Record Reviews - June, 2003

A-Frames “2” LP
 
You can throw all the Gang of Four/Fall/Wire references you want at this band, but all I can say is that the A-Frames are quite simply creating some of the most captivating sounds around. Their second full-length is even weirder than the first, adhering to the robot-wave construction of their first record, but tinkering with the formula enough to keep it sounding new. Sharp pieces of guitar nestled into a tight and thumping rhythm section, topped with monotone vocal drone. The lyrics paint a pretty post-Apocalyptic picture this time around, filled with references to Andromeda Strains, geometry, bacterium, and delirium amongst other topics. Great stuff, borne of science fiction, chemistry, paranoia, and cybernetic intelligence. “Nuclear” may be the fullest sound they’ve yet achieved on record. Enjoy the tension building of “Abstract”, the poignant desolation of “Togetherness”, or the ominous rock of “Futureworld” the next time you want a shot of rock from the future. “Skeletons” throws more female backing vocals into the creepiness, and with “Search & Rescue” they manage to write their own off-center version of a pop song. This is rock deconstruction and reassembly at its best, all crisply engineered by the mighty Chris Woodhouse. These guys have put themselves yet another step or two ahead of the crowd with a record that may even be better than their first. On lovely 180-gram vinyl only, so get it quick before you’re left standing around empty-handed like you were last time. (RK)
(www.s-srecords.com)
 
A-Frames “2” LP
 
Put away your protractor: the A-Frames are now officially too obtuse an angle to measure.  Not sure I’d wanna measure it anyway, ‘cuz regardless of the increasingly off-kilter nod to noise in their sound, this one’s still really, really great – maybe even better than their first alb – and an intricate dissection of all things A-Frames would just ruin…something.  Perhaps because they’ve already dissected r’n’r themselves; distilled it down to repetitive, often droning rhythms, robotic stainless-steel vox and incisive slashes of sci-fi guitar.  To wit: An evil interpretation of the early Devo sound: the high standard most current “no-wave” bands (unsuccessfully) aspire to: a “sound” that, take it or leave it, isn’t accurately represented by faggot dayglo “colours” or polka dots.  They’re just a solid band whose foundation rests in r’n’r, regardless of the leanings into wave-land.  Like, if I go any further, what’s the fuckin’ point?  A dissection of a dissection’s tantamount to playing piss-swords in the middle of the Sahara.
 
But the show must go on!  In BG-speak: <<\\\\A-FrAmes R ::: ama21nG ==+ they ]]will Dstroy -+-YR_ m1nd!!!~~wAves o-of cold m3tAL]~~lAb sex-luv::HOLOgrAm<<<Ennnnd rrview\\\\>>><<<LaaaZTnaam>>>>
 
An essential release from one of today’s greats. (EL)
(S-S Records 1114 21st St. Sacramento, CA 95814)
(www.s-srecords.com)
 
A Frames "2" LP

 
If you haven't heard the A Frames yet, git off yer duff RIGHT NOW and lasso their debut album -- it's a modern classic, robotic swing groove topped cherry-like w/ great (GREAT) songwriting. I'd have to say that this, their sophomore effort (really? How'd you figger that one out, T TK?), doesn't rope me by the brane-horns quite like the debut -- seems like there's more theme repetition & less stone killer tunes -- but it sure ain't a duffer. Mmmmmm....Duff!
 
The sorta' opener "Modula" is as good as anything on "A Frames (1)," and there be good songs (such as the pastoral "Search and Rescue") spread evenly throughout. The sound on here's as pummeling as ever, and the band has lost none of its swanky give-and-take. Still better than many revered AmRep bands from way back -- it won't hurt you a whit to grab this 'un. Definite highlight band at the Chicago Blackout, too. (Enigmatic note: Lars, Erin and Min are total fucking rockers!) (TK)
(S-S Records, 1114 21st St., Sacramento, CA 95814)
 
Alleged Gunmen “Audio Invasion” 7” EP
 
On the A-Side the Gunmen provide the answer to the timeless question “What if, in 1980, the Clash recorded a song that was so useless it wouldn’t have even merited inclusion on the waste heap of a double-bummer LP that ‘Sandinista’ was?” On the B-Side they whip out a track that reminds me of something some hip(pie) high school senior jazz band might play for the annual Thomas Jefferson High talent show that would probably be referred to as a “jam” of some sort. Surprisingly bad music, on surprisingly great looking blue/yellow swirled vinyl. (RK)
(www.kapowrecords.com)
 
Bassholes “Out in the Treetops” 2X7”

 
Firstly, I’m no historian or anything, but there should be a statue of Don Howland in some Americana museum somewhere, because the guy is a national treasure. Howland continues to follow his uncompromising and unique vision of roots-punk-blues with this monster double seven inch package. This shit is as good as anything on the masterpiece “When My Blue Moon Turns Red Again”, just without John Wahl throwing his two cents in. It’s just Bim and Don whipping out seven tracks of sweat, blood, and love, including the cemetery groove of “Ode to Charo”, stopping to borrow a song from The Who, enlisting some extra guitars to deliver a mind-blowing cover of “Raw Power” that proves that someone can actually cover that song without sounding asinine, and finishing with the sucker-punch combination of the sparse “Stack O Lee” and the punked out blast of “St. Matthew”. This is an extremely welcome release in this time of faux two-piece blues authentics and a reminder that there are few, if any, who can do it this well and real. Plus, this bitch includes a 12 track CD-R aptly titled “The Forgotten Bassholes”, a raw live recording that will make you recall the noise that two possessed men can create, and pray real hard that they stop in your town this summer. I just saw this package go for upwards of $20 on eBay, so get moving. And to make things even better, rumor has it the Bassholes’ seventh full-length is being recorded this summer. Six new Bassholes tracks = you’re a dumbass if you’re not already out the door to get this. On birdshit colored vinyl. (RK)
(www.deadcanaryrecords.com)
 
Black Snakes “Good Driving Music” CD
 
Time for a true confession…  During my tenure as a Blank Generation record review monkey I have yet to have one submission cross my desk that was actually good.  They’ve run the gamut from “Sorta OK” to “fucking god awful,” but this here puppy is in a class unto itself.  Listening to this four song CD was like being subjected to every masturbatory band in the history of bar rock in the comfort of my own living room!  I know I say it all the time, but why did these guys send me this aural abomination?  I mean, c’mon, it’s fucking METAL!!!!  Do they actually read this site?   
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  While not exactly a punk rock classic or anything, I must go on record as to saying I would much rather be listening to the double LP “Dirty South Booty Freaknik” compilation I bought last week, than this.  I probably should have bought that Devo record instead since they were both $4.20 (duuuuude!), but I couldn’t resist the siren call of party anthems like “I Hate Hoes,”  “Thick Like Grits,”  “Ball Till We Fall,” and, my favorite, “Stunning and Shining” by Te Smalls and Big Balls.   Guaranteed to clear the dance floor at both punk rock and hip-hop parties alike! (SS)
(www.theblacksnakes.com)
 
Blowtops "Tomorrows Setting Sun" 7"
 
Man, this is the best thinger outta' the Blowtops camp in years (maybe since the debut single?). The A Side is a fuzzed-out, creepy garage drone, and the B is a speedy, spastic hardcore-esque rave-basher. If you've been at all disappointed with recent Blowtops stuff, it may be time ta' release the moths from yer wallet-purse, turtle tits. Bodes very well for future product. (TK)
(Goodbye Boozy, Via Villa Pompetti, 147, 64020 S. Nicolo (TE) Italy)

 

Blowtops “Tomorrow’s Setting Sun” 7”
 
The lucky 13th release from Goodbye Boozy comes to us fittingly from Buffalo’s very own evil-mongers, The Blowtops. This is probably my favorite release from them since the “Blood & Tar” 10” from awhile back. “Venom Victim’s Wine” might actually be a rock song disguised under layers of pummeling guitars and screams, the most rocking these guys have sounded on record while still maintaining the noise quotient. The flip side is some slower, dirgy, bottom-feeding weirdness, that punctuates early-Cramps-on-a- mean streak swagger with Unsane levels of guitar scree. Genuinely scary stuff, proving they don’t call him Creepy Dave for nothing. These are the first songs to surface from the Contaminated Studios sessions done with Jay and Alicja last year, and the no-frills production sounds great. The rest of those recordings should show up soon, either on more singles or another LP later this year. At least you have that going for you. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records , Via Villa Pompetti, 147, 64020 S. Nicolò a Tordino, Teramo, Italy)
 
Broadcast Oblivion "S/T" 7"
 
Now that I think of it, it has been a while since I've heard the name Scared of Chaka mentioned.  That's because lead man Yanul/Cisco/Dave is now fronting a new band called Broadcast Oblivion (eech, horrible name) with help from the former drummer of the Murder City Devils.  I'm sad to say that this record is a total disappointment coming from a man who led one of the best bands of the mid to late 90s.  This single has nothing really going for it and in a live setting Broadcast Oblivion aren't much better.  Here, both songs never really leave the "plodding along until we fizzle out and die" stage which makes the replay value on this thing next to zilch.  Shouldn't a debut record blast out of the speakers and make people take notice?  And why break up a totally great band just to form an inferior version of that same band with a couple of other members?  I'm sure they'll hate all of the comparisons to Scared of Chaka but when the vocals are so distinct to prevent a separation from past to present and when the songs are, oh, I dunno, EXACTLY THE  SAME FUCKING STYLE as many songs from the past, except with less balls, then the comparisons are warranted.  It would be impossible for anyone who's ever heard Scared of Chaka, whether just a little or a lot, to distinguish these two Broadcast Oblivion songs from the slower, prettier SoC songs.  At least the slower and prettier Scared of Chaka songs served a purpose in a well chosen slot on an album or a single and if they were stinkers (as some were) they were usually small turds in a large sea of brilliance.  Unfortunately, both of these songs are weak (the b-side is better than the a-side though) and when they're the first two songs you chose to release as a band, it's not a good sign. 
 
