HOMEREVIEWSCONTACT LINKS • ARCHIVES

RECORD REVIEWS JAN.-FEB. 2004

Key: (RK: 'Filthy' Rich Kroneiss)(EL: Eric Lastname)(SS: Steven Strange)(TK: Todd Trickknee)


Action "Rolled Gold" CD
The Action is best known for their early George Martin produced singles, some of which can be heard on the second Nuggets boxed set. This LP was recorded after those singles, but, although heavily bootlegged, remained unreleased until recently due to a lack of record company interest. Once again more proof that most record companies' braintrusts have their heads lodged so far up their asses that they're able to witness the inner workings of their colons first hand. This is a huge departure in sound from their earlier mod maximum r&b days, but in this case it's for the better. I dunno if psych rock is gonna be within the area of coverage here at TB (I know I usually loathe the stuff) but this record overcomes some hippie drippy psych elements (like writing a song called "Love is All") by dint of great pop song writing and the enthusiastic playing of a band on the verge of making it big. That didn't happen of course, but at least they made an awesome record. Those looking for something new to listen to when they get sick of their Who and post-suits/pre-hippie era Beatles records need look no further than this. (SS)
(Reaction Records // www.parasol.com)

Automatics "Walking With A Radio On" CD
Not to be confused with the mediocre American pop punk band of the same name, these Automatics were an outstanding British punk rock/power pop band circa the late seventies. Up until recently all they'd ever released was one brilliant single, "When the Tanks Rolled Over Poland Again." With it's blistering verses and catchy chorus, this song should have been a massive hit in the UK Unfortunately, it wasn't and after continual bad luck with their record companies, the Automatics called it a day. That was the end of the story for about twenty years or so until some Japanese promoters contacted Automatics frontman David Philip to do some shows over there. He agreed, but since he hadn't kept in touch with the other members of the band he ended up doing the shows with a backup band including members of Firestarter and Radio Shanghai. After seeing Japan's rabid music fans, Phillip must have figured that there might be an audience for the Automatics after all. Enter this album. It turns out they recorded an entire LP for Island Records back in the day, but were dropped before it could be released. There's a funny story about that in the liner notes: when Phillip was questioned about their high "entertainment" expense account, he looked an Island exec in the eye and replied, "yeah, it takes a lot of expensive drugs to make the kind of music we make!" Now that's punk rock. Anyway, it's really a shame that this LP didn't come out back in the seventies, as it stands up as one of the real classics of the era. The Automatics had an exceptional balance of energy, hooks, melody, and most importantly, enthusiasm that really stood out even amongst the classic bands of that era. Their sound touched on both the rowdy real rock n roll sound of the Boys (Philip actually did a stint in the [pre-Boys] Hollywood Brats) and the manic energy of the first Clash LP. With songs as flat out rocking and memorable as the title cut (which also should have been a huge hit), the totally out of control "Like a Moth Into a Flame," the hyper charged "Stab it Back," and the Heartbreakers-esque rave up "Dumb Games" it's inconceivable that a record like this sat on the shelf for over twenty years!!! There's also a few slow tempo, moody ballads on here that serve as a nice counterpoint to the manic energy of their upbeat numbers. The CD contains a bonus track, a one off recording after their break up titled "British Beat" that's a lot more power pop than the LP, but no less inspired and infectious. In a just world, this record would have been a chart topping smash and the Automatics would be remembered in the same category as bands like the Buzzcocks and Boys. As it is, I guess we should content ourselves that one of the true classics of the golden age of punk has finally been unearthed. Essential.(SS)
(Angel Air // www.angelair.co.uk)

Black Jetts "Bleed Me" LP
(Note: daunted by the PILE of records I "needed" to review, I called up a couple pals for some help. Matt Bauman had spent the last few years getting his Masters in some kinda Archaeology in Tuscon, so he was in need of a blast of new records. Jordan Davis just got back from Phoenix, and he's pissed off because it's so fucking cold in Green Bay.)
Todd: Very uncharacteristic production for Dead Beat - kinda lo-fi & dirty.
Jordan: Thin LA drum sound. I get a Zeros feel, for some reason. I like this song ("Bleed Me"). This woulda sounded REALLY GOOD in '96, you know? Makers & stuff.
Matt: Baby c'mon. C'mon baby. The Shutups! Kinda slow compared to groups like the Makers. ("Cheap Date") is '80s glam!
Jordan: ...done by a pop punk band. Raw Power into Dead Boys ("Summer Girls").
Matt: I like this song! You know what's coming, but it's cool.
Todd: I hear some Clone Defects, too, just less psychotic.
Matt: Not bad, it would have turned a lot of heads if it would have come out 10 years ago.(TK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

The Blacks "Black Snake" 7"
I think I've mentioned this before, but the (foreign) Blacks were the most clueless touring band I've ever laid eyes upon. Martin has, of course, gone on to tons of fine bands, but the clueless teen inepto-Diddley racket he made in the Blacks remains one of my faves. These are 4 unreleased goodies, and one of 'em ("You Don't Love Me") is a punkrocker fairly diff from anything else I've heard from 'em. Fine Gories/Oblivians noise. If you like primitive, swingin' rock 'n roll, I mean, just get it.(TK)
(Zaxxon Virile Action // www.zaxxonvirileaction.com)

