Friday 30 August 2019

Turning Round on the Turntable : Condor, Euromilliard, Radioactivity, Jack Cades, Datenight

CONDOR - Singles 2017-2018 Maxi-single - BEACH IMPEDIMENT REC - 2019

Strong comeback nowadays of the audio tapes’ format... Who the hell are the jerks who first re-introduced them ? Burger Records or something like that ? Of course, I understand why we can love them : the easy-shareable aspect, the cheapness of the format, the non-digital audio sound or the materialistic side of demos and homemade compilations. But I get rid of them with a high pleasure the day my old Peugeot 205 passed away 15 years ago. I've never felt like coming back to them since, even if it sometimes sounds pretty frustrating to check on bandcamp or whatever else great bands using this format while waiting for a hypothetical vinyl issue. 

Nevermind… What a great idea the American guys at Beach Impediment Rec x - mostly into hxc releases and Virginian punk reissues - had when they gathered the two Condor’s x demo tapes and released a 12" Maxi-Single vinyl of the band! A band ? Perhaps not the appropriate term as all the instruments were played and recorded by a single man: Maxime Smadja. The outcome is awesome. The sound and the riffs of the guitar, the lines of the bass, the rthythm on the drums, the hoarse melodic voice, the french lyrics and the hooligans’ choirs make us travel back in 1984. That year when a bunch of now-mythical french bands surged alongside the british Oi wave (Cockney Rejectsthe 4-Skinsthe Last Resortthe Business…) and produced their own sound before the final crash of the movement in political struggles. 

The A-side (the 2017 demo) has a tough Hardcore and Oi mixed aspect closed to the anthems of the Parisian bands Tolbiac ToadsL’Infanterie Sauvage or RAS. The tempo slows down (a little bit) on the 2018-songs laying on the B-side, with a more Chaos Rec/New Wave Rec punky side. Thinking about Reich OrgasmAl Kapott and of course DEM, a band the guy covered on the final track.

Add to this a great packaging : front cover featuring a nice sketch of a gloomy violent town (by Beau-Bradley Richie), a giant Condor poster for the loo. and the lyrics which talk about freedom, insubordination and violence, with a moving melancholic touch: self-questionning about one’s achieved youth, urban loneliness, fading of his own skinheads’ ways of live...

The guy seems to take this Oi/hxc universe like a fish in water as he also plays drums in Rixe (much too brutal Oi for me, sorry !) and Boss (glamy power-punk on Goner Rec (!!)) and gives a hand to many bands. Waiting for the next sequence with a high curiosity !


This 7" single has that typical late noughties’ Parisian garage/punk sound we could find in bands such as Bossom DivineLes BavariansSubtle Turnhips or the compulsory Pierre & Bastien (an appropriate transition with the previous review, isn’t it?). Kinds of little brothers of the garage/punk branch of the Happy Family (Splash 4Steve & the JerksAnteenagers MC) ? Anyhow, a scene that gently took off thanks to the Get Action and Les Barrocks’ gigs organisation, grew up with the high support of the Parisian labels Les Disques SteakSDZ Rec.Pouet ! Schallplatten Rec. or Killed BAAxe Rec., and reached a respectable international recognition. Also a family that sadly mourned the recent death of the Pierre & Bastien’s guitarist/singer.

That’s not so surprising then to find in Euromilliard x some guys closed to this Gambetta’s crew : Etienne Cheveu with his distinctive guitar play, FX Volt who left his keyboards for the bass or the always-standing-on-the-deck Lili Z and Jack-O who released the single on their own label : Polly Magoo Rec.x

On the A-Side, Elève Modèle is a jumpy, jovial 77-punk song (pogo pogo!) with a nice binary rhythm, a willful voice, funny french-singing lyrics and raging NaNaNa’s chorus. The B-side, Indolore, gives us a darker sound with a more post-punk beat dusted under catchy garage/punk guitar riffs and loud french choirs. Two great songs for a perfect start !

RADIOACTIVITY - Infected/Sleep 7" - WILD HONEY REC - 2017

I was hanging around in Lyon this summer and had the opportunity to check the Dangerhouse shop. So glad to find there the last Radioactivity 7" single x (Infected/Sleep, two golden hits on Wild Honey Rec. x) that I somehow missed two years ago. Did you ever have a favorite band ? The Marked Men/Radioactivity couple is mine. 

Initially, there was that Texan band on Rip Off Rec. called the Reds. A good band : 100Mph tempo, barking voice and typical sound of the bands on this label. The guys started then the Marked Men in 2002. The second Lp On the Outside (Dirtnap Rec.- 2004) suddenly dethroned everything else I had listened to before: awesome melodic hxc sound, moving power-pop incursions, staggering wall of guitars, fast tempo, catchy nervous bass lines, alternative voices of the two singers, emotional lyrics and above all that, the melancholic timbre of Jeff Burke’s voice. The next records, then the next bands (the NoviceRadioactivity) followed the lead and intensified those trends.

