04 Jan FRANTIC CITY RECORDS-WHERE PUNK+POST PUNK IS ALIVE
If you saw our interview with the vocally blessed US based band BLXPLTN you will know that here at #itchysilk we love the raucous, explosive energy of punk/post-punk. Here, Jacklyn Janeksela introduces us to the frequency of Frantic City Records based in France whose raison d’etre is of course punk.
Just when you thought post-punk was a myth from the 70s, along comes Frantic City Records.
Using avant-garde gothic edges blended with post-punk –one that pushes into the 80s with garage practices where leather and flannel later become something called grunge. Surging through vinyl as dark as any midnight where punk emblems wave like bats and anarchist textiles. It’s where 60s influences are flecks of light bouncing off shiny guitar picks or moonlight ocean waves. Frantic City Records spawns musical souls, as if from a vinyl farm –there is no shortage of possibilities, as tunes sprout like lizard tails and gorgeous black roses.
Post-punk isn’t only a genre, it’s a lifestyle. One that requires finesse inside fits of disarray. Frantic City Records feels like a dark soul sibling, one that’s buried beneath cover art and inserts, somewhere in a basement that reeks of guitar blisters, French kisses, cheap liquor, cigarettes, worn out boots, vocals, scabs, and stained jeans. Ok, maybe not that dark, but their sounds will rot into that basement smell of nostalgia, when music once sparked our bodies to writhe like the desert snake and blossom like Jericho roses. At Frantic City, we all become souls rummaging through a post-punk era, touching the lines on each vinyl like counting years, like the lines of a body that births ready-made music. We are the basement rat rising and ready to gnaw away the gristle to get to the bone. The bone a metaphor for what we often throw away, a vicious strum of yesterday’s guitar.
Post-punk isn’t only a genre, it’s a lifestyle.
French and Belgium based, Frantic City Records beckons listeners to another space and time. Being post-punk is only one layer of their mission. Other layers include raw, garage, low-fi performances, guttural poetry from angry boys, and sultry, shoegaze crooners making magic from bellies. They house an impressive collection of musicians, each one with plenty of panache. Scrolling through their record selection, revival aspects aren’t just found in the music, but within human bodies whose mouths have been set upon the musical veins of those who came before us.
Cobalt Cranes and Froth surge with vocals, ethereal and rebellious samples, like a smoking pit, like picking wildflowers, like west coast leather and slowly burn you to bits sunshine. It’s not in the thread or the tendril that carries the post-punk element here, it’s behind that, it’s in the pain, in the story or the past. Readying a body to strike and stroke listeners where they need it most, both lead singers romance the desert stone and conjure real guitar worship.
Regal panders to those obsessed with the 60s sound. They propel listeners into an era where music was revolution and the pen was a knife. Want to try on a beatnik look, hitchhike, recite poetry in a hazy basement somewhere in Paris or NYC and leave feeling all grimy –then slip on a Regal track and get down to business. You might not be able to act out these fantasies, but with Regal as the soundtrack, you’ll at least make nice homemade versions in front of some cracked mirror. Listen while reclining on a sofa that you might have purchased at the local thrift store or on a lounge chair found on a curb like a gift from the gods –tossed away like so many good things in this world, like the twang of a good 60s guitar string.
Lady Banana trashes the body and the brain. The garage sound wasn’t enough for them, their recording dreams took them to the cleaners, quite literally. They took their sounds to a laundry room to make it extra punk rock. Want mornings full of stamina, then make this your ring tone or alarm clock tune. Wake up better than ever before –ready to thrash the day away. Or use it as the driving force to accomplish any project –artistic or nihilistic in nature. Perfect for the couple who fights constantly provided they have a decent stereo system. With ample sound to cover up private details between lovers that shouldn’t fall on neighbor’s ears, this album is a big hit for the holiday season when couples are cooped up together all winter long.
The Staches are deliberate in their execution of sound –they know what they want and it’s probably going beyond the body. The voice is female angst and angelic moodiness –this is music to listen to when nostalgia has a good grip on your soul. This is music to erase heartbreak or let an old one rise to the surface. The Staches provide an escape into the smallest biological cell and give plenty of room to float.
White Fangs demand devotion. With drums that satisfy any punk rock kid and guitars cult enough to garner attention from garage aficionados –they make their presence known. Instruments compete with a voice the size of a megaphone. White Fangs is not fucking around. Want to tackle a hardcore make-out session with more urgency or find motivation to accomplish any mundane task –this is album that will elevate you to new levels. It will give you more jolt than the blackest pot of hardcore coffee. White Fangs a band who will provoke you to scream at that person who deserves a good screaming. Or at someone who enjoys a good tongue lashing.
Melodic throughout, Wolf Meeting beckons listeners to join the pack, climb a mountain peak, and gather around the fire –it’s a journey transcending the landscape of sound, yet it descends into spiritual spaces, too. It’s a trick of the human experience, music the guiding force to take you where you want to go. Follow the alpha wolf to the hideout –merge with the echo of guitar chords.
Skeptics: Mind Power summons Black Sabbath. Want to conjure under a new moon –this is the track you need to put on repeat. Spend No Time speaks of truth between human spirits. Wall of Light an instrumental chant. “Not half out of the cave” projects serious thought about sound and spiritual realms.
Prêcheur Loup: A musical appearance that arrives much like a shooting star –galaxy vibrations animate listeners to states of auditory climbing.
Heartbeeps: Before track two hits, the mosh pit vibe is already building. It’s eminent. There is no garage punk scene without blood, bruise, or bravery. Classic punk photos from the 70s and 80s appear on the retina as if a moving picture screen. And all you want to do is pieces a body part, wear something spikey, and be as anarchist as fuck. These tracks remind us that nihilism is a load of crap, but one that resonates on guitar strings about to snap.
For anyone interested in music for the sake of music and veins that ooze forth vinyl and not blood, head to Frantic City Record and get ready to make a house out of your dad or uncle’s garage. For the sake of independent record houses, do yourself and the world a favor –buy a fucking record. May Frantic City Records provide all who listen with the punk and post-punk body of water we long to drink from, the one that both quenches thirst and purifies our black boot soul.