RECORD REVIEWS FALL 2006
Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd) (MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(MH: Mike Hunchback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Young Steve)(IS: Ickibod Styzinetti)
(TK: Todd Trickknee)
Acid Mother's Temple and the Cosmic Inferno "Starless and the Bible Black Sabbath" CD
Firstly, I'm no authority on AMT. I've barely dipped a toe into their massive discography, even though I've actually tried. If you don't know, AMT are some of the foremost purveyors of Japanese-dudes-with-beards-and-long-hair heavy-psych-rock mayhem. Half of the reason for the latest TB update being delayed is me zoning out to the half-hour long title cut repeatedly. A tribute to Sabbath of course (and via Flower Travellin' Band a bit), you'll find touchstones to Melvins, other insane Jap-psych outfits like Keiji Haino/Mainliner/High Rise, heavy sludge/stoner shit, classic Sixties proto-metal and everything else you would expect. Even a little punk. It's just a massive backbeat with guitar freakouts slathered all over it. Intense and mind-numbing shit. The second (of two!) songs is only(!) like seven minutes long and reeks of Hawkwind-ish jamming heavy, and actually moves quite a bit compared the first half-hour. What do TB readers need to know about this? Well, if you like high viscosity guitar damage and smoking dope, this is for you. Jap psych is a tough nut to crack, but you gotta start somewhere...(RK)
(Alien8 Recordings // www.alien8recordings.com)
Azarashi "Azarashism" MCD
I was a huge fan of the first Azarashi MCDR, so expect a similarly gushing review for this new effort. The name choice for this MCD is no mere coincidence, of course, but I feel like Azarashi only borrow from the Stalin in one or two respects, as this CD is quite original as punk goes todays. It may not be for everybody, but it's certainly not an effort by the band to "find their sound" or "stretch their creative legs" as many other bands have when they get the "original" label thrown at them.
Azarashi made the best use of a real studio as they could and went far beyond the all-electric, all-straightforward approach which worked well for them the last time around. On this mini-album, acoustic guitars are tracked in, lots of electric effects are used, vocals are manipulated, pianos are used for percussion, and it all works together to create an immensely forboding aural presence, like the perfect soundtrack to a Japanese ghost story. The six songs average out to about four and a half minutes a piece but never fail to lose my attention.
Again, it's difficult to throw out band names to give you a good reference for their sound. The Stalin, Aburadako, The Comes, Gas and other Japanese hard punk and hardcore bands' influences are seen, but maybe there's a thousand other albums that sound like this that I am totally unaware of. The thing is that it's one of the first times I've heard something as complete as this in the context of punk and it really impresses me with its atmosphere and savvy at blending so many styles into one coherent sound. I can't recommend it enough! (JC)
(Kyouhakukannen Fanclub // http://ip.tosp.co.jp/i.asp?i=PUNKUU)
Bear Proof Suit "Science is Dead" EP
Four songs of gruff Midwest hardcore out of Wisconsin. Loud, proud, and burly, yet focused, pushing and shoving with a great guitar sound. Three quality originals that sound distinctly Mid-American in a classic way. Not Europeans doing LA '83 or Americans doing Jap-influenced stuff or Japanese doing Finnish or UK influenced HC. I guess that's what I like about this the most; it stays true to it's roots, and sounds honest and authentic. No fake moves here. Midwest dudes doing what a Midwest HC band should sound like, this is much better than I expected it to be. I think Wipers' covers are always ill-advised ("Up Front"), but the three originals are definite ragers. (RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
Bene Gesserit "Music for the Fun of It (1981-1985)" LP
Interesting but frustrating reissue of most (all?) material by this little-known Belgian minimal synth/experimental outfit. Half the material on here is otherwise unreleased, the other half was available on limited and (of course) now expensive cassettes and vinyl. Melodies are introduced and quickly thrown away as playfulness and whimsy take center-stage here. Some people flip for this shit, but it lacks the aggressiveness of TG or the Zick Zack bands, so it kinda leaves me hangin’ a bit. Still, it’s nice to see this stuff getting reissued so you can at the very least check it out. Ltd. To 500, maybe even less. (MS)
(Was Soll Das? Platten // available at www.fusetronsound.com)
The Black and Whites "Bad Expectations" 7"
Three-songer power-pop rocker from The Black and Whites, featuring Talbot Adams, whose credentials include being an ex-Dutchmaster and ex- a few other bands from the Southern Memphis/NOLA/Jackson rock axis which I don't want to guess at (okay, Preacher's Kids, R.Pendeltons, Jenny Jeans maybe?). "Fucked Up Heart" is the prize here, a real catchy ramshackle pop-rocker tune with a great shout-along chorus. "Bad Expectations" shows off a definite Big Star-vibe, and the flip-side ("Multiple Girls") is a classy tune about dating more than one of 'em at once. Swell stuff, carrying a refreshing rock'n'fun vibe with a pop sensibility that gals and dudes alike should groove on. I'm defintely interested in hearing more, and I do believe a follow-up on Douchemaster is in the works. Scums stats: first press is 100 on white and 500 on black.(RK)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)
The Black Clouds "Mobius Strip" 7"
Boston-based dual guitar and drums garage rockers with what I take to be their debut seven-inch. Pretty good stuff, "Mobius Strip" is the A-Side, but I think I prefer the flip ("Cheap Beer Club"). Comes off sounding similar to a more clean-cut Immortal Lee County Killers or something along those lines. Well played (especially the lead guit), well recorded, but perhaps a bit too well put together if you like your garage raw and sloppy. Me, I think it's one of the better things I've heard from Boston recently (excepting Tunnel of Love and Turpentine Bros., but superior to Tampoffs, Spitzz, Konks, etc.) Christagau sez it ain't gonna blow any minds, but it gets a B- for execution and some decent hooks. Scums stats: 250 copies with great looking giant fold-out silkscreen sleeve.(RK)
(Smash & Grab Records // www.myspace.com/blackclouds)
Black Sunday "Cut Out!" EP
This single is actually billed as Black Sunday Beta version, which appears to be Ryan Wong on drums and Alicja on everything else. Alpha Version was responsible for all other BS records as far as I can tell, with this being the vinyl debut of BS-Beta. And quite honestly, it's the best of all the BS records to date. Things seem to be a little more intimate and simple on this release, scaled down from the bigger synth/goth sound on the other BS records (especially the LP). Not really lo-fi sounding, but imbued with the bedroom recording spirit. The title track is a killer synth/drums droner, with layered Alicja vox, and "There's No Time" is very catchy and melancholy synth-punk with guitar flourishes. On the flip, "Beautiful Tomorrow" is poppier and more elaborate than the A-Side tracks, and equally as good, and the simple "Instrumental" shows that Trout is capable of pulling of Music-for-Films type movie score stuff. Like I said, probably the best vinyl Alicja has released with this particular project. Scums stats: 500 on white, 400 on blue, 100 on red, with a nice sleeve. (RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
Black Time "Message From Control Tower" EP
I think Black Time should do only concept EPs/songs from now on, because I think it's what they do best. This one would be their their post-Apocalyptic themed record I guess. "Human Pinball" uses true stereo to it's fullest extent, with the L-to-R bouncing effect giving you the an actual pinball feel. Cool idea, cool song. See, they do this shit well. Clever blokes. "Public Information Film" sounds just like you think, with Lemmy monotone-vocalizing over industrial film soundtrack/elevator muzak styled stuff. Again, neat idea, but they let this one go on for about a minute too long. On the flip, "Working for the Man" is the angriest of the bunch, a more straightforward punk-ish diatribe. They close with "Sirens", which to me sounds like Black Time go Krautrock, kind of has an "Autobahn" feel to it in the background. Another cool record, probably their most ominous sounding, and while it doesn't really contain a "hit", it's extremely enjoyable as a whole. Scums stats: 500 pressed. (RK)
(Rehab Records // www.rehab-records.com)
Bob Burns and the Breakups "Hydrostatic Heart" EP
Honestly, the first I've heard from these kids who play the basement rock over Wisconsin way. Trickdick and the usual WI suspects have said good things, and they even got a good review out of Old Man Soriano, so my expectations were set on stun. The title tune sounds like Kill-A-Watts but without the girl vox. "Losing My Head" is the most interesting, with its well-built Reds-like chorus. "Acid Reflex" is similar to the the off-beat jerky stuff the Catholic Boys were doing at the end of their run. Sounds fun enough, I'd go see them play in any basement or living room, probably even on a weeknight. The record, well, I wouldn't stay up past bedtime to listen to it. Scum stats: 500 on clear vinyl, great looking Platic Idol packaging as usual.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)
Car Commercials "Grant's Dead" cassette
Car Commercials is Daniel Home Blitz's (and possible
collaborators'?) down-home folk-concrete outfit.
Trading in the high-strung pop of his day job, Car
Commercials is a lonely, clattering, late-night phone
call from the junkyard. "I've been thinking about this
film I want to make. Lou Barlow kills Jandek, drags
his body around, calls up Steve Stapleton to chat
about it, then invites The Shadow Ring to come over
and write a concept cassette about it. Fuck it, maybe
I'll just skip the movie and make the music myself." I
don't have voice mail, so I can only imagine what he
(Leaf Leaf Records // www.geocities.com/leafleafrecords)
Cheap Time CD-R
Jeff Novak's latest project (aside from being the Black Lips merch guy!), with him on guitar/vox, girlfriend Jemina on bass/vox, and his pal Nathan on drums. Real promising stuff, seven songs in demo version (recorded so the drummer could learn the tunes), and there's enough stuff here to be fleshed out into at least one great single. Maybe two. In general: catchy punk-fuzz (guitar sounds nice...) with Samoans-style moments and some mean sounding teeth-gnashers as well. Not as acidic as Rat Traps or garagey as JNOMB stuff. Specifics: the opener "Spolied Brat" is an obvious A-Side, back it with "Max Frost" (another movie-themed tune from the Novak clan), and the lethal burn of "Kill Everyone Now" and you have a super-hot single on your hands. Keep an eye out for Cheap Time in the future, they're supposedly re-recording this stuff and more for possible future "official" release. If I had the balls or money to put out a record... Scum stats: super-limited CD-R only, 35 copies I think, probably long gone.(RK)
(Sonic Assault Records // self-released)
Cococoma "6 1/4 - 125" 7"
Second (and a half) single from Cococoma, and the one I like best so far. The numerical title cut barrels along at a pounding pace, a real nice slice of haul-ass upbeat garage stomp accompanied by an almost not-there keyboard noodle. The flip is a more organ driven rocker, played with plenty of pep and heart that sets them apart from the ever growing garage-crowd. Cococoma are so good you don't even realize how good until you've listened to this thing at least a half dozen times. Understated perhaps, but that's where their charms lie, this is a band and record I like better each time I throw it on. Bring on the LP, I'm ready...Scum stats: not quite sure on the exact numbers, but their is a clear vinyl variant of 100 or so I'm guessing the majority of which were sold at Gonerfest...(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
Creteens "4 Track Blues" EP
Four song EP from some French kid(s?) making with the Memphis-sound garage-punk racket. The title cut and "Contaminated" are definitely 'Teenage Hate'-esque. The B-Side has an Oblivians cover and a slower-style Fatals-ish long-titled bloozer. Recording is pretty rough. Uhhh...that's about it I guess. Not too much to report here. Scums stats: 600 copies on baby-blue swirled vinyl.(RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Thee Crucials “Live At The Mystery Spot” 7”
Sixties garage diehards will flip or pogo or twist or whatever it is that the Sixties diehards do when they drop the needle on this single. Thee Crucials deliver two organ driven garage rockers set to please lovers of the genre. The live recording has a certain energy, but I can’t help but wish the guitar overpowered the organ in the mix instead of the other way around. This one’s a good genre release, but maybe not quite over the top enough to make it a mandatory purchase.(DH)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
Dead Moon “Echoes of the Past” 2xCD
“Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story” DVD
Jesus Christ. I gave myself a pretty strict policy of
only reviewing reissues for this “publication.” I
mean, I think people tend to put too much of their own
perceptions of relevance to new recordings. Reviewers,
subconsciously or consciously, have an idea of what
should be happening now, and I’d rather not fuck
around with that. Who gives a shit what I think? So
here I am writing a review of a retrospective 2CD set
and documentary DVD of my favorite “current” band.
