Articles - Obsessive/Compulsive Rock N Roll - Young Ones - 05.02.01

Apologies for the delay in getting a new round of seven inch reviews up. Do you care about the reasons? I didn't think so. Just a few quick notes before we get under way here...sorry about the fact that I often review records that are near impossible to find. Part of the reason I do it is to let people know they're out there. You might have to—gasp!—write a letter to a label to get the record (as opposed to just cruising by an online one-stop distro), but they're worth it. That's my second reason. A lot of the really good stuff coming out these days gets overlooked, or comes out on small labels from countries other than the U.S. People have become lazy and spoiled. It doesn't seem like many people are willing to go the extra mile to track down good records. Then again, there's a lot of shit to wade through...One last quick note. I usually don't review reissues; I'd rather focus on new bands. This time 'round I made a special exception (the PLEASURE SEEKERS). Don't expect it to happen very often, but definitely check this one out.

Young Ones – Fear/Brains 7"

Continuing in my tradition of featuring hard-to-find 7"s, this month I'm kicking things off with yet another Japanese record. The YOUNG ONES 7" came out a while ago (1999 or 2000), but deserves a belated mention.

As much as I like a lot of the new stuff coming from Japan, I gotta admit, the Mod and New Wave influence on Japanese bands is wearing thin. A number of them have started watering down their songs with lengthy solos, clumsy melodies and a weak rhythm section. Thank god for the Young Ones.

If you missing the all-out, breathless rock 'n' roll attack of Teengenerate, but can't quite get into the all-noise tornado that is Guitar Wolf, the Young Ones may be the middle ground that'll be able to fill that void in your life.

From the very start, the guitars rev things up, rumbling like a whole gang of mean motorcycles, roaring low, sounding like they'd chew up everything in site. As soon as the first song, "Fear," takes off, the guitars put it into high gear and the vocals jump on like they're mounting a prize rodeo bull. The Japanese-accented English lyrics only make the songs sound that much meaner. "Fear" actually reminds me of the unforgettable "Killer Man" by Gasoline, a French band who put out only one 7" in 1977 (which is, of course, now impossible to find for a reasonable price).

Flip the 45 over and you're treated to another quick bite of monstrous chopper-like guitars. Even though the second side is a bit more tame in comparison, the Young One's roaring engine sounds like it's hit a good cruising speed. Everything is still loud, the drums and bass still keep a furious rumble in the song, but they take a little more time to work in some strong melodies. Furthering the comparison to Teengenerate, the Young Ones spice up "Brains" with a few well-placed stunning Teengen-style riffs. You know what I'm talkin' about; the searing guitar licks that send chills down your spine and make it impossible to keep from making a dumb scrunched up rock star face while air guitaring the notes.

The Young Ones play killer punk rock. They give you two nearly perfect songs, at full strength. They don't water anything down; there aren't any poppy hooks or slow interludes. None of that bullshit. They hit the gas and don't even slow down, don't even look back as they run you over.
(Pogo '77 1-101-1 Rokkodai/Matsudo/Chiba/Japan)

Other 7"s of note:
New Town Animals/Délateurs – split 7"

Sometimes the covers a band chooses speaks volumes. In the case of the New Town Animals, their cover of "Hey Little Rich Boy" indeed tells you nearly everything you need to know about the band. Melodic but crunchy. Snotty but a little bit poppy. The choppy vocals offset their sound a bit, giving them a uniqueness that helps distinguish their take on the so-called '77 sound from all the other bands doing similar things. That is, their songs are more melodic, less thuggish, but generally similar to a lot of stuff coming outta Long Beach. Actually, they're way better than most the mediocre, ham-fisted, muscle beach crap coming from SoCal. These Canadians do it right.

