Columns - "If You Die, and Go to Hell, Who Cares?" 08.16.00

With so many good records out this month, it’s a good thing all you have those fat student loan checks coming in. Get comfy, ‘cause this column is gonna be long.

It’s out! It’s out! The long-awaited FIRESTARTER 7" (Target Earth c/o Masao Nakagami/505 Lupinus Hiranuma/1-1-15 Hiranuma/Nishi-Ku, Yokohama/220-0023/Japan// is finally out...but unfortunately, it’s also out of print. If you can track down a copy, I highly recommend you grab it. If you liked the RAYDIOS, you’ll love FIRESTARTER (which has 3/4 of TEENGENERATE [Fink, Fifi, Sammy]). These four songs are a little on the long side, but are more than solid. They have a great, souped-up, blown-out EDDIE & THE HOT RODS/KILLJOYS/AUTOMATICS pub-rock feeling running through their sound. Not quite as Power Pop-like as the RAYDIOS--they’re more mature sounding, which might take a listen or two to get used to, especially if you go in expecting the furious howl of TEENGENERATE. A musical force to be watched for sure.

Before David Yow was a hot shot noise rocker, he was in a dirty Texas Punk band called TOXIC SHOCK LP. If you read Fucked And Photocopied carefully, you’ll notice a mention of them. According to that book, they didn’t really exist. Well, an LP just came out that proves otherwise. This gets the reissue of the month award, for whatever that’s worth (nothing). It’s limited to just 197 hand-numbered copies, but is worth tracking down. The packaging stands out as being nearly spectacular (especially since so many comps and reissues have been totally skimping on the presentation of themselves). Cool blood-splatter printed inner-sleeve, red vinyl with hints of white. Musically, it’s not to be missed as well, especially if you’re a fan of brash Texas Punk (that reminds me, did you pick up the PARTY OWLS LP?). The female vocals make Penelope Houston sound like the art school student she was. TOXIC SHOCK are fast and loud, taking no prisoners as they run through their songs.

The REDS LP on Rip Off is finally out. Fuck, I had to go a whole four or five months without any new REDS stuff. Well, would you expect anything less than great out of this record? It’s fast, loud and sharp. They cut out everything unnecessary and get down to business on 14 songs, including a killer cover of the URINALS’ "Ack, Ack, Ack." The opening song, "No Style," sets the tone for the record, then quickly moves into their theme song, "Ready Steady Reds." From there, it’s non-stop breathless sneering punk action. Listening to it, I can’t shake the idea that these songs sound a lot like much of the Japanese punk that’s coming out these days (REGISTRATORS, PRIVATEWAYS, RADIO SHANGHAI, GIMMIES, ZYMOTICS). Oh, a handful of these are on blue vinyl. Greg Lowery knows how to make the collector geeks sweat.

Spreading the word of one of Spain’s snottiest group of derelict punks, the SAFETY PINS, Dead Beat Records (PO Box 283/Los Angeles, CA 90078) just released the snarling Invite Us To Your Funeral LP. Have you heard their other two LPs on Munster Records? Funny how easy it is to find all the killer Munster reissues, but their original releases have a harder time making it to the States and elsewhere.

And I know you’re dying to know what Munster’s got cooking in their reissue department. The answer: tons and tons of killer records. Here’s a quick rundown:

THE DOGS "Charlie was a Good Boy" 7". Noted as the "first" punk record from France, original released in 1977 on Skydog. THE PLIMSOULS "A Million Miles Away" 7" Power Pop hit that went up to #83 on the Billboard charts...for whatever that’s worth. A good record, but not as good as REDD KROSS’ "Born Innocent" LP, which Munster is also reissuing. It’s the complete LP from ’82, with all the original art, on muscle-building 220gram vinyl. More L.A. goodies...WEIRDOS "Neutron Bomb/Silver Shining Light" 7" The A side from their Dangerhouse single, with a song recorded in 1990 (featuring Flea on bass?!?). Want more WEIRDOS? Okay. How about an LP (titled Weird World: 1977-81, Vol. 1) collecting their "Neutron Bomb" and "Destroy All Music" 7"s plus the "Who What When" and "Action Design" 12"s. Gatefold sleeve, and again, hefty 220gram vinyl. Going back farther, Munster is reissuing FLAMIN' GROOVIES first release, Sneakers as 10" (like the original). Seven songs, original artwork and lots of cool full color posters and shit. You need this. Bad. But wait! There’s more! Munster heads to Australia, bringing us back the generous gift of a double SAINTS LP. 32 songs that span from ’77 to ’99. Sure their later stuff drags, but their early songs alone will make this worth your hard-earned cash. Then again, you’ll probably have to work a whole weeks’ worth of overtime just to save enough money to get all these Munster goodies. Oh, wait. Munster also has two BOBBY FULLER 7"s to help you break the bank.

