in fact this double LP compilation of twelve 7″ split singles, ‘Protons and Electrons’, is the bulletproof argument for this admirable feat. Consider ‘Protons’ the third full-length from the trio and ‘Electrons’ a compilation of associated acts, friends, and (as they’d put it) a celebration of community.
Conan Neutron (Replicator, Victory and Associates, Mount Vicious) is a guy, er, the founder of Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends who’d had a wild spark up his brain around 2015 encased in the raw deal that is Oakland, California as he began to chip away at his own brand of antisocial rock records. That’d soon warrant power trio-ing up with Dale Crover (Melvins, Shrinebuilder) and Tony Ash (Coliseum, Trophy Wives). By the end of 2015 Neutron‘d pumped out two solid buzzers, fuzz’d n’ noisy intuitive alt rock that I’d have called ‘power pop’ to get my Pixies loving friend (Brandon) in high school to listen to it. Flipping over to the 2016 writing sessions for this series of ‘Protons’ split 7″ singles — The need to breathe, to push out more clank-and-wobbling rock air without all that sugary power-pop dripping from the walls, must’ve been somewhere in the highest registers of the brain as the sanity of the western world collapsed around them. It’d be their third session with producer Toshi Kasai and the finest, most inventive set of recordings from the project thus far.
Wit, grinning darkness, hummable jigs, and all matter of divergent focus slosh about within these personalized and inventive rock songs that’re surely the sort of mess we’d have a gaudy corporate rock umbrella term for back in the mid-90’s. The big point here is that each of these Neutronian tracks are singular events, tirades of sharply cut and intentionally faceted perspective each attempting to see light by way of precarious manipulated shadows, the full listen is inspired and ‘lost’ in its own head to great effect. I’d expect no less from the lyricist who’d brought you an alt rock record themed after the Hannibal Lecter series of novels but I suppose I wouldn’t expect as much. Infectious is the word as boppin’ post-punk bass lines swap for pained psychedelic rock janglers and a few post-‘Nothings Shocking’ swings before ‘Protons’ is spun. It sticks. Just reading the title for “Petulant Messiah”, “Parade of Deceit”, and “Hate Secretary” puts each chorus (or riff) right in my overstuffed frontal lobe. “Armies of the Mind” could whip on repeat for a week… The gist of it is that tonal variety and inspirational times have done a world of wondrous good for this third album from the trio. The depth is there if you’re one to suss out the minutiae of pop, punk, rock, and the adhesive that Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends provides.
The second LP is no less vital to the experience and in this form it serves as a worthy compilation featuring songs from bands featuring artists who’ve featured in Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends‘ touring line-ups, contributed to studio recordings, toured alongside the band or simply feature one of the three core members of the trio. It kicks off with a big rock stomp from Ash‘s stoney noise rock band Trophy Wives, a big and bulbous first hit. Chicago noise punk trio Nonagon are the next big highlight for my taste with “Saffir-Simpson” and their Ed Kemper Trio kinda art rock howling. Turbo Lightning‘s bubblegum poppin’ stadium rocker “Give a Man a Brain” would’ve instantly appealed to 14 year old me. When Mr. Bungle‘s ‘California’ came out a few friends brought a boom box to the rec center area at the University of Oregon and we played it out loud around 8:00pm while acting like idiots in the dark… Sorry; That memory socked me in the cerebellum as the intro to Dale Crover Band‘s “Sell Out” kicked off into a few vignettes that’ll have you whondering who whrote them. Twelve songs in total, all good stuff that compliment Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends‘ sound on split singles and make sense here …
Neutron and friends have released 12 7″ split singles over the last 18 months in a series called Protons and Electrons. This endeavor includes 12 other bands taking care of the b-sides, and it’s just been released as a two-disc set. Mr. Neutron wastes no time on the first disc, Protons. “Jilted Dragon” and “Armies of the Mind” attack with melodic earworms and deliberate urgency that recall Bob Mould from his Sugar days. Branding Electrons as a collection of b-sides would be unfair. Bands such as The God Eaters, Cartographer, and Quivers among many others offer top-notch songs from post-punk, metal and indie rock genres. P&E throws the sheer ferocity of its rock ‘n’ roll in your face without any fear. …
All Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends items are a 20% off this week only (ends 12/06/2019). Physical and digital.
Just use code “bargainissealed” at checkout!
This includes the brand new Protons and Electrons compilation 2XLP and 2XCD, as well as all remaining stock of Protons and Electrons 7”, Art Of Murder LP (while supplies last!) and CDs, Enemy of Everyone LPs and CDs and all t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.
All orders shipping immediately!
10/25: Chelsea, MI – Rumpus room w/Tart
10/26: Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club w/Not Of, Leonids, So Tired
10/27: Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus w/CRËVE
11/1: Oakland, CA – Elbo Room Jack London w/Reptoid, Rip Room, Antler Family
11/2: Los Angeles, CA – Highland Park Bowl w/Dangerously Sleazy, Space Force
11/3: Anaheim, CA – World Famous Doll Hut w/Alright Spider, hepa.titus, the Patients
11/6: Milwaukee, WI – Bremen Cafe w/MICROWAVES, Ifihadahifi, something is Waiting.
11/7: Chicago, IL – The Owl w/Gerund, Tim Midyett
11/8: Louisville, KY – Kaiju w/Total Void, Bon Air
11/9: Athens, GA – Little Kings Shuffle Club w/Los Meesfits
SW027 – Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – Protons and Electrons compilation. Available for pre-order now. Atom 1-12 collected in a 2 LP and a 2 CD set. 3+ years of work comes to fruition! Artwork by the unstoppable Plastic Flame Press. Lovingly produced by Toshi Kasai, mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. https://neutronfriends.bandcamp.com/album/protons-and-electrons-compilation…
Video created by Johnny Arlett (https://www.johnnyarlett.com)
“A swinging little number about psychic gambling or something. Sure to satisfy or annoy fans of prog, noise rock and much more. The Vig (short for vigorish) is interest principal amount owed on a debt or loan, always at a usurious rate, with the idea being that the borrower never ends up paying down the principal and is indebted to the lender by just just covering the interest. The conceit of the song is applying those principles to psychic costs, but it probably works as a more dead on interpretation too.”
Conan Neutron: Vocals/Guitars Tony Ash: Bass Dale Crover: Drums Toshi Kasai: Production and Engineering…
Directed by Rick Valentin, from Protons and Electrons – SW027 – September 20th, 2019
Conan Neutron: Vocals/Guitars, Tony Ash: Bass, Dale Crover: Drums, Jeff Byron: synths, omnichord, extra “stuff”
Produced and Engineered by Toshi Kasai
Also from Protons and Electrons: SW022: Atom 8 – Jilted Dragon / Turbo Lightning – Give a Man A Brain, released 5/14/2019
Atom 12 (of 12!) of Protons and Electrons is up! Parade of Deceit / B/W Dale Crover Band – Sell Out.
DOUBLE DOSE OF CROVER!
As always free to listen to on bandcamp, you can buy digital for $2 and you can pre-order the vinyl if you feel so inclined (ships mid next month)
This here, Parade of Deceit is a nervy lil’ number about outrage fatigue and general disgust with the Newstainment Industrial Complex, confirmation bias and political actions designed to exhaust, demoralize and infuriate. Don’t we all just love a parade?
With a DOUBLE DOSE OF CROVER!
Dale Crover Band, in their first released recording of the live unit (Dale Crover, Steven Mcdonald, Mindee Jorgenson, Toshi Kasai) , meanwhile… give you a delightful homage/medley sure to please fans WHO listen.
That’s Protons and Electrons, folks.