Random Old Records Podcast #47

I've written dozens of these little blog posts hyping my latest podcast, so what more can I say at this point? Random Old Records #47 has got the jams, an hour of them to be exact. It's got classics by Nada Surf, The Posies, and Teenage Fanclub, brand new ones by Morgan Delt, Tony Molina, and California X. There's some of the most vital punk rock going these days from Life Stinks and Cheap Time. There's fuzzy, giddy powerpoppunkrock from First Base and Backseat Virgins. There's sleek synth jams from Minks and Gap Dream. There's some downright offensive commercials from 70s TV. There's also MUCH, MUCH MORE!

If you look below, you can see I also have yet another host for streaming Random Old Records, called Mixcloud. If you notice, there's a lot of busted streaming links on the blog because Official.fm went crazy one day and decided that I needed to provide them with written proof that I owned the copyrights to everything I uploaded, even podcasts! This was after I paid for a premium account and was promised that podcasts were protected like EVERY OTHER STREAMING SITE. So, they deleted everything (and didn't refund my fucking money). Bummer, huh?? Soundcloud ain't bad, but they limit free accounts by number of minutes uploaded. 2 hours = 2 podcasts, so that clearly doesn't work for me. Mixcloud seems to be awesome, and even allows timestamping the track list into the stream. Hopefully it lasts!

As always, thanks SO MUCH for listening, reading, subscribing, buying my tapes, following me on Twitter and Facebook, and sticking with me throughout my various hiatuses over the last few years. It means more than you can imagine. I'm not quite ready to bring back regular posts or monthly podcasts, but never say never!


Random Old Records #47

1. Nada Surf - "Concrete Bed"
(The Weight Is A Gift, Barsuk 2005)
2. The Posies - "Dream All Day"
(Frosting On The Beater, DGC 1993)
3. Teenage Fanclub - "Sparky's Dream" 
(Grand Prix, DGC 1995)
4. Tony Molina - "See Me Through"
(Dissed And Dismissed, Slumberland 2014)
5. Roomrunner - "Vaporize"
(Ideal Cities, Fan Death 2013)
6. California X - "Hot Hed"
(California X, Don Giovanni 2013)
--I'm the Starsky, he's the Hutch!
7. Minks - "Margot"
(Tides End, Captured Tracks 2013)
8. Part Time - "Seashells"
(PDA, Mexican Summer 2013)
9. Gap Dream - "Chill Spot"
(Shine Your Light, Burger 2013)
10. Black Moth Super Rainbow - "Tooth Decay"
(Eating Us, Graveface 2009)
11. Morgan Delt - "Barbarian Kings"
(Morgan Delt, Trouble In Mind 2014)
--Be a mindsticker!
12. First Base - "She's Boy Crazy"
(First Base, HoZac 2013)
13. Backseat Virgins - "Haley"
(Born Again, Insubordination 2007)
14. Gino & The Goons - "Hypnotic"
(Play Loud, Total Punk 2013)
15. True Sons Of Thunder - "Tony Joe White"
(Spoonful Of Seedy Dudes, Jeth-Row 2011)
16. Life Stinks - "Drag You"
(Life Stinks, SS 2013)
17. Useless Eaters - "Life On A Grid"
(Hypertension, Jeffrey Drag 2013)
18. Cheap Time - "Kill The Light"
(Exit Smiles, In The Red 2013)
19. Shocked Minds - "Dream Of Yogi"
(Shocked Minds, HoZac 2013)


Random Old Records Podcast #46 & The Best LPs of 2013

...in which I finally come to terms with reality and stop making public proclamations like "monthly podcasts are coming back!" or "that zine I've been promising will be out in September!" without any follow-through or explanation when all that shit I promised never materializes. Here's the deal: writing and podcasting has always been a hobby for me, and the results are always better when I treat them as such. When I have something worth sharing, I'll share it. When I don't, I'm gonna keep my mouth shut from now on. Cool?