The Briefs "Joy of Killing" 7"
A novelty covers record from a novelty band. Five "Kill..." themed tunes on red vinyl from a French label. The Deadbeats cover is actually less annoying than original, which was unlistenable at best. Geza X should've stayed behind the mixing board, whether or not this song is one of the greatest anti-longhair sentiments of all time. "I Wanna Kill My Mom" sounds pretty ridiculous when done by old men wearing skinny ties and ill-fitting jackets. "The Todd Killings" is straight forward, and it's pretty hard to fuck up a Samoans cover (although people actually have). I consider it very, very bad form for a band to attempt to cover any song off the first Damned album (unless you're the Armitage Shanks or Steve and the Jerks), but the Briefs go ahead and do it anyway, much to my chagrin. Their Alberto y Los Trios Paranoias cover is actually pretty cool, as it fits the Briefs cartoon punk-rock style very well. Really not bad for a covers record, I'd probably buy it if you were me. (RK)
(Lollipop Records // www.chez.com/lollipoprecords)

Cheeraks "The Cheeraks are No.1" 7"
The second single by a band that is quickly taking their place as the best French group in existence right now. The A-Side begins with a JSBX-mocking tape loop intro and devolves quickly into harsh and bloody little skirmish between punk and blues that sounds almost Persuders-like with its overly harsh vocal sound. The B-Side contains a great Lynchian/Lost Highway creeping groove of a song with great disembodied vocals that are almost indiscernible through the haunting echo. The perfect soundtrack for driving through the desert at night with a body in the trunk and a gun in the glovebox. My only problem with this record: It's over way too quick. But, I'll take what I can get from these guys, and so should you. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakanarecords.fr.st)

Clorox Girls 7"
The smarties over at Horizontal Action have been tossin' around Redd Kross comparisons, and they's absolutely correct (think "Born Innocent"), but what about the clear Turbonegro rip in "Baby?" Either way, this fucker's GREAT incompeteen art-slop-punk-pop that, despite its obvious rips, smells fresh as a cherub's diaper. I heard that they played Milwaukee some time back - where the hell was I? Much recommended. (TK)
(Jonny Cat Records)

Coachwhips "Bangers Vs. Fuckers" CD/LP
Imagine, if you will, the heroin-sheik artfags in Le Shok grab-assing the Oblivians. On paper: Crud. Yes, crud. On record: Killer. Snatches up and runs with the garage-via-GSL-weirdness found on "Get Your Body Next Ta Mine,"'cept it's less intentionally "strange" and more solid rock-roll slam-bang with a lil' simplistic/driving keyboard sprinkled over the mix. Expected idiosyncracies intact, sure -- monotone vox, off-kilter guitar excerpts, etc. -- but still somehow miles above anything else this band's ever done. I'm sold. (EL)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Cripples "Dirty Head" LP/CD
Man, I just gotta face the fact that while I like a lotta stuff Dirtnap does, this rinky dink keyboard pop ain't for me. Pretty lightweight gnuwave crud ovah here. OK, they kick in the noise once in a while in a way so dat ya know Carter ain't in office anymore, but...if it were as hooky as the Minds...but only a few songs ("Down Again," "Secret Police") hook me, and those are some gay tunes. Who wouldn't rather be listening to the Primitive Calculators? I'd tell ya, but I'd have to kill Eric Lastname.(TK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

The Damnation Kids "Runaway" 7"
The Damnation Kids are Superhelicopter-genius Westphal's new outfit, and as big of a proponent of Superhelicopter (Ltd.) I was, this record blows most, if not all, of that band's stuff right out of the water. This shit sounds like first LP Turbonegro done up in the lo-fi/blownout fashion this guy is known for. All four songs legitimately smoke, especially "Runaway" and "College Rock". Actually, this shit isn't all that new, as these songs were recorded back in 2002 (and one in 2003). Well worth buying, and in a limited edition of 500 which I'm sure will go fast. One of the best singles I've heard so far this year. Go but their other single too, because I'm aboput to. (RK)
(P. Trash Records // ptrashrec@aol.com)

Destruction Unit "Self-Destruction of a Man" CD/LP
Lost Sounds? Well, YEAH: Jay 'n' Alicja lend a hand here, y'know. Even still, it's a beast of its own -- louder, angrier, less sophisticated and damn-near touching early-'80s hardcore. Most tracks wear thin by trying to cram too much monotonous yelly-screamy-keyboardy bullshit straight up your ignorant craw, but some, like a superior take on "Let's Lie" and the manic "Inside of Me," are A-OK. Won't tug at the heartstrings if you're wave-a-phobic, but might prompt a dumb grin if you're into the aforementioned. (EL)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Destruction Unit "Self-Destruction of a Man" CD/LP
Todd: This is Ryan Wong w/ help from Jay & Alicia of Lost Sounds. Kind of a "punkier" Lost Sounds.
Jordan: Guy can't sing. Not enough melody. I do like the synth sound a lot, though.
Matt: Agreed. I've been listening to a lot of Devo lately, and one thing a lot of these synth bands seem to forget is songs. His vocals were great, too. This does sound a lot like a more straight-forward Lost Sounds, but you know exactly what's coming next.
Jordan: ("Let's Lie") reminds me of Radio Birdman, for some weird reason. I think it's the guitars. ("In the End") has elements of LA hardcore.
Todd: I like it, I mean, it SOUNDS great, but there do need to be more hooks, and the guy's voice needs to be more HUGE to take on this kinda production (like Jay or Alicja's). (TK)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Dirt Bike Annie "Show Us Your Demons" LP/CD
I got into this band around six years ago when their second single came out on the late Mutant Pop Records. At the time I was just beginning to sour to the whole pop punk thing, but Dirt Bike Annie still held my interest. I haven't listened to those records in ages, so when I saw this LP still sealed for the bargain basement price of four bucks, I decided to take a chance on 'em again. "Hey, that's the average price for a used power pop record from the 80's after all," I thought. After listening to this I don't think I'm gonna get too much use out of it despite the low price. It's hard to say exactly what it is, but there's some integral element of the power pop formula missing here. None of the melodies are really memorable enough to stay with me after listening to this. Then again, maybe my problem with this isn't so much what's not here as much as what is here that has no place in any self respecting power pop song. I'm talking about their tendency to slip into alternative rockisms every now and then. This third song on here, "The Sends," (what the hell is "the Sends" anyway? Sounds like some kinda disease to me.) has this lame herky-jerky riff that wouldn't sound out of place on a Weezer song or something. The next song, "Not an Eagle Scout" starts off decent enough, but the chorus wears out it's welcome in short order. By the time the dude starts yelling "Olly Olly Oxen" (one of the all time dumbest combination of syllables in recorded history! Fuck ABBA and all they stand for.) I'm losing my patience with this record. They follow up with a tune that sounds like some community college kids playing Jets to Brazil. Actually, I think with this song, I've come to the root of the problem I have with this record: Dirt Bike Annie seem like they are now trying to write "mature" pop songs with "meaningful" lyrics instead of dumb, fun tunes that you end up humming to yourself for days. Either that, or they just listen to more college radio than me. Whatever the case, I'd rather listen to the four good songs on that Records LP than this any day of the week.(SS)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

