Friday, December 16, 2005

\m/ Early Man \m/

So as of late Early Man has been in heavy fucking rotation. And I do mean heavy. This record is a late comer into my top 10 list for 2005. The story goes like this: these 2 guys were raised in the Pentecostal faith and had no knowledge of secular pop culture until the age of 19, when they discovered rock and roll. After being ostracized by their families they move to New York and start a band. Could be a bullshit story to fuel the hype machine, but at least it's a killer story. More compelling than a drum and guitar duo claiming to be brother and sister but are ex-lovers. Anyway, this particular drum and guitar duo make a hell of a racket. Pulling from classic metal influences like early Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest, the fact that these guys had been allegedly shielded from pop culture may be their saving grace. I'll just be blunt and say that most popular (or mainstream or whatever you want to call it) heavy acts these days just fucking suck (although there are exceptions to the rule). (excuse the double parentheses in that last sentence by the way) Maybe whatever it is that these two weren't exposed to as kids kept them from having short black hair, multiple lip piercings, a black t-shirt with another shitty bands logo sloppily screen printed on it, and writing "metal" songs about heartbreak. Let's face it, Zappa was right, broken hearts ARE for assholes. There's no crying in metal. Early Man knows this. That's why they wrote "Death Is The Answer". It starts off with this slow, lumbering Sabbath riff and heavily reverbed Ozzy influenced vocals. It makes you want to forgive the "Prince of Darkness" for his "reality" show follies and that hag he married and the 2 brats he spawned. Then it moves into a faster paced middle section, with scorching twin leads before reprising with the aforementioned Sabbath intro. Overall it's just a solid, heavy record that can be played from start to finish without having to skip any weak tracks. Although you'll probably want to replay Death is the Answer a few times. Enough of me flapping my god damn gums about it, I like to carry on after a few drinks. Just listen to it Oh yeah, their full length was put out by Matador, who is also putting out the next Belle & Sebastian LP in February. AKA the polar opposite of what Early Man sounds like.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

another recruit for the medicated girls brigade

Hey Voltaire has a new band. Shut up, don't wrinkle your nose up like that. Called The Oddz, it sounds absolutely nothing like his main band. Instead of melancholy cello drenched dirges, this is happy indie pop-meets-new wave, yielding highly infectious results. The song that I've been listening to non-stop over the past couple days is "Medicated Girls Brigade". It almost reminds me of the Dead Milkmen, both for the clean, jangly guitar tone and the liberal dose of dark humor thrown into the the lyrics . (and listen to the chord changes, is that a brighter, slowed down "Skulls" by The Misfits??) Lyrics wise, it's a lighthearted, whimsical protest paean against pharmaceutical corporations and their doctors/pushers. He beseeches his beloved to not take her mind altering medications " i love your eyes and their far off gleam / i love your smile crooked as it seems / i love the way that you see the world / and i just cant see why they would want / to make you just like every other girl", employing the Warren Zevon "I'd rather feel fucked up than feel nothing at all" school of thought. And be sure to listen to "1 Semester Lesbian", about a girl going off to school and experimenting with alternative lifestyles after seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show. You don't have to take my word for it, because ultimately I'm just a dude sitting in front of my computer in my underwear on a Sunday afternoon feeling groggy from the NyQuil I drank last night to knock out my cold. go to and listen to it firsthand.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

more weird fucking belgians - Silvester Anfang

as (not) published in the Dec. issue of the Ann Arbor paper (i wrote it for them but they did not publish it. no one got reviews published this month, just the top 10 list of the year from all of us "journalist" scum)

Right now there’s a little-known, mostly improvisational noise/folk/drone collective called Funeral Folk in Belgium that is the best export besides their drunkenness-is-next-to-godliness beer. (That’s not meant to be sacrilegious, their beers are brewed by monks in abbeys for Christ’s sake. Literally.) These artists are heavily influenced by the aforementioned ales, and also have a great sense of humor about them. Many of the band names are references to Scandinavian black metal (Chainsaw Gutsfuck and Silvester Anfang are both names of Mayhem songs) but instead of blast-beat drumming and abrasive, shredding guitar riffs they are cranking out experimental lo-fi recordings made with acoustic guitars, didgeridoos, melodicas, bells, keyboards, toy pianos, alarm clocks, televisions, and basically anything else that can make a noise. Silvester Anfang’s “Raping The Goat” CD-R is their American debut on Digitalis Recordings. The cover art takes the piss out of satanic imagery found on black metal records, inverted hot pink crosses and “100% Evil” scrawled across the back in hot pink letters. Doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of non-believers. It is two tracks of airy, meandering improvisation that stretch nearly 40 minutes in length. If you’re a patient listener you will love this CD. The opening track “Raping The Goat” begins with an extended ambient intro which finally falls into a marching drum beat and more structured guitar chord progression, punctuated by random blasts of horns. “Ripping The Rectum” sounds a bit like a less psychotic Sunburned Hand Of The Man song, with its click-click-click percussion sounds and guitar and horn interplay. All in all it basically sounds like those impromptu jam sessions you have in the basement of a friend’s house who has a lot of random instruments laying around and you’ve been drinking into the wee hours of the night. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Visit to hear some soundclips. This particular release is available at in a limited edition run of 100