I was there in the room…

the-hecks-mirror-by-dan-paz-smallerMeant to follow up the last Trouble in Mind a little quicker than this, but hey-ho…

If the Beef Jerk offering somehow wasn’t lo-fi or strident enough for you, may I suggest the shriller, twangier and even more brilliantly-named the Hecks, also on Trouble in Mind, also young ‘n’ feisty and also hogging my car stereo.

Oh, and they’re really, bloody noisy.

The Hecks

The Hecks are a three-piece from Chicago, who are obsessed with strange guitar tunings, “intentionality” and Faust. The “intentionality” thing is an idea I’ve lifted from an interview they did with Chicago magazine LocalLoop, which I think translates as everything that comes out of the studio being done with and for a purpose. Do read the interview, their idea of guitar tuned in a particular way having to stay as they are, due to financial or technical limitations, is quite a fun one.

What’s particularly odd about all this is that one of the first impressions September’s debut album gives you is of raggedness and above all chance. Very little sounds as if it has been planned, polished or preserved.

You can stream a load of Hecks songs from the TiM SoundCloud page, and I’d recommend a good listen. Particularly fond of this:

 

 

From the first taut chords of “Sugar” to the awkward zeal of closer “Airport Run”, it’s a pretty uneven affair – whirling, clanking, twanging chords rub tattooed shoulders with drone and feedback-decked noise. It’s rough, Faustian stuff and, as I say, really noisy. I reckon, there’s always a place for dissonance, ugliness and a right bloody racquet.

And for those times, I give you…

Let’s move into the ocean, we won’t tell anybody…

beef-jerkThese days I oft times find myself haphazardly using up the last few of my eMusic downloads at the end of the month. It can be a slightly edgy, weirdly cautious business (I hate wasting things) and often culminates in my snagging another Latin collection of eager garage punk or (more often than you’d imagine) some murky new Soft Machine live set.

Well this month, I stumbled upon a new tack that I’ll employ more often. I chose at random one of my favourite labels of recent years – Trouble in Mind – and just go for it. A bit of rummaging around amongst the releases there and jackpot…

Beef Jerk

Beef Jerk are Australian and are part of the, er, burgeoning “dolewave” scene there (yes, really). And, in spite of my proverbial goldfish-like span of attention, have had the run of the car stereo for much of the week. Their debut record, Tragic, is a collection of demos that had been knocking around on the Internet for a couple of years before they decided to spruce them up and self-release them officially. TiM stepped in from there and have given it a proper release so that the inquisitive punters of the globe can get busy.

It’s a great little batch of fifteen songs that starts off promisingly (“Why are you so disagreeable? Table manners? Unbelievable”) and really kicks on from there. It’s absolutely packed full of loopy, jangly chords, dry lyrics, a few profanities and the odd sprinkling of Beefheart-ian rough sax. The songs do touch on a fair amount of everyday slacker business – caravan parks, shoplifting, drinking and general loafing round – but also take in mysterious Frenchmen, doomed fathers and flights to the seabed (“don’t forget the sunscreen lotion / fish fingers in the sun”).

I’m clearly not a musician and can only scratch my head and applaud songwriters Jack Lee and Mikey Branson’s ability to choose the right chords each time. I’m also very much impressed by the former’s prodigious ability to sing out of tune, and although press reviews frequently mention the Go-Betweens, I’d say Beef Jerk are more like another batch of Mark E Smith’s children (alright, grandchildren).

There’s not a lot of Beef Jerk around on the Internet (yet?), which could of course mean a couple of things, but I’m going to take the getting-in-at-the-ground-floor line. Fairly recently, you could actually stream the whole of the record from the band’s Bandcamp page, but until that returns (as they claim it will), you’ll have to trawl through the demos on Soundcloud or get a few tasters from YouTube.

This one’s my favourite:

 

(Particularly gratifying to see the pickup driver put the bin back up at the end, nice lads really…)

But this is also a great surging bugger of a song:

De la vida, en el barrio

ana-tijoux685x250

 

{Oh, and now I’ve just done the Mujeres, I see that this post that I wrote about a week ago, never got published. It belongs before the Mujeres post, but I’m not sure how to arrange this. Can we just imagine?}

 

Been relatively busy recently and truth be told not listening to a lot of music. Another trip around Spain beckons and consequently a lot of ear time has gone on trying to scrub up my language. With predictably mixed results…

I have, however, done some Spanish music listening this week and instead of filling the iPod with Spanish versions of what I generally listen to (garage, indie, psych – although all this is coming, trust me…), I thought I’d dip my toes into something a bit more exotic, a bit more authentically Latino. Tried a bit of cumbia and some spanking up-to-date nu cumbia records from the ZZK and Nacional labels, but eventually settled on some Latin hip-hop.

Ana Tijoux

This first track is from Chilean hip-hop artist, Ana Tijoux, whose album Vengo I went through with no little gusto all of yesterday whilst out and about during the day. The record, apparently, won her a Grammy award last year, so I’m not what you’d call ahead of the curve here, but still… In truth, there’s a little too much slushy jazz-funk in some of the record for my liking but the first four tracks, including the title track and this one, here, are absolute belters…

As yet, I know nothing about the second rapper, Shadia Mansour, whose feisty counterpoint to Tijoux’s own animated style is something of an eye-popper.

Tijoux is actually from France, her parents having been exiled during Pinochet’s reign in Chile, but has now settled in Santiago. One of the features of Vengo is apparently its gallant attempt to rescue native Andean instruments from the realm of the ubiquitous World Music collection and the street busker.