Two years in the making, Jellybean’s Jumpin’ Jukebox (Dionysus) has finally hit the streets. A collection of some of the hottest Japanese garage bands from the late ‘90s, this record includes songs by: JET BOYS, TWEEZERS(!), JACKIE & THE CEDRICS (naturally), TEENY CHEETAS, PEBBLES, GUITAR WOLF and more!

I recently got blown away by MOONEY SUZUKI, who played at this weird swanky upscale club in San Francisco. From start to finish, they unleashed pure rock ‘n’ roll thunder. I have a couple of their singles and though those records are good, they don’t even compare to the thunder of their live show. Hopefully their first LP People Get Ready (Estrus) will do their live show better justice.

The RONDELLES played the same show and were good, but not quite as good as their records mostly just because the vocals were hard to hear. The best part of their show was their amazing drummer who plays a little Casio keyboard as he also plays the drums. At the end of their set, he came up front and sang "Stab the Motherfucker in the Back," and "Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl?" A perfect ending, though most of the messy bobbed-haired Indie kids in the crowd seemed utterly confused. Speaking of the RONDELLES, they have a new single, TV Zombie, on K Records.

After laying low for a while, Sack O’ Shit (PO Box 308/Kankakee, IL 60901) has dumped another load on us, three 7"s and an LP to be exact. I mentioned the SEXAREENOS "Finger Party" single last month. In addition to that, the SMUTS come at you with two echo-chamber trashy numbskulls songs on a hot 7". The GUILTY PLEASURES single is one of those that you have to listen to loud to really appreciate it. Right now I’m listening to it on a set of headphones with only one working side. My right ear is getting blasted with a swarm of crunching distortion, snotty vocals and some hot guitar action. I’m going deaf now. Finally, Sack O’ Shit just put out an LP by the MASHERS. Only 550 of these blister-causing hotcakes to go around, so get yours while the price is right ($10 in the US, $11 to the North and South, the rest of you have to shell out $12.50, but it carries the Sack O’ Shit brand name, so you know what you’re getting—a big smelly turd for your turntable to piss off your parents and freak out your friends).

The ever-prolific DIALTONES are at it again, this time delivering 7 songs on a one-sided 12" platter, called Short Sharp Shock (Radio Blast).

My favorite European power pop band (and hopefully yours), the YUM YUMS, are back with a new single called "Back to Rosie" (Safety Pin). With only one original and two covers (of SWEET and the BARRACUDAS), it leaves a little to be desired. Regardless, the covers are good, the original is great. Get it.

Shawn Obnoxious raves and raves about CRIMSON SWEET...or maybe it’s Kenny Rock Action. One of those Ohio guys. Anyway, CRIMSON SWEET have a new 7" out (PO Box 20506/Tompkins Sq. Sta./NYC, NY 10009) and it’s worthy of the raves the crazy Ohio give it. On the first song on each side, "CTR" and "Bad Riddle," Booster’s vocals shriek like no others I’ve heard, pure nails on a chalkboard howling. Depending on what kinda mood I’m in, it’s great. Right now I have a headache, so I’m paying more attention to the other songs, where she’s actually singing (like "Robot Bus Driver" and "I Can Touch You Now). They have a good, twisted sound.

It was only a matter of time. Somebody pressed two tracks from the pricey STOOGES Funhouse box set on Rhino on to a nifty 7" and called it "Lost In The Future."

