Hi again! In case you didnt know, I dont merely review records, I occasionally release them, too! Ive done a label called White Denim since 2003, taking a hiatus in 2015, and Im glad to announce that there will be another release coming later this year. In the meantime, Im hoping to clear out a little space for it, so heres a sweet limited-time offer! Four of the most recent White Denim releases for $20 postage-paid in the US! (International buyers, please email me for postage rates!) Its a deep discount to move out the titles I still have a few dozen copies of. If you share my general musical tastes, youll love these records, promise!
Young TrynasProbably Music7 EP (two-thirds of Flasher before they were Flasher, playing rough punk-core somewhere between Madball and Hole!)
VeiledEl Temps No Passa12 EP (gloomy industrial from the bi-continental duo of Rob Francisco (M Ax Noi Mach) and Arnau Sala (Exoteric Continent))
King BloodWhere Is He7 EP (scorching instrumental-guitar takes on Guns N Roses classics, no lie)
Will Over MatterPhenomenal HighwaysLP (imperious dungeon-synth from Finland; a personal favorite!)
There are MP3 samples on the White Denimwebsiteas well as theSoundcloud. If interested, please send a PayPal payment of $20 direct to , just note the special sale in the payment description. Thanks for the support!
Black AbbaFeel Good7 (Ken Rock)
The irreverently-named Black Abba are back with another quick 7 EP, this time on Swedish garage-punk mainstay Ken Rock Records. Feel Good really ups the ante for what this band seems to be trying to accomplish, which is to become the most sarcastic, least enthusiastic synth-punk band around. I should probably put synth in scare-quotes because its barely greater than a monotone bleep here, and Black Abba step up their nihilistic lack of interest as the downpicked mono-riff slowly drifts off time from the plodding drums. Magnificent! Lets Fight is far more professional (they actually play some ordered music notes) but it has the same mean-mugging attitude thanks to a group-shouted chorus of lets fight lets fight / let me play with your knife. Seems like they might be joking about it but I dont want to take the risk. Mike ends on a poppier note, but the whole thing is an unabashedly misanthropic take on lo-fi punk (and life in general), in a wonderful way of course. Ive read that there has been some membership overlap with Buck Biloxi over the years and man, these New Orleans punks know how to let the bad times roll.
Bobby FunkAvocado Stains7 (Autonomonster / TNS / Krautpop!)
Youve been asking for it, now youve got it: a green avocado-shaped vinyl record. The grooves are about seven inches or so, but the rest of the fruit extends beyond, hencebeing issued in a standard 12 sleeve. Thats dedication! Its an attention-grabbing record for sure, and even if the gimmick outshines the music (which Id say is the case here), its still undeniably fun. Bobby Funk are an overtly British melodic punk group their first two EPs were titled, for crying out loud, and theres a song on here called Johnny Wanker that goes down a list of people who are all, you guessed it, wankers. Im reminded of the punk rock I used to enjoy on those mid-90s CD comps that would be crammed to capacity with music, like theseries or one of those Fat Wreck Chords or Lookout! budget samplers. Silly, stupid fun is the name of the game, and Bobby Funk remind me of Blanks 77 or Blatz. Cant really go wrong with that, although I dont think you can really go right with it, either. I wonder where Bobby Funk falls on the avocado toast debate? They probably think both sides are wankers.
Alongside the killer Gil.Barte EP on Neubau (gushed about at length below), I snagged a copy of Bocksruckers. It srucks serious bock, no doubt about it! These three tracks are rugged and funereal, like what Id imagine Jeff Hannemans wake was like (a mosh pit breaking out in Slumber Room B, black roses on polished mahogany, bloody tears, etc.). The beats are huge, grayscale noise is a constant texture (but used sparingly, not overpoweringly), and each track features samples of some old Satanic art film, tying the EP together with its title. The samples are deployed well, adding a dramatic, cultish flair to Bocksruckers menacing tracks that flit between industrial, techno and EBM. Im picturing Beau Wanzer finally getting his ears pierced for goth night, Orphyx and Winterkälte updated for the late 10s, or Shadowlust wearing Slipknot tees. Neubaus aesthetic, which seems to reimagine early 90s noise label aesthetics (think Tesco Organization or Cold Meat Industry) as DJ-ready dance 12s is a home run in my book, Bocksrucker clearly the most nefarious offering yet.
