Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Moody Notes : Virus, Death, and Recollection.

I invariantly jog along the same old path. The spot, winding abeam the sea front, is just perfect to let one's mind wander : marvelous landscape - the giant ramparts of the ancient volcano on the right, the furious flows of the Indian Ocean on the left - surrounded by the sunny bright sky and the muffled clatter of the shiny peebles rolling under the waves. I should change sometime... But, you know, those daily habits, which become more pervasive with the age, while the lookout for some novelties becomes less appealing... I sometimes wonder if I'm not turning into one of those decrepit-minded conservative guys... But I digress.

Cimetière La Peste

The old pathway leads to a weird place called Cimetière La Peste. There's something in the air around that old marine graveyard, some people even certify that lost souls are still haunting the place, and it's not unusual to find the remains of some sacrificed chicken or local mystic rites. In fact, the spirit of the cemetery rather stands in its tragic history : in March 1919, the Madonna's ship, sailing from Europe to Reunion, brought the Spanish Influenza to the island, 10.000 people passed away in a few weeks and hundreds of poor damned ones were quickly and discreetly buried there together in mass graves *.

But whatever might think a few gullible believers, some feelings can't be missed around there: recollection, sorrow, always followed by a deep terror, thinking of the fact that it would obviously happen again someday. 

One century after the disaster, the catastrophe scenario obviously didn't occur again, and the comparaison of two similar pandemic events leads to a clear conclusion : the victorious battles in the war against the present virus must be counted among the biggest achievements of scientific studies and medical progress. 

A team of genetics' researchers has recently sequenced, for the first time, the whole lineage of the variants of the Spanish Influenza. They proved that its very first mutation - the same one as the one embedded on the Madonna's boat - was the most fatal, and all the following ones, popping up every year, became the basic viral strains of our seasonal flu, which quickly lost their damaging mass effects, thanks to global immunization, and later on, to some targeted campaigns of vaccination. The kind of fascinating basic research, full of hope for the upcoming months, that manages to make me still believe in the future and humankind, at least for a little while. 

And as I heard that the current period is proper for rejoicing again, here comes another positive news ! Humanist ideas, mostly carried by the democratic societies which decided to take care of their weakest citizens, seem to be the great winners of the current crisis. Isn't that thrilling to see all those worldwide alt-right populist governments (Trump, Modi, Bolsonero...) sinking down, because of their criminal management of the sanitary crisis ? Nature seems to offer us a welcome break in the irresistible rebirth of the nationalist filthy beast. 

* The local story of the disaster was admirably documented by Huo-Chao-Si & Appollo in the best-seller comix book La Grippe Coloniale (Vent d'Ouest Editions - 2003))

Monday, 14 June 2021

Gigs' Reviews : Pamplemousse + Kilkil + Lomor - November the 10th, 2020 - Rock O TEAT Festival

The last time I came to the TEAT's x open-air amphitheater was in 2010 for the moving show of one of the greatest romantic, French rocker : Christophe, and yes, my girl friand always plays some of his songs after having a few drinks together... Christophe's hit Aline was famous in the mid-60's, and he had brightly managed his come back since the early noughties with some electro-pop, modern versions of his hits. Virus, death and recollection, once again : Christophe passed away, victim of the virus, at the very beginning of the pandemia. 

An electro-rock band, Kilkil, which name sounded like a call to try to face the Great Reaper's offensive, was ironically scheduled for my second attempt to this place.

Despite the standards of social distancing and the ubiquitous masks, the huge concrete theater was full, the beer was flooding at the bar, all the different rock tribes were around to support their own favourite local bands, the usual pirates were sticking together, Cristian Occhio was talkative as ever and everybody seemed to savour his chance to be there, on this open-minded, open-air, rock festival, with an amazing view on St Gilles' bay, and in the very single French territory which wasn't locked down again. I even met a newly arrived rocker from Brittany, who used to play double-bass in the Sleepwalkerz from Rennes. A promise to have a new rockab band around in the forthcoming months? 

Lomor x, a guitar/bass/drums trio band, was opening the night with a punk/metal hardcore sound, played on a Slayer's very trashy way. Not really my cup of tea, but the bunch of hairy followers seemed to appreciate. The band was linked to the local Studio Tic x, a rehearsal place and label, mostly dedicated to the metal genre, and co-organizer of the festival.


I hadn't seen Kilkil x 
for a long time, the format of the band was still looking the same - onward electro-sounding bass, electronic drums, electro samples and side-effects' machines, and free-punk parts on the saxophone. Surely due to the lockdown, their musical repertoire had grown up a bit, with a more marked dispatching in the female/male vocals and the English/low-tone German lyrics, and the new songs reminded me the most nervous ones of De Ambassade, the sensation Dutch band in the electro-rock world by then. 