That being said, episode #46 of Random Old Records Podcast is absolutely LOADED front to back with killer jams. We're talking an hour of old and new synth-punk, power pop, punk rock, psychedelia, and straight-up rock n' roll from the likes of Mikal Cronin, Potty Mouth, Missing Monuments, MERX, Rockin' Horse, Informatics, Heavy Times, Roky Erickson, and MORE! If you're still listening and following along and enjoy what I do, then I offer my sincerest thanks. Hope you like this one, it was a blast picking out the tunes and putting them together.


Random Old Records #46
1. Potty Mouth - "The Gap"
(Hell Bent, Old Flame 2013)
2. Joanna Gruesome - "Sugarcrush"
(Weird Sister, Slumberland 2013)
3. Mikal Cronin - "Shout It Out"
(MCII, Merge 2013)
4. Ketamines - "Patients"
(You Can't Serve Two Masters, Southpaw 2013)
5. Heavy Times - "Night Manager"
(Fix It Alone, HoZac 2013)
6. Parquet Courts - "Descend (The Way)"
(Tally All The Things That You Broke, What's Your Rupture? 2013)
--Peter Ivers speaks
7. Goldendust - "After The Smoke Grew Thick"
(Goldendust, Night People 2013)
8. Grave Babies - "No Fear"
(Crusher, Hardly Art 2013)
9. Informatics - "What A World"
(Dance To A Dangerous Beat, Dark Entries 2013)
10. Onyx System - "Future Fetish"
(Dreams Are Not Dreams, ET Habit 2012)
11. Merx - "Atlantic Painter Presents"
(20000 Sq. Ft. Under The Sea, Permanent 2013)
12. Kitchen & The Plastic Spoons - "Fantastic"
(Screams To God, Dark Entries 2013)
13. Group Rhoda - "Dust"
(12th House, Not Not Fun 2013)
--Peter Ivers speaks again
14. Rockin' Horse - "Oh Carol, I'm So Sad"
(Yes It Is, Sing Sing 2012)
15. Games - "It's Just Impossible"
(Games, HoZac 2013)
16. The Dentists - "I'm Not The Devil"
(Some People Are On The Pitch..., Trouble In Mind 2013)
17. The Resonars - "Vanishing People"
(Crummy Desert Sound, Burger 2013)
18. The Last - "L.A. Explosion"
(L.A. Explosion, Bomp 1979)
19. Missing Monuments - "Dead To Me"
(Missing Monuments, Dirtnap 2013)
20. The Clap - "Get It While You Can"
(Have You Reached Yet?, Sing Sing 2011)
21. Roky Erickson & The Aliens - "I Think Of Demons"
(The Evil One, Light In The Attic 2013)

The Top 10 LPs of 2013

1. Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic (JagJaguwar)
2. The Resonars - Crummy Desert Sound (Burger)
3. Obnox - Corrupt Free Enterprise (12XU)
4. Mikal Cronin - MCII (Merge)
5. Missing Monuments - Missing Monuments (Dirtnap)
6. Ketamines - You Can't Serve Two Masters (Southpaw)
7. The Mallard - Finding Meaning In Deference (Castle Face)
8. Running - Vaguely Ethnic (Castle Face)
9. Potty Mouth - Hell Bent (Old Flame)
10. Cuntz - Solid Mates (Homeless)

The Top 10 Reissues/Archival Releases of 2013:

1. Roky Erickson - The Evil One (Light In The Attic)
2. Devo - Hardcore (Superior Viaduct)
3. The Dentists - Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now (Trouble In Mind)
4. Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (Latino Bugger Veil)
5. Tandyn Almer - Along Comes Tandyn (Sundazed)
6. Venom P. Stinger - Meet My Friend Venom/What's Mine Is Yours (Drag City)
7. Androids Of Mu - Blood Robots (Water Wing)
8. Dark - Round The Edges (Machu Picchu Ltd.)
9. Epicycle - You're Not Gonna Get It (HoZac)
10. Afflicted Man - I'm Off Me 'Ead (Permanent)


Random Old Records Podcast #45

Well shit, I'm BACK!!! It's been about six months since I last did a podcast, and over a year since I did these with any regularity, but that's going to change right now. See, I've been working hard on Random Old Records zine #1 and I bought a house back in the winter, so curating an hour of jams has been pretty low on the priority list. Way below "cutting down chest-high weeds and changing locks and buying furniture and interviewing cool folks like Gary Wrong, Frank Maston, and Detroit session legend DENNIS freakin' COFFEY" to be exact. 

