Music Reviews

Growth / Mr. Science / Palberta reviews

Some record reviews I’ve recently written:

GROWTH – Colour, Cut and Clarity 7”EP

An icy dip into Stockholm’s Growth’s sorrow and pity parade, and a righteously good one at that. I’d thought they’d broken up, as things were pretty quiet out Västertorp way since that “Turn/The Flood” single in 2013. This female trio’s transitioning a bit from messy, dark, soul-eating garage blues into a formidable practitioner of soundtrack-like goth eeriness, with a raw keyboard-driven punk edge and some seriously desperate vocals. Only “Amanda”, known previously as “Blind Voice” on an old tape, retains the same whole-cut vibe as the old stuff, but I’m finding myself melting into their new dark sound pretty willingly. Anyone w/ a Joy Division, Come or Little Claw patch on their jean jackets oughta check it out. (Lazy Octopus; lazyoctopusrecords.se)

MR. SCIENCE – 1978-1979 7”EP

The oddball part of “Mr. Science”, a brainiac, synth-obsessed weirdo in a white lab coat, was played in 1978-79 by one Brad Garton, who was soon to be part of Indiana’s Dow Jones & The Industrials. His goofy analog-era bleeping and blurping never made it to vinyl until this five-song archival bit came out as a bonus mail item to go w/ Family Vineyard’s very nice Dow Jones package. I thought the A-Frames ultimately did a better job cramming funny, five-dollar futuristic words into jerky meter & verse than Garton does here, but this is still a pretty solid & altogether brief gallop nonetheless. “The Number Song” is a nearly dub-like, echoed instrumental incantation of a phone number that I’m tempted to call myself (right after I finish rotary-dialing 867-5309). “Mutant Humans” sounds in 2016 like a SNL parody of late-70s Devo worship, but was probably the cat’s meow on the Indiana plains in its time. “Sociobiology” is the set’s robotic standout, and it laid a nice foundation for his later band’s outstanding “Ladies With Appliances”. I’m quite glad I got to hear it now, and your duty now for the future is to try and hear it yourself. (Family Vineyard; family-vineyard.com)

PALBERTA – Hot On The Beach 12”EP and DL

Apparently Palberta are scene dreamboats across small, leafy,
Eastern liberal arts college towns. They’ve got a willing patron in
Feeding Tube, who took this 2015 tape and gave it the vinyl treatment a
year later. I’ve generally liked bits and pieces of everything they’ve
done, especially when those pieces are unpredictably disjointed &
wild sub-1 minute no-wave skronking, like this thing’s excellently bent
“Thumb War” and “Fuck You”. But they’re trying too hard elsewhere to be
those “Ohmygod you guys I’m so weird” girls found tripping &
fluttering on campuses everywhere. “Prolly For The Best”, which chews up
most of the real estate here, is a fairly unlistenable thirteen minutes
of young women giggling over robotic dance music and/or doing that
“spoiled brat” nyanh-nyanh vocal thing that Kathleen Hanna so annoyingly
“perfected” twenty years ago. Pluck the good songs, discard the rest,
and remember why it is you scrape the web for mp3s and not vinyl.
(Feeding Tube; feedingtuberecords.com)

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