jeudi 23 mai 2019

Turning Round on the Turntable : School Damage, Frustration, the Moths/the Thirty Eights, Kilkil.

SCHOOL DAMAGE « sings » Four songs about one Cat ep - UPSET THE RYTHM - 2018

Melbourne... There's something about that Aussie new awesome rock scene: Parsnipthe Shifters, BananagunPrimo !Hierophant... Another « hit machine » seems to be in the place : School Damage (x). A charming band that offers fresh lo-financial mid-tempo powerpop tunes, with catchy postpunk guitar & keyboard riffs, snappy bass lines and alternates spontaneous female & male vocals.
The same kind of sound with that melancholic touch and the same « in a hurry », DIY spirit you could find in that creative 79-British wave : the Buzzcocks' compulsory period of A different kind of tension or the early Gang Of Four or Television Personalities releases. A sound closed to the one of the current French band Fotomatic from Toulouse.

The A-side of this vinyl-ep gives us two overly emotional postpunk songs (Scump Damage I & II) that have that trappy smell of daily boredom and light depression. The « quarter life crisis » as they elegantly say. Two great songs really closed to the ones found on their awesome 2017's first LP on Chapter Music Records. The B-side makes us travel in a more 70's world with a Kinks-Sunny-Afternoon-like song with a sound very closed to the Parsnip's one (Scum Damage III), while Secret Beautymay recall the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood-Some Velvet Morning song.

The London-based label Upset the Rythm (x) released this ep in 2018. Spotted around here for the LP launch of the experimental/lo-fi garage band the Pheromoans in the mid-teenies, they seem to have now an active interest in that Aussie scene (the girly postpunk & garage bands Terry and Primo !) alongside the awesome labels Anti Fade Rec. in Geelong, Trouble in Mind in Chicago or Future Folk Rec around Lyon.
Check also the other bands of the School Damage crew : the Frowning CloudsParsnipChook Race and Ausmuteants. The top of the Melbourne DIY scene !

FRUSTRATION - The Drawback ep- BLIND RECORDS - 2019

The French band Frustration (x) surged in 2002 alongside the awesome garage band Anteenagers MC and was built upon the ashes of Steve & the Jerks and Les Teckels. A Parisian crew, linked to the self-called Happy Family, that gravitated around the Born Bad shop in the early noughties.
The initial songs were mostly infuenced by cold wave/punk bands such as WarsawCrisis. .. The singer's voice and gesture on stage remembering the ones of Ian Curtis. Four Lps and a few eps followed, adding postpunk and occasional electro influences to their powerful sound (think Wire, early-Joy Division...) and nurturing their energic and crazy shows.

More than 15 years of existence. A compulsory band in the French rock scene, a European recognition and a nice longevity that could be explained by the retraint in the number of their releases and shows, the long, continuous friendship among themselves, a high fidelity to their values and musical tastes, and a hardwork on their compositions. As consequence, every new release is an event for their followers.

The new single is a 2-tracks vinyl released on their own label Blind Records (x). The A-side, The Drawback, drives us in a world of madness, whether it be the foolish electronic gimmick, the insane lyrics and voice or the destructured instrumental lines. The front-cover of the single - showing an old-fashioned turning merry-go-round - raises the idea of a permanent movement of a drawback mind and strengthens the mental derangement of the song. Psychiatric Hospital, the next step after the mid-life crisis ?
The B-side, Electric Heat, is a cover (better than the original tune) of the Scottish 77-punk band the Visitors. The song reconnects us to the Frustration classy mid-tempo cold-wave/punk sound, with that striking voice, those usual hooligans' choirs, those catchy bass and keyboard lines and that machine gun-like guitar play.
The next Long Player will be, once again, an explosive one !


