Record Reviews - June, 2002

Afrika Korps "Music to Kill By" LP & Bonus EP

This "re-issue" joins the ranks with the best. Tapping the well once again, Hate Records has brought us the sequel of sorts to the infamous Gizmos! Like the Gizmos, The Afrika Korps draws from friends and allies of the band, including luminaries like members of The Slickee Boys, to put together a tremendous line up for a tremendous release. I know the band and all its players are talented musically, because the only cover on the record is "Heartful of Soul" is tight and its a whopper at that, but the rest of the LP is minimal, raw and powerful! Like The Testors, The Afrika Korps are stripped down basics. The Afrika Corps takes rock and roll back to the base! In one song I believe they even play the whole thing out of tune, something that I respect, because its not just a part of the song, BUT THE WHOLE SONG! Lemme tell ya, when I can notice such things as guitars being out of tune, then the guitars are REALLY out of tune. I'm not musically inclined or anything. I have played whole live sets myself without tuning at all.... For a band like The Afrika Korps, who many would say KNOW BETTER than to play a whole song out of tune, to turn around and do such a thing, is a fucking statement! Twenty two tight songs. Great arrangements. Plus a bonus EP with six live songs. This LP is great and I highly recommend it. Punk-Rock at its pioneering best! I like the Gizmos and everything, I mean, FUCK! Don't let me give you the wrong impression or anything, but The Korps just HAVE IT. They fulfill what The Gizmos couldn't in a lot of ways. Like I said, I HIGHLY recommend this record! (SAB)
(www.angelfire.com/myband2/panics)
(Vulcher Records)
(Hate Records Circ.ne Gianicolense 112 00152 - Roma - Italy)

Andrew WK "I Get Wet" CD

It's likely you've already heard something about AWK. You're not alone if you've already dismissed him as a trendy tongue in cheek throwback to all that was wrong about music in the 80's. Lest I lose your confidence as an arbiter of good taste let me assure you that I too was quite skeptical of Mr. WK's musical mission statement. Sure stadium rock may win out over slop rock (the catch all term for rap rock, nu metal, etc.) any day of the week, but let's not kid ourselves, it still sucked, and anyone who tries to mine those particular shit laden fields for potential recycled musical gold will usually end up with naught more than ill fitting leather pants, ugly tattoos, and even uglier hair. The sad tale of the Donnas meteoric decline would seem to conclusively prove that it's impossible to squeeze a good tune out of an old bottle of Aqua Net. As far as I was concerned it was a forgone conclusion that this would suck. So imagine my surprise when my friend Metal Bobby played this album for me and I was greeted with song after song of an undeniably infectious first-rate pop. Song after song I was blown away by how finely crafted all of the tracks where. I wanted to hate it, really, but there was just no way I could wipe the stupid grin I had off my face or stop effusively blabbering with my friend about what a perfect record this is. Despite poverty, this being on a major, and a long list of records to buy, I had no choice but to go out and buy this album two days later, if for nothing else, to at least get the chorus of "I Love NYC" out of my head. Rather than getting one song out of my head, all buying the album served to do was get TWELVE songs stuck in my head on permanent rotation for the next few weeks.

Still, despite succumbing to AWK's ultralist charms (A friend of mine told me that the media have dubbed AWK's sound as "ultraism." While I have no idea what this means, it sure sounds neat.) I was, like many, somewhat unsure about his veracity. Sure this album is undeniably great, but there's just no way someone can't be at least somewhat joking when they make music that sounds like "Highway to the Dangerzone" crossed with that scene in Bill and Ted where Beethoven rips it up in the music store. I mean in this post-post modern age where irony rules people just don't write songs like "Party Hard" and "Fun Night" with out the defense of a tongue planted firmly in cheek. Despite reading an interview in which he claimed otherwise, I just couldn't believe that WK actually LIKED the music he plays. That is until I saw him live. I can honestly say I've never seen anyone look that happy to be playing music in my life. In front of a paltry 250 people AWK and band looked like there was nowhere else in the world they would have rather been at that moment. It was as a bunch guys whose lives had consisted of dead end jobs, going to the bar, working on their Cameros in the front lawn, and all the while rocking out to Slayer had finally gotten to live out their dreams of being a rock star. As strange as it seems, on that night there was nothing as awesome as a bunch of longhaired dudes in hightops wielding Ibanezes and pounding double bass drums like their lives depended on it. While this one the surface this may sound antithetical to what punk rock is all about, really it's not. Beyond the obvious cosmetic differences, this could describe almost any punk band. Just think about it, a bunch of regular guys, who for lack of anything better to do, decide to play rock music. Sure AWK and band probably wouldn't mind being rockstars, neither would the Hives I assume, yet they don't ape current musical trends in order to grab the brass ring of mainstream success. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Andrew WK is serious about having a good time, and really what's so wrong about that? Some may dismiss him as a purveyor of kitsch, that in essence he's playing one big prank. The folly with this line of thinking is that if someone wants to deny themselves the pleasure of rocking out to undeniably great music on the grounds that they think it's just a joke, then in actuality the joke is on them. (SS)
(Island Records)

Bellrays "In the Light of the Sun" CD

If you read any of the early issues of Hitlist I’m sure you read about the Bellrays. Rock ‘n’ roll/soul with some of the most kick ass vocals on the planet. This disc has recordings from 1992 and have a very 1970’s soul feel to ‘em with horns and maracas and stuff… Not something that I’d listen to all the time, but cool none the less… Obviously for fans only… (JD)
(www.inmusicwetrust.com)
(In Music We Trust 15213 SE Bevington Ave. Portland, OR 97267-3355)

Bomb Pops "Everything Looks Like Her" 7"

The anticipation…This is Mighty Joe Vincent’s and Steve Baise’s (formally of the Devil Dogs [like, duh!] and lesser projects) new rock ‘n’ roll band!

