Posts tagged ‘punk’

February 1, 2011

Music Review: Warpaint’s The Fool

by thiszine

Warpaint
The Fool

Rough-Trade Records, 2010

It’s a struggle to get a sense of how LA hipster-garage outfit Warpaint pull off such a provocative offering on their first full-length record, The Fool, released in October. The Fool does nothing less than hypnotise with a blinding trip-factor of layered, reverb-drenched guitar harmonies and rhythm structures so intricate and entrancing there are points when even the most straight-edge scenester will worry about being slipped a hit of acid.

Albeit Fool and Warpaint’s other release, 2009’s mass-hailed EP Exquisite Corpse, were produced by ex-Chili Pepper John Frusciante, which explains the clean, surfy approach, but there’s more to dropping distortion that makes this band so admirable.

Warpaint’s sound is an eclectic mash-up of influences unbelievably encompassing a pop-music past that is misconstrued and re-sorted into a Picasso-esque offering. Yes, Warpaint hits the epitome of what post-modern rock and post-punk represents right now much more than all their LA and London buddies, who only tend to recycle what the last guys did.

The mark of this prophet is in influence. “Undertow”, Fool’s poppiest tune, has distinct shades of sixties, Luv’d Ones style girl-garage with a foundation of traditional chords and psychedelic vocals. (Somehow, the song even makes a two-word Nirvana reference, right?)

Elsewhere more influences bleed through the facade, favourably on “Baby” and “Shadows” which obliquely play on Johnny Thunders’s near-folk but drearily alt-acoustic style. You can just see Emily Kokal strumming away in a manly fedora as a 70’s tranny-punk inverse. Nerds rejoice, these and countless other oldschool markings, embedded deep in Fool and barred only by slight mocking flair, impress beyond belief.

But aside from being clear rock ‘n’ roll high school grads, Warpaint has a stark sense of originality. With nine five minute-plus songs that spread over two LPs, Fool subdues your stream of thought with convoluted leads and complex rhythms rooted firmly in bass-laden foundation. The sharp-toothed guitar tone is the most unique approach in the LA alt-cum-indie scene yet.

Almost to downplay its freshness, numerous areas of Fool – notably on tracks like “Undertow” and “Set Your Arms Down” – are radio friendly. But, like on every track, the near indefinable Warpaint-ness eventually illumines. “Composure” wittily hints at an overwhelming clash with familiarity; Kokal proclaims “How can I keep my composure? “ amidst guitar leads so reverberated, the panicky thought mirrors the sound, emphasizing the disconnect from structure.

It’s tough not to envision the women of Warpaint – Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Stella Mozgawa and Kokal – as a cliquey gang, locked up in a members-only clubhouse, working away at their very own Rumours amidst scattered records, ashtrays and herbal tea. Obsessively concerned with reinventing, there isn’t a moment on Fool where you will say, Nah, I’ve heard that before. I can butter it up to no end but Fool is what modern music needs to be catchy, knowledgeable, but above all, new.

John Coleman

Advertisements
December 8, 2010

Video: Indie Punk Band Geronimo!

by thiszine

BY JOHN COLEMAN

Chicago fuzz-pop indie trio Geronimo! released their debut video for “Design Yourself A Heart” off their recent debut full-length record Fuzzy Dreams.

Still unsigned (you can find them on iTunes) but racking waves of cred in the East Coast indie scene, Geronimo! has a diverse sound throwing back to late nineties ska and pop-punk, as well as early nineties grunge. Their main forte is up-beat songs mixing experimental tones and vast psychedelic trips, creating poppy indie punk often leaping the two minute safety zone.

The video for “Design Yourself A Heart” features the band members on a wild chase down back alleyways and dark forest trails, intermittently drowning in mouthfuls of water. It’s a fun video debut with a good single to back it. The song features all the favorite aspects of Geronimo!’s sound: clean guitar chord melody, power-pop keys alongside distorted guitar hooks, dance beat drums, and a Geronimo!-esque fuzz-punk outro.

Northern Outpost claims production creds on the video. They are a video production company out of Minneapolis, MN aimed at promoting indie bands and music in the Twin Cities region.

Contributing music writer Jordon Chiarelli reviewed Fuzzy Dreams a couple months back for this. You can check out his review here.

