HOMEREVIEWSCONTACT LINKSARCHIVES FORUMS

RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2006

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: Young Steve) (TK: Todd Trickknee)

Angry Angles "Apparent-Transparent" EP
Since this is the third release from the band to be reviewed by Terminal Boredom in the last few months I don't feel an obligation to describe the sound; most people reading this probably know exactly what Angry Angles sound like at this point. "You Fell In" is my favorite of the three songs here, an original with an understated, Urinals-esque sound. The band continues in the tradition set on their previous releases with an inspired cover song, this time of "The 15th" by Wire. While none of the songs on here stand out as much as "Crowds" or "Things Are Moving" from previous releases, the overall quality is top notch, and the Angry Angles prove beyond any doubt that they're one of the best groups around.(DH)
(Plastic Idol // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Anxieties “The De-Evolution Will Be Televised” EP
Perhaps their Oregon roots are pointing me in this direction, but The Anxieties immediately bring to mind the most recent work of Joel Jett. Take The Flip-Tops every-man brand of punk coupled with The Minds’ lyrical leanings and presto...you have this here 7” EP. The title track and (to a lesser extent) “Nowhere Zone” suffer from the mysterious wave clichés that engulf more than their fair share of bands from the Pacific Northwest, a phenomenon that I can’t explain for the life of me. The closing cover of Motorhead’s “Going To Brazil” was certainly an odd choice and re-working, but they manage to make it fit along side the originals. I can only assume that its inclusion in their set is a necessity to avoid getting on the bad side of Eugene’s punx and metalheads. People from the fucking East Bay used to commute to Eugene just to drink under its much-famed overpasses. While I wouldn’t call this a total stinker, it’s still a rare miss for Plastic Idol.(MC)
(Plastic Idol // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

The Aversions "Black Alibi" EP
First, I had these guys confused with The Inversions, but thankfully I was wrong. These cats are from Quebec Rock City, and play some classic sounding punk rock, catchy and rousing in a D.O.A. vs. The Stitches kind of style. Four tunes in total, and two of them are top drawer material, the title cut in particular. "2-D Model" also fares well. The other two tracks aren't up to snuff, but "Black Alibi" gets repeated spins and the French Canadian vocals are semi-confusing and fun. Le Christgau says B-. Scum stats: self-released, 300 pressed. Comes with slick fold-out lyric sheet/mini-poster.(RK)
(Die In Style Records // www.theaversions.ca)

Bananas "Nautical Rock'n'Roll" LP
Honestly, this is only the second Bananas record I've ever heard. I dunno, just never got into them or anything else on Plan-It-X really. It's pretty goofy poppy-rock, with some wanky parts. They write some hooky tunes, and can spin some lyrical gold (as seen on the inner sleeve), and kind of put a fun twist on melodic punk. Kind of like a sillier and less catchy MOTO. Not really my bag. Vinyl on Vida Loca, CD on Plan-it-X. (RK)
(Vida Loca Records // www.vidalocarecords.com)

Baseball Furies "Lost Ones" EP
The Furies vinyl legacy is a fine one, as they never, ever released a bad record over the course of their near ten year career. Whether that was due to strict quality control standards or just a difficulty in getting material together and recorded in a timely manner, it worked out perfectly. Unlike many bands, they didn't release a single every month and that factor probably aided their longevity. You had the chance to spend time with the records before jumping on to the next one. And I think that is also something that will make the Furies a stand out when we look back at these times ten years or so from now. While they maybe didn't get all the hype that other bands did, they were steady and reliable and made their vinyl appearances count. I also think it's remarkable that this single is the first record they've ever done for a non-US label. No whoring to the Euro limited edition market, when they released something it was always readily available for whoever wanted it. Classy? I think so. So, what to say about this, probably the next-to-last Furies record? It's great, as is always the case. "Lost Ones" should certainly make it on to any Best of Baseball Furies comp, and it's a track many of us have heard played live. Tough and modern garage punk shot through with Dead Boys swagger and streetwise sensibilities. Cigarette butt, broken bottle, shattered women punk. The flip holds up as well, contrasting the brief "Know That Girl" against the lengthier A-Side and closing it out with a version of The Reatards "Quite Alright", a song that fits their aesthetic perfectly, and a cover that goes all the way back to their Buffalo days. And, also remarkably, only the second cover song they've ever released. Shit, these guys could have made a killer covers record while we're at it. "Psycho Killer", "Trash", etc. etc...I could go on forever about these guys. Great live band. Cool dudes. I look forward to final LP, which should be spectacular from the bits I've heard so far. These guys were so good they had to die. Scum stats: 500(?) copies, 98 of which are blue vinyl. Nice die cut covers that expose the labels and create a flaming baseball effect. Well done.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Bayonettes "Dead End Kids" 7"
Debut slab from this up-and-coming Toronto bunch who are a great time live. Only two songs, and this is actually on a local Buffalo label I knew absolutely nothing about until I bought this. Small world. Anyway, "Dead End Kids" should be the theme song to some CBC programme about punk rock youths having a good time in the local scene, until some tragedy hits (one of 'em gets hooked on dope or gets pregnant or something...) but then it is overcome through friendship and then we all learn everything will be OK as long as you have your bros in the scene. Like an edgy and more underground Degrassi mixed with My So-Called Life. Seriously. It's ready to go right now, I'm finishing the pitch when I get done here. "They say we're dead end kids..." with a rousing chorus of "Oh Yeah"'s and handclaps from the cast. Just a little bit too cutesy. On the B-Side they do a quicker politi-punk tune called "American Song". "I'm sick and tired of America..." she sings...wait. What? Don't make me come over there! Actually kinda funny. A Canadian band doing an anti-US song, that is. All in all, I've seen them live three times now, and I know they have better tunes than this. Actually, I think they said these were the first songs they ever wrote, and if that's the case it shows. Better than the Brutal Knights though, if you want my opinion. A fun and kinda innocent little platter, but I think they have better stuff to come. Watch for 'Dead End Kids' the series on your local CBC affiliate this summer. It's gonna be bigger than The Beachcombers. Scum stats: 250 pressed, Volume 7 in the Art of the Underground Single Series.(RK)
(Art of the Underground // www.artoftheunderground.com)

Big Vinny & The Cattle Thieves "I Was A Teenage Premature Ejaculator" EP
Well, the title cut of this fucker lives up to expectations. Funny idea, gruff and gravelly vox over simple hard rockin' punk sounds. On the flip, "Black and Blue" is kinda synthy, with digital-sounding drums over some mid-tempo misogyny. They close with a faithful rendition of the Geege's "Sister Sodomy". These guys are exactly what you'd expect from a band that has both Max Hardcore and The Wongs (among others) on their thanks list. Nice looking black and blue vinyl.(RK)
(May Cause Dizziness Records // www.bigvinny.org)

Blank Its “Happy Accidents” CD/LP
The Blank Its write some of the most catchy, pop/punk songs out there today. Every song on this, their debut full length is criminally infectious and will bury its way into your head until you’ll find yourself humming them all day long. On top of this, they also have something going for them that most bands of today don’t – a completely unique sound. Jon-Paul’s drumming is way off kilter and is often nowhere near a 4/4 beat. Justin’s guitar playing is frantic, quickly switching between different notes and chords with weird starts and stops all over the place. And Betsy’s booming low end holds it all together. But the most distinguishing feature of the band’s songs is the quirky, buzzing insect-like vocals. All of these distinct qualities make it difficult to compare the Blank Its to any other band, but I hear a bit of Urinals in there somewhere. My only complaint about this release is that the Kurt Bloch production is a bit too beefy and glossy sounding at times, especially on the guitars. There are times where the big studio sound adds a lot to the songs but overall, I think I’d prefer these songs if they sounded a bit more raw, like they do on the demos. Speaking of the Blank Its demo CD that made the rounds last year, all the songs from the demo make up the nine songs on “Happy Accidents” (including the songs from their debut single and split with the Feelers), so hardcore fans won’t be hearing anything new here. Even still, the songs are strong enough to make this a definite pick up. (JG)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Bloodshot Bill "Lonely Night" EP
More one man band action from Canada. Bloodshot Bill is really minimal even for a OMB, with nary a drumbeat present on this EP, just him crooning/drawling and strumming a guitar and maybe tapping his foot a little. Sounds really backporch hillbilly, not rock at all, and it's recorded kind of oddly which adds some nuance. Very vintage 78 rpm vibe. He borrows the Green Acres 'hook' for "Kissin' My Love". Check him out at www.bloodshotbill.com, if you're interested. This one didn't do much for me except get me drowsy, but I get the impression he's usually a bit more energetic than he is on this one.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Brutal Knights "The Pleasure Is All Thine" LP/CD
I just don't get it with this band. Musically, they are doing nothing different than Zeke, The Bulemics, River City Rapists, or whatever other turn of the century Junk punk rawk band you want to name. Ditto for the lyrics. Songs about bitches, fucking, beating off, fucking dogs, strippers,...I mean some of the stuff is a bit funny, like the homage to 'legendary' Toronto promoter Dan Burke ("Face of Death") and the declaration of London, Ontario as "Worst City", but just not funny enough to make you forget the expiration date on the genre. Well played perhaps, but ultimately not very memorable aside from metal mynx Katie G. Warrior on bass. They seem to be selling a shit ton of records though. Maybe the joke's on me...but I doubt it.Scum stats: two or three color vinyl variations, as Deranged is the P.Trash of Canada.(RK)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)

The Budos Band s/t LP
Those familiar with the Daptone label know that what you get when you buy a Daptone record is good contemporary funk. The debut by The Budos Band wont change your expectations. They call it Afro-Soul and that is a good enough moniker, but I would add that there is a nice Latin groove going through this baby. It is also not as Afrobeat as something like the Daktaris, another great band (since dead) from this scene. What else should I tell you about this? It is instrumental. The playing is solid. The horn section is great. Great guitarist. You could easily throw this thing on either Saturday night or Sunday morning. It has a great party groove to it. There are some songs that will throw a dance floor into a frenzy. That good enough?(SSR)
(Daptone // www.daptonerecords.com)

Busy Signals “Can’t Feel A Thing” b/w “All The Time” 7”
As my recently crowned darlings of the 2005 singles race, this follow-up was one of my top wish-list items for 2006. Fittingly, I find myself as ga-ga over this new outing as I was over their debut. “Can’t Feel A Thing” is an absolutely killer tune, probably the best I’ve heard outta them thus far. Toppling any other recent attempt at fast, hook-laden punk that I can think of, the painfully and perfectly short running time screams out for multiple spins. “All The Time” stretches out a little more, but urgency and bounce continues throughout. Singles are meant to be played and you won’t be able to stop spinning this for a while. Fuck, I’ve already got more mileage outta this than most of the shit cluttering my stereo. These guys separate themselves from the lot in that they don’t trim the power for the sake of pop, leaving only GREAT PUNK (Sorry Eric). If they grace us with an LP, we’re in for one hell of a ride. 500 pressed, 100 on color of some kind (mine has yet to arrive) and a nifty sleeve/sticker design that seems like the sort of that Stiff would’ve done. I dunno. Either way, worth at least one fuck. (MC)
(Shit Sandwich // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)

