- May, 2003
Black Lips “S/T” CD
Back from the Grave-slash-Teenage Shutdown pound 'n' thud from these out-rage-ous
Atlantan teens – and they ain't the one-trick ponies their 45s suggested,
either. Tunes do range the typical trash-rock gamut, from dirt-caked shakers
("I Got a Knife") to slurred dirges ("Sweet Kin,"
"Stone Cold") to teen-jive jangle ("Ain't No Thing"),
but there's a lil' unexpected Killed by Death psychosis scattered in between
the copious '60s salutes, which elevates this particular gang above and
beyond the non-existent competition. Believe the hype. (EL)
Briefs "Off the Charts" CD/LP
doubt about it, this release has to be considered a bit of a letdown.
That doesn't mean it's not good, it just means that it's not up to the
extremely high standards the Briefs have set for themselves after the
great Hit After Hit and a series of near perfect singles. In fact,
three of the best songs on here ("(Looking Through) Gary Glitters
Eyes", "Ain't It The Truth", and "We Americans")
already appeared on said singles plus a comp track is reused making this
more of a collection of songs, rather than a true album. Out of
the new songs "Tear It In Two" is a fabulous poppy ballad while
"22nd Century Man" is a genuine punk hit and the five other
songs range from just good ("Ouch Ouch Ouch") to downright crappy
("Who Made You So Smart?"). Thumbs up on the snazzy design
and artwork though. (JG)
Catholic Boys “S/T” CD
Been following these four gents since early in the game, and it's been an interesting trip. Started out as two ex-Teenage Rejects, a Shutup, and a Strong Come On – the previous single’s line-up – who gave the obvious and straightforward tip o' the cap to '70s Clevo p-rock: Dead Boys, Electric Eels, Pagans, etc. Now, they're one less Shutup and one more ex-Reject (Eric "Animal" Apnea, on skins), and they've morphed into a Die Kruezen meets Devo meets alla the aforementioned influences type thing. And, as this disc indicates, they're a better band for it. They've "evolved" into a almost hardcore-sounding outfit. Got me?
though: Haven't heard an unapologetically "punk" release that's
THIS DAMN GOOD since, well, their last single – and this is better.
“Get Loose” plucks (early) new wave’s few redeeming
qualities and transplants ‘em onto a KBD acetate. “I
Am TV” Registrates and Iggy-wiggles. And "Latch On"
– Piranhas without pretense – just might be the song of the
year on the disc of the year by the band of the year. So, uh, why don'cha
latch on yourself, sleazy? This ride’s just takin’ off! (EL)
Catholic Boys “Brainwash City” 7”
If you’ve slinked around the Internet a-tall in the past few months, you’ve probably seen a mention of fellow columnist/reviewist/proctologist Filthy Rich’s claim that the Catholic Boys are the apex o’ current punk rock. And if you haven’t yet heard or seen the band – for shame! – you probably rolled your eyes, sighed, or just plumb didn’t give a fuck. ‘Sides: With alla this straight-up r’n’r all over the place, who likes punk rock anymore?
do. ‘Specially when it comes to this band. The Catholic
Boys are an intense, blistering group. They steamroll ‘n’
pummel with an energy all their own. They (musically) punish in
a Pagans-meets-Dead Boys-cum-Fun Things vein, (lyrically and vocally)
mind-fuck you with creepy, nightmarish visions of sci-fi violence that’re
unique to the juvie mindset – comical and vaguely disturbing all
at once. And they ARE the best punk rock outfit around today, so
buy this single and re-invest in an r’n’r offshoot that hasn’t
grabbed the ear this ferociously in a long, long while. (EL)
Clone Defects "Shapes of Venus" 7"
alb track (the killer r'n'r power-pop "Shapes of Venus") and
a single-exclusive buzzbomb (the mostly-instro punk violence of "Gonna
Stick You") prove exactly why the 'Defects reign Dee-troit. Casual
fans might wanna avoid this one, due to the two-song novelty factor, but
real-deal junkies like myself'll bite. Great companion to the full-length.
