Columns - "If You Die, and Go to Hell, Who Cares?" 02.14.01

There's a fine line between shitty bar rock and full throttle punk. Lately, it's been crossed way too much. Really, where and when did muddled AC/DC and Metallica riffs become so prevelant? When are they gonna go away? Not soon enough. Please, take your irony somewhere else.

I don't know when it came out and I can only guess it's on Radio Blast, but the MOORAT FINGERS' new(?) 7", I Don't Know/I Hate To Love You hits with a deadly one-two knockout. Both songs have awesome scorching guitars and absolutely vicious vocals that sound like the singer is eating you alive. They hit that spot between loud, hard and melodic that I can't get enough of. Moorat Fingers are a perfect example of how you can play fast without just ripping through generic hardcore riffs, how you can play loud without sounding like a wanky bar band and how you can come off as sounding dangerous without having to hit your head with barbed wire or sing about beating up girls. These guys do it right.

Jon Von (ex-MR. T EXPERIENCE, ex-RIP OFFS) has resurfaced on a single by LES DRAGUEURS, a French band. I wanted to like this record, but the choppy singing keeps the record from having a solid flow. That is, the vocals and instruments don't mesh together well. Instead of going through your veins smoothly, these two songs leave you jagged, staggering with a headache. I'm anxious to hear their next record. Maybe if they down a few more bottles of wine before they record, loosen up a bit, the songs would have more wild, spontaneous energy. (Wild Wild/BP 55 92123 Montrouge cedex/France)

Ken Rock (Fabriksgatan 39B/412 51 Goteborg/Sweden) has long ago established itself as a record label of quality. Continuing in that fine tradition, Ken Rock gives the world a split 7" with the GOLDEN GUINEAS and RANDY CAPTAIN DYNAMITE HORNROCKER AND HIS WORLD FAMOUS LOADED HOODS. In typical Ken Rock fashion, this is limited (to 500 copies). In typical Ken Rock fashion, this single is a steaming load of hot, trashy punk turds, complete with stink lines and flies. Randy Captain promises 100% bass player-free, no overdubs, what-you-see-is-what-you-get noise and deliver on their promise in spades. The Golden Guineas go more for the throat, jumping on you like a pack of pit bulls with loud as shit guitars. Another winner from Ken Rock!

I missed the HIVES 10" this month, but I did get my hands on their new 7" on Green Hell (von Steuben-Str. 17/D-48143 Münster/Germany/www.greenhell.de). I imagine they're pretty great to see live—choppy, strong songs that roll forward at a nearly unstoppable pace, snowballing two guitars into a rhythmic firestorm. They remind me of (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY, without the R&B influence, which gives them a distinctive sound. Now I gotta go find the 10" and anything else they've done.

Last month I wrote lovingly of the ultra-limited new DIRTBOMBS 7" on Solid Sex Lovie Doll. If you missed out on it, fear not! Hate Records is here to give you your fix of Mick Collins. Four songs of blustery guitars that sound like a blizzard covering Detroit potholed streets. Well, only two songs really count—two of the songs on the Brucia I Cavi 7" are little more than short snips of fucking around in the studio. On "Temp," the Dirtbombs race through a song that sounds like a BAD BRAINS outtake, circa 1979. Then the title track is nothing but guitar interference and a drumbeat. Still, the two proper songs stand up to the high standards the Dirtbombs have established for themselves. You won't be disappointed.

Geez, I've been going off about the FLAKES for how long now, like three years? After all this time, the Bay Area boys have finally put out a 7"! This record, Bip Bam Boom!, (Just Add Water/PO Box 420661/San Francisco, CA 94142/ www.justaddwaterrecords.com) catches the more DMZ/LYRES side of their sound and finally gives the rest of the world a taste (but just a very small taste) of the stormin' good time fun of the Flakes.

