Posts Tagged ‘Record Store day 2021’

Southern Lord & DVL Recordings

12 June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Reviewing Record Store day releases feels a shade cruel in some respects. Since they pretty much all sell out within a couple of hours, with participating record stores looking like a cornfield stripped by locusts by 11am after hungry collectors and traders have queued round the block since dawn to buy up anything and everything they can get their hands on (more often as not nowadays to resell at massively inflated prices. But who do you blame for this? The system is screwed), reviewing any RDS release feels like a posturing gesture of ‘look what you could have won’. But some releases warrant a wider exposure, ad perhaps, ultimately, a wider release, and this is one of them.

Neon Christ formed in 1983 and having taken a break in 1986, they’ve been more or less dormant ever since, with their career’s recorded output consisting of just one eponymous ten-track EP released in Jube ’84 and an appearance on a compilation album: On Labor Day 1984, the band recorded four tracks in the home studio of Nick Jameson, of Foghat fame, and from this, ‘Ashes to Ashe’" was included on the International Peace/War compilation released by MDC’s R Radical Records.

Guitarist William DuVall wrote an album’s worth of songs in 1985, but only ‘Savior (Drawn In)’ was ever recorded in what would be the band’s final studio session on 26 December 1985 (the master tapes were lost).

And so 1984 contains everything committed to tape by Neon Christ which still survives (which was all recorded in 1984, bar the one 1985 track which doesn’t feature here – which is fair enough, as it sits outside the band’s one explosive year).

Side one features the original Neon Christ 7” EP, and side two contains the four songs of the Labor Day session.

These recordings are over thirty-five years old, but they’re still dynamite. The early-mid eighties really were the apogee of the hardcore punk scene, and it’s perhaps integral to that history that bands burned brightly and briefly. Scenes are rarely best represented by recorded output or longevity, but the immediate buzz. Anything left for posterity is a bonus, and 1984 is that bonus that documents the brief and explosive existence of Neon Christ.

That first EP is fiery, frenetic, and raw as hell. Of the ten tracks, only one breaks tr two-minute mark. It’s rough and ready, the production isn’t so much primitive as non-existent, ad everything really is played at a hundred miles an hour as they blast through back-to-back blasts of fury ass mere minute long each. They do go a bit mellow and indie at the start of their titular track, but in no time it’s hell for leather thrashing, and overall, the pace of this album is blistering.

The Labor Day EP is slower, denser, less primitive. The songs feel more realised, and I would say ‘more produced’ – but it’s all relative, since the production prior was truly zero. The vocals and playing are both still rough and ready and nothing on offer here could ever be described a slick or polished. This is proper hardcore and is more than merely a historical document.

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Bam Balam Records –12th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Two names to conjure with collided live in Tokyo on 14th March 2019, with sprawling psychedelic masters Acid Mothers Temple coming together once more, a full decade after the release of the live album Underdogg Express in 2009, with the founder of the legendary Krautrock band Guru Guru. ‘A fiery psychedelic collaboration recorded in the spirit of early Guru Guru’ ensued.

Edited neatly into four tracks – two per side of vinyl – it’s being released on limited edition vinyl for the French ‘Disquaire Day’ June 2021 (French Record Store Day 2021).

In recent years, I’ve come to despise Record Store day: after all, a record store is for life, not just for RSD, and the whole thing reeks of exploitation, from the retail prices being set as a level that means stores themselves make next to nothing from any sales, many fans are priced out – assuming they aren’t geographically advantaged – and then they’re shafted once more when those who had both the benefit of cash and location resell at even more exorbitant prices. Yes, one could discus free markets and supply and demand and how buyers choose to pay those prices – and I personally choose not to – but ultimately, a lot of the fun has gone out of it since the early years.

It doesn’t help that RSD has been swamped by reissues by major labels, meaning completists and hardcore collectors of some very popular acts are climbing over to buy new editions of old records, and none of them really give a fuck about independent stores, labels, or artists.

In this context, this release is a welcome one. It’s also a good one, and finds the collaborators veering from wildly chaotic and discordant free-jazz to muted, atmospheric ambience, with the fifteen-minute ‘Electric Junk’ spanning both, and beyond, exploding as it does into a searing proggy / post-rock crescendo in the closing couple of minutes.

‘The Next Time You See the Dalai Llama’ is built around a cyclical motif that whirls like a kaleidoscope over a throbbing reception of pounding drums and bass that lock into a relentless groove for the first four of is nine minutes. The title track closes with a mash-up of classic rock and wild desert psych, with some wild guitar work going fret crazy over an insistent, monotonous bass groove and thumping percussion that pounds and crashes relentlessly, and it even get on quite a swagger and swings into a full strolling jazz workout in the second half.

Tokugoya doesn’t bring any real surprises, and is, really, exactly what you’d expect – but then it doesn’t disappoint… although its limited availability might (but there is still a CD version).

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On 12th June, Southern Lord and DVL Recordings co-release a deluxe edition of Neon Christ’s 1984 sessions for Record Store Day. Digital format will also be available via Bandcamp only, and non-Record Store formats will follow at a later date via Southern Lord Europe.

Neon Christ, the cult hardcore luminaries featuring William DuVall (BL’AST!, Comes With The Fall, Alice In Chains), Jimmy Demer (Gardens of.., Accidents), Danny Lankford (Gardens of.., GoDevils, Accidents) and Randy DuTeau (Gardens of) share the entertaining new video for "Neon Christ" which features the band’s children, and gleefully conveys the appreciation of this music across generations. The band comments, "We all had a lot of fun making this video with the kids. They did a fantastic job. It was a wonderful full-circle moment. And much hilarity ensued on set."

Watch the video here:

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