The anticipation…mounting! The Bomb Pops are very Devil Dogs-ish, but with less of a garageeeeee guitar fuzz and melodic overtones. Basically if you like everything these kids have ever done over the years you will be checking this 45 out. (JD)
(www.undergroundmedicine.com)
(Rapid Pulse Records PO Box 5075 Milford, CT 06460)

 

Bunny Five Coat "Negative Attention" CD

Pretty impressive disc. This all female band has been playing since October of 2001. It hasn't even been a year and they already have a full length! Now that's what I like! Action = Action!!!! Bunny Five Coats sound reminds me first and foremost of a tougher, more crunch guitar heavy Ramones sound with song structuring reminding me a lot of something Joey Ramone would write. On two tracks in particular, "Smells" and my pick of the disc, "Thang", Bunny Five Coat bring to mind Liliput/Kleenex!!! Now that's even more impressive!!!! A while back I reviewed a band from Virginia called, Girlush Figure whose disc, Target You is probably still available, well, if you had liked what you heard THERE, then please turn HERE to Bunny Five Coat; You will not be disappointed! (SAB)
(www.bunnyfivecoat.com)
(BFC/Tammy Wallace 204 Richmond St. Arnold, PA. 15068)

Chosen Few "Really Gonna Punch You Out!!!" 2xLP

This is the most definitive collection of Chosen Few material I have ran across. I mean, FUCK! There's a bit here and a bit there. A LP here, A CD there. This double LP is all you really need. Three sides worth of studio tracks with a live side, and extensive liner notes to boot. Soundwise, The Chosen Few are a soundtrack to destruction. In their day they really stirred up some shit. Pushing buttons and punching faces, The Chosen Few left no stone unturned. Raw. Controversial. Mean--A calling to action, The Chosen Few were the voice of the down-trodden and dirty!!!! All the hits are on this double LP including my personal favorites; "T.A.L.O.I.G.A.", "Terminal Rock", "Backstreet Killer" and "Adolph You Beauty" is also included which really, any few collection would NOT be complete without it. Classic tracks from a classic place and time! There's a need for bands like The Chosen Few... You couldn't do a band like the Few today; it just wouldn't work... Here's to all the bands pushing the envelopes of politically correct! (SAB)
(Hate Records Circ.ne Gianicolense 112 00152 - Roma - Italy)

Crimson Sweet "So Electric" 7"

This is my first exposure to neoteric sweethearts the Crimson Sweet, so I'm playing catch up here. While I'll be the first to admit that I have no clue what EXACTLY this neoteric punk/wave business Shawn Abnoxious is always going on about is, from what I gather it's all about bands who do their own thing and don't quite fit in within any easily defined genre parameters. If so I can see how Crimson Sweet fit under the neoteric banner. I've seen quite a few reviews of this, but none of them really gave me an idea of how the record sounds. That's because any comparison would be way off the mark. At first I thought of them as what the Avengers would sound like if they had formed in the late nineties, but that's doesn't work since the Avengers leave me cold, but I dig the Crimson Sweet. The best I can come up with is to say that the Crimson Sweet Sound is like a communiqué from a war zone. Somewhere in the midst of a swirling maelstrom of combat there's a portable radio playing pop songs. That's the Crimson Sweet. The singer on here sounds like she's desperately trying to tell you something of grave importance that she knows you won't understand. Destined to fail but still giving it 110%. The point isn't the outcome; it's the ACTION. (SS)
(www.crimsonsweet.com)
(Slow Gold Zebra Records P.O. Box 20506 New York, NY 10009)

Chronics "It's Too Late" LP

The only other Chronics record I have heard is their Rip Off Records single. That was recorded in May of 1998 while the LP was recorded in March of 2001. That's almost three years and in that time The Chronics have gone from just okay, do downright phenomenal. In all honesty, I was not moved at all by It's Too Late after the first few spins. It sounded rather mediocre. The production was nothing special, the songs were kind of slow and plodded along, and I was getting ready to file it away on the shelf where it probably would have wound up being played about once a year or so.

Thankfully, for some reason, I kept on spinning it and have now come to realize that The Chronics have somehow made a brilliant record. The production is still nothing unique, and yes, the songs are, on average, way slower than the Rip Off single. It makes sense that Rip Off wouldn't want to put this out. The songs are very basic, with minimal chord changes, and the vocals are "sung" a little more than on their prior work. The clincher is the fact that The Chronics have bumped up the pop factor by about 10 times in their songwriting. The best comparison that I can come up with would be to The Zeros. Just like The Zeros, The Chronics songs are poppy, generally mid-paced with basic song structures, the vocals are slightly accented and the songs are criminally catchy. The Chronics are probably a little bit tougher than The Zeros, so throw in a little bit of the early NYC sound ala Heartbreakers or New York Dolls and you'll have a little bit better of an idea of what to expect. It's Too Late is to their Rip Off single as 16 Wires is to the early Registrators' singles, if that makes any sense to you. The Chronics have put out a huge sleeper hit of an album which I'd highly recommend to any Blank Gen-head out there. Top ten material! (JG)
(http://come.to/demderby)
(Demolition Derby / PB 4005 / 2800 Mechelen 4 / Belgium)

D4 "Rock’N’Roll Motherfucker" 7"

D4 (not to be confused with Dillinger 4, who put a Teenage Reject or two in the hospital awhile back) are a high-octane rock ‘n’ rolla group outta New-Zealand (also home to great television shows such as Zena: Warrior Princess). The D4 are a punk rock ‘n’ roll, beer-swillin’ powerhouse that the southern fried fucks lick off the counter of smoke-filled bar on late Thursday nights. Loud speakers a must… (JD)
(www.sdzrecords.fr.st)
(4 euros ppd: SDZ Records c/o N. Mugnier, 12 Av. Du Parc, 92170 Vanves, France)

Drain Babies "The Blind Charge" CD

First off, apologies to the band for not reviewing this sooner… My lack of contribution to Blank Generation as of late can be attributed exclusively to an abundance of school work, and not sheer utter laziness like those who know me would probably be expecting. Now that that's out of the way, it's probably clear to most readers that this compact disc is one of a handful of CDs I've received in the last few months as a result of my affiliation with the Blank Generation Record Reviewing Empire™. We here at Blank Generation Central appreciate your contributions to our extensive record catalogues, no doubt, but as with anything that's musically related, and for FREE, it's always a crap shoot as to whether or not you'll end up with anything good, let alone reviewable. I say reviewable last in that sentence to emphasize that a truly shitty album is often a better thing to receive for free than a mediocre-to-somewhat-decent-to-decent album is. That's the hardest shit to review because…well, the stuff really isn't that bad, therefore you kinda feel like an asshole for shitting on the band, especially if it's in the case that the band is actually decent. But lets face it, that "somewhat good" band from Assneck, Michigan's self-released 13 song CD (sometimes with very thinly disguised label names sporting the bassist's home address) doesn't get much more than three plays on my stereo before being shelved, and it probably doesn't get much more on yours either. Bands need a hook to attract my long-term attention. You need to have at least 3-4 really great-to-amazing songs on an LP, or a really good single to fall back on.