Then I also came across this…

Hijo de la Cumbia & Alika

I’ve also bought the debut record by Argentinean DJ and producer Hijo de la Cumbia, which is apparently set to be a Nu Cumbia stone-cold classic and it’s quite intriguing.  But to be honest, this is the stand-out track on it…

It’s bought to life by the oomph of gutsy Uruguayan vocalist Alika. As with the previous offerings, I can catch precious little of the words. I could look them up or get Google to sort them for me but, to be honest, I prefer the not knowing, it’s all about the hormones, I feel…

I’m pretty certain this is not, as it claims, the “official video” but, again, never mind the quality, feel the width…

Yeah, heard a funny thing…

furguson-2A last couple of Spanish treats before my butterfly senses move onto some other pretty flower…

Mujeres are a garage band from Barcelona who also run a record shop in the city, Luchadores, which I believe I stumbled upon last time I was there (fine place too..) They do a great line in all your psych-y garage standards – by now, you know the sort of stuff that gets you a mention on these pages: surf-y guitars, tambourines, wigged out guitar breaks – and have a number of records around (on eMusic, certainly).

Have a look:

 

The Soft Gems record is a great one, rough-hewn and rugged in all the right places – I’m not quite up to speed on all their other records – there’s a muddled collection of releases and re-releases that I’m confused by – but some of their more recent releases show a slightly disappointing desire to mature a little. I prefer them immature, of course, and at their most infantile they’re a truly monstrous unit.

Watch this live performance at 2012’s Primavera Sound:

 

This track is called “Salvaje”, which is also the name of a song by Peru’s magnificent Los Saicos. It’s a different track, again from Soft Gems, but Mujeres were actually the band backing Erwin Flores in the Madrid video I posted previously. There’s a good interview with them here in English and whilst writing this, I’ve just noticed that their first demo CD is now available gratis, here, at their Bandcamp page.

What’re you waiting for? The kids are loving it!

The other thing I’m tossing carelessly your way is, I’m afraid, not a video, and may well lose me the scanty readership I already have. I should by rights hate this (I’m sure many will) but try as I might, I just can’t… In fact, it’s not quite the pappy massacre you might be tempted to think it is

I give you the great Chicha Libre…

 

[There is, btw, a version by Sarah Brightman, if you really want to see poor old Arthur squirm… I’m not giving you a link for it…]

I’d do it all again for another crack at the hit parade. Oh what do you think?

wreckless-eric-650x400Lawks-a-mussy! A new record by this old rascal…

Such is the lack of interest in Wreckless Eric these days that I quite literally know not a single person who is likely to care in the slightest about a new Eric Goulden long player. But since I became aware in the nineties of his irregular trickle of eccentric and rather uneven albums, he’s become a bit of a furtive pleasure of mine.

Wreckless Eric

I think I wrote a while back about the Hitsville Houseband, but another favourite of mine was the 2008 joint release with wife Amy Rigby, all the old battered and kicked-about charm of old still very much to the fore. A post-punk version of the Johnny & June / Gram & Emmylou thing, if you will, all seen through the eyes of Tom Waits.

I was going to look for a YouTube clip from that record but came across something much better:

 

Wreckless Eric. The Flamin’ Groovies. What’s not to like?

Amy Rigby plays on the new record too, but AmERICa is more of a Wreckless Eric release than their previous joint release. I’ve only just bought it and given it a couple of listens today, but it’s going to be a lovely record. I’m already enjoying it.

And you can too! Yes, the whole thing is available for live streaming on his Bandcamp page. And if I can get it right…

 

He’s even touring now… Maybe it’s finally Eric’s time!

Ritmos Kraut!

r0MgvkgwIwNnIXGCA_UilZuJc-QE4yjPOin0YSz-BskGoing off all Hispanic again…

Siesta!

If Vainica Doble could be filed under “Spanish but Good”, Siesta! would go under “Good but Spanish” (entirely different), and are actually a new band, doing it now…

I’ve written about Siesta! before, here in fact, just before one of our Spanish jaunts, and I think I put them on my Secret Santa CD last year. They’re a Valenciano band with strong motoric tendencies, and have just released their second record, Fuerza de Gravidad Absoluta, on the ever-wonderful Sonido Muchacho label.

Their first record, Terroruterino, I liked a lot, but this one is even better. At just six tracks it might look a little thin, but with the first two of them over the 8-minute mark, and three of the other four being near five minutes, you certainly do get your money’s worth. Spanish press are describing the sound as being full of “ritmos kraut y pro-industriales” or (even better) “punk troglotrónico” which pretty much tells you what you need to know.

My favourite track, “Montador de Bicicletas” wanders back and forth for over ten minutes of electronic psych, as do other tracks on the record, taking in all sorts of spacy beats, synth jiggery-pokery and relentless German-infused hammering. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Mugstar releases of recent, or have the odd Hawkwind album buried on your hard-drive, you might just like this…

Half past the day, making hay

0500b619I despair, honestly. How did I miss this?

Cate le Bon and Tim Presley have a joint project out, Drinks. I saw them at Green Man this year (and to be honest they weren’t all that…) but I think it was strictly a White Fence affair (I’ll have to check the recording). Apparently, they were Drinks at End of the Road, though. Here’s their first single (the title single) from the Hermits on Holiday album (the video apparently features Presley’s parents):

 

There’s even a second release, “Laying Down Rock”, although it doesn’t seem to have much of a video…

Here they are, though, performing it (and a few other things), in Paris:

 

* drums fingers impatiently, waiting for downloads to refresh…

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