They are old recordings, so, rule unbroken.
They have been my fave for around 7 years, late on the
bandwagon for a lot of Dead Moon fans. In those 7
years (and the 13 years before that…) Dead Moon
haven’t changed at all. But, that’s not why I love
them. My sofa never changes either. Dead Moon’s
steadfastness isn’t laziness at all. It’s hard to
write that many good songs! Not just ma ke a
"new"sound by squirting out shit on a keyboard or a
blown-out drone that you ride for a few albums, but
great songs. European folk dirges, catchy raw pop
songs, motorcycle anthems, 3-chord garage, country
blues, 60’s girl-sounds, it’s all there, buried under
all the Dead Moon.
What Dead Moon did from 1987-2004 is a pretty tough
thing for any band to beat. Regardless of what you
think of Dead Moon, how many LPs by your favorite
artist do you really like? Four? Five? I think most
Dead Moon fans like everything they’ve done. That’s
13 (more?) LP’s plus singles. Fuck it, if you can do
that, you can get your own band’s logo tattooed on
your face too.
The DVD is more intimate then I expected, which is
great. It presents them as you’d like to see them.
100% down to earth and completely approachable (you
can call Fred at his music shop whenever you want, or
you can hassle him about reissuing the Rats when
you’re in the next urinal, as I’ve done twice now),
but also totally removed from the rest of the world.
These are true eccentrics, in the most honest unaware
way. Fred and Tootie’s self-built house needs to be
conserved as a piece of folk art. DiY isn’t something
that they do as a reaction to some kind of political
gripe, it’s because they like making their own stuff
more. And the way they managed to raise children
through all these whims and bands, I mean these are
really the kind of grown-ups most of us wanted to be,
it really is inspiring. And yeah, there’s Rats and
Lollipop Shoppe stuff on there. The bonus features
include some great footage, they don’t stiff you at
all. If you’re this far into the review, you probably
already have a Dead Moon shirt, button and 6-10
albums, so I’m sure you’ll get it or make your friend
buy it. They don't talk about the origins of the
candle on the drum head, but nobody's perfect.
What can I say about the Sub Pop release? The 2CD set
is great if you like Dead Moon. How’s that? Fred Cole
compiled it, it sounds great, it’s not mixed
differently, it’s just on a CD instead of vinyl. It
looks like a Dead Moon release. You're going to think
"Hey! Where's that song?" just like every compilation
of a band with no hits. Sub Pop’s intent is pretty
great. A biggish label that’s using it’s power to
bring an artist it likes to a new audience. As great
as that would be, I doubt it’ll happen. You had the
last Blackout for example, these were Oblivians and
Reatards fans. Loud, great, rock n’ roll, so, no
brainer, they’ll love Dead Moon, right? Well, yeah and
no. Sure, they had a lot of people there to see them,
but few converts. Why? I don’t know. It’s not a litmus
test, plenty of people I know who like good music
don’t get it. Fuck it, their loss. Fred, Tootie and
Andrew don’t care so I don’t either. That being said,
if Oblivians fans are wishy-washy on the Dead Moon, I
don’t know how it’s gonna fly with Beachwood Sparks
fans. Then again lots of Dead Moon's older fans are
indie rockers who've never heard of the Black Lips and
own zero records on Crypt and *their* friends HATE
Dead Moon. Shrug.
So, watch the movie and listen to the 2CDs and you'll
be reaffirmed of something that get's lost sometimes.
Bands. Even in the world of underground rock n' roll,
a lot of pantering goes to the individual. But, bands
are great. I mean, a great band is great. For the fans
(no matter how many), for the people in it, for the
kid that'll find ALL these Dead Moon records 20 years
from now. There's something about the gang mentality
that can sometimes raise the sum of it's parts into a
greater whole. Something really unique can happen when
the right 3 people get together using the "tired" old
guitar/bass/drums 3 minute format. Doesn't matter if
you have kids, if you have a bad complexion or if
you're old and no one in the country your from cares
about you for the first ten years of your existence.
But you never know...a movie, a Sub Pop retrospective,
will your little sister be wearing the logo shirt?
Nah, the only new fans will be people who would’ve
found out about’em eventually anyway. Depending on
your little sister, I suppose it's possible. Don’t
worry, they’re still your Dead Moon. The best 3-piece
rock n’ roll band in the world.(MS)
(Sub Pop // www.subpop.com)
(Magic Umbrella // www.magicumbrella.com)
Destruction Unit “Death to the Old Flesh” CD/LP
In 2004, Ryan Wong released two killer records. One was the first Destruction Unit full length, which was his main band at the time; the other was a single by his then new, solo studio project, Tokyo Electron. Fast forward two years, and Tokyo Electron is now a full band that have numerous records under their belt and have toured the globe while Destruction Unit is a name that I haven’t heard mentioned in ages. Until now, that is, with the release of “Death to the Old Flesh” which should be considered a blueprint of how to do synth-punk right. From the opening track “I Dare You”, to other standout tracks like “Violence Virus”, “Death to the Old Flesh” and their excellent cover of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette”, the intensity level never drops with guitars blaring, synths whirring and vocals screaming, all with extreme ferocity. The production is flawless for this sound and while there’s a complete lack of information on the sleeve, I’m pretty sure this was recorded a couple of years ago with the help of Jay and Alicja from Lost Sounds, when that band was still active, showing that those two know how to play and record synth-punk stuff like no others. Hell, you could probably call this a lost Lost Sounds record, and wouldn’t be too far off the mark. I’ve been a fan of Destruction Unit from the start, but this outdoes anything else they’ve done and should be an automatic purchase for fans of stuff like The Screamers and Nervous Gender. Here’s hoping that the release of this record brings the band back once again. (JG)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)
Dry-Rot "Permission" EP
Bizarro record from a fast hardcore band from somewhere in CA. I've heard a lot of people say a band sounds like Void, but this is the first time I think it's been true. The A-Side is true blue HC, packing six songs that careen all over the place, with strange feedback-y breakdown parts and solos, animalistic vox and keerazy tunes abouts killing the president, wanting to be stalked and killed by the government, human trophies, self-hate, and other insane shit. "Why can't I soak the whole world in bleach?" the singer asks at the end of the side, and my only answer is "Why can't more records be this fucking weird?". Really, it's like Die Kruezen if they were fucking nuts...and covering Void or the first COC album. The vox can get a bit a bit grating after awhile, but the music itself is so sick you won't mind. The A-Side alone is one of the best hardcore records I've heard all year. Then they get really weird on the B-Side. Only one song, one long song, that kind of sounds like the intro to a Sonic Youth tune stretched out for a few minutes, with some trippy effects and tape looping and just a kind of druggy indie-psych sound. Why? What? How they got from Side A to Side B is beyond me. I've listened to the A-Side dozens of times and don't even bother flipping it over, but I'm kinda glad it's there. What the fuck is up with these dudes? To make shit even weirder, the lyric insert has these odd and eerie line drawings and then drops this bomb at the very bottom: "All praise and honor go to Jesus Christ, the Bright Morning Star, who Was and Is and Is To Come." Gotta be a joke. Has to be, I'm thinking. But internet research so far has shown evidence that these guys are real deal Christains. What the fuck is going here? Honestly, that kinda makes me like this thing more. I mean, who's weirder than weirdo Christian dudes, right? At least they're making fucked up music. I say, don't be scared and buy this shit...Scum stats: 500 pressed.(RK)
(Cold Vomit Records // www.coldvomit.com)
Electric Kisses S/T LP/CD
Two-gal/one-guy semi-saccharine power-pop trio from Seattle who play in what I will refer to as the 'SFTRI-style' of girl-centric punky pop. I'm sure the members of this trio have been in previous bands, but I really have no idea which. The songs cover the usual topics for the genre: going to rockin' shows ("(You Make Me) Wanna Dance"), shopping/working ("I Hate Retail"), buying records ("Spinnin' Labels"), hangin' out ("Some of My Friends"), and l-u-v ("B-Side of My Heart"). Really formulaic, but well played, well recorded, the chicks are hot (and the dude looks kinda creepy, which I think is a plus) and in the end no more offensive and probably just as good as anything Long Gone has released in this mold over the years (Excessories, Chubbies, Peeps, Kirby Grips, Rizzo, and so and so forth...). And the song about collecting records hits home...you have to like lyrics about flipping through bins and the happiness in buying vinyl just on principle. It's the best tune on the record too. To close, the A-Side of this thing has all the best tunes and motors by pleasantly enough. The B-Side gets kind of tiring. However, this is the best record this label has released by a long shot. (RK)
(Full Breach Kicks // www.fullbreach77.com)
Elvis' Corpse Revisited "Not in My Backyard" 7"
More French blues-punkers, who at least seem more infatuated with the Gun Club than the Oblivians. Two guitars and drums playing down-tempo slide-guitar depresso-fuzz stuff. Kinda clean sounding for the genre, only two songs, not really that remarkable. (RK)
(Unrecording Records // www.unrecordingrecords.com)
Evolutions "Go Too Far!" LP
Unthinkably, Manitowoc, WI has produced some of the most exciting punk rock of the last dozen years or so. I guess some credit is due to the notion of a musical family, and what can happen over a long period when the right people meet each other to make music. The kids in Manitowoc have played in Last Sons of Krypton, Evolutions, Smuts, Dropouts, Lo Techx, and so on; lineups of these bands were incestuously picked from the same pool, and all wrote angry, dumb, drunken, killed by death inspired punk rock trash. The Evolutions are one of the names that has stuck it out the longest, and the group has been wildly prolific in recording during that time (if you search around soulseek long enough you can find several CDs worth of unreleased material) but has only released a handful of singles and split. This LP--the first from any of the Manitowoc clan, I believe--compiles 24 songs recorded over the years. The album actually has the feel of a compilation due to the varying recordings and feel of the songs. It's a great collection of songs, that range from synthpunk on "Watch Me Bleed" and "Reacharond" to lofi noise bashing on "Knockin' You Out" and "Now I'm Your man", even to the somewhat 60-ish garage stomp "Bitter Pill." The band did a great job selecting songs, and with the exception of "Justine is a Junkie" (which came out on a 45 as the Dirty Needles earlier in the year), all are unreleased, and none are covers. An essential piece of Wisconsin wax.(DH)
