We want to share our love of music with you!
Every month we will spotlight a record label that we are selling at Blackbird and some of our favorite records from their collection. All records will eventually be available on BlackbirdBallard.com but for now you can email or drop in the store to purchase. We are SUPER STOKED!
JULY'S RECORD LABEL OF THE MONTH IS...
In the Red as been around for about 18 years and still holds strong as one of the radest garage punk labels out there!
Read interview with founder of In the Red, Larry Hardy on Terminal Boredom online zine
Records we want to share with you:
For the past several years, a slew of 12-inches, 7-inches, and cassettes have been released by the mysterious Brooklyn artist known as Blank Dogs. Blank Dogs is actually singular-- it's the insanely prolific one-man band of Mr. Blank Dog. Not too much is known about the guy behind the bedroom new wave / pop / punk act and he's usually covering his face with masks or bedspreads, but that's fine. The sound is Joy Division vocal lines with The Cure's synth and guitar melodies filtered through ancient, submerged keyboards and eroded recording equipment. And that voice? All the feedback in the world can't hide his knack for melody. Blank Dogs has been making plenty of rumbles in the noisier and more secretive outposts of the underground. All of their records were pressed in limited editions, sold out quickly, and, without fail, wound up fetching big bucks with collectors on eBay.
Under and Under is Blank Dogs' latest and most massive release to date-- a double-album housing 20 brand new songs (15 on the CD) that show off his pop chops to a greater extent than any of his previous releases. Also, for the first time, Blank Dogs has incorporated the assistance of outside musicians to lend a hand. Various artists from the Brooklyn music scene-- members of the Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls, among others-- contribute this time around, though the sound remains as dusted and strange as anything Blank Dogs has done before."For all the musicians crafting grimy, lo-fi electro-rock, the man behind Blank Dogs takes it to another level...." --The Wire
"The music of Blank Dogs is all mid-tempo drum beats, discarded Cure basslines, and vocals that sound as if they were sung through a tape recorder submerged at the bottom of a frozen pond." --Fader
In Montreal, Canada, Black Snake and Mark Sultan played in the underground punk-garage band The Spaceshits. Following that band's demise, Sultan banged drums for Canadian garage rock legends Les Sexareenos. Black Snake transformed into King Khan and relocated to Hamburg, Germany to become the Maharaja of '60s super-soul with his band The Shrines. After the Sexareenos split, Sultan traveled the world with his guitar, serenading Brazilians, Laotians, Americans, and the French with his one-man band BBQ. One day a light bulb went off in their heads and they decided to join forces-- The King Khan & BBQ Show was born. They released their debut album, recorded by DM Bob in Hamburg, on Goner Records in 2005. The record was deleted soon thereafter.
In The Red presents this long-overdue re-release of this classic in a newly expanded package. There are two bonus tracks not originally available on the Goner release, brand new artwork, and the LP version features a one-sided second disc containing the band's first demo. This is a must for any fan of real rock 'n' roll music. Take off your pants and dance.
"This is what it's all about; swinging music by eccentrics with an ear for a tune... the pair's raw attempts at doo wop are simply sublime."--Mojo
"This Record has improved my sex life! Ever since I got it I have had better orgazms."
If you've followed the San Francisco Underground for the past ten years, you might already be familiar with John Dwyer. Or-- tastes depending-- you might not know him at all. A friend and devotee of preeminent Providence noise rock act Lightning Bolt, the mojority of Dwyer's repertoire falls on the indie spectrum's more visceral wavelengths. He was Pink in Pink and Brown, fronted coachwhips, and played guitar in the dysfunctional Hospitals. If you're unfamiliar with or in search of a refresher, you can search YouTube for a crash course on any of these bands. Some popular tags are: "garage," "punk", and "sweat"
If you like what you see, do yourself a favor and check out Dwyer's newest band, Thee Oh Sees. "Newest" because they've only been around for six albums-- albeit in different incarnations, under several different names (OCS, the Oh Sees, et al.) with several different sounds. Formed in the wake of his more volatile commitments, Thee Oh Sees started as an extension of Dwyer's softer side. Their early recordings were somber and beautiful. Last year, Thee Oh Sees made an unexpected turn, delivering their wildest, weirdest, hardest-rocking record yet with The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In. Now Thee Oh Sees have followed it with an even wilder, more hard-rocking record, Help.