I'm not writing off Broadcast Oblivion yet.  Dave Hernandez was in a band that released a lot of records over the 8 years or so of Scared of Chaka and not a single one was poor.  I'm hoping that this was just a slow start and the best is still to come. (JG)
(www.burnburnburn.com)
(Burn Burn Burn Records 4040 Woodland Park Ave. N.  Suite #4 Seattle, WA 98103)
 
Catholic Boys “S/T” CD
 
I don’t know if Trickknee has let this horse out of the gate yet or not, but you know I gotta throw my two cents in when it comes to the Catholic Boys. You see, it was last year, Memorial Day weekend. Strong Come Ons/Catholic Boys/Trailerpark Tornados/Monsieur Jeffrey Evans holiday blow-out show at the Tudor Lounge. That night the Boys dropped an unabashed punk bombshell on my head with the most high-energy balls-out performance I’d witnessed in years. They had me right from the opening chords of “I Got a Right”. Since then, I’ve declared them the best punk rock band in the world, and they’ve not let me down. Fuck, their DEMOS were one of the best records I heard all of last year. I knew Todd was getting them to a studio proper, so I waited for the results to come in the mail…and it looks like we have a winner, ladies and gentlemen. Firstly, this isn’t the Catholic Boys of the Brainwash City EP. This is a more refined sounding group, loud, in control, and even more powerful than before, with beefy and nearly static-free production. They’ve traded in say, the screwdriver-to-the-eardrum direct approach, for more of a brickbat to the brainpan style of pummeling. Plus, they’ve gotten all arty and shit, throwing in some clever Devo-esque twists to their already top notch punk rock. Dare I say this record shows some maturation? Could be. Ex-Kill-A-Watt Paul Reject delivers some of the most ferocious vocals you’re ever gonna hear, and that Nickg is sure growing up to be one hell of a guitar slinger in between message board posts.. JonE and Eric have morphed into a rhythm section so tight and pounding it kind of makes you sick, really. And the goods are there in the songs too: the lurch-and-jerk of “Psychic Voodoo Mind Control”, even better do-overs of “Leatherskin Deathmask”, “Sometimes Baby”, and “Teenage Monster”, the sixty second spazz-fest of “Where Have All the Lovely Ladies Gone”, a snarling and geographically apt cover of the Haskells’ “Takin’ the City by Storm”, and I could go on and on. Many Wisconsin bands have gotten the full-hype treatment in the past year, and these kids deserve all of it. Snatch this one up fast, as soon as Trickknee stops watching barnyard porn long enough to release it. (RK)
(Trick Knee Productions, P.O. Box 12714, Green Bay, WI, 54307-2714)
 
Cheeraks “S/T” 7” EP
 
Primo French garage strangeness from members of Crash Normal, The Squares, and Thundercrack, plus the guy responsible for the artwork on Yakikasana’a releases. Far from your average band, these guys take the standard garage-rock formula and pepper it with weird noises, odd starts and stops, some vicious guitar fuzz, and what sounds like a loop of monkey noises. “Guinea Pig Killer” is a great and noisy twisted static party, but the real treat here is the B-Side. The insanely titled “I Love Hair Dryer Noise” is some great grimy blues-punk that stumbles into a groove and then breaks it down to death. Then you get “Ah Ah Ah” a ferocious blast that will tear your fucking face off, I swear to God. They crib the lyrics from The Pogues “This Old Town” and turn them into a song that’s as mean as Shane MacGowan is ugly. Listen to the B-Side first, and you’ll understand what these guys are going for. Totally unexpected, weird but not arty, and definitely one of the best singles I’ve heard this year. (RK)
(www.ifrance.com/yakisakanarecords)
 
Compulsive Gamblers "Live and Deadly" 2XLP
 
Not much needs to be said here -- if yer a fan (why wouldn't you be?), this is a cool-as-heck document of their shows last Spring in Memphis & Chicago, Jack joining up with Reigning Sound, basically (plus John Whittemore and Sunrise Gervais in Memphis, on pedal steel and trumpet, respectively). Kinda' wish they woulda' included some wild card Oblivians covers or whatever, but that's just idle bitchery. The sound on both nights is great, the performance is loosely hot, and listening to this makes me doubly happy that I was lucky enough to be at the Chicago show, which was reportedly their last-ever. Boo hoo fer you! (TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry)
 
Cutters “In The Valley Of Enchantment” CD

 
Here’s the handwritten note that accompanied this CD:  “I know you panned our last CD, but at least you reviewed it.  Not sending you this one would be like dropping out after getting a D on a midterm and not completing the semester.”  I’ve gotta hand it to these guys; at least they’re persistent.  I also have to admit that, while still not great, this is much better than their first album.  Like before the instrumentation on this record is really impressive, but what makes this one stand out as considerably better is that they’ve added some neat flourishes on some songs and don’t stick to playing the same style of riffs throughout, all the while keeping things catchy.  The problem is I don’t enjoy listening to this at all, and I’ve finally figured it out.  I feel really bad pining all the blame on one person, but their singer is REALLY dragging these guys down.  Usually female vocals are a good thing with pop music, but this girl has a really fucking annoying voice.  We’re talking in the same league as that chick from the Cranberries and Geddy Lee.  I tried to get over it, but there’s just something about the pitch of her voice that I can’t stand, and I’m usually of the “anyone can sing” school of thought.  My guess is she must be someone’s girlfriend or something, but my advice to these guys is to ditch the singer and write more songs like “Type A Girl,” (which, bolstered by a neat keyboard line, would be a first class song if it not for the vocals), and to stay away from trying to get to cute with cover songs (they fucking MASSACRE “Dreaming,” one of my favorite Blondie songs, by slowing it down and adding a quasi-country flair to the guitars).   While this isn’t the D that their last CD was, I can’t in good conscious give this more than a solid C-.  If they get a new singer though, they could easily fall in the B range. 
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  I don’t care what Rev. Norb said in that old power pop column of his, the second Beat LP, “The Kids Are The Same” is at least half a classic.  True some of the songs aren’t so hot, but you can’t go wrong with any album with songs as amazing as “That’s What Life Is All About,” “Dreaming,” “Trapped,” and the utterly stunning “I Will Say No” which is easily one of Paul Collins’ finest moments.  Also the title track is totally great, and you’d be a fool if you let the silly lyrics detract from your enjoyment of this gem.  At a whopping $2.90 you’ll get the value of buying three top-notch power pop singles for a third of theprice!  Now stop reading these bad record reviews and go out and pick up some used records! (SS)
(Blackjack Humbolt. www.blackjackhumbolt.com) 
 
Deadly Snakes "Ode to Joy" CD
 
I always thought this band was an OK garage display, but they never really grabbed me by the love handles. I liked the first album enough, the second was all right...but I dig this one the best. Some guy I know complained that they didn't know how to write solid hooks, but he must have ass-for-ears, because about 3/4 of this is catchy as hell. They actually cover a good bit of ground, too, and "There Goes Your Corpse Again" has gotta' be their best-ever moment. I find myself listening to this as much as anything else nowadays, so I must be fully converted now or something. (TK)
(In the Red Records, P.O. Box 5077, Los Angeles, CA 90050)
 
Deadly Weapons “S/T” 7” EP
 
Bay Area thrash punk fronted by Tina Bobbyteen. Four tracks of overdriven Ginn-guitar riffage that lean heavily towards the rock end of the spectrum with a bit of what the kids are calling “street-punk” involved as well. Tina handles herself well as a punk singer, and it surprisingly doesn’t get annoying. The songs are energetic and completely over the top super-punk, and it’s still better and less serious than most of the bands on TKO or that Triggers LP. I think the girl who plays bass in the band was the new Zodiac Killers guitarist for a couple of minutes, but it’s hard to keep track. (RK)
(Lipstick Records, 1154 Powell St., Oakland, CA, 64608)
 
Death In Graceland “Come On Touch Me” CD
 
Strike One:  This album came with a note that said something to the effect of “Shawn Abnoxious wanted to let you know that we are fellow members of the Cleveland underground rock armada,” as though I am supposed to be impressed from the fact that they come from a city in the US that I’ve never even had the slightest inclination to visit.  Hell, I don’t like most bands from the Twin Cities. 
 
