Record Reviews - September, 2000

BellRays "Good Thing" 7"

I’ve wanted to get a listen to this band ever since Hit List raved about ‘em almost a year ago. So do they live up to my expectations? The answer is undetermined. While the BellRays deliver a health dose of hard punk ‘n’ roll mixed with a lot of soul; the two songs on this 45 are not enough to determine a clear judgement. I don’t think they are a "singles" band. The BellRays have a distinct sound that could be compared to a small-time MC5. Unfortunately, I will simply have to hear the full-length to capture the broad scope of what they can do. (JD)
(Revenge Records 5835 Harold WY Apt. 203 Hollywood, CA 90028)

Chronics "Fire Up!" 7"

The Chronics have a pretty straightforward approach when it comes to their music. They keep it real simple with a heavy 60’s rock ‘n’ roll influence. Not as upbeat as most rock acts, the Chronics like to groove to the rhythm. If you are really into retro rock ‘n’ roll, you wouldn’t be at Blank Generation if you weren’t, you will be buying this. There’re 3 songs including, "Ain’t That Too Bad" and "(Sorry) Y.C.M.S." (JD)
(Bad Afro Records Poste Restante, Frederiksberg Alle 6 1820 Frederiksberg C, Denmark)

Controllers CD/LP

Man is Dionysus cutting a wide swath as of late. Didn’t even really notice until I started typing up all these reviews. The Controllers…I guess the "never beheard" shit shoulda’ stayed in the can. Fuck, and I’ve been waiting a coon’s age for this to come out. Be that as it may, it’s surely nice to have all the goodies in one convenient spot. Top-shelf late 70s CA punk. "Slow Boy" is a truly classic (as opposed to all the falsely- strewn epithets) moron-punk min & a half, and there are about five others in close quarters to that ‘un. (TK)
(Dionysus, P.O. Box 1975, Burbank, CA 91507)

Controllers "S/T" CD/LP

Yet another Bacchus Archives record. The Controllers were a punk band out of Southern California around the year 1977. They’re your basic garbage can punk rockers that had a few hits in their day like, "Do the Uganda", "Another Day", and "Top Secret." The Controllers can rock out with simple guitar chords linked with unrefined energy. This record is a compilation of various the singles they put out. The Controllers aren’t too bad if you are into all that Bloodstains shit, but I can think of better things to spend my money on. (JD)
(Bacchus Archives PO Box 1975 Burbank, CA 91507)

Feedbacks "Pop Invaders" 7"

The Feedbacks produce pop songs that are so sweet they could cause a pandemic. This power pop group can really get your body moving! If you are into upbeat tunes with some kick you’ll love "Girl of the Year" and "I Wonder." Good, good stuff. (JD)
(Screaming Apple Records Dustemichstr. 14 50939 Koln, Germany)

Festermen "Full Treatment" CD

When I looked at this album cover with three motorcyclers flying out of a fire I knew these boys liked Zeke. As it turns out the like Mr. Jon Spencer and the Oblivions too. The F-Men are sort of a combination of those three bands coupled with crazy guitar sounds and a mean attitude. I have to say I really like this record, in a repetitive, bang your head, and drink your whisky sort of way. There’re 12 tracks including, "Toelake Snakeman", "Satan Found Out", and "You Lit My Way." (JD)
(Bad Afro Records Poste Restante, Frederiksberg Alle 6 1820 Frederiksberg C, Denmark)

Firestarter "S/T" 7" EP

Firestarter. This band from Japan features Fink, Fifi, and Sammy of Teengenerate, a group that I truly adore. So what are these rock ‘n’ rollers up to now that they have a new band? Well, I believe they are really trying to expand their musical horizons. Firestarter venture into the 70's mod/power pop terrain. If you are familiar with Fink and Fifi’s other bands, Firestarter falls right in between the Tweezers and the Raydios. It’ll take a little time to adjust to their new sound, so if you are shocked when you first hear the record give it some time. It took me about a week to fall in love with these guys. There’re 4 songs on the 7" including such hits as "The Majors are Lesser" and "Street Boys." Unfortunately this record is now out of print, but don’t fret; they’ll have a full-length out by the end of the year. (JD)
(Target Earth c/o Masao Nakagami 505 Lupinus Hiranuma 1-1-15 Hiranuma Nishi-Ku, Yokohama 220-0023 Japan)

First Alert "Trade the life" 7"

