The Feeling of Love – Petite tu es un Hit LP

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Label: Yakisakana Records (I cannot find an actual working website for this label)
Listen: Myspace
Buy: Goner

Five things I’ve learned about Metz, France’s The Feeling of Love in the past 30 minutes:

1. The G referred to on the back cover of Petite tu es un Hit is one Guillaume Guitare.
2. Guillaume is also a member of A.H. Kraken.
3. Guillaume started The Feeling of Love in 2005 as a one-man band.
4. While French underground rock hero Seb Normal joins Guillaume on the majority of the tracks on Petite tu es un Hit, the current lineup is Guillaume and two other guys, both named Sebastian.
5. Guillaume Guitare is on welfare.

(Credit goes to the most recent entry on the band’s Myspace blog featuring a Groupie Mag article scan for learning me on the above. I’ll flat out admit right now that the article probably does a better job selling the band and their record than I do.)

As mentioned earlier on here, The Feeling of Love has a Pussy Galore/JSBX-inspired take on rock’n’roll. However, unlike, say, the Coachwhips, The Feeling of Love takes more from the side of PG/JSBX that knew how to write a good song (“PUSSY GALORE WRITES SONGS???”) than the side of them that knew how to make the noisiest racket out of what they had in order to alienate. You might be asking where the Pussy Galore is in The Feeling of Love’s sound then because, wasn’t PG’s ability to make a whole lot of noise a large part of their appeal?

The thing is, you know it, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has not aged well AT ALL. Especially the later stuff.

That being said, The Feeling of Love rests comfortably between the two bands, emphasizing a part of Pussy Galore that is not talked about much (at least not that I’ve witnessed) while stripping away JSBX’s penchant to overdo the blues until it becomes ultra-cheeze. All this talk of Jon Spencer projects makes The Feeling of Love sound pretty damn uninspired but rest assured, Guillaume adds some of his own unique French flavor to Petite tu es un Hit, whether it’s the crusty-sounding keyboard that pops up from time to time or the dark lyrical territory covered on tracks like “The Rapeman”. This is a record that admittedly sounds like the tried and true on an initial listen but reveals its uniqueness, how strange it all really is, on repeat.

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Crappy Dracula

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Crappy Dracula / Sonorous Gale Split 7″
Crappy Dracula
a: Round ’em Up
a2: The Butcher (Leonard Cohen Cover?)

Sonorous Gale
b: Dogmatic Equations

Crappy Dracula S/T 7″
a1: What’s Gonna Happen To Us
a2: Man of Effort
b1: Pledge Drive
b2: Samba, Samba, Samba

Label: Eeefin Records
Listen: Myspace
Purchase: From the Band

I’ve listened to the Crappy Dracula Myspace from time to time, loving their cover of Guided By Voices “A Good Flying Machine” that they get just right. I feel like if I lived in Milwaukee, I would be friends with these guys. I’m drawn in. Yet, like any time you are friends with dudes who are in a band, you are probably more forgiving of their weak spots, enjoy terrible sets, put up with an endless barrage of home recordings, demos and the like. Then, at some point, they start actually getting good, and you are like “I was there from the start”.

Which is exactly how I feel about Crappy Dracula – the progression from their first 7″, to their split with Sonorous Gale and the new stuff on Myspace right now, you see a band starting to really live up to their potential. Where I really like their first 7″, like the second one even more, and love the newer tracks online are even better. Easy comparisons to Dead Milkmen, calling them “funsters” (ugh) or the like all kind of miss the point here – sure they have “fun” lyrics, but to focus on the lyrics is to miss out on the bigger picture.

Coming back to Guided by Voices for a minute – one of my favourite bands of all time. “Propeller”, “Bee Thousand”, “Alien Lanes”, “Under the Bushes, Under the Stars” – to me this is as good as it gets. Five albums in a row of pure, unadultarated brilliance. Yet, it isn’t as if they started with “Propeller” – there are four albums and a handful of EP’s that came before that, while containing some good songs, are more or less questionable in quality. It took GBV a really long time to get where they needed to be.

I see Crappy Dracula in the same vein – you can listen to these songs, and hear the potential. I like this a great deal now, but I am even more excited to see where they are going.

