Punk

Palberta launch Palberta5000 upgrade

There’s a certain frisson that happens when a talented collage artist juxtaposes a number of disparate elements and makes you see all the individual parts anew as a result, which serves as a kind of an expressway to the center of your skull aka the unconscious mind. 

On their fifth full-length unveiled today by Wharf Cat Records titled Palberta5000, Palberta has installed a system upgrade to the art-damaged post-punk haikus heard on previous releases. Self-reportedly digging into a buffet of Gen X alt rock and Millennial Disney pop ranging from Liz Phair to Avril Lavigne for inspiration, this instrument-rotating three-piece has written a bunch of punchdrunk new numbers that occasionally break their usual one-to-two-minute time limit and that place a new emphasis on their exquisitely shaggy girl group harmonies. 

The result is an album full of misshapen pearls of avant-rock-pop that fills the void of there being no existing No Wave Meghan Trainor or Justin Beefheart or Taylor Shaggs (please stop me before someone gets hurt) in the world up until now. Take a listen and consider your void filled.

In this blogger's modest appraisal other standout tracks include album-opener “No Way,” “Summer Sun,” and the Arthur Russell/Loose Joints quoting “All Over My Face” which is nearly five minutes (!) long. (Jason Lee)

   

95 Bulls live set on FLTV

First, a shout out to all those musical acts who choose to use defiantly G**gle proof name. Some of these acts have been profiled in these pages recently such as Navy Blue, Woods, and Slut Magic (ok not so much the latter tho’ that particular phrase does have an Urban Dictionary entry which sounds totally bogus but I digress) and now we can add 95 Bulls to this special list.

In theory, anyway. Maybe it’s only because the Big Googly Eye In The Sky knows me too well but the band’s Instagram account came up as a first page search result, plus another first page hit courtesy of our good friend(s) at Bands Do BK who in late October premiered the 95 Bulls’ two-track debut single “Big Fight”/“Crazy” and shared vital stats on the band's origins (basically an indie rockin' punk rawkin' bartender and barback and barfly supergroup formed at Our Wicked Lady) and motivation for formation (quarantine-itis).

Maybe it’s got something to do with the latter but I'd respectfully submit that 95 Bulls could furnish an appropriate soundtrack for any of your potential choices in a game of “F*ck, Marry, Kill” (well dunno if you'd wanna get married to any of their songs but they've got good tunes for people you wanna f*ck or kill for sure). This F*CK/KILL duality comes across even more strongly on stage where the band members flirt and rage musically in equal measure like if you can imagine a more aggro B-52s--plus the groovy-warbly Farfisa keyboard makes this comparision even more apt and ups the dance ante significantly--or maybe they're more like a Great Dane getting overly frisky and thrusting his snout deep into your crotch to the point where you get kinda turned on but fear for your genitals at the same time. Anyway I've used up my allotted number of analogies so will leave it at that.


And yeah you heard right I said *on stage* because you can at this very moment watch a live set and an interview with 95 Bulls as part of Footlight Bar’s “FLTV” series filmed under safe conditions at Brooklyn’s Starr Bar. Check out the link HERE where for a small fee you'll not only see the last-danceless Bulls play live and hear some of their unreleased songs like “Red Nails,” “Trichotillomania,” “Young Love,” “Golden Tooth,” and “Your Father’s Watch,” but you'll also witness exclusive footage of the band drinking heavily in the recording studio and also a couch-based convo with sparkle-masked host Kendra during which intimate thoughts are shared on penguin orgasms, band Tinder accounts, getting twerked on at Covid testing sites, meeting depressed divorceés In New Jersey, and the ultimate dream of receiving a Popeye’s sponsorship. (Jason Lee)

   

RIP Sylvain Sylvain: "Belligerent, hostile and deafeningly loud” (well his guitar playing anyway!)

In 1973 a local news report on the "social phenomenon" of "New York street bands" centered around the nightclub Max's Kansas City--where Debbie Harry could very well be your waitress and William Burroughs passed out at the bar--zeroed in on an exotic group of young men called the New York Dolls. In somber tones the newscaster described their music as "rough not polished" with "lyrics [that] are shouted, not sung" and live shows that are "always belligerent, hostile and deafeningly loud." Now there's a sales pitch!

And while the New York Dolls' guitarist Sylvain Sylvain (he also played piano/keyboard) was by all accounts neither particularly belligerent or hostile or loud in person--just the opposite, in fact, he was credited with holding the highly-volatile group together both personally and musically during their initial five-year run from 1971 to 1976--his guitar playing sure as hell was all three of those things. What's more Sylvain has been credited for coming up with the band's name and their (for the times) highly provocative look and for being their musical anchor with his slashing, rock solid and memorable guitar lines.

