Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Zoltars 'Should I Try Once More?'

Following on from the first self titled single just over a year ago Sundae Records brings us debut album from Austin's The Zoltars entitled 'Should I Try Once More?' Switching up from his initial garage pop approach Jared Leibowich further explores layers of murky fuzz and echo utilizing elements of folk clouded with psychedelia. Up until Leibowich's final year at Chicago University in 2008 his main medium was film and had never played in a band or written a song before. Playing music kind of fell into his lap when he was resigned to his dorm room whilst resting up from illness. Mixing the two together 'Should I Try Once More?' is a concept album whereby each song is a scene telling the story of someone falling in love once more, a music video will accompany each track on the album which will be released periodically throughout April.

'Should I Try Once More?' moves at a super consistent pace allowing subtle shifts in rhythm and guitar patterns to denote different moods in the story. Sure, it's narrative heavy and the lyrics clearly guide you through however, it's more like they're an advert to draw you in and pull you to the core where the music sits and gives the story depth. "Perfect Girl" was the first song to get stuck in my head, it weighs out shoegazing, daydreaming and straight up downer pop that swirls and roams, "We'll walk through the city when it's late at night, we'll be in the right place we'll be out of sight, she'll make sure that we'll always be close, even if I ever get comatose" laments Leibowich. The other stand out track is "I Took Your Girl Away", a totally cocky number full of attitude mixing folk, psych and pop, Leibowich boasts, "When we're naked in the night and you keep hoping she's alright, I hope we'll get in quite a fight because she won't leave without a fight". 'Should I Try Once More?' definitely deserves repeated listens as more of the story unravels with every spin, the departure from garage pop and developing new ideas and approaches has served The Zoltars well, great debut.

The Zoltars Website Bandcamp Facebook

Find copies at Sundae Records

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tronics/Freakapuss live on WFMU

Zarjaz/Freakapuss made a live appearance earlier in the week on WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic playing a slew of favourites from the Tronics cannon and a chat afterwards with host Terre T. Getting REAL excited for London's show in May, wet your appetites with this great recording, streaming free, now and everywhere - as in this galaxy and the next:

Listen to Tronics on WFMU HERE

Tronics/The Pheromoans/Way Through
Tuesday May 29th
The Victoria Dalston
451 Queensbridge Road E8 3AS
More details here

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lost Sounds 'Plastic Skin' Reissue

Goner Records continue to revive works by Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr making rare and highly sought after material available to the masses for us all to enjoy. Lost Sound's debut EP 'Plastic Skin' was initially released in 1999 with a limited run on Solid Sex Lovie Doll Records. These four tracks made up of savage synth experiments marked a turning point for Jay Reatard's songwriting whereby melodies were being introduced by Alicja, to Jay, Rich and Steven's feral punk stylings in the Reatards. This is a great follow up to Goner's reissue of 'Teenage Hate' last year, and a fitting addition to Fat Possum's collection of Lost Sounds songs from a few months back as well. Also, a T. Shirt printed with Jay's trusty Flying 'V' guitar has been put on sale as part of Yellow Bird Project's work to raise money for various charities. Money from this particular T. Shirt will be donated to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Find copies of the 7" at Goner

Friday, April 20, 2012

Halo Halo: Interview

London three piece Halo Halo have just returned from playing in Israel, they tell us a little about their trip, what Halo Halo is and Vivienne Westwood....

A quick introduction...


Gill, I read on your facebook band page you play 'Every other instrument in our house' - what can you play?

I can play various things but not very well. I have played piano, drums, guitar, ukulele, synth, bass and bongos, not all with Halo Halo though: They won't let me play the bongos. Secretly I like playing the drums best but annoyingly both Jack and Rachel are better than me. We are working on a song which ends with us all playing the drums. It's really good. If I get my way the whole set will be like that. We'll be like the Boredoms, each with our own drumkit.

What do you want to achieve with playing music in Halo Halo?

Rachel: mmmmm get better at singing and playing banjo and learn how to speak Tagalog

Jack: I want to make up catchy pop songs, keep making new friends, and play in Yoyogi park in Tokyo for the Cosplay Teddy-Boys.

