Friday, June 20, 2008

Primitive Sound System - Maxwell's - Sunday June 22 - before and after Polvo

Hello Y'all
Or better yet, in the immortal words of Mr. Steady Eddie, "Fuck all y'all!" Eddie Watkins was the original drummer of Polvo and seemed quite fond of saying that. He got me hooked and I couldn't stop. If anyone ever wondered why all these emails begin with "Y'all" now you know. POLVO. I never thought I would see the day that these guys would get back together. Polvo were one of the bands to connect aggressive rock with art school sensitivity or creativity depending on the song. Art fags who beat themselves up in gym class. At times the music is noisy even abrasive, others it is beautiful and repetitive and then again they can out Rock with the best of them and usually much better than all of them. I am not lying when I say the first time I heard "Can I Ride" back in 1990 I got chills. Just wait for Eddie's perfect open fill and you will too. The band is one of the few great bands the world will ever know and horribly they will be tagged with the "under appreciated" or "unkown" tag by the main stream. But you know what... to the main stream I say, "FUCK ALL Y'ALL! Guitarist Ash Bowie's vocals are nothing less than haunting and he is joined at the hip with Dave Brylawski also on guitar. At times there seems to be about twelve guitars humming, strumming and feeding back and the band will always sound as if they on the verge of a breakdown. The aforementioned Steady Eddie is partnered with the insanely deep and pounding bass lines of Steve Popson. Like all great Bass players poised on the verge of destruction they hold everything together, and when it is all over, gather up the parts and continue on for another day. Put down the channel changer and get to the show. (Eddie is no longer in Polvo and Brian Quast takes the throne.)

- pat.
Primitive Sound System

Sunday June 22 - 9PM
Polvo with Birds Of Avalon 9 p.m. $15
Primitive Sound System spinning Before and After
1104 Washington Street
Hoboken, New Jersey

Some Vinyl that RULES!

Batman & Robin - "I'm A Bat - I'm A Rock-N-Roll Animal!" "Gotham City Blues" "I Feel Pretty Good While Smashing Other People" and "Run - Joker - Run" (Bachelor Records cat. ???? (Inserts: Gotham Gazelle and a cut-out mustache)
That's right, the mighty Batman and Robin return with Vol. Twuh! Crazed and raw this duo is saving no one, not even themselves. "I'm A Bat - I'm a Rock-N-Roll Animal" certainly raises the bar pretty high for these guys but then again they are Super Heroes. "Animal" is frantic, sloppy frightening and if the Mummies were still active I could see them Batman & Robin as the perfect bill or dare I say... Dynamic Duo. Maybe somewhere in a Garage back in 1967 a group of possessed teens spit out similar brilliant audio destruction but I doubt it. Batman seems more focused than other but the poor Boy Wonder may have slipped into madness. "Gotham City Blues" has an actual chorus and even a melody. Batman truly has a classic Garage voice and Robin knows to keep it simple stupid. "Gotham City" is as much an anthem for their beloved home as much as it is its soundtrack. "I Feel Pretty Good While Smashing Other People" is proof that this is not the goody two shoes of the original Batman. This Dark Knight stalks the streets at night looking for a fight and if there is non to be had why not sucker punch some loser and get the mayhem started. It is always good to pay tribute to your enemy. But the dynamic duo rather taunt their villainous counterparts. That's right, "Run - Joker - Run" UH!

The Soft Boys - "Wading Through A Ventilator" from the ep Give it To The... (Raw Records cat. RAW 5)
I love when people are made uncomfortable. "Wading Through A Ventilator" is a song that seems to make people who claim to love Robyn Hitchcock very uncomfortable. It seems if they have not heard this and don't like what they are hearing they just wish it would stop. I feed on this anxiety created by music. The band is playing at a furious pace. Guitars sing in all directions, the bass rapidly bounces back and forth and the drums are caught in a death roll that would seem impossible to stop. Amazingly they do briefly come out and dive into a groovy little chorus but lurch back just before spiraling us down the drain on a trip reminiscent of the ferry boat ride in Willy Wonka. Hitchcock reminds us, "IF IT BOTHERS YOU YOU CAN TURN IT OFF." I have no intention of doing so but alas all things must pass.

Dymaxion - "Use Once and Destroy" and "Mice in Drain" (Duophonic Super 45's cat. DS45 - 24)
It is too easy to say that it is "impossible" to describe Dymaxion. Any time I find myself about to say that about any art I am reminded of getting my kid through the biting and hitting phase, "Use your words." "Use Once and Destroy," opens with a very sad growl from some Electronic and is met head on with a thudding bass and pounding drum groove that conjures visions of Robots at a dance. This is a band that really needs to concentrate to make these pieces fit. Several sounds and parts are stitched together with the precision of a surgeon. Sounds range from obvious electronics to sampled sounds. What makes Dymaxion so brilliant is that the must is never plodding nor does it come off as Mechanical. Tasteful, unique, moody, varied, etc, etc. What I love about Dymaxion is that they make Modern music that sounds like a Soundtrack for the "idea" of what 50's Sci-Fi thought "modern" would be. "One day in the future..."

