Columns - "Under the Radar" 11.07.01

In "Under the Radar 2" (which, as Joe Domino so thoughtfully pointed out, came out over a year ago) I mentioned a mystery album by a band called "Reactor." Well, my buddy Behjan Mirhadi (one of the few "scum" I know that ain’t actually scum), who’d been searching around for info fer a year or so finally dug up an answer:

"…the interesting thing is that they were called N.R.C. and "Reactor" just happened to be the title of the album (haven’t seen the cover yet but it seems it’s misleading people sorting out the band name and album title...). I know they also had a 3-song 45 in 1982, also on OFFICIAL RECORDS based in Summertown, TN (it was for sale in an older catalogue of PUNK/WAVE-RECORD-GURU Chuck Warner of, Boston’s THROBBING LOBSTER RECORDS -- described as "UK-Fast-Punk with female vocals" and was sold for 15 USD), and I have never ever seen it offered anywhere else again."

"The N.R.C. album was recently offered in a trading-list of infamous Rob Noxious from Huntington Beach (note from Todd – the very definition of "collector scum." Someone should make a movie outta’ this guy’s life). Many thanks for having provided me the band members' names. I have been able to locate one WALTER RABIDEAU in California and one BOBBIE BONNICKSON in Seattle area I am going to send ‘em letters and hopefully they will be the persons I am trying to find -- in the meantime, you can read about a pre-band of N.R.C. called THE FARM BAND (posted in FUZZ, ACID AND FLOWERS on-line discography) -- in that case just put the word "WALTER RABIDEAU" in WWW.GOOGLE.COM."

Case (partially) closed.

If I hear "it’s a post-modern world, man. There’s nothing new in rock ‘n roll, and everything original has been aped to death nohow" I’m gonna’ slap that monkey silly. The following are a some bands that were SO, ya’ know, THEMSELVES, that they could never be effectively aped.

feedtime (everything)

This Australian band released the full-lengths "S/T," "Shovel," "Cooper S," and "Suction" before a partial-misstep "comeback" called "Billy" on AmRep some years back. Most of these albums were released on the Australian label Aberrant. None of these records are exceedingly difficult to find, and none go for a premium price except the first album, which can be easily obtained on the "Suction" CD. They were together in one form or another from the ‘70s until just recently.

"Shovel" is my favorite, mostly because that’s where I started. Steamroller-may-care slide-thunk that owes as little to X (Aus.) as it does to early blues field recordings. Art-snip rhythms meet Robert Johnson in a soulful, progressive mix.

"Cooper S" is probably the most interesting one – all covers, from a flattened "Fun Fun Fun" (one of my favorite covers of all time – they make it unrecognizable) to a swingin’ "Lightning Girl" to the ‘Stones, Stooges, X and Easybeats, this actually delivers on the promise that Killdozer’s covers were too tongue-cheeked to give an ass about.

Rancid Hell Spawn "Gas Mask Love" (Wrench)

Charlie Chainsaw of Wrench Records should be lauded simply for running the only consistently great UK label. He was also behind the bizarre noise cooked up by RHS. They have a lotta’ stuff out, but the early snat be the best. "Gas Mask Love" is a mini LP of cardboard-bippity drums, cheese organ, and distorto-vocals, caked with mile-wide fuzz. The songs are catchy and stupid – The only lyrics to "Surgery Games" are the couplet "You’ve got big pants on/Surgery Games." At least that’s what I think he’s saying. Recorded in a crock-pot in ’90.

The Girls "S/T"

This was a Boston band that, in the late ‘70s, fit in pretty well with the whole Pere Ubu/MX80 Sound deal going on in the midwest. Ta da! "Jeffrey I Hear You" was produced by Dave Thomas (no Wendy’s jokes, please) and released as a single on his label. This particular album came out in 1986, and it’s the only other place that I know of to find any of their stuff. Definitely an overlooked monster… From the punky/noisy "Keep it Simple" to catchy art pop like "Jeffrey" to burbling synth goofs, these guys were an important and nearly-forgotten link to all the moderne synth-noise bands clogging my collection. Now, how come I can’t seem to get my hands on that Debris CD?

Alright, back to the borin’ straight-ahead rock ‘n roll crud nobody gives a hoot about.

Kenne Highland "He’s 5 Beers Ahead of Your Time" LP

I thought I should mention this album, in light of all the recent Gizmos reissues. I’m not sure exactly when this came out, but it’s a 500 press on Stanton Park. This is pretty much a "greatest hits" package referring back to Kenne’s post-Gizmos projects like Hopelessly Obscure, Afrika Korps and The Exploding Pidgins. The songs date from ’77 to ’92, and include such classics as "Jailbait Janet" and "Mad at the World." Less ramshackle than most (pre-fake) Gizmos stuff, but still containing that loose, rockin’ edge.

Strip Kings "Lightning Breed" 7"

If you know me, you know I’m no fan of Limey Rock – at least not the stuff that’s come out since the initial punk explosion. Sure, there’s Spacemen 3, Rancid Hell Spawn and Walking Seeds, but what else? Billy Childish and assorted pals have been convincingly tossing real rock ‘n roll across the pond for quite a few years, and this is another TOERAG production. However, it goes WAY beyond Milkshake worship – sleazy, hypno-garage that’s seriously as good as it gets. And since it came out on In The Red a few years back, you can probably find it in a dollar bin like me.

Green Telescope "Two by Two" 4-song 7"

Alright, so here’s more cool UK garage, this one a 1985 release on Glitterhouse. Any fans of the "Voxx" ‘80s revision style need this one badly – amped up organ garage that out-charges re-re-revisionists like the Greenhornes with ease. As good as, say, the Chesterfield Kings, but these are all originals. If I remember right, some of these guys went on to be in another (lesser) ‘60s fuzz band, the name of which escapes me. I’ll find out and let you know next time! Alright? Alright!

That long enough, Joe?

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-Todd Trickknee

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