Review: Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death – Helpless

Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2006 Spencer Moody (Murder City Devils) and Corey Brewer (Bright Shiny Objects) toss out the verse-chorus-verse formulas and craft a lo-fi disc of mumbled musical moments in the image of early Bill Callahan and, to a lesser degree, Pavement. Refrains wobble along, somber pianos give way to sluggish samples…

Review: STNNNG – Dignified Sissy

Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2006 The aptly named frontman Chris Besinger unfurls the D.C.-punk narrative bark that serves as the backbone of Dignified Sissy but each member of the tightly wound Twin Cities quintet seems more than willing to contribute to their debut full-length’s venomous bite. Over the course of14 too-short songs, the…

Review: The New Thrill Parade – S/T

The cover art to the latest from this Santa Cruz six-piece may scream Raymond Pettibon, but the five songs therein likely will remind you more of Big Boys and early Scratch Acid. It takes a few verses to get used to Amitai’s trebly, bizarre yelp of a delivery but the forebears he sometimes channels –…

Review: Lichens – The Psychic Nature of Being

A three-song set of haunted acoustic skeletons and dreamy, mid-fi synth-drones from Robert Lowe of 90 Day Men and Touch and Go critical darlings TV On The Radio. Lowe’s spare guitar patterns can feel Faheyesque but the record’s most captivating and engrossing moments belong to its pulsing Minimalist landscapes and vaguely menacing collection of found…

Review: Hiker/Biker – “Politics and Fucking”

This lo-fi collision of acoustic musings and vague political treatises unfolds in true home-recorded fashion: songs ebb and flow through genres and source qualities while sentiment is the glue. “100 Million” and “La Paz,” which posits peace is impossible without equality, transcend some of the limitations of the Tascam recorder. The noisy instrumental “Respect No…

Review: The Hat Party – “Agents and Thieves”

Here’s the headline, boss: Madison, WI band cuts debut, mimics Archers of Loaf. Well, that’s at least part of the story. Much of this quartet’s 10-song freshman outing feels like lost Archer outtakes circa All The Nations Airports and even the exceptions to that rule sound familiar: the angular Rodan-isms of “Paramedic,” the way “Overexposure”…

Review: Devillock – These Graves

  Musique concrete? Perhaps, but the program hardly reveals an underbelly of intentions. Ominous static, electronic moans and distant whirring flirt with guitar feedback on two 14-minute found-soundscapes while the record’s two remaining tracks present spare, almost elegiac organ pulsing and half-interrupted silences. Like Jim O’Rourke’s epic “Cede,” but without the vision or initiation. – Punk…

Review: Broken Spindles – Inside/Absent

Haunted-house piano lines pulse through much of Joel Peterson’s third Broken Spindles disc, but it’s the electro-assisted pseudo-balladry that this short, 10-song outing tries to staple to your memory. Sometimes it succeeds. Sometimes it doesn’t. “Birthday,” with all its looped dance floor insinuations, can be engaging, while the clunky synths of “Please Don’t Remember This”…

Review: Boduf Songs – S/T

The English singer-songwriter Mat Sweet uses an enigmatic pseudonym to craft enigmatic acoustic gems on this nine-song outing, whose deceptively spare arrangements fall somewhere between Dean Roberts and The Doctor Came At Dawn. Sweet spends much of the record singing in a breathy whisper about pitch-black rainbows, sunsets and the feeling of skin on skin…