Wooden Shjips – Vampire Blues 7″

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a: Vampire Blues (NEIL YOUNG!!!)
b: I Hear the Vibrations

Label: Sick Thurst
Listen: Myspace
Buy: From the UK

Wooden Shjips just put out another instant rarity/sellout in the form of this tour only 7″ available (to my knowledge) only through a few UK distros and webstores (though I got mine from S-S, so look around for a US distributer). I jumped on this because Wooden Shjips cover one of my favourite Neil Young songs from my favourite Neil Young album (On the Beach – pure brilliance there), though this cover doesn’t really do much for me. B Side “I Hear the Vibrations” sounds exactly like Wooden Shjips – a stoner rock album that has hit a lock groove and then some dude Jim Morrison’s out over the song (with as much reverb/echo on the vocals as is possible). Not really my thing, though I do like a few of their songs, it all seems pretty boring/samey to me.

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.

Rijapov Records Roundup!

Coming all the way from Italy, Rijapov Records have been releasing some of the best garage records I have heard in 2008. With shipping so high these days, check around for North American distros, who have been carrying these records more or less sporadically.


Vermillion Sands – Mary 7″
a: Mary
b1: Wake Me When I Die
b2: Would You Kindly Direct Me To Hell

The Vermillian Sands 7″ has been a favourite around 7/10/12 HQ for the last few weeks, and I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to articulate what I like about it, other than the fact that it sounds exactly like the kind of record I like, and exactly the kind of record that you might like as well. Both of the songs on the b-side make me salivate over the kind of alternate-universe, “what-if” scenerio of country music taking the path of stripped down garage shakers instead of the slick, pandering road it took. The A-Side “Mary” is easily one of my favourite songs of the year, a song that is so palatable and fun that I can’t help but leave it on repeat.  Like this to the point that I went through the effort to do my own vinyl rip. Essential 7″ here, and I predict it being on a bunch of year end “best-of 2008” lists.


The Pumpers – Don’t Hafta Go 7″
a: Don’t Hafta Go
a2: On the Record
b: No Right
Just as I am getting psyched on the new Wax Museums LP, this 7″ finds its way to me and puts me into full WM fanboy mode. See, the Pumpers, which I didn’t realize until recently (you can’t know everything about everything as my grandfather always used to say), feature some Wax Museums members doing more straight-forward lo-fi garage punk stompers, and the quality of the songs are at least on par with the best Wax Museums songs. This has been out since March or something, but you can still find this around, so do what you can to get and love this.

The Feeling of Love / Movie Star Junkies Split 10″

The last thing I want to hear is someone playing the blues. That’s just all there is to it. But The Feeling of Love keep things interesting, and his songs are more JSBX than “the blues” – its blues on attack mode. I’ve almost rounded up all of The Feeling of Love releases thus far, and though I think I don’t love everything, this side of the split 10″ is among his best – you get a little bit of the experimental/noise stuff with some of his more classic slide/blues stuff that will remind you of Pussy Galore or John Spencer. The Movie Star Junkies are not too far removed from The Feeling of Love – and I am always compelle to listen to the MSJ side after I listen to the FOL side, which isn’t always the case with splits, as you know. This is the next band I’m planning to to a search and recovery of, for what that is worth.


Alderman Swindell – Loved Me Back 7″
a: Loved Me Back
b1: Restraining Order
b2: She Don’t Mind

Londoner Alderman Swindell has a sweet innocence to his songs, which evoke every movie about high-schoolers in the 1950’s that were made in the 1980’s. You know the scene in those movies where all the teenagers are in the gym doing “the swim” and “the twist”, and everything seems so “in place”? That is this 7″, filled with nice singing, simple melodies and that “everything in its right place” quality. Instantly likable.

Mega Update #1

Figured it was time to put some of these up. Leaving on a West-Coast/Alberta tour on Friday w/ The Wicked Awesomes, which should be awesome. If you live in any of these cities, come say hi!