Gill: We have played in Lappland and the Holy Land. The next project is a gig in Poundland. Then our journey will be complete.

I google-d 'Halo Halo' and a description of a dessert from the Philippines came up, is this where the band name comes from?!

Rachel: Yes, it also means mix mix in tagalog and we thought this was a good description of what we are/ trying to be/do.

You're traveled to Israel recently, tell us a bit about your experience playing in this part of the world!

Jack: We’ve just got back! We had a great time, our friend Naama returned home to Tel Aviv at the end of last year, so we thought it’d be cool to go visit and play some gigs at the same time. We played a show in a great venue in Jerusalem called Uganda, which was a cross between a café/record shop/bar/venue, it had a similar feel to Power Lunches actually, and a few people we’ve seen at Café Oto have played there too, they’re into the noisy/experimental stuff, they played a lot of doomy drone music whilst we ate hummus and dried our socks, which was really nice. The first time we were in Jerusalem in rained ALL day! So even though the weather was horrible, it made for a really memorable experience, we went for a walk into the city, knowing we would get soaked, but wanting to soak up (sorry) the holy atmosphere. We ended up at an Austrian hotel in the old city, the arab quarter, where we had apple strudel and hot apple tea! Because of the rain no one had really been out in the streets, so it was quite eerie.

Naama took us to the front door of the hotel, which was just a small door on the corner of a road. At first it didn’t seem like it was open, we kept ringing the bell to no answer, so we tried to push the door open just as someone was opening it from the other side, we suddenly came face to face with 30 Austrians wearing cagoules and a priest ready to go out into the city. We were really happy that the hotel was open, and happy to see people too, so we were a bit over-enthusiastic, and shouted “HEEYYY!!!” at all of them, so they were all quite confused and bewildered. From the roof of the hotel you could see the famous dome of the rock. Its lit up at night and you could see all the rain coming down around it, and I have to say, it was pretty beautiful.

We went down really well at Uganda, so much so that we went back to play again for an extra show, and this time the sun had come out so we went to the dead sea for a float before the gig!

Rachel: Yep going to the Dead Sea was really cool, We took home loads of pebbles from the beach! We also drove around together the whole time, Naama was amazing and showed us all the best places. Our friend Sara (Colin Min Sai) also went a bit crazy, we think she might've got Jerusalem Syndrome, she started getting obsessed with really weird things like Hyundai Hatchbacks. Naama's mum also deciphered and told us our Kabbalah on Sara's Birthday, which was lovely, she's really wise.

Your blog touches on Rachel's Filipino roots showing through in your sound, what else drives the songwriting in Halo Halo?

Rachel: mystical things, personal things

Jack: I think when me and Rachel started the band, we were already playing together in other bands so we just wanted to see what we could come up with if we tried something out together, and really tried our best, which sounds really earnest, but that's why it took quite a while to settle on something we were happy with. We tried different stuff out for almost a year before we played our first gig! Now there's 3 of us and we've played a lot together, our new songs tend to come out jamming together in practices, so I think we equally bring our own thing to the sound. I'm trying to get better at writing lyrics, I don't think its something I'm naturally that good at though, some of the words start out as weird noises that I sing and turn into the words they sound like. Or they just get left as noises or a "WOO!" ...which is often the best I can come up with

Rachel, what can you tell us about the Philippines that us curious westerners may not know about the region, feel free to talk about culture, way of life etc...

Where to begin! There are so many things I need to learn about it, everything i know from the philippines is through my mother and her friends as i've only been their a few times and I think Halo Halo definitely needs to play a gig there! Its a very catholic country and its has been very "hispanicized" so the culture is really mixed up I wasn't sure what else to write in reply to this question so this is what my ma has to say about it "the Philippines is a beautiful country with warm and friendly people and yummy food!"

You played a show with Group Inerane just before Christmas, I had a blast watching you guys - how was it to play?

Rachel: It was nerve wracking but awesome. I was just glad when it was over so we could dance like crazy to group inerane.

Jack: Really fun, it was a brilliant gig. Something I really liked about Group Inerane was the way they didn’t seem to bother with intros, they would just start a song by picking up a guitar riff or a drum beat, it meant that their whole set didn’t really have a structure and felt really loose, the songs all flowed together which built up the energy of the dance floor, no one wanted it to end! And not forgetting Flower Corsano Duo, who were also insanely good.

