Record Reviews - November, 2001

Backstabbers "To Eleven" CD

What you have here is a ‘big’ sounding punk-rock and/or roll band ala Turbonegro. The key word is thick. Thick guitars… Thick drums… Thick vocals… I ponder on what would have happened if Turbonegro never happened at all... It seems to me that bands like Turbonegro, by merely existing, told bands like this that yes, you can listen to bands like AC/DC and use emulated forms of 70’s metal to make a viable and acceptable sound in the latter punk scenes of the 90’s/00’s.

As gruff and tuff as The Backstabbers sound though, by the second song I heard a little bit of emo shining through. Yes, I said ‘emo’. The song in question, "The Thrill is Gone", reminds me of what Rites of Spring would have become IF you replaced Minor Threat with Turbonegro in the early Dischord scene-- Wow, imagine that Alternative universe!!!! Great fucking song....

There’s some pretty solid sounding tracks on this CD, "Keep On," "The Thrill is Gone" and "Saturday Night Shootout" are just a couple kick ass examples, but some of the same garage-Turbonegro-death-punk type themes on To Eleven as other recent releases by bands, are wearing a bit thin with me... Last cigarettes, bad relationships, self-destruction.... It’s not like it’s JUST the Backstabbers doing this, but that same subject matter is becoming whimsical in the related ways that AC/DC LPs are. There’s a time and place for bands like the Backstabbers, and whereas I foresee a huge re-surgence of hardcore just on the horizon (prepare everyone), death-punk isn’t dead and the Backstabbers prove that. (SAB)
(Deadbeat Records POB 283 LA, CA. 90078)

Bad Form "S/T" 7"

The story of how I heard about these kids and how I finally got their record is a long and complicated tale. So I’m going to bore you with the details. Curiouser and Curiouser…

It was a hot summer evening during the first week of August. I was driving in my car to my friend James’ house to partake in our usual unusual escapades. So I was riding along, listening to WFMU (the best radio station in the galaxy), when out of the blue the DJ began to spin this very record. I was thinking to myself, "Damn, who is this? This is some hot shit." Just after the mystery band that caught my ears song ended, and just before I reached my destination, the DJ came on and yelled, "Okay, that was THE BAD FORM outta New Jersey! They’ll be." I turned off the car and ran up to my friend’s room, praying he wasn’t running around naked as he so often does… "James," I asked, "have you ever heard of this band called the Bad Form from New Jersey?" "The Bad Form." he answers, "Umm…no I haven’t." Although I was disappointed and slightly irate, I soon forgot all about the Bad Form as I was easily distracted by the smell of James’ grandpa’s homemade pizza, which was cooking in the kitchen.

My next encounter with the Bad Form would come when I went out to Ohio to visit Kenny to drink beer with him on the last weekend of August. It was during Kenny’s "keg party" that I stumbled over his small batch of records he brought out to Ohio (cause you know, he’s Kenny on Haight-Ashberry now). Sifting through his 45s I came across this hot pink sleeve with the words "THE BAD FORM" written on top of it. "The Bad Form?" I thought, "That sounds familiar…" Then I looked on the back of the sleeve to see where this Bad Form was from, and mother sick [!], wouldn’t you know it, New Fuckin’ Jersey! So I threw the 7" on Kenny’s ultra pussie turntable and totally rock that little mechanized prick’s world. Now I’m at this "keg party," with a keg of beer on my right, and a record player on my left… Yeah, I ended up going and getting another beer, and naturally (to me anyway), I forgot all about the Bad Form 7" (again!). Hey, I’m only human…

My third (and fourth, I guess) encounter with this Bad Form 7" was only a month ago when Kenny attempted to become a record reviewer. He sent me this email full of reviews; and what record was in that pile of reviews? Why the Bad Form of course! Kenny’s review re-instilled my interest in the Bad Form and I said to myself, "Okay, Joe, when you go down to see Crimson Sweet in NYC on Friday, you stop by that Wowsville store that Mark Murrmann raves about so much, and you look for that Bad Form 7". I mean it! No fucking around this time!" So when my friend James and I actually did find this store, I headed over towards the New 7"s Section and began investigating. Now seriously people, these guys at Wowsville are not very organized, okay? I’m looking through this flipper type device they’ve got for their New 7"s Section on the counter and they’ve got all of these 45s crammed into the thing. So I’m flipping, and flipping, and flipping, when all of the sudden, the weight of the 7"s crammed on top of the other 7"s that were already flipped breaks the flipper type device’s hold on them and they all go crashing to the floor. Luckily they weren’t damaged or anything, but fuck! Take better care of your merchandise! I didn’t find the Bad Form 7" in the retarded New 7" Section they had, so I went for the Old 7" Section, in the ‘B’ division. And low and behold, a hot pink record sleeve with the words "THE BAD FORM" was staring right at me. I shouted, "Woohoo!" and went straight to the counter to purchase my long, sought-after treasure; again apologizing for my clumsiness, though I still say it was a technicality on my part.