Diskords "Pink Palace" 7"
This is actually the first record I've really heard of this band of Pac-NW teenagers, who've been making a bit of noise on the underground "scene", but I've become pretty wary of bands from that region after the immense shitstorm that was the "Dirtnap Across the Northwest" compilation, a record which did nothing except prove that there are really only three or four good bands up there. The Diskords are one of the average ones, with some not bad Heartbreakers/Dead Boys workouts and very competent playing. "Winnebago Man" is basically a rewrite of the 'Tators "Two Tub Man", and for some reason that bothers me. But, it's good that it's high school kids doing this, because there are plenty of older bands doing the same thing, and not even half as good. Thank God they're not playing mall punk or emo though, which gives us some hope that the next generation can be saved. A good effort overall though, with some typically pink Dirtnap packaging. (RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

Diskords "Pink Palace" 7"
Rare (but not unhearda') to ear-gander kiddies this young playin' punk w/out the "pop" preceeding it, fer sure. If I'd heard it w/out knowing their ages, I'd have said, "2 nice punkers on the B & an okie 'Dolls rip on the A," but their youngsterism is really what makes 'em "special." Must be embarassing fer all those twice-their-age units (and yeah, there's a corn-bucketfull in this style) gettin' blown away like this.(TK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

The Evaporators "Ripple Rock" CD/LP
I just cannot get past the fact that the Evaporators are the Boris the Sprinkler of Maple Land. Nardwuar = Rev Norb. With a funny hat. Funnier hat. Anyway, there's a song about cheese. There's a 45 included by the Goblins, the kinda solo wack-stuff (though I believe it's a "real" band) Norb would sput. They both talk fast & like dressin' up silly. The Evaporators cover early punk locals the Pointed Sticks, and BTS covered early punk locals the Tyrants. And on. That said, both of 'em have a knack for writing hooks. This album is both annoying and good. Less a "period piece" than I woulda expected. Lots of memorable tunes that stick in yer thinking chamber whether you want 'em to or not, but I like "I Don't Need My Friends to Tell Me Who My Friends Are" the best. Band & production sound great. I'm slightly embarassed that I like this.(TK)
(Alternative Tentacles // www.alternativetentacles.com)

Final Solutions "Disco Eraser" LP
Todd: More Jay! He doesn't like this album, but I do. It's not as good as that amazing single, but it's better than 99% of the other stuff out there.
Jordan: Lost Sounds again ("Deep Six"). Wait, that was just the first song. A little Fun Things...I really like this record! ("Electrified") reminds me of the Beastie Boys' punk stuff. Hardcore is the white man's hip hop.
Matt: Way better than Destruction Unit. I enjoy this, but it's not over the edge. Then again, it's simple but there are way more unexpected turns. OK, I like this a lot. It's a good new wave/Killed by Death mix.
Jordan: Some of these songs remind me of the bands on "Murder Punk."
Todd: Like I said, not as good as the single, but still a very enjoyable album. I'd buy it...wait, I already did! (TK)
(Misprint Records // www.misprintrecords.com)

Fitts S/T 7"
Yet another Lost Sounds related project…what does this make it for them now, a total of 25 different side projects? The Fitts are actually Alicja's pre-Lost Sounds band, not that you can tell much from the quality of these songs. The first song is admittedly not one of her best, but the next one is a killer called "Girls Like U (Deserve 2 Die)" that rocks pretty hard thanks in part to a vicious chorus. Next up is the cut of the record, "(Maybe He's) Not So Smart," a song that's good enough to stand among all but the mightiest Lost Sounds material. The lyrics are about defending a semi-retarded dude, so all of us gayrage rockers can feel validation as we drool along. Finishing things off is a pretty good tune that's unlikely titled "Contaminated (By Your D*!#K.)" I'll let you guess what it's about. One small point worth noting: every song on here uses parenthesis in the title, and where possible, single letters and numbers in lieu of words. I'm not sure yet as to what the implications of this radical synthesis of the country and hip-hop song naming aesthetics are, but it can't bode well for the future of punk rock song titling science.(SS)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

The Flesheaters "No Questions Asked" CD
I never understood why no one kept the first 3 Flesheaters albums in print. "A Minute to Pray...a Second to Die" and "Forever Came Today" (despite conventional logic on "Forever Came Today") are fucking great early punk albums. Chris D changed the sound & line-up about as often as Cardwell checks his pecker for "wood ticks", so ya get swamp-blues-punk on one album & speed-roots-metal on anudder. This is the first album (plus lotsa extras), and it's more "punky" than anything else he ever did, but ya still get Chris' polarizing growl-screech & "literary" (read: pretentious, yet still good) lyrics. Really great stuff, but not nearly as essential as "A Minute to Pray...", or likely as nifty as "Forever Came Today." The former is available on CD now (so no excuses), but as far as I know, the latter still remains ungettable.(TK)
(Upsetter Records, P.O. Box 2574, Los Angeles, CA 90078)