Nikki Corvette "Love Me" 7"
down the best single Rapid Pulse Records has ever released! The
leader of one of the most rockin' "girl groups" of all time,
Nikki Corvette (of Nikki and the Corvettes, duh) is back for the first
time in eons to please your ears with two tunes that could have been alternate
takes from the 1980, bubblegum power pop genius Nikki and the Corvettes
LP. This time Nikki has teamed up with Travis Ramin who has been
involved with a number of great, recent bands like The Fevers, Candygirl
and Tina and the Total Babes to craft two absolute pop gems. Either
song, "Love Me" or "What's On My Mind" would have
worked as the A-side as both deliver catchy verses with a chorus full
of amazingly huge hooks. One of the best pop singles of the
past few years. (JG)
Deadly Snakes “Ode to Joy” LP/CD
Canucks have gone progressively more-produced since their first killer
blues-trash-with-horns alb, Love Undone. They've also gone progressively
mellower, but I hasten to mention that they can still knock about with
the best of the semi-pro-sounding '60s gang – even if they’re
starting to lean closer to Melloncamp than Memphis. What I mean to say:
Ode to Joy, while no Love Undone, stands on its own as a great blend of
early Them, drunken sing-a-longs, and folk-tinged regret, all peppered
with liberal doses o’ brass, organ, ‘n’ handclaps.
Might even be better than I’m Not Your Solider Anymore. Regardless,
this one’s a real hoot and a wise purchase. (EL)
Feast of Snakes “S/T” 12”
Scientists-soundin' scree that sinks – with slide guit – into
a soggy sour-mash surreal state sought by Suicide if Suicide had screamed
and seared souls with strings instead o’ synths. This platter’s
psychotic as all hell and angry to boot. It’s also a near-guaranteed
year-end top-tenner. It, like, gets you there, in a grain alky-hall
sorta way. (EL)
Final Solutions “Eat Shit” 7”
Killed by Death-inspired trash that keeps it simple, fun, and stupid.
“Eat Shit” hearkens back to past ridiculo-anthems like Freestone’s
“Bummer Bitch” or the Lewd’s “Kill Yourself”
(in both sound and ‘tude alike), but there’s an odd and welcomed
and oddly welcomed wavey touch with the electric keys that makes it that
much better. The other gem on this four-songer, “I’m
a Victim,” carries pissed-off-pop a few rungs up the ladder and
warrants a million or so successive spins. And: Jay Reatard on the
skins. How can you lose? (EL)
Flip Tops "Secrets and Lies" 7"
The Vinyl Warning hit factory strikes again! The Flip Tops deliver
with three quality hits on one piece of wax. "Secrets and Lies"
is a jaunt into uncharted territory for The Flip Tops with its slower
pace and ultra poppy feel. I love it! It's perhaps their greatest
song to date, but I'm a pop guy, so whadda I know? The b-side features
"Hitman" a total ripper that competes with the best of them
on their garage punk smash All Worked Up on Rip Off Records. There
is NO FUCKING WAY that you can listen to "Hitman" without getting
the chorus burned into your brain. "Well I'm a hitman, baby!
Well I'm a hitman, yeah!" The third song "Cold Blood,
Black Heart" is a real rock'n'roller that does a good job of finishing
off a must get single. (JG)
Horrors “Vent” LP/CD
dunno, man. The blues're apparently where it's at for discerning r'n'r
types who're all about proving pre-Stripes connections to the music these
days. Me? I'm a fan – of Johnson, Waters, Wolf, blah, yadda, etc.
