Wednesday, August 26, 2009


French Cold Wave is "Mr. Hip Shit" around town right now. Obsessed over by weird folks with asymmetrical haircuts, anti-hipsters who swear they don't even listen to music anymore and dudes who work at independent video rental stores. So what do you do when the world is obsessing over the minimally synthesized sounds of France? Delve into Spanish Death Rock & Post Punk!

PARALASIS PERMANENTE is part Factory Post Punk, part Killed by Death comp with a healthy dose of Death Rock for good measure.

"Autosuficiencia" (in case video doesn't show/work)

DECIMA VICTIMA ignore the rest and stick to the Factory Post Punk sound and they offer a really interesting take on the style. It's totally excusable when a band sounds so close to one of it's influences when they write exceptionally good songs.

"Detras de la mirada" & "La razon de la discordia" (in case video doesn't show/work)

AGRIMENSOR K are one of my new favorite bands. Totally perfect, early lofi-goth from Spain. Completely perfect in every way.

"Principio Y Fin" (in case video doesn't show/work)

Start here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009







Thursday, August 20, 2009


Finding a good band is no longer a needle in a haystack scenario, and a great song seems to be just around ever corner these days. While some lurk in the shadows calling out "poser" at everything that gets "big", I've done my best to shed my judgmental attitude (which I wrongfully labeled my "opinion") to just ENJOY whats going around. Here are some bands and/or songs I love.

WILLIAM HART inspired this entire post to begin with. "Coal" (with or without drums) is a depressing, lost romp through the mind. I mean what else could influence a song this dark? You know the original jam that spawned this song was an hour long with a main riff that you could literally play forever. I was in a band that had a song like that... with in an insane riff that you just pummel into your brain. It never left acapella/in the van humming stage though. His other songs are decent takes on downer folk, but if he released an album of songs like "Coal", it'd surely be one of my favorites of 2009. Think Birthday Party, Son House at his most ugly and depressing and the small circle of us who think all Cramps songs should sound like "Human Fly". If those things interest you this song might too.

"Flowers" by FLIGHT is another song I totally adore right now. It makes me think of bands from the 80's who did old rock n roll stuff and made it sound futuristic. It's got this great Weezer/Rentals breakdown in the middle. He might take that as a diss but it's not meant to be. I also have a creeping suspicion that this is Beck playing a trick on us.

BESTIAL MOUTHS are my new favorite band. I feel blessed that they live so close to me as I know I'll experience them live many times in the future. This is band #3 in a long line of Los Angeles by-way-of Atlanta (or the other way around?) goth punk units who keep getting better and better with each attempt. It looks as though garage punk is the "it" thing now, but for those who prefer Sioxusie over the Sonics like me, look no further. This group in this phase convey a mentality that has stopped giving a fuck what the kids at the Smell thinks and are playing from their hearts. Gone were the equally awesome crossover attempts of the previous projects. You'll have to leave the Indie section on your way to the Goth corner at Amoeba for this record.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interview with Dum Dum Girls


1. What are the pros and cons of being in a band in the music scene right now, 2009?

I probably never would have made it out of the bedroom if not for the internet. I owe my Hozac, Captured Tracks, & Sub Pop releases to myspace discoveries. But I also struggle to be detached from the internet in other regards because I really don't need to read hater commentary that focuses predominantly on my looks or pitting me against other female musicians. It's unbelievable how stone-age sexist my apparent peers are.

2. What has Music provided for you on a personal level over the years? I know for me, as morbid as this may sound, I would probably be dead or a drug addict or a dead drug addict by now if it weren't for Music intervening in my life in such a deep way. Is it like that for you all or is it more of a hobby?

It is the same solace and salvation for me. I can't imagine myself outside the context of making music -- other than my love, it is my sole motivator.

3. Do you notice any trends in underground music scenes these days? A few observations I have are that it is a lot less common to see bands or musicians have a "following" it seems that music fans take it a lot more night to night now. What do you think?

