Sunday, 27 October 2013

RAMONA

Probably the greatest song ever written about the Ramones is R.A.M.O.N.E.S. by Motorhead, originally on the album 1916, later covered by the Ramones themselves, which rolls through, with vision and thunder, a flash of images of the Ramones urban knucklehead milieu: “Black leather, knee-hole pants/Can't play no highschool dance




Then there's Guitar Wolf, who bite the styles of Motorhead and the Ramones in equal measure, Japanese noise superheroes in black leather, everything louder than everything else, cramming words together in a sort of impressionistic punk rock fuck you, where you can tell exactly what they mean, but also are incapably of explaining exactly what they’re saying, heirs to the ultimate cool of the Ramones, black leather jackets and simplicity, crunching out the surf-garage throb of the song Kung Fu Ramone Culmination Tactic.

Ramones tributes often come at their subject from the same sort of angle, with the same sort of shimmy, careening around in a 100mph coming together of that black leather, ripped up jeans, speed and noise, jukebox romance, communal shouts of the backpatch-cool stupidity slogans "GABBA GABBA HEY!" and "HEY! HO! LET'S GO!", an emphasis on the Ramones as a combination of teen heartthrobs, dangerous herberts and cretinous goobers. And an overwhelming desire to be joined with them somehow, to imitate, to hang with that crew, like on The Migraines I Wanna be a Ramone, which packs 40-odd Ramones references into its 3 minutes, going deep beyond the pinheads and the beaten brats, managing such lyrical feats as rhyming Mama's Boy with Animal Boy. There are also at least three other songs with the same title.  

A similar desire for assimilation exists on I Wanna Be Like Dee Dee Ramone by The Parasites. “I Wanna Be a Blitzkrieg Bopper/Wanna Be a Real Punk Rocker.” It's pleasingly reckless in its fuzz and scramble, but it does have the problem of focusing wholly on the punk rebel icon at the expense of the series of life experiences that defined Dee Dee, The Parasites never mention their desire to be a rentboy in 70s New York, have a lifelong heroin addiction, play in GG Allin’s band or release an unbelievably bad rap album that demonstrates all the flow and lyricism of a cartoon moose on barbiturates.

 The Spazzys have the song I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone, about wanting to cut your hair like Marky Ramone, but acknowledging "It's gonna look dumb, but it's gonna be fun." For the Spazzys, they don’t care if it means they can’t get a boyfriend, looking like Marky is way more important. A shitty momcut as being part of something greater, cheap self-mutilation to join the cult. Kinship with this group of impossible freaks.


 This is in the subgenre of songs specifically about minor Ramones. Generally the songs that focus on the Ramones revolve around the main core of Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee, Tommy, Richie, CJ and Marky kinda gets kicked to the curb or just short shout outs, though there is Tommy Ramone by The Vapids, a two minute biography that follows their first drummer from his awkward teenage years, "TROUBLE ALL AROUND!" is its repeated refrain. Elvis doesn't even get one song to my knowledge, but then again he only played two shows, whereas Marky was in the band for 12 years and even gets the indignity of usually being left off the iconic logo shirt in favour of Tommy. (Also, when the Ramones covered R.A.M.O.N.E.S. they changed the lyrics from “Hear Marky kick some ass” to “Marky takes it up the ass”)

Even Kung Fu Monkeys' I Miss the Ramones has to add "Let’s not forget Marky!" almost as an afterthought. I Miss the Ramones was penned around the Ramones break-up, serving as  framing them in a larger cultural narrative, running through post-war music history from the 50s onwards heralding the Ramones as heroes arriving in the nick of time “to save the day and take back radio” from the turgid indulgence of classic and prog rock. An idea which does have some merit, though the implication that the Ramones were also somehow responsible for exposing the Watergate scandal is probably a bit farfetched.