Strike Two:  Some icky cover art featuring a person laying on the street with a pool of blood coming from their face and poring down a manhole.  The insert is even worse with a photo of a girl clad in naught but underwear and covered in blood.  Sure it’s fake and all, but it still isn’t anything I really want to be looking at.  Dead bodies aren’t particularly aesthetic, guys. 
 
Strike Three:  While far from the worst thing I’ve ever received to review, this is still not really the sort of thing I’m into.  It sounds like some guys who were way into Fugazi trying to affect a shift towards a more “rock n roll” sound.  Fans of bands like the Murder City Devils may be into this, but to me it’s as boring as listening to a lecture in a 3000 level business management course.  Three strikes…you know what that means. 
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This: There is no excuse for you not owning the first Blondie record.  Shit, “X-Offender” (penned by the ultra-fab Gary Valentine) is worth the price of admission alone.  Add “Little Girl Lies,” “Look Good In Blue,” and “Kung Fu Girls” to the mix and you’ve got a record easily worth the price of a new CD that you can probably find used for around four bucks. (SS)
(Formula 47 Records, www.formula47.com)
 
Downbeat 5 “Ism” CD
 
No matter how hard you want to like this, the D5 never manage to sound like anything more special than a bar band at any point on this record. A pretty good bar band maybe, but that’s about it. JJ Rassler’s DMZ/Queers credentials don’t carry him very far on this outing, but it appears they did allow him to score a pretty good-looking bird. This record is living proof that Long Gone John needs to hire some quality control personnel and that maybe the Detroit Cobras aren’t all that bad in retrospect. (RK)
(www.sympathyrecords.com)
 
Duke Fame “Regrets” CD
 
They say you can’t judge an album by its cover, or a band by their name for that matter, but as my Grandma used to say, “They say are the damnedest liars there ever where.”  When I saw this I thought “Ugh!  What a terrible band name, I bet they play some manner of limped dicked modern alternative singer-songwriterish wuss rock.”  And guess what?  I was right.  The second song reminds me of Tom Petty.  Nuff said.
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  Sometimes when a person is subjected to some unfiltered sonic pud like Duke Fame, they can feel their testosterone dropping to dangerously low levels.  If by some unfortunate circumstance this happens to you and you find yourself feeling an uncontrollable urge to get in touch with your feminine side, your inner child, or possibly even another man’s dong, reach no further than “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC to get you back on the straight and narrow.  Bad ass rock anthems like “Big Balls,” “Rocker,” and the title track are more than manly enough to stop you from donning sailor pants and beret before a night out sipping cocktails.  I can’t say how much you’ll find this for used, as my brother gave me mine for free, but it can’t be more than four bucks. (SS)
(Geeves Records, Dukefame@email.com)
 
Flying Dutchmen “Live Devil’s Club” EP
 
Pretty cool shit-fi Back from the Grave gassers recorded live in mono in front of what sounds like an audience of five. Four sloppy tracks delivered in a semi-competent style that pays homage to the Bay Area garage scene. “Run & Hide” does sound more than a little like “Stronger than Dirt”, but it’s forgivable since there really ain’t much room for innovation in the genrecorner these guys have chosen to paint themselves into. Two rockers, one instro, and one organ pounder that reek of gentlemen’s clubs, grindhouse burlesque, and pasties. The packaging and liners are actually pretty humorous and non-cornball, and this is honestly the closest I’ve heard anyone come to The Mummies without falling flat on their faces. They have an LP available too which is already on its way to my mailbox, so I guess that’s evidence enough that you should buy this shit. It’s dirt cheap and fun. (RK)
(Boom Boom of Renton, 113 Summit Ave., East #206, Seattle, WA, 98102)
 
Functional Blackouts “S/T” 7” EP
 
Violent punk-damage from a bunch of Chicago miscreants on Ryan Kill-A-Watt and Mechadrum’s Electrorock label. Four car crashes of songs that bring to mind the most spastic rock of early Cleveland art-punk sounds (Ex-Blank-Ex’s “Full of Shit” perhaps), that are borderline irritating, but in the best possible way. They whip up an almost Hunch-like noise, but minus the In the Red garage nods. This is punk shit all the way, with “Razorblade Blues” and “Living Like Jesus Christ” demanding repeated listening. They killed live at the Blackout, and are way more listenable than the Piranhas. Keep an eye out for an LP’s worth of material from these guys coming out on a label to be named later that was recorded by none other than Jim “The Next Albini” Hollywood. (RK)
(Electrorock Records, P.O. Box 13504 Wauwatosa, WI 53213-0504)
 
Gangbangs "When All Turns to Shit" 7"
 
" Sexareenos/Spaceshits/Daylight Lovers members playing straight up punk that kicks" sez the thing that came with the stuff, and that's fairly accur-able. They failed to mention that the parties involved ran the tape through a tumor-ridden syph-dicked wino's colostomy bag before committing it to vinyl, giving it that shit-fi touch that's all the rage with the, uh, well, people seem to like it or something. Pretty snazzy, especially the Johnny Dole & the Scabs-like "Push My Luck." KBD types will dig. (TK)
(High School Refuse, Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)
 
Gossip "Movement" CD/LP
 
Wha?  Is this the same band that released the half-assed Arkansas Heat EP last year?  Taking a page out of the "everyone's entitled to one shitty record as long as they follow it up with a great one" book, the Gossip are back with a full length that absolutely destroys anything in their back catalogue.  I say this mostly because their creepy looking guitar player, Nathan, has single handedly invented a whole new fucked up style of guitar playing whereby many notes/chords are purposely played about a quarter tone out of key, which sounds absolutely fucking genius.  There's enough of a consonance in the sound so you know what it's actually supposed to sound like, but also enough dissonance to make you realize that something's slightly off kilter.  "Controlled dissonance" - it's the wave of the future!!!  The production on the doubled up guitar tracks is phenomenal as well.  Using a bass guitar would be a serious mistake for the Gossip and I'm glad that they keep it that way.  Beth's soul-infused vocals are better than ever and the drumming is no-frills, but it fits each song perfectly.  So, yeah, pretty much every song is great and will have you up and jumping around your bedroom, and when it comes right down to it, that's all I really ask for in a record - does it make me wanna dance in my bedroom?  Yes! (JG)
(www.killrockstars.com)
(Kill Rock Stars 120 NE State Avenue #418 Olympia, WA 98501)
 
Horrors "Vent" CD
 
This is the only ITR band I ever thought was below "really good." Actually, I've seen 'em several times and thought they were godawful. This album benefits greatly from Greg Cartright/Oblivian's masterful production, which gives it a vintage feeling while sustaining a raw, modern edge. It shines a positive light on the band's best attributes (rough bluesy approximation of the Cheater Slicks approach), though the vocals really aren't that compelling (as dirt-hole toucher Eric Lastname pointed out last "issue"), and none of the songs have set up camp in my melon. Still, if I woulda' heard this first, I woulda' said, "pretty good," which narrows the ITR roster gap to "pretty good ta’ fucking amazing." It goes without saying that if you liked 'em in the past, you'll be shooting fluid uncontrollably outta' yer sex-gaps over this one. (TK)
(In the Red Records, P.O. Box 5077, Los Angeles, CA 90050)
 
Jet Boys “I Shit My Pants” 7” EP
 
A fresh single from a truly great band that has always unfortunately been relegated to B-List status as far Japanese imports go, due to the presence of monstrously amazing bands like Teengenerate, Guitar Wolf, and The Registrators. I’m all for giving the thumbs up to a song called “I Shit My Pants”, and it is a killer, but it would be ten times better without the presence of simulated mouth-fart noises. But, what can you expect from the subject matter. Perhaps actual ass noises would have been better? Anyway, the other two tracks are the expected under-two-minutes-long rippers, in their Dolls on trucker speed style. Recorded by Pearl Schwartz co-conspirator Steve Baise at his Steveland Studios. And it’s really ironic that Ono-Ching should write a song about soiling his trousers when he never seems to be wearing any. (RK)
(Black Lung Records, P.O. Box 7101, Norfolk, VA 23509)
 
Kidnappers “Ransom Notes & Telephone Calls” LP
 
The High School Rockers disappear from view for a bit and now emerge reinvented as the Kidnappers. On this, their debut release, they draw from some of the usual sources but do so with style and some neat production. There’s the Devil Dogs-ish “Hey!Hey!Hey!”, the Dead Boys-like “Hard to Say”, and an unmistakable air of a heavy Teengenerate and Rip Off Records influence to the record as a whole. More rocking than the HS Rockers were, and that means it’s good. (RK)
(www.aliensnatch.de)
 
Knockout Pills "S/T" CD
 
This band has ex-members of good bands (like the Weird Lovemakers), so I was pretty jazzed up fer gettin' it in the mail. My initial thought was that it just kinda' sat there and did exactly what you expected a "garage punk" album to do, so I shelved it for a lil'. Coming back at the album, I discovered that the songs were pretty damn ace (especially the Diddley beat "Confusion" raver), and the band rocks it out effectively. I've been saying this a lot in reviews lately -- there's really nothing new here, but it's still a swell listen. (TK)
(Deadbeat Records, P.O. Box 283, Los Angeles, CA 90078)
 
Leg Hounds "Ready To Go" CD
 
This is the final album to come out of the 4 days of sessions that produced the first trio of Leg Hounds albums, and it's the best. Better songs than the first, more "rockers" than the second (which had lots o' ballady/introspective stuff), and the sorta' Springsteen-esque introspective numbers ("Wasted Years" and "Graduation Day") are Drew's best in that category. And, just so's everybody can point even more fingers, there's a cover of the Devil Dogs' "Radio Beat."
 
