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. 

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