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RECORD REVIEWS FALL 2005

Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(MTC: Matt Coppens)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff Greenback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(PH: Phil Honululu)(EL: Eric Lastname)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Steven Strange) (TK: Todd Trickknee)

A Frames "Police 1000" 7"
The A Frames’ “demos” mp3 collection is a legendary one, two dozen or so songs that are up there in the high quality department with the rest of the band’s work. Over the years some of these early songs have appeared re-recorded on the band’s LPs, while others have been slowly released, as is, on singles like ‘Crutches’, ‘Complications’ and now this one featuring ‘Police 1000’ b/w ‘Traction’, which is said to be the last to get such treatment. This is not the A Frames of the ‘Black Forest’ LP where dark, stylized, and methodically controlled songs win out, but is instead the A Frames of yore where a looser, wilder, pummelling punk rock sound was the norm. ‘Police 1000’ has always been a highlight of the band’s live set with its bouncy verse that explodes into a frighteningly catchy chorus. The rhythm section here is asshole tight. ‘Traction’ is the perfect flip as it’s just as simple and catchy as ‘Police 1000’ and even features a rarity for the A Frames – a wailing guitar solo. I didn’t think anything could top the ‘Crutches’ single, but I think this one just might and the white vinyl with ultra basic white sleeve seals the deal. About as good as a single can get. (JG)
The A-Frames sounding their most Karate Party-ish here. Is that a bit of the curly pedal I hear on "Traction"? Both tunes are bouncing and rather upbeat, driven by a rhythm section that is easlily worth a million bucks. Will they ever release a bad record? Doesn't seem likely. We critics just can not suck these guys' dicks hard enough. I've run out of hyperbole. Alas, this does seem to be the last of the pan-drippings from ye olden days, so any Frames from now on will be new(er), which I'm looking forward to. I mean, I love the punk sounding tunes, but I'm also intrigued to see these guys travel through some of the doors they openend on 'Black Forest' a bit more as well. Maybe someday in the bootleg future the covers EP I dream of (featuring "She's Got Spawn" on the A, and "Batman" on the flip) will surface on the black market, but until then I will roll around lovingly in these outtakes like my dog does when he finds a dead fish. Scum stats: 1000 pressed all on white vinyl. Ultra-simple sleeve design that Jesse said made him think of wedding cake, which I thought was dead-on.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

As Mercenarias "O Comeco do Fim do Mundo" LP
Last time I bought a Soul Jazz comp that was outside of their area of expertise (R&B and reggae), I felt screwed. It was one of their No Wave comps and it was just pedestrian. Stuff I've heard before and nothing that jumped out you like say the Contortions or DNA. So when I got this record by the Brasilain post-punk band As Mercenarias, I didn't know if I had made a mistake or not. I am very very happy to report that not only did I not make a mistake but that this is one of the best reissues of the year. Culled form the bands two album, this record is a solid collection of Lilliput meets Wire edgy punkness with a tad bit of funkiness thrown in. The first side is all stuff from Mercenarias first album and as such it is a bit on the rawer end of things. True to all post punk second albums, side two is a bit more mature. Unlike a lot of second efforts it is not slick; think early Delta 5 with a better handle on the instruments. The first thousand copies of this come with a 7" of demo tracks which are every bit as good as the "real" stuff. Much rawer and even bordering on hardcore, the 7" is a must have. It is very nice to know that there is at least one Brasilian post punk band worth checking out. I love Tropicalia, Brazilian punk/hardcore is tops, and now this. Soul Jazz has also released a comp of Brasilian post-punk from this time period (1981-85) and that is now on the top of my list of "must buys." Very much recommended.(SSR)
(Soul Jazz // www.souljazzrecords.co.uk)

Baby 63 "Quiver b/w Shark Watch Maker" 7"
I can legitimately say that I had no knowledge of the "techno cassette underground" before I heard this reissue of of a tape from 1984 on vinyl. Why did Mr. Soriano decide to do these two songs? Why not include all the material sent to him by the artist and press a CD? Is it just because doing something digital would be completely retarded for reissuing a cassette? Probably. This is one of the many thoughts that drifted through my mind while the drum machine/guitar feedback/sample manipulation/background vocals of Baby 63 played for me. Nothing really stuck. Would an entire full length have made a different impression? As it is, I'm almost curious to see what more could be had of their material, but releasing two songs like this almost discourages me from spending my time to seek out any more. I'm not sure why. (JC)
I always applaud any effort to preserve the overlooked sounds of the past, and S-S has done a good job of this in recent years with Monoshock, Karate Party, Geeks, and others. The notion of the Eighties DIY cassette underground is something that intigues me greatly. But I fear it is a movement that looks better on paper than it sounds. I'm probably not that qualified to be reviewing this, as I am somewhat of a straightforward guy when it comes to stuff as avant-garde as this. Found sound collage-work, tape deck looping/twiddling, homemade sounding synths and drum machines are not the type of stuff I feel comfortable commenting on. And that's what this is. This type of thing usually makes for cool sounds (like the low-end digeridoo sound on the B-Side), but not cool and cohesive songs. Although this comes close, especially on "Shark Watcher Maker". If you're more experimental than me, you should decide for yourself. (RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Baseball Furies "All American Psycho" CD
Here in handy digital format are the 1998 recordings that were supposedly meant to be the Furies first full LP, but which ended up getting split into two EPs, the "Sounds of Mayhem" 7" on Big Neck and the 10" on Flying Bomb. If you just picked up on the Furies with 'Greater than Ever' or 'Let it Be', you owe it to yourself to go back and live through this stuff. Younger, rawer, maybe even faster, these tunes show these young turks blasting through twelve tracks, some that careen to near HFOS-like velocity (see "Filthy Fun" or "Murder Solution"), some that show them trying to find their way to the more "refined" Dead Boys-ish punk rock they perfected on the later LPs (see "Black Eyed Woman" or "The Last Man"). Pre-Billiams drummer Dapper does good work here, the guitar sound is blistering, Odie's violent yelp in near perfection, and the songs topics include the standards: violence, cheap sex, and cheaper living. It's this stuff and the very first 7" (which regrettably isn't in this package. Why? My guess would be the band doesn't like it enough to include it. Boooo...) that first got the heads turning, from fans like me and you to the label-dudes like Tim Warren and Lowery (both of whom are rumored to have expressed an interest in the young Buffalonians early on), and rightfully so. What these recrding may lack in finesse thay make up for with moxie, something that's in as short a supply then as it is now. If you don't have this shit on vinyl already, invest now, as this disc contains no less than half a dozen cuts of classic late-Nineties garage-punk punch. I guess the postscript to this review would be that the Furies have broken up, but supposedly still plan to record one final album comprised of songs written after the move to Chicago (rumored to be recorded at Albini's). So this reissue couldn't be timelier.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
(Flying Bomb // www.flyingbomb.com)

Bitter Sweet Generation s/t MCDR
New wave punk from the big city that is far from being too shy to flirt with guitar pop or horrible cover shots. If you can get past the heavily flanged/chorused guitar sound, the two songs on this CDR are probably worth your $3. "Lucky Girl" is my personal favorite thanks to the background "ooooo doo wop doo wop" vocals from the fairer sex in the band. This is the kind of release that makes me glad they didn't press it to vinyl and charge $5 more for the privilege of hearing the same roughly-mastered not-quite-solid-gold-hits in the analog form. It is a demo, after all. More bands need to learn this. Maybe we should take away America's record pressing plants.(JC)
(self-released // http://ip.tosp.co.jp/i.asp?i=MOKO_MOKO69)

Black Lips "Does She Want" 7"
The better of the two archival releases of Black Lips recordings released by Slovenly, from the kid's first recording sessions back in 2000. And as much of a trainwreck as you might think this might sound like, it's a great record. "Does She Want" is reminiscent of really early Makers, like first one or two records before Michael Maker even realized he was cool. Harmonica-and-shakin' laced and pretty trad garage, but loose enough to not sound generic. "Stoned" on the flip is a ballsy Nugget, with some unintelligible vocal oowghhh-ing delivered right from the nuts and a completely tossed off guitar solo. You could say this record shows a more innocent band still trying to find their footing, and revealing small glimpses of their current greatness. It stands well on it's own merits as well though, as a document of a teenage garage band getting their rocks off. Surprisingly good. Scum stats: 500 press.(RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

Black Lips "In & Out" 7"
Part II of Slovenly's pair of early Black Lips recordings. This one isn't as good as the previously mentioned single, but it's still all right, especially if you're a fan. "In & Out" is more indicative of the chaos that was to come, an out of tune garage stumbler that struggles to keep up with itself and kind of challenges your ears to pick the rhythm out of the mess. "Stuck in My Mind" has them sounding like the house band at some shit-kicker honky-tonk, where the toothless locals ply your dates with grain alcohol and whisk them away to the beds of pick-up trucks while the band gets piss drunk and throws beer bottles at you from behind a chicken-wire barricade. But the song's not really as good as that description. Listen to the first single for some real tunes by a young garage band, listen to this one if you want to hear some Southern boys fucking around and having some fun. Good job by Slovenly to release these. Scum stats: 500 press.(RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

Black Lips "Hippys" 7"
One more Black Lips single, this one from yet another obscure European label. Only two songs on this, "Hippys" on A, and "Born to be a Man" on B. "Hippys" sounds like you think it does. Kinda groovy in a slightly sneering way, more flower than power though. The flip side is a slower country-folk tune. Kind of mundane for these guys, as they color inside the lines pretty well on this. No freaking out here. Khan himself recorded this pup in authentic lo-fidelity at his very own Moon Studios (get it?), and plays a bit of guest guitar on the B-Side as well. You'd hope this unholy combo (now apparently know as the "Death Cult") would result in something a bit more...juicy? Possessed? Rocking? Something. But I imagine Khan and the Lips have future surprises in store for us in the wake of their US tour. For now, I'd buy the Slovenly singles before I got this. Scum stats: 500 copies, all black. Supposedly sold out already, record has a big hole that comes with an adapter. You might want to use your own though, as it's a tight fit and kind of bows the thin vinyl. (RK)
(Varmint Records // www.varmintrecords.de)

Black Time "I Hate the World and the World Hates Me" EP
The Black Time haven't wasted much time in becoming the critical darling of the sub-underground. The road from obscure self-released LP to releasing singles all over, a reissue deal with In the Red, and screams for a US tour has been rather quick in coming. But it's all been well desreved, and they've made few, if any, missteps along the way. Their fifth record brings us one killer tune, "I Hate the World...", a perfect marriage of chug-a-lug primeval drumming and opaque layers of guitars, of both the sloppy-screeching and functional types, including a solo. A nice aural photograph of misdirected teen angst, from players I'm sure are well beyond their teen years. The flip provides the quick and simplistic drums and bit'o feedback number "Sleepwalking", and the punk-ish "Chinese Mechanics". Both pale in comparison to the anthemic title cut, however. Insert includes more charming and cryptic Black Time propaganda, and the line-up confusion begins here, with credits given to the mysterious Candy Random and Fiery Jack, but Mr. Stix and Janie Too Bad also make appearances, along with the constant presence of Agent Lemmy Caution. The notes attempt to make some sense of this, but not much. Anyway, pick it up for the A-Side, which I'm hoping will be a standard of the live set by the time they get here. Scum stats: as usual, AFOR numbered the copies, but neglect to tell you what the numer you have is out of. The highest number I've seen yet is 248, so that means at least 250, more likely 300, maybe more. Not too easy to find in the US yet, so snatch it when you get a chance. (RK)
(A Fistful of Records // afistfulofrecords@yahoo.com)

Blowtops "Insected Mind" LP/CD
First full-length from the now current Blowtops line-up: Creepy Dave on vox (no more guitar), Aaron on guit, Scott on drums/metal, and Tracy on vintage Yamaha organ. Most definitley the ultimate incarnation of this band. Tracy and Scott form a great rhythm section over which the other two wreak havoc on some of the best Blowtops material to date. "Black Jebus" is one of the 'tops all-time finest, "Self Mutilation Confession" has Dave crooning like a ringleader over some surreal circus-like sounds, and they cover "Street of Shame" off the 'Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel' LP. The new instrumentation lends them a subterranean industrial sort of feel, with Scott's drumming veering from adrenaline-pushing pounding to off-kilter banging on propane tanks and metal objects, and the organ makes up for the lack of bass nicely. It's amazing the amount of sounds that come out of the thing: deep, deep constrictor-like lines of snaking low-end, phantom like graveyard rhythms, piercing death-ray laser blasts, and anything other than traditional sounding organ-grinding. The horror elements are still in place, but the new direction opens them up more. Less dense than on the 'Blood & Tar' 10", and sounding meaner and more unique than on 'Blackstatic'. If someone approached me with the question "What do the Blowtops sound like?", I would have no problem pointing them in the direction of this LP. Their most cohesive effort in quite awhile.(RK)
(Big NEck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

The Brian Wilson Shock Treatment "The Secret Power of the Third Eye" CD
My introduction to 60s garage and psych was indirect. My first taste of that music was through the Paisley Underground garage revival of the early 80s, specifically the Rebel Kind comp, some Pandoras and Salvation Army records, and live performances by the Morlocks and the Lyres. And then, of course, there was buying every shitty record that Voxx and Midnight put out. Had the Brian Wilson Shock Treatment been around then they would have been one of those bands whose memory remains pleasant. They possess all the things that make the very few good bands from that time period special: There is attention to song-writing, the songs are tight and compact, and there is a nice, dirty swirl of organ throughout. Add to that a low-fi infusion straight from 90s garage, raw enough to scare the Little Stevens of the world, and you get something that sounds like it was done by the smart older brothers of the Thee Flying Dutchmen/Boom Boom of Renton crowd. This comes with a DVD, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the damn thing to play.(SSR)
(Slutfish Records // www.slutfishrecords.com)

George Brigman "Jungle Rot" LP/CD
There's a small-but-rabid crew of folks immersed/obsessed with the 1974-1976 "pre-punk" time period, and I say "good for them." Before the Ramones, things seemed a bit more loose and disorderly, and that was a good thing. Don't get me wrong, the KBD era might be my favorite of the rock continuum, but bands like Simply Saucer, Debris and Electric Eels are some of the coolest kicks out there. Like any other temporal genre dig, many bands from this era were reissued that probably shoulda' stayed calmly canned. Karl of Anopheles Records has the touch, though, and this LP by Baltimore "Fuzz Guitar legend" (hey, I just read the jacket sticker and fake the rest) George Brigman is more good than bad. Much has been made of fuzz stompers like the title track, and while those songs are a neat Blue Cheer/Stooges kick, I especially like acid blues numbers like "Scoolgirl" and "Don't Bother Me" (which actually sound not dissimilar to mid-period Spacemen 3). George isn't a genius songwriter, and some tunes lag like the old lady at the checkout, but there are hooks and there are heaps of that atmosphere period aficionados spew over. Hey, it's enough for me, too. (TK)
(Anopheles Records // www.anophelesrecords.com)

Buff Medways “Medway Wheelers” LP/CD
One of the downsides of releasing as much product as Wild Billy Childish has over the past 25 or so years is it’s nigh impossible to keep up with all of it. Another is that, while he may have recorded more killer tunes over that span of time than just about anyone out there, he’s also been responsible for his fair share of duff cuts. Until hearing this album, I’d always dismissed the Buff Medways as being responsible for far more of the latter than the former, but now I’m forced to rethink that assessment. Simply put, this is an awesome record. There’s a huge mod/maximum r&b influence going on here, and it works to fabulous effect. There’s still plenty of the trademark Childish grit to these tunes, but this time around they’re complimented by some huge Who-like hooks and melodies. Killer mod tunes like “Medway Wheelers” and “Private View” rank right up there with the best of Billy’s long and illustrious catalog. The only real negative I can think of here are the superfluous re-takes on Headcoats standards. I’d rather hear another “A Distant Figure of Jon” than another version of “Lie Detector.” Still, it’s not like they’re actually bad songs or anything. Overall, the mod angle a lot of these songs are coming from mixed with the patented Medway sound is as refreshing as a sparkling glass of lemonade on a July day. Rumor has it that Billy wants to go in an MC5-like direction on the next Buff Medways album, so keep an ear pealed for that! If you haven’t given the Buff Medways a listen in awhile, you really owe it to yourself to check this out. In the meantime, if you haven’t given the Buff Medways a listen in awhile, you really owe it to yourself to check this out.(SB)
(Damaged Goods www.damagedgoods.co.uk)