Cheveu "Dog" 7"
More French strangeness imported by our freinds at SS Records. Cheveu deconstruct punk and/or rock with a quirky (yeah, I hate that word too) style, which on "Dog" contains some guitar twang over digital casio beats with some deadpan vox, creating an almost wave-a-billy genre for themselves. Perhaps close to Crash Normal in style, but with their feet more firmly planted in the rock landscape. On the flip, "Make My Day" features some swarthier French vocals paired with jangling guitars and keyboard bleats, which all wind down as the songs lumbers to a close like some mechanical toy whose wind-up action has finally run out. Fairy simple stuff, yet still managing to sound fresh and current, and the smarts visible underneath it all elevate it from the 'trash' genre. On certain listens it rubs me as being a bit too artsy, but it's still intriguing enough to make me want more.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Chinese Lungs "Get Yer Lungs Out!" EP
Got these UK gents' demo for review last time around, and my take was that it had enough good songs on it for a 7". Well, here it is. Absolutely ludicrous parody sleeve shows you where these guys' heads are at. Not taking themselves at all seriously, which is fine with me. "Come On" is the "hit" here, but all three tracks are hyperactive '77 punkers carried by some nice sounding buzzsaw guitar. Not doing anything really new, but they seem to be having fun with it. Slightly Rip Off-esque, but defintely more UK punk than anything else. Featuring ex and current Ulcers, Moorat Fingers, Parkinsons, and Shakin' Nasties. Scum stats: 333 copies, full color sleeve.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Chinese Telephones s/t EP
Bought this one not knowing what to expect. Kinda liked the name I guess. Four song record that if you blindfolded me and played, I would not be able to distinguish from Green Day demos. I shit you not. Melodic punk or whatever you wanna call it. I guess they're doing it well. 314 numbered copies on yellow vinyl.(RK)
(Dingus Records // chinesetelephones-at-yahoo.com)

Church of the Saturday Saints "Longboarder" EP
Ethical guy that I am, I feel I must keep my promise of reviewing every single piece of vinyl that gets sent TB. Notice I said 'piece of vinyl', not crappy promo CD without art or ridiculous CD-R. I figure if you're taking the trouble to put out an actual record, you at least deserve the respect of getting a legit review. So I threw this thing on, knowing it was gonna suck in a deep way. And what can you really say about a record that admits it is "folk punk"? Fuck. And believe me, the cover art of a naked pregnant chick holding a surfboard with a mushroom cloud in the background is not an awesome idea, despite what you might think. Trust me on this one, I had four songs worth of time to stare at it and think about it. Does not work, no matter how hard I want it to. So, in closing, these guys sound like they listen to a lot of Pogues and Duane Peters. I bet they could hold down a residency at the local Irish sports bar no problem. Like one of those mall "pubs" called McGillicuddy's or O'Connor's or Leprechaun Landing or something where the non-Irish go when they "fancy a Guiness". You know what I mean, laddy. I will never play this record again.(RK)
(Vinehell // www.vinehell.com)

The Ciaoculos "Hey Little Girl" 7"
Ciaoculos are Mark Sultan, King Khan, and Matt and Dave from The Mojomatics getting together for two tunes of Chuck Berry-styled fun. Sultan sings on both, and both cuts sound pretty similar. "Hey Little Girl" is a cover and the more simple of the two, and the Mark-penned original "Walk On" is the better outing. It just sounds fuller, has a nice little stompin' breakdown towards the end. Sounds like a BBQ tune. Pretty brief affair from some good musicians, but not exactly a must-have. I think if these guys spent some more time together you could have an amazing band, though. Scums stats: ususal Yakisakana production: color Bongout screened sleeve, probably 500 copies. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

Cigarettes "Gimme Cigarette" 7"
Another unofficial installment in S-S Records' archival reissue series, this time the heavily Sparks-influenced mid-Seventies SoCal 'rockers' Cigarettes, featuring a pre-Fear Philo Cramer. Philo sings both tunes in an odd and fey near-falsetto and the music is certainly indebted to the brothers Mael, carrying odd time signatures and a healthy dollop of pre-wave glam/glitter fanciness, close to a less grandiose Roxy Music in some moments. A lovingly done reish with liners as informative as can possibly be for a band that had only a short few moments of life. The macho dude in you will think how gay this shit sounds, and then you will think about the fact that this is what punk was before 'Punk' existed, and then you will look at the back cover and see that these weren't a bunch of femmes wearing make-up and their girlfriends panties. They were just regular dudes, regular WEIRD dudes. S-S Records: making you think about the origins of WEIRD PUNK while you listen. Not something I'm going to give a lot of spins to, but something I'm glad I've heard and have on hand. (RK)
(s-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Clockcleaner "Missing Dick" 7"
Small-sized Clockcleaner record for all you little fellas out there. A-Side is a different version of "Missing Dick" from the full-length, this one with a bit of a busier arrangement and trading some of the blunt force trauma of the album version for a grittier and more caustic recording. The flip is a cover of the Crucifucks' "By the Door", a band whose rudimentary obnoxiousness fits Clockcleaner just fine. A nice little platter. Scum stats: 21 copy tour version with spray painted covers, plus legit cover version in an edition of 500.(RK)
(Hit Dat Records // www.hitdatrecords.com)

Clockcleaner "Nevermind" CD
"I saw your girlfriend leaving the abortion clinic yesterday, with another man..." is probably the greatest opening line of a record since The Lamps 12", and offers up a pretty good summation of the kind of shit Clockcleaner is on about. "Nevermind" contains nine songs of stab and pummel rock violence, the kind of shitstorm that can only be created when a band is totally fed up with what is going on around them and decides to just tackle the listener head on. A lot of comparison has already been made to their lineage in the AmRep/Touch & Go midwest post-hardcore tradition, but they bring that rhythm heavy sound into the present day. "Interview w/A Black Man" kicks it off with a lengthy slow-cook pressure build, finally releasing around the two-minute mark into a fulfilling crush of drums/bass/delay. "Missing Dick" and "Blood Driver" keep the intensity up and the throb-thump-scratch punishes you, like getting worked over by a mean drunk. "NSA" is a scorcher, with hardcore speed (and "the hit" here if you ask me) and they also show off their Anal Babes/Brainbombs riff-murder fixation on the creeping and repetitive "Early Man". "In the Shit", "Deaf Man Talking", and "Gentle Swastika" give you a glimpse of the other scabs this thing picks at, and the cover art is fittingly unsettling. As good a representation of this band that can be had, it fixes some of the shortcomings of "The Hassler" (less Yow on the lyrics, fuller sounding tunes) to make a succint nine-song statement of purpose that doesn't linger too long, but also sates your bloodlust. CD only right now, there is no justice if this doesn't end up on vinyl.(RK)
(Reptilian Records // www.reptilianrecords.com)

Le Club des Chats "Pump Up the Seed!" 7"
Les Club des Chats is an oddball trio from Paris who come off as a hyperactive Kleenex, which is a good thing but doesn't give them as much credit as they deserve. Playing a pretty tricky balancing act between silly and smart, these Chats take very simple aggressive post punk sounds and gussy them up to where they sound like they have chops. Again, they balance the musical adeptness with brevity and rawness so that this does not sound too heady. These five songs are also pretty damn frantic and, while they conform to a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, the way that they jump makes it had to believe this is as straight forward as it really is. What you have here is a knot of a record made from a very simple string. It is also pretty damn good.(SSR)
(Le Villain Chien // www.levilainchien.com)

Cococoma “All I Give” 7”
Cococoma is Mike and Lisa from Headache City on keys and guitar, respectively, and Bill (married to Lisa) on drums and vocals. I’ve recently seen them play live, and both times they ripped me a new asshole. You see, a lot of bands think it’s OK to get up on stage, meekly turn up their amps a bit, and stand there planted to the stage for forty-five minutes going through the motions. Cococoma gets up on stage, cranks their amps to Cheater Slicks levels of loudness and freaks the fuck out with lighting fast songs for fifteen to twenty minutes leaving nothing left in the tank by the time they’re done. And while this single doesn’t quite match the absolute ferocity of their live show, it’s still pretty damn good. Up first is “All I Give” a vicious Coachwhips-like number with a sing-a-long friendly chorus. Next is “Don’t Tempt Me” a barn burner with another yell along at the top of your lungs chorus that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the first Spaceshits LP. The flip is the slower “Premonition” which is the most traditional garage sounding song and is similar to the fuzzed out stuff that the Demon’s Claws guys have been putting out. A promising debut from a band that is officially on my “buy everything they put out” list. (JG)
(Shit Sandwich Records // shitsandwichrecords.com)

Dark Skies s/t LP/CD
Why Empty thought it was a good idea to release a bad grunge record in 2006 is beyond me. Dark Skies do some boogie-ing, slow it down for some jammy grooving, and dust off a power chord here and there, and then add something "weird" to each song like a theremin, or sax, or some bongos, or, and I shit you not, a saw(!) to try and get you to overlook the fact that they missed their boat by about ten years or so. And that boat was sailing straight to an opening slot on a triple bill with Tad and Skin Yard. Ultramega bad.(RK)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Digital Leather "Monologue" LP
I harassed kids that listened to stuff like this in high school. Now I'm reviewing it, how's that for i-ron-ee? Anyway, I also dated some girls who listened to some New Romanticism, so I know this dude has a Human League record or two. I want to make a connection between this thing being called 'Monologue' (which is a really fitting title for this essentially solo studio project) and the Human League record 'Travelogue', but I might be reaching. But, hey, the 'League had some good stuff in the pre-fame days, before they decided they wanted to be famous and started cranking out the pap. Just don't tell anyone I told you that. 'Monologue' flashes back to a lot of semi-mainstream dance music, from Ultravox pretension, to overwrought Depeche Modisms, to a deadpan Gary Numan delivery, a bit of the despicable wimpiness of OMD and plenty of Soft Cell detachedness. It's a lot to take in one sitting. But I do know that "Fantasy Boys" is a hit, and Lost Sounds covered "Black Flowers" for a reason. This is an LP you want to take in small doses and even then you need to be in the right mindset to listen to this. I'd say throw it on when the chicks are around, but that might get some funny looks. Something totally different, for sure, and I actually throw on "Fantasy Boys" kind of often. I also listen to Roxy Music kind of often. Eff-eh-gee. This one's for the ugly goth chick in all of you. (RK)
(Shattered Records // www.shattered.net)
...After a great 7" on Plastic Idol, I was looking forward to The Big Slab. Threw it on and it started okay: Moody synthed out punk rock veering into post-punk. But the longer this thing went on, the duller it got. A song into side two I was wishing I had an old Human League album. By the end of the record, I was wondering if we had already gone through this simpy, overwrought synth nonsense with The Faint. Perhaps Digital Leather should stick to 7"s.(SSR)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Diskaholics Trio "Live in Japan Vol. 1" LP
Jim O'Rourke, Mats Gustafssen, & Thurston Moore turn up and feedback out in a pretty nice piece of noise and texture. I've been in plenty of bands who've done this kind of improv noise jam thing and have heard lots of bands try to do it. 99% of the time it is fun for the persons doing it and boring for the audience, at least for me. This thing, though, is listenable which means that it is good which means that these dude pulled it off, something which should not be surprising considering the trio have earned their livings making tweaks and tweedles with their instruments. A keeper.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

Fatals "Live at WFMU" EP
Recorded live on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic during last year's American tour, this thing sounds great for being a live Fatals-on-the-radio recording. They sound more noise-punk than garage-trash without the mountainous distortion of the records, although the volume and intensity are still there. If you saw them at the Blackout, you know they slayed, and they quickly and devastatingly pound out three wall-to-wall classics on the A-Side, ending with my particular Fatals tune, "Can't Change My Style". They pack two more on the flip, crashing to an end with "I Wanna Dance" and its extended guitarslaughter close. A good live document, but not really unearthing anything new. Scum stats: plain jane form-fitting cardboard sleeve with center hole. 500 copies.(RK)
(Profet Records // www.profetrecord.com)

