Keeping in line with the current montage of Nirvana whirling around the media, the fantastic Robotic Empire label have revealed their second tribute to the band.
Following 2014’s take on In Utero, which featured an all star cast of Ceremony, Daughters and Jay Reatard, this time around, Nevermind is given the cover treatment.
Featuring a diverse range of acts from Torche’s low-end sludge rendition of ‘In Bloom’ to La Dispute’s post-hardcore ‘Polly’ drawl, via White Reaper’s thrashing ode to ‘Territorial Pissings’, there’s much gold to be found here. Especially in Young Widows’ thankfully innovative spin on ‘Teen Spirit.
There’s a reason why Black Flag are so heralded and respected so long after they existed by younger generations. It’s not just the fact that they had a cool logo, it was also their inspiring drive and energy that, against all odds, saw them power their utterly uncompromising and original noise at a time when long hair, tattoos and punk rock was not a career option. They sounded the way they did because that’s how they felt and how they wanted to express their feelings. Pissed Jeans are no Black Flag tribute band, but there’s something about their ridiculously heavy punk rock noise and venomous approach that makes you feel if Black Flag had existed in this frustrating, jittering modern world, this is what they’d sound like.
Four albums in, Pennsylvanian quartet Pissed Jeans have mellowed NONE. ‘Honeys’ is a raging barrage of noise that goes nose-to-nose with all of the essential BLACKS (Big/Sabbath/Flag) with a stomping Jesus Lizard strut and a boot boy Negative Approach stomp. This is nasty music with a production so viciously heavy It’ll bite your fucking nose off, send warm jets of piss running down your thighs and render pretty much all of what passes for punk rock these days obsolete.
So, for young and old gazing into the past with rose-tinted glasses wishing there was bands as intense and FOR REAL as Black Flag still playing, fuck the nostalgia, there is and they’re called Pissed Jeans. Now hear them roar.
Download the amazing riff heavy ‘Cathouse’ track for free here.
Sub Pop are about to unleash the brand new Pissed Jeans album Honey’s. The album has been produced by British producer and ex Fudge Tunnel founder Alex Newport, who once again has brought the carnage of the band’s live sound back onto a long playing format that is destined to bring aural delight.
Have a taste of what’s coming with ‘Bathroom Laughter’. The album Honeys is released on Feb 11th. Pre-order your copy here.
Traps is Jaill’s third full album, and their second for Sub Pop. That they’ve been around for 10 years and only managed three albums in that time suggests that they might well be immersed in the slacker ethic that enshrouded some of Sub Pop’s bands back in the late 80s/early 90s. Still, we’re not here to criticise a band’s work ethic, it’s the end result that counts after all. Traps might be a bit of a patchy, beige affair, but it does possess some redeeming features. Disengage your brain entirely, take in the summery tones of the album and it’s actually not a bad set of songs. Pay too much attention and it all seems a bit bland and overwrought.
It starts well with ‘Waste A Lot Of Things’, a breezy pop tune that initially sounds as if its wearing a massive grin on its well tanned face. Under the sunny disposition there are lyrics awash with darkness, the odd lost mind and a dollop of sadness, the kind of thing that’d bring down any sun-kissed holiday – like sand in your sandwiches.
Frankly Vincent Kircher’s a bit of a buzz kill on this album, for all the uplifting backing vocals (which are reminiscent of label mates Fruit Bats) and surf-guitar breaks, he’s there, banging on about his sexually frustrated girlfriend or whatever. ‘Everyone’s A Bitc’h is a perfect example of this. It kicks in with a nicely serrated new-wave riff throws in a bunch of great harmonies, and then Kircher’s there moaning about how his (ex) woman thinks he’s a bit vanilla. Whether he’s aware that she’s using gay slang to describe his prowess is open to debate, as he seems to think it’s something to do with ice-cream.
At this point, it’s worth considering whether it’s better to ignore what Kircher’s going on about and just concentrate on how he sounds because there’s more misery on the way with ‘Horrible Things (Make Pretty Songs)’. Yet here it works so much better, there’s no juxtaposition of breezy pop tunes and sorrowful lyrical content, it just cuts to the chase. “No one to take care of, no one to take care of me” Kircher intones over a delicately strummed acoustic guitar; the heartbroken lyrics fitting perfectly.
‘I’m Home’ opens like a high pitched take on The Breeders Cannonball before turning into a spiky pop-nugget complete with woozy keyboard interjections. ‘House With Haunting’s laid back swing is pretty good fun but doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s a similar problem with ‘Madness’, which is a nice sounding if unrewarding strum. Yet for all these misfires, when the band and Kircher are on the same page emotionally, everything clicks. Million Times’ heart-rending sob story fizzes with a palpable tension and it is arguably the best thing on the album by some stretch.
They close out with ‘Stone Froze Mascot’ which is catchy enough but lacks enough force to smash its way into the pleasure centres. It’s this lack of force and focus that hinders the album; ultimately it’s a nice enough but Jaill and Kircher in particular sound a little confused. By the end, it’s easy to see why his girlfriend legged it hurling ice-cream related insults, sometimes you need a little bit of unadulterated excitement.
6/10 Sam Shepherd
On tour in the UK:
Sep 25 – Green Door Store, Brighton, UK
Sep 26 – Sebright Arms, London, UK
Sep 27 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK
Sep 29 – Stereo, Glasgow, UK
Sep 30 – Stereo, York, UK
Oct 1 – Oporto, Leeds, UK
Toronto based hardcore band called Metz should be on your radar this year. They have signed to Sub Pop this week so get a first few bars of what’s coming and trust us that the Metz album is going to be one that we will be discussing by the end of the year.
Usually I cringe at people’s versions of classic Nirvana songs but Little Roy has taken the original 7″ of Sliver and Dive and knocked out classic roots reggae versions of both tracks this week that need to be on your stereo.
Nirvana’s ‘Smell Like Teen Spirit‘ was released 20 years ago in September this year so expect more mash ups and versions of these classic tracks to be infiltrating the internet on mix tapes and general releases throughout the summer. I doubt though that any of them will come close to being as good as these.
You can find Little Roy vs Nirvana in your local shop available on a limited edition 7″, June 27th 2011 via Ark Recordings and an album that includes covers of 10 Nirvana tracks in a reggae/dub style will be released soon. Watch this space.
Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis features in this hilarious video this week, filmed inside his home. This is not your usual video interview though as J discusses his life as a songwriter by a woman called Maureen.
Mascis is one of the hardest people in music to interview due to his laid back nature as I discovered over the phone back in July 2005 (click here for the interview) but this one tops anything he has done before in terms of discussing his life.
Look out for his first ever solo album ‘Several Shades of Why‘ coming out on Sub Pop on March 14th as it’s another wonderful side to the man who will go down in history as one of the best guitar widdlers of all time. He will also play an exclusive acoustic show at Cargo, London, on 14th April.
Mogwai released their new album today titled Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will on their own label Rock Action Records.
The band’s seventh album was recorded over the summer at Chem 19 Studios, in Hamilton and mixed at The Castle Of Doom. ‘Hardcore’ is produced by Mogwai confidante Paul Savage (the man behind Mogwai’s exceptional 1997 ‘Mogwai Young Team’ album) and is the follow up to 2008’s magnum opus ‘The Hawk Is Howling’.
Enjoy this new video for track Mexican Grand Prix.