The Drain Babies are one of those bands that are riding the "mediocre-to-somewhat-decent-to-decent" wave. They're not really a bad band. I've received much, much worse stuff to review over the last couple of years. They actually sound like they're good pop musicians…and they sound tight, like they've been together for a really long time. But I'll be damned, the songs on this album don't sound as bland and boring as anything you would have heard on Alternative rock radio circa-1995. Even worse are the vocals, which are extremely sub-par. They alternate the vocals between two guys, mind you, and the second guy is not all that bad, but the first lead singer sounds way too weak for primetime (picture them being slightly less wimpy, but just as off-key as Jeff Ott's vocals). And while the other singer actually sounds decent, his songs aren't even as good as the shit singer's offerings, so it all just ends up sounding pretty fucking blah. Musically, at their best, the Drain Babies sound like late 80’s Replacements with a dash of Elvis Costello. At their worst, they sound Better Than Ezra. Anyway, I don't give a shit if these guys are supposed to be a wimpy geek pop band or some shit like that, if you play pop music and you don't write an extremely catchy riff or hook in your songs, or play the music with a considerable amount of edge, you're not going to hold my attention for very long. Being a geek pop band is no excuse for not having any balls. I mean, for fucks sake, even somewhat mediocre, but good for what they do wimpy pop bands like Sloan, Apples In Stereo, or even Weezer & Nada Surf circa-94-95, have/had balls. And don't even get me started on how obscenely massive the nutsacks of Johnathan Richman and Milo Aukerman must look comparatively to these guys. But whatever, this stuff's not all that bad. Good luck to this band ever making it the fuck out of Bumfuck, West Virginia, though. (SA)
(www.drainbabies.com)

Flin Flon "Chicoutimi" CD

Flin Flon lead singer/guitar player and Teenbeat label owner Mark Robinson must be one weird dude. I don't even know where to start. I guess the release itself is a little different as it contains some new songs, some old songs, a remix and some stuff that has never been available on CD before for the analog impaired set. Four of the songs have previously appeared on the vinyl version of their last album Boo Boo, which contained all different versions of the songs than the CD version. I've always liked the vinyl Boo Boo better than the CD Boo Boo anyway. The two versions of the same album thing might sound crazy, but please remember that this is coming from the same band that included a locked groove after EVERY SINGLE SONG!!! On their first album A-OK. On their first album A-OK. On their first album A-OK. On their first album A-OK. On their first album A-OK. On their first album A-OK.

You get the point. It was annoying.

And did I mention that every single one of their song titles (from what I can tell) as well as the name of their band is named after a Canadian city (As a side note - if any member of Flin Flon should ever happen upon this review, I would like to suggest that you do a song called "Emo" as there happens to be a community of the same name 40 kilometers west of my home base. It's usually good for a laugh or two a few times during the year when the paper has headlines like "Emo man dies in fire" or "Emo family hurt in crash".)?

Another weird and quite annoying thing about Chicoutimi is that the song titles and liner notes are included on a totally separate piece of cardboard that doesn't really fit back into the digipack case. It fit fine when it was held in by the plastic wrap, but when opened, it's kind of its own separate piece. On the actually inside surfaces of the digipack there is a "Teenbeat Checklist" which lists release numbers for every Teenbeat release. The strange thing is that many non-records are allocated Teenbeat release numbers. Things like "business cards", "tee shirts", "Christmas cards", and "shipping labels" are all assigned their own Teenbeat release number.

I guess the important thing is the music and Flin Flon certainly provide a healthy dose of good tunes. The most important part of their sound has to do with the fact that the guitar almost never plays a chord. It's note-rock the whole way through. The guitar often picks two notes to alternate between while the bass is plucked very stacatto-like to give an extremely punctuated bass line. The drums are usually always quite intricate yet repetitive. The vocals with very basic, yet often obscure, lyrics are usually prominently featured and go quite well with the instrumentation. Flin Flon do have an original sound which is tough to say of many modern bands. I've always maintained that they are criminally underrated amongst the punk set. Hopefully with the seeming tendency of the punk world broadening our horizons, this release will cause people to wake up to the hip sounds coming from Mr. Robinson and his crew. (JG)
(www.teenbeatrecords.com)
(Teenbeat Records PO Box 3265 Arlington, VA 22206)

Glass Candy & The Shattered Theatre/Subtonix "Split" 7"

I'd liken this record to those quite often frustrating movie teasers shown before features. Not the full length 2 or 3 minute movie trailers, but the 30 second teasers that show you a few key shots to whet your appetite for an upcoming release. That's what we have here - just a tease. Both bands contribute one song which make me want to track down their soon to be released (Glass Candy) and just released (Subtonix) full lengths. Subtonix are the clear winner here as their neoteric punk/wave synth death march "Into the Fire" riles me up into a manic frenzy each time it's played. It's loud and chaotic yet doesn't ever lose itself in a mess of noise. Shawn Abnoxious and Joe D. are going to jizz their pants over these gals, no doubt about it. One of their original members, Jenny, is now a full time member of Erase Errata, which should also clue you in as to the general type of their sound.