BoothroydPure CountryLP (Fnord Communications)
I love a good concept, and Peter Boothroyds debut albumis just that. Picture the pulsing EDM build-ups of Tiesto and Calvin Harris left to idle on repeat (no beat drops) with cornball guitars and harmonicas adding an out-of-place country touch. I saw the harmonica sound described as -style and while that cracked me up, its sharply accurate just peep Blue and tell me you cant picture the family gathering around the table, passing plates of food with Moby setting up his CDJs in the corner. I certainly wouldnt have guessed that itd be such a winning combination, and perhaps in lesser hands it would quickly crumble, but Boothroyd knows how to scale things back just right, so that the combination of twangy acoustic guitar and broad sketches of mainstream electro-pop feel like a natural pair rather than something to dismiss. Besides that ridiculous harmonica, I havent laughed atat all, rather finding myself drifting into his alternate reality of pop music, one where Yelawolf is a household name and Frank Ocean boot-scoots onto the stage. Im convinced anything could happen at this point.
Boy HarsherPain II12 (Nude Club)
Okay, so I do this blog to tell yall about cool stuff, so why didnt any of you return the favor and let me know that my Boy Harsher coverage was sorely lacking? I feel like a dope for only recently finding out about this group, who Id say are pretty clearly at the tip top of the male/female gothy industrial synth-wave duo genre, a crowded field if there ever was one. Thankfully Boy Harsher are making their vinyl ever so slightly easier to obtain with this new 12 pressing, featuring the previously-released Pain alongside a remix by The Soft Moon on the flip. Normally Id think this is kind of a throwaway release for any band, but Id have to cash in my 401k if I want to afford a copy of the originalEP, and this song is so instantly infectious that it deserves the repeated attention. Pain is a modern classic and I dont say that lightly every aspect is perfectly assembled and delivered, resulting in the sort of magic every artist hopes to one day attain. On the back of its simplistic and recognizable melodic arpeggio, Boy Harsher layer startlingly confident whisper-moan vocals, catchy little sonic additives and a chorus that simply refuses to stop ringing in my skull. The Soft Moon adds some electrified debris and tries to coax a Rammstein-esque mosh pit into existence on his remix, which works for me, but the original is this priceless artifact that I feel blessed to be able to spin whenever I want. Which apparently is always.
The Child Molesters1978 Hound Dog Recordings12 (Ace Duce / Negative Jazz)
Seminal shock-rock punkers The Child Molesters have been high on sweaty-palmed record collectors want-lists for at least a couple decades, and in celebration of the 40th anniversary of this early recording session, these four songs are presented on a 12 EP. If you havent heard em, these cuts are certainly top-notchcrap-rock Im Gonna Punch You (In The Face) in particular is wildly charming and so catchy that I almostto get punched in the face while hearing it. The Child Molesters were clearly coming from a musical background of Alice Cooper and The Stooges, desperate to flick their noses at proper social behavior and at their happiest when all nearby feathers are ruffled beyond repair. That said, I still feel a little strange seeing a new record in 2018 that features swastikas on both the cover and insert; theres a brief disclaimer in the insert that directly states the group is not Nazis nor actual child molesters (what a relief), but it comes across preemptively defensive, as if youre just a wimpy baby if you dont also enjoy pretending to be a Nazi to offend the neighbors and that no discussion is to be had regarding punks who sport fascist imagery. Surely there are other archival punk recordings waiting to be reissued that arent covered with the stuff, especially seeing as thesehave been released numerous times through the years already? (Not to mention that the original7 was released to coincide with Hitlers birthday, as prominently noted on the insert?) As a punk rock artifact, The Child Molesters are noteworthy of more than just a footnote, but perhaps the mindset with which they are presented could use an update from 1978.