" Rocker-Bye-Baby" (about local goof-bag Richard Adventure) is probably my favorite, though "Tight Pants" (written for the band by the Modern Machines' Nato) is a close second. I believe the vinyl will be coming out on Alien Snatch...oh yeah, the vinyl for "...Date Your Daughters" is now out on Screaming Apple, and the debut has been released by Demolition Derby (and it sounds great, with a significantly improved mix). (TK)
(Bulge, P.O. Box 173, Green Bay, WI 54305)
 
Little Killers "Bang Bang You're Dead” 7"
 
The best garage punk band in the USA, the LITTLE KILLERS, has released their debut 7” on the best garage punk label in the world, Crypt Records! They sent over this limited edition teaser and let me tell you, it is a scorcher. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, The LITTLE KILLERS are a fiery rock n roll three-piece with DEVIL DOGS undertones and SPACESHITS overtones, oh, oh, oh…can you say, “FUCK YEAH!” Recorded at the fabulous WFMU studios in NJ, you might’ve heard these two numbers on TERRE T’S CHERRY BLOSSUM CLINIC. But, you should really try and catch these kids live for their full-throttle action, Jackson. A taste! A challenge! The LP in September! Tim! The ‘KILLERS LP shoulda been out a month ago! GIT ON THAT!!! Send much money to Crypt! (JD)
(www.cryptrecords.com)
 
Little Killers "Bang Bang You're Dead” 7"
 
Yup, this is "the new Crypt band," recorded live on some radio show or 'nother. I'm not sure if this is a tour-only thing-stuffer or if it's a widely-available release, but either way -- Real Kids/Heartbreakers fans pay 'tention. Nothing new here, but recordings and live shows by this band are undeniably catchy & contain a solid groove (w/ some inspired guit-work). "Messin' Around" is a live fave, and "Better Be Right" is a good-enough tune (but not as hot as most of the other shite I be-heard). A band worthy of yer hard-earned rubles, on white vinyl (for those who be-care). (TK)
(Crypt Records)
 
Locomotions “S/T” LP
 
Here we have a brand new fiery punk-and-roll record from Swedish garage ringleader Martin Savage’s new outfit. I’ll be honest, I was never big on the Blacks or Dixie Buzzards. Not sure exactly why, I just never dug the stuff much. Martin finally won me over with the Tokyo Knives, and now this Locomotions LP, which is remarkably the first full-length he’s managed to get out between all of his bands. Mr. Savage, backed by two Sons of Cyrus, resurrects the well-preserved corpse of Thunders for most of this record, pulling off some great Dolls/Heartbreakers moments while throwing some cool power-pop and early Brit-punk moves in to keep it from going flat. “Stockholm City Girls” is my pick for choice cut on this album, a great and simple near-pop tune with Martin’s screams sounding almost David Johansen-like. The guitars have a very nice and clean ring to them, great choruses, Martin’s…well, savage vocals, top shelf packaging from Alien Snatch!, and a fantastic job of audaciously covering The Dirtbombs’ “Headlights On” all make this a real winner. Now, if we could just get Martin to do a Tokyo Knives LP… (RK)
(www.aliensnatch.de)
 
Locomotions "Tell Her" 7"
 
People been tellin' me that I'd dig the Locomotions' Alien Snatch 12", but I haven't snagged that one as of yet. This is Martin Savage (Blacks, Tokyo Knives, Van Halen) and pals, and you know that Marty's always "bringing it," as the kiddies say. This time around, it's a song-focused unit bent on hooking yer ear-holes -- not really overtly "poppy," per se, but definitely "hooky." Hooky dooky doo! "Tell Her" is a pretty decent rock-popper, "My Heart is Alright" is a fab tune located somewhere within the Fevers' gated community, and the cover of "Under My Thumb" is about as necessary as a soup fork (but hey, that's what b-sides is fer, no?). (TK)
(Savage, Farstav. 89 (8tr), 123 34 Farsta, Sweden)
 
Lost Sounds “Demos II” CD
 
Second demos package from the most vital band in modern music. This disc reprises most of tracks from the “Recent Transmissions” CD-R distributed by the band while on tour last year, plus/minus one or two tracks. Only a few tracks are demos of official album tracks, giving you at least 20 glimpses into songs that could have been or might be on an album in the future. Lost Sounds demos tend to be more engrossing than most other bands best efforts, and none of these songs are blatant throwaways or the usual demo crap you would hear from a group of a lesser caliber. The great thing about these demos packages are that they allow you some insight into the group’s creative process, allowing you to get closer to the music than other bands would permit. Most wouldn’t let you see their work in the raw like this, but the Lost Sounds let you behind the curtain .They’re prolific enough to pull it off, and talented enough to make it worthwhile. The disc includes art design from Alicja, and song by song liner notes from Jay that I wish there were more of, and is essential if you’re atall into one of the best bands in existence. (RK)
(www.ononswitch.com)
 
Lost Sounds "Demos II" CD
 
I'm such a LS nerd that I'd probably rave about Jay & Alicja farting in a beer can over a drum machine beat, so what I can say here? It's great, it's slightly different from the "Demos II" CDR that's been floating around for awhile, and it's a necessary purchase if you already dig the band. There's a warm, anything-can-happen feel on here (I doubt they ever expected any of these recordings to find official release) that contrasts slightly with the nightmarish precision of the last two albums. Shit, I'd even recommend it to people who haven't heard the band before, because I think the bulk of the tracks on here are good enough to sway 'em. Great flyer-heavy packaging, too. (TK)
(www.ononswitch.com)
(On/On Switch, P.O. Box 641122, San Francisco, CA 94164-1122)
 
Marked Men "S/T " CD/LP
 
I'm going to be really, really surprised if I read a bad review of this record.  I can't see any Blank Generation reader, or for that matter any punk fan in general, not being able to get behind this record 100%.  As to whether this is better than The Reds or not, I can see some debate taking place.  Personally, I think the Marked Men surpass The Reds by a shitload and that's saying quite a bit as, like many people out there, I totally loved The Reds.  So, the real question here isn't whether you're going to like this or not, because you will.  The real question is what's your favourite song?  At first I would have said track 3, "Not Too Late", but it's over too soon to win.  Next I was leaning towards track 6, "Not Just Another Girl" with its dichotomy between bounce and stomp but its bridge part near the end doesn't really cut it.  So, the winner must be "Nowhere" which is the best straight up punk song you're likely to hear all year.  Jeff Burke's odd voice makes any song he sings great, but coupled with the spot on back up vocals present on "Nowhere" plus the fact that the song never lets up and finishes with a perfect little guitar flourish (it would be wrong to call it a "solo") it's the best song on here.  The Marked Men are also the first band, in my mind, to invoke a direct comparison to the almighty FM Knives both in the way that they sound and the way they make me feel.  That's a huge compliment, by the way.  (JG)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)
 
Marken Men “S/T” LP/CD
 
For all of us who have been mourning the Reds since their split, we have been saved and then some. The Reds minus one have become the Marked Men, and they are good. I mean REALLY good. Like, even better than The Reds good. I shit you not. I’m ready to hand these guys their album of the year trophy right now. Imagine the Reds, but with a keen pop sensibility and if they wrote lots of songs about girls, and you might have some idea of the brilliance at work here. It’s just hit song after hit song: “We Won’t Talk About It”, “Backlash”, “What Can I Say”, etc., etc. It’s the kind of album that’s going to stay on your turntable for months before you even think about taking it off. One of the best records Rip Off has ever put out, and that’s saying a lot. Beats the shit out of the Exploding Hearts, too, with catchier songs and sans the Hearts white pants retro-wimp maneuvers. There’s not much more I can say about this except that you, as a music fan, will be doing yourself a severe injustice if you don’t hear this record. I’m not just talking shit here, I mean it.  (RK)
(www.ripoffrecords.org)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)
 
