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RECORD REVIEWS MID-SUMMER 2006

Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(EL: Eric Lastname)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Young Steve) (TK: Todd Trickknee)

The Bananas "Forbidden Fruit" LP
Sacramento’s longest running contiguous punk rock band is the Bananas. Beloved by those who know them and ignored by 99.999999% of their hometown, these three play infectious poppy punk rock. Chances are you’ve heard them and if you have you are either their biggest fan or you don’t care one damn bit. Forbidden Fruit was released 5 or 6 y ears ago on CD but comes to us brand new on vinyl. And if there is a place to start with the Bananas, I’d say this is it. Nearly every song on here is a sing-a-long hit - 4 AM, Sugar Bear, Fancy Pants, Indensity, Beginning of the End, Feel Better, and the magnificent Pink Tuxedo. There are two small problems with this vinyl reissue: the lack of liner notes/lyrics sheet and the mastering. Of the two, the mastering is the most disturbing. Somewhere the kick that Chris Woodhouse gave the drums has disappeared. The drums still sound okay, but it seems as if the low end has been rolled off them. Still, this isn’t enough of a flaw to make me not listen to this about 20 times in a row.(SSR)
(Recess // www.recessrecords.com)

Beavers “The Beavers Are Back!” EP
The Beavers return after 10 years, although some of these guys have been kicking around as Grunnen Rocks faves Green Hornet for a while. If that reference isn’t indication enough, this is hiss-fi 60s punk with gratuitous organ grinding. The Beavers take on things is far more tame and traditional than a band like Mighty Go-Go Players, which might appeal to the purists out there. Me? Well, I doubt this one will make my coveted “Frequent Spin” pile. (MC)
(High School Refuse Records // Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)

Black Lips “Party at Rob’s House” EP
Lately I’ve been starting to think I hate music. Don’t get me wrong, I still spend an inordinate amount of time listening to records, going to shows, and over the past year I’ve added playing in a band and writing songs to the list as well. Still, despite all the time I spend listening to and making music, I’d be lying if I said much of what I hear these days leaves much of an impression on me. Part of me is afraid I’m falling victim to the same old story I’ve seen a zillion times before: rock ‘n’ roller turns the corner on his or her mid-twenties (I’ll be twenty seven this August) into the dreaded late twenties, soon starts to feel that everything new is either a rehash of favorites from the past or an incomprehensible new form of noise made by kids who don’t understand music, and finally looses touch with what is going on in the moment and retreats to the Good Ol’ Days – usually as represented by whatever music said aging rocker enjoyed as a teenager: in my case 90’s garage, power pop, and punk rock from the 70’s & 60’s. I’ve always told myself I wouldn’t let this happen to me, but even the better new records I’ve heard lately have been good for two, maybe three listens before getting filed away for a few months, when the process will then likely be repeated. On the other hand, I listen to the Kinks and the Dogs almost every day. Clearly my interest in modern music is waning, or so I thought at least.
Right when my connection to modern music was at its lowest ebb, the Black Lips reaffirmed my faith in modern rock n roll. My infatuation with this band started with a celebratory live set in Milwaukee this past fall that was among the most perfect live encapsulations of the spirit of rock n roll I’ve ever experienced. The band was literally showered with bottles through the entirety of the set, but never missed a note. What makes the Black Lips so great is that they’re always teetering on the brink of completely falling apart, but manage to maintain their composure and come through with a performance that is nothing short of a revelation. Seeing the Black Lips circa 2006 is a rare treat that only come along every few years – a band that is operating in peak form with complete knowledge of their current stature and abilities. And the exciting part is that they only appear to be getting better. I saw a set in Minneapolis this past March that was even more incredible than the one I mentioned above; at times it felt like time had dropped out and that all that was left was a direct, visceral experience of the eternal form of rock n roll. Among the most memorable songs from that set was a raucous sing-along number that I later found out was called “Oh Katrina,” which, at long last, finally brings me to this record. “Party at Rob’s House” features three studio-quality live recordings from, well, a party at Rob’s house. The first is the aforementioned “Oh Katrina,” which opens with a primal growl to rival anything that ever emanated from Reg Presley’s larynx and proceeds to show just what it is about this band that I love so much: pitch-perfect harmonies floating over dumpster-juice scuzzy guitar, a perfect blend of 60’s and 70’s punk sounds with a modern sensibility, and an altogether otherworldly, psychedelic vibe permeating the entire song. I would say it’s among the best recorded moments the band has yet committed to vinyl. Just awesome stuff. The b-side features two tunes, a vital, vibrant, alive, and 100% NOW run through of a Link Wray tune (Five & Ten) and a faster version of “Sea of Blasphemy” that for my money is even better than the LP version. This is a band that can do no wrong at the moment and we should all feel lucky to be able to experience a gift from the muses like this here and now while they are at the top of their game. Who knows where they’ll go from here? Maybe this is going to be looked back on as their apex, or maybe only the beginning of the ascension? One thing I know for certain: as long as bands as exciting as this are around, my love for modern music will never die. Scum stats: 100 on white vinyl, 900 on black.(SB)
(Rob’s House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Black Time "Midnight World" LP/CD
Due to the band's extensive history that is in no part ignored by TB readers, I assume that those reading this will be familiar with Black Time's sound. This being my introduction to Black Time, I'm wondering what all the fuss is about from my friends. To my ears, it sounds like America is going to have to come in and save England's ass again, this time from directionless verse-chorus-verse garage rock instead of the Nazis. After five or six songs, something happens and there's a totally normal pop sounding song that goes by the name of, "Psychic Tracks." Once it ends, the next track follows in and it actually feels like the band made a conscious effort to put these two together. Then it happens again and again. I could leave the first six tracks and be happy with the rest of the album, but I found myself wondering, "would I like these songs as much if they didn't have such lackluster songs before them?"
On repeated listenings of the CD, I'd wander around the apartment, do some dishes, walk back in and feel like I hadn't skipped a beat in the song, even though I may have walked in three or four songs later. I like that and have found that even some of the first songs on the album have grown on me with time, but if I'm sitting in one place listening to the album, I just can't make it through the opening salvo with any desire to hear the later two-thirds of tunes. Were I putting this out, I'd have jettisoned the filler and kept maybe one song ("The Mummy"). I feel that like most post-rock/garage nonsense, this would most likely be enjoyed while tipsy and not by somebody picking apart each song for a review. I doubt this album will be any disappointment to fans, but I don't see why this would make them many new fans. (JC)
.....The one thing that’s always appealed to me about Black Time is their ability to straddle the line between generic Cramps reverberation and high-brow art hack attack while still maintaining a sense of guttural crawl, a sneer that doesn’t appear to be totally unauthentic and phony-baloney. Y’know? So I procure this platter and throw it on, and yeah, it’s good, “Mystery Shopper” has the choppy hook at the chorus, “Panic Attack” almost recreates the namesake w/out pulling too many punches, good enough, but I wanted the grab of the first LP and the accompanying singles – the strange (unintentional?) touches in production, the weird lyrical refs, the twists here and there that really did take you by the trouser-seat and turn your fathead. I do not, by any imaginative stretch, think this LP is bad news, but I think it’s almost unerringly a straight-narrow garage-punk album. And that ain’t what I expected because I know these guys/girl are capable of far more, as evidenced by every preceding release (and, so I hear, the live show). Slight slagging withstanding, this is still a completely solid buy/listen, and you should play Columbo yourself before you dismiss it as unworthy. (EL)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Bob Burns & the Breakups "Frustration" CD
1996 was a very good year for me. I was buying tons of great punk records, seeing lots of great punk bands, and playing in a very good one. While I had been in other bands before and since, Los Huevos is the band that will always be MY band. It is like the first girl you love and you fucked AND you loved to fuck (a rare combination). Playing loud, fast, raw music is tiny rooms to very excited people who were not yet jaded was fantastic. Playing with and seeing other bands like the Registrators, the Motards, and Scared of Chaka, who despite a lot of ehhh records were a great live band. It might seem odd to read that it was an exciting day when a new New Bomb Turks 7" came out, but it really was, especially if it was on Bag of Hammers. What does all this have to do with Bob Burns & the Breakups? Well, laying on the couch listening to this 15 minutes worth of punk rock & roll brought up exactly those thoughts, If BB & the Bs were around in 1996, I would have been their champion. I would have found what town they lived in and tried to book Los Huevos there when we went on tour. They have the same speedy, hooky Damned by way of Supercharger sound that some of the above possess. However, this is ten years removed from that time period, so it generates more memories now than excitement (as it would have then). Blame that on my very very very advanced age, that I've heard many bands do this before and since, and that I am not in the middle of the muck any more. That is where I am coming from. If I step back from my history I see that some oldster could have written exactly the same stuff about my band in 1996. What that tells me is that these guys have tapped into the timelessness of 1-2-3-4 garage punk, something few bands are able to do, especially nowadays when the stuff has gotten a bit of acceptance on a commercial level and there are more than enough jack asses trying to pass themselves off as garage coolsters in an attempt to hit some nonexistent jackpot. So perhaps that makes this a little more special. Or maybe it doesn't. Right now I am confusing myself. Eeerrrr...Let me end by saying you can throw this a stack of records with the Reds, the Kids, and many others of this ilk. While this isn't AAA classic level stuff it is certainly better than average. Recommended.(SSR)
(Mad Cook // www.madcookrecords.cjb.net)


Bored Fortress 7” series:
(Not Not Fun // www.notnotfun.com)

Starting January 2006 until June, the LA art punk/noise label Not Not Fun put out a series of 7”s. In screened sleeves, each record featured two bands and came out in an edition of 500. While not every 7” is stellar, the series is well worth tracking down. Here are my thoughts on Bored Fortress (SSR):

Coughs/Night Wounds - Jan 06 7”
Chicago’s Cough give us a near perfect machine metal song that stinks of Chrome & Savage Republic but sounds like neither. They fuck with time by extending parts in no logical (at least to me) sequence. There are times that the pummeling breaks out but not outside of the tight monotonous construction. This would be pretty remarkable if not for the vocalist. She sounds like she could have fronted any number of 90s politico punk bands, putting a flat dispassionate voice to “passionate and important” words...Night Wounds have named their song "Hex Appeal", a title that immediately made me think of the Fall and the Stooges. However in the song, all I hear are bits of the Fall. There is a sax but it is far from the style of Steve MacKay. Like many of these Bored Fortress participants, Night Wounds stretches out into dull pain slowness, letting chords ride into feedback. It works well for these folks.(SSR)

My Little Red Toe/Foot Foot - Feb 06 7”
The LA two piece My Little Red Toe do two songs: A drone that seems like it should go somewhere but fails to. There is a song in "Firemen", unfortunately it is not here. "Clicky Clicky" is a little better, a piece of sub-VU 90s style, 4 track, bedroom pop that might have found its way onto the Bus Stop label or even a K 45. Operative word here is might...Foot Foot take their name from the Shaggs song but fortunately there is no Shaggs sound present. I say fortunately because the Shaggs are one of those bands that just are. Like Jandek or ½ Japanese, you can’t try to sound like the Shaggs with out sounding pretentious and lame. Best just to look at them as examples of doing your own thing with little regard for anything but that. It seems as if that is what Foot Foot has chosen to do with this really nice song of mellow psych. Reminds me of early Pearls Before Swine, as well as the spacey side of West Cost Experimental Pop Art Band. Foot Foot makes this 7” worth the wax.(SSR)