DJ HealerNothing 2 Loose3xLP (All Possible Worlds)
DJ Healer (real name unknown?) is one of the most fascinating and creative techno producers today, not just creating different sounds through his various aliases (Prince Of Denmark, DJ Metatron, Traumprinz, etc.) but building up entire worlds around them. Not one for subtlety, he recently released two triple 12s under two new monikers, Prime Minister Of Doom and DJ Healer, and in case you are thinking you dont need six more 12s following his somewhat recent octuple- and triple-LP releases under the Prince Of Denmark name, think again you do! It seems as if he realized he can do no wrong, so he lets things run wild without over-editing or the slightest consideration of brevity. I already love these two new ones dearly, but DJ Healer is probably my favorite as it is particularly evocative, utilizing ambient techno and dramatic samples as a storytelling device. One track might be little more than mildly rustling wind and a faint electronic pulse, and the next might snap a beat into action with sampled vocals providing the emotional resonance (is that Nico on 2 The Dark?). Im reminded of the intros/outros of Burials more cinematic material, but DJ Healer allows things to unfurl slowly, unhurried by the constraints of a single 12 side. Its touching, spellbinding, lush, and just a little bit corny, my fondness growing stronger with each new listen.
DJ Marcelle / Another Nice MessPsalm Tree12 (Jahmoni Music)
Amsterdams DJ Marcelle is a constant presence throughout Europes underground scene, often using three turntables simultaneously in a sort of live mash-up spectacle. Another Nice Mess is the name of her radio show, and apparently her records are under both names, which Im finally no longer confused by. This new one is pretty great: comedic industrial techno, lets say? The opener pairs a distorted rhythm with outrageously warbling human voice tones (not entirely unlike what Errorsmith deployed on his last album) with a sample of someone saying constipation over and over again. Its as if Regis remixed a particularly hilarious People Like Us collage for the dressed-in-black club set, and while its directly up my alley, Im impressed by how natural and smooth DJ Marcelle makes it all seem. The opener is my favorite for sure, but the rest of the EP deploys choppy, impolite percussion with well-mannered samples (Psalm 3, Verse 3: Walking Around Aimlessly is rhythmic fuzz and reversed bass blips paired with old-timey whistling), highly creative and lacking a direct similarity with the work of any contemporary producers, even the weird ones. The last track even pushes into some sort of troll-driven footwork, which I realize doesnt make much sense, but DJ Marcelle is interested in making wild new sounds, not sense.
Graham DunningWay Too Much Time12 (AD AAD AT)
Fantastic vinyl debut here from one of Londons most ingenious sonic experimenters, Graham Dunning. This 12 collects four cuts made by his mechanical techno machine, which should be read quite literally: Dunning has devised a wild spinning column of live-action effects and tricks that are used to create snappy minimal techno. Hes a viral sensation on YouTube, and rightfully so, as the concept behind this music (you really should just go search his name on YouTube rather than sit here while I try to explain it) is wildly inventive and fun to watch. Of course, on a record, you have nothing to watch, but thankfully his machines results are just as pleasant to the ears without the visual. Through these four tracks, Im reminded of Wolfgang Voigts Studio 1 EPs, or Donato Dozzy at his most essential, but theres a strange humanity granted to these tracks that the garden variety hands-off techno doesnt include. Id say there are also touches of the live-action electronic frippery of Leprechaun Catering or Ekoplekz, but Dunning never veers from technos 4/4 grid, even as his equipment may be longing to do so. Couldnt love this more if I tried!
FetishTake The Knife / A House Is Not A Motel7 (Beach Impediment)
Seems pretty clear that Fetishs primary fetish is guitarists this hardcore supergroup has no less than three of them! Do you think theyd mind if I joined in on fourth guitar? I dont care if they turned my amp to Vinnie Stigmas levels, I just wanna stand on stage with these burly dudes. Anyway, back to the matter at hand: Fetish is comprised of 75% of Long Knife and two members of Poison Idea (era), and while that sort of background gives them a permanent pass to do whatever they want in these later years (rockabilly, ska, ska-punk, ska-abilly, etc.), the men in Fetish are sticking with raging powerhouse hardcore. Take The Knife arrives on an explosive intro before kicking into its upbeat hardcore riffing and an explosive, moshworthy breakdown (is that double-bass I hear coming from the drum kit?), all with an extra serving of blazing guitar solos. Finely crafted for sure. A House Is Not A Motel is a Love cover, but dont take off your moshing sneakers just yet Fetish coat the moody psych-garage melody in lead paint and use their collective amplification to shred anyone left standing. Admiring their band photo on the insert, I cant help but wonder what the inside of their van smells like. Maybe Im the one with the fetish.