This is the newest First Alert record that I know of. They have completely changed over to a mod band. This 45 features two beautifully crafted pop gems. And they are real pop, I would only suggest this record to someone who a fan of elaborate music like that British mod band The Aces. The best song on the 45 is "Trade the life." (JD)
(Mangrove Label ACP Bldg. 3F, 4-23-5 Koenji Minami Suginami-Ku, Tokyo, 166-0003 Japan)

First Alert "Thrills and Spills of 48 Hours" CD/LP

I first heard these boys on the Mangrove comp "Chloroform." They really impressed me with short blasts of punk rock that literally sounded like they were ripped out of the 70’s and thrown on my stereo. Unfortunately I could never locate much of their other records, until now. On First Alert’s first album they give you a splendid mix of mod and punk. All of their songs are brilliantly catchy and contain dazzling melodies; it can be a bit overwhelming. There is a definite influence of British Mod bands like The Killermeters and The Odds on this record. There’re 11 tracks including old favorites like, "Sweet Radio" and new ones like, "We Lose" and "Nobody Catches My Call." (JD)
(Time Bomb Records Toporo 51 Bldg., 2-18-18 Nishi-shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 542-0086 Japan)

Fortune and Maltese and the Phabulous Pallbearers "Sonic Sounds from Seattle" 7"

I picked this up cuz the band had shown exquisite taste in covering one of the all-time great 60s frat hymns – "Jump, Jive and Harmonize." What I got was four fairly trad tunes in the 60s beat/garage mold. They ain’t the Swingin’ Neckbreakers (hell, the Swingin’ Neckbreakers ain’t even the Swingin’ Neckbreakers anymore), but this’ll just have to do fer the mop-top set. Not bad, not too exciting. Lead organ alert. (TK)
(Dionysus, P.O. Box 1975, Burbank, CA 91507)

Gasolheads "Fuel Stereo Shit!!" 2X7"

Yeah! Don’t be fooled by they’re sterile name. The Gasolheads can relay the rock-action full force baby! The best band to compare them to would be the Safety Pins. They are in that same vein except the G-heads have more hooks. These French boys aren’t for the faint hearted and give it their all with 8 songs including, "I Hate You (Yeah Yeah)" and "From ‘95 to ‘99." (JD)
(Rockin’ Bones Records Piazzale Della Macina 3 43100 Parma, Italy)

Gimmies "Till You’re Down" 7"

If Mark Murrmann raves about a record it’s worth looking for; and boy was he right! The Gimmies are rock action personified, combining the hip shakin’ American punk ‘n’ roll sounds of The Humpers with the crazy Japanese barrage of The Jetboys! Sora, Kawabe, J-J, and Kim thump through two rockin’ tunes filled with heavy guitars are a whole lotta solos. The Gimmies are an addiction in the making and all I can say is, "Just hook it to my veins!!!" (JD)
(K.O.G.A. Records Kikusui BLD 6F 5-30-2 Daizawa Setagaya-ku Tokyo, 155-0032 Japan)

Glucifer "Tender is the Savage" LP/CD

Pretty good Scandihoovian big rock raunch. This stuff just don’t move me like it used to, and some unfortunate parts of this veer a bit too close to Manowar for comfort (fuck the ex-Dictator factor, and motherfuck their modern p-rock fans -- that band was ass-and-a-half – blow MY speakers), but it’s certainly able and rockin’. A bit slicker than earlier efforts, but at least they’ve aged better than their pals the Hellacopters. My record came with a bonus single. Not sure about yers. (TK)
(Sub Pop, P.O. Box 20645, Seattle, WA 98102)

Hard Feelings "Fought Back and Lost" LP/CD

Ex-Revelators mining a similar field, but expelling a mite less energy and recklessness. The songs are still pretty hot, but I think I enjoyed the 2-track live recordings a bit more than the unslick-but-still-smurfier Mariconda production. Good bassless Crypt hunch. Recommended, but… does this year suck or what? (TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)

Hard-Ons "You Disappointed Me" 7"

Yeeeuck! This record is soooo boring! Ugh, dreary pop! I’m getting sleepy j uuu st listening tooo it, zzzzzzzzzzzzz… (JD)
(Radio Blast Recordings PO Box 160308 40566 Dusseldorf, Germany)

Hopeless Dregs of Humanity "Buildin’ Da Muthaphuckin’ Revolution!" 7"

From the looks of this record one might think the band is a hardcore crust crew. Not so I say! HDH is a very catchy, bouncy, almost pop punk group that is very disturbed with this world. Much props for the aesthetic packaging for the 7", which includes sort of a zine with comics/art, information about "the revolution", and more interesting stuff. As for the record, there are 4 songs on it including "We’re Dead" and "Give Me My Orders." This is a worthy purchase for someone who desires to be more informed. (JD)
(Ever Reviled Records 50 Powers St. New Brunswick, NJ 08901)