Hospitals/Afrfirampo - March 06 7”
I watched little bits of the Hospitals early Woodhouse sessions, stuff that wound up on their first 7”. What impressed me the most was the total fuck it all that seemed to be going into each song (which was captured, I think, on only one of that debut’s songs). Since then it seems as if Adam & pals have somehow hone the art of fuck it and songwriting at the same time. Tis resulted in a nice pile of vinyl. Sick Bird doesn’t break any new ground but it is a very good pounder. Lots of cool sounding feedback wraps around the reatrdo beat...Afrirampo comes to us from Osaka, Japan and they fit very nicely in the world that John Zorn has documented on his Tzadik label, on which they have a CD (do check out some of Tzadik’s New Japan series for some really cool sounds). Naïve drum and guitar tard-psych is what I hear. Afrirampo is a perfect foil to the Hospitals. A great 7” and the hardest to find of the bunch.(SSR)

Silver Daggers/Death Sentence: Panda! - April 06 7”
An excellent pair. Not only are there two good songs here but both compliment each other. Silver Daggers’ "Faithful Unlawful" starts with a sub-Ayler jazz intro, horns meander like a Chinese opera done by drunks and then the band comes in and it sounds great. Unfortunately the horns drop out when the song kicks. The contrast that they provide in the beginning sounds really great and it is done far less often than it should be. Lucky for me, the hornless part is still good and the horns pop back in for the song’s finish...Death Sentence: Panda! Have a flute as well as horns and the contrast between the flute & horns with the rest of the music is not as stark as with the Daggers. In fact, the flute and drums double and with guitar create a very jarring militaristic beat. The horns alternated between very cool blasts and all out chaos. My only complaint is that I could have used another few minutes of "Friends of Friends of Friends of Friends."(SSR)

16 Bitch Pile Up/Burmese - May 06 7”
Nothing really going on here. 16BPU are a three woman noise group. Some sub-TG/Non electronics with distended vocal wails make for boring rather than interesting…Burmese has 5 songs on their side, which is rarely a good sign. So many songs in such little space usually means that a band is relying on a sound rather than songs. With Burmese it means run of the mill grind. Perhaps in the room you feel the energy. On the stereo all that comes out is faceless noise. The only shit record of this series.(SSR)

Raccooo-oo-oone/Sword Heaven - June 06 7”
Iowa’s Raccooo-oo-oone didn’t grab me at first, but the nightmarish minimalism of guitar, drum, vocal and effects make an aggressively ambient sound that falls into a primitive warrior throb. Pretty impressive stuff...Even more primitive, more aggressive, and more nightmarish are Ohio’s Sword Heaven. These guys say they are influenced by Swans and it shows. There is a "Cop"-like bludgeoning going on here, but it is much rawer and more primal than anything by M Gira & Co. Swans sound like they had a very bad day, Sword Heaven seems faced with the apocalypse. A very good slab of dark emotion.(SSR)


Brainbombs "I Need Speed" 7"
Brand new two song punisher from the demigods known to us earthlings as the Brainbombs. "I Need Speed" follows Brainbombs song formula #1A, that is, they pummel the shit out of one single riff for the duration of the song, whilst someone strangles a couple of saxophones in a dark basement, throughout which seemingly backwards-masked lyrics are spat out in guttural English, the gist of which is that "I NEED SPEED...". A really good time, but it gets better..."End Up Dead" crushes yet another riff with all the subtlety of a Panzer rolling through the ruins of a demolished European village with a loudspeaker mounted on it blaring the words to the song, most of which are "...END UP DEAD..." until a martian death saucer catches up with about a minute left and really lays waste to everything. An even better time than the A-Side. Once again Brainbombs take you to the edges of good taste and sensibility to test your endurance for what might be the final word in modern music. What can compare to this? This record will eat anything you put in front of it. In my opinion, their best single since the Anne Frank EP, which I just realized was released over fifteen fucking years ago. This record will ruin your life, and I mean that in a completely positive way. Scums stats: 300 on red vinyl. (C/U: entire pressing)(RK)
(Big Brothel // www.bigbrothel.se)

Brutal Knights "Terrible Evenings" EP
This is the third Brutal Knights record I've sat through, and I now feel completely justified in saying "I just don't get it." Supposedly this was the fastest selling P.Trash release ever, blowing through 1,000 copies in weeks, and prompting a repress of another 1,000, at which point I have to ask who the hell are the two thousand people who didn't get enough of Zeke the first time around? There have to be plenty of LaDonnas or Speedealer records looking for homes out there that could be had for a fraction of the price and which would give the listener an equivalent amount of enjoyment. Again, I just don't get it. They do a GG cover on this one. Sigh. Scum stats: there are like thirty different variations of this record, which I'm not about to discuss. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Carbonas s/t LP
All you impatient types out there probably downloaded a Soulseek Records version of this some time last year. Well, all you really did was spoil what is one of the finest sophomore LPs in recent memory for yourselves. Tsk. What we have here is an even dozen tunes, a couple you may have heard before ("Frothing..." and "Sick Satisfaction") and another six or seven which are of equal quality ("Cold Waste" and "Sex Wound" being personal faves) along with a choice cover of "September Gurls". I think myself and other fellow 'critics' have bestowed enough heaps of praise on these kids, but they're simply one of, if not thee, best punk bands in active duty. Propulsive, catchy, hook-laden, they've found a formula and have figured out how to work magic with it. This LP reminds me of when the Catholic Boys full-length came out, and everyone had a burned copy of it for at least a year already, so the record didn't make as huge of a splash as it could have. You pirates are ruining everything! Don't make the same mistake twice, this thing deserves a standing ovation. And it will also really make you forget their first LP. Did I mention they kill it in the live setting too? And the sleeve on this thing is amazing? Do I have to say any more about this? Get moving! Scums stats: vinyl only, 100 on red, a bunch more on black. Look out for the ultra-limited "Pork Chop" sleeve.(RK)
(Raw Deluxe // www.theerawdeluxe.com)

Cheveu "Claravenus" 7"
Right after their intoxicating songs on SS records, here are two siders which were highly expected and it's a whole french thang ! Parisian lads from SDZ Records (The Rebel 7 inches from 2004) and Royal Records' great comeback on the scene. Both labels eventually decided to smash the U.S. competition by combining their talents in order to keep weird punk on french soil ! i'm warning you because this record is the total opposite of the one on SS ( not in quality, you idiot ). Like its dark and mean complementary little brother. Both sides are headbanging scorchers. It's just gonna smoke your system. It's obvious that both songs were carefully chosen in order to smash your phonograph in half. Fast drum machine stomps, obnoxious guitar waves, distorted weird vocals and the frantic-est keyboards bleeps ever. Those songs are the catchiest when played live and finally hearing "Superhero" recorded is just too bitchy. Just the guitar riff at the beginning of that song....god. And "Claravenus" is just a great Arthur Rimbaud poem rip-off which will send you home hypnotised and addicted. A fine eardrum breaker your neighbor will love in secret while he'll be calling the cops on you so he can get your copy ! The one record that will surely put these bums on top of the Weird Punk league. Young, fast and scientific. Scums stats: 500 copies, black wax, this will go FAST so act quick.(KB)
(SDZ Records // http://www.myspace.com/sdzrecords)
(Royal Records // http://www.myspace.com/pollymaggoorecords)

Cloak/Dagger "demo" CDR
Guitar-driven hardcore punk from Richmond, VA with strong influences by bands like D.I. and Hot Snakes. This is one of those bands where everything else could come behind the inventive guitar melodies, but instead the rest of the band is just as talented and the unit clicks through five songs. For fans of the above-mentioned and more current bands like Fucked Up or Brain Handle. They should have a 7" out on Grave Mistake Records by the end of May 2006 that I am looking forward to. (JC)
(self released // www.myspace.com/wearecloakdagger)

Le Club des Chats "Pump the Seed!" 7”
French musical absurdists Le Club des Chats do songs about cats and what songs! The tunes are like herky jerky spasms anchored by Crass-style drums and with vocals that have the playfulness of Kleenex. But there is more: Blistering guitar runs, odd instrumental breaks, and lyrics like “he sniffs the clipers/and, he stinks like caravan/listen to the orchestra/fabulous and bubby frizzy.” The more I listen to these pussy cats the more I like. A very infectious EP! (SSR)
(Le Vilain Chien // www.levilainchien.com)

