Columns - "If You Die, and Go to Hell, Who Cares?" 10.18.00

No time for bullshit, time to get to business. Not many new records were released recently. Lots of reissues, but not nearly enough new records.

The YUM YUMS are back with a new single on Screaming Apple (Dustemichstr. 14/50939 Koln/Germany/Screamapp@aol.com). More stunning Scandinavian Power Pop. Big production, meaty hooks all around great.

Rip Off takes a step in a slightly different direction with the release of the EXPLODERS 7". These Canadians still have a teeth-gnashing, gritty sound, but avoid the done-to-death no-fi SUPERCHARGER trash sound. Thank you. Instead they hit you over the head with two stomping songs that scream maniacal electric rock power.

A special field agent (Michael of Therapeutic Records in New Orleans) reported the following: "Thought I'd let you know you will be hearing more from the LOST SOUNDS. There's an album coming out on Big Neck Records. Jay (Reatard) said they were making him write a bio for a press release! His comments on that last REATARDS LP were ridiculous, so I can't wait to see this thing! In case your interested (and I know that you are), Eric Oblivian and I are doing a split release on a Bad Times LP (that's Jay Reatard, King Louie and Eric). You're gonna love it. Total KBD-madness!! It'll be out at the end of the year (I suppose).

Yakisakana Records (yakisakana.rec@wanadoo.fr) outta France is on the rampage, brining us two new releases. From Japan, in the tradition of SWITCH TROUT, GASOLINE and ESTRELLA 20/20, come THEE ANTONIO THREE. 4 songs of uncontainable Japanese rock 'n' roll thunder. Then, from Green Bay, WI, Yankisakana bring you the EVOLUTIONS. You know what to expect from these form LAST SONS OF KRYPTON-snow-melting, ear-warming, heart-stopping trashy rock 'n' roll. This EVOLUTIONS 7" still has the trashy, recording but is considerably louder than their first 7". Both are limited to 500 copies and come in classy silk-screened sleeves.

Personally, I can't get enough New Zealand and Australian Punk. That's why I'm so fired up about the new HENCHMEN LP due out any day. It's got 4 unreleased songs, plus their first 7" and 12". Expect thorough liner notes and expect them to go quick. It's limited to 350 copies.

Steve Baise is in yet another new band called STEVIE & THE SECRETS, who have a single on Sympathy that, like most of Sympathy's releases, is limited to 1,000 copies. Supposedly said single sold out immediately. After giving it one spin, I give it a thumbs up, but don't go into it expecting the DEVIL DOGS. This is more full-throttle, a little trashier, less swaggering.

Remember FIRST ALERT, from the amazing Chloroform compilation or Japanese bands, from 1996? Well, their LP, Thrills and Spills of 48 Hours (Time Bomb/Toporo 51 Bldg./2-18-18 Nishi-shinsaibashi/Chuo-ku/Osaka/542-0086 Japan) finally made it to the States! Rejoice! Get it! It's got a sharp, catchy edge that's blown through some raw distortion. I've only had the chance to listen to it twice, but I expect that with each listen, I'll like it more and more. Limited to 1000!

Two new LPs from the almighty Mortville Records (PO Box 4263/Austin, TX 78765). IGNORANCE PARK and the SECRET LOVERS are two LPs you absolutely need to give ample time on your turntable. This is especially true if you've been going crazy because all the "punk" kids at your school insist that the new acoustic GREEN DAY songs are punk. Play these for them, give 'em two black eyes and tell them to call you in the morning. Mortville is one of the absolute best labels around. Do yourself a favor and stay on top of 'em.

Just when you thought they couldn't move another inch, Munster has raised the floodgates on reissues. They're still coming out at pace that's nearly impossible to keep up with. It's not just Munster. There are also an incomprehensible number of replica bootlegs appearing, both 7"s and LPs. Here's the latest low down on what's out now, what you might have missed and what you should keep your eyes open for (or not).

First up, from those wild Spaniards at Munster (Apdo 147/Santurtzi 48980/Bizkai/ Spain/www.munster-records.com). Where to start? I highly recommend getting a copy of their catalog. Even if you can't read Spanish, you should be able to get the gist of things. It's enough to make any good rock 'n' roller drool. In addition to the latest on all their amazing reissues, Munster has killer shirts and buttons.

If you read the RADIO BIRDMAN book, you'll remember all the guys saying what a huge influence BLUE OYSTER CULT had on their music. Muster brings us For the Heavy Metal Kids and the Yardbirds, a live LP recorded in '72. I say save the $17 you'd spend on this and go pick up any of BOC's LPs in the dollar bin at your local record store.

