Portland-based molded plasticians play both kinds of music: new and wave.
With brain-railing buzz-saw fuzz, race-car rhythms, and lost notebook lyrics like "Why am I so uncool?," the Epoxies' debut release has enough raw energy and retro push to remind you exactly how old you are while resurrecting your tired ass and pushing you out onto the dance floor. The sci-fi sounds of the synths, the angular jab as the guitars collide with the keys, the screamed, screeched, and sung sting of Roxy Epoxy's vocals, and the happy simplicity of the pop structures don't do a damn thing to rework the genre. The Epoxies leave well enough alone. The song "We're So Small" best captures the man vs. machine fatalism of the '80s, while the next track, "Science of You," hits the fuck-it-let's-dance-anyway spirit perfectly. The age of robots, plastic, neon, neutron bombs, war games, video games, and let's not forget punk rock is what shaped everyone from Adam Ant to X-Ray Spex—and apparently the Epoxies, too. It's hard to say what prompted the five-piece to revisit those years—perhaps they never left them in the first place—but in the hands of Roxy Epoxy and her duct-taped, paint-splattered bandmates, these experiments and explorations are as relevant as ever. Laura Learmonth
Where It Lands
Carter Family, hah! Give me the Minutemen!
They can drop a mandolin or banjo into any song mix when you least expect it, but the coolest thing about this Austin, Texas, band—fronted by ex-New Yorkers and forever sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly—is their love of punk rock and, more specifically, their stated influences from X and the Minutemen. The band hides its infatuation no more. After a stint in the majors (starring on Sire as the Damnations TX), the Damnations are back, sans TX, with their own label and 11 songs at foggy mountain breakneck speed. Highlighted again by Boone's and Kelly's irresistibly haunting sibling warbles, Where It Lands also serves as a coming-out party for guitarist Rob Bernard as a major contributor. The onetime member of Louisiana's Prescott Curleywolf contributes nearly a quarter of the songs, including the Creedence- inspired "Root On" and the philosophical ode of affection "Animal Children," and shares omnipotent lead vocals on a stunning remake of the Minutemen's "Corona." Kelly and Boone put their punk-rock fingerprints on "New Hope Cemetery," a menacing original seemingly plucked from X's Wild Gift songbook, and deliver familiar strains of soul ("Quarter in the Couch"), honky-tonk (a cover of Doug Sahm's "Wanna Be Your Mama Again"), and front-porch folk ("Bloodhound"). "The all night special gains momentum," Kelly declares on "All Night Special," which plays like 21st century Lovin' Spoonful. "It's the all night special by demand." This is a special record. We'll be demanding more. Scott Holter
The Damnations play the Tractor on Friday, March 29. See music calendar for information.