The Fatals “Treat Me Bad” 10”
The live show and early singles didn’t impress me nearly as much as most other folks around here, but this record is simply too fucking LOUD to not get at least a little bit excited about. The cookie-cutter Oblivs trip I thought they were on has morphed into a form of ruthless noise that seems to have more in common with the early material by The Hospitals than it does anything remotely Goner-esque. It sounds like they miked a broken dishwasher and some dot-matrix rotary printers and THEN set-up the drums and amps. The tunes are on a par with any other band outta the Euro scuzz ranks (meaning good to ho-hum), but the ferocity and delivery here are unmatched. I suspect that any band willing to put themselves and the listener though an ear barrage as strong as this doesn’t have an LP in them, so this I’m thinking this is as close as we’ll ever come. Finally..a Fatals record worthy of praise. (MC)
(Yakisakana // www.yakisakana.tk)

Fatals "Trashy, Fuzzy, Rock'n'Roll Idiots..." 7"
Round two of The Fatals vinyl landslide has begun, giving birth to at least a 10" and two singles so far, and they are set to embark on a second conquest of American soil. I think there was a lot of bitchin' about these guys releasing too many records first time around, and I imagine people will sour even further on listening to this one. The A-Side is mundane, a Fatals-by-the-numbers jam with an ear-piercing lead cutting through a swamp of a mid-tempo rhythm. The flip side is their cover of The Horror's "Every Inch of My Love" from the split with the Pee Pees that was a staple of their set list from last year's US tour. They really do a good job with it though. Overall, these guys have made records way better than this. For completists only. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

The Fe Fi Fo Fums “Shake All Night” LP
There’s no need to over analyze this record. It’s really fun. It sounds like Supercharger at times, The Mummies at others. If you told me that this came out on Rip Off, Radio X, or Super Teem sometime in the late 90s I would believe you. The songs are super catchy. The artwork and design are great. If you like this record as much as I do, there’s a pretty good chance that we could be friends. (JG)
...What can you really say about this record that isn't painfully apparent just by looking at the traffic stopping sleeve design/color scheme? It's the dumbest of dumb garage Punk, and yes that is punk with a capital P. At times, this shit is like the stupid younger brothers of the Pagans who get drunk and jam after the big boys have went to bed. At other times it sounds like blazing hot outtakes from the unreleased 'Incompetent and Pissed' volume of the Teenage Shutdown series. All I need to say is "Fuck New Wave" is the anthem the kids of the world need right now, especially the kids in this band's region of our fair country. But of course, their shouts will be painfully ignored today, only to be revered twenty years later by some smarty-pants critic who will declare them the rawest ever in primitive trash punk or something. But the time is now for this brand of crap. "She's A Drag", "Electrofize Me", "At the Funhouse", shit, every stinking cut on this thing is dripping with all that is good and goofy and irreverent about garage-punk. If you don't love this record, you don't love rock'n'roll.(RK)
(Boom Boom // www.boom-boom.net)

Final Solutions "Return to the Motherland" EP
Four song EP of hot covers from America's favorite punk band. All European stuff, with the theme being one cut from each member's 'homeland'. So you get a double Yugo dose of Pekinska Patka ("Poderimo Rock" plus one), the Kriminella Gitarrer Swede classic "Vardad Kladsel", and a run through of Big Ball's "I'm A Punk" representing Germany. All very well and humorously done (with somewhat ad-libbed 'foreign' vox), my fave would be "Poderimo Rock" if I had to pick. I don't know why I'm talking about this any longer, I think this is already sold out, and it's by one of the best bands in operation right now. The debut release on Frick and Frack Records, by the way, and hopefully there's more to come. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on orange, with insert. (RK)
(Frick and Frack Records // frickandfrackrecords-at-hotmail.com)

Four Slicks "Four Wild New Tunes..." EP
For all the weird punk acts coming out of Le France these days pushing the envelope, there are still some traditional rock outfits sort of still working backward. Take the Jon Von led Four Slicks for instance. The self-proclaimed "Kings of Greasy Punk", these guys attack hot rod/gearhead garage rock tunes with aplomb (and an ex-No Talent). Kind of like the Devil Dogs if they were infatuated with '57 Chevys and Mopar shit instead of blowjobs and babysitters. The Slicks are still a bit more Bowser than Fonzie, but they do this shit well, and JV is still OK with me. Personally, I'd rather listen to Frustration than this, but hey, I'm a forward thinker...white vinyl with a nice full-color sleeve. (RK)
(Rapid Pulse Records // www.rapidpulserecords.com)

Frantic "Attaque of the Grizzlie" LP
I was doing somersaults after picking up a copy of Frantic's single a few years back. The disc hit the spot with a trio of inspired tunes and a simple-yet-classic sleeve design, and I still give it a spin every couple of weeks. Like all the best records, it left me wanting more...well, now I'm finally getting more in the form of a 12 song 12" EP jointly released by Douche Master & Die Slaughterhaus Records. "Attaque of the Grizzlie" picks up where the single left off, raucous punk that treads the line between early US hardcore and abrasive garage. The reverb knob on the vocals is turned up to eleven, which is especially great on "Spin Out" where the echo-y chorus lingers on for a second. Excellent execution on all fronts: great songs, well recorded, and, of course, brilliant artwork.(DH)
A stunning debut effort from the Frantic. Firing on all cylinders, these kids take Midwestern hardcore influences (Zero Boys most notably) and graft them on to a trash-punk template and come up with something that is fast enough for serious HC fans, but also garage enough for those who can't handle the whole hardcore thing...and they cover Government Issue in the process. "Adderall" kicks thing off splendidly, and the whole first side is relentless, particularly the closing one-two combo of "Robot" seguing into "Spin Out". The B-Side chugs along just as well, with "Gotta Gun Tonite" getting some extra juice, and "Sneaque Attaque" is a fitting close. Fast enough, but not too fast, and aided by some superior songwriting and recording, this record has little wrong with it. LPs that play at 45 are always a plus too. I hate to drop the reference, but this is like Carbonas even more amped up and little less hooky and a little more aggro. And speaking of Carbonas, who knew their singer was a pretty hot drummer? Wild. XChristgauX gives this pup a straight A.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)

Frustration 7" EP
Definitely my favorite of the new S-S seven inch bunch, Frustration here give us more icy cool blasts of punk afterbirth, and it's even better stuff than the 12" from last year. "Wait" is reminiscent of Anteenagers MC (with whom they share members), but with a really bad cold wave fetish. Digital hanclaps enhance the already alienated sound, bringing the detachedness to the forefront. "Little Story" subtly builds up, all bass driven tempo and theatric vocals until the guitar digs in around the second verse and things get even more propulsively repetitive. The corners of these songs are haunted by the shadows of A-Frames, PiL, Joy Divison, "what's This for..."-era Killing Joke, and the dark yet rhythmic postmodern bleakness carried by these tunes is reflected cleverly in the cartoon-'Tin Drum'-meets-MC Escher cover art. The B-side works as effectively as the A: "Premises" throws some wonderfully messy soloing into the mix (and almost lends the proceedings a moment of warmth) until things come crashing to a splendid end with "Faster", structured around an eeerie synth-loop to which they incrementally add drums, bass, and alternating deadpan/screaming vox creating a lovely finale that comes close to dipping a toe into New Order's swimming pool. A fairly detached and dark record, yet inspired and crafted so well you can't help but realize the passion behind it all, even if that heart is beating cold, cold blood. Truly remarkable and even danceable.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Fuck Me Dead “Mechanize Me (Pt. 1)” 7”
From Clarence Thomas Records, the same label that brought us the recent and ridiculous Wrangler Brutes 2x8”, comes a solid debut single from a new Vancouver band. The first time I saw these guys, they opened for the Regulations and played an early Redd Kross song, which should give you an idea of where they’re coming from. The title track is the real treat here, a minute and a half romp that tips the hat to the McDonald Brothers’ “Cover Band” with a bit of herk and jerk added for good measure. It’s a great song. The guitar has that Minor Threat gone garage rock sound and the vocals are really gruff and spat out which is why these kids tend to be lumped in more with the hardcore crowd. The flip has the ultra short “New Religion” which is mostly forgettable and “Break Me Down (Pt. 2)” a much better stab that’s directed squarely at the throat. While the recording here doesn’t really capture what these guys are capable of live, for a first single it succeeds in showing that they have loads of potential. Very cool band photo on the insert, too. (JG)
(Clarence Thomas Records // www.bistrodistro.com)

Fully Coherant "Feel Dead" EP
Ultra-limited seven inch from Austin lone gun Mike Robinson who has apparently heard a Reatards record or two. Four songs of poorly recorded outsider hate, with Mike playing some crackling laser-like guitar and screaming over a barely audible backbeat on what sounds to be buckets. Very reminiscent of the "Get Real Stupid" EP (or at least trying to be), or perhaps that sound reinterpreted through Jeff Novak, but sans Jeff's garage leanings. Imagine the young hate-filled Jay Reatard but without the songwriting chops. "Austin Creep" is a primitive reworking of "Memphis Creep", and the spite filled missive on the insert echoes the sentiments of the early 'tards liners to add further Memphis-rock touchstones. Fairly inept, very unpolished, but still providing a visceral kick or two. I like where this kid is coming from, I think he just needs to spend some more time holed up in his bedroom with his guitar and tape deck. Scum stats: 103 copies with at least five different sleeves (including some that are eerily reminiscent to Nubees covers).(RK)
(lonely Rock Records // funeraser-at-gmail.com)

Functional Blackouts "The Severed Tongue Speaks For Everyone" LP
A pleasant surprise from the Functional Blackouts. The last of their records that I picked up was the first LP, which, while decent, didn't really stand out to me enough to hold onto. A few years later, they are, literally, a different band. Lineup and aesthetic changes have made for a much more interesting release. The songs explore deeper territory than most of what's being released today, and fit them in with the Clone Defects more than, say, The Fatals. This LP is one of those records that you'll need to pull out for repeated listens sink in because they're not pulling riffs from immediately recognizable territory. The art school student in me feels obligated to note the great collage artwork. Another fine release from Criminal IQ.(DH)
...On their second LP the FBs essentially take the rotting corpse of punk and kick it around for two sides worth of apocalyptic fury, the likes of which I have difficulty comprehending. There is simply no compromising on this record. It's tough to listen to at times, yet it keeps your attention much like a Faces of Death video would. The only modern comparison I could make is Human Eye, but far nastier. They stretch out, chop up and repeat riffs and rhythms to breaking points, anchored by nearly tribal beats and some bass playing that manages to stay steady amidst the storm. Guitars squeal and grate and are made to do things they really don't want to. The vocals are caustic to say the least, almost a bit too much at times. But it all fits together, with the detailed collage work on the cover giving a good impression of what happens on the vinyl: an ear damaging noise massacre laden with near subliminal effects trickery, seemingly cut and pasted together at times and incredibly detailed in its fury. Complicated and feral at the same time. There are few bands doing this right now, and its defintely not a "Let's party!" record. It will make you wonder what is wrong with rock'n'roll today that made the FBs give birth to this. It seems as if everything anyone ever did wrong to these guys is balled up into this aurally assaultive, paranoic, homicidal thing that runs the gamut of uncomfortable situations. The more you listen, the deeper the shit gets. A 12" vinyl beast that doesn't really care if you like it anyway. But I do, right down to the "hidden" lock grooves on both sides. A gruelling at times but ultimately rewarding listen. Scum stats: vinyl only, 100 copies on white.(RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)

