Rat Columns – Sceptre Hole LP

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Rat Columns’ debut LP is out on Smart Guy Records. You can order it from him or get it from various well-known i-audio-selling sites. The LP features the current trio line-up of Matt, Jon and David, as well as James from Total Control et al on drums on one song. The album has a bit of a sad but very pop vibe, with some excursions into ambience, clanging loops and damaged fuzz. It was recorded in San Francisco but mastered by Mikey Young in Australia. You can hear some of the songs;

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Egypt – ‘Devoted Psychic Reading’

 

 

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‘Devoted Psychic Reading’ is the first record by Egypt. The band is Michael Harkin of Bay Area hardcore act Caged Animal and David T. West from Rank/Xerox, Rat Columns, Burning Sensation, Lace Curtain etc. 

It is just available on the internet right now, here; http://egypt.bandcamp.com/. It is free, or you can give us money.

It was recorded at Göld Discs, San Francisco, California and mastered by Mikey Young in Australia.

The record could be described as introspective, fuzzed out, downer, abrasive. Veering from noise-pop to dirge to burnt-out ballads. Check it out!

Rat Columns 4-song 7″ out now on Smartguy Records…

A four-song 7″ by Rat Columns is out now on Smartguy Records.

You could get it from Smartguy, Midheaven Mailorder, and some other places. Pick it up!

You could cop the sick ‘Paranoid Video’ by those freaks Total Control and the epic Boomgates 7″ at the same time, from both those places…

Some of the trax; I just noticed they are both 3:24 long, formulaic or what…

A review from The Creative Intersection;

‘I’m going to stop mentioning whether bands are from Australia. It’s just too much of an early give away of how great the music is. Everything seems to be pure gold from that continent, and when it may seem like the bands might start to deform all into the same sound, something comes along that removes any sense of encroaching overwrote similarity. Case in point with Rat Columns.

Rat Columns is the solo work of David West. If that name sound unfamiliar, it’s to be expected due to West being a member of the equally under appreciated Rank/Xerox. That post-punk connection sort of sets the stage for what comes out these grooves. From the simple yet stark cover art, the solitude and loneliness of the music is instantly presented. Which is helped by the single itself, which manages to smoothly showcase the various forms that West’s music takes.

It opens with the simple “I Wonder”, as a few sparse drum beats over equally sparse guitar lines. I’ve heard a few comparisons to The Clean’s take on post-punk as a good jump off point for what’s happening in Rat Column’s ;music and parts of that can be picked up on and really bond well with the music. More so though, it sounds like a darker, yet sonically reduced Fresh and Onlys. case in point when the next two songs come on. “Keep Waiting” is a nice 90 degree turn, a noisy synth tune with vocals so low you have to strain your ears to pick them up. It’s quite lovely, evoking little touches of New Order. Then the complete 180 occurs with “Glass Coffin”, clearly bringing to mind the menace of Blue Water White Death’s “Song for the Greater Jihad”, a single deformed instrument becoming more unhinged with the vocals as the song progresses. Then the return an ironic turn back to the original form with “Darkness”, a high point of ringing guitar notes coming together to one of the catchiest moments on the single. The entire 7″ is very effortless, simple and not something I was expecting in my inbox. Another superb night time single.’

Pauline Manson’s ‘999/Washed To Oblivion’ Tape is released on Goaty Tapes…

Pauline Manson’s dual conceptual EPs, ‘999’ and ‘Washed To Oblivion’ have been released on cassette by Goaty Tapes! You can cop it here…  or at these distros… or, if you live in Australia like 3/4 of PM, you could get it from those guys (follow the signs to Taco Leg) or from the fabulous Albert’s Basement, at least I think so.

Please note the correct title is ‘Washed To Oblivion’ not ‘Wasted To Oblivion’.

For those not in the know, ‘999’ and ‘Washed To Oblivion’ deal respectively with the taboo subjects of Thanksgiving (999) and Christmas (Washed To Oblivion), and in the case of “Washed To Oblivion’, the brutal and complicated relationship of a younger brother with his older brother, who was once a true punk, but has since become a know-it-all, conservative investment banker in Sydney.

The lyrics don’t come with the tape, but are of utmost importance to truly understanding what it ‘is’ that we are trying to say. So here they are!

 

 

‘999’ is available for listening/copping here. Here are the tracks from ‘Washed To Oblivion’…

Rank/Xerox 12″ LP is out…

The debut LP from Rank/Xerox is now available on the Make A Mess Records webstore…

It has 10 songs and was recorded in a Chinatown dungeon with Eric Bauer (aka King Riff) and Ty Segall.