Wicked Awesomes / Endangered Ape Tour
22 Aug 2008 Edmonton @Wunderbar
23 Aug 2008 Kelowna @ The Habitat
24 Aug 2008 Vancouver @ Hokos w/ The Bloggers
25 Aug 2008 Bellingham, WA @ w/ Octogon Control (cancelled)
27 Aug 2008 Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse W/ The Femurs
28 Aug 2008 Portland, OR @ Twilight Bar And Cafe W/ Scaphists
29 Aug 2008 Lethbridge, AB @ The Slice W/ Planet Telex
30 Aug 2008 Calgary, AB @ Palamino

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Black Orphan – “Circuts” 7”
a1: XX Spectrum
a2: Singularity
b1: Online
b2: Circuts

Label: UFO Dictator
Listen: Myspace

Black Orphan play in the same vein as Blank Dogs – lofi, minimalist synth punk, with perhaps a bit more grit. This is the first of two singles coming out this Summer (Hozac has another one in the mail as we speak!). Sounds like it could be a one-man band, and I want to imagine this being in a room that also houses the occasional dungeons and dragons game and perhaps a poster of the Star Ship Enterprise – in that it maybe wants to come of darker than it is, but instead plays kind of nerdy (techno-geek nerdy), and which I am totally fine with. The guitars and the outdated synths play well with the distorted vox. Highly recommended. Limited to 400 – almost all gone.

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The Hibachi Stranglers – “Parasol Parade” 7”
a: Livin’ the Nite Lite
b1: Rocket to the Crotch
b2: Azalea Trail Bait

Label: Jeth-Row Records
Listen: Myspace

“Parasol Parade” is the second 45 from the Angry Samoans-esq Hibachi Stranglers, and this has been getting a tonne of play as of late. Livin’ the Nite Lite sounds like it would be the perfect outro to some exploitation-teen-slasher movie, with its guitar-soloing and far-away sounding gang vocals. I keep playing it hoping that whatever it reminds me of will come to mind, but for whatever reason I can’t quite place it. Either way, this is really fun (in the getting wasted and finding a rumble kind of way).

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The Anals – “Commando of Love” 7”
A: Commando of Love
B: Wake Up, You’re Dead

Label: Sweet Rot
Listen: Myspace

I’ve had The Anals 7” now for a couple of months, and I think it might be love. I keep saying to myself that this is the top of “the list” (you know), and I think the fact that it has never been filed with my other records speaks to this.

“Commando of Love” is pretty simple – primitive drums, repeating synth line, some feedback, some french guy yelling about something. All of this is pretty effective, in that it manages to build into a really menacing mood piece. “Wake Up, You’re Dead” follows the same path, with a NES-styled synth bass, and a wall of squelching feedback. All in all, I am digging this because of how listenable these songs are. On top of that is one of the best 7″ sleeve I have seen this year. An all around package.

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A1: Cannot Calm Down
A2: Same Mistakes
B1: Slip Away
B2: Superstitious Minds
B3: Dead to the Discourse

Label: Going Gaga Records
Listen: Myspace

This past June was the second annual Sled Island Festival in Calgary, Alberta, which was more or less awesome (Fucked Up! BBQ! Deerhunter!). On the last day of the festival, I skipped watching Wire and Mogwai to see Calgary’s The Cryptomaniacs play their last show in a hot dog joint. If you recall, I lost my mind over The Cryptomaniacs 7” last fall, and I stand by my statement that it is one of the best records to come out of the Calgary scene. So good.

Sedatives features Ian from Cryptomaniacs (now relocated to Ottawa), and if this 7” is any indication, picks up from where the Cryptos left us – organ fueled garage-pop with irresistible hooks. “Cannot Calm Down” is the highlight for me, a song I’ve easily listened to a dozen times since I got this. I also really dig “Superstitious Minds”, which reminds me of The Descendants if they were a garage band and had an organ player. Did I mention the organ? It is all over this record, and adds a nice texture. Limited to 300, and is a must have.