The Glass Candy side could work if it was on an LP, but it loses a bit of its emphasis as a single. I'm a standard kind of guy - I like my singles to be "hit" singles, rather than a place to put out somewhat experimental songs. I realize that Glass Candy are a pretty out there band with their unique brand of guitar-less "death disko" but a faster song with, uhhh, I dunno, maybe some drums, like the songs on their live 12" on Vermin Scum, would have been more appreciated. The song does serve its duty as being a great teaser to the upcoming album. Are all of their new songs as edgy and weird as this? Or can we expect something different? (JG)
(Troubleman United 16 Willow St. Bayonne, NJ 07002)

Horehounds "No Time For You" 7"

The Horehounds are a Johnny Thunders obsessed (or maybe a Mullens obsessed nowadays…) rock ‘n’ roll group with all the classic licks and chords that Johnny Thunders obsessed people dig on. If Chuck Berry had a nickel for every guitarist who ripped off his guitar playin’ he woulda been a fuckin’ king! Too bad you can’t copyright that shit…well…then punk rock would have never existed, right…? The Horehounds! Keepin’ the tradition alive! (JD)
(www.undergroundmedicine.com)
(Rapid Pulse Records PO Box 5075 Milford, CT 06460)

Hotrod Honeys "Kill Me Now!" LP

Outta Belgium it’s the Hotrod Honeys! Basic Ramones/early Motorhead influence tunes with a lot of singalong chorus that the kids seem to dig on… The record alternates between melodic numbers to ultra fast as fuck kickers. Nothing outta this world, but nothing I’d puke on either… Yr standard punk rock record… (JD)
(come.to/demderby)
(Demolition Derby PB 4005 2800 Mechelen 4, Belgium)

Jewws "L’Explosion Du Son De Maintenant" LP

YYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY! It’s the Jewws! The Jewws are back! YYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! The Jewws! The Jewws are here!!!!!!!! YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!

Okay! Woo! Alright! Yes! The Jewws, people, the Jewws!!!!! !!!!!!!!

Aye…The Jewws……… The Jewws are outta Texas and are one of the coolest garage rock ‘n’ roll numbers out there these days… The Jewws are in the same league as the Drags and kick it with lowdown and dirty vox, fuzzzzzzeeee guitars, snappin’ bass lines, and rumblin’ drums. If you like rock ‘n’ roll and hate everything else you’ll like the Jewws!

Get circumcised!!! (JD)
(http://come.to/demderby)
(Demolition Derby PB 4005 2800 Mechelen 4, Belgium)

King Louie One Man Band "Jesus Loves My One Man Band LP

Just buy anything w/ Louie, OK? Persuaders, one-man shit, Exploding Hearts – whatever. My fave is "Don’t Cook That Cabbage (it makes the whole house stink!)." (TK)
(Kryptonite, 2324 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53233)

Knaughty Knights of Memphis "S/T" 7"

Along with the Bad Times, this record is my favorite of all post-Oblivians stuff. Rough and noisy and soaked in a good helping of Memphis grime… Killer covers of the Stones and Swamp Rats, but the real treat here is Rich Crook’s fantastic "Goodnight Love", a song as good as any of the tracks on the Bad Times record. It has me going back to the turntable to play it again every time I hear it. Oh yeah, this is Rich and Jack O. with an assist from Shag on one track. Two different covers, I got the Drunken but Fierce and Undaunted Knight Doubloon edition. Get a copy of this baby before it’s too late. You should hate yourself if you don’t. (RK)
(Solid Sexie Lovie Doll, Via Rualis 101, 33043 Cividale, Italy)

Ladytron "604" CD

It’s the synth beats that compel me… Coming out of a future of luster and aria, Ladytron is this century’s New Order. With a robotic sensibility and mesmerizing vocals, a pop to the auditory senses will occur when these girls push the button. Thee synth pop group that will take you for a jaunt into the year 3051 can be a diagnostic for rapture. (JD)
(Emperor Norton Records)

 

Lili Z "S/T" 10"

Ah, Lili Z…I like her a lot. This record is all her, recorded at home over the past few years. If you heard her 7" from a while back, this is nothing like that. That record wasn’t bad. This is much, much better though, in terms of both sound and song quality. Eight tracks over two sides, with a couple of noise collage type things tacked on the end of each side. Side One rocks a bit like the No-Talents with programmed drums and random noise thrown in. It sometimes sounds similar to Nazis from Mars, but not so blatantly techno and with a lower BPM. You actually can’t even tell the drums aren’t "real" for the most part. On Side Two Lili whips out the synth for a bit, and cranks out what could be called dance music for a track or two. The best track "I Wanna Make Noise" follows that, a statement of purpose with a great, loud guitar that sounds like the title suggests it might. Real good stuff all around and great packaging too. A gatefold 10" with tons of cut and paste artwork and lyrics to look at while you listen. The pics of Lili don’t hurt either. Overall, this record really makes me wish I took French instead of Spanish in High School. (RK)
(Polly Maggoo Records, c/o Lili Zeller, 5 Rue Guy Moquet, 75017 Paris, France)

Lords of Altamont ‘S/T" CD

Man did I wanna’ hate these guys. LA band with image out the foreskin, fronted by the organ-slinging tool from the Bomborings. But shit, they pulled off a good ‘n energetic show, and this disc is pretty swank. I could nit-pick all day over the generic riffs and lyrics, but really…the sound itself is so cool – Fuzz geetars, squalling organ, pounding drummer. It’s in a sorta’ nether region in between the Back From the Gravers and the heavier shit that went down after Altamont…no Ballroom hippies…never happened…kind of an idealized version of what cool ’67 bikers shoulda’ been listening to… (TK)
(Sympathy)

Lubricants "S/T" CD

Milwaukee band best known for "Activated Energy" (featured on KBD…sumthin’). They’ve recently reformed for live shows, but this ain’t new spew, it’s 13 tunes from ‘77-’81. And fuck if it don’t buck the KBD trend of a great single repackaged w/ a buncha’ horseshit. Almost every song is great! From straight-up punk (77’s "Cissy is a Bitch") to ‘core (81’s "Violent Tendencies") to art/noise kink ("Sick of It"), they manage to maintain their unique scumbag voice. Much recommended for wary KBD aficionados. (TK)
(thelubricants@ameritech.net)

Mooney Suzuki "Electric Sweat" LP/CD

You feel like hell. Your heart is pounding against your chest with the erratic rhythm of a dying fish flopping around on the ground. Sweat relentlessly drips from your every pore like water through a pasta strainer. You've got so much cotton in your mouth that you could make a pair of BVD's out of it. The heat index is at an all time record high, and you've been trapped outside all day doing hard labor under the merciless sun. Maybe its road construction, maybe its training for the Olympics; all that matters is that this is the kind of day that can kill football players and you've been outside working your ass off all day without so much as a sip to drink. Then, just as you're about ready to drop, a miracle occurs! A beautiful girl comes up to you, and pitying your condition, offers you a can of cold beer! While you usually abhor beer from a can, beggars can't be choosers on a day like today. You greedily yank the can out of her hands and begin to drink vociferously, not bothering to pay much attention to what kind of beer it is.