The Mr T Experience End of the Ramones says goodbye to the Ramones with a transcendent final show, everything coming together for a last 1-2-3-4 where the pang of goodbye is temporarily obscured by the blazing exit in spite of, or maybe because of, the beating life has given the four not-brothers “Joey is a vegetable Dee Dee's going bald Johnny got kicked in the head but the kids still love them all” 

They do and they still miss them. The loss is often palpable. Punk Rock Club RIP is mournful, the passing of a venue where good times were had, the Ramones were seen, friendships were made and jaws were broken, it's as sad as a song that bubblegum can really be and you can read the grieving for a show space as grieving for the Ramones also. Their mention is often punk rock shibboleth, a touchstone, like in The Queers anti-hippie anthem Granola Head, “I’d rather be at home, listening to the Ramones.” or in Screeching Weasel’s I Need Therapy as the painful result of this obsession lamenting the fact that he’s "O.D.'d on The Ramones cause I just sit around at home"

MTX, The Queers and Screeching Weasel being the Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee of the 90s Ramonescore revival, simplistic sharp catchy punk cuts on love and isolation and loss. Buzzpop barbs of that inspired the likes of The Transgressions with Baby I Love You (But I Need Someone to Talk to About the Ramones), in this, as in (The Huntingtons Jeannie Hate the Ramones, and The Creeps My Girlfriend Hates the Ramones) adoration for the Ramones is a relationship acid test. It’s probably Ramones-worship at its most juvenile, which is pretty fucking juvenile in a field which is an endless shambling parade of four-chord arrested development. Stylistically not amazingly interesting, the The Transgressions at least get out in 40 odd seconds of screaming, the Huntingtons and the Creeps rely on a mix of terrific pace and sloppy vocal collisions between dry whoa-ohs and snotty scrapes, to sustain themselves, until the Creeps song gets kinda slower and a bit boring. What it really points too though is that sort of teenage shortsightedness, music taste over all, judgemental punx exclusivity, a ridiculous shiteheaded personal integrity over compromise and happiness. How many people are there out there suffering just cos some girl ain't into. Is it really as common a problem as these bands make out? Similarly dumb but coming from the other directions are The Come Ons with She's Ugly But She Likes the Ramones (though that does put the Spazzys fears of loneliness to rest).




It might be these sort of bands which are put on blast by the goofball iconoclasm of Boris the Sprinkler’s Kill the Ramones released on a double A-side single with the song Kill the Sex Pistols, by a band that clearly loves the Ramones as much as anyone, once recording a whole album cover of the Ramones’ End of the Century. The Ergs! offer a less drastic solution pleading over a ripped off and muddied-up Teenage Lobotomy riff Xerox Your Genitals, Not the Ramones.

Of course, Kill the Ramones was written before the main three Ramones had actually died. Since the end of the century Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny have all bought it. My favourite version of Motorhead’s R.A.M.O.N.E.S. is on the 2005 live bootleg Stagefright where Lemmy introduces the song with a growl of "I was gonna stop doing this song last year, but then another one died, so I had to start all over a fucking again.”

Since then Ramones songs have leant even more towards the mournful, dug further into the loss, it works as well as the kisses and adoration, because the Ramones weren't just about the teenage bounce and gangs, Joey's voice was always capable of an edge of sadness in stuff like Danny Says and She Talks to Rainbows

 Joey Had to Go, a mid-tempo stomper, from Nomeansno ramonescore side-project, The Hanson Brothers, draws a vivid portrait of Joey as a sort of braindead intergalactic traveller, "He couldn't count past four. But he didn't need a whole lot more. He was weird all spindly and tall. Standing in his leathers up against the wall.” an impression probably fostered by their most famous on screen appearance in the Roger Corman classic Rock and Roll High School where the entire band comes across like spaced-out weirdos struggling to grasp the fundamentals of human interaction, Dee Dee endlessly baffled by the prospect of eating a slice pizza. Here Joey’s an alien being passing through, bestowing his wisdom and then he’s gone, more worlds to tear up, more galaxies to get hoppin. 




The Sloppy Seconds, still aren’t at that stage of acceptance yet, with the tightly-rhymed slamdance denial of You Can’t Kill Joey Ramone, “NO! NO! NO! JOEY DON’T GO!” it screams, “Save your prayers for Dee Dee” it pleads.

Not all of the songs deal with love and loss, imitation and destruction, for instance,  Frenzal Rhomb explicate the art/artist division in the song Johnny Ramone was in a Fucken Good Band But He Was a Cunt (subtitled GABBA GABBA YOU SUCK) but that’s an outlier. Most of them get their kicks in romance and pinhead longing.

 The crush of Helen Love’s Joey Ramoney, which portrays a long-distance desire over a sweetly skipping keyboard riff, sampling Joey’s hey-ho’s and running away with its own silly love. “There’s a girl who loves you on the other side of the world” it reassures Joey, perfectly capturing that bedroom-poster closeness you feel towards your teenage idols. Certainly more pleasant than The Maxies’ Sandy with its promise of “For you, Sandy, I’d dig up all the dead Ramones.”


