New and Reissued Vinyl 

Indie-pop, garage, and punk.

Bands are getting smaller, it seems, what with the plethora of duos in the indie rock scene. But maybe smaller means better. Examples of these outfits who make do with their size (hey, it's not the size, it's what you do with it ) include Sacramento's Hella and its EP, Bitches Ain't Shit But Good People. Like a post-punk, prog-rock, heavy metal deconstructionist's art project, blasting noisy guitar riffs and frenetic time signature changes, Hella uses distortion by any means necessary. Never mind the campy song titles; this ain't no booty bass. Four songs of math-rock, speed metal, free jazz, and hyper disabandonment. It's shit-cool fun, too.

And if Hella wasn't enough, Lightning Bolt's monstrous Wonderful Rainbow LP and Death from Above's EP Heads Up would put anyone over the edge. There is more clamor in these two bands than all of Noisepop combined. Lightning Bolt's aural assault is a hot tattooist's needle, where pain and pleasure's lines are blurred. Death from Above, the dance/noise duo with evil running in their veins, sing songs about cocaine over an infectious industrial disco beat. They fake relationships for fun, and are giving up on their friends who try to front. Sounding slightly like early Revolting Cocks, these guys are rad. Rad, but scary (because they're Canadian?).

Estrus Records is out to whup some garage rockers' asses with the Immortal Lee County Killers' take on messy blues. A duo armed with just a guitar and drums and drenched in sweat and whiskey, Love Is a Charm of Powerful Trouble has songs penned by Willie Dixon and RL Burnside, with rippin' renditions of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and "Don't Let Nothin' Hurt Me Like My Back and Side." Chetley "El Cheetah" Yz tears through guitar licks like Elmore James and screams like he's Rob Tyner in a headlock. They also win Best Song Title: "Shitcanned Again."

And finally, the largest group in this week's bin, Touch and Go's Dirty Three have created the perfect sonic pillowscape of blissful yumminess. Like a comforter when the rain is beating down outside, She Has No Wings, Apollo is one of the best thus far; the artwork, packaged in a beautiful double gatefold design, does the music therein justice. This LP is for fans of Tortoise, cool jazz, and untainted invention. It also requires an admiration for the smashing of conventions while acknowledging what pure, rootsy music played on guitar, fiddle, and drums is capable of. For maximum mellowing effect, put it on after listening to the sweet Dear Nora/Mates of State seven-inch, flip, and repeat. Aaaah.


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