Check all the branchings of this fascinating Austin scene (Mind SpidersLow CultureLost BalloonsBad Sports…) that made the golden days of compulsory labels such as Dirtnap Rec. and Alien Snatch Rec. By the way, Radioactivity is touring Europe this month. Jump on it, you lucky guys !


Back to the Dangerhouse shop in Lyon... The talk with the seller was first a bit strained when he claimed the Jeff Burke’s crew was Australian. Despite this unforgivable mistake and after a good laugh (he was replacing the boss during the holidays), we managed to have a nice discussion. He was a huge fan of 60’ garage and he had co-released a few months earlier, with the help of DangerHouse Skylab x, this Jake Cades x single on his own label Sasham Rec. x. His enthusiasm for this recent UK band made me buy the thing. No regrets for sure ! 

The sound ? 60’s garage at its best : one foot in the British Medway scene, the other one deep into the 60’s US garage one and the bottom stuck in a Girls in the Garage atmosphere. I even found a snotty punk riff closed to the the Spitfire BoysBritish Refugees during the Run Paulie Run’s chorus. Something really closed to the awesome Les Bellas from Perpignan.

Obviously, the people in this band aren’t any novices. The piercing lead guitar and smart singer played with Thee Vicars (nervous 60’s garage – they used to tour with Robert Kiss’n’Run). The drummer plays with him in Baron 4 (classy 60’s with a much too clean sound for me) and beats the tempo for the Embrooks (psyche garage). The female singer (great Mary Weiss-like vocals!) with her clear rhythm guitar sound used to sing with the Missing Souls from Lyon (nervous 60’s garage with soul touches). The female bassist used to play in the fuzzy Evil Thingies in the noughties.

A nice, efficient garage band and scene which is strongly supported by the key label Dirty Water Rec. (they released the first Jack Cades’ LP last year) and its Lyon’s connexion at Sasham Rec. and Dangerhouse Skylab.

DATENIGHT - My Car/You’re hard to move - GOODBYE BOOZY REC- 2018

This moving 7" single of the Datenight x, a band from Nashville, Tennessee, has turned for a while around here. Time went on and the restless labeGoodbye Boozy Rec. x had the time to release two sets of great 7" before I go for a little review on this one. This great label is always on the top in its search for unknown punk nuggets.

These two songs are now stuck in my head. The A-side My Car reminds me some catchy tunes of Supercharger (talking about Rip Off Rec….) or the Carbonas. Great efficient garage punk with a warm voice, nice choirs, aggressive guitar outflows and a steady binary tempo. Same kind of stuff on the B-side, but with an onward bass which gives a more post-punk sound to the song You’re hard to move.

I don’t know that much about this band. They released a few nice singles with this particular sound that I didn’t really find again when checking their 2018's LP. 

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Gigs' Reviews : A glance at Cape Town. The Runaway Nuns, Julia Robert, Black Math.

par Olive the Jerk

I’ve the seen the Eiffel and I’d been in New Cape Town ! Yeah, following the steps of the Great Lee Hazelwood ! Cape Town is a such a constrating town, it deserves a song for sure! The foggy Atlantic Ocean atmosphere meets there the Indian wild one. The Deep South mild-weather fights with the African heat and dryness. Seals, whales and penguins stand alongside ostriches, zebras and baboons. The astonishing wild landscapes try to resist the galloping urbanisn. The coolness of the people versus the violence of the South African society... “Hey man, we don’t care ! Stop with your picture postcard!“ Sorry guys, I had such a nice feeling about this town, especially when I was well hidden in the rich district of Sea Point... The Bootleger was my haven for the stay. A cool bar with great Weiss beers, wonderful burgers, a quiet atmosphere suitable for the reading of the new generation of local indie comics illustrators (Maya Lemaitre, Anja Venter, Archie Birch, ND Mazin…) while waiting, after my work day, the proper time to leave the place and catch some local punk bands’ live.
This Southern-hemisphere town has never escaped to all the punk rock waves. During my previous journeys, I always found some nice bands hanging around there and great shows to get my teeth into: the Future Primitives (garage/punk) and Peachy Keen (neo-50’s rock’n’roll) six years ago, Training Brah and the Straight Suits (garage lo-fi) three years ago… This year, I had the chance to check some of the best punk bands of the current, small but vibrant Cape Town DIY scene : the Runaway NunsElle E., Julia Robert and Black Math.