So there you have it. The story of how I heard about the Bad Form and how I finally got their record. What is it that they say? The things you truly work for are the things you cherish most? Well, I didn’t exactly "work" for this record in a physical sense, but mentally, whew! I contemplated leaving you with just my Bad Form story, with no description of their music. Surely if I went through all of that I should have perked your curiosity about the Bad Form even just a little bit. But I know you’re fickle. I know you’ll think I pulled a Shawn Abnoxious on you. So, the best description of how the Bad Form sound that I can give to you is if Minor Threat went towards more of a rock ‘n’ roll noise, but kept their aggressive hardcore nature, and switched to Misfits-esque lyrics. It’s sick. It’s obsessive. It’s damaged. It’s the Bad Form. (JD)
(Mad At The World PO Box 5216 New Brunswick, NJ 08901)

Bhopal Stiffs "(1985-1989)" CD

If it sounds like Pegboy and rocks like Pegboy, then it’s probably Pegboy... Well, it’s not ENTIRELY Pegboy, but very well could be… Ever wonder where Steve Saylors and Larry Damore from Pegboy came from? They came from The Bhopal Stiffs. Me, I’m not what you would call a HUGE Pegboy fan, but I liked what they were doing up until Strong Reaction. After that I just moved on.

This twenty-eight track CD captures the entire ‘Stiffs Discography and sweetens up the deal by including one unreleased track and a slew of decent sounding live shows from various sources. Like I said up there, you know, up there, in the beginning, it sounds like Pegboy. If you like Pegboy then you will like this.

Did I fail to mention that this sounds like Pegboy? Well, it does. It also sounds like Naked Raygun a bit; the OTHER band members of Pegboy came from.... Strange…

Did I fail to mention that this sounds like Pegboy? Well, it does. (SAB)
(Harmless Records/Redline Distribution 1218 W. Hood Ave. Apt. #2 Chicago, IL 60660)

Boxcar Satan/Chapstik "Split" 7"

Saw BS some time back, and thought they were a cool J Spencer blooze/jass/noise fuck band. Tight as hell… Their side makes a decent bridge between, say, Jonestown and JS, I guess. Not bad… Chapstik? Better than an ass splinter, that’s fer sure! (TK)
(Sleep King, P.O. Box 15102, San Antonio, TX 78212)

C*nts "Your Funny" CD

I like this. I really, really do. The first seven tracks are mid-tempo/fast Killed By Death type punk-rock numbers bringing to mind a mixture of The Pagans and The Eat with Gibby Haines from The Buthole Surfers singing... Around track eight; a tune called "Drive Until Your Insane" (which is my favorite track by the way), things change a bit, and whereas I don’t want to say they changed for the better, because I really dig this, I will say that they change for the different.

"Drive Until Your Insane" begins its life with a mid-tempo beat but expands about halfway through into something I can only describe as ‘near reggae/dub’. It kinda surprised me too because by this time The C*nts are obviously crazy, as most musicians are, and have odd and apparently dangerous ways to look at life’s simplest things. But here they seem to dumb themselves down and explode into a sibilant, naive and agitated sound, setting the stage for my mind to begin wandering with imagination to a place, a world in my mind where I explore the realms of armed robbery for KICKS. It’s a dream of mine, but yet something I would dare not do: build a crime syndicate, rob a bank and hit the road....

It wasn’t until this song that I started to think of the C*nts in Neoteric forms... The C*nts surprised and attacked me. From "Drive..." on, the remaining seven songs take on a looser, improvisational feel to them. This CD was really arranged perfectly because from song one til’ "Drive..." you get a certain sound that is building up to something that you aren’t quite sure about. You’re left wondering what’s next. Then, after "Drive..." you hear a more Lewis & Clark C*nts, one that takes their sound and lyrics to the fucking cliffs edge and throws YOU off. Exploring… Explorers… It’s these latter songs that really bring out the Buthole Surfers/Gibby Haines sound.

I’m not really too sure what my Blank Generation Year End Top Ten list has in store or anything, but I’m thinking the C*nts deserve a spot there somewhere. This is a great fucking CD. I mean that. Like I said, up there, in the beginning, it’s good. I really like it. What you should do is find out how much Disturbing Records wants for this CD and get one...and I got to thinking.... Chicago isn’t THAT far away from Cincinnati… (SAB)
(Disturbing Records 3238 S. Racine St. Chicago, IL 60608)

Cuts "S/T" LP

Hop, Hop… Pink bunny rabbits and kaleidoscopes of swirls, posies – sapphire, gold, mauve, and cherry paint the night’s sky, and my lengthy cinnamon locks are spread out in all directions as I lay on my roof, looking up at the crescent moon and gazing at myself, at you. *Cough, Cough* No, I just made all that stuff up. Actually, contrary to pOpular belief, this isn’t very psychedelic at all. Radio Birdman…minus any song that sounds like "New Race." Or the Rolling Stones…minus any song that sounds like "Satisfaction." These are the groups that come to mind when I (me, not you) hear the Cuts’ LP. Their first album (this one I’m writing about right here, right now [echo on the now]) is slightly above average, slightly better than most bands doing the 60’s garage thing. But I still don’t see any pink bunnies… (JD)
(RockNRoll Blitzkrieg PO Box 11906 Berkeley, California 94712)

Deadbeats "Damned Since Day One" 7"

"High-octane?" Umm… this 7" moves so fast that I can’t grab on to a single note. No, I’m lying… It has its notes… I heard ‘em… They were just so boring that I blocked ‘em out! The Deadbeats huh? Yeah, punk ‘n’ roll, lotsa guitars and power chords, no attitude, and clich songs about drinking and how their life sucks. Boohoo. (JD)
(W.A.X. 66 Hope St. Brooklyn, NY 11211)

Electric Frankenstein "Sick As A Dog" 7"

Electric Frankenstein… Man, this band… I don’t know what to think of these guys… Like, they’ve just been around 4EVER!!! I’ve never thought too highly of their music. It’s unentertaining, it’s cheesy, it’s not thrilling or rocking… Their songs never hit me with a sense of importance, or even a sense of relevance in a rock ‘n’ roll manner. And they just release these 7"s like they’re cooking pancakes.