Also on the homefront, the ROCK AND ROLL ADVENTURE KIDS take you to an Oakland party on their debut 7". Three songs (same three songs on both sides), recorded live at what sounds like a party. The sound is thin, the songs are sloppy, the singing is totally out of key, it's beautiful! Three songs are all you need to know these kids are having a blast and the in-between raucous crowd cheering confirms the crowd is in on the good time. They do two covers, the TAMRONS' "Wildman" (from Back From the Grave 4) and the party pleasing "Twist and Shout." Their one original song, "She's a Dork and I Like Her," is super simple and a bit more poppy than their wild rendentions of the above mentioned garage classics. Look for the proper review in the review section for the address...or email them at: rocknrolladventurekids@hotmail.com. Get it while it's HOT!!!

The JET PACKS were a short-lived band from Montana or Idaho—one of those state that you don't usually associate with furious, brawling garage punk. Well, some of those boys moved to Portland and have formed a new band, the FLIP-TOPS. They make their debut on a split 7" with the EVERYDAY SINNERS. The Flip-Tops first song, "Rocket Queen" has a good meaty serving of buzzing guitars with well-placed riffs. It moves a little slow for my pace...kind of in the same way the MURDER CITY DEVILS would be more appealing if they picked up the pace a bit. The Flip-Tops shouldn't be compared to Seattle's latest darlings though. They've got a raw, cigarette-burned, beer stained sound that I can't help but like. Their second song, "Electrified" suffers from the same slow pacing—I like my rock 'n' roll to be sweaty, manic and leave me out of breath. It doesn't have to be hard and fast (hell, the Shangri-Las do it to me), but it just feels 1/2 hearted. I offer that as a challenge, because I know Joel and the boys have it in them to really kick it out.

On the other side, the Everyday Sinners open things up with on-fire hot licks, a-la MOTORHEAD. The recording has a cavernous, evil feel, like they're dragging you into the stereotyped version of Hell—big caves with lots of flames, tons of heat and so much baddness, it makes even Lemmy cower in his leather boots. The flames and heat are provided by the guitars and rusty razorblade vocals, the baddness comes by way of the heavy, swaggering rhythm. Whereas many bands have mean, bad sounding names, the Everyday Sinners music lives up to it. Listening to these two songs makes you believe they're really rambling through their native Missoula in rusted out pick-up trucks with a bottle of hooch betweent their legs and a loaded shotgun in their lap. (There's no address on here for Corndaddy Records, so try writing the Everday Sinners: 624 S. Higgins Ave/Missoula, MT 59001)

Once I saw LOST SOUNDS had a new 7" coming out on Empty, I was all over the Mordam updates, ready to pounce the second it was out. Well, it's out. All I've gotta say is Jay Reatard must have been listening to a lot of WIRE lately. The first song, "1+1 = Nothing" has all the lurking creepiness of a Pink Flag-era song. The flip side offers a harsher edge, but if you're looking for more REATARDS-like mayhem, look elsewhere, 'cause you're not getting it here. Supposedly there's an LP due out in the near future...?

Believe it or not, there's yet another GIZMOS CD coming out. After the double CD of every bit of Ken Highland's pre-Gizmos noodling put to tape, you're probably asking, "What else could there be?" Well, there could be the Hoosier Hysteria LP. But we aren't that lucky. This time Gulcher continues to test the limits of your Gizmos fandom by offering eight never before released songs recorded in 1981. By this time, the band had relocated to New York and had stripped down to a four piece of unquestionably good musicianship. Gone were the days of goofball, cornfed humor. This is the version of the Gizmos led by Dale Lawerence (later of the VULGAR BOATMEN). This is the version of the Gizmos that gaves us the wonderful song, "The Midwest Can Be Allright (sic)," which appeared on the also classic (and past due for reissue status) comp, Red Snerts. You can get all your Gulcher goodies (and lots more!) from an awesome new distro in Portland called Dave Hill Distribution (PO Box 25037/Portland, OR 97298-0037/ http://www.figment.com/~jme). Except a PANICS retrospective LP/CD soon.