The Busy Signals s/t 7"
It's a no-brainer to buy pretty much anything on Douchemaster Records and after getting the latest 7", I'm pretty pissed at myself for missing the Busy Signals at the Blackout this year. I showed up late or something, I don't even remember. Guy and girl vocals working well together, verses transitioning into choruses ever-so-catchily and that constant 16th on the hi-hat that I love. Reminding me of the later Carbonas & Beat Beat Beat, The Busy Signals have no problem fitting into the Douchemaster family. It's funny, I usually use Black Flag to cleanse my musical palate, as it were, before setting into reviews. I found myself going back to this 7" after every two or three records. It's just that good. Highly recommended. (JC)
If anyone belongs on Douchemaster records, it's Eric "Beany Cecil Cooper" Lastname. Ya see, Eric's a Douchebag. A really big, bursting-at-the-seams filled with old man jizz, coma queefs and herpe piss Douchebag. To be fair, he's a douchebag who's been attempting (across several states) to join up with a band he can be unembarrassed about. Luckily for him, members (former and current) of the Carbonas, Tyrades and Krunchies could probably prop Tiny Tim's corpse against the wall w/a triangle and finagle interesting sounds out of it. What you get is more of that great, soon-to-be-patented Dave Carbona production, an ex-Carbona writing some nice hooks that take their sweet time in sinking you (but when they do, they snag like a motherfucker), some nice femme vox, and lightning-strummed guitars courtesy of the Douchemaster himself and his poop-buddy Kevin Krunchie. Jap-punk comparisons only really seem apt on the Tweezers-like "Do What You Want." The other two are only a sidestep from the ATL Beat Beat Beat/Carbonas contingent, and that's fine by me. "Just Wanna Go Out" is especially catchy and, well, good. Fans of catchy punk rock goodness can't go wrong with this one. Dooouuuuche! (TK)
(Douchemaster Records // douchemasterrecords@hotmail.com)

The Cabarets "Michitte gu Kanakoto" MCDR
All girls punk from Japan, but put thoughts of Brain Death aside, this is much more 1-2 focused punk rock than straight ahead hardcore punk. It is plausible to picture them playing before The Stalin, Comes or other hard punk acts from Japan's early and mid 80s; the opening march/dirge would be fine on an ADK 7" and you can imagine the singer becoming more and more unhinged throughout the performance by the sound of her vocals on this release. I'm intrigued and would certainly like to see if they can keep a full length release interesting - I picture one or two freak out jams ala Masturbation or Aburadako filling out each side's shorter punk songs. Recommended! (JC)
(self released // http://ip.tosp.co.jp/i.asp?i=cabarets69)

Carbonas "Blackout" EP
"Blackout (Waiting to Happen)" is the brilliant start-stop upbeat number they opened their set at the Blackout with and which was stuck in my head for months afterward. It might just be the best thing they've committed to vinyl yet. Great bassline, admirable vocal snot, shredding guitars, quickfast drumming, it's a total package. Their ability to match Zero Boys velocity to Powerpearls catchiness is peerless and deliciously original-sounding. Songs like this really do make their first LP sound like shit. They are light years ahead of that record at this point. The other two tracks ("Nostalgia Buff" and "Inside Out") are cold-blooded killers as well, but "Nostalgia Buff" would probably win out if the two fought in an alley. One of the best singles of the year, and that's no fucking lie. Hype this, asshole. Scum stats: 500 first press, 100 of them on "Carboners Collector (S)Cum" white vinyl, the rest on black. All sold out. Repress available soon.(RK)
This band has gone through the wringer with what they want released and what they want to keep a secret, it seems. Record an entire album, then decide that it's too dated to release? Fair enough, I suppose - it's their music after all! Just like on their "Frothing" 7", the new guitarist brings a very competent approach to the song writing and every part seems to just fit so perfectly. Toe-tapping rocking punk that is just more of the same great stuff The Carbonas have been making themselves popular with over the past year. Hurry up and put out some LPs already!! (JC)
As they've steadily improved over the years, I honestly can't think of anyone putting out BETTER catchy-ass punk rock than the Carbonas. They take familiar riffs & lines & lyrics, pump 'em full of energy and scramble 'em up in ways that'll keep your brain humming for hours after lifting the needle. A little Heartbreakers lead here, some UK punk swipe there, and fuck it - great, great tunes. If you don't like this record, you either hate th' punk rock or you hate yourself. Fun, great, killer, cool, buy, buy buy. (TK)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Dean Dirg "26 Kicks to Make the Whole World Pay" CD
Basically, this is two Dirg albums on one CD. And basically, Dean Dirg is a Henry Fiat tribute/rip off, but they do it pretty well. Like HFOS, 26 tracks is a bit much for fast-as-fug amped-up funny p-rock, so I'd say singles are a much better format for this unit. But if you can never get enough HFOS, and are looking for a reasonable facsimile, here ya' go. I think the 15 year old 'Knee would have loved this puppy to death, but my older self prefers the occasional toe-dip, and that's about it. (TK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

Deche Dan's Face "Zouzou" 10"
Who is Deche Dan? Why is there a band named after his face? I don't know. I do know this French two-piece has been kicking since 1995 or so, and actually released an LP and a few singles years ago (including one on SubPop!?). I have never heard them mentioned by anyone outside of a couple Frenchmen, and I have never heard or seen any of their records until this point. What do they sound like? Well, ahem, it's blues. Punk. Or something close to it. On this 10" you get six tracks that were recorded in 2000, in some girl's living room somewhere in Bordeaux. And it has that homey kind of feel to it, and a nice big and blown-out, loud and live recording sound. If I was in that living room I am sure I would have loved it. The drumming's adept, and you get a lot of guitar sounds thrown out at you, including some lap steel. The A-Side rocks well. The B-Side has one rocker, one slow jam, and ends with a soundtrack-y mood piece. In between the tunes you get conversation in foreign tongues, the sounds of instruments being moved/tuned, and other very casual elements. You can imagine the wine being poured and the brown cigarettes being smoked to butts as they launch into another tune. An interesting exercise in home recording. The music is good, but it's the loose vibe you get listening, and the intimate feel of the moment in time it was recorded in translated to you via the vinyl that makes this a noteworthy record. Not something I'd play a lot, but something I enjoyed hearing. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

Digger and the Pussycats "Watch Yr Back" LP/CD
These two boys from down under are all right. On this, their second LP (and the first longplayer of theirs I've heard), they sound like I hoped they would. Tasty rhythms pounded out at breakneck speed by one dude playing a three-piece kit, that sounds louder and madder than most drummers with an army of rack toms at their disposal. The guitarist sounds as if he grows an extra pair of hands at times, giving the band an incredibly big presence for just a duo. Their song menu consists of rapid-fire garage-punk for the most part, with some dips into slower/bluesier territory, but when they get a good running start and dive into the apeshit pummeling, you feel like you're riding shotgun with these guys on some Outback jailbreak. The getaway tale of "Catch Us if You Can" is great storytelling backed with a big beat, and is a perfect example of these guys doing right. "Coming To Get You" shows some sharpened fangs (and the classic refrain of "You Drive Like A Cunt!" can't be beat), and as long as they keep the velocity up, they've got me listening. Only when they slow it down does your attention wander. Overall, a bunch of fun-loving and rule-breaking tunes that are above the average for the genre. Exciting stuff from just two fellas. Scum stats: 500 pressed on black, and comes with a 12" sized 8 page foldout notebook-style booklet with great artwork. A beautiful package.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Dissimilars "Land Mine" EP
On "Land Mine" The Dissimilars remind me a lot of some my favorite juvie-delinquent garage acts from the glory days: The Fells, Drags, Motards, and Cryin' Out Louds all come time mind while spinning this EP. The title cut is a killer, "(Crushin' Up) Pills" is as good as it sounds, and "Turn Me Loose" has some great lyrics. A whole lot of fun, and shorter and better than their debut single from earlier in the year. If you need a fun record to spin at parties, this is definitely it. If you're looking for a record that is gonna blow your fucking jaded mind and take you on a trip somewhere far out in the reaches of the musical universe you've never visited before, well, go listen to fucking Mind Flayer and insert the stick back in your ass. Jesus christ. Scum stats: 500 pressed, all on clear blue vinyl with matching 3/4-style sleeve, and two inserts, also on blue paper. The color scheme looks fantastic and is very well done. (RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

The Dreadful Yawns s/t CD
Their band name lends itself towards a simple and succinct review, but I'll....try....hard to...resist. Especially since I've got to be the only TB reviewer who'd actually listen full-through more than once. REALLY laid back country rock, probably attempting a Byrds yank-pull, but just coming off limp and lifeless for most of this...really goddamn long (74 minutes or something like that) "album." About 8-9-10 songs in there are nice extended psych-jam moments, but this is really TOO MUCH. (TK)
(Bomp! // www.bomprecords.com)

The Feelers "Parts and Pieces" EP
Two originals and one cover that may or may not have been recorded before The Feelers' recent full length. They certainly retain the fuzzed out and frantic sound from the first releases, which is a plus. Mix KBD vol. 2 with Tony Packo's chili and you have this record. My favorite part? The kick drum sound. (JC)
As far as KBD-styled junk goes, The Feelers are at the top of that shit heap. Their set at the Blackout was one of the punkest things I've seen in recent years, and I mean that. No garage bullshit here at all. This one is three literal cuts, one cover ("School Jerks" by The Vains), and a couple of top shelf slices of original barbiturate-rock. Sounds a little fuzzier than the LP, and the arrangement is a bit more claustrophobic. They should packaged this with a razor. A++, will listen to again. Scum stats: 500 copies, all on black wax. Wait...didn't P.Trash release this? You mean there's not 118 copies on limited color wax and three different covers? (RK)
(P. Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Thee Fine Lines "Looking Everywhere" 7"
Four song EP from this three piece out of St. Louis, MO, whose LP I actually liked a good bit. But where that LP had some great (if derivative) moments, this EP (which actually, perhaps inadvertently, comprises a relationship-gone-bad song-cycle of sorts, as mentioned in the loving liners by Mike of Go Metric! fanzine) is pretty lacking in any sort of attention-getting musicality. Justin Kearby can knock-off the Sonics via Childish teenbeat Billy-rock all day, and rather convincingly, but how long before you're rewriting rewrites of songs that weren't all that original in the first place? Dead end, brother, dead end. Things do not get interesting at all until the very last tune, where he lets loose with a bit of Caesars-ish stomp on "You're Heartless". The rest of the tunes sail on rivers I've seen the likes of before and have no desire to revisit. And to make it more frustrating, they got rid of the chick bass player from the LP! And replaced her with a dude! Man, what a bummer. She was cute, and she had a cool voice. I wonder, was that Justin's girl? Did they split? Are these tunes about her? Is she heartless? I don't know, but that storyline would make this record a lot more interesting, but not necessarily more listenable. Proceed with caution on this one, and keep in mind I liked the LP well enough and am still saying that.(RK)
(Licorice Tree Records // www.licoricetree.com)

Fire Engines "Codex Teenage Premonition"
Fire Engines were a band from Edinburgh, Scotland that existed for exactly 18 months during those golden years of UK post-punk, 1979 – 1981. They released a few hard to find seven inches and one LP, most of which is collected on the out-of-print ‘Fond’ CD. They were outsiders lurking on the more melodically conventional Postcard Records scene of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera. They had more in common with bands like The Mekons and The Scars, thus drawing them into Fast Product’s orbit, resulting in a brief flurry of exciting releases. Fire Engines legacy remained one of polite post-punk legend, until dance-rock posterboys Franz Ferdinand sashayed their way onto the international rock scene and made it OK to be a weird Scottish post-punk from the past. They started name-dropping Fire Engines and Orange Juice in interviews and people were interested again. Orange Juice was recently rewarded with a nice retrospective, but that wasn’t good enough for Fire Engines; the original band reunited. They have since played shows with Franz Ferdinand and recorded some new material.
Unfortunately, instead of re-releasing ‘Fond,’ or, even better, compiling a newer, more definitive collection, the Domino label, in collaboration with Creeping Bent, has issued a live CD with recordings taken from a few different shows in 1980 and 1981. The recordings are of decent sound quality and it’s a nice thing to have if you are already a fan and it could even work as an introduction to the band, but it’s certainly not ideal. There are a few Peel Sessions tacked onto the end. Nevertheless, ‘Codex Teenage Premonition’ will give you an idea of what Fire Engines were all about: terse yet danceable rhythms, barbed guitars colliding haphazardly, but still nailing memorable melodies, some guy periodically bleating a bunch of nonsense. But don’t think this is some polished cuff-link rock a la Franz Ferdinand; Fire Engines keep on moving like nervous little sharks. Why stop to correct a mistake when you’ve got so much momentum built up? As they went along, they settled into quirky pop, but they never let go of their initial spark. We shall see if that still holds true, I suppose.(EEK)
(Domino Records // www.dominorecordco.com)

Flaschen "You're Negative Baby" 7"
French band's promo materials are popping up in the mailbox more frequetly than take-out menus from the Chinese joint down the street recently. But for every Volt or Anteenagers or Fatals there's run-of-the-mill stuff, like this single from Flaschen, a three-pice from the wilds of St. Laurent/Nice. The title cut and the lead song on the B-Side are just samey mid-tempo raunchy garagepunk-by-numbers. Sure, they can write a rock tune with a decent title, but they don't make it sound any better than the people before them. Nothing grabs you, there's no signature to make it sound "different". The last track, "Black Veins", is the best, as it actually has a bit of character, sounding like a really fuzzy Metros with a French guy singing in bad English. Not worth buying for the one decent tune.(RK)
(Trash Mondain Records // flaschen_nice@yahoo.fr)

Foetus "Love" CD
I remember getting Jim "Foetus" Thirwell's "Hole" album when I was a little nipper. I remember my Old Man thinking the name was offensive and saying "this has got to be garbage." I remember thinking Dad was a major square, but I'm sure we've all been there. How could Pa not like some of the most ingenious word-twists in the history of rock? Couldn't he get with the healthy lampooning of every possible sacred cow? Murderers, Satan, Hitler, puss-diving and water torture? And the music - my punk rock brain had never heard synthesized instruments crack down on the beach boys, be-bop and every sort of popular music cliche in such a powerful, manly way. I grabbed "Nail" not too long after, and Jim heaped some solo classical compositions on top of classics like "Enter the Exterminator." I thought the guy was a genius. He went on to do some cool shit with Swans members (Wiseblood), and his Foetus vehicle got a big push around the time Ministry and all those Industrial pretenders were the hip sound, but I stopped keeping up a long time ago. On the DVD that comes with the new album, Thirwell says something about not wanting to do angry music anymore. And what you get on the album and the new videos is the kinda alternative moosh that I usually stay at least 10 steps behind. If you listen closely, you can pick up some typical word-knowledge, but this fucker is, in general, a chore to get through. The DVD, however, has a great live (sorta neu-ish metal) version of "I'll See You in Poland, Baby," from that aforementioned "Hole" record, which displays the man's great voice and shows that he wrote great tunes and could pull it all off with a live band. There are some shorts for some animated show that seems kinda funny (he did the background music) and some trailers for a Thirwell bio movie that must be coming out soonish. The Steroid Maximus live clip looks great (he conducts a pretty fast and intense orchestra doing some loud-ass classical compositions), and made me scramble for SM record. Genius? Maybe. But this album really isn't very interesting or good. Liked the DVD, though, so Foetus fans may want to open the wallet anyhoo. (TK)
(Birdman Records // www.birdmanrecords.com)

Frustrations "Nerves Are Fried" 7"
This young gang from MI pushes out some pretty cool Aussie X noise, especially on the A-side. The loping, lazy single-string scrape that runs through the verse on "Nerves Are Fried" is just "off" enough to work as a great hook, and the propulsive chorus seals the deal. The flip is Ginn/F. Discussion guitar-driven trajectory that's comparably aimless, though still worth a listen. Major complaint here is that the vocals on both tracks are about as remarkable and exciting as a flip through the five channels on my TV. Nonetheless, I suspect these guys are still capable of something solid in the near future. So watch for 'em. (EL)
(X Records // info@x-recordings.com)

The Gentleman Callers "Don't Say What It Is" CD
Debut full length from some St. Louis rockers. Traditional Sixties garage (with organ) that stays close to the standard formula. Not offensive per se, but the thing that makes this a snoozer is the fact that almost every song is slow-to-mid tempo. It sounds as if they don't hit the gas pedal once on the whole thing (the closest they come is the one track that was recorded live on the radio). No stompers, gassers, or rave-ups here, just some rather pedestrian garage-by-numbers. If you dig The Greenhornes or Thee Shams, well...even if you dig those bands, I doubt you would dig this. Someone buy these guys some coffee. Or maybe some Sparks for you younger fellas. Seriously, kick out the Teenage Shutdown jams a bit. Get energized. Or at least caffeinated. Do you want to be the young Makers or the young Mortals? Who were the Mortals, you ask? Exactly...Nice looking booklet design though.(RK)
(Wee Rock Records // www.weerockrecords.com)

