HCK! Best Of 2015 (Part 3)

11 Jan

Best Best

 

10. Seth Bogart – “Eating Makeup” (Featuring Kathleen Hanna)

 

9. What Tyrants – “Lean On The World”

 

8. David Bowie – “Lazarus”

 

7. Thee Tsunamis – “Female Trouble”

 

6. Baby Jesus – “Cry, Cry, Cry”

 

5. Frankie & The Witch Fingers – “Lou Reed”

 

4. The Manhattan Love Suicides – “Nowhere Bound”

 

3. Sheer Mag – “Fan The Flames”

 

2. Leon Bridges – “Coming Home”

 

1. The Mystery Lights- “Too Many Girls”

 

HCK! Best of 2015 (Part 1)

HCK! Best of 2015 (Part 2)

HCK! Best of 2015 (Part 3)

HCK! Best Of 2015 (Part 2)

9 Jan
Best 2
25. Gross Pointe – “Bad Seed”

 

24. Datura4 – “Out With The Tide”

 

23. Thee Tsunamis – “Cry Baby”

 

22. Soul Low – “Always Watchin’ Out”

 

21. Pushy – “If I Cry”

 

20. Juan Waters – “Woodside, Queens”

 

19. Gospelbeach – “Sunshine Skyway”

 

18. Night Beats – “Power Child”

 

17. Beach Slang – “Ride The Wild Haze”

 

16. Dirty Streets – “Good Kind Of Women”

 

15. Penetration Moon – “Sluts In The City”

Continue reading

HCK! Best Of 2015 (Part 1)

8 Jan

Best Of 2015

Few exceptions are more ridiculous than the idea that any “best of” list could ever come close to being honest. I’ll spend the next five years regretting every single band I missed or forgot while piecing this together but I keep getting messages asking about why I haven’t thrown one up this year so here y’all go. Hopefully this helps you find some new record to pick up or some band to hassle your local spot to have play when they come through town.

50. The Famines – “Too Cool”

49. Psychiatric Metaphors – “Hexenkoph”

48.Bottomfeeders – “Sitting In The Dark”

47. The Connection – “So Easy”

46. The Bombshells – “No More”

45. Flesh Panthers – “Clampa”

44.Destruction Unit – “If Death Ever Slept”

43. The Bolos – “Disowned”

42. Wet Blankets – “T.V. Suicide”

41. Angie – “Down For The Count”
Continue reading

Accepted Double Standards

9 Oct

What Tyrants

“4’s and 5’s”

Photo By Light The Underground Photography

Photo By Light The Underground Photography

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There was a time when the bands in Austin weren’t jaded by self-importance, the output recently from Minneapolis reminds me in a big way of how perfect that once felt; What Tyrants help me put a face on the entire sentiment, albeit less grit, less loose, less present than their predecessors, still the heartbeat drives on angst, their sound delves for expression rather than a rote business model, they feel alive…. there doesn’t seem to be much of that going around lately.

What Tyrants have made one hell of a great record with No Luck (Forged Artifacts). It’s hard to believe this is their first full length, coming off discernibly similar to the glory days of In The Red Records, the first listen may be as magnetizing from some place of unrequited nostalgia as new kid on the block shine.

Forged Artifacts put this album out, if you happen to be unfamiliar it wouldn’t be time lost to place some focus in their direction.

Also worth digging:

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What Tyrants – Bandcamp | Facebook | Forged Artifacts

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The Manhattan Love Suicides

“Nowhere Bound”

The Manhattan Love Suicides-Optimized

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I’m not sure if “Nowhere Bound” is my favorite song on this week’s mix from how great it is or how for whatever reason when it comes on in the background I consistently mistake the opening for being “First Time” from The Boys and once the mistake is realized I’m still cool with the similarity. Of course, the vocals with The Manhattan Love Suicides prove closer to a youthful Beach House  than a seventies English pop throwback.

The Manhattan Love Suicides feel like John Hughes films, pulling threads on all the feelings of loss and acceptance as if Nikki Sudden had kept a diary and requested someone who were obsessed with new-wave created an album from it. The entire More Heat! More Panic! (Odd Box Records / Squirrel Records) is an album meant for long drives on hooded sweatshirt nights, taking stake in nostalgia, loss, acceptance. A passive record giving only what you want from it, never forcing more, full of songs you might hear a thousand times and only enjoy in its ambiance; then that moment comes, alone, churning over some gnawing sentiment you could not shake while at the party and without warning POW some friend shows up in the speakers saying those things you need to hear, strong enough to speak boldly of their own flaws while embracing yours in all their beautiful imperfection.