Whats great about techno is that there is simply an endless expanse of it, with more being created at roughly the same rate the universe is expanding (Ive confirmed with leading physicists on the matter), so there is always a new favorite waiting to be discovered out there. This debut 12 by Gil.Barte is certainly one of them, as its a prime example of exactly what Im hoping to hear: basement electronics, lo-fi industrial, mid-80s Esplendor Geometrico and seductive New Beat grooves all tidily scraped together. Sssjp is reminiscent of ugly American electro like Patricia and Beau Wanzer but has a personality all its own, with various voices appearing behind curtains as the potent groove stalks through a digital grid, as if the originalvideo game was based on distributing drugs in a basement rave, not murdering Nazis. (Although if you wanted to murder some Nazis to Sssjp I wouldnt hold it against you.) Myaso follows, and its a moody requiem that feels both intolerably claustrophobic and transcendent, like laying in an MRI tube that simultaneously provides a deep tissue massage. Kemang is the last cut and may be my favorite of the three, as it features quite possibly the best electro-vibraslap effect Ive ever heard, traversing a weirdly pitched bass-line as it encounters various spoken transmissions, slowly increasing in mania. I really cant believe how greatis, and have already started throwing my money at the other recent Neubau releases as they seem to follow similar aesthetic aspirations. Highest recommendation, to be sure!
If theres a more universal form of music than house, Ive yet to hear it every populated continent on Earth has hundreds of people making it and thousands of people dancing to it (and I bet I could find at least one or two producers from Antarctica on Soundcloud). Peggy Gou is South Korean but she calls Berlin her home, and her effervescent, poppy house is a delight. It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) gives disco drums a space-station makeover care of a cuddly acid line, bongos and a vibraphone, with Peggy Gous own vocals providing the tune with a sense of sleek sophistication. Hundres Times is more traditional house in the vein of Omar S at his most ebullient, arpeggios intertwining in colorful displays. Meanwhile, Han Jan sources the elastic funk of Zapp and Mantronix and whips up another retro-futurist groove (complete with rapping!), as if Stereolab remixed Dopplereffekt to celebrate the opening of a boutique vape shop. I should probably stop listening to this so much because my interest in inhaling artificially-flavored high-density mists grows stronger with every spin.
HoggSelf-Extinguishing EmissionLP (Scrapes)
For some reason I had just assumed that Hoggs last record,, would be their last both the group and the music they made just seemed so volatile, as if it was a random lucky chance that everything converged on a moment where they were able to record an album and have someone put it out. Much to my delight, theyre sticking around for a bit longer, andreveals some interesting growth, though I dont mean growth as in cleaned up fidelity with newfound pop aspirations, so much as the giant weeds that sprout out of an abandoned building. This sounds like a band who understand what works best and they twist the knife in that exact spot (industrial percussion, hysterical vocals, wet throbbing bass), sounding like a feminine Coil signed to Subterranean. Black Into Dirt in particular showcases their talents: a swampy sound-effect merges with a punchy drum machine and drooping bass-line while moaned vocals crisscross each other, a guitar stabs out of nowhere and someone does a brief vocal imitation of Abruptums It. The Throbbing Gristle resemblance remains particularly striking, not just in sound but in the confidence of their decisions, as if making music any other way would be a waste of time.certainly seems like the logical answer to many of lifes burning questions.