Post-NY DOLLS-era SLYVAIN SYLVAIN is spotty at best. However, the CRIMINALS (circa '78) 7" is not bad. I'm thus curious to hear Bowery Butterflies, an LP of the CRIMINALS' '78 demo records. On heft 220 gram vinyl, which means if you mailorder this beast (or any of the Munster reissues), be sure to fork out a little extra for postage.

There were at least three old punk bands called the DOGS. Munster reissued the French bands' incredible first single, Charlie Was a Good Boy. Unlike some of the stuff getting reissued, this one is worth the second-time around. Take, for instance, the reissue of the PLIMSOULS' "Million Miles Away/I'll Get Lucky" single. Sure, it's a great power pop single, but there are a number of harder-to-find records out there worthy of reissuing.

The SAINTS career took a serious nosedive (musically anyway) after their second album. As if to prove this fact, Munster has released a double LP of SAINTS material spanning for '77 - '99. If you have the first two LPs, save your money and instead pick up the stunning, long-overdue SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS and SCREAMING LORD SUTCH records Munster is putting out.

From the original madman of rock 'n' roll, SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS (and you thought Marilyn Manson frightened parents, ha! He's nothing compared to Hawkins) Munster serves up an outrageous live show in Olympia. Supposedly it's one of Hawkins' last shows, though I'm not sure when it was recorded.

Those of you who went to the Shakedown in Las Vegas all missed on what was to be the undisputed highlight-SCREAMING LORD SUTCH. Sadly, Sutch hanged himself just months before his scheduled appearance. On the Raving Loony Party Favourites, album, you have 10 songs and a 3-song medley that showcase the no-bullshit heavy horror rock action of Sutch and the Savages. Mister Mike "Ugly Things" Stax penned the liner notes. If you read the article on Sutch in the last issue of Ugly Things, you know that the notes alone will be worth the price of this record.

Tying the two together, Munster also released a split picture disc single, featuring both Sutch (doing "She Was a Cheat," by Lee Hazlewood) and Hawkins (doing "Frankly Speaking,"). Neither of these songs are on the new albums.

I think I mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again because I still haven't seen it released...Munster is putting out a "Best of Flipside," 4-LP box set that will come with a book. Bands include: DICKIES, ADRENALINE OD, MISFITS, NECROS, AGENT ORANGE, ADOLESCENTS, 7 SECONDS and many more. As the Munster catalog says, "Muy limitado!"

Prepare yourself for the next round of reissues of long-forgotten punk, care of Rave-UP (via Montecuccoli 13/00176 Roma/Italy/raveup@tiscalinet.it). What's in store? How about a whole LP of material from the GRIM KLONE BAND, the TAZERS and the PENETRATORS? The GRIM KLONE BAND's Blank Space LP includes their 2 singles from '78 plus the usual assortment of lost studio and live tracks. Liner notes by Major Matt Grim himself. The TAZERS were from Orange County, around '82. They released a super-rare single and an LP in '83. You get 'em both here. Rave-Up kicked off their label with a single by the PENETRATORS. Now the PENETRATORS are getting their due with an LP of not Killed By Death type Punk, but raw Back from the Grave style '60s garage slob. Recorded in '76 - '78, this album includes their singles from the '70s, plus never before released studio cuts.

Here's a run down of reissues of questionable legitimacy: HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. Yeah, Munster reissued a form of this recently. This is not the same. I supposed this is a straight-up boot of the original LP. The JOLT s/t LP. FINALLY! Fuck, this record has been long-overdue for a reissue. If you like the CHORDS, the JAM or anything remotely Mod, you should absolutely not pass this up. The reissue includes bonus tracks from their 7"s. LONDON Animal Games. More UK punk from '78. MISFITS Singles Collections. Tired of trying to track down the bootlegs of all the MISFITS singles? Don't have enough stock options to buy the originals? Here's your chance to get them all in one place, for a reasonable price. NEON HEARTS "Popular Music". Glam/power pop heroes only album with selected tracks from their 7"s. UNDERTONES s/t LP. Wasn't this just bootlegged a year ago? Maybe more of them have surfaced or...I don't know. It was never a very hard album to find anyway. Here it is if you've missed it the first, second, third and fourth time it's been available. WIDOWS "Balls & Bollocks". Debut LP from this notorious Finnish band. Includes bonus songs from their first three 7"s. The STANDELLS Dirty Waterand Why Pick On Me. Get these if you don't have the originals.