After all, the way you feel right now Schlitz would taste like Newcastle. The first drink is absolutely ambrosial, you feel like the mighty Thor relaxing over a glass of mead after a fierce battle. Since the first drink was so sweet, you take more time to savor the next one, only to be slightly let down by it. Maybe this isn't a brew worthy of an Asgardian after all. By the fifth drink, you're downright disgusted; there's no way a can of tang mixed with cat piss could taste any worse than this swill, and what's that funny rattling sound it's making? Overcome by curiosity you get a knife and pry the top of the can off. What greets your eyes is enough to make even the Confederacy of Scum go straightedge. Inside the can you'd just been drinking from resides a veritable cornucopia of ick: fingernail clippings, pubic hairs, dead roaches, chicken gizzards, dog shit, and not only a used condom, but also the remnants of a used tampon. You turn to the vile, yet quite comely, wench who played this cruel prank on you, hoping to extract some revenge, and you're stopped dead in your tracks as she pulls off her mask only to reveal the gruesome visage of none other than………DON RICKLES!!!!! Now you know what it felt like for me to listen to this album.

Well, okay, maybe it wasn't quite THAT bad, but I was pretty disappointed by this. There are some really good songs on here (and a few great ones) but the album doesn't really work as whole, and this is coming from a guy who thought "People Get Ready" was a damn fine and cohesive album. The biggest problem is that there's only ten songs on here, two of which are boring, noodly instrumentals. Maybe it's just because my mojo is in the repair shop, but having a fifth of your album be lame instrumentals is beyond self-indulgent in my book. Couple these unfortunate instrumental forays with a few below par offerings, and you've got maybe five, maybe six, worthy songs on here. If those songs where released as an EP, and it sold for like six bucks, I'd give this an easy thumbs up. As it is, I fear the Mooney Suzuki have released a half-assed album, that could have been three kick ass singles. It is to weep. (SS)
(www.gammonrecords.com)
(Gammon Records)

Neon King Kong "Mix Up the Mix" 7"

NKK pick up where Le Shok left off, but with a deeper, more textured sound than the sharp angles Le Shok tossed around. Two songs that are just short enough to leave you wanting a lot more. "Mix up the Mix" is my preference, but they’re both really good. Again, they’re just too damn short. What ever happened to four song EP’s? These guys should put out a record real quick. I think they’ll be better than Le Shok, who were good, but overrated. (RK)
(GSL, PO Box 178262, San Diego, CA 92177)

Neurotic Swingers "What’s Your Definition of Underground?" CD/10"

My definition of underground? Well… I suppose my definition of "underground" (underground music and underground writing) is something that isn’t quite accepted as the authority. Something that isn’t the norm… But you see that’s where you come in, Neurotic Swingers… You ARE the norm. You are the accepted version of "punk rock." Chunky guitars comin’ outta Marshal stacks… Raspy vocals and lyrics about a future damned. I’m not damned…not really… But you, Neurotic Swingers, you should be damned. Because only the damned rehash old tired tunes like the ones on this disc… You belong on TKO Records with the rest of yr lot… (JD)
(www.chez.com/lollipoprecords)
(Lollipop, 7 Impasse Monsegur, 13016 Marseille, France)

Pac Men "Unauthorized" CD

You know, these guys use to have connections to past bands like The Pist and shit, but I have long since forgotten the inter-twining connections. After all, if you can no longer remember it and have to revert to zines of yesteryear to get the facts, then it must not be relevant to today. The Pac Men are not new to my ears. I have been connected to them for a while now, getting their advance material, trying to pass along info for booking Cincinnati Shows and shit.... This CD represents the front-line troops of their next CD I suppose. I can tell right away that The Pac Men's sound has really progressed and gotten tighter since their last Red Tape Records CD.

Refined is the word I'm looking for.

The Pac Men still seem fueled by some of the same things with the forerunner being some of that good ol’ angst against society, its suburbs and all its ‘glory’, but gone with the first CD is the references to horror films/sci fi nostalgia. I dunno, maybe the Pac Men didn't want to get caught in a rut and moved onward. Either way, it works because Unauthorized is pretty tight. Their sound is still similar to The Pist, but on Unauthorized I am hearing more DC hardcore punk. I'm left wondering why these guys aren't everywhere.... The Pac Men are hardcore punk enough for me, but yet not too hard that will just make all the spiky-haired pogo drunks come out in droves. The Pac Men are tight. Like I said, I'm wondering why they haven’t taken the east coast with force yet.... or HAVE they and the News just hasn’t gotten to me yet. Either way, I'm glad I'm on their side because I hate fighting. The Pac Men will fight my fights for me!!!!

New Crime!!!! (SAB)
(The Pac Men POB 4468 Danbury, CT. 06813-4468)

Panics "1980-1981: Please Panic!" LP

I feel close to this release. After all, only twenty years and a couple of hours drive separates me, from them. This stuff is from my region. Inidananna. Mid-west proper! Right...NOW I'm just a couple hours drive from the hometown of The Panics: Bloomington, Indiananna!!!! USA. Yeah! This is a good LP and released under good pretense. I mean, FUCK! Who would have thought that backwater punk rock would see its day on compilations like Killed By Death or Bloodstains, much less HUNTED down twenty years later with barrels scraped for LPs like this. Labels like Hate, who have sort of aligned themselves with The whole Gulcher Empire, serve a much needed purpose. The flame still burns.

