Excellent stomping no-wave punk from Boston, Massachusetts, usurping the more common garage sound for an alarmist noisy drum-machine techno. This is dense and angular, and when observed closely, befitting of the city’s college-town reputation: political but snarky. The verbosity is rewarding and thought-provoking. Exactly the kind of stuff I want to see performed live on a school night at the Cantab Lounge.
Nots’ music reflects political and social reality. Their dark post-punk grooves exude modern anxiety like the information overload of constantly refreshing timelines. Surprisingly dancey numbers like “Floating Hand” enact the thematic paradox of partying in a surveillance state. In this regard Nots remain relentless, spewing subtle critiques across political spectrums. “Woman Alone” is the ultimate “intersectional” anthem, questioning our culture’s obsession with segmenting groups. The question “What’s it like to be a subject analyzed?” probes the causes of divisive controversies. Their repeated choruses over bass-driven propulsive grooves could very well penetrate the mainstream, but Nots’ calculated social critiques are too radical to gain acceptance. You rarely find a group this consistently trenchant, uninterested in corporate sponsorships or high-profile festival appearances. This makes their punk ethos real, not counterfeit or commodified. But a song like “Built Environment” hints at a deeper fissure, possibly cognitive, that is impossible to break through. The idea that we build our own restrictive shells and therefore enact our own censure. “I walk on empty streets in my mind”, says the chorus, reminding us how immobile we become as urbanized, consuming, citizens.
Western Mass noise bullies are back with a brand new album recorded in Alabama with Gary Wrong. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing! Jackie proves that he’s underground punk’s Andy Kaufman with as many split personalities as MF Doom. You can hear Jackie as part of NYC’s noise rockers Sediment Club (WFMU Record Fair alumnis) or the intriguing carnivalesque street busker crooner Mark Cone, and I feel that he might have temporarily played with Neutral Fixation. With multiple releases on a stack of underground labels (Feeding Tube, Lumpy Records, Neck Chop Records), he’s got the pedigree of a pure breed pomeranian.
Urochromes have been through so many incarnations, with and without a drummer, that they are impossible to recollect. My favorite formation was with Corey Rose from Vexx on drums! After-party for Not Dead Yet in Toronto 2016. They played a blistering set to a packed crowd on a skate ramp.
On this release, Jackie’s creativity remains unbridled, and “Rumshpringa” comes from left-field with a heavy Jonathan Richman/Modern-Lovers Massachusetts breezy jangler! A kind of swagerring classic rock jam with an electronic drumkit, and absurd lyrics. A true Picasso of our modern times!
The new Sneaks is amazing. Totally moved away from minimal post-punk, and got into subtle, melodic, hip-hop hooks. For fans of M.I.A., Missy Elliot, Santogold. That whispery voice with thumping bass! Play loud!
Chicago Basement Punk, reminds me of Desperate Bicycles, that early UK DIY, don’t-give-a-fuck bellowing out attitude, early Mark E. Smith. Thumpy bass-playing by Angelica (pictured)
From the album Possession Sessions on Feeding Tube Records
The Staches is the millenials’ true punk band. Their haptic laissez-faire and concentrated grooves reflect the evolving consciousness of the new generation discontented workers. The lingering feeling of adolescence well into adulthood permeates their playful and loose sound, leaning close to basic hip-hop and funk than post-punk new-wave.
But the real center is Lise Sutter’s honest vocals. The French accent she uses to deliver diatribes on modern malaise recalls 90’s spoken word (Yarah Bravo, What What and Herbaliser).
Staches is phenomenal, a war cry against melody-happy inexperienced Shangri-la worship hipster suburbanites. It has the propelling explosive sound of Nots with the DIY pop lightness of bubblegum pop, but picked up off the curb.
Memphis mainstay buzzards chipping away at the history of unhinged rock n’ roll. Once dubbed, Memphis’ Television, these high-energy players features members of Ex-Cult and Nots. The style is pure 1977, Flesheaters, Stooges, Gun Club, but the consciousness is modern, deadpan, and dead-on. Full-length coming soon on Upset The Rhythm.
The Submissives have been concocting perfectly wobbly pop tunes since 2015. Infectious and intriguing, these weirdly strange nuggets of heartbroken love ballads are as addictive and enticing as candy and red licorice at drive-ins. Except that, The Submissives’ take on bubblegum pop actually breaks through the illusory depth of romance. Sweet melodies suddenly turn dissonant, guitar-picking solos burst loud into the mix, and declarations of love become mantras of grief and woe. Put together, their consistent output gives a realistic picture of the ups, downs, and sideway sways of modern love.
Their third release, “Pining for a Boy”, comes with a brand new video.
The Submissives perform live in Montreal, on June 8th, at Casa Del Popolo, come get entranced!