Articles - Obsessive/Compulsive Rock N Roll - Pinkz - 11.15.00

Pinkz - USA/Tearin' Me Apart 7"

This single easily wins a secure spot in my top three favorite records of 2000. The Pinkz are one of the best bands around today. No bullshit. If they manage to stick together, they're gonna go down as legends.

The Pinkz (who feature former members of LOLI & THE CHONES, BITCH SCHOOL and the FEVERS) made an impressive show at the Las Vegas Shakedown back in August. They were the first band to kick off the weekend. Though they were a great start to an amazing weekend, it's a shame more people didn't get to see 'em.

Their first single, which so far has been sold only at their shows, gets the Pinkz out with two impressive covers. The first side jumps right into a ballsy cover of the BEAT's "USA." The flip side has these SoCal girls doing justice to TEENAGE HEAD's "You're Tearing Me Apart." Both songs have the same qualities of pure, unadulterated, catchy, 100% American rock 'n' roll. From song subject to the actual music, these songs have it all and then some.

The Pinkz deliver a helluva a rock 'n' roll package. Unlike far too many bands today, the Pinkz manage to actually work all the pieces of a band together just right. Rather than relying on hot guitar playing or a catchy rhythm or strong vocals alone, all the components work as a formidable foe against mediocre rock. The unshakable melodies fit perfectly to their V8 rhythm. The lead guitar knows exactly when to lean in with explosive riffs and when to pull back with the rhythm guitar. The drums and bass work together like an engineer and coalman, keeping the songs moving like an unstoppable locomotive. At times, the bass strolls off at its own charging pace, rather than just following the guitar and drums. You don't notice it right away, but it ultimately makes their songs stand way above rest.

Though everything on this record is mixed really well-you're treated to loud, crisp guitars and a driving rhythm-the doubled vocals really catch your ear. Michelle (ex-LOLI & THE CHONES, ex-BITCH SCHOOL) has honed her singing to honey-like perfection. She's got a strong voice that goes down smooth, and is sweet without being sappy and dumb. She doesn't force it, trying to sound tough. This is a refreshing change from the usual. You know, a lot of girls singers overdo it one way or the other-trying to be too demure or a lot more macho than they're able to pull off. Michelle's got the kind of voice that hasn't been heard since Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las stopped singing. That is, when she sings, she sounds tough and demure all at once, a bowl-over for the right person, a bulldog for the rest.

Musical technicalities aside, the Pinkz capture the pure, buzzing energy of rock 'n' roll. Unlike bands like, say, the DONNAS, the Pinkz don't load their shows with put-on attitude, dressing up with sneers, strutting moves and all that crap. Nope, the Pinkz are a little goofy, very modest and most of all, they fucking rock. If I had to, guess I'd call them a Power Pop band, but don't let that frighten you. Sure they're unmistakably poppy and yeah, their songs are loaded with more hooks than a well-stocked tackle box. But they really crank up the POWER in Power Pop.

Their choice of covers on this single says a lot about their sound. In these songs and others, they really capture the sound and spirit of bands like TEENAGE HEAD, the REAL KIDS, DMZ and NIKKI & the CORVETTES. They just finished a West Coast tour with the REAL KIDS. Of any band who deserves such an honor, it's the Pinkz.

Don't miss the Pinkz if you get a chance to see them. Though these covers are well done and are great songs, their original songs stand as strong (if not stronger) than these. If you can't see the Pinkz (or even if you can), you'll have to wait for their album to get the full Pinkz experience.
(Radio Beat PO Box 8198 Bellflower, CA 90707-8198)

Other 7"s of note:
Steve & the Secrets - Who's Walkin' Who/Outta My Way 7"

I guess there was a lot of buzz around this record. The Stevie in Stevie & the Secrets is Steve Baise, of the Devil Dogs. Yeah, that's reason for a buzz to be created for a record. I even heard (though I don't know if it's true) that this sold out immediately. I mention this only to highlight how hype doesn't always deliver (as if you needed to be reminded).