The LP starts off with the infamous 45RPM featuring three great originals aiming you face first into a guard rail: "I Wanna Kill My Mom", "Best Band" and "Tie Me Up Baby." These three tracks are definitely something to behold! I said Face first!!!! It's music like this that inspires! Not that MTV Blink 182 shit! When, if, and how frequently people will understand this isn't my job! I have got the bug. They will either wise up or continued to be passed by, by future passed. Retrograde Marching Doom Propulsion!!!!

Bottom line is the Panics had fun. Plain and simple. Like a mid-west version of The Sex Pistols, the Panics took some rebel contemporaries and made them their own by choosing to play "Somethin' Else", "Come On Everybody" and "Louie Louie." Hell they even tackle a Pistols song, "No Feelings", too...

So.

You.

Like, ?get it??

Really though, what makes this band, and the record truly amazing is the original material. I don't know the story, if maybe they had tons of original material and chose not to play it or record it or what, but whereas the covers are given a twist and ?panic-fied? the originals BLAZE and teem with snot. Snarl. Rage, and most importantly, mid-west angst. This LP documents a time, a place, and a battle. Here in the Midwest, this shit isn't for fun. You hear on records like this how the struggle began. I perpetuate this struggle that my forefathers began!!!!

Snarl. (SAB)
(www.angelfire.com/myband2/panics)
(Vulcher Records)
(Hate Records Circ.ne Gianicolense 112 00152 - Roma - Italy)

Panty Raid "The Secret's Out" 7"

A drunk Huggy Bear? An ultra slutty Bratmobile? There's not much to say about this one other than Panty Raid is made up of some party hardy kats who like to fuck. Sound intriguing? It is. They play 'em fast and rough in the way that only sloppy East Bay garage punks can. The band features zinester Jenelle (Tales of Blaarg, Desperate Times) and a couple of her sex obsessed pals. The lyrics to songs such as "Cheap But Hot", "Hot 'n' Horny" and "Fast 'n' Easy" are downright hilarious. If any of the above descriptors sound remotely intriguing to you, you'd be well off in trying to pick up this chunk of wax. You'll dig. (JG)
(Raw Sugar Records PO Box 53011 New Orleans, LA 70153)

Panty Raid "The Secret's Out" 7"

It's never a good sign when the best thing about a record is the sound of the recording. Panty Raid may have the cool low budget sound of many of the greats, but unfortunately they just don't have the songwriting chops to make it worthwhile. They sound kinda like a cross between a low rent Gossip and some Supercharger wannabes (YAWN). At times it sounds like even they get sick of their songs, opting to just sorta give up rather than think of a good ending. One song on here is alright ("He Could Be The One") but it's nothing to get too excited about. While this record isn't is bad as Michael Bolton and Styx teaming up to do Promise Ring covers, it's nowhere near as good as Lionel Ritchie getting together with Rush and doing Lost Sounds covers. (SS)
(Raw Sugar, POB 53011, New Orleans, LA 70153)

Phenoms "S/T" CD

I’ve always had a good time ripping on Chicago. The whole Bear/Packer thing…I grew up in Door County (don’t ask)…Cub luck…Sacramento had more good bands than they did in the ‘90s…shit, Manitowoc…and Chicago’s BIG, right?

It’s getting harder and harder to mock their rock scene, though. The Horizontal Action folks have pulled it up by the tits with help from their buddies relocated from Buffalo and Normal…Blackout…Beat Kitchen…so yeah, it would figure that this climate would be a fine inky-bator for some new, rockin’ local combos to crawl outta’, and I’ve heard a few…like this band.

Every good, uh, scene has at least one band like the Phenoms. Nice folks… When yer slammin’ down a pail of ale and the band locks in, you find yourself drawn in, thinking, "man, these guys are getting good. Why do I always forget about ‘em?" And then you forget. Many of these units seem to suddenly shoot outta’ nowhere to rock yer socks off - I’ve seen it! Others simply fade into obscurity or keep pluggin’ along…

Straight-up r ‘n r w/ a touch of Rip Off, a dash of six oh revival ‘n down the pocket rock. Cover of Cinderella rounds it out. (TK)
(1344 W. Wellington, Apt. 1R, Chicago, IL, 60657)

Pits "Belief In Ruins" 7"

The Pits…British punk rockers with a taste for rock ‘n’ roll circa 1977-1979. This record has an Angelic Upstarts and Cock Sparrer feel to it, what with the catchy, crunchy guitars and gang vocals. Rude attitudes and all that tea…the Pits are an English Punk Rocker’s dream come true. Okay, London? (JD)
(www.undergroundmedicine.com)
(Rapid Pulse Records PO Box 5075 Milford, CT 06460)

Real Pills "Nine Long Years" CD

Oh yeah!!! Ladies and gentlemen it's a pleasure to present to you the finest garage/beat r'n'r combo in the land, the fabulous Real Pills! Hyperbole? Perhaps, but the important thing is that when I listen to this record it SEEMS right. The Real Pills are the total package; great songs you can't get out of your head, rocking guitars, primitive bashing drums, cool clothes, and a singer who can yelp out the "c'mons" and "alrights" with the best of em. Seriously, these guys could blow the Makers in their prime off the stage. I'm talking, like, total humiliation here. Don't believe me? I dare you to listen to songs like "Heart So Black," "Tight Pants," "Electric Eel," and "Treat Your Papa Right" and tell me these guys aren't head and shoulders above anything the "Rock Star Gods" ever did. Sonically, I'd say the Real Pills occupy a space somewhere between the aforementioned boys in black and the (way underrated) Hi Fives in the modern day garage/beat continuum. Don't let their proficiency in tunes of the primal garage scream variety fool you; the Real Pills can, and do, write some damn fine pop tunes when necessary. Case in point: the totally charming number "A Little Piece Of Me" which features the great line "I never had much luck with the fairer sex/I never knew why they called them that." Amen brother, amen. Pick this record up, like, yesterday. (SS)
(Mortville Records, POB 4263, Austin, Texas 78765)