What's been the most memorable show you've played so far?

Rachel: Probably playing at a village fete in Puurnuvare a tiny village in Lappland

Jack: I agree! I’d say its particularly memorable because I had a nosebleed half way through our set! So unfortunately it’s become one of those embarrassing moments that will stay with me forever.

Though having said that, we also had a really lovely time, it was awesome for them to invite us to their village to play a gig, not really knowing what to expect from us. But they enjoyed it. I read out a few raffle numbers and they gave us all pots of cloudberry jam after the show! I still had blood on my chin!

What's been the best show you've ever attended?

Gill: The Boredoms at ATP 2009. So many drumkits!!

Rachel: Sufjan Stevens. We saw him last year when he was touring for The Age of Adz album, it blew my mind!

Jack: Yes! It was incredible!! Right from the start where he threw his banjo onto the floor, which was kind've shocking actually! We saw the Flaming Lips play the Soft Bulletin a few months ago too, which was really special and nostalgic, it was one of my favourite albums in school. One more: Electrelane at the Scala last May was Phenomenal!!!

Jack, you have a Fine Art background and I've read you have a penchant of 17th Century Flemish painting, as a painter myself I'm wondering who your hero is?

Aha, yeah the reason I mentioned 17th Century Flemish painting was partly cos I couldn’t think of anything else to write at the time. But also because I was thinking about a talk I saw Vivienne Westwood give at Goldsmiths, she kept on going on about 17th Flemish painting, that we should all go and look at some because it would enrich our lives and we’d be able to understand the difference between high art and everything else. I thought it was a bit pretentious, so I liked the idea of thinking about it and coming up with beatz. So my actual hero without a doubt is Charles Schultz, who I think is better than any of the 17thcentury Flemish painters put together.

Do you prefer playing or recording?

Rachel: for me playing, just because whenever i've recorded stuff i always feel like i could've played it better and i get bored quite easily.

Jack: I guess I'd say playing too. When we played in Jerusalem the second time Rachel started pogo-ing like mad at the end of our last song and we played the chorus for an extra, THIRD TIME! Unexpected/fun stuff like that happens when you've become comfortable playing together, and its great! And yeah, Rachel does get bored easily, and she takes it out on me!!!.....

Gill: We recorded our single in a disused public toilet, which was a definite high point, but generally playing is much more fun. We haven't spend much time recording, so far. It can get a little tense, with people trying not to make mistakes. Playing live you can make mistakes and no one really cares.

How would you describe London's music scene to someone who hasn't been here?

Jack: I guess the obvious answer is : Diverse! There’s loads of scenes, groups, bunches of people doing all kinds of stuff that I don’t even know about. I don’t go out! So its pretty hard to sum up. Because of this diversity though, I suppose scenes get swallowed up by the city as a whole, which would make it hard to find them if you didn’t know where to look, and maybe intimidating. I’d point people in the direction of Power Lunches or Café Oto, where gigs are consistently good and interesting, and Upset! The Rhythm.

Rachel: Yep I discovered really great bands like Talibam! and Nissenmondai through UTR shows!

As far as I can tell you have one single on Savoury Days, can we expect any new material this year?

Rachel: Hopefully! we have enough songs for a album so we need to start recording it!

Jack: Yep, we just put together a Live CD-R of some of the songs from our set in Tel-Aviv, the songs with the least mistakes. Its a split with Colin Min Sai who played the shows with us. We’ve sold out of the Savoury Days single, there are just a few left out there now! M’Lady’s are about to reissue it though. And there is a plan forming to get working on an album this summer!

What do you have playing on your record player at home at the moment?

Rachel: at the moment i am really into Stromae who is a Belgium pop super star!

Jack: I’ve been listening to the new High Places album, which sounds like future club music, I want to make a sci-fi film that has a scene in a club with High Places playing, and everyone smoking those electronic cigarettes. I’ve also been listening to Slushy Guts and Philip Glass’ “Glass works” whilst photoshopping, its really good for working/motivation. Oh, and Slayer.

"I'm full of dust and guitars" - Syd Barrett, if you were split in half what would be inside?