Human Adult BandSonic EnlightenmentLP (Third Uncle)
Dont let anyone tell you that New Jersey aint freaky, as Human Adult Band and their Princeton / New Brunswick associates have been keeping it real for quite some time now. On this new one, the confidently-titled, theyve got a couple of styles at their disposal and they make good with all of it. The a-side is fully inhabited by Easton Ave Laundromat, a slow-burning jam that offers further evidence that Neil Young retroactively became a hero to the contemporary lo-fi guitar/noise scene. It loosely weaves through various sticks of incense until disintegrating completely (but not before some mystical flute joins the tune). Human Adult Band balances their epic a-side with six cuts on the flip; they seem to play This Will Happen Again In A Year A Half backwards but in real time, and grind through various other forms of uninhibited noise-rock blues, calling to mind Universal Indians, Bullet In The Head, No Trends weirder side and maybe The Dead C, were they an American group raised in the 90s on Mountain Dew andmagazine. Vocals are rare, although I get the impression that someone is always singing at least a little bit, even if its not into a microphone. Id proffer thatwill be the most prestigious release on Third Uncle Records this year, unless they plan on releasing another Honey Radar 5 lathe-cut.
Intensive CareEverything Has Its Price7 (Iron Lung)
struck me as the output of a group with aspirations of working with Iron Lung Records but not quite up to par with the labels standard of quality. Either theyve really stepped up their game or I need to re-visit, because this new 7 EP is pretty sick. For a bass/drums hardcore duo operating with power-violence and power-electronics influences, they deliver precisely what Id want to hear. The bass tone is utterly massive, like two Cavity records playing through Bongzillas rig, and they churn out the aggressive blast-beat / stop-start / fast-slow riffing with panache. Their noise interludes work well, hearkening back to Gasp and Volume 11s brutal-psych atmospheres, but really the bass tone is just so monstrous and gnarly that everything else defers to it, and rightfully so. They certainly arent reinventing heavy hardcore riffing, but it works undeniably well alongside the more esoteric sounds and enraged-gorilla vocals. Perhaps its the fact that Intensive Care decided to embrace Ted Dibiases personal philosophy, , that led to this smashing success.
Tom LyngcolnDoming HomeLP (Solar/Sonar)
11 Pieces For Voice Guitar is the subtitle of Tom Lyngcolns solo debut and while its technically accurate, I think it could use a little finessing. First of all, Id call them songs as opposed to pieces (avant-garde neo-classical this is not), and while there is nothing else to be found onbesides Lyngcolns voice and his amplified (but non-distorted) electric guitar, these songs feel like little bits of his soul being offered to the public at his own peril. Hes not shy with his singing, belting out his lyrics somewhere between The Housemartins P.D. Heaton and Joe Strummer, but often warbling on the verge of emotional collapse as well, as though he inadvertently backed into an early Bright Eyes record. The guitar calmly follows his voice or underpins it with some sort of melodic housing, not unlike how Cat Power or Will Oldham used to do it, although Lyngcolns passion is always teetering on high. Just check Out Of Time and imagine the shared discomfort of witnessing him perform it in the corner of a coffee shop to a small seated crowd. Lyngcoln looks kinda big and mean on the cover, like hes ready to dunk your head as if it were an Aussie Rules football, butreveals hes a fragile softy like the rest of us.
Miss DestinyIce Queen / Randy7 (Shipping Steel)
Shipping Steel is a very new Melbourne-based label, but theyre making their mission statement clear: black leather, red meat, white powder punk rock (n roll). Miss Destiny are a smart fit in that regard, following their debut LP on R.I.P. Society with these two cuts of traditional hard-rocking punk, as if the macho fantasy of heavy metal remained forever entwined with the sneering cynicism of punk. Ice Queen cruises like The Dead Boys on a Saturday night, and Randy more or less does the same thing with a melodic lead vocal. This record was produced by Jack Farley (of the great Scott Charlenes Wedding) and I think at least one member of Miss Destiny named Harriet (there are multiple) plays in Southern Comfort, revealing yet another set of connections in Melbourne punks massive and tangled family tree. Miss Destiny are on the raunchier end of that tree, smoking out back while listening to live Guns N Roses bootlegs, a necessary element of any thriving punk habitat.