Marked Men “S/T” CD
 
This is ex-Reds, and it basically sounds like a continuation of the pop-direction they were sportin’ on their final LP. Tight as ever, catchy as heck, a killer Rip Off release all around. Jeff is getting a shot at more than a couple-few tunes an album, and that’s a great thing. A certain label dude rejected this because it reminded him of the Briefs, and I can kinda’ see that (a little), but none of that sorta’ pretense is hear-able in the Marked Men -- just good punk-pop songs, straight-up, with no bull-crud. (TK)
(Rip Off Records 581 Maple Avenue San Bruno, CA 94066)
 
Mea Culpa "They Put You in a Mask" CD
 
Political punk working to approximate UK jizzbags like the Clash? I mean, eMpTy's put out lots of stuff I dig, but they were waaaay off in sending this one to me. Catchy and well-played, I guess, and Ryan Poortenga would probably shit an ape over it, but it's definitely not my sack-pouch. (TK)
(eMpTy, P.O. Box 12034, Seattle, WA 88012)
 
Miracle Chosuke "The 7/8 Wonders of the World" CD
 
Did you know that Devo are my second favourite band ever, next to the Ramones?  Translation - I dig shit like Miracle Chosuke big time.  The vocals are total Devo, and the guitar/bass/synth/vocal line all playing the same staccato note at the same times is classic Devo.  If it weren't for the absolute frantic pace of most songs (9 in 13 minutes) I'd have a tough time distinguishing between these guys and the also great Cripples.  Simply put, if you dig any of the aforementioned (or stuff like Servotron and Polysics) you'd be smart to pick this up as it's top notch synth-punk mayhem. (JG)
(dimmak.com)
(Dim Mak PO Box 348 Hollywood, CA 90078)
 
Mistreaters “Playa Hated to tha Fullest” LP/CD
 
I’m from the camp that believes that the ‘Treaters first full length “Grab them Cakes” was an album that provided the best music and worst cover art available in the year 2000. It’s a record I still spin regularly and hold in very high regard. Recently, I had a conversation at a show that went something like this: “Remember how great the first Bantam Rooster LP was when it came out?” “Yeah.” “Then the second LP came out and it was the same, but better somehow?” “Yeah!” Well, that describes the Mistreaters second full length. The formula hasn’t changed much, except that it’s just better for reasons I can’t fully explain. There’s a bigger Ghetto Recorders studio sound, the hubcap percussion is a little less prominent, but they still provide what they always have: loud burly chunks of dirty mean rock that both stagger and swagger when appropriate. “Stranded” provides insight into what the soundtrack for being chased through the backwoods by drunken inbred rednecks might sound like. And it’s reprised from their first 7” on Big Neck if you need to know those kinds of things. “Personal Space Invader” may be the best Mistreaters song ever. This one was originally out on an Estrus 7” as well. And there are brand new heartpunches like “Juan Burguesa” and “Dude Squad”, all complete with a low end rumble that’s deeper than your psychotic ex-girlfriend’s poetry. All that, plus Kip Tyler’s rockabilly Halloween classic “She’s My Witch” gets the Mistreatment. I can’t believe I just typed that last line. Please break my keyboard,  then put a lift on your self-imposed Estrus embargo and give Dave Crider some money for this record. (RK)
(www.estrus.com)
 
Mistreaters “Playa Hated to the Fullest” CD/LP
 
Math’s really important.  F’r instance, I counted seventeen (17) utterances, gasps, growls, yelps and moans of the word “baby” (i.e., “bay-uh-buhay”) on the first four tracks of this alb.  That’s an average of 4.25 uses of “baby” per track.  So four “baby”s and maybe a “b—” or an “—e” each of the for the first four tracks alone, which is a lot, a whole lotta babies, which means a lotta fuckin’, or maybe very little fuckin’ and one helluva fertile woman.  Or maybe a whole lotta spunk, or maybe very little spunk but very CONCENTRATED spunk shot target-on into a gal’s gaping maw of a honeypot and straight into the puddin’ center of her freshly lain ovum.  Babies! 
 
The reality of it all, though, is it that the “baby”s aren’t equally distributed – there aren’t 4.25 “baby”s per song for the first four.  No.  There’re four occurrences on the first track, three on the fourth, none on the third, and ten on the second.  Ten on the second!  So track two, “Stranded,” is (by way of deductive reasoning) the most potent fucker of the first four, and, yeah, hold on, I just checked, the whole album.  Do the math.  It’s all there.  And since I’ve always thought “Stranded” was a swell tune – riff-driven, provoked, rowdy, the Mistreaters at their best – I’ll tip my cap to math, which is tethered to science, which you can set your watch to, which there’s no arguing with.  We’ll go ahead and call it the alb’s centripetal force.
 
Speaking of the alb:  It’s fuckin’ HEAVY.  The production’s comparatively clean, too, and that betrays the precedent established by both their previous recordings (a concentration of the Pussy Galore sound, sans noodle-note meandering and pointless forays into noise-art) and their live set (same).  But, hey, what the fuck, music’s nothing if not dirigible – the HEAVY, fuzzed-out bass still carves a unique groove through most of the tunes on here, and that unique groove still speaks primarily in the PG language: not really full throttle, just kinda pulsating rhythmically with hubcap-ping percussive backing and manic, vaguely rootsy guitar, all slightly holding back ‘til the whap-bang finish.  Trashcan no-fi meets riff-rock.  As lifted and competently permutated by the ‘Treaters.  Or whatever.  The important thing here’s that some of it’s almost danceable, yet unmistakably pissed and certainly not limp-wristed. 
 
OK, now back to mathematics: One out of every ten recent Estrus releases is comparatively interesting and worth a look.  The other nine are boring and not worth a shit.  That’s 10% up with 90% turnover; a piss-poor success rate.  Good news is this one’s got one foot in the 10%.  Bad news is you got trig homework due next Monday, and you’re a goddamned idiot.  Class dismissed.  (EL)
(Estrus Records PO Box 2125 Bellingham, WA 98227)
 
Operation S "Delinquante - Cauchemar" 7"
 
Super swell, femme-led Frenchie new-wave-o (less keyboard) punk pop. En francais, yet instantly catch-able. Not so far removed from yer fave Jap-poppers (Radio Shanghai, Tweezers), and nearly as good. Eye-catchy graphic sleeve package, too also yup. (TK)
(Wild Wild Records, BP 55, 92123 Montrouge Cedex, France)
 
Orphans “Chinatown” 7”
 
Newish single from a newish Los Angeles outfit. Nice package, as usual, from Kapow!: clear vinyl with red stripe, sturdy sleeve with inserts. The music: simple Avengers/Dangerhouse styled mid-tempo punkers with female vocals and decent production. The songs are just okay, with “Moscow Massage” being the better of the two. I’ve heard reports that they’re the best band in LA right now (which probably isn’t that hard to do these days), and that they’re also a killer live act. This record doesn’t provide much proof to back up those claims, but it is interesting enough to merit further investigation. (RK)
(www.kapowrecords.com)
 
Piranhas “Erotic Grit Movies” CD/LP
 
I don’t know if anyone else has the guts to say it, so I might as well go ahead: this is actually pretty damn disappointing.  Maybe that disappointment stems from paying over twenty dollars for this in Tokyo last December, but I paid the same for the new Lost Sounds, and I think that is certifiably genius. But this… aw shucks…the worst part is this could have been one of the best albums in ages if they just fucking wrote some more actual songs for the damn thing.  Tracks like “Girls Like It Too” and “Madeline” are up there with anything else they’ve done, but the majority of this is simply too wanky and out there for me to get into.  How can half assed art jams like “The Great Glitter Nest” suffice from the band that wrote “Future Primitive?”  Why did they have to put this shit out?  I’m so confused…
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  Fact:  I could have bought the double LP set of the Who’s “Sell Out” and “A Quick One:” albums THREE TIMES OVER with what I paid for this CD.  Which would have been sweet, cause then I could have sent one to the Piranhas and show them that when a band wants to get a little bit artsy they don’t necessarily have to abandon catchy, coherent songwriting.  If you don’t already own the “Quick One” LP and you are even considering buying the sludge fest that is the new Piranhas, you are a real fool’s fool.  Not only that but you have less taste than a room full of tongue amputees. (SS)
(In The Red Records, www.intheredrecords.com)
 
Plate-O-Shrimp “Brunch of the Living Dead” CD
 
This is just as bad as one would assume it to be based on the band name and album title.  It really sounds they’re trying to be boring cookie cutter punk rock.  They actually say, “1,2, fuck you” before a song, and I don’t think they’re being sarcastic.  Out of thirteen songs the only one that has an even mildly catchy chorus is their (poor) cover of “Fox On The Run” by Sweet.  If not for that cover though, I would swear these dudes didn’t have a single decent record in their collection. 
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  Since the best thing on here is the cover of “Fox On The Run,” why not pick up the real thing instead?  I don’t have “Desolation Boulevard” the LP it’s from; but I do have the 45, which features a pretty hot track called “Burn On The Flame” on the flip side.  In fact this single sounds so good, I’m gonna look for a copy of “Desolation Boulevard” next time I’m in a record store… (SS)
(Ruzicka Records, posinfo@plate-o-shrimp.com)
 
