Articles - Obsessive/Compulsive Rock N Roll - Hospitals - 04.27.03

The Hospitals - Again + Again 7” EP
I’d say that 2002 was a lackluster year for singles.  Perhaps that’s stating the obvious, since only one installment of “Compulsive Rock’N’Roll” appeared last year.  Sure, 2002 saw the release of The Final Solutions, The Intelligence/Popular Shapes, and Mistreaters singles.  Those aside, the vast majority of the singles in our “best of” lists really wouldn’t be there had the year been as strong as we had grown accustomed to.  POINT BLANK:  there is too much “fake” music out there, and too much time is spent playing and writing about it.  With that in mind, I present to you the debut 7”EP by The Hospitals, a single that not only deserves the “Compulsive” treatment, but one that spells everything out right on its sleeve:  “STOP FAKING MUSIC”.
The Hospitals are a noisy two-piece combo that hails from Portland, OR.  Judging by this single, they must be the absolute biggest misfits in the city (yes, including The Hunches, who are probably their only sonic brethren for a 2000 miles in any direction).  When I saw them play in S.F. last year, Rod, the guitarist, stood off to the side while drummer Adam beat the living shit out of his kit and wailed violently into the mike.  Let’s just say that the equipment and the audience had a severely impacted life expectancy while The Hospitals were playing.  After about 15 minutes, it collapsed entirely:  drums in total disarray, bottles of PBR in pieces everywhere and several people who didn’t know if they should clap or run.  It was fantastic…and it wasn’t the slightest bit forced. 
That’s enough on the past, let’s visit NOW.  The scene:  my mailbox.  The parcel:  The Hospitals Again + Again 7”EP, released on Future Primitive Records (limited to 300 copies, hand silk-screened covers).  The verdict:  a seven-inch slab of wax that is so incredibly fucking primal that you’re left sitting in a puddle of your own drool, awaiting the nurse’s instructions. 
The title track simply does not give you room to catch your breathe.  From the uncontrollable crash of the drums to the screeching guitar, it’s immediately clear that there will be no toe-tapping while this is on your turntable.  From this vicious opening attack, one would think that this band was a (really good) one trick pony, but the two tunes on the flip show that this band clearly has its fingers on the pulse of IT, that elusive quality that turns noise into music…and back again.  “Just Don’t Know” opens with Hunches-like blues:  slightly garagey, very affected, and on the brink of total noise.  It’s amazing to hear only two guys make such incredible racket.  The single closes with “I’m Invisible”, which sounds like a caveman version of A-Frames sorting through the trials and tribulations of antisocial behavior.  It’s a seamless blend of drone and bash, not to mention my favorite tune of the three.
I’m trying to keep it honest here.  I’ve officially stopped faking music.  I’ve officially stopped praising anything that isn’t worth it.  I’m raising my standards.  I’m genuinely impressed here.  You will be too.  STOP FAKING MUSIC.
($4ppd:  Future Primitive Records, 6023 NE 15th Ave., Portland, OR 97211,
Other 7”s of note:
The Ponys-“So Sentimental” 7”EP
This is definitely a surprise.  The Ponys are ex-members of The Guilty Pleasures playing some UK-flavored post-punk, with Jay and Alicja of The Lost Sounds handling the knob twisting.  It’s a change of pace (to say the very least), but a damn effective one.  The strength of this single alone immediately puts them in the same class as bands like Radar Secret Service, as they’ve managed to update those much-fabled limey bookworm bands into something that comes alive and rocks.  Comparisons to The Cure are warranted, but only if you’re able to (psychotically) imagine Robert Smith owning Freestone or Child Molesters singles.  The obvious winner here is “I Wanna Fuck You”, which is more akin to early Joy Division or Stiff-era Cure than The Dwarves (as the title might lead you to believe).  Along with The Hospitals EP, this is the most promising debut single I’ve heard in quite a while.  A single on Big Neck is soon to follow, but check them out here…you don’t wanna wait.
(Contaminated Records, P.O. Box 41953, Memphis, TN 38174,
Anteenagers M.C.- “(The) Future (‘s Coming Tomorrow) b/w “Down In Amsterdam” 7”
In recent years, France has given the punk world some great combos.  I’d say add Anteenagers M.C. to the list, but this band is filled plenty of familiar faces.  With principal members of The No-Talents and Steve And The Jerks, these Frenchies have a proven track record.  You might be surprised to learn that these folks have ditched the Supercharger worship, opting instead for some tuneful, wave-tinged PUNK (capitalized for emphasis).  Don’t get your panties in a bunch:  no synths or keyboards, only “proper” instrumentation.  The lead track, crazy parentheses and all, is an absolute killer.  The piercing guitar lead and booming drums add a lot of power to the hook, not that it really needs much help.  The flip is a fantastic Paul Revere & The Raiders cover, complete with perfect slash guitar sound.  These folks are supposedly coming to The States this month, so keep an eye for ‘em.  I haven’t seen this record on any distro lists, so catching them live might be your only chance at avoiding overseas shipping costs.  Either way, this one is totally worth tracking down.
(SDZ Records c/o N. Mugnier, 12 Av. Du Parc, 92170 Vanves, FRANCE
The Grabbies-“I Wanna Be Blind” 7”EP (Totally offensive TRASH!)
(Proud To Be Idiot Records, P.O. Box 410325, San Francisco, CA 94141-0325
End Of The World News-“1917” 7”EP (I Farm & Aaron Cometbus do Trotsky!)
(Recess Records, P.O. Box 1666, San Pedro CA 90733
Catholic Boys-“Brainwash City” 7”EP (Best Rip Off band not on Rip Off?)
(Kryptonite Records, 2324 W. Wisconsin Ave. #53, Milwaukee, WI 53233
Mitch Cardwell
1405 Rose St.
Crockett, CA 94525 U.S.A.

© 2003