Jay Reatard/Deerhunter Split 7″ Preorder

a: Jay Reatard – Florescent Grey (Deerhunter cover)
b: Deerhunter – Oh, It’s Such a Shame (Reatard cover)

So, if you are obsessive as me, you just spent the last 20+ minutes trying to pre-order the fourth single from Matador’s ever decreasing Jay Reatard singles-sweepstakes. The masses were waiting at the gate to grab one of these after the last single sold out almost immediately (and if you pay any attention to eBay, most of them went up for auction), hammering Matadors checkout cart, and generally pissing everyone off in the process. I got one (or so I think – who knows how many orders were processed before me), but this whole process makes me feel dirty. Think Cabbage Patch kids in the 1980’s; think sports cards in the early 1990’s; think Beanie Babies at McDonalds…

UPDATE: This is from Matador:

To Everyone That Ordered Today,
To start off with, we are deeply sorry about how messed up everything got with the Jay Reatard pre-order. There were a number of frustrations and mess-ups along the way that made ordering this record insanely difficult. It initially got put up too early, and those that ordered it early ended up not being able to re-order during the regular time. The first orders were deleted, but their cancellation wasn’t processed in time. Coupled with the slow server speed, a lot of people who signed in very early ended up empty handed.

To make up for this, and make it fair for all of the people that want to order the record we are going to re-start pre-order Tomorrow, 7/15 at 3PM ET. All orders from today are getting cancelled. I know it’s even more annoying to go through all of this again but we will work incredibly hard to ensure that there is more room on the server to accommodate traffic, and make sure that we don’t have any more “FRAUD” notifications for people that already ordered.

Once again, we’re going to do pre-order again Tomorrow, 7/15, at 3PM ET at matadorrecords.com/store

I’m very sorry about this and sincerely hope that we can regain your trust.

So fucking stupid.

Update: Looks like Matador is doing the right thing here:

As many of you are aware, the preorder process for Jay Reatard 7″ #4 turned into a nightmare for you and for us. First, on Monday, the preorder accidentally went live at 1:30 PM, 90 minutes earlier than was announced. Early orders poured in, and since this seemed unfair to those who were waiting until 3:00 PM to order, we cancelled those orders and started the process again at 3. However, due to a rule at our credit-card processing company that we had never had reason to encounter before, anyone who ordered for a second time on the same card got a duplicate/fraud message, and were not allowed to complete the order. In addition, the rush of orders at 3 was so intense that the server slowed down to a crawl, and many people were not able to complete their orders at all.
In light of all this we decided to redo the order at 3 PM on Tuesday. We cancelled all orders for a second time, got with our credit card processing company to shorten the timeout period for duplicate orders, and got with our ISP to prepare for an onslaught of traffic at 3.
However we were not prepared for the amount of traffic we did get yesterday – over 10,000 unique visitors at 3 PM, and the server once again slowed to a crawl or worse, leaving many people out in the cold, disgusted, and fed up with Matador – understandably. (For comparison’s sake, the entire Matador website usually gets 8,000 unique visitors per day.) We’re still not clear whether the publicity resulting from the previous two preorders led to the increase in visitors, or whether this was some kind of denial of service attack from a disgruntled customer.
In any event, we have collated orders from everyone who ordered successfully the first OR second time with those who ordered successfully the third time, and we are filling orders for everyone who got a successful order confirmation from us, whether it was cancelled or not.
We’d like to offer apologies for all the drama and hassle, but we’ve been apologizing non-stop and that’s not what you guys want – you want an efficient order process, and that’s what we pledge to offer in the future. It’s going to be even harder to buy singles #5 and #6 – that’s the whole point of this exercise after all – but it won’t be due to technical problems. We’ll have security, traffic, credit card processing and everything else sorted out and tested well in advance of the remaining 7″ preorders, and it will work the way it’s supposed to. I think that’s all we can say at this time.
Matador Records

