“New York may get all the credit for being the birthplace of punk, but artists from other cities had crucial roles in shaping the subculture. One such figure was John Morton, a musician from Cleveland who laid the foundation for punk with his distorted guitar playing in the Electric Eels. Although it didn’t have its own CBGB’s, Cleveland attracted boundary-pushing bands like the Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart in the early ’70s. Morton started the Electric Eels to give these bands a decent opener. The Electric Eels had an avant-garde approach but lacked technical chops; they sounded like the Stooges with the dissonance turned up to 11. Over 40 years later, Morton has gained recognition for his contributions to punk, and is doing something he never did during those early days: touring. He plays his first shows in California this week, not with the Electric Eels but with X_X, his no wave band performing at San Francisco’s Hemlock Tavern on May 12. Pronounced “Ex Blank Ex,” the band is a perfect outlet for Morton’s abrasive vision, especially with a rhythm section that includes no wave jazz drummer Weasel Walter and Craig Bell of Rocket from the Tombs. This show will provide an intimate look at one of punk’s originals, and it should not be missed.” – Kevin Jones, KQED Arts
On RAYS’ debut album the band spins eleven tunes of wiry, urgent post-punk,one foot planted firmly in the nihilistic apathy of 70 & 80’s punk (Wire, Electric Eels, Pere Ubu, Eno, Television The Fall), Australian punk past & present (UV Race, Terry, Victims, Babeez), and the addictive strum of 80’s & 90’s New Zealand/Flying Nun pop; all of whom have found their own way to meld the ferocity & thuggery of punk with a singular melodic voice. RAYS are no different; the swirling jangle of “Attic” starts the album off, sardonically extolling the joy of ‘attic life’ with Hannan’s monotone conveying an underlying sense of dread & isolation. “Dead Man’s Curve”, with it’s hook-filled, organ-laden chorus plays like a lost teenage tragedy song, celebrating the desperation & angst of reckless youth. ”Elsewhere, tunes like “Theatre of Lunacy”, “Made of Shadows” & “Drop Dead” rage with a desperate fire, speaking to the absurdities of everyday life, but with a wry smile. Shit is fucked, but the members of RAYS seem intent on finding humor within the world’s everyday desperation, because sometimes that’s the only way to stay sane.
“MUSK is an anomaly. Its knuckle dragging, saturated dirges are the uncalculated, pure expression of spite and frustration. Go ahead, think mid-70s Ohio filtered through Australia a few years later…Formed with an unabashed allegiance to agitation, both of their own and listeners, MUSK is antithetical to its Bay Area contemporaries” – Sam Lefebvre, Degenerate
“…a Scientists-infused dip into the swamp…the only band even close to the scree they unleash is ‘Sicko Inside Me’ era Necessary Evils mixed with a bit of the first Horrors LP and dare I even say some of the nastier Hunches efforts. Absolutely ferocious guitar sound that’s going to have some people jealous. “ – -Rich Kroneiss, Terminal Boredom