Articles - Obsessive/Compulsive Rock N Roll - Gimmies - 07.14.00

No Solution Intro: Here's the lowdown...every week I'm gonna write about at least one new 7". Simple. It may suck shit, or it might be awesome. Either way, I'll let you know. Sometimes I review more than one, and usually I'll list a few other 7"s of note. The thing is, this is 7"s ONLY. Easy. I'll review new stuff and reissues of old stuff, but I'll try to keep the focus on newer releases. If you want to send me stuff to review, that's cool, but just because you send it, doesn't mean it's guaranteed to get reviewed (though I'll probably at least list it) and it doesn't mean that I'm gonna give it a good review. Now, in the immortal words of Jackie Gleason, "Awaaay we go!"

Gimmies - Till You're Down/Sixties 7"

The cover caught my eye. Despite all that bullshit about not judging a book (or in this case, a record) by its cover, a lot of times you can tell, just by looking at a cover what the record inside is gonna be like. You'll at least have an idea of what kind of music it'll be.

There's some kind of Power Pop/Mod explosion going on in the punk scene over there. Well, there is here too. A lot of Bay Area bands have taken up the look and sound of Power Pop (the Bobbyteens, Donny Denim, Loose Lips, Close Ups, Red Stars and the list goes on and on...), but true to their way, the Japanese have again adopted an aspect of American culture and raised it to new, never before imagined levels of greatness. Hopefully you have the TWEEZERS LP (Time Bomb). I mean, that record is one of the greatest Power Pop records of all time. No shit. It might have been hard to digest right after soaking your head in Teengenerate for six years or so, but fuck, that record is incredible! And with all the buzz about the RAYDIOS, I'm sure you got at least their self-titled LP (Screaming Apple) and maybe even the single they did on Target Earth. For a minute, start thinking more about the Raydios than the Tweezers. Okay, got them in your head? Now, let's talk about the Gimmies.

The Gimmies do up a sharp Mod-leaning Power Pop sound with that same dirty growl that the Raydios had, only the Gimmies have more bite. The cover--a cool looking, stark black and white silhouette of the band with their name running through the background--lured me in. Once I dropped the needle, I was absolutely hooked.

Too many bands today stick to three chords, maybe throw in some hot licks here and there to spice things up, and call that a fucking punk song. As someone who listens to a lot of older punk, I'm constantly trying to pin down what it is about the older bands that I like so much more than the new ones. So far as I've been able to tell, it's nothing tangible. Like, it's not like people back then had better or worse equipment. It's not like bands back then had more or less talent. It's something deeper. I think it's influences, what music meant to them, how they made it and the energy they put into it. All that shit comes through in the music. You can tell when a band is having fun making music, when they're putting their hearts in it. And you can tell when a band is just fucking off, trying to sound like their Johnny Hero punk band, totally missing the point.

The Gimmies have passion, energy and urgency flowing through their songs like the blood that pumps through their hearts. You can fucking feel it. I'm sitting here, on a Friday night, just listening to the two songs on this 7" over and over. That's how you can tell you have a killer fucking 7", when you just can't stop listening to it. I can't tell you how many records I listen to once, then file away, maybe pulling it out once in a while just to see if it sticks better on the second or third try. The Gimmies 7" is an exception. I think it's their first, but I can't find much information about them; truth be told, I just taped this 7" from Maximum Rocknroll. I don't even have a copy, but it's near the top of my wantlist at the moment. I listen to these two songs constantly. Really. They've got sharp guitars that have a deep, crunchy bite. The rhythm sinks into your brain, a cleverly disguised anchor that roots itself in your head. They're not balls-out fast --they actually move at a medium tempo-- but are so fucking fiesty, they're like a pair of cool strutting motherfuckers whom you wouldn't dare to fuck with.

There's really not any other band around, at least not in the Western world, that has this sound. It's closest to the Raydios, but maybe closer to FIRESTARTER (Fink, Fifi and Shoe's new band). They're deceptively simple. Like, they don't have to show off to prove they're amazing musician. They get down to fucking business, tear through their songs, that's that. The end.

The only drawback about this record is that it's gonna be hard as hell to find. You can try writing or emailing the label. Maybe you'll have better luck than I did. After two weeks, I still haven't gotten a reply from an email message I sent. But seriously, this record is good. Even if it costs more than your typical record, it's worth it.

There's a lot of really great shit going on in Japan (as usual) that the West is missing out on. Sure, we hear about the REGISTRATORS, the 5, 6, 7, 8's, SUPERSNAZZ and the bigger bands, but it's bands like the Gimmies, the smaller bands that get me really fired up. I can't imagine all the great 7"s and other records of Japanese bands that never reached other shores. Until I can track down a good link to all the killer Japanese punk, I'll just keep listening to the Gimmies, a total fucking gem of a record.
(K.O.G.A. Records -- Kikusui BLD 6F 5-30-2 Daizawa Setagaya-ku Tokyo, 155-0032 Japan)

Other 7"s of note:
Sold Out Sweethearts - The Glamorous Bubblegum EP

If you liked Chinese Takeaway, there's a good chance you'll fall for this 7". New Life Shark has put out some of the best Glam-Punk stuff ever, including the Sold Out Sweethearts. They have a bright, full production reminiscent of older English street punk bands and their snarling English-by-way-of-Germany accent only adds to that feeling. They throw in stylish guitars and a killer solid rhythm that's impossibly catchy. Limited to 500, so act quick!
(New Life Shark PO Box 700320 44883 Bochum, Germany)

Kill-A-Watts - Mutant Brain/Treat Me Like A Jerk 7"

A bunch of snotty Wisconsin punks. After listening to the Gimmies and Sold Out Sweethearts, I had to give 'em a couple listens to get used to the thin recording. This two girl/two guy combo rip out two songs with pure blistering three chord abandon, full of piss and vinegar and all that shit. From the cover, they look like they're a group of teenagers who think they're hot shit 'cause they're on Rip Off. Maybe that's just the stereotypical tough/cynical pose every band who does a 7" on Rip Off feels like they have to assume. Still, the two songs are good, worthy of more than one listen. Credit to Mr. Lowery for keeping the fast and snotty punk alive and kicking.
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Ave San Bruno, CA 94066)

Victims - No Thanks to the Human Turd 7"
Selby Tigers 7"
Metros - I Gotta Go 7"
(Dirtnap/PO Box 21249/Seattle, WA 98111)
Pinhead Gunpowder/Dillinger Four 7"
Dirtbombs/White Stripes 7"
(Extra Ball)

Mark Murrmann
PO Box 11906 Berkeley, CA 94712 USA

© 2003