My Bloody Valentine - "Soon" (Creation Records cat. CRE 073)
Like Spaceman 3, My Bloody Valentine are more about setting a mood and creating atmosphere than concerned with typical, common or ordinary song structure. "Soon" is a vibrating wall of feedback that has few equals. I can't make out one goddamn word but hell I appreciate that. The vocals pass through the music as if only a freak encounter and not a planned happening. Unlike Spaceman Three, the drums are pounding and creating what seems to be the only appropriate groove to buoy the sound. Sometimes repetition is next to godliness and Mr Shields and crew have certainly created a heavenly moment.

Offs - "Everyone's A Bigot" (415 Records cat. 009 (?))
Offs mine a similar territory as Konk. There is a little of everything here to make them appealing to a wide audience but not so appealing that you will here this booming from Tony's IROC. "Everyone's A Bigot" is a great twofer with "Ian Dury's "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" or even "Reasons To Be Cheerful." There are a lot of sounds and possible sources of inspiration here but the band rolls them up nicely and turns them out in a danceable Punk song that is playable over and over. There is a definite Ruts like quality and X-Ray Specs certainly comes to mind. The vocals are shouted over a slightly Ska like groove though the drums never lay into any traditional beat of any genre. Horns burst in and out looping over and over making the whole thing quite mesmerizing. A very cool guitar blast announces the sax solo and soon after the pace is picked up and thrown around a bit. The bass is steady and strong throughout and as the pace is accelerated the vocalist abandons singing and talks and shouts at us right to the explosive end.

Phantom Tollbooth - "Flip Your Lid" from the ep Valley of the Gwangi (Homestead Records cat. HMS 058)
Crazed vocals, time shifts, tempo changes and incredible musicianship have kept this a favorite since I purchased it some twenty-two years ago. Phantom Tollbooth lost nothing on stage. Improvised or extremely well rehearsed each song was captivating, moving and impressive. At one point during "Flip Your Lid" the vocalists assures us, "Don't worry I won't hurt you," but it would not be advisable to believe him. They ooze sarcasm and aren't afraid of injecting there heady creations with a little humor. Artistically created mayhem on the edge of sonic destruction.

Squirrel Bait - "Kid Dynamite" (Homestead Records cat. HMS061)
I try not to use the word brutal too often when describing heavy music because brutal is such a powerful word. If you have ever been violently punched in the face you fully understand. BUT. Squirrel Bait can be and are brutal. "Kid Dynamite" is all you need to hear to realize these kids were possessed to take music and their instruments where few had gone before. I didn't listen to Heavy Metal growing up because for the most part Metal is simply laughable. All show and for the most part no balls. When I wanted something good and violent I looked no further than bands like Squirrel Bait. Drop the needle on "Kid Dynamite" and nothing can prepare you for those first few seconds. It's like being blind sided at an intersection. Some how band and song NEVER fall apart. Buried deep inside the wreckage there are the remains of a pop song. Squirrel Bait breakdown into what can only be described as a groove but only briefly as we are thrown back on the pile and brutalized some more.

Stereolab - "John Cage Bubblegum" (Slumberland Records cat. SLR 024)
Stereolab can really kick ass when they went to. Luckily they seemed to like kicking ass. "John Cage Bubblegum" is so amped it up it makes you want to pogo wildly. Hopefully you get to see it all in slow motion and super saturated with color. I picture a field of tall sunflowers and suddenly bodies leaping to the skies over and over again. The organ buzzes like a race car and and the bass sets the pace. All the while the drummer tries to pound his kit into the ground like a spike and the guitar is ripped to shreds. The vocals are sweet and some how soothing in light of the chaos but as you speed off a cliff wouldn't you rather take in the sights than wail and scream in your final moments? A truly unique band that is set apart from other bands and music simply by doing what they do.

Plus a stack of some of North Carolina's finest!


Anonymous said...

I saw a post you made saying you had bought 5 copies of Batman & Robin's "Who the fuck is Superman?" 7"...I've been searching for a copy everywhere and cant find one. Any chance you or one of them, if they still have theirs, would be willing to sell? If you could, please respond via email to:

Thanks dude!

Primitive Sound System said...

Ironically that is the one I don't have multiples of. I will ask one of the guys I know who has one that really got it for the art and not the music. He may want to sell one. I have no idea what they are worth. I just know the three eps are easily and will always some of the best Garage Records I own.

- pat.