Rebellious Jukebox XVI: Doom Town/No More Art vs The Vultures/Johnny O & The Jerks

IMG_20150605_154555Originally published February 2014

Nothing sums up the greatness & coolness & fun of the 45 better than the split. “You like records?” the split says, “These guys like records, too, & they’re friends, & they put out a record together! How cool is that?” Fun!

Big Muddy Records’ first vinyl release, & the last release they put out for a while, if memory serves, was the 2006 split between St Louis’ Vultures & Columbia MO’s Johnny O & The Jerks. The sometimes charmingly chaotic & sometimes, well, just sloppy Vultures turned in probably their best song & recording with the garage shouter “Obselete,” while Johnny O pointed towards his future Hooten Hollerin’ (see the review of their latest 45 back in whatever issue of this thing that was in)with “Animal.” Both bands cover a song by the other band, too. A really great 45 all around. Fun!

Up now in the now times, all the former Vultures are touring the world, Ryan Koenig & Joey Glynn as part of Pokey Lafarge’s band, & Ashley Hohmann with Doom Town, who dropped a split in late 2013 with their Hamburg, Germany-based tour-mates No More Art. Doom Town’s side is all angst & gloom & dark post-punk cool, with the frantic claustrophobia that their best songs convey. No More Art lets a little more light in, but still keeps the mood close to panic on their side, as well. Fun!

The Vultures “Obsolete”

Doom Town “Ex Military”

Rebellious Jukebox XV: Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship/Vanilla Beans vs Syntax Error

IMG_20150605_154636Originally published December 2013

Drummers, who needs ’em? Nobody in this month’s Rebellious Jukebox, that’s for sure. Ad agency vanity label (in a good way!) Boxing Clever brings us the debut vinyl appearances of long-running joke-tronica band Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship & earnestly melodic punkish popsters Vanilla Beans. On “Ladies In The Dark,” SYYR either fail to or continue to disappoint their following, depending on how you felt about them already. Goofball frontman Corey Goodman smooth talks the ladies & talks about wieners, while guitarist Christopher Eilers shreds in the background. The programmed beats mock dance music while making you want to dance. It’s a blast! For the Superfun live experience, stop the record 1/2 way through & exchange in-jokes with the person next to you & talk about nothing for ten minutes before finishing the song. I kid! I kid! (I’m totally not kidding)

Drummerless quartet the Vanilla Beans bring us “Tiger 1” on their side, & continue their run as one of this town’s most underrated pop groups. Andy Garces has a knack for coming up with little pop nuggets, catchy but not insipid, a little mopey but not annoying. The secret weapon in the band is keyboardist Ani Kramer. She throws in these weird little squiggly lead lines & I can never tell if they’re completely tossed off or if this is some high concept free jazz/modern classical mumbo jumbo. The packaging by Boxing Clever is fantastic, but I spent all last month talking about packaging, so I won’t go into it. Sorry, those are the rules.

Syntax Error existed for a few months in the early 2000’s, playing a handful of shows & recording a demo, three songs of which finally saw the light of day on this Rerun Records 45 released last year. Whereas Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship & Vanilla Beans more or less take their drummerlessness for granted, Syntax Error took theirs as a mission statement, spelled out most clearly in the song “Ashamed To Be Human.” The songs are stripped down & starkly aggressive punk/wave, though the overall feel ends up closer to good humored futurists like Servotron rather than dystopia dwellers like Big Black. If Syntax Error were predicting robot dominance coming soon, Superfun & Vanilla Beans are showing that that’s not so bad.

Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship “Ladies In The Dark”

Syntax Error “Ashamed To Be Human”