This stuff, though, toes the line currently re-drawn by bands like the
Black Keys, who make Stevie Ray Vaughn look like Blind Lemon Fuggin’
Jefferson. I mean, the production's cool (Greg Oblivian turning knobs
– reportedly improving upon the trash-prod of their first, which
I've [admittedly] never heard), and the tunes are surely worthy, but the
vocals – THE VOCALS, WHICH ARE BLUES-NECESSARY – sound so
goddamned obviously whitebread-cum-soulman that I'm out the door and in
your fridge, stealing all kindsa food and shit. Not that the alb’s
bad, per se. Still – eye with caution, friends. (EL)
Kidnappers "Ransom Notes & Telephone Calls" LP
was a huge fan of the two High School Rockers singles so when I heard
that they had reformed as The Kidnappers and had an album out on Alien
Snatch! I got pretty damn excited. And for good reason - this record
is top notch! The absolute basics are still the same with a simplistic
1-4-5 chord structure to a lot of the songs, but instead of going for
a more toned down Ramones meets Supercharger overall feel as the HS Rockers
did, The Kidnappers make everything louder, faster and about twenty times
more exciting. It sounds like they're no longer constrained by the
feeling that they had to sound a certain way and can now write songs that
are much better suited to their talents. There's a lot more of a
rockin' swagger to this record which makes things more interesting and
the vocals by Beat-It are totally screamed now as opposed to being "sung"
as they were before. They even have the sense to do a spot on cover
of Loli and the Chones' "Everybody Hates Me". This album
is a total adrenaline shot right to the heart!!! Highly recommended.
Kill-A-Watts “Then and Now” 7”
‘Watts dig two lower-than-usual snot-blasts outta their pre-Rip
Off vaults, back ‘em with two newer tunes, then serve all four up
for you, the eager listener, to enjoy. And – hey! –
if you’re anything like me, you will (enjoy, that is). Though
side THEN suffers a lil’ from oversaturation of the whole juvie
aesthetic, side NOW (particularly “Mace Can”) delivers in
the catchy, amphetamine-driven Registrators meets Teengen maneuvers that
we’ve all come to expect and appreciate from one o’ Wisconsin’s
Kill-A-Watts “Let’s Get High Voltage” 7”
called “Let’s Get High Voltage,” but the real smoker
here is “Girl’s Livin’ Dead” –the best thing
this four-piece has ever committed to wax, and certainly worthy of the
cash you hide away in that ol’ rusty coffee tin. “Teengenerate
with tits!” screams T. Trickknee with glee, and he ain’t lyin’!
Grab, grab, grab. (EL)
Locomotions "S/T" LP
Mr. Martin Savage is back with a new three piece destruction unit known
as The Locomotions! This is a super stripped down record with one
distinct guitar track, one distinct bass track, spot on drumming and usually
just one vocal track (with a ton of screaming, of course) that give rise
to a primal, garage rock sound. By no means is it a sloppy or shoddy
sounding recording, it's just that this stuff sounds best when it's recorded
simply which this record definitely is. There are a pretty wide
spectrum of sounds on here ranging anywhere from bluesy garage punk to
trashed out, poppy glam to a freaky, almost psychedelic instrumental.
The real highlight track, in my opinion, is the absolute scream-fest "Come
and Get It" although the quite poppy "Make Up Your Mind"
does come close, as do their versions of the Dirtbombs' "Headlights
On" and The Dogmatics' "Saturday Night Again". Another
must get record from Alien Snatch! who continue to impress with not only
the sounds coming out of the grooves on their records but also with the
nice, thick wax and the great sleeve designs and jet black paper sleeves.
And if we're lucky The Locomotions will soon be back with some new songs
recorded at the legendary Toe Rag Studios! Stay tuned! (JG)
Modey Lemon “Enemy” 2x7”
Fug alla that two-man hype – the Modey Lemon, gimmick or no, devastate. ‘Specially live, ‘cuz their drummer’s a goddamned pounder and the guit-singer dude ain’t bad, either. And cohesively, they churn out a moody ‘n’ dark riff-rock thang that’s basically unmatched right now, though I’m pretty sure no one’s “with it” enough to make a pass at that specific kinda thang anyway.
