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Pansy Division to release 2016 summer album

 Pansy DivisionQueercore group Pansy Division is releasing a new LP titled Quite Contrary in the summer of 2016 via Alternative Tentacles.  Release dates are yet to be announced.  

They are also releasing a 7 inch with songs off their upcoming LP and a exclusive B side track called “Neighbor of the Beast.”

The World/Inferno Friendship Society – Elegant Solution

World Inferno Friendship SocietyBrooklyn cabaret punk act The World/Inferno Friendship Society has premiered a new song.  The track is titled “Elegant Solution” and is from their upcoming album, This Packed Funeral, which is set to drop on November 11, 2014 via Alternative Tentacles. The disc will follow 2011′s The Anarchy And The Ecstasy.

Listen to the track below.

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SlimInterview

Slim Cessna's Auto Club

Slim Cessna

Alternative Tentacles
By on September 15, 2014 at E-mail

 

 

Slim Cessna is one of the frontmen for Denver’s Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.

Formed in 1992, Slim is one of the few remaining original members of the unique band that infuses elements of country blues, Southern gospel, gothabilly and other forms loosely grouped as “American”. The band is sometimes labeled “country Gothic” due to the juxtaposition of apocalyptic religious imagery with stories of alcohol, violence, and relationships gone awry. In 2013, the band released SCAC 102: An Introduction For Young And Old Europe and scheduled to tour this coming October. Slim talked with us about such topics including religion, alcohol, words he lives by, and Jello Biafra.

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The World / Inferno Friendship Society Announce New Album; Stream First Track

World Inferno Friendship SocietyBrooklyn cabaret punk act The World/Inferno Friendship Society has announced details for their next full length.  The disc will be titled This Packed Funeral and is set to drop on November 11, 2014 via Alternative Tentacles. The disc will follow 2011′s The Anarchy And The Ecstasy.

Track listing, album art and a stream of the title track can be found below.

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Slim Cessna’s Auto Club - Unentitled

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

Unentitled

Alternative Tentacles Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

How do you follow-up an epic, genre-defining, career-peaking masterpiece?  Well, if you asked gothic country masterminds Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, I’d reckon their answer would be that you don’t.  Instead you just go about business as usual and keep pumping out the same uniquely creative tunes that initially put you on the map.  Or at least that has been the Denver, Colorado sextet’s answer to their captivating 2009 milestone, Cipher.  Seldom can a band release a follow-up and sound so effortlessly unphased by expectations as with the comparatively straight-forward, Unentitled.

While Cipher was a huge, structurally complex beast of a concept album, Unentitled can be tackled to on a track-by-track basis without sacrificing the former’s ambition.  In fact, in an odd way Unentitledmight actually be the rag-tag group’s most accessible work to date.  But don’t let that be confused with a slide in musicianship, because everything is just as tight as ever – the whole outing full of colourful characters, spellbinding narratives, and one of a kind atmosphere.  In fact, in a round about way their newfound accessibility heightens their trademark juxtaposition of sound and intent.

Imagine playing all the wrong chords but still maintaining rhythmic patterns and conventional appeal – that’s the beauty of Unentitled, it’s so foreign yet so inviting.  Drawing heavily from a heritage informed by Americana and dark gospel, every track plays host to bastardized tales built on a bed of apocalyptic religious imagery.  The content stays close to frontman Slim Cessna’s view of The Church as he engages in lively exchanges with his sidekick and co-vocalist Munley.

Starting with the banjo-heavy, finger-snapping tale of warning in “Three Bloodhounds Two Shepherds One Fila Brasileiro,” guilt, punishment, and repentance arch across all nine tracks.  Those lending an ear stand privy to the twisted descriptions of bloodhounds sent in the name of justice (“the mouth full of canine is wrapped around your ankle like the iron you’re supposed to wear”).  “The Unballed Ballad Of The New Folksinger” takes an oddly upbeat, even energizing, combination of traditional organ and acoustics featuring the cultishly deep voiced choral chant “gather ‘round” in developing the almost gypsy-like character of a championed performer (perhaps an eccentric nomadic preacher?).

