Record Reviews - September, 2001

Bantam Rooster "Fuck All Y’all" CD/LP

We’re sitting on the curb, silently watching the cars drive by, when a huge junk-boat of an automobile (coulda been a ‘70s-era Chevy, maybe an Olds) zooms through the intersection. The noise is deafening. It spits up dirt as it flies by, sprays hot droplets of oil onto the street and swerves dangerously through both lanes like a jackrabbit on speed. The engine pops and breaths smoke. Tires squeal under the rusted sides. Heads turn in disgust, disbelief and morbid curiosity.

And there it is, I thought to myself. There’s Bantam Rooster.

Let me spell it out for you- Bantam Rooster are like a bad, bad car; a nasty, fucked-up, gas-guzzling machine hell-bent on a single destination that you can’t quite figure out until you get there. They’re not like a GTO, or a Camaro, or a Corvette, or any other goddamn classic prefab muscle car that you pseudo-greasers gawk at. They are pure, 100% unpolished trashiness, and they’re beautiful in the way they destroy the road as they beat it.

The two-man attack, probably considered "trite" by garage purists by now, but I don’t give a fuck. These guys are "it." Tommy Potter and Mike Alonso are the guts and gravy of the two-man attack. Two-man attack squared, or some such bullshit. This is what the two-man attack sounds like when the participants can play and play well—frenetic drums and frantic bluesy guitar action, layered thickly over scream-and-shout vocals that gallop through on every track—even the ballad-like "It Girl." No "high octane" bullshit here—just piss ‘n’ vinegar and ol’ fashioned elbow grease.

I mean, good grief, what does "Shitlist +1" mean to YOU? Are you gonna ride with us OR WHAT!? We can barely open the doors, and there’s only two beat-up seats, but you’re welcome to join us… (EL)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)

Baseball Furies "I Hate Your Secret Club" 7"

Seems the Baseball Furies have learned to pace themselves a bit since their frantic bash-‘em-up inception, and if this single is any indication of the shape of things to come within their secret club, then sign me up post haste. They opt to tear the package open this time around with a more structured—and intense—sound that continues in the underlying tradition of their earlier work (i.e. fast, loud and bitter) without rehashing the same ol’ punches to the gut. I like it. If you dig non-generic, blazing garage punk, you’ll like it, too. (EL)
(Estrus Records P.O. Box 2125 Bellingham, WA 98227)

Bitter Pills "S/T" 7" EP

The Bitter Pills (out of Tennessee) feature the same mod/freakout beat music from the mid 60’s, but set to more of a garagey recording. The fuzzed-out guitar amps, rock solid rhythm section, and cool Keith Moon drumbeats will seduce any early Who or Animals fan like the enchanting 60’s model Twiggy. These cats are ready to shake! So come on all you children, get with the coolest kids this side of the Brighton Beach – The Bitter Pills! (JD)
($3 ppd. - Domesticity Records PO Box 763 Knoxville, TN 37901-0763)

Bodies "Addicted to You" LP

The Bodies are a decent punk band, and yet seem to get a lot of shit thrown at them. Their 7" on TKO Records was good enough to keep me interested in their group, which leads me to this LP. Again, the Bodies show me that while their music certainly isn’t "life changing," they can still put out a healthy dose of ’77 style punk rock. If you went apeshit for their 7" then you’ll dig this album. (JD)
(Radio Blast Recordings PO Box 160308 40566 Dusseldorf, Germany)

Cellophane Suckers "…Hell Yeah!" LP

The Cellophane Suckers play some high-octane Zeke Rock. These guys have a bad attitude and relish in fast music, fast food, and fast women. The problem with the Cellophane Suckers’ Zeke Rock is that their songs blend into one super long tune that gets monotonous and reasonably lackluster. And with song titles like- "I Got Tattooed Last Night," "Sponge Face," and "We’re So Fuckin’ Cool" I think you can get the idea of what these guys are all about. (JD)
(Radio Blast Recordings PO Box 160308 40566 Dusseldorf, Germany)

Cramps "Songs the Lord Taught Us" LP & "Off the Bone" LP

Begin Review Prologue.

Despite what Julie sez, that she NEVER drank Kool-Aid as a child, which I find really hard to believe, Kool-Aid has NEVER turned its back on her. She is "allergic" to it. It "burns her throat" she said. Traitor. Setting scenes on this Monday night… The Spanish speaking TV station that held our interest earlier has lost its appeal. Setting scenes for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" whilst I type this review. Maybe, just maybe its time for a haiku. I’m feelin' up to it.

Summer Days leading
into Evenings and now
I labor with words.

Always Coca-Cola.

END Review Prologue.

This review is part of a recent re-birth. A Cramps re-birth that has Cincinnati in its clutches. I go into Shake it Records and BAM! BOOM! BAM! It’s like when I hit the 'C' section it’s CRAMPS everywhere!!!! EVERYWHERE!!!! I’m not complaining though I really dig the Cramps.

And Julie sez I’m not too cultured because I would rather write about The Cramps THAN read subtitled for a movie she said is- Good. Like Xena: Warrior Princess "good" she said. Oh well, maybe I will give her a chance because this "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" thing fits into my whole orient thing, which rose and sorta fizzled out with the purchase of a Bonsai Tree and declarations that Ohio is LIKE The Japaneese Empire due to Ohio’s state flag having a big red dot on it… Maybe this "Hidden Dragon" movie will revive my interest in all things Far Eastern.... Replacing my Vietnam veterans and camouflage t-shirts and berets with slippers and, you guessed it, more haiku. Here I am, already writing haiku in this reviews prologue.... Just a thought here, maybe, JUST (maybe), I am beginning a NEW phase to my persona: A mixture, an amalgam if you will, of The Orient AND military!!! FUCK Yeah!!! The movie begins. See you for more on the Cramps later.

Ah, I’m back. The movie was pretty damn cool, even if I had to read my way through it. As far as the mixing of the two scenes of orient and military that I alluded to in the last paragraph, just before I left to watch "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".... Well, this whole military thing has a pretty hard hold on me. Let’s talk about the Cramps.

In many ways, The Cramps were, and for that matter still ARE, the answer to the eternal question, "Punk-Rock?" I became an avid fan after I read about them in SPIN or something like that. The writer of the certain article featuring the Cramps described meeting them for the first time and how surreal the whole scene was. If memory serves me correctly, and trust me on this one, my memory is NOT what it use to be, I believe something was mentioned about the writer first meeting Lux Interior and Poison Ivy in a dilapidated apartment where the windows were blacked out with thick fabric with the main source of light coming from a television set that was turned to a in-between station of static. This is the image I have of the Cramps, like it or not, but it fueled my taste for their music. The way I figured it, way back in 1990 when I read this (once again, I think) this image I had of the Cramps just fulfilled their whole being to me and my way of doing things. I RESPECTED this image of the Cramps I now had in my head. I’ve never really been one for band’s images and themes too much because despite my military "thing" and my love of velcro-shoes, I am not really a fashionite. But the Cramps! Like troopers! The Cramps do what they do SO I DON’T HAVE TO!!!!!! Fucking sacrifice!

My journeys down the long punk-rock road would take me to places that I feel Lux Interior and Poison Ivy would really appreciate, populated with people that Lux and Ivy would probably feel very at home with. Four people living in a building with one working electrical outlet (for TV and VCR), one overhead light that would fizz out from time to time, and a toilet that would be used as frequently as any other toilet, but didn’t have the capability to flush like any other toilet. Yeah, you could use this toilet and all (piss only) but you were NOT to flush it. The un-flushable waste left in the bowl turned every color of the rainbow gong in a three day time from BLACK to a soapy white with no substance separate from urine added. True Story! What if someone had to shit you say? Well, as a fellow named Mike TV (History lesson: Lead vocals for a local defunct Cincy band called THE MUZZIES and so-named from the character in "Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory") would say, "You get a plastic bag and go in the other room." Very disturbing, but yet a kind of place that reminded me of the Cramps and their music.

