This playlist accompanies my reviews for BT 76, out now.
Half Japanese – “Said and Done”
The image of Jad Fair sneering these lyrics from behind his coke-bottle glasses has more punk angst than a room full of mohawks and leather jackets. Half Japanese need no introduction, and this song pretty much says it all. From Volume Two: 1987-1989 on Fire.
Kate Pierson – “Guitars and Microphones”
As the red-haired siren of The B-52s, Kate Pierson helped merge punk ethos with twisted John Waters kitsch. Surprisingly, she only just released her debut solo album, and, happily, it’s as fun and energetic as the music she’s known for. From Guitars and Microphones on Lazy Meadow/Kobalt.
Dengue Fever – “Rom Say Sok”
When I reviewed 2011’s Cannibal Courtship, I loved Dengue Fever’s ecstatic blend of Cambodian pop and psychedelic garage rock. Their new album is even better, incorporating elements of spy soundtracks and afrobeat. It’s also perfect summer music. From The Deepest Lake on Tuk Tuk.
The King Khan & BBQ Show – “Kiss My Sister’s Fist”
I’d all but given up on garage rock before I heard King Khan and BBQ in a Brooklyn bar. Their new album after a five year sabbatical is just as lo-fi, filthy and full of doo-wop as the rest of their excellent discography. From Bad News Boys on In the Red.
The Sonics – “Livin’ in Chaos”
The Sonics’ legendary status is further propagated by their ability to produce an album of new material that holds up to their music from forty-five years ago. Just…WOW! From This Is The Sonics on Revox.
White Noise Sound – “Red Light”
The 2010 eponymous debut by these fine psychedelic Welshmen was pretty stellar, but their new album is so drugged out and hazy, you’ll need rehab after listening to it. From Like a Pyramid of Fire on Rocket Girl.
Los Nivram – “Sombras”
I always want to hear underground music from other countries, so the chance to review a collection of ’60s garage rock from Spain was a no-brainer. What I didn’t expect, however, was how incredibly good it would be. Every single song is a classic, and, to think, it was all done under Francisco Franco’s iron fist. I particularly love the sexy strut of this song. From Algo Salvaje: Untamed 60s Beat and Garage Nuggets from Spain Vol. 1 on Munster.
Duke Garwood – “Snake Man”
Duke Garwood’s music evokes the dark mysticism of Delta blues and the folk of shadowy forests where spirits linger in the shade. This album blew me away. From Heavy Love on Heavenly.
Faust – “Gerubelt”
Faust are the bitter old German men who crop up every now and then to remind the kids that others came before them. Sometimes I think their new albums are better than their old ones. From jUSt on Bureau B.
Slim Bone Head Volt – “Super Beautiful”
While working on an Off-Broadway play, actor Vincent D’Onofrio texted stream-of-conscious ramblings to his friends in the cast and crew. The music supervisor/composer on the play, Dana Lyn, set them to music and Slim Bone Head Volt was born. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not D’Onofrio has a sense of humor, you need to hear this. From Slim Bone Head Volt, Vol. 1 on Buddhabug.
The Uppercut: Matthew Shipp Mat Walerian Duo – “Free Bop Statement Two”
Hearing Shipp’s piano dance with Walerian’s saxophone, as documented on these performances, is simply euphoric. This track recalls the smokey noir of old New York with a touch of Cecil Taylor mystery. ESP-Disk is still going strong, by the way. From Live at Okuden on ESP-Disk.
The Linus Pauling Quartet – “C Is for Cthulhu”
While I’ve been a fan of LP4’s music for several years now, their new seven-inch absolutely knocked me on the floor. Hands down, this is the stoner rock anthem of the year. If stoner/doom had a Top 40 list, this would be number one for months. I sincerely hope they continue on this path because they are so damn good at it. From the “C Is for Cthulhu”/”My Desire” 7” on Homeskool.
Black Rainbows – “Wolf Eyes” NOTE: The review I wrote for BT 75 was cut from the issue, so I’ll put it here:
Italy’s music scene has grown exponentially over the past decade, allowing for more fringe movements, from stoner to punk rock, to come forward. Rome’s Black Rainbows have been at it since 2007, and, on their fourth full-length, the trio continue their stoned, spacey bombardment of heavy rock’n’roll. Fuzzed-out guitars jettison fat Black Sabbath riffs out of the solar system propelled by a sonic rocket recalling Blue Cheer and Grand Funk Railroad. No Ozzie imitations here: these vocals conjure Hawkwind’s Dave Brock and Farflung’s Tommy Grenas with a tad bit of Helios Creed. Don your denim jacket, grow out that hair and get real far out for a parsec.
From Hawkdope on Heavy Psych Sounds.
Poison Idea – “I Never Heard of You”
While Poison Idea’s future remained uncertain in the years following the death of guitarist Tom “Pig Champion” Roberts in 2006, they’ve returned with an album that both honors and lives up to his memory. They haven’t slowed down or softened a bit, and that’s why they’re the best. From Confuse & Conquer on Southern Lord.
The Dwarves – “Kings of the World”
While I haven’t always agreed with the directions Blag Dahlia and his merry band of perverts have taken, I’ve always respected their desire to push the boundaries of punk rock. This song reminds me of 1997’s The Dwarves Are Young and Good Looking. From the “Gentleman Blag” 7”EP on Fat Wreck Chords.
Really Red – “Nico”
Really Red are my favorite Texas hardcore band. Their songs were solid, their message was clear without being preachy and they weren’t afraid to mingle post-punk into their sound. This Joy Division-ish eulogy for the counter-culture supermodel actually shows the beautiful side of punk rock. From Teaching You the Fear: The Complete Collection 1979-1985 on Alternative Tentacles.
Lead Belly – “Haul Away Joe”
Lead Belly gets the last word, as he influenced just about everybody on this list or somebody they listened to. Despite not having written this song, it’s one of his most forward-thinking outings. From The Smithsonian Folkways Collection on Smithsonian Folkways.