Functional Blackouts "1-900-GET-INSIDE" 7"
I'd heard a lot of good stuff about these guys, and from the sounds of this it looks like this is on of those rare cases of the hype being well deserved. The title track is a quick, nasty blast of pure punk rock served up like it should be: with loads of aggression and snotty as hell. The whole song just blisters along building up momentum for the finale where they finally break into a coda of "1-900-Get-Inside." I like a band that makes you wait for your chorus…it builds anticipation and all that. The B-side doesn't disappoint either. It's over and done with before you know it starts, but it left me wanting to spin it again. This single wouldn't have sounded out of place on Rip Off during the glory years of the mid-nineties. Really good, and I can't wait to hear the LP. This is a limited edition of 300, so snatch it up quick or get left out.(SS)
(Goodbye Boozy Records of Italia // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

Functional Blackouts "1-900-GET-INSIDE" 7"
Goodbye Boozy keeps delivering the goodies. What we have here is summore snarlin' KBD-action from Chicago's 'Blackouts, 1 released & 1 un', smartly produced by Jimmy Hollywood & Ryan Kill-A-Watt. You know the drill! (TK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records of Italia // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

Ghetto Ways S/T LP/CD
Todd: I didn't like this at all at first, but it really hooked me later on. The gal can SING, and they know how to write hooks.
Jordan: It's probably that first song. Everything on here's better than the first song. I like it alright now, but I can just see them turning into Texas Terri or something in a few years.
Matt: Yeah, this is good. The artwork sucks, though. I'd never buy this if I saw it in a store.
Todd: Which is funny, because Daniel usually has some of the best artwork out there! I'll bet THEY pushed for this cover. Either way, it's good soul/garage, especially on the songs Jenna sings on. I think "Ghetto Love" is my favorite.(TK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

The Intelligence "Boredom and Terror" CD
Apt title here, as this is pretty damn boring and I'm terrified at the thoughts of having to listen to it again. It boggles the mind that people whose taste I respect could have included this in their 2003 top tens! The Intelligence is far to close to KRS art rock for this reviewer's comfort. Evidently some dude from the A-Frames is playing all of the instruments here, and I would have to think these are all songs that got vetoed in his main band. A few of them are alright, like "Telephone Wires," "Virgos," and "Weekends In Jail" but for the most part the Intelligence are high on obtuse song structures and low on hooks, energy, or anything resembling a coherent song structure. It doesn't help matters that most of this is played with all of the passion of an accountant filling out a W-10 form. The four good songs on here would make a great single, but the rest is just awful. If ever there was the perfect soundtrack for doing your calculus homework this is it. Party off. (SS)
(Dragnet Records // www.dragnetrecords.com)

Dan Melchior's Broke Revue "It's A Garage Obituary" 7"
Lots of cryptic messaging on the cover of this thing: all the "Garage Obituary" talk, "Here Begins Phase Two" and other slogans that tend to make one think Melchior's just as tired of the "garage" tag as he is with being lumped in with the Medway/Billy Childish scene. Well, it's not like he's gone disco or anything, but he's up to something. "Remote Control" concentrates more on the folk/country aspects of the Broke Revue's previous outing, with plenty of Dylan/Skip James reverance. The B-Side ("Like A Fox") is a psych-like instrumental that repeats the same groove over and over, until breaking into an acoustic ending with vocals repeating "Garage Obituary" over and over. There's some kind of grand concept here if you dissect it enough, and Melchior's obviously got a vision. If you're a fan, I guess you should get it to see if you want to continue on. For a first time listener, this is not a good starting point. If I were Christgau, I'd give it a C+. The fact that it's on Troubleman is for some reason very frightening. (RK)
(Troubleman Unlimited // www.troublemanunlimited.com)

Metal Urbain "Anarchy in Paris!" CD
Finally re-issued, the (almost) complete works of the band responsible for the careers of Big Black and a host of other imitators. MU aren't for everybody, but I spent many years tracking down a lot of this stuff and was never disappointed. Aggressive punk played with artificial drums, cheap synths, and twin guitars with lyrics/slogans screamed in French. As the great liner notes (by VOLT!/Splash Four's Jack Amsellem) state, Metal Urbain were a concept band, and I think once you realize that, you have the right context in which to listen to the music in. MU were ambitious, confrontational, and "arty" which may not be apparent in these changed times. They did lay a foundation which bands are still building on today, and at their best were one of the classic European punk outfits. Look for upcoming reissues of post-Metal Urbain bands upcoming from Acute: Metal Boys LP (good) and Dr. Mix and the Remix (better). (RK)
(Acute Records // www.acuterecords.com)

Metal Urbain "Anarchy in Paris!" CD
Damn, they cleaned this up a lot or something, because it doesn't sound nearly as cool as the album originals. French '70s bassless punk band that used a drum machine. That early-model 'machine sounds SO STUPID glossed up on silver-disk. The vinyl & vinyl mix had more of a warm, organic feel than this...it's like a jet plane taking off in the distance duking it out with a casio up yer earhole. Regardless, "Ghetto" & "Lady Coca Cola" and a buncha others are good tunes, for sure, and it doesn't sound like much-anything else. Mostly straight-forward punk, but there's odd sound-blasts & whatnot to keep the you-know-whos happy. This band likely did help inspire many of the bands we love (and loathe) nowadays, and there's 24 cuts to pick through on here, many of which I'd never heard.(TK)
(Acute Records // www.acuterecords.com)