I'm not sure. I am interested in observing how internet buzz translates to touring attendance.

4. Sorry I have to ask a cliche one - what music are you currently listening to?

My husband played DJ this week, so it's all about early Phyllis Dillion (she's the "queen of jamaican soul"), The Ramones, and The Kids.

5. Is there any particular music that you think people must hear from now or anytime for that matter?

Oh I don't know, I blow my mind on all sorts all the time.

6. What inspired the creation of Dum Dum Girls? And can you comment a little about getting signed to Sub Pop; that is very exciting!

I was writing songs and doing home recordings and essentially stole (I claim collaborated) the name from Brandon [Welchez]. I had no lofty intentions, so even the Hozac 7" offer was a complete shocker. The Sub Pop thing is still too surreal to really get into.

7. Do you have any tips for kids just starting off in a band? Any ways to cut through some of the BS or advice?

Do everything for yourself as long as you can. There's no need for outside "help" or intervention until much later. It will fuck you over.

8. Are there any musicians that you think had a great career or ones you'd like to emulate as far as success in Music is concerned? For instance, Tom Waits (love him or not) seems to have had a good run, not too big, has control over his performances, delivers a pretty decent show and ya know... lasts.

I think Sonic Youth and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are perfect examples of respectable and exciting longevity and creativity.

9. What is your opinion about Music and Politics? Do you like it when musicians fuse politics into their music (e.g. Hardcore Punk, Public Enemy, Phil Ochs) or do you think it is best left outside of music. What about Dum Dum Girls? Is there a political ingredient in your music?

I only talk personal politics, but I'm not for or against more general politics being in music.

10. Last, is there anything you'd like to let people know about or add about anything?


Thursday, August 13, 2009


It has been said many times before this, usually tucked in dark corners of record geek message boards or in comments to some forgotton blog, but I'm going to put it out there in plain view for some to see with hopes that you'll spread the news that Vancouver is ten steps ahead of every other part of the DIY world musically. Something about every project that emerges is legitimately awesome, and the incestuous nature of these bands makes spreading out and discovering more as easy as tracing the family tree so to speak.
I first experienced TWIN CRYSTALS in Portland, Oregon at the cavernous Branx located behind Rotture on the the Southeast side. Awkward hellos and solid conversation trickled through the night till they completely leveled the building on borrowed gear. A band so weird and fucked up, alienating and intense, yet with an equal obsession for the Wipers and early Kraftwerk. Whereas Channels 3 & 4 took the route of crafting anti-hits that got stuck in your head faster than radio singles, Twin Crystals creates legitimate classic songs that no one questions. Like AC/DC... even those set on hating them admit they write memorable, great songs, but maybe my view of how they'll be remembered is different from what will become reality, and wrongfully so! Napa and Davis, California are places that I will always go hand in hand with becoming a genuine believer in everything this band is doing. I can't visit or even think about these cities without seeing things on repeat. And their LP is the most solid punk record of modern times and I never even thought they had it in them.
RANDOM CUTS is Justin taking what he brought to the table with Mutators and deciding to raise the child alone (with the supposed help of some mannequins). It's bands and people like this that make me think Brace Paine got his entire schtick from Vancouver, because it sure didn't come from Arkansas. Songs that are so catchy yet never let you get comfortable in your enjoyment. This is not music to go about relaxing to and winding down after a long day. It's the type of gnawing post-punk hits that you listen to while trying to hold your piss in. Another complete winner from a dude with a pedigree including the violent punk of Mutators and jarring no wave of Female Health.
MODERN CREATURES, DEFEKTORS and SHEARING PINX all dominate their respective lines of work. Defektors drops punk gold... amazing songs you'd feel just at home with were this 1979 or the early 80's. One of those that wasn't there when it started, but ended up doing it close to the best sort of deals. Modern Creatures, like most every band from up there, puts great, engaging vocals on top of perfectly replicated (insert genre here) yet made all their own. That's really the formula for this city. No band sounds exactly like anything you've heared before. They all take a genre and do their absolute best with it, adding their own touches and usually deliverly an improved version of what you've come to know. SHEARING PINX is the band that will never break up. They take said formula and beat it to death with dozens of yearly releases ranging a broad spectrum of influences and styles. The underlining theme of said band seems to be "we enjoy playing together", and when put at the forefront of a band, seems to be the missing link in so much of what we hear today. The tension created in the music is for everyone else, no anyone or anything within. Whereas Random Cuts seems angry at itself, Shearing Pinx is angry at the world.
Go to myspace right and search any of these bands. An LP containing all of them would be a starting point for any future punx to begin their search for all these band's records twenty years down the line.
Brave New World, Play Dead and Deep Wound were all criminally overlooked and made their ways into my life way too late. Thus is the trend of focusing all energy on one scene and ignoring the most inspirational pieces of it. Now is Vancouver's time. With this accepted, I find no reason for these records not to stay print and be considered classics by the youth to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tobias' featurette No. 4 - Angels In America (NYC/MTL)