The eye blink to the Mo-Do's Italian technoid hit, Ein, Zwei, Drei, Polizei, managed to make me travel back to my teenagers years, when Eurodance was the inescapable background sound for any parties in the Franco-German Exchange Youth programs (Oh Goshhh ! That first true romance...). Isn't the relief of the body and the mind what's the most expected in music ? So, good point for them ! 

Their new 7-songs Lp, Clermont-Ferrand, with another amazing art cover designed by the South-African artist Conrad Botes, should be released by the Belgium label RockeRill Records x very soon (co-release with Maudit Tangue Rec. x, co-organizer of the festival, by the way). To end up with Kilkil, dig up the other bands of the three musicians : Tuelipe (electro-pop one-woman band), MonOi (Oi ! music featuring the two guys, they even cover some 8°6 Crew 's songs!) and Holy Soul (Ska/Soul).

The noisy wall of guitar of Pamplemousse x closed the night. In a recent review, we already talked a bit about the trio band, their stoner/hardcore sound, the screaming voice coming from the guts of the singer, the recording sessions at the Black Box studios and the Angers' Thugs/Hint lineage, the close follow-up of two Lps released on A Tant Rêver Du Roi Records x. But, don't forget to check also the new solo project of the bassist girl : Bust A Gut. A dreamy electro-indus little nugget !

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Turning Round On The Turntable : Sweet Reaper, Jackson Reid Briggs & the Heaters, Spodee Boy, the Sex Organs, Pamela & the Andersons, Paddock & Breakfast


Sweet Reaper

Alien Snatch Records x, the German label dedicated to the world's classiest power pop/garage punk bands for more than two decades (Hex Dispensers, Mojomatics, Primitive Hands, Lost Balloons, Bad Sports, Lame... to name just a few of them), is back with a favorite new highly-productive band, Sweet Reaper (two Lps released in 2020, Closer Still & Side Kick, and a brand new EP, Microdose, out two month ago!).

The trio band is from Ventura, California. The melodic guitar has a marvelous "gling gling" aggressive sound, the bass lines brightly enfold the songs and the female drummer alternates mid-tempo rhythms (Cowards & Like The Way) and nervous beats (Liar & Drink The Poison). 

The immersion in those four songs looks like to me a pleasant return to the daily bread of my early-thirties, into the well-known home of the beloved Marked Men, Manikins, Kidnappers and other Hidden Charms. Nostalgic surges in sight ! And that damned time that still flies... The name of the band, as well as the artistic drawings of the Great Reaper on the front cover, remind me that the very best is mostly behind me now, and the feeling, that everything is vain, becomes each day more pervasive.


Jackson Reid Briggs & the Heaters

Talking about memories... The first time I discovered that Australia was hosting some punk bands was in September 1997. I was twenty, Cosmic Psycho and the Onyas were showing up in a social center of my sweet hometown Angers, and I was blown by their raw punk sound full-filled with greasy hard-rock touches. A brutal deflowering indeed...

Jackson Reid Briggs seems to follow the path of his notorious ancestors and also plays some ballsy punk rock'n'roll with His Heaters : loud wall of guitar & bass, continuous high-tones guitar solos, mid-tempo tough rhythm, tormented voice coming straight from the guts of the screamo-singer (by the way, nice T-shirt reflecting some good tastes! x), but a prevailing melancholia that's hard to hide – sadly the lyrics aren't included. Some Turbonegro's fans would call that death punk...

Legless Records x, the new terrific Melbourne label dedicated to aggressive punk (Stiff Richards, Cutters, COFFIN, Gee Tee...) and idle punkers (Tony Dork, Speed Week), released the fourth LP of the band (the previous one was out on a French label, Beast Records). Don't miss it ! If only you knew...


Spodee Boys

Nashville, Tennessee... The entrance door to the Far West and the Yankees' collective imaginary : lonesome riding in the sunshine, guns' shooting in Tombstone, cowboys' ranch... 

The Spodee Boy, a gang that hangs around the saloons of the big city, stylishly appropriates the whole subject on this concept EP (musical arrangements and whistles, lyrics, front cover) and upgrades that western thing with a wild garage background. The sound, less dirty and noisy than on their previous EPs (released on Drop Medium Rec and Soft Junk Rec), is rather more into the one of the Gun Club (the awesome Dress The Parts and the foolish Ain't Funny) or some KbD bands (the galopping Rides Again reminds the Daddy's My Pusher song by the Dutch Tits), and the band even wanders into some bluesy ballads (Tombstone and its Country Teasers side). The nonchalante voice, more talked than sung, is close to the Billy Childish's one. This EP is a really cool & raw stuff !

