REVIEW: Head Cleaner Vol. 7,9,10,11 & 12

Head Cleaner Vol. 7, 9, 10, 11 & 12
Gubbey Records

The fact that Louisville’s music community is more vibrant than ever is absolutely no secret, as is evidenced within throughout the latest Head Cleaner compilation cassette collection. Boasting 188 tracks and 9+ hours of homegrown noise, it’s easy to say that this effort is the fucking titanical titan of all comps. I hope that Dave Rucinski (the man behind Gubbey Records) plans to bury one of these in a time capsule, as this effort serves as a beautiful snapshot of what this city has to offer these days.

Considering this comp’s ridiculous length, it’d be reasonably impossible to dissect it track by track. I figured it’d be a better idea to listen to it from front to back over the course of a week or so, and point out ten tracks that really caught my ear focusing on bands that I know little or nothing about.  Yes, I listened to the whole thing, every note, every band/artist. Don’t believe me? Check out my LastFM page you accusing asshole.

So, like I mentioned before, I would like to discuss ten songs from ten bands featured on this compilation that I’m not overly familiar with but really caught my attention.  No, I’m not saying that this is the “TEN BEST SONGS OF THE BIGGEST COMPILATION EVER LIST.” This is more of an offering of suggestions that will maybe point you in the direction of a few bands you may or may not already be in love with.  It’s also worth mentioning that this list is in alphabetical order, not in the order of appreciation:

ABY LABY LAND – “William Shrapner”
If Black Francis sang for Modest Mouse, you might get something that sounds like “William Shrapner.”  While this is a bit unusual, I’m absolutely having a good time with Aby Laby Land throughout this song.

ATOMO – “Six Drip Long Labcoat”
This track is comprised of a danced up beat and bass combination with decorative, fluorescent synthesizers throughout which comes together as one of the more enjoyable, fun songs I’ve heard in a while.  Every time I hear “Six Drip Long Labcoat” I can’t help myself from grinning from ear-to-ear as this collection of noise is an instant mood booster. 

BRENDA – “Kill You”
This number starts off like an indie-pop song you’d hear from the likes of The Walkmen, so it’s surprising when “Kill You” evolves into a darker, sinister tone that you really don’t see coming.  The track ends with an off-kilter, infectious beat with the vocals repeating “regret what I do” over and over again putting my feeble, relaxed brain into a bit of a pleasant hypnosis. 

CYNICAL SAINT“Smokestacks & Spires”
If you’re into throwback indie rock bands with kickass female singers like Lemuria, then chances are you’ll absolutely love this track from Cynical Saint.  It’s melodic, it’s catchy, and it’s got some old school “emo” undertones that you might have heard from The Promise Ring or maybe even The Get Up Kids.  I always find myself going back to this genre when the temperature drops, so naturally “Smokestacks & Spires” is really scratching that itch for me right now.

THE GET DOWN – “Black Bird II – The Gun”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if there’s one particular type of rock music that Louisville is lacking, it’s gotta be the classic surf rock genre.  Thankfully The Get Down are here for the rescue with “Black Bird II – The Gun.”  This track is everything I want it to be as it is reminiscent of surf all stars The Ventures and Dick Dale & The Del-tones.  Without a doubt, this is a band I hope to hear more of in 2016.

I’m hearing a raw, stripped down post-punk sound that sort of reminds me of what New Order might sound like if they brought a wet, flange-heavy guitar to the front of the stage.  “Little Boy Blue” is catchy and upbeat, but has a sense of restless longing that really works for me. 

MEMORY GLOSS – “Assisted Living”
There is definitely a retro early 90’s feel here as I’m instantly reminded of early Radiohead (I’m hearing The Bends at the end of this track) with the vocals making me think of what you’d hear from AIR.  “Assisted Living” starts off as a laid back, vocally driven vehicle and evolves to a distortion pedal reliant climax that effectively wraps this number up.  I’d love to hear more from Memory Gloss, but despite my efforts I can’t find anything on the internet.  Little help?

I can’t help but think of Meddle-era Pink Floyd while listening to “Rub Elbows” which for me is a really good thing.  There is a nice bass and drum groove that stays consistent throughout, serving as a nice canvass for plenty of spaced out wah wah guitar noise and other instrumentation I can’t quite identify.  This song lasts five minutes, but with the way Mimi Von Schnitzl improvises I wouldn’t mind if it lasted another five minutes.

If you like poppy beach tunes in the vain of Best Coast and Tennis, then you’re sure to fall in love with this little ditty from Tycoons of Teen.  Yoko Molotov’s voice is the focal point throughout “Jimmy” as her good-time attitude is infectious as all get out.  Can’t wait to hear more from these folks.

TSUNAMI SAMURAI – “Moondawg 15”
As mentioned before with The Get Down, I wasn’t overly aware of any current surf rock bands in Louisville, which I guess shows my lack of knowledge of this particular subgenre.  Tsunami Samurai fucking bring it with “Moondawg 15,” an up-tempo, beach-worthy track that absolutely warms me up inside despite this frigid, January weather.