As if enveloped in the holy ghost herself, songs such as “Nowhere Bound” bring an escapist’s redemption so strong, when the track ends and the silence of this huge daunting world creeps in you switch the stereo off and bathe in it, losing yourself in a warm glow of lonely vilifying existence. The New Manhattan Love Suicides help you appreciate the silence… and yourself.

The New Manhattan Love SuicidesBandcamp | Facebook | Odd Box Records | Squirrell Records

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Sauna Youth

“Modern Living”

Sauna Youth.

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“Modern Living” is intelligent far beyond the surface demeanor. The experience frantic, tensely aggressive, nihilistic even,  floored to the very end. Behind that veil though a complex architecture building upon itself every few measures, mirroring the structure with one more piece factored in. In theory the bridge where Lindsay Corstorphine‘s vocals take the form of space should be chill, calming, instead we experience our ex’s day three of being off their meds all over again, things are off and pointed directly at each of us individually, that momentary pause and suddenly it’s six AM at the end of an all night coke bender; can’t stop can’t slow down gotta keep positive. The ending arriving in pure Gandalf fashion, not late, nor early, just exactly how it was meant to.

Sauna Youth have been keeping my attention for some time, “Modern Living” is the one to stamp a place in my personal life though. I hope things continue to stay solid, I’d really like to see them make it stateside sooner than later.

Sauna Youth – Bandcamp | Facebook | Website

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The Bombshells

“No More”

The Bombshells

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Ruling with sweat and disgust The Bombeshells have just enough pop seniority to remind you why women always trump boys at being catchy without feeling contrived.

There is a special place in my heart between Thee Tsunamis and Bratmobile I hadn’t even realized needed to be filled until The Bombshells came along. This is yet one more band brought to us via Forged Artifacts. At the Continue reading

RADnotBAD: John Jack Joseph

30 Sep

John Jack Joseph-Optimized.

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I was sitting at The Blackheart back in February, finally having made my way out to see Jack McBrearty (The Electric Friends, Partyy Dress) perform a solo set as John Jack Joseph, the project had just begun to grow legs and the awkwardness of having not acclimated fully to the absence of  having three friends to draw strength from as he had been doing for years with The Electric Friends was obvious, probably not so much to the laymen observer, the dude has clearly been playing shows for the better part of a decade, for someone who has seen him lose himself on stage as long as I have though it caught me off guard.

Near the end of his set he seemed to shrug some invisible chip off his shoulder and went into this slow driving song “Open-Ended, Middle-Class Blues,”  all the effects he had been using throughout the set to create some idealistic wall between he and the audience had been torn down and for the first moment in all the time I’ve seen the guy play he took complete command of his sound and forced it all into its proper place behind him as demons no longer allowed to torment him but instead to be used through some ancient spell as puppets to sway before the audience at each twitch of his hands. The bar hushed and turned to the stage, the bartenders, the other bands, even the traffic outside stopped to allow the presence of John Jack Joseph to speak.
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Every set I’ve caught of his since that five minute magnetic moment you can see him honing in on whatever IT is. Each set the moment grows longer, each set he becomes more of a presence than a person, something about the way he has gone about his path leads us to believe he has always known it was there, like when Don Juan speaks to Castaneda about learning to know the precise time to dig up the plant so it will bring about knowledge rather than spiritual death, “a man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it will live to regret his steps.” It is as if that fear, not so much of failure but instead of self-destruction, had kept him trying to find a Continue reading

Masochistic Masterpiece: Rhinestone

16 Jul

Rhinestone

Director: Bob Clark

Writer: Sylvester Stallone | Phil Alden Robinson

Staring: Dolly Parton & Sylvester Stallone

Year: 1984

HCK! Rating: “I Fell In A Pile Of You And Got Love All Over Me”

Favorite Quote: “You’d have thought we all got together and decided how we could fastest ruin our careers.” – Sylvester Stallone when asked about the film years later

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox

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Where to start on this glorious display of raw artistic brilliance. Sylvester Stallone took one of Phil Alden Robinson‘s (Field of Dreams | Sneakers)  scripts and dry humped it with boxing shorts while watching Dallas reruns. Stallone butchered it so badly, Robinson fought to have his name removed before the studio persuaded him that the twenty-eight million dollar budget and the “caliber’ of cast guaranteed it would be foolish not to have his name attached to the final product.