Ooga Boogas – Romance and Adventure LP

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Label: Aarght! Records
Buy: Florida’s Dying/Bistro Distro
Listen: Myspace

Out of the 30+ bands that played at Gonerfest 5 this year in Memphis, I had heard roughly half of them prior to seeing them live. Of course, there were bound to be surprises – bands I hadn’t heard of before that would blow my lid (and eardrums) straight off. One of these bands was Melbourne, Australia’s Ooga Boogas. With members cobbled together from other Melbourne bands such as The Sailors, Onyas, and the slightly overhyped Eddy Current Suppression Ring (these guys are much better), this is what we might call an underground rock superband (does such a thing exist?).

While their live show is a lot louder and more pointed, the Ooga Boogas’ Romance and Adventure LP shows more diversity in their sound than their live show did at the time – perhaps I was too caught up in the moment to notice these things. While their vocalist sounds like Lou Reed, they can boogie on tracks such as “Fannie Mae” and “Ooga Boogie”. In other places, they ape The Fall in the best way possible (“On Safari”) and on other tracks such as “Neon Sunset”, they strike a balance between the familiar and the off-kilter.

Did I mention the packaging is exquisite (ATTN: PEOPLE LIKE PAUL)? Gatefold packaging is getting rarer these days but even moreso with single-LP records such as Romance and Adventure. Ooga Boogas buck the trend and give us gatefold packaging with some interesting cover/back art courtesy of Per Bystrom, and top it all off with a photo of the band inside the gatefold, handsomeness and all. One last thing, this record was apparently pressed in an edition of 500 so it is already out of print. The distros listed above still have it in-stock apparently so pick it up ASAP.

Sonic Chicken 4 – Toe Man / Midnight Girl 7″

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A: Toe Man
B: Midnight Girl
Label: Robs House Records
Listen: Myspace
Buy: Out of Print (Available at Rocket Reducer)

The consensus on this 7″ on the latest offering from Perpignan, France’s Sonic Chicken 4 is that, while an ejoyable listen, it just doesn’t live up to their debut LP that came out on In The Red last year. That is mostly right, though I think Midnight Girl holds up with some of their best songs – garage pop done right – rambling down the street before briefly wandering down a sketchy back alley, before getting on the right track again. “Toe Man” is pleasant enough, though doesn’t take on much of a risk. “Pleasant enough” is hardly a great endorsement, but if you like Sonic Chicken 4, or better-than-average garage, this is a worthwhile addition to your collection.

Forget all of that, you want this record for its sleeve, one of my favourites of the year. Sure, you collect records for the music, for the vinyl experience, etc. etc. But if you are anything like me, you buy records that have awesome sleeves. Anybody know the artist?

The Goodnight Loving – S/T LP

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Label: Dusty Medical Records
Buy: Rocket Reducer
Listen: Myspace

How much time should I let pass between a record’s release date and the date of a blog entry before it becomes an “LP released earlier this year that you may have missed”? When is it early enough? Three months? Four months? Six months? The Billy Bao record I last wrote about was released in February so it definitely qualifies, at least in my mind. The latest entry in the series is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s The Goodnight Loving and their self-titled album. Released on September 30th, it’s less than two months old so I think I’m just writing about a new record here. Regardless, this is great music we’re talking about here so I’m not going to stop.

The Goodnight Loving is said band’s third album, following their 2006 debut, Cemetery Trails, and 2007’s Crooked Lake (all three on Dusty Medical). The new self-titled LP is louder and more polished than their first two full-lengths. Those that know my tastes at least somewhat might assume that I would be against this direction based on my inclinations towards the lo-fi but they would be wrong. For the amount of musical ground they cover in one record, The Goodnight Loving are an incredibly tight band and they fully deserve the kind of production that is on their new LP.

More than most records I’ve listened to this year, The Goodnight Loving demonstrates just how much sensible genre-hopping a band can do under the pop umbrella. From the psychedelic-sounding stomper “Take You Home” (I swear I hear an organ in there) to the hazy country-inspired number “Colin Attends a Party”, to the perfect pop hook on “We’re in a Place”, The Goodnight Loving’s third LP sees the band shifting styles more seamlessly than ever. All this while sounding more cohesive than most bands who don’t even cover half the territory they do.