The current Capetown (South Africa) garage scene is a small, lively vibrant scene, with gifted musicians and a young, jovial, following public : the Medecine Dolls (Cramps-like garage), the Runaway Nuns (Black Lips-like garage), Black Lung (Heavy Psyche/garage), Julia Roberts (synth-punk), Black Math (indie/noise), Hyroines (weird electro), just to name some of the punk & garage bands hanging around there...
Always that virtuous circle : a bunch of uprising bands, a few rock-open-minded club or bar-tenders (the Raptors, the Mercury) and a non-stopping story of DIY, motivated garage bands as a background (the Future Primitives in the early 2010's (with one LP released on Voodoo Rhythm by the way...) or Training Brah and the Straight Suits a few years later). On the top of that, a label which manages to federate the bunch, to release their vinyls' records, to organize nice local gigs and invite international bands on tours. The whole things becomes then self-sustaining, even if settled on a tiny scale...
Now Now, Just Now Records (x), the label in question, released a few ep vinyls of most of these nice Capetown bands over the last 2 years. Only very limited editions (between 20 and 50 issues), a choice that seems to have been made on purpose regarding the difficulties in the distribution of the records and in the exportation of the bands outside South Africa (the nearest rock « spot » is located on Reunion island, 3000kms away from the country), the small size of the Capetown scene and perhaps the need for a larger records' factory in this country. A choice that explains the high price to pay - around 15€ - for each of them.

On of their last release (40 hand-numbered copies) is that split-7inch.
The Thirty Eights (x) is a four-piece band coming from Capetown, they play two damned good instrumental garage surf tunes : the Drop and TikiTorcher. A toughly marked mid-tempo rhythm section, catchy surf-sounding lines on the lead-guitar and awesome solo on the second guitar. The whole thing wrapped up in a sexy 60's sound, at the crossroad of the Trashmen and the Tamrons. Good job ! The South African Phantom Surfers !!
The 3 guys in the Moths (x) come from Johannesbourg. They also play two nice instrumental surf tunes (Lightning Coyoteand Tornado), but with a more punchy tempo and a more modern sound than their Capetown's friend. Some nervous surf music around here that reminds me of the American Man Or Astro-Man? or the French Hawai Samurai, and triggers a haunting urge to go for a surf ride in the midst of the Great White Sharks...


Kilkil (x) ? Electro ? Punk ? Both of them ! Welcome to the 2.19 version of synth-punk ! In this French trio band created in 2012 on Reunion Island, Johnny beats up the tiny electronic drum set, Pascale sings in English and plays the bass with a particular electronically modified sound while Charlou takes charge of the synthesizer and all the side-noises, electronic pedals, voices' effects and a few saxo incursions. The guys sing a few additional songs in German and French.

As a reminder, Pascale is fully involved, with her mate Gaël, in the local and Indian Ocean punk rock scene : Rock à la Buse festival, Ravines des Roques organisation (gigs,  tours, movie pictures shows...), Maudit Tangue (x) label on which this record was released.

Ten nice songs lay on this LP (x). In Vain ? No way ! In the Veins, for sure ! Half of them (In VainRareRalsaErasedElectronic SheepTuerie) have that electro-punk sound - with snappy beats and gothic touch - that wouldn't have denoted in the mid-2010's French synth-punk wave (KomplikationsViolence ConjugaleLe Prince Harry...). Junior in Winter, with its Frustration-like opening synth riff and its title, clearly seems to be a tribute to the Parisian band with which Kilkil played local gigs 2 years ago. Shitty Night and Tuerie, two experimental/free-punk tunes with Lucrate Milk-like saxo surges make the connection with their 2016 mini-lp (the 10' vinyl Speed). Auspuffgase and the Grauzone cover Eisbar, two awesome mid-tempo synth-punk songs bring to this album a very pleasant Deutsch-punk touch and a potential steering for their future records. The Isolierband Kontrolle as a next cover ?

The South African Conrad Botes (BitterKomix !! (x) ) also drew the beautiful front cover of this vinyl. One of these recent paintings mixing religious background with daily pessimism, morality with violence and sadness. A moving Artwork.
Note : Kilkil is touring France & Belgique next week.

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