A New Wire Song, Short Elevated Period

I remember seeing Pink Flag in a record shop window on Eighth Street in the Village in 1977. It was an import, expensive, and I hadn’t even heard of the band, but the look was clean and lovely, different than the artwork that smudged across a lof of the new punk music elpees, and it made me curious. Not long after, reviews started appearing and Wire were quickly critics’ darlings. That’s what short and incisive pop noise and catchy melody does.

I waited for the US release, I think, a few months later to finally hear what I’d been reading about. I was rewarded, with a punchy tunes that got in and out quicker than you’d want, but more powerfully than you could hope for. Pink Flag is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll albums of all time. Rolling Stone says No. 412, NME says 378, Steve Moyer says 32. I say closer to Moyer than NME, but whatever.

So, this comes up because Wire has a new song out. They’ve been releasing records off and on for the past four or five years, and even more off and on through the aughts and 90s. I have to admit that I haven’t been paying attention, so I can’t speak to what they’ve been doing, but this is a good one. Short Elevated Period.

LINK: The Great Music of Ohio

This clip is from a live show the Cramps did at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa in 1978. I found it in a blog post about the excellent music that has come from Ohio over the years. This is kind of funny because a few days ago my daughter played me some music by a band called Twenty One Pilots. They play in that style of modern rock that has a huge drum sound but no guitars, is sometimes rapping and sometimes singing, and lots and lots of added noises from various machines, which means they don’t really rock at all. But they’re from Columbus, Ohio. I asked her if she knew that and she said she didn’t care. I’m not sure why I do.

It’s Concert Time!

Uncle Acid is touring in September to support their new album, also coming out in early September. As one of the few surviving bands still worth a shit, you owe it to yourself to see them in September when they are near. Ticket price $20. (My girlfriend made me take her to Elvis Costello and Steely Dan(?!?) recently and it cost me $300 for two decent seats. “Thank God by the time bands get to this level I either don’t care about them anymore or never did,” I thunk to myself.)

Anyway, here’s the newly released “single” (look out Bad Blood!). Sweet Sabbath drone with sweet Lennon vocals and two even sweeter guitar solos. See you in Philly on September 13th.

New Tunes From Hans Condor

Screenshot 2015-07-09 09.33.08The boys from Nashville have recorded two new songs, at 3am and drunk, they say, after a raucous gig in June. The production is muddy, the vocals are shouted, there is no reason to love these the way I do, but then again here are all the rock moves you could possibly want in a beguiling package that manages to be fresh and classic at once.

Some of it is the awesome upfront bass playing, some of it is the way guitar solos suddenly pop up majestically, and some of it is the amazing thrash they put together. But the incredible part for me is the way all of this lands at the junction of influence of so many great bands, from the Stones to the Pistols to the Replacements, without sounding like any of them particularly.

I gave them a buck for each track, and suggested they come to New York. I’ll let you know when they get here.

Hans Condor on Bandcamp

Top 10 Punk Rock Songs 2014, From New York

Screenshot 2015-02-20 15.17.47The Village Voice published this list in December, but I just bumped into it. The idea of it seems silly, but listening to the 10 songs there is definitely a hard noisy sound that the writer favors. And it is punky without being nostalgic, which means it has an attitude, which is good. What the 10 songs didn’t have were hooks, but I liked La Misma and played some of their other songs, which sound like the one in the list here, and the Hank Wood and the Hammerheads song made me root around for others. I like this one, though I suppose it is more throwback than others, it also stokes the pleasure center.

Afternoon Snack: Pretty Little Demons

PrettyLittleDemons_030313_Amoeba_3I came across this band today, just browsing around, and the first thing you notice is their appalling youth. I assumed that they just looked really young, but a little research shows that they’re REALLY YOUNG!

Guitarist Lydia Night is maybe 14 years old now, while the drummer, Marlhy Murphy, is maybe 11.

They were the youngest band to ever play SXSW in 2013, then 12 and 9 years old respectively. Night also plays in the actor Ryan Gosling’s band, Dead Man’s Bones, which we’ll have to check out.

