In this edition of Freak Scene, a still-China-living Jamie Johns presents a guest column by Caleb Braaten, owner/curator/impresario of the epic Sacred Bones Records, purveyors of music by Zola Jesus, Dead Luke, Nice Face, Timmy's Organism and many other Freak Scene favorites. Read his thoughts on some choice releases by Dead Clodettes, Stupid Party and Animal and Men. Also, let it be known that if you have yet to pick up the new Zola Jesus LP The Spoils and the Cultural Decay and 13th Chime reissues, you should do so post haste.
When Jamie asked me to fill in for her while she was off on some wild Asian reconnaissance, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about a few records that I have really fallen in love with this past year.
To start, I really fell in love with the newest Animals and Men EP. In 2003, after a prolonged hiatus and a growing interest in their music amongst the UK DIY/punk scene in the States, Animals and Men decided to reunite to see if the band was something they still enjoyed doing. Lucky for us, it was. They got back together to record six incredible songs. Starting off with “John of the Sword,” a perfectly simple song and, for my money, the “hit” of the record. “I,” a hefty bass-driven song sprinkled with harmonica. This song is a bit reminiscent of their classic “Evil Going On”. The last song “Driving Stupid” leaves us with the question “Is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a driving stupid?” Well, is it? Still obsessed with cars and ’60s garage punk, this stripped down six-song EP is good enough to mollify even the most jaded.
Next up is The Dead Clodettes, self proclaimed “primitive female music.” This is their second single released on Lipstick Pickup, a small label focusing on music made by women. The Dead Clodettes hail from Nice, France and can easily be compared to the sounds of Kleenex/Lilliput or Petticoats. Although I can see why some would make that connection, this band is much more than that. There is a raw anger in this music that the aforementioned bands don’t have. The Dead Clodettes’ music isn’t cute, it’s honest. Four songs recorded live onto a four track. I can’t get enough of it.
Stupid Party’s self titled LP on Freedom School records is a fucking monster of a record, and I can’t stop listening to it. Sludge punk without sounding like the new wave of metal bands. This sounds like the missing link between Deep Wound and the first Dinosaur (Jr.) record. Every song feels like it could fall apart at any moment, but it doesn’t. This record will certainly make my top ten of the year. I think this quote from the liner notes really says it all “You must be saved, even if it kills you."
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(Please note that due to my trip to China, there will be a delay in listening to the goodies but I promise they will be treated with love and affection.)