Little Dickman Records
The core of Sharkmuffin is the New York duo of Tarra Thiessen and Natalie Kirch, along with other musicians who flesh out their line up for live shows, currently the line up is augmented by Drew Adler on drums and Chris Nunez on guitar, and has previously included Hole‘s Patty Schemel. The duo proudly integrate a wide range of influences into their sound, everything from The Ronettes to Nirvana is thrown into the melting pot to create a unique combination of styles, now Sharkmuffin have released their sophomore album, Tsuki, that follows on from their 2015 debut full length, Chartreuse. Tsuki is available via Little Dickman Records from today, the 5th May 2017, on celestial splatter vinyl and download formats.
Tsuki starts with a short introduction that contains some wise words on Grandmother Sharkmuffin Says, “don’t worry about shit but you go have a fun time”, following that piece of wisdom Sharkmuffin seem intent on following her advice. Space Glow kicks in and manages to embrace their broad influences with a short slice of lo-fi garage punk, but that’s not the end of the story. The attitude and delivery varies across the whole of Tsuki, whether it’s the full on fuzz of Stacey, the more sinister vibe of the innocent sounding Puppy Love, the dark undercurrent of I Wanna Be You, the unsettling mid way marker of Atama or the twisted sixties pop of Too Much Fun and unsettling psyche soundscape of Scully Is A Sharkmuffin, this is album that veers wildly across genre’s.
Grandmother Sharkmuffin clearly knows her stuff as Sharkmuffin have delivered an album that manages to embrace the swagger of garage punk, the attitude of the punk and the drive of grunge, which are all wrapped up in a twisted lo-fi pop sensibility. There is a heavy influence from the riot grrrl and grunge scenes, along with an ever pervading sway from the worlds of punk and garage, in short Tsuki is an incredibly original hybrid of pretty much everything from the headier side of the alternative scenes, not an easy trick to pull off but Sharkmuffin have done exactly that with an idiosyncratic and unpredictable album.
Tsuki can be ordered via Little Dickman Records here
Sharkmuffin‘s website can be found here
High Dive Records
Arc Flash have been generating a buzz throughout the scene thanks to endlessly energetic shows and their own unique brand of space punk and mutant pop intensity, now Arc Flash have released Carbon Copy, their full length debut, that was unleashed on the 31st March via High Dive Records, the album is available is on vinyl, on milky white/black split and traditional black variants, and on CD. Arc Flash are a band that mix punk, noise, surf, garage and indie, and to be honest pretty much everything else from the dark underbelly of rock ‘n roll that lurks away from the mainstream.
Carbon Copy is an album that sounds like a combination pf punk rock and the high energy side of the indie scene of the 8o’s that’s played through a time warp to the 1960’s, the production is sparse and spacey, something that matches the tone of the album. The riffs on every track are the hyperactive bastard sons of the original 60’s garage scene, everything is frantic and distorted, and the vocals are echoey and add to the feeling that this is an album born of a potent cocktail of recreational substances, and that’s just fine by me, although this is no throwback to a bygone era, there are obvious influences in the mix but this album is a singular and original creation.
Arc Flash have created an album of twelve monosyllabic titled cuts of fuzzy garage influenced spaced out punk rock, with the exceptions of Ohmmeter and Tuff, that shift into a more experimental psychedelic zone, this is raw fuzzed out garage that captures the spirit of the original first generation of bands that were given the term punk, and later acts such as The Mummies and The Cramps, that’s all performed with a suspicious urgency. If you have a love for any of the fuzzy lo-fi bands that have been spawned since the dawn of rock ‘n roll then I’d recommend you acquaint yourself with Arc Flash.
You can order Carbon Copy on CD and vinyl here
Blunt Force Trauma
Abattoir Blues Records
Earlier this year I reviewed the Trauma EP by Manchester’s dirty blues merchants GUTS, it was the final instalment in their Blunt Force Trauma trilogy of EP’s, now they have finally collated the three EP’s, Blunt, Force and Trauma, to form this album. Blunt Force Trauma is released on the independent Manchester based label, Abattoir Blues Records, this is a label that has the stated intention of the curating the finest contemporary blues based music, and on the strength of this debut full length release from GUTS you get the feeling that they are as good as their word.
Blunt Force Trauma opens with the slow grinding menace of 666, this shifts into the mutant hellbilly of one of the album’s highlights, the macabre Jeffrey Dahmer’s Eyes, a track that possesses a gloriously primitive rock ‘n roll feel, that is followed by the fine swamp grind of Cemi and Be Had. As I noted on the review of the Trauma EP, their reworking of Be My Baby is something to behold, this is not a cover version as the soft and sweet sixties standard has been completely reworked, it now carries a sinister menace that hints at unhealthy obsession and mental illness. This is followed by a quartet of songs, James Brown, Fucked On Your Fuck, Get In The Car and Dirty Mouth, that encompass stripped down dirty rock ‘n roll and raw primitive blues before you get to the fine closing duo. Mean Old Queen is another highpoint that brings a slice of upbeat garage dementia to Blunt Force Trauma, and drags another primal element into the chaotic fray, before Blow brings the album to a dark and stormy close.
Blunt Force Trauma is an impressive collection of eleven tracks that combines the spirit of primitive rock ‘n roll and the slow sinister grind of blues, and injects it with punk attitude and garage psychosis to create a heady turbulent album that has been worth the long wait for it’s arrival. Throughout Blunt Force Trauma vocalist Liam O’Neill delivers an anguished blues howl that sounds like it’s possessed by his personal demons, this is accompanied by a primitive grind that recalls the darker side of rock ‘n roll and hints at mental anguish, obsession, drug use and primal urges, in short everything about rock ‘n roll that your parents warned you about, and in my book that always has to be a good thing.
Blunt Force Trauma can be ordered via Abattoir Blues Records here
You're Doin' Great! (For The Record)
Michigan‘s Bong Mountain have released You’re Doin’ Great! (For The Record!), their debut album, on Stonewalled Records. The album title is a reference to the fact that You’re Doin’ Great (For The Record!) is a vinyl collection of the band’s entire recorded output, including last years You’re Doing Great! EP. It might come as a shock to you that I suspect this record may have been produced under the influence of narcotics, I’m not sure if this suspicion is caused by the band’s name, or the fact the cover art features a cat and a unicorn high fiving each other with a Bong Mountain and a camper van billowing smoke from it’s windows in the background.
This is as gloriously a shambolic record as you’d expect from a band named Bong Mountain. The opening track, and potential winner of best song title of 2016, Pariah Carey opens in gloriously discordant and gruff style, if this was a more together slicker album then it would be a sparkling pop punk album, but as this is Bong Mountain it isn’t, and personally I think it’s all the better for the chaotic approach. Lyrically You’re Doin’ Great! (For The Record!) is an entertaining, rambling and original album, this coupled with the loose lo-fi musical approach eases you into a happy cocoon for just shy of half an hour.
You’re Doin’ Great! (For The Record!) is released today and this a gruff stoner lo-fi take on punk, and I must say it’s certainly not without it’s charm. This collection of Bong Mountain‘s recorded works is unlike anything else you’ll hear this year, and I can’t think of a better advert for visiting Bong Mountain in your near future, as they’re on tour you may well find that the Bong Mountain comes to you.
You can order the limited edition green (what other colour would they pick) vinyl of Bong Mountain‘s debut album here
The Facebook page of Bong Mountain (and I seriously recommend reading their bio) is here
Bong Mountain‘s Bandcamp can be found here