The concept is simple; Dolly Parton is locked into a singing contract with some sleazeball sexually-condescending bar owner and may have finally figured a way out of it. The bar is known for ripping any new singer apart who attempts the stage leaving Parton to carry the weight of being the only talent to fill the place; our first taste of this comes Continue reading

Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did

25 Jun

HCK Nothin Matters

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Thee Tsunamis

“Drag”

Thee Tsunamis-Optimized

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If I end up remembering anything about 2014 it will be for two things; binge eating a case of donuts every five weeks like a meth addict fresh off of work release and ripping Delirium and Dark Waters (Magnetic South) to the point that I name checked them into every fringe point of conversation (oh, you like Halloween? Have you heard of Thee Tsunamis?).

For all that my love came to expect and anticipate from these rad chicks outta Bloomington,IN I still cannot believe how much of a progressive step forward Saturday Night Sweet (Magnetic South) is in craft and in texture. Where DATS found itself winsome in it’s DIY garage-pop tone, SNS feels like the ending scene in Just One of the Guys where we find out that Joyce Hyser may have been the cute boy next door type when strutting around looking all Ralph Macchio with tube-socks shoved down the front of her pants but when push comes to shove, and she finally rips that tux off, we realize as she stands topless on the beach that yes in fact she is a total babe and we all should be ashamed for not having noticed her intelligence sooner when clouded by hormones and a stunning soundtrack. The lessons we learn in life. What I’m saying is Thee Tsunamis have gone from being the cute next door types to being legitimate members of the rock n roll scene and it all comes into clarity on this latest record.

I’m tired of females dumbing down their music to not upset the scene aesthetic to feel accepted, I’m tired of quasi-feminist teenagers pretending they are fighting gender stereotypes which cause condescension while playing right into them as if by being a choice it is some outspoken representation of freedom. SNS is what happens when a band spends less time trying to paint an image for themselves and more just sitting in some hot-ass practice-space shaping songs to represent both their progress and their arrival. No longer do Thee Tsunamis want to be where the boys are, they’ve cleared that hurdle, now they are just another band in a van hoping the saturated dream really isn’t a sham, success or failure comes now at the hands of fate, not in the wake of mediocre talent cheerled by ambition and childish understanding of a very complex and defeating path to navigate.

If there were one track more likely than the others to get burnouts on the level it should be”Drag“which shows these dudes putting their usual Cramps homage on bong-ice and giving the middle finger to burger bands walking around like they are the only musicians on the planet able to hone in on that mid-sixties surf-psych revival spreading like a yawn in homeroom. How nice it is to find a band pulling on those strings of nostalgia without making me nauseous by it. I’d say we’ve come far enough into 2015 to start mentioning best albums, well consider this my write in.

Bonus:

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The Tsunamis – Bandcamp | Facebook | Magnetic South

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Flesh Panthers

“Elevator Girls”

Flesh Panthers-Optimized

Every single song Flesh Panthers have given us has been a consistent juxtaposition of angsty noise and loosely technical craftsmanship. It’s more of the same on their latest offering.

I’ve listened through the new self-titled record (Dumpster Tapes) three times already and it is everything we would hope it to be, less motivated for a single, more ambitious in the way of proving exactly who they are. Grab a copy, play it for your friends, be cool.

As far as I can tell; this is the first record Dumpster Tapes has ever put out on vinyl, signifying a new step in a rad direction for a label that has earned it significantly.

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Flesh Panthers – Bandcamp | Facebook | Big Cartel | Dumpster Tapes

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Dumb Punts

“Hey You”

Dumb Punts-Optimized

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As I pieced together the In Defense Of Lost Causes post I found myself diving headfirst into some Aussie wormhole which has been gloriously hard to pull myself out of. There are so many rad bands putting out album after album of gnarly rock n roll, reaching the point where I’m carrying this delusional belief of Australia being basically the world in which the Daggers exist in Thrashin’. If, in fact, that is the case then Dumb Punts would be their version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (if you haven’t seen the movie then hold your breath on that being a shitty reference).