A funny thing happened several weeks ago, though. I had figured returning to podcasting would be damn near impossible at this point. I hadn't done them monthly in forever, so where the hell was I gonna start?! I think I've bought and listened to something like three hundred records in the past year, and all of them are worthy of your attention in some way. So, I sat down and made a list, and by the time I was done I had filled both sides of a piece of paper and started writing more names in between the cracks. That old mojo came flooding back, and soon it was a daunting task to narrow this shit down to an hour. Random Old Records #45 was definitely slaved and agonized over, but I kept to a simple theme of "things that blew my freakin' mind since the last one."

To be more specific, this episode features music that is slightly bent, cracked, or mutilated, with nothing much resembling standard pop, rock, or punk music. You'll hear freaky prog-folk from original Vertigo label acts Cressida and Tudor Lodge, blown-out punk noise by Flipper, Running, Obnox, and Sector Zero, and plain ol' weirdness by E.T. Habit, MX-80 Sound, and Captain Beefheart. Hope you all enjoy, and look out for a more straightforward punk/pop/power pop/garage/psych episode in September, along with the first issue of Random Old Records: The Zine! 


Random Old Records #45
1. Cressida - "To Play Your Little Game"
(Cressida, Vertigo 1970)
2. Anonymous - "Up To You"
(Inside The Shadow, Machu Picchu Ltd. 2013)
3. Salvia Plath - "House Of Leaves"
(The Bardo Story, Weird World 2013)
4. Tudor Lodge - "Nobody's Listening"
(Tudor Lodge, Vertigo 1971)
5. Dark - "R.C.8."
(Round The Edges, Machu Picchu Ltd. 2013)
--Runaway Daughters!!
6. Sector Zero - "Hiding In My Car"
(Sector Zero 7", Goner 2013)
7. Running - "Why Can't You Be In Running"
(Vaguely Ethnic, Castle Face 2013)
8. Obnox - "Ciara"
(Corrupt Free Enterprise, 12XU 2013)
9. Whatever Brains - "Summer Jammin' 2"
(Whatever Brains, Sorry State 2012)
10. The Mallard - "Decade"
(Finding Meaning In Deference, Castle Face 2013)
11. Public Image Ltd. - "Low Life"
(First Issue, Light In The Attic 2013)
12. Human Eye - "Alligator Dance"
(4: Into Unknown, Goner 2013)
13. Flipper - "Get Away"
(Sex Bomb Baby, Subterranean 1988)
14. Gary Wrong Group - "Heroin Beach Serpents Attack"
(Knights Of Misery, Total Punk/Jeth-Row 2013)
15. ET Habit - "Hooves & Tails"
(Panthers On The Roof, ET Habit 2012)
16. MX-80 Sound - "Kid Stuff"
(Hard Attack, Superior Viaduct 2013)
17. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - "Moonlight On Vermont"
(Trout Mask Replica, Straight 1969)
18. The Gospel Truth - "A Lonely Man Does Foolish Things"
(A Lonely Man Does Foolish Things, 12XU 2013)


Random Old Records Podcast #44

I've been sorta hibernating for the winter, so this is as good of time as any to put together a new podcast. Random Old Records Podcast #44 is the first one I've done since September 2012, and it's an uninterrupted hour of whimsical psychedelic pop from the 60s to the present. This is nineteen tracks from one man band weirdos, forgotten heroes, new wizards, and everything in between. There's two Creation covers, obscure compilation tracks, and at least two legit chart hits. I hope everyone likes this as much as I did when I was putting it together. Thanks for listening!

