Freak Scene #20


This week Freak Scene offers up a wide array of selections from grimy punk to absurdist eclectic whatever to indie pop (what?!) to the continued treasures of Vashti Bunyan (above).






While at the WFMU record fair last week I came across some new punk 7”s and I gotta say its great to know that’s there’s still some vicious new bands making the rounds. Dry Rot’s Substitute 7” might have to be the most interesting hxc record I’ve seen in awhile. It looks like an old Meat Puppets record and the multi page lyric insert has crude, early Pettibon-esqe violent black and white drawings. Dry Rot doesn’t sound like a SST band though. Musically it’s a bit primitive, more along the lines of Los Crudos or even Void but with a really bad attitude. Released on Painkiller Records, this California band has an interesting take on the genre, as this EP is supposedly a concept record “detailing a true incident of slavery in recent times.” There are weird almost true crime pulp narratives between songs that definitely help get their point across. This is no run of the mill anti-authority drivel, rather some true anti-social deviancy, which is what punk rock is supposed to be.



Also, while dealing with the more absurd we have the new full length LP from the long running Climax Golden Twins entitled 5 Cents a Piece. As usual we have anything goes, throw it in the pot mix of cabaret, free jazz skronk, improvised rock freak out and middling groove passages. Fans of likeminded ensembles like No Neck Blues Band and Jackie O Motherfucker should certainly take note. In terms of humor, the band certainly takes cues from their spiritual forefathers the Sun City Girls (this LP is released on SCGs’ Alan Bishop’s Abduction label). The joy in listening to Climax Golden Twins is the sense of adventure of not knowing what will come moment to moment and here it feels as though the group put in a considerable amount of effort into this project, All sides are represented to equal degree, from moody acoustic Arabia to full on pounding free noise rock with a surprisingly heavy stomp. So if you’re looking for a record that will just take you in so many directions it will leave you confused and elated at the same time 5 Cents a Piece will certainly scratch your itch.



The Vashti Bunyan revival continues with a new 7” reissue on the DiChristina label. For those that missed out, Vashti was a psych folk singer from back in the day who released one record back in 1970 that was rediscovered by Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective, who were so smitten with her that she appeared on records with both artists. She then released Lookaftering, an album of all new material, which shockingly was as lovely and warm as her early work. Here, we take a step back even further with a reissue of her first ever single from 1965, the Jagger/Richards penned “Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind” which paints an entirely different picture of Vashti, that of the pop chanteuse rather than the hippie folk of her debut full length. Personally, I much prefer this vintage pop music to her more genteel work. Why this was never a hit is way beyond me but its great to have it in its original intended format as well. The Vashti authored B-side “I Want to Be Alone” is equally fantastic and perfect for us tiny apartment dwellers.


One genre I don’t talk about much here is indie pop, but truth be told, back in the day you could find me listening to Unrest and Versus as much as anything else. So it’s quite a treat to come across a band like Pants Yell!, who unabashedly comes up with some of the most irresistible pop music I’ve come across in what seems like forever. Alison Statton comes to us courtesy of the Soft Abuse label and gets better with repeated spins. In fact the last four tracks on the album are so good I can’t stop playing them over and over. The band displays a charming perfection of the soft indie-pop dynamic with subtle, clever, lyrics and hooks aplenty. Having seen them play at Cake Shop a few weeks back only confirmed my adoration. If that’s not enough, Boston-area experimentalist Greg Kelley offers up some primo Tijuana brass style trumpet playing on a few tracks just for kicks. Winter’s coming, so here’s the cuddle music for all the cutesters out there. You can thank me later.

STEVE LOWENTHAL


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Freak Scene #20