Be sure to check the Hyped To Death website (www.hyped2death.com), where you can get the low-down on the great CD-only compilation series put together by Chuck Warner. The series includes: Hyped to Death, Homework, Messthetics, Teen Line and Bad Teeth. All are CD-Rs and are, uh, "listening aids" for those who are interested in buying records from Chuck's stunning catalog of rare and impossible to find punk. Much of this stuff has never been comped, and guess what? These CD's are cheaper, have more songs and all around better than 90% of the comps coming out now.

This will probably have come and gone by the time you read this, but I thought it is worth mentioning away. I wish I could go (could've gone)... If you can't make it to New York City for this year's Cavestomp, you should make a point of getting to Columbus, Ohio on November 3rd and 4th. Eric Davidson of the NEW BOMB TURKS is putting together a weekend show called Capitol Punishment, with the help of Glazed Records. They call it a "Two Moon Spree of Killer Rock 'n' Roll." The shows are taking place at the High Five, a bar or club in Columbus. How's playing? You'll be sorry you missed it if I tell you...here's just a taste of the roster: GUILTY PLEASURES, ANDY G. AND THE ROLLER KINGS, TRASH BRATS, MYSTERY GIRLS, CLONE DEFECTS, SPIDER FRIENDZ, and one of my personal favorites, the BASEBALL FURIES!!! Email Glazed Records for more information: info@glazed.com.

I know at least a few of you used to skate. Some of you might still jump on your board once in a while. Lately, Tom Hopkins and I have been making early morning trips to the area skateparks, reigniting my passion for skateboarding.

I fell out of the loop once the punk aspect of skating got overcome by the tidal wave of hip-hop/new school bullshit. I felt pretty out of place among the basketball shoes, flip tricks and overall push to make skateboarding easier for the general public to swallow. It didn't help that most the people I had once skated with stopped or moved or wholly accepted the new wave of skateboarding.

I've been draw back into skateboarding by all the amazing, mind-blowing parks in Northern California (http://skate.norcal.cx/) and Southern Oregon (http://www.skateoregon.com/). For the most part, particularly the parks in Oregon, are stunning works of concrete art. I swear I used to sit in math class and draw impossible skateparks that look hauntingly similar to these new parks.

Tom and I make early morning trips to avoid the large crowds these parks draw. Skaters, rollerbladers, bikers and worst of all, scooter-riders cram the place. But even a hundred little rollerbladers with parents in tow isn't quite as bad as a group of older skaters or bikers who've honed the art of vibing. I'm still getting used to it.

The punk aspect of skateboarding never, ever left. It's just become harder to find, which is for the better, really. Though Thrasher has long gone the corporate, ultra-glossy route, complete with 20 shoe ads per issue, magazines like Concussion (www.concussion.org) and Heckler (http://www.heckler.com) do a great job of keeping the loud, fast outta control rough and tumble attitude in skateboarding.

I have serious problems with the directions some companies are pushing skateboarding. If I had the brain and unquenchable fire that my girlfriend Mimi has for exposing underlying motives and flushing out the consequences of certain actions, I'd have my hands full with the skateboarding industry. Not that it's ever been a bastion of ethical business practices or ever had any motive other making money. It's still ripe for criticism. What are the implications of certain companies pushing for a more mainstream appeal of skateboarding? How fucked up is it that www.boredsports.com and www.antix.com both have features on "hot women"? Not women that skate, but broads in bikinis. And why do they spend so much time sucking major labels cocks, reviewing fuckin Eminem and Britney Spears and bullshit like that? I guess I get angry because, like punk, skateboarding at one time really felt like it was a world created and ruled by US. As it becomes more mainstream, other people have taken over the reins, people who don't know fuck about skateboarding began calling the shots. To them, it's only about making money. That's always a recipe for disaster.

I guess as long as I can get on my board and skate, I guess it doesn't really. But then again, having to endure hordes of 11 year olds on rollerblades listening to "Who Let the Dogs Out," over and over and over again at a local skatepark, while their parents call the cops on three guys on bikes who just want to ride the park...I think it does matter.

Anyway, if you skate or used to skate and miss the punk rock aspects of it, check out Concussion and Heckler.

A few final notes...the X (Australian band) 7" I have been working on with Mimi is finally out. Four old songs (Home Is Where the Floor Is/Hate City/TV Cabaret/Good On Ya Baby) that appeared on various comps. $3.50 in the US/$5 elsewhere. Or, you can get it from Subterranean or Underground Medicine. Also, NOW! Records and I will be reissuing X's Aspirations LP in a few months...I know I've said this a lot in the past few years, but this time I'm actually gearing up to move, probably (finally) to New York City, unless I find a stellar job elsewhere.

That's all for this month.
PO Box 11906/Berkeley, CA 94712/USA • icki@mindspring.com

 
 
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