Nag / Lipsplit7 (Space Taker Sounds)
At first glance I thought this was a new 7 by Nag called, but nope, thats a band too! Youd think theres some registrar that charges bands by the letter or something, but these two groups simply appreciate brevity, both in band name and song form. Nags first tune Eye Level is a slower stomp than what Im used to hearing from them, at least until someone sticks a match under its rear and they go careening off a cliff. Surfer is their second and maintains the early-but-fast punk feel, reminiscent of the great and overlooked Vial 7 from a couple years ago as well as the not-overlooked output of The Randoms and The Urinals. Lips music has a similar urgency, a little more bass-driven than Nag, with a variety of vocals careening in and out for a cool disorienting effect (while still clearly punk, not psych or anything else). Their tune Control is particularly memorable and mixtape-worthy (or perhaps more to todays style, internet radio station play-worthy?) whereas Road is less distinctive. Still, four cool songs by two cool punk bands, so why not?
PhysiquePunk Life Is Shit12 (Iron Lung)
Most of the labels that repeatedly turn up on this webpage demonstrate a sincere love for the music they release, but I cant help but think that the folks at Iron Lung really,lust over noisy buzzsaw hardcore-punk. Like even if the rest of the world moved on and stopped buying records, Iron Lung would be pressing up the latest current ear-piercing hardcore band, no matter if the records were destined to remain on their basement shelves. This new one comes from Olympias Physique, who bear a standard resemblance to Disclose, Framtid, Totalitär, and of course, Discharge. Physique come in on the heavier end of things (think Framtid without the superhuman drum fills), with enough vocal echo to fill a nuclear fallout shelter, riotous guitar leads and a satisfying sense of familiarity for anyone who ever sewed a black denim patch onto the back of their black denim vest. Physique offer nothing remotely new, but this record has a cool title (Ive thought it back to myself multiple times since first encountering it), the blank b-side has a great skeleton etching (because what else are you gonna etch?), and if thats not good enough for you, maybe its time you moved on to rare Soviet prog reissues or something.
RetirementRetirement7 (Iron Lung)
A bit of an ironic band name for Iron Lung, as if these folks are ever gonna quit it with the raging, noisy hardcore! Retirement are a fairly new group, developed from a solo project into a fully-staffed live outfit (as is so often the case these days), and they certainly deliver the goods on this debut EP. Which, in this case, is raw hardcore-punk with subtle garage-punk and industrial-noise inclinations, as if they borrowed some of Jay Reatards earliest, ugliest riffs and applied them to the sonic templates of Cold Sweat and Vile Gash. The guitars are never silent, and might even be at their most ear-splitting when nothing is happening (gotta love the piercing feedback that opens a tune), although a song like Yours Is Mine is purely hardcore, operating on the same platform as DYS and Toxic Reasons, just recorded through the scorching acid bath weve come to expect from todays repugnant hardcore music. Maybe its because Throbbing Gristle and Nurse With Wound have been fully accepted by the hardcore masses as valid forms of aggressive music that todays traditional hardcore bands are eager to embrace weird and harsh noise, but Retirement are a fine example of the success such a mindset can deliver. Lets hope theyve got a good enough pension to keep the hits coming.
Finding it hard to not be a hater while listening to Ritualzsalbum, the Mexico City artists sophomore full-length. Theres just a lot going on here that I find unappealing: first of all, the name Ritualz can also be stylized as †‡† (I thought that sorta nonsense was buried alongside witch-house?), and the music on this album is all blustery melodramatic synthwork and spooky vocals that miss any sense of provocative beauty or gothy darkness, instead coming across like the Hot Topic repackaging of such.has me imagining Blink 182 putting together a dark-wave side project (I can already picture Travis Barker in Kat Von Ds signature eyeliner), although to their credit thered probably at least be some memorable hooks to be found in that. Ritualz seems more about the aesthetic sense (streetwear goth that crosses over with A$AP Rocky, body-mod Tumblrs, horror-rap, Dimmu Borgir, etc.), and the music itself is merely another extension of the style, rather than something that received much consideration or effort. A previous EP was titled, and I dunno, Im either gonna go full Juggalo or no Juggalo, whereas Ritualz inhabits a specific territory in between that I do not care to revisit anytime soon.
John RobertsSpill12 (Brunette Editions)
Quietly one of t