Kaos "Alcoholiday" 7"

Cool reissue of the 1980 Killed by Death classic. The title song is, as expected, the clear winner here, but the other two are first-class rippers in the Controllers vein (not surprising if yer aware of the band’s history). A smart $4. (TK)
(Dionysus, P.O. Box 1975, Burbank, CA 91507)

Lipstick Killers "Angel & Snakes" CD

The kabuki rock ‘n’ rollers! Ha! These Lipstick Killers hail from the land of the rising sun and are all dolled up for the bar. Talk about idolizing Johnny Thunders! The ‘Killers have that slow-hand rock ‘n’ roll down with traditional guitar licks and a "So Alone" attitude. Any fan of JT’s records from around 1978 will be dancin’ with these boys. There are 13 tracks including, "Here She Comes" and "Snakebite." (JD)
(D.O.A. Records Room 103 Hills Hirabari 2-1003 Mukaigaoka Tenpaku-Ku Nagoya-Shi Aichi 468-0012, Japan)

Maggots "Gonna Make You Pay" 7"

What’s this!? A European version of the Makers!? Kick ass! The Maggots are a "Back to the Grave" sounding garage band if I’ve ever heard one. They’ve got that certain dirty little mind that only are garage rocker could have. Songs like, "I Wanna Be Your Maggot" and "Uh! Uh! – The Bigger, The Better" are proof that these lustful monsters want to violate you in your private places! Fuckin’ cool shit! (JD)
(Bad Afro Records Poste Restante, Frederiksberg Alle 6 1820 Frederiksberg C, Denmark)

Murder City Devils "In Name And Blood" CD/LP

Funny that three of the best bands around today (The Deadly Snakes, Les Sexareenos and The Murder City Devils) are the only bands I can think of that still bother to incorporate the "electric organ" into their rhythm section. The Murder City Devils are also easily one of the most original bands around today and probably the band that relies the most on their organ to achieve their trippy, sludged out rock n’ roll sound. Their third fucker, "In Name And Blood", seems to be a mixture of their first two LP’s. The debut self-titled had a lot of great rocked out up tempo punkers and "Broken Bottles, Empty Hearts" focused more exclusively on their slow rolling "Funhouse"-era Stooges heavy organ stuff. "In Name And Blood" picks up on the dark, heavy organ stuff on "Broken Bottles…" but combines it with the furious punk n’ roll of their self-titled. It makes for easily one of the best records I’ve heard in a rather piss-poor musical year. Although I prefer the attitude and spontaneity that made their first record a near classic, don't pass this up. (SA)
(Sub Pop)

New Bomb Turks "Nightmare Scenario" CD/LP

Quite possibly their best album in 6 years. The New Bomb Turks haven’t quite recaptured the spark they had with the amazing "Destroy Oh Boy!" and "Information Highway Revisited" LP’s on Crypt, yet (and unfortunately, they probably never will), but compared to the stuff they’ve released since then, this album is top notch. The production on this couldn’t be better; the trashiest and rawest they’ve had it on any of their full length records and it sounds reminiscent of some of their earlier singles (like the ones compiled on "Pissin’ out the Poison"). And the song quality is by far their best non-single material they’ve released on record since they signed with Epitaph. There are a couple of dud songs on this, but nothing compared to the ratio they had on the awful "Scared Straight" (or even "At Rope’s End", for that matter) and with scorching tunage like "Point A to Point Blank" and "Continental Cats", this is a good pickup. (SA)

Rational Solution "Big Brother" 7"

It’s like opening a birthday present! RS are a brutal crust punk band with dual vocals like Aus-Rotten. I’ve always liked what crusties do with their records because they always go out of their way to pack as much news as they can into a 7" sleeve. This particular record contains important info about Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners and animal cruelty. The 6 record is an eye opener, so be on the lookout! (JD)
(Ever Reviled Records 50 Powers St. New Brunswick, NJ 08901)

Static "Stab At The Night" 7"

Hard hitting punk and rock! These dudes have a bit of a hard-core edge to ‘em. If you are into the rough stuff you should take a listen to the Static. I'm sorry to say this isn’t what I was expecting from Rock ‘N’ Roll Blitzkrieg, Icki’s new label, but it certainly isn’t a dour record. For myself though, it is going in the bagel bin. (JD)
(Rock ‘N’ Roll Blitzkrieg PO Box 11906 Berkeley, CA 94712)

Swingin’ Neckbreakers "The Return of Rock"