Coachwhips "Double Death" CD + DVD
I seem to remember a scathing indictment of the Coachwhips as faux-garage crapola before a message board tribunal not too long ago, and although I wasn't a member of the jury, I would probably agree with the verdict. They were a band that never did much for me, and trust me I tried, meaning I bought all the records and gave them a more than fair chance. I never thought they were a big deal, at least not big enough to warrant a posthumous CD/DVD collection or rarities, B-Sides, covers and live footage. But I guess Narnack thinks otherwise, as they seem to release anything these guys or their relatives put out. (By the way, the OCS CD that came a long with this is so bad I can't even muster the strength to wqrite a proper review of it.) As far as the rarities, well they're good for Coachwhips stuff, pretty shitty sounding, they open with a number called "Mr. Hyde" that's alrighty, and then pile on fifteen more songs that sound just like it. Then they do a bunch of covers as the Roachclips, including the Gories, Horrors, the best Icky Boyfriends' song, Sonics, Adam Ant, etc...At least they admit who they ripped off, and to be honest there is absolutely nothing wrong with ripping shit off. The Coachwhips just weren't very good at it. What about the DVD you ask? You think I watch DVDs? This digital video shit is for the birds, man, I'm a purist. I only watch 16mm filmstrips...(RK)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Country Teasers "The Empire Strikes Back" LP
THE LONG: Maybe the highest praise I can pay B. Wallers and the Country Teasers reads thus: He manages to slip sleight-of-hand political commentary in between the sarcasm, the head-smacking rosy-cheek sekshul innuendo, the clever wordplay, the stiff and adjunct post-punk non-riffage, the loose and stumbling caterwaul, the simultaneously abrasive and intoxicating din, and I don’t notice until well after ten or twelve listens. I hate political commentary. I have no tolerance for the stuff. I don’t need it, you don’t need it, and B. Wallers don’t need it. But there it stands, clear as shit on the shinebox, and he manages to not only make it palatable – he makes it desirable. You come to expect it from him. You come to enjoy it. I do, at least. Probably because he’s more of an L. Bruce than a N. Chomsky, thank Christ, but also because he’s got a childish obsession with it, the words “nigger” and “queer,” words that I still find funny, the etymology and idea behind the words, only because they’re not supposed to be funny but are and aren’t at the same time, words and ideas that’ve been guarded and protected and fistfucked and ironicized and made incongruous by this group, that group, you name it, holy shit, it’s the enigma wrapped in the blanket of the paradox. And he’s kinda poking you with ‘em, waiting for you to respond to the agitation of the words and the dissonant notes, and that’s part of why I think it’s great that someone can bandy about with these stupid, empty non-sequitur pejoratives that don’t mean shit and mean everything at the same time and mesh them with a smirking stab at the bulk of all primitive offshoots of r’n’r, loping rhythms and bouncing, sinking guit-plucks, and still sound very, very genuine. Anomalous in the best sense of the word. I don’t know how he does it. But he does it continually, over and over again, and if it seems like I’m a fanboy ranting in jackoff awe, it’s because I am. But forest from the trees, sure, why not?
This new album: I think it ranks with the best of the Teasers’ catalog. A catalog which, to me, is pretty goddamned impressive from any side you might look, and a catalog that I spin quite regularly. Fact of the matter is, this is almost entirely a socio-commentary album. Moreso than past efforts. “Spiderman in the Flesh” is a bit of a return to the warped take on C&W that they first cut their teeth on some years back – something they rarely attempt anymore, unfortunately, almost prompting a headscratch as to why they still got the “Country” in the name – but it leads into the second track, one of my favorites, “Points of View.” “Points of View” aptly displays the patented C. Teasers move of turning a non-riff into a riff against the stubborn, stupid drum thud, illustrating why the initiated’ll defend these fuckers tooth/nail. Why? Because they take the annoying scrape and make it an oddly soothing rub. Non-riff into riff is something few bands in the entire history of r’n’r/non-r’n’r (outside of jazz) have been able to pull off, and when it happens, paydirt is bigtime, yeah, because it’s just as impressive as penning the perfect pop tune, ‘cept inside-out and inherently sinister. It’s catchy, but menacing. And that goes double for “The Ship” and “Good Looking Boys or Women.” And, hell, the rest of the LP, and everything that came before it. This is one of the best bands going today, an uncommon great, so don’t take ‘em for granted – do yourself a favor and pick this up and at least try to understand what makes this band a few yards above the rest. Dig in. Or don’t. Your loss. (EL)
.....For anyone surprised that the Country Teasers' latest LP demands that the listener takes a side for or against the Teasers, or at least this record, hasn't been paying attention to the band. For at least ten out of the Teasers' 15 years existance they've been pimped as the best band going or an over rated bloated song machine. Band leader Ben Wallers has been pegged as a Mark E Smith wannabe and a songwriting genius. Recently Agony Shorthand's Jay Hinman has become the latest to yell overrated in regards to the Teasers (or might I be more correct in stating that the Teasers are the latest band/artist to be called overrated by the rating-obsessed Hinman?). We will let Jay argue with Robert Christgau over what letter grade the Teasers deserve and turn toward his criticism of Wallers' "insistence on punctuating every record with his giggle-giggle-I'm-so-bad "transgressive words" -- "Jew", "coon", "Hitler", "blacks", "queer" etc....It appears that entire songs continue to be built around slipping said words into the lyrics, and that's about as boring as bean curd." Really? Let's ignore that one paragraph prior Jay hurrahs "Points of View" and "Please Ban Music/Gegen Alles," two songs in which feature "transgressive words" front and center, words that are integral to the songs' meanings and ideas Wallers is trying to sing about. What ideas? Race as it works in everyday life, empire, and rock & roll. That we've come to a point where left wing and right wing mean little more than what camp you ally yourself with. That language has become corrupted and communication impossible because we avoid naming names, telling it like it is (not in a cliched way but in a "this is a chair, this is a child, this is a chair cracked over the head of a child because the child is black and the cracker is white or vica versa"), and being frank about real issues like how we get along with our neighbor. In this era of glad handing and political correctness from every ideological stripe, Wallers' words make people uncomfortable, thus he is called a bigot or writen off as a "transgressive" chipper. Bah! I've listened to The Empire Strikes Back at least 20 times and what I hear are better than average song lyrics pinned to a great set of songs. The music lopes along, sliding big thuggish bass lines though A Frames style retardo-drumming. The guitars twist in and out and the production of the whole boot seem to be the culmination of the last few years of Teasers/Rebel experimentation. "Spiderman in the Flesh", "Point of View", "Hitlers & Churchills", "The Ship", and "Panic Holiday" are among the best songs the Teasers have yet created. The Empire Strikes Back is both a smart record and a great one through and through. This time around I side with the Teasers.(SSR)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Criminal Damage s/t 12”
A friend once told me that he thought the song “Next Boy” on the Feelers’ first single was a cover. His reasoning: “It's just too perfect, so I thought it had to be a cover of some ‘classic’ song that I’d never heard or didn’t recognize.” I thought this was an odd line of reasoning until a couple of weeks ago when I saw the band Criminal Damage. During their set I found myself wondering, “Is this a cover?” more than once. Criminal Damage manage to capture the sound and spirit of the No Future label with such ardor that they feel familiar even on first listen, like hearing a lost recording from an old favorite band. Their recorded debut, a 12” on the Feral Ward label, has eight such anthems that seem so perfect for what they are that you might think they’re a new take on an old classic. The crisp, loud sonic presentation is as reminiscent of those old No Future releases as the driving melodies and chanted choruses. This is not a record for listeners who demand their music must never retread from past movements, but for the rest of us, this is a will fit snug on a mix tape alongside those killer Blitz and Partisans tracks.(DH)
(Feral Ward // www.feralward.com)

Curse of the Birthmark "Welcome to Hard Times...You're Late" 12" EP
'Tis about 6 month late on this, but that doesn't make this any less of great listen. COTB play five minimalist, sinister sounding punk tunes that actually use a synth as an instrument not as a gimmick. Youngsters! Please track this puppy down because there is a lesson in this for you: If you are going to fuck around with electronics you best know how to write a song first. Blurps and bleeps do not take the place of a good tune. Neither do funny costumes or saxophones. When you do get this record, note that the drummer actually gets a bit creative without being busy or jazzy. Note that while the songs are simple they build tension and release it and then attack some more. These guys use something called dynamics. Please, please take note. The rest of you: File between Big Black, Babyland, and Standard of Living.(SSR)
(Deleted Art // www.deletedart.com)

Damnation Kids “I Wanna Do It!” 7"
Will I ever escape the menacing troll that is Superhelicopter Ltd. or ex-members there-of? I’m telling you, I must’ve reviewed every record this lot has released since their formation, disbanding, reformation and splintering…all of which have been met with a hearty “Eh…” The streak continues with the A-side, featuring the same sort of gunk I’ve been trying to ignore for years. The flip, “Broken Heart”, fares MUCH MUCH better though, juggling driving punk with noisy interludes that border on room-clearing territory. Great tune, but I’d need to hear a whole lot of more of that before I pony up for another release outta these guys. (MC)
(High School Refuse Records // Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)

The Dead Hookers' Bridge Club "The Hoo Dee Hoo" EP
Firstly, do not get these guys mixed up with a gang of promising young Wisconsin rockers who call themselves the Dead Hookers. This is absolutely not them. The DHBC are from Miami, and they play some rockabilly-styled garage rock of the "Drink Drink Drink Till We Die Die Die!" lyrical variety. There isn't much to say about this record except that it has four songs and none of them are very good.(RK)
(New Art School // www.newartschool.net)

Demon's Claws "Live in Spring Branch, TX" 12" EP
This isn't a live show performance per se, but an EP recorded live in a 'studio' by James and Matt of The Golden Boys, with the 'studio' being what sounds like either a haunted cave or a musty fruit cellar. Demon's Claws are a good fit for the Hook and Crook label, as they sound as if they were spawned from the same snake-filled canyons as Haunted George, the same peyote-tripping deserts as Golden Boys. Well, except that they're from Canada, but they still vibe on a similar, somewhat creepy and wayward Texas-psych level. The A-Side of this thing is where the action is, as they bust out of the gates with a cover of Rockabilly legend Ray Condo's "Sweet Sweet Love Tonight" that rocks and billys just perfectly. "Shadow of A Castle", my pick of the bunch, closes out the three-song A-Side with a perfect representation of the sullen country-psych skulk I love to hear on their records. The B-Side blurs together a bit, four songs that blend together without leaving much of an impression aside from the ghostly reverb plastered all over, but the rollicking "How The West Was Won" does peek it's head out from the pack, with guest harp-wailing from Walter Daniels. In all, these guys are a band who I dig way more on record than I have live (and this sounds waaay better than either of the two actual live sets I've seen by them). Loose and lively guitars and vox backed by solid Skip Jensen drumwork and a recording session that sounds a bit inebriated, but not too much. If you dug their LP, this should interest you, as it's all new material. As a whole, this is for fans only, but EVERYBODY should at least hear phantasmic "Shadow of A Castle" multiple times. In Claws' news, they are recording their next LP for In the Red with Mike McHugh at the Distillery, which sounds like a good pairing to me...Scum stats: 200 copies of beautiful blue/black swirl vinyl, the rest on plain old black. (RK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)

The Dicks "Pigs Run Wild" 7"
The music pouring out of Raul’s bar on Guadalupe St. during the short time it served as a venue for the outcasts in Austin, TX, was among the most poignant, interesting, and diverse made by punks anywhere. The Next, Dicks, Inserts, F-Systems, Jitters, Huns, Reactors, Big Boys (and so on) forged a scene where John Waters was seemingly a bigger influence than the Sex Pistols. The weirdos crawled out of the woodwork and into Raul’s, dressed in their finest outrageous getups, and bashed out whatever sounded good to their ears; this was not a scene of copy bands, but one in which each group had a voice. The loudest, most powerful voice belonged to Gary Floyd, howling frontman for The Dicks. Recorded in 1980, their debut single, “Hate the Police,” remains unmatched in its urgency. Floyd’s soulful vocals could have made him a star in the downtown blues scene, had that been his desire, but his lyrics dealt with much darker territory. The Dicks ranted with their songs against the corrupt police, taunted the audience with a ballad about glory-holes, and pushed boundaries by proclaiming themselves a gay, communist band of thugs. With this record, Delta Pop Records presents two outtakes from the sessions that bore the band’s first single: the thematically linked “Pigs Run Wild” and an alternate take of “Hate the Police.” The former appeared in another form on the Kill From The Heart album, but it shines here with a superior recording. “Hate the Police” sounds very similar to the released version—though I haven’t listened to them back to back for a true comparison—but is still a perfect choice of B-side since it’s not currently available on vinyl in any form. It’s also the best song ever written.(DH)
(Delta Pop Records // www.deltapop.com)

The Dicks "Ten Inches" 10"
The cover of this record is near perfect: the classic Dicks hammer-and-sickle logo; Gary Floyd looking like an even lower-rent Divine making a poor attempt to hide his package inside a leotard. The Dicks were everything that Eighties cartoon hayseed/jock caricatures would decry about them damn punk-rockers: a bunch of commies and faggots. The Dicks threw it in everyone's faces, perhaps the only band in history who could pull off a set with both "Bourgeois Fascist Pigs" and "Little Boys' Feet" and not seem like a joke band, backing up what should be a ridiculous combination of ideals with some of the greatest confrontational punk ever. They were serious about challenging morality and treading on the other side of the tracks, even amongst the punk community itself. And they managed to be legitimately threatening, not being of the skinny safety-pin punk variety, but just as mean looking as the many beercan throwing cowboys I'm sure they had to square off against in their time. The Dicks really had it all, and are one of those litmus bands that I believe says a lot about where someone stands as far as taste goes. If you don't like The Dicks, well, you either haven't heard them or something isn't quite right. So, "Ten Inches" is a six-song live affair from 1980, at the Punk Rock Prom in Austin, TX, in front what sounds like an audience of twenty. You get an early "Kill From the Heart", "Night Fever", an incredible take on "Bookstore", "Wheelchair Epidemic", and the aforementioned "Bourgeois..." and "..Boys' Feet". Floyd's vox are pushed way up front, you get some decent audience baiting to a seemingly less-than enthused crowd, and good fidelity throughout. The band slops it up a bit at times, but as a staunch Dicks supporter I find it an excellent addition to their recorded legacy. On yellow/pink swirl vinyl.(RK)
(Delta Pop Records // www.deltapop.com)