 Amy Rigby’s Dancing with Joey Ramone, is, at least at first, mellow dancefloor seduction, with a possibly spectral Joey, who keeps his distance, as she copies every move he made. On the initial listen you get caught up in the gentle shuffle, and it comes across as resembling the adoration of Joey Ramoney, but on relistens it gets weirder and more aggressive ("I tried to say something/He said "Girl, shut your mouth, they're playing Papa Was a Rolling Stone") and besides, if you're copying every move he makes, Joey Ramone’s main move was leaning forward and looking scary as he shook his head about arrhythmically so really the scene’s less romantic than it might appear. At the end the unreliable narrator finds herself alone, but still stuck with those warm gluey memories as the song suddenly speeds up into Ramones pastiche.

 Sleater-Kinney’s I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone focuses on this heartthrob idea, usurping Joey’s place as an idol, with a rebel yelp. It's equal parts that imitation and destruction. Joey's a god, but one to kill. "I wanna be your Joey Ramone/Pictures of me on your bedroom door/Invite you back after the show/I'm the queen of rock and roll."

Delay’s Everything You Hate brings together that metaphorical power together with the complex interpersonal relationships, the tension and loathing that characterised the band for most of its existence, synthesising their place as icons with their reality as humans. “You say you don’t like the Ramones/But I think we’re a lot like the Ramones/Cos we look good together but we don’t get along/We’re a lot like the Ramones.”

Modern Life Is War's D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S. similarly mixes the reality with the fantasy. It's got that assimilative desire, but it's also from a point in time when the Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee are in the ground so it's way darker and more tortured in its cry of "Now I just wanna go back home and turn up my stereo/Until the rhythm melts my bones 'cause I'm a Dead Ramone"

Shonen Knife, known also as the Osaka Ramones, who have also released full albums of Ramones covers and played entire Ramones cover shows. The song Ramones Forever, tells the tale of a life lived through the medium of Ramones. It’s a simple process that has played out all over the world for the last 35 years. Day 1, hear the Ramones on the radio. Day 2, buy a Ramones album. Day 3. Start a fucking punk rock band. 

 The song triumphantly climaxes with a scene of Shonen Knife supporting the Ramones, which actually happened. This is one of the ultimate attractions of punk rock, that you can start a shitty band in your shitty town and then be sharing the stage with your heroes not long after, but, more than with any other punk band, the Ramones lend themselves to hero worship as much as best-friend fantasies the Ramones are definitely on pedestals. 

The inclusive/exclusive balance, the build-it-up/tear-it-down counterplay, where you can be part of something, you can change your last name to Ramone, but you're not a RAMONE-Ramone. You can wish to obliterate every idol, but you still need heroes somehow, that impossible thing to aspire to. You can get close, but you still got that gap. You’ll never quite be one of those four sloppily uniformed thugs, leant against the wall looking cool, but almost trying too hard to look badass and disaffected and ending up like some weird broken simulacra of teenage cool, all the more desirable for its sliced and mangled take on that languid adolescent pose. The Ramones are gone, whether you think them benevolent aliens or just a bunch of fucked-up dudes from New York, they're gone, but when  Shonen Knife sing “RAMONES FOREVER! MUSIC FOREVER! RAMONES FOREVER! PUNK ROCK FOREVER!” you don't really feel like they are, you feel like they're just around the corner, something eternal and drawn in the stars and much as their etched in brick and scrawled on toilet doors and commemorated in a thousand bad tattoos, a couple hundred sloppy punk rock songs. They meant something, they did something, yo, cuz 13 human beings have walked on the moon, but only 8 have been Ramones.




Not all of these songs are available on youtube, but you can track most of them down somewhere online. For a more complete detailing of songs about the Ramones, see this excellent list which I stumbled across while editing this piece.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

