Andrew Earles

Some reviews I recently huffed out…Andrew Earles’ Still Single ‘Best of…’ August 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on August 30, 2012

Originally appeared @ http://still-single.tumblr.com/

 

Axeman – Arrive LP (Darkest Heavy)

One-man (Volahn, member of much-murmured-about Los Angeleno Black Metal/drug-enjoying collective, Black Twilight Circle) band that never deviates from the Left-Hand Path (not an Entombed reference…) and will hopefully find fans of Destroyer 666, really early-Sepultura and if it existed, a quite fidelity-challenged Absu, as they will be tickled giddy at the sounds that feverishly-claw out of this LP. Oh, throw “better-recorded Darkthrone” into that mix, too. If Fenriz hasn’t hammered his seal of approval all over this thing by the time you read this, it’s only a matter of time or circumstance (red vinyl pressing has already vamoosed). Travels cult-ish thrash w/ acoustic blink-and-miss-its and rocks high-register (aka “Blackened”_____) vocals. Song structures are stretched so that only three proper tracks are included within; giving things a proggy feel, too. We won’t be thanking God, but let’s thank something that this wasn’t done at 33 1/3 RPM. Fans of Hell’s Headbangers, NWN! Productions limited editions and the associated Crepusculo Negro Label are finding this and snapping it up – a fate it well deserves, so get this if you just read anything that would normally pull out the “need!” list. Oh, and Axeman blew brains apart at this year’s Chaos in Tejas, so the whisperings go. (http://darkestheavy.bigcartel.com)
(Andrew Earles)

The Cheebacabra – Pass the Information 2xLP (Makrosoft, LLC)

This is some Dust Brothers hanger-on who began to epitomize the just-because-everyone-can-doesn’t-mean-everyone-should maxim in 2003 by self-releasing some truly tired and horrible crap on vinyl. He even goes by the name “Cheeba” If you thought this was going to be one of those “despite the band name and everything else hitting me upside the fucking head, this is sort of good!” moments, I must ask one question: “How could the band name and little bit of already-written evidence produce a sum that even approaches that of ‘Should Exist’?” So what if it’s Mr. Cheeba and a gazillion of his friends coming together to make live-band versions of dog-shit that DJ Food wouldn’t even glance at during the lowest moment of his late-90’s, turntablists-casualty career? Mr. I Chose The Dumbest Slang For Weed As A Performing/Creative-Outlet Moniker actually has bio content with credits like “cleaning out bongs” and “editing tape together” when he spent his days undoubtedly bugging the shit out of the Dust Bros. Guess what? Given that information, this two-LP set sounds exactly like it should! Jam-band people probably laugh at the existence of Pass The Information, just like they did at Mr. Cheeba’s TWO PREVIOUS full-length vinyl releases. Godawful music that shouldn’t have been awarded the resources of a pressing plant and printing facility? Yes! It happens way outside of the Weird Vibes domain, too! On black vinyl. In an edition of 500, which is 500 too many. (http://cheebacabra.bandcamp.com)
(Andrew Earles)

Cynarae – s/t 12” EP (A389 Records)

This first popped up about a year ago but this 12” may or may not have resulted in a signing to A389 for these Pacific Northwest geniuses of … wait for it … Atmospheric Power-Violence. And the A-word is not meant to imply some lack of impact or anything else that has defined the PV genre over the last quarter-century or so. Instead, this record is really creepy and NO BULLSHIT. One entire side of this 12” is made up of a one-two punch via some of the longest PV I’ve ever heard (at least 4 to 5 minutes per track), and some of the weirdest as well, in the best and truest of creatively-unconscious senses. Who woulda thunk that running the drum track backwards, along with what may be more tracks, could produce some of the moodiest, best and most forward-thinking heavy music to reach ears in the last 24 months? This is not dunderheaded stuff, here people … this is thinking-man’s discontent, best served up in long-EP/short-LP format due to its intensity and ability to fill every sonic space with exactly what was planned. Highly recommended, but not for the power-violence curious (for whom I recommend repeated turns with T.G.’s “Hamburger Lady”) or anyone with scream/bellow/growl allergies. On what the label calls “bark/bone” vinyl, but what I call white and rusty-brown … done up all pretty and such. (http://www.a389records.com)
(Andrew Earles)

Spencey Dude and the Doodles – Night Problems LP (California Clap)

A lot better than their 7” which invaded my home in 2009 (sorry, dogg – Ed.), but that’s like saying that worrying about cancer for six months only to become convinced of silliness and hypochondria, is a lot better than worrying about it for three then having a camera go up your butthole so a doctor can tell you, out loud and in front of your mother (who has to drive your drugged ass home), that you wiped a hemorrhoid too hard with really cheap TP. Right now, I’m doing that “which hand is holding the heavier weight” gesticulation like I’m impersonating the cover art of the Metallica record I used to like a lot until its lack of bass truly hit home (way too late). Do you subscribe to the “sad is bad” school? Do you songs armed with melodies that strike the threshold between public-domain catchiness and actual hooks? Do you own more than one title on Burger Records? This is yours. Now go make an unfunny joke about Zima or comic-irony dream-catchers or some shit. (http://spenceydude.bandcamp.com)
(Andrew Earles)