It is 12$ plus postage. Pick it up!

Some trax;

A review of the LP from Yellow Green Red;

‘A bunch of hotly-anticipated albums seemed to have dropped this month, Rank/Xerox’s debut certainly not the least of them. Their first 7″ is one of the last decade’s greatest left-field punk stunners, and while Rank/Xerox doesn’t quite knock me on my seat in the same way, it’s another excellent helping of this San Franciscan trio. For the most part, they’ve restrained their assault from a Feederz-style flail-fest to something moodier (but not remotely gothic), like Wire’s Chairs Missing infused with the no-wave isolation of Mars. Something like “Nausea” would’ve even found a good home on Gravity, had it come out right after that first Rapture album. The more I’ve been able to settle into Rank/Xerox, the better I’ve been able to understand their shift to a more solemn complexion, even thought they still couldn’t be confused for anything other than a punk band. Really hope people get around to checking this one out, as Rank/Xerox don’t really mess around with the modern media self-promotion game that’s becoming more and more of a sad necessity to get one’s self noticed these days.’

ROS002 – Rat Columns S/T CS/CD

‘Rat Columns’ is the new self-titled full-length cassette/CD from Rat Columns. Rat Columns is David West, with help from James Vinciguerra and others of both present and future prescience. Born of rural isolation, then uncultured in Perth, Australia. He now lives in San Francisco, California, USA. Eight songs of dark, ill-fitting pop wanderings and mangled noises.

Co-released by ROS Records and Grave New World.

Right now I have the cassette, in the USA it’s 4$ post-paid, 5$ for Europe and everywhere else. Soon I will have the CD also. Email me or paypal me at rosrecordings@gmail.com. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand you can get it at Grave New World.

Some songs…

REVIEWddd

Review from Yellow Green Red;

‘After heartily enjoying Rank/Xerox’s various works and the recent Burning Sensation LP, it’s pretty clear that guitarist / vocalist David West is an idea-man. You know the type, the guy that’s always working on something, be it a new band, art project, show idea, whatever. Rat Columns is a project solely his own, and rather than following the loud, rock-based approaches of the aforementioned groups, he tries out a number of quieter, more intimate styles here. What better place for that than a tape, right? Rat Columns starts with the drifting, three-legged dog of a Loren Connors cut in “Telephone Call”, and follows it with “I Wonder”, a power-pop rocker played not just in the bedroom but under the covers as well. The rest falls somewhere in between, from dowdy, Shadow Ring-like explorations to something on the seedier end of a Hyped 2 Death comp. Very mild songs that will only take over as deeply as you let them. Cool stuff, and although I’d prefer a new Rank/Xerox record, West clearly has to flush these sounds from his brain one way or another, this cassette being a way that the rest of us can enjoy it.’

Burning Sensation – S/T 12″ LP (Vertex Records)

Blistering raw punk from Perth, Western Australia with unexpected, unexplained bursts of both overloaded guitar noise and ’80’s college rock’ melody. Was often compared with Land Speed Record-era Husker Du. On Vertex Records. If you’re in Perth you should be able to find it at Dada Records, I should hope. Otherwise email vertexaudio@gmail.com for a copy, or check out his webstore. If you are in Europe you could buy it from HERE.

The various members of Burning Sensation have been and are involved in such bands as Rank/Xerox, Frank & The Can I Speaklys, Golden Staph, Jaws, Clever Species, Whalehammer, Orgy of the Undead, Rat Columns, etc.

A review from Still Single;

‘Excellent, self-hating hardcore from Perth (“the guitars that killed Perth”), with a touch of Reatard-style pop reflection and a slug at Agent Orange/Wipers style paranoia in between. This comes from guitarist David West, who also sent in the Rat Columns cassette and who plays guitar in Rank/Xerox, or whatever they’re gonna be called now that they’ve been stripped of their name. But to the matter at hand: this record is a fuckin’ ripper for sure, lifting fingernails from their beds with first-person lunacy (opener “I Hate Erections” is met after not too long with one called “I Chopped It Off” – both automatic winners of Song Titles of the Year, with runners up being “I Feel Disgust” and of course “Brainfucker”), and the attention to dingy, period-appropriate sound – probably a rush job, but it sounds GREAT – throws a lot of heat from their direction. I put this on twice in a row with little hesitation. Everyone should have a copy for the day when you will really want something this angry around for sympathy. I’m lending this to my friend who can’t seem to let go of his last relationship in the hopes that he’ll snap out of it. ‘