Miss Alex White & Chris Playboy 7"
Alex White (Hot Machines) would normally be the story here - she's an 18 (19? Nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nuh nineteen?) year old gal that's a phenominally talented singer/guitarist/songwriter. Unfortunately, fate stepped in and took drummer Chris Playboy in a car accident a couple days ago (note: writing this on 2/15/04), so this record must stand as a postscript. And it's great - the 2-piece line-up makes you think "garage," but it's so much more than that, if that played-out term is even relevant here. All 4 songs are good-to-great, with "Pop/Stall" & Alex's soul-purging screams in "Stranger" as the standouts. The only bummer is the tragic loss of Chris, and the fact that we won't be blessed with his talent anymore (and, more importantly, won't be seeing his smiling face around Chicago). It's been a terrible year or two for rock tragedy. RIP, Chris.(TK)
(Missle X Records // www.missilex.com)

Mr. Airplane Man "C'Mon DJ" CD/LP
Todd: This is the first MAM I've bought, and I was surprised by how "legit" it sounded, for a buzz-like band. The faster songs are Cheater Slicks-lite, but with great vocals & good melody-sense.
Jordan: Yeah, I saw them once. The drummer's incredible, she's a human metronome. They could use a bit more energy, but they're great.
Todd: I'll bet I like this album more than I would like seeing them.
Jordan: Well, except for the fact that they're gorgeous! Some of the harmonies remind me of what the Dirtbombs are doing. Minor chords - yes! No one uses them well anymore.
Matt: The vocals sometimes remind me of the Detroit Cobras. This is the best thing you've played for us, for sure!
Todd: I'd say she sounds like the singer in Look Blue Go Purple, but that'd probably be a head-scratcher. I think side 2 is better, but it's loaded with covers, as some chubby redneck from Algoma pointed out to me. They do a great job fucking up the Wailers & not damaging the song. We're all in agreement - this is great!(TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry // www.sympathyrecords.com)

The Monkey Power Trio "Almost Clear" 7"
These guys have vowed to record every year until the last remaining member kicks the bucket, which means they ought to catch the flame at least a few times over the next 70 or so years. Just not this time (unless you have better drugs than I or somethin'). Not fuggin awful, just better in concept than in practice. (TK)
(Pocahontas Swamp Machine)

MOTO "Spiral Slouch" 7"
First of all, I gotta say that title is pretty damn funny. I can't believe no one's thought of that one before. Second of all, it's worth noting that this label is called Shit Sandwich, which beyond a shadow of a doubt is the worst name I've heard in the history of punk rock (for a band, label, zine…anything!). Think about that one for a while. Firmly between these two poles of awesome and retarded lies the sound of MOTO. At first listen I wasn't too sure what to make of them, but I think I've concluded that they're awesomely retarded. The first song is called "Real Stuff" and it basically consists of the singer going "This is where the real stuff grows/this is where the real stuff goes" over and over, with a solo thrown in to round things out. Not exactly rocket science, but I guess the dude was right, because it actually did grow on me over time. Next up is "Wind it Out," which is a total curve ball compared to what I was expecting. The vocals remind me of a punk dude doing Iron Maiden karaoke. The lyrics also come close to reminding me of a hair metal song, except they're too dumb!!! I think even a numbskull like Vince Neal might be embarrassed to sing a song with the lyrics, "wind it out/yeah we gotta wind it out/doooo something/doooo something/chop off the head of the non-believer/chop off the head of the non-believer/YEAH! (cue up vicious solo)." AND THAT'S THE WHOLE SONG!!! Egads, these cats make Loli & the Chones look like fucking brain surgeons!!! And the strangest part is, after getting over my initial shock, I can't get enough of this song! Side B kicks off with "Birthday Present To Myself," which eschews the quasi-metalisms of "Wind It Out" in favor of slightly damaged, retardo power pop. It's really great, and the lyrics are just about as silly and minimalist as those on side-A. Like on "Wind It Out" the singer basically just sings the chorus a bunch of times and once again closes the song with an emphatic, "YEAH!" Just when I think I've got MOTO's MO all figured out, they go and close the record with a song that sounds like Guided By Voices (circa the two albums from like '94/'95 that I own) after sniffing about ten pounds of glue. Wow, what a single! I think I'm hooked! (SS)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)

MOTO "Spiral Slouch" 7"
More pop-garage goodness from Paul & co. Pauly probably wrote alla' this on his way over ta' take his mornin' yiss. Shit Sammich has a great thing goin', let me tell you. "Worm in the Sky," with its acoustic guidder, whistlin' & uber-catchy chorus is my fave, but the other 3 punk-poppers are also hook-laden monsters. Is that a drum machine I be hearin'? Chop off the head of the non-believer! (TK)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)

Mouserocket "Water Recordings" CD-R
This here is a limited edition of 50 (!) featuring some recordings from the ever-prolific Alicja Trout of Lost Sounds fame. Since I got it from her when the Lost Sounds played St. Paul last summer, these are probably long gone by now, but if you're a Lost Sounds fan this is for sure worth trying to get your hands on. Some of these songs wouldn't really stand out on a Lost Sounds record (like "Walking Lizard," "Stomp Around," "One In Two," and most prominently "Darkest Hour" which is so good it should be on the next Lost Sounds LP) but others are a bit more atypical and experimental, but still great. There's also great covers of Love's "Alone Again Or" and the Nightcrawlers' "Little Black Egg" on here. Definitely a must for all of us Lost Sounds nuts. (SS)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)