The Gris Gris "For the Season" CD/LP
I'm a big Greg Ashley fan. His solo work, the Mirrors, the Gris Gris. Most everything he does is impressive, a sonic force of undulating psych-folk that's as aggressive as the genre allows and sometimes moreso. I spent many summer afternoons holed-up in the prison cell bedroom blasting the first Gris Gris alb, hungover and antisocial and bored, sometimes even wistful or vaguely introspective, and that elpee would bounce off the walls of my little shitbox room and sometimes everything in there buzzed with energy. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm romanticising it. But I loved that album and still love it today. So about a month ago it was with this sorta fondness for Mr. Ashley's music and my own perverse sense of antisocial and fucked-up reclusiveness that I, barefoot and greasy, walked over to the sideyard and picked up the package leaning against the side door and found an advance of the new Gris Gris full-length. I was pretty happy. Trudge through the stifling heat back into the living room and throw the fucker into the disc changer and awaaaay we go. First impression: Lead-off track, "Ecks Em Eye," is like "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" as filtered through Redd Krayola's bizarre sacrament. Good. Powerful. Is that chanting in there? It sure is. Fuck me. Disc continues onward. It is a moody mess. So am I. "Down with Jesus" kicks in and I can't help but think of a more upbeat Spacemen 3. Not bad. Not great, but OK. Seems like most of the tracks on here are more folk and less psych than previous efforts. Odd, considering this is a very electric record compared to the mostly-acoustic self-titled outing. I like it, but I'm far more appreciative of tunes like "Pick Up Your Raygun" than I am "Mademoiselle of the Morning." There are some great songs on here, don't get me wrong. But after many listens, I haven't found a tune that overpowered me like the earlier material, like the first time I heard "Everytime" and thought, "This is one of the eeriest, densest and coolest songs I've heard in a long, long time." I don't know. I'm torn. I still listen to this one a lot. I still enjoy it. But I suppose the lack of superlatives this time around has an idiot like me confused. Either way, I recommend picking this one up, just like anything else Greg has done. (EL)
(Birdman Records // www.birdmanrecords.com)

Guitar Wolf "Golden Black" CD
Very timely greatest hits package from Guitar Wolf, dedicated to and commemorating Basswolf's recent passing. Twenty-six tracks, all remastered, that were picked with the help of an online poll of fans. Is this the definitive Guitar Wolf release? Well, yes and no. On it's own, this CD contains bits of everything that has been great about rock'n'roll culture from the Fifties to today: Japanese garage, loud volumes, Joan Jett, Link Wray, speaker-humbling distortion, Seventies punk, leather jackets, motorcycle gangs, pompadours, and anything else you can think of. Truthfully, Guitar Wolf contain the essence of everything that is cool. They earned every bit of acclaim and praise heaped on them. They were rightfully the most popular of all the Japanese-garagesters. (How much more popular than say, Teengenerate? Remember their first single on Bag of Hammers? 3,000 of those were supposedly pressed and sold in 1995, before they were even on a major label in Japan.) That they slipped into the mainstream was absolutely deserved. Really, you couldn't do much better than handing this CD over when someone asks, "So what's this rock'n'roll stuff all about?" They were the perfect band to be in movies, were photogenic, affable, and most importantly, always stayed true to their rock-n-roll mission. Does this CD encapsulate all of this? Fuck yeah. In the future I'll probably be listening to this disc more than any record they made, except perhaps 'Wolf Rock!'. Is this release definitive, then? No. Strangely, there are no tracks at all directly from the 'Kung Fu Ramone' or 'Missile Me!' LPs (so no "Hurricane Rock" or "Run Wolf Run"). But, this thing is still all killer, focusing mainly on stuff from 'Planet of the Wolves' and on, so if you missed a lot of their new-ish stuff, you have the cream of the crop here. They throw in a couple cuts from 'Wolf Rock!', the awesome title track from the "Murder By Rock" single, and a few other odds and ends, sticking mainly to LP cuts. Seriously, there were maybe two tracks on this I skipped through on first listen. And then I went back again for another dose of "Wild Zero"and "Red Rockabilly". It was during this marathon listening session that I was reminded that as hung up as we are on Teengenerate and The Registrators, Guitar Wolf were and still are just as essential. I still remember the first time I ever heard 'Wolf Rock!'. I don't remember the first time I heard Teengenerate. Not that I'm saying one is better than the other. I'm just saying you shouldn't short sheet Guitar Wolf. This CD will make you happy, I promise. (RK)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Haircuts "Are No Fun" 7"
A gag record of sorts, with Ryan from the impeccable Sack'o'Shit label playing with a few accomplices who shall remain nameless for now. Totally incompetent gimmicky tunes, that are purposefully bad. And the worst part is...one of them is really good. "Haircuts Are No Fun" and "Never See Her Again" both push the standard definition of listenable music, like an even more basic and stupid Spits, but the vocal delivery and sloppy arrangement kind of sucks you in. Shit-wave that shouldn't be amusing, but is. "Haircuts are No Fun" is amazing. I will say it. "Never See Her Again", notsomuchso. But "Haircuts..." fucking rules. Fo real. The fact that I like this thing says something about me and the state of music today. What that something is I'm frightened to theorize on. I say buy it, like it, and don't be such a tight-ass. Really. Scum stats: 300 pressed, but each record comes with a hand drawn cover (some with personal messages) covered in...human hair. No shit. Probably the most unsanitary record I own. I was delighted that the hairs were not curly. (RK)
(Sack'o'Shit // www.pukeandexplode.com)

Highschool Lockers s/t CDR
Well, I guess it is nice that the Italians are turning out competent rock and roll, but what the fuck use do I have for a band that sounds like the Devil Dogs, especially at this late date. There was a time that the Italians were actually forward looking in their punk rock. Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, Raw Power, and I Refuse It were three of the best bands to rule the early 80s hardcore scene, and that isn’t just rule Italy but, in true Caesarian fashion, the known world. And a few years earlier Tampax created perhaps the greatest punk song ever in "UFO Dictator." Listening to these chumps you wouldn’t know Italy had a glorious punk rock past. You would think that the whole boot was dressed in a mall. This is beer commercial garbage Punk. Yawn.(SS)
(self-released // www.highschoollockers.com)

Hosenfefer "Hangovers & Heartaches" CD
Punk rock from Kosovo? No shit. I'm intrigued. As I examine the self-released CD I see it is billed as "Hate Fueled Alcohol Driven Down-N-Dirty Rock'n'Roll." Well, I can't write a better review than that little blurb there, because that is exactly what this is. Imagine a Confederacy of Scum band with an intimidating looking singer growling in accented English and you have Hosenfefer. They cover The Kids, Dictators, and Lazy Cowgirls, and do originals with titles like "Alcohol and Hate". I give them credit for doing this shit in Kosovo, and for also scoring a back cover pic of the delicious D'Lana Tunnel somehow. If I lived in Eastern Europe I would go see these guys live.(RK)
I got this in the mail some time ago and it got lost in a pile of stuff. I never searched for it because, well, this Kosovo punk band's 7" didn't really do much for me. While this CD sticks to the 1-2-3-4, it is a step up from their TAM89 release. It is no-frills punk rock and roll that draws from the Kids and Lazy Cowgirls (both covered here, as well as the Dictators) and has early 80s Brit-style backing vocals. All that is a welcome release because by the song titles and packaging I was fearing this to be Gearhead flaming dice bullshit. Song titles? I won't ruin it for you but let us say that English is these guys' second (or third or fourth) language and there are brilliant lyrics like "I like the way you drink your beer...I want you to be my wife." Nothing new under the sun, but I am sure in an occupied shithole like Kosovo power chords and a pint is pretty much all you need. Good stuff.(SSR)
(Kizmiaz Records // hosenfefer22@yahoo.com)

Hospitals "I’ve Visited The Island of Jocks and Jazz" CD/LP
I come to the Hospitals relatively unscarred. Wanted to check the debut but never did, missed ‘em when they played my town cuz I was too busy traipsing around Europe like a dandy, and I definitely didn’t have the dedication to track down the Rich People 12” on Yakisakana that was mostly covers (of cool shit like Harry Pussy, Homosexuals, and The Who). Well, that’s OK, cuz I saw ‘em recently and they were pretty good, nothing earth-shattering, but it intrigued me enough to scoop up their new one. I also admit to being intrigued by a band that could move from In The Red to Load, arguably two of the best contemporary underground rock labels in the US. To the layman eye these labels appear to be on divergent paths, but go fuck your duck cuz Human Eye could also easily be on Load and Lightning Bolt recently appeared on a Guitar Wolf tribute comp. So, if my peanut butter tastes funky in your chocolate, maybe you need to redefine your palate, eh, mon ami?
How’s the rec, you ask? Not too shabby. It took a minute for it to sink in. Sure, there is plenty of disconnected, semi-interesting hoo-haw laying around like dirty laundry; hell, that’s half of the record (clocking at 24:46, it’s not exactly an epic). But then there are monster stompers like the aforementioned “Rich People” and “She’s Not There.” Sometimes drummer/singer Adam Stonehouse is a little too enamored with the sound of his voice through analog delay, but this is balanced by a suitably nihilistic and misanthropic atmosphere. Much of this atmosphere appears to be the work of producer (probably hates that term) Chris Woodhouse, who has yet to make a bad sounding record (that I’ve heard atleast). At first, the record seems muddy and washed-out, but once you adapt to the wet rag drumming and vacuum guitars, you begin to feel as if you are trapped in a closet that is slowly filling with dark swamp water. The second half of the record highlights the sing-songy rant “Problems.” Most of the album features Ned Meiners (also of So So Many Jabs at Their Band), but previous guitarist Jon Dwyer (formerly of Coachwhips) shows up on “She’s Not There” and the odd-timed yet tuneful plod of “Be.”(EEK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

The Humans "Warning" EP
Martin Savage is the human garage-rock mimic. The guy hears something he likes, and then breaks out with some pretty authentic sounding imitations. Persuaders (Dixie Buzzards), Oblivians (Blacks), Reverend Beat-man (Rev. Savage and His Holy Rollers), Exploding Hearts (Locomotions Big Neck EP), and more have received the treatment over the years. Sometimes it works beautifully, and sometimes it stinks the joint up, but whatever the result, this is obviously Martin's way of paying tribute to bands he loves and that inspire him, not some clip-job by someone who doesn't care. This time around, the Black Lips are the focus of affections, so much so that there there is even a song called simply "Black Lips". And it's a good one, as is "I Woke Up This Morning", both amazing distillations of the Lips sound. Works great, even replicating the usage of the extended monotone 'whoaaahhhh'. Seriously, worthy of hearing for anyone who is hoppping on the Lips bandwagon, and better than their own "Hippys" EP. "Warning" is just a fuck-off intro that is pretty cool in it's own right, but not so much a song. The B-Side is a slower jam, and they don't really pull it off. "Jingle Bells" is a "bonus cut", performed by The Skull OMB. Well worth for the A-Side and mock SSLD sleeves. Scum stats: The Skull Never Walk Alone Edition of 153 copies, Two Headed Go-Go-Go Kart Edition of 114 copies, and Tunes of a Royal Flash Edition of 51 copies.(RK)
(Solid Ken Lovie Doll // www.ken-rock.com)

I-Attack "American Dream" 7"
I-Attack are easily one of Chicago's finest punk-rock bands and hopefully with this record Darius and Criminal IQ Records will get them the kind of recognition they deserve. Influenced by such great American 80's hardcore punk bands as Black Flag, Negative Approach, Reagan Youth, and just about any other band from that particular time in that particular genre. I'll keep this one short and sweet: This record totally blows away their nearly flawless self-titled LP released last year on A Wrench In the Gear Records. The songs are faster, tighter, angrier, and far crazier. The production is dirtier, more full sounding, and has a very ferocious bite to it. I was actually with Darius, head of CIQ Records, on the night he got the masters for this record. That night we drove around listening to the masters roughly ten times trying to find a reason why he SHOULDN'T put this fucker out. We couldn't find a single reason. An absolutely great record by an absolutely great band. Top ten material for sure.(MTC)
(Criminal IQ Records// www.criminaliq.com)

Intelligence "Icky Baby" LP/CD
This is the record where the two halves of the Intelligence become one. No longer is there such a drastic split between “the guitar songs” and “the keyboard songs” as was present on the ‘Boredom and Terror’ album with its accompanying bonus disc. Instead, this record flows seamlessly from Lars’ home-recorded, drum machine screechers (man, I love that Weasel Walter mastering) to thumping, full band bursts and back again. ‘Icky Baby’ also directs its fury more at the throat than the last album, with less DIY experimentation going on, and coupled with the band’s recent split single with the Coachwhips (‘Dating Cops’ is still the song of the year, if ya ask me), shows where the band is heading. Fans of A Frames, Fall, Country Teasers, etc., take note. This is top-notch material and after thirty or so plays it still sounds fresh. (JG)
Despite what might seem to be the prevailing wisdom, I like a hell of a lotta' people. Near the top of that list would have to Lars Finberg, A-Frames drummer, raconteur and mastermind behind the Intelligence. Lars IS the Intelligence, actually, though he let some folks (ex-Popular Shapes, I believe) clank their instruments on about half this record. Intelligence records are always a feast of SOUND - clackity-clop percussion, fuzz-wool bass bursts, icy guitars, noise cracks and Lars yelp. On this one, you also get HOOKS, bug 'uns, which may mean some noise wacks won't dig it as much, but YOU will. This one attached itself to my brainpan right away, and is packed with songs that will buzz in your ears for days. This is certainly art punk, or what's been passing for that the last 5-10 years, but it doesn't sound like a buncha' spoiled college students taking a disassociative stance, it's born of passion and instinct. You'll dig. (TK)
Finally: The much-awaited follow-up to "Boredom and Terror," an alb that was equally embraced and panned by those both in-the-know and dogshit-dumb. Either way, I liked the debut, accepted it as the good post-apocalypse punk slab that it is with arms open and akimbo, so I knew this would keep my attention for at least one listen. Twenty or so spins later, I still love it. Tops its predecessor with ease. And With the new four-person line-up (including a couple Popular Shapes), the band is more focused (yet more spastic), more powerful, and oddly enough, more pop-oriented (as hinted at by the previous LP's "Weekends in Jail" and as evidenced by this one's "Garbage In Garbage Out," "Tropical Struggle" and "Cheer Up Switch," my three favorite tunes therein). Trademark blown-to-bits bombast and Lars's monotone vox are still intact. They haven't ditched the mongo pounding rhythms and schizo guitar spittakes, they've just improved upon 'em. If I were witty, I'd say something like: "A great band just got better!" but I'll leave it at "Buy this album, because it's one of the year's best." P.S.: Please do not refer to this band as "robot punk." Thanks. (EL)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

The Jet Set "Let's Get Broken" 7"
The eastern Wisconsin rock scene is pretty tight, so I was surprised to get a record in the mail by a supposed Milwaukee band I hadn't heard of. They apparently moved to Milwaukee from Illinois, but the reason for that move escapes me. Anyway, put down the needle, typical generic garage rock in the post-Stripes world. It didn't anger me, it didn't get the blood boiling, it didn't really do anything at all except sit and spin. Made some inquiries, and got absolutely HEATED hate-beams, head shakes and raves regarding the "super annoying" lead singer and his gang of suck-asses. Since I got pretty much the exact same reaction from every imaginable corner, I gotta believe 'em. (TK)
(Wee Rock Records // www.weerockrecords.com)

Kill the Hippies "Erectospective" 2XCD
Mammoth compilation of what must be every recorded minute of Kill the Hippies' career (though I suspect they could have tacked a couple dozen more onto the already whopping seventy-plus cuts on this beast), which has amazingly now spanned over twelve years. KTH are one of those bands that everyone not living in Ohio (Kent, OH specifically) has kinda heard of, but never seen or really have an opinion on. A true "Yeah, I think I have one their singles somewhere, it's OK..." kind of band. Actually, their career path reminds me a bit of MOTO's, slaving away for years in the under-underground, self releasing tapes, getting a truly unknown label to do a single here and there, a bunch of comp appearances, lots of different drummers, and a tendency to be ignored for whatever reasons. The only difference being MOTO somehow caught fire in the past few years, whereas KTH still languish in the nether-reaches of indie-dom. If you remember that fine e-rag Blank Generation, you may remember one Shawn Abnoxious, who sang the praises of these fellas rather often, and that was probably how or why I ended up with a single or two of theirs. That I seemed to recall having, and seemed to think were OK when I received this in the promo pile. And you know, a lot of KTH's material is way more than OK. Some it is genuinely great. Starting with Disc One we work backwards from their most recent output, the really fantastic "Jerked Off By Strangers" 7", the title track of which is super-catchy new wave-ish pop. The warped recording (sped up perhaps?) and tinny drum sound add a real bit of charm to the songs, of which there a couple late-LA/Dangerhouse styled frantic punkers ("Deserter" and "I Look for Trouble") and the tasteful Spits-with-female-singer bass-driven dirge of "Dildo Dildo Dildo". I would imagine a lot people (myself included) would have really dug this record had we known it existed. You should definitely seek this single out if you don't feel like diving into the whole 2XCD experience right away. The rest of Disc One is the remainder of their "official" recorded output that runs the gamut of styles of the past ten years over 35 or so more tracks. Well done pop-punk ("Young Tuffs"), brutal hardcore-flavored punk stompers ("Butcher King"), Rip Off styled attacks, Jabbers-esque scum punkers, and bits of Saundersian/Meltzoid genius ("The Stranger" or "I, Shrink Ray") all effectively cohabitate here. All of this done with a truly endearing sense of humor and personality created by some great John/Exene girl-guy vocal interplay between constant members Matt and Melissa, simple-stupid-and-fun instrumentation, and a variety of lo-fi recordings (all of which manage to sound good), all factors that keep the genre-hopping coherent. Disc Two collects some unreleased rarities, which contain a few nice surprises ("Chopped Off" and "Electric Meat" stand out), and the contents of three self-released cassettes from the early days. Of course, there is some dross over seventy-seven tracks. Some are just too stupid, some too cute, some just suck. Most of the cassette material is bad. But there are a good two dozen really worthwhile songs here. I've dipped into this cess pool repeatedly since getting it, and seeing how many people are creaming jeans over The Spits and MOTO and others there's no reason Kill the Hippies shouldn't be getting some blowjobs and respect too. They're just as stupid, just as simple, just as fun, and probably a bit smarter and more charming as well. If you buy CDs, this should be one of them, and value-priced at $15 ppd. That's less than 20 cents per song. (RK)
(Rocknroll Purgatory // www.rocknrollpurgatory.com)