Rachel: Every instrument you could imagine and an array of filipino dishes including halo halo!

Gill: An revolting slop comprising of ginger beer and spicy patties.

Jack: I seem to spend most of my life on photoshop at the moment, so its probably an ALPHA CHANNEL.

Halo Halo Facebook Bandcamp Blog
Find copies of their single from Savory Days

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Liminanas 'AF3458 b/w Betty & Johnny'

Liminanas are a duo based in France who have one album released on Trouble In Mind and a handful of singles available to date. Lio and Marie Limiñana started out flirting with home recording and have now seen the project grow into a fully fledged band. Together the pair play out sugary guitars offset by razor sharp fuzz apace with jangly rhythms with an exotica twist. Delivered with sultry beatific pop touched by garage psychedelia moxie, this single is positively titillating. Another great release from SDZ.

Find copies here

Friday, April 13, 2012

Interview: Sauna Youth!

Photo by Robin Silas Christian

Super excited to offer up a new interview up from one of London's favourite Punk bands, Sauna Youth. Interview done by everyone in the band all at once.

For anyone new to Sauna Youth let's have a quick run down of who you are and what you play?

MINCE plays the bass. HARPER sings and is our M. Swope. PINES plays the guitar and that's it. BOON plays the drums and sings as well.

Have you been in or currently in any other bands?

Currently - Tense Men, Pines, Feature, Moon Gangs. Beefy and the Balls. Juliet & The Romeos. Kasabian II and David Hackney, Female Bonding. I'm probably forgetting some.

What do you want to achieve with playing music in Sauna Youth?

To entertain ourselves and relieve general boredom, for a start. Also being in a band seems to have the innate ability to create interesting experiences and we’re all about interesting experiences.

Your sound is heavily set in Punk, are there any Punk bands in particular you look up to?

The Undertones, Chrome, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Suicide, Fucked Up, Swell Maps, Wire, Career Suicide. The Ramones of course. I feel like there is one ur-band who would encapsulate all those but I can't think who it is right now..........Abba?

What do you think has changed from English Punk in say the 70s to Punk today?

It's changed from being all about spiky haircuts to spiky, cutting comments on the internet. I actually have no idea. I guess the ability to access pretty much everything recorded from every era and location in the world almost instantaneously has had quite a weird effect… lots of archiving, very accurate re-interpretations, and the rise of micro-influences. Less leather? More Leather?

Megaupload just got shut down, as a band who utilize Bandcamp, Blogs et al, what do you make of the digital age and the government trying to put a cap on it? I mean it's so different to when we were kids and hearing about music was limited to word-of-mouth, magazines and record stores, yet - with control being enforced in the digital world, tapes are seeing a resurgence which brings back the human touch, it's a really interesting time...

I'm not really sure what I think of it. Obviously, people will find another way to share stuff they like again even if all those sites get shut down. It's impossible to stop completely, its kind of like a hydra where you cut off one head and another comes back in its place. Maybe I'm thinking of a worm or something. I'm not sure because I remember what it was like to have to wait 3 weeks to get a CD I ordered from the record shop only to find out that it totally stank. There is something inherently satisfying about searching for something online and hearing it a couple of minutes later. There is definitely music I like because of hearing it on mp3 first. And now there are people who ape the bit-rate quality of the mp3 encoding process in their music, yknow, its part of the sound now... I still like and buy records though...We made the choice very early on to always have physical objects, records as artefacts, just to prove we were/are here.

Do you prefer playing or recording?

They are wildly different spheres for us. When we play live there's usually a whole load of other factors that have influenced how the show goes - whether we've had a boring day at work, how drunk we are, how much coffee has been imbibed, whether we’re excited to play the show, etc etc you know, its infinite. With recording there's a goal in mind, you're trying to do your best to capture it for posterity. We’ve been recording ourselves for the start which has had positive and negative results, positive – it’s very cheap, we get to record songs we don’t even know how to play and we get to try out a lot of different things, it can be a lot of fun for the most part… the negatives mainly include going completely mental not knowing what you’re doing and trying to figure out if all those different things you’ve tried out are in fact total shit. In answer to your question, playing live as it only takes 25 minutes to do.

