Protomartyr, No Passion All Technique
Protomartyr, No Passion All Technique

Kevin Warwick, Reader associate editor

Protomartyr, “Ypsilanti” What’s not to love about Detroit’s Protomartyr? Nihilistic to their core—their 2012 debut is titled No Passion All Technique—they’re fronted by Joe Casey, a slurring character who dresses like a middle-aged, out-of-work accountant, hand in pocket like he’s barely scrounging for a nickel to tip the shoe-shine kid. “Ypsilanti” is a true punk single, with Casey bouncing his slovenly Mark E. Smith-style vocals along with the chorus’s pulsing beat and the casually driving guitar. At points he’s almost animated, before settling back into his lazy groove of not giving two shits.

Puig Destroyer I missed snagging Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig to resuscitate my last-place fantasy baseball team right after the Dodgers called him up. And though his domination of June was torturous to witness, the stroke of genius from a posse of Puig/grindcore devotees to combine the outfielder’s last name with that of blastbeat powerhouse Pig Destroyer is an acceptable alternative to my benefiting from his stats. Puig Destroyer ain’t bad either, plowing through six tracks in six minutes on their self-titled EP. Song titles include “Destroyer of Baseballs” and “Stop Fucking Bunting.”

Permanent in-stores They’re free and they’re often. Permanent Records doesn’t typically book in-stores for singer-­songwriters playing at Schubas. Instead, the store has a calendar chock-full of punk bands relatively unknown outside their hometowns, most playing an enter-through-the-alley “space” later that night. (Slut River and Total Trash come to mind.) August is well loaded with Soft Healer (8/8), Crown Larks (8/16), and Technicolor Teeth (8/29).

Rock Bottom & the Spys, <i>Rich Girl</i>
Rock Bottom & the Spys, Rich Girl

Kevin is curious what’s in the rotation of …

Matt Clark,
Tic Tac Totally Records founder

Pierre Raph’s mysterious genius All of the soundtracks by the mysterious Pierre Raph connect with me, but especially the subtly detuned, sparse strokes of pure ennui he sends floating through the baroque graveyards of Jean Rollin’s allegory of broken love, La Rose de Fer. Raph worked closely within Rollin’s very tight circle of collaborators during his most prolific burst in the early 70s, scoring much of both of their best-known work, including Les Démoniaques and Requiem for a Vampire, before the man seems to have vanished.

Xberg Dhirty6 Cru I keep coming back to bizarre hip-hop genius Ill Till and his group XBerg Dhirty6 Cru. The hard angles of the German language provide a perfect complement for his laid-back delivery. Nice, crisp edges on the production too. But it’s really about their cybernetic hobo bag of ragtag visuals. They’ve got a mixed punk/hip-hop background that brushes right into this unpredictable and strange aesthetic. Check the early-Wu-like grit in parts of Die Wichtigkeit for reference.

Rock Bottom & the Spys, Rich Girl EP This classic punk record never received a widespread (or even fully sleeved) release back in ’81, but it perfectly evinces the Slash-era scent of drug-addled youth entering into its nihilistic, premature end stages. Their legacy is this record, soon to be reissued, and you could hand it off to any kid of the next several decades with the simple nod, “Here, I think this is what you’re actually looking for.” Discovering a gem like this is a rarity in and of itself, let alone the fact that, before this, maybe three known copies existed.

The Handsome Family
The Handsome FamilyCredit: Jason Creps

Matt is curious what’s in the rotation of …

Jason Ward, Chicago Mastering Service engineer

The Handsome Family, Wilderness I had the distinct pleasure to master this record. I almost only ever listen to records I work on and then a bunch of old stuff. This album has the most engaging, playful, and deep lyrical content I have heard in quite some time. Lyrics that just keep paying off, poetry in the most legitimate sense of the word. It helps that they are set to lovely, enveloping music as well. Just a fun, earnest, life-­affirming listen that is as good for a six-year-old as for a 40-something.

Grimes‘s “Oblivion” video I only know about this because my wife is much hipper than me and keeps up with current music. I haven’t liked other stuff I’ve seen by her as much, but I thought this video was pretty neat. I love how easy it is to make young men look like little children just by videotaping them doing their things. It turns the kind of standard dude-with-a-bunch-of-chicks-in-his-video archetype on its head. Seems like there was a good bit of pirate video making by her as well, which is cool. And the track is pretty decent, if a bit repetitive.

Mark Lanegan, The Winding Sheet I was going through the arduous process of ripping all my remaining CDs and came across this. I loved this 1990 release in the 90s, and about 50 listens later (over the past two months) I have realized I still love it. Great voice, great songs (with due credit to journey­man NW rocker Mike Johnson, the man behind the man on this album). I have taken to singing these songs to my eight-month-old daughter during bedtime. Dark material, but beautiful melodies. Works like a charm to get babies sleeping hard!