'Angels In America' is a band made up of two kids who have assumed the persona's Moppy Pont and Rob Rombus. Who met in High School in NYC and formed the group at that time. After self-releasing their 1st tape "Cunt Tree Grammar" they sent a copy to Thurston Moore & Byron Coley's Bull Tongue column in Arthur Magazine (R.I.P). Soon after that exchange they were invited to have the tape re-released by Moore's own label 'Ecstatic Peace!'. Moppy has been living in Montreal for the past year or so (and is returning to the states permanently after this tour). While they were staying in Montreal they picked up two backing members which they will be taking with them through the states all month on their first tour.

They have been described as "a really stoned Teenage Jesus and The Jerks." and variations of that. They are way too pretentious to have a myspace page but you can download some high quality mp3 versions of their tunes on WFMU's Free Music Archive.

They sell teeshirts at their gigs of a man in black face being hugged by witches for $5.00 printed on the thinnest and tightest material known to man. 1 size. Which they got wholesale for .99 cents each.

Oh and probably the greatest live band you will see this Summer! We got into it recently. This was a recorded conversation in their borrowed apartment from 1am after a long day of wearing colorful costumes, barfing sprinkles and gummybears for an artfilm called "Smile Stealers" that Moppy stars in and Rob Rhombus also cameos in. I will also mention that Rob Rhombus has a stick n' poke tattoo on his stomach of a gravestone that reads "PIZZA", which he got this Summer.

(Moppy Pont in the film 'Smile Stealers' by Jasa Baka)

(Rob Rhombus in the film 'Smile Stealers' by Jasa Baka)

Rob Rhombus: I gotta control myself.
Tobias: Okay. You're a band, you did a
tape, how old were you? 18? You covered 18 by Alice Cooper when you
were 18? Is that right?
Moppy: um huh.
Rob Rhombus: We were babies.
Tobias: You were babies.
Moppy: We were 18.
Rob Rhombus: I had adopted this baby.
Moppy: And we had just been adopted by Mr. Boombastic.
Rob Rhombus: Father Boombastic. He runs a mission.
Moppy: We said "Can you be cute to us?"
Rob Rhombus: Yah.. he was a real fi-yah-star-tah.
Tobias: And the tape?
Rob Rhombus: I made one. And then I tried to make another one. I
couldn't do it so I called up my friend. My friend Peter. Greazy
Peter. Yeah we made it and then we made more of it. Let's just leave
it at that, allright?
Moppy: Then we had a little rendezvous at Kinky's.
Rob Rhombus: Yeah it was just the usual stuff. You go down to Kinky's.
They make your paper pop.
Moppy: Now we have a lot of inserts. They made a big mistake.
Rob Rhombus: Let's just say we knew what they knew. Listen this is the
real deal. We had gotten Mr. Boombastic to sponsor us at this
Dance-a-thon. And for every dance he would donate a tape. So we got
really energized. And then we got all these tapes outta the deal.
That's true. That's a true story.