Homewrecker – Worms & Dirt 12” EP (A389)

Arms-crossed, pining-for-a-parking-lot-beatdown hardcore with a Kerry King fixation. Not nearly as interesting as other A389 fare, though some of the riffs get by in that you can fit eight tiny ones in the spaces between these big ones when the band decides to get all abstract and slowed down, which is about 30% of the time. Usually, it’s dawgs bellowing/screaming/roaring (standard fare you might even hear in your sleep) for each second or two of silence punctuating the palm-jobbed chunk-a-chug. Read some blurbage comparing this to Integrity, but that’s impulsive referencing based on surface listening. Integrity is good and interesting because of the two-decades of seasoning and singular metal appropriation at hand, though it takes more than a cursory toe-dip to hear that stuff. Homewrecker is devoid of those goods, but something tells me a bad review is all it takes to get one’s home wrecked by these tough guys, rather than the drive to make a better album next time. Too bad. (http://www.a389recordings.com)
(Andrew Earles)

Lilacs & Champagne – s/t LP (Mexican Summer)

This is the “production team” from Grails (“two dudes from Grails”) and perhaps and what they are attempting here is an avant-deviation of Ashford & Simpson or Gamble & Huff by the utilization of weird ambient soundscapes and samples. Or rather, the samples sound like either of those ‘70s soft-soul entities on the other side of a mild windstorm … sometimes. Other times it locks into what the Avalanches’ Since I Left You might have sounded like if covered by high-school kids with West Nile Disease. The concept, when read about prior to putting on the record, made me think about Milk Cult (look it up if you need to), but I’m only mentioning this as a warning in case the same thing happens to any potential listeners. I’m now realizing, after coming to grips with how negative this review really is, that some of you might be into this, because in no way is the music therein painful, tedious, or even boring. My assessment of this record has everything to do with disappointment at what could have worked but doesn’t to these ears. This LP is a perfectly pleasant soundtrack to doing anything but paying attention to or trying to enjoy what is coming out of the stereo, if that makes sense. Already out of print (hey, either this found an audience or the Grails’ stamp of unit-moving action worked) but used copies are around for not-so-out-of-print prices. (http://www.mexicansummer.com)
(Andrew Earles)

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Hold That Shit Still: “Chew On This”

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on August 27, 2012

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Dan Deacon Hands Me My Ass: “America” Is A Great Album!

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on August 27, 2012

Both privately and in public (this blog? the Street Team column? Still Single? I don’t really remember where at this moment), I have not sugar-coated my opinions about Dan Deacon and the artists, bands and whatnot that circumnavigate this increasingly successful individual. Therefore, I have no problem stating that his new album, America, has blindsided me with its greatness. Regardless of my active stance on a musician or band, I actually love it when a musical entity is liberated from my shit-list by a masterpiece. This is one way in which things are supposed to work correctly. Lastly, I’m totally on board, in an almost uncanny way, with Mr. Deacon’s take on the end of the world. It is part of this little short film:

WATCH IT HERE

 

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MY INAUGURAL FEATURE FOR VICE’S CHUNKLET TO GO GO SERIES…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Earles on August 22, 2012

CAN BE READ BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK OR LOOKING UNDERNEATH THIS STATEMENT (I LEFT OUT THE SUB-LITERATE COMMENTS)!

Chunklet To Go Go: Steve Miller’s Account of Intercepting a

Box of Records Addressed to His Son

By Andrew Earles

I love the fucking view when the sun decides to come out for a change. Any goddamned asshole who says they can name a better view than this one of Puget Sound, from my kitchen window, when the sun graces us with its rare light, has their butthole permanently stitched around their head. 

So that’s what I was doing that morning in October 2011…sitting at my breakfast table. Staring out the window. That’s proof right there that the sun was out, cuz if it was one of the 364 days of overcast we have up here, chances are I wouldn’t  have been out of bed before eight at night.

It was something like, I dunno, ten in the morning. Then it was something like, say, two in the afternoon on account of my taking an unscheduled nap…sitting upright at the table.

It was the UPS man at the gate. That’s what woke me. I tied my 2XL terrycloth bathrobe, a gift from my ex-wife, around my ample gut and shuffled down the driveway, where a really, really, really fucking heavy box was waiting for my signature.

