Crappy Dracula

cd
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.

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.

Frog Eyes / Hello Blue Roses Split 7″

Frog Eyes:
Policy Merchant
Stockades

Hello Blue Roses:
Foam Hands
Wall of Death (Richard and Linda Thompson)

Purchase directly from Absolutely Kosher

My internet stardom came and went in seconds.

Last summer, my GF and I went to the Sled Island Festival in Calgary, Alberta Canada, and being Destroyer obsessives, went super early to get sweet seats at the Grace Presbyterian Church for the Destroyer and Chad VanGaalen show. Getting there super early meant that we ended up sitting in the front row, which was a real treat because Dan was in amazing form that night – sitting in a crowded church of people being absolutely reverent, it was a religious experience. One of the songs that Dan played for the (possibly first) time was “Foam Hands,” which we promptly uploaded to YouTube and told a few people about. Next thing you know, it is on Pitchfork and Stereogum… the Internet does its thing.

Like everyone else in the world who heard “Foam Hands,” I fell in love with that song. It re-confirmed everything I love about Dan Bejar’s songs – sharp, witty lyrics with obtuse pop-culture references (in this instance “Since U Been Gone”). When I heard, way the hell back in October, that Hello Blue Roses was doing a split with Frog Eyes, and would be doing a version of “Foam Hands” I freaked out. It was enough to get me to start doing this very blog.

And then I waited. And waited. I ordered this on October 17th and it just arrived today. This is the danger of pre-ordering vinyl – shit happens, but I have waited a long time for this record – 112 days to be exact. 112 days of anxious waiting.

So I get it, put it on the turntable and… I don’t know. The Hello Blue Roses side, the pairing of Dan and his SO Sydney Vermont, suffers from the same thing (for me) that the full length suffers, namely Sydney’s vocal affectations. I have heard a few of her songs where she loses it (look for a new album soon from her other band with Dan called Bonaparte where she brings the rock), and I think she has a great voice. Yet, when she is doing the HBR stuff she has this weird… drawl. I don’t know. I don’t like it. Yet, you cannot keep a good song down, and “Foam Hands” manages to overcome. Barely.  Thankfully, the Linda and Richard Thomson cover delivers, with Dan and Sydney trading off. It is sweet, and I do like it. A split decision.
I was just as excited for The Frog Eyes side, and they (thankfully) end up making this split an absolute must have. I always forget how much I love Frog Eyes. Every time that I put it on, I am always blown away. Their side of this split is fucking rad. Two re-workings of songs off last years radical Tears of the Valedictorian, they re-do these songs and do them justice. These songs seem like they could have been recorded in the 1950’s, or been featured on Twin Peaks or something. I can’t wait until they put out another album.

Can I make this way too long post even longer, and suggest that it is a fucking tragedy that Frog Eyes aren’t huge superstars. I know, I know, lots of people really hate the singing (or think they do), but I challenge anyone who claims to “hate” Carey Mercer’s singing to listen to these two songs to keep that position. Try “Policy Merchant.”ot

Bottom line: HBR side is kind of ok / Frog Eyes side is amazicon.

Bored Fortress 7″ Singles Club

I just saw over at Seven Inches (Everyday) that the Bored Fortress 7″ club is now available from Not Not Fun. If you are a Yank, it is gonna set you back $38 bones, or $50 if you are unfortunate enough to live elsewhere. Limited number of spots in the club, so don’t sleep on this. You get two split 7″ records every other month, starting in Feb, and ending in July. 

This year’s lineup looks pretty amazicon:

CHARALAMBIDES
SLITHER
VAMPIRE BELT
SKULLFLOWER
SHEPHERDS
INCA ORE
MAGIK MARKERS
SECRET ABUSE
POCAHAUNTED
AXOLOTL
THURSTON MOORE
IGNATZ

Slumberland Records – In Search of the New 7″ Series

Available from Midheaven  and Slumberland on January 21.