Tobias: How many shows have you played in total?
Moppy: 4
Rob Rhombus: 5.
Tobias: So you've been a band two years and you've played 5 shows. 2
in the last week. And then.. a 100 in the next month on tour in the
Rob Rhombus: We just decided to start showing our turds. Spreading our
stuff around. Smearing it. We are going to teach the people about
Tobias: Who's your favorite philosopher?
Moppy: Maria Bello.
Tobias: Angels In America is..
Rob Rhombus: Some Kinda Monster. It's this quote we heard in Some
Kinda Monster. Phil Towel says it. Then Lar's dad reiterates it later
in the film.
Tobias: What do you think about..
Rob Rhombus: I got this rash. Seriously. Off the record. I gotta rash.
Moppy: I think this is a good interview.
Tobias: Where do you want to go from here? Not in your band but in
this interview?
Rob Rhombus: Basically the main thing is.. we're like..everytime I look in the mirror I expect to see the Candy Man. And that helps me because if I don't. In a way I feel like my day
has been ordained for safe passage. I just keep licking myself. I
can't stop. That's how I know it's going to be a good day. If I lick
myself for like 3-4 hours at the beginning of the day. Then I can go
out and just take care of it.
Moppy: yeah.
Rob Rhombus: That's what Mr. Boombastic taught me at the Rash Academy.
He taught me if you have a rash you need to just lick yourself. 'cause
that's how you clean.
Moppy: But sometimes if you lick yourself too much you get a rash.
Rob Rhombus: That's called too much of a good thing.
Moppy: That's what we're about.
Moppy: We wrote a new song about Obama.
Rob Rhombus: It's called "Touch it." We're going to debut it really soon.
Tobias: What are you touring in?
Rob Rhombus: America.
Tobias: No.. what kinda of vehicle are your touring in? Greg (of
Special Noise)'s parents car?
Moppy: & Markus' parents car.
Tobias: So that cars of both band drummer's parents.
Moppy: Why don't we talk about the new song?
Tobias: Sure talk about it.
Rob Rhombus: Talk about it but talk loud. We wrote a scary song about
the moment we saw the ghoul;that has become our god.
Moppy: And..
Rob Rhombus: .. he told us..
Moppy: There was some bad news.
Rob Rhombus: And the bad news is "Congratulations.You are.."
Rob Rhombus: ".. a satchel.. down below.."
Moppy: "..a little.. living...cutie..."
Rob Rhombus: It's about how if a cutie comes out of you.. and what to do then.
Tobias: What's the song called?
Rob Rhombus: Phallaform. It's like "Brenda's Got a Baby" meets Ramstein.
Tobias: Can you talk to me about the new members of your band you've
picked up in Canada?
Rob Rhombus: Yah we're playing with a couple of real greazzzy weasels.
And their great.. Nader.. I mean called BiteNFight.
Moppy: Nader Hasan.
Rob Rhombus: But he goes by BiteNfight. And then there's Papa Spawn.
Moppy: He's kind of our new daddy.

Tobias: What would be a good reason to come to one of the upcoming performances?
Rob Rhombus: If you like good time Hellraiser licks. Mixed with
Darjliing Limited costumes.
Moppy: I'm sari.
Rob Rhombus: No it's okay, I was sarong.