Listening to your lyrics, it seems like they tell stories of conflict in people. I notice what I think are references to the young linked with politics in single 'Youth', but also everyday humdrum, relationships and (avoiding) self reflection - like the 'Mad Mind' cassette. I was wondering if the thread in your songs is exploring human experience? If so, what does it mean to you to tell stories from this viewpoint?

One of the most important things in life is isolating discontent because its far more dangerous when it goes undiscovered or hidden, so the lyrics are maybe a way of bringing the unspoken to the surface. We don't really believe in political songs, we would hate to write something that’s contrived and general sounding. The personal stuff is what interests us, I’m fascinated by people, the mundane aspects of life, people's experiences, the ways we can transcend ourselves and connect with others, so that's what we write about. The truest metaphors are taken from first-hand experience.

How would you describe London's music scene to someone who hasn't been here?

Gory. There's only 4 bands. It's sometimes like posting the most embarrassing photo on facebook and everybody liking it.

What's been the most memorable show you've played so far? That Total Control show just before Christmas, I have to say, was awesome...

Thanks, that was a good one, and kind of a turning point perhaps. It was one of the first shows after RON left to went back to the mountains again. Playing in Murray’s old bedroom in Southampton ages ago was definitely a highlight for several reasons, 1 – everybody had a lot of fun 2 – we managed to play all the songs off the MAD MIND tape having never rehearsed them or played them together before 3 – it was the first sighting of coffee man 4 – there were loads of old VHS tapes there which were perfect for wrapping round an entire room of people.

What's been the best show you've ever attended?

The last best one that I can remember was Straightjacket Nation in a huge warehouse somewhere in south London that our friend Bryony put on. Pretty awesome. They did a Saints cover. HARPER says when Prize Pets played their last show at YES WAY festival.

As far as I can tell two of your singles are self released, how did you find the process of putting out a record?

The Desperate Bicylces quote 'it was cheap, it was easy, go and do it' is not necessarily applicable to putting out a 7" in 2012.

A lot of Sauna Youth material is self recorded, did you have much experience before hand with recording or did you suss things out along the way?

BOON had been learning through his job and figured he could do it - it's been a steep learning curve. Especially as our methodology to doing it changes every time - case in point being when he had to rerecord just the snare drum to our whole album....nause.

Based on some things I've read, and correct me if I'm wrong, it sounds like recordings are executed with a loose approach. Is it important for you guys work on instinct when recording? For me, it would definitely explain where that high-raw-energy quality comes from that makes your songs stand out so much...

We don't really practice that much, so any loose-ness is probably attributable to that. We don't try to finesse it too much, the one time we did made it sound weird and lifeless. So perhaps any rawness is explained like that, instinctual is maybe a good way to describe it. Like a WILD ANIMAL!

BOON says – you know when you’re watching a band and it’s so loud that you can’t really tell what’s going on but it sounds amazing and you start to hear all these hidden melodies and noises that aren’t really there but the sheer volume of it just creates them? Well, I try to go for something like that but faced with the abstract notion of volume and how to tackle the fact that someone could just turn it down I mainly end up putting a lot of layers of 'free guitar' on all the recordings.

What do you as a band have planned for 2012?

We have an album coming out on FAUX DISCX, and later a split with Omi Palone and 2 others on Paradise Vendors, Inc and DISTRACTIONS III - a magazine with a flexidisc. And a 7” of songs sung by HARPER is in the works.

What do you have playing on your record player at home at the moment?

Bela Bartok String Quartet no 2. I was listening to it and my housemate came in to tell me what a drunk, rude fuckhead I head been the previous evening and it started skipping right on cue. NOT EVEN JOKING. BOON says Veronica Falls, Royal Headache and the Surburbanite 7” , HARPER says Living Ultra, MINCE likes the Marked Men and The Raincoats a lot right now.

"I'm full of dust and guitars" - Syd Barrett, if you were split in half what would be inside?

"... too much blood, too much blood. Oh yeah.." - Rolling Stones.

Sauna Youth Blog Bandcamp Facebook

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Shabeen Scene & Gilded Gutter present Wake Up Dead's release show for 3-track-double-A-side slab on EZPZ Records.