It was addressed to my son, Collin. He was away a college in Olympia…a sophomore at Evergay or whatever. Some liberal farts joint his mom let him go to. I signed for the package and tried to slip the UPS guy a fiver to let me borrow his dolly so I could get this goddamned thing back up the driveway, but he whined about being behind schedule or some shit and I was left with this week’s workout routine. At least I could cross that off the list and stick a big middle-digit in my doctor’s face during my checkup next week.

By the time I slammed the box down on the kitchen table, I couldn’t feel my right arm or remember my birth date.  After three glasses of water and a bottle of beer, my vision was back to normal and I noticed the box had “Phonograph Records: Handle with Care and Do Not Expose to High Temperatures!” scrawled across the bottom underneath the address.

Vinyl records, huh? I fetched a steak knife from the nearest drawer and went to work on the packing tape…whoever sent this monster must have used the whole fuckin’ roll. But hey, I wasn’t living in any cave when it came to the vinyl revolution of the last few years. Seeing as how the number of things me and the boy can base an actual conversation on is exactly zilch plus zero plus not-shit, it felt like the right thing to do.

Many of the Steve Miller Band albums have been reissued on 180, or sometimes, 200-gram virgin vinyl, and you bet yer dick they sound pristine! That’s why I bought a new record-player and had the home system set up with a pre-amp last year, though that whole “vinyl sounds better than CD’s” thing is something I don’t personally hear with these ears. Cool to see all my old artwork getting the 70’s iMax treatment, though.

It was right about then that my phone buzzed with a text message. I had gotten the hang of the reading part when it came to texting, but replying was another son-of-a-bitch. And sending one cold? Shit, I had been known to hand the damned thing to a stranger in the grocery store and dictate what I needed them to send with my phone.

It was Collin.

“Hey dad, I accidently sent a box of records to the house because the billing address was the same as the mailing address…just put it in my room on my desk? Thanks.”

The little keys on the phone are way too small for my big fat swollen fingers. I swear to god some mornings I wake up and it’s like someone broke into the house and replaced my fingers with ten fuckin’ Hebrew National franks.

I replied…

“Sur ting, Colleen”

He hates it when I call him ‘Colleen’

I stopped for a second and thought of how it would feel if I found a 200-gram, virgin-vinyl Book Of Dreams reissue hidden in the gazillion records I was about to snoop through, but the album on the top of the stack flushed any fantasies of father-son kinship right down the commode.

Was I really looking at a record by a band called ‘Fuck, I’m Dead’?!?

It didn’t stop there. I can’t read band names that look like tree roots or bloody vomit, so I had to get out my magnifying monocle and read the band names from the album cover spines. The next one was a band called, are you ready for this…

‘Bathtub Shitter’….

A….called….Bath….Tub…………….Shitter….

Then there was a record by family favorites….

‘dotfuckingcom’

I remember thinking it was like that time, about eight years ago, when my manager insisted that I get a web site to promote myself, and I said to him…

“I W W W dot don’t fucking care dot com!”

Actually, this wasn’t like that at all. And the hits just kept coming.

‘Womb of Maggots’

‘Zombie Vomit’

‘Squash Bowels’

Squash fucking Bowels…you have got to be kidding me.

‘Screaming Afterbirth’

‘Groinchurn’

Hey, I could relate to that one, boss!

‘Exposed Guts’

‘Disfigured Corpse’

‘Backyard Burial’

And the stuff on these record covers. It made me pull the shades and curtains on the only day of sunshine we were probably going to have all year! Were the cops going to show up at the door? Did they X-ray this package at the post-office? Christ on a fucking crutch I could not believe what I was seeing!

I mean, what did this shit sound like? I decided to throw one on the turntable…I was just too curious. This was sending me over the edge and I chose the one record that felt like the last straw…by a band called…

‘Endangered Feces’

I could only take about 30 seconds of it, which happened to be the length of the first song. I have said it before but this time I meant it…

YOU CALL THIS MUSIC?!?!?

By that point, in order to deal with the trauma of my son’s taste in “music,” I had pounded away at least a twelve-pack of Michelob Light. I was feeling nervy on top of all the other shit going through my head.

I had never taken a picture with my phone but I remember my ex-wife saying that all you had to do was point the phone and hit the big button. I took the album off of the record player, cleared the kitchen table of everything else that was in that box, and placed it square and center.

Climbing onto the table after testing it for stability, I pulled down my pajama pants and dropped a steaming coil directly onto the front cover of the Endangered Feces record.

I aimed the phone and pressed the big button. It was surprisingly easy to send the picture because my son was the last (and probably only) person to text me.

I waited five minutes. Then ten. Fuck it…I couldn’t resist so I called his number. He answered on the fourth ring…

“Dad?”

“You get the pitcture?”

“Yeah, is that what I think it is?”

“You bet yer skinny little ass it is! Call the National Wildlife Federation and tell ‘em to take feces off the endangered list, Colleen!!”

I hung up and passed out on the kitchen floor until nine the next morning.

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