This looks promising – yet another seven inch series to spend your money on. This one isn’t exactly a club, but the label is planning is to release two limited-edition split 7″ singles every ten weeks or so, then compile every eight singles onto CDs to keep them available.   All singles will be pressed on color vinyl and packaged in special sleeves — full-color, letterpress, silkscreen or something else cool.

The first split single will be from  Roy Moller & The Company, (the Company being Gary Thom and Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian) and the Hermit Crabs  (a folk-pop band from Glasgow), and the second one will be “Spectorian pop of Bye! (featuring Archie Moore from Velocity Girl/Black Tambourine) with the suave pop stylings of The Happy Couple”

This actually sounds pretty great!

Manchester Orchestra / Annuals Split Tour Only 7″

a: Manchester Orchestra – Brother (Annuals cover) (Stream)

b: Annuals – Where Have You Been (Manchester Orchestra cover)

mo_brother_cover.jpg

Thanks to Jason at Seven Inches (Everyday) (if you like this blog, you will love his) –  I am still unclear where you can get this now that the tour has finished, it is absolutely essential that you obtain this via any means necessary (perhaps try their label – Canvasback music – who are also responsible for the absolutely essential Once soundtrack, my favourite 2007 movie).

Anyway, this is one of those deals where the bands cover each other. Manchester Orchestra’s cover of “Brother” is so good – not necessarily transcending the bombastic original (which remains a favourite to this day), but at the very least matching it in mood and arrangement (it goes for a rootsy vibe, and the only comparison I can give is Jason Collette’s cover of “Reunion” off that Stars remix album).  This is definitely the winner hear, and I am eager to hear more from Manchester Orchestra now that I have heard this. The Annuals cover of MO’s “Where Have You Been?” – which is perhaps less successful in comparison, but still ends up being perfectly listenable.

Pre / Aids Wolf – Live Dates Split 7″

Purchase from Skin Graft Records

This is a crazy release, and I am not sure what is going on here except that I am a sucker for nice packaging and a good story behind a release. Apparently, is 7″ was a Russian bootleg that was seized by Austrian customs officers. The label got permission from the bands to officially release this, and so they decided to release it with crazy packaging and extras. The bootleg label SINRAFT (ok, I just got what is going on here) hyped the release as:

HERE IS THIRD RELEASE OF ILLICIT RECORDINGS OF SINRAFT RECORDS. LIVE RECORDED ON LONDON FROM KOSTYA DROBIK. INCREDIBLE AROUSE GUARANTEES. DOUBLE SUPER LIVE RECORDINGS OF NO WAVE ROCK!!! BOTH GROUPS IN SKIN GRAFT RECORDS.

AIDS WOLF IS CRAZY BAND OF MONTREAL ON CANADA!!! (HEARING LIKE “ARAB IN RADAR”!) PRE IS MAD BAND OF LONDON ON THE GREAT BRITAIN!!! (HEARING LIKE “MELT-BANANA”!) TOGETHER IS TWICE INTENSITY!!!! BONUS IS IMPROBABLE RECORD SLEEVE CALENDAR OF PRE AND AIDS WOLF GIRLS AND BOYS NO SHIRTS IN FULL COLOURS!!!! IS SUPER SEXY 2!!!

For those of you who don’t know about AIDS Wolf, they play music that, if I’m being honest, scares me a little. It’s so crazy, so loud that I am afraid listening to it in my room will open up a portal to another dimension (or get me evicted, one or the other). The Russians describing Pre as sounding like Melt Bannana, I suppose that is about as accurate a description as you are ever going to get.

For $8, you get the 7″ which comes packaged in a 7″ x 7″ eight-page calendar sleeve with topless pictures of both bands in full-color, and mailorder copies also include a double sided PRE / AIDS Wolf poster and seizure sticker. Which is a pretty good deal if you ask me. Or, if you throw in another couple of bucks, they are going to send you the bootleg Strangulated Beatoffs 7″ as well. That’s what I did, so I’ll write about this again when it comes in the mail.