Bipolar Bear / Turrks – Bisbee (Deleted Art)
A quick Google search reveals that there’s a hip-hop band called Bi-Polar Bear, but this particular Bipolar Bear have nothing to do with hip-hop (in fact, the band changed their name to Turrks more recently in order to avoid confusion and now they also joined the company of Lovvers, Mayyors and Wavves).
BPB / Turrks is an LA band and “Bisbee” is the second full-length that they recorded for Swedish label Deleted Art. Previous the band released their music on labels like Mexican Summer, Kill Shaman and Scotch Tapes.
“Bisbee” opens up with “Gabon”, which sounds like a slightly bizarre take on Talking Heads. A combination of distorted/process vocals, neurotic rhythms and an occasional sweet hook here and there is the kind of template the band use through the rest of the album. Although Talking Heads connection never appears again, they still seem to resemble more abrasive version of 80s indie/new wave bands.
“Bisbee” is not an easy record to love – it may come off as an uninspired mess at first and it may take some time / repeated listening to really understand what’s going on on this album Still, if one could overcome an initial shock from all the weirdness contain within the album, you might find something special in there. So approach with caution, unless you happen to be the kind of person who isn’t easily scared away by experimental rock records.
VRSA – Old Man Gray (Last Bastion)
The only name that I recognize from the list of the bands that Connecticut-based VRSA toured with is Jucifer. And while they retain some of that band’s sludgy sound, in general there’s not much in common between the two…
Vocals on “Old Man Gray” are probably the weirdest thing that I heard in some time – they’re raspy and they seem to be barely there. Imagine the sound of someone singing really quietly while having a sore throat/flu and you’re halfway there (even when there’s screaming/louder singing, vocals still retain that same bizarre quality ). Then there’s all sorts of experimental approaches that the band takes – like the one on appropriately trippy “Quaalude”.
In general, the album is semi-experimental – its heavy/sludgy, but there’s plenty of samples and off-kilter moments to keep it from being boring. In general, however, none of those things seem to result in anything cohesive, so its hard to recommend this album, despite the occasional good moment here and there. Some interesting parts aside, it doesn’t quite work as a whole, if only because the band pulls in all sorts of different directions without knowing where to go next.
(It also feels like the album would have sounded much better had the band decided to make it an entirely instrumental work – judging by aforementioned “Quaaludes” and the closer “Viola” (which could be seen as a nod of sorts to Slowdive’s “Cello”).
Morlocks – Morlocks Play The Chess (Popantipop)
Let me make one thing clear – Morlocks are not Warlocks (and vice versa), capisce? They are two different bands…
Now that we got this out of the way, lets take a look at the record at hand. “Morlocks Play The Chess” is a collection of raunchy garage renditions of much beloved classics like “Who Do You Love”, “I’m A Man”, “Smokestack Lightning” and “You Never Can Tell”.
Those twelve covers are all played with a lot of energy and style – so no complaints here about the quality of music. The other question, of course, is whether the world is ready to hear another set of songs that were already covered to death? Again, make no mistake – “Chess” is a great record and it sounds like it was a lot of fun to create/play, but I’m just not sure if there’s a huge market for another set of blues covers.