The Runaway Nuns + Elle E - 30th of April 2019 - Raptor

The 5 guys in the Runaway Nuns (x) seemed to have been brought up on all those mid/late-noughties garage punk bands : the Black LipsDemon’s ClawsJacuzzi BoysLiving Eyes… Same kind of rhythm & bass section framing (by the way, what a nice way to carry one’s bass so high on the heart!) ; punchy, jovial melodies for the rhythmic guitar ; nice gimmicks and psychedelic surges on the lead guitar ; a warm silky voice for the main singer ; a restless side-singing jerk dancing with the tambourines ; also a visually pleasant Rainbow Nation side ; and above all that, THE amazing and powerful gangs’ choirs. A very classy garage /punk band !!
So glad they played the songs Resistor and Crips, two hits from their debut 7“. Now Now Just Now Records (x) released the single back in 2017 (the first release of this confidential label, 40 copies (!), so jump on it, just a few left!). The guys were just coming back from a South African tour and playing their last show in their hometown. Check also the other kicking surf/garage band of the singer and his girlfriend : Brickface (x).

Elle E. (x), a two-piece band, opened the night for the Runaway Nuns. A large guy smashing hard his drum set on a pounding tempo and a girl in her mid-twenties with a pretty melodic voice, playing the fuzzy guitar. The noisy Indie Rock sound with touches of grunge made me thing both about the Hivesthe White Stripes and the Breeders. Not the kind of music I’m fond of, but a fairly pleasant show. 

The gig took place at the Raptor, a center-town cosy bar/restaurant, with a friendly bar-tender, good local beers, a nice cabaret stage with huge red curtains and old-fashionned neon tubes. The audience ? Jovial students, young adults, cool rich teenagers, white people in their thirties. Where I had to admit two things : 1 - this kind of music was mostly a white people’s thing and 2 - I was the oldest one… Damned!

Julia Robert + Deaf Poets + the Tazers - 03rd of May - Raptor

par Olive the Jerk

I went back three days later to the same place, with the same audience and the same reflexions… Julia Robert (x) opened the night’s show. I had missed them 3 years before, they were playing the day I was flying back to Reunion Island. Cool to check them live this time !
2 guys and 2 girls, drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, alternate male and miaowing female singing. A good mixture between nervous synth/punk, mutant disco rock and arty postpunk. Something like the Epoxies meeting Marie & les Garçons meeting Liliput. Good job, guys & girls !
As far as I know, they also rule the Now Now Just Now label, on which they released the POW/Eavesdrop 7“ (very few issues again) in 2018, promote South African punk bands, organise local gigs for international bands... Lovely activists of the DIY policy ! By the way, they’ll be playing Reunion Island next October ! A Maudit Tangue event, once again !

The next band was an American one : Deaf Poets from Brooklyn. A drums/guitar male duo playing some raw, nervous 70’s Hard Rock, with some grungy and noisy surges. A Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin lineage, but with a slightly dirtier sound. A nice back-sound for the outside funny talks with the female colleague I embarked on my nightly punk journeys...

Black Math + the Tazers + Deafs Poets - 04th of May - Mercury

Deaf Poets were touring South Africa with the Tazers (from Johannesbourg) and they were both playing a second dates in Cape Town. I had missed the Jozzy’s band the day before, so I caught them up live at the Mercury. Nice to discover this well-known gigs’ place (capacity : 500 people ?) : clean sound, black wall-painting and dark atmosphere, maybe a little too aseptic place for me.

The Tazers (x) is 3-piece band that played a mixture of fuzzy psychedelic and funky indie rock/stoner songs. I liked the psychedelic side of the coolest ones (Shake It) which reminded me some T-Rex stuffs, but I wasn’t really into the stoner ones. 
By the way, let’s mention that the Jobourg’s area DIY scene has been wealthy and very active for a few years. Check those bands if you dare ! The Make-Overs (noisy/garage punk - with an awesome Hozac Rec release 6 years ago!), the Moths (neo-surf music), Mouse (juvenile incredible old-school hxc), Deadly Bites (psychedelic New Wave, around Reunion Island in October too)…

par Olive the Jerk

The Tazers played just after the Durban/CapeTown band Black Math (x).
Black Math. Nothing in common with math rock as the girl (on the drums) and the two guys (fuzzy guitar/bass) in this bands played what they called Fuzzcore : some heavy psych punk on this one too, but with additional Metallica-like metal-trash plans. Their main influences also seemed to be the Aussie heavy psych/punk scene : Tame ImpalaPond…We could add Lords of Altamonts. A heavy, loud and sometimes violent sound that contrasted with the youth and the enthusiasm of the 3 musicians. Not really the usual music turning at home but a very pleasant show at the end. They toured Reunion Island a few years ago.

A third heavy psych band (Deaf Poets) was a bit too much for me. I left the show. 
Special thoughts to all those modern slaves Uber drivers who drove me back every night and prevented me from hazardous nights’ walks, stepping-ups and quick streets’ crossings... All Zimbabwean economic migrants; where we can applaud the Great Mugabe and his crew, a bunch of nice African democrats who have perfectly contributed for a few years to the well-being and freedom of their citizens. Who's the next one ?