Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mood Poisoner

From fellow Glaswegian noisescrapers Mogwai’s label comes this ferociously disturbing, unsettling ultra-hardcore thrash brandishing some of the scariest exhaust chewing larynx heard for some time, not to mention the utterly sphincter-shredding guitar ravages where most semblances of riffs are suffocated with their own viscera. Scowling over estate-toppling time-tremors that switch psychotically with the rancid grimace of the initially polite nut-job that asked you for a smoke outside the Spar but just as a preliminary to batter you, this lot are tooled up for urban warfare, and rattle through a remorseless, absolutely non-regrettable torture garden that’ll ream you to your core. Don’t fucking play it to your friends ‘less you want their blood and fetid matter you never would have imagined existed in the darkest recesses of Clive Barkers mind on your hands and in your FACE. Such a provocatively brutal assault do they inflict that frontman P6 takes to the stage in a Kevlar vest. Fuck that, you should get one to listen to this in as well as the Spandoflage they screech about. Besides the humourously titled Cock Swastika, Tonguescraper and Latrine Lizard, as well as cute pun Questionable Sport this is a death-trip of acute hernia-causing destruction and shouldn’t really be taken as some GG Allin shock-warriors. This is business, a grim, dirty business, and these boys are loving every nauseating second. The aural equivalent of having your home ransacked and tortured but in such a twisted way you forgive the cheesegrater knee-capping and plead to get practiced in the arts of such depravo punk as the only way you’ll be able to retain any structure to what’s left of your life and being. As I said sometime ago about similar noise-sadists Some Girls ‘These are the sort of people that'd get a job in an asylum just to amuse themselves by removing the pads from the cells and undoing inmates straightjackets to watch them disembowel themselves.’ (http://www.sleazegrinder.com/review_2-28SomeGirls.htm)
You have been warned, now go and wind ‘em up.
Stu Gibson
The Hot Club Of Cowtown
The Best Of…

Recently reformed following a hiatus throughout much of this decade The Hot Club hoove back into view whipping wilt-less, ever wistful and definitely not witless or listless Western Swing on your tail with this compilation handpicked by the trio themselves from their years on the noted Hightone indie label (one time home of Julie and Buddy Miller for starters). Maybe not as dusty nor as bonkers or, through no crime of their own, possessing the historical aspect as those old originals like Bob Wills, Hank Penny and Spade Cooley (see the Proper Records tireless box-sets such as thisa one www.propermusic.com/products.asp?recnumber=532) the Hot Club combine plaintive fiddles with stomping riverboat jazz and jumpin’ Jelly Roll Morton riddims of the twenties and thirties all topped off and resolutely un-tucked with wild-west saloon shoot-outs. Despite being sweetly produced it stands distinct from bluegrass and the commercial saccharine of, say, an Alison Krauss and is more like Asleep At The Wheel but steaming through deeper, stiller waters. Faultlessly played, dapperly delivered and a fiercely fragrant and joyous frolic whether playful or pensive.
Stu Gibson
The Lucky Ones

‘The past makes no sense, the future looks tense…’ - The Open Mind

New or most recent outing from Seattle mainstays shows them meandering into middle years as irreverent and cheeky as ever, rawer than ever slugging chunks of garage grunk and equilibrium-looping psychedelic pile-ons that could eradicate pylons in a split second and festoon your squat and squeamish haunches with an electric load of it’s own loathsome and loathsomely sublime lubri-creations, loading up the skip for a merry spree down slightly pre-industrial highways on a Ministry meets Stooges slouch, notably opening drill I’m Now and TV Eye on the Little Doll Next Time. Back to basics they say and back to the sort of failsafe form they started allowing to stay stoned and grow fungus from second full-lenghter Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Maybe not the essential schismatics they once were, yet settling into Fuzztones / Cramps style cult status and (ok, maybe not quite so) camp curios (though see Inside Out Over You) does them no harm whatsoever and is a spot many luckier one see no joy in gleaning. Alongside delightful new additions to their addled family like bad-wave surf trip And The Shimmering Lights and continuing the socio-political-philosophical rants like The Open Mind they’re still colossally superfuzzy for the quite contentedly staying sick and the not afraid to suck and see more than you can shimmy yer slick hips around. Go get lucky, punks!
Stu Gibson
Bound For The Bar Festival Tour DVD