446, Kingsland Road, Hackney, E8 4AE
Entry 5.00
Doors 8pm

Support from the most righteous punk rockin bands in the country
universally loved SAUNA YOUTH
HIPSHAKES back from the grave
new Latino sensations RADIO SLAPS
and fresh French psychsters Le PECHEUR

Wake Up Dead
Members of Black Time and Black Mamba Beat celebrating the release of their first single.
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Sauna Youth
Rampant and savage punk rock from London four piece.

Off kilter schizoid garage punk by trio based in Bakewell.
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Spine grabbing righteous garage rawk brought to London via Spain.
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Le Pecheur
Spooked and unhinged tangents of lo-fi psychedelia from Parisian band now based in London.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

'Time To Go - The Southern Psychedelic Moment: 1981-1986' Flying Nun Compilation

This new compilation on Flying Nun represents artists based in Christchurch and Dunedin who pioneered 'lo-fidelity' recording during the 80's. Don't be surprised to find this isn't entirely a greatest hits of bands you know and love, rather putting some lesser known artists in the spotlight who, like their peers strived for something new, different and kinda weird. Flying Nun has provided a snapshot of New Zealand's underground scene during the Muldoon era using recordings from Scorched Earth Policy, The Gordons, Tall Dwarves and The Chills to name a few. There's plenty to discover on this brilliantly insightful compilation, a true treasure trove.

Copies can be found at: New Zealand, Flying Nun UK, Norman Records and US, Midheaven

Scorched Earth Policy "Since the Accident"

Friday, April 6, 2012

'Bring Beer' Compilation

Record store day is upon us and I have my own mixed feelings about the event. I love seeing shops packed to the rafters and everyone hanging out to support their favourite music retailers but, endless queuing, items being put on ebay and people walking away empty handed because the person before them bought everything as though the plane was going down is a real bummer. The thing that doesn't sit right is record stores are a place where I've always felt at home and the frenzy that has become RSD leaves people excluded in a place where everyone should be able to get a look in and have a good time. There are some great titles I'm looking forward to like Lee Hazlewood and Gene Clark, but where to get them from? Will the stores that I like to visit have these releases? Some places get left in the dust in the stampede to try and get stock for RSD and this is exactly what this new compilation on 12XU addresses.

12XU Records have found their own way of celebrating Record Store Day by giving back to the unsung heroes of music retail. 'Bring Beer' is a new compilation on the label that will see all profits being donated to Austin's Trailer Space. Trailer Space functions as a practice studio for bands including some featured on this album, as well as hosting free all ages instores and provides a preferred general hangout spot all year round. 'Bring Beer' is splattered with rock in all it's shapes and sizes along with folk and psychedelic jams from artists like; Chris Brokaw, Carolee, The Golden Boys and Flesh Lights. I've never been to Texas but hope to one day visit and go to this store as I know whatever the time of year it will feel like Record Store Day.

Bands featured on the release:

Diehard garage punk from Austin based three piece.
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Nazi Gold
Strutting rock stomp form Texan trio.

Rhett and Dean
Classic rolling rock by Austin based Duo.
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Tidal and wayward psychedelia melting hearts, minds and faces.

James Arthur Manhunt
Siren spattered noise from our new fuzz overlords.

Naw Dude
Breakneck and guttural turbo punk from Austin Quartet.
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Deranged, kraut infested rawk by Austin five piece.

Followed by Static
Tremorous, stinging folk and pop inspired rock hammered out by Velvet, Rut based six piece.

The Golden Boys
Sprightly, re-imagined version of "Sidewalk" by Austin's party makers and music shakers -- taken from new album 'Dirty Fingernails'.

Chris Brokaw
Chilling and lush motley folk.

Philip Sambol
Tender, bluesy serenade from Strange Boys band member.

Flesh Lights
Pulse racing commotion from spunky Austin trio of garage punks.

Reckless and raucous racket makers from Utah four piece.
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Naw Dude
Breakneck and guttural turbo punk from Austin Quartet.
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Air Traffic Controllers
Primal and fierce wanderings of ballistic rock by Austin outfit.
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Record store day is April 21st, if you can't make it to Trailer Space well worth checking in with the label to see if you can get your hands on a copy...12XU