In the meantime, prepare for an excess of cuteness, which comes naturally to the prepubescent playing in the power punk genre, and here is better than most.

This one has an overly long intro, which has something to do with the log lady from Twin Peaks, and scientists looking through microscopes, but also does a creditable job of hitting the White Stripes notes. You can click to about halfway through to get to the actual song.

If you want to know more, here is a fanzine Q+A. Lydia’s favorite bands? Queens of the Stone Age and the Andrews Sisters. Perfect.

Night Music: Benjamin Booker, “Violent Shiver”

I happened on this article in the Guardian today about a new generation of blues rock players who say they learned the blues at least in part from listening to Jack White. Like a game of telephone, mistakes are made.

That’s not really what I mean. Each of the three bands talked about in the story combine modern and old sounds in interesting ways. Benjamin Booker stands out to me, because I could see his mix turning into excellent songs. Right now, this one is probably the best, and it has some excellent drumming and interesting bass playing and Booker is pretty laid back about making some fast and pounding noises with his guitar.

He’s got that diffident voice thing going on, which is too bad, but there’s way more good here than bad. It just isn’t fully baked yet. For instance, Paul Schaffer’s organ part is a nice addition.


You should watch the D.D Dumbo clip, in which an Australian named Oliver Perry one-man bands things using loops, playing African guitar styles (which were at least in part derived from African guitarists listening to Lightning Hopkins), making art rock blues that support his arty vocals and more droney/chanty than catchy melodies. But it’s a cool sound that reminds me to listen to that Dirty Projector’s album I like so much (which nails all the vocal-mix-melody-abstraction issues this music is just starting to explore).

There’s a party in my head, and no one is invited

It’s been a while since my last post. I know you’ve missed me and my young people music. The band I want to share with you all today is Tame Impala. When my friend first showed them to me about 4 years ago, he described their sound as “psychedelic Beatles.” I could definitely hear that in their music, though it is much more modern with use of synthesizers and such on top of their instruments. What I like most about them is probably the lyrics, though the music sounds really good to me as well.

Pretty cool video, too.

The Mouse that is Modest

Although the majority of writers and readers on the site are no longer angsty teens, you all once were, hence your love of rock and roll. As a young woman still experiencing/ suffering from this angst, I have found solace in the music of Modest Mouse. Though they would not necessarily be considered a rock and roll group, the members and music epitomize many of the same values and ideals that make up the very spirit of rock and roll.

There are so many things I love about this band. First of all, their sound. While it is easy for today’s bands to succumb to the typical monochromatic pop sounds to make money and be on the radio, MM sticks to their own unique sound. They are a band that continues to experiment with new sounds and be real while so many others are not. They know how to make a popular record, and yet they are true to their own style. Heartmelting guitar riffs combine with killer drumming, bass, and a multitude of other intruments such as horn, fiddle, banjo, and keyboards, and songs are often accompanied by an overarching violin melody. They have killer instrumentalists all around and even more amazing vocals by my main man, Isaac Brock.

What gets me the most about MM is the lyricism. Brock manages to capture the essence of angst felt by teens and adults alike and put it in words that make me and many others like me swoon. He provides a dark social commentary for cynics like myself to hold onto in this world of sin and materialism. Together, these elements make MM a perfect band for teens and adults alike to hold close as we watch the world go down from our suburban bubbles. Some of my favorite quotes include:

 I like songs about drifters – books about the same, they both seem to make me feel a little less insane (The World at Large)

So all of the businessers in their unlimited hell where they buy and they sell, and they sell all their trash to each other, but they’re sick of it all and they’re bankrupt on selling (Bankrupt on Selling)

I had a drink the other day, opinions were like kittens I was givin them away (Out of Gas)

On my way to God don’t know, my brains the burger and my heart’s the charcoal (Heart Cook Brain)

I’m on a road shaped like a figure eight, I’m going nowhere but I’m guaranteed to be late (Interstate 8)

As life gets longer, awful feels softer and it feels pretty soft with you, and if it takes shit to make bliss then I feel pretty blissfully (The View)

I could easily write an essay about my love for Modest Mouse, but I will leave it at this for now. If you haven’t already, go check them out!