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Some Girls – Heaven’s Pregnant Teens

April 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Epitaph Records, 2006

Epitaph is nothing if not consistent.  This had to be a punk record and, given its dark color scheme and songs like “Dead in a Web” and “Bone Metal”, it was likely going to be a hard one.  For a cheap price any punk record is worth a listen.  Unfortunately, like most modern punk records, it likely wasn’t going to be rewarding in the long term.   I took a chance.

Oh man, what a mess.  It’s a typical thrash and bash affair with Some Girls with lots of yelling and jolting twists and turns.  It’s interesting that the band consists of guys who have some experience in this type of music (the Locust, Give Up the Ghost, etc).  However, that doesn’t mean they are any better than a hyperactive chimpanzee with pots.  Since the record is so short, here’s an equally hurried overview of this recording that sounds like an audio explosion.

At an epic two minutes, “Beautiful Rune” probably comes across as the most ‘enjoyable’ of all the tracks.  The band spends most of the time playing one riff while the drums numbly crash about in the background.  Vocals and lyrics are a complete afterthought given that it just consists of a guy scratching out gutteral sounds with minimal care towards clarity.  “Hot Piss” is a hot mess, like when a brick hits you in the face.  Not fun.

“Dead in a Web” actually has a pretty good power riff, but then turns out to be mimicked shortly thereafter by “Warm Milk”.  I guess thrash bands only have so much diversity.  “Ex Nuns/Dead Dogs” is nearly two minutes long, with about half of it comprising of a single chord repeated over and over.  That must have been “Ex Nuns”.  The ravaging “Dead Dogs” part must be where I’m supposed to forget that “Ex Nuns” completely blew.

“Totally Pregnant Teens” is just like … ah hell, just like the rest of the record.  “Bone Metal” provides the only moment of peace with a tone that sounds like a flat line (the sound of my interest level to this point?).  Inevitably, the band shows up at the end and throws a TV.  “Marry Mortuary” is a horror show theme, “Religion II” is a PiL cover that does not make me wish to hear the prequel from these guys, and though “Skull’s Old Girlfriends” wins the song title award, the bludgeoning punk song makes me feel sympathy for Skull given that his old girlfriends sound like loud, nagging hags.

Then there’s the nine minute “Deathface”.  C’mon, you think that I want to hear nine minutes of this stuff?  I decided to stick with two and call it a night.

Some Girls can be looked into at their website and MySpace.  Bring the earplugs.

The song that epitomizes what the band may say to any listener is “You’ll Be Happier With Lower Standards”.  Some Girls, you are right.  I should probably come down a few steps from my little hill of taste.  As it goes with music, there is certainly a market for these type of tunes for those interested in sheer volume of noise as well as aficionados of the mosh pit.  Unfortunately for fans, Some Girls called it quits back in 2007 … hmm, maybe “Deathface” was their “Long and Winding Road”.

For me, this whole album just makes me scratch my head.  What makes me laugh is that the liner notes include lyrics.  Good joke, guys.

Shocking Pinks – S/T

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

DFA Records, 2007

A lightly appealing cover of a pencil sketch gives off the air of indie pop, yet the band name may disagree.  I know of a particular personal photo from my younger days where I happened to be wearing a pink Adidas t-shirt and, yes, a pink pair of swim trunks.  I was shockingly pink (but unshockingly lacking style … ah well, what can you do).  Therefore, this band’s moniker had a slight twinge of personal connection, so I had no choice than to pick it up.  I also promised to make a mental note to refrain from accidentally coordinating bright colored clothing concoctions in the future.  I will leave those for an eighties retro party.

Shocking Pinks are not shocking in their volume or their approach, but hey, it’s a fine band name for an indie pop outfit.  With its tone of low fi pop, the third album from the one man band Nick Harte is filled with songs that range from casual pieces of softness to fervent chaos.  I suppose one there’s only one person running the show there’s no reason not to do whatever that person wants.  It’s clear that Harte knows this well.

“Second Hand Girl” is a fantastic pop song that reminds me of some Slanted & Enchanted-era Pavement with its catchy guitar and the unimposing vocals from Nick Harte.  There’s only about eight lines of lyrics, so most of the song is made up of the band going at it and allowing the listener to create the visual story in their heads.  The lengthy “Cutout” instrumental tune is also quite good, if only because its quick and pretty collection of sounds doesn’t include any interruption from lyrics.

“Yes! No!” is at first engaging yet doesn’t execute well.  The brooding synthesizer tones, in conjunction with the consistent drum pattern, gives the tune an ominous feeling early on.  Unfortunately, Harte’s voice comes across as too hurried and whiny when trying to keep up with the song’s pace.  Combined with some uncomfortable sounds between verses makes this tune a “No!” for me.

One tune that struck me as something that Harte could excel at if he stuck with it is “You Could Make Me Feel Bad”, which combines his creative instrumentation as well as a good utilization of his vocals through subdued echos.  Indeed, the track sounds like a Jesus and Mary Chain concoction, but as the last track of the album it leaves a good impression of what Harte is capable of.  Actually, the entire record does.  It would be a matter of finding out which styles he prefers to hang onto from here on out.

Shocking Pinks have a MySpace page and, ah, that’s about it.  Well, maybe websites are passe.

I can appreciate a guy like Harte who is talented enough to play multiple instruments and compose pretty pop songs.  Not all of them are my thing, but I can see where someone who likes his somewhat fey voice and musicianship might like most of the record.  Shocking Pinks actually haven’t put out anything since this record, so it remains to be seen if Harte emerges with the same or a different group.  All I know is that I’m not emerging at any point whatsoever in my shocking pink outfit of old.  Okay, okay, show me the dollars.