The first and most memorable release I have was a cassette titled Bad Music for Bad People, which pretty much was the only thing from the band I listened to (and Gravest Hits of course) until I got these two LPs. Everyone wants to proclaim the Cramps a rock-a-billy band first and foremost, but to me they have more of that punk-rock in them and enough quirkiness and just odd sounding songs to make them arty enough for me to consider them art-punk. To list them simply as a rock-a-billy band would group them with the Stray Cats. I don’t know if the two ever really met but I think a bunch of pussies like The Stray Cats would shat themselves if they ever met the Cramps, even in a well lit room.

The Cramps look like they do drugs.
The Cramps look like they brake laws.
The Cramps look debaucherous.
The Cramps look dangerous.
The Cramps personify everything BAD about rock and roll and that’s GOOD!

I’m no sorts of fucking music wizard or anything. Someone told me that Bad Music wasn’t really an LP per say, because it was a compilation of singles or something. The same person also said that Songs the Lord Taught Us is their first REAL LP. This shit isn’t really important to me really. Really? Really!

Who fucking cares? I have more important things to do than memorize stupid facts like which release came first. Of all the projects and shit I have going on, vast music knowledge is very low on the list. I feel the same way when it comes to all that Killed By Death shit too. Now you avid Blank Generation Readers know how I am about my Killed By.... Many would expect someone like me to have all that shit from the CompHELLation memorized. I don’t! I have my blood-splattered copy tucked away in my files under RESOURCES and I look at it from time to time. That’s why Mark did something like The CompHELLation, so I wouldn’t waste my brain cells on memorizing such trivial SHIT and it freed up space for destroying brain cells due to massive Miller High Life/Steel Reserve consumption. What’s BETTER? A brain cell used to memorize La Peste Killed By appearances, OR that brain cell DYING from drinking Seven Quarts of Steel Reserve? Yep. Sound Taps for the dead cell.

I have been playing bass since I was 20. In ROCKTOBER I turn 29. I’m not a phenomenal bassist or anything, but I get the job done. I’m really trying hard to get to the point. I am now at my bass ability. HOLD YER HORSES, I AM GETTING AT SOMETHING IF YOU JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE.... I read about how Sid Vicious just picked up a bass one night, put the first Ramones LP on, took some speed and at the end of the night could play the album in its entirety. Me, I’m not even that good. Just about a month ago I sat down with Bad Music and I don’t know what came over me. I sat down to try and figure out my favorite Cramps track, "New Kind of Kick," which is a track that I feel sums up the first several years of my involvement in punk-rock.... I figured it out in a couple of listens and moved on. When I was done I could play half the tracks on the tape! I couldn’t believe it. Bad Music turned out to me MY version of The Ramones. You see, I have nothing to hide. I am completely fine with my abilities and in-abilities. I figured if I JUST played bass and didn’t write for Blank Generation, or did Art, or didn’t do The Neus Subjex, I could probably be a decent bassist. I’m varied in my likes. I’m well rounded, in more ways than one.

So you see, I have very special place for the Cramps right here, where my ROCK AND/OR ROLL HEART USED to be. That fucking thing, ROCK AND/OR ROLL HEART, is long dead. I’m alive on pure revelry.

Songs the Lord Taught Us features "TV Set" and "Garbageman" from the Bad Music release and eleven other ditties including their rendition of "Sunglasses After Dark", "Tear It Up" and a version of "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" complete with a in studio fight I suppose between parties unknown. Only a band like the Cramps would do something like, include an argument of that caliber like before this song plays because sometimes its IMPORTANT to just let things happen and see where they go. Let the chips fall where they may, just sit back and enjoy the mess. That, too, I wholly RESPECT.

Off The Bone features many repeat tracks but sports a 3D cover. I have yet to find a pair of 3D glasses to check it out or anything but it’s pretty damn slick. Side One features the Gravest Hits tracks in their completeness and two repeat tracks from Taught Us ("Garbageman" and "Fever"). Side Two reads pretty much like Bad Music featuring mostly repeats from that release, including my favorite track, "New Kind of Kick" and a song called "The Crusher."

The vinyl on both releases is a bit thicker than usual, and unlike most bootalikes features labels on the records. Due to the similarities of the labels on both records, I would say that these records were done by the same German guy. Why German? Because only crazy mothers like those Germans really APPRECIATE a band like the Cramps here, in Twenty oh one... The reproduction artwork on Taught Us is pretty decent too. With the thick vinyl and artwork, these records are built to last... The songs are also given more depth on the vinyl.... Good thing these came my way because I have almost worn out my tape.

Well, that’s it for now I suppose. You know, everyone seems to have the consensus that my reviews are too long.

Fuck you.

My long reviews are better than your non-existent one’s ass-wipe.

Once again, fuck you. (SAB)
(No reliable address, Boot-a-likes)

Deadly Snakes "I'm Not Your Soldier Anymore" CD/LP

These guys have got to be one of the most unjustly overlooked bands of the last few years. Their debut album on Sympathy, Love Undone, was my second favorite LP of 1999 and it barely showed up as a spec on the radar screen for most of you folks. If you missed out on that LP the first time around, The Deadly Snakes are Toronto's late-90's/early-00's answer to the Pretty Things - A (heavily) blues influenced, slop-bucket garage rock band fueled by dueling horns, a harmonica, a wave organ and a whole lot of soul.

If you've heard earlier Deadly Snakes material, there are a few instantaneously noticeable differences on "I'm Not Your Soldier Anymore." First and foremost, the cleaner production, which was unnecessary in my opinion and takes away a little from the dangerous "rowdy-kids-playing-their-souls-out" element they had going on the live off the floor recorded Love Undone. However, they are also a much tighter band now than in their early days and the upgrade in production goes well with their emerging and continually growing talent. Recently joined member Greg Cartwright (a.k.a. -- Greg Oblivian) gives em’ a rhythm section boost that is second to none. Soul just seems to pour out of this band, as showcased on songs like "Pirate Cowboy" and "Diamond Ring" and the 12 other tracks on this album. One of the elite bluesy-garage bands around today. (SA)
(In The Red Records 118 W. Magnolia Blvd., P.O. BOX 208, Burbank, CA, 91506)

Paul E. Ester and the Cruel Shoes "Eyeliner EP" 7"


Detroit has always had one of the best rock ‘n’ roll scenes in the world! And Jim from Rapid Pulse knows this; and, like any true rocker, embraces the Midwest with his label. This EP has got to be Jim’s best release yet!

Paul E. Ester and the Cruel Shoes contain about 40% of the Metros’ sound and about 60% of the Piranhas’ sound. Wild, messy guitars that can barely hold a tune together, yet compel you to lick it up, a bass line as thick and bouncy as Glen Matlock’s balls, drums that sound as if they’re being beaten like a redheaded stepchild, and the clincher, snotty fuckin’ vocals that are so irritating they make you wanna give the vocalist a lobotomy. You get two originals full of energy and potency and a cover of "Train Kept A Rollin" that makes the original sound like it was recorded in the Stone Age. This is what punk-rock sounds like; and this is going to be one of the premier records of 2001. (JD)
(Rapid Pulse Records PO Box 5075 Milford, CT 06460-1475)

Exploders "New Variations" CD

The Exploders! They had that kick ass single on Rip Off Records awhile back…so here’s their full-length CD on Teenage USA. These boys have the "Neat Neat Neat" Damned punk with the "Rocket and the Retards" Humpers rock ‘n’ roll all in one package. Dense, jagged lightning guitar licks, and screechingly raw vox make the Exploders one of the premier punk ‘n’ roll groups out there these days. There’re eleven tracks including, "Put On Your Wig," "Humanoids From The Deep," and "Party In Briefs." Anyone into hazardous, Neanderthal Rock will wanna plunk their clams down and pick up this soon to be a classic disc. (JD)
(Teenage USA Recordings PO Box 91-689 Queen St. W Toronto, ON M6J 1E6)

Faint "Danse Macabre" CD/LP

The Faint, a band I had a watchful eye on. Waiting for them to move more toward me or away. Well, I am glad to say that after their latest LP, Blank-Wave Arcade, The Faint have moved closer to me with Danse Macabre but yet still have a ways to go.