On the other side, the Délateurs offer two refreshingly different songs. With a strutting rhythm, guitars that sound like they should be wearing cool, black wrap-around shades a-la Velvet-era Lou Reed and vocals that howl, squirm, scratch and moan, all in phlegm, raspy French, the Délateurs waste no time proving their worth. The first song, named after the band (or vice versa) cuts with a short, jagged blade, ripping through the song like a saw tearing through cardboard. "Dépecer la planéte" shows they know how to handle a slower tempo while still rockin' with full-throttle force. However, the little high-pitched "wo-hoos" sung in the background sound kinda cheesy, and the quiet interlude makes the song drag in the middle. It's like their exercising the Rolling Stones demon in them or something. Since the first song is such a barn-burning stormer, the second song feels especially long. Still, it's a classy swaggering song.

With these two bands, the Daylight Lovers, Les Sexareenos and all the other bands coming from the Montreal area, Canada is turning itself into a real rock 'n' roll force to be reckoned with.
(Zaxxon Virile Action 1731-6 Poupart/Montréal, Qué,/CANADA H2K 3G9)

A-Frames – Plastica/Hospital 7"

I've learned a helluva a lot from reading Scott Soriano's column in Maximum Rocknroll. He's a smart guy who can really write. Not only that, but he's proven to have great taste in music. Thus, whenever he puts out a new record, I always – always – pay attention.

The A-Frames are the lucky band to christen Scott's new label, SS Records, and what a show-stopper! It's clanky, clunky, robotic, simple, quirky and overall, it's loud and distorted, like it was recorded in a digital garbage can. It seems like bands like this were more common in the late 70s when people were a bit more open minded towards music, when punk seemed to be more inclusive of experimental, arty music. The A Frames fucking nail that killer bombastic damaged wave sound of bands like the Urinals, the Electric Eels, the Screamers, etc… Though they don't sound quite like any of those bands, the A Frames would fit very nicely on a mix tape with them.

I've said before and I'll say it again, one of the best things in the world is a 45 with a big hole separating two amazing songs. It's like magic. Boom! Play one song and you just keep playing it because it's so good, because you can't get enough. Then you flip it over and do the same with the other side.

Get this now, 'cause it's destined to be a classic and easily one of the best of 2001.
(SS Records 1114 21st St/Sacramento, CA 95814)

Pleasure Seekers – What A Way To Die/Never Thought You'd Leave Me 7"

What a fuckin' treat this record is! You may have heard the songs on this fine, fine platter before. They appeared on one of the Michigan installments of the Highs in the Mid-Sixties comps, and the What a Way To Die! comp took its name from the Pleasure Seekers song featured here. If you don't recognize it from those places, I believe the UNTAMED YOUTH covered said song at one point. How fitting, since this song epitomizes the idea of untamed youth. Let me quote from the lyrics for you:

Your lovin' fluctuate baby
and everybody knows
the temperature always stays the same
on an ice cold bottle of Stroh's...
...well I may not live past twenty-one
but WOO!
what a way to die!

Or how 'bout this:

When I start my drinking
my baby throws a fit
So I just blitz him outta my mind
with seventeen bottles of Schlitz…

And it only gets better from there.

Now, image those lyrics sung by a sure-tough bad girl who makes the Shangri-Las sound like a bunch of Leslie Gore wannabes. That's saying something. These girls are tough. They sound tough, they play tough and if this song doesn't scorch your mind, you should maybe check to see if you've still gotta pulse, 'cause only a dead square could not lose their mind over this record.

As you may or may not know, the Pleasure Seeker's claim to fame, outside of this stand-up rocker, is that a young Suzi Quatro made her first musical appearance in this band. Take that as you will…
(Norton Records Box 646 Cooper Sta./NYC, NY 10276)

Buff Medways – Don't Hold Me Back/Demolition 7"
(Damaged Goods/PO Box 671/London E17 9GH/UK/
Les Sexareenos – Can You Do the Nose Moustache? 7"
(Telstar/PO Box 1123/Hoboken, NJ 07030)
Les Sexareenos – Out To Sea 7" EP
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)
Henry Fiats Open Sore –Hits Mot Folkgruppe 7"
(Ken Rock/
One Man Show Live - It Don't Matter 7"
(Call & Response/1526 Westerly Terr. #4/LA, CA 90026/

Mark Murrmann
PO Box 11906
Berkeley, CA 94712 USA

© 2003