(No Fuckin' Chance Records // www.nofuckinchancerecords.nl)
Fallen Men "4 Track EP" 10"
A band from Belgium, I believe. Satisfying primal
pound with a Teasers' notion in its head, but more
caveman, as "I am a Prostitute" attests. "Lying in the
Mud" reverberates like Billy Childish in his kitchen
with Fender Twins in each corner until the drums come
in and it starts to sound like a retarded psych epic
from a Dead C cassette. Recorded raw and loud by
SubNormal, released last year, and only 200 made I
think, so scoop for a good time.(EEK)
(Helicopter Records // www.delux.dk)
The Feelers "Just Can't Get Enough" EP
Four songs recorded at the Tronic Graveyard in Memphis, TN and Alicja's recording really does The Feelers some justice here. The vocals sound rougher than they have on any previous release and the guitars form a solid wall-of-punk sound that can't really be fucked with. The title track is their trademark schizophrenic-punk taken up a notch, definitely the "hit". "Cancer Masks" is maybe what we call a "moodier" tune, with a bit of an arty-guitar flourish to it. But still, it's punk with a capital AS FUCK. On the B-Side, well they speed things back up, slow 'em down a little again, and just clamp down hard and get into some serious business. And when I say serious, I mean serious in a deeper Central European-KBD styled way, as opposed to say the sarcastic American-style they might have been leaning towards on earlier records. The Feelers get dark on this one, and it's a little bit scary. Honestly, I had to take some Xanax after I listened to it, but that just means it's really good. The record, not the Xanax. After a half dozen spins on this one, I have this picture in my head of The Feelers running around middle-Ohio, Red Dawn-style, after the hippies and squares try to take over, and they're sort of like the punk rock Wolverines, doing hit-and-run guerilla attacks, that's how these songs come at you...with Aleks in the C. Thomas Howell role most likely...I can see these guys squaring off against the Final Solutions for the US punk rock title very soon. Thunderdome-style, in a neutral location. Two bands enter, one band leaves. Scum stats: 500 copies, plus I've heard rumor of a hurtfully limited tour-only version. Help?(RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Figures of Light “It’s Lame" b/w "I Jes Wanna Go To Bed” 7”
In the Spring of 1972, two film majors at New Brunswick, NJ’s Rutgers University, went into a studio and recorded one of the ultimate proto-punk basement rock singles of all time. However Norton found this single, I have no idea, but this could easily have wound up in the wrong hands, and thrown in the garbage bin. But sometimes, just sometimes, God whispers into the right person's ear and things like the Figures of Light sole single on Midnite Swan (originally pressed in a quantity of 100) will get to Billy Miller and Miriam Linna.
This record is an anomaly of it’s time. Like the dinosaur etched into relief at Angkor Wat, it shouldn’t be there. It's either 6 years behind it's time or 27 years ahead. It’s relatives in the era are extremely scarce. They cite the Stooges and the Velvet Underground as influences. And yeah, it’s in the soup, so to say. But the musical ability is so limited it comes out like a BFTG band fast-forwarded six years later as if no other music was released, with the exception of the Stooges first LP. Even then the picture isn’t clear. This is a guy who made an experimental film about the Dave Clark 5 in 1969, about 2 and a half years after the DC5 became passé. It’s starting, slowly, to make sense.
During their first gig, where they played such unreleased material as “Why Not Knock Yourself Off?”, “Seething Psychosexual Conflict Blues” and “Black Plague Blues,” they rode up to the stage on a motorcycle, played their songs and destroyed 15 television sets. Please God let there be footage of this somewhere.
When you get this single, and I hope to God you do, you can draw your own conclusions.
They sound nothing like the 1st Beefheart LP, Debris, Electric Eels or Memphis Goons, but if any of that appeals to you, you shouldn’t be caught dead without this.(MS)
(Norton Records // www.nortonrecords.com)
The Fix “At the Speed of Twisted Thought” LP/CD
The Fix’s “Vengeance / In this Town” 45 is easily one of the best and rarest hardcore punk 7”s ever. Perfect treatment such as this is just about as rare. Touch and Go pulled out all the stops (there’s even a vinyl release of this!) by including ALL of the released cuts (the first 45, the Jan’s Room 7” and the group’s cut from the Process of Elimination comp) as well as excellent unreleased studio cuts and good-sounding live material, all done in a sleeve as red and as beautiful as the original 45’s was.
Many of us young kids probably can’t even imagine how boring it was to live in the Detroit suburbs in 1981. Hell, there was no internet, no x-box, no myspace, no ipods, and no fucking future either. You basically HAD to start a kick-ass hardcore band. That is unless you wanted to engage in the age-old tradition of self-inflicted nightly alcohol poisoning, hoping that one night you’d stay awake long enough to choke down that magic last gulp of swill that would freeze your heart forever. Steve, Jeff, Craig and Mike went for the hardcore band option.
Bleak is a word often tossed around when describing Great Midwestern hardcore bands (like their contemporaries, the Necros and Negative Approach) and there’s no shortage of bleakness here. “Vengeance” and “In This Town” pull off bleak Midwestern hardcore with an incredibly ripping dose of punk, before the classic hardcore style envelops the group’s sound for the “Jan’s Room” 7” and the sessions from it. Make no mistake however, by no means did the Fix turn into just another hardcore band; the progression was natural. They needed to escalate the intensity by growing into a faster, angrier machine. And they did it to a frightening level. “At the Speed of Twisted Thought” documents this perfectly; it is indeed a direly needed reissue. This record is official proof of a classic American hardcore punk band, the Fix. (MH)
(Touch and Go Records // www.touchandgorecords.com)
Fuck Me Dead “Circling Ahead” 7”
After a pretty decent first single that had hints of greatness, Vancouver’s Fuck Me Dead are back with a record that should turn some heads as it’s everything a single should be. Snot laced punk anthems, great production, three songs in about three minutes, cool sleeve design, it’s all here. “Circling Ahead” starts things off and it’s a catchy romp that displays some Angry Samoan-isms meshed with a unique, schizo, jitteriness that so endears me to this band and makes them stand out from the rest of the pack. “Closer to the End” is the fastest of the bunch that’ll please the Minor Threat lover in you and doesn’t sound too far off from what The Krunchies were doing on their last record (check out the hijinx on the guitar sound). The feedback at the end of the song bleeds into “Let it Slide” the record’s poppiest cut and probably my favourite from the band. It’s a 59 second lesson in how to do a punk song right and leaves me wanting more, which, as is my luck, probably won’t happen as the band has recently called it quits. A third (equally great) single is already in the can, but it still remains to be seen whether it will be released or not. Either way this is a highly recommended pick up, and is my favourite record to come out of Junkietown in the four years that I’ve lived here, if that means anything. Scum stats: 600 copies on black vinyl, some with a yellow sleeve/label and some with blue. (JG)
(Clarence Thomas Records // www.bistrodistro.com)
Giant Haystacks "A Rebirth of Our City" EP
Three song EP from these Oakland post-punkers. Honestly, when a band is from Oakland and Mitch Cardwell hasn't at least mumbled something good about them between bites of a torta, I have reservations. Because there is no better Bay Area music-barometer than (MC). But, I have been intrigued by Giant Haystacks for a bit. I found the 'Blunt Instrument' LP semi-good, but not great. It was a record I had to try too hard to like, so I gave up. I have another EP by them that I forgot I even had, which sums that one up. It seems like I know what they are going for, and it's something I want to hear, but they just don't quite get there. The vocals might be just a bit too conversational, too plain, the bass playing a bit too noodly, the guitar scratch a little too obviously Andy Gill-via-Tim Kerr. They replicate the post-punk Rough Trade/Gang of Four and 'Double Nickels...'-era Minutemen sounds pretty well, but don't bring anything else new with it. The songs lack the underlying energy and charisma that made the bands they are admiring so original sounding and personable in the face of the sometimes dry sounds. Lyrics (about empty slogans, blank faces, the same places, etc...) are fittingly bleak but also not very provoking or rousing. The whole formula comes off rather bland and sounding flat. The things I really liked about this record: it was recorded at the Dutch Oven (which is the best name for a studio ever) and was released on Pizza Pizza Records and has the catalog number Slice01. The music, I didn't dig so much. Buy 'Blunt Instrument', which I think was their best outing, and proceed from there if you feel it necessary. And if you can help me figure out why I don't like this band and I like the Geisha Girls, please let me know. (RK)
(Pizza Pizza Records // www.gianthaystacks.com)
Gobblinz "London" 7", "Love Me Too" 7", and s/t CD
Ton o'archival material from Seventies Brit unknowns the Gobblinz via the Japanese Nat label. The "London" single (originally released in 1977 on Pinnacle) carries a sort of Bay City Rollers kinda-lightweight and upbeat pop with a decent chorus ("La-la-la-la-London") and the B-Side is a little more Roxy Music sounding. The "Love Me Too" single (self-released on Bacon Records in 1978) is the best of the bunch, sounding very Mod at times, almost like The Jam with a keyboard player on the title track (their best song) and "All of This and More" and switching to moodier New Wave stylings on the B-Side ("Communique"). The CD is a bit much though. It compiles everything from the singles accompanied by eight more mostly power-pop w/keys tracks, but also including a stab at ska-punk and a really bad near-Afternoon Rock slow number. They go a little overboard with the electric piano and wannabe-Eno keyboard riffing at times, and a bunch of this stuff sounds like pub rock adapted to the New Wave/Punk boom. Get the "Love Me Too" single if you want a taste and proceed from there if you want more.(RK)