Dirty Needles "Justine's A Junkie" 7"
Another installment in the Roy Oden recorded legacy, here teamed up again with his LSOK mate and Ape with Attitude, Mr. Brad X. Two Oden-penned (s)hits, the A-Side being the Ramones-ified trash of "Justine's A Junkie", and the flip containing the more Samoans-like drug addled garbage-punk of "Burned Out", plus an uncredited "mystery cut". A must-have for Evolutions/Last Sons fans, but not quite as obnoxiously good as the MC Monkey EP. Scum stats: first pressing was 100 on clear and 200 on black, sold out. Repress of 100 on red on it's way.(RK)
(Certified PR Records // www.certifiedprrecords.com)

Fat Worm of Error "Pregnant Babies Pregnant with Pregnant Babies" LP
The other day, our street’s resident George Clinton-esque homeless guy popped his head into the store and exclaimed, “Some one left the cake out in the rain. I don’t know who it was but the cake isn’t lookin too good right now. They shouldn’t have left the cake in the rain. Now, why would they want to go and leave the cake out in the rain?” Think about that for a while and now imagine a band falling down the stairs while 20 monkeys pound on synthesizers. I present to you Fat Worm of Error. While I knew what I was getting in for and anticipated listening to this LP, the first time through, it hit me wrong. The music sounded too haphazard and the vocals too forced. After a couple listens, though, it clicked. "Pregnant Babies…" is a great sprawl of tightly organized everything-in-the-can jams and squirrelly improved nuts. Recommended to the weirder of the weird among you.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

The First Punic War "Unicorn" 7"
There is a drawing of a naked unicorn-girl on the cover of this record. No shit. These guys are worshipping at the altar of Chrome, but really sound a lot more like really early Today is the Day or second tier AmRep-styled weird punk (say, Love 666 or Mog Stunt Team or something similar). Some background looping and synth effects and other electronica shenanigans over which some post-industrial mayhem is played out. "Unicorn" is somewhat destructive, "Punk Rock" is nothing but a short sequence of bleep-beats (yes, yes, quite a statement, I get it...), and on "Simon the Sailor", the best song on this, they do the old trick where they bind and gag their singer and make him do his vocals while locked in the trunk of a '78 Buick LeSabre. Sounds cool, but it just kind of comes across like a lightweight Jesus Lizard rip, or David Yow fronting some shitty fourth tier group from the late Eighties Wax Trax roster. It does appear they are from Iowa, so I give them some credit, but it seems like trying-too-hard-to-be-weird-punk to me. Nice thick silver sleeves and pink or yellow vinyl, limited to a few hundred. (RK)
(self-released // www.thefirstpunicwar.com)

Flaschen “Treat Me Bad” 7"
On Flaschen’s first 7” EP, they seemed to be a perfect by-the-numbers French punk counterpoint to the stuff found on Nasty Product or “Tete De Bebe”. Repeated listens finally got me to recognize an all too familiar problem that has regrettably carried over onto this new single: if you actually know how to play your instruments, you shouldn’t be aping Supercharger. What made that band great was that, inept as they were, they were still trying as hard as they could to sound good. Flaschen sounds like they are trying as hard as they can to sound bad, which SHOCKINGLY makes for a poor outing. I also think songs about raping your honey/baby/sweetheart/girlfriend/whatever are just dumb. Not in a PC way, but in a lame, overdone, unfunny way. Naturally, I’m sure it’s already out of print. (MC)
(High School Refuse Records // Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)

FM Bats "Bats Are Out to Harm" 12" EP
I've always been a proponent of whatever project Hot Rodd Todd stumbles his way into, whether it be Neon King Kong, The Distraction, or even on the last FM Bats EP, because all of those band's records would undoubtedly have at least one or two monstrously catchy tunes that would tunnel deep into your ears and latch on tight even after the filler that was the rest of the record tried to wash them away. Well, that theory can now be put to bed, as this latest EP has very little going for it. No "All You Do is Jerk". No "More Trouble at the V". Just a lot of plodding around and Todd running off at the mouth without any semblance of a hook to back him up. Heaping portions of art-punk thud that rarely gets you to take notice. While I listened to this I kept thinking that if this were a live show I'd be outside smoking. Not even Mike McHugh production saves the day. 12 inches of unfulfilled promise. (RK)
(Sound Virus // www.sound-virus.com)

Ghetto Ways “Party Down” EP
Although their induction into the elite class is pending further evidence, I don’t really see anything wrong with a single Ghetto Ways release thus far, including this new single. In today’s WEIRD PUNK flooded market, bands like Ghetto Ways get little or no recognition for crafting fine, Crypt-influenced punk rock and I think that’s a shame. “Party Down” includes four tunes, all featuring the rumbling bass lines and soulful female vocals that I’ve sorta come to expect from this band. If you’ve never heard this band before, start here, as it’s the most economical (single, non-import, etc.) and fun (packaging in a spray painted paper bag?) as this lot is likely to get. (MC)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
(Wicked Singles // www.wickedsinglesrecords.com)

Harpoon Guns s/t 12”
With their debut 12”, The Harpoon Guns deliver twelve paint-by-numbers blasts of speedy SoCal hardcore. I imagine these boys spend their free time listening to the Circle Jerks, Negative Approach, and old Dischord releases, but unlike those forefathers of the genre, this album is without strong and memorable songs, focusing more on blurred energy than catchy hooks. The ‘Guns did write a decent “genre album” that should be popular among fans of the modern “old school” style, but few, if any, of these songs will stand out to more discriminating listeners. Unlike the band’s earlier 7" EP, which had an endearing lofi recording that worked to the benefit of the songs, this record fails to bring anything to the table to distinguish itself from countless others recorded by like-minded groups across the world.(DH)
(Squarewave Records // harpoonguns-at-gmail.com)

Haunted George “Panther Howl” LP
Far more warped and twisted, lyrically and musically, than any guy/girl in the glut of one-man outfits, and that’s why I loved this shit from the get-go – it’s a sociopathic hallucination detailing the traipse through twilighted rural isolated wastelands, a true one-man band in every sense of the etc. Certainly references the rickety, ramshackle feel of initial C&W/country blues as informed by generations of desert folklore and Americana – one-take swings at an acoustic guitar, tobacky vox that echo tales of beware and woe throughout – but doesn’t sound nearly as corny as that description, no sir, and it’s easily one of the best full-length releases I can recall hearing this year. (EL) Scum stats: 200 on green/black swirled vinyl, the rest on black.
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)

Haunted George "The Devil's Canyon" 7"
A wonderful companion piece to the LP, as "The Devil's Canyon" was one of my early favorites for inclusion on the LP that didn't make the cut. A definite put-the-creep-on growler built on the repetitive plucking of a skeletal riff and some spectral vox. On the flip, "Graves in the Desert" is bone-chilling nastiness that is mean and punk, in a Necessary Evils kinda way. Both songs are just as good, if not better, than anything on the LP. Creepy Christgau gives this a straight A. Scum stats: 500 copies, and a French import, so snatch it if you see it. A split release between Nasty Product and Sentenza Records. (RK)
(Nasty Product // wwww.nastyprod.com)

Heartattacks “Your Lies” EP
I maintain that the Teengenerate comparisons that follow The Heartattacks wherever they go (yes, I’m guilty as charged) are present only in Tomo’s bass playing, which actually does bear a striking resemblance to Sammy’s. Beyond that, they lack the intangibles that made Fink and Co. gods. Now that we’ve established that The Heartattacks are mere mortals, we can conclude that their knack for writing passable speedy punk places them squarely in the late-era Rip Off camp rather than the early or middle periods. Translation: far from foundation-shaking, but solid for a listen or two. As is customary with Plastic Idol. 500 pressed on clear gold vinyl and with a ¾ sleeve. (MC)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Heartattacks “Rejected #11” 7”
Another installment of High School Reject’s endless Greg Provost tribute series, taken from the same session that gave birth to their Plastic Idol EP. Both of the originals here trump “Your Lies”, especially “Hangin’ On” which had me briefly reconsidering the mediocre assertions made above. Their take on “Rejected At The High School Dance” doesn’t further the legacy of the tune any more or less than the other takes. Shocker! Regardless, the two tunes on the A-side are tailor-made for the one-sided 45s of yesteryear, which should be taken as a compliment. (MC)
(High School Reject Records // Berlageweg 12, 9731 LN Groningen, The Netherlands)

The Intelligence “Let’s Toil” LP
The first Intelligence album “Boredom and Terror” was initially CD only, before Narnack was cool enough to release it on vinyl with a bonus CD thrown in featuring 11 extra songs not on the original release. Those 11 songs were hailed by many as being superior to the album proper, which might be true, and they are now committed to wax (with the addition of one new song, “Grease 3”) thanks to the fine folks at Polly Maggoo Records. Do I really need to explain to readers of this fair site what the Intelligence sound like? Probably not, but these songs are closer in sound to the current version of the band, with more guitars than keys, than they are the bedroom project that the band used to be. Simply put, if you liked “Icky Baby” you really need to check this out. I’m just waiting for their first full U.S. tour where people finally get to realize how great of a band these guys have become. (JG)
(Polly Maggoo Records // myspace.com/pollymaggoorecords)

The Intelligence "I'm Your Taxi" EP
Short-ish three-song addendum to the recent volley of releases by The Intelligence. "I'm Your Taxi" and its canyon-deep low end rumble is the real driver on this three-song piece of totally blown-out and damaged artpunk. Yes I said damaged. Damaged in the way that it sounds like they wrote these songs, and they were all shiny and new, and then Lars and his crew had at them with an assortment of blunt instruments and demolitions-grade plastic explosives. So the end product sounds something like a beat-to-shit brand new car. Know what I mean? The fuck you do. Did I mention the B-Side is a blowed out opus called "If I Had A Hammer", during which Captain Finberg comes very very close to sailing the good ship Intelligence directly in the Sea of Cacophony, but instead just skirts its edges (as he essentially does during the entirety of this EP)? Novices could claim this unlistenable sludge, but you pros will think this is the real deal in next-wave song demolition. Me? Well, I like it when they reel it in a little bit and let the song peek it's a head out on occassion. Which only happens here for a second or two. Scum stats: Spanish import, 600 copies. (RK)
(Holy Cobra Society // www.holycobrasociety.com)

Los Invasores “El Ejecutivo” EP
Among the first batch of rock bands to form after the dissolve of Uruguay’s military dictatorship in 1985, Los Invasores was formed by three friends in the city of Suarez. Despite not knowing how to play their instruments, the band started practicing and eventually filled out their lineup when they met a likeminded fellow named Jorge to join on vocals. The band recorded a few times, but never had a proper release of their own (they did appear on a regional compilation LP) until now; Inocencia Discos / Lengua Armada Discos have teamed up to rescue these four tracks from complete obscurity. Far from being a release whose only value is of historical importance, Los Invasores EP is as essential as any other release in recent memory. The songs are catchy buzz blasts of pure punk melody. “Voy A Romper EL Cerco” is my favorite of the four, due in large part to a moody, reverb drenched solo fitting to serve as the soundtrack to a most bizarre dream sequence. The final song has a rougher sound, bordering on hardcore speeds, and though not as melodic as the previous tunes is no less memorable. Los Invasores is yet another example that punk rock was a global phenomenon with the ability to produce great music in even the most unlikely of places.(DH)
(Lengua Armada // try www.brickwallrecords.com)