King Louie One Man Band "Chinese Crawfish" LP/CD
While King Louie might now be surrounded by legend, him surviving Hurricane Katrina by swimming through a Mississippi swamp in the very place the eye hit, with lady and pitbull in tow, his would be just another amazing story of survival if he did not make some great music. He’s been in a handful of great punk rock bands but it is his one man band that stands out. On Chinese Crawfish, King Louie does what the Gibson Bros. did in the mid 1980s: He reaches back into the neglected and ill-revived past of American music and pumps it full so much spit and spirit that it makes other practitioners (like the crowd who clings to that rotten signifier Americana) look like slick revivalists and trendy chumps. The channeling going on here is unfiltered, unrefined, and unrepentant. In fact, the only flaw in this collection is where King Louie goes back and rerecords his past. His run-throughs of the two cuts from his first single on Therapeutic (out of print but track it down) lose the off-the-cuff, in-the-moment possession of the original takes. But given that the rest of this album is pure joy, those criticism are nit-picking. Anyone looking for raw & rootsy punk rock or a heir to the throne of Hasil Atkins need to end their hunt now and check out King Louie.(SSR)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Knaughty Knights 7"
Third single from this Memphis boy's club. The scoop? Not quite as good their classic SSLD debut (but fairly close), but leagues ahead of their single on Perpetrator from last year. Four tunes, three from Crook, one from Yarber. Rich's songs have a nice hooky garage feel, and are absolutely top notch in their no frills rocking. No fancy-pants shit here, just pure rock goodness. Poppiness even. "He's Gonna Get You" is garage-pop that goes mean at the end, and "Wenches of Turpentine Street" is blistering. Jack's contribution, "Get Well in Jail", is as good a tune as he's written since the Oblivians days. Somewhat brief, but dripping with delectable Memphis rock-sauce and surprisingly poppish. This record is a real good time, plain and simple. Scum stats: my guess is there are 500 of these, some of which (perhaps the standard 100? or all of them?) are on clear vinyl.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Levelload "HND in RNR" EP
Guy-girl guitar-bass duo from the UK playing what they refer to as "rampaging electropunk" in front of a drum machine. Two tracks on this abomination, one worse than the next. The sleeve states "We love Guitar Wolf and Bob Log III". Yeah, sure you do. Then try mustering just a bit of their gusto or creativity, instead of trying to give the Yeah Yeah Yeahs the musical equivalent of a reacharound while they fuck MTV2 in the ass. Funny that they mention two lo-fi/blown-out acts as inspiration, then turn in this Pro Tools-sounding garbage. Not that it would sound any better if it was recorded on a four track in a basement with real drumming. It's that awful. The first record to make me second-guess TB's "Anyone sending in a vinyl release gets a (non-Garbage Can) review, no matter how shitty it is" policy. Awrghhhh.(RK)
(Red Idol Records // www.levelload.co.uk)

Lightning Bolt "Hypermagic Mountain" LP/CD
Since their first single and the bludgeoningly fantastic 'Ride the Skie's LP, Lightning Bolt has established themselves as THE bass guitar/drum noise makers. Unlike a lot of folks who enter into the art duo thing, Lightning Bolt has gone very light on the metal riffage and still molded their noise into songs. They have never stumbled into pure wankery or an unlistenable wash of noise. On 'Hypermagic Mountain', these guys take a giant step into rock and roll. This record sounds less like the Lightning Bolt of the last couple records and more like High Rise, Monoshock, and Karate Party. And if it wasn’t for the album’s lack of low end, I’d say that this pup is as good as anything those bands have done. The riffs are heavy, raw, and catch you with a simple power. The drums crawl and sprawl. The bass guitar is a shredding sonic squall. BUT the almost complete absence of frequencies on the lower end of the sound spectrum really hurt this record. It is not that this lacks a bass guitar or that it doesn’t hit low end from time to time. The strings here are okay, especially when the bass guitar drifts down the scale and rumbles low. It is the drums that get fucked in this mix. Instead of sounding like a tank load of percussion, the great drumming sounds anemic. The snare is brittle, the toms sound like tiny boxes, the cymbals are lost in the wash of guitar noise, and the bass drum has that artificial, computer filtered sound to it. There is absolutely no BOOM BAM BANG POW to this and the weakness of the recording is made even more clear when the vocals come in buried and distant. Whoever produced this thing fucked up what could have been a classic psych punk record. Perhaps the art crowd who dig these guys won’t notice - their ears seem to be tuned toward high toned stuff. However those with more rock in their heads are going to notice what is missing and that really is too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect Lightning Bolt to conform to some ‘rockist’ standard. What I am stating is that if they are going to make a rock record - which this is - they need to make sure the recording holds up. Art noise freakouts give people the freedom to do away with things like low end, Hawkwind-inspired rock and roll riffage does not. Hopefully, ten years from now when this gets reissued someone will throw this back on the deck and tweak some bass into this fucker.(SSR)
(Load Recrds // www.loadrecords.com)

Lucy and the Lipstix "Stardust Sensation in Shock" MCD
I am of the level of herb that can only produce the name Zolar X in my mind when somebody mentions, "outer space glam punk." Thanks to Lucy and the Lipstix I can pretend to make intelligent conversation by comparing and contrasting the two when the conversation turns to outer space glam punk (as it often does in Washington DC, let me tell you). I had heard a lot of talk from friends in the Osaka/Kobe area who had played shows with Lucy and the Lipstix or seen them and for the most part it seemed like they were enamored with the stage show, but couldn't recall much of what the sound was like - "rock n roll of some sort" was all I could get out of them. Those Kobe kids, all style, no substance.
I'm pleased to report that the five tracks on here are nothing less than fifteen minutes of well written glam rock with a punk swagger and parts that are easily identifiable as the part where the choreography changes. The English parts of the lyrics deal with topics like machine cocks, cherry boys and gentlemen, and I won't even get into what the Japanese says. This is probably one of my favorite releases to review this issue and I hope somebody has a copy of the first CDR for me out there. (JC)
(Sexionaries Records // http://www3.to/latl/)

Made in Mexico "Zodiac Zoo" CD/LP
Chicago’s Skin Graft record label has been very quiet since the turn of the millenia. Maybe it was tired; you would be to if you had spent the previous decade redefining noise rock. Now it is trying to rear its four-colored head again. A couple lackluster releases last year didn’t promise much, but Made in Mexico comes a little closer. Featuring Jeff Schneider, former guitarist of Arab On Radar, these guys start off strong with “Farewell Myth,” which opens as a raga then bursts into a punishing forward groove that recalls the Jesus Lizard circa ‘Goat.’ The rhythm section sounds great on this recording, but too often they wade around in the same area of the pool. “Clockwork” introduces a slightly funkier approach coupled with Schneider’s US Maple-after-a-case-of-Red-Bull guitar, but it’s back to the same old dirge on the next song. Rebecca Mitchell’s infrequent vocals don’t add much to the proceedings, but they don’t really get in the way either. She lets out some nice shrieks to accompany the frantic blur of “Napalm Springs,” which is followed by a cover of MX-80 Sound’s “Face of the Earth” that reveals the one-dimensional bones of Made in Mexico. Maybe it’s just the dry recording and these guys might really come at you in a live setting. Too often, the songs are content to just sit there, never quite exploding or pummeling you as hard or as fast as you want. At its best, Made in Mexico conjure visions of a hardcore Art Bears, which is an intriguing proposition, so we’ll see how they do on the next one.(EEK)
(Skin Graft Records // www.skingraftrecords.com)

The Marked Men "Nothing's Changed b/w She Won't Know" 7"
One pop punk song of the standard style for the Marked Men in "Nothing's Changed" and one slower power poppy tune on the flip. The way the vocal harmonies come in on "She Won't Know" really push it over the top for me. Recommended for fans of good music. (JC)
This seven-inch just goes to prove that long distance relationships can work. The Pacific Ocean can't keep this band from making music, and that's a beautiful thing. Fans of the Marked Men can probably specifiy whether they favor Jeff or Mark's songs, and this makes it easy to satisfy both. Side Mark, "She Won't Know", recorded with the rest of the band (excepting Jeff), is a nice power-pop rocker in the mold of many Eighties local favorites (being from Buffalo, mine would be The Jumpers, or later on The Restless, and everyone from every burg probably has their own hometown heroes). Pleasant, catchy, uplifting even, it's just a good tune. Side Jeff has him in one-man studio band mode, offering his version of the punker sounding pop, with stacatto rhythms still containing a bit of that Reds aroma, and a little extra power in the chorus. Another good one, and a fine effort all by his lonesome. Am I a Jeff or Mark guy, you ask? Well, depends on the day. On the day I listened to this last I was a Mark guy. But I still love Jeff's songs too. And no matter which you prefer, this record is mandatory. Scum stats: 1500 press, 100 on yella vinyl.(RK)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)

Mean Reds "Together At Last, And This Is Our Wedding" CD
The truly ass-o-rific press photo & kit that came along with this cunty turd had me thinking I'd be smarter to avoid contact & throw the bugger straight-to-trash, but, masochist that I am, I decided to play it. Well, the first some-odd seconds of the first tune had me immediately re-thinking my position, but not surprisingly, it turned into turkey vom for the rest of the CD. These guys would be the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Faith No More if they woulda' come around a decade or so ago, but instead, they hired the producer of Jet & Oasis, and try to hit a sort of Intelligence vein. Actually, think of a roomfulla' the biggest douchebags you know straining for the Intelligence and shitting out a corndicked screamo version of Faith No More instead. Put that in your press pipe and fuck yourselves. (TK)
(Record Collection // www.recordcollectionmusic.com)

Milhouse USA s/t LP
Milhouse USA was a Sacramento foursome composed of three young brats and one elder scenester. Though they were around at the turn of the century, they could have made this music in 1983 or 1988 or 1993. Milhouse USA play that timeless style of American punk rock that fuses early 80s SoCal punk with thrash. These guys and gals mix it up a little with some Greg Ginn-style riffs and a tad of Avengers. While Milhouse USA is not as good as their influences, they are not a bad band. In fact they do what they do very well and this collection of songs, culled from their three year existence, represents them well and will please any fan of early 80s thrash. There are only 100 of these pups out there so you might want to act now.(SSR)
(Sacramento Records // charlesalbright-at-gmail.com)

The Minds "We Got the Pop" EP
It's a cold, hard fact that I'm not a big Minds fan. I just have a bad reaction to certain keyboard sounds, and the Minds happen to utilize one that makes me cringe. I hated the LP and accompanying single, and thought they were a bit schticky for even an imbecile-lover like myself. So maybe I'm not the dude to be rewiewing this EP. But I'm gonna do it anyway. "we Got the Pop" is a real good tune. As good as bubblegum-wave can be, and good enough to keep the keyboard sound from making me want to heave my turntable out the window. I also want to go on record as saying Joel "The Thinker" Jett has some great microphone skills, and it was him and only him that made that Flip Tops LP listenable. He makes me want to tolerate The Minds. "The Brain that Wouldn't Die" is the next cut, and is where the keyboards starting giving me a rash. This one is not a good song. They close out with a cover of "Don't Wanna Die in My Sleep Tonight" from the La Peste LP. It's OK. I'd probably play the title track on my radio show if I still did one. The other two tunes aren't for me. But they might be for you, if you dig this kinda action. You big wimp. Scum stats: 500 pressed on bubblegum pink vinyl, all sold out! With matching pink 3/4 sleeve with artwork by Jonny Cat. Repress rumored to be coming soon. (RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Mistreaters "Live Like You"
Whoa! The Mistreaters are back? After a brief recorded silence since their last LP (Which is good. Not every band should or can release three singles and an LP per year.) they're back with this EP, a teaser for the new full length which should be out in early November. I've always loved these dudes, as they are one of the few bands that appeal to both my old-school hesher buddies and my garage-trash friends as well. 'Grab them Cakes' is one of the best LPs of the turn of the century, despite the title. I still listen to it angrily and often, and my buds who still go to Slayer concerts religiously are always down for it. It's dirty, and a lot heavy, but garage enough for those bedwetters who can't handle metal. Anyhow, the A-Side on this is a ballbuster. The Alice Coopery "Live Like You" is a fucking hit, and "No, I Know" borders on annoyance initially but gets real gritty and good with some handclap action and some sweet back-ups. The B-Side let off the gas a bit, as they write the modern equivalent of a Steppenwolf tune in "Push You", but bounce back with a well selected and executed cover of Tubeway Army's "Oh! Didn't I Say". A good record to get these guys back on your radar, like I said, the A-Side works wonders. Don't be a pussy. Scum stats: 500 copies, each 100 come with a different live photo of the band by Canderson. I got the cute one of that garage-punk heartthrob known as Dusty Mistreater. Ladies, collect them all!(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Modernettes “Get It Straight” CD
About 10 years ago, Zulu Records first issued ‘Get It Straight’, an anthology of early 80s power-pop-punk from Vancouver’s Modernettes, who for a while now, I’ve been calling the best band to ever come from Canada. The CD’s been out of print since then, and is now back thanks to Sudden Death Records. For those unfamiliar with the band, the Modernettes released three records in their short existence – the utterly fantastic ‘Teen City’ 12”EP, the mega rare ‘Gone…But Not Forgiven’ LP (a collection of demos and live tracks), and the more radio friendly ‘View From the Bottom’ 12”EP. This disc starts off with all six tracks from ‘Teen City’, a fucking classic record that no discerning pop loving punk should go without hearing. Songs like ‘Barbra’ and ‘Teen City’ are pure pop perfection with hooks galore and feature extremely well played, driving guitars, a pummelling rhythm section, and singer Buck Cherry’s playful yet haunting voice. Bob Rock co-produced these songs and amazingly he doesn’t fuck them up as he did with the Pointed Sticks. The three songs included from the ‘Gone…’ LP (only 300 copies pressed) show the band leaving a bit of their punk edge behind and slowing down the tempo a bit, except for ‘Won’t Have to Worry’ which is a fast one that’s right up there on my list of all time favourite songs. It’s a two-minute lesson in how to write a perfect pop song and Buck’s vocal delivery never sounds better than it does here. The five songs from ‘View From the Bottom’ (including ‘Rebel Kind’, covered by The Fevers on their first single) were recorded around two years after the first two records and the change in sound is quite drastic. The production is crisp and ultra clean, the songs are even slower, and nary a punk influence is heard. I still like these songs, but if you can’t stand the wimpy stuff, you probably won’t. Two of the songs are sung quite well by bassist Mary-Jo Kopechne and they make me wonder why her vocals weren’t used more often, even in a backup roll. Up next are five live songs, the highlights being ‘Surf City Strangler’, which has an early Replacements vibe and the Modern Lovers-esque ‘Get it Straight’. Mega fans of the band should note that this re-issue is slightly different than the Zulu comp. The Zulu edition was started off by ‘Sweater Girl’, a rather weak track, and ended with a 1995 recorded version of ‘Tears Will Fall’ which sounded like a Bon Jovi outtake. Wisely, this re-issue scraps ‘Sweater Girl’ and although it still includes a version of ‘Tears Will Fall’, it’s from a much better session, presumably from when the band was still together (although the liner notes make no mention of this). The biggest difference is the inclusion of six live songs from the band’s last show. The sound quality is OK, but there are a fair number of fuck-ups. The two new songs from the show are actually pretty good – ‘509’ and ‘Get Modern’ - both of which were written in 1979 and went unrecorded over the band’s career. If you’re a fan of this sort of stuff, I’d also recommend picking up a copy of John Armstrong’s (aka Buck Cherry’s) book ‘Guilty of Everything’ which, although I have my qualms about it, does a good job of describing the early Vancouver punk scene. Highly recommended. (JG)
(Sudden Death Records // www.suddendeath.com)

