Articles - Obsessive/Compulsive Rock N Roll - Little Killers – 6.14.03

The Little Killers - “Better Be Right” b/w “Messin’ Around” 7”
No, this is not a dream.  The words “Teenage Shutdown” do not appear anywhere on the sleeve.  And, even though you might be fooled at first, this is not another recently re-discovered Pagans demo.  But it’s right there on the label, ominous and skuzzy as ever:  CRYPT RECORDS!  It was inevitable for Crypt to end their self-imposed ban on new bands, at least in my mind.  In case you haven’t noticed, a lot has happened in the time since Bantam Rooster’s last Crypt release.  I mean, c’mon…Jack Oblivian’s old geetar is on the cover nearly every single music and pop culture rag on the newsstand.  In spite of this fact, I would hardly accuse Crypt’s return to NOW as a quest for profit.  I think they’re back to remind us who we are.  Remember?  We are folks who yearn for a garbage can apartment and a hefty-girl burlesque show.  All of our girlfriends end up banging the gearheads and going for the gloss, leaving us with a bent record needle and a limp dick.  We’re not cool, cutting edge or setting any trend.  We are trash. 
But enough about us!  What of this band, The Little Killers?  Well…these folks are here NOW, not “Back From The Grave”.  This is The Little Killers’ debut single and it’s on Crypt Records…right where it belongs.  I’ve been hearing about this NYC band’s greatness for quite some time (yes, the tales spread far to the west).  Needless to say, I had to fight off the whole “new great NYC band saves Rock’N’Roll” cliché that seems to be everywhere these days.  The Little Killers DO, in fact, bring the goods though.  In fact, they might be the only NYC band playing real Rock’N’Roll right now! 
Recorded live of WFMU’s incredibly cool Terre T’s Cherry Blossom Clinic radio show, the two tunes here channel all the raw, fuzzy, and LOUD feel of many of Crypt’s heyday bands.  The barroom showmanship of The Lazy Cowgirls and the confidence The Devil Dogs being the two most apparent connections to their roster brethren of the past.  “Better Be Right” comes in pounding and crunching, with a riff that’s beaten rather than strummed.  The guitar leads are pure beer-guzzlers (providing you can keep your head from bobbing).  More than a few longnecks will be drained to this puppy, mark my words!  The flip, “Messin’ Around”, is a Thunders-attack dance number and probably my favorite of the two.  You can’t help but go along with the cry of “Let’s have some fuckin’ fun!”  They’ve got the 70’s punk sound down perfectly (perhaps equal parts Heartbreakers and Saints), but mash it up by running it through the classic groove of Chuck Berry.  Aces across the board on this one, folks.
(Crypt Records USA, 3 Reading Ave., Frenchtown, NJ 08825,
Other 7”s of note:
The Fuses - “Sex Crimes” b/w ‘Me, I Disconnect From You” 7”
Although I’ve always been fairly impressed buy the output of these Baltimore Gang Of Four devotees, I must say that I was (and continue to be) absolutely floored by “Sex Crimes”, which is the tastiest bit of neoteric pop that I’ve heard in ages.  I didn’t know that they had it in them!  A quick, whirling jolt that’s as sweet as it is sharp, “Sex Crimes” channels all the same influences that they’ve showcased in previous outings, but with a refined sound that’s tighter than ever.  It almost has a Nuggets, psych/garage feel to it…totally unexpected and fantastic.  The flip is, of course, a Tubeway Army cover, which is sure to please and disgust an equal amount of listeners.  I think they do it well, but after “Sex Crimes”, anything is a letdown.  My most-spun single of 2003 thus far.  Get one!
(Shit Sandwich Records, 3107 N. Rockwell, Chicago, IL 60618,
The Stuck-Ups – “Last Chance” b/w “Out Of Control” 7”

Hey hey, waddaya know?  Another keyboard-heavy outfit outta the Northwest!  After releasing a couple of albums on Sympathy, The Stuck-Ups appear to be switching gears and are going the punk/wave route (or, at least, more heavily in that direction).  What makes this single so appealing is that it’s far more punk than new wave.  There’s a legitimate snarl to “Out Of Control”, a tune that thankfully refuses to delve into the candy-ass aspects of new wave.  It’s a real punk rock song with keyboards…what a novel idea!  “Last Chance” sounds like a Lost Sounds tune gone pop punk…the best of both worlds.  On the great Johnny Cat Records, a label you should already know and love.
(Johnny Cat Records,
Erase Errata – “Live At The Eagle Tavern” 7” (Awesome picture disc!)
(Lungcast Records,
The Hunches – “Lisa Told Me” b/w Radiation” 7” (Exclusive B-side!)
(Sweet Nothing Records,
The Orphans – “Chinatown” b/w “Moscow Massage” 7” (A good band from L.A?)
(Kapow Records,
Mitch Cardwell
1405 Rose St.
Crockett, CA 94525 U.S.A.

© 2003