Night Terrors 7"
Two song EP by a Wisconsin super-group of sorts, featuring The Tonys of Sagger fame and Dusty Mistreater. It's a lot like what you would expect: primitive bashing, fucked-up guitar, and an overall deranged sensibility. The A-Side sounds like slow moving death, and the B-Side has me thinking Black Sabbath meets Sagger for some reason. Buy it just for the incredibly handsome cover model, and it's on Goodbye Boozy, probably the finest filth-peddling singles label out there, so that should be reason enough.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records of Italia // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

The Nuns S/T LP
'Bout time! Hard to believe the world hadda face a million 'n' one other unnecessary and ridiculously obscure reissues from L.A.-circa-'79 before Get Back unearthed this one, but, hey, fuggit. At least we get it now. KBD aficionados expecting an alb's worth of "Decadent Jew"s will have to take cover; the production and playing here are, suprisingly, pro-gloss all the way. Not that there aren't some r'n'r smokers scattered 'twixt the keyboards 'n' clean. In fact, the see-saw sits pretty even with a fair amount of both keys-driven femme-fronted gothic beauties ("Savage" would be a precursor to the Lost Sounds, Alicja and co. OD'd on 'ludes and while spinning the Go-Gos and Bags) and XY-led bashers ("Media Control" and "Getting Straight" are Weirdos-esque in both spirit 'n' sound). The guy/gal dichotomoy's great, too, as it breaks up dull spots and rounds out the alb as a whole, making this one well worth your penny. But you knew that already. (EL)
(Get Back)

The Orphans 7"
Second record from these LA guys/girl, but I'm not sure if this or their Kapow! single came out first. Either way, the record on Kapow! is way better. This one is just boring: boring lyrics, boring voice, boring mix, boring, boring, boring. The songs all sound similarly bad, so it's hard to differentiate as to which one is worse. They actually sounded promising on the other record, whereas this one is just bad. Sorry to be so harsh, but I'm pissed I actually spent money on this. I could've used the four bucks to wipe my ass instead. (RK)
(Malo Records)

Pink Swords "One Night High" CD
The whole Candy Snatchers "thing" (you know what I'm talkin' about) has always been more about the drunken live thang than studio product. The Mud City Manglers are the only band I can think of that totally bridged the gap, and that was only on their 45s. The Pink Swords sound bored. That's me freestylin'. Nothing new here, and nothing eye-poppin' ta really recommend it, unless you slavishly slurp up anything in the style.(TK)
(Mortville Records // www.mortvillerecords.com)

The Ponys "Laced with Romance" CD/LP
It's hard to say anything about the Ponys that hasn't already been said. And the reason everything's already been said is 'cuz everyone's talking about 'em. And the reason everyone's talking about 'em is 'cuz the band's worth blabbering about. And the reason the band's worth blabbering about is 'cuz they blend alla the great elements of bands like the Cure, Television, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Voidoids, Joy Division, the Velvets, et. al. into a warm honeypot o' pop bittersweets that balances precariously on a jagged r'n'r/psych edge. Each tune's a potential "hit" to the great extent that I'm hard-pressed to name one stand-out track. ("Trouble Trouble.") (Or "Chemical Imbalance.") Hell, the whole alb's a standout track. Who's gonna top this? (EL)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

The Ponys "Prosthetic Head" 7"
In the Red made an A-side out of this for a reason: As a fast, upbeat 'n' energizing manifestation of the Bunnymen/Cure/Television sound, it's one of the more memorable and hard-hitting Ponys tunes. And it ain't on the alb, catheter-tits, so dig deep in those pockets and proffer some scratch to whoeverthefuck is peddling ITR wares these days. (Note: "How Does it Taste?" isn't bad, either.) (EL)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)


The Primates "We Are..." LP
Todd: I'm not sure how long ago this was reissued, but it's a legendary 80s garage record in some households. Pete Hendricks, who has everything, told me this was the one record he wanted to own more than any others at the time, some years back, and I found it for him. He paid quite a bit. I dunno, I'm not a big fan of the Munsters-damaged bands of the 80s, but this one's really fun and goofy. Like a more inept Cunts meet the Pandoras or something.
Matt: It's not really fair to compare this to bands that came later. The drums are ridiculous! Goofy stuff. It sounds like the Mosquitos (from Gilligan's Island), or some band on a cheesy '60s sitcom.
Todd: Right - Munsters!
Jordan: No, I really like it a lot! I like the sound from the time period, Lyres & so forth. This has the perfect mix for the band. I'll bet they're Rev Norb's favorite garage band!
Todd: It's fun, yeah. And it no longer costs $60! I'll bet Europeans would have conniptions over this thing. Produced by Greg Shaw and Brett Gurewitz??? (TK)
(Soundflat Records // www.soundflat.de)

Radio Beats "Blow You Up" 7"
Bart Hart finally puts out a record by a band from Virgina (well, West Virginia) after being there for years. I imagine it would take quite a while to find a good punk band down there though. Anyway, the Radio Beats have that trademarked Mid-Atlantic rough and tumble sound, a la Antiseen or Candy Snatchers but minus the bloodshed, with a healthy dose of Devil Dogs worship mixed in. Great sounding recording, which was actually done in a garage, and the songs are entertaining and short enough to not get boring, as bands of this ilk tend to be. They're young looking kids too, obviously utilizing punk rock as a way to escape a lifetime of servitude in the coal-mines. I think they are now fulfilling their mandatory Steve Baise affiliation and recording a full length with him as we speak. I'm sure it will be black lung inducing. Yet another quality release from a label that seems to take pride in its bad cover art. (RK)
(www.bigneckrecords.com)