You see, Danse Macabre is what I would declare superior to Blank-Wave Arcade in many ways...mainly songwriting. The Faint has made a tremendous leap in their songwriting ability dealing out powerful songs full of rage and contempt like "Agenda Suicide."

The Faint’s sound is still reminiscent of 80’s mainstream new wave, but this time on Danse they dive deeper down in the sound; closer to bands and performers like John Foxx, Gary Numan and Kraftwerks latter era stuff, but still within the comforts of their established rhetoric- Midge Ures' era in Ultravox, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, and The Human League.... In fact what I want, what I need, is for The Faint to delve more deeply into performers like John Foxx and Gary Numan. John Foxx is one person who I will admit, I have only one recorded song by, but it’s a rager of a tune! It’s a song called "Underpass" from a cost cutting new wave sampler that also features a track by The Gary Numan. After hearing this song I could totally understand how Mr. Gary Numan himself was influenced in his solo career. I can hear a bit of John Foxx in the Faint, BUT not enough... There seems to be a need for fast, dance-beats, if you will, that I feel The Faint hide behind to make their music "danceable" and/or "upbeat." Bullshit! The Faint needs more John Foxx. How many times do I have to say it? The Faint need more Gary Numan (Pleasure Principal) and hell, while were at it, let’s give them more Joy Division too.

I’m being overly hard on The Faint; for that I am sorry, really, I am. That’s no bullshit. I’m really getting into what The Faint have to offer and even considered driving to Indianapolis, Indiana to witness their Danse live, in person. What I know is that I can put this LP on and listen to it, and after a while I just reach this place where I can say, "I have had enough," and change the LP. I’m even prepared to think that this isn’t even the band’s fault. Maybe it’s me. All I know is that of all the Faint HAD, and all that they have gotten in-between Blank-Wave Arcade and now, in all that the Faint HAVE, something is missing. It’s just a pinch or dash of a ‘lil somethin'-somethin' keeping this band from totally rocking my world, like they should, like when I heard Servotron for the first time.

The Faint on Danse Macabre is too house dance to me. Too raver for it to just topple me… You can’t impress everyone all the time no matter how hard you try.... The Faint hasn’t seemed to grasp this yet. Someone needs to tell them that it’s OK for them to alienate; in fact, it comes to be expected. When you can listen to this LP and can picture Juliette Lewis dancing around with two robots in a room for a GAP commercial, someone’s gotta say it.... I think WITHOUT 'saying it' I have been the one to say it. You have to be a fucking moron to miss all the commercialness that the Faint has. It’s just fingertips away…

The other day I was with my better half, shopping, God Bless America, while waiting just outside the dressing room I hear the Buggles, I hear Missing Persons, I even hear Gary Numan himself performing "Cars" over the stores intercom system. Paranoia anthem turned conumerism? Sure. Think about it: FUCK, shopping and being paranoid is actually the same thing. It takes the same amount of energy and wouldn’t you know it, it’s just as much fun! I could have just as easily heard "Violent" by the Faint on that intercom. In fact maybe it was the next song... Just after I walked out the door.

I don’t care though. More power to them. I could see the humor hearing a track like "Total Job" in the mall. Borderline art. The new Swindle. You see I like going to the malls where everything is shoved right down my throat. I like being force-fed bullshit on conveyer belts and window-shopping. Window-shopping is the modern art gallery. I respect a good window display as much as a Salvador Dali print.

Danse Macabre, I think, is a concept album. The cover artwork is taken from a dance piece called "One Charming Night" that was in turn based on a book about vampires. Ballet! Something as foreign to me as bottled water! Vampire ballet! Ah, Goth! That’s it, the Faint is the vanguard of a new Goth movement! Tracks throughout the LP seem to be centered around urban revolt. Industrial sabotage. Like if there was a modern version of Metropolis made, the Faint would fulfill the creative visions for the movie’s soundtrack.

The Faint shows a rougher edge on Danse Macabre than on their previous LPs. I feel as though I have been very harsh on The Faint in this review and once again, I apologize. I apologize for the same reasons that I am so abusive, I care. In all fairness, over the course of the last several days and giving both Dance and Arcade spins, I have grown more attached to The Macabre. It’s grown on me. Vampiric ballet? Sure! I’m fucking game. Bring it on Mothers!!!!

What all record reviews boil it all down to is one thing: buy or don’t buy. Am I glad I bought this LP? Yes. That is saying something. I bought this LP and decided to review it. As much as it would have been cool for me to get this in the mail from Saddle-creek, I didn’t.

Do I desperately await more from The Faint? Yes.

Maybe it ain’t to late to catch their show in Indianapolis… (SAB)
(Saddle Creek POB 8554 Omaha, NE 68108-0054)

Firestarter "Keen Reaction" 7"

After an impressive debut album, one would think Firestarter couldn’t get any better. Well, you’re wrong, they can, and have. The song "Keen Reaction" is heart-filled power pop at its pinnacle. It is just so unbelievably catchy it has been glued to my turntable ever since I got this record. On the flipside is "Rich’s Eyes," which has more punk guts wrapped up in an infectious pop tune. Firestarter mixed these recordings to bring out Sammy’s ultra bouncy bass lines, and the guitars feature more of the trademark muddy Teengenerate guitar fuzz without out muffling the guitar solos, all of which adds up to a splendid listening experience. Need I say more? (JD)
(Mangrove Label/Base: ACP Bldg. 3F, 4-23-5 Koenji Minami Suginami-Ku, Tokyo, 166-0003 Japan)

Greenhornes "S/T" CD/LP

A straight-forward 60's garage-rip out of Cincy that's been getting a considerable amount of press lately in wake of the media's "Detroit garage explosion." I'd heard these guys were boring live and didn't have much interest in getting this LP initially, but a guy working at a record store in the States I was at told me that it was "the best LP of the year" and that I'd get the sales tax knocked off everything I was buying if I bought that record. Considering I was getting $200 or more worth of stuff, who the fuck is gonna pass that up?

Well, I can tell you right away that this is FAR from being the best LP of the year, but it certainly is a lot better than I thought it would be. No originality here whatsoever, but they do a pretty good job at getting the mid-60's Pretty Things/Shadows of Knight sound down. Great drummer, good tight rhythm section, the whole deal… I don't dig this quite as much as I did when I first got it, but there are definitely a handful of great songs on here, particularly the opener "Can't Stand It", "Nobody Loves You" and "High Time Baby." I could do without their lackluster ballads, but overall, there's some pretty good stuff to be found on here. (SA)
(Telstar Records, P.O. Box 1123, Hoboken, NJ, 07030)

Intimate Fags "S/T" CD/LP

The latest LP from Rip Off… These Japanese boys released that single on Rip Off a ways back that met with mixed reviews. I thought the Intimate Fags were on the right track…punk rock, garagey recording, etc…but I didn’t think they were of the same caliber that other punk bands from Japan were. Then I heard a couple tracks of theirs off the Mangrove comp "ad vice" that were decent, but again seemed to lack in that grab-you-by-yr-throat-and-beat-you-senseless manner. So here’s their first full-length album, and I have to say, they’ve definitely put forth the most effort I’ve heard on any Intimate Fags record ever! They’re like the Japanese Buzzcocks with a little early Registrators thrown in to the mix. Songs like "Leave Me Alone", Get Your Kicks", and "Favorite Girl" are catchy and fun, and will keep you busy ‘til the Reds’ last LP comes out. (JD)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)