November 22, 2010

Music Review: Fucked Up – Year of the Ox

by thiszine

FUCKED UP
Year of the Ox

Merge Records, 2010

We all know bands grow up, but it’s usually into whiny commercial whores. That’s why it’s so great to watch Fucked Up somehow, with increasing severity, undercut punk’s simplistic ethos with every release. Indeed, they do it again on their latest, Year Of The Ox, the fourth instalment in their Zodiac themed singles line which has led the band in some of their most audibly absurd travels. At times wholly off the cusp in any sense of hardcore punk, Fucked Up’s past five years, since their debut full-length record Hidden World and acclaimed follow-up The Chemistry of Common Life, showcases a band with an itching experimental side waiting to let loose.

On Ox, the title track “Year Of The Ox” opens with an eerie violin and cello build-up, donated by Toronto orchestra ensemble New Strings Old Puppets, that foreshadows the song’s bass line and classical elements. Tension rises for just over a minute before the band kicks in. Damian Abraham immediately spits out bludgeoning vocals in time with the guitar section’s stomping yet gentle hook that prevails as the thirteen minute song’s main riff.

A slight change in that hook switches up progression five minutes in. When the formula returns after a quick bridge, Abraham’s throat lashings assume an authoritative air while New Strings returns for an epic orchestral bridge. The guitar takes a backseat to elevating classical monstrosity reminiscent of Hidden World’s opener “Crusades” but much more ampler. Zola Jesus’s Nika Rosa Danilova dawns her voice in the latter half of the tune, offering mystical vocal swells amidst the now gritty, palm muted guitar line.

“Ox” mixes the grandiose with the gutter. If Abraham stopped wrenching his guts, then Fucked Up would have to be labelled something other than punk or hardcore. The difference in styles begs the question, can punk be classically epic? Perhaps this is a question that will never be answered by the troupe, but this song’s rule bending consciousness displays how punk doesn’t always have to laugh at itself, but can be seriously measured for all signs of integrity. Fucked Up proves punk is real music, and even an academy-trained ear can recognise that.

The single’s B-side is another eye opener. Unlike previous Year Of’s backed with a couple two-minute punk standards, Ox flips over to the twelve minute “Solomon’s Song” that uniquely features a saxophone line lent by Aerin Fogel of the Bitters. The bluesy intro leads to another low-mid tempo drum beat while a high-pitch guitar lead cycles over distant power chords. The song gets trippy as psychedelic delay effects are laid on the guitars during the choruses. When Abraham rests during the many, almost unnoticed, bridges, the band is a marvel. Bassist Sandy wraths the bass strings during this nearly twelve-minute track that offers low pitch punches, spacey bell rings and tremolo feedback jetting out from hidden crevices, and Fogel wailing on the sax for a broad five-minute outro.

Year Of The Ox is monumental in mapping the evolution of Fucked Up from being an abrasive streetcore band to the scene’s forerunning innovators. Long time fans know they’re still thrashing and crashing, but to an obviously more intricate, grown-up style.

– review by John Coleman

November 14, 2010

Book Trailer of the Week: The Boombox Project

by thiszine

Lyle Owerko’s photography collection The Boombox Project, released by Abraham Books earlier this month, documents the iconic machine and the people who were central to hip-hop, rock & roll, and punk movements of the 1970s and ’80s. With a forward by Spike Lee, the collection also features commentary from LL Cool J, DJ Spooky, Fab 5 Freddy, and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, among others. What’s great about this book trailer is that it reminded us Daft Punk’s music video for “Da Funk,” directed by Spike Jonze.

November 10, 2010

Live Show Review: A Powerhouse of Punk and Grit, The Delinquints Nod to Early Hardcore

by thiszine

BY JOHN COLEMAN

The 8th annual Toronto Zombie Walk hit downtown T.O. Saturday, October 23, giving Hallowe’en lovers a chance to try on their costumes a little early. I caught one of the many after parties happening that night, this one at the Bovine Sex Club, where the Delinquints laid down a gritty and captivating set.

The Delinquints’ live performance is a powerhouse of noise. A raw, electric spectacle comprised of singer Jimy Delinquint’s dark, Misfit-greaser aesthetic; Beardo and Sarah’s classic punky-garage, U.K. Subs style guitars, coarsely distorted and frantically chugging away; and Dan Arget’s blistering drums continually cycling through high tempo, four on the floor beats. The Delinquints play heavy, monstrous punk, yet simple and with enough soul to stay out of the new hardcore-cum-metal spectrum. This is hardcore punk in the classic sense: Johnny Cash down on Avenue A. Back alley Elvis wielding stiletto. The Ramones on speed.