(Nat Records // www.natrecords.com)
Golden Boys "Whisky B4 Sleep" 7"
Two song single, and probably my favorite Golden Boys stuff yet (and I was as big a fan of the LP as anyone I know). Pared down to a two man band of James Arthur (drums on both and guitar on the A-Side) and Matt Hoopengardner (everything else), these are two countrified pieces of down-home-recorded Texas-style oddness. Fruit cellar rock, perhaps. "Whisky B4 Sleep" is the more C&W sounding track, a little twangy, strangely hazy, with a nice stereo effect, great lyrics and an outlaw vibe. The flip, "Fool 4 U", sounds nastier, with a distant and ethereal guitar that pounces on you unsuspectingly every so often. Both tracks have a strange, mirage-like sound to them, yet maintaining a somewhat prickly cactus-like exterior. Druggy and drunk sounds, a nice record to listen to while sitting around your corn liqour still, still hallucinating from the hangover the last batch of mash gave you. Well done and certainly unique. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
Goodnight Loving "Cemetary Trails" CD/LP
Folksy Byrds-ian rock is not my cup of tea at all, but even I have to admit this is a good LP, especially considering it is the first record from a brave band of young Wisconsin men. These kids were a pleasant surprise at the Blackout, and here they rollick through thirteen tracks of mellow rock'n'roll augmented with tinges of country/western, folk, blues and even some rootsy pop. Well constructed songs with layers of texture and occassional throwback instrumentation (lap steel, washboard, mandolin, etc...) give it a real 'playing-a-barn hoedown to a bunch of hayseed hillbillies sipping 'shine out of a jug' feel. A truly hand-clappin' get-up-and-dance affair at times, I think a lot of folks who are mourning the loss of the Deadly Snakes might find something to hold on to here. Like I said, not my favorite genre, but it's good enough to make to me forget that. Scum stats: 500 LPs total, the first 100 coming on psychedelic blue/orange two-tone vinyl. (RK)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)
The Hipshakes "Not Oblivians" EP
Two-songer from these English darlings, both sharing a title with an Oblivians tune, but they are not covers as is clearly stated on the sleeve. Both feature the thick Hipshakes sound from the first single, a sort of dense wall of instruments that doesn't really sound so mean as it just sounds likeably weighty (but not in a "serious heavy" way, know what I mean...). "Big Black Hole" is about yet another "hole", and comes unspooled at the end, and "Never Enough" is the punker of the two. What really stands out to me after having a few listens to this one are the vocals, which I guess could be called a little wacky...or nutty, I guess that sounds a bit more British. They accentuate the freewheelin' kind of punk mess the band creates, that charmingly carefree and youthful vibe they emit. Nice record, I just wish it was longer. Scum stats: again, not quite sure on the exact numbers (500?), but their is a clear vinyl variant of 100 or so I'm guessing the majority of which were sold at Gonerfest...(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
The Hipshakes "Stick Around" EP
Four song EP from these Brit-kids, and this one sounds a bit more traditional than their debut and the Goner EP. "Brain Numb" and "Mr. Wack" are garagey and sound a little mad, as apposed to the near playful-vibe on their other stuff, and "Stick Around" sounds almost Eater-ish. I was going to say this is my least favorite of their records, but then you get to the closer "See Me Coming" which absolutely makes this EP. A lengthy (for the Hipshakes at least) twist on a Teenage Shutdown-style smash of cymbal crash. It freaks out and shakes and stomps with a fuzz solo or two and some wrung-out bass playing. A real bad ass tune, and the kind of thing that makes The Hipshakes special. Scum stats: 350(?) copies, with screened thick-cardboard sleeve and insert.(RK)
(A Fistful of Records // afistfulofrecords-at-yahoo.com)
Homostupids "The Brutal Birthday EP"
One of the most description-defying records I've heard all year. I've flipped over these Homostupids enough already, based on the "Glow" EP/demos, and this one documents the early ideas later fleshed out on that record. Six songs jammed onto one-side of an unmarked/unlabeled single, recorded before the band was really a band. Bedroom-style left-of-center stuff, ranging from an instrumental interlude, to warbly tape manipualtion, to subliminal near-hardcore frequency jamming, to the heavy Creed/Chrome vibe they end with. A really perplexing record that warrants repeat listens just to try and figure out what the fuck is going on. Not as punishing and primal as their first record, but certainly weirder, consider this the painful moments of child-bearing labor that gave birth to the fully fleshed out songs on the "Glow" EP. Recommended. Scums stats: a few, probably somewhere in the range of Richie Ashburn's career batting average.(RK)
(Richie Records // www.testostertunes.blogspot.com)
Hubble Bubble s/t CD
Hubble Bubble "Faking" CD
CD reissues of both Hubble Bubble records from Japanese label Nat Records. Booklets contain the HB story in two parts from producer/Sinus Records owner Alfie Falckenbach, and it's certainly interesting (and printed in English and Japanese), along with a few pictures and the original artwork. We should all know the first LP by heart by now, as it is genuinely one of the best punk records ever made. If you don't have a copy of the original vinyl (which you don't) or have a copy of the boot/repress (which you also probably don't), this CD will replace your burned copy very nicely (even if the track listing is a bit odd, as some songs are doubled up into one track). As the story goes, HB were the most hated punks in Brussels starting out, when Alfie signed them to his Sinus label during the initial punk boom. They entered the studio in their original three-piece line-up, cut the classic record, gigged with The Kids, made some TV appearances (video please!) and then disaster set in. Original bass player Dee Massart (a hot rod enthusiast and the guy who wrote "Pogo Pogo") was killed in a car crash. Then drummer/singer Roger Junior was led away by the machinations of the Belgian equivalent of Malcolm McClaren and turned into Plastic Bertrand (which is another story unto itself). This left Alan Von Bur as the sole remaining original member, so Alfie paired him up with a kid they called Danny Joan and some rented drummers and bass players (whose real names he supposedly doesn't even remember!) to cut a second HB album, in what seems like an effort to roll with the New Wave and perhaps coattail some of Plastic Betrand's huge success. If you've never heard 'Faking' before, it's a strange and sometimes really bad record. A tropical, almost reggae-sounding cover of the Doors' "Hello I Love You" is hard to explain. There is one absolute KBD classic contained on it ("I Don't Mind"), and a few other good-enough punk tunes (the title track, "Bad Trashing"), but elsewhere on the record they seem to be struggling with their identity, taking stabs at near Beatles-style pop, Sixties garage, Who-styled freakbeat, plain soft rock, New Wave synthiness...it's a truly schizophrenic mix, and actually quite a departure from the first record, which was weird enough on it's own merits. If you love the first album, you owe it to yourself to at least check this one out. Worthy reissues for sure, sounds good to me (not like I have an original LP to compare the sound to), some bonus material would have been nice (but I imagine none exists anyway), hopefully this will pave the way for another vinyl boot of the first record and introduce a new wave of fans to its genius. (RK)
(Nat Records // www.natrecords.com)
Les Hulks 7" EP
This thing is a monster. From France, yet again, and loosely related to the Magnetix/GoGo Players camp I'm thinking, and it's pretty fucked up. Firstly, Les Hulks is one dude doing guitar/bass/drums/vox himself, a studio OMB. Secondly, each of the four songs on this contains the word "pussy" in it. Thirdly, this thing is so raw it actually gets painful to listen to. The guitars sound like miked-up circular saws with Fatals records being fed into them. The drums and vox can be heard, but it's a struggle. The A-side of this thing packs three tunes: "Baby Pussy", "Don't Take A Star, Pussy" (?!), and "Pussinvader", and it's a trio of ferocious ones, all in-the-red piss and vinegar yowling and scratching. More punk fucking rock than blues bullshit. "Pussy Man" fills up the B-Side, and this is the slow tune, where he murders one riff over and over and over. Pretty ridiculous and ear-splitting, and I honestly don't think the French noise-trash scene has anywhere to go after this, as it's the best thing I've heard in this vein since the first Fatals 7". This is the pinnacle of the form, it's most extreme tangent. I mean, I know I don't need to hear another Fatals/Plutones/Kung-Fu Escalator or whatever record after this. Pierre Christgau gives this an A and requests some gauze for his bleeding ear drums. Scums stats: I don't how many, but probably not enough.(RK)
(Unrecording Records // www.unrecordingrecords.com)
Ice and The Iced "Drunk at the Duke" LP
Seriously disappointed with this one. The Ice and The Iced 7" is, of course, one of the finest (non-hardcore) Italian 45s from the KBD era (and any era for that matter). The four songs from the original single are presented here (all killers) along with ten more unreleased tunes recorded at the band's practice space (The Duke of the title) in 1980. The unreleased stuff is unlistenable boom-box fidelity crap that you're not going to get through more than twice. Not worth the price of admission at all, they should've just done a repress of the 7". Giant fold-out poster with pics and liner notes looks great, but you're not paying $16+ to stare at an insert. Track down the Mercenary God or Gags LP instead. For the Ice and the Iced story go here: www.iceandtheiced.com.(RK)
(Big Star Rolling // www.haterecords.com)
Imaginary Icons "Eye-Cons" 7"
New NY ensemble featuring booker prize winner Tom Dash
on bass and vox and at least one dude from MHz.