Taken from the two gigs at Berlin’s SO36 club on the People Like You label's Festival tour of summer 2007, this monstrous vfm package incorporates several live sets, documentary and audio clips. So what if the life on the road anecdotes aren’t particularly illuminating, if at all (besides The Grit’s apparent new-found love of Scrabble and Peter Pan Speedrock previous tour tales of systematically punching each other in the kidneys of an evening which combined with their already seeming prodigious appetites for chaos-confounding concoctions musta bruised slightly) if The Grit, especially whenst they ditch the ska for their pristinely inspiring punkabilly clash n’ clatterings that only improve when viewed with their stage presence and the staggeringly mob-happy Angel City Outcasts never mind PPSR's Motorhead in a Zeke-o-caust and Swiss smart poetics The Peacocks don’t make you wanna go to the rock show and wriggle then you either have no life or must at least like Wednesday 13 overly or something.
Stu Gibson
Punk and Disorderly – 2 Further Charges

Well the title and cover say it all do they not? Here we have a crass and sickening swim through a load of second and third wave and rate punk outfits, lending their often not insignificant contributions to the clichéd punk habits of gob-strewn Mohicans, sweaty bald geezers brandishing beer-guts around and the occasional shard of enjoyable curiosity in a parade of generally (and aptly) bootleg quality clips for some aural snuff fun. There’s plenty of footage from the first Holidays In The Sun festivals in Blackpool from the mid-90’s (Buzzcocks, English Dogs, Drones, Splodge, Casualties) but also some classics to grind yer guts to along with yer Great White cider (early clips of Broken Bones and Abrasive Wheels aged about eleven, Adicts and Toy Dolls promos, GBH and Sham in Japan, UK Subs with Charlie Harper dressed comically like Stiv Bators in leather n’ studs, The Vibrators dolled up on German TV, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, The Lurkers in mid-80’s limbo, erroneous purveyors of punk’s cretinous clichés The Exploited). As ever with budget punk comps it all depends on your stomach for bingeing on the drip-trays of the derelict and how much fun you can have with absolutely unnecessary boot-boys like The Business and Angelic Upstarts – though they do win points for hilariously having a topless dancer cavorting in horrendous fetish gear looking like Annie Lennox with rabies, and distinctly less sexy.
Stu Gibson
Paul Marks And The Van Dorens
Blood And Treasure

Seventh album in from Texan soul-blues troubadour shows expertly that filing under blues would do a great disservice to this dude by ensujring silence in many quarters. There’s a slew of treats for the unsuspecting here, Tex-Mex a la Los Lobos, cajunista and N’Orleans soul that leaves Van Morrison out to pasture in the wannabe field deserving a drubbing in the bull-pen and there’s more white-boy bar-band soul than Southside Johnny, and even Dr John but without the psychedelic gumbo mumbo (the loping pianner gait of I’m Still High that’ll stay in your system longer than a whole backstage gamut of intoxicating infusions and supposed though much surrendered-to solutions), both whom he pleasingly shares a similar acknowledgement of song over Walter Trout trad-white-blues histrionics, country choogling chuckles on the Just Because-based Wrong Pair Of Shoes, even splicing any cynical presuppositions with hints of both Tom Waits (on the mid-show romantic soliloquy Extraordinary Measures) and Santana meets the Vaughan's (closer Ruff House). An unexpectedly exhilarating ruckus-raising ride round all points South that avoids pastiche and evokes, nay incites, the spirit of the Texas Flood that streamed from, Stevie Ray and ensured he was so revered, with extra sly lashings of fun and feastivities, not least the many jocular but knowing asides referencing many old treasures. Superb.
Stu Gibson
East Of Everything

As much as I’ve proselytised and lauded the Corazong label in recent blue moon interludes of lunacy this release at first glance doesn’t much trouble the radar amidst much times of strife. Pickled with lucid and dark allusions to love lost with a sweeping accompaniment of acoustic-led balladeering and mid-tempo strolls, it’s just a touch too Nashville, bit too nice and clean-cut, for all that their name evokes the spirited aspersions and narratives of Steve Earle. Accomplished and well-produced it certainly is and wouldn’t waylay the Netherlands notable abilities at appropriating Americana, but as much as it is safe, especially considering some of the subject matter and emotions that coulda been moulded into more maladjusted landscapes. It shouldn’t all go to hang at the soonest noose to noon though. There are lovely moments of bittersweet delight redolent of label-mate Alastair Moock such as the pitter-patter pragmatists lament of Train Of Thought and Road Song. For this sort of fairly safe at home pop-country sheen they aren’t as bland as the disappointing should-be-great-on napkins but somewhat simpering Last Train Home. Moonlight Serenade is worth the cost of a whole carriage of train fares, Amanda Shires voice basking in the shadows of the protagonists suspicions spiked with insinuating accordion raptures, and cowpunk barn-burner I Don’t Need You Anymore more than make up for weaker moments (Picking Up The Pieces, Dog Eat Dog, Just Not Yet) that tend too much to be reaching for Springsteen’s Human Touch for comfort.
Stu Gibson
The Caravans
The Best Of The Caravans – Lying With Dinosaurs