Radio Reelers "Shakin' at the Party" LP
Todd: I like this album a lot - it sounds like a cross between the Leg Hounds and Kill-A-Watts. I play this when I'm doing dishes or ironing. I'll bet Jordan hates it.
Jordan: Man, this collage on the back has been done by so many bands...Big Black, Streetwalkin' Cheetahs...
Matt: Dag Nasty, Lagwagon...
Todd: I'm not sure how you'd know that, Matt.
Matt: This is a good tune ("Strange Attraction"). I always go for the faster stuff, I think it's a personal defect or something.
Jordan: ("Treat it Alright") has a Real Kids thing going on. Good song. Geez, Otis Redding cover.
Matt: Seems odd that they'd cover this song, with the Clone Defects doing it recently.
Todd: They do it a lot differently. Alright, neu-Dogs and Rip Off fans (like me) will dig this one a lot. Good songwriting and a decent amount of variety in pace & song structure for a band like this. WAY better than the Trust Fund Babies! (TK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

Red Satyrs 7"
I share a lot of opinions with Fuzzy "Rich" Kronebone (must be all that fluid transfer), and one of 'em is that modern 'billy can eat Rich's ankle fur. This ain't, like, anywhere near straight-up neu-billy, but there's sum Meteors stench I just can't shake. More punk than all that, and not all that bad, really, but I just can't....wait, I think it's mostly the vocals. Reminds me a bit of Dead City Rebels crossed mit Lux ('n without sax-o-maphone). Summa' youse would dig it. "Psycho Bus"?!?!? (TK) (THD Records)

Rock Goggle Fantasy "Society of the Spectacles" 7"
Take away the 3 (OK) tunes on the B & the (Dokey) Minuteman cover, and ya' got a 2-song killer (especially the supercharged "Dance Marathon"). Hard to describe 'em, kind of an early SST aura meets the Peechees, and that spells g-o-o-d, flippertits.(TK)
(Trashbot Records)

Royal Routes "Toxic" 7"
Man, I am dying to hear this shit live. Only a two-songer, but well worth the $4 cover charge. Huge and blown out sounding distorto-blues axe-grinding, with some gruff vocals buried in the backyard mix under a treestump and some feedback. "Toxic" moves like a freight train that wrecks itself every thirty seconds or so, then picks itself back up and starts chugging again. And it's not even the A-Side, which is a monster as well. I actually like this one better than their first single, but what the hell, they're both hot enough to cook (back) bacon on. A lovely counterpart to the Cheeraks single, giving Yakisakana a great one-two punch of releases to start the year off. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakanarecords.fr.st)

Royal Routes "Toxic" 7"
Never tried to hide my affection for the first RR 45 (hey - what happened to the alliteration schtick?). This one ain't as good (sounds a tetch sluggish compared to the 'Boozy one), but what the hockeysticks is? I do honestly believe that they've created a new "thing" entirely, though it's too subtle for me to itemize right now (and I don't wanna pull an Abnoxious-length review). Danny's stutter-smuck drums sound amazing, typically great Yakisakana graphics, buy it stupid, etc. (TK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakanarecords.fr.st)

Shark Pants "Porno Snakehead" CD
Hard to describe this AZ mess. Most-stuff-goes fastish punkish. Some parts remind me of thrash-era Meat Puppets (desert connection in me mind?), but not quite as fast or fried. Doesn't really sound like anyone else (& doesn't suck at the same time), which deserves praise right there. In '82, this woulda' been "hardcore."(TK)
(Recess Records // www.recessrecords.com)

Sick Fits "Are We the Young Savages" CDEP
Ladies and gentlemen, the Stitches are fucking horrible. And if you're in a band that lives 'n' breathes their sound, you will be similarly horrible . . . Unless you're the Sick Fits, in which case, you'll do whatever it is you do that allows you to make the faux-'77 thing not only passable, but pretty damn great. Dunno. Same swagger, same riffs, same whatever, but there's something in the mix that calls for repeated listens. A dash of Clone Defects/Piranhas action, perhaps? Either way: Highly recommended junk. (EL)
(Longshot Music // www.longshotmusic.com)

Sick Fits "I am a TV" 7"
A pretty decent Canadian take on junkie-punk via Clone Defects/Stitches idolatry. Turns out these guys are actually quite alright, as my expectations weren't too high going in. It's not as much Stitches rehash as you'd expect, and "Hollywood Knives" sounds eerily similar to a good Defects tune. Shit, the guy even sounds just like Timmy Vulgar, whether it's on purpose or not I don't know. "Arcade Livin'" veers dangerously close to Electric Frankenstein territory though, so I can't say this record is 100% good, but hey, 75% ain't bad for this day and age.(RK)
(Pelado Records // www.peladorecords.com)

This Moment in Black History "Hung Up" 7"
A great, great record from these ex-Neon King Kong types with Bim from the Bassholes on drums. Charged stuff that's very reminiscent of NKK and other bands that sprung up in the wake of Le Shok, except these guys aren't imitators. They actually take it another step forward, infusing a little hardcore, a little activism, some funk, some art, tight playing, and a lot of energy into the reeling and rocking herk und jerk. Only two songs, but they both sound great (and recorded live it seems). This is what I was hoping The Fuse! would sound like. (RK)
(Version City Records // www.versioncityrecords.com)

Tokyo Knives "Young Punk Saturday Night" 7"
You've got to give Martin Savage credit for being so prolific, but as Billy Childish never learned, quality tends to suffer when you up the quantity level. Nothing really offensively bad here, but it's the same old same old. Three songs total, two are songs originally written for Martin's old outfits the Chingaleros and Kamen Riders, and one Tokyo Knives original. I'd rather see him concentrate on the Locomotions, because that record was actually really good. And I think this is the bottom of the barrel for the Tokyo Knives recordings, as their records have gotten progressively worse after their great debut single. The record itself is strictly a budget production: no inner sleeve, blank labels, and photocopied sleeve. Save your dough for the next Locomtions single. (RK)
(Boogaloosa Records)