John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death – ’Stain Stick Skin’ 7″

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A:Stain Stick Skin
B:Ballad of Bandit X
Label/Buy: Fat Possum
Listen: Myspace

John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death is one guy, John Barrett coming from the musical hotbed of Oxford, Miss (also home to Color Revolt). Both of these songs are in Black Lips wing of modern garage rock – retro blues rock with the faint whif of modern production. “Stiain Stick Skin” is the stomper, while “Ballad of Bandit X” is the slow burn, nasty lead guitar over acoustic guitar strumming and bass drum/tamborine back beat. “Ballad of Bandit X” is the highlight for me, a song that has managed to work its way under my skin.  We’re not foraging any new territory here, but that isn’t always the point, is it?

Billy Bao – Dialectics Of Shit LP

Hey everyone, Kallen here with my inaugural post on SevenTenTwelve. Paul invited me to help him out on here and, well, how could I refuse? He’s a busy man, getting his Ph.D, being a musician…me? Nothing. I’m still a goddamn undergrad here after four years. But, anyhoo…

My first few round of posts will be about LPs released this year that you may have missed. Maybe you’ve noticed it too, but flipping through the posts Paul’s made, he hasn’t really made much use of the TWELVE part of SevenTenTwelve (the only ones I remember reading are his posts on Cheveu and the Hospitals – P.S. Paul, on your description of the former, because you didn’t mention it, the lyrics of the track “Happiness” is dialog from the movie of the same name). I mean, I love 7-inches and quick listens as much as everyone else but you and I know that plenty of great full-length LPs have come out this year as well.

With that in mind…

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Label: Parts Unknown Records
Buy: Parts Unknown Records
Listen: Sarcastic Sunrise (full album link but he links to here from his own site anyway)

I’ve gotta say, for the past few years, I’ve shied away from music with heavy political content. Why, you ask? Hey, not like I want my music to deny what is going on in the world, but most of the aforementioned either came off being trite, just plain stupid, or from musicians who are probably too privileged to “smash it up”. However, one record I’m glad I didn’t ignore is Billy Bao‘s Dialectics Of Shit.

What is known about Billy Bao? He was born and raised in Lagos before relocating to a newly-democratized Bilbao, where the man supposedly discovered punk rock. His band includes Alberto Lopez, Xabier Erkizia, and, most notably, experimental guitarist Mattin. In fact, there are rumors that Billy Bao is Mattin himself.

Whether Bao is a real person or made up by Mattin, there is an undeniably real streak of anger running through this very heavy monster of a record. Whereas lyrics on past records such as his Fuck Separation 10-inch on S-S had more explicitly political lyrics, this record shows Bao spouting barely intelligible, misanthropic lyrics such as “I am a mirror/every day I have to take a look at all those disgusted faces” on the track “I am a Mirror/Putrefied Egos”.

The politics come in through Bao’s approach to form. Like Fuck Separation, which had Bao on a single track across two sides of vinyl, Dialectics Of Shit is another record which takes form as seriously as content. Comprised of ten tracks each exactly three minutes long, the music on this record is thoroughly mangled. Whether it is the fucked up splicing on “Tight Ass Bleeds”, the skipping second half of “You Get Me, You Get The Kicks!” (a track which opens the B-side, it’s actually just a deformed version of the album opening track “I am Billy Bao, Right Here Right Now!”), or the left-right channel jumping on “Putrefied Egos/Broken Mirror”, there is a definite sense that this is music meant to provoke, or even disgust, the listener.

Even if you disregard the politics that run through the record’s context and form, this is simply one of the heaviest sounding records of the year (gotta love when the bottom end kicks in on “I am Billy Bao”). I hate to rehash the same reference points as everyone else who has touched upon this record, but the Brainbombs comparison is undeniable. Take those lovable Swedes, take away most of their sex drive, and add a small pinch of Whitehouse‘s noise fuckery and pure hate. That is Billy Bao’s Dialectics Of Shit.