DiE EP

From new label Sonic Terror Discs, a vinyl rerecording of a ripping demo from this new UK punk band, who I've seen tear it up live a couple times. The vinyl's sound is naturally fuller and more packed out than the tape. Obnoxious (both tape and seven-inch acknowledgements proclaim "Thanks to: NO CUNT") and agitated, concerned with big picture hopelessness, no small moments of despair, big shit philosophical monoliths of anger and angst like on Life Is Hate, a slower thing than the hardcore punk drive of some of the other songs, needling with its guitar line at first, but chugging along and flaring up with slicing parts, and then running up again into those needles as it screams "LIFE IS HATE/LIFE IS HATE/LIFE IS SHAME/LIFE IS CHAINS/LIFE IS WAR/LIFE IS HATE." Futility has got some more street-punk tinges to it, in the way the background vocals chime in, equally as shouty as the main vox, as it slams itself bodily into government evil and thrashes about in underclass wrath. Bodies has a heavier bass rumble to its speed, like a kinda out-of-control truck kinda rhythm, No Vision is a mostly wordless stomper, stretched since the demo, that flails over a steady trudge, relentlessly oblivion bound in workmarch and daymares and and other killing drugs. "NEED DRUGS FOR HEALING/LIQUOR FOR BREEDING/DESTROY ALL FEELING/TIL YOU'RE FACE DOWN ON THE FLOOR". Their eponymous song is warm writhing hardcore punk with a background hum, nihilistically scorching with lines like "BORN INTO CHAOS/PURPOSE UNKNOWN" although "THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUTH/WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" here as the final line on the EP, almost doubles as an curt expression of showbound purpose as much as the bleak truth of shit life that it is. Real stuff.

Available on their bandcamp. Thankfully the page is no longer NSFPWDWTSSPGABJWSUATOWAGL.  (Not Safe For People Who Don't Want To See Seth Putnam Getting a Blowjob While Shooting Up And Tying Off With a Guitar Lead).

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Proxy - Police Car

"First there's beer then there's shots then theres cops then next of kin
Then violins
First there's violence then there's silence then there's sirens." - Lifter Puller, La Quereria

Here's a 100% guaranteed test to find out if your punk band is a good punk band. Does your punk band have a punk song about the police and/or police cars where at some point there is a siren sound effect or the guitars sound like a siren? If so, well done, you are in a super sweet punk band.

The Boys, Chaos Death Squad, The NailsCock Sparrer, Tom and Boot Boys, Black FlagRamonesObliviansCockney Rejects, Hard Skin,  The Rip Offs, Anti Todor, The Toy Dolls, Blanks 77, The Clash, Lärm, truly some of the greats. And now Proxy, whose song Police Car I have listened to a ridiculous number of times in the past couple weeks. Originally on their fuckin tight 2012 demo as Police Car (Goin' Home). This rerecording does not fall into the trap that too too many demo rerecordings do smoothing over the chaos, it retains the renegade criminal dance and expands it, hardens it into its perfect cop-baitin' form.

On the one hand Police Car is a song about stealing a police car. On the other hand it is a song about the utmost joys of human existence. Or maybe not, that's just what I get from it whenever I sing it. Imbued with the spirit of the catchiest GBH songs, a classic streetpunk chug with the momentum so locked in that those slippery bass runs can squirm up and down, struggling for release like a dog on a chain.


Police cars! Roving the streets. Who among us hasn't felt that familiar bite of panic when the blue lights wail past, when the jam-sandwich brigade pulls up behind you at the lights and your girlfriend freezes up next to you and almost involuntarily whispers "Be cool. Be coooool." Stealing a police car just seems like the wildest thing in world, all the freedom of that line in Dead Milkmen's Punk Rock Girl ("We got into a car/Away we started rollin'/I said "How much you pay for this?"/She said "Nothing man, it's stolen") but with added radical bite, just dug in again and again and again, drawn out and built into a perfect punk shout, voices pouring in like a waterfall.

It's not got the incredulous outrage of Who Killed Spikey Jacket's cry of POLICE TRUCK! WHAT THE FUCK!? or The Clash's breathy panicked gasp of "I've keep running. Police on my back.", nor has it gonna the sarcasm and blue malevolence of DK's Police Truck, what it has is fucking joyous singalong, of a moment of true giddy liberty, a stolen car, a brief one-in-the-eye for the system and its protectors. The cop trudging home embarrassed, you careerin through empty streets, sirens on your side for once, a car full of morons free until the morning.

