CDR Singles Club Back from Hiatus
by Kevin J. Elliott

It was a little like summer vacation for the Columbus Discount crew. Mum about where the monthly singles club went in that time, the brain trust was more concerned with working. This autumn has brought two of their finest releases yet in the Unholy Two and Deathly Fighter, and now, in the dead of December, the singles club, year two, rises from the depths and its unanswered absence. I think all will be forgiven once subscribers see what’s instore with that resurrection.

The Bassholes, “I Feel Like Sleeping” 12-inch
The latest yarn from Don Howland and Lamont “Bim” Thomas comes in the form of a big bonus 12-inch and should alleviate any complaint subscription holders can lobby against the lack of monthly continuity. It’s taken a huge chunk of my life to warm to Howland’s cracked, yet dead serious, hick-punk blues, and in that time, they’ve actually become heavier, looser, cretins more productive than ever in what could be seen as a renaissance of sorts. I don’t believe there was this much essential Bassholes in the beginning. The title track is a first (evidence of this shift), allowing Thomas lead vocals to lament over a soul-drenched, electric thump. Then comes “Cyclotron.” The punk classic is now traditional amongst the Columbus stable, and Howland’s bottomless pit rendition sits well in the company of the opposite side’s haunting, plucked minstrels. “(I Went) A Willing Prisoner” is Howland at his most sinister. Singing about various forms of genocide, you know he’s playing a character you never want to meet in casual conversation. But that character’s acerbic “devil should care” wit and the errant yodeling makes him a character that needs to be heard. If CDR keeps pressing all of the whims of the Bassholes, I’m sure we’ll keep listening—intrigued.

Deathly Fighter, “14 Yr Old Void (Gender Edit)” b/w “Contacters”
Anyone introduced to Deathly Fighter via their September debut, Completely Dusted, is probably still scratching their head. Whether you equate the band with dub, hip-hop, minimal electronic, the Krauts or the Vegas, the trio’s music is blown out and full of human error—all the better for lo-tech and live jam. This 7-inch serves as a perfect companion piece to the album. One step beyond, actually. “14 Year Old Voice (Gender Edit)” wobbles in quite a vivid groove. Their brief repertoire of shadowy funk comes in Technicolor. For the duration, eight-bit rainbows dot the sky, slot machines go awry, and artificial intelligence finally starts waking up. This is labeled an “edit,” so it likely suggests this track was played all night. The synth soundtrack drone of “Contracters” adds to the misfitting sense of production. Strings cut through, tattered squelches go hide-and-seek, beats get misplaced, and in a genre built on precision, Deathly Fighter gets a role as the raw, circuit-bending teenager, unafraid to skip and fall and push buttons.

The Electric Bunnies, “Heal Me With Your Kiss” b/w “All the Pretty Girls Have Gone to the Beach”
Florida’s Electric Bunnies, a Primitive Futures favorite time and again, have never once laid feet on a Columbus stage. I’m not sure if they’ve even shaken hands with the dudes that process and distribute their records. But spiritually they are a quintessential Columbus Discount band and would be welcome with open arms if they wanted to trade South Beach for Washington Beach. Now past drinking age, you can hear them growing in these songs. “Heal Me With Your Kiss” is relaxed, mellow sunrise pop, roaming out of the cave and searching for lazy handclaps and well placed ooh-ed bubblegum harmonies. It’s a song so stripped of pretension and retro-leanings, so patient and pristine, if I had to name the best bands going in America right now, the Bunnies would be on a very short list. Include this with their other 2010 release, the “Pretty Joanna” 7-inch, and you’ve got 20 minutes of brilliant pop. Flip it and you can see the jokey side still intact, only more subversive. “All the Pretty Girls Have Gone to the Beach,” is “Good Vibrations” on cough syrup, anchored in an after-hours beatbox. Maybe they’re mocking their own cuteness with such cool ugliness contained within a perfectly hummable song, but whatever the case, it works when it shouldn’t. As hard as the Bunnies are to pin down, this record shows their first love lies in popcraft. They are more than welcome to continue jumping from style to wild style in the course of an album, but their strength comes in these brief moments of copacetic genius.