Gorilla Angreb "Bedre Tider" 12"
Perhaps the best GA record to date, and a spectacular return to form after the lackluster 'Long Island' EP. This one gets a little darker, and they really get even more X-ish, particularly on the title cut where they do some absolute dead-ringer John/Exene back-and-forth and even in the desolate kind of low-rent vibe of "los Angeles' and 'Wild Gift'. Even though we have no idea what they are singing about, they are a good enough band to transcend the language barrier, which is a stumbling block for a lot of people when it comes to foreign-tongued bands. Then again, those same people probably refuse to see movies with subtitles too. Their loss. I do know one of the songs is about terrorism though, as they drop a Bin Laden and a Saddam on the lyric sheet. Five quality songs plus a poppy bonus cut, a great cover picture and amazing packaging (thick full color cover and printed cardboard inner sleeve) make this a must have. Original press on Kick-n-Punch seems to already be sold out but Feral Ward has stepped up with a domestic version. There is also a Gorilla Angreb comp CD out that has their entire discography on the same label. Either one of these is a good place to start if you haven't gotten into this band yet. Because you should be into them.(RK)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)

Hatepinks "Ikea Kitchen" EP
Take everything that ever irritated you about The Briefs and amplify those things tenfold and you have The Hatepinks. You actually want to hate them. And I do. "Ikea Kitchen (..it's Like a Gas Chamber)" is half-ass new wave revival crapola done up in a hot pink package with a neon bow. Its 'punk' sentiment of anti-conformity is a slap in the face when you realize these guys are pulling out all the stops to play lowest common denominator by-the-numbers neo-punk that is as homogenized as the milk I used on this morning's Frosted Flakes. Plus, the fine folks at Ikea are responsible for making perhaps the finest pre-fab record storage system ever, the Expedit. Maybe things are different in Europe, but in my neighborhood they get a free pass for that. And the cheap hot dogs. They follow that with some zany "..do you want to be a prostitute?" piece of dreck. On Side B they attempt to shove their noses into the School-of-KBD-Cover-Credibility class picture by doing a song "inspired" by France's own Les Olivensteins (KBD #007) and cover Swiss New Wavers Grauzone (some Swiss punk comp, I forget...). This side is better than the first, but only because they aren't playing their own songs. Regrettably, the 3-D glasses that came with this record don't make it sound any better. Scums stats: 333 copies too many.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Headache City s/t CD/LP
What’s up with all the good pop bands coming from Chicago these days? Lodged somewhere in between the swirling and brooding pop of The Ponys and the more straight on pop/punk of M.O.T.O. comes Headache City with their debut full length player and it’s an incredibly strong record. The songs here are anything but flashy, but after a few listens you’ll realize just how finely crafted they are and won’t be able to get them out of your head. From the art-tinged pop of the lead off track “Haha” and “Throw Up Red” (actually an old White+Outs song) to the incredibly anthemic “Headache City” (my early pick for song of the year) there’s really no stop to the parade of hits on these twelve inches of wax. The production and mix here is perfect allowing the rhythm section to ground the songs while the guitar, keys, and vocals get on with making some of the most memorable melodies I’ve heard in quite some time. Highly recommended for all fans of quality pop music. (JG)
(Shit Sandwich Records // shitsanwichrecords.com)

The Hecklers 7"
I remember The Hecklers from their split with the always entertaining Steve and The Jerks. NYC knucklehead kinda stuff, these Hecklers. On this one they continue in that style, doing some jokey poppish punk with maybe a bit of Dictators hamminess tacked on. Two bland originals and a cover of the Rubinoos' "Rock'n'Roll is Dead". I kinda got a kick out the fact their press sheet had a plug from MRR's Anonymous Boy. I think that about sums it up.(RK)
(Go Ape Records // www.fancymag.com)

The Hipshakes "OK Alright" EP
An unexpected hit from the Slovenly singles series from an obscure UK band of kids. What The Hipshakes do is take the Swell Maps at their playfully punkest and mate that with the lo-fi aesthetic of the current vanguard of British groups, shot through with the simplicity of the first Ivy Green record. Not so much garage though, definite punk rock, with a thicker sound than the lo-fi scrabble of say, The Real Losers. Three short and sharp tunes that have that deconstructed chunky-punk Maps sound, a bit of ye olde KBD destruction, and an appealing youthful vibe as well. Good stuff, and probably the highlight of the series so far. Scum stats: 500 pressed. (RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

Homostupids "The Glow Demo" CD-R
Demo from a newer Clevo band that had my ears paying full attention at Horriblefest. Only three songs, but if they put this shit to vinyl I would buy the hell out of it. Super loud guitar crunch and a sub-atomic bass sound paired with some hardcore tempos (especially on "Ape-ing") and ferocious vocals make for some very interesting (and raging) noise rock. Seriously, this would be a killer seven-inch, but they might need to add a couple more tunes. Either way, this demo is better than a good percentage of vinyl releases I had to review this update. Where is the justice? Would be a good fit for Painkiller or Parts Unknown. Maybe even White Denim, if they 'weird it up' a bit. A good complement to whatever genre we're filing Clockcleaner and Pissed Jeans in these days. (RK)
(self-released // homostupids-at-yahoo.com)

Hot Machines "2" 7"
Second single from this "critically acclaimed" band. Only two songs here, starting with Jered's "Microphone", a sublime snippet of garage pop and the stronger of the two cuts. It's the A-Side for a reason. If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, saying it sounds like a rougher Ponys is the easy descriptive cop out I will use. Miss Alex White's "Can't Feel" is the B-Side, and it's a slow and melancholy garage weeper. She husks up the vox on this one sultrily, but I like it better when she lets her vocal cords rip, as she can scream evocatively without sounding shrill. Not a bad song by any means, but just not as good as Jered's in this case. This band deserves all the acclaim these so-called critics have been lavishing on them, and I wish they would release more stuff. Scum stats: I'm guessing a 500 press, I'd act quick if I was you. These things are selling like bagels.(RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)

The Hunches "Leper Parade" EP
Once word got out that there was a new Hunches record, people started moving their asses. I think Dusty Medical moved all 500(?) units in about a week. And rightfully so, as The Hunches are one of the elite bands in not just the US, but the world arena these days. This one is fairly short, and fairly sweet. "Leper Parade" is a 'Hobo Sunrise' outtake, and considering a good bit of the Hunches dynamic is made up of the contrast between pretty and ugly sounds, this one leans towards the pretty side. Well, as pretty as the Hunches singing a song with 'leper' in the title can be, but I think you get my idea. It's one of their 'softer' tunes, and I like it. The flip is a live cut called "Pinwheel Spins" from a 2004 show in Amsterdam. It's surprisingly audible and piles on some vocal/guitar effects. Not really bad or good. And if you're really paying attention, both of these tunes were on the tour CD-R they were selling last year. Not their best record, but I will still take any Hunches vinyl I can get. Great sleeve too, in the typical Hunches artwork vein.(RK)
...What a wonderful piece of yowl & scrunk! A psychedelic mutation of Saints-like melodica and if I was a teacher and these were my kids I'd give them a big fucking red star. Their parents would be tooling around town with My Child Is In the Hunches bumperstickers plastered on their mini vans. I might now understand why people mix chocolate milk and vodka. A great piece of organic weirdness.(SSR)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)

Impractical Cockpit "To Be Treated" LP
Give me time to breathe here...my god, what a great album! The gang of New Orleans and elsewhere noisemakers have been around for a while and this is their sixth record, but it is all new to me. This pup starts off with the howl of free jazz and morphs into a very dense noise punk thing that actually has rhythm and melody and tunes. The middle of the record sprawls in to abstract twinkage which made me scratch the ol' noggin a bit until the noise picked up to a dangerous, violent moan and stretch and strike out at whatever is around. To dredge up a tired phrase, twas the calm before the shit storm. Plenty of great ones here but Passion of a Cop is astounding. Fans of PiL's "Flowers of Romance", early Butthole Surfers, Caroliner, or labels such as Load, White Denim, early Skin Graft, etc. will be piss pleased.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

Infierno De Cobardes s/t EP
There are bands that imitate, that steal another band's style and manage to transform their inspiration into a cookie cutter to soullessly replicate the sound that they think they're hearing. Every great band has a score of these followers: Discharge, Pavement, The Ramones, The Oblivians, and so on. Much, much more rare are the next generation bands that can take the same idea and add to the template to create something that has legs of its own. Infierno De Cobardes, from Barcelona, Spain, is one of those bands. IFD is the project of Teodoro Hernandez, the drummer for the bands Destruccion and Sida, who taught himself guitar and bass to record this record. All four of these songs lift parts from different Discharge songs and piece them together again in a way so that they're totally recognizable, but not quite covers. Teodoro is a novice, and his inept playing is balanced by the familiarity of the riffs; the result is a fresh take on the style not quite like any that I've heard before. The guitar solos "fall apart" as much as they "end" yet had they been any more learned, this wouldn't have been as powerful. Like the performance itself, both the recording and packaging is minimal and raw, and in ways draws as much from the DIY movement (it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it) as Discharge.(DH)
(???)

Knaughty Knights "Tommy of the River" EP
After coming out of nowhere with some huge pop hits on their last 7” the Knaughty Knights are back with more of the same. There’s one Rich song, “Tommy of the River” which is up there with his songs on the Goner single. It’s the best song here as it’s nothing but a simple, three chord garage-pop hit. “I’m Not Tryin’ to Hurt You” by The Outsiders (sung by Rich) is almost as good and with the nasally vocals and the “whoa-ohs” it could pass for honest to goodness “pop-punk” if it weren’t for the lo-fi production. The flip is Jack’s with “Boogie Disease” which doesn’t sound as bad as the title might make you think. I like it. It’s a slower, catchy, stompin’ number, but I’m definitely more of a Rich guy when it comes to this band. Not as mind blowing as the Goner 7”, but still a pretty worthwhile pick up. (JG)
...The Knaughty Knights won a lot of fans with their last record, due to some really quality songwriting from Rich Crook. And while Jack O.'s stuff is great too, it's Rich's pop-garage stunners that really hooked a lot of people in. I think a of of people may have considered them a side-project with a short shelf life after the SSLD single, but they seem to be going strong right now, and that's good for everyone. This has one each from Rich ("Tommy of the River", nearly as good as anything on the Goner single) and Jack (the dirty rock of "Boogie Disease"), plus a so-so cover of The Outsiders' "I'm Not Tryin' To Hurt You". Not quite as fantastic as the Goner EP, but a worthy companion to it. Scum stats: 700 first press, 200 of which are on blue.(RK)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Long Blondes "Separated By Motorways" 7"
So what is this, "the new, new wave of new wave"? Spurred on by Jay Hinman's effusive praise of this single I took a chance and ordered one on the cheap from Jolly Ole figuring that I didn't have a lot to lose; after all I could probably recoup my money at a later date if the record ended up sucking. Two weeks later and the package finally arrived. I put the record on and was mildly surprised. The A-side, was a good, up-tempo mainstream rock song. Not bad for the current day incarnation of Britpop. It reminds me of Elastica or something like that. Nothing that's going to blow many non-NME reading minds or anything, but nevertheless a fun record. No harm in that. Still, you'd be better off saving your money for an old power pop single or something.(SB)
(Good And Evil Records // www.goodandevilrecords.com)

Magnetix "Time After Time" 7"
Now this single, this is the shit I want to hear. Actually, a bit less bombastic than other Magnetix stuff, but a bit weirder as well which totally works on this concept 7" of sorts. For the uninitiated, Magnetix are a two piece drum/guitar-man/woman duo from France, who have been known to kick out some heavy-duty A-Bomb-like guitar-distortion stompers in the past (see the 'Flash' 10"). "Time After Time" is a stop-stall little doozy that phase shifts into some noisy future dimension for the chorus, then returns back to the present day. Mad, catchy, and probably one of, if not the best, Magnetix tunes I've heard (and I'm a fan). The B-Side ("Fiend of Time") gets a bit nastier (and stranger), piling on mounds of echo/reverb that gives it this constant motion effect, where nothing stays still. Sounds seem to be moving all around, instead of just forward, if that makes any sense at all. Kind of indebted to downer-ish Sixties psych as well, like if the Electric Prunes took a time machine off the deep end. Really killer shit, and the best of the recent lot of Nasty Product/Profet singles, and even much better than their own recent 'Horror Chalet' 7" as well. Not too much, not too little, both songs are really top notch (and play on the 'time' theme really well sound-wise) and leave you wanting more. Their best record since the 10". Christgau sez A+. Scum stats: 300 copies, start looking!(RK)
(Nasty Product/Sentenza Records // www.nastyprod.com)