Goodbye Boozy Records x keeps on digging, over and over, the garage/punk mines of the Wild West to find some new nuggets. After a Datenight's EP two years ago and this Spoode Boy's one, the Nashville's seam still remains very promising, and the next one, by Snooper, will come out next month. 

Check also the other bands of the last batch released around March by the compulsory Italian label : the lo-fi screamo-punk EP of the Stools from Detroit, the deep dive in the Louisiana world of Drew Owen (Louder Than War, Trampoline Team, LSDOGS...) with his garage punk band Sick Thoughts and his trashy hxc combo D.D Deth and finally, the re-release of the split EP of the Primitive Fools (lo-fi garage/surf featuring the young Ty Segall in 2007) versus the Primate Five (Budget Rock with some Planet of the Apes' fancy dresses)

SEX ORGANS - Where Is My Dildo/I Hate Underpants SP - ORGASTIC RECORDS - 2021 - X

The Sex Organs

Did I say Budget Rock somewhere ? In the late 80's, four jerks clothed like actual mummies, were hanging around the best Californian venues, playing some 60's garage revival on a dirty punk wild way, with a raw lo-fi sound, and recorded a few low-budget vinyls. Fun and stupidity were their leading purpose - to achieve that point, they found nothing better than erasing their own individualities and personal asperities under the same fancy dresses - and the band, named the Mummies, ignited a new punk sub-genre called Budget Rock. An eye-blink, for sure, to the DIY atmosphere of the RKO's scary movies from the 50's (the famous Budget B-Movies, from which, by the way, the band frequently borrowed some of the codes).

Budget Rock has kept on burgeoning ever since, and seems to have reached a daring paroxysm with that male/female duo band : the Sex Organs

The guy is dressed up like a furry erected penis (!) and hates underpants, while the girl, disguised as a puffy vulva with teeth (!!), wonders where her dildo is, and the two frightening sex organs clearly seem to stand as two aliens cu(o)ming from outer space and stuck-minded into sexual subjects : sexual pleasure, sex toys, lubricity and a few other aliens' fucking plans... . Fun, fun, fun ! But may we ask how they manage to show up and play with such cumbersome costumes ?

The music ? Highly rhythmical gimmicks on his guitar, nervous kicking on her minimal drum set, mixed singing and choirs, saucy lyrics and sex-beat garage ! Despite the disguises, the vocals are clearly recognisable (the Who's Who search on Discogs confirms the thing) : the Swiss band featured the Jackets's female singer (you surely know, that Wasting My Time hit !) and the Anomalys' guitarist/singer. 

They recorded a first single, Fuck the Human Race, followed by a LP album, Intergalitic Sex Tourist, in 2016, both on Reverend Beatman's label, Voodoo Rhythm Records. This new single was self-released on Orgastic Records. Last but not least, check the flashy pink cover and the spoony texture of the beautiful packaging.

Sex, Fun and Rock'n'roll ? The spice of life !


Back to the very early 60's, around the Southern Californian area, when 50's rock'n'roll was achieving it mutation into some elegant instrumental surf music !

Pamela & the Andersons brightly manages to take us back to the sound of the Ventures, the Del Tones and Duane Eddy : highly danceable tempo, catchy harmonies, reverberation's distinctive markers and three clear sounding guitars - one for the rhythm and the two solo ones constantly conversing one with the other. An additional baritone saxo and the revival sound would have been perfect !

No, the combo doesn't come from Orange County, but from Reunion Island to our great delight ! The local All-Stars rock band features some musicians of Golgot VR, Holy Soul, Mothra Slapping, Pluto Crevé, etc..., and shows the great vitality of our local rock scene. It also proves that any lovers of any punk sub-genres (indie rock, hardcore, punk, psychobilly, 2-tone ska...) will some day come back to the roots.

Though, the quality and the seriousness of the stylish 6-songs standing on the Lp doesn't erase the schoolish side of the five jokers: sleeve's pictures showing some funny surf session in a swimming pool, name of the band... A new-born local label, Sayor Records x (Surf At Your Own Risk !, such an adequate sentence around here) co-released the record, with the help of the local vinyl factory Run Run Factory x... Hypnotizing, mister drummer ?!


Paddock & Breakfast

Three good reasons to make the last little focus on Paddock & Breakfast ? They come from Angers (sweet hometown, bis repetita!), they (consequently) used to love the Thugs, and they are huge fans of the Parisian band Pierre & Bastien.

The duo band seems to be a male/female couple in its early/mid-forties. The two songs of the single, self-released on Barrettes Records, are clearly influenced by the two compulsory bands. Alone and Artist are played on a DIY noisy/punk minimalist way (binary tempo, 3-chords guitar riffs, a female voice that isn’t always crisp and clear) and sounds wilful and touching. The few home-made video captures with their children playing with them are moving too. The proof that there’s no age to start a punk band ?