Reaction “S/T” CD
 
This album delineates just how thin the line between Ramones-core pop punk and tough guy horror-core really is.  Some of these dudes used to be in the Huntingtons, but now they are going for more of a “Misfits meets Motorhead” type of thing, rather than their former band’s generic pop punk sound.  I guess after years of writing songs about being rejected by girls, the next logical step is to write songs about killing them.  While pop punk officially wore out it’s welcome with me about four years ago, I like this sort of thing even less.  In fact, allow me to be so bold as to dust off my old copy of the Official Steve Strange Punk Rock Rule Book in order to add an amendment.  Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is it cool for a band to write songs about monsters, corpses, demons, and other such ghoulish topics in order to effect a Misfit-ian vibe in their lyrics.  Sorry guys, but that card was played ten years ago, and unlike pop punk, it wasn’t really that great to begin with.  The world needs another band that propagates those tired clichés like Horizontal Action needs more photos of dick nasty clinic cases (hey guys I love the magazine and all, but some of those chicks are so gross that I spit out half of my sandwich the other day when I made the mistake of reading the latest issue while eating lunch).  No, what the world needs now are more bands that write songs about trucking.  That’s right, I want to hear some “10-4 good buddy-got some smokeys on my tail and mama bear by my side as I’m highballin’ down the road on a shitload of crank so I can make it to my stop on time” tunes.  In fact, let the record show that whosoever will record an entire Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen cover album shall officially become the coolest band of the millennium, regardless of actual musical proficiency.  I thought for a second that the Reaction showed potential to be this band with two of their songs: “Hustle Another Trucker” and “Long Haul,” but unfortunately the latter is a Seger-esque “on tour” kind of song.  Just a simple change in subject matter would make the Reaction’s by the numbers tough guy “punkrock” sound interesting.  Songs about death and horror only serve to bore me into a nigh comatose state.  Luckily, it looks like change is on the horizon for these boys; their press kit says that they’ve recently changed their names to the Stivs, in homage to Stiv Bators.  That would be super cool if they all dressed up like Stiv from different eras of his career (I feel sorry for the poor schmuck that draws the short straw and has to be Lords era Stiv though!), and had names like “Stiv C” and “Stiv R.”  Maybe they could even get Darrin Raffaelli to write all the songs while they are at it!  C’mon guys, what do you say?  It’s either that or record a cover of “Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites!” 
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This: If these guys took a cue from the Archies self titled LP I might be more interested in what they where doing.  For those who don’t know, the Archies where a group of studio musicians hired to provide the music for the expansion of John Goldwater’s Archie comics into the world of the music business.  While purists might say this precludes them from being considered a “real” band, I’ll take a fake band stockpiled with totally infectious pop gems over the fast majority of “real” bands on the scene today.  Almost every fucking song on this record is amazing.  If second generation pop punk bands had cut down on the Riverdales and splurged on the Archies, pop punk likely wouldn’t be the moot point it is today.  Not only is this album a veritable treasure trove of melody, it was also YEARS ahead of it’s time.  Check out the last song on side one.  Wait a minute…what is that?  Could it be…?  It is!  A trucking song!!!  Keep in mind this is from 1968, a full eight years before the seventies trucksploitation renaissance, let alone the second wave that is sure to come following the proclamation I made in the above review.  Add gems like “Boys And Girls,” “Catchin’ Up On Fun,” and ‘Hide And Seek” to the totally bad ass trucker anthem “Truck Driver” and you have a band whose genius can no longer be ignored.  Even if you have to pay more than the six clams I laid down to get this, don’t even think twice about snatching this up…unless of course you are content with a life of lameness on par with bands that think it’s still cool to rip off the Misfits in the year 2003. (SS)
(Acme Records [Oh I get it! THAT’S why the Reaction sounds so generic!], POB 441, Dracut, MA, 01826)
 
Real Losers "Time to Lose" LP
 
Fuggin' fantabulous lo-fi punk-garage shitstorm outta' the unlikely coldspot of Leeds, England. I mean it, best outta' nowhere thing I've gotten in forever. Recalls '90s faves like Jap-rockers Teengenerate & the Havenots, while riding a barely-ept Stooge-groove. Some Headcoats comparisons have been made, but that's way off base (and probably determined because of locale) -- it sounds nothing like what's come offa' that (dead fer rock) island, and the band has stated a Japan via the Midwest obsession (Bobbyteens, Mystery Girls, Teenage Rejects and Flakes are current band faves, along with '90s kings Teengenerate). Fellow UK haters need not fret, because there’s not an ounce of that island’s usual rinky-dinkery on here, which makes me like it all the more.
 
About half of this woulda' stood out nicely in Rip Off's heyday, and the other half is just-fine scuzz. Their reverence/total disregard for rock history can be pinpointed on the jacket, with originals entitled "One Track Mind," "Gonna be a Wild Weekend" and "Feelin' Loose" (almost as good a cop/rewrite as the Bees' classic "Loose"). Are you pining for the days of the Problematics, Loli & the Chones and Teengenerate? You'll be damn happy with this 'un...in fact, I gotta' wonder if Greg got a demo from 'em, cuz this definitely shoulda' been on Rip Off. (TK)
(Squirrel Records, P.O. Box 481, Leeds, LS5 3TH, UK)
 
Rock N Roll Adventure Kids "Live on Berzerkely Radio" LP
 
Adventure Kid Marcos is an odd duck, lemme tell you. Who else would goop "Born Bad" style rockabilly fulla' solo J Richman cuteness and nerd-spazz it p-rock style? This album is from a live radio show, and it's both fun and catchy. Warning to the wise -- this band absolutely polarizes folks -- you'll either snap-bob along, or careen screaming outta' the room when the needle hits. Eye-popping cover design (from what I can glean -- my package sat out in the rain all weekend while I was down at the Blackout), too. Oh -- the whole album fits on one side, so it doesn't matter where you flip the bugger. "I'm goin' dandy, I'm goin' dandy, we're goin' dandy, whooo-hooo-hoooo!" (TK)
(2425 B. Channing Way, Berkely, CA 94704)
 
Rolling Blackouts “Add Vice” 7” EP
 
A mixed bag here from an LA band not to be confused with Chicago’s Functional Blackouts. On Side A these guys learn the lesson that lyrics combining not-so-clever spelling tricks with non-sequitirs do not make a good song, no matter how great your drummer is. At least they’ve got that out of the way, although they did it the hard way. Side B, however, is so spectacular that it will wake you from whatever daydream you were having while listening to Side A. Frantic twin-guitar rock action with a chorus so catchy that it’s almost stupid, delivered in the popular SoCal whiny vocal style. It’s called “I Don’t Know Much About Anything” and you will actually look forward to listening to it when you get home from work. At least for a week or so. I heard a live radio performance from them as well that was pretty entertaining, so for that they are allowed to pass Go and enter my permanent record collection. Another limited edition, colored vinyl (clear with black swirl this time), great packaging effort that the people at Kapow seem hellbent on providing the public with. (RK)
(www.kapowrecords.com)
 
Royal Routes “Medium Middle Madie” 7”
 
I don’t know what the hell is in the water in Montreal, but here we have yet another mighty nice platter from the land of Les Habs and poutaine. The Routes are two-thirds of the Scat Rag Boosters plus Spaceshit/Sexareeno/Del-Gator Skid Marks/Colonel Lingus/Dorito Dan (That’s all one person. You need to take notes to keep track of these guys). Twin guitar wall of slop/static delivered over pounding skins that’s as close to blues as it gets for North of the border. The B-Side throws some wild harp playing into the fray for a slow stomping chug-a-lug of a track. Both sides are magnificent, think Scat Rags crossed with the Gang Bangs mean streak. This record makes it an even dozen singles for Goodbye Boozy without a clunker in the bunch. That’s pretty remarkable. And as always, pressed in a limited edition of 300, so start looking. (RK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records , Via Villa Pompetti, 147, 64020 S. Nicolò a Tordino, Teramo, Italy)
 
Royal Routes "Medium Middle Madie" 7"
 
Man, best shorty I've heard in a coon's age. Nothing innovative or hat-pop-offa-bean wild on here, just some great groovin' rock 'n roll (like that ain't enough???) that's having too much fun to be concerned with what might be trendy this month in those trend-spots I keep hearing aboot (yup -- Canadia alert). Band contains a couple Scat Rag Boosters, and you can sho-nuff hear it. Drummer does that cool, off kilter stutter beat that Jamis (Mystery Girls) and That One Guy (Deadly Snakes) employ when they wanna' draw extra shuffle action from a 4/4. Special alert -- unexplained alliteration subtext contained within. Almost (nearly) makes me wanna' dance! Look out, ladies! (TK)
(Goodbye Boozy, Via Villa Pompetti, 147, 64020 S. Nicolo (TE) Italy)
 