Manikins "Lie, Cheat and Steal" LP/CD
The Manikins have done some good songs here and there, but every time I hear one of the LPs I come away wondering what I thought was good about them in the first place. Same case here. That recent Ken Rock covers single was OK, so I got my expectations up a little bit for this full length and came away dejected. Very average power-pop/garage stuff, no matter how well it's played and no matter how hooky they try to make it, the tunes just don't stick. It just seems too formulaic and lacking in charisma of any kind. I actualy liked The Plastiques record better than this one. When you're getting outshone by an ex-Dialtones project you know you're in trouble. These guys should stick to making singles. There are some crazy P.Trash vinyl variations on this one that shouldn't concern you in the slightest.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Mighty Go Go Players "Play, Lose and Die" 10"
Larger sized EP from the MGGP, perhaps the more traditional garagerock facet of the Fatals/Nasty Product/Profet Records family. Pretty standard Pebbles-styled shack-shakers, featuring some alternately creepy and soulful organ and semi-fi production. These guys have knocked out a good song or two on some smaller sized records, but on this one they don't kick in the extra gear necessary to make this style of trash anything other than ordinary until the last two songs on this seven song EP. "You Got to Crawl On My Soul" is a lengthy grinder that bares a bit of fang, and the sheet-of-noise closer "Bitchy Cow" could be a Fatals outtake. Other than those two exceptions, the rest of this pretty forgettable, and definitely not up to snuff when compared to some other recent French exports. Richie Christgau gives this a C. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 were on color, mailorder only.(RK)
(Alien Snatch // www.aliensnatch.com)

Mojomatics "Nothin' About Nothin'" EP
Shit, I really like this. Firstly, erase any Eurobluestrash thoughts from your head before you think about this. Because The Mojomatics aren't doing that shit. These guys are actually writing some good songs and playing them crisply and well instead of burying two chords under a lo-fi mountain of distortion and fuzz. I imagine you could call their tunes blues based, but more than anything they just sound traditionally and rootsy American. Both cuts on the A-Side are quality harmonica heavy stuff, done tastefully and sharply with acoustic guitars and some snazzy rat-a-tat drumming. These are the guys I'd want playing my back porch on intimate evenings with the neighbors and friends over. Classy upbeat stuff to shuffle around to, but still primitive and simple enough. The title cut on the flip gets electric guitars and is more down-tempo, but they still don't backslide into fuzztrash. They keep it cool and restrained, and give it a stomping finish. Surprisingly good, these two are a tight duo and are miles away from any crap you want to try and lump them in with, at least on this record. Scum stats: not sure of the total press run, but there were 100 on color vinyl that were direct mail-order only.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

The Moneychangers "Making Friends with..." EP
Second EP from this Portland five piece. Their first single went largely unnoticed last year, but I thought it had a couple of good cuts. The thing that really carries the band are the vox of one Mark Death (ex-Halfways), who possesses a great punk-sounding really nasal sneer. "Cockroach Blues" leads this thing off in good fashion, a sleazy pop-garage number that Death does some great vocal work on, with some slight female back-ups. Really enjoyable and worth consideration for your next mixtape. Things deteriorate from there though. The other three tunes are sub-par garage contaminated by too much Farfifsa, with the possible exception of "You Turn Me Off", a meandering slow burn with a semi-decent hook. Actually, I think it's just the organ ruining it for me. It sounds extraneous. Use "Cockroach Blues" as the flip to "Burnside Trash" and "Lay Low" from the first EP and you would have a great record. There's definitely some potential here, maybe they'll nail it next time. Scum stats: self-released so I'm assuming 500 or (probably) less. The sleeve I have is a still sticky homemade screen job on recycled print-outs from some computer company that are scotch-taped together. Riciculous and great. I think there are other standard sleeves as well.(RK)
(Hate Street Records // www.myspace.com/themoneychangers )

The Monroes "Not Tonight" 7"
Latest release on Evert from Grunnen Rocks label, from a local Gronigen garage band. "Not Tonight" is up-tempo garage-beat with nice femme voxx. Well played. Not really a head-turner of a song, but definitely not bad for the style. The flip, "Send Me A Postcard", is slower moody garage with some organ, and even less of a head-turner. Meh. For fans of Detroit Cobras and that type of stuff. Nice looking sleeves though.(RK)
(High Maintenance // www.grunnenrocks.nl)

M.O.T.O. "El Stop" 7"
The problem with reviewing long running, prolific bands is that there's not much to say about them that hasn't been said already. Such is the case with MOTO. This new single doesn't add anything to the formula, but does deliver a pair of cool and catchy punk tunes. Neither of these stands out among their best, but either would fit snug in the middle of any of their albums. MOTO is an old reliable friend, who you might not spend time with every day, but you can always count on them to be there, cranking 'em out like they always do, when you need them.(DH)
There is a very small segment of tweebs that lurk around here who believe that playing power pop is akin to walking into a Marine base with a I heart Osama shirt on, while you take a shit on a flaming American flag. To those of you: Meet MOTO. Oh you have already met? Of course you have. MOTO is nothing less than a punk rock institution and on this 7" they turn out one power pop tune that could make them the new Shoes and certainly won't cause anyone to send them any ire whatsoever. In case you got lost in that last sentence: "She's Gone Nuts" is an American power pop classic, every bit as good as any song by the heavyweights of the genre and worth your effort in tracking down. "El Stop"? It is okay and should have been the b-side. (SSR)
(Baby Killer Records // babykillernyc-at-yahoo.com)

Mugwumps "...Slit Your Tire" EP
One look at the cover and you can tell what you're in for; Ramones-y pop-punk in the vein of latter day Queers, Manges, etc...A sure sign that these kids aren't that tough: they're only gonna slash one of your tires, not all of them. And they're only gonna 'slit' them at that, not even give them a good slashing. About as inventive as the mock Sire logo on the sleeve, but I can't fault these kids for trying. I think they're from Europe somewhere, so I have to cut them a bit of slack. Personally, I would rather they were aping, say...No Trend, instead of The Riverdales. I mean, there was already a band called The Apers, I think that would have been the apex (or nadir) of this genre. I don't know. I'm out of touch. But, it could be worse...they could be Young People with Faces. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

The Mutants "Mutants Death Cult" CD
We get releases from this Finnish instro band fairly steadily here at TB HQ. Why, I'm not sure, but I think it's because they know I sometimes have a soft spot for sax-driven spy-surf-exotica instrumentals. They do this shit well, fairly comparable to the Euroboys without the smugness and blatantly ironic medallion wearing . Heavy Caribbean/Latino vibe on this one, and we all know this shit has been done to death, but I can still dig jams like "Iron Jamaica" and "Cops in Heat" and imagine they are scoring some cheesy Euro spy-smasher or island crime flick. Not a genre I'm actively into, but also something I don't regret listening to. This review will probably help them sell zero records.(RK)
(Ranch Records // www.spinefarm.fi)

Nardwuar the Human Serviette "Doot Doola Doot Doot…Doot Doo!" 2xDVD
If you are reading this you probably already know who Nardwuar is. Vancouver punk icon, known for both his unique interviewing style and his bands The Evaporators and Thee Goblins. The underlying theme of all Nardwaur is to do things with intelligence under the guise of absurdity or annoyance, be more prepared than people expect, and don’t let go. There is also very strong attention paid to the fact that whatever else he is Nardwaur is a performer. What that means with the interviews is that Nardwaur approaches his subjects (mostly pop & underground culture “artists”) as a zany nerd, but with questions that can pretty much ruin their days. That ruining kinda looks like very uncomfortable celebs who react with hostility to Nardwaur’s probing. The more defensive the celebs get, the more they look like humorless assholes and the less Nardwaur looks like a freak. Those who get Nardwaur and what he is doing (usually those celebs who are pretty stoned - see Snoop) roll with it and come off as much more likable people than you would have expected (again, see Snoop). And then there are those like Heavy Metal legend Thor who not only get Nardwaur but are so much in tune with him that they can act as collaborators (see Nard & Thor interviewing Gene Simmons). Nardwaur also proves that he can face off with political figures with the same kind of relentlessness (though lacking zaniness) he saves for people like Henry Rollins. Nardwaur is a fun watch...but do I need 5 ½ hours of him? Maybe spread over a few weeks, which is how I watched this. On full sitting of Nardwaur (I tried), this just gets tedious. Things like a behind the scenes look at how Nardwaur prepares for an interview might seem entertaining as an idea, but is pretty dull on tape. Nardwaur is best when he interacts with people in his performer mode and when there is something to act off of rather than as tour guide, which is essentially how the behind the scenes stuff is presented. There are also performances of The Evaporators and Thee Goblins on this set. I tried watching them, but having seen both bands live several times, I got bored quickly with the footage. Both bands are much more of “be in the room with them” type of bands (and The Evaporators being excellently so) than something you watch on your teevee. Would I have sought this out if it wasn’t sent to me? Probably not. I’ve seen enough footage of Nardwaur and read plenty of interviews he’s done. However, if you are a Nardwaur fan or want to know what the fuss is about, this certainly will provide you with some entertaining evenings.(SSR)
(Alternative Tentacles // www.alternativetentacles.com)

The Neins "The Restaurant" EP
I believe this to be the fourth release for the Neins, following a CD and two singles. I never dug their previous records much. This one, though, it has some charm. "The Restaurant" is a greasy garage tune about disgusting eaters and non-tippers that is fairly catchy, and "She Shows Everything" is reminiscent of classic Spider Babies stuff, with some lusty organ drooling. They fade a bit on the B-Side, with the young Makers-ish "Waste My Time" and an arrangement of the traditional "The Tavern" which gets a bit cutesy, but bookends the single nice and thematically with "Restaurant" and "Tavern". This thing is enjoyable in the way B-movies or trashy comics are, and the best thing I've heard from this band. It's not gonna knock your socks off, but it is a good time, as the originals do have that extra little something to them that saves from being just bland garage, on the A-Side especially. This one makes me want to hear more from these guys. Dickie Christgau gives it a solid B. Scum stats: self-released, 250 copies with insert.(RK)
(Felony Fidelity // www.myspace.com/theneins)

New Pornographers "Twin Cinema" LP/CD
One of my main motivations for becoming a record reviewer way back when was so I could warn others to stay away from crappy records. Nothing is worse than the disappointment of paying five dollars for a single, ten bucks for an LP, or fifteen clams for a CD only to bring it home, slap in on, and find out it stinks worse than a pile of rotting meat marinating in dog shit. This, the latest offering from college radio darlings The New Pornographers is just such a record. Now, I may get some guff for this, but since Hyde reviewed a GBV record last issue I'm going to assume that the Pornos (as their fans call them) are fair game as well. I really loved their last album (their sophomore release "The Electric Version"). I'm usually not a fan of indie rock in any way shape or form, but even little ol' biased me had to admit that that LP was filled to the brim with well-crafted, instantly memorable, and just plain FUN pop songs. Sure there was the occasional "trying to be witty and clever" lyric that was so insipidly indie rock I wanted to reach into my speakers and slap somebody ("Stole a page from your book/and a line from your page/and flew into a lesbian rage?" "As the scions of history write another mystery?" Ugh. No one cares you have degrees in English and Post Modern Feminist Studies buddy...) but even those weren't enough to keep me from humming the songs to myself at all hours of the day. Despite my usual prejudices, I had little choice but to admit that I was a card carrying, died in the wool, true believer in the New Pornographers cause. As such, I was really looking forward to this LP. I thought I was in store for another dose of the aural ear candy I fell in love with on their last record. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong. This record is predominated by an inordinate amount of meandering clunkers that end up weighing the record down like an indie rock anchor tied to a toy boat of pop. It's like they let the critical acclaim 'The Electric Version' earned them go to their heads and now they think of themselves as "artists" or something. That's always the kiss of death, I tells ya. The kiss of death. The tragic part is that this could have been such a great album too. I knew I shouldn't have trusted those dirty indie rockers!(SB)
(Matador Records // www.gerardcosloyshouldputoutthatlapestestuffagainratherthancraplikethis.com)