King Brothers "In the Red" CD/LP

Egads! Not only is this fucker noisy as hell, it’s also impressive! The Brothers of King manage to throw rock ‘n’ roll, blues destruction, mod overtones, backalley trashcan-banging and—I’m cringing here—lazy jazz into a fiery trash-pot, all the while welding their sonic project together with primal hoots, hollers and indistinguishable screams. They take a pretty standard formula and warp it into something that’s almost impossible to recognize, but they’re able to do it with minimal pretense. And, perhaps most importantly, they’re able to create a unique sound that has more to do with straining the conventional boundaries of garage-punk than it does with upholding them. In the Red Records, you make me smile. (EL)
(In the Red Records 118 W. Magnolia Blvd. PO Box 208 Burbank, CA 91506)

Les Sexareenos "14 Frenzied Shakers" CD/LP

Is there a band around today that plays better party music than Les Sexareenos? I sure as hell can't think of any. These Quebecois continue to dish out truckloads of great, soulful, organ fueled, ass-shaking garage rock with every single one of these 16 (not 14!) songs on here. After recording their last album with Jim Diamond in Detroit, Les Sexareenos decided to stay home in Montreal to record this record live off the floor, with only three microphones and a 4-track recorder. The result is a step down in production, but certainly a step up in authenticity. If you thought "Live In The Bed" had a 50's feel to it, you should hear how eerily close this record comes to capturing the whole 50's rock 'n' roll vibe without abandoning Les Sexareenos’ fierce stomp. If there is one thing that can be said about Les Sexareenos that separate them from the garden-variety garage band, it is that they have a true sense and grasp in the art of crafting real pop melodies. The vocals on this album (done by three-different alternating members) sound as effective and authentic at times as those heard on true 50's and 60's pop records! That isn't to say that this is a perfect record. On my first listening, some of the songs on here sounded a little weak in comparison to how they sound when they play these songs live, but after a few listens, I realized I was just a little spoiled getting to see them on a fairly regular basis. This is a great album throughout that continues Les Sexareenos tradition to rock, stomp and wail with the best of 'em. (SA)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)

Mirrors "A Green Dream" LP

I want to get in a time machine. I want to head back to where it all began. This stale modern age just doesn’t cut it. It’s too bland…too routine… I want to see all the pretty colors…dance in the mud…be free! The Mirrors are free. Their music is created from all of the best experiences from that decadent decade we call - The 60’s. Garage Punk, Psychedelic Mind-Trips, Experimental Sounds; A Green Dream is an eclectic album about art, poetry, dark, light, and gray tones… It’s a music lover’s record; a lover of sounds record. There is more music out there to discover my little turtledoves, spread your wings and soar. (JD)
(POP Quiz Records 2005 Saber Ct. League City, TX 77573)

Nerves "25th Anniversary" 10"

I’m stoked. I walk into the record store expecting to find nothing, but I find this record. It’s a must-have power pop gem that I could only listen to on tape before, touring in the van, but now I can have it on vinyl. Fuck yeah!! Featuring Peter Case from the Plimsouls and Paul Collins from the Beat, it includes such great songs as "Hanging on the Telephone", "Working Too Hard" and "One Way Ticket." The first song mentioned was made popular by Blondie, but here it is the way it should sound, raw and energetic. "One Way Ticket" is driven by a beautiful guitar line and great vocal hook from Jack Lee, who also penned "Hanging" and (another winner on this record) "Paper Dolls." Featuring sweet vocal melodies, tough drumming and ringing guitars, you just gotta own this. (SH)
(Penniman Records, PO Box 32142 – 08080 Barcelona, Spain)

Piranhas "Dictating Machine Service" 7"

New Piranhas material. Truly a treat beyond the descriptive word. Seriously, I’m not shitting you here. I wouldn’t do that to you. None at all… Trust me. Rock with me.

So, like, they’re back or something. I was really upset when I heard that The Piranhas were no more but figured the self-destructive thing had to eventually run its course to the inevitable dead end. But that dead end would hold surprises. It turned out to NOT be one of those dead ends where the road, or street, or whatever the kids call paved roadways nowadays, just ENDED with a guardrail and a sign proclaiming: DEAD END…

Leaving you to hit the reverse, or in the case of a band like The Piranhas take one last look at each other, smile and head full-speed into a sure-fire death.

The Piranhas hit the guard rail and hit that sign and exploded through the air in a 300 foot drop off of a cliff. Their car hit bottom and rolled over several times before it exploded into flames. Like true heroes, they went 100% to the end, like Billy the Kid and The Regulators in Young Guns…

But like The Regulators would return in Young Guns 2, The Piranhas story isn’t over. The band disbanded. It looked like they were over. After a possible new band, that was going to be called The Romans or some shit like that, a new Piranhas line-up spawns and once again sets out to destroy! To maim… To art… 100% full-speed ahead.

You see, if you looked at footage tape of the first demise of The Piranhas you would see each member were ejected from the car before it exploded. They would assemble just mere feet away from where the car's fire would smolder, laughing the whole time. The Piranhas cheated death. This single represents a return of The Piranhas, but love them and watch them bleed while you can. Like a thief in the night they were taken from us once, and it can easily happen again. One day you got them and one day you don’t. Right now, we got them. Let’s enjoy it while it last.

The two or three songs (depending on how you look at it) are of the same caliber of past Piranhas material on Tom Perkins Records. On these songs The Piranhas seem to dive more deeply into the realm of art/noise. It’s just that I wish it all would play much louder on the whole mix. There seems to be a trebbleness to Piranhas material, especially on this recording, where a more bassy feel could have given the record even more bite. But hey, I will admit, all that stuff I just said is bullshit there. I mean FUCK, it’s The Piranhas! Who gives a fuck right? What does it matter that me, Shawn Abnoxious, a worthless worker drone clad in a beret and camouflage shirt and drinking Miller High Life, sez? I don’t matter!!! Low self-worth! Just the place that a person should be when listening to the Piranhas. Stripped down emotions… Bottom of the barrel, when animals attack… When Piranhas kill…

Guitars… Screams… Keyboards… Decadence… I know what it sounds like to go stark raving mad, it sounds like The Piranhas!

Raw, loud, breaking into quirky moments of art damage noise that make me wanna just throw a lamp out my window, The Piranhas show that their "time off" didn’t make them soft. On this 7" they show that nothing is letting up. Not one fucking bit. It’s full-steam ahead. Walls be damned! Roofs be damned! Concrete be damned.

The Piranhas are unstoppable and just like they like it, on the edge. This single signifies the return of one of the best bands in current 'punk-rock'. Neoteric H-Bombs, it can only be surmised that The Piranhas are THEE reckoning force in the Midwest.

The other day I heard a story about a band from San Francisco, who played a certain Midwestern city that shall remain nameless, and were having a pretty rough time. Their big Surf City versus Midwest redneck shallow gene-pool jokes weren’t going over too well with the crowd who were biting back. Fights were breaking out as the crowd united against this band on several fronts. Later someone would overhear the band talking about how the Midwest was just unreceptive to what they were doing and that they were having a hard time in many Midwestern cites like they had in this certain un-named city.

Power is shifting. Away from oceans… To the middle… Attacked from both sides. The Piranhas are one of the bands making a difference in this No Oceans Assault. When instances of defiance circulate back to you from a San Francisco band about a certain city and its certain crowd instances, that’s when you can really tell that you have a united front.

Don’t let me tell you how important it is to get this 7". You should have already figured it out by now. Great bands like The Piranhas doesn’t last forever. We thought we lost them once. We have them back.

No question.
We are lucky.