Shutdown 66 “Welcome to Dumpsvile” CD
 
What is it, “garage” month in the Blank Generation house? Jeez…well, outta the stacks of CD’s and 45’s I’ve received this month, here’s a keeper – Get Hip’s SHUTDOWN 66 “Welcome to Dumpsville” reissue. Record label sez this gem was released on Corduroy Records outta Austraila a few, few, feeeeeeewwwwwww years back. Well, Get Hip, yr the tops. Cause rock n roll freakout freaks will need to sift through their couches to scrownge up enough cashola for this must have garage record. Seeing how garage bands these days can’t quite figure out you need energy and attitude to play garage rock n roll, SHUTDOWN 66 will have to show ‘em how it’s done. Wild and crazy SONICS/PRETTY THINGS rock n roll with the hearts of true boozers, these boys are what it’s all about. Get this CD, like, NOW! (JD)
(www.gethip.com)
 
Skip Jensen & His Shakin’ Feet “On the Right Side” 7”
 
The Scat Rag Boosters are an inexcusably underrated band.  They bash out a scree similar to the Gories, but it’s more base, more puerile, more disgruntled.  And damn good.  Even better after four whiskey ‘n’ cokes and a vicodin.  In fact, after some cocktails, “I’m Coming On” sounds just as authentic and appealing as, say, the Gories’ “Nitroglycerine,” and I’ve been known to spin both tunes back-to-back just before “painting the town red,” as it were.  Why?  ‘Cuz both bands – and both tunes – were/are great at creating that ultimate illusion, the central mythos perpetuated by the rock ‘n’ roll beast: the idea that something’s actually happening.  In your pants, outside, in the bottom of a bottle, wherever.
 
Aside from the (excellent) ‘Boosters single that Kryptonite just pressed, they haven’t released much lately.  But Skip, who’s one-third of the band, has – this-here single.  And it’s similarly good-to-great, if not similarly-sounding to the ‘Boosters.     
 
The obvious difference, of course, is that Skip’s all by his lonesome this time around, which leaves the eager listener with vox, guitar, and by way of percussion, a tambourine on one foot and a paintstick taped to the bottom of the other.  Y’know: A one-man band.  ‘Cept this one doesn’t ape Haze so much as he lightly touches on Adkins’ stylings and mixes ‘em with heavy doses o’ B. Childish.  The end result’s pretty unique sounding, too.  Not whap-bang-via-backwoods fun, but rather somber and lonely garage/R&B numbers that perfectly accompany those rather somber and lonely evenings in which you’d rather remain a one-man band yourself.  And with another forthcoming single on the same Yakisakana imprint, as well as a proposed split with BBQ, you can bet I’m looking forward to more solitude in my future. (EL)
(Yakisakana Records 51 rue Renaudel 76 100 Rouen France)
(www.sonicdirt.co.uk/skipjensen)
 
Sons of Cyrus "Nobody But Me" 7"
 
Neat cover of the Isley Brothers' "Nobody But Me" (later done up by the Human Beinz fer whiteys) backed by the rocker "Didn't Know." Kinda' like a less drug-addled and more straightforward Clone Defects on the original, and a nice Eurogarage-dancegroove party touch on the Isleys' tune (reminds me of what the Blacks might have done with it). (TK)
(Savage, Farstav. 89 (8tr), 123 34 Farsta, Sweden)
 
Sons of Hercules “Right Now” CD
 
Cool, someone sent me a SONS OF HERCULES promo. Thank ya…This album from the SONS goes like this, NEW YORK DOLLS rock n rolla packed with snot and spit and all things dirty to yr little sister’s ears. She hasn’t reached puberty yet, has she? So yr littler sister wouldn’t know of the fist in the air, drunk on the bar, loud and obnoxious sounds of the SONS, would she? Well, give her a couple years and you can teach her kid about the SONS high-powered machine of rock. Yeah…so…anyway, Right Now isn’t as hard hitting as previous releases by this band, but it’s still better than that new TURBONEGRO record you paid $18 dollars for. (JD)
(Suprema Records)
 
Starvations “Get Well Soon” CD/LP
 
GSL’s notoriously notorious for pushing product that (one) has cool cover art, (two) showcases the “talents” of an awfully irritating vocalist, and (three) lacks any discernible hooks.  This one – surprise, surprise – doesn’t deviate from the now-predictable “non-music” music norm set by said label.  The only difference I can see between the Starvations and other bands of this ilk is the occasional (and accidental?) Gun Club mischief ‘twixt the same ol’ ho-hummery worship of bygone art-rock: Gang of Four, the Slits, the Fall.  But, hell, doesn’t the 2-D past-groundbreaking-bands-as-a-framework-for-your-band aesthetic defeat the whole purpose of music-as-a-sonic-canvas-or-“art,” anyway?  Or does anyone even care?  Dunno, but the dumb girl who works at the corner gas station’s got a dynamite ass.  (EL)
(Gold Standard Laboratories  P.O. Box 178262  San Diego, CA  92177)
(www.goldstandardlabs.com)
 
Superhelicopter Ltd. “White Nigger Rock-N-Roll” 7”
 
Another record from a band that is by all reports defunct, yet still continues to release records at a blistering pace. I’m always game for a record by these guys though, and this is one of their best. The A-Side “Blow My Cool” isn’t the similarly named Crust Club classic from the mighty Oblivians, but it was drawn from the same well of rock-n-blues the Memphis trio made famous. A classic of European guitar-static abrasiveness, done way better than most similar bands, and the B-Side is a killer instro in the same vein. If you’ve been hesitant about picking up one of this band’s records due to the sheer amount of releases, this is a fine place to start. (RK)
(High School Reject/Refuse Records, Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, Netherlands)
 
Superhelicopter LTD "White Nigger Rock 'n Roll" 7"
 
Hard to keep up with what's what regarding SH LTD projects, and some releases are pretty patchy, but this is one of the gud 'uns. Crap-fi minimalist blooze-punk-slap/slop, and quite enjoyable at that (the wild, noisy guit-blasts on the mostly instro "Honey Bunny" are especially ear-scouring). (TK)
(High School Refuse, Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)
 
Sweet J.A.P “Virgin Vibe” CD/LP
 
It took almost a year, but finally this album has come out domestically!!!  There has been a lot written about this record so far, and with good reason.  Since I’m a Minnesotan by birth (certainly not by choice!) I’ve been down with these boys for some time now, but even I was surprised by how well this album captures the bombastic blitzkrieg that is Sweet J.A.P live.  In fact it replicates the energy of their live show so well that you can almost picture Sho contorting around like a madman and Takashi falling off the stage while you bop around your room to it!  If I had bothered to make a top ten for 2003, this surely would have been in the top five.  Also, after seeing a ton of bands in Japan last winter, I can safely say that even in their native country, Sweet J.A.P would be one of the finest bands around.  It should go with out saying then that they trounce just about all comers here in the States.  I know this comparison is pretty cliché at this point, but if you take the early Registrators, put em on amphetamines and give em chainsaws instead of guitars and you might come up with something not to far away from Sweet J.A.P.  If by some chance you haven’t heard these boys before now is the time to get on board before they become huge. (SS)
(Big Neck Records, www.bigneckrecords.com)
 
Tears “S/T” CD
 
Local garage guardian Todd Trick Knee has scored another garage hit! The Tears are another Green Bay garage rock n roll outfit spewin’ out that vile, seething, barroom floor RNR. The duel boy/girl vocals keep this disc from getting stale. Nickg is, you know, Nickg with a little Jay Reatard vocal influence, but the winner is Courtney’s BABES IN TOYLAND growls that sound soooooo vicious that they draw blood. Ten chart-toppers such as “Fast Cars,” “Every Tuesday,” “Don’t Care About Nothin’,” and “Worst Lie.” (JD)
(www.trickkneeproductions.com)
(Trick Knee Productions PO Box 12714 Green Bay, WI 54307-2714)
 
Tie Reds “Holy Crap! It’s the Tie Reds” CD
 
The sad thing is, I guess these guys are already broken up. Even sadder, is they’re one of the best things I’ve heard come out of NYC in a while. Really endearing, dumb songs, with juvenile lyrics done up with Supercharger flair and some frat-rock sounds. Sort of like Les Sexareenos but not as reckless, or The Lids but not nearly as fast… Sweet girly backing vocals, simple arrangements, and mid-fi production help these charming guys and gals carve out a spot in the disc player at your next party. “Gimme Conversation” is a classic, and if you don’t fall for a song as innocently stupid as “Mr. Alligator”, well you’re just no fun. How about a cover of The Penetrators’ “Drive Me Crazy”? Does that grab you? It should. Nice self released CD-R package. I think UMed has some, or I guess you can contact the band for one. Not sure how limited they are, so take action. (RK)
(tiereds@yahoo.com)
 
