Downtown Boys

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“You’re worried I’ll treat you like you treat me.”

Hi Downtown Boys, welcome to my constant rotation. This album, Cost of Living, only came out in August, but I feel like I’ve been needing it for a long long time. It warrants a post of itself. So let’s talk about it…

I’m very new to Downtown Boys, I’d seen a few people posting about them, but honestly I think I first saw of this album via Sub Pop Records. Before anyone thinks anything untoward about Sub Pop being a big fat cat corporate company – shut up for a minute. Sub Pop are releasing great things (mostly) and I’m really happy for Downtown Boys taking the step towards being more distributed and getting more tours and for more people to hear their music, it’s really important. And this also means I get to see them TWICE in October!

Moving on! What am I hearing on this record? A whole lot of things that I wasn’t expecting to be honest. We have keys, we have sax slotted nicely in songs giving a groove and mellow backdrop to gang chants. This is political music made by people who know we need to hear it, I won’t list the topics that are sung about, but it’s shit that we all need to know about so please listen to the lyrics and get on board. Victoria Ruiz’ vocal delivery reminds me of the speak/shout style of Self Defence Family with the attitude of Bikini Kill and even musically reminiscent of SDF too. Although this is angry and reactive music, it has a delicacy to it, it’s not rammed with “sick riffs” and “tight drums”, it’s actually at some points verging on Pixies style sparseness with plenty space around the vocals for them to be heard.

What’s also great? UKs Drunken Sailor Records have just repressed Downtown Boys debut 7″ for their Euro tour next month. If you want it before you see them, it’s available at www.drunkensailorrecords.co.uk.

In the mean time all their releases are on Bandcamp and I’m going to spend the rest of today familiarising myself with them, as should you!

www.downtownboys.bandcamp.com

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Xylitol.

How does a person living in central Scotland get into a punk band from Olympia, Washington? So the chain of events goes…

My Danish babe friend who lives in Germany recommends me an Icelandic band called Daudyflin, I then seek out and buy any records of theirs I can. Then Daudyflin hook up with Xylitol from Olympia for a US tour and end up releasing a tour tape split together and I fall in love with Xylitol immediately on hearing their side of the split and then relentlessly listen to their ep …Is Toxic To Pigs?? and grin from ear to ear.

This ep is 10 minutes of hate on cops. Yeah ok it's not a new concept, but this is definitely played with wry smiles on their faces. These are also some of my most favourite vocals I've heard in a long time. Unashamedly female, seething but still sang with recognisable lyrics, making you want to sing along. I sure as hell want to snarl along to "no more justice, this is war, burn the precinct, loot the store".

I'm forever grateful for people sharing music and it warms my heart when people listen to something and think "I know someone who would love this" and pass it on. Keep doing this, it's such an important way of ensuring music is heard and enjoyed.

Also UK folks, if you know of any UK distros carrying this record please get in touch!

Get stuck in!

http://xylitolband.bandcamp.com/album/is-toxic-to-pigs

Impalers.

Hi all, just thought I'd post a short sharp update while I have some time this morning about Impalers, their new record and their general all round excellent existence.

I love d-beat, and the best shit just sounds like sped up Scandi Motörhead. Luckily- that pretty accurately describes Impalers, although a little more "jangly" (this is a v technical term) and they're from Texas. They're working it big time.

And with that in mind, I implore you to get over to Static Shock and order Cellar Dweller right now because it absolutely utterly rips the face off you, allowing you to sew it back on in a crust manner.

Over and out.

V

http://theimpalers.bandcamp.com/album/cellar-dweller-lp

http://staticshockrecords.limitedrun.com/products/597060-impalers-cellar-dweller-lp-pre-order

More exciting new shit…

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I’ve previously chatted about a lot of punk based music on here, but obviously that’s not all I’m about. I love me some metal, always have always will. Give me an HM2 pedal or give me death. Anyway…

Introducing the first effort from new Glasgow band Dark Habits, Cave Paintings ep. I snagged the cassette release of this the other week. The guys tell me none of them have a tape player to listen to it on, which is pretty hilarious but I’ve assured them it sounds up to scratch. And of course it does, Lewis (guitarist) runs Glassworks Studio in Glasgow, so the man knows his shit, but seriously, get a tape player, you’re missing out!

It actually sounds great, fucking great. I’m a total sucker for this shiiiiit. My eyes lit up from the opening riff immediately. This is savage and relentless and it’s… from Glasgow. I don’t mean that in a bad way but these guys sound like they’d be at home on AC//13 with bands like Young and in the Way or even slotted nicely into Southern Lords hardcore d-beat roster. These are easy comparisons but there’s a great track that’s separating them nicely from the “blackened hardcore” gang, Self-Exorcism. Slowed right down to a sludgy scrawling bass riff with a stripped back drum beat and some electronica thrown in, it’s almost industrial sounding but the vocals are sat nicely above it all and holy shit they are haunting.

I’ll be honest and say this is a fairly unexpected sound to come out of Glasgow right now, but there’s a wealth of incredible variety around the Central Belt, and these guys only add to it. From the dreamy sulk-core of Chump, to the break neck bratty hardcore of Sick of Talk and now the blast to d-beat riff fest of Dark Habits, who’s putting on the next mixed bill show?!

This is a really solid first release and I’m looking forward to seeing Dark Habits live and seeing what else they bring to the table. Has anyone been in touch with Southern Lord yet? That needs to happen. Can someone bring me some ice for my neck? I don’t headbang as much as I used to.

