Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Booty from Sir Luke.

Always the world traveler, Lucas Lanthier often finds himself coming home from various appearances/ Cinema Strange tours/ Deadfly Ensemble with quite the booty amassed. On his more recent journeys, he came home with some trappings he passed on to me, knowing I'd probably enjoy them. He was right.

Exhibit 1: the culprit; Lucas Lanthier

Varsovie- Neuf Millimetres CD ep
The francophone trio Varsovie's five song EP, "Nef Millimetres" is a good example of some of the very, very competent post-punk coming out of central Europe nowadays. It boasts stoccatto rhythms, whose hooks are incredibly catchy in spite of their sharp repetitiveness. At the risk of giving a totally wrong impression, I will say that it's got similar rhythmic sensibilities as the first Strokes record, which, think what you will about the band, had some infectiously catchy songs. Though not nearly as apocalyptic-sound as Siekera, for example, there's quite an elegant darkness about them. It might very well be the french pop tradition speaking through them, which was able to negotiate its melody and its melancholy quite well.

the Opposite Sex CD ep
Now we cross the Atlantic for the Opposite Sex, from our nation's capital. In the first song's bass flange and wailing tenor vocals, they wear their influences on their sleeve (Southern Death Cult comes to mind quickly), but the performances is tight enough and the recording is crisp enough to make this quite enjoyable and impressive. By the third song, it becomes apparent that Opposite Sex are capable of developing their own sound; tight drum beats propelled by the bass, with ephemeral sounding guitars, and strong, deep vocals. I'm not familiar with any DC band that sounds like this; from Black Market Baby to the Faith to Rites of Spring and beyond... so it's quite nice to hear them, and see that some of the studio work (well, mastering at least) was done at Inner Ear. Sir Lanthier mentioned that, of all the bands he's played with recently, this is one of the one's that's impressed him most. I can see why.

Dr. Doomsday and his Nuclear Wisemen demo recordings CDR
Here's a band I know next to nothing about, but from the looks of this CD, it's a new sythiepunk band ("synthpunk," wie man's hier normalerweise nennt-- aber auf deutsch, d'rum eben anders geschrieben!). Raw recordings; mostly drum machine beat, vocals, bass, some (rare) guitars, and minimal analog synth, often sputtering away. This longer than normal demo meanders along at times, but most of the songs show they've got their wits about them and their aesthetics are in the right place (which favor anxious beats with simple synth lines driving the melodies). To be honest, it is a little bit long to hold your attention all the way through, but they're on to something, particularly on those occasions where they sink drum machine, bass, and synth lead fall into a nice beat. Maybe this betrays my roots a little , but there's a nice punk attitude here that still makes this quite enjoyable. If they streamlined the songs, and tightened the songs up, I'd be fan.

The Pepper Plant- Original California Style hot pepper sauce
I must admit my ignorance when it comes to this brand of hot sauce, and upon sampling a bottle, I'm very sorry to have lived without it. I can't say I knew there was a distinctively "California style" of hot sauce, but these Pepper Plant folks do quite the job with this condiment. Significantly less tomato-y than Valentina's, and not nearly as vinegary as something like Tobascoe, it's mild compared to the west indian brands you could find, but damn if it ain't tasty. Made with jalepenos and chilis, I would have thought there were actual pepper corns in this sauce (a glance at the ingredients denied this). Whatever it is, a look at the ravaged, empty bottle show clearly that I didn't like it all that much.

Sleeping Children- In Viro Tests demo CDR
A Parisian band here (I think, because their bass player was involved in the short-lived Parisian label Deviant Ears). They offer us some simple, but well done "batcave" style deathrock with the ambiance of Alien Sex Fiend and the vocal histrionics of Peter Murphy. Able enough for this style, though it seems like this is ann older recording, and they've got a record out on Strobelight that followed this up. I imagine fans of this style then might already be familiar with these people...


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