Hozac’s Winter Storm
by Kevin J. Elliott

Seems our favorite labels on Primitive Futures don’t ever take vacation, even when it’s the time of year to be taking one. Be it like a fresh pack of baseball cards to open every other month or earnest overkill, Hozac returned again in early January with four new singles, as diverse and map-trekking as they come. It’s a little overwhelming actually. Of course, that’s not all. There’s the Medication LP still in need of further inspection (and perhaps an interrogation), and those Hookup Klub singles are hard to come by, so I’m being ethical in not foaming at the mouth about another stellar entry from Flight and the Hozac debut of Electric Bunnies off-shoot, Teepee.

Mickey, “She’s So Crazy” b/w “I Am Your Trash”
Pigeonholing’s a bitch and here, knowing Mickey is the product of Mac Blackout of the Functional Blackouts and the Daily Void, I would have predicted this to be the most traditional single of this shipment. If you’re a sucker for King Tuff’s sugary set-pieces and campy sleaze, then “She’s So Crazy” is on your playlist already. Taking on the persona of T. Rex is never an easy feat. Blackout gives it a greaser’s try, swaying and shaking on both sides, ultimately becoming a Chicago hipster’s Sha Na Na. I’d imagine there are costumes involved at some juncture, maybe busty background singers—throw in lipstick if you want to resuscitate the Dolls for the nth time. “I Am Your Trash” is slightly less flamboyant, stripped down to Buddy Holly gymnasium shimmers and a deflated ego. At least it’s honest.

Nerve City, “Red Tops” b/w “Windows” and “Get Gone”
Turning in my favorite selection of this batch is Virginia’s Nerve City, who appear to be all over the place lately, releasing records for Sacred Bones, Sweet Rot and Kill Shaman. Guess I’d need to hear the body of work to truly get the general gist, as this, shelled like an overly worn cassette tape found years later in an older brother’s closet (probably the first boombox recordings), runs the gamut of fidelity abused bunker garage rock. There’s genuine love in these grooves, though, especially on the B-side, beginning with “Windows,” a primordial stomper scattered with jobless slurs, dry and cracking. Then comes the finale, “Get Gone,” where half-baked harmonies collide against a trash-heap Troggs beat. Fuck yes there are still numerous bands wading in this swamp (see the Strange Boys, Smith-Westerns, Black Lips), but this is how you’d wish all those bands smelled. Hopefully their impending flirt with filthy lucre won’t rot their brains.

Myelin Sheaths, Do the Mental Twist EP
If there’s a trademark on what shitgaze truly sounds like (or at least, what its creators intended), I might equate that to Alberta, Canada’s Myelin Sheaths. “Do the Mental Twist” is grotesquely buried in waves of distortion, exactingly warped and crusted, yet gigantic and subversive as the sonics of a start-up lo-fi band should hope to achieve. Sure, there’s the occasionally cheeky Ramones rip in “I Don’t Wanna Have an Operation,” and the space bullet “Drugstore/Phamarcy” gravitates around a circus ring. Even the aforementioned “Do the Mental Twist,” where lead Sheath Cassandra Ward hems a ’60s girl-group line, is a tad obvious. But the energy in the room is charming, blaring even, drowning out any chance to hand them jaded disapproval.

Mess Folk, Something I Remember EP
Mess Folk is another Canadian group, coming from the actual ends of the earth, Nova Scotia. It’s not hard to imagine just how hard life is in Sydney, one of the most polluted and desolate pits in the Northern Hemisphere. There’s absolutely nothing folk about “Something I Remember,” and I suppose the mess is what would occur if G.G. Allin descended into loner punk. That would compose of gnarly dunderheaded pseudo-hardcore riffs and the acute sensibility of Philip Tarr’s local color. Previously just Tarr, with scrawled tape releases and songs like “I Shit Blood,” the comparison is apt. “If I Don’t Get Out” is that three-chord anthem heard in basements and VFW halls, played to only a handful, but every time you hear it you kind of relate to the angst and depression surging throughout. For some reason the catharsis displayed reminds me of Pink Reason’s dark beauty, only itchier and unkempt.