Valentinos "Aerosol Dream" 7"
Debut release from ex-Clone Defects and Murder City Wrecks that sounds nothing like whatever you're expecting. This shit is straight Roxy Music/Eno worship, with maybe some Thin White Duke thrown into a fairly avant-garde mix. And very "glam" in the British/Romantic sense, not the LA hair "glam" most people associate with the word. Very, very different sounding than anything else, without a trace of Defects/Wrecks damage to be found. I'm sure it will turn a lot of people off, and I'm actually kind of embarrassed to admit I like this record a lot. The songs are fucking long, the vocals are really affected, and most won't make it past the clavier (!) solo, but those who do and let it sink in for a couple listens will be justly rewarded. The others will just call it "gay" and go listen to another of the umpteenth bands still raping the ghost of the Dead Boys. Their loss is your gain. Pick it up while you can, unless you want to get skunked on another Tom Perkins release. (RK)
(Tom Perkins Entertainment)

V/A Distraction/Hatepinks split 7"
Split seven-inch from France with two tracks each from one French band and one Californian band, both attempting the retro new wave/KBD sound. First, the Hatepinks. "Bored on Pills" is a nice slap-in-the-face of Le Shok/NKK aggro-wave, a pretty catchy and short burst of energy. Their second song is a cover of "International Rescue" that had me concerned when I saw it listed. Covering the Swell Maps is a touchy subject for me, as they are one of the bands I keep on a pedestal and feel should not be fucked with in any way. But, they actually manage not to offend with their version. The singer is ex-Gasolheads, which is weird, since the Gasolheads pretty much sucked. These guys are better, although my French connections tell me they may be bandwagon jumping. The Distraction have gone from having a lead singer who sounded just like Hot Rod Todd, to actually having the ex-Le Shok frontman himself. Their first song could be a Cars tune if you put some Ric Ocasek vocals over it. Boring cut and paste new wave. The second song is only like thirty seconds long, and it's still boring! Todd sounds pretty restrained on these tracks, and restraint isn't exactly his best quality. Also, their band photo contains more striped shirts than a Teenage Rejects 7" cover, but without being a tenth as cool. Buy this record for the Hatepinks side and don't even bother flipping it over unless you can't sleep. Although I've heard some demos for the new Distraction record and they actually sound kind of promising. But these tracks still suck. (RK)
((Lollipop Records // www.chez.com/lollipoprecords)

V/A "Greaseball Melodrama" CD
Sixteen tracks compiled by New Bomb Turk Eric Davidson, which were apparently supposed to come out awhile ago, but languished until Gearhead decided to foot the bill. You get about half good stuff: an unreleased Baseball Furies ripper from the Jim Diamond/first LP sessions; an unheard Scat Rag Boosters stomper; a great Hunches tune from pre-LP sessions; some decent French powercore from Exxon Valdez; a fuzzed out Blowtops gem from a 2001 Voodoo Alley session; and a good tune from the Lost Kids. There are also decent High Beams and Mystery Girls tunes, but they're LP tracks; all the others are pretty much unreleased. You also get about 8 or 9 tracks of crap, such as the godawful Chargers Street Gang, Diverters, Gypsy Witch, a really shitty Cuts tune (I don't see how anyone can like this easy listening crap), and a bunch of other cock-rocking units. As usually happens with comps, you have to take the good with the bad, so think before you buy. The six or seven good tracks are really good, and the bad ones the average Gearhead fan would probably like. And believe it or not, there is actually no New Bomb Turks track on this thing. Artwork by Ron Asheton pal Niagara. (RK)
(Gearhead Records // www.gearheadrecords.com)

V/A "Maybe Chicago" CD
Chicago: You got your Ponys, you got your Functional Blackouts and your Tyrades and your Baseball Furies and a pantload of other worthwhile outfits (Hot Machines!) who haven't even released albs or singles or cassette tapes yet. So it's a good thing Brian Costello, the funnyman and overall swell fella behind the F.B.'s kit, stepped forward to fund a lil' testament to Chicago's capacity for goodly rah-en-rah. And goodly it is: Bands that've never tickled my fancy live, like Vee Dee (ex-Brides and others do the KBD/L.A. '79 thing), burn brightly on disc. Other bands that I've never even laid ears on, like the Phantom Three (a cool twist on J. Oblivian-style scree), do just as well. And otherwise unreleased bands, like the Hot Machines (GREAT three-chord r'n'r featuring members of the Ponys/Miss Alex White/Baseball Furies) and the Dirges (Baseball Furies/ex-Brides do soulful punk/garage) pretty much devastate. Jered's (Ponys/Hot Machines) production on the majority of the disc tends to polarize some bands, either neutering or beefing up sound here 'n' there, but the quality of the songwriting shines through for the duration of the ride. And that's really all you can ask from a comp: Three-fourths good tunes. With additional contributions from Chicago's already-known all-stars (see above), this delivers. Worth a look. (EL)
(Protomersh Records/Criminal I.Q. Records // www.criminaliq.com)

The Winks 7"
I guess you shouldn't take this record or band too seriously, as it basically seems like a bunch of gals hanging together on a Saturday night and deciding to rattle off a few songs. Plenty of shit about boys, shopping, and oral sex, intentional and excessive juvenalia, and lots of saying "fuck". Replace the "W" with a "P" and turn the "s" into a "z" and you have a band that does this schtick with actual authority and humor. I think this would go over well with teenage girls who shop at Hot Topic (as it appears the Winks do), whether Penny Tration showed off her tits for Horizontal Action or not. I still like the Dirty Sweets though. Buy a Deadly Weapons record instead. (RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)


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