Reatards "Savage Tape" 7"

You pick the song titles and A/B sides release. Teenage Hate era songs about girls and shit that sound way better than I expected. I have no idea which songs they are, as I haven’t recognized any of them yet. I thought one was a Vom cover for a second, but I don’t think so. This is good stuff for any Reatards fan to have, but anybody should enjoy this. Along with The Oblivians in the mid Nineties and Lost Sounds at the turn of the century, The Reatards in the late Nineties restored my faith in music at a point in time when I was wondering if there was anything out there worth hearing anymore. Different band member on each sleeve, I got Sir Steave. Let me know who you get, because you are going to get this record, right? (RK)
(Solid Sexie Lovie Doll, Via Rualis 101, 33043 Cividale, Italy)

Registrators "Rare Tracks" CD

From the Lowery vaults comes long-awaited companion piece to the Singles compilation from last year. It’s actually a good companion to the Japanese "90’s Sessions" CD as well. There’s surprisingly little, if any, overlap between all these CD’s, proving just how prolific the band was. The funny thing is, even if you own all three of these CD’s you still won’t have every Registrators’ track unless you have the actual vinyl, with the cover of "Hotel California" from the Repent single and "I Wanna Be Rich" (not a Cold Cock cover) from the "Baby Don’t Cry" EP being just two examples. Die-hard fans will of course eat this material up, mostly outtakes from various EP sessions. Borderline fans probably won’t dig it so much. Sound quality varies at time, but all this really doesn’t matter because it’s from one of the greatest bands ever (well, up until "Velocity" at least). My personal favorite is a cover of The Dils’ "I Hate the Rich". Buy now. (RK)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple, San Bruno, CA 94066)

Sexual Tension "Five Songs for Doing It! CD

Titans.

You see, since Kenny On-Broadway's migration to the West Coast, something has been missing in Kent. It just didn’t seem right going up there and playing shows without seeing his tall T-Rex like self lanking around headbanging wearing a jacket that said ‘awesome’ and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Yeah, Kill the Hippies were still there. Rob Vegas and the Radar Secret Service were there and all doing a great job. Something left with Kenny. Something tangible. Something that you could at one time put your hands on and molest. But it had been vacant for oh so long. It got feeling like Kenny was dead again and I was thinking that maybe I would barge onstage and raise my Miller High Life in a toast to him....

THEN along came the White Chocolate.

White Chocolate is also known as Elias. I first met him a month or so ago when he was road guying with Kill the Hippies. He was a good guy and told me about his band called Sexual Tension that he and Morte Treehorn had formed with a couple others. But trust me, I had NO IDEA how good Sexual Tension would turn out to be. A month or two later, a Socials gig at The infamous Mantis Gallery... When the night was over, and Sexual Tensions set played, I would look at Elias, the White Chocolate, as a Greek God, A TITAN if you will...

Titan!

Elias brings back what was taken with Kenny On-Broadway. Theatrical punk rock with twist, turns, and cleverness. True to hits. Real time dirt on the sidewalk!!! Since you could find Morte Treehorn on guitar what I felt I was really looking at was a NEW Sweaty Weapons. In fact, when I told Elias that he said, "Well, Damn, I guess so because I love that Sweaty Weapons tape and have been listening to it for two weeks straight." You see, Kenny made a handful of Sweaty Weapons demo tapes, of which I hadn’t gotten one, and every now and then I will run across someone who has one who covets it like its the fucking hope diamond and have been listening to it religiously.

Sexual Tension have what The Sweaty Weapons had plus in the riff raff of their CD and live set; I can hear some funky element like Black Randy and The Metrosquad too!!!! You see, Sexual Tension leave no stone unturned!!!! Their set, as well as this CD-R will range from hot, explosive numbers like The first track, "Cookin with Gas," to mid-paced groove numbers like something that I think would really make Black Randy get off, like on the song "My Face Hurts from Making Out All Summer." The Tension isn’t focusing on rocking hard, fast and loud, but rather make calculated strikes at your psyche. In more than one song, the word ‘follow’ stands out like a calling. Sexual Tension are true cult rock!!!! Follow them to the next level!!!!

Quite honestly, this is one of the best CDs I have gotten all year. I can definitely see this ending up on my top five at years end..... I know this wave of Neoteric Bliss has got to end soon. I thought the wave would have crested and bashed me against the rocks by now but out of the sea, out of the many, more rise to fill in the ranks of the coming rock and roll Armageddon. Neoteric Punk/Wave versus everything with me in command! Get this disc at all cost! Sexual Tension are TITANS!!!! (SAB)
($4 ppd from The Cookin’ with Gas Fan Club 614 1/2 N. Mantua Kent, Ohio 44240)

Slurs "It Just Gets Worse" 7"

Saw this Indiana combo (featuring the Kooch) at the Blackout. They rocked pretty mightily early on, and kinda’ faded near the end. Still a good set. Less "Rip Off" than you might expect – more "rock" than that. The single SOUNDS good, of course, but nothing really knocks me out. Chances are good that later product may… I believe there’s a member or two of the Mighty John Waynes in here too, for anyone keeping score. (TK)
(The Slurs, 1545 Hoefgen St., Indianapolis, IN, 46203)

Superhelicopter "My Soul" 7" and split LP w/ Eradicate

Apparently, this band is some dude and whoever he chooses to play with. The 45 is spectacular – 4 songs of lo-fi shit-rock root-shimmy. "My Soul" is the clear winner here. The album is a split with the hardcore band Eradicate. Eradicate’s OK if yer into modern cookie monster-style hardcore. The Superhelicopter side is closer to Eradicate than SH on their single – are members present? I like it. It’s got that Henry Fiat’s Open Sore rock-into-core feel, but heavier and less speedy. Not in HFOS’s league, but worth checking out. (TK)
(45 – Yakisakana)
(LP -???)