How fucking great is the line "GONNA GET BEAT LIKE A DRUG ADDICTION!"? It's the line in the song that shows the consequences, the knowledge that this soaring glee is gonna get swiped out from under you and you're gonna feel the sting of a nightstick, which frames the whole song differently, it's not just dumb vandalism, careless and delusional, there's enough knowledge here to see what's gonna happen, but enough forward drive and enough momentary transcendence to giggle at the prospect of the comedow, just for a little while. Also just as a simile it's something special, the idea that drug addictions are just something you beat, clear and easy enough to slot into this figurative hole, rather than something you struggle painfully with. Here they're something that you kick to death, not something you succumb to. And that's just tossed off casually, this total faith in its onwards thrust, shrugging off true killing void shit like an iron-arse coolguy motherfucker. And then getting your head put in by cops, then probably going out and doing it again. Singing this song as you do it, building from drums to guitar to chorus, your dumb friends with you, kissing those faded ACAB knuckle tats and knowing that they were the best decision you ever made drunk.
The other two songs are pretty great too, Parasites is a triumphant take on crust punk squalor, half-parodying/half-celebrating the scabied scratching filth of punx life, a song of sympathy for the bed bugs that eat you while you sleep, framing them as just as a part of a rebel chain of stolen sustenance, "PARASITES WITH REFINED TASTES WE SHARE A DESTINY/ALWAYS BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS/TIL IT'S OUR TURN TO BLEED" A Marxist Joe's Apartment street punk singalong. It's another anthem constructed over those sort of up and down roving basslines reminiscent of Stiff Little Fingers' Here We Are Nowhere, with a fantastic mellow guitar solo that slips into dissonance and squealing towards the end.
Fountains of Youth, a beerpunk Blitz blitz. Strung out with punk tautness, it's singing drinking songs, but in the face of the doctor looking disapprovingly at your bloodwork. A blowout in the same vein as Oblivians' I'll Be Gone, where the drunken steps are one you know well and you head once more into the bar, dead friends. Like Police Car it's a celebratory song imbued with the rueful knowledge of what all this self-destruction springs from, and what it leads to. "A FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH! AN OCEAN OF BEER!/A REMEDY TO OVERCOME AN OVERWHELMING FEAR" is what's called for. The songs a kind of push and pull, that sort of interior bargaining between bad shit you know's coming and good shit you need to make you forget, even when the good shit drags you closer to bad. A cirrhosised barroom belter. Those next few pints might fill you again full of vim and teenage shirtiness, but your body don't bounce up from the hangovers the way it used to. The bruises stick around longer. "WE'VE ALL BEEN THROUGH THIS BEFOOORE/BUT THIS TIME THIS TIME THIS TIME I DON'T KNOW!" But fuck it.
This band is punxvest good.

Everyone song here is a fullfight anthem, Varukers vicious, pouring out from abused and battered chests, built from crappy frayed souls. The sort of songs that make you read invincible, make you move with purpose and Thug Murder steel, fists clenched, and a songsturdy step. A moment of freedom is what you're looking for, a time when all but this drops away, Proxy here conjure up these moments, of ridiculous giggling fits and arm-in-arm drunken stumblings, shithead community and tearaway joy, frangible and gleaming and ready to get slammed down and erased by the omnipresent spikes and speedbumps of reality, but when you can get those times, in the choruses and in the pit, and when you can get those moments when you're old enough and got enough broken bits to know just how fleeting they always are, but still live in them when you crash into one, then that's something of live lived maybe the way you ought to live it. Or maybe just the way I wanna live it.

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" - Kurt Vonnegut, probably not talking about jacking cherrytops, but hey, different strokes.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Beer Belly/The Injections/Dinosaurs - Young Punx Go For It

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Oblivians - Desperation

One of the absolute best bands of the mid-90s garage punk scene, Oblivians have here, on In The Red Records, their first album in 15 years, and they still got that stomp, still got that dirt, but they are a little more restrained, a little smoother, they haven't got that wild holler of Cannonball and they're half a rockin world away from the colossally rumdrunk blastblues of AAAA Thee New Memphis Legs, but they can still write a way sweet rock and roll song. Punx reunion material can end up being good (American Steel's Destroy Their Future), the bad (post-Danzig Misfts) and the so horrible and aesthetically, philosophically and morally unacceptable that everyone involved should've died fucking young to spare us all (Dead Kennedys reworking MTV Get Off the Air as MP3 Get Off the Web). It can deal with stuff in a few ways too, it can pretend that not a single day has passed, and that can go well, but often it goes fairly badly, the ridiculousness of a band all the more apparent when 40 year olds not twentysomethings do it, it can moan about like a tedious old man, angry now at exactly the thing it was in the first place when it was angry at the thing it is now (the attitude exemplified by most interviewees in every single punk doc interviewing old punx), or it can retain the struggle that defined the band at first, but approach it from a slightly different angle, without devaluing their original stuff, and also without retreading it too much. Which is what Oblivians manage to do here, everything's in place but there's nothing as unhinged or perfectly broken as Bad Man, but then they're also thankfully old enough to know that using the n-word in a song title is just the dumbest dumbest shit ever.

