Rebellious Jukebox XXVII: Carte De Visite vs Bulb

IMG_20150605_145626Originally published February 2015

Whew! Just when I thought that there weren’t gonna be any new 45s for me to review this month, Ryan Birkner pops up with the 2nd Carte De Visite record in 6 months! That’s the kind of work schedule I can get behind! You want me to review your record? Release a record! It’s that easy!

This one both builds on & veers from the foundation laid by the first one. It still has those prettily picked & strummed guitars & mumbled vocals that sound like they came from some mid 90’s US lo-fi college-town band that was ripping off some early 90’s UK lo-fi college town band, which is a musical soft spot I will likely never lose, but it adds some spoken word-y-ness, recorded live, which ends while it’s still cool & before it can get annoying (a difficult line to walk!), & some home-recorded messing around that entertains more than self-indulges (another difficult line to walk!). Whether there’s a grand plan behind Carte De Visite or whether it’s just some kid & his friends messing around, I remain firmly on board, & am already looking forward to the next record!

Late 90’s St Charles weirdos Bulb recorded & released a similarly lo-fi, fuck-around-y record, but the times were not right. Or maybe they just couldn’t be bothered. The great 90’s indie rock 45 & zine boom had passed & the world was no longer as welcoming a place for home recorded all-instrumental Pavement/Slint-isms, no matter how charmingly wrought. If you can find a copy of this record, though, it’s a great snapshot of the creativity that comes from suburban indie boredom, & if they play a reunion show (I can’t actually recall if they ever even played A show), I’m there!

Carte De Visite-September 17, 2013

No Bulb(s) online, but here’s a Pavement song called Drunks With Guns. Bulb were along these lines…

Rebellious Jukebox XXVI: Life Like vs The Breaks

IMG_20150605_145512Originally published December 2014

I realize that I write about a lot of punk rock records here in/on the Rebellious Jukebox, but here in St Louis, the punk rockers put out lots of punk rock records. As long as they keep being good, I’m gonna keep writing about them.

In the mid 00’s, the St Louis punk scene was going through another of its occasional bursts of creative explosion (there’s one going on now, too, by the way; get into it!). Bands were forming & re-forming & playing packed shows in cool D.I.Y. spots all over the city. Some of them even stayed together long enough to put out records! The Breaks put out a swell 45 in 2005, & it features six stop-on-a-dime jolts of pure energy. The lyrics, barked out with bulldog rage by Joe Sulier, rail against all of the usual targets like organized religion, jerks in the “scene,” um, society. It’s all delivered with passion & precision, & it still sounds fresh today, the soundtrack to circle-pitting, dog-piling, skateboarding, & other punk rock type stuff.

If you tried skateboarding to Life Like, (one of) Sulier’s current band(s), however, you’d probably lose a wheel & fall into a drainage ditch. Theirs is a stumbling, lurching take on angry punk rock, & their new “Savages” six song ep is really ugly & really good. Channeling “Damaged”-era Rollins, especially on the title track, Sulier snarls more than barks, & the lyrics are less “us against them” & more “we’re all in this together & we’re all fucked.” Enjoy!

The Breaks-Landlocked Blues
Life Like-Savages