Recorded by Chris Woodhouse (the A-Frames, Mayyors), Help draws straight, dark lines to both the British psychedelic rock of bands like The Creation and the caveman thud of The Troggs while a Cramps-like appreciation for rockabilly lies not far below. The album weaves Dwyer's signature AM radio howl with the catchiest of driving tunes, Brigid Dawson's gorgeous harmonies, heightened fidelity, thick spring-reverbed bombast, mighty drums, and an undeniable pull. The result is a sound somewhere beyond nostalgia, beyond the garage, beyond the fireside song and supposed goo-rock. Modern rock 'n' roll records don't come much better than this and Thee Oh Sees are one of the best bands going.
Having founded seminal Memphis punk outfit The Reatards at the tender age of sixteen, Jay Reatard is a seasoned veteran of the garage-punk scene and he's barely twenty-six years old. In the '90s The Reatards turned the Memphis underground rock scene upside down with a legendary live show so over-the-top that they were banned in a number of European countries.
Never content to stick to one genre, one project or one band, Jay also co-leads the synth-punk Lost Sounds with Alicja Trout, plays drums for The Final Solutions, co-fronts The Angry Angles and runs his own label Shattered Records. He's developed such a dedicated following that even his dirty socks have sold on eBay!
Blood Visions is Jay's first record as a solo artist. Combining the aggressive approach of The Reatards with a melodic pop sensibility, and production recalling classic UK punk records -- The Adverts (who are covered here), Siouxsie & the Banshees, ATV, etc. -- Blood Visions is the most satisfying accomplishment of this young man's career thus far.
Black Lips - Let it bloom
Though the Black Lips were barely in their 20's when let it bloom was released, they had already toured the US and Europe several times, released two albums on Bomp! records, lost a lead guitarist in a car crash, built a rabid cult following and earned a well deserved reputation one of the wildest live bands around due to onstage fist fights, nudity, violence, arson, projectile vomiting and other body fluids. You don't want to stand to close to the stage at a Black Lips performance. This grimy and chaotic four-piece garage-punk band truly don't give a fuck and will unintentionally prove it live time and again.
Formed with the intention to cross the sound of the Back From The Grave 60's garage compilation series with the Germs, the Lips have developed a sound unlike anyone else. Anyone familiar with the group will no doubt be a bit surprised by the sound of their latest "Let It Bloom" album which, while still skuzzy and raw, contains their catchiest and most melodic moments to date. If Royal Trux had listened to the Troggs instead of the Rolling Stones, they might sound like this (though the album does sound quite Stonesy at times).
The Black Lips are the only current garage band that matters. --Mick Collins
Like Creedence crossed with gauze-wrapped early '90s garagists the Mummies. --Village Voice
Think '70s sloppy punks like Flipper or The Germs bashing out some '60s garage from the Nuggets series. This is punk on the front porch - damaged rock for damaged people. --Alternative Press
Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Davila 666 is one of the biggest rock 'n' roll attractions in the country. Over the past two years, they have amassed a large local following and their shows have a reputation as must-see spectaculars. A Davila 666 set functions almost like a theatrical event, as the band presents a thematic environment in which viewers are called to interact with props and exotic dancers. According to singer Carlitos, "Davila is a living homage to the sex, drugs, and good times of rock 'n' roll we all idolize." Their sound is the combination of obvious rock 'n' roll classics like the Stones, Stooges, Velvets, and Dolls, along with less likely influences such as Mazzy Star, Li'l Wayne, and Plan B. "We are like Menudo (the group-- not the soup) on lots of drugs," says Carlitos.
Davila 666, whose name combines references to a notorious Bayomon city slum with the number of the beast, recently toured the West Coast, where they made fans in every town they played and alliances with like-minded bands such as The Spits, Black Lips, and The King Khan & BBQ Show. All of their songs are sung in their native Spanish but that doesn't stop English-speaking audiences from dancing on tables and going crazy at their shows.
Davila 666 is smart, sarcastic, and aggressive-- as all young bands should be. Watch for their full US tour in Spring '09!