Random Old Records Podcast #44
1. XTC - The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
2. The Marble Vanity - Assemble
3. Gene Clark - So You Say You Lost Your Baby
4. Love - The Daily Planet
5. The Fun & Games - It Must Have Been The Wind
6. Orpheus - Can't Find The Time
7. XTC - Respectable Street
8. Blur - Star Shaped
9. Ride - How Does It Feel To Feel?
10. Thee Oh Sees - If I Stay Too Long
11. Terry Malts - Waiting Room
12. Carter USM - This One's For Me
13. The Resonars - Invisible Gold
14. The Olivia Tremor Control - Courtyard
15. The Go - Tease My Ears
16. Jacco Gardner - Puppets Dangling
17. Maston - Night
18. The High Llamas - Island People
19. Gap Dream - My Other Man



2012: The Year In Review, Part 1

An important discussion arose in 2012 among my blogger brethren, an ongoing dialogue regarding the role of the internet music writer in the post-OLD-WAY relationship between artists, PR people, and critics, and the sticky subjects of objectivity, honesty, and responsibility. SERIOUS SHIT! It basically boils down to terminology and how comfortable people are with being assigned roles by their potentially limitless, partially anonymous, and unforgiving audience. Or random Facebook commenters, whatever.

Cheerleaders or critics? Journalists or curators? Does anyone really care what I think about the albums that Best Coast or Gentlemen Jesse put out in 2012? Does anyone think I'm telling the truth, or am I just a shill that praises everything so I don't fuck up my spot and lose my stream of free advances? SO MANY QUESTIONS! So many internal dilemmas, so many debates that amount to a whole bunch of irrelevant horseshit in the grand scheme of things. If you've got a THING, and you're proud of that THING, then why spend your idle time deconstructing it and trying to discredit yourself and worrying about what others think? It's silly, but troubling all the same.

If you've read my writing, you know which side of the debate I'm taking. I haven't made a dime with this writing nonsense like, ever. With a packed schedule of working, eating, shitting, entertaining the lady, and other fun stuff, that leaves approximately 6-10 hours to write about music a week. Why in the hell would I take that limited timeframe and use it to project more negative energy into the world? Why spend my time pissing on some folks who were confident enough to record some music and post it on Bandcamp but didn't mix the vocals well enough? Despite what your snooty pals have been telling you, there was plenty of fucking awesome music made in 2012, too much for one person to cover on a daily basis, actually. What's the real harm in only talking about the good shit?

Is it any wonder that music got so fucking SAD in 2012? Six of the ten LPs in my top 10 this year are filled with songs of depression, dread, and melancholy. I also spent quite a lot of time listening to the second Best Coast album over the summer, and while it didn't make the cut, it succeeded in seriously bumming me out. It sounded like the work of a proud woman undone and genuinely hurt by the legions of self-appointed amateur critics, a record that is a product of a generation raised by the internet that loves to break down the things they created. It seemed destined to fail before it even hit stores because you heard the name BEST COAST so many fucking times and got the records and listened to them a bunch and were honestly kinda over it awhile ago, right?!

The Only Place sounds like a record constructed very much in the OLD WAY of doing things. A talented but rough around the edges artist with a lot of buzz and killer tunes teams up with a renowned producer to amplify the good stuff and make their music more palatable to the people who don't collect limited edition singles on tiny labels. What made Best Coast so good in the first place was painfully earnest lyrics delivered with HEART, and now that you can actually make them out above the fuzz, they aren't good anymore? What kind of backward-ass logic is that?!

I mean, fuck it, the music that gets really popular has turned into a fucking Wes Anderson movie set to life, all style and no substance, all surface and no feeling, either cryptic and smarmy or overtly aggressive in its self-confidence like Will Farrell's "Look at me while I'm being funny to you. LOOK AT ME!" style of comedy. It's all the whitest of white people shouting about whatever they like to shout about. It's Grizzly Bear, Japandroids, Merchandise, and DIIV, well dressed merchants of superficial, unchallenging bullshit. We're entering into seriously dangerous fucking territory and evolving into a culture that defines ourselves as people by the things we like and dislike. Does anyone remember the end of High Fidelity? The moral of the story was that the idea of judging people by their tastes was ultimately a BAD thing, right?