While these six-oh masters still slay live, nothing they’ve done on record has ever really lived up to "Live For Buzz." This album doesn’t do anything to alter this fact, but some songs with bite and hook include "Stop, Drop, Wiggle," "Hail to the Baron" and "Definition of Love." (TK)
(Telstar, P.O. Box 1123, Hoboken, NJ, 07030)

Tweezers "Favourite" 7"

This record was released two years ago and didn’t come to my attention until Icki mentioned scoring a copy from Tomoko in one of his columns in MRR. I don’t think he gave it as much praise as I am going to give it now. Rob a bank if you have to, just get this 45! This is the stuff rock ‘n’ roll dreams are made of. On this 7" the Tweezers aren’t as clean sounding like on their album. The guitars are fuzzier and the first two songs, "Favourite" and "Subway Killer" are basically ‘79 pop punk; much like the Scientists’ first 7" "Frantic Romantic." The last song, "She Got Rock ‘N’ Roll", is a standing ovation to Little Richard with maniac pianos roaring throughout the song. I urge either Target Earth to repress it or another record label to re-release it so everybody can hear this little treasure. (JD)
(Target Earth c/o Masao Nakagami 505 Lupinus Hiranuma 1-1-15 Hiranuma Nishi-Ku, Yokohama 220-0023, Japan)

V/A "ad vice" CD

I make it a habit to hunt down any Mangrove comp I hear of. The "ad vice" comp was particularly high on my list because it has Firestarter on it. Ok, so I’m a little obsessed, so sue me! There are four other bands on this CD including the Intimate Fags, Radio Shanghai, Zymotics, and Privateways, and each group has three songs. Mangrove has certain standards when it comes to releasing music, only the highest quality gets in. All of these bands are great, but the standouts are Firestarter (punk/power pop), Radio Shanghai (a Rezillos type space punk/new wave band), and the Privateways (total Small Faces inspired mod/pop with a hint of the Pixies). (JD)
(Mangrove Label ACP Bldg. 3F, 4-23-5 Koenji Minami Suginami-Ku, Tokyo, 166-0003 Japan)

V/A "Be a Caveman" CD

I could go on forever about this – the 80s garage revolution was weak, watery and cartoonish. Why? Over-reverence to pointless stylistic concerns, a "goofball" stance and adherence to irrelevant fashion bullshit. 90s bands like the Oblivians, Dirtys and Makers were better because they upped the ante and fucked with convention. That said, this pretty much IS the cream of the crop (no Panther Burns? No Billy Childish? Nope, but most of the rest are here). The legendary Hypstrz rip through a cover (of course), the Dwarves clank around in pre-Bloodguts fuzz territory, form-masters the Chesterfield Kings, the Tell Tale Hearts and the Cynics showcase some of their top material…DMZ, the Vipers, the Pandoras. Really good, but not to the level of, say, one of the modern-band Crypt comps. (TK)
(Bomp/Voxx, P.O. Box 7112, Burbank, CA 91510)

V/A "Rockin’ Jelly Bean’s Jumpin’ Jukebox!" CD/LP

Part whatever in the cool Japanese compilation series. I’m absolutely burned out on 60s-derived instrumentals, and I never really took to the lounge deal, so parts of this are skip city for me. You might like ‘em the best. That’s yer prerogative. Piss off. Anyway, old faves like the Jet Boys, the absolutely fabulous Tweezers and Guitar Wolf seem to deliver the most bang in my book. (TK)
(Dionysus, P.O. Box 1975, Burbank, CA 91507)

Vice Principals "After School With…" CD/LP

Hey Apocalypse Girls! Scott "Deluxe" Drake and Billy Burks of the Humpers, Suicide Kings, etc… have a new band! The Vice Principals are a punk ‘n’ roll group that has a odd joining of total punk rawk and nasty rock ‘n’ roll tunes. If you are a huge Humpers fan I suggest taking a listening to these boys, but if you are a casual r'n'r listener you should look elsewhere. There’re 12 tracks including, "When Girls Collide", "Splitsville USA", and "After Detention." (JD)

Wontons "Let’s Wok!" 7"

Texas is starting to become the Mecca of new and interesting punk/garage bands lately. The Wontons are indubitably in that category, what with their super garage punk sound. If you combined the Double Nuthins with the Jewws you will get the Wontons. I don’t know about you guys but it’s a formula that works for me. I would like to hear more of these cats cause there isn’t a faulty ditty on this chunk of vinyl so go get it! (JD)
(Screaming Apple Records Dustemichstr. 14 50939 Koln, Germany)

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