This Moment in Black History “The Cleveland Finger” CD-EP

An Ohio super group of sorts featuring the two brains behind Neon King Kong and Lesbianmaker, Bim from the Bassholes on drums, and some dude from the Chargers Street Gang. Sounds just like NKK, except without the Le Shok guy and his voice you hate to love on vocals, a little less spastic, and with jet propulsion drumming anchoring the whole ordeal. Six tracks, and listen to “Progress (for Real)” to hear under two minute new-wave hardcore done right, with vocals that tread close to Ian Mackaye scream along territory. Aggressive at times, interesting, and rather humorous stuff that provides the meat that is usually missing from similar neo-new wave sandwiches. I suggest you put that Distraction LP away and go buy this now. (RK)
(www.exitstencilrecordings.com)
 
Triggers “Shoot Your Mouth Off” LP/CD
 
I think Mr. Greenback panned this album last month, and I’m behind him 100% on it. Whatever was good about this band’s singles is entirely lost on this album. More over-hyped sub-par punk from Dirtnap Records, but it’s still better than The Epoxies though. (RK)
(www.dirtnaprecs.com)
 
Turbonegro “Scandanavian Leather” LP/CD
 
The return of Turbonegro is something I think all of us have been keeping an eye on. The fact that it’s on an Epitaph related label is frightening enough, since we’ve already seen them temporarily submarine the careers of the New Bomb Turks and The Cramps to name just a couple of the sins the label and it’s offshoots have committed against all that is good in rock. But there are the Turbo-motives to consider. Could our Norwegian heroes make this work for them in what is surely their bid for global domination? I mean, these guys have made it clear that they have no qualms about getting paid well, and I certainly don’t fault them for that. So what to make of this new LP? Good? Yes. “Apocalypse Dudes” redux? Sure. Maybe they’ve hidden some of the ass humor a little better for popular consumption, but the formula is still intact. I see it this way: Happy Tom is the modern day Andy Shernoff, the creative mastermind behind a heavy rocking band, writing songs about ass and violence instead of cars and girls, using the homo-sex magic and King Diamond eye make-up of Hanky as his Secret Weapon in contrast to Shernoff’s use of Dick Manitoba’s blatant masculinity and afro. So, this makes “Scandanavian Leather” Turbonegro’s “Blood Brothers”, i.e. an attempt to cash in before it’s too late. Hopefully, Turbo will succeed where the ‘Tators failed, and I think they might. There are classic Turbo moments, like “Locked Down”, “Le Saboteur”, and “Turbonegro Must Be Destroyed”, and the triple guitar attack of Rune/Pal/Euroboy sounds pretty damn hot. This record debuted at number one on the chart of my local college radio station, a core CMJ outlet. They’re hitting the demographic where it counts, and I’m sure a monster North American tour is in the works. With a little help from MTV they could just conquer our shores once for all, and I say more power to them. Then we may finally get to see the sublime moment of a Hanky ass-rocket exploding in Carson Daly’s face on TRL. (RK)
(some shitty ass label)
 
V/A "LA Shakedown 2003" 2XCD
 
Yeah, I know, we ALL know what went down at the Shakedown this year. Acetate Records had nothing to do with the shitstorm, as far as I know, so if you like over-the-hill units like the Supersuckers or cruddy, generic never-wills like The Generators, or never-weres like the U.S. Bombs, there are tons of rare/unreleased tunes on here to rub yer tootsies in. The funniest thing for me was seeing the Mystery Girls sandwiched between Nebula and Nashville Pussy, but there's a veritable titter-bag fulla’ humorous moments for just about anyone to choose from. (TK)
(Acetate Records, 2020 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90404)
 
V/A "No One Left to Blame" LP
 
Pretty great Killed by Death type comp fer this late in the game, sez me. All-USA, which suits my Xenophobic tastes just dandy. Some hogwash on here, of course, but standouts include the fab, MC5 inspired Death (buncha' black dudes from Detroit in '76!), the biker-band-does-a-punk-number "Jack the Ripper" by Strychnine, and the pre-Berlin Brats ensemble (just monickered "Brats" for this '76er taken off a test pressing) responsible for "Psychotic." If yer inclined, stand up straight and go pick 'er up.
(No Address)
 
V/A “Sympathetic Sounds of Toe Rag” CD

 
For all of you expecting some raw ass garage, a la Armitage Shanks, on this disc, well put it down right now. This is like PBS programming on compact disc. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Liam Watson and his talents as an engineer, but this disc is not what a lot of people will expect. If you’re into the Bristols, Masonics, or Kaisers, maybe this is for you, but this is as British as it gets. I swear to God I’ve heard some of this stuff in the background on old Benny Hill episodes. There are the expected Medway cameos (a tepid Buff Medways number, Holly Golightly, Ludella Black). Even ex-Scientist Tony Thewlis’ new combo The Scoundrelles didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow. True Anglophiles may need this, but if you’re looking for the raw garage-punk goods, I suggest you save your cash for the upcoming Armitage Shanks singles comp on Damaged Goods. (RK)
(www.sympathyrecords.com)
 
V/A “Yes New York” CD
 
So, like, I’m from New York, just so you know. And for the longest time there wasn’t SHIT in New York. Yeah, there were a few good bands here and there, but for the most part, nothing. No good shows. No good record stores (that one is still debatable), no nothing. But then Brooklyn came… Brooklyn – hipster capital of the world. “Full of pink haired hipster college kids ridin’ bikes” Brooklyn… And then New York City was suddenly happenin’ again… I don’t know… I don’t know… Don’t ask… Don’t ask stupid questions. Just take it and run. Well, I’m blowing this popsicle-stand. “YES NEW YORK” (an extremely LAME reference at to the brilliant compilation “NO NEW YORK”) is an audible look at today’s New York City resident punk/wave and indie groups. This comp does an extremely excellent job of describing what NYC has to offer the world. THE STROKES, RADIO 4, TED LEO, THE FEVER, THE RAPTURE, THE WALKMEN, INTERPOL, THE WITNESSESS, LE TIGRE, SECRET MACHINES, UNITARD (also known as THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS). These groups, and more, are paving a new road in NYC. No potholes. No parking meters. No cops. Just art and poetic rock n roll music. A must have for people who want to check out what all the hype is about. (JD)
(www.vice-recordings.com)
 
Sonny Vincent "The Good * The Bad * The Ugly" CD
 
You just gotta' love Sonny, from the Testors days up 'til his more-recent work with the Ashetons 'n Brother Wayne. The concept on this one was to throw down some tracks, and have his favorite guitarists play lead on 'em. You get everyone from Thurston Moore to Greg Ginn to Robert Quine (Dexter Holland??? Sonny, Sonny, Sonny...) on here, which is probably a guitar nerd's waterfall dream. It works out pretty cool, for the most part, though some of the continuity found on "Parallax In Wonderland" is lost. Everything Sonny touches is worthy, if not entirely golden, so this is definitely recommended, even if you can't tell yer ass from a guitar in the ground. (TK)
(Acetate Records, 2020 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90404)
 
Zeehas; 12 Wait “To The Maxxxxx” CD
 
Jesus this is too much. There really is no way to convey with words the experience of listening to this turd, but here goes.  Zeehas; 12 Wait (has there ever been a shittier name for a band?)  are a bizarre, totally amateurish (but in the bad way) amalgam of techno, new wave, and experimental noise rock that sounds like it was entirely recorded using pro tools.  The cover appears to have been printed on a computer and features a back view of a crab nasty, thong wearing, warrior chick staring out at some Nintendo game looking spiral things in the distance.  Everyone of their songs have incredibly lame faux- pretentious titles, but “Never-Ending Ninja,” “De-Cock Me Master,” and ‘I Deem Thee: Dreams,” stand out as the true cream of the crap.  I don’t fault anyone for messing around with their pals and making some goofy joke songs, but I really have to wonder why these dudes where so eager to have me review this, let alone how they think anyone in their right mind would part with even a dime, let alone ten bucks, to own the fruits of their sonic masturbation.  Please guys, next time keep this shit behind closed doors where you can’t gross anyone out. 
 
Cheap Record You Should Buy Instead Of This:  Do you have “Homosapien” by Pete Shelly?  If not, what are you waiting for? To hell with flavors of the month like Ladytron (who I actually like) and the Faint, THIS is the holy grail of techno pop.  Some Buzzcocks fans may let the synths scare them, but the songs on here are easily strong enough for this to have been another classic Buzzcocks album.  Just listen to songs like the title track, “Yesterday’s Not Here,” and “Witness The Change” and try to tell me that this stuff isn’t right up there with all but the best Buzzcocks material in terms of song writing.  If I had paid twenty bucks for this (standard price for a new CD in Japan) I wouldn’t feel ripped off in the slightest.  The fact that I got it for a measly $3.60 makes it the steal of the year! (SS)
(zeehas12wait@hotmail.com)

 
 
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