Out With A Bang "I'm Against It" 12"
This thing is ri-goddamn-diculous! The madman who brought us the Grabbies is back (with a bang) and the new band makes their debut with this eight song, one-sided 12". The artwork says it all: this is brilliantly stupid. The songs are fast, frantic, and snotty, and hang together with just enough melody to leave you singing the songs aloud for a few hours. Score one for Italy on this release; fans of stupid, snotty punk should track this down.(DH)
All you Grabbies lovers out there will be thrilled to know that Anus is carrying on the same fine tradition via Out With A Bang!. Songs about cocaine, talking cocks, punches in the face, being stupid and other tales from the gutter populate this 12" one-sided EP that corners the market in dumb punk offensiveness and retardation. The cover encompasses the band's ethos better than any words, and the rear sleeve is something of wonder as well. Fast, stupid, sleazy and pissed off and ten or so minutes of top notch hate as entertainment. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on white.(RK)
(Vida Loca Records // www.vidalocarecords.com)
(Proud to be Idiot // www.ptbi.8m.com)

Plastiques "101" CD
Ex-Dialtones doing some slicked up Ramones garagey punk stuff that is actually not so bad. In reality, this is the kind of jive that could have mainstream appeal, as they sound just as good as The Hives or Jet or whatever 'garage' bands are making it big now using the same formula. They rip the same Kinks riff no less than six times and have the audacity to use it in a song called "All Day All Night". Brazenly aping their influences, but still catchy, and I have to admit this is really well done for what it is. And they manage to do a decent "Mongoloid" cover as a hidden bonus track. Best case scenario is they get huge and make Peter Trash a ton of money so he can put out more cool Damnation Kids and Jeff Novak records. Someone send Little Steven a copy of this pronto!(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Plasmid s/t EP
Typical of so many of their peers, Plasmid were three friends who loved Discharge and spikey hair and hated war and animal cruelty. Though hundreds of teens were doing likewise across the UK in 1984, very few did it quite like Plasmid. The band practiced in their guitar player's small bedroom and never did actually make it to play a show, but they did record a few of their practices and release a four song demo that is among the most ferocious hardcore ever caught on tape. With the energy and fidelity of an airplane take-off, these songs are layered with buzzsaw guitars, distortion, and the low rumble of the drumming, interrupted by guttural yells. Mob 47 might be a good point of comparison, but this is raw in a way that the Swedes couldn't have imagined. Shortfuse Records not only rescued this release from the tape-trading world, but also did so in grand fashion. Aside from including an extra track from the demo session, the record comes complete in a six panel fold-out poster sleeve with three (!) inserts and a Plasmid badge. An inspiration for music fans and record labels alike.(DH)
(Shortfuse Records)

The Playmobils "International Lifestyle" LP/CD
You're never gonna guess who is in this band...Martin Savage! Holy fuck! And you're never gonna believe this...it's not very good! I dunno what to call this one...it's not the usual blatant ripoff/rework of anything particular...unless he was going for the totally boring as fuck garage rock sound. Ugh. The Japanese chick who does the intro sounds exactly like the girl who did the "American Soul Spiders" intro on 'Drunk on Cock' though. That's probably the best part of the record. This came with an actual Playmobil toy catalog that was 100% more enjoyable than the music.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Purple Wizard “BBQ” 7”
Single number two from Purple Wizard, which follows their debut CD and the formula is still the same. Take 60s pop/garage/r&b songs (this time coming mostly from the Stax vault) and give them the girl group treatment with big harmonies which comes off sounding like a cleaned up version of the Headcoatees. “BBQ” is the hit here – a simple soul/r&b stomper that sounds great with the doubled up girl vocals and the backing band in top form. The flip ain’t so hot, with both “Shimmy Shimmy” and “That’s My Guy” not doing much for me. Usually stuff this retro drives me nuts, but if you dig the pop stuff done well, you might want to check these gals/guys out, starting with their first single and working forward from there. (JG)
(Show and Tell Recordings // www.showandtellrecs.com)

Radio Beats "Ready to Shake" LP/CD
Long delayed full length from these Pittsburgh scene-killers. I know, they aren't doing anything new. Tell them something they don't know. What I can tell you is that they are at the top of the list of bands I would want to play my party. Any party. Stag, pajama, birthday, surprise, bar mitzvah, you name it. Because they are all about the fun-loving rock'n'roll and this LP is a reminder that we will always have a need for cheeseburger-and-blowjob punk rock. If you have no idea what these guys sounds like, think Spaceshits/Ramones brand of upbeat party rock with extra-loud guitar. They repeat two cuts originally on the Big Neck single and comp and add some new hits, most notably "Feel Alright", the title cut, and "Baby C'mon!" and deliver them at breakneck speed. Record at Stevieland Studios with their mentor Steve Baise and includes an Angry Samoans cover and Sexareenos-ish cover art. Fun for the whole family. I'd like to see them follow this up with an EP of nothing but recordings of drunken 3:00 am crank calls to Bart Hart. Scum stats: 550 LPs on yeller vinyl.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

The Rebel “The Rocket Breaks Down” CD
Official full length release number three from Mr. Ben Wallers and it’s another keeper. Compared to “Kit” and “Prawns” this is the most experimental of the three records with blips and bleeps and screeches and fucked up voices and soft piano taking up a lot of the space. When Wallers does focus his attention and write more straight up songs the results are nothing short of spectacular. “You Better Take Your Eyes Off That Girl” sounds like vintage Teasers. “Demonstration Tape” is a repetitive, Fall-like number, that’ll be tough to get out of your head. And “Nothing is Real Except Recording” is just plain creepy. This is UK-DIY-bedroom experimentation at its finest and while I can’t really fault the guy for releasing as many records as he does, as I’ve liked them all, I can’t help but think that if he picked the best moments from all three, and sequenced them properly down to one record it would absolutely kill. Are three “really good” records better than one almost perfect record? I don’t know. (JG)
(Pecan Crazy Records // www.pecancrazy.com)

Rectangles "Suspended Animation" EP
Synth-punk is still alive and well and prospering in the Pacific Northwest for some reason, and The Rectangles are the latest in future-wave keyboard-ism or whatever. Pretty crisp and clean stuff, sounds like the Epoxies with a guy on vox. The Minds do this shit 100 times better and I barely like them. Shit, some of these people look familiar, one of The Minds might be in this band for all I know. Three tracks that didn't exactly make me puncture my eardrums with a screwdriver, but I did have a six-inch Phillips head about this close to my ear canal just as this thing ended. Close call. For safety's sake, I'm gonna have to ask all of you to stay away from this one.(RK)
(Discourage Records // www.discouragerecords.com)

Reigning Sound "Live At Goner Records" LP
I usually don't much care for live records. We're all well acquainted with the reasons most live records are completely useless, so I'll spare you the laundry list. I wasn't going to buy this one either but I made an exception to the rule because A) the set list looked really impressive, and B) um, it's the Reigning Sound, easily one of the elite bands operating right now. I'm really glad I did pick this up too, because for my money, this is probably the supreme RS recorded document to date. All the hits are here, played in a laid back atmosphere conducive to a looseness and spontaneity of performance. Add to that one as yet unreleased tune and you have a no-brainer for RS aficionados.(SB)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Reverend Beat-Man "...Plays Songs the Beat-Man Way" 7"
I was really into the Beat-Man for a spell, especially during his apartment wrestling era, and I'm glad he's still out there making records and imposing his unique and skewed vision on the public. He's created a nice niche for himself via the Voodoo Rhythm label, and he certainly deserves every bit of recognition he's received. That being said, I haven't paid attention to his recent stuff. Mostly due to the fact that it's hard to get in the US, and also because while I feel everyone should own some Beat-Man records, after a few you kinda get the idea. This one has him doing two covers, the first being Howlin' Wolf's "Natchez Burning", which is turned into an average Beat-Man stomper. On the flip he exhibits some Beat-Man genius though, doing a Neubauten cover that sounds totally creepy as he croaks lyrics in German over some primitive sturm-und-drang.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Reverend Savage and His Holy Rollers "God Is In My Garage" 7"
Not really a fan of this particular Martin Savage project, but the title cut is actually a pretty smokin' little garage rave-up. The B-Side, "All About God" is mediocre trash. It's like this guy gets an idea in his head for a song and figures, what the hell, why not form a whole band around the idea and record a whole bunch of tunes. While he does some excellent work here and there (The Humans 7" was really good, The Locomotions have done some great things...), the sheer volume of his stuff makes me tend to dismiss a lot of it as chaff, of which this Holy Rollers band is a prime example. Still, the guy has a lot of heart, and has done a lot for US/Euro-garage relations via the Savage label, so I'll give him some room. But I still can't recommend this record. Actually, I think I've done this same review a half-dozen times in the past year for his records. I'll cut-and-paste next time.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Ridiculous Trio 7"
A great novelty record. Stooges instrumentals done with only drums, hanclaps, trombone doing the vocal parts and tuba as low end. Sounds crazy but it works out real well, and is good for some kicks. "No Fun" on the A and "Down on the Street" on the flip. I like "No Fun" a bit better, but they're both unique and probably great for parties. I mean, who else is doing this shit? I can think of a lot worse ways to spend four bucks. I don't think I'd need an LP of this stuff or anything, but this seven inch hits the spot.(RK)
(Slovenly Records // www.slovenly.com)

River City Tanlines "All 7 Inches Plus 2 More" LP/CD
Collection of Alicja's RCTL output thus far, compiling the four singles and tacking on two additional cuts for good measure. The LP sides are actually split up between rhythm sections: Matt (Memphis Break-Ups) and Patrick (latter day Lost Sounds bass player) on Side A, which recorded the earlier singles, and the current Bubba/T-Money (Tearjerkers, other Memphis bands...) combo on the flip, with each responsible for one of the unreleased tracks. The A-Side stuff features the stronger, poppier songs if you ask me, and I'm a huge fan of the bass solo on "Gimme Whatever" and everything on the first two singles in general. The unreleased cut "Bummer in the Summer" is sung by one of the guys, and they made the right decision leaving it off the singles. The B-Side (last two singles) songs are a lot darker, heavier, maybe even punker, and while still nearly as good as the earlier stuff, they seem just a little less complex and sexy and more straightforward rock. Their 'bonus' cut "Looking 4 A Line" is pretty good though. Having all this material condensed on one LP it really dawns on you how good of a band RCTL are and Alicja has had no shortage of great songs post-Lost Sounds. They bring it live too. Memphis = still not dead. Look out for a RCTL/Intellectuals split 7" soon. Scum stats: LP on Soul is Cheap (with an edition of 50 with home-made covers), CD on Dirtnap. CD artwork pictured, the LP art is much better. (RK)
(Soul is Cheap // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

