparation for an upcoming release, and yet I still peed my pants a little when I saw that they had dropped this tease of a track.
It’s important to note that there are a few key differences between what we heard on the band’s 2011 demo tape and what’s going on with “Disapproval.” First of all the production is noticeably cleaner, which in reality is to be expected (“demo tape” speaks for itself). Also the band has switched gears a bit by shifting from straight on, eye-gouging powerviolence to a more traditional hardcore punk sound. It’s a move that quite obviously suits the band since the track rules so hard. Finally, powerhouse Kerri has toned down her vocals a bit since her display of brutal throat-shredding on the demo tape. In my opinion, this will allow her to get more mileage out of those pipes, which should be a good thing for both band and listener alike.
Now it remains to be seen if this track will be indicative of whatever release the band is prepping, but I gotta say that it’s a move in the right direction. All in favor, say “I.”
The Vancouver punks in White Lung are back with their followup to 2010’s It’s the Evil. The album is called Sorry and it pretty much picks up right where their debut left off. After hearing a couple of tracks from this album I went back and checked out their debut (thanks to a recommendation from Waylon Thornton) before I really delved into Sorry. Man, if you guys are looking for some good, energetic punk to give you the old one-two, then you’d do well to check out White Lung.
I think the greatest thing about the band is that they carry a bittersweet edge. As far as punk rock goes, Sorry is pretty catchy and accessible, but the band never forfeits any of their edge in the process. It’s still pretty cutthroat and it slaps you upside the head with furious pace (the album clocks in at around 20 minutes). Wall of noise thanks to screeching guitars? Check. Chugging bass and monster percussion? Check. Confrontational aggro vocals? CHECK! Don’t sleep on this thing, it’s out now on Deranged Records.