Asinine Consumer: "Hey EF! Flip me over another one of them there 45s!"
Electric Frankenstein: "Okay Jack, here ya go; but we’re outta syrup."

These motherfuckers have never even heard of syrup! Do you like your pancakes without any syrup? No! Of course not! Pancakes without syrup taste dry and flavorless; and the cause you to drink more orange juice (or milk, my preferred drink of choice next to Cherry Coke, but you can’t have Cherry Coke for breakfast now can you?). Where was I? Oh yes, Electric Frankenstein, you bloated, cock-eating fucks! My tummy is full and I do not want anymore pancakes without syrup, alright?! (JD)
(W.A.X. 66 Hope St. Brooklyn, NY 11211)

Evil Hoodoo "S/T" CD

Uh… Umm… Err… Grrr… Ooh… Oh…

So you want the corrupt…the depraved…the fuckin’ bad?! It’s the lofi of the lofi! It’s screamin’ outta the garage (no, scratch that, outta the basement)! Zombie Rock ‘N’ Roll [!]…for zombies… You fuckin’ zombie motherfuckers! Awwwah… Let’s go 1960’s! Let’s have fun! If you can’t dig it, bop it, dig it [?]… If you can’t get turned on… You’ll never be a zombie motherfucker. You’ll never know that the Evil Hoodoo is everywhere. (JD)
(1+2 Records)

Firestarter "S/T" CD/LP

I know it’s really bad form to declare two separate records the best thing you’ve heard in ages in as many months, but after hearing this I’m left with little choice. I also know that I’m way late in hearing this, but oh well, better late than never. How to describe the sonic majesty of Firestarter? Mere words fall short. This album is easily as good as all but the very best of Teengenerate (and in time I may like it as much). Of the 14 songs on here at least 11 of them are power pop at its absolute pinnacle, with the others being merely really great. I’m sure any worthwhile pop band would kill to be able to write songs as good as "Trashy Dreams," "Bop All Away," "The Majors Are Lesser," and "You’re Too Late." I don’t know if Japan has anything like genius grants, but if they do Fink, Fifi, and Sammy should be first in line for one. It’s absolutely criminal that this isn’t easier to get in the states. An instant classic. (SS)
(Mangrove Label ACP Bldg. 3F, 4-23-5 Koenji Minami Suginami-Ku, Tokyo, 166-0003 Japan)

Four Corners "Say You’re A Scream" CD

Now normally I can’t resist girlie-girl female vocals, right? And upbeat 60’s rock ‘n’ roll with organs and kickin’ guitar licks? Come on, I L.U.V. love that stuff!! But (with a capital B), Ms. Tracy Hatch here, she’s got this Brit Pop, laid-back, soft as satin voice. It doesn’t mesh, doesn’t fit, sounds off…sounds boring! Please Tracy dearest, lay off the cold medicine before you go in to record yr next album. (JD)
(Kindercore Records)

Hives "Barely Legal" CD/LP

This is a Gearhead re-issue of the first album from these suave Swedes, recorded in 1997. I guess the Hives took a few years to round out into the great garage/new wave/hard rock hybrid they are today, because this album sounds noticeably different and nowhere near as good as their newer stuff. A few of the songs do have the same kinda Japanese-style garage punk crossed with 70's rock vibe that makes up the Hives sound today (like on "a.k.a. I-D-I-O-T" [which was re-packaged on the MUCH better EP of the same name], "Here We Go Again" and "Hail Hail Spit n' Drool"), but for the most part, this is just fast & basic punk rock boarderlining on skate punk and melodic hardcore that occasionally breaks out of the mold in vein of their newer stuff. They don't lose any points for not being frantic and ballsy enough in their delivery, but they don’t quite have the substance, here.

The production here sounds really strange too; like as if the engineer behind the boards of this thing wanted them to sound like a dreary emo band or something (drums and bass way in front of everything else in the mix, guitars that sound like they're being played in another room at times, etc…). My guess is that this fucker was acting out his wet-dream of recording Sunny Day Real Estate, since I can’t see any fathomable reason the band would have wanted their record to sound like this. Make no bones about it, the Hives are a great band, and the stuff they have released in the last couple of years proves they are a force to be reckoned with. In the end though, the Hives in 1997 sounded like a band they had a pretty good idea, but didn’t quite know how to put it all together yet (SA)
(Gearhead Records, P.O. Box 421219, San Francisco, CA, 94142)

Hypochondriacs "Feelin’ Fine" CD

Since hearing the Hypochondriacs (or just plain ol’ ‘The Hypo’s’as as I will refer to them here from time to time) for the first time in the summer of 2000, I have been a fan. They might not have been in ‘tune’ at the time but that was something I respected them for. They went on to quickly tune before their second song, but they had already won me over; too fucking late. Besides, I was the only one who wanted them to continue to play out of tune. After all, it was only a daytime show in a fucking park near a go-nowhere loser town of Hamilton, Ohio. If punk-rock is about anything it would be about uncomfortableness, inconvenience and the indefinite struggle with one’s self and their surroundings. This, all of this, is the story of the Hypo’s.

