V/A - Drinking To Better Days - 12" - 8 tracks - Punch Productions - 2005

Released at the beginning of the year, 'Drinking To Better Days' is (already) the eighth reference of the Italian label Punch Productions. Till now, this fine label gave the chance to original records (with always a special attention paid to the artwork) to see the light of day. Remember the cult split 7" picture-disc 'Confesso tutto!' of Novy Svet and Teatro Satanico, the non-less cult 'Fiori di Carne' picture-disc of AIT! or the promising Totenlieder 7" 'Mi muerte para su Amor', just to name a few.
With 'Drinking To Better Days', Tairy (the mastermind behind AIT! and Punch Productions) gathers his friends from Novy Svet, Ō Paradis and Totenlieder for a joint release featuring two exclusive tracks from each one. One can easily guess that these contributions will have been influenced/inspired by alcohol as suggested by the title.

The most Spanish Austrians, Novy Svet open the record with 'El Sabor de Pan', a good song to enter the subject, mostly based upon a quite repetitive melody and the usual nonchalant vocals from Jürgen, singing in Spanish. Follows the first contribution 'Nada mąs allą' by the Catalan musician Ō Paradis… a quite typical Ō Paradis song that should please all those who enjoy the multiple little sounds that form the music and Demian's particular voice. Totenlieder brings a bit more 'punch' as well as melancholy with 'Como Olvidar'… which reveals itself as a nice neo-classic composition lead by his recognisable violin... it can only make one impatient to listen to a full Totenlieder album.
Then comes AIT!, his first track closing the a-side and his second opening the b-side. 'Sixty Sick Years' is just amazing and sounds in my ears as one of the best AIT! compositions so far!... a subtle combination of sad, tense and melancholic atmospheres... and Tairy's distinctive and strangely deformed voice. The second track 'Ego Te Absolvo a Peccatis Tuis' is also good but more martial and based on more familiar sound/speech collages... Two tracks that will make a new AIT! album highly awaited by his fans! The following Totenlieder contribution 'Sin Amor o Esperanza' will probably sound quite surprising, not only because of the kind of 'guinguette' accordion melody that begins with but to the unusual noisier sound environment the track creates too. O Paradis, then Novy Svet with 'Hola Barca' conclude this sound fest with a quite strange track that features Jürgen on (Spanish) vocals, a quite repetitive rhythm and chorus... and an unmistakable kazoo that brings the touch of craziness to this last track/drink!

All in all, this record creates a subtle mix of different musical styles (from black lounge to strange Catalan folk pop) that makes pleasant listening for those alcoholic evenings...

The 12" is limited to 410 hand-numbered copies on black vinyl and comes in a beautiful handmade gatefold cover (black velvet outside and satin inside).
As for the extra limited edition of 33 copies, this one comes on black vinyl with speckles and is, as expected, already sold out now.

A new very nice and highly recommended Punch Productions release, that proves once again that this label really cares about the production and always offers original productions with brilliant and careful artworks.

Nathalie F.
Winter 2004/05

Punch Productions: www.punchrecords.it
AIT!: www.punchproductions.net/AIT
Novy Svet: www.artcraf.it/novysvet.htm
Ō Paradis: www.o-paradis.com
Totenlieder: totenlieder.ath.cx/Intro.html