This long-standing UK ‘billy brigade of two-plus decades might not generally be mentioned alongside The Meteors, Demented or Nekromantix in your current psycho lala hall of fame but, like with near-contemporaries King Kurt, Long Tall Texans and Guana Batz they easily straddle the divides and confines of the rockin’ ratataternity. More of a rockin’ riot hitting the hillbilly between the border towns, slapping some true grit between the chafed groins and gargling the frenzy of A superlative amalgamation mixing the brawn you might expect from a chap outta the navy with the tender-hearted narrations of fast driven hard living, Just Won’t Die, Restless Heart, Never Gonna Love Ya and Get A Head are exquisite gurn alongs that deserve devouring by every and any shade of rictus rocker. Turning dour demeanour into torrential grins, driver Mark Peningtone is one unsaluted songjurer in league with La Batz Stuart Osbourne, dappling traditional rhythms with unique ruminations on those familiar territories of flighty females and whiskey woes.
Stu Gibson
The Only Ones
Live At Shepherds Bush

Documenting 2007’s reformation that was as likely to take place as Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd here St Peter of Perrett appears to allow the devoted a chance to pay their respects. As a live experience maybe it was never going to be anything more than it is - a rather grim spectacle where the main interest is a combination of witnessing the return of a spectre with an audience largely in subdued amazement and reverential awe, a chance to pay tribute a la Arthur Lee’s latter years. Sure, such a startlingly unique songwriter deserves it, even if his lengthy absence has lent their rather patchy trio of albums added leverage into the realms of legend in the intervening two or three decades. Ever so spindly in frame and voice, with the skeletal air of Ronnie Wood and John Cooper Clarke, it’s kinda astounding that he doesn’t crumple when he swaps his Tele for a Les Paul. Painfully gaunt as he is with an aching drawl more pronounced than ever lessening the impact of the caustic invective at the darkly charismatic heart of his oeuvre of noxious Knopfler new wave and punk-buckled ballads. Though new song Dreamt She Could Fly plunges the depths of dirge-form, there’s much of what the ardent fan will want and expect to hear (The Beast, Programme, Miles From Nowhere, No Solution, oh and Another Girl Another Planet which naturally sees a few balding beer-bous pogoing) except maybe Out There In The Night. With the odd touching moment of audience interaction from the nervous aside about being sponsored by Gibson to his request on behalf of a fan for the vocals to be louder, ending with his genuinely astonished reaction at the respoinse and evident goodwill emanating stageward at him and his on form ones. A grand document to what is hopefully not, erm, petering out into a fatal finale, as they gear up to tour in the coming months.
Stu Gibson
Gutter Demons
Misery Madness And Murder Lullabies

Another suppurating horrorpunk freakshow to contaminate your crusty ribcages and fester in your hearts well worth descending down to their abject levels of filth and depravity, these creepy Canadians slash out suave and classy grave-rubbing psycho-country, death-western ballads and neck-tying laments from the catacombs connecting the whorehouse to the morgue in the defiled wild west town they’ve reanimated. Ferocious yet considered but by no means calculating, they don’t need to parade their oh-so psycho pomp under tiresome thrash, which only underlines their alluring malevolence all the more. Cultured wouldn’t be the point. Just they have a rare commodity of passion riding insistently with the idle insanity of their chosen musical coffin. Just when you thought it was safe to return to your tomb of pulp glitch-riddled ‘billy this third saddle-goring travesty is an utter triumph much deserving of a meeting with the lords of the underworlds, for tis theirs for the taking should their thirsts be as yet still need slaking. Being a long time a-coming since anything remotely psycho could be said to be essential, almost as essential as yer vitals, not since Teddy Trigger and the Gatling Guns. They might not exactly be re-writing the ghoul book entirely but when it’s desecrated as devilishly as this on House By The Cemetery, Sunday and madcap mariachi twist of Snakepit then they have a sharp, serrated point indeed.
Stu Gibson
Dan Baird And Homemade Sin
Dan Baird And Homemade Sin