why’d their album bore me? I dunno. But the double-single
don’t! It’s tits! It’s solid gold, thru
‘n’ thru! “Enemy,” this release’s anthemic
standout, shakes ‘n’ shimmies through a funky, permutated
MC5 rip riff and delves into a weird Ubu noise-deal somewheres in between,
then squeezes back into the fray long enough to get bruised ‘n’
boozed. “You Bug Me” kinda works along the same lines,
and other tunes don’t disappoint, either. If you’re
gonna pick up anything by this combo, start here. (EL)
Morticia's Lovers "Rock'n'Roll Overdose" LP
a fact that a lot of great labels start off the same way - put out a few
singles to build a loyal fan base and then hit the world with a killer
first full length. Rip Off did it, Dirtnap did it, as did Mutant
Pop, and it looks like Zaxxon Virile Action have joined the club with
Morticia's Lovers' Rock'n'Roll Overdose. This LP is my first time
hearing this Italian band and I have quickly become a fan of their sloppy
brand of catchy garage punk. It's not an overly original album,
but since when did great records have to be? Morticia's Lovers get
by quite well on referencing their punk rock and power pop forefathers
in the songwriting while mixing in some distinct, slightly off kilter,
Italian accented English vocals. They even do a good job of updating
some punk and power pop hits from the past with trashy versions of "Rock'n'Roll
Girl", "Boredom", and "Do the Uganda".
Actually, if you combined the bands that played those three songs originally
(The Beat, The Buzzcocks and The Controllers, respectively) into one band
you'd have a keen sense of where Morticia's Lovers are coming from.
The perfect record to play at the post-bar party where everyone comes
stumbling home, rip-roaringly drunk and still wants to get it on.
Strawberry Mud Pie! "You Sing! Me Play!" CD
I don't know about you but when the months and months of damp, wet dreariness, otherwise known as "winter" on the Canadian west coast begin to turn into spring I start feeling a whole hell of a lot better, especially when I come across records as shamelessly fun and giddy as the debut full length by Japan's Strawberry Mud Pie!, which is the perfect soundtrack album for the sunny days and lazy weekends of spring and summer.
You Sing! Me Play! besides being an excellent title for an album by a band that doesn't seem to speak that much English, is a 12 track poppy garage punk behemoth of a record. It's been a long while since I've been this impressed with the quality of songwriting on a straightforward record where each song employs the use of only 3, maybe 4 chords. There's no way a band like Strawberry Mud Pie! could ever be called original but they sure as hell are quite distinct due to Mika Mirinda's beautiful, hypnotizing, high pitched female voice (singing 90% of the songs in Japanese) over top of the buzzsaw guitar licks.
give this album my highest recommendation to all 3 chord garage punk fans
who like things a bit on the saccharine side (they're wearing Reds and
Queers shirts on the inside if that helps you any). If you listen
to this and don't find yourself singing along, bopping your head or tapping
your toes to songs like "Hohoo", "Teenage Girl Depression"
or "Surfin' Johnny" you're simply a grumpy, old fuck.
Triggers "Shoot Your Mouth Off" CD/LP
savage bunch of miscreants known as The Triggers have graduated from the
totally cool, yet pretty small time Portland labels Jonny Cat Records
and Vinyl Warning to the equally cool, but a step or two up on the punk
rock label food chain, Dirtnap Records. The first thing you'll notice
is the incredibly beefed up sound which is higher in fidelity than their
amazing first two singles and their decent split with The Flip Tops.
I really like the sound, especially the drums, but I think a lot of the
amateur charm, which made their earlier records so great, has been lost.
There are a few real punk hits on here like "Lets Mutate", "Stay
Away", and a redone version of "Clones", all coming off
like a modern sounding Avengers with the blasé female vocals on
top of some pretty straightforward songs. But the "every
song has vocal parts that follow the guitar parts" writing style
(hence the aforementioned "amateur charm") that dominated on
their prior work is mostly gone. Maybe I'm being a cock, but I think
I don't like this as much because it's actually "better", if
you know what I mean. (JG)
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