Destroyer / Wye Oak Split 7″


a: Destroyer – Madame Butterfly
b: Wye Oak – Prodigy
Label: Merge Records
Buy: eBay
Listen: So Much Silence Blog

We all have our hangups, right? Those bands, artists and whatnot that we just can’t leave behind or live without. I have a couple, one being Destroyer (which should be painfully obvious to the punks reading this blog). For me, its all about his lyrics, which generally appeal to my elitist academic side with all the obscure literary references (when you get those, don’t you just feel like the smartest shit out there?). I dig the way that Dan fucks with people, making sure that everything he releases sounds different (the newest album is really confounding those who joined in with Rubies, simply because it isn’t Rubies II. When you read his list of influences, it is such a mixed bag that this makes perfect sense (from The Fall and Pere Ubu, to The Apartments), and I appreciate the innovation.

This split 7″ was free Record Store Day, and as these things work, none of the record stores I go to had them. Now the only way to get the single is from eBay, and thankfully because a lot of the record store owners did the same thing (“hey, instead of giving these away, I am just going to sell them on eBay!”), you can get it for around $5, which is fine.

The Destroyer side isn’t essential as far as his cataloge goes, but it is a pleasant enough “Trouble in Dreams” outtake, drawing from the same Syd Barrett style that you find all over that album. The Wye Oak side isn’t really my thing, with hushed folky guitars over some soulful female vocals. Nothing wrong with it, per say, there just isn’t really anything new here.

Joy Division – 7″ reissues (bootlegs?)


Transmission 7″
a: Transmission
b: Novelty

Factory Records Sampler 2×7″
a1: Digital – Joy Division
a2: Glass – Joy Division
b1: No Communication – The Durutti Column
b2: Thin Ice (Detail) – The Durutti Column
c1: Acne – John Dowie
c2: Idiot – John Dowie
c3: Hitler’s Liver – John Dowie
d1: Bader Meinhof – Cabaret Voltaire
d2: Sex In Secret – Cabaret Voltaire

I got this email the other day from the eBay seller that I bought my Sordide Sentimental 7″ reissue telling me that they had these in stock (both singles combined for $25+shipping). I am a little skeptical that they are bootlegs (for no other reason than the fact that I can’t find any other mention of them anywhere), though I will admit that these do look very nice. The Transmission 7″ comes in red vinyl, and the Factory 2×7 sampler being done up on “silver rice paper” and it comes with the same stickers that the original issue had. The eBay seller is apparently importing these from the UK, which should explain the price.

Of all the Joy Division standards, “Transmission” was one that I only came to appreciate later on in my twenties. When I used to rock Joy Division in my walkman as a lad, I always thought that compared to their other songs, “Transmission” was lyrically uncompelling (“DANCE DANCE DANCE TO THE RADIO!”). I finally “got it” when I was in California taking a tour of a relative’s bronze-sculpture foundry. I heard it come over the radio, set against these two dudes wearing hazmat suits (or something) standing over this molten-fire-pit-thingy, with “Transmission” blasting over them.

For Christmas this year, my lovely girlfriend got me that artsy/pricey Joy Division vinyl box set that Rhino put out last year. Comes in this beautiful cloth-covered box designed by Peter Saville (the original Factory records artist – she got me the Saville art book for my birthday last year as well). This thing is really expensive ($200?), I would hold off on rushing into this unless you can get a good deal on it. Inside the box is a copy of Closer, Unknown Pleasures and Still, but they come in “original art” (designed by Saville), which is essentially a plain white, black and grey cover (for each of the records respectively); none of the albums are labeled or have any writing on them, and there is no other information inside the box aside from a small piece of paper with a list of songs. When I opened it, I thought it was a mistake, and actually emailed Rhino that the “original” art was missing; they told me that it was “original” as in “new” and not original as in “the same”.