Welcoming destruction.
Welcoming the re-birth.
(>>Neoteric) (SAB)
(RockNRoll Blitzkrieg PO Box 11906 Berkeley, California 94712)

Proletariat "Voodoo Economics and other American Tragedies" 2XCD


I was first exposed to The Proletariat on that CD, which was also released by Taang, compiling "This is Boston Not LA" and "Unsafe at Any Speed." Don’t get me wrong! I don’t need to waste MY time and YOUR time clearing up any misconceptions because after all, this is a REVIEW, not a plane crash investigation... Gangreen, The F.U.s, The Freeze and others kicked a lot of ass on that CD, but it was the tracks by the Proletariat which really got me interested. I don’t know how long this CD has been out but the moment I saw it I bought it.

If you can hear "Options" and NOT consider it one of the best songs ever... If you can listen to "Options" and not feel like bombing a World Trade Center or joining the closest leftist rebellion of choice (mine is the R.U.N. or REFUSERS UNITED NATION who number close to 35 at the time of this writing and are dug in on 350 acres in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Kentucky and are said to have the capability to live INDEPENDENT for years... The FBI and other key government orifices currently have them under siege; you won’t hear about this in CNN or read about it in the USA Today... You just have had to stumble onto the story like I did on a recent excursion to Lookout Mountain)... Anyway, like I said, "Options" and other Proletariat songs set standards to judge your peers by. VOODOO!!!! Simple as that...

This double CD has a grand total of 45 songs gathering the aforementioned tracks found on "Unsafe at any Speed" and "This is Boston Not LA", but also includes other Prole releases including a limited edition cassette (yeah, remember those things?) called Distrotion in its entirety, Homestead Records releases like the "Marketplace" b/w "Death of A Headon" single as well as the complete Independence full-length (also on Homestead), the infamous Soma Holiday that apparently everyone in the world had except me (until now) and last, but not least, four unreleased tracks! Fucking impressive! Yes!!! Impressive! I will admit that the sheer totalness and length of this CD is somewhat overbearing but I’m not complaining too much. You see, like GO AND DO IT, that one CD featuring the massive amounts of Australian Punk bands who did work for Abberant Records, and hell, even the Boston Not LA/Unsafe CD for that matter, there’s just a lot of material on this Double disc. A lot to listen to, a lot to go through… I have had this disc for a week now and JUST NOW is it really sinking in.

The CD booklet, which is thick as a brick, consists of lyrics and pictures of the band. I caught myself looking for some of those good old fashioned liner notes like something I could read while I took a shit or something but to no avail, just song lyrics. I’m betting that there will be more of what I am looking for on their website address, which I have included at the end of this review...

So, for those of you who know nothing about The Proletariat, let me try to give you something to work with by further giving you bands in comparison that you are too fucking lame to have given time of day to. The thing about The Proletariat is that they seemed to start off with a sound like if Conflict had went into a direction heading into art-punk like The Gang of Four. Hard, driving guitars which short and sharp abrasive lyrics that resemble Wire somewhat. Lyrically, the songs deal with mostly politics on a personal level coming across like forgotten or missing pages from a history book on the 20th Century, especially the early to mid 80's because that was their time period... The Proletariat shock with truth. Pull no punches. Some songs, like the lyrics to "Voodoo Economics," are basic and to the point like children’s books are:

Doug picked up the ball.
Doug through the ball at his friend Roger.
Roger has interesting opinions on the situation in El Salvador!

Its taking tense and at the time, current news and telling it in a language that’s easily understood and consumed by those whose opinions would come to shape society. You see, all those kids slammin' in the pit back in Boston to the Proletariat... Well, not all of them are probably the bastions of independent thoughts and actions like some would wish, but just maybe instead of being the downtown emotionless robot high-rise worker or whatever, someone who listened and bought Proletariat releases might be more sensitive to the HUMANITY around them and actually show compassion in SOME. If even in a small way... Me, FUCK! I use to almost play exclusively with war toys as a child. I had massive amounts of Army Men and would fight massive wars after wars in all parts of my childhood home, mostly after being inspired by a good war movie. I didn’t know what my troops were fighting for, but there were two distinct sides: The Good Guys and The Bad guys. Even though I did field a population of Army mean numbering into the hundreds per side I learned how to recirculate the dead troops into new troops for the cause. I can never remember a real substantial victory (for the good guys of course) leaving more than four or five key soldiers alive. My wars were total and to the end. Just to show you how things change, in 1987, during the beginnings of The Gulf War (WARS WITH SURFBOARDS!) I TIED to see the worth, but didn’t, and ranked amongst the seven people in my school of 3,500 who did not endorse the gulf war. As far as wars go, The Gulf War was probably the coolest war. Smart bombs… The allies united… Clear lines of good versus bad… Gas weapons… Cruise Missiles.... I just wanted into it. It wasn’t for me.

It seems that as the band’s ability grew, The Proletariat began to work other sounds more into their own sound. They don’t outright abandon, but rather explore a bit and add to the abrasive Conflict type guitar and venture into territories and places where you would find bands like Mission of Burma (which just to happen to be from Boston too), The Mob and Zounds. The latter material might not be as loud and as forth as the latter, but really the Proletariat show with songs like "Recollections", "Columns", "Piecework", "Uneasy Peace", and "Instinct" that there was such a thing as hardcore art-punk, and they were that.

This is a great CD and one I feel that many who read Blank Generation could find a soft spot in their hardcore for it. It’s not garage punk. It’s not rock and/or roll. It’s The Proletariat. Get it fool. (SAB)
(Taang Records)

Red Planet "Let's Degenerate" CD/LP

Red Planet is easily one of the best pop-derived punk bands on our planet right now. Think of the Cars and the Knack (both first album period), and think of the Undertones, Real Kids and Vibrators in the same stream of consciousness. Put 'em all together in some kind of weird science experiment of ultra-power pop proportions and you'd probably get something on the level of how good this band really is. I've listened to their first album regularly since getting it this spring, but this album definitely surpasses "33 Revolution." The production here is perfect. A little bit more guitar oriented than the last album and focused more on just rocking out. The assortment of songs is stronger here as well. Whereas there were a few songs on the first album that just didn't do it for me the way the rest of them did, all of the songs on this album rock! These guys are sure as hell one tight fucking band! Not too sure how well the Moog effects would replicate in person, but I'd be willing to bet my Teenage Head LP's that these fuckers rip shit up live. If you've grown tired of all of the shitty, formulaic pop punk bands around today and have run your course with generic BIG ROCK Candy Snatchers wannabe's, get this album! There aren't too many bands out there today that know how to use better production to their advantage and can still rock you like nobody's business, but Red Planet are surely one of them. (SA)
(Gearhead Records, P.O. Box 421219, San Francisco, CA, 94142)

Sluggo "Contradiction" 7" EP

They don’t make them like this one anymore. I know that for a fact.

Sluggo hail, or rather once hailed from Cincinnati, my very hometown. Here in the modern day punk scene of Cincinnati, few know about a Cincinnati Punk Rock (abbreviated with just plain ol’ CPR these days) scene dating back before The Slobs or The Chemo Kids. Hell, even myself... By the time I caught wind that they’re even WAS a local scene back in the early 90’s, I was just witnessing one of the earliest formation periods of The Slobs! Sluggo, along with Human Zoo (The Candy Snatchers titled their latest LP in honor of this band), Musical Suicide, The Customs, The Edge and SS-20 (who still surface from time to time), set the groundwork’s for the modern day CPR scene and its ethics.

