Honduran, “Live Fast, Die You”
Honduran’s self-titled 7-inch got a ridiculously mean review in a recent issue of Maximumrocknroll. Let’s just say the words “shitty” and “bullshit” were used twice in a single sentence. These local grinders didn’t seem too phased--a pic of said spilled ink was proudly posted to Honduran’s Facebook wall--which is good, because the record in question is a raw and brutal wonder. Standout track “Live Fast, Die You” (that’s the way Honduran’s Bandcamp page spells it) is a beast: as fairly straightforward powerviolence gives way to spazzy grind, drummer Kevin miraculously grows four bonus limbs and goes to town on his kit. It’s an unrelenting display of punk extremity, a two-minute fireworks display that I can’t get enough of. Hey, even MRR whiffs once in a while.
The Ax, “Climb and Claw”
Full disclosure: I helped the Ax make a no-budget music video four years ago, but since I was only paid one million dollars, and because I have had no business dealings with the boys since then, I feel my two cents are fairly untarnished at this point. Do what you will with that grain of salt, but check it: the Ax is one of Portland’s best and most underappreciated bands. When I interviewed John Sherman of Red Fang a couple years ago, he could not help but bemoan the Ax’s frustrating awesomeness to fame ratio. Totally awesome the Ax remains, as evidenced by “Climb and Claw”, the first track off of its new Jack Endino-produced LP, Fossils of Our Kind. Like the aforementioned crimson-toothed dudes, this duo specializes in gigantic riffs that meld heaviness and hookiness, but the Ax sounds a bit more stoned--if not on actual drugs, then definitely on Fu Manchu’s best records. I have yet to hear the rest of the album, but this song has me salivating.
Steve Adamyk Band, “Landslide”
You’ll be hearing more from me about the Steve Adamyk Band in a few weeks, when its second full length, Forever Won’t Wait, officially drops from Dirtnap’s grubby hands, but I’ve been loving the album for a month now, and I can’t hold it in any longer: THIS BAND IS AMAZING. Check out lead single “Landslide”. It is perfect amped up pop-punk. It is one of the best songs of the year. It is not even the best song on Forever Won’t Wait. It is killing me.
Youthbitch, “Richie Rich”
This band seems to play approximately two to ten shows in Portland per week. You would think such a practiced act would sound fairly polished. Or, if not polished, at least like a band that practices in the vicinity of some polish. You would be wrong. Youthbitch sounds like it understands the concept of polish, of dirty things rendered freshly reflective--the hyperactive “Richie Rich”, which will eventually find its way to Youthbitch’s first full-length, betrays fierce loyalties to the Ramones and every Converse-clad pop punk act in its wide wake--but the budget rock sensibility blankets the beauty in fuzz and hiss. I’m not complaining. I’m listening. Again and again.
King Louie’s Missing Monuments, “(It’s Like) XTC”
Man-of-a-thousand-bands King Louie Bankston and his Missing Monuments are a ridiculously well kept secret. Last year’s “Tailspin” is one of those magical pop songs that will give you goosebumps no matter how many times you’ve heard it before--it’s up there with Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” and Green Day’s “One for the Razorbacks”. A tough act to follow, in other words. “(It’s Like) XTC” falls just shy of splitting Louie’s bulls-eye, but this highlight from the Painted White LP delivers plenty of power pop shivers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but do you hear some Urge Overkill-esque seventies sleaze here? And does that excite you as much as it excites me? What’s your number?
The Ax plays its record release show at Kelly’s Olympian on Saturday, Oct. 29. 9pm. $5.
King Louie plays without his Missing Monuments at Slabtown on Saturday, Oct. 29. 9pm. $?.
Youthbitch plays with Purple & Green, Jib Kidder and BOOM! at Recess Gallery on Saturday, Oct. 29. 7pm. $10.