The first two songs could fit on most SCAC records, but what lies ahead is entirely the realm of Unentitled.  “Thy Will Be Done” opens with an eerie theramin-like electric wave and a banjo that sounds like it belongs in the Hindi world or The Stromberg Fair.  Throughout the album the atmosphere varies from threatening to complacent, with the creepiest instances always lyrically juxtaposed to the accompanying clamour.  While in fact “Thy Will Be Done” merely praises an ancient fruit-bearing tree in an orchard, the song sounds like a cultish ritual.  Other times, like in “Do You Know Thee Enemy?” the band sound ready to dance despite serving as a menacing warning.  And in another case, “A Smashing Indictment Of Character” lays claim to one of the album’s catchiest sing along choruses (“If I do not fall” is repeated with all the fire of a southern gospel choir) despite a gloomy account as told by a recently deceased narrator.

While Unentitled’s content always reaches lofty highs, the band saves the best for “Hallelujah Anyway.”  The lengthy five minute track records the happenings surrounding a backwoods marriage between an unlikely suitor and the daughter of a twisted preacher – Munley and Slim playing each respective role.  The account starts with an exchange between Mr. Beerbohm and the groom to be, the father surrendering to the reality that this former sinner of a suitor may be his last chance to give away his daughter in his small town (“I’m old and dried, but my daughter’s clean, Son, are catching what I mean?  I need a male to carry on my name, upon your seed I lay my claim”).  But the suitor’s reluctance and a humane concern quick reveals itself in his sincere response “but Mr. Beerbohm the doctors say that with your daughter no man can lay.  If a child passes from your daughter’s legs, then she’ll pass too, and to the end of her days.  Mr. Beerbohm what’s with that grin?” to which he replies with a wicked selfish revelation “son your lord works in mysterious ways, but in the end someone’s got to pay!”  Against the shadowy backdrop the traditional “hallelujah” chorus the story progresses towards the eventual marriage ceremony, featuring a speech by Mr. Beerbohm so unnerving it must be heard for full effect.  This track alone demonstrates that when it comes to Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, increased accessibility doesn’t equate to decreased ambition.

As with any review of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, anything shy of quoting each chorus and verse verbatim doesn’t do the one-of-a-kind act justice.  By this point Slim and Munley have practically written the book on gothic country, and with Unentitled remain in a class unto themselves.  Having previously made good on their immense potential, Unentitled sends a clear message to fans that life after Cipher will continue as nothing short of spectacular.

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine - Enhanced Methods of Questioning

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

Enhanced Methods of Questioning

Alternative Tentacles
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

It’s at least arguable that Jello Biafra’s done some of his best work post-Dead Kennedys. I recently repurchased Bedtime For Democracy, the band’s last full-length before breaking up in 1985, and maybe it was just me, but it sounded like a pretty tepid affair. They’d succumbed to a lot of the punk trappings of the day – it sounds like they tried to be a hardcore band on that album, rather than a caustic, smart-as-shit punk band. It sounds forced and awkward, something that the Dead Kennedys – and Biafra specifically – were absolutely miles away from on their better material.

Twenty-five years into a post-Dead Kennedys breakup and the man’s stayed busy. A plethora of spoken word albums and tours, legal battle after legal battle, years of infighting among other punk icons. But among it all, he’s still lent his pipes to some musical outing or another and goddamn, even if many of them came across as nothing more than one-off projects, some of them were great: Tumor Circus – with dudes from Steel Pole Bathtub – released the acerbic, jarring Meathook Up My Rectum 7”, and the top-notch Last Scream of The Missing Neighbors LP with D.O.A. There’s also been stuff withNoMeansNo, The Melvins, Lard and even Mojo Nixon.

Now the nice thing about Advanced Methods of Questioning is that it appears to less a collaboration and more, you know, a band: this is their 2nd album. And yeah, it’s a pretty solid listen. Biafra’s familiar warble is as snotty as ever, and his lyrics continue to dismantle and provoke. The Gauntanamo School of Medicine (I’m skeptical of calling them his backing band) is made up of Faith No More andVictims Family members, among others, and there’s some solid swagger in the handful of songs here. Couched between the almost DK-esque surf moments in “Dot Com Monte Carlo” and the meanderingStooges-inspired last tune, “Miracle Penis Highway,” the songs have some muscle to them and the recording quality is solid. Whether it’s San Francisco’s continuing gentrification or issues concerning returning soldiers’ rights to mental health care (and the societal repercussions should they not get it), Biafra’s still using his (sometimes hamhanded) wit to stir the pot. Technically an EP, Methods Of Questioning feelslike an LP – there’s a solidity here that escapes many other bands over a span of twice as many songs.