SIDS "Kandy Kane" EP
Surprisingly good synth-core from Atlanta that exists on a sort of Le Shok-meets-Subtonix level perhaps, and maybe could stretch things a bit to include the Lost Sounds synthiest adventures. "Kandy Kane" is a real banger, and all the songs benefit greatly from the use a real drummer, not some disco beat crap, and the keyboard tones are deep and rich (Korg-y?), not some casio beep-beep shit. The extended flipside of "Space Ranger in a Manger" even has a nice breakdown part for anyone who wants to get a bit frisky in the pit. Agressive stuff with some dark touches. Like I said, surprisingly listenable. Not mind-melting, but excellent for a genre I have low expectations for. Nice packaging that could probably get them a letter from Jack White's attorney, pink vinyl, plus a CD that I'm assuming contains the songs on the EP in handy digital format. Christgau says B+. (RK)
(Stickfigure // www.stickfiguredistro.com)

Sonic Chicken 4 7"
Second single by the SC4, a band from the Fatals/GoGo Players/Nasty Product/Profet camp in Fuzzville, France. These monsieurs like the fuzz. Fuzz fuzz fuzz garage. Fuzz on top of fuzz. Only two tunes here. "Don't Let Me Down" is...fuzzy. Yeah, they drop some fuzz on this one. Kind of like psych-fuzz at times. Wicked fuzz guitar parts. Fuzz face. The somewhat delicate girl back-ups add an extra layer to this one that I like. On the B-Side "Sonic Night" has some xylophone at the beginning and end that sure sounds purty. It also has some fuzz. I like fuzz too. Pretty traditional when compared to the fanged sounds of The Fatals, but it's not bad. Fuzzy Zoeller gives this one a B- because it's pretty short, but that A-Side has a nice kick.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

South Filthy "Crackin' Up" CD
Monsieur Jeffrey, Jack Yarber, Walter Daniels, Jimbo Mathus, Mike Buck, Eugene Chadbourne, Ron Franklin, Earl Poole Ball and other Texas and Memphis legends and semi-legends get together for one big party. They do a few Evans originals, some Chess catalog classics, and throw some obligatory curveballs in there with Ian Hunter, Warren Zevon, and Zeroes covers. A real good time, and something both the kids and the old folks can dig. The one-two punch of Gino Washington's "C'Mon Let's Monkey" and The Hickoids "Brand New Way of Living" goes down pretty good, and with this cast everything obviously sounds great. Basically an all-star bar band, and probably one hell of a good time live, but I probably won't pull this one out too often.(RK)
(licorice Tree // www.licoricetree.com)

Sparks "Hello Young Lovers" CD
My introduction to Sparks was through the late 70s action movie Rollercoaster. I didn't go see the movie because of Sparks. I was into rollercoasters and watching things wreck, so a movie in which a psychopath sets out to destroy amusement parks by sabotaging rollercoasters, leading cars to go flying into the air, crashing into people and concession stands, was perfect. My little brother and I spent a whole day in the movie theater, hiding behind a curtain between showings so we could see it again and again. That Sparks had a cameo in this movie, playing at the opening of the newest, bestest, most exciting rollercoaster, seemed odd to me even as a kid. They didn't fit into the Amusement Park cameo act that one would think should be there. Shouldn't Suzi Quatro or Village People have gotten the gig? Russell Mael's operatic falsetto doesn't mesh with fat dads propping their cotton candy eating kids up on their shoulders to watch the band. Then again, Sparks has always been an odd duck in American rock and roll. The music too adventurous for the pop market. The vocals are great but not exactly friendly to the uninitiated. The lyrics always smarter than the rest of the crowd. Lastly, they have a sense of humor which would best be called high sickness. More sophitocated (in a good way) than Alice Cooper, more challenging & funnier than 10cc, and smarter musically than so many of their prog rock contemporaries who mistook showing off chops and doing classical scales with smarts - in the US, Sparks pretty much carved out the same territory that Roxy Music did in the UK, but without the same success. But that didn't mean that Sparks didn't cultivate a following. Through albums like 'Sparks', 'A Woofer in Tweeters Clothing', 'Kimono My House', 'Propaganda', and 'Indiscreet' the picked up a pretty rabid fan base and established themselves as a cult act. Sparks fans have followed them through their initial "glam" period into quasi-disco and new wave to a whole pile of 80s and 90s records that made some of us fans give up. When I learned last year that In the Red was putting out a Sparks records, it struck me as strange as the Sparks' Rollercoaster cameo. Sure, ITR has morphed from being a primo garage punk label to hosting the best of the weird punk crowd (Human Eye, Piranhas, Lamps, Intelligence, Hospitals, etc.), but Sparks? Again they are an odd duck, or so it seems. Listening to 'Hello Young Lovers' and you find that where Sparks comes from is essentially the same place today's cherished weird punkers live. Rather than being bored with rock & roll's cliches, Sparks both uses and explodes them. On their newest, guitars are buried in favor of strings. Vocals, operatic style and layered, are out front. The record is loud but not in a crank it up kind of way. It is smart loud. That is it uses volume and dynamics smartly. Lyrically, the Maels fuck with rock cliches while dissecting relationships, politics, show biz, and various other topics of the day. "This is all fine & dandy," you say, "but is it any good?" I think it is great. Perhaps not a 'Kimono My House' greatness, but any hardcore Sparks fan will certainly dig this one. That said, I would not suggest this as an introduction to Sparks, that is unless you are coming to them with an appreciation of well produced indie pop like the Polyphonic Spree. If you are looking for the normal rock experience or something you don't want to spend some time with, look elsewhere. And if any of what I've written above sounds interesting to you but you have yet to hear Sparks, seek out the records mentioned above, especially 'Sparks', 'Tweeter...', and 'Kimono...' and if those hook you, grab 'Hello Young Lovers.'(SSR)
(in the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Suspicions s/t LP/CD
With this album the Suspicions have climbed right up near the top on the shortlist of modern bands I actually give a fuck about. This record is a total anomaly in this day and age: no gimmicks or "crazy" production techniques, just well-crafted, pretense-free pop songs delivered with honesty and passion. Every song on here is an instant classic, but among those that stand out as the real diamonds in the treasure chest are the sublime pop-perfection of "Radio" (seriously, this song is so good my reaction upon first hearing it was, "Fuck, THAT'S how you write a pop song!!!" My second was "Dammit, I'll never be able to write a song that cool!"), the bouncy verve of "Weekend Friends", "We're All Wrong" from the single, and "Much Too Late", a fantastic tune that's all gutsy vocals, drumrolls, handclaps, and hooks. Those are only the ones that stand out to me the most at the moment though. Really, everything about this record is perfect. Best Rip Off release since "16 Wires from the New Provocate". Nothing else even comes close.(SB)
...It's hard not to love The Suspicions. On their debut LP they deliver the goods, a succint, charming, little record just chock-full-o-hits. The A-Side of this is one of the greatest album sides Rip Off has ever released. The two tunes from the bebut single buffered by three other hummable pop gems, with "Runaround" and "Much Too Late" being the front-runners. Side B is no slouch either, kicking off with the near beautiful "Radio" and proceeding on from there in fine form. The B-Side will take a little bit longer to grow on you. The A-Side: instant garage-pop hits. "All Night" even gets a little Sixties-punk tough sounding. The multitude of handclaps, harmonies, and pleasant vocals, and even the tasteful guitar solos offer a welcome bit of unabashed and honest fun in today's world of who-is-crazier-punk-rockitude. A really charming band, especially in the parts where there is a just that very slight hesitation and you think they might stumble a bit, but they don't and everything falls into sync and it makes you happy. The inclusion of a lyric just makes me fall for these kids even more. Along with the Lids LP, this record forms a good foundation for what could be the third-wave of Rip Off classics. Scums stats: 500 LPs, 200 of them on blue.(RK)
(Rip Off Records // www.ripoffrecords.org)

Teenage Panzerkorps "Gleich Heilt Gleich" EP
Originally released as a 3" Cd-r on the Jeweled Antler label spin-off Pink Skulls, this pup makes it to vinyl (300 of them) a few years down the road. The noise here is a German named Bunker Wolf fronting an art punk sludge pile that sports a very nice Savage Republic-style geetar on top of Can-like primitivism. Pretty fucking tasty meal here. Hopefully more of this will make its way off the aluminum to the plastic as I would like to hear more.(SSR)
(Skulltones // www.skulltones.com)

Tennessee Tearjerkers "Dirty Nails" EP
More Jack Yarber action via the Tearjerkers, a band I've been on-and-off about in regards to their records. I really dug "Bad Mood Rising" but wasn't really feeling the last LP. But with Jackie-O there's always that potential for greatness. This 7" is of the more countrified/rootsy variety, opening with the nice and sleazy little honky-tonk of "Dirty Nails" ("...scratch my back...") from Jack and followed with a more garage-y and sultry Margaret (ex-Mr. Airplane Man) number, "100 Proof Man", which might actually be my favorite on this single. The flip is an epic take on Ian Hunter's "Original Mixed Up Kid" (also done with South Filthy) which is great for Sunday morning listening. Kind of a subtle and mature record, but die-hard Jack O fans should still dig on it. No real garage-raunch here, so if that's what your looking for don't disappoint yourself. Scum stats: 500 copies, all on white vinyl. (RK)
(Bancroft Records // www.smashintransistors.homestead.com)

3 Delicias 7"
Blues-based three-piece no-bass-having Eurotrash. Pretty sure they're from Spain. I thought they'd be girls, but they're dudes. They run through three numbers on this one, and sound exactly like you'd expect. Nothing you haven't heard before, and none of the songs really bring anything to the table to make them memorable or unique. I'm not saying every band needs a gimmick, but you at least need some good songs if you want to stand out in the ever-growing crowd these days. This record does have a really nice tri-fold silscreened sleeve though. It's pretty bad when I find the sleeve more interesting than the actual tunes.(RK)
(big Black Hole Records // www.bigblackholerecords.tk)

Tranzmitors “Bigger Houses, Broken Homes” b/w “Glamour Girls” 7”
Highly-touted debut 7” from members of a few of Canada’s most reputed punk poppers: The Smugglers and New Town Animals. I went in expecting a staggeringly high cutesy factor, but came out with two doses of anthemic UK-influenced punk. “Bigger Houses, Broken Homes” is an aggressive yet melodic punker, while “Glamour Girls” is a modern-day take on Protex or The Undertones. It’s a little too slick for me, but something that would please most fans of the poppier side of punk. (MC)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)

The Trashies "Life Sucks Trash Fuck" CD
I threw this CD in the player at work the other day and listened to it a couple of times to get a feel for it before writing this review. It was a fairly busy day at the record store, and our customers were unusually talkative. Under normal circumstances, I get maybe one comment on the music that I play per week, but I tripled that on The Trashies CD alone. Here's what our customers had to say: "'Science sucks'? What the fuck is this shit? I liked it better when you were playing the Black Lips"; "Holy shit, this is fucking hilarious! How much for a copy?"; and "Is this the new Spits CD?" I kid you not. These songs (well, ten of the eleven) are short, dumb, and to the point; straight-forward punk rock with a heavy dose of keyboards. Unfortunately, they're not very memorable, and there's nothing about this that stands out against the sea of new releases to make you grab it to play more than once. The lyrics are a bit too silly for my tastes, but if you're fascinated by 'sweatpants boners' or bouncing checks this'll be right up your alley.(DH)
(Mortville Records // www.mortvillerecords.com)

The Trashies "Taz Tattoo" 7"
A bare-bones tour single from these Seattelites. The two songs here sound like couple of Spits tunes that didn't quite make the cut. Silly lyrical themes (Taz Tattoo and chicken sandwiches) and similar use of the keyboard are what's fueling that comparison, but these lack the hooks that make the Spits so much fun. Cool spray-painted insert, but this would've made for a more promising demo than proper release.(DH)
...You really can't listen to this without thinking of the Spits and their particular brand of moron-punk. It's all so trashy you can't help but dig it on a certain level. The packaging is ridiculous: spraypainted corrugated cardboard sleeve, chicken scratched insert, individual lettered 'labels' for each side. The tunes are brief, keyboard driven slices of white trash life. For people who dig The Spits and Jerry Springer in equal measures, and like their basement punk to sound like it was actually recorded in a basement. Not covering any new ground here, but it's Ok for what it is. This is probably limited, so I would act fast if you need to get on board.(RK)
(Self-released // www.myspace.com/thetrashies)

