Hot and Ready Records
Label Overview: I assumed that the days of sending away for a tape or record were long gone now that it's so easy to create your own website with Bandcamp and Tumblr. The package I received from California's Hot and Ready Records this week proved me wrong, and I couldn't be happier about it; it's interesting to see music distributors and artists paddling against the current of technology. The label, whose name may or may not be a nod to Little Caesar's Pizza, operates from a bare-bones webpage (you can view it here) which is little more than a list of titles to order with no cover art provided. I really like the idea of focusing on the music while also creating a bit of mystique. I also find it quite interesting that the catalog the label mails its customers actually lists much more music than its internet counterpart and includes a description of each release. It's as if it reveals all its secrets and quirks to you at a gradual pace; you'll get as much out of Hot and Ready as you put into it! You can also buy some rad zines and comics from the same address, my favorite is Throat Culture, which features rather conversational reviews of lo-fi bands like The Shivas, Hunx and Cassie Ramone's solo project.
The Crash Hounds of America - Sewer Loving
Despite what the name might lead you to believe, The Crash Hounds of America is made up of one R.L. Wallace, who also happens to be the founder of Hot and Ready. The block letter font on their latest tape's sleeve reminds me of the cover art of the recently disbanded punk band Uzi Rash. Both bands share a similar sound as well. The drums are slightly offbeat, and are either flooding the mix with crashes and clattering or are barely audible, thudding like distant peals of thunder. Sometimes the percussion is all that supports Wallace's distorted mumblings, but these off-kilter beats are often augmented by staccato, repetitive guitar lines or loose keyboard noodlings. It's the sort of sloppy, yet lovable musicianship so embraced by Beat Happening on their first few albums, and although it can be a little tough to listen to at times, it's a fun album to have around. There's a lyric booklet for sale in the mail-order catalog, and you might want to look into it if you'd like to have a clue what Williams is singing.
ZBR - Drum Machine
I don't really know much about ZBR other than that it's made up of just one guy and a drum machine. As you might expect, the album is, well, rhythmic, but it's also kind of catchy in a hypnotic sort of way. Layers upon layers of digital drum loops create a wormhole of funky sounds of various tempos and timbres. Sometimes a little guitar or bass will materialize, throwing the listener for a (bad pun alert!) loop, and there are even some vocals on the track "Baseball Is Fun". Speaking of which, only 4 of the 7 tracks on the album are listed in the insanely minimalist liner notes. One of them is called "Frozen Pizza" though, which more than makes up for the blanks. If you're down for some weird vibes, pop this tape in your deck: it's a real trip.
Order yer tapes now at:
2700 White Ave. #3
Chico, CALIF., 95973
United States of America