Columns - "Under the Radar" 10.10.01


Over the past few years, I’ve spent close to half my precious listenin’ time to home-stater WI demos and live documents. Makes sense, I guess – they’re pals, I get to watch their progress closely over time, etc. A lot of these bands break up after a couple months, morph into new ventures or decide to stick with Green Bay area basements, so no one outside the state was really getting a chance to hear ‘em.

After repeatedly watching bands like the Derks, Mistreaters and Mystery Girls lay waste to "known" International acts, however, I thought I’d pitch in and put out a few records. Bands like the Kill-A-Watts, Mistreaters, Yesterday’s Kids and Shutups started putting platters out on well-known indies and taking the show on the road. Fuck, it took a long damn time, and there were many unfortunate casualties along the way, but the trickle has commenced – soon the floodgates.

Here are some of my recent faves:

Mistreaters "Personal Space Invader" 45

Each new Mistreaters release has displayed decidedly different production. This time, there’s a spotlight on the soul/groove aspect. The title track battles with "Stranded" for the "best recorded Mistreaters moment," "Little Sassy Francis" is a whip-smack rocker, and the other two do everything but slouch. You like early Estrus garage better ‘n the more recent BIG ROCK action? Pick this ‘un up.
(Estrus, P.O. Box 2125, Bellingham, WA 98227)

Teenage Rejects "Don’t Care About Anything" 45

Yes, they (were) really teenagers. It’s a shame it took more ‘n a year after the break-up for anyone to give a shit, but at least Greg knows a hot product when he hears it. The ‘Rejects were a really young band that blazed through non-stop 12 minute/10 song sets at a jillion miles an hour. The slower (by comparison) tempos and clean production on here really showcase their great hooks, but it’s still akin to a greased ride to Hades. The kids don’t (necessarily) suck.
(Rip Off, 581 Maple Ave., San Bruno, CA 94066)

Kill-A-Watts "Dig These Kids" 45

I was a bit disappointed with their Rip Off debut, but man does this one smoke! Very Japanese-sounding remixed shit from the same session that produced the debut. This thing’ll probably cost you $2.50 a minute, but it’s worth every nickel. "Snotty Bastard" is a speedy, gal-sung blur that sounds a bit like the Jap-band Tonight, if that ain’t too obscure a ref. "Dig These Kids" is simply amazing – it has that "X Factor" that separates the best Rip Off-styled bands from the pretenders. Any fans of this genre need to beg, borrow, and kill…
(Yakisakana, 55, rue Pierre Renaudel 76 100 Rouen, France)

And don’t forget about semi-recents from the Strong Come Ons, Evolutions and Yesterday’s Kids.

On the horizon:
Paul and Jon Reject have a new band called the Catholic Boys, along with Lugs Shutup and nickg from the Strong Come Ons. The Catholic Boys take the Teenage Rejects sound and run it through the recent (think Reds) stiff-jerky rhythm method. They’ll be releasing a split EP with the Kill-A-Watts (who also have an upcoming Rip Off album), and early reports point to thumbs up all around.

The Leghounds have that Devil Dogs sound DOWN, and they’re one of the tightest live bands you’ll ever see. Supposedly, their EP on Alien Snatch has turned into an album, and Rev Norb has signed them to a three-album deal on Bulge (he claims they’re "the best band in the world" after copious amounts of yellowy liquid have passed his lips), so 2002 will be just shitty with Leghounds tunage. About time, I say.

Sagger dumped lead singer Keith (who appears on the "920 Blues" track) for Skull Rider, and have a Big Neck EP on the horizon. Art-garage-noise, baby – Ryan Kill-A-Watt on drums, SR screamin’ and Tony on axe piped through a bass & guitar amp.

When’s somebody gonna’ put out a Mystery Girls box set, for fucksakes?

Tell me I’m great:

-Todd Trickknee

© 2003