Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Everyone has a story about the first time they picked up MRR, I can remember the cover of the first issue I picked up but not much else about it. I remember more clearly why I stopped reading it. There was a review of the classic to me Slant 6 LP Soda Pop Rip Off that claimed Dischord only put it out because of the pin up quality of the band. This was a clear indication that the magazine was was not for girls like me, it was for old men who could not relate to music made by women without commodifying / writing it off in the same manner as in the mainstream press. Women in rock. Makes me wanna review every average bro band with only their style of dress and visual impact as humans in mind. Because reading a review of a band that I loved, one that meant a lot to me, who wrote subtle, evocative and powerful songs, some with feminist undertones but with a million ideas at work... Not riot grrrl, but existing on their own terms in their own context at the same time. The guitar sound evoking Greg Sage and Dead Moon and Wire, skittish self-taught drums with the most devastating voice over it all... A band that seemed like a girl gang, that created their own world with its own set of signs. I am sure I have written about this before, but I have been thinking about Christina Billotte’s guitar style and voice a lot this week... Someone uploaded an Autoclave video to YouTube that set me off on a Billotte discography trail. Autoclave was I think her teenage band with Mary Timony, who is now in indie rock sensations Wild Flag. You should watch the video, they play my three favorite songs, and are fantastic and unnerving punk girl group that bring to mind a post punk sound but do not rabidly Xerox any specific old sound like all bands do now. “We sound exactly like the Comes / Sort Sol / Some Boring Dad Rock Band.” What a boring life, to paraphrase the Slits. I have never been in a band with the intent of sounding like another band, mostly because my musical skills do not enable me to rabidly copy some old shit from thirty years ago, but also because it’s boring and I do not understand the concept of punk as a reenactment troupe inna UK82 or ConfuseGai hardcore stylee. “Why Be Something That You’re Not” etc etc. Not to say that bands don’t exist in that style or sound currently that rule, but...
    At any rate, in Billotte related matters I still need the Quix*o*tic Mortal Mirror LP, if anyone’s holding. I stupidly only bought it on CD assuming KRS would keep it in print on vinyl... doh! Someone should repress both of those CDs onto vinyl ok? At any rate... I double reviewed a record I loved this month, then decided I was just being a psycho as the other review was not as dismissive as I recalled. So without further ado reprinted in my column bc I labored over this whilst at work serving the public at my sick retail job, my take on the Household LP. Reader, I married it! Brooklyn's HOUSEHOLD have the secret bedroom recordings feel of the best of EXCUSE 17 and HEAVENS TO BETSY, but with a furtive post-punk undercurrent rather than anything strictly grrrl style. More ALISON STATTON than CORIN TUCKER. Whenever people reference post-punk it's always the herk n jerk of DELTA 5 or the POP GROUP and while there are some parts that bring to mind those bands, this sound is so far from punk funk. HOUSEHOLD use dissonance in a different way, creating space and an out of place feeling with the minor key vocal harmonies. Along with the way the instruments intertwine and play off each other it's reminiscent of the awkward and disconcerting atmospheres of the most desolate WIRE songs, someone else suggested Three Imaginary Boys era CURE too, but with a total bedroom UK/DIY appeal... I think it's the starkness of the songs, the music and the lyrics just create this foreboding atmosphere. The song "Desperate Times" hits me like the most evocative AUTOCLAVE songs do, and "cold hands" has this amazing YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS meets classic era SLEATER KINNEY feeel, it's awkward and true.. This band creates it's own evocative sound out of a mass of so many of my favorite band ideas and it's a total bummer they broke up before I got to see them play.
    Well... what else? I reviewed a sick tape by this band the Vixens a few month ago, insane Void-core all girl HC from Canada who apparently have no responded to any emails sent their way asking for the tape / asking if they would put a record out and so forth. This was my review:     VIXENS – Holy shit! This is another raging all girl HC band, this sounds like fucking VOID playing GERMS songs, a total frenzy of noise and dissolution. Fuck this is so good! Actually scratch the GERMS this is just total chaos in vicious doses, this is what every CONFUSE/GAI nerd clone wishes their band was like. Seriously just intense noise with bits of  destruction falling on your head, like a Survival Research Laboratory show in your bedroom with the Exorcist playing at the wrong speed in the background while DEEP WOUND knits you a sweater out of your stomach tubes. This is the reason punk exists. Fuck! Seriously, the singer’s voice is fucking possessed! Sick!!!!! (Layla ) (6-song cassette, lyrics included, email for $ info vixenshfx@gmail.com)
Anyway that is the end of my column! Team up all night workin on the magazine brain slaughter society of doom. Layla@maximumrocknroll.com whatwewantisfree.blogspot.com

(photo by Cynthia Connolly from her series of DC punks with their cars)