Rather than trying to tell Sylvain's story here or making a case for his significance, I'll simply point out that Sylvain and his guitar playing are very likely buried deep in your DNA. In other words if you're someone who listens to and/or creates what is referred to "indie" or "alternative" music, the New York Dolls were one of the central bands/central strands in the musical DNA of so-called proto-punk music (alongside the Stooges and MC5 and Death) leading directly to punk rock, obviously, and then to post-punk and alternative and indie rock. 

Here's a few good obits that were published today if you wanna know more about the man, the Dolls, and Sylvain Sylvain's post-Dolls career.

A British perspective from The Guardian (without the New York Dolls there'd been no Sex Pistols): 
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/jan/15/sylvain-sylvain-the-new-york-dolls

And here's what some obscure old hippie rag has to say about Sylvain Sylvain:
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/sylvain-sylvain-new-york-dolls-dead-1114962

Versus a more punk rock perspective from Alternative Press:
https://www.altpress.com/news/sylvain-sylvain-obituary-the-new-york-dolls

Last but definitely not least, Sylvain's memoir published in 2018:
https://omnibuspress.com/products/theres-no-bones-in-ice-cream-sylvain-sylvains-autobiography

Now for some sounds and visuals cuz that's what matters. Exhibit A: If th song "Frankenstein" with its glorious twin guitar assault by Sylvain Sylvain and Johnny Thunders, taken from the Dolls' 1973 eponymous debut LP, doesn't send chills up your spine then maybe you should pay a visit to your local cardiologist and have her check to see if you still have a pulse:

This is probably the New York Dolls' best known song, though there's a case to be made for "Personality Crisis," in which David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) kicks things off by quoting the Shangri-Las' "Give Him A Great Big Kiss":

And this is probably the best known filmed performance by the Dolls--appearing live on the German pop music show Musikladen, with two more songs taken from New York Dolls (1973):

Footage of the Dolls performing live in 1974 following the release of their oft-overlooked sophomore LP Too Much Too Soon. Rock entrepreneur and announcer Don Kirshner poses the $64,000 question: Are the Dolls "outrageous and bizarre" or "incredibly talented"? But Don, why they can't be both!

Excellent instrumental B-side from a band called Criminals, one of Sylvain's post-Dolls projects, 1978's "The Cops Are Coming" is a rocked-out rewrite of the iconic "Peter Gunn Theme."



Slyvain Sylvain's first solo album in 1979 contained this very cool track which could easily be passed off as an overlooked gem from the Goffin & King catalogue ("King" as in Carole King).

Nice live set here from Sylvain Sylvain & the Teardrops, again from German TV, a musical project whose one one and only album came out in 1981. Note the retro-rockabilly vibe and note that this was the same year of the Stray Cats' debut album. Sylvain was often on the cutting edge but often not getting due credit. Bonus content: you get to see Sylvain talking a bit about the Dolls during the wonderfully awkward interview segment.

And finally here's a song off One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This (2006), the first of several well-received New York Dolls' reunion albums co-written by surviving members Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen. 

When it comes to the rest of the Dolls: Johnny Thunders passed away in 1991; drummer Billy Murcia died in 1972 on tour in the UK before the first album was even recorded, and subsequent drummer Jerry Nolan died in 1992; bassist Arthur Kane held out until the next decade and played the first Dolls reunion show in London in 2004 but died shortly thereafter before the Dolls had started work on their mid-aughts album. This excellent article from Classic Rock magazine traces the band's path of self-destruction and their salvation of rock 'n' roll. Today, only Buster Poindexter survives to carry the torch. (Jason Lee)

 

   

Lady Bits on the "Look Out"

You better look out / you better decide
If Santa’s your man / or patriarchy must die
Lady Bits is coming to town

He stalks you when you’re sleeping
Gaslights and violates
He thinks he knows what’s bad or good
So be bad for goodness sake

You better look out / you better get wise
Cuz yr gonna find out / that being naughty is nice
Lady Bits is coming to town...

Lady Bits’ new single “Look Out” is out so give it a listen, grab a beer and have a happy new year. And for the stocking stuffer, check out their Lose The Thread EP below!



   

Wrong War "Fixed Against Forever"

Hardcore group Wrong War has released their debut album, Fixed Against Forever, via Council Records. This is the latest project from Matt Weeks of Current, Calvary, and Ottawa, and he is joined by Patrick Keenan and Dave Pawlowski, who are coming back together for the first since leaving The Phenoms, along side Salvo Beta drummer Dan Smith.

The album was released on the Election Day and carries a politically charged message through its blistering nine tracks.