With thanks to the now infamous "Bloodstains Across The Midwest" my interest in my scenes history was ignited as I tracked down people, their memories and their records to learn of my scenes past. The interest in local Cincinnati punk history would continue to grow as the re-issue craze and used record bins brought forth my city’s musical past... I was lucky enough to get a hold of a original Contradiction EP one eventful day in the fragile weeks before Shake It Records grand opening when they were letting a few people inside for a "sneek-peek" here and there, which included me, as they were building it. When I saw a copy of Contradiction, and priced at ONLY $1.50 I quickly snatched it up. I would later discover that even though the record was a collectible sought after internet auctions and appearing on want list from time to time, Darrin Blaise (Shake It co-owner and longtime Cincinnati ‘scenester’), who had knew how collectible the record was, intentionally priced the record as any other used 7" would be priced just so someone locally could get a good deal. It’s no fucking coincidence that Shake It Records has grown to be THE BEST record shop in the immediate Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana region... Their heart is in it!

I would take that very record and in true punk fashion-make about 13 bootleg tape copies, mostly for my friends and others who I hoped the music would inspire, who I thought also needed a chance like Darrin gave me; to hear a slice of their scene history. I would also do the same for a Human Zoo LP AND GET BUSTED BIGGER THAN SHIT. My bootleggin’ ‘Han Solo days’ were over, but it was through people like me who really got burned by the spark and felt it an obligation to keep the flame alive, or the people seeing the potential dollar signs that re-releasing highly collectible music entails, that bands like Sluggo live again.

Sluggo play DC type hardcore ala Teen Idles, The Minor Threat, and the band that both of them copied- The Bad Brains. There’s also a bit of Boston Hardcore in there too, like The Freeze and even on one track in particular ("Of It") I can see a little bit of Proletariat shinning... This 7" features eight over all tracks, a new sleeve design with minimal liner notes from Karl Meyer (who was the one who brought the hammer down on my personal re-issue series and also who played bass at one time or other in most of the past Cincinnati bands I mentioned), my copy was also on a light purple-ish vinyl, limited to 501 hand numbered copies (mine is #488), and last but not least, features a new sleeve design.

This is a great re-issue, and I am not just saying that because they are from Cincinnati... I have begun thinking about the OTHER tracks that were mentioned in the liner notes by Karl that were never released. I thought at one time Karl had some sort of deal set up where you could order some sort of CD with ALL the unreleased Sluggo tracks or something like that over the internet (look on their website, I listed it below). Now that I see this 7" re-issued I wonder if this isn’t some sort of test to see if there’s any interest for that other material seeing the light of day... I hope so because I don’t know about YOUR local scene, but here in Cincinnati, despite all we have and potential of what we CAN have, our scene could be better. If all those NOFX clones out there hear great stuff like this 7", I am thinking it might inspire them. Thanks Agitate 96. (SAB)
(Agitate 96 Records 11479 Amboy Ave. San Fernando, CA. 91340)

Slumber Party "Psycedelicate" CD

Well, like the title sez - Slumber… Delicate… Unless you are a big fan of shoe-gazer Mazzy Star-like indie rock, STAY AWAY. I mean, FUCK! Not one fucking scream on the whole disc! Lemme tell you want I wanted: WORDS AND GUITAR ala Sleeter-Kinny, but fuck man, I feel like this disc is putting me into a fucking trance or something.

"Soldier," the third track is pretty cool and later, the tenth track, "I Never Dreamed," is pretty happening too. They both bring to mind The Velvet Underground, which is pretty damn cool, but the upbeat of both these songs is interchanged for even slower ballads that bring the eye-lids down. Psycedelicate is just over-all too dreamy for me right now. After a few listens it begins to develop an Abba like weirdness that I’m appreciating more and more with each listen. But man, I feel like maybe Michelle Shocked is some sort of super-criminal ala The Legion of Doom from the Old Justice League animated show and Slumber Party is her latest attempt to take over the USA or something.

I say we crate up Slumber Party and dropped them in Afghanistan to bring the fortified flying carpet squadrons of Osama Obi-Won Bin Laden to their knees!!!! Hey, wasn’t Rambo 3 set in the then Soviet battled Afghanistan? Those fucking Afgans, LOVE Rambo! Lets give Rambo a M-60 and a few belts of ammo and ear plugs and send him along with the Slumber Party to FIGHT FOR THE UNITED STATES OF FRIGGIN AMERICA!!!!

I will end this review with a patriotic chant:

USA Osama No Way!
USA Osama No Way!
USA Osama No Way!
USA Osama No Way!
USA Osama No Way! (SAB)
(Kill Rock StarsPMB 418 12o NE State Ave. Olympia WA. 98501)

Stiletto Boys "A Company of Wolves" CD

I don’t even remember the last time that I heard a pop album that was this good. They wear their hearts and influences on their torn, striped sleeves, ladies and gentlemen—the Stiletto Boys.

This ain’t ’77? Leave me the fuck alone pal—I don’t wanna think otherwise. The Buzzcocks (a cool cover of "I Don’t Mind"), The Dickies (you can just hear it on "Heaven Help Me"—even in the lyrics), The Jam (their version of "Life from a Window"), Stiff Little Fingers (tell me the beginning of "Mind Control" doesn’t sound like parts of "No More of That," and I’ll tell you that you’re full of shit), etc… Normally, I’d condemn the holy hell out of any lame-ass ’77 revivalist outfit, but the Stiletto Boys won’t take it—they put their own spin on it, replete with absolutely killer vocal harmonies, thick guitars and a rhythm section that refuses to take a backseat to the rest of the band.

I’ve noticed quite a few people in 2001 are distancing themselves from the pop epidemic these days, and I don’t blame ‘em. There are too many bad pop outfits out there right now; too many shit bands resting on their limp-dick laurels, devoid of any trace of pure rock ‘n’ roll or genuine energy. But if you are one of those "types" who has dismissed pop altogether in favor of sucking up an equally overused offshoot of the rock crop (i.e. cookie-cutter garage, "big" rock and—ugh—"chaotic hardcore"), then I fucking pity you, ‘cause you’ll miss out on cool discs such as this. Buy POP! Buy STILETTO BOYS! (EL)
(Pelado Records 521 W. Wilson C103 Costa Mesa, CA 92627, USA)

Strokes "Is This It" CD (import)

OK. So, like, this IS it after all. I have waited and waited. I have been a patient puppy daddy. I have eaten my meat. I have eaten my pudding. I have mowed the front lawn.... After a week of working in a screw factory, a worker drone like myself deserves a release like this to make it all worth it. So, like, fuck you.

I notice RIGHT away that the three tracks that were featured on the aforementioned CDEP ("Modern Age", "Barley Legal" and "Last Nite") were all re-recorded with the most notable re-recording (re-recording) being the new version of (UV) "Modern Age." This newer recording delivers a tad bit slower version of "Modern Age" than the first, but yet a version that sports more musical depth. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that that CDEP was on a different label or something.... All I know is that I caught it.

The way I figure it is that the Strokes had to re-record versions of the songs AGAIN so that now RCA had their own versions of the songs all to their own self- AKA OWNERSHIP! That other single I reviewed last time with "Hard to Explain" and "New York City Cops" is also on this CD. So if you were like me and ran out to gobble up all The Strokes you could find at the time, you may see yourself as being somewhat cheated.

Sure fuckface, that CDEP had DIFFERENT VERSIONS of three of these songs, but I’m not the sort of guy who will claim that I have been cheated just because I flipped out about a band and ran to my local record store to get what I could. No, I don’t feel cheated, BUT I DO understand how 89.67% of the record buying community are fucking cheapskates and whine and cry about the great industry trick of THE SINGLE. I mean FUCK! I LOVE the concept of the single. The single is designed to build oneself up to a great climatic of a full-length release. Case in point: Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bullocks... Here it is, a Monday in the year twenty Oh one and I came home from work with all intentions of watching the PUNK VHS featuring The Banshees, Iggy Pop, Joy Division and others. I then realized I left that at my parent’s house and have yet to transfer that to THE COMPOUND (where I live) so I tried for The Punk Rock Movie.... My copy has a constant line right in the middle of the picture so off it went... Finally I had to settle for Punk in London, a German based documentary that features some decent X Ray Spex footage along with Jolt, Clash, Chelsea and more. At one point in Punk in London, the camera swoons over a crowd standing outside a sold out Boomtown Rats show. You see, these kids all bought The Sex Pistols singles as they came out and when Never Mind The Bollocks was released, even though it offered little in the ways of new material (like one or two new songs at the time; the more I think about it the more I want to say one...), THEY GOBBLED IT UP!!!!