Skip Jensen "Honey Child" EP
A few exclusive outtakes from the sessions for the 'Abscond' LP, and it's a similar bunch of tracks of Skip's renovation or reinterpretation of Delta-like blues, as played by a Canadian white man. I'm a fan of his more traditional sounding approach to the one man band thing at times, but nothing here seems as good as anything that appeared on the LP. Three songs, a by now long-gone colored vinyl variant, and not Skip's best outing. (RK)
(La Ti Da Records // www.latidarecords.com)

The Ka-Nives “Get Duped!” LP
Flying completely under the radar, The Ka-Nives have hit the world with their debut LP on Lance Rock Records. Featuring ex-members of The Jewws, Junior Varsity and The 1-4-5’s (and guitarist Will is Jandek’s son, no shit!) it’s no surprise that these Texans crank out nothing but simple, trashy, garage/r’n’r with loads of spunk and enthusiasm. The band’s smart enough to realize that playing fast, loud, three chord songs isn’t exactly that hard to do, so rather than writing their own material that blatantly rips off the past, they do nothing but covers ranging from heavyweights like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Bobby Fuller to lesser-knowns like Yokohama Ginbae and Sleepy La Beef. The end result comes off sounding somewhere between the more modern sounds of the Fe Fi Fo Fums and the more 60s inspired Mothballs, and while I don’t like this record as much as I do records from those two bands, it’s still worth picking up if you’re a glutton for three chord, meat and potatoes slop, like I am. Life changing this ain’t, but fun times it certainly is. (JG)
(Lance Rock Records // www.lancerock.com)

Los Kikes s/t CD
"I'm an old school skater and I'm proud/My smell fits only, the vintage lovers/My unique is that I love to destroy." Those are the words of Israel's Los Kikes and they pretty much sum up what they are all about. Musically, Los Kikes are as mixed up as their English, but like the lines above, you pretty much figure out what they mean. On their debut releases, these guys have taken the past 20 years of punk and metal, bled the pop and emo out of it, and then shoved it into a massive echo chamber. What results are songs that sound influenced by both Venom and the Mummies at the same time. There a moments on this CD where the reverb is so strong that it nearly destroys what structure there is of the song. Add to this mix a drummer who either deliberately or not drops beats and Los Kikes become even more demented. And the dementia is not forced. It is natural in the way that the stanger bands on TAM 89 releases are. Because this sounds organic it also escapes being disjointed. I've listened to this three times through and it makes me shake my head in disbelief every time. If that doesn't make you interested, how about some parting words from Los Kikes. "My love for you is like a truck/Would you like some making fuck."(SSR)
(Sshaking // www.sshakingrecordss.com)

Killer's Kiss "Do It Again" 7"
I think I dig this band more than most, as I was way into the LP (and for the record, the LP version definitely sounds better than the CD, as if that wasn't obvious), but I don't know how anyone could not love "Do It Again". The absolute wah-guitar overkill and totally reverbed-the-fuck-out vocals are borderline ridiculous, but in actuality this jam is a total dick-kicker. Drugarage rock? Basement psych? I don't know, but it's fucking heavy duty. WARNING: contains a bandsaw-like guitar solo that will sever any loose digits that get too close to the vinyl. The B-Side is a Beasts of Bourbon cover that is just a little less over the top, but they replicate a Salmon/Scientists groove very authentically. Dickie Christgau say A-. Scum stats: 300 copies seems to be the usual run for Perpetrator releases, please correct me if I'm wrong. (RK)
(Perpetrator Records // perpetrator_1-AT-hotmail.com)

The Leather Uppers “Bright Lights” CD/LP
Wow, what a letdown. After a ten year break, Toronto’s Leather Uppers are back with a new album that absolutely pales in comparison to their earlier work. I’m a fan of the “OK, Don’t Say Hi” LP, which comped the CD of the same name with some single tracks. Listening to a song from it like “Sugar Sandwich” with its Icky Boyfriends-esque troglodyte bent and then listening to a song like “Wizard’s Castle” from the new one, it’s clear that this band has lost it. On “Bright Lights” the problems are numerous: the guitar sounds horrible both in the excessive amount of noodling around that it does and with its chuggin’ rock tones, the vocals are sung with lame rock inflections all over the place, the lyrics are ridiculously cheesy and clichéd, and there are a few noticeable drumming flubs. Every once and a while, the band manages a catchy riff, and the simpler the song, the better it seems to be, but there’s not nearly enough good here to outweigh the bad. I’d rather listen to The Exploders. Zing! A rare miss from the fine folks at Goner Records. (JG)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Leper Print "Doppleganger" CD-R
Another top notch CD-R I've been graciously sent out of nowhere. Leper Print is one dude, some guitars, drums, and synths, a four track and his bedroom, and this disc really reminds me a bit of the low budget rumbling from The Wrists/Wax Museums camp. Six songs that all stand up well, and are all weird and rocking in their own way. "Leper Print Coat" is synth-punk carried by an off-beat rhythm mixed with a horror movie keyboard riff and what sounds like live drums, or very good facsimilie. "Garbage Disposal" could be the soundtrack to an ultraviolent Outer Limits episode. "Shaving with Two Razors" is similar to a very lo-fi Lost Sounds at their most aggro and least goth. And "Dead Flowers", while not a Urinals cover, certainly evokes that Happy Squid spirit. Great no-fi shit that avoids the humdrum by switching the instrumentation and pace around from song to song and adds some odd touches. Vocals are largely unintelligible, but it works. Quite promising. If I were to start a label that issued 8" lathe-cut singles in editions of 35, this might be one of them. (RK)
(self-released // leperprint-at-hotmail.com)

Limes "Rock'n'Roll Heart" 7"
If you thought the Limes SSLD single sucked, well, you're gonna like this one even less. For the unitiated, Limes are Jack Oblivian, Harlan T. Bobo, Nick D.Ray, and Shawn Cripps, and on this record they make meandering and primitive downer-rock with a shot of the blues that just doesn't go anywhere at all. There are two "songs" on this, very loosely played and very murky. Some instrumental interludes round out the sides. It just really doesn't move much, they stumble around and into some songs and grooves, and evoke a dark Southern mood, but not much else. Sounds somewhat incomplete, like they only half-wrote the songs and ad-libbed the rest. If that's what they were going for, they did it. As it stands, I can't recommend this at all. Scum stats: 500 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Little Killers “A Real Good One” LP/CD
While not the slop raunch folks might’ve been anticipating when they were announced as Crypt’s new #1 son/daughters, what The Little Killers actually turned out to be was closest thing to an un-ironic, loud-guitar bar band as we are likely to see in the 2000s. Although a notch or two below their debut, “A Real Good One” is just that. The single-guitar attack has snarls eerily reminiscent of early-era Saints, but the rhythm keeps it from veering off to unabashed punkdom and into something more straight and bluesy. If forced to pin a genre on them, I’d have to go with Rock’n’Roll. How original! I doubt that many TB readers will find value in anything this straight forward (they aren’t called Reigning Sound, after all), but I can’t help but hear the value in a tune like “You Better Be Right” blasted at top volume. Go ahead guys..regress! (MC)
(Gern Blandsten // www.gernblandsten.com)

Mind Controls "Prelude to A Fight" EP
This seven inch culls three of the best cuts from the two different versions of the Mind Controls LP (the title track [which only appeared on the Dirtnap release], "Self Immolation Man", and "Bite Your Tongue") and gives us the original demo versions. They sound pretty shitty, like demos usually do. I could see releasing this as a teaser before the LP came out, but releasing it after the fact seems odd. If you own the LP, you don't need this. If you don't own the LP, you don't need this, you need the LP. Scum stats: 500 pressed, which are surprisingly all on black. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Miss Alex White and Chris Playboy “Live” LP
Count me a goof who thoroughly enjoyed Miss Alex’s Red Orchestra album from last year. Perhaps this LP will serve as a worthy presentation of the Alex White that was somehow “missing” from her first record for so many of you. Whatever the case, this last remaining live document of Alex with the late Chris Playboy delivers. Much ink has already been spilled about Alex being an “it’ girl, possessing the famously intangible qualities that make for killer, effortless Rock’n’Roll. Run with that any way you chose (I can see it), but the predominant vibe this LP gives off is not that of a teen wunderkind strutting her stuff. In contrast, this sounds like a BAND, which is probably the biggest compliment a two-piece can receive. It’s refreshing to hear a duo play together rather than have one member slip’n’slide all over everything while the other serves purely as decoration. That’s certainly not the case here, as the interplay between to two is what makes everything on this release work. The mood is far more playful than anything heard on a Hot Machines or Red Orchestra release, with Alex and Chris pulling equal weight in their channeling of both sharp pop and rave-ups. Fuck, we’re lucky this record even exists, considering the horrible circumstances that transpired after it was recorded. Released as part of In The Red’s newly launched internet-only vinyl series, meaning that it’s limited to 500 copies and not available in stores. Hopefully I’ve left you no other option but to investigate further. (MC)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Monitors "Cunt Fusion" EP
When the first Monitors single came out, I fully enjoyed their schticky Screamers-via-Rip Off Records attack. On their second I was a little less enthusiastic, but still interested. With this, their third single in less than a year, I'm getting a bit less enamored with the whole thing. Looking back, these three singles could probably be condensed into one fairly killer EP. Too much too soon, perhaps? Anyway, I still think it's a funny idea, the whole future punx gimmick. If you've seen any of the lyrics, they are legitimately hilarious at times. Ryan and Wendy are a good songwriting tandem. And they've managed to do something interesting with a keyboard-heavy band. On this one, "Growing A Friend" ("..I hope he's not an asshole...") would make the cut for sure. I'm interested to see where they take this next, as I think they've kind of painted themsleves into a creative corner here. It's all starting to sound the same. Scum stats: 100 on white, 200 on black, nice looking screened-on green paper sleeves that are not for minors. Second press has white sleeve and green vinyl.(RK)
(Spin the Bottle Records // spinthebottlerecordsATgmail.com)

The Mothballs “Come Out of the Closet” 7”
This single’s been out for a while, but I don’t know of anyone outside of the Bay Area that’s really heard it, which is a shame. The Mothballs are a young, record obsessed band that play super energetic, loopy garage rock and would have been right at home on the Radio X or Super*Teem! roster with their sound being similar to that of The Brentwoods and Les Sexareenos. All four songs here, including a Loli and the Chones cover, are uber-catchy and well worth your money. Comes on nice pink vinyl with Mike Lucas liner notes and a b-side that plays inside out, meaning it probably won’t play on your record player. Their second single with songs exclusively about girls with disabilities (did I forget to mention these guys have class?) should be out soon. (JG)
(Car-Hole Adult Party Records // www.themothballs.com)

Night Creatures "It's All Good" CD-R
I've come to enjoy getting demo CD-R releases, at least when a band takes enough time to make unique covers and sends a letter along asking what you think of their band, and that band actually somewhat fits into the scope of what we cover at TB. It's much better than receiving a mass-produced "punk" CD from some anonymously shitty "indie" label with a photocopied one-sheet containing blurbs from the Wichita Sun Times telling you how they are "a mindblowing punk rock act that will make you think of the Stooges and Clash". Those are the worst. That being said, even the unique little CD-R releases aren't that hot sometimes. Night Creatures are from somewhere near Philly, and are doing the Electric Frankenstein Jr. basement monster-punk-rock thing. I imagine they are kids just starting out, but regardless of that fact, these songs are definitely not fit for human consumption. Especially the last one where the bass player sings. Yikes!...But, I guess that's what demos are for. Keep trying kids. (RK)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/nightcreatures66)

