Anybody that stupidly declares “PUNK IS DEAD” is clearly ignorant of Round Eye. This rag-tag band of misfits who are currently ex-pats living in Shanghai make some of the most avant-garde, subversive, aggressive, and incendiary punk out there. Making history or making enemies (both of which they have done in spades), Round Eye is a fearless example of pure artistic expression.
Their newest release Monster Vision is a psychedelic freak-out punk fest that drips with political commentary and just an overall satire of just how insane our society is. Some of the last recordings of legendary Stooges saxophonist Steve Mackay can be found on this record. His sax is a massive force that drives the band’s unique punk sound into the stratosphere.
Whether the band is making the first ever punk music video in the DPRK or pissing all over the concept of Trump’s America, Round Eye’s Monster Vision is punkest shit I’ve heard in a while.
Get Monster Vision at https://roundeyeband.bandcamp.com
The interesting thing about the electronic genre is that you find all types of styles. Some people are gunning for the charts, while others are all about pushing boundaries. Baltimore based artist lafflines (aka Alex Lippert) falls more into the latter category.
In his debut album “Arrest in Acquiesce,” there is what I would call a “sonic collision” of sorts. There is dissonance and consonance, melody and atmosphere; and all of this is a good thing.
The record experiments with beats, loops, and various samples to make a sonic experience. I wouldn’t really call these songs, that is far too simple. What is going on here is an experiment with sound that challenges the listener. You hear stylistic echoes of artists like Aphex Twin, John Cage, and Philip Glass; but ultimately you hear lafflines.
In the artist’s own words:
“I try to record…in an effort to stumble upon accidents and something that’s outside of my expectations…to discover and find something new. Many of my samples vary from elevator music, African disco/tribal music, religious choir recordings and classical pieces.”
If you are looking for a challenge where you are encouraged to engage in your listening experience; I recommend giving “Arrest in Acquiesce” a try.
“Arrest in Acquiesce” by lafflines can be found at:
Round Eye’s music is bonkers. I mean that in the best possible way. The self-described “experimental freak punk” group makes music that constantly pushes and questions what music can become.
In their self-titled LP you will hear the intersection of what sounds like Ornette Coleman, The Stooges, Circle Jerks, and Frank Zappa having a party and jam session simultaneously. Round Eye is a sonic exploration of what happens when you free music of its genre definitions and throw it into a chaotic display of artistry.
The record is loud, melodic, dissonant, fast, complex, and full of life at every turn. The uninitiated to the worlds of punk, doo-wop and free jazz may not get what’s going on, but that is just fine. It seems that no matter where the band goes they gain a following.
A group of expats based in Shanghai, China, Round Eye (a purposely self-deprecating name) has earned the love of locals in mainland China (numerous local Chinese musicians perform on the LP). They have also managed to earn the ire of the government as they have had to tour at times “underground where they held the secret gigs in bomb shelters around the country” due to their stage antics and more. The controversy has come at a benefit to the group, however, as the Ministry of Culture couldn’t shut down the punk spirit. The group is “a crucial force in bridging a wide gap between the eastern and western hemispheres of punk rock.” As a punk musician and “punk scholar” this is such a welcome thing for me to hear (because in the end fuck politics when we have rock n’ roll right?).
Ultimately there really isn’t anything like Round Eye. In the punk world they are pioneers of sorts, forging new ground for a sound of rebellion and camaraderie. Punk never dies and these dudes know that.
Give this band a try, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Round Eye by Round Eye can be found at: