NO BALLS: Second To Win First To Lose (LP)
2017/06/21 Mayhem, Copenhagen
2017/06/22 Magasin 4, Brussels
2017/06/23 OCCII, Amsterdam
2017/06/24 Mécanique Ondulatoire, Paris
2017/06/26 The Rhiz, Vienna
2017/06/27 Marie Antoinette, Berlin
2017/06/28 Tape, Aarhus
Regler Regel #9 (Blues) LP (At War With False Noise)
My heart sank as I opened the box that this Regler LP came in the moment I saw the Regler name at the top. The last Regler release that came through here was one of my least-favorite Mattin projects, a big empty 12″ with the lingering sense of disappointment, but I did my duty and dropped Regel #9 (Blues) on my turntable anyway, maintaining my impressive dedication to properly informing my readership. And wouldn’t you know, it turns out that this newest “Regel” is pretty intense and discomfiting and raw, a concept that really delivers. The music consists of bass-guitar and drums, maintaining a monotonous two-note dirge beat (across both sides of the LP) while Mattin layers various recordings of social and political discontent: street riots, protest violence, loud arguing, people screaming over each other. These samples are slowly dispersed throughout, occasionally coming together in a deluge that truly recreates the panicked, fearful state of the first world, one guided by anger and resentment and hopelessness. Certain samples really stress me out, probably because this isn’t some sort of dystopian fantasy but all too real, and being reminded of it via Regler’s oppressive repetition can be a bit too much. I get the impression that “a bit too much” is exactly what Mattin was going for with this iteration of his Regler project, though. It’s the sort of audio document that stings right now but will be a valuable document for future generations to unearth and evaluate.
Brainbombs, Inferno (LP) Skrammel
1000 copies. 330 with ltd onesided 7″
There are times when it becomes difficult to tell why fringe artists sling their strife – nihilism, ideology or want for attention. GG Allin, Metal Machine Music, The Residents, The Fall, Smack My Bitch Up, the list goes on.
Anarchy for anarchy’s sake.
Deconstruction as a thought process.
Things do tend to be relative. You could make the argument that from an adaptation perspective, vegans are pointlessly transgressive. Just as well as you could say this newfound uprising of censorship and political correctness is fascism poised as social decency.
Some of it has to do with the era in which said art is released. There was a time when Prince was just about the most controversial and ‘liberated’ act around. In 1991, Garth Brooks was in the news for trying to get some domestic abuse convo started around the Bible Belt. Madonna spent most of the 80’s trying to de-puritanize America. Eminem, the Dixie Chicks, Marilyn Manson, Sinead O’Connor, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus have all at one point made headlines for reasons that today seem almost comical.
Regardless of all that, the stiff-necked and left-field nature of a punk lifer looms heavy over Brainbombs. Their wild-eyed run through the 90’s all but came to a head with 1996’ Obey. Mutilation, murder, rape, torture, grave-robbing and every other topic that with a cheekier touch could have made a cracking John Waters flick. The Brainbombs’ steady-handed seriousness as they thrashed through those themes however built a sinister air around them, and briefly, made fire-breathing villains of them in the eyes of God-loving conservatives. That was 20 years ago.
In the end, time proves to be the great anesthetizer. Ed Gein is long dead, his name casually dropped in sitcom jokes. Horror turns to tragedy turns to public domain schlock. Time wears on Brainbombs similarly. And Inferno goes about its business the same way every one of their records has before. Each song kicks off on a shock, peal and clap; distorted, unhinged and fun, like a drunken obelisk. Then starts sagging and collapsing on itself until you can’t tell up from down anymore. And like all their records before, it works more often than it doesn’t.
Truth is, in the open age of terror, cyber-predators, radical Republicanism and fetish pornography, Brainbombs no longer straddle the knife’s edge. What’s left is some brainsick garage noise. They still sound good, urgent and pissed. And that ought be enough.
Then again, maybe it was never ideological or anarchic pot-stirring after all. Maybe it was just Sweden all along. There’s only so much winter a man can take.
Orchestra of Constant Distress, LP, (300 copies), 8mm records