Monitors "Electric Knife" 7"
Debut single from Wiconsonian all-star cast of future punks. Straight-up synth punk done right. Done right how, you ask? Well, they main thing is that 1-D (aka Wendy, ex-Lookers and ex-Kryptonite Records) can actually play the keys, instead of just doling out lame ass one finger/one note drone. They also have a good and funny gimmick: they're from the future, man! I always said Ryan Kill-A-Watt could write great songs, and "Electric Knife" is another fine example. Sounds like the Screamers if they were on Rip Off Records. Really, it's good. "Fungus Boy" switches to Wendy on vox, as does "Missing Hand", both of which are head-of-the-class synth-snot rockers. "(Jerks Down at) Bubble Drome" might be my fave, simple electro-punk that even sounds a little bit Le Shoky. Or Le Schlocky, but I mean that in a good way. An impressive start, and way better than I thought it would be. Also a must-own for a cover pic of Ryan in lame hot pants, tights, eyeliner, and go go boots, Wendy as the punk Judy Jetson, and Mechadrum looking like a duct-taped post-apocalyptic biker reject from Lord Humungus' horde. Take notes on this one kids. This is gimmickry done right. Dickie Christgau says A+. Scum stats: 500 copies, 200 on translucent green vinyl. Nice job Fungus Boy. (RK)
(Fungus Boy Records // www.fungusboy.net)

The Muldoons s/t 7"
Okay, let me run this by you. The Muldoons are two brothers, Shane, age 8, and Hunter, age 11, who write their own lyrics and guitar parts to punked up Stooges/Ramones-stylee Motor City Rockers with titles like "70's Punk Rocker" and "Destruction Boy". Their father Brian, who also plays drums on the record, is/was in The Upholsterers, a band which at times also featured pasty-skinned guitar-legend Jack White, who actually produced this baby himself at Third Man Studios. Jack's nephew, Dirtbombs drummer and Anti-Mogul hater Benji Blackwell, released this record on his Cass imprint, which has also done a 7" by Tin Knocker, another band featuring Muldoon dad Brian. Sure, this reeks of vanity project along the lines of Old Skull (except having a father in The Tar Babies is far cooler than the, uh...Upholsterers), and I'm not gonna rag on some kids having some fun with their family. It's a pretty neat thing to do with your kids, and the songs are actually decent and played fairly (almost too) well. Worth the novelty listen or two, but not-mind bending in a Shaggs or Silver kinda way. This did come with probably the nicest one-sheet I've ever received, laid out simply and printed on some quality Cranes Crest paper. You can tell Ben's a journalist. (RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Mystery Girls "Under My Tongue" EP
I'm that dude who never got on the Mystery Girls bandwagon. I can see where their appeal lies, especially to those who know them and have seen the (supposedly) mind-blowing live performances. I always thought it was just so-so, and the Black Lips did almost the same thing a lot better. I don't know when these recording are from, but this is what I always hoped the MGs would sound like. Acid-drenched (obviously) and ready to give you a faceful-of-fuzz. The title cut is one of the best songs about drugs I've heard in a long time. Lots of freakouts and good psych-jams with a side order of Hendrix. The B-Side really cooks, with some more drugged-up debauchery. "I'm So High" might be my favorite on this, as I love the echoed-out/feedbacky harmonica playing. Brilliant. This single could butt heads with some of the Black Lips more crazed stuff. Finally, A Mystery Girls record I can get on board with. Well executed "theme" as well. Scum stats: 500 copies I believe, in no-frills Kryptonite packaging. It seems Martin may have lost a bunch of these to the demonic USPS, so snatch 'em up if you see them.(RK)
(Kryptonite Records // www.thesores.com)

Nashville Pussy "Get Some" CD/LP
Well, I guess TB has finally "made it", as evdenced by our receipt of a promotional copy of the latest Nashville Pussy CD. That sound you hear is me reaping the benefits of being an underground rock critic of note...But seriously, is there any reason for sending me this? The only thing I ever liked about Nashville Pussy were the occassional ""titty pictures" they used to put on their records. Shit, I hated Nine Pound Hammer. I force myself to ignore the fact that the almighty Adam "Rock'n'Roll Outlaw" Neal was in either band for any length of time. And don't think this is just me trying to make it sound like I never liked the rawk. I've liked some rawk bands in my time, but these cats (ouch) were never, ever one of them. This rock-n-roll-hillbilly routine was real humorless from the get-go. Nonetheless, good soldier that I am, I waded through this entire CD. This is what I remember: "AWLRIIIIGHT!", "EAT IT BEFORE IT GETS COLD!", "IT'S PUSSY TIME!", "YOU GOT THE TIME, WE GOT THE PUSSY", "I'M A LAZY WHITE BOY", and on and on, ad infinitum. Who buys this shit, you ask? Well, I wanted to know, so I looked up a Nashville Pussy fan site. Apparently it's dudes in their mid-Forties with a Corey Parks fixation that are getting all these units moved. Dude, she's not even in the band anymore. And have you seen Corey Parks lately? Apparently four or five years of pissing in sinks and cleaning up after Duane Peters' vomits blood all over their pit bull has taken it's toll. And that toll was paid in yards of shitty looking ink, a prison dye-job and haircut, and a face that now looks like it was lit on fire and put out with a rake. Her mammoth breasts even seem drug addled. Totally damaged. Ruyter sill looks OK, froma distance at least. If I ever had to pick one, I would've picked her. She must own an unending supply of leopard print bras. Blaine Cartwright, however, still has that forced Billy Bob Thornton playing a hayseed look down pat. They have some other chick in the band now too, but I have no idea what she looks like, as these fucks sent me a promo CD without the actual artwork. And that's not the only insulting thing about this. They also cover "Nutbush City Limits", actually wrote a song called "Snowblind", make an errant and rather hilarious attempt to grab some credibilty by getting Daniel Rey to produce, and play up the fact that they're from Atlanta, which I had totally forgotten about up until this point. There's a half dozen awesome bands in Atlanta right now, and Nashville Pussy probably couldn't name one of them. Someone get the Black Lips to piss on these clowns. Hey, is that cover art by Coop? AWLRIIIGHT!(RK)
(Spitfire Records // www.spitfirerecords.com)

Neons "Dotfive....." MCDR
Four track CDR from Yokkaichi punks who like synthesizers and think they're too good for a real drummer. The songs alternate back and forth between bouncy, poppy sounds and drifting melodic punk that earns the "new wave" prefix with the addition of the synth. Their usage of a drum machine instead of a human gives the whole CDR a bedroom pop project feel, albeit one where you can hear each individual member's contributions to the songs. The last track in particular feels like The Minds meeting with No Hope for the Kids (or most any LA punk band from the 80s for that matter). After hearing this, I'll make sure to get my buddy to send a copy of their s/t 7" next time we trade. (JC)
(Nano Natural Sound Waste // http://neons.fc2web.com/neonshome.html)

Nervous Eaters “Eaterville Vol. 1” LP
When I heard about this LP I went into a frenzy trying to find it. Almost an entire LP’s worth of unreleased tracks from the band that unleashed the monster “Just Head/Get Stuffed” single upon the world (not to mention the great “Loretta”) recorded contemporaneously with the aforementioned slice of KBD godhead? Like, sign me up dude! Unfortunately, procuring this LP proved to be a multi-month endeavor. Once I finally did manage to get my greasy paws on one (thanks entirely to the efforts of my good pal Sir Teizod Tightsly) I ripped off the shrink wrap, regaled the bottom of the jacket (which was falling apart), and slapped the platter down on my turntable first thing after returning from a night of copious consumption of alcoholic beverages at the aforementioned Sir Tightsly’s abode. What I heard was like a revelation: the two unreleased songs on the a-side are up to par with their singles! “I’m a Degenerate” is an unrepentantly retarded, driving, catchy punk song – it’s nothing short of amazing that this was recorded in 1974!!! As killer as this track is, “You Smell Like Fish” (just guess what the title alludes to) might be even better. It’s a raver in the Stones-worshiping mold of “Loretta” and to these ears it sounds as good as anything on the Eaters’ godlike singles. It’s like the missing link between the Stones and the Penetrators or something. The tracks on side b are nowhere near as mind melting as these two tunes – thanks in large part to some less than stellar audio quality – but there are some total rippers, especially the Stooges-like “Planet Fever,” the absolute barn-burner “On the Avenue,” and the totally tuff “Driving to New York.” Add in an obviously lovingly-assembled package – including voluminous liner notes (we’re talking an entire chapter of a book here) and a treasure trove of classic pics – and you’ve got a record no self respecting rock n roll aficionado should be without. I’m as sick of hype as the rest of you, but this LP is the real deal. Now if only you could easily find one!(SB)
(Penniman Records www.pennimanrecords.com)

Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Southern Trash" LP
I'm too lazy to check the T-B review database to see how many times poor Jeffrey Novak's musical efforts have been compared to Reatards, but this one isn't gonna be any different. If anything, the recording this time around sounds much less like a one man band and much more like a three piece and just like "Teenage Hate." In my book, this couldn't be further from, "a bad thing." The hate isn't quite as intense, but he's got a few years to work on it. The guitars, however, are very much there and all fourteen songs on this guy suffer from nothing but my inability to turn it up any louder at one in the morning in fear of my neighbors calling the cops. It's times like these I wish I had friends so I could have a party and just play this over and over as background music. (JC)
I'm gonna declare young Mr. Novak the ultimate punk-rock OMB right now. I know when I hear OMB, I first think of the Haze and more traditional (yet still unhinged) garage-a-billy antics. But with his first full-length (which will mark the fifth record he's had released in less than a year) Jeff turns out something sounding close to a third Reatards LP. His vocal screech is quite reminiscent of Jay's own, and the blown-out abrasiveness of it all recalls 'Teenage Hate's under-21 and bangin my head (and guitar) against the wall vibe. "Nothing to Do", "Back Off", the locomotive title cut, and a healthy handful of others all replicate the Memphis skulk of the 'tards, and keep plenty of hiss and crash in the nooks and crannies to keep it dirt-fi. "Kick the Door Down" is the one exception, and that's becuase it sounds just like a Persuaders outtake. A record I can honestly say is great, and gives me hope that all kids are not fucked. Scum stats: 88 with blue cover, 108 with red cover, 286 with black cover, and 9 with purple cover, all on black vinyl.(RK)
(P. Trash Records // http://www.ptrashrecords.com)

The Observers "Where I Stay" EP
I wasn't a big fan of the Observers' LP, but after seeing them live this summer with Clorox Girls, I made an effort to check out their 7"s and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe I can only take so much of their brooding punk sound mixed with howling background vocals (Social Distortion meets Vee Dee who already met Danzig?) at one time, but this new single has a couple of tracks in their style that I've yet to get tired of. My favorite parts of the complete package are the lyric sheets for each song, each done by a different artist (Non-funny Snakepit art? What?). A great way to pass the time throughout the song and really engage you in more than one of your senses. (JC)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)

Old Time Relijun "2012" CD
There’s something so right about Old Time Relijun. To most ears there probably appears to be something really horribly terribly wrong with said combo, but if those ears are looking for true American primitive stomp, well, Hasil Adkins is dead and it’s a new millennium. This is OTR seventh full-length, sixth for K, and they just keep on howling away. OTR is the brainchild of one Arrington de Dionyso, who is somewhat of a backwoods scholar, a rustic punk cross between Harry Smith and Albert Ayler. He scratches furiously at the guitar, wails crazy speak-in-tongues musings about menstruating witch-women and the end of the world, honks and drones on the sax like a man possessed, and even engages in the occasional fit of throat-singing or jew’s-harp jawing. It’s a lovely thing. Meanwhile, drummer Jamie Peterson and upright bassist Aaron Hartman lay down thick, insidious grooves for Dionyso to do his thing over. Songs like “Wolves and Wolverines” and “Your Mama Used To Dance” split the difference between the Contortions and Captain Beefheart, all fidgety slink and creepy growl. The upright bass is an essential element of their sound, adding a real physicality to the sound. After nearly ten years though, Old Time Relijun is showing a little professionalism, smoothing off a few edges and nudging up the fidelity just a hair. But 2012 is just as potent a brew as their older work, not-so-quietly carving out place for themselves in some aspiring ethnomusicologist’s dissertation, and, hopefully, even better, some punk kid’s overactive imagination.(EEK)
(K Records // www.krecs.com)

Original Three "New Orleans Born" EP
Original Three info: they are a NOLA twin guitar (one trebly, one sludgy) trio, Ian also plays guitar in the Black Lips (he's the one with the sparkly fronts), and they self-released a single awhile ago that I don't remember listening to, but I do remember it came with a pin. On this EP they play two slower swampy numbers, both real downers with some guitar twists. The first, "Unplug", was recorded at Tronic Graveyard and has a brief appearance by Jay on key-noise. The flip side, "Been There", is a bit deeper, peppered with haunted bleeps and death-on-the-bayou screams. Christgau says C+, but also says he would listen to more if given the chance. For some reason he feels the LP on Empty could be a contender. This record is is almost onto something good, but pulls up lame just short of the finish line. Scum stats: 300 copies on black vinyl, 50 copies on "Oranginal" orange vinyl. Features some really shitty artwork as well.(RK)
(SYA Records // www.syarecords.it)

Pindrivers "Head Banger Gangsta Youth Vol. IV" 7"
Vol. 4? I dunno either. Pindrivers are an unheard of until now Spanish(?) three-piece(?), playing trad blues-punk right down to a cover of the 'blivs "Nigger Rich". Remarkable? No. Terrbile? No. Perhaps even a little Spaceshitty at times, these guys don't fall victim to the usual Euro-blooze-trash rut, but don't exactly raise my eyebrow any, either. A rare clunker from the generally always reliable Goodbye Boozy imprint. Cool cover though, and they thank Sergio Garcia?! Scum stats: 300 pressed, duh.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

The Pokers "Strp-On Disasters and Other Rock'n'Roll Lies" CD
Debut full-length from a UK group that are/were rumored to have a release upcoming on Rip Off. Unlike The Ulcers, whom they were almost paired with on a split LP, The Pokers don't add much to the classic Rip Off sound besides throwing in some street punk elements. Where The Ulcers played within the formula, and sounded as good if not better than some of the bands who originated it, The Pokers would be on the Rip Off B-team, even in the label's heyday. Maybe even the C-Team. Example Lowery-like song titles: "Done Me Wrong", "Gonna Die", "My Baby Hates Rock'n'Roll". Oddly enough a song called "Teenage Head" is the best one on this. They also do an Oblivians cover ("Trouble"). I dunno, but Greg should think again about releasing something by these dudes. I think the Atomsmashers could take 'em.(RK)
(Finest Ultra A.D. Recordings // www.thepokers.co.uk)

Ramrods "Gimme Some Action" CD
The Ramrods "I'm a Ramrod" is one of the great syntheses of Detroit (Stooges/MC5) meets KBD-era punk rock - truly a classic. I expected little from this, as it's yet another couple-few studio tracks plus live shite compilations. The other studio tracks are pretty damn good, though, and slug around the same general neighborhood of "I'm a Ramrod," so it's probably worth it if you feel you NEED to hear it all. The live stuff is OK, typical underwater sound, lots of covers, not embarassing, but certainly unnecessary. (TK)
(Young Soul Rebels // www.youngsoulrebels.net)

Rat Traps "Tennessee Rock'n'Roll" 7"
The vinyl debut from our pal Jeff Novak, plus sister April and brother-in-law JOe. A real family affair, these Rat Traps. Well, if you heard the tour cd-r they had, you know the A-Side, and it's a doozy. Sort of like Persuders meet the Spits or some such nonsensical comparison. Good shit. The B-Side is two unheard numbers, and both are pretty deadly. "People Die Everyday" is in the same vein as the A-Side, with Joe on vox. But "Gimme Scanners" is the clean cut winner here, led with Jeff's raspy vocals, it's complete KBD destruction channeled thru Memphis. I hope it's about the movie too, cuz I think I heard a line about blowing up heads. Or maybe I'm making that up. Get this now, these kids are hot! Scum stats: not too sure. 500 is my estimate, with 3/4 sleeve by Mike Sniper and insert. B&W covers covers with band name colored in on most, plus a super limited collector scum edition exists as well, exact details of which are unknown. Mmmmmmm, scummy. (RK)
(Your Permanent Records // patrick_mcconnell-AT-hotmail.com)

