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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)
As a general rule, I don't like referencing other reviews here, especially when they appeared in Terminal Boredom. But Mitch Cardwell nailed it when he said that this latest offering from the Ghetto Ways was a welcome respite from the "weird punk" mess that's been flooding our turntables and stereos. Don't get me wrong, I like weird punk as much as the next dude – I mean, some of my best friends are weird punks. But you know, in general, I'm a meat and potatoes music guy. A strong rhythm (that is the bass and drummer working together to create something more than some generic dund-dund-dunda-dund shit), catchy riffs and vocals that accent it all without stealing the show and, well, I'm a little pig in shit.

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)
First off, I want to say that the Busy Signals should've waited until the 2006 Blackout to play. More people would've known them and their songs and would've been appreciated more. No. Wait, first I guess I should say that this Busy Signals record (as much, if not more than their first) fucking kills me. I love it. This single fulfills all my "perfect 45 wetdream" criteria:

Two Songs? check
45 RPM? check
Can't stop listening to both sides? check

It's as simple as that. When side-a is done, I'm thinking, "Fuck. Should I listen to that awesome, short, catchy, punk song again or turn the record over?" I solve my little dilemma by using the "auto-repeat" feature on my turntable. Three listens for side-a, three for side-b. Repeat as necessary.

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)
Question #1: Is it worth all the bullshit hype that tends to surround any current super-fucking limited, craphole eBay fodder 7"?

Question #2: Is it worth writing about now, even though it was out of print by the time anyone outside Arizona and the inner-circle collectors of above mentioned eBay-bound, buy or die releases got a whiff of this?

Question #3: Can you really judge whether a band is good or not by how many MySpace friends they have, and more, (#3a) the cultural cache of said MySpace "friends?" Or: who buys records based on how good a band's songs are on MySpace?

Question #4: Ickibod Styzinetti lives two hours (about 150 miles) from the nearest place the Sneaky Pinks are playing on tour. His car holds 10 gallons of gas and gets about 250-300/mpg. How much would it cost him to go see the Sneaky Pinks if gas cost $3.09/gallon? Don't forget to factor in the door price ($5) and buying beer ($2+$1tip/4 beers). Is it worth it to drive that far, pay that much to see the Sneaky Pinks? Could he sell his Sneaky Pinks 7" on eBay to pay for this trip? Would it be worth doing so?

Answers:
#1: Yeah, I guess. Probably more so than with any other much-hyped, hard-to-find 7" since the Nix's first record.

All the others should be obvious…except #4. Math suxxx.


Records are like lifesavers, throw them my way: 513 S James St/Champaign, IL 61821

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