Category Archives: punk

Japanese Motors “Single Fins & Safety Pins”

Japanese Motors
Single Fins & Safety Pins
(Vice; 2008)

Japanese Motors are from Costa Mesa, CA which makes their name sort of incongruous; if there’s a Japanese car anywhere in Orange County I’ve never seen it. Added to which, this band makes music that’s more muscle-car than fuel-economy sedan. The sound on the first track we hear from their forthcoming album is a little old-fashioned but wears like a sunburn. The bass is quaintly cut-and-dried, the guitar echoes with a rockabilly kick, and the drums sync with groovy handclaps. Lyrically, there’s the kicking off of shoes and the tasting of wine. It sounds suspiciously like they’re having fun. They’re a little too late for a summer album, but you can still feel the wind in your hair and the sand in your shorts. “Single Fins & Safety Pins” is the first single from the Motors’ self-titled debut out this month on Vice. Just don’t call it surf music.

– Anthony Strain


Fun Blood “Demo”

Fun Blood (not album cover)
Fun Blood
(self released, 2007)

The recording of this demo sounds like it was done with a single microphone set in the middle of a garage/basement while mom and/or dad weren’t home. Everything comes out sounding loud, messy, and weird just like punk and demos should. The introduction of a wah wah pedal toward the end of the first song is an unexpected and welcome touch to this traditional brand of music. Does that make this band funk-punk, noise-rock? Not really, but it does make me happy to hear something (anything!) different in this tired genre.

While you can tell the kids of Fun Blood are passionate and whole-hearted about their musical efforts it does seem they aren’t used to playing together. Either that or they’re mostly drunk and don’t give a fuck. After listening to all 4 tracks on the CD the second option seems like the most viable one.

In summation; if you’ve got patches on nearly every article of your clothing, haven’t showered for a while, and bleeding from your ears (among other parts of your body) sounds like a good time, Fun Blood is probably your cup of tea.

Titties on a Fucking Unicycle “T.O.F.U.”

Titties on a Fucking Unicycle \
Titties on a Fucking Unicycle
(Fraggle Rock Ent., 2008)

Titties on a Fucking Unicycle’s name could be misleading to some. While one may expect to hear something in the vein of Anal Cunt or Arab on Radar you’re instead greeted with a revitalized version of Against Me! and Jonathan Richman. This is definitely punk or folk-punk or whatever you want to call it, and, from what I can tell on this demo recording, it’s done well. I saw Against Me! a very long time ago at a house show in Santa Cruz, and this reminds me precisely of the same sing-a-long, drink-a-long, rompin’ stompin’ good time everyone had back then. The songs are simple and fun so everyone can sing, the music is fast and strong so everyone can romp ‘n stomp, and, as far drinking goes, the song title “JUSTCANTLOSEWITHABOTTLEOFBOOZE” says it all.

If you booked Titties… at a bar, I’d expect a hole in the stage from the incessant feet stomping and at least one broken microphone from the stage antics. If you asked them to play a house party, I’d expect the police to show up before the end of their set and the absence of toilet paper you were sure you bought just yesterday. Whatever the cost may be, if you see Titties on a Fucking Unicycle play these songs you’re sure to have a vague recollection of an extremely good time in the morning.

Robbie Giant “The Worst of Robbie Giant and His Haphazzard Fag Trash Brigade”

Robbie Giant (not album cover)
Robbie Giant
The Worst of Robbie Giant and His Haphazzard Fag Trash Brigade
(A Girl Hurts, 2008)

As the insert of the CD indicates, this group of music isn’t a proper album but a compilation of music artist Robbie Giant recorded with friends between 2003 and 2008. The insert also states the music is of “various genres (and also qualities)”, which is a huge understatement.

It’s almost pointless to give this CD any kind of linear, track by track review. The music follows no specific evolving path, but instead jumps almost bipolarly from noise, industrial, post-garage punk, beat heavy instrumentals, and even guitar-centric ballads. Given the nature of the lyrics and the personal feel of the art, liner notes, and song titles, one can only gather this is a personal collection of music Robbie would most likely give exclusively to friends and family.

The Worst… is a strange portrait of someone who is a lover of nearly all subversive sounds and most definitely aims to share himself and his life experiences. More focus and a bit of help with the technical side of producing could allow Robbie to possibly write albums not unsimilar to those of Xiu Xiu, Julie Ruin, or Suicide.