Los Raw Gospels "El Santo vs. The Blue Demon" EP
B-Side of Yakisakana single Second single from this Euro-via-London three-piece, and far better than their first. The opener is just the lyric "Fight! Fight! Fight!" over the guys laying down a total shit-stomp. Brutal. The title cut is the second track on the A, and I'm partial to it, since I actually own a Blue Demon mask, bought in Tijuana years ago. If you're gonna like a luchador, make it old school. The B-Side offers two more cuts: the flying dropkick of "Deathgrip", and a fab instrumental called "Vendetta" that reminds me of some of the reverb-laden instro cuts the Drags would stick on B-Sides back in the day. Very well done, and recorded by Mil Mascaras no less! Scum stats: 500, with Bongout screened sleeve.(RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

The Rebel “Prawns” LP
Ben Wallers from the Country Teasers is back with his second officially released LP full of solo work under the moniker of ‘The Rebel’. While I enjoyed his first full length ‘Kit’, especially after letting it really sink in with repeated listens, it’s on ‘Prawns’ that Wallers’ solo attack is fully realized. ‘Prawns’ isn’t as much a collection of songs as it is a “true album” that flows and tells a story from start to finish. Each song blends into the next and it’s hard to tell where one stops and the next one starts with the more traditional sounding songs being seamlessly linked together with haunting soundscapes. This is as good as DIY bedroom experimentation gets with Ben utilizing drum machines, guitars, synths, and vocal effects, which acting together bring to mind The Fall at their most bizarre and creative. If you’re looking for hits, they’re here, with ‘Hitlers and Churchills’, ‘God’s Chosen Fish, The Skate’, and ‘Your English’, three originals that are up there with the many gems Wallers has penned over the years. Perhaps the greatest praise I can heap on The Rebel is how he seems to be able to effortlessly write these infectious songs that are just naturally peculiar without going out of his way to make them “wacky” or “weird”. Can anyone else today cover a Coasters song immediately followed by a Killing Joke song immediately followed by a three-part opus and have it not come off as a joke? I doubt it. This is apparently limited, so act quick if this is the sort of stuff that sails your boat. (JG)
(Junior Aspirin Records // www.junioraspirin.com)

Reigning Sound “Home For Orphans” LP/CD
This is a very mellow collection of singles tracks & other assorted rarities from our good pal Greg Cartwright, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t as good as their “proper” albums. Greg is widely considered one of the best songwriters out there right now by RS aficionados and you’ll get no argument from me on that point. While the up-tempo ravers found on “Too Much Guitar” were one of the best musical treats of last year, I’m thinking I like it when Greg takes the quiet, understated approach just as much if not more. Case in point – the stripped down versions of “If You Can’t Give Me Everything” and “Funny Thing” serve to accentuate how stellar Greg’s songs really are. Tunes like the pleasantly melancholic “Medication Blues #1” and the utterly mesmerizing “If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home” (the later just blows me away – I can’t ever remember hearing a Christmas themed tune with this much heart and soul in it) only further serve to make the case for the stature of Greg’s talent. Few bands’ recorded output is of such irreproachable quality that their even odds & sods collections are heads and shoulders above most bands’ regular albums. The Reigning Sound are one of those bands.(SB)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry / www.sympathyrecords.com)

Mike Rep and the Quotas "Black Hole Rock(The Harrisonburg Ohio Sessions 2004)" CD
Hopefully, y'all are at least a lil' familiar with Mike Rep's work (iceberg tip - he wrote "Rocket to Nowhere"). Fans who have been following his career as of late far more closely than myself have bitched that the sumthin' sumthin' level is down on this album, and the best material here has already been on previous releases, but I have no idea if that's correct or not. Let's just assume so. The best thing about this CD is that it doesn't sound like it's from this year or any year in partic - Mike's playing his pre-punk-sounding punk recorded raw in the basement (and covers "I Don't Want to go Down to the Basement" as a Dead Brudders trib, I assume) like nothing of note's happened the last couple decades, and I like that. The songwriting doesn't snag me in any serious way, but I love dipping into this album's general atmosphere. If yer already familiar with his work, this for sure ain't a piece of shite, and it may warm your heart to see Mike Rep still (semi-)relevant at this late a date. (TK)
(Old Age No Age Records // www.midheaven.com )

Rhythm Chicken "Live at National Liquor Bar" 7"
Typical of Pau...the Rhythm Chicken to put primarily visual performance art on a record, but ya' do get a DVD-R (or whatever it is) of what's in the grooves, so that's cool. If yer not aware, RC puts on a big rabbit head, sets up his drums commando-style and, uh, beats on them...and ruckus ensues. The last time I saw him, he was clutching the Green Bay polka mass record photocopied onto the sleeve, and he ended up getting shitfaced and blew up the Costello show (he was supposed to be a guest) for no apparent reason. No violence is included on these vids, and while they're pretty entertaining, I can't see anyone playing the record itself more than once. This ex-Boris the Sprinkler dude has spent much of the rest of his time in noisy and bizarre units, was "Rally Rabbit" (an official mascot!) for the Milwaukee Brewers, and has done this RC bit all over the world. It's a good concept, and it's always good for a laugh when he shows up unnanouned and starts playing in a restaurant bathroom or a parking lot in the middle of winter, but it's not like these are songs or anything. The videos are fun, so if you're into that sorta' thing...(TK)
(self released // rhythmchicken@hotmail.com)

River City Tanlines "Get Away" 7"
Alicja, of course, is doing just fine post-Lost Sounds implosion. She's taken RCTL to the Blackout, Europe, and now through much of the US, and continues to write great songs. This is the fourth single, this time on the Swedish KenRock label, and comes hot on the tails of the singles comp CD on Dirtnap (the vinyl of which should be out soon). In fact, these songs appear on the CD, but the mixes are apparently different. "Get Away" fits nicely in the Dangerhousey/What? Records frame of reference, a little Bags, Eyes, KAOS, etc..."Saw You Hiding" is more of a Dolls/Dictators NYC sub-glam rock number, with a touch of venom in the vocals and lyrics. Both sides are swell, especially if you're into Alicja's stuff. And I am. Better than the last single on Contaminated. Scum stats: 500 pressed, tan-lined titties on one side of the full color sleeve, homoerotic fireman showering scene on the other. (RK)
(KenRock Records // www.ken-rock.com)

The Runs "Wet Sounds" CD
Ah, boy. I could spend all day making barbed comments about the mock Pet Sounds sleeve and aliases like Paul McFartney, but I won't. These guys helped the Armitage Shanks get over to US shores, and even though I did not get to see any of these shows, I will give them the benefit of the doubt for this act of goodness. Obviously, like the Shanks, they share a predeliction for toilet humor. Sound-wise, it's...pop-punk? Wow. People still play this shit? Along the lines of the latter day Queers or the Parasites especially, with perhaps a bit tougher of a guitar sound, but with just as much of a Ramones fixation. Not bad for this type of thing, and "Blood Feast(A Love Song)" is really good. Well written and well played for this genre, and the songs themselves are a bit smarter (and funnier) than the title concept will lead you to believe.(RK)
(Urban Cheese // www.urbancheese.com)

Sagger "Archidoxes of Magic" 7"
Sagger records make the world a better place. The title cut on this one grooves pretty good, in that off-center kinda way, delving sonically a little South of the Mason-Dixon line for some back porch whiskey-n-weed Sagger swagger. A winner from your dinner, as someone once eloquently put it. The other two tracks are quickfast glimpses of The Tonys' rather unique guitar vision, and he actually lets the riffs go a little bit on "Metal Song" instead of strangling them mid-life. Let's not underestimate the prowess of Skull Rider on these cuts either, a frontman who summons vocal incantations from the deepest depths of the dungeon master's guide. And there's not much to say about Snacks-A-Lot's drumming: simple, primal, effective. One of my favorite trios of all-time. Is this the last Sagger record in the vaults? Does the oft-rumored LP exist? Only The Tonys knows. Scum stats: 300 pressed, thank you Goodbye Boozy!(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy@tin.it )

The Sailors "Play Viva La Beaver" CD
As charter continental member of the Sailors Fan Club, I'm overjoyed at some new tracks, no matter how half-assed and uninspired they may be. And unfortunately, much of this just doesn't cut the muster placed side-by-side the earlier efforts. Much of this is perfectly enjoyable to me (especially tunes like "Cracker in the Niggertonk"), but again, I'm a Sailors tard. You'll probably want to start elsewhere and work your way over to this. If you make it that far, you'll find plenty to like & chuckle about. If not, try "Turning the Other Cheek" or "Violent Masturbation Blues," still in print and available via the fine, salty gent at...(TK)
(Dropkick Records // www.dropkick.com.au)

Scat Rag Boosters s/t CD
CD version of the LP released last year on Yakisakana. Better late than never, I guess. So I'm listening to this, and I start thinking about when the LP came out, how I'm sure a lot of people were excited to hear it. I was. We had anointed these guys the best band to not release an LP preceding the release. Then the LP hit, and we all ignored it, poo-pooed it, said it wasn't as good as the singles, said it was boring, said whatever. Soon after the SRBs were no longer on the tips of our tongues, the members off to other projects, the band supposedly defunct. An ugly crash and burn of sorts. So I grab this thing in a stack of discs for car listening, and I realize that it was really a good album. From a really good band. A band I remembered I always wished I could've seen live, because they can throw down with the best. One-two pounders like "Leaving Town" nestled in between the the heavy skunk-slink of "Mudslide" and the laid-back groove of "Charlie's Dirt Road" show they had range, even if we pigeonholed them as trad blues-punk. But they were equal parts Bassholes roots, Cramps creep, and Crypt Style raving. They always had a harmonica in the right places, knew the proper uses of stun guitar, trebly scratch, and bowel tickling low end tones, and weren't afraid to just kick out a straight punk-static jam called "Mommy" when they felt the mood. This is a real good record, and one I wish I would'nt have given short shrift when it came out. And with all the hating on the blues-trash genre lately, it makes it that much better when you hear it done right. Maybe the digital format can get some more people on board here. And in further Scat Rag news, Delta Pop will be releasing a Skip Jensen full-length shortly as well. (RK)
(Delta Pop // www.deltapop.com)

Superhelicopter "Sweet, Nice, and Happy...In Hell" LP
I have soft spot for this band for some reason. Always have. Quality German trash-rock is hard to find. I think I own every single one of their records. I was with them in the early days, when they were releasing stuff on the obscure and deviant Manul Wastl label. I lasted through a half-dozen line-up changes (at least), and the addition and subtraction of the "Ltd." suffix from the Superhelicopter moniker. I even stuck around when they pulled a complete about face and turned into some kind of insane Teutonic hardcore band on the split 12" with Eradicate (and actually liked it). I've listened to and loved Nils' post-Superhelicopter act, Damnation Kids. I've paid my dues with these fellas, so when I see that they are finally releasing a 12" LP proper, after years of EP after EP, well, I get a little geeked up. So I get the thing from P.Trash and throw it on. Checking the sleeve I notice they've changed line-ups again (no surprise), this time into a five-piece, even including a female (or two). It gets off on a good foot. The first half dozen tunes tunes are classic Superhelicopter: guitars that sound sound like the blades of an evil fuzz-saw, that I'm sure took off a few fingers while they were being played. Brief musical fragments that fall like rockslides on sleepy Alpine villages ("Kollaps"). Rotten, Allin-esque lyrical content, like "Drink, fight, fuck, nothing to lose!" served up with vocal chords-thru-a-lawnmower distortion. They even add some laser-like keyboards, cowbell, and femme backing vox. Things build and build and I'm thinking there's gonna be a huge payoff. The seventh and last track on the A-Side is called "Deathray". I mean, a track called "Deathray" from a band as diabolical as Superhelicopter has to be fucking awesome, right? I have a flash of such over-the-top guitar scree-distorto-shred that my ears are gonna be severed just from hearing it. So it hits, and it I'm...stunned. Not because it's a killer. But it like a bad stab at dirty indie rock. With female vox. What the fuck? Are they letting me down on purpose here? I wait for the deathray to kick in, but it just ends. Is this what they wanted? Are they getting cute with me here? Like, "Let's make "Deathray" sound nothing like a deathray, that'll really fool them." I dunno. But I was bummed. They open up the B-Side with awesome and hilarious (and very HFOS-ish) anthem "Gay Generation", which makes me feel a little better. They throw a couple more cookers on this side, and end it with a strange pairing of one of the girls falsetto-ish crooning over industrial strength meatgrinder guitars that sounds really perverse in a way only Germans can be. SO is it a good record? Yes. It's a good record by a good band, who actually expand their chops and style a bit. It is not the make-my-ears-bleed aural fuck fest I wanted and thought it would be. But it is a good album on it's own merits, from a band of sickos that should be remembered fondly. Scum stats: 500 copies, the first one hundred of which come with a bonus one-sided 7" that is silkscreened on the dead wax side (a la the Black Time 12"). The songs on that are ridiculous-good, and well worth tracking down.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

The Things "Psycho Sound" EP
The craziest thing about this record is that these guys are from Ireland. Horror-garage from Belfast. Craaaazy. Anyway, these guys have their sights set high: I guess the had/have a development deal with Sony UK, did some stuff with a dude who produced a U2 record or something, and a bunch of high profile opening gigs (Peaches, Raveonettes, etc..) So how they end up releasing a record with Bart, I don't know. Anyway, song titles like "Demon Stomp" and "Psycho Love" do a better job of describing their Farfisa-driven creepy-sounds than anything I could spit out. It's not as band as you might think, as they are pretty adept musicaians it seems, and the guy bellows and screams well enough. Nowhere near as good as early Blowtops or the first 45 Grave single or The Beguiled though. But I'd probably go see them on Halloween if they played in town. On fuschia-colored vinyl. (RK)
(big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

This Damn Town "This Time" 7"
Three-song single from Alex Cuervo's (Gospel Swingers, Blacktop, A Feast of Snakes, etc...) latest outfit. The first I heard of TDT was on the split seven-inch reviewed elsewhere in this issue, and I liked those tunes a lot. They don't fare as well on this record. I'm assuming that these songs are from a different recording session, and apparently utilize a different line-up (well, at least one member is different) from the aforementioned split. Cuervo's vocals are maybe pushed a little too far up in the mix, making their theatric quality a bit much to bear (he actually sounds a bit like a Texas-fried Danzig on these). The band has all the right elements in place though, ripping off nice fuzz solos at a moments notice, some tastefully subtle and Stones-y keyboard/piano work, and a nice desert-psych vibe overall. I think they just might need some better tunes than these. The A-Side is a little too much boogie, and the B-Side is a bit too much slow-burn blues. Nothing to really get stuck in your head. Listening to this record, TDT are a band that a lot of people with "normal" musical tastes might like. Pretty traditional and almost sterotypically Texan sounding. I think there's potential here, so hopefully on one of the five or six more records they have coming out they will find "it". I do like the sleeve art motif they seem to have going as well. Scum stats: 300 copies on black vinyl, 50 copies on blue vinyl.(RK)
(Shake Your Ass Records // www.syarecords.it)

Time Flys "Fly" LP/CD
Every year there are a handfulla' albums it seems everyone in the general scene proximity can agree upon, and from everything I've seen & heard, the Time Flys "Fly" album is a top pick for 2005. This is of a quality consistant with the excellent singles, so if you liked those, this is like six Time Flys singles packed onto one record/CD. If you didn't like the singles, you might be earless. A little glam/pre-punk knowledge and a lotta' punk, stripped back to before the rules were codified. Clever, informed songwriting that's just enough "different" to grab your attention and hook-filled enough to keep it dialed in. Top that off with a strong sense of humor and a dump truck fulla' flailing hair, and there you go. This is the perfect modern band for people who have been getting off on pre-punk reissues (think "Anopheles Records"), though I can see some disqualifying this just because of the year it came out. Then again, they're bitches and you're a lot smarter than they are, right? (TK)
If you're anything like me, you are rarely excited to hear anything by any new band because you're so very cultured and knowledgeable about all things r'n'r that you're incapable of being surprised. Or, more realistically, you're just a hateful, picky asshole who thinks everything these days is mediocre and dull. But this: This full-length is, was and probably will remain an exception to the rule for quite a while. The singles were prime lo-fi Gizmos/Afrika Korps trash and the album is no different, except it's even better than singles, which were even better than most anything that hit shelves around the time of their release. The alb continues to carry the torch of full-on cartoonish dumbshit loser punk as played by a buncha longhairs and runs with it for about 28 minutes of grimy, unwashed bliss. It's the perfect soundtrack to accompany the tingle of anticipation you feel as you watch your pal scrape the pipe for resin. A must-have, says I. (EL)
(Birdman Records // www.birdmanrecords.com)

Times New Viking "Dig Yourself" CD
I haven’t seen a Siltbreeze release since 2001 when these folks dared to put out a Resineaters CD, so when I found this in my mailbox, I was pleasantly surprised. I look on the back of the CD and Mike Rep is named as producer. Expectations peak. So what do I get? First song lodges itself as a sliver firmly lodged between garage and post punk, a spinning PiL-styled spazz dance. Second song has a twee foundation but is lovingly coated with a guitar dying a violent death and a chord organ made out of an iron lung. Times New Viking runs through 30 minutes that rattles between the noisier realms of indie pop and the sideways sludge of punk. In other words, they fit nicely in the Siltbreeze catalog.(SSR)
(Siltbreeze Records // www.midheaven.com)