Am I mad that I got the "Hard To Explain" / "NYC Cops" single THEN two days later bought the CD that had those two songs, plus three more that I previously owned? HELL NO! I’m Shawn Abnoxious - Self-proclaimed Torpedo to Hades. I’m riding the industry. I am gearing up.


Like it or not I realize something... I AM a "rock journalist." I AM PART OF THE INDUSTRY (too bad for you eh?), and if I’m part of this so-called 'The industry' or something, then I am going to have to get quick with their terms and ways of doing things. I’m not in it to destroy the system from within. I’m in this ride for kicks baby! (Gear Up) KICKS! (GEAR UP!!!) I have talked to A & R representatives in the past and you know what? Those Wall Street fucks have NOTHING ON ME. Call it self-worth… Call it arrogance… Call it what you will. I’m going to get up, go out there (getupandgonow), call some record companies and really tell them a thing or two about how things SHOULD BE. If they don’t like it, then OH (fuckin') WELL. Here’s a fucking secret; most times I don’t like me either.

This might be the Freon talking but I FUCKING HATE MY LIFE. There wasn’t a number I called to answer a few questions, or request some sort of home testing booklets to complete a course and home test telling, no, PROCLAIMING I, Shawn Abnoxious, am now OFFICIALLY a rock journalist... I wish it were that simple. I jokingly referred to myself as a 'rock journalist' before... But now I am for real. STAY REAL! I went through the works for The Strokes. The Singles... The Radio play... The Full length... They graduated me. Thanks.

The first song is the title track. It’s a slower ballad bringing up to front a Pixies comparison. "Is This It" sounds like something that would have fit nicely on Surfer Rosa. Then you have the single repeats in all their glory...those tracks have proven themselves to me. The Strokes way of story telling... The comparisons to the Cure, The Velvet underground, Lou Reed... I really feel close to The Strokes and even though I figure they probably think I am some sort of addict of an illegal narcotic all I got to say is... All I got to tell them is... How should I say this bay-be; Spraypaint isn’t illegal.

Watch my triple Doppler radar spread colors of the approaching storm front across my television screen.... Ahhh! haha..... I mean Ahhhh!

There are eleven total tracks on this disc. Five of those songs are not new to me. The rest are. You see, Those other songs prepped me. 'Prepped' is short for PREPARED.

The six songs that are new to me are real balzers. More Velvet Underground... Lou Reed assault... The Strokes attack with artistic venom. They bite like a snake that has real bright colors and very deadly poison, like the kind you see those crazy Australian's on TV handle... The Strokes songs are infectious and deadly and leave their mark in your system. You’re bitten and the venom is coursing through your veins hours before you realize you been bitten, Is This It is a great fucking full length!

Everyone is doing what they do with the Strokes, either you love them or you go about belittling them. Either you are going to be fine with comparisons to bands like The Pixies, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, and The Buzzcocks...OR YOU’RE NOT!

Is This It is ultimately designed and released for people who want it. For people who are searching... For the Neoteric... So, in some ways it’s limiting because truthfully, it’s years beyond its time. I know, from spending time in the trenches on the other side of a flying V bass I call THE SHARK, that the fact that some people grow unfathomable hatred for this band is understandable and enjoyed by The Strokes. Punk-rock, or more importantly, The NEOTERIC Punk-Wave, is about turning those negatives into positives and positives into supra-positives. No win situations into win/win situations… I see this quality in The Strokes. It’s a quality that is a very important lesson if you are going to be serious about creating music. It’s hard to learn and not everyone who says they understand such concepts really does. Hell, maybe even I am full of bullshit. In fact, I probably am. That possibility exists, but here, in The Strokes I see qualities I admire in musicians and bands. The qualities and talents are selective, and those who have the ability of SUPRA-POSITIVES are rare, I would even say we, or they, depending how much I fuck things up at key moments of my own battles, are elite. Saying the Strokes are elite is a real dickhead thing to do, I know, but here I am, SHAWN ABNOXIOUS, wearing my I KNOW I’M GOING TO HEAVEN BECAUSE I SPENT MY TIME IN HELL Vietnam Veteran’s T-shirt, DEALING TRUTH like it’s a fucking new can of gold spray-paint. Get yer bags. Not everyone will get as fuck up as everyone else but huffing this bag of paint with me WILL separate the rock from the roll. The Punk from the NEOTERIC...

I see this LOVE/HATE The Strokes story being played out time after time in my own record store and I am sure the scene is played out countless times around the world... Or rather I hope the scene is replayed because I like the Strokes. I like it when I put such numbers and beliefs into bands like The Strokes and all people have to offer back is something like "They suck" or "They are rip offs" or something CHILDISH. I like telling people stuff like THE STROKES ARE GOING TO SAVE ROCK AND ROLL because they look at me like some sort of spray paint huffer addict or something and feel urgency because they, the fucking childish fucks that had ATTEMPTED to belittle me and MY BANDS and MY BELIEFS, have the feeling in the back of their head that I COULD be right. I COULD BE dead on the money. The Strokes COULD save rock and roll and when they do, those fucks that wanted to destroy as opposed to build will be lost in disco heaven...

Everything has been brought back to basic.
Back 2 base.
The destroyed has been destroyed.
It’s time to build. The Stokes build...

The Neoteric Dawn has arrived in full force. You’re either with it or you’re a casualty of it. One way...or the other... Hate to be so pushy right now, like we’re on a cliff, looking down, and here I am, making you choose your path, but the time is coming. Without further delay… It’s do or die papaw. You can’t handle a band like The Strokes so stay here while those WORTHY of the NEXT STEP jump.

Newer non single tracks to watch for: "Take It or Leave It", a scorcher... It’s a roller-coaster ride of ultimatums. Truly an anthem for The Neoteric bloodletting... One of the best songs ever written. "Soma", soft on the ears... A sleeper track that grows on you... It takes you from the beginning to the end. It’s a ride on a futuristic tramway connecting points where no one has ever been. Everyone is afraid to get off at the next stop because beyond something better is bound to be something worth discovering. Stop. And Go.

The Spaceships won’t understand...and that’s a GOOD thing! (SAB)

Teenage Rejects "Dont Care About Anything!" 7"

I like my drama in form of Days of our Lives, televised cheerleading championships, Olympic sports like gymnastics and ice skating, or at the very least, movies by the master of drama himself, Harmony Korine whose latest movie Julian Donkey-Boy is a pure fucking masterpiece!!! See it if you dare.

That out of the way I have been following Rip off Records for a while, I would like to say from the beginning, but I would be lying. I caught onto the whole thing in the earliest releases, but not the beginning. As it stands I have, I would say, about 93% of the Rip Off catalog. I would religiously buy them as I found them in local record stores. It didn’t matter what, through the years since releasing records, Rip Off has become a name that I can trust. Yeah, some releases are better than others and even still, some of the releases don’t hold up too well over time, but still, there has been some really impressive releases under the Rip Off banner and this 7" continues the tradition of fine punk-rock.

The Teenage Rejects are from Wisconsin; Green Bay or some shit like that. I never been to Green Bay but sorta figured that, like everywhere else I suppose, it had a overwhelming population of pop-punk. The Teenage Rejects ARE NOT that at all. The Rejects, who I was assured ARE teenagers when I bought this 7", play fast, upbeat classic re-punk (the ‘re’ stands for revivalist) like a mix between the Circle Jerks and The Motards.