"Eye-Con," with its stops and starts and shouty group
vocals, has some serious Homosexuals damage. If this
was on the Astral Glamour collection you wouldn't bat
an eyelash, and you might even throw it on a "best-of
the best-of." B-side is a nice burst of moody synthy
pop that pays respect to the possibilities of the
early Eno sound. A great start for this new label.(EEK)
(Daggerman Records // www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)
Johnny Rockets "Dramatic Night" MCDR
I'm a big fan of Kruw - their mix of 80s jpop/rockabilly/hardcore punk sound and their ridiculous fake-nationalistic Japan-pride haircuts and costumes, so when I saw this CD with some very similar imagery, I picked it up immediately. As we all know, this is always a risk. As I listened, I could pick out the parts I enjoyed just as much as the parts I didn't enjoy, so it's not like I had to wade through a sea of shit to find one or two pearls. Each song has its merits, but to somebody who isn't so knowledgable with this kind of melodic Japanese pop beat-punk, a lot of references are missed. After the first listen, I felt like it had the feel of Nihon Nouen, but without the speed and electricity in the songs that made me such a fan of Nihon Nouen. After further listens, I think I just resigned myself that I do enjoy this, but only when it's mixed with other styles I appreciate - I can't handle it straight-up. So, recommended for fans of older Japanese pop rock like B0owy or for fans of the pop side of power pop. (JC)
(Last Generation // www.johnny-rockets.com)
The Joneses "Tits and Champagne" 12" EP
The Joneses are semi-legendary in some circles, as the stand-out example of the pre-hair metal Eighties Sunset Strip glam-punk-rock scene, with ties to Berlin Brats, Mau Maus, TSOL, and other heavy hitters. Jeff Drake (pre-Vice Principals and pre-bank robbery [not a band]) was the leader, and he of course does a good Thunders knock-off right down to the clothes and nasally vox. This 12" reissues the original EP released by Trigon in 1989, adds one bonus track, and thankfully replicates the great original cover shot of Sofia Loren slyly ogling Jayne Mansfield's rack (with exposed nipple). The title song is the best thing this has to offer, a nice slice of piano-spiced Dolls/H'breakers trash. The bonus cut ("Bad Attitude") is really bad and unnecessary and the rest is B-grade stuff. Nothing as great as "Pillbox" or "She's So Filthy" here. For those keeping score, these tracks were available on the Sympathy compilation CD that came out a while back. This band definitely had some great moments, but excepting the title track, none of them are really on this record. (RK)
(Full Breach Kicks // www.fullbreach77.com)
Junkpile Jimmy "Alberhill" 2XLP
Talk about an ambitious effort. "Alberhill" is the first release from one Junkpile Jimmy (one guy, although the pics give the impression he either has an identical twin or great photoshop skills), who hails from the Southern CA burg of the title, and he debuts in style: twenty-eight tracks spread over four sides of vinyl, recorded from 1998-2003 in a variety of locations. Two LPs worth of stuff from a guy you've never heard of seems a bit daunting at first, but when you settle in for the long haul here you certainly reap rewards. Consider first that the main jumping off points for this guy seem to be Johnny Hash and Mississippi Fred McDowell, but augmented with influences as diverse as Emperor and Grandmaster Flash. I'm having a tough time figuring out how to review this; I don't want you to think this is the same-old garage'n'blues-rehash we've been served time and time again. This is not the brazen Oblivians/JSBX worship we've come to be bored with over the past few years, although he does tip his hat in their direction in passing. It's a sprawling, multi-layered genre-amalgam of a project that walks the lineage tightrope connecting Charlie Feathers to Venom, or Dock Boggs to Doo Rag. There's a lot to mention about this record, so I'll give you a short play-by-play of my first couple of spins through this thing, done on a rainy night with a pot of coffee and a pack of Newports. Side I: JJ starts of all profane-like, tossing off cuss-words and near gangsta rap-levels of bragadoccio about kicking ass and taking names ("HEY! - YOU SORRY MOTHERFUCKER..." are the first words out of his mouth on this alb). Rough, rugged, and raw, and "Trainwreck" is billed to Msrs. Marty Moore and Dan Brown themselves, (and speaking of which, how about that pre-JH Gloryhole 7"? [a 100 press single I have neither seen nor heard, so get in touch if you're holding]) and a wrist rocket of a start. He dips into real-blues for a moment, then stumbles into what I need to call delta-metal on an ode to Golden Age porn star Kascha ("I'm gonna kill Papillon today/and make you mine tonight" is a classic line for those who spent a lot of time "borrowing" tapes from Dad's closet as a kid) that's all hard guitars and violent percussion. ".06 Boogie" gets weird, into some slip-slide hypnosis and backwards sounding drums, then he goes traditional with a tribute to Lee Harvey, and ends the side with "Cheroot", which sounds like JJ accompanying some infernal steam-powered machine, with an opressive mechanical beat and layers and layers of sounds. That's just one side. It's three sides of stuff just like this, it all blends fluidly together, bouncing from actual blues to crazy sheet metal pounding to heavy lo-fi riffing to wicked slide guitar all caked with scuzz and mud. Just when you think you might be get bored, he brings some more loopy shit out of his shack and sucks you back in. Side II: starts with a moody instro (lots of found-sound stuff on this too, tape manipulation, ambient noise, etc..), and then he fucking covers Hellhammer's "Massacra" blues-style. Yeah, no shit. After that it's depresso-blues ("Honey Loneliness") and mellow Burnside-ish guitar and vox lamenting ("Cuando Me Los Pongas"), leading into "Sievehead Stomachmouth", which is his version of a stoner rock lo-fi-psych D&D fantasy about smoking blunts with fairies with the requisite riffage and a weird warbling effects from shaking aluminum siding or something. Heavy and bizarre. He closes side two with an unintelligible cover of Flipper's "Life". Side III: another instro-piece segues into "Death Total Death", the beat of which comes from what sounds like someone shooting a .22 into a corrugated aluminum shack and he actually utilizes some power tools on this one. "L.G.T.F-O.O.H." is near traditional train-rollin' and tailfeather shakin', followed by the static-driven "Stupid Whims of Women" which is as weird-punk as anything you've heard from Paris lately, and closes with the stunning "Sweet Suicide", a two-parter which uses a skeet shooting session as it's original rhythm track, whilst the guitar gets haunted and a clock ticks away, giving way to a new doom-riff guitar grind over some backwards-masked tape looping, the sound of someone sharpening a knife and vox that near a Howland-ish pitch. Epic. And we're not even done yet. At this point, I figured he had nothing left for one more side. The recordings are supposedly chronological and Side IV marks the newest stuff, where it seems JJ is joined by one JMac on drums. They kick it off stylish-like with "Sourdough", a lo-fi Electric Wizard-ish ode to smoking roaches with some vocoder abuse. "Willie Boy" is next, and perhaps the only uninteresting song on this except for the actual dog barking the chorus; it's a bit too electric-caravan-hippie drip. This is quickly redeemed with a cover of The Shirkers' "Drunk and Disorderly" and the brutal "Scorpion Whip" which actually manages to get heavier than anything previous on the album, in a classic sounding Eighties-thrash metal way, with evil vox and some strangely King/Hanneman-like solo action. Awesome? Pretty much. Then we get "The Cuckoo", probably the best and most authentic sounding piece of guitar/vox traditional blues on the album, followed by the sound-collage/interview with the Duke of Aberhill and that's about it. Fairly overwhelming, and I think the sheer volume of this effort may lay heavy after a month or so of playtime, but you could throw on any one side of this for a quick listen and be taken in. Any time invested into this is worthwhile, as the songs are filled with nooks and niches to explore and there are plenty of weird sounds and vibes to absorb and enjoy. It manages to be sound old and fresh at the same time, changing up pace and volume with ease and mashing enough parts into the garbage bin that you're going to pull out something different with each dip in for quite some time. And I have to give due credit for creating a double LP that rarely lags or has a dull moment. And please, don't let anyone fool you into thinking is is just more generic blooze-rehash. It's not even close, and much more than that. Quite a phenomenal effort, with a lot of blood and sweat involved, that I endorse and applaud heartily. Long review? Long record. Scum stats: only 253 copies, with thick paste-on sleeves, fairly thick vinyl, and three inserts: glossy fold-out poster w/credits, lyric sheet, and another fold-out double-sided collage. Very nicely done.(RK)
(Cartel Ilustre // www.cartel-ilustre.com)
Killdozer "the Last Waltz" LP/CD
I’ve only seen Killdozer live once, but it made quite an impression on me. That being said, “The Last Waltz” is not Killdozer’s best live performance, but it completely succeeds as a document of what an amazing and dominating live band they were. Recorded in their home state of Wisconsin in 1996 at the end of the classic “Fuck You We Quit” tour, the album leans more towards the newer Killdozer material (all but a few tunes are from their records with post-Bill Hobson guitarist Paul Zagoras), which is fine. Zagoras is joined by some friends (from Die Kruezen) to back up Mr. Michael Gerald; resulting in a huge, noisy, and lumbering live sound that’s uncommonly well-recorded. The 2nd guitar dollops the sludge on extra thick and the band manages to slow the songs down to the speed that they were really meant to be played. To get the full experience, listen to this record at 3am loud enough for your roommate to hate you while you stumble around drunk looking for your Skoal. You can then truly respect Killdozer for creating the definitive dance music for alcoholic people.
It’s a refreshing release on many levels; first off there’s finally a Killdozer record in print again. One of the world’s greatest bands should NOT have an entire career’s worth of great music unavailable. Also, the packaging is revamped (and looks much better than the original Man’s Ruin pressing of this), it comes with stickers and a CD-R containing bonus cuts, photos, and flyers! This is clearly a labor of love for Crustacean, and a completely welcome one for a world with far, far too little Killdozer in it.(MH)
(Crustacean Records // www.crustaceanrecords.com)
Killer's Kiss "Abused" 7"
After really loving their last 7" (on Perpetrator), Killer's Kiss kinda let me down on this one. Where that record was pure wah-fuzz excess taken to a near-retarded level, on this one they come off a bit too traditional sounding to me. A little too much organ, and sure there's a couple good heavy-pedal solos on this, but not enough to get me worked up. The B-Side could actually be mistaken for a Hellacopters outtake if you're not paying attention. Pretty good for a garage band, but I need something more. Christgau gives this one a C. (RK)
(Rehab Records // www.rehab-records.com)
King Khan & BBQ Show "What's For Dinner?" LP/CD
If you've been even half paying attention to what's going on in the world of underground rock n roll over the past year or so, you doubtlessly already know what an essential platter the King Khan & BBQ Show's debut LP on Goner is. This, their sophomore LP, finds them in fine form as well. There are still plenty of booty-shakin' dance numbers that burn with the same fire as Little Richard or Jerry Lee, but the party is tempered with some absolutely amazing doo-wop infused ballads that take full advantage of Mark Sultan's rich, nuanced voice. Songs like "I'll Never Belong" and "Into the Snow" actually tug on the 'ole heartstrings without sounding the slightest bit sappy or forced. That shit is hard to do, and hearing a band pull off slow songs this flawlessly is about as rare as catching Todd Tricknee rocking out to 20/20 or something. On the polar opposite side of the rock n roll spectrum, there's a 30 second grindcore song on here as well as a Circle Jerks cover, both of which somehow make perfect sense between the aforementioned tearjerkers and C. Berry-infused rave ups. In summary, this is a really great record that you really should check out if you still give a damn about rock n roll. Buy it!!(SB)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)
Legendary Pink Dots "Ancient Daze" 2XLP/CD
I think the time has come for you to give a damn about the early Legendary Pink Dots. I think that at their best they sounded like 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' or the (UK) Kaleidoscope shoved through a cheap synth and drum machine. A lot of current bands are toying with the homemade electro psychedelia that was pioneered by these guys. Pay a little respect. Now, Edward Ka-Spel is definately responsible for some total shit in later work, but this early Legendary Pink Dots shit, yes, very nice, more please. Backwards tape loops, surreal and violent lyrics, crapped out synths, what's not to like?