Steve Baise has a helluva a track record. It seems like every fucking song he touches, he turns into gold-plated rock 'n' roll thunder. The DEVIL DOGS set the standard and remain one of the all-time best rock 'n' roll bands. Then you have the VIKINGS, PEARL SCHWARZ, LOS PRIMOS (okay, so maybe they're the exception), and goddamn RONNIE FUJIYAMA (single that still sends me into an frenzy). That's a fucking musical pedigree.

This record shows what the Devil Dogs woulda sounded like without that special electric energy. It sounds two-dimensional and lacks the organic fury that really made the Devil Dogs hit you like a heartattack. Musically, Stevie & the Secrets stand neck and neck to the DEVIL DOGS. Same raucous rhythm, same wild, sneering vocals, same stunning, buzzing guitars. But there's something missing. Or maybe Baise has just gotten my standards raised so fucking high that anything less than 120% ain't good enough. 'Cause this record is still considerably better than most of the phlegm coughed up by most bands, but it just doesn't quite live up to Baise's pedigree. Hopefully they'll stick around long enough to change my mind.
(Sympathy For the Record Industry)

Thee Antonio Three -Theme From Love Lesson 9 7" EP

Off-kilter, blaring noise from Japan. Sometimes you can tell a lot about a band by the bands they thank in the liner notes. Thee Antonio Three mention ESTRELLA 20/20, providing a good starting point in trying to pin down their maniacal sound.

The four songs on this debut single lurch and jump, soaked in carefully manicured distortion. The guitar's feedback, screech with deep electrical energy, romp through chords like kindergartners tearing through a candy store. The blaring vocals march to a thunderous rhythm that speeds up and slows down with out warning, leaving you wondering where the hell they're gonna take you next. Just when they're following a digestible melodic jag, they blow it to hell with a tangled, crashing mess of guitars so loaded with distortion you'll think someone slipped a GUITAR WOLF record on while you weren't looking.
(Yakisakana Records 51, rue Pierre Renaudel 76 100 Rouen France)

Les Viperes/Sux Evulsors - split 7"

Les Viperes come from Quebec, Sux Evulsors from France. Some people in the rock community think it's impossible for the French to make good rock 'n' roll. Now, while I don't subscribe to this theory (as it has been proven wrong a number of times over the past 30-40 years... and really, just listen to GASOLINE's "Killerman" and you'll see how full of shit that argument is), I was always curious if they thought this because of the language or because they just hated France.

Anyway, this record is interesting for a number of reasons. First and foremost, both bands deliver furious, fast punk loaded with manic vocals and hot guitars that do more than race through three chords. However, it's also interesting to note that the French band sings in English, the Canadian band sings in French. Hmmm, what's that about? If the above mentioned Francophobes were using this to test their theory, this is what they would their theory is full of shit.

While I personally think Sux Evulsors win out on this split, neither band will let you down. Les Viperes' first song, "Eau de vie" is more solid than their second offering, "Crache ton venin," which sounds wobbly, slow and unsure. Both songs are loaded with fiery guitar action injected full of simmering distortion.

Sux Evulsors are faster, louder and snottier. Their songs hold together a little better and though they clip by quicker, they're catchier. The sound is buried deep under a thick blanket of noise, making it sound like the singer was in a closet with his mouth stuffed full of socks when this was recorded. The two songs, "I Don't Give a Fuck," and "Five Faces Woman," howl with skull-cracking mania.
(SDZ Records/Fourdu Records Impasse Janine 95220 Herblay France)

Henry Fiats Open Sore - Split 7"
(Proud to Be Idiot c/o Alessandro Nodari via are zovo 17c 37125 Verona Italy)
The Evolutions - Hail Fucked Up R&B! 7"
(Yakisakana Records 51, rue Pierre Renaudel 76 100 Rouen France)
The Don't Cares - Keep 'Em Rolling! 7"
(Eternal Broadcast PO Box 138273 Chicago, IL 60613 USA)

Most of these records can be gotten at: Underground Medicine or Subterranean Records. And hey, if you order directly from the band or label, be sure to tell 'em where you saw the review!

Mark Murrmann
PO Box 11906 Berkeley, CA 94712 USA

© 2003