The Hypo’s cut their teeth on sets of mostly covers including The Misfits, and The Ramones, with a few originals to boot. They slowly began introducing more and more originals into their set, and in the process, weeded those covers out. This was something that would seemingly place The Hypo’s a level or two below even pop-punk bands, because even a bad, really bad pop-punk band is still writing and performing originals. Patrons of the Cincinnati punk scene have a hard time watching a band and seeing POTENTIAL. The first time I saw The Hypos, they played about 12 songs. Three of those were originals, but the thing is they were really GOOD originals. Powerful, intense, great fucking songs! I saw The Hypos for what they truly were... They were not JUST a COVER band; they were a band slowly maturing to greatness. Over time the band really began to click with each other at their live shows and it sort of seemed that all of a sudden The Hypo’s were playing sets chock full of hard-hitting originals. The Hypochondriacs have become a force to be reckoned with!

This CD marks the beginning of a new era for this band. This CD captures The Hypo’s earliest songs in their rugged entirety: "Simple", "The Rents", "Sweet Sugar" and "Rachel and Jimmy", songs that each continue to deliver the goods listen after listen, round out Feelin’ Fine to keep the CD flowing perfectly from start to finish. Feelin’ Fine exposes The Hypo’s hidden strengths for all to see. In just a few seconds over twenty-three minutes, The Hypos serve up a sense of being that shows a rare, true to life look at midwestern punk-rock. The Hypochondriacs are a band that understands the cracked and decaying urban slum-berhoods of the University of Cincinnati; the areas ripe on the weekends with college level crime, alcohol, drug and self abuse. The Hypos carved out their niche and their songs reflect that.

With a sound falling somewhere in-between that of Bikini Kill, The Misfits and Black Flag, The Hypo’s are like a symbolic puddle of puke.... Dirty, filthy, sleazy, but at the same time HONEST. As with all unattended vomit, The Hypos grow stronger as time passes. Recently, at a CD release show for this CD-R, The Hypo’s played a couple new songs including one titled "Shut Up Bitch." If this song is any example of what the future will bring for The Hypochondriacs, watch out! Make no qualms about it, The Hypo’s have raised a big stink around Cincinnati, and if things fall in the places where I expect them to, Feelin’ Fine will stand the test of time and be recognized as one of the best testaments of Cincinnati Punk Rock.

Neoteric FAQ: Are The Hypochondriacs Neoteric Punk/Wave?

Yes, even though the Hypo’s guitarist Tim has his doubts, claiming that through his eyes, The Hypochondriacs are JUST a Rock and Roll punk band, the decision is up to me. Remember, I ultimately have that decision all to myself. With full power veto capabilities over the NWD (Neoteric Wave Directorate), I am fully prepared to pilot and guide the Neoteric Punk/Wave to greatness.

"Yes, The Hypochondriacs are Neoteric," I tell Tim as I sip keg-beer from a plastic cup at a party.

I continue: "If for no other reason than you consider The Hypochondriacs a rock and roll punk band. You see, nowadays the genres of punk rock are watered down and homogenized to the point that Korn are considered ‘punk rock’. With this being so..."

I take a sip of the beer halfway through because when you are having a discussion with someone like the one I was having with Tim, it makes you look more organized and smarter. Believe me, I need all the work I can get.

Tim, a Hypo guitarist, doesn’t think The Hypos are neoteric.

These songs scare me because... Some would say that makes me not a good person to review this release. The Hypo’s just are not a band I listen to and enjoy, I have their fucking phone numbers and I know them personally. I see The Hypo’s. I can smell The Hypo’s. I could even taste the Hypo’s if I wanted too. Bottom-line: I know The Hypo’s, I LOVE The Hypo’s.

If you don’t like Feelin’ Fine, you suck. (SAB)
(No Address)

Le Tigre "Feminist Sweepstakes" CD/LP

I like Le Tigre. I mean, you know that. I play them on my radio show an’ all… I even went to see ‘em on The Daily Beat (on Metro TV – NYC Television). I was sitting behind Le Tigre when Zeke (that’s the host) was asking them half-witted questions like, "Did you parents disapprove of the music you listen to when you were a kid?" What kind of question is that?! I tried to look interested in what they had to say. Le Tigre spoke of a dance remix for Feminist Sweepstakes, and how politicians need to dance at the conventions or whatever… We are just on totally different pages is all…

I like Le Tigre. But I don’t like Feminist Sweepstakes. It’s got its high points an’ all…"FYR," "TGIF," "My Art"… It’s just that this album is either just like their last one, or a regression into the minimalist beat. Okay, well, it’s "more political" or whatever… But so what? What are they against? What are they for? Their topics seem outdated to me. Women’s rights. Homosexual’s rights. A person’s a person, right? And androgyny is where it’s at in the 00’s anyway… (JD)
(Mr. Lady PO Box 3189 Durham, N.C. 27715)

