Tuxedo Killers, Dumb Haircuts, Ethan Master of the Hawaiian Ukelele, and Mexican Blackbirds
7 & 7 is
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., July 29, 2005
With last year's debut EP, Spiral Haircase, Tuxedo Killers pulled off a post-punk fission of Austin, 1985, minimalism and maximum freneticism warring to the donkey screams of George Dishner. "NYC Soap," "I'm So Funn!," and "Friendly Feud" kicked black and blue for 17 fan-"Tasticle" minutes. M. Night Shyamalan's Tuxedo Killers (Furniture Records), ponies up another six tracks on a 7-inch while shaving off six minutes. Devo's "Girl U Want" riff opens wide for "Don't Rape the Okapi," Jesse Hodges' pickaxe just out of range of the convulsive rhythm section (Blair Hicks, Ben Bellomy). It liquefies T2-style on "(((sss)))" and the war drums of "Lowball," Dishner's rabid vox severing arteries like David Yow's pitbull. Side B's "I Am Going to Sell Those Kids My Bones" clocks in as Shyamalan's epic at 2:43, another hair-raising grin/grimace. Similar acts of youthful indiscretion involve all parties associated with Yoyodyne Records' Dumb Haircuts/Ethan "Master of the Hawaiian Ukelele" split 7-inch. On the "punk side," the Haircuts scrawny spaz makes the Tuxedo Killers sound like genre forefathers ("Screamy in the Clouds"), five tracks in four-and-a-half minutes, including the 1977 UK punk salute "Orange Marker." Beware the appearance of a clean pressing: my needle bounced like a cricket. E.M.H.U., meanwhile, got a uke on a Hawaiian holiday last Christmas as his three strum-y postcards attest. "I sound like I just turned 19 singing these songs," writes Ethan Smith, "and that's because I had." While not local, Tacoma, Washington's Mexican Blackbirds recent Fear of Texas 12-inch EP was minted by Austin's Mortville Records, 250 on clear vinyl, 250 on translucent blue. After the quartet's Dirtnap Records debut, 2003's relentless Just to Spite You, these seven, vinyl-only tracks are meatier with analog width and depth, 15 minutes of Beerland-splattered electrocution that's never better than the titular Texas humbling, a cave tornado of black beaks and wings.