The really disturbing part about all this is that the majority of people love mediocrity and hate everything else. We hate so many things, including ourselves. We've gotten to a place where a guy like "Gentleman" Jesse Smith, by all accounts a good, honest dude in his early 30s, can't make a nakedly personal album without a bunch of people with nothing genuine to complain about rushing to pick it apart like wolves. We get to a place where Bethany Cosentino can't sing songs about missing her boyfriend without being critiqued by a generation of people who've suddenly became experts in complex romantic expression. In case we've forgotten, this is the same generation raised by Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juilet and Titanic.

In Best Coast's case, most of the press I've read comes tainted with latent sexism, especially when dissecting Cosentino's lyrics. Like, "Beat on the brat with a baseball bat" is punk rock poetry, but "My mom was right, I don't wanna die, I wanna live my life" is juvenile and stupid. Really?! I thought the internet was supposed to give an equal voice to everybody, so why are women inferior all of a sudden? A bunch of shit, that is. People even had the nerve to bash Gentleman Jesse's Leaving Atlanta, an album of dark, emotional bloodletting set to the most ear-pleasing power pop imaginable, for being too derivative and slick. Judging by the press releases, he had some HEAVY business happen to him in the last few years, and maybe getting all that bad shit out of his brain was a higher priority than fears of repeating himself. Maybe he thought the debut album we thought was a classic was something that needed to be improved upon. Maybe he got to a place in life where he didn't want to play punk rock noise anymore. Who are we to judge?

Think about the last time you had some horrible shit go down, then try to remember your reaction. It probably wasn't very eloquent either, huh? You probably didn't expect people to tell you to quit being a pussy, toughen up, and stop ripping off Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello either, I'd reckon. Maybe I don't ask as much of music as some people do, and maybe I underestimate my own opinions, but I do think that Gentleman Jesse and Best Coast made some GREAT albums that I paid for with my own money and listened to (REPEATEDLY) on my own time. I don't care if someone calls me a fanboy, because I'm totally a fucking fanboy. Or a curator, depending on how you look at things.

The end result of absorbing all this negativity and sadness is the sinking feeling that I might be part of the problem. I'm criticizing the critics, after all. I'm complaining about the complainers. After receiving some mean-spirited constructive criticism about my own writing this year, my eyes opened wide, my desire to shout about my favorite music was curbed, and I seriously began reevaluating my priorities and my future in this here blogosphere.  I compared a song I was writing about for Get Bent to a contemporary artist to provide a frame of reference to the blog's readership, which skews between 5-10 years younger than me. An anonymous critic fired back and accused me of not knowing what I was talking about, and that I was insulting the artist by insinuating that the guy was ripping off someone who came after them. Then, the artist reposted that critique verbatim on his Facebook page in an apparent show of solidarity, which kinda sucks since I really liked the record and have been a fan of the dude for a long time.

But, but...I research everything before I write it down! That wasn't what I meant at all! I just assumed that people who like the X Band will like the Y Band, and both were worth checking out. Did this person totally miss the point, or did I not make it clear enough? Either way, I got so insulted that I up and quit everything up until, well, now. Or to use the popular parlance of the day, I #ragequit because #imad. Or, y'know, some other sorta snarky, self-aware comeback that anonymous internet dickheads use to mask their dickheadness. I stopped doing podcasts, I stopped writing reviews, I stopped doing free publicity for bands who just complained about being misrepresented anyway, I stopped responding to emails from pushy PR people, and I stopped feeling like a jerk for thinking that some of the people associated with "the music business" were pushy and/or complainers.

Most importantly, I started actively ignoring about 80% of the new music sent my way, and at one point listened to the Captain Beefheart LP Clear Spot about 40 times in one week. This brought me to three very important revelations 1) Clear Spot might have overtaken Safe As Milk as my favorite Captain Beefheart LP of all time. 2) Captain Beefheart is better than 80% of the new music I heard this year. 3) Being called a moron by a total stranger really hurt my feelings. Revelation #1 was intriguing, revelation #2 was both disappointing and liberating (if you can imagine), and revelation #3 was ultimately inspiring, because seriously, fuck that guy. After all, I like Captain Beefheart, and that makes me as qualified as anyone else to write about music in 2013. So, I went ahead and put together a list of my favorite LPs of 2012 anyway, because the 20% of really awesome shit that came out this year is still totally worth shouting about, haters be damned.