Dumb Punts just dropped a new record Coupla Couplas (Pissfart Records) last month and although “Hey You” may be what gets me the most stoked for these dudes, it was originally not going to be included on the record (now it’s a bonus) here’s some other noise they have made on the level you’ll dig:


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Dumb Punts – Bandcamp | Facebook | Pissfart Records

 

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Küken

“Black Rose”

Kuken

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For the love of god check out Küken‘s S/T record (Dumpster Tapes) .

Thrash Punk? Descriptors suck man and I’m stuck throwing them around like they actually mean something. How in the hell does one talk about four hundred bands a year and not find themselves feeling like all of the most fitting words were already spent on lesser bands when a group this dope finally comes along?

There’s a symmetry in how they sweat, I could listen to each drop crashing down onto analog all day. It’s not even what they sound like that gets the coffee streamlining to my heart it is what they are not; they aren’t a band trying too hard, they aren’t a band pompously believing they are doing something new and entertaining, they aren’t a band pretending to be better than they really are. Not to downplay the fact the rhythm concepts are accessibly intelligent, because of course that plays into Küken’s greatness, but at the core it is simply stripped down, reel to reel sounding, rock n’ roll made by a couple of dudes who would probably be alright to have a beer with.

I put this song up simply for it being track one on a record I’ll be playing perpetually for the next few weeks. The cassette release is limited to 100 copies and the vinyl has 400.

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Küken – Bandcamp | Facebook | Dumpster Tapes

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Raw McCartney

“Midwest Eject”

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Raw McCartney feels like an after hours party you were probably too fucked up to stop into but did anyways, it’s four in the morning in some green lit basement, you know no one but the records getting spun kill so you kind of just go with it hoping the cops don’t show up and you don’t blackout but either way things will probably be alright.

I’ve been geeking about music for a long time and I can say without a doubt the most prolific artist I’ve ever come in contact with is Jacob Gardner. I saw the dude go from busking six hours a night, talking with star struck eyes about Devendra Banhart while playing The Black Keys covers in front of a bagel shop in Indianapolis, to landing some sweet SXSW spots last year and opening for every gnarly band that stops through Indiana (ie, Jeff the Brotherhood, Cheetah Chrome, etc,…) which although may not seem much in comparison to the major label dreams everyone assumes musicians have but when you pride yourself on the strange and kick the modus operandi to the curb the way Raw MacCartney does, the ceiling for your ambitions isn’t exactly high just wide. The dude has a vision,talent, and the ability to surround himself with ideal musicians to walk the path with, although it’s taken half a decade for this incantation to arrive, it’s been absolutely worth the wait.

I went back to Indianapolis last week and stopped through some venues to check the local talent out, the annoyances I had while living there came back ten fold… why are they so hellbent on being weird instead of good? It’s gross for the most part. I saw one drummer playing a bucket and some spoons, another guitar player going through two amps (probably for “true stereo” or some shit) when one would have perfectly sufficed to scream his jazz chords bathed in slap-back. I don’t want to go into some rant about their fear of failure fueling their need to be different, who has time for that, I mention it only to point out that yes every now and then a band such as Raw McCartney does rise out of that cesspool to blow our minds.

With so much dynamic texture to their noise I can’t help but think Zappa would have signed them to Bizarre just from the guitar tone alone, not to mention the thin lo-fi drums tic tic ticking in the back, the way everything falls over itself when the vocals come in, The Spits like driving bass, the lead so frantic with energy that every single touch is a solo waiting to rail off over everyone else but never quite does.

There’s a hint of danger, a spot of terror, where are they taking me and will I be able to escape once we’re there. They sound like a Saturday in Fountain Square before the yuppies moved in, back when the cops only ever showed up two hours late, when you didn’t worry about parking only about being robbed. They sound like freedom and J.X. Williams films, like the sort of band Darby Crash would have formed if he’d been born in the midwest during the 80’s. Raw McCartney are proof that the future does exist in all its dangerous glory.

You can grab a Midwest Eject 7″ via Italy’s Goodby Boozy Records here. Case-in-point, these dudes could get six labels in Indiana to put their shit out on vinyl but they go through some obscure yet Continue reading

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