Der TPK - Harmful Emotions (Siltbreeze LP)
Teenage Panzerkorps on vinyl on Siltbreeze, it's a match made in heaven and a dream come true all at once. I was late getting hooked on these guys and missed out on practically everything they ever did, which ain't much. But "Nations Are Insane" kept me tapped in while I waited for this one to drop, and that was more than enough gristle to chew. That one came out on Pink Skulls, the punk/metal imprint started up by Jewelled Antler mason Glenn Donaldson, who also plays in the band (acronymized to Der TPK, at least for now) as Edmund Xavier, alongside Bunker Wolf, Catholic Pat, and Boy True. All I know is that apparently Bunker Wolf is a 40-year old German punk rock dude, the others are mysteries to me. The way I like it, youngblood.
Like the rest of their touches, "Harmful Emotions" dabbles largely in supremely scuzzy, lo-fi, broken-as-hell punk rock, with each track swimming in its own mire of shoddy production, stumbling instrumentation, quasi-accidental amp feedback and reverb, and generally any sound that's holy and true to all ugly/beautiful forms of rock n' roll that're liable to get polished out by some poindexter with a red hankerchief in the back pocket of his too-tight jeans come mixing time. I didn't do much research because I didn't want to kill the dream, but I'm being led to believe that these songs (16 in all! Most under 2 minutes!) are all largely improvised and nailed to the tape in one take, because that's sure what it sounds like. Warts and all, and all, and all that. What's most intriguing to me about "Harmful Emotions" is that it ain't 100% balls to the wall, not at all in fact. Many of the songers are slower, dirtier waltzes that seem just as interested in referencing acts like the Fall (oh god are the Fall ever all over this one) and the Homosexuals and This Heat and the Sun City Girls. And maybe even the Monks, if they came around in the 80's! "Thy Depth!", "True Corpse", and "Creepy Books" demonstrate this side of the group best, whereas "Theme Control", "Nameless Disease", "Blood Math" and "True Corpse" all dial up 80's punk rock/DIY ethos as authentically as you're ever gonna hear it in two thousand and seven. Heck I can even hear the echoes of Faust amidst all the wreckage and debris here, and I swear it's not just the German connection that's springing em to mind. Well okay, maybe it is. Thee Bunker Wolf's vocals are at times up-front, and at times so low you can barely tell if you're actually hearing em. The drums are often a sludgy battering. The guitar riffs are usually falling over themselves. The organ swirls in and out of rattly focus. What more can I say? Basically all the best moves of any session that includes beer and a microphone in the middle of a sweaty living room...and it transports you there on a puke-stained magic carpet so buckle up.
All told I'm thinking you might think this LP was straight idol worship, and maybe it is in a way for the guys playing it, but that doesn't stop it from being really very quite positively excellent in its own right. It's more like a deconstruction/rebuilding type thing than anything else, and when it's this haggard and this serrated and this curmudgeonly, it's pretty tough to say no...and I haven't even had a drink yet. Was just reading Neil Campbell as Invisible Jukeboxee and whoever the Jukeboxer was made mention of the A-Band "Artex/A Lot" LP, limited to 500 and now down there in the annals a bonafide deal-maker...flip this sleeve over and there the scrawl sticks me - 440/500. Now I'm not trying to suggest that this record will lead an equally celebrated fate, but I am trying to suggest that you don't want to be in a position where you were the nearly man to this record too, do you? Pick a box. Its contents will help you on your way.