The sleeve confuses me a bit and appears to list three songs when in fact, after 50 releases, Rip Off holds true to the one-sided single. I know times in the past yielded double-sided singles in limited quantities, so maybe this is one of those cases where a third song exists on 50 copies or something. I just hope that another fine Rip off tradition holds true - that after this single, a full length follows. I like what the Rejects have to offer me. I can’t believe I am saying this, but after some of the stuff I have been listening to lately, and even playing now in my own musical projects, it is nice to get some garage-punk back in the old ears.

I am not sure if it’s just a Cincinnati trend or what, but 7" sales have slacked off to a trickle in my local stores. This means great 7"s like this one could have easily passed me up. Truth be known, when I initially picked this 7" up I didn’t even know, nor had reason to figure, this was a Rip Off single. I’m going to glance over my fanzines and make a list for my favorite record store and try to revive the ‘seven revolution’. At the top of that list: ANYTHING BY RIP OFF RECORDS. (SAB)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)

Teenage Rejects "Don’t Care About Anything" 7"

It’s a shame these guys broke up, ‘cause they espoused everything teenage-y and reject-y about Rip Off Records with a quickness. This cool little platter opens up with the mantra-like "Don’t Care About Anything" (which, in its simplicity and catchiness, sounds more like the Ramones than any band who actually attempts to) and closes off with the snot blast of "Razorblade," all the while sandwiching in the best song on the 45, "Losin’ My Mind." They may not be breaking new ground folks, but they certainly aren’t fucking it up, either. (EL)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)

Trouble Bound Gospel "Let’s Get Physical" CD

All the way from Finland comes Trouble Bound Gospel! The boys play an odd blending of 60’s soul/garage rock ‘n’ roll and be-bop jazz. The music sounds strange, anomalous, and just plain malformed, but that’s rock ‘n’ roll baby! It’s outta this world! The frontman, Makke, has a hearty voice, and is perfect for preaching the Trouble Bound Gospel. Face it, the cats can swing, and if you want chaotic organs, gnarled guitars, crashing symbols, and strident saxophones, groove on to the Trouble Bound Gospel my brothers and sisters. (JD)
(Sportin’ Life Records, Box 507, 20101 Turku, Finland)

White Stripes "White Blood Cells" CD/LP

So after reading this review, it will probably sound like I've jumped onto an ever-growing band wagon when I proclaim the White Stripes one as one of my favorite acts in music today, but I honestly mean every fucking word when I talk about how great this band really is. Sure, they seem to be getting all the credit (unjustly) for reviving garage, a genre which has been thriving on its own for much of the last 7-8 years (fuck, you wouldn't be reading this e-zine if it had not). Sure, John Peel now thinks these guys are "the next big thing" while the rest of the know-nothing British media have upped him one better and proclaimed them "the next Beatles." Sure, they've been on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn and featured prominently in Entertainment Weekly - Christ, I can even remember seeing a few quotes from Jack and Meg in fucking JANE Magazine recently (which I know because my girlfriend reads it, thank you very much) on how they keep busy while they are in between shows on tour, if you wanna talk about WEIRD mainstream media attention… Sure, indie rockers and college kids alike see their candy-striped fashion and say to themselves, "Look at that band, they're arty, they've got depth!" while the rest of us roll our collective eyeballs. There are many visible reasons staring you right in the face right this second that give you license to blindly hate this band, give you license to point your fucking finger at them and blame them for everything wrong with our scene. I sure as hell am not here to stop you. But I can tell you that if you stop for a second, forget about all the hype and bullshit and just really listen to the White Stripes you'd be foolish not to see how great they are.

White Blood Cells tends to remind me quite a bit of the first White Stripes LP. More so than De Stijl (which was easily one of the best albums of 2000), but that does not mean that Jack White's songwriting has weakened any. In fact, it's gotten exponentially better of the course of three albums to the point where all 16 songs on White Blood Cells were entirely Jack White written (the two previous albums included at least 3-4 covers a piece). Does that make it a better album than De Stijl? Not quite. De Stijl to me was one of the best flowing albums of the last couple of years - a perfect balance of stomping bluesy-garage, folk and classic rock. White Blood Cells doesn't quite flow in the same way, but it still packs a little bit of everything the same way previous albums did. The packaging of a "little bit of everything" is at the essence of what makes the White Stripes so great and that seems to be the part of the equations that no one understands. I'm told by people on one side that the White Stripes are weak in comparison to Bantam Rooster in terms of pure "stompability" and then I'm told that the White Stripes are pale Led Zeppelin rip offs for their slow, classic rock-esque stuff. Has it ever dawned on any of you that the White Stripes don't want to be EITHER of those bands? They don't want to be any one thing.

Jack White is a true scholar of rock music. Everything I've seen and heard from the White Stripes has pointed back to Jack White being the genuine article. This is the kid who was off at piano lessons while the rest of the kids were trying out for T-ball. This is the kid who more than likely grew up on John Lee Hooker than say, Kurt Cobain. This is the kid who more than likely found punk rock going down from his old rock roots, as opposed to finding punk rock first and then discovering old rock… Of course, these are all grand presumptions and unfounded ones at that, but fucking listen to this stuff, man! If you can tell me that there isn't a whole smorg of musical range and influence coming out of Jack White's soulful delivery, then you might as well be tone deaf.

There are many decent less-known bands around in our scene right now with whom the word "fake" is not a far off description of the essences of their band (not to go after any one band in specific, but HELLO Mooney Suzuki…). The White Stripes, however, are the antithesis of "fakes." They are the real deal. This album is the real deal. It's that simple. (SA)
(Sympathy For The Record Industry)

V/A "920 Blues" LP

Stellar comp showcasing the best of the Wisconsin garage/rock 'n' roll scene, including the Teenage Rejects, the Reds (the lone band on this comp not from Wisconsin), Sagger, the Leghounds, the Mystery Girls, the Derks, Yesterday's Kids, the Shutups, the Strong Come Ons, and the Mistreaters, with one song by each of them. At least three of these bands should be familiar to you by now, but it's the unknowns outside of the state of Wisconsin that will really surprise you here. Sagger's "Cranium" is a dreary, dark Reatards-esque tune that creeps up on you and is over before you can really absorb it. It is immediately followed up by the balls-to-the-wall rock 'n' roll assault of the Leghounds’ explosive "Hot Twat", one of the best songs the Devil Dogs never wrote! The Mystery Girls then round out the end of Side A with a great, sludge-ridden 70's rocker called "Hit Me Again." On the second side, the Strong Come Ons deliver a punch to the gut with the ballsy, hammering punk'n'roll of "That's Why", along with rocking covers of the Damned and the Police by the Derks and Yesterday's Kids, respectively. Not to mention the Reds "Gitlow" or the Teenage Rejects "She's My Girl", two songs that Greg Lowery must be kicking himself for not putting out earlier. A great comp from start to finish. (SA)
(Trick Knee Productions, P.O. BOX 12714, Green Bay, WI, 54307-2714)

V/A "Viva La Vinyl – Volume #4" LP

Wow! The 4th installment in Dead Beat’s 'dedicated vinyl only' compilation series. This record is probably Tom’s best Viva edition yet. Check it out, he was able to get the TV Killers (those frenchies who actually could be killed by death), the Flash Express (my new favorite garage punk ‘n’ soul outfit), the Geriatrix (R.I.P. long live the Gazelles!!), the Hellbenders (hardest working rock ‘n’ roll band in Temple City, CA), the Cock Spaniels (Kenny on Haight-Ashberry’s deceased band), and ten more groups that punk and rock out!!!!! Comps usually suck, and I tend get tired of listening to them halfway through, but not "Viva La Vinyl." It is most definitely entertaining… (JD)
(Dead Beat Records PO Box 283 Los Angeles, CA 90078)

© 2003