Another review, from Yellow Green Red;

‘Utterly raging LP from this defunct Australian/American group, the type of easily-missed hardcore gem that’s sure to become a want-list staple ten years from now. I’m probably not getting all the details right, but the main Rank/Xerox guy lived in Perth for a while, and did this band with a couple friends, at least until they all moved to various states or countries. It’s a shame that Burning Sensation isn’t an ongoing concern, but wildly combustible hardcore punk like this never lasts too long… Burning Sensationis filled with speedy fits of greatness that rival Neos (who only really lasted for a couple of 7″s themselves). From the Rank/Xerox affiliation, I was expecting something arty or noisy or different in some way, but Burning Sensation just drill through half-minute hardcore tunes in the style of Kill For Christ by The FU’s or Jonah Falco’s recent Mad Men project. And in the midst of their blur, there’s a deep-rooted melody, or at least some sort of catchiness, that lifts Burning Sensation into “must own” territory, even for discerning punkers who have reduced their monthly intake from twenty new records to five. Who wouldn’t want a chance to add “I Fear Erections” to their next mixtape?’

Another review, from April’s Maximum Rock’n’Roll;

‘This listens like some obscure melodic hardcore demo from ’83 seeing vinyl treatment for the first time, after being given a proper mastering job – possibly due to the rich guitar tone and slightly hazy/dreamy recording. Most of this record is furious, speedy hardcore that incorporates earnest melody the same way that Husker Du did on their Land Speed Record material. The slower songs on here offer up bleak but defiant melodies, while the song ‘I Wonder’ sounds like what the terms ‘alternative rock’ or ‘college rock’ originally described. It doesn’t seem to me like these songs necessarily flow as an album, but they’re eclectic and varied enough that the LP holds my interest all the way through. (DG)’

Another review, from Razorcake;

‘Whoa!!! Such a great record!! Starts off as a standard hardcore record. The first few songs are short and thrashy numbers. Then, they switch things up with “Weeping Wound”. Still lightening fast, but more tuneful. Reminds me of early Wipers crossed with The Proletariat. Not shabby at all. In fact, I hear a lot of The Proletariat in their sound. Not a direct copy, but the influence is there in the atmospheric sound, and vocal delivery. “Kitchen Knife” has a post punk beginning before ripping into a straight up thrash killer. Stop-go tempos, fast and chaotic, and urgent. “I Wonder” is a definite stand out. Very tuneful, mid tempo, and a bit different compared to the rest of the tracks. A bit power pop, yet they don’t miss a beat between the more punk songs. If anything, the contrasting  styles only serve to strengthen one another. A record you would be wise to be pick up, play repeatedly, and have a smidge more class than most everyone else as a result. -M.Avrg (Vertex,vertexaudio@gmail.com) ‘

Another review, from Euro distributor Don’t Buy Records;

‘This three piece hail from the land down under. They’re from Perth which I’ve seen being labeled as the most depressing town in all of Oz on several occassions. Although I’ve never visited the city myself, listening to the twelve tunes on this 12” sure gives the impression that Perth is the breeding ground for depression, frustration and resent. Burning Sensation play melodic hardcore that gets compared to early Hüsker Dü a lot and although I try to keep my comparisons to classic bands on as low a level as possible the influence here is undeniable. The guitar sound is agressive and scathing and all these songs have the urgency of the Hüskers’ ‘Landspeed Record’, which a friend of mine once labeled as the musical equivalent of one long line of speed. Quite a few songs on this record are fast as hell. Others are a bit slower and incorporate more melody. The vocals sound desperate and the lyrics sure aren’t optimistic either. Topics such as angst, sexual frustration (gotta love song titles like ‘I fear Erections’ and ‘I Chopped it off’) and depression are covered without mincing matters.  The odd song out here is ‘I Wonder’ which I guess one could call Burning Sensation’s radio friendly hit. At first I hated the song, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t that goddamn tune that’s stuck in my head after spinning this record each and every time. This record is bound to be labeled as ‘retro’, but who gives a shit? These guys deliver the goods! From what I understand this is Burning Sensation’s first and last record. That’s good news for you purists out there, because it means the band won’t be selling out or be signing to a lousy label or whatever it is you people care about. ‘

Another review, from Suburban Voice;