The USA is a Monster "Wohaw" LP/CD
Every once in a-very long-while, I get an album that is like a good book. Everything flows like a great read should and I can go back to the record over and over and get more and more out of it. The USA is a Monster’s third full length does just that. It starts off with a killer riff and then turns sideways like if the MC5 made a record for ESP. Everything switches up, gets loud, changes midstream, goes soft, flips over and dives into more insanity. These two guys can make quite a racket as well as quiet it down. There are things here that should drive me away screaming: Every song has multiple parts, there are metal riffs throughout, and it lacks a bass; however this is so good that all those things that I normally hate are not only pulled off but an essential part of the sound. And then there is the very effective duel vocals and the lyrics, which mostly concern Native Americans, are smart. These guys are able to incorporate politics in their music the same way a band like the Mekons or the Ex does. If someone wanted a shorthand description the lazy me would say mash the Fugs up with Lightning Bolt, but really this is so much more. I am sorry if this review is a bit confused. It is just that sometimes a record is so good it kind of defies description. It really stands on its own. I listed the USA is a Monster’s 2003 album, 'Tasheyana Compost', as one of that years best. As 2005 winds down, I already know that 'Wohaw' will find its way on this year’s list. Wohaw fits into my broad definition of punk rock. It is a record I wish I would have released. That is the highest praise I can give.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

Toy Love “Cuts” 2xCD
Along with the recent Epicycle LP, this Toy Love anthology is one of the best pop re-issues of the past few years. Hailing from New Zealand, the band formed out of the ashes of The Enemy, and then disbanded after only being together for less than two years, when members then went on to form The Bats and The Tall Dwarfs (I know next to nothing about the Flying Nun scene, so that’s all the history you’re gonna get from me.) Included on disc one of ‘Cuts’ are the band’s first two singles, the b-side to their third single and the entirety of their one and only album (which has apparently been drastically remastered). Their first single, ‘Squeeze’ b/w ‘Rebel’, mines 60s pop for inspiration while the keyboards provide the perfect amount of Devo quirk and vocalist Chris Knox does his best Bowie impression. Single #2, ‘Don’t Ask Me’ b/w ‘Sheep’, sounds like a lost Pointed Sticks single which is high praise coming from me (and if The Reds didn’t borrow liberally from ‘Sheep’ for ‘I Hate Rules’, I’d be surprised). While the album tracks aren’t as consistent as the singles, there are more than enough songs that please and it’s here that the band busts out the new wave sound and incorporates some off kilter aspects to their songs like in ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ which sounds like it could be a lost Fall track and ‘Photographs of Naked Ladies’ which brings to mind Gang of Four. My faves from the album are the straight ahead power-poppers like ‘Swimming Pool’ which invokes images of a pansy Lou Reed type singing over a Trend song, and ‘Pull Down the Shades’, arguably the punkest number on the disc. Disc two has the three songs they contributed to the ‘AK79’ comp, and over a dozen demo tracks, a few of which were never re-recorded. I prefer the production on the demo songs as it’s a bit rawer and the guitars usually have a bit more hijinx on them, which gives the songs a bit more urgency. Forty songs in total is a bit much, but there’s more than enough worthwhile on this collection, including the exhaustive liner notes, to make it a highly recommended purchase for all pop/new wave fans. (JG)
(Flying Nun // www.flyingnun.co.nz)

Trailerpark Tornados "Mata al Contacto" LP/CD
After years of paying the dues, the Tornados finally push out a twelve-incher. It's been years and years in the making, and pays off in scum-rock spades, sounding like equal parts Cows, Jabbers, and Samoans all coated with a healthy Rust Belt junk-rock sheen. Features re-recorded versions of the songs from last year's "Don't Mind the Maggots" EP, plus a handful more originals in the same vein. My favorite moments: the vocal-three way of "Sex on the Brain", featuring drummer Dave Unlikely belting it out and sounding surprisingly great (and almost bringing a tear to my eye), the junkyard hardcore of "Sapsucker", probably the best tune on the LP, and "Dial L for Loser", a Rob tune which is actually pretty damn catchy. A quality effort from one of the hardest working bands in showbiz. The tragic thing about this record is that the TPTs have fallen prey to the curse that plagues all Buffalo bands: their recorded output is far behind their actual progression as a band. (See Furies, Baseball and Blowtops, The for further examples.) Since the recording of this LP, the Tornados have lost and replaced a drummer, with Unlikely leaving the drum stool vacant in surprising fashion and being replaced with lightning-quick hardcore stalwart Paulie Shoes, and the addition of second guitarist DeeDee Tron (ex-Concubine Forming), which has turned them into a beast of a dialed-in HC-junk-punk quartet, the tighest and best sounding unit they've been in a half dozen years. This line-up will be sure to singe some mustache hairs at HorribleFest, the only fest wise enough to ask bands from Buffalo to play. Plus, they now look like three skinheads and a rasta on stage, which will immediately gain them acceptance from the hardcore audience. Brilliant move.(RK)
(Big NEck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

V/A Blowtops/Tractor Sex Fatality "West Coast 2005" split 7"
Splitter released for sale on the West Coast jaunt these two groups of noise-mongers made in the late summer. Two tunes apiece. The Blowtops side contains the first vinyl appearance by the latest line-up. "Emergency Medkill" has some scalpel-like guitar punctuating the heavy organ moodiness, while Dave's rapid-fire vocal attack builds the song up to a really rocking and frantic pace. Which is great, beacause I like it when the play the faster stuff these days, as Scott is a great drummer who was built for speed. "Red Room" also builds up the velocity, and features some strange percussion and hypno-riff organ. The TSF side is two fairly different tunes. "Bucketful of Teeth" sounds like a real Stooge-ified version of what we've known them to do, and it works. "Dialtone Grinder" is a weird and moodier piece, that is approaching some of the soundtrack stuff they were talking about veering toward. At least in the "quiet parts", that are kinda fucked up and jazzy. But the rabidity is still there in the breaks. Creepy and cool, and not corny about it all, which is a pitfall some bands of this ilk might fall prey to. The TSF side ends with a lock-groove I know Rob was just dying to put in there. If I had to pick a winner, I'd say TSF by a nose. Scum stats: 200 copies only, and a perfect holiday gift for a loved one.(RK)
(Unscene Sounds // rsfvertigo@yahoo.com)

V/A Buttercups/Creteens split 7"
Buttercups and Creteens deserve a different record label, because with them around, Florida is most likely not dying. I really liked Buttercups' "I Wanna Live" - like if the Shop Fronts were from Florida, although I'm not sure Paddy's hair could take that much humidity...Creteens don't fuck around with their first song and get straight to the Elvis cover with their great sounding recording. Worth it for this cover alone. (JC)
OK split from a young and up-n-coming label. Both bands favor the lo-fidelity smash-up derby garage-punk bit, and I do believe The Buttercups hold the advantage on this record. Their brand of shitkicking is a bit more...likable. Perhaps a bit more creative. The Creteens (who I thought were from France, but seem to be spending a lot of time here in the States) are primal enough, but the savagery does little to make me listen to it again. This record is a good sign that things are brewing in some Southern outposts other than the usual locales (NOLA, Memphis, ATL). Florida's Dying has a nice slate of records coming up, including a Hibachi Stranglers recording, my favorite band that I have never, ever heard.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

V/A Hi-Fi Killers (The)/Los Dragos split 7"
This record surprised me by actually being good, as it looks like something that would be of the "trying to get on a major label" variety of suck (and perhaps these bands are), but despite any alterior motives, the music on the wax is what matters. Hi-Fi Killers, yet another French outfit (this time from Toulon), belt out two cuts of nice mid-tempo garage (more Nuggets-clean than BFTG wild and wooly). A little bit wild, well played, and actually not boring. Los Dragos aren't bad either (especially for an Italian band), as they sound a bit like the Roman version of a Nasty Product/Profet Records outfit. Fast-tempo garage punk, flaming guitar feedback solos, a little bit of a "w" in the rock, and a little bit of cuntry as well. A pretty good record overall, as these two bands throw enough curveballs into the formula to keep you guessing and interested. Clean enough for Little Steven's show, but also good enough to fool an underground dumbfuck like myself. If you live in Europe I'd buy it if I saw it for a couple bucks. If you're anywhere else, don't search too hard though. It's entertaining for a few spins, but nothing that will stick in your craw.(RK)
(Nicotine Records // www.nicotinerecords.com)

V/A "Lean into it: A Tribute to Die Kreuzen" CD
It says on this CD that this project was coordinated between 1996 and 2005, but it seems to me that most bands slipped over their shit a lot closer to '96 than The Year of Our Lord 2005. I know that Aluminum Knot Eye handed over their track about 8 years ago, and I know bands like the Droids broke up well before Y2K. Hell, didn't a Voivod member just kick the bucket? Anyway, talk to anyone over thirty and they'll be impressed to see Brutal Truth, Mike Watt, Vic Bondi, Napalm Death and Season to Risk. Talk to Coppens, and he'll piss in yer eye. Weird-ass mix of (formerly) big-time metal & punk bands and obscure (mostly for a reason) Wisconsin locals. The aforementioned Aluminum Knot Eye track ("No. 3") is fer sure cool, and shows the band in its bit-diff earlier stages, but at five & a half minutes, well, that's a lot of minutes! Most of this sounds like Die Kreuzen's dense and uninspired (to me, at least) later period and some pointless hardcore knock-offs. It was "brutal" for me to listen to all 26 tracks, and I LOVE Die Kreuzen. In fact, their first album remains my favorite hardcore LP. But really, it's not like anyone's improving on their best stuff, and it'd be hard for anyone to animate the later corpses. Even Vic Bondi! But ya know, the label is based in the town I work in, so show a little bitta' love, alright? (TK)
(Erosion Records // P.O. Box 701, Appleton, WI 54912)

V/A "Let's Have Some God Damn Fun: New York City 2005" CD
The latest from the UMed/Rapid Pulse camp, this time a compilation documenting the current NYC rock scene. A risky proposition, you say? I agree. Let's put this up for analysis using TB's patented 'Sergio Leone Method'. The Good: Well, believe it or not, there actually is quite a bit of good in NYC: Andy G. & The Roller Kings lead off with "Party Shoes", which is certainly a lot of god damn fun; The Plungers tune is actually quite good, plus it's not every day you see a girl in a luchador mask; DC Snipers rule, as does their song on this, simply called "Evil"; The Yams, who contribute a track of decent Voxx-y garage; Shop Fronts turned out to be a favorite of mine before they quit, and this song ("Watchin' You") makes me like 'em even more (plus, Paddy looks MEAN in the liner notes photo); Electric Shadows do the glammy-Dolls thing really well on "Secret Affair"; Mob Stereo actually sound a bit like The Breeders (who I have always loved, even with Kelley Deal. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone). The Bad: The Stags for weak pub rock and wasting a good band name; Swaggerts for sounding like Reigning Sound if Greg COULDN'T write good songs; Disruptors for cowboy hat wearing and playing New Yawk rawk (hey, they said it, not me); Some Action for sucking the life out of rock'n'roll. The Ugly: The Sleazies do a song called "Wild Turkey is not a Meat". Man, that hurts. But, they're actually from Providence, RI and not NYC, so that could affect cumulative scoring. Final SLM score: this score could have been higher with an appearance by LiveFastDie, but the fact that they didn't include the Ghetto Ways evens it out. Above average quality for a regional/city comp earns this one three Lee Van Cleefs out of five.(RK)
(Rapid Pulse Records // www.rapidpulserecords.com)

V/A “Secret Recipe From the Far East” CD
This here is a collection of modern day Japanese bands that haven’t seen a lot of exposure Stateside thus far. For the most part it ranges from really good to great, with tracks by Prambath (total power pop), Nylon (a band I’d heard of but hadn’t heard yet – they’re a real cool band that sounds something like the middle ground between the 5678’s and Guitar Wolf), and Teenage Confidential (real good power pop…their second LP is coming out on Mangrove soon) standing out as some of the best. By far my favorite two tunes on here, though, are two songs by Psychotic Reaction that are just killer. They combine the dense basslines and aggression of the Registrators with some Pointed Stick like organ to fantastic effect. Can’t wait for them to put out an LP.(SB)
(Nice and Neat // www.niceandneatrecords.com)

V/A This Damn Town/Guilty Hearts split 7"
A fitting pair of bands here on this splitter. This Damn Town look like a Texas All-Star team on paper: Alex Cuervo and an ex-Riverboat Gambler on guitar with a local rhythm section recorded by Ryan of the Marked Men. "Love Sick and Stupid" is a killer kut, with some weighty fuzz and echoed out vocals, sitting on the fence between classic Texas-psych and Texas-garage. Their second song sounds like an order of A Feast of Snakes, hold the creepy. Not bad at all. The Guilty Hearts look like Los Lobos crossed with The Plugz and sound like a latino Billy Childish fronting the Demon's Claws. They sound "rootsy" and play moody, downish rockers. I prefer TDT's side, but the Hearts are OK. If you want a good intro to This Damn Town, buy this, as the SYA TDT single is sub-par. And if you like the Guilty Hearts side, well that's a bonus. Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 on white vinyl with color cover. The rest are black with B&W sleeve. The color covers look really nice though.(RK)
(Sonico USA // www.sonicousa.com)

V/A "Radio Pyongyang: Commie Funk and Agit Pop from the Hermit Kingdom" CD
V/A "Chouri Chouri! Folk & Pop Sounds from Iraq" CD
A few years back the guys in the Sun City Girls started releasing CDs and DVDs of music they picked up in their travels. These releases included stuff picked up off Southeast Asian radio stations and music recorded on the street. They edited all the stuff together as a kind of audio travelogue. When they started putting out their friend’s field recordings, their focus became a bit more global and certainly further out. Recently Sublime Frequencies lets us listen to the sounds of two places no one would think of really looking for pop music, North Korea and Iraq.
'Radio Pyongyang' is a collection of sounds taken from field recordings, shortwave radio, North Korean television and radio, and live performances. And it is a mind fuck. The music incorporates Chinese opera, Hollywood soundtrack music, Abba-style europop, and the kind of tunes you hear in industrial promotion videos. Being that all this music is pretty much propaganda and it is well known that North Korean leader Kim Il Sung is a movie freak, the sounds on this CD shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. I am serious when I write that the closest thing I’ve heard to this stuff is on record produced by companies such as Avon and Amway and given to their workers to boost their production and to make them loyal to their product. And knowing that North Korea is such a tightly controlled society, it wouldn’t surprise me if each and every one of these songs were played for and tinkered with by Kim. How else can you explain the melody for Singing in the Rain suddenly popping up in what sounds like Chinese opera eurodisco? I don’t think I will throw this on the next time my lady is over or attempt to entertain the relatives with it over the holidays (hmmmmmm…. That’s an idea!) but when I am feeling low, it might just be the first thing I grab.
'Choubi Choubi!' is a little more of this world. I recognize the sounds of Iraq as actually originating from the Middle East. These 16 songs are mostly in the Choubi style, which is an intense blend of super fast percussion and shrill circulating horns, fiddles or keyboards. At times it sounds like the music is spinning dizzy with maybe one foot on land. In the true sense of the word, this is psychedelic. Other styles include Basta, which is much closer to the Middle Eastern music I’ve heard, a pulsating, dance-oriented groove with soaring vocals; Hecha, a hypnotic shambling sound with wailing vocals; and something the compilers refer to as “1970s Socialist Folk-Rock,” which sounds like the description, though add a bit of fuzz. Like the North Korean collection and all the Sublime Frequencies releases, this mix of Iraqi music has a very strong sense of place. Unlike the Korean CD, this will find its way in my CD player as regular listening music. Some of these songs are pretty amazing. But if you spend your money either, you should have a good – if not interesting – time.(SSR)
(Sublime Frequencies // www.sublimefrequencies.com)