Lost Kids "Belle Isle Is On Fire" CDEP

Another band I heard on WFMU (the greatest radio station in the galaxy!)… These kids played live in the studio and I heard it. I heard it and I liked it. They had style, they had grace; they had that certain something that kept my attention from wandering off into Joey Joe Jo Land. Think Iggy Pop…70’s rock around and stop, do the huckle buck, and roll… Yeah, they were cool live, but recorded? It’s a mess. The guitars are set too low, the vocals too high, and that bass drum, too loud! These kids are not lost yet, but their flashlights are getting pretty dim… (JD)
(GSL PO Box 178262 San Diego, CA 92177)

Lost Sounds "Outtakes & Demos Vol. 1" CD

The facts: this 17 song CD-R was recently released on Alicja’s own Contaminated Records, very limited to TWENTY FUCKING FIVE copies, awesome hand painted covers (my copy, "Tunnel Vision," can be viewed on their web site) and close to an hour of demo, outtake, instrumental and live no-wave Lost Sounds. You’ve all got boners, rightly so. You get peeks into their early (still damaged) Nuggets period and dive headfirst into the complete destruction that they have now become. Unbelievable… They fuck me up in a big way. Jay fucks me up. I almost died when I saw The Reatards and I was permanently brain damaged when The Lost Sounds raped SF. Bands like The Lost Sounds are simply incapable of dropping the ball. It just won’t happen. They’re too good. They just HURT. IT HURTS. (MC)
(Contaminated Records)

Lost Sounds "Black-Wave" CD/LP

People are annoying and stupid. Jaded, burnt, hollow… Unappreciative of the new… Stuck in the morass of perceived importance tied to personal epiphanies. No actual vision… Unable to comprehend the fact that kindred’s like the Lost Sounds and Piranhas are more crucial and real than the band(s) that blew their adolescent mind back in the good ol’ days when rock ‘n roll really mattered.

Silver Apples Suicide Electric Eels Lost Sounds.
New Wave Apocalypse. Deal with it. (TK)
(eMpTy, P.O. Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102)

Greg Lowery Experience "S/T" 7"

Obviously, Greg had nothing to do with this. It’s apparently some eye-tals with loads of time on their greasy paws. Kinda’ cruddy lo-fi stuff that isn’t too painful to listen to. Somehow this was worth the money. I dunno’ if you’d feel the same, but only a couple hundred were made, so if you see it… (TK)
(Rip Offf Records)

Missionshifter "Build" CD

A melodic hardcore/punk group… Missionshifter could be the missing link between Kid Dynamite and the Explosion. They getcha with the introspective lyrics and crunchy, catchy guitars coupled with melodious yet gruffy vocals (emo?). Missionshifter put the correct amount of energy towards their music, and if you love any of the other bands I’ve mentioned in this review you’d like these guys too. However, my favorite track is this song called "Sonikyouth," which does sound a bit like Sonic Youth. It’s a cool tune… (JD)
(Overlook Records PO Box 4444 Salem, MA 01970)

Moronics "Girls Love the Moronics" 7"

Dunno’ how old this one is… Pretty great mid-period Rip Off-type action… Lo-fi in a good way… Kickin’ energy level, good tunes, 4 songs… Fuck, is this cool! (TK)
(Kenrock, Skaggetorp Centrum 12, 586 44 Linkoping, Sweden)

Panic Buttons "Rock ‘n Roll Teenage Zombies From Outer Space" 7"

High school Mummies action from three Alabama kiddies… Sounds pretty much like, you know, what you’d expect, which should equal cool teenage garage from nowhere. They write really good tunes, put on a fun ‘n frenzied live show, and the newer stuff I’ve heard is even better. Another example of kids not sucking, and this time they’re not even from the Midwest! Can we expect a wave of this? Probably not… (TK)
(Teen Fink Rekkids, 2344 Dug Hill Road, Brownsboro, AL 35741)

Psychotic Reaction "Last Train To Nowhere" CD

Safety Pins! Yeah, they’re really in right now. No kidding! Like, you can go to the mall and get a pocketbook with safety pins printed right on there; if yr lucky you might get some buttons on there too!!!!! I knooow!! Punks wear safety pins; they pin their patches on their leather jackets and pants and stuff. I've never had that problem cause I learned how to sow. So all of my Sham 69 and Teengenerate and Clash patches were securely stitched to my hoodie. I’m not fuckin’ with you or anything… I’m serious about not being serious. So if you still have safety pins and Discharge patches on yr jacket you might wanna check out Psychotic Reaction. ’82 punk rock…the pits…throw in a little Minor Threat in there too… I don’t know what I’m talking about… All I know is, "Eskimo pussy is mighty cold." (JD)
(PsychoBubblegum Records PO Box 321 West Haven, CT 06516)

Reds "It’s About Time" CD/LP

Yeah, everybody and her ferret has reviewed this thing already, but I must chime in.

I was arguing with patent-leather trucking ace Ryan Porkflamingo the other day about minimalist rock archetypes. As I glance at r 'n r history, the most important bands (to moi) seem to be the ones who discover a new minimalist archetype, or those who follow in its wake. I mean, Polkacide fused polka(!) and punk(!), which probably seemed like a great friggin' idea on the drawing board (or maybe not), but the execution? Pee and (say it with me) yew. Fugazi, f'rince, has probably supplied an archetype of sorts, but I don't really give a fuckity fuck about it, cuz it don't rock (nor roll). Complexity kicks up murk.