All of the stuff on here is from ultra limited cassettes (including the entire "Only Dreaming") or never-before-released studio tracks from 1981-1982. "Only Dreaming" is about as dark as psychedelia gets and it's 100% English in a James Ensor/Jack the Ripper/Dr. Who kinda way. If you never liked LPD before but you like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, you'll like this, I promise. You just better like Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers too.
Scumly skronk: Vinyl version w/ different silkscreen sleeve limited to 200. CD will probably be in print for a long time.(MS)
(Beta-lactam Ring // www.blrrecords.com)
Live Fast Die "Pissing on the Mainframe" EP
LFD help to further usher in the final phase of the true decline of western civilization with not one but two songs referencing "garage rock" messageboards (and actually their third total if you count that "Webshits..." thing), effectively forcing all of us punkrock record collectors and gossip mongers to gaze at the unshaven and sallow face reflected back in our monitors. The fact that I am typing this review should force some sort of armageddon clock to start ticking or seventh seal-style plague-of-frogs kinda shit. It's like they broke the fourth wall or something. Yet, regardless of whether I walk outside and the skies are raining blood and the earth is covered with locusts, I can actually say I have heard LFD's best record, because this is it ladies and gentlemen. It took subject matter as disturbing as this to elevate Camero Werewolf and Co.'s game to that next level of total GG-fronting-the-Ramones shitfaced genius. These guys have a seemingly unending supply of crappy-yet-awesome guitar sounds and recording "techniques" that give every song a different look, and it's this sort of innovative stupidity that makes LFD so transgressively enjoyable and unique. Well done, especially the title cut, but "Sonic Thread" is no slouch either. I need a fucking lyric sheet though. Scum stats: first 100 on green vinyl.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)
The Magnetix "Time After Time" 7"
I already reviewed this one right here. Long sold-out of its initial press of 300 on Nasty Product, our pal Nico at Sentenza Records was nice enough to press another 500 copies of this baby (with an inverse sleeve) for any of you who missed out the first time. One of my favorite French records of the year.(RK)
(Sentenza Records // www.myspace.com/sentenza1)
Mistreaters "Singles & Unreleased" CD-R
European tour-only CD-R compiling Mistreaters non-LP stuff that I managed to glom a copy of somehow, and that I really wouldn't review it here were it not for the fact that I have listenend to this thing so goddamn much I just have to say something about it. The Mistreaters haven't put out a bad record (have I said that before?), and they've released a couple of singles that are actual modern classics. Their 7"es on Yakisakana, Big Neck and P.Trash were good (escpecially that Numan cover), but the "Personal Space Invader" EP on Estrus is just stupendous (all three tracks, especially "Little Sassy Francis") and the Goodbye Boozy EP of Wallace Brothers covers is absolutely perfect. No modern rock band does the slow jam as good as these dudes. Throw in other must-have items like "Stranded" (the EP version), "Santa Stole My Baby" (from the Flying Bomb x-mas record), covers of Gories (great), The Beguiled (very interesting) and The Blowtops (amazing) among other things and you have a killer 24 track compilation from one of the classiest and best bands of the modern era. That's all I have to say.(RK)
Monsters from Mars "Surfing Through A Creepy Castle" EP
MFM play kitschy reverbed-out instrumental surf/garage. Surprise. "Escape from Castle Wolfenstein" sounds like a not-as-tight Man or Astroman? recording in someone's bedroom, and "Driving the Monkey to the Airport" sounds like a less slick Shadowy Men. B-Side is two covers, an instrumental version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and a pedestrian take on "Telstar". My dog fucking hated this. I wasn't too fond of it either. Cool up-and-coming label though, with some great looking product. I'll keep and eye on Tic Tac Totally and look the other way on this one. Scums stats: 300 on mint green, 700 on black.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)
Murder By Guitar "Rock Bottom" EP
Aw man. I thought I was going to get out of this round of reviews without having to listen to a Martin Savage record...but somehow, that wily Swede managed to squeeze another one out, this time on the Alien Snatch! label, and with one of The Locomotions in tow. MBG are the power pop division of the Martin Savage Media Empire (and he does manage to get his Memphis/NOLA fixation sated by naming a song "Rock Bottom"), and it's a mixed bag. "Rock Bottom", which they are pushing as the A-Side "hit" here, is a little too sluggish to be a real ear-catcher. It just lacks that extra pep to get it over the hill and roll into that extra gear. Plus, the vocals on this whole thing are a little off-putting. I understand that English is not these gentlemen's first language, and that's not a problem, but the the vocals are a bit too chunky for this kinda genre. You gotta be able to really sing to pull off power pop well, at least that's what I think. The two cuts on the B-Side are pretty hot musically though, with the requisite fancy guitar licks and harmonious oooh-oooh-ing on the chorus that providing a little punch. "I'll Be Gone" actually sounds tough, and it's the pick of this three song litter. Not too bad, but also not as good as that Locomotions record on Big Neck where they tried to sound like the Exploding Hearts. Scum stats: 500 on black, 100 on red, thick cardboard sleeves and vinyl (as usual) from the Snatch! Nice looking mock RCA labels too. (RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)
Necropolis "The Hackled Ruff & Shoulder Mane" LP
Now you can imagine how much a hate to disagree with
my elders, but this time I can't just bite my tongue.
Respectfully, Scott, there is more to be said about
this record. Do I love it? Kinda. Have I played it a
lot? Yes. It is impeccably played (sometimes too much
so) and it sounds fantastic. Also, it is perhaps the
most loving tribute to Pere Ubu ever put to record.
It's really strange. These folks are all over the map,
but it works most of the time. You might be able to
detect fleeting moments of weird dance-punk,
particularly in the singer's Ex Models-esque spazzy
yelp, but dig deeper and a track like "Colors & #'s"
is a virtual explosion of frantic and brawny (yes) new
wave with a synth meltdown at the end that sounds like
a sonic loveletter to Allen Ravenstine. "Ultraviolet"
has a whole section of dub effects and playing that
actually works. The last song on the first side,
"Innerspace," dips a toe in so many styles of rock n'
roll it's kind of disconcerting, but it's not in any
sort of Mr. Bungle way, and it really is the song, and
it fits. The fact that it ends with a section that is
equally Pere Ubu, Neu!, and Th' Faith Healers, just
makes perfect sense. I'm really harping on this Pere
Ubu thing, huh? Well, flip the record over and witness
how everything begins to stretch out into
avant-garageland. More off-kilter wave-slash with real
solid rock chops and more turns into dub. But it's at
the end when the worship/homage really makes itself
apparent. "To The Bar" starts off like something
resembling a rock song that you can see a hundred kids
jumping around like mad to, then it breaks down and
switches gears into a high-velocity trip where they
directly quote Ubu, "out in the real world/in real
time..." as it erupts with noisy soloing, screaming
synths, crashing everything. The last song, "Cloud
151" (yup, you read that right; "Cloud 149"), might as
well be an Ubu cover. This sounds like an indictment
of this album, but it's not. I really like it. The
fact that these folks are from Columbus, Ohio makes it
that much more understandable and laudable. Based on
this record, Necropolis are sure to make some street
waves (nyuk nyuk).(EEK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)
The Normals and Jeff Clark "The Street of Your Heart" 7"
The Normals, if you haven't been keeping up on your French Glue-Wave band rosters, are sort of the Cheeraks minus MeeLoo and plus Cheb Samir, with a lineage that goes back to the Crash Normal (and still does), Thundercrack, and even the awesome and under-rated Squares (and more). They are joined on this two-song seven-inch by Jeff Clark from the Demon's Claws in some sort of Franco-Canadian guitarist exchange program. The title cut is one side-long-sprawler of garage-blues downer that literally crawls off the vinyl. Druggily visceral and stoned-out. The B-Side is a little looser, weirder, with some wild oscillating guitar sounds. The B-Side is just average, but the A-Side is a must for your next peyote session in the sweat lodge. I'll let you decide whether you want to pay import $ for one killer (and fairly long) tune. Scum stats: 500, screened Bongout sleeve.(RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
Numbskull "Final Days of Torture" LP
Cleveland has certainly given birth to some oddball units over the years, bands of legend and unique vision. And for every Eels, Pagans, Ubu, and RFTT that have been unearthed and placed rightfully on their pedestal, there's an Easter Monkeys, Kneecappers, Guns, or a Numbskull there under the surface, waiting for us to dig them out and dig into them too. Numbskull existed in the mid-Eighties period where the big punk/proto names were already long gone and hardcore and metal were entrenched as the rulers of the roost. But the three dudes in Numbskull paid no heed to such things, and staked out some uninhabited ground somewhere between Flipper crawl (and humor) and a scaled down take on Sabbath-via-Flag heaviness. Music to take quaaludes and smoke a shoebox full of reefer to, rife with the musty basement aroma of the Screamin' Mee Mees and other subterranean recording loners. Definitely punk in spirit, if not in velocity, they expressed their disaffection for the hardcore/crossover of the hour through simply slowing down. And taking a few well-placed potshots: they open with "Fifteen Seconds" ("a hardcore song that lasts fifteen second too long"), do "Red, White, and Blue" ("Every hardcore band has to have a political song...") and "Raw Power" where they pound out five seconds of a blast and joke "Hey, we could be a hardcore band just like...". Even fake metal gets a sucker-punch in "Heavy Metal Gods" where the bass sludge gets so thick you need to shovel it out of your ears afterward. But I'm getting ahead of myself...'Final Days of Torture' is a vinyl issue of their obscure 1985 tape-only release, which has been unavailable except thorugh trading/scummery until now. Numbskull were three guys: Darel, the singer who can't really sing, but more or less talks over the music, and yells on occassion, John Henry on "repercussion" and Dale on bass ("big guitar"). As a primo primitive rhythm section you can't do much better. The songs snake around, with the bass going from fuzzy to super-fuzzy depending on the mood, the small and tight kit smacking out tight beats, and Darel's deadpan delivery speaking to you directly. The bust out their best number right away (a prime mover called "All Too Clear"), but keep on chugging through outsider fare like "Ugly", "This Ain't Love", the instrumental "I'm So Dumb", get dirgey with "Buried Alive" and even throw-up a Chuck Berry pisstake with "Rented Chevette". Defintley a singular band with a oddball vibe you need to hear (and a choice half dozen or so cuts you have to have), Numbskull are angry, a little bit goofy and darkly humorous in all the right ways, and don't even get that overly venomous until the end of the tape, where they make sure they let the listener know that "You Suck." A niceley done reissue, no live filler, no crap outtakes, just the original recording in all it's glory. Definitely worth the effort here, and a worthy entry in the annals of Cle-punk. Scums stats: only 300 copies, with two different color sleeves (bright green and yellow). Comes with a nice Numbskull Song Book that tells half the story with cut-out collages, lyrics, and even brief and funny explanations of the songs. (Caution: Numbskull reformed sometime a few years and re-recorded their old songs for a disc on Smogveil. You 're gonna want to stay away from that...) (RK)
(My Mind's Eye Records // www.mymindseyerecords.cm)
The Pets "Baby It's You" 7"
The Pets "Only One" 7"
Two more singles from Oakland, CA's The Pets after a really nice debut on Sweet Rot earleir in the year. The A-Side of the Raw Deluxe joint is my favorite Pets tune thus far, medium-fi kind of pop/punk/mod type stuff with a slight pinch of Brit-accent on the vocals. A little bit downbeat with a good chorus, and a hit all the way. The A-side of the Broken single is my second favorite of all Pets tunes. Keep these guys writing songs about broads and we're all set.