NiX “Speed Freaks” EP
Ah! Not just a one-off! Portland’s Nix return with another one-sided endeavor. Although I’m detecting more of a lean toward The Spits’ “party band” side of things here than on the previous go around, I still view the effortless, ramshackle assembly of the release as a whole (tunes included) as a charming indication that their hearts and minds are in the right place. Like their first EP, this is a single I can spin endlessly and stare at in disbelief. The entire EP is a tribute to the trashed teeth, attitude and look that is resultant of habitual powered narcotic usage and I commend them stabbing at the cocaine elite. Get your skinny ass away from me! They had a big winner last year and this one, though not as immediately pleasing, serves as a worthy follow up. Not quite sure what pressing variations exist with this one, but the hysteria caused by EP #1 ought to repeat once the dissection begins.(MC)
(no address, try www.knowcrap.com)

Jack Oblivian "Black Boots" 7"
One pop tune full of sunshine and puppies backed by a swaggering blues stumble on this singer-songwriter release from the ex-Oblivian and current Knaughty Knight. Mark Sultan aka BBQ takes care of drums on each tune, but it's obvious that this is a Jack Oblivian solo record - each song could be played by Knaughty Knights, but something tells me that they wouldn't take a break for the extensive guitar soloing on either track. Distinctive vocals and guitar tone guarantee that these tracks will be stuck in my head for a few days. Scum stats: 100 on solid white vinyl, the rest on some other color.(JC)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)

oVo "Miastenia" CD
While this is the latest of a small stack of oVo releases, it is my first encounter with them. From the front of this CD, I have to write that I was not impressed. These two Italians (guitar/drums) dig their metal and the first couple songs are metal riffage with a vocalist who sounds like a cross between Trudie of Dead Moon and Venom's Chronos. Luckily I am a patient man and didn't sling this CD out into the soccer court below my lady's fire escape. Three songs in oVo meander into some free jazz meets Plastic Ono Band spookery and a couple more in plow even further into le worlde de arte with a Ono cum Godz cum Inflatable Boy Clams bit of wing wang. Also impressive and surprisingly so is their 20 minute sludge metal epic "Miastenia." Thankfully I can purge the short metal songs and go with the epic and the arty. Tis worth it for that, though the brah in you might dig it all.(SSR)
(Load // www.loadrecords.com)

Persuaders “Forced To Fuck: The Anthology” CD
Prior to The Persuaders, I had never envisioned King Louie of The Royal Pendletons as desperate, tortured fellow. He looked so happy and handsome in plaid. Now? Well, you already know. Along with The Reatards, this is the ground-zero blueprint for much of what’s considered to be the punk cream of the crop nowadays. I can’t imagine anyone being completely unfamiliar with their output at this point, but tunes like “Baby Baby C’mon”, “Van Ride”, “Rock Bottom Blues” and “Back In The Ring” are certifiable lose-yer-shit classics as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and “Heart Of Chrome” is pretty good too. The unreleased material is strong enough to recommend to those already have the vinyl as well, but I suspect everyone and their mother has already picked this up. If that’s not the case, it should be. (MC)
(Shattered // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Persuaders “Live And Shattered” CD
Pressed up as a limited giveaway companion to “Forced To Fuck”, this CD captures The Persuaders operating at the peak of their original powers live. If someone has a recording of their recent 3xV Blackout set, I’d be more than happy to give that a spin, as I’m sure it creams this here document, which leaves a little to be desired in terms of sound quality (though far from bad). The taunting by both Louie and the crowd make it an interesting document nonetheless. I’d give this thing the “for die-hards only” tag, but as a limited giveaway for pre-orders, that’s exactly who ended up with all the fucking copies anyway. Remember kids: King Louie hates Rockabilly Drag Queen Faggots. (MC)
(Shattered // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Pissed Jeans "Don't Need Smoke to Make Myself Disappear" 7"
Snarling, sneering, growling singer + heavy without metal + striking a groove over 7 inches of 33 rpm = A band worthy of the hype. Way back when cassette tape was king and before some record execs appropriated the word to describe the Seattle rock scene, we would have called "Don't Need Smoke..." grunge. It is a perfect Killdozer-inspired sludge. "Love Clown" is a rocker which grows as it goes and could have been named "This Will Kick You in the Nuts." A great double A side.(SSR)
(Sub Pop www.subpoop.com)

Pointed Sticks “Waiting for the Real Thing” CD
In their three year existence from 1978 to 1981, Vancouver’s Pointed Sticks released four mostly outstanding singles and one decent, but flawed album. The first two singles, “What Do You Want Me To Do?” and “Real Thing” are about as good as it gets when it comes to hook laden, poppy punk and the third single “Lies” isn’t that far behind. After creating a bit of a buzz along the West Coast the band was briefly courted by Stiff Records, who released a fourth single, containing redone versions of songs from the first three. Stiff flew the band to the UK and paid for the recording of a full length that the label chose not to release due in part to the band’s increasingly “sophisticated” (read “worse”) sound. Dejected, the band returned to Vancouver and recorded the “Perfect Youth” LP with the most hilarious man alive, Bob Rock, who made really vibrant songs sound dull and lifeless. I think the LP has its redeeming moments, but a lot of people outright hate it. This twenty-four song collection contains the first three singles, and standout tracks from the unreleased Stiff album, CBC studio recordings, demo sessions and live shows. Seriously, this is top tier shit and the six songs from the singles make this a worthwhile pick up all on their own. There are some real classics amongst the non-single songs too, including “All I Could Take” and “You Must Be Crazy” both of which are up there with the early stuff. Most of the songs also appeared on Zulu Records’ long out of print “Part of the Noise” re-issue, but this collection has wisely axed the LP tracks (Sudden Death has recently reissued “Perfect Youth”) and included two previously unreleased versions and eleven previously unreleased songs, which are for the most part surprisingly good, with the exception being the two tacked on bonus track covers of Dion and the Belmonts and Del Shannon. Recommended to all fans of quality pop music. LP version coming soon with fewer songs, I'd guess. (JG)
(Sudden Death Records // www.suddendeath.com)

Jay Reatard "Hammer I Miss You" 7"
"Hammer I Miss You" = 21st century electric lament not in iambic pentameter. "Its So Useless" = 21st century beach party with a little conflict between the sand crabs and the picnickers. "All Wasted" = high school party band in the Zombie movie twenty years from now when it's tasteful to do a Zombie movie again. The band never escapes. Different styles on each song, catchy riffs and drums with the hi-hat up front in the mix. My favorite is "All Wasted". Pretty much essential for relaxing summer listening. Scum stats: 100 on clear vinyl, the rest on black. Somebody send me a copy on clear vinyl, please.(JC)
.....Like most of you, I am entranced with the lives of child stars. The crash & burn comes so hard and fast and dramatic that it is hard not to be drawn to the flames of a life imploded before it really began. Sure you have your Drew Barrymore's, but for every six year old turned sexy starlet there are a hundred Todd Bridges and even more Dana Platos. Hell, the best child star of our life time, Danny Bonaduce failed to have a second act. And those who have decent seconds, like Emilio Estevez tend to fade. Even Sacramento's child star honey Molly Ringwald has failed to take her star into the third galaxy. Jay Reatard certainly is this generation of punk rock's Danny Bonaduce in that no other teen punker shined as bright as Jay did in the 1990s. However, unlike Danny, Jay has proved he has a strong second act. The Lost Sounds and Angry Angles have made better than average if not great records. If you needed more proof that Jay had moved past Opie and had mastered Richie Cunningham, here is a single that should sell you. "Hammer I Miss You" is a perfect piece of pop, a song that you know would be a radio hit if this world made any sense. "It's So Useless" proves that Jay can make a great Stiff Records UK power pop/punk song as good as anything turned out by the FM Knives. And "All Wasted" is a really good jab at emotionally drained post punk. 'Tis an excellent Summer single. The only question now is when Jay is going to transition to Cocoon on his way to Arrested Development. This child star obsessive will be watching.(SSR)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

The Reatards "I Lie Too" EP
I wish Jay would stop doing The Reatards. Just stop it already. This is from someone who counts them as one of his favorite bands ever. I just think it should stop. It was a lot of fun when the return first came around, that incendiary reunion at The Blackout with Rich and Sir Steave and Ryan. And I can forgive the European Tour I suppose, if it was a one-shot deal. And then at Dot Dash that summer, well, it was good. The material on the first two 'tards LPs will sound great no matter who is playing them and as long as Jay is singing them. But I just think it's time to end it once and for all. Any Reatards record with new material released since this Phase II has begun has done nothing to further the legacy of the band (and I'm talking about new songs, not the vintage outtakes/demos stuff, which is amazing). I think to keep performing live as The Reatards is starting to sully the name. It's making The Reatards just another band, not the semi-legendary force of nature they had become in our memories. And it's not because Steve Sleaze and whoever else has been filling in are doing a bad job. I just don't think it should be called The Reatards anymore unless Ryan and Jay are playing with Rich Crook and/or Sean Albundy. Jay has far exceeded the statute of reunion limitations regarding once broken-up bands and the length of time you can carry on for. He could still play the classics every so often, just change the name of the band and stop releasing new records under the Reatards moniker. Hendrix changed the name of his bands every time he switched members. The Experince, Band of Gypsys, whatever. Call it the Jay Reatard Experience. Or even the Jay Reatard Situation. Just do it before the shine on The Reatards legacy is worn to nothing more than a dull patina. It's time to pull the plug. Let the horse rest. He's got other bands to lean on and writes songs like I eat hamburgers, which is quite fucking often. That being said, "I Lie Too" is probably the best New Reatards song I've heard yet, reminiscent of 'Teenage Hate's catchy and clever tales from the darkside. "She Don't Know" is far more pop than a 'tards tune should ever be, and should be on the Jay Reatard solo album. Which is what this really is anyway, isn't it, except maybe in name? On the flip, Jay raids his own songbook for "I'm A Victim of Your Cunt" which is nothing more than a vulgar display of vulgarity. Jay should never, ever stop making records. He is one the highlights of the past ten years of underground rock. But he should put the Reatards to rest once and for all. Or at least for another 10 years or so they can play at Gonerfest XIII. Scum stats: first press of 500 on black is sold out. Repress on clear (300 copies) and blue (100 copies) is iminent. (RK)
(Zaxxon Records // www.zaxxonrecords.com)

