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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wantage Records Updates

Wantage USA, the most mispronounced label in existence (rhymes with "advantage") and known in HEAVY crowds for having thudded out the Whip`s only 7", and the debut Big Business recordings, has got limited vinyl copies of four new records on its hands:

Red Fang - Self Titled LP
First pressing of 200. Red Fang features four of western America`s premier heavy metal rock and roll players in a band that`s part Big Business plow, part Blue Cheer abandon, and several parts colossal metallic Portland spastic thunder. With exes ranging from Last of the Juanitas to Truman`s Water, you sort of start to get a sense of what`s going with these dudes. Heavy, but smart, weird heavy. This is what the Onion had to say: "In place of symmetry and precision, Red Fang smears roughhewn, ragged riffs that place the band much more in the camp of Big Business (or even The Sword minus the hobbit shtick). Out behind a new five-song tour EP, the band sports members from all over the place, including Last of the Juanitas, Facedowninshit, and even the legendary San Diego noise collective Truman`s Water."

This LP features both of their first CD-only (until now) EPs and one previously unreleased bonus track.

Street date: 10/28/2008

Japanther - Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt LP
Japanther`s always been a band of contrasts. They exist halfway in the world of performance art, and halfway in that of DIY punk. They get called to compose and perform soundtracks to puppet rock operas and then do a tour comprising largely house shows. They curate huge video/dance/music shows for major New York museums, and then release their music only via DIY/independent labels.

Keeping that tradition of contrast alive the lads have teamed up with (Crass co-founder) Penny Rimbaud and released a record of punk songs and poetry. On the surface, that may sound like an odd combination, but this thing is truly a wild romp `round Africa, the Bronx, San Pedro and Brooklyn, complete with faeries, bicycles and a few cans of spray paint. Japanther`s infectious, free spirited trash hasn`t let up a teeny bit, it`s just gotten more focused and rad somehow. Rimbaud`s churning, clever, degenerate cadence is an oddly fitting balance for Japanther`s two-minute blasts.

These songs are consistent with the level of songwriting on their last Skuffed Up My Huffy LP. Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt was recorded in late 2007, as the (band-curated and organized) Dinosaur Death Dance performance ran for three (sold out) nights at New York`s PS122. On a special note, this record features a sleeper cover of (ca. 1995) Portland`s New Bad Things` "The Dirge"!

Vinyl comes with digital download.

Street date: 10/28/2008

Miss Lana Rebel - All I Need LP/CD
Limited, hand-numbered run of 208, silk screened, artist-signed originals. Comes with song book with lyrics and music.

Real-deal American country music has its roots in the anti-government encampments of born-disaffected Scots Irish settlers in Appalachian America. Those dark hills and hollers are where folks immigrated in order to get away, to not participate in the sorts of activities that most folks thought they should as part of civilization. Specifically, to keep clear of the “revenuers” and others who wanted to get at their wallets in the name of a federal government. When these folks picked up instruments the stories and poems of loss, freedom, often death and once in a while hope began to flow like corn whiskey from an earthenware jug. In that way, I daresay real country’s more punk than punk. As the East grew increasingly crowded, we heard this music coming from places further west, like Texas, Arizona, and California. Miss Lana Rebel continues in that authentic tradition of Spartan, Appalachian/Western country, without the political endorsements (real county’s as apolitical as you can get), dumb hooks or the need to participate in a genre fronted by a qualifying adjective (“new,” “alt,” or otherwise). Get ready to have some stories told to you. All I Need will get tears in your Coors, and a lump in your throat.

Street date: 10/28/2008

Vile Blue Shades - John Thursday California Adventure LP
First pressing of 250. From deep in the heart of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young`s failed state of "Deseret" come the vile brothers and sister of Vile Blue Shades. Sort of like a loaded, swaggering outsider dance group, or maybe more accurately a 12-member collective with two drummers, two or three other percussionists, a keyboardist, three or four guitarists, a bassist, a dancer and a bespectacled, hulking, three-quarters talking, one-quarter singing front person.

Utah`s Mormon, mountain isolation occasionally kicks out some of the wildest underground stuff going (see Le Force, Red Bennies, Fuck the Informer, Agape, Wolfs, etc.) and Vile Blue Shades bring their unique type of bizarre, compelling music to a gape-jawed West. Reference points abound: VBS are a little bit Gibby Haynes, part James Chance, part Andy Gill, part lots of things, but as far as new bands go they are an unusual, visceral, sleazy spectacle. Read about VBS in September 2008`s Salt Lake UnderGround (SLUG) magazine. John Thursday California Adventure is the band`s self-described "sex record" and it features a range of vivid, pornographic lyrics whose inspiration came in large part from Henry Miller`s Under the Roofs of Paris work. Jud (Le Force) Powell engineered this and it`s the best recorded output they`ve done yet. This record captures the deliberate half-step calculated off-time echo of the band and has a weird and enveloping vibe.

Street date: 10/28/2008

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