I'm talking about the Sonics, Stooges, Ramones, etc…who stripped it down in a new way and provided a launching pad for hundreds (or more) in their wake. My pick for the most important MA since the Ramones? The Oblivians' take on stripped down bassless swamp. Sure, Pussy Galore, the Cramps, and even the Gories did much of it before, but the Oblivians sparked the Reatards, Persuaders, Strong Come Ons, Blacks, Thundercrack, etc…and it was because they were both better (yup) and more pure (visionary) than the above.

Anyway, I wondered aloud who the next Oblivians would be. I mean, ya' don't really know it at the time, or I'd say the Lost Sounds or Piranhas or whomever's still kickin'. Pornfaggo suggested the Reds. At first I dinna' know. I mean, they sound quite a bit like the Registrators, don't they? A bit of Chinese Millionaires, no? But…using the above Oblivians reasoning, and seeing heavily-influenced bands like the Catholic Boys, as well as non-Reds-type bands like the Shutups dropping the song that was an obvious Reds rip off (sner) from their live set...seeing the Wontons the other night, and noticing a distinctively Reds-y chorus…ya' think?

All this has little to do with one’s enjoyment of this fine album. It’s both catchier & more fried than the first one. Jeff’s tunes are better than what any of the post-Teengen poppers are attempting in Japan right now. Fuck them criminals! Buy American! (TK)
(Rip Off, 581 Maple Ave., San Bruno, CA 94066)

Reds "It’s About Time" CD/LP

I may be in the minority here, but frankly I was a little disappointed with the first Reds album. I mean don’t get me wrong; it was still a great record, one of the best of last year in fact, but it fell short of what I was expecting based on the Rip Off 7" and their live show. While most of the songs where killer, a few of 'em seemed like filler, most notably on the second half. With It’s About Time that’s all a thing of the past. The Reds have finally delivered what I always knew they had in em: a classic. From the start of "Reds 24/7" you know you’re in for one hell of a sonic trouncing, and the hits just keep coming so fast and furious that you never get a chance to catch yer breath. These songs are much shorter, faster, and catchier than the ones on the first album, and pretty much every one of them is a winner. Standouts include "I Hate Rules" (which sounds like it coulda been off the first Loli & the Chones album or something), the absolutely killer "Lights Out," the quasi-pop "Dead End Town," and the title track, which just lays waste to everything in sight. If you don’t love this you’re so far beyond hope that I strongly suggest you follow the Reds’ advice and "go die!" By the way, I got this on CD so I could listen to it every day on the way to school, and there’s an unlisted track on here. Dunno if it’s on the vinyl or not… (SS)
(Rip Off Records, 581 Maple Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066)

Registrators "90’s Complete Sessions 90-97 1st CD, Demo, Rare Tracks, Singles" CD

Oh yeah…the Registrators…one of my all time favorite bands ever. I could write all day and not come close to heaping all of the praise upon these guys that they deserve. It’s pure fucking bliss every time I hear em. This CD covers the majority of their career, from the very beginning to the period shortly before the birth of their New Provocative incarnation. A lot of their earlier songs (from the first CD I think?) are easily as poppy as what they’re doing now, albeit a bit less polished. A few of these songs are among their best, particularly "Sweet Memory" and "Melody A Go Go," with it’s unforgettable chorus of - "I gonna never let you go." It was particularly cool for me to finally hear the 4 Vibrate EP since it marks the beginning of the "16 Wires" era sound I’m so crazy about. The majority of this CD, however, is the kind of straight up frenzied punk rock these guys are known for. You really can’t go wrong with song titles like "Brain Rescue," "Cocksucker Girl (Cocksucker Girl / Cocksuck for me / Cocksucker Girl / Cocksuck for you)," "Animal Seventeen," and "No No Brain." The only thing on here that’s readily available in the States is the "TV Hell" seven-inch, so calling this essential is like calling Shawn Abnoxious "a tad verbose." (SS)
(The Registrators)

Rip Offs "Got A Record" CD

I actually made an effort to buy this CD immediately upon its release, regardless of the fact that I’ve had the LP for years. Why? Why not! It’s only one of, if not THEE, best records of the last 10 years. So now you can hear it on CD. It’s really not that big of a deal, but there are some (gasp) positive aspects to this. Now all those people who you’ve been telling to buy it for years might actually go buy it. That can only be a good thing because it’ll mean that they have some taste and it will probably get them to take that bullshit CD by THE FAINT out of their stereo. PRAISE BE TO "GOT A CD"!!!! IT WILL SAVE ROCK’N’ROLL!!! Or something…

Should you check it out even if you already have the LP? I guess… Do it if only for the reason that, to these ears, "Got A CD" sounds a little different than "Got A Record." The sound on "Got A CD" is a little cleaner (not BETTER, keep in mind), which can either be attributed to the whole digital CD thing or some form of remixing, which I don’t know or really care about. Fuck all that technical shit. The point is that it will SOUND DIFFERENT than it has before ("Ugly" is proof of this, I‘m not crazy). If that doesn’t sell you on it, it’s got a cool booklet with band and fan accounts, pictures and a detailed discography. Aside from that stuff, the weirdest thing about "Got A CD" is that it‘s so much better than 99% of the new shit I find myself liking. (MC)
(Rip Off Records)

Sellouts "Songs For A Knife Fight" 10"