Of course, with so much punk history encroaching on their sound, the Delinquints had to pay homage to their heroes. This came with a much more core than Social D cover of Cash’s eternal psychobilly anthem “Folsom Prison Blues.” And three Misfits classics, “Horror Business,” “Hybrid Moments” and, which got everyone fist pumping, “Last Caress.” Belting out the songs at double speed, sounding almost exactly like today’s touring Misfits, all of the Delinquints’ covers were graceful nods to their forebears. This band isn’t out to prove they’re punk; they naturally strut in intimidating confidence.

Sending off guitarist Sarah Hoedlmoser in her last set with the group, plenty of Delinquints favourites were also on hand. These included “Punish The Wicked (With a 2X4),” “No Cure For” and “Criminalise The Poor.” Demonstrating their early eighties street, specifically anarcho anthem meets fifties garage sound, these tracks got local followers chanting. By the end of the set, the Bovine was packed shoulder to shoulder with people catching a glimpse of these punks who know that respect for elders trumps striking a pose.

 

photo: alexandra

August 28, 2010

Music Review: Fuck the Facts

by thiszine

FUCK THE FACTS
Live In Whitby
Self-Released/Band Camp

Spitting on the technology of 2010, Fuck The Facts released a cassette tape last month, Live In Whitby, a recording of a performance at the Wing Shack in Whitby, Ontario on April 11, 2009. Enough to get die hard collectors antsy, the tape was limited to a slim fifty-three copies (they’re already sold out). The album is also available as a Name Your Price download on BandCamp.com, where FTF’s punk/grind masterpiece Unnamed EP (February 2010) is also available.

Continuously transforming over eight studio albums, countless singles, splits and compilations, FTF’s ever indefinable style tiptoes around punk, noise, stoner-groove and industrial influenced grind since 1998. Live In Whitby offers a glimpse of the band during peak Disgorge Mexico (2008) era with six of the nine tracks, including “Kelowna” and “Sleepless”, taken from the album. The oldest song on the tape is “La Tete Hors De L’eau,” originally appearing on 2003 release Overseas Connection.

One constant throughout FTF’s distinct grindcore approach is sampling voice and sound into their music. Evidently, this is not a studio-only technique. I was at the Wing Shack show, mesmerised watching drummer Mathieu Vilandrê swivel back and forth between drummer and sound dub roles, whacking at a synthesizer to his side when called for. Nothing is excluded from FTF style when playing live.

Singer Mel Mongeon also impresses with her monstrous stage presence, as intimidating as a ravenous Pit Bull. From her territorial markings spattered into the mic – “We’re Fuck The Facts from fuckin’ Ottawa!” – to her dedicated, intestine spindling scream assault, she shoves a middle finger up the ass of any hollow commercial metal.

Fuck The Facts - Live In Whitby lineup (left to right): Marc Bourgon, Topon Das, Mathieu Vilandrê, Johnny Ibay, Mel Mongeon.

Lead guitarist and band founder Topon Das, along with second guitarist Johnny Ibay and bassist Marc Bourgon, feed you the integral cherry on top of FTF’s approach. Drenched with distortion and devilishly down-tuned, the fellows rip through their unique grind sound with exact precision on Live In Whitby. Not a brow-raising pick squeal nor panic inducing lead is fumbled.

FTF followers will be glad to get their hands, or hard drives, on this, the band’s first live release since 2003’s Live Damage. Whitby brings live new era FTF into your home and an opportunity to salivate over the richness of their performance whenever you desire. The sound quality is undeniable and, aside from the cattle calls between songs, nothing differs from the studio. It is an imprint of a strikingly tight and technical group.

Live In Whitby is dedicated to the memory of Canadian visual artist and musician Michal Majewski, who passed shortly after the event. He designed the poster for the show, seen above. A catalogue of his artwork is available here. Majewski was the bassist for Ontario thrash/grind band F.A.T.O., who opened at the Wing Shack show.

Track Listing:
1. Absence And Despite
2. The Storm
3. Kelowna
4. Everyone Is Robbing The Dead
5. The Sound Of Your Smashed Head
6. La Culture Du Faux
7. The Pile Of Flesh You Carry
8. Sleepless
9. La Tete Hors De L’eau

~John Coleman