Last month I mentioned two new STOOGES bootlegs, a 7" and an LP. I tracked down a copy of the 7" at Red Devil Records in Petulama (a hidden treasure of a record store). It's the two songs not originally released with Funhouse, "Lost in the Future" and "Slide (Slidin' the Blues)." The single was pricey, but not as much as it'd cost you to get a copy of the now out-of-print box set. They've been selling on eBay for over $220. I'm sure the LP will surface soon. It's probably an alternate version of Funhouse, which is cool only if you know the original album inside and out (as you should).

The reissue gush has largely slowed down this month. SHOCK's 7", This Generation's On Vacation got the repo reissue treatment, but that's about it. Use this unusually quiet moment in the world of reissues to breathe.

Or use this quiet moment to catch up on some '60s reissues! Be sure to get the East Side Sound, Volume 2 album on Bacchus Archives. While this volume doesn't come near the mind-blowing amazingness of volume one (really, it's a fucking amazing album...get it...and be sure to get it on CD, you'll be treated to loads of extra tracks), it's still a load of fun. THEE ENCHANTERS stand out as the best band, sure to rock you with their song, "I'm In Love With Your Daughter, part 2."

If you get only one record this month, make sure it's the PLEASURE SEEKERS reissue 45 on Norton. The Pleasure Seekers, as you may or may not know, were Suzi Quatro's first band. "Who gives a fuck?" you say. Not me...but the title song on here, "What A Way To Die," is one of the absolute best songs EVER!!! Words don't do it justice...just go out, shell out the $3 or $4 it'll cost you, put it on your turntable, turn up the volume, crack open a Strohs or Pabst and marvel at the magnificence of this song.

Penniman Records (PO Box 32142/08080 Barcelona/Spain) also steps back to the '60s to bring you two big songs from the DOWNLINERS SECT. "Cadillac" and "Roll Over Beethoven" were recorded as demos by these then-young lads back in the summer of 1963. Though these songs have become fairly standard today, the 'Sect's versions are worth checking out and a must for the next party you're asked to play a few records at.

If you're a schmuck stuck at your computer all day and have the freedom to listen to Internet radio stations, I've got a few plugs here. Antenna Internet Radio (www.antennaradio.com) deserves another mention because not only do they have a great thing going, but they just added a new show, No Count Dance Party. As the name suggests, Jay Hinman brings you wild, raucous songs from the '50s and '60s. He plays a good mix of stuff, a lot of it culled from comps and reissues. The show gets updated weekly and I've yet to run into a lame mix. Also, be sure to check out Gift Wrapped Crap, the show focusing on a lot of the same stuff I write about in this column.

My second Internet radio plug is for a station I programmed. For my day job, I work at an Internet company (who in the Bay Area doesn't...well, a lot of people now that everybody's getting canned) called Listen.com (www.listen.com). It's not great, it's not horrible. It's a job. I get to write about music. I also get to program Internet radio stations, including my own station, Feral. It's a mix of rock'n'roll from the '50s up to stuff that came out last week—kind of a cross between the No Count Dance Party and Gift Wrapped Crap. To listen to it you gotta have a PC (not Mac–which is totally fucking lame) and you gotta download their clunky player, which is also lame. But if you do check it out, let me know what you think.

The long-delayed Turbojugend mailorder has finally launched (www.turbojugend.com). Though I realized beforehand it would just be a big marketing/merchandising/cashing in ploy, seeing it in action turned even my Turbo-hungry stomach. It's basically just a mailorder for everything imaginable emblazoned with the TURBONEGRO logo. Watches, t-shirts, sailor caps, patches, pins and, of course, denim jackets. You might pause after learning the denim jackets sell for about $125! There's talk of mouse pads (huh?) and hooded sweatshirts as well...me, I'm just waiting for the Small Feces LP.

That's it. I broke my wrist skating, so my replies will be slower than usual (if you can believe that was possible). Until next month...keep your music loud!

PO Box 11906/Berkeley, CA 94712/USA • icki@mindspring.com

 
 
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