V/A "Vancouver 4 Way: Volume One" 7" EP
Regional comp action from the home of the Canucks, the NHL team with the ugliest history of uniforms in any pro sport ever. Remember those early Eighties multi-colred "V"s on black background? How about the even more hideous away yellows? So hideous they were cool. The dumb looking killer whale/letter "C" combo they wear now? Awful. How about the "Flying Skate" sweater? Real bad. But you probably don't remember anyway. Try watching some sports on occassion, it won't kill you, Shirley. Ladies Night drop the puck on this thing, and automatically draw a five minute major for being the best band on the record. If they were a hockey team, they would be the Philadelphia Flyers, 1970's Broadstreet Bullies-era. They stomp the shit out of this track, sounding like a sped-up Lamps with the Hunches playing right wing. Awesome. Following them up are the ladies of Vancougar. These girls would fittingly be the Pavel Bure/Alex Mogilny-era Canucks, a team that was a lot of fun to watch, and were, well, a little bit girlie. But who needs a killer instinct when their tune, "Mine First", is as sweet as the Russian Rocket going top shelf on an end-to-end breakaway? The pleasant sounding and not-overpowering keyboards blend nicely with a really crisp drum sound, and the song has a Nikki Corvette-meets-Devo sorta catchiness. The fact these gals actually sing/harmonize as well gives them a winning hat-trick! Score! Someone give me an octopus to throw! Turning the wax over, we're ready for the second period. I'd just like to take this time to remind you that the arena stops selling beer at the end of the second intermission. Please plan accordingly. Anyway, The Beladeans open up Side Deux with a Booker T and the MG's sounding-thing, except with a sax. Proficient instro-funk/soul, and the rhythm here is copped directly from something I can't put my finger right on at the moment..."Hip Hugger"? "Tramp"? Both? Anyway, these dudes would be any Edmonton Oilers team of the past ten years or so. They skate and play really well, but aren't real exciting to watch and never get too deep into the playoffs. Ho-hum. Finally, closing out this bitch are Raised by Wolves, who I immediately send to the penalty box for having such a bad name. That shit's not gonna fit on the back of a jersey. RBW would be the post-Chelios/Roenick-era Chicago Blackhawks. Why? Well, they both bluster around out there like headless chickens, and while they might lay down a nice forecheck once in awhile, they can't score if their lives depended on it. They're playing last year's game. We need a little finesse these days, or least some savagery, not a bunch of goons playing bland overdriven rawk. I'm issuing them a game misconduct as well. Their guitar player should also be sent back to the minors. A few years of riding the bus in Moosejaw will straighten his game right out. So, one side of this thing is pretty bland. But Ladies Night and Vancougar could be contending for the Stanley Cup one of these days. This puck is worth purchasing just to hear these two fine Canadian outfits lay it down so good even the Great One himself should be proud. Support your local hockey team! Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 were on color. Nice looking sleeve.(RK)
(La-Ti-Da Records // www.latidarecords.com)

Vaz "The Lie that Matches the Furniture" CD
Hammerhead. A great, great and oft overlooked/misunderstood band. I'm always ready to sing their praises at the drop of a dime. In my mind they were the transition band that was going to take all the lessons we learned from the old-school AmRep/noise movement of the Mid-Nineties and forge ahead with this knowledge (and be freed of their predecessors mistakes) and bridge the gap into a new century of tightly played, loud, creepy, atmospheric, sci-fi-tinged rock. And by creepy, I don't mean zombie-style creepy, I mean desolation-of-outer-space-style creepy. But, Hammerhead didn't live long enough to carry this torch I lit for them. Instead, they split into two factions, one of them being Vaz. And it was Vaz who did pick up my nearly-extinguished torch, spanning the previously mentioned gap by popping up with a debut release on none other than Load Records, the new standard-bearing label for all things noisy. They continued to release records and roam from coast to coast, with a stop off on GSL and X-Mist for another full-length release, and further harnessed and tweaked their sound. To me (a rather traditional guy when it comes to things noisy), Vaz have become what I wish a lot of more arty-ish noise-ster bands sounded like. They retain solid structure, while still being able to swim in the experimental waters of the new generation of sound volumization. The dynamics of their songs are the product of real musicianship, not smoke and mirrors noise-for-the-sake-of-it pretentiousness. "The Lie that Matches the Furniture" is their third full-length, this time released on Narnack Records (who have actually proven themselves to be a repspectable outlet, what with the acquistion of The Fall, and the release of the Bunnybrains box and Guitar Wolf catalog, and despite the fact they insist on releasing every musical dump that Coachwhips guy takes on a reel of tape), and it stretches their musical palette to even further hues. Whereas "Demonstrations in Micronesia" still retained much of Hammerhead's agression and fury, and "Dying to Meet You" toned down the attack a bit but perhaps saw them getting a bit ahead of themselves soundscape-wise, this one is actually rather mellow at points, and probably their most "out there" record thus far. Changes include the addition of a second guitarist (one Adam Marks, aka Judy Station), placing them firmly back in the power trio category (although they don't sound that much "louder" with the additional amp), the inclusion of an even more stoic, Joy Division-like sense of detachment and introspection, and a lessened appetite for bombast. But don't let me get you thinking this thing doesn't rock out. Because it does when it needs to. Apollo Liftoff's haunted vocals still inhabit the interzone between his ethereal guitar (roughed up with just the right amount of distortion) chords and those recurring forays into the negative zone of heavy space-freighter-like low end, making the whole affair sound like it's music from the next dimension. And speaking of dimensions, how about the 4-D drumming of that Jeff Mooridian (aka Bruce Museum, Deft Garlands, Dionysus Powerdown, Isolation DH-9, and some more of the coolest fake drummer names since Epic Soundtracks)? Absolutely one of the best and least appreciated drummers of the past ten years, equally propulsive and technical, and an interesting enough of a player that he sometimes makes you forget the rest of the song because you're caught trying to follow his hyper-speed fills. Sound and theory-wise, this album is great. Song-wise, it's slightly lacking in catchiness, but still contains winners, like the pounding opening cut ("The Past is the Past"), the near-jazzy hurt of "Sink the Swan", the epic "Lapp Garou", the almost-sludge of "The Swell Remains" and some chilling, put-the-creep-on interludes like "Mensa Beast" and "The Hague". And when I say this record is lacking in catchiness, you should realize that at this point this band (and genre perhaps) isn't really about hooks or hummable tunes anyway. It's about conveying a mood, via both turning it up and toning it down when applicable, about moving noise through ear canals and setting thoughts and feelings in motion. These guys go as far into left field as they ever have on this one (and as far away from Hammerhead as they ever have), and come up with a record both startlingly cold and haunted, yet moving and strangely familiar as well. Fine listening for a solitary train ride through the arctic or a five year space flight to a distant satellite. For adventurers only.(RK)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

The Vicious "Suicidal Generation" 7"
Another band fromn the hotbed of punk rock that is Umea, Sweden. The Vicious share members with Regulations and Tristess, and their sound sound falls pretty nicely into the notch existing between the pop of Knugen Faller and the hardcore punk of Regulations. Just two songs of fairly polished early-to-mid Eighties punk sounds (with no keyboards, thank God), of which I feel the B-Side, "Suspicions", is the strongest as it is a bit more paranoic and has a better chorus. But the A-Side works too. A really good, but all too brief, record. They have a 12" forthcoming on the same label, so get this fast before you get behind. Recorded at This Fucking City is Run By Pigs Studios! That should sell you right there. (RK)
(Cage Match Federation // www.wastedsounds.com)

Walking Wreck "Morphed Out" 7"
Walking Wreck's demo was some seriously stupid beating punk rock that reminded me of any number of forgotten Californian beach boy bands from the early 80s. Thankfully, this 7" continues in that fine tradition. "Fallout Beach" is the "crazy surf punk song" while everything is does nothing but make me want to pound my fist into my head. Neat die-cut packaging that probably won't look too good on the non-limited vinyl you'll end up getting. I like this. (JC)
(Mike Fitzgerald Records // xmikefitzgeraldx@gmail.com)

Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra s/t LP/CD
I want to like this album. I've been giving it every chance in the world. I like what Alex has done in the past, liked the Hot Machines single, liked the single with Chris Playboy, liked the live Hot Machines stuff, etc...What it boils down to, is that as any typical garage album, sure this is fine. But typical is not what we expect from young Miss Alex. We expect better. One of the bigger problems is that most of the songs are stuck in that netherworld where they're building up to something, the atmosphere is gathering, the dynamics growing, and...then...they go nowhere. No payoff, or one that makes you feel cheated. A few just totally stall out, stuck in neutral and never getting out of the gate. And a lot of the dynamics sound similar to something on a Ponys record, but without Jered's guitar talents to pull it off. That's not to say there is nothing good. "On Time" and "Cut in 3 Parts" work well, as do others (and parts of others), but the Teenage Head cover sure is confusing. The promise of good things to come is definitely here in the nooks and crannies, but overall she sounds like the young artist trying to find her footing that she is, not the wunderkind with unbelievable expectations heaped upon her that everyone has built her up to be. She'll figure it out eventually, I just don't think she has quite yet. I'll stick with her and see what happens next. (RK)
I posted on Agony Shorthand that I was a little disappointed by this album, and got verbally reamed by some anonymous poster w/ a seriously bad attitude. If I say the same thing here, will I need to start dusting letters for anthrax? Hecky-darns, all I was saying is that I've waited a long damn time for Alex to get an album out there, and this one stops well short of greatness, which was a little disappointing, given the potential (Hot Machines, Red Lights, and the Chris Playboy 2-piece). As a shot from an unfamiliar voice, well, this would probably be more welcomed - band sounds good, some of the songs are head-stickers, and her vocals are powerful as usual. The dryleaf production flattens the best tunes, though, and listening to this CD my attention consistantly wanes well before the end & I haven't had a lightning bolt "ah ha!" as of yet. Maybe yer diff. I'll keep throwing it on from time-to-time, just in case. But it's my sworn honor (just ask Rich about the rigorous initiation) to only rave about stuff that gets me ravin'. And this doesn't. (TK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

The Worst "Earache" 7"
Debut single from these Chi-town dudes, and it kicked my ass. You can tell they live in the same neighborhood as the Functional Blackouts, as they kick out a mash-up of Germs-Eels-Buttholes evil, and throw it at you like hot garbage. The kind of music that is made not to be catchy, but to peel some paint off the walls in your brain. Shit-bringing thunk that sticks in your ribs like a serrated blade, recorded on tape then dipped in acid and deep-fried in old grease. The perfect soundtrack for those people you have locked up in the secret prison cell in your basement. I've heard people say bad things about this band live, and made "funny" comments relating to their name and I now know they are dumbfucks. Probably one of the best looking sleeves Big Neck has ever released as well. On Big Neck colored vinyl (greyish-purple garbage). (RK)
Paranoid, nightmarish noise from these three Chicagoans who've steadily been gaining momentum for a while now. The recording sounds fucking intimidating, like Rob's screaming "NAGASAKI SUNSHINE!" right in your ear and Colin's strangling his guitar behind you. Meanwhile, Tom's drum pound is throbbing, precise and sloppy in all the right ways. There are moments reminscent of the Contortions (w/out the funk obsession), or maybe a more aggressive and sloppier Le Shok (w/out the bullshit), or maybe even a hint of obscuro stuff like Rock Bottom & the Spys. A real attack on the schticky "no-wave" community. Recommended. (EL)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)


SOLID SEX LOVIE DOLL SPOTLIGHT

with Jesse and Rich

BBQ N Blacksnake "Too Much in Love" 7"
As I'm a huge fan of The King Khan & BBQ Show LP on Goner, I was more than excited to read that SSLD would be releasing a single by them. I ordered all three covers, because that's just what I do. What a fucking disappointment to plop one down on my record player and hear the equivalent to a handheld tape recording come out over my speakers. Where was the creak of King Khan'S kick drum pedal? Where was the sweet difference in the guitar tones? All lost in the noise of the shitty recording. I could still make out the song over the recording, but I didn't want to. Apparently "Too Much In Love" will be re-recorded and released on an upcoming effort, which I will certainly look forward to. So, anybody looking for two copies of this? I only need one to remind me of how disappointed I am. (JC)
Jesse's absolutely right. As happens with SSLD records, there's usually one really shittily recorded single in each bunch that bums everyone out. It was 10-4 Backdoor last time, this time it's BBQ and Blacksnake. The fidelity on this thing is something Boom Boom would be embarassed to put out, it's that bad. And I love these guys, and I still couldn't make it through more than twice. Scum stats: Graduation Party Extravaganza Edition of 99 copies (with insert comic about Mark brushing his teeth drawn by Zanutto himself), The Now KK & BBQ Edition of 131 copies (with insert), and The Mmmmmmmm Edition of 169 copies (no insert). All sound equally bad.(RK)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // solidsexloviedollrecords@siol.net)

A Feast of Snakes "Ghosts of You b/w Coal Black Heart" 7"
This seemed to be the most discussed new SSLD release amongst my compadres before everything made it to our mailboxes and after I played it the first time, I wasn't quite sure why. The more and more I heard it on a tape in the car or when playing it for somebody at my place, it started to sink in: this is the soundtrack to walking down the street at night looking for an easy mark. It's not really my style, but I was more than tempted to snatch an old lady's purse and feel completely fine about it each time I listened to "Ghosts of You." "Coal Black Heart" could be the background to a Tarantinoesque montage of slashing away with a straight razor in a drunken rage before you're forced to set your best friend on fire. The songs get into you and infect you with each listen. More!! (JC)
I'm more than pleased to hear more from this group after the incredible 12" on ITR from a couple years ago, as I find them to be the logical continuation of a trilogy that began with The Beguiled, was then passed on through The Necessary Evils, and continues with A Feast of Snakes. "Ghosts of You" is an ominous and ghastly swirl of guitars and bass, penetrated only by Cuervo's vox. This is the kind of tune that follows you down the street on late October nights. The flip is a bit less creepy, but contains some big guitar feedback Fireworks from one J.Arthur. Neck and neck with Luxury Rides for best of the new bunch. Scum stats: Newborn Rattlers Edition of 202 copies, and Victim of Madmen Edition of 98 copies, no inserts. (RK)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // solidsexloviedollrecords@siol.net)

Golden Boys "Got Time b/w Cold Hands" 7"
My first exposure to Golden Boys and I'm left with a very positive impression. A little bit country, a little bit rock & roll (yes, I know) a lot of leaving me wanting to hear a full CD of their tunes playing while I pretend that I'm sitting on my porch when I'm really sitting in my apartment with the window open in the summer. Both songs are eminently simple, which seems to make for the catchiest tunes in any genre of music. I enjoy the "Drag Racers in Flames" flavor.(JC)
"Got Time' is a tidy summation of this bands modus operandi: sprawling and simple psych-blues recorded in a Texas dirt-floor root cellar, with plenty of moonshine and homemade wine flavoring the recording session. Like Hawkwind, if they were from Big Tuna, TX and hung out with Jim Thompson instead of Michael Moorcock. A good trip. The flip is a sedate country crooner that doesn't move me as much. The A-Side does inspire repeated listening, however. Scum stats: Drag Racers in Flames Edition of 123 copies, and Cooled Smoke West Edition of 177 copies, no inserts.(RK)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // solidsexloviedollrecords@siol.net)

Luxury Rides "She Just Don't Care b/w Workers" 7"
"She Just Don't Care" is the kind of song that will never fail to excite you while driving, reading, fucking, shopping, writing record reviews, etc. It's easily my favorite product of the recent SSLD batch. A pounding song written around a solid riff that just won't quit. Thank god they used a guitar instead of a keyboard or I'd have to call this band new wave. Unfortunately, the B side doesn't quite hold up its end of the deal, but as long as the A side isn't worn out, I'll hold on to this one. The "Shooting at Posh Cars" edition cover is kinda crappy. (JC)
Super group consisting of Nick and Joe Dirty, Wild Mid Wes (Clone Defects), and Choyce (current and ex-pick a band from Montreal). I will agree with Mr. Conway, that it is probably the most solid record of this year's SSLD batch. The A-Side is a remarkable tune, a good amalgam of Dirtys + Cloney Ds arithmetic, meaning dirty rock with a side of art-damage peeking through (vox by Joe). The flip is a straight up Gangbanger, shouted by Roy (who I always thought had a cool voice), that isn't the bummer Jesse is making it out to be. Scum stats: Shooting at Posh Cars Edition of 138 copies, Intimation and Assault Edition of 162 copies, both with insert.(RK)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // solidsexloviedollrecords@siol.net)

The Ponys "Pop Culture b/w Modern Day Monster" 7"
I'll be honest, my only other knowledge of the Ponys is the "Prosthetic Head" 7", so I went into this one on a pretty clean slate. I prefer the B side's slow-as-molasses crawl and in general, the large sounding recording of the two tracks on the record. Sharpcubicformcalculator edition is the one that I won't be selling on ebay; it has very pleasing lines. While I'm being honest, I should say - Steph, I'm only using you for sex and to hang out with your cat. But you probably know this!(JC)
Since Jesse has been too busy listening to the latest in Myspace Crust to be bothered with the Ponys output of the last few years, let me say, these two tunes (both leftovers from one of the early demo tapes that circulated) are representative of what I love and hate about this band. "Pop Culture" is a fine example of Jered's songwriting talent, and how his sometimes off-putting vocals and undisputed guitar talents can be put to to amazing use. "Modern Day Monster" is a good example of the slow and lethargic approach they take at times that is conducive to mid-afternoon naps. I wish one of these was a Melissa song. Also, probably the best sounding SSLD release ever. Scum stats: Sharpcubicformcalculator Edition of 17 copies, Poppy Pop Edition of 84 copies (with insert), and Unknown Space Dimension Edition (with insert).(RK)
(Solid Sex Lovie Doll // solidsexloviedollrecords@siol.net)




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