Tunnel of Love "Ghetto Child" EP
A all-too-brief and all-too-hard-to-find EP from underground smashers Tunnel of Love. Four unwholesome slabs here, with "Ghetto Child" sounding particularly proto-mucky, like the the slimy primitive biped the Stooges may have evolved from. "Mud" digs in the trenches of semi-modern Oblivians scuzz rock, while the witty "Bitch Better Have My Rock'n'Roll" sounds like JSBX on a really nasty Romilar bender. Plus, the recordings sound like they buried the master tape in the garden and let it steep for a month before they put it to vinyl. By the time the last track comes around, you're staring slack-jawed at your turntable and wondering what the fuck is wrong with you. Because there has to be something wrong with anyone who likes this crap, right? I'm not even so sure I like it...I'm just like "Wow, dude..."...similar to my reaction to hearing "Wolf Rock" for the first time. Pretty fucked up. I need to see the live show before I anoint these guys as geniuses or charlatans. Right now, I'm on the fence. (RK)
(Profet Records // www.profetrecord.com)

V/A Black Lips/Dirtbombs split tour single
A bare-bones split single to support Black Lips and Dirtbombs on their recent US tour together. This was an easy one to miss, since the stamped sleeve doesn't mention either band's full name. I get the impression that it won't be distributed outside of that tour, which is a shame since the Black Lips offer another worthy addition to their discography. Their song, apparently an outtake from "Let It Bloom," is a bouncy, jangly rocker, the type of song that inspires impromptu dance parties around the house. The Dirtbombs' offering to the single is a live take on the Eurythmics' "Missionary Man", which may excite the diehards but I can't imagine ever playing it again.(DH)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

V/A "Bosporus Bridges" LP
The subtitle of this LP is “A wide Selection of Turkish Jazz & Funk 1968 - 1978.” Not only is that exactly what this is, it a some really solid collection of said stuff. Eleven tracks grace this LP and not one is a bummer. The funk stuff is indeed funk, not some watered down faux-funk soundtrack castoffs. It is hard and some of it could be mistaken for American if not for the Turkish vocals and guitars coming in either a Hendrix style blaze or with Turkish twisting melodies. The jazz side has some straight ahead stuff but most of it is pretty funky and has the same qualities as the funk tunes. Here is a supreme blend of cultures, just what you hope from these kind of comps but rarely get. And what is even better is that I have heard of just one of the musicians on here - Erkin Koray. Names like Durul Gence, Emin Findikoglu, and Okay Timiz are foreign to me. Very much recommended...if you can find it.(SSR)
(Twimo Records // twimorecords@gmail.com)

V/A Cheap Thrills/Nervous Habits split 7"
Vinyl debut for these two young bands from the music "hotbeds" of Virginia and Florida. Repping the Sunshine State, Cheap Thrills kick out one original and a PVC cover ("Sick of You"). The cover is standard fare, but "Explosive Love" is sharp punk, with a piercing lead and great sounding vocals. Defintely indebted to the latter-day Rip Off school of songwriting (less garage/more punk), but a good example of it being done right. I'd like to hear more. Nervous Habits hail from VA, and contribute two cuts. "Get Shocked!" is a treble-overloaded tinny sounding punker with a nice buzzy guitar sound and is definitely their better tune on this. It twitches and jerks a little bit to keep things interesting and merits some further listening. Sadly, "Genetic Mutation" isn't quite as good though. One strong song apiece from two bands off the beaten path that seem to be worth investigating. Scum stats: 200 on black, 95 on blue, 5 on purple, for a total of 300 copies. With insert and a couple different sleeves.(RK)
(Terminal City Records // gimmecheapthrills-at-yahoo.com

V/A "Diggy Diggy Dead" 2XCD
Mammoth double CD set of bands from all over the globe containing thirty plus cuts of the most mediocre bands Sweden, Japan, and the US have to offer, with an emphasis on Texas crapola. Notable moments are few. It opens with a pair of live Dicks cuts and then goes absolutely nowhere and not fast enough. As far as names, you get a previously released Beat-Man song and uh...that's about it. There is a band from Poland on this called Slowa We Krwi, and while they play bad metalcore, I'm just glad something is going on in Poland. The rest is a seemingly unending blur of surf, garage, assrock, folky bullshit, country crap, snoozecore, and other bad things. This is part two a comp series that began a few years ago with an all Texas LP called "Diggy Diggy Die" that actually had a few good songs. Oh, and the people that put it out don't like GW Bush. Someone put a lot of work into this, and my only question is "Why?".(RK)
(Rubble Records // www.rubblerecords.com)

V/A "Explosivos: Deep-Soul from the Latin Heart" 10x7" box set/CD
Sometime in the early 90s, I started picking up Perez Prado and Xaviar Cugat albums because they were cheap and the covers were cool. Lucky for me that the tunes on them were also pretty good. It was big band arrangements but the African rhythms that were buried in the music were raw enough to make it more than mom & pop fare. I picked up some early Cal Tjader records and started digging the rawer sounds he was turning out. So when I started going out with a beautiful yet crazy Latina and had a shot at her not so beautiful and crazily hostile father's record collection, I helped myself to whatever looked cool. We took home a handful of records on the Fania, Tico, and Allegre labels, stuff by Willie Colon, Celia Cruz, Fania Allstars, Tito Puente, etc. While most of that haul, hit me good, it was Willie Colon's "The Hustler" which knocked me out. it also sent me on a blind hunt for anything Latin. After quite a lot of hit and miss, I found that if I stuck to the four labels mentioned above as well as Cotique, my keeper average would be very acceptable. Had I had access to something like this here box set, that knowledge might have come earlier and at less cost (though me being a bit ahead of these kind of reissues means that I got to snatch up a lot of stuff before the prices peaked). For the last few years, Vampi Soul has been reissuing some classic Latin LP, albums by Ray Barretto, Joe Bataan, Cachao, and others. The quality has been high and their choices pretty damn good. Here they continue that trend by collecting some great New York salsa from 1966 - 1969, stuff that originally appeared on the four great Latin labels - Fania, Cotique, Tico, and Allegre. While all of this is dance party material, the styles range from Latin funk to boogaloo to Latin soul to funky Latin jazz. There are no stinkers here, though there are some standouts: Bobby Valentin's "Use it Before You Lose It", Tito Puente's "Hit De Bongo", Chollo Rivera's "Latin Soul Drive is Here" and Jimmy Sabater's "Kool It" are tonight's favorites. Another night and another mood will bring more. The only drawbacks here are the price (it is gonna cost you $35 to 45 depending on where you find it and post) and no liner notes. As far as the cost goes, if you have a vinyl fetish, well, you are gonna buy it regardless. If not, you are buying vinyl and it is gonna cost you more and last you longer than a CD. If you haven't figured out that vinyl costs more to make than CDs, just pull up to a gas pump and see what that petroleum product costs you nowadays. I can't explain away the lack of liner notes. A collection as good as this doesn't deserve an explanation but it certainly would make turning people on to this stuff a bit more of pleasure. Mr. Vampi Soul, next time you are stuck and need some notes, send a note this way. I'll write this shit up and you don't even have to pay me...much. There are very few good Latin collections out there. This is one and I recommend it, but only if you have a slight taste for or interest in Latin stuff already. Because of the price, I don't advice those without much scratch and with tender ears to make the jump. HOWEVER, there is a lower cost CD version, so if you must support that inferior format...(SSR)
(Vampi Soul // www.vampisoul.com)

V/A "Tales From the Asphalt Dance Floor" LP/CD
Six song compilation of Arizona (or AZ-allied) synth bands. The heavy hitters: Destruction Unit, with an outtake from the LP with Jay and Alicja playing with Ryan on "Come On Feel It" which surfaced on demos as "And the Fools Will Dance". Absolutely killer, and supposedly to be featured on the second DU LP later this year. Digital Leather contribute a version of "Dance 'til Dead" (different from the 7" version) that originally appeared on the CD-R of the same title. Another great song. The Cutters (Shawn of Dig.Leather with a female counterpart) do the heavily Human League sounding "Fuck Pain", which might even be better than the DL cut. As far as unheard stuff, you get some pretty polished synth-rock from Blanche Davidian (who sound like they are ready for mainstream airplay), Sex for Cigarettes do some lower-fi goofy synth-punk, and Billy Druid's Atomic Gospel play a fairly interesting, near prog-punk jam, which is really just Mr. Druid himself playing everything (he's a sometime member of D.Leather and ex-Battalion of Saints!?). Overall, you get three really worthwhile cuts, two that are fair-to-middling, and one that's subpar. So half of it comes recommended, and the bonus is that the LP is a great looking picture disc limited to 1,000 copies.(RK)
(Vodka Tonic Media // www.vodkatonicmedia.com)

V/A "A Tribute to the Original Pebbles Series Vol. 1 to 10" LP
French created compilation of Pebbles covers from a slate of bands from both the US and France. Highlights include a stunning version of the Calico Wall's "Flight Reaction" by Lili Z. (with sexy French lyrics), Anteenagers MC doing Moving Sidewalks, cool synthy productions from France's Merzakt and Kwartz, a deadly "I Never Loved Her" from Sacramento's Sonic Love Affair, and a shitload more from Magnetix, Defenestrors, Flakes, Four Slicks, Sea Monkeys and Scope to name a few. Only a couple of clunkers on this one out of seventeen tracks, plus a couple goofin' around numbers by some of the geniuses behind the idea. An entertaining idea that the bands have a lot of fun with, plus great liner notes, insert with pics, and a glimpse at the rest of the Not-BFD Records catalog (including 'The Ventures play Missy Elliot', 'Mariah Carey Sings Big Joe Turner' and other hilarities). Good luck finding it, I had a bitch of a time. I suggest trying Born Bad in Paris perhaps. Only a couple hundred copies I believe, none in any US distros (I know Incognito and P.Trash had/have them though). Necessary for all of you with that French itch.(RK)
(Non-BFD Records)

V/A Tyrades/Le Jonathan Reilly split 7"
Three songs per band on this scalding hot split single. Tyrades add more evidence to the case for them being one of the most exciting bands in sub-underground rockdom. They cover the Black Lips' "Juvenile" and make it their own, "It's A Danger" serves up some male-female vocal interplay on a bed of buzzsaw guitar and paranoic picking, and "Not My Type" is straight agression with a side of retarded back-ups. The Tyrades side alone would make for a fantastic record. I know little of Le Jonathan Reilly aside from the fact they are from Spain and they're tough to categorize. "Lifting La Milicia" is a post-punky/garage number built over some jangily frantic guitars and treading some similar ground to Anteenagers MC, except with a bit more velocity. "Imhotep" is a vocal-less exercise in moody indie-rock experimentation, but they end with a total fucking rocker in "Do the Black Light", an anthemic and rhythmic number with a lot of drive and layers of sound which could compete with anything recently out of France. An interesting group, I'd like to hear more. And I may, as it appears they are currently recording an LP. But honestly, their side is just gravy on three more Tyrades killers. Scum stats: 750 copies with some next level packaging: two transparent silk screened sleeves (one for each band) overlap to create the cover pic of a two-headed dog.(RK)
(Holy Cobra Society // www.holycobrasociety.com)


To see the rest of Issue Eleven's reviews go here.


PREVIOUS PAGEHOMENEXT PAGE