(by David Forcier)

08/08/09 - Montreal, QUE - Divian Orange w/ Woods
10/08/09 - Montreal, QUE - The Silver Door w/ Special Noise, NightGoat
12/08/09 - Providence, RI - AS220 w/ Kokomo, The Ram, Special Noise
13/08/09 - Boston, MA - House Show w/ The Great Drought, Special Noise
14/08/09 - Providence, RI - Warehouse Party w/ Special Noise
16/08/09 - Brattleboro, VT - Jared's House Party w/ Special Noise
17/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Don Pedros w/ Stupid Party,Bad Blood
18/08/09 - Philadelphia, PA - TBA w/ The Great Drought, Special Noise
19/08/09 - Baltimore, MD - The Bank w/ Sewn Leather, DJ Dog Dick
20/08/09 - Washington, DC - The Mini Gallery w/ Sewn Leather, DJ Dog Dick
21/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Monster Island (Todd P presents..)Sewn Leather, Teenage Girl Fantasy, MDNR
22/08/09 - New Brunswick, NJ - Meat Town w/ Special Noise
23/08/09 - Brooklyn, NYC - Silent Barn w/Sewn Leather, Hume
30/08/09 - Burlington, VT - TBA

Saturday, August 1, 2009

365 Days of Summer: Sun Bleached Punk Gems & Duds

Something strange has been washing up on the shores of the continental United States these days. Along with bands from Southern California proudly displaying their hometown pride by sounding surprisingly "Californian", acts from all over have been pulling more from "Pet Sounds" than "Damaged". We can thank Panda Bear for making Brian Wilson cool again to kids who barely knew he existed (outside of his later, less credible career) and Wavves, who, well, is the biggest thing under the sun right now, right (with definite emphasis on sun).

First up is Los Angeles' BEST COAST, featuring Bethany from the now defunct Pocahaunted. Whereas Pocahaunted danced around any sort of structure, Best Coast trades in the drone and moan for a simple approach to light weight, laid back beach punk. Sort of half Wavves half K Records, Best Coast falls short of impressing me except on the "Sun Was High (So Was I)", which feels like it could be the opening song on the Fast Times At Ridgemont High 2 soundtrack. She almost sounds too like Wavves, with her reverb drenched vocal patterns not really carving out any original ground from song to song. Bob Bruno saves the project from drowning completely by weaving in and out of Bethany's simple 3 chord strumming with rather intricate and pretty bass lines, but at the end of the day I almost feel like this is a good indication that anyone can sound like they can sing when doused in echo and reverb (myself included).

DUCTAILS injects Grateful Dead noodling and experimentation into his take on the newly forming unnamed genre. "Friends" almost sounds like a Woods tour tape after it soaked in flat soda for a few days. "Welcome Home" makes me think Mr. Ducktails is a pretty solid musician even though he might hide it in other songs. His progressions float along, guitar and synth lines weaving in and out creating a nice atmospheric sun burnt dirge that's as depressing as it is uplifting. Almost a "life sucks but I'm still living" attitude conveyed musically, but it's not my place to say what message he's trying to get across.

Best Coast's partners in crime (from what I've gathered), PEARL HARBOUR, have a nice little ditty with "Lost At Sea", but it's almost too Beach Boys to really leave an impact on me. It's dissappointing when the part of the song that really nails in a memorable vibe is the element most easily compared to another band, such is the case with the vocal melody on this particular song. "Sunburn" has some of the same Grateful Dead-esque noodling that Ducktails seems to have mastered.

San Diego's JEANS WILDER completes this piece and is definitely the worst of the lot. More concept than consistent, songs like "Tough Guys" remind me of drunken party jams on dusty Casios... stuff no one remembers the next day for good reason. "Simpler Times" sounds like a Wavves outtake that soaked in the same beverage alongside that Ducktails jam, while "International Waters" is my favorite of the lot... like a weird Pedro the Lion track replayed through a reverb tank inside a concrete sound bunker, but it's not enough to save this ship from sinking somewhere off the coast of California, which according to his location on myspace, is close to home.

The noise siren reinventing herself as beach punk songstress. The mysterious man named after my favorite children's cartoon. The two Children of the Damned who escaped to make bedroom pop hits. And the lonely kid who pretends to enjoy the lack of company. Not quite impressed with the burdgeoning genre as a whole, but there is some promise running through each act's sound and I will definitely be paying attention to what comes next for each.