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I guess I'm still obsessive. And at this point, compulsion more than adequately describes my habits when it comes to record buying, record listening, records period. Especially the 7". Singles. 45s. Whatever. There's a real magic in that absolute skull-numbing, killer 7", the perfect 45. Just two songs. Both are perfect. You can't get enough. Flip it…or just play one side overandoverandover until you decide to actually get up and turn the fucker over. Or, in the case of Sonic's Rendezvous Band's completelyfuckingawesome "City Slang" 7", it doesn't matter if you flip it over or not, because the same incredible song is on both sides. Genius!
Since Sir Richard came up with the idea of Terminal Boredom, he's been gently asking me to revive the Obsessive/Compulsive column I'd done for Blank Generation. From day one, I said yes, failing to come through every time. I blame both a serious burnout on music writing and California flakiness that set deep into my bones. But now I'm back in the Midwest. The infamous Midwest work ethic and equally infamous Midwest brain-melting boredom (from which said work ethic must come) have started to take over the California cancer that I miss so much. I'm still working hard to overcome the burnout.
So...with that outta the way, let's get to business. For those not familiar, here's how it works: one long, two short. Reviews of 7"s, new or old. Total manic classics, over-hyped turds and everything in between.
GHETTO WAYS – Party Down (Contaminated Records)
I admit, the Ghetto Ways' latest album was a little too clichéd "Uh-huh, yeah baby!" rock for me. I mean, it has it moments, but the other moments on it remind me of Swedish rock, and not in a kind way (ehm..cough…later-Hellacopters…cough). But this 7" pretty much nails all the things just right about the Ghetto Ways. It rocks without being rock. You know what I mean? This is a 7" that will appeal to those who picked up a Devil Dogs record in the mid-90s and were floored. I mean, the Ghetto Ways are more tempered than the rare-steak-and-double-whiskey-on-the-rocks sound of the Devil Dogs, but it's the now sound of that vision. Purefuckingnewyork, and not some bullshit, "Look at us being arty and different and from Brooklyn (but originally from Ohio)" trendy, hip turds bouncing off the walls. More and more I'm appreciating bands that can (gasp!) write solid songs and play them such that when I see them live, I'm blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the songs themselves (see also: River City Tanlines). Gimmicks, antics and costumes can be fun. I mean, it's always amusing to see asshole who can't sing throw them self around a room (see: Short Eyes), and it can be cool to see people do new things with music, twisting, bending, pushing boundaries (see: weird punk; see also: S-S Records), but the bands I keep going back to are those that write good rock and roll songs. Period. Ghetto Ways fulfill that function. Maybe not as much as I think they should/could/wish they would, but they get the fucking job done. The title, "Party Down" more than satisfies that urge for me.
And, oh yeah, it's in a spray-painted paper bag. Too bad it didn't come with a little tube of glue to huff in the paper while you listen to the 7". That would've made it a perfect record...not to mention separating the collectors from the addicts.
BUSY SIGNALS – Can't Feel a Thing (Shit Sandwich)
Two Songs? check
Both songs are stupidly simple, but not stupid, if you get me. And therein lies the magic. Anybody who has tried to play guitar quickly realizes how moronically simple a lot of the best Rolling Stones songs are (or, any Top Ten song for that matter). Simple + Catchy = Perfect (pop) song. Make no mistake; the Busy Signals are a poppy punk band. Not a "pop punk" band, but a punk band that plays poppy songs. Not MOTO poppy, but poppy with a bite. Reaching for something similar…think the Buzzcocks, though the comparison is flawed. They're both punk bands that play poppy songs. You get the idea.
On this single, the flip, "All the Time" gets more play down here in my basement. In part because, well, it's a little longer – but not too long. The a-side, "Can't Feel a Thing" feels a little unfinished when played next to "All the Time." Both are fairly repetitive (in a good way), with a simple guitar riff tying everything together nicely. The vocals are like another instrument in the mix, adding to what the rhythm section and guitars are doing, making for a pretty complete song. It'd be interesting to hear more, hear how they stretch out on an album. Maybe they're one of those bands who sound best when limited to the space of a 7". Maybe not. I'd love to find out.
SNEAKY PINKS 7" ( Rubber Vomit Records)
Records are like lifesavers, throw them my way: 513 S James St/Champaign, IL 61821
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