‘Aussies Burning Sensation are a hardcore band but they also exhibit some expansiveness  in their bare-knuckled approach. A healthy dose of X-Claim/Boston hardcore fused to a Zeke-ish beat (no rawk, though). What’s interesting is they’re apparently unfamiliar with the early Boston fodder. Whether that’s true or not, the songs have a straight-forward energy but there are diversions–“Weeping Wound” has a decidedly west coast punk sound, favoring slashingly melodic guitar with a few surfy trills and “Terminal Decay” follows that blueprint, as well. “I Wonder” also possesses a near-poppy, tuneful pulse with tasteful, surging guitar licks and a supple bass-line. Some diabolical song titles, too–“I Fear Erections,” “I Chopped It Off,” “Wrapped Up In Plastic.” Burning Sensation manage to avoid any sort of thrash ghetto. There’s more at work here and it’s intriguing. ‘

Commentary on the record from DX in his Maximum Rock’n’Roll column;

‘Perth punk band BURNING SENSATION have released a new record called Mummy, What’s a Funkadelic? that successfully careens from Australian punk like the SCIENTISTS and the VICTIMS and American punk like ANGRY SAMOANS to the early DC hardcore of the TEEN IDLES. More reference points could be found in recent bands like FORMALDEHYDE JUNKIES and the recently deceased BLOODCLOT FAGGOTS, but generally we’re talking about music from the past here, close attention paying dividends in songs that suggest more than “we’re a cover band”.
A couple of decades ago I proposed the cognitively advanced theory that sensual and sexual disgust is a prime motivator of good punk and hardcore music, of course, stolen from Lester Bangs study of the Dead Boys and probably a hundred other sources that I would never have bothered to reference or acknowledge then or now seeing as its basically a banal tautology at this point. The discussion was developed in reference to Melbourne’s best current hardcore band called FLESH WORLD, and today BURNING SENSATION assert a series of family friendly sentiments like ‘I Fear Erections’ and ‘I Feel Disgust’ (yeah, obvious) which help to justify my brave stance. It has been proposed elsewhere that their sound can be situated between DEEP WOUND and DINOSAUR JR: just like heaven? Ultimately, much like the modern hardcore and punk love story that is access to all the records all the time, access to all the technology to make records cheaper and easier, the quality of the songs defines the band. BURNING SENSATION have other people’s ideas and other people’s sounds, but they have put thought into their own songs, and this record is, much like BLOODCLOT FAGGOTS, INSURGENTS and FLESH WORLD, a worthy example of Australian hardcore in 2011. Will I listen to it in 2012? Will I listen to it… next week?!’

Rank/Xerox 7″ (Mongo Bongo Top Ten Hits)

The debut 7-inch of San Francisco band RANK/XEROX. Their previous release was a split cassette with Grass Widow, now sold out (UPDATE: MORE AVAILABLE). The sound of Rank/Xerox’s four-song 7-inch is one of post-punk tension, messy but vaguely pop in a fractured fashion, equal parts guitar scratchers and synth screamers.

I haven’t any more copies. But you can acquire easily at Mongo Bongo.

Review from Yellow Green Red;

‘San Francisco’s Rank/Xerox do the future-primitive punk thing so effortlessly well that they would’ve been a perfect addition to Subterranean’s roster some thirty years earlier, fitting snugly between Nervous Gender and Flipper. That’s not to say they sound like either of those bands, though – rather, Rank/Xerox have a visceral-yet-moody texture reminiscent of Feederz, some Rudimentary Peni attitude, and maybe even a little VSS-styled DIY laser light-show action. In all of those classic punk scenes, none of the original bands really sounded like each other anyway, its more of the anxious strumming and frantic percussion that would make them a perfect candidate for any S.F. Underground compilation. The three songs here sound fresh yet classic, and at a total playing time around five minutes, I’d be wearing out the grooves on my copy if it wasn’t for my successful MP3 search. Don’t you dare go looking for them, though – I can’t think of a better use for seven bucks than a quick Mondo Bongo PayPal transaction.’

ROS001 – Frank & The Can I Speaklys/Soul of Condemned Ape Split 7″

The first release on ROS Records, co-released by Farmer Frontier.

Frank & The Can I Speaklys’ songs on this record are munted pop, with melodics tempered by ‘eloquent, absurd and sexualised lyrics’, melted guitars and primitive drum machinations. These songs were recorded during some off-time in Burning Sensation’s busy schedule. Soul of Condemned Ape were a duo from Perth, featuring Camryn Rothenbury aka Silver Bulletin. They play discordant, frantic post-punk, with clattering, compulsive drumming providing the spine for wiry guitar and demented vocals.

Here’s a review.

150 copies pressed. Email me for a special deal…rosrecordings@gmail.com.