A group that I (Joe Domino) have fully backed, fully indorsed, since the spawning of Blank Generation, has just released a 10" of bad days and even worse nights. A band that has what every modern Rip Off Records group wished they had - fuckin’ dynamism! This group, band, supermen…whatever…these kids are fucking itt (two T’s)! They bring on the rockaction like a twister, spiraling towards some disconcerted cow (the cow’s you by the way…). You look up with your little bell jingling (((moo))). You could run for greener pastures, a nice safe stable… But come on, how many of you think it’d be sooo very to put on a crash helmet and just leap right into that twister? Hands up! Okay. Hand’s down! The spaceshits and canfucks will wanna end up in Brasil (A.K.A. Hipsville). (JD)
(Ken Rock, Fabriksgatan 39B, 412 51 Gothenburg, Sweden)

Shrubs "Misfits & Dreamers" CD

The Shrubs - From the Shrubbery of the Apocalypse! The Shrubs are chameleons. They change at the turn of every track. Right! Left! Up! Down! You don’t know which way you’re going… You don’t! "Gotta Go" starts it all off with a blistering Power Pop/British Beat tune. Switch over to "London Town," a Post Punk rocker with a vision of mercy for your lack of culture. Change again to "Egyptian Dream," psyche-almost-delic mindtrips for Arabian nights. And then to "Did You Ever See Me?" This tune is unadulterated social/political anger with intelligent examples of war, sorrow, and pure passion. The Shrubs are unselfish enough to give the listener twenty-seven tracks of music and art, lovely… For music lovers who will surrender their stereo to the most unlikely of likely music lovers… (JD)
(Not Records 37 Shale Lane Campbell Hall, NY 10916)

Smash Up Derby "Sounds of Self Defense" LP

I’m not sure what to make of this. There’s no denying that these guys know how to rock, but something about this doesn’t click with me. Their guitar firepower is quite impressive, as are a number of their songs, but the singing is kinda weak, as are many of the lyrics. I just can’t get into a song called "Fireballs" that has a chorus of- "if you wanna get married find someone else cause I’ll keep on swinging." Wow Fonzie, I’m so impressed, y’know? The lyrics to "Dragstrip Date" are particularly bad, as they totally rip off "Lift Up Your Hood" by DMZ (yeah I know it’s a "homage" and all, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck). If you can get past their faults, there are a number of good songs on here tho. "You (Drive Me Nuts)," "Loser," and "Little Miss TNT" are all pretty kick ass. I bet this would sound a ton better in a car, but since I got it on vinyl I’ll never know. There’s lots of stuff I’d recommend getting before this, but this could be right up some people’s alley. I just wish bands like this would realize how silly they seem when they try to act like the Devil Dogs. (SS)
(Screaming Apple Records, Dustemichstr. 14, 50939 Koln, Germany)

Spits "S/T" CD

I’m not that upset over news of a Le Shok brake up anymore. Sure, I mean, FUCK... Le Shok were a great band, but what I realize now, after randomly getting this CD to review (Heh, one I didn’t buy! Go fucking figure!), things are getting better, or hell, maybe I am just opening my fucking eyes. I can’t remember when I have been so excited about modern music than in this year - 2001. Here I am in November (the November-Ember-- ON FIRE), with The Blank Generation yearly recaps just around the bend, and I’m still getting blown away by shit filtering its way towards me.

I’m finding them, and they are finding me; you know who you are.

Sure, The Spits are a Ramones and Screamers hybrid. Sure, that’s easy to see. The thing I’m really trying to convey is that even though this CD is lack-luster in its appearance and simplistic in its approach, it’s right up there with Kill the Hippies to me. Seventeen minutes and twenty-three seconds long… It’s ironic that as the cold war kid who worried over things like nuclear holocaust and radioactive satellites, would love such a release. I read in a book, when I was twelve non-the-less, that it would take just a little bit longer than the time needed to listen to this CD before atomic warheads plastered with ‘CCCP’ on their side would begin to hit targets in the continental states. I knew that when I was twelve. Thank Ronald Reagan for my Nuke-hysteria.... So, with that said, that means when I first opened this CD in the mail that I could have sat through more than five continuous waves of Russian Warheads before I stopped listening to this CD. I opened it and listened to it all the way though in one sitting....

Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.
Then I hit ‘play’ again and listened to it all the way through.

Eight fucking times. Then Seventh Heaven came on.... Man, what a fucked up family.

The next day my buddy Andy the Assault Rifle calls and I tell him about the CD. The day after that him and a guy known as Microbe find a copy of the CD for sale at Shake It Records. He buys it and two days after that Microbe secretly surprises me by cranking up his stereo as "Black Kar" begins to play. I scream and say, "Fuck yeah!" as I hold my left hand up for a high-five and bring the right hand, full of a can of Steel Reserve to my lips.

SLAP! Microbe hits my hand.
SLAP! The Assault Rifle hits it next.
SLAP! Microbe and the Assault Rifle High-Five.

"Black Kar" has given way to "Saturday Nite" and even though it’s a Friday nite, we repeat the act all over.

We’re drunk-- Well, I am anyway; drinking Steel Reserve, listening to The Spits and giving each other high-five’s in an apartment in a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. Things are getting better, if nothing else, because of this very fact!