At times the sort of remind of what The Fingers could have been had they reigned themselves in a bit. And taken some ludes instead of getting obnoxiously drunk. If you doubled up the A-Sides onto one record, I'd have to call it one of the best of the year.
As it stands you need both of these records anyway, as the A-Side cuts are what we call "must haves". And even if the flip sides are a little lackluster, they'll be well worth however much fake Paypal money you have to send to get them. Scums stats: 100 of the Raw Deluxe ones seem to be on a powdery blue vinyl, and I don't think there are any color variants on the Broken release (but if you have one, please send it to us directly, thanks).(RK)
(Raw Deluxe Records // www.theerawdeluxe.com)
(Broken Rekids // www.brokenrekids.com)
Washington Phillips “What are They Doing in Heaven Today?” LP
More good work from the fine people at Mississippi Records. Washington Phillips was a farmer of some sort in Texas, somehow managing to own land in one of the more racist counties within TX at the time. During this time, from 1927 to 1929 he recorded some Gospel Blues sides at a mobile recording unit funded by Columbia. Now that we get some of the story out of the way, it doesn’t shed any light on this music, which happens to be some of the most bizarre recordings of the early 20th century.
The instrumentation Phillip’s used is up for debate. Some think it’s a fretless zither, other’s say it’s a doceola, a strange type of dulcimer. Still others think they’re all homemade instruments, ones that would be impossible to recreate; a photo does exist of him holding two strange, unidentified string instruments. Still, others just refer to it as his “novelty instrument.” Whatever is being played, it brings a complete outsider element to Phillips' take on Gospel Blues. It’s really like no other music you’ve heard. Some kind of weird dreamlike blues chants hummed over a broken music box. Haunting is the only unfortunately overused word I can think of.
Mostly relying on morality tales from the Old Testament (like the story of Nicodemus), the lyrics are almost inconsequential in the scope of this record. Listening to this record is maybe the closest you can get to the music going on in one man’s head. Maybe guitars and pianos did not come close enough to the sound he heard that he wanted everyone else to witness. He had to make his own. It’s music that fits within the old-timey blues genre in feeling, yet somehow has more in common with Moondog than Charlie Patton.
Again, a very, very limited press on this LP, although I think Document Records may also have some of his music on a CD. Excellent “Folkways” rip-off heavy duty sleeve on this too. I can't recommend a record more to anyone interested in Pre-War American music.(MS)
(Mississippi Records // available thru www.midheaven.com)
Pink Reason 7"
If you don't know who our friend Kevin (aka Vint) is,
then you probably have a semblance of a life. If you
do, then you spend time talking about dumb records
with fellow nerds on the forum portion of this fine
publication. That's OK, we all have flaws. And Kevin,
despite his tendency to froth at the mouth over both
mundane and arcane subject matter, understands this
better than most. His solo joint, Pink Reason, is a
means to come to terms with the shit we all wallow in,
some more willingly than others. Kevin is unafraid to
venture down deep, and we get to sit there in our
cushy domiciles and ingest his findings. And they
sound fine. This self-released 7" features a
style-runnin gamut of sounds, from the nod-out strum
of "Slate Train" to the seesawing electronic bells of
"New Violence," which sounds like Skip Spence
wandering into a Legendary Pink Dots recording
session. The A-side, "Throw It Away," is especially
choice, a moaning droning psych-blues with some nice,
understated acoustic soloing at the end. Now inked to
resurgent indie, Siltbreeze, and with a forthcoming 7"
on Trickknee, be prepared to hear more fucked-up
stories and haunted songs for awhile.(EEK)
(Savage Quality Recordings // www.myspace.com/secondculture)
Derek Lyn Plastic "Methamphetamines" EP
Third seven-inch release from DLP, and I think he took a step backwards here. The things I liked about the last single (the creepy kind of outsider/songs-about-vampires-and-weird-shit aspect) seem to be missing. I would expect a song about meth to be either really dirty or fast or both, and this is neither. "Walk the Dead" is catchy fodder for goth dance floors, but in the end it all just comes out sounding like super-slick synth-punk, kind of New Wave-y in an unremarkable Briefs fashion, and not really dark or strange at all, which was his biggest asset. My least favorite of his three records, and and I had issues with the other two.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
The Plutones "Goin' to Memphis" EP
Collaborative effort from some Fatals' and Kung Fu Escalator dudes, and it sounds much like you would imagine. Bloozed-out, blown-out, trash-bashing. Primitive and kinda tuneless. No real songs to mention here, it sounds more like these guys just got together, made a racket and recorded it. It's records like this that are made obsolete by the existence of that Les Hulks EP. Christgau gives this a D. Scums stats: 300 copies. (RK)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
Rad Kids 7"
New Wave pop outift fronted by Derek from Fashion Fashion and the Image Boys and Derek Lyn Plastic. The two tracks on the A-Side (especially "Give It Up") are loud and catchy, but the B-Side doesn't do it for me so much. Really pro sounding recording, you could easily slip this into a vintage sleeve and convince someone it's any pop-rock band from the Eighties who decided to hitch their cart to the New Wave wagon train to get over. I guess that's what I both like and don't like about it. It's only a couple of steps removed from a hard-rocking Cars or something. But the Cars did have some catchy tunes, whether you want to admit it or not. What I did realize after listening to this and the latest DLP single is that this guy does write some really hooky, if somewhat superficial, tunes, and that I would imagine his appeal would lie not with underground dickheads like me, but with those of a bit more mainstream ear. I mean, I know there are kids out there who will dig this record big, but I'm not sure where to find them...(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Jay Reatard "Blood Visions" LP/CD
Well, what can I say about this record. Ambitious even by Jay Reatard standards, this is really quite magnificent. I suppose "Jay goes pop" is the immediate take a lot of people are throwing at this. And it's that and more. The fact that Jay plays nearly everything on this record and it sounds so fluid is an achievement in itself (with a helping hand from Dave Carbona's recording). I guess this could be considered the culmination of all of Jay's previous years: garage rock (Reatards), Black Wave (Lost Sounds), bedroom synth-punk (Nervous Patterns), KBD destruction (Final Solutions), whatever you want to pigeon-hole Angry Angles as...genres and sounds he's extremely proficient at, and that he has produced near-perfect examples of in the past. All this is prelude to 'Blood Visions', a record that manages to be greater than the sum of its parts and maybe better than anything that has come previous (though it will take some time to really tell). Fifteen expansive tracks, many of which are definitely indebted to the bleak pop (and worldview) of the Bunnymen, The Cure or Joy Division and their contemporaries, right down to the faux-Brit vocals (which don't bother me in the slightest, and actually add quite a bit) and without overly relying on keyboards. There's a lot of great sounding guitar and piles of majestic hooks. I could break this down song-by-song, but there's little need to. Something like "Turning Blue" builds on what sounds like the riff from "Blew My Mind" reinvented and reformed into some kind of fractured pop. You can catch glimpses of Jay's past on almost every song, yet with exhilarating new twists. A maturation of the Reatard aesthetic perhaps. It's a gorgeous sounding record, and even uplifting and beautiful at times in the face of it's blood drenched cover image. It's obvious I'm a huge fan of Jay's work, but even I'm surprised at how well this turned out. Truly an amazing release.(RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)
Red Red Red "Static Signals" 7"
Long-awaited (at least in the TB household) debut from Detroit's Red Red Red, brought to us all the way from New Zealand via the fantastic and underrated Perpetrator Records label. RRR is ex-Piranhas guitar player Ryan's current band (bass, drums, guitar, no keys!), and the influence of his former outfit is certainly felt a bit on this one (including the Jamie Easter cover art). But where the Piranhas went off on cut-n-paste weirdo tangents, RRR stick to a more traditional punk formula, with a slight tweak here and there. "Static Signals" is a vox-less straight-ahead slammer with what I can only describe as the sounds of a black hole running throughout it in place of a voice. "Disconnected" is a rager in the damaged-punk tradition, broken up by a drum pause here and there. Lame ass lazy reviewer description = sounds like a more furious Human Eye without the keyboard/tape twiddling. A brief yet solid record, and a great teaser for the upcoming LP on Big Neck. Scum stats: 300 seems to be the mandatory Perpetrator press.(RK)
(Perpetrator Records // perpetrator_1-at-hotmail.com)
Red Red Red "Mind Destoyer" LP/CD
And here we have the full-length, ten songs at just over twenty minutes. Literally bursting off the turntable at first with "Disconnected" from the single (and not including the other track from the 7", so you need that too), it's a fury of white-hot guitar driven punk that barely stops for breath in its race to the finish line. Recorded over the course of a year and a half, you get a few different recording styles, some with a bigger drum sound than others, but all with amped-out guitar squeal and hoarse static-laden vox. Take the first Piranhas 7" and imagine if they worked backwards from there into a more primal punk-rock band. "Crash" and "Send Help" are middle-of-the record-favorites, but this thing reaches it's peak with the closing three-song salvo of "Head On", "Meltdown" and "Mind Destroyer", a trio of angry and chaotic explosions that are total physical and musical destruction. Loud, fast and in your face and containing some interesting arrangements, I wouldn't suggest operating heavy machinery or driving while listening to this, it's the aural equivalent of a high-speed chase that ends in a heap of twisted metal and bloody asphalt. Get out the way if you see this record barrelling down on you. Or buy a copy and strap yourself in. (Note: LP has a quieter mix as the original master used for the CD was too fucking loud to cut a plate from. Wow.)(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
River City Tanlines "I'm Your Negative" CD/LP