The very first song acknowledges their ageing, I'll Be Gone "Let's rock & roll as we get old/We will before too long.", the fuzz feels warm, not abrasive, enveloping everything but not kicking it to pieces, the song frayed around the edges. "I won't have to watch/Cos baby I'll be gone."

The two sides of a crazy night out in two songs early in the album. The dry shimmy of Woke Up in a Police Car, "Woke up in a police car wuuuh-oh/Handcuffs cut into my arms wuuh-oh." The wuuh-oh a deadpan kicker on each line, not wailing or soaring, just sitting there like punctuation, head in your hands as we hear the clang of jail doors. But then just when you think that it's clambered up in Murtaughian resignation, too old for this shit. Straight after it, like an elliptical narrative, the dirty rock and roll shake of Call the Police, all swagger and relentless organ riffs (provided by Mr Quintron) "You better call your wife/Call your bossman/We ain't never going home/Call the po-lice, call the po-lice/We gonna get our drinks on". Stuck after Woke Up in Police Car rather than before it lifts you up from the drunk tank blues and throws you back out on the wild streets in a dirty rock and roll shake, slathered in engine grime.

Despite being a mostly inactive band for over a decade, the members of the Oblivians have not been idle, they've been involved in The Reigning Sound, True Sons of Thunder, The Legs, Bad Times, South Filthy, The Compulsive Gamblers, Knaughty Knights, the Tennessee Tearjerks and more. Moving onwards to the next project without hesitation, like the prolific filmmaking of Johnnie To, Rainer Werner Fassbinder or Takashi Miike. New work is the best work. Get something out then get something else out. Do not wallow. There's been constant work, an ongoing exploration of rock and roll's dirty corners with a work ethic that would put anyone not named Billy Childish to shame and that all comes together here.

So each song has its own slightly different feel, drawing from a different little bit of the punk/rock/blues spectrum, there's Pinball King's schoolyard chant, a defiant teenage dream that charms in its obvious failure bent. The skifflish kick of Loving Cup. Run For Cover's rolling train feel, an onwards thrust like a lo-fi sloppy take on Overkill or Kriegshog's Burn. Fire Detector got a 77 punk feel, the inane metaphors the Damned's Love Song ("SHE MISTOOK ME FOR A FIRE DETECTOR!") sleazed up. The wail of Oblivion (OBLIVION! THEY CAN'T GO ON PRETENDING LIKE THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT ANYMORE!). The relentless prod of Come A Little Closer, another dancefloor story. The bedraggled blues of Back Street Hangouts. The handclaps and bounce of Desperation. "She leaves me... IN DESPERATION!"

Mama Guitar is maybe as close in feel to their oldest stuff as is this gets, the guitar-scrape dragged under by the throbbing bass. The time where the slop and fuzz seems less warm, more oppressively inept, as the flat drums pound on and the guitar solo dances about in the underbelly of the song. It's where the album really goes from warmth to nastiness, right at the end, finally abandoning to snap back once more into that backyard rock and roller fighting pose, a cover of an old rock and roll song destroyed as it's paid tribute to.

This is an album of love and loss, fire and ashes, parties and hangover. It's an album of consequences. Dancing approximations, purposeful waggle and puling shuffle sliding into each other. A drunken party dancefloor finishes and becomes a damaged morning-after slide but you can't really draw the line between them that clearly, the hands in hands and bodies pressed together as the band played another killer has got the sorrowful knowledge of tomorrow's aches in the kisses and steps, the wounded stumbling of the next day has got the smile and joy of last night's last dance present in its parts. The poetics and mechanics of each movement blurrin into one another, footprints cut across one another, hurt in the freedom of dance and healing joy.

Like on Em, a love song that seems more about knowledge and acceptance than a rush of feeling. It's about lives intersecting, but not colliding and exploding, just shaping each other slightly and moving on. There's pain but there are also friends. There is anguish but we're not alone. There is an end but it is not the end. "Life can be so underhanded/Sometimes I can hardly stand it/The day is dark but the sun's gonna shine again/When I think about you, Em!"