Also, #3 made me realize that a percentage of people are gonna suck no matter where you go, and there's more people who suck on the internet than anywhere else because the internet is bigger than Texas and Russia and my inbox combined. So fuck it, I'll just come out and say it: the internet SUCKS. All of it! Everyone gives everything away for free on the internet. They carve off little pieces of their soul and paste them in text boxes and click Submit and expect people to give a shit and instead find out that most people find their page via Google searches for "blogspot mediafire Terry Malts zip." People upload thousands of songs, post millions of photos, write billions of words,  and give it away for free. No wonder why so many people feel sad and insignificant, huh? It's just an infinite number of voices shouting until it becomes digital white noise. I started self-publishing my writing 17 years ago and have done it off and on ever since, and I've never been so depressed with the state of things. It's enough to make a sensible person want to strike out and try something different.

So, I'm taking a giant step BACKWARD, ya dig? I started out making zines, so zines are what to expect from me in the future. I spend more time reading issues of Ugly Things than blogs these days, and it's been one hell of an inspiration. Random Old Records: The Zine will hopefully be out in the Spring. It will feature a portion of rewritten, reedited, and expanded versions of some previously posted reviews from my blog and Get Bent, and will also have a bunch of brand new stuff, examining obscure old gems and new jams. Above all, it will be a celebration of music in the physical format, from vinyl to tapes to handmade CD-Rs. After all, when you shut off your computer, the bullshit of the world disappears and all you're left with is random old records. Notice how everybody and their younger brothers have turntables and tape decks these days? Notice how record stores are putting the stupid Japanese toys and novelty items that sustained them for the last 10 years on clearance and putting in more vinyl bins? It ain't no coincidence, man. People want souvenirs, reminders of permanence. Records and tapes have made a comeback, so it feels like zines aren't far behind. Zines are FUN! They're way more fun than hitting refresh on a comments feed, anyway. If you're not making money, then you're doing it for fun, so I'm going where the fun is. I hope to see you there.

Check back soon for my obligatory top 10 LPs of 2012 list, for more news about the zine project, and who knows, maybe a new podcast by Feburary. As always, thanks for reading my words, listening to my podcasts, listening to the tapes I put out, and asking why I haven't been writing lately. It really means a lot. Let's kick 2013's ass!


Random Old Records #43

Oh shit! Random Old Records Podcast is back from its summer vacation! I'm sure most of you fine readers have stopped checking this blog by now, but I'm back and plan on staying around. Not gonna try to make up any crazy excuses, the truth is that I was running low on inspiration after 3+ years of blogging and doing a monthly podcast, and decided to put it to rest for awhile instead of cranking out shitty shit just to keep the streak going. Writing almost daily for GET BENT opened me up to a whole new blogging experience, one where I was getting pushy emails and Facebook messages from labels and PR persons and bands asking for press, and the whole thing just started to bum me out after awhile.

I used to scoff at music writers who complained about "inbox fatigue", but after nine months on the front lines, I can tell you that shit really happens, man. Getting free music is GREAT, establishing good relationships with the musicians you love is GREAT, but all the other bullshit around it SUCKS. I've been self-publishing my music writing for 15+ years and haven't made a dime, and it never mattered because the search for great new rock n' roll is genuinely thrilling to me, and that's the main reason I've kept at it even though any other sane person would have given up years ago. But when some (NOT ALL) folks take advantage of the situation and start acting like they're entitled to what is essentially free publicity because they got some favorable press in the past, that's when things start to get hairy.

When you work full time and write as a hobby, it also makes it that much easier to walk away when people you barely know are pushing you to work for THEM for free. So I did. If anything, this little break just reaffirmed my love for rock n' roll, and my unwavering belief that the music being made right now is just as good, and in some cases even better, than all the shit that's come before. It was an opportunity to catch up, and soak in all the stuff that's been piling up in the ol' inbox. Expect much more stuff out of this blog and from GET BENT in the near future. I believe in both, and will be paying more attention to Random Old Records than ever, so look out!