Download or buy the tape from their Bandcamp, it’s only 3 bloody quid!

https://darkhabits.bandcamp.com/album/cave-paintings

Demos for days


Nekra – Demo 2017

I heard this band a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been hooked since. Their demo tape has just been released via La Vida Es Un Mus and I shit you not this is some of the best hardcore I’ve heard from the uk in the longest time. Rough as toast in the absolute best possible way with scathing but still fun as hell vocals from Spooky (yeah her names is Spooky, I’m so happy about this) and riffs far and wide. Beautiful. Recorded by Jonah from Career Suicide/Fucked Up (I’m geeking out, so are you) so you’re with me, right? Women are punk, see you in the pit.

https://nekra.bandcamp.com/releases

Also, I can’t get enough of La Vida Es Us Mus releases aesthetic, basically I’m a sucker for that fucking yellow. Keep putting music out with that colour and you’ve got a guaranteed sale from me.

Ending the drought…

 

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It’s about time I posted something again I guess! Since I managed to turn my laptop on and remembered how to type (somewhat) I thought now was as good a time as ever.

I wanted to start off with a pretty heart felt review (of sorts) of one of my favourite bands new records: Chastity Belt – I Used to Spend so Much Time Alone. Chastity Belt are a band that mean a lot to me. They were one of those pivotal bands that helped change the overall direction of my musical tastes. That’s a pretty big claim for a band of four women from Seattle!

When a particular album shows up at a time when you most need it – you hold onto that record – probably forever. (This is why people have autobiographically organised record collections!). The record I’m referring to is Chastity Belts second album Time to Go Home, released in March 2015. It’s a dreamy, riot grrrl-ish, tongue in cheek Mid-West American indie delight. I listened to it to absolute death, and I still spin it a lot two years later. The bands new release is in a whole different but equally excellent zone.

I Used to Spend so Much Time Alone has a much darker and less humorous feel, leaning more towards a post-punk/shoegaze sound but brought back down to its roots with the great Julia Shapiros super laid back vocals. Opener “Different Now” has those beautiful, shimmery reverb driven guitar hooks then delves into a more solemn yet altogether more sincere “Used To Spend” later on with lyrics like feeling like a champ, but for how long? I used to spend so much time alone. 

This record is great, it’s easy to listen to but when reading more into Shapiros lyrics you get a different perspective on the band, this may be their “grown up” album, it’s dealing with issues of depression and loneliness and dealing with them very openly and honestly. It’s a different album for them but I honestly love it and I love them even more for it. Give it a listen and read along to the lyrics, you wont regret it.

Yet another time Chastity Belt have got my back.

Here’s the obligatory Bandcamp link to listen to/buy this beauty:

https://chastity-belt.bandcamp.com/album/i-used-to-spend-so-much-time-alone

 

 

Thank fuck for Bandcamp.

So yeah it’s been a while since my last post, life is busy and I am tired. Which is a nice lead on to the topic I am about to discuss…

I feel like I’ve hardly had time to listen to a lot of music lately, but one particular thing that I always seem to have time for are the HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF AWESOME RECORDS ON BANDCAMP.

I have a fifteen minute walk to work, which is some of the most precious time a person has in a working day – the commute. Say what you will about shitty commutes to work – choose the right music to listen to and you’re golden. Thankfully my walk is rather lovely and not stressful.

I fucking love 7″ records, there’s just something about them, they have this urgency and rawness that doesn’t always come across in a full length. Now I don’t have one of those fancy turntables with the USB shit to transfer that stuff to my phone, and my laptop barely turns on any more, so what’s my next best way of listening to raging bangers on the move? BANDCAMP HELLOOO! SO many good records at your fingertips with the added ease of being able to pay for the stuff there and then, or even buy a hard copy and still be able to stream it. Genius. (My bandcamp profile is just Vari McLaren if you wanna see what I’ve got!)

So, what have I been listening to? I’ll give you a little run down, not all of it is new but it’s all good.

Triage – Power Beat 7″, April 2016 – Really awesome power d-beat from Toronto. They’ve got a couple of releases up on Bandcamp, both awesome. This 7″ is relentless and I love where the vocals sit in the mix. Spot on.

Leather Daddy – s/t 7″, Feb 2015 – This isn’t new in the slightest, but I fucking love it. It’s got some great attitude and enormous punk groove to it. They’re from Boston need I say more? I don’t even know if they’re still a band any more! If any one knows please let me know!

Chump – Treat Me Mean, April 2016 – Chump are from Glasgow and I’ve seen them a couple of times now and I looooove them. A very different vein from the previous two releases above but still so interesting. They play a really lo-fi, deep, soothing indie which reminds me of Warpaint to an extent. The sound on this ep is so great too perfect for their style. Just buy it ok?

Sheer Mag – III, March 2016 – C’mon, you know Sheer Mag by now, right? This is the third 7″ from them and they are the epitome of the successful punk 7″. With each release I just love them more and more. I hear The Stooges and Thin Lizzy in them, and these are two bands who I ADORE. Honest and relevant lyrics with sweet fucking riffs and a recording style that some might hate, but I fucking love. It’s scratchy and lo-fi, but goddamn it works. Get all three of these records, you absolutely won’t regret it.

Ok I think I may have rambled enough for this evening. I hope I’ll post some more of these snippets over the next few weeks, but I won’t bore you with too many.

Buy records. Listen to records. Talk about records. It’s healthy, honest.

V.