Tyrades "I Got a Lot" 7"

Man, these kids have potential, I tell ya. Close, but not quite as good as the Rip Off single, which means that it’s still better than most of the crap out there. These kids are gonna be huge. They sound more new-wavish on this one, and there are some great and stupid backing vocals as well. Contains three very solid tracks, with my favorite being "Mannequin Girl". What’s next? Another single? Is there an LP in the works? Who’s the new drummer? Stay tuned, and jump on the bandwagon now before you get caught with your pants down. (RK)
(Broken Rekids PO Box 460402, San Francisco, CA 94146)

V/A "California Ain't Fun No More" CD

Like most (smart) people, I hate comps. Most comps are a shitty label dude's way of either cashing in on a cheap trend, exposing the world to their roster of dirt ass bands, or releasing not hard to find versions of songs by bands who most people don't give a flying fuck about anyway, just because they can. I like to say that a label is only as good as its worst comp (actually I don't say that, but it sounds fancy). Thankfully, Mr. Jason Duncan, resident label dude of Just Add Water "Rock'n'Roll" Records knows all of this and has bestowed upon the world a comp which is very much worthy of your hard earned money. The comp actually has a theme (all bands are/were from California), from what I can tell all of the songs are unreleased, and every track is a winner. He's also elected to go with quality over quantity as it only has 12 songs in total.

The first reason why you need to buy this comp is because it contains my vote for "2002's song of the year so far" which would be "Ohio Express" by The Fevers. I feel a little bit sorry for the other 11 bands on the disc (and there are some real heavyweights on it) because not one of them can even come close to the brilliance of The Fevers. If you've heard their amazing Show! 7" on Lipstick Records, which contains some fab, trashed out, garage-power-pop, this song takes that same sound and makes it sound even sweeter. Full-blown dance parties have erupted whenever I've played the song. It's not really a slow song, but it's not fast either - it's just really damn catchy. On the power of this one song alone, their just released album on Alien Snatch has vaulted to top on my list of "albums which I need to own, like, now." The fact that The Fevers (now based out of Minneapolis) have added Travis Ramin (Short Fuses, Candygirl, Tina and the Total Babes) has only added to my anticipation.

The next eleven reasons to buy the comp are as follows: Bitchschool do an amazing Nick Gilder cover, The Bobbyteens (Russell Quan appearance #1) do a dead on Gears cover, The Pinkz continue their tradition of covering poppy gems that have already been covered by other bands by doing "Last Night" by the Scientists, The Stupor Stars contribute a rockin' garage scorcher as do The Superbees, The Flakes (Quan appearance #2) are solid, The Easys (Quan #3) do their best poor-man's Pattern impression with enough swagger to make it distinct and danceable in it's own way, and the Loose Lips (they shouldn't have been put in the #1 slot), Rehabs, Loudmouths and Demonics don't disappoint either. Excellent. (JG)
(www.justaddwaterrecords.com)
(Just Add Water PO Box 420661 San Francisco, CA 94142)

V/A "Guillotined at the Hanger (Shielded by Death, Vol. 2)" CD

I’m a sucker for these ‘77-‘82-type comps. I always figure there’s lost gems still out there, so these are too tantalizing to ignore. This one covers the Boston area. Lots of variety – it’s a regional comp, you know? More hardcore than my usual preferred intake, but the Outpatients’ "Code Blue" is pretty great (featured back in the day on Gerard Cosloy’s "Bands that Could be God" comp). Cool primitivism from the Vandelz, and extra points fer writing a song about talking animals. Dennis Most checks in with "Excuse My Spunk." Check out his album with the same title that came out a while back, by the way. The stupendous Peer Pressure gives us "Sound of the ‘80s." Yeah, this is probably worth it. Better than most "Hyped to Death"s I’ve heard. (TK)
(Dionysis, P.O. Box 1975, Burbank, CA, 91507)

V/A Pelado Records’ 3 Minute Heroes" CD

Hey, comps are a gamble. This one has tons of crud, but if yer a fan of singalong-type ponk, you’d probably dig it a lot. Either way, it’s worth it just for another unreleased monster of a Rock ‘n Roll Stormtroopers track. These Krauts are an astounding Ramones/Glam/cheeseball melange that’s only managed two singles, but this comp’s "Keep Rock Clean" is up to par with anything they’ve done…yup, even "Bulldozers (on the Loose)." There’s a great Stiletto Boys track from their last album. I even discovered a "new" band I dig a lot – Teen Cool. The Super Bees find themselves closer to their amazing Pelado split than that leaden mini-album they shat out more recently. Possibly the last you’ll hear of that era. Good bands like the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs contribute covers…I’m glad I picked it up. You? (TK)
(Pelado, 521 West Wilson #C103, Costa Mesa, CA, 92627)

V/A "Red Snerts: The Sound of Gulcher" LP

As near as I can tell without an extensive press release, this is a re-issue of a Gulcher Records compilation from 1981 or so provided in the Here/Now. This compilation is populated with some of the best bands out there. It's just coincidence that they are from my region of the united states! The Midwest! Midwest Missiles! Surf the Lake-Wave!!! In fact, Red Snerts plays like one of the better selections in the Killed By Death or Bloodstains series.... Red Snerts explored (and in some ways STILL explores) some of the territory where NOTHING is against the rules. EVERYTHING GOES! Concepts like this is hard to capture in studios and with as many bands as appear on this record, but its true! Red Snerts is Lewis & Clark to the umpteenth level!!! Included are such Indiana contemporaries as The Gizmos, Zero Boys and Panics with their respected blazer tracks, but the real treats are the Dow Jones and The Industrials, Dancing Cigarettes, Last Four (4) Digits, The Jetsons tracks. Also chiming in are Mr. Science, Phil Hundley, The Defekts, A. Xax, Post Raisin Band, Bay-Root but my absolute favorite track would be "Indianapolis" by a band I had yet to even know the existence of, E-In Brino!!!! I would absolutely LOVE to hear more from each, but E-In Brino first!!!! If one doesn’t exist, maybe enough tracks could be dredged up for another Red Snerts to fulfill all wishes and desires... I dunno though, I'm not a record label, owner. I just write about them... (SAB)
(www.angelfire.com/myband2/panics)
(Vulcher Records)
(Hate Records Circ.ne Gianicolense 112 00152 - Roma - Italy)

 
 
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