Considering that it was four months in the making, episode #43 of Random Old Records is a one hour MONSTER of fresh rock n' roll for your ears. It starts out with some ugly, noisy jams from Puffy Areolas and the K-Holes and crucial new punk rock from White Lung and Dikes Of Holland, hits the best tracks from the latest releases by The Fresh & Onlys, Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, and highlights some psych pop newcomers like The Marble Vanity and Jacco Gardner. This edition hits all the bases from the noisiest free-form freakouts to tight power pop and everything in between. It's simply a collection of the best shit I've heard all year, and I hope you all have as much fun listening to it as I did putting it together. Let's all have fun together!


Random Old Records #43
1. Puffy Areolas - "1982"
(1982: Dishonorable Discharge, HoZac 2012)
2. K-Holes - "Nightshifter"
(Dismania, Hardly Art 2012)
3. Holograms - "Memories Of Sweat"
(Holograms, Captured Tracks 2012)
4. White Lung - "Bag"
(Sorry, Deranged 2012)
5. Dikes Of Holland - "Braindead USA"
(Braindead USA, Screamers 2012)
6. A Giant Dog - "Hang Around"
(Fight, Tic Tac Totally 2012)
--Isle of sin!
7. Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs - "All To Myself"
(All To Myself 7", Hosehead 2012)
8. Mrs. Magician - "There Is No God"
(Strange Heaven, Swami 2012)
9. The Fresh & Onlys - "Yes Or No"
(Long Slow Dance, Mexican Summer 2012)
10. The Marble Vanity - "Assemble"
(The Marble Vanity, Slow Fizz 2012)
11. Thee Oh Sees - "Goodbye Baby"
(Putrifiers II, In The Red 2012)
12. Jacco Gardner - "Summer's Game"
(Where Will You Go 7", Trouble In Mind 2012)
--The narcotics story!
13. Apache Dropout - "Archie's Army"
(Bubblegum Graveyard, Trouble In Mind 2012)
14. The People's Temple - "Looter's Game"
(Looter's Game 7", HoZac 2012)
15. Ty Segall Band - "The Tongue"
(Slaughterhouse, In The Red 2012)
16. Human Eye - "Junkyard Heart"
(They Came From The Sky, Sacred Bones 2012)
17. Spanish Moss - "Chemical Catherine"
(KELP, Spot On Sound 2012)
--Walking by night!
18. Missing Monuments - "(I'm Gonna) Love You Back To Life"
(Love You Back To Life 7", HoZac 2012)
19. White Wires - "Everywhere You Were"
(WWIII, Dirtnap 2012)
20. Woollen Kits - "Down Your Street"
(Shelley 7", Trouble In Mind 2012)
21. Cozy - "Sugar On My Mind"
(Cola Shock Kids 7", HoZac 2012)
22. The Liminanas - "Bad Lady Goes To Jail"
(Crystal Anis, HoZac 2012)


Teledrome - Double Vision 7"

(HoZac Records, 2012)

OK, so I kinda sorta made it my New Year's resolution to stop comparing newer bands to older ones, with special attention paid to the tired "Well, these guys sound like the second coming of whatever iconic band from the 90s they sort of resemble, only not as good" declaration. It's easy and lazy and after wrestling with it for awhile, I've come to the conclusion that the music of the past is NOT automatically better than the new shit, by virtue of age or originality or whatever superficial criteria you choose to judge such things. There's all kinds of genres, but only so much room for evolution in rock n' roll, which was a pretty limited art form to begin with.

Aging has played a pretty big part in that nostalgic superiority complex, and the thing is, that sort of attitude used to drive me up a wall when I was younger! Jack Rabid's The Big Takeover was my bible as a teenager, and while it introduced to dozens of my all-time favorite bands, he insisted that the new wave of DIY punk bands I loved were too derivative of the scene Rabid grew up with in the late 70s. Back then, punk rock was morphing into hardcore, and bands like Dead Kennedys, Buzzcocks, and Gang Of Four were playing in his backyard every night. What a wonderful time to be alive! Etc, etc.