Being lauded by many (including members of the band) as one of the best MC5 records, the classic ROIR tape Babes In Arms has finally been issued on vinyl! 15 songs that span the length of their career, this LP is really a must have for Motor City fans. It includes different versions of songs on their Elektra LPs, as well as their first two singles ("I Can Only Give You Everything/One of the Guys" and "Looking At You") and a never before issued song recorded in 1971 called "Gold." If you’re tired of picking up lame-duck live records of the MC5, have faith and don’t pass on this record.

If you remember, about this time last year, I wrote about going to Detroit for a monumental show—the RENDEZVOUS BAND with Deniz Tek joining on guitar. Well, thanks to the hard work of a lot of fans, a live recording of the show has finally been released and is titled, Gettin' There Is Half the Fun (REAL-O-MIND). The sound quality is top notch; it’s an excellent document of an incredibly night. Limited to 1,000 copies, available through Get Hip and the usual sources.

Continuing the Motor City thread that’s going here, Bomp Records and Douglas Books have reissued JOHN SINCLAIR’s classic tome Guitar Army. It’s a faithful reissue, including all 365 pages, documenting the White Panthers’ activities from 1968 – 1971. Over 100 photos, cartoons and posters round this book out, making interesting to look at and read.

The old UK compilation, Sent from Coventry has recently been reissued in full by Data Records (28 Silksby St/Coventry/CV3 5FX/UK). If you’re a fan of the Powerpearls and Teenage Treats comps, be sure to get this, you’re sure to love it.

I mentioned it a while again, but it’s worth saying again, Penniman Records has reissued what I would consider one of the all-time best 7"s ever! Yes, the FUN THINGS e.p. has finally been reissued in its entirety, with the original artwork. Penniman is located in France, but all the usual distributors will have these and the second NERVOUS EATERS single, "Loretta". You’ve probably heard the song "Loretta." The B-side, "Rock With Me," doesn’t compare.

Shane McGowan’s (of the POGUES) first band, the NIPS (originally the NIPPLE ERECTORS) has an LP out that collects their first four 7"s and includes 8 other songs from 1978 and 1980.

Back to Front Volume 2 has been reissue in a limited edition of 300. Maybe this will remind people why all the furor over old, obscure punk started. This is one of the best series of comps ever done. Get it now while you can.

Other reissues: REZILLOS Can’t Stand the Rezillos LP (Talenti); VILETONES LP (a bootleg of the Taste of Honey CD that’s still in print on Other People’s Music); F "You Are an E.P." 7" (Sound Idea); VOID "Live 2-13-83" 7" (300 pressed, good recording), BENEDICT ARNOLD & THE TRAITORS retrospective CD; RUBBER CITY REBELS retrospective CD; the CRIME "Johnny Come Home" 7" (UK band on Bored Teenagers; reissue of their 1980 7"; ASTA KASK "Rock Mot Svinen" LP (a "best of" collection) and "Till Sista Droppen" 7" (outtakes from 1984-85; both are on Hohnie);

If you really like old East Coast Hardcore, stuff like the TEEN IDOLS, MINOR THREAT, DYS, I can’t recommend enough you check out D.S.-13 from Sweden. Not only do they carry on the tradition of fast and loud without all the shitty metal guitars, their lyrics are the best ever. But I’ll warn all you close-minded rock ‘n’ rollers, stay far away—your brain will be smashed to pebbles the ferocity of their songs. They have a bunch of stuff out, including an LP on Deranged and a few singles. Your best bet is to order from Felix Von Havoc or Profane Existence.

The photobooth zine I’ve been putting together should be out by the early September. Write me for details.

That’s it this month. In a matter of hours I’m heading out to Las Vegas for the Shakedown, then, a few days later I’ll be in the Midwest riding the world’s largest rollercoaster (310 feet!). Summer is almost over and that sucks. I hope yours was more fun-filled than mine.

PO Box 11906/Berkeley, CA 94712
•To find the records mentioned in here, try these distros:
Undergroung Medicine:
Subterranean Records:

© 2003