Monday, April 28, 2008

Crystals, Droids, and Noize

Japandroid photo nicked from here

Dearest Friends, by now you've probably figured out that what you get here at Pogo a Go-Go is a mix of old music, new tunes, and some sort of a wonky diary of FiL's comings & goings. While there's been plenty of old and wonky, lately I've been extremely remiss in posting new music. Bad FiL, dirty FiL, no dog treats for you today.

Anyway, now that I've duly chastized myself, let me try to redress that shortcoming somewhat. A week or so back I was noodling around the amazing Zulu Records on my lunch hour and picked up two towering slabs of Vancouver noize that I really must share with you.

First up are the deceptive Japandroids, who sometimes carelessly lose their vowels and go by the moniker JPNDRDS. I say deceptive, because upon slapping on their latest EP, Lullaby Death Jams, one gets the impression that there's an army of axe-wielders, percussionists, and shouty blokes generating this wonderful racket. But in fact it's all issuing forth from Brian King and David Prowse. They had considered getting a vocalist at one point, but couldn't face the hassle. And we're all the richer because of it.

Heavy guitar, at times almost crushing (I'm thinking early Helmet). A distillation of the finest classic rock sensibilities (yes, there are some). Strident vocals sung in screamy harmony. Stop-start shambolic arrangements that mask (HAH! more deception!!) an impressive tightness. Urgent, anthemic transcendence that makes you want to sing along at top volume while going fast ten thousand miles an hour. It's all here, and you should seize it with both fists and both ears. Two blokes, and all that sound.

Japandroids - No Allegiance To The Queen (buy here, but watch for their debut full-length album later this year)

Next we have Twin Crystals, who bored a hole through my skull when we met at the Zulu listening post. Shards of Sonic-Youthesque guitar embedded in thick, synthetic electronica and vocals that veer from shouted polemic to muffled desparation. Oh yes. I left with a disc of theirs that turned out to be a ten-track CDR packaged in a photocopied replica of their 4-track disappear/forever EP. Unable to determine the titles of the wonderful songs I was listening to, I dropped the band a query via Myspace and got a very pleasant reply along with a songlisting. Seems what I'd ended up with was a demo disc from their summer tour. They said that they have a new release out with "wayyy better" recordings, which I think is separate/birth. Hurry and get yours now - there's only 500 been pressed.

Twin Crystals - Trinity (buy separate/birth via their Myspace page, where you can also hear more of their lovely, lovely stuff)

P.S. You lucky dogs! Both bands have live dates coming up! Japandroids play Calgary on May 2 (@ Broken City), Edmonton on 3 May (@Pawn Shop), Seattle on 17 May (venue TBA), and on 25 June they're back in Calgary at the Sled Island Festival. Twin Crystals wreak aural havoc in Seattle on 27 June (@ the Ark) and back in Vancouver on 28 June (@ Pub 340).