As a kid, I thought that line of reasoning was bullshit, and Tim Armstrong's voice sounding like Joe Strummer wasn't any more unoriginal or boring as Van Morrison trying to sing like a southern bluesman in the late 60s. I fuckin' LOVED Rancid, man! I'd listened to all the Clash albums and never heard Paul Simonon rip a bass solo like in "Maxwell Murder," and I knew the Ramones were incredible and ground-breaking, but Screeching Weasel were more crass and played faster weren't afraid to bust out a righteous guitar solo every now and again. I liked it ALL, and didn't understand why age made things more valid. After all, punk is just "Sugar Sugar" played loud and fast, right?!

I guess music critics just grow up and refuse to admit that their tastes are changing, and that the first bands they grew attached to were the end all and be all, and whatever comes next in the same vein is a pale retread of the past. Hell, I've written several reviews that refer to the 90s as the last golden age of music! I buy just as many records now as I did back then, and after careful consideration, that opinion is pretty much bullshit. As a music writer, you HAVE to explain what you're talking about, and you end up conjuring flowery metaphors while playing connect the dots between the entries on the RIYL list. If something's not that great, the mind immediately wanders to something you've heard before, but BETTER. It's simple, easy, and lazy. And not particularly honest.

For every classic Pavement jam, there's a third wave ska song that sounds like nails on a chalkboard. For every Rancid or Screeching Weasel, there were a dozen painfully bland pop punk bands. For every groundbreaking Portishead song, there were a thousand godawful techno "artists". For everything you like, there's something both equally better and worse. You can make a decent argument for ANY decade as being the last golden age, even the 80s. Once reviled production tricks like snappy reverb-gate drums are OK again, and the bands of today have actually figured out how to use that shit in its proper context, instead of trying to shoehorn it into heavy metal records in an attempt to get on the radio. This Teledrome single got played an awful lot when it first came out, and I reviewed it for GET BENT like so:

"To listeners burnt out on the dozens of sub-par Black Lips retreads littering the garage rock landscape, a band like Teledrome is a breath of fresh air. Make that a breath of COLD fresh air, since the icy, detached Gary Numan-style vocals and wobbly synth tones of Teledrome main-man Ryan Sadler offer little in the way of emotional warmth. He plays all the instruments on this loaded five track 7” EP, and makes the kind of music that would be best suited for dudes who wear all black and sport sunglasses at night, if it wasn’t for the chugging punk rock power chords and squealing 80s guitar solos that lift these songs into a territory most goths don’t care to inhabit.

Double Vision is a lot more fun than that description suggests, often sounding like vintage Killing Joke anthems in miniature, cramming plenty of vocal hooks and cheese-ball, head nodding Devo synth licks into songs that barely crack two minutes. The best track is “Dial Tone”, and it takes you away to a dark dance floor with strobe lights flashing away, pale fists pumping in unison, and black-clad hips shaking with abandon to the robotic drum machine beat. The muffled production sounds like one of those tapes dubbed endlessly and passed around to the cool kids back in the day, but don’t be surprised if Teledrome blows up huge with a bit more money and gloss thrown into the recording. This dude has too much talent to be underground for much longer."

There it is, comparisons to older bands, flowery metaphors, and all that other nonsense. Nothing but an entertaining little record that gets the nostalgia muscles flexing and offers a pleasant little diversion from everything else, right?! It's GOOD because it sounds like something that came out a long time ago, but its merits are lessened by something older and more lasting. Nah, dude. I thought that until I saw Teledrome on stage at the HoZac Blackout fest a few weeks ago, and was confronted by a full-on band that shoved those songs down my throat with double-time punk rock fury and a vibe that suggested these folks were not fucking around.

They weren't some pale retread or calculated oldies act, they were a fireball of pent-up aggression and visceral noise that played those songs like their lives depended on them. I don't think they were privy to the existential dilemma I go through every time I hear a record that doesn't blow my mind like Spiritualized did when I was seventeen, and holy shit was I glad for that. Maybe not caring about it is the key to a happier and healthier life. Teledrome is just REALLY good, and I'm not sure if context and history really improves the listening experience. Does it ever?