It’s a substantial effort that may not turn many new heads, but will definitely please longtime fans of the man’s work. And definite bonus points for the sprawlingly loose, meandering and autobiographical bonus track. Solid work.

Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

The Dead Kennedys

Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Alternative Tentacles
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

A question I pose to you, which I have been asked on many an occasion. Which band, to you, defines the original embodiment of the term/genre punk? I’ll give you time, think about it. To me, The Clash have always sounded like a new wave band, The Ramones, while being ridiculously fun, were always too repetitive for my liking and The Sex Pistols were a dirty, yet glorified high octane rock and roll band. I could have ventured off into the realm of straight up hardcore, with notable candidates like Minor Threat, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Negative Approach, etc. Or, hell, even alternative punk, like TheReplacements, or Husker Dü. As you can see, I have a lot of choices, each bringing something different to the table; I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg.

However, despite all of them being just as intriguing and utterly humbling, none of them, I repeat, none of them will ever be The Dead Kennedys.

Being eighteen and growing up in an environment where the general consensus regarding music that was loud, distorted and angry was generally frowned upon, I had limited access to that kind of music. Sure I had the ability to buy it at any musical outlet of my choice, but none of my friends listened to it either. Back in the day, if it wasn’t made posthumously from ‘Pac or Biggie, or another sinister concoction from the tag-team of the time, Eminem and Dr. Dre we didn’t want to hear it. Moving along, the story was the same for high school, except I was able to indulge in my urge for music that was fast and loud with my peers, despite the selection still straying in the area of was cool for the time. However as time passed on, that became a gateway into what I would go on to listen to today.

You might be wondering where Dead Kennedys fit into this story. I didn’t pick up this album until I reached college, but when I did, it all made sense. From the opening vocals of Kill The Poor led with Jello Biafra’s uniquely quivering, yet triumphant voice, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables began to unravel itself before my very ears. Despite being at least 25 years old at the time and already listening to music of unique genres, this album sounded completely new to me. It was angry and sarcastic, yet sounded like something you could dance to. The surf-punk influence was quite clear; it was as if someone placed the sensibilities of happy California surf music in a blender with an overly political wolverine and resulted with a rambunctious chaotic mess.

I grew up (and still reside) in a sheltered suburbia; life was for the most part easy. I don’t think I can say the same for Jello, as his lyrics borderline social commentary (Let’s Lynch The Landlord), to the lack of humanity shown by people around him (I Kill Children, Funland At The Beach). The social and political commentary on this album is absolutely phenomenal and presented in such a creative manor that you have no choice but to listen.

I guess it’s a shame that I can’t properly give this album the review it so very justly deserves. It’s just too good for modern literature. I will say this though; Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables did not change my life. I had already found bands, which have filled that spot. However, after listening to it, everything else made sense, completely. From there on, everything and anything that has the word “punk” labelled across its crystal case has traces of Dead Kennedys within their music. It also gave me the answer to the question posed at the beginning of the review. This is how the legend began.

One of the only times you’ll see me do this:

10/10. Pay your debt, because every band you listen would never come to exist had it not been for these punk rock pioneers.

Articles Of Faith To Reform And Record After 25 Year Absence

For the first time in 25 years, Articles Of Faith will reform (with all original members) to record an EP at Chicago’s Million Yen Studios for release on Alternative Tentacles on October 5th. The album will be available digitally and on vinyl.  New media is expected to drop in the weeks leading up to the street date.

The band will also celebrate the new wax with their first live show in 25 years, at Riot Fest in Chicago from October 6-10. The band will be doing a photo shoot during the recording sessions (July 2-6) to replicate their iconic photo in front of 1000 Liquors on Belmont Avenue from the 80s, at the same location to document the reunion after all these years.

Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys

East Bay Ray

Alternative Tentacles
By on February 2007 at Phone

 

 

DEAD KENNEDYS are a band that should need no introduction. As a long time fan of the band it was a great opportunity to finally get to speak to Ray. The reason I wanted to talk to him was to try to get to the bottom of all the rumors circulating about the lawsuits with one time singer Jello Biafra, as well as find out what the future had in store. Read More…