Honest. When I got that Briefs/Spits split, The Briefs were good BUT The Spits were GREAT! They did more with their two songs than most bands could do with an LP’s worth. Even now, with a full-length worth of Spits songs, The Spits do more with NINE songs than other bands do in their entire lifetime. I mean, FUCK! The Spits are saviors!

This CD is blast after blast of Neoteric Punk/Wave balls to the walls lunacy. Every song is a fucking Nu-Classic! "Dropout" - If I don’t feel like quitting my job and being a good agoraphobic after listening to a song like this, well, I ain’t worth a fuck! "Sk8" - I can’t even ride a bike, but I wanna grab a board! "Die Die Die" - Answer to my prayers..... "Black Kar" - I never thought a song about nazi War Criminals would be so damn entertaining! Should have been on the soundtrack to Apt Pupil... "Saturday Nite"... "Remote Kontrol" - the song I just told Joe Domino I would use to play over and over in the headphones of pop-punk kids that I abduct and subdue until they swear to stop playing bad music.... "Tired & Lonely" - Leave me at the bottom! If I don’t feel like killing myself after listening to a song like this, well, I ain’t worth a fuck! "I H8 Pussies" - A song I can respect.... "Suzy’s Face" - I feel like there’s a sequel in there somewhere... I’m waiting for "Suzy’s Hands" on the next CD...

What it all boils down to is that there’s a time and a place for everything. Sometimes it’s not the extremely complicated things that makes you rock, there’s validity in saying that silence and simplicity is a weapon. The Spits fulfill. The Spits complete. The Spits deliver.

The Spits are better than you. You bastard. You panty-waste. I can do that now because rock bottom never felt better.... (SAB)
(Nickel and Dime Records PO Box 555712 LA, CA 90055)

Supagroup "When In Rome" 7"

Lame name…seriously… I’m gonna say, yeah, I like this. It’s fucking miracle! Supagroup are a 70’s rock ‘n’ roll type group. Think AC/DC, Aerosmith, Kiss, Van Halen, guitar solos, and every band member simultaneously dancing to the right, then the left. If you’re into all that then you’ll be rockin’ to the Supagroup with the top down and a blonde on yr right arm (like that’ll ever happen…). (JD)
(W.A.X. 66 Hope St. Brooklyn, NY 11211)

Tina & The Total Babes "She’s So Tuff" CD/LP

Ok, first of all I’m not that much of a Bobbyteens fan. I loved their first single, but after that they went downhill fast, so much so that I even left during their set when I saw em this summer. So needless to say when I first saw this I was less than thrilled. Then I heard that the guys behind Candygirl where involved with this and my apprehension quickly gave way to anticipation. While this isn’t quite as great as I’d expect a Candygirl LP to be, it’s still pretty good. At it’s best this album sounds a lot like Candygirl, and at it’s worst it treads dangerously close to Bobbyteens territory (but luckily that’s usually just due to the vocals, and doesn’t last too long). "Tongue Tied," "Christy," and "All About Makin’ Out" are all quite brilliant. The last song on here, "It’s Tina Time," uses that cheesy vocal affect that Cher, Har Mar Superstar, and the girl band on that Twix commercial have all been know to use, which, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I find totally awesome. I’d have liked to hear more originals (3 of 10 songs are covers), but since they’re more of a "project" than a band, what are ya gonna do? (SS)

Turturros/Los Activos "Split" 7"

What is it with Italy and their obsession with the Ramones? The Turturros copy the Ramones’ chords and play pop punk. I said POP PUNK! Song title example – "Third Age Lobotomy." Los Activos are exactly the same thing. Screeching Weasel and Queers fans! You like listening to the same record over and over again, right? Get this 7" too ya fuckin’ Richie Rich’s! (JD)
(Be Nice To Mommy)

Turturros "I’m Not" 7"

Uhhhhhhhh……………………………… More pop punk…………… More 3-chord songs (not necessarily a bad thing)………………… "No pizza for you Joey! Here, eat your wheat germ Joey. Eat it!"……………………… Errrrr……………whatever………… (JD)
(Be Nice To Mommy)

United Space "Winter Holiday" CD

I’d say this is pretty pussie. Not that there is anything wrong with pussie. A lot of guys are gravitating towards pussie nowadays. They’re sick of the hard dick. So yeah, this is later Radiohead pussie, but not as…as calculated. Radiohead has a plan. And while you or I have no idea what that plan is, I’m sure we’ll be filled in sooner or later. United Space, on the other hand, has no agenda. Well, other than blindly combing the hardwood floor for their balls… Castration is a bitch. (JD)
(United Space)

Von Bondies "Night Train" 7"

Yeah, yeah – band from Detroit with cute girls. One of ‘em goes out with Jack White, who produced this single. Album on Sympathy… A-Side is very WS-like. They TOUR with the White Stripes. Shit hell though – they’re a cool, groovin’ live band lacking in the expected pretense, and I strongly suggest checking ‘em out when they blow through. The 45 and LP are swingin’, laid back rockers, and are definitely recommended. (TK)
(D-wreckEd-hiT, no address)

Wontons "Extra Spicy" 7"

These guys were pretty sucky live. Supposedly, one of ‘em was in the 1-4-5s or something. Neither that nor a "killer" light show could’ve saved their asses. This record ain’t bad, though. A touch of mod, a dash of garage…still pretty derivative, but fun. (TK)
(Peek-A-Boo, P.O. Box 49542, Austin, TX 78765)

© 2003