Columns - "Under the Radar" 04.01.02

It's Spring Cleaning time! Yeah-sure-shit, it's still sub-zero here on the Frozen Tundra, but I gotta' unload some precious vinyl knowledge before the thaw morphs the lil' pretties into fungal-pools of stank-black grooveless sludge. Plus, Murrms hasn't used the column-review format in a while, so TRA LA LA -- open der vinders & let's air it out!

I mentioned a buncha' upcoming Wisconsin stuff a couple months ago, and much of it is now out (as we speak and all that).

I think my favorite is the Catholic Boys/Kill-A-Watts split (on Ryan Kill-A-Watt's ELECTROROCK Records). Catholic Boys are (as my esteemed colleague Eric "Goon" Lastname pointed out) a couple Teenage Rejects, a Strong Come On and a Shutup (now replaced by a Los Nosferatu -- eh, ferget it). They steal the show with the shit-hot & sorta' Reds-y "Sometimes, Baby" (nickg has quite the feel for "world craps on me" pen-action), and the remaining three tunes are all swell-to-really good Rip Off blasts. ($4 to P.O. BOX 13504 WAUWATOSA, WI 53213-0504).

Speaking of the long-deceased Teenage Rejects, Alien Snatch has released the rest of the session that produced the Rip Off single. Cover by Rev Norb, limited to 500 and just as good (w/ double the tunes!) as the Rip Off 45. Fast, stupid teenage hate.

Daniel Snatch has been a busy lil' German -- he also put out Sheboygan Institution the Leg Hounds' debut single to prop up next to the 'Rejects one (I have not yet located the Jewws 45 that makes up this 3-pronged single attack, so I am unable to comment on it as of yet). The A Side is Elvis Costello-like mid tempo ache, and the B is more of their Devil Dog-ripper style. A definite keeper…

The Leg Hounds have been busy little…uh…fuckers too -- a few months back, they recorded three full albums in something like 3 days. Whose idea was it to pack 30-sum originals, a slew of covers and a bevy of in-studio guests (not to mention a reved-up semi) into 72 hours? The blame can be placed squarely on Bulge Records honcho Rev Norb, and the results are three CDs that roughly chronicle older songs (CD #1) to current live hits (CD #2) to stuff I've only heard in the studio (CD #3). The debut is out right now, and while I like it, I'm far more blown away by the next two. I say pick up the second one, and work yer way back (then forward). Dig?

Oh yeah -- they sound much like the Devil Dogs if the Devil Dogs had the best guitarist in rock 'n roll and an air-tight, careening rhythm section.

The Mistreaters, one of my favorite in-state units, have released those two slow covers from the live set that usually provide a nice excuse for me to run to the bathroom/bar and take a "rock break." It's a single on the excellent Italian label Goodbye Boozy and some other people like these songs the BEST. So yeah -- if you dig slow, bluesy rock balladry, go nuts.

Quick mention -- Neenah WI's pop-masters Yesterday's Kids have a couple songs on the "Lookout! Freakout Episode 2" comp. Yeah, the label sucks, but there are a few good tunes from bands like the Pattern, Gaza Strippers, and the aforementioned YK.

Upcoming Wisconsin rock action -- The esteemed Big Neck label is putting out singles by both Sagger and the Strong Come Ons; the French label Yakisakana is adding to their cheese stable (Evolutions & Kill-A-Watts) with a Mistreaters single; Rip Off is releasing the Kill-A-Watts debut album any week now; Yesterday's Kids have their debut full-length coming out on Lookout!, and Blue Balls have a (seriously) amazing garage-fuzz blast coming out on the Netherlands' High School Reject/Refuse Records.

Let's ride down sawth to Memphis, where it's probably at least 30 degrees above frozen genitalia, and visit Eric Oblivian's Goner Records distro page. Like I mentioned in my last column, he's ramping up the ol' inventory, and there's an ever-growing number of goodies to peruse. Why not start with his own Bad Times LP? Eric, King Louie and Jay Reatard make a formidable triumvirate, to be sure, but this ain't no Damn Yankees-style super-grossout, nosiree! The boys deliver that garage-into-killed-by-death scuzz perpetrated so well on the Persuaders LP and the Reatards later material. The first pressing is already sold out, so make sure to nab the repress, sparky!

While yer there, snag the Neckbones (probable) R.I.P.-er "Gentlemen" 10". More Mississippi swamp action from a talented group of songwriters who dang well never got their due, and perhaps never will (though I hear there have been gig-stirrings in tha' deep south, so I'll keep my ears peeled).

Since it's already summer in Australia, let's head there next via Goner's magic global bus? I'd like to recommend (shoot -- is it outta' stock right now?) grabbing the Creatures 45. Three cool '60s blasts, and the incredible, unmistakable Blue Cheer/Pretty Things-sorta-kinda' skullfuck entitled "Ugly Thing." If you dig the era, you cannot be without this tune. Also good ('n antipodean) is the Missing Links album, which contains the original version of the Saints' classic "Wild About You."

Finally, from the Land of the Rising Sun, the Jellyroll Rockheads. You ain't gonna' find any of their three singles on the Goner (or any other decent garage) site, because hardcore's been such a dead boobie hatch fer nigh on 15 years that many of us have simply given up on the kaboodle. HOWEVER! If you still have a hankerin' for the cream o' the early shit (Negative Approach, Die Kreuzen, Minor Threat), this is quite literally 'n without hyperbole the best hardcore band I've heard since '84 or so (you are correct, Nate).

They have considerable range, moving effortlessly from Ramones ("Blitzkrieg Bop," to be precise) to '82 to several of the stylistic innovations of the past 20 years w/out flinching. One of the singers goes from a BA/Joey Vindictive (shoot me -- but I AM correct!) nasal yelp to Rick Sims rock power yodel, all the songs are catchy without being discernibly "poppy," and I've been listening to these guys more than anything else over the past couple weeks. They just plain ROCK, and "Isolated" is one of the best hardcore tunes I've ever heard.

Now, I just need to grab myself a black hooded sweatshirt.

Finally, several folks recommended I add Dave Hill to my list of boffo distros. I don't have any personal dealings w/ 'em, but I'll take them words as gospel until I hear diff.


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