Following on from last year’s pretty spectacular Fresh Outta Georgia Live Like A Satellite* album comes this first step from the aptly titled new combo for the ex-Georgia Satellites head hat-waver (been that it was partly recorded in-house but also that it’s extremely comfortable and homely for such at once snub-nosed barrack-room boogie. Where that regaled glassy and dare I say it, slightly tear-stained sozzled eyes with dishy delights from the well back-slapped Satellites catalogue here’s a whole new set of the finest bar-room maraudings, with laughing ex-Scorcher madacapo Warner Hodges, ably refilling and refreshing the piercing caverns left by compadre Rick Richards that Maybe there’s a few more mid-tempo reflective tinges than the lairy-eyed young buckaroo bromide barnstorm of say Railroad Steel but as ever Baird never falters on the fandango whether on the pristine purr of Damn Thing To Be Done, gooey lament Lazy Monday, or marching civil war malevolence of Crooked Smile and I Know What It’s Like that Baird excels at due to the contrast with the amiable nature more often on display. So perhaps more sedate but no less sanguine. Big jack-booted stompers bound through the barn with little feet chicken-strutting funk that’d twirl Tina into tomorrows that Dan’d eloquoise wistfully on. And anyhoo, the twin guitar twangvirate turf up wiffy nifty riffs that would run rings round Ronnie and Keef if you fancy a Rod footie analogy and topped with choruses like Oh No, There She Goes, Champagne Sparkle and Just Can’t Wait Homemade Sin hail a future full of exhaustless fumes, Baird’s abilities on You wanna compare wisecracks and wistful remarks? The devout will devour the word that he still rages wide-eyed about CCR like back in ’89 on Two For Tuesday and, though the reminisce may be more life-scarred and crease-eyed, making it all the more savourable, far beyond lacing it with affectionately lovely nods and yes winks to ol’ Ronnie Lane on Runnin' Outta Time. It’s no reflection of the artists age that a new Baird record is like sinking into a sofa. Maybe ma marbles are rusting with dust and sentimentality but tis a fine shiny sun that shoots cloudy cares away.
Raise a glass to the second dollop, or helping even! Any lover of sleaze slink, under thirty or just checking in again should fucking rush in like a fool. Nothing better barring a Crybaby’s rejig. www.sleazegrinder.com/CDreviewsMay2008.htm
Stu Gibson
The David Johansen Group

Following the Dolls less than dainty demise David Jo deftly demonstrated his Jagger tendencies stretched beyond the rubber lips and limp wrists with this solo shimmy that tempers the Dolls punked up R’n’B roots with signs of the times, before all the Buster Poindexter and painful bit-parts. Sylvain was on the permanent payroll (and also Thunders making a scant appearance here) as DJ took note of the prevailing winds blowing in from different shores and concocted a barn-grilled rhythm and soul revue in the shade of Springsteen, Mink Deville and maybe even Billy Joel. This sweatily aromatic set includes disco (hit shuffle Funky But Chic), new wave nightrain’s (Cool Metro, Girls), ropey though more entertaining than gut-wrenching covers like Build Me Up Buttercup and Reach Out (I’ll Be There)…alongside an atrocious stab at The Supremes Love Child and Dolls covers (a suitably sleazy and knee-sweat licking Looking For A Kiss and comical trot through Personality Crisis where the caricature descends into overdrive). As seen in his recent ‘If Rod can do it so can I’ blues covers albums the man knows his stuff and the fact that he can’t fail to come across as quite the cunt without any of Jerry Lee’s psychotic amenability shouldn’t detract from this sweet little rock’n’roller, nor should his increasingly strangled rasp that often threatens to imitate Beavis.
Stu Gibson
The Mission
Sum And Substance


On the back of reissued albums now comes your chance to enjoy a merry amble back to the dawn of indie videotage when promo clips cost nary a tenner and SAS is a jolly enough jape back in time, collecting all the singles from UK goth-riders and their attendant celluloid calamities. Easily deridable for being pop-tarts of the highest order not serious brow-furrowers there are still many fine moments here belie their love of glam and seventies pop and splendid ridiculousness. Serpents Kiss, alongside the eternal Severina still one of the best reasons for Wayne Hussey being on the planet, shows them cavorting about the greensward a la The Faces which may surprise anyone expecting arthouse pretensions to match the mumbo jumbo lyrics. Stay With Me, with La Huss resembling Gordon Ramsay in faintly hysterical mystical pagan fayre the band on ye auld folkie instruments commendably straight-faced, not least in the presence of their leader’s clenched fist to open arm gesticulations to conjure every last drop of emotion and meaning from his empty wordplay. Tower Of Strength shows our four now furry-chinned heroes (obviously part of a spell to fend of The Nephilim) them try their hand at Hawk The Slayer style fantasy flicks, elsewhere there are budget-less road clips (Beyond The Pale), Deliverance with Hussey as Tyla and a great mish-mash where the rapturous festival crowd and band are never in the same clip onto Never Again’s indie-dance with scary clown playing cello and Like A Child Again with Wayne as Waterboy.
Crusade, an early live set from Nottingham Rock City mixing much of the first two albums alas, is uninvolving, synthetic and pretty pitiful when placed alongside Wake or Live In Orange. Wayne is in Jagger at Hyde Park mode but with scant traces of audience noise and the whole sounds more like a ‘liver’ mix of album sessions this is a disappointment, summing up their slick 12” shiny gatefold sleeve with stickers style with slight substance.
Stu Gibson
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