The Rebel “Brown Girl in The Ring” CD
Time for an understatement - Ben Wallers writes a lot of songs. Some he records himself as The Rebel, others he records with a full band as The Country Teasers and some get treatments by both outfits as is evident on the new Teasers record where over half the album features re-workings of songs originally released as The Rebel. What’s evident in all of this is that with whatever name Wallers is releasing records under and with whomever he’s playing, his song writing is at the best it’s ever been, which is saying something if you’ve heard the man’s earlier work. Need proof? Well, how about “Kit”, “Prawns”, “The Rocket Breaks Down”, “The Empire Strikes Back” and now “Brown Girl in The Ring”? It’s staggering that one man can be responsible for producing as many memorable songs in such a short amount of time. This new one, self released with a nice hand crafted sleeve, might just be his strongest record yet as The Rebel and it continues in the tradition of the last three with layers of synths, guitars, beats and vocals all producing some of the finest songs you’ve heard in a while. “Iran’s Nuclear Threat”, “Four-track Murderer”, “Tail of Pea Soup”, “Cocomaj”, “Fuck Syngenta!” and “Little House on the Prairie 9/11 Rape Scene” are the standouts this time around and the rest of it is no slouch either. By this point, I’m sure you’re either a fan of the man, or not, but if you’ve only heard The Country Teasers and not The Rebel, it’s seriously time to start your fucking homework. Absolute highest recommendation. (JG)
(self-released // prawns@gmail.com)

Red Onions "Your Politics (Are Boring As Fuck)" 7"
What happened to the Red Onions that released a debut single that was shit-hot lo-fi R&B flavored garage funk a couple years ago? That record was an unjustly ignored dance-floor stunner and the band was one I had high hopes for. Well, somehow in the interim betwixt that first release and the completely sterile and disappointing follow-up CD-EP they have turned into what seems to be a completely different band. They now sound like the Reds gone hardcore (super-tight, fast, choppy, stuttering rhythms, yet without the clever drum work) with no sign of their original funkiness on this brief two song outing. Not as good as the first 7", but miles better than the second EP. Both tunes bring the punk velocity, wild vox and semi-vague political statements. Produced again by Speedo Reis, who remembered to leave a little dirt on the recordings this time instead of the super-glossy turd he put to tape for them on their CD-EP. Ricardo Christgau gives this pup a B-. Full length is supposedly forthcoming on Flapping Jet, and I think I might even try it on for size if they release it on vinyl. (On an unrelated note, FJ are reportedly doing a Battleship EP as well). (RK)
(Flapping Jet // www.flappingjet.com)

The Remnants "A Few Evenings with the Bastard" 10"
The Remnants play the sort of middle-of-the-road punk rock that you might expect to exist in Miami. Guitar heavy mid-tempo stuff that will sound OK opening for whatver Fat Wreckords artist is touring down there in any given month. Obligatory Dead Boys cover ("What Love Is") with the twist of having a girl sing it. She has some okay pipes, perhaps a minor league version of the Bell Rays chick. They do a song called "Hershey Highway" just in case you were wondering if they are funny or not. Not painfully bad, but not even close to being good either. (RK)
(New Art School // www.newartscholl.net)

The Ribeye Brothers "Are the Village Brown Preservation Society" EP
Interestingly enough, the Ribeye Brothers were founded by a couple of ex-Monster Magnet dudes, who decided to form a "garage/country/swamprock" band to spite Dave Wyndorf. Well, I kinda made that last part up, but Tim Cronin was a founding member of MM, and Jon Kleiman did play drums on some of the better MM material until "conflicts" with Wyndorf got ugly. Anyway, they have some CDs out it appears, and they self-released this three song seven inch. On the A-Side, the one original tune is a lo-fi country stumbler followed by a fairly straight-up and rough sounding Paul Bearer & The Hearsemen cover. The B-Side is a honky-tonkin' cover of "Swampland" which actually works out pretty well for this sort of thing. Well played and well recorded, but the whole thing really just reminds me of the Junkyard Dogs a lot. Scum stats: 300 numbered copies.(RK)
(This Is You Records // www.ribeyebrothers.com)

Sexaphone "Fuck your space" EP
Sexaphone's first record came out a while ago, totally self-released and recorded by those London alleycats. It had a nice follow-up considering the lowkey-ness of the project. Collector scums rushed on it like there was no tomorrow. Thing was, it was fine but not the true killer everyone was expecting...Anyways it's definitely something unique and an interesting artifact after all. That mean tape ( which i mentioned in my Best of 2005 ) those songs were taken from was floating around Europe last year until Sensei Ronan decided to put it on his neverending to-do list. It's a total DIY basement/kitchen 4-tracker female Screaming artpunker lost somewhere in Lo-fisville which could almost sound like Lemmy's sonic screams ( Catholic Discipline, anyone? )..At some point they even both share vocal duties on the B-side. What's striking is that it's basically close to any killer Black Time-like material for most of it, and still has that pop twist on the outsides. Among those 4 songs the winner is "Fuck your space" which is a big middle-finger to Myspace, and due to the quality of that ripper we can't thank Lisa enough to be this pertinent. It makes you wanna break some stuff and when you're done smashing your stupid furniture to pieces it just leaves you hungry for more, and that is a great sign. If you're just getting into BT well it's mandatory, to say the least, and if you're used to those lads and are licking by now the new Black Time LP cover to grab any new musical extract from it, well no need to say you'd be absolutely dumb not to put your little palms on it ASA fucking P. Don't forget to support those limeys since they won't tour the States. Now the Real Losers are 86, they're the best U.K. guys around along with the Country Teasers, and this is a like Royal Honor being given by the Queen in a way. Meeloo Bongout is on the silkscreening job on this pup as usual, so you're pretty sure this slab smells like one good fresh dump. And don't miss the inner sleeve chat between Sexaphone and Drummerphone about being a popstar and Prince. Yup. Scum stats: usual Yakisakana quotas, 500 and on black wax. Available thru the usual distros. Get it today or weep later on eBay.(KB)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

Showers "Lepers, Lions, Cowards, Cunts" CDR
For such a bold title this is a rather flacid release. Showers plows throw five noise punk songs that come off as a half assed Sightings without the hooks. The boombox quality record ensures that absolutely nothing resembling balls is present. In other words it sounds as if the drums are being hit with a twig. The bored, side of the mouth vocals seem like they are covering for the rest of the mess, trying to put some menace into what is a pretty tame affair. They cover a Noh Mercy song but even that is inconsequential. This needs a little more heart and a lot less 'tude.(SSR)
(Skulltones // www.skulltones.com)

Standard Tribesmen s/t 7”
Someone needs to see if the Tribesmen are wearing necklaces made of the bones of Jeffrey Lee Pierce, because these former/current (?) Sores play some gritty, Gun Clubbish sub-rock & roll. That is just the jumping off point for this trio. Add the existential angst of the Sores and replace the sludge with transistor radio style fidelity, some Valley heat induced dementia, and a couple notches up in songwriting maturity (read: good backing vocals and the occasional sucker punch) and we’ve got an enjoyable post-garage thud record. I say buy.(SSR)
(Borox // www.thesores.com)

Submarine Races s/t LP
Over the past few years, In the Red has been on a roll. One look at a list of great bands whose records Larry has released recently certainly makes a strong case for ITR as the standard bearer of underground punk-based rock going today: Black Lips, Reigning Sound, Human Eye, Black Time, Country Teasers, VOLT, and Ponys to name just a few. However, not even the best labels are infallible – which might just explain how a noxious pile of horse crap like Submarine Races made it onto the same roster with some of the best bands going today (for those keeping track at home, the Black Lips are currently the best band walking the Earth). Submarine Races (and before we go any further, it really must be noted that “Submarine Races” is without a doubt one of the worst band names I’ve seen all year) is the Ponys’ former guitar player’s new band, and I went into this thinking that, despite the horrible band name and equally lame cover art, this might be pretty good. After all, that “I’m With You” song Ian wrote on the last Pony’s LP was by far the best tune on the whole LP. When I heard the first track, a meandering, patience-trying soundscape that sounds like the indie rock equivalent to free jazz, my hopes sank quicker than Operation Hennessy’s ship did when those pirates hijacked it in “The Life Aquatic.” Afterwards it gets a little better – there are vocals from thereon out – but just barely. It sounds like there are a number of disparate influences at work here that don’t gel into a palatable whole: dense basslines that make me think of early 90’s Dischord Records, oblique song structures that are trying way too hard to be original, and uninspiring pop melodies. There isn’t a single song on this record that stands out from the pack; rather the whole record just short of sails along on a loose-stool brown sea of mediocrity. If I were Dickie Christgau, I’d give this puppy a solid F. Really, really bad stuff here folks.(SB)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Swell Maps “Wastrels and Whippersnappers” CD
With the number of Swell Maps re-issues and singles/rarities comps released over the past few years you’d think that everything they ever recorded had already seen the light of day. Nope. What we have here is a comp of 23 previously unreleased songs – 4 early versions of songs that would later get reworked (“Dresden Style”, “Full Moon-Blam-Full Moon”, “Harmony in Your Bathroom” and “Vertical Slumber” as they’re known here) and 19 songs that have been unheard in any way, shape or form, including bootlegs, which is kind of nuts. Recorded between 1974 and 1977 in various bedrooms and garages on whatever equipment and instruments they could muster up (fire bells, teddy bears, utensils, radios, homemade effect pedals, plus the usual assortment of instruments, of course) these songs show the band fucking around and trying out new things (they even scratch using a turntable…was anyone else doing that in 1974?) on their way to developing the sound that they perfected on their two, near flawless LPs and assorted singles. There are over a dozen different line-ups present on this comp with the guys picking new band names (Sacred Mushroom, Cardboard Giant, Fall of Eagles, Civil Service, etc.) anytime the permutation of people changed. All of this is detailed nicely on the informative liner notes by Jowe Head and Nikki Sudden (RIP). What do the songs sound like? Unfortunately, most are not that hot. Beyond the songs that became proper Swell Maps songs, there’s a mish-mash of styles with prog songs, jammy songs, generic punk songs, trippy songs, and noise songs with very few high points between them. “Televisions” sounds like it could have made the cut and there are a few cool parts to a few others, but on the whole it’s not surprising that most of these didn’t make it the first time around. For completists only. (JG)
(Overground Records // www.overgroundrecords.co.uk)

Time Flys "Reality (Is A Rock Band)" EP
Third EP from these weirdos, and the title cut is every bit as much of a hit as "Energy" or "Wet Ones" from the previous singles. "Shark Song" and "Opportunity" are great tag-alongs for the ride, and the inclusion of a nice printed inner sleeve with lyrics enhances the enjoyment of the songs (and the band in general) by at least 10-20%. And while their 1974 time-warp might seem schtick to some, it's becoming evident that this band is really living the dream, not channeling the ghosts of the past in an ironic sort of subterfuge. I'm a firm believer that they are convinced this sleazy-juvie-glam vibe is still alive and well in 2006, and no one should be telling them otherwise, because I need more of their records. (RK)
(Birdman Records // www.birdmanrecords.com)

The Trashies "Let It Be Trashed" EP
Much like The Heartattacks will have the Teengenerate Jr. stigma attached to them forever, The Trashies will never get out from under the thumb of The Spits. These dudes do what the Wood Bros. (and perhaps even The Nix/Bedpans) did first (and better): write stupid songs about stupid shit, wear stupid clothes, make stoopid records, and roll around in the retard-punk ethic. The Trashies get a bit more trailer-park with their humor and...I don't know...just aren't as funny as the aforementioned. Not to say they aren't at all funny, but it's just that I've heard this joke a million times already. You know what is kinda funny? That "Nude Beach" actually sounds a lot like a B-52's song. Dickie Christgau gives this a C+, the plus being for cramming five songs on a seven-inch. Scum stats: 300 copies on swirly lavender vinyl.(RK)
(Out of Order Records // www.outoforderrecords.com)

Turnomatics "Diablo Bueno" EP
It's encouraging to see some modern undergound rock from Spain, and this is Big Black Hole's second consecutive release of garage-rock en espanol (the Tres Delicias 7" being the first). Sadly, this release falls into the same category as it's predecesor: amazing screen-printed foldover sleeves housing a rather bland record. Turnomatics for go for some moody punkish action, bass and synth driven with some loud guitars along for the ride. Four songs, Spanish lyrics, one instrumental, and vox that are pleasantly foreign and female on the B-Side and on the A-Side are some of the worst croaking I've ever heard. The songs have some drive but little staying power. If only these records sounded as good as they looked...and as far as Spain goes, well, I'm really looking forward to Le Jonathan Reilly LP.(RK)
(Big Black Hole Records // bigblackholerecords@yahoo.com)

Tyvek "Mary Ellen Claims" 7"
Someone dropped a Swell Maps reference on this one right off the bat, and it is very evident on the B-Side of this two song debut. "Honda" is exactly the type of Maps-y shit where Nikki would be spouting out off some childlike stream-of-consciousness rap about whatever, cars or something, while Epic & Co. bashed it up playfully with a tight and driving rhythm topped with a sprinkling of jangly guitar-work as the song ebbed and raved to Sudden's lyrical whims. The A-Side is a more somber affair, the sort of dreary yet poetic rant that hearkens the soot-caked dreaming of post-punk London but transplanted to the soot-caked locales of post-garage Detoit. A somewhat shambling and suitably impressive, yet brief, debut from yet another aspiring Michigan band on the X! Records label. Well worth tracking down. (RK)
(X! Records // www.x-recordings.com)

V/A Cococoma/The Mans split 7”
Hot on the heels of their solid debut 7”, Cococoma is back with two more strong, fuzzed out songs. “Fever” is the fast one with the “whoa oh” chorus similar to the songs from the last record, which these guys can somehow always make work. “Black Maps” is the slower, eerie stomper with the guitar and keys playing off of each other to great effect while Bill wails away and pounds the shit out of his kit. I swear, if you told me this band was from Montreal I would believe you. Based on their stellar live show I still say they could sound better on record, but really there’s nothing wrong with these songs. The flip has the debut of The Mans, a new two piece band from Indiana who play ultra trashed out blues raunch somewhere along the lines of Tunnel of Love or The Oblivians. “Let’s Get Primitive” and “Dum Dum Love” are their contributions and while neither are particularly groundbreaking, they make for a decent listen. 300 copies on grey, marble vinyl. (JG)
(Covert Pop Records // myspace.com/covertpop)

V/A "Killed by Trash Vol. 1" LP/CD
The party line on compilation LPs seems to be that they are a bad idea in general, or at the very least a difficult proposition to pull off without falling flat on one's label's face. Make it an all covers theme comp and the difficulty level for releasing a listenable record is multiplied tenfold. So, the odds here were stacked against Mr. P.Trash before he had even begun on what appears to be the long-planned labor of label-love that is Killed by Trash, a collection of Killed By Death covers from various international rockers, both known and unknown. How to dissect this thing? Perhaps we should talk about the good. The Feelers' spew forth a frantic and blown-out version of "Amerikkka First" that will make you want to start a living room circle-pit with the dog, whether he wants to "mash it up" or not. Once you've removed his clenched jaws from your forearm, move on to The Carbonas doing an expectedly tight and shiny "Don't Hide Your Hate". After you jam that, go get a coke or something, because you need to skip a few more cuts until you reach Wisconsin's preeminent band of backwoods fishermen, Aluminum Knot Eye, doing a really dirty and nearly psychedelic take on the Uncalled 4's "Grind Her Up". Stick around for the next one too, as it's Nils Westphal under the Damnation Kids' moniker doing the standard what-looks-like-a-really-bad-idea-on-paper-but-actually-works thing by attacking the fucking Beastie Boys' "Egg Raid on Mojo". Why I enjoyed this one, I don't know, but it works. On to Side Two...The Child Molestors' "(I'm the) Hillside Strangler" may be my favorite KBD tune of all time. That the Demon's Claws do an outstanding job with it amazes me as much as it will amaze you. I mean, it's not the original, but they add some low end and a big drum sound to it, and let Skip Jensen handle the vocals while his Scat Rag buddy Edouard takes the drum chores. Nice job fellas, especially since I have been convinced for years that this song could never be covered without me wanting to kill whoever did it. Hmmm...what next? The Manikins' do a really tight "Radiation Masturbation", again fooling me into thinking that they don't suck (at least until I hear another of their LPs). Then, Jim Hollywood and his Tyrades prove they love doing their homework by digging deep into KBD #17 and coming up with Mary Monday & The Bitches' "Pop Gun", and proceed to rip it to shreds. "Shoot 'em Up!" indeed! Finally, closing out the LP are Operation S with United Balls' "Pogo in Togo" (which I'm not even sure qualifies as a KBD track if you want to be a stickler, but I didn't make the rules here...), where they show that they are a much better band than their LP led me to believe, that is, if they continue to use keyboards in non-lame ways. It sounds really dark and cold-wave, which is what they should have been doing in the first place. So, that's what, 1,2,3...seven, SEVEN songs on this thing that I will qualify as "ragers". Out of twenty total tracks. There is a lot filler, some more embarrassing than others. The bad? Well, let's just say there are some lessons to be learned here. One of them is that you probably shouldn't be covering "Do You Love the Nazis" unless Paul Reject is in your band. Also, please let it be known that the world definitley does not need another cover of "Just Head". Final score: twenty cuts, seven ragers, five or six in the so-so or okay category, six or seven in the embarrassing and/or unlistenable category. I will admit, it was fun to listen to once. Okay, twice. The seven good tracks will be making it onto mix-tapes and getting burned onto the hard drive. Then this thing gets filed. If it were a $8-9 domestic LP I would definitely tell you to take a chance on it. But seeing as this will probably have a $12-16 import price tag on it, I'm going to have to urge you to pass, or at least tread with extreme caution. I might recommend buying the CD version if you're feeling adventurous, but I can't recommend buying any CD in good conscience. Oh, and Volume 2 is already in the works... Scum stats: 400 on great looking slime green vinyl, 100 on clear (band only copies) and 500 on black. Plus a "light scribe" CD version, whatever that is. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

V/A Lamps/Rat Traps split 7”
The Lamps chime in with a cover of “Big Black Hole,” previously intended for the ill-fated Oblivs tribute that (I guess?) is dead-in-water. While the proposition of a cover by its lonesome didn’t really excite me at first, they pull it off with a flourish that’s equally neat-o and true to their sound. The Rat Traps retort with a dual blast of two more great tunes, even better than those found on their Shattered 45 – I guess it’s both a shame and a blessing that this inept trash unit called it quits recently, ‘cuz I don’t see ‘em topping this load of vitriol at any point in the future. While not totally mandatory, this is a cool single that’s reportedly already out of print. So this rev is (even more) useless (than usual). Cheers! (EL)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

V/A River City Tanlines/Intellectuals split 7"
The RCTL cut on this is an absolute ripper of the hard guitar rock variety. "In My Mode Rollin" sounds like it might be a hip-hop jam by title alone, but it's actually one of the best and heaviest River City blasts Trout has given us yet. Do not sleep on the Tanlines, they've quietly become on the best bands out there today. Word on the street has it they are recording an LP as we speak. The Intellectuals side is a bit disappointing. They were a band who's initial 7" appearances really got me going and whose LP was a bit of a letdwon. On this, they've expanded to a three piece and added...keyboard...argh. "Helen" is a typical basher that lacks whatever quirkiness it was that was so interesting on their early releases. Damn shame. Anyway, a split single with only one song from each band is kind of a bummer, but the RCTL cut is such good material I have to endorse picking this up if you see a copy on the cheap. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Gonna Puke Records // available via www.bistrodistro.com)

V/A “Tete de Bebe” LP
A few years after the release of the quite decent “Babyhead” LP, which showcased the best in up and coming unconventional punk, S-S Records is back with its much more impressive French counterpart. Like a lot of people, I’ve been keen on the fuzzed out sounds coming from France lately on labels like Profet, Nasty Product, and Yakisakana, but “Tete de Bebe” focuses its attention on the more forward thinking electro-punk scenes of Paris, Strasbourg and Brussels and for that I am thankful, as this is the best comp I’ve heard in years. Crack und Ultra Eczema start things off and set the bar high with “Testicle”, which begins with a dreamy chant of “I want your testicle” before erupting into a sonic maelstrom that’ll fuck your brain. Everything I’ve heard from them has really impressed me and I’ve been killing myself waiting for their album to cross the Atlantic. Le Club des Chats follow with a short, spastic burst of gratification along the lines of a more fucked up Kleenex or Erase Errata. Dragibus contribute the catchiest song with fey female vocals and ridiculous lyrics about crocodiles, frogs and banana trees (they’re a children’s band), which on paper shouldn’t work, yet it somehow does. The Suicide-esque drone of The Electric Guitars is next and the doubled up, female vocal tracks never cease to freeze me in my tracks whenever I hear them. Crash Normal do their best Intelligence impression with “Bad Way to Get Fun” and it’s fantastic. You know “face A” (ie. side 1) is incredibly strong when the only ordinary song is the closer by Lili Z. The flip has Lili in much better form on the Volt track “Kein Mensch” with its absurdly fierce sounding guitars. Belgium gets the next two with Lawrence Wasser contributing “Piggy on a Rooftop”, a dancy screecher that fucks with things enough to remind me of Sick Lipstick, which is a good thing. Kania Tieffer follows with a charmingly jagged series of beeps and whirrs that somehow fits, right before Cheb Samir & The Black Souls of Leviathan let loose with some fucking cool sounding slide guitar that collides head on with an asshole tight, hyperactive rhythm section on one of the record’s strongest songs. The Normals are next with “Mud” which is good, but it sounds a bit out of place as it’s so straightforward. Finally, Cheveu contribute “La Truite” a pulsating noise blast with brain bending drums, a catchy guitar riff and sporadic, incomprehensible vocals, which work perfectly to end the album. Seriously folks, this record is first-rate shit and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. The scary thing is that France still has a pile of great, new bands not featured on the comp that are pushing the boundaries just as successfully as the bands featured here. Squeletor Papa, A.H. Kraken, 1981, Feeling of Love, it just never seems to end. An explosion seems to be taking place and this is a perfect place to hear it start. (JG)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Viva L'American Death Ray Music "Bombs" 7"
A-side good points: poppy songwriting, slight acapella influence on the vocals at times. A-side bad points: worst guitar solo in years. B-side good points: it's over sooner than later. B-side bad points: weak dub track, live track fails to induce paranoia. The entire package? Why include 3-D glasses if they don't do anything? Scum stats: 100 on clear blue vinyl, the rest on some other color.(JC)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)

Wooden Shjips s/t 10”
You can’t complain when an unsolicited record comes in the mail and winds up making a home on your turntable. San Francisco Bay Area’s Wooden Shjips lay out for a retardo-Spacemen 3 copped psych drone that creamed my mind with a great Karl Precoda style guitar freak. Flip the disc and you get a pugsly take on the 13th Floor Elevators doing "Waiting for the Man." And for a closer, the Shjips lean on a keyboard and mumble there way into a hypno-synth art piece. A nice piece of modern psych is what we’ve got here and well worth tracking down.(SSR)
(self-released // www.woodenshjips.com)




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