Much anticipated debut LP from Alicja, Bubba, and T-Money, coming in the wake of a string of three-and-a half great singles, and it lives up to expectations and then some. The title track and "In My Mode Rollin'" (from the split with The Intellectuals) are perfect examples of the straight-ahead hard guitar rock they mastered on the singles. Then there's more punk-sounding stuff: "Animal Life" has a breakneck pace hiding a deep hook that sideswipes you in transit and "Whenever I Rot" sounds like Alicja fronting the 'Earth A.D.'-era Misfits (with a better guitar player). Quite a few tunes have what could be considered a maninstream/crossover appeal: hard-to-not-like anthems like "Shoot the Eye Out!" and "My Reflection" (which actually has some slight synth on it, which I'll have to forgive). There's even some playful indie-poprocking ("Not Gonna Think About it Anymore") and an undeniably strong finish with the sweeping one-two combo of "Drowning Dreams"/"Gimme All Your Cuts". It's no secret Alicja is a great songwriter, and here she uses all of the tools at her disposal, including a rhythm section rock-solid enough to build a house on. Eleven tracks, with only one real bummer in the bunch, the LP extends the reach of the band with fantastic results. I had high hopes for this record coming in, and I left more than satisfied, even if it isn't as raw as the singles. Scum stats: plenty to go around, but the first 100 mailorder copies were on beautiful orange vinyl.(RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)
Royal Pains "Get Punched" 7"
Seattle three-piece garage-punkers with a four song EP recorded in the UK by Wild Billy Childish himself. M/F vocals, with the M singing in a gruff longshoreman tone and the F being a bit on the squeaky side. Sounds surprisingly crisp for a Childish production, the bass is really big and bouncy. This is a little less punk and more upbeat rolling than rocking if you ask me, bordering on cartoony garage wackiness. Although the couplet "P-U-N-C-H/I'm gonna punch you in the face!" has been stuck in my head for a minute or two now, this thing gets a little too cute and a little too mundane for me. Christgau gives this a C for "See you in the resale pile." Scum stats: 500 numbered press on clear electric-blue vinyl with screened covers I've noticed a couple different colors of.(RL)
(Jonnycat Records // )
Royal Routes "I Want Her" 7"
Royal Routes (Edouard and Martin of Scat Rag Boosters) return to vinyl with this two song missive from the NZ-based Perpetrator label. "I Want Her" is a Chants R&B cover they blow up real good. The real head-turner is found on the flipside, "Mr. Clean", a marathon of monolithic drum-pounding and trashy feedback-slinging with a bit of harmonica. Really crashing blues-based dementia, and fun to listen to just to try and follow Edouard's drum-pummel. It's "off the chain". Did I use that phrase right?. If you only have to hear one Montreal-based distorto-blues-garage-punk number this year, "Mr. Clean" should be it. Scum stats: 300 seems to be the mandatory Perpetrator press.(RK)
(Perpetrator Records // perpetrator_1-at-hotmail.com)
Cheb Samir and The Black Souls of Leviathan 7" EP
As great as the Tete De Bebe compilation was, it, and the deluge of bands/releases we became aware of post-release (that were there all along, but it just seemed to bring things to light a bit more...), kind of burned me out on French weird punk. I mean, there's just so much of it. You could spend days just listening to this stuff on MySpace, not to mention all of the CD-R releases and shit that you have little chance of getting in the US unless you invest serious time and bucks. Not to say that there isn't great stuff to be found; a good lot of it is. But the whole morass of bands, side projects, solo stuff, etc. is daunting enough to be a bit off-putting. Meaning, we, the people, only have so much time to devote to this, which is why it was nice to have a user-friendly interface like Tete De Bebe to do the work for us. Left to our own devices, it's like being lost in the forest. Anyway, this release, from Cheb Samir (Normals, Le Sport, Crack und Ultra Eczema, and more...) and the Black Souls of Leviathan (which is just Seb Normal it seems) is all over the place. Keyboard drone/squeal, booming drum sounds, bluesy/rootsy guitar licking, trashcan cymbals, wild vox/screams, all mixed up and spat back in your face. Heavy on the bombast but little of it sticks to your ribs, know what I mean? On the flip side they disembowel the Cheater Slicks' "Just Do It". It's a real horror show. My opinion, pass on this one and spend some time/money looking up these lesser-known French outfits: A.H. Kraken, The Feeling of Love, and Electric Guitars. There's a ton of this stuff out there worth listening to, but this single really isn't it. Scum stats: 500, amazing Bongout art, one of the best looking Yaki sleeves ever.(RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
Sapat "Tongue-Tied & Staid" 7"
I've seen this thing touted by a few respectable sources, and was glad to get a copy for review. I've been feeling adventurous lately, so it was a good time to check Sapat out. What do they offer? Well, some sort of free jazz/hippie rock amalgam. The A-Side (I think) starts out all improv-like skronk meander and then actually settles into a genuinely funky groove, and then they throw some van Vliet on top o'that. On the flip, it's more of the same. Kind of strangley funky free-jazz with some off-beat psych-ish edges that you would expect from an eight piece band with at least three dudes playing sax (although not all at the same time methinks) and both a percussionist AND a drummer. Skronk-city. Look up what a mbira is for me, because these dudes are playing one. Plus, the singer croaks in an almost funny semi-Beefheartian froggy-bottom tone, actually making things a little less serious sounding. The whole thing leans to the left a little...meaning, everything sounds a little broken, a little off balance. It's an interesting record I guess, a real thinking man's single. A real smoke a little cheebah, throw on some corduroys and stroke your beard while you listen to it and nod appropriately kinda record. Siltbreeze is going to be doing their LP. And I'm sure Byron and/or Thurston have busted a nut or two in the pages of Arthur about these guys, or will be soon. Me, I gotta work in the morning, and my pot pie is almost done...(RK)
(self-released // no info given)
Schatten Unter Eis "1984" LP
Ahh, this is more like it. Listening to a bunch of these minimal synth reissues can start to irritate you, but this shit is pretty frickin’ good. It’s almost all instrumentals with only the crappiest of drum machines and synthesizers. Throw in some Peter Hook-esque basslines and now we’re getting somewhere. Actually, that’s exactly where we’re going, as a lot of this sounds like “Closer” era Joy Division sans vocals. That’s the only downer, because when the guy sings it’s a little better, and if I’m not mistaken, there’s only vocals on the last track. Oh, and there’s no info whatsoever in the packaging, but the very limited info I’ve found is that it was recorded from 82-84, only released on cassette, natch. As with all WSDP stuff, it’s very limited, 500 or less.(MS)
(Was Soll Das? Platten // available at www.fusetronsound.com)
Sebadoh "III" 2XCD
Sebadoh, at one point in my life, were my favorite band, or at least one of the top three. And without getting into a history lesson many people are more qualified to give than me, I'd just like to bring up a few points. Sebadoh was Eric Gaffney's band to begin with, Lou was just along for the ride, let's not forget. And as much as Sebadoh became Lou's thing in the long run, it was Gaffney and Jason Loewenstein that often wrote my favorite Sebadoh material. To me, "III" was Sebadoh's first truly great full length, and it also just happens to be the first recorded with Loewenstein in the fold. Starting with Lou's Mascis-indicting "The Freed Pig" (just one of many, but still the best, of his J. slams), it offers a fine selection of Barlow's often painful soul-baring four-track meanderings ("Kath" is a particular favorite), Gaffney's often schizophrenic and evil sounding indie-rock and surprisingly great lyrics (see "Limb by Limb"), and Jason's first efforts which only hinted at the strong writer he would become ("Smoke A Bowl"). Gaffney's epic "As the World Dies the Eyes of God Grow Bigger" is one of my favorite epic album-closers of all time (and the record itself packed in a truly epic 23 tracks as well). There's not much you can say about a classic like this; it's the first record where the band truly sounds dialed-in and finding their personality (which turned out to be multiple, with the guys shifting instruments for each other's songs), that being stoned-out indie-rock loners with big hearts, mental problems, and serious songwrting chops. And they also sound constantly on the brink of destruction (which the personnel often were), with three distinct voices struggling and succeeding in becoming one band. I guess the point to make to TB readers, is you should check Sebadoh out if you haven't already, there's more there than you think. They can be as pop, outsider, dark, druggy, punk and weird as anything out there (if you give Lou a little room to whine...). Everything they did through "Bubble and Scrape" is pure gold, give or take a single or two. This double disc reissue is a great place to start, with the bonus disc containing the "Gimme Indie Rock" EP and lots of demo/alternate take stuff from the "III" era. Plus, great liner notes from each band member (which will amuse with such nuggets as Gaffney wanting to quit the band and start a new group called Sebadeth at one point and storming off stage at a gig and throwing rocks at Lou...).(RK)
(Domino Records // www.dominorecordsco.us)
The Sick "Vi är sjuk" 7"
My first impression of The Sick was from a live show where they seemed like nothing more than young fans of a style that Laukaus and The Last Survivors had made popular in Japan - melodic Scandinavian hardcore. A punk waltz to start a set, lyrics in a language other than Japanese; I wondered to myself, had it really been so long ago that Laukaus began that they now have a younger set of imitators starting bands around the country in their image? It appeared so at this show.
A few weeks later, I received a copy of this 7", which I am pleased to say is much more palatable than their live performance was. Straight-forward melodic Scandinavian hardcore for fans of bands like Asta Kask and of course Laukaus or Kruw. The real standout is the title track, which begins side B and features a large sing-along chorus and a very catchy guitar hook between the verse and chorus sections. A real mix tape staple for years to come. It's not that the rest of the record is shit, it's just that none of it is as good as this one song, which brings me down a bit. But, like most Japanese bands, even if you don't think they're perfect, they tend to be far more proficient than anybody else playing their chosen style, even if it means they have to sing in another language and beat on a broken snare drum for a more authentic sound. (JC)
(Brutal Chaos Records // Chaosnippon-at-hotmail.com)
Sneaky Pinks “Loner with a Boner” b/w “We’re the Punkles” cassette single
This two-song cassingle was sold on tour by these musical visionaries. The first song pays homage to the godfather of punk, Black Randy. A more fitting tribute could not be paid as it is actually a great song. “Loner With a Boner” is a more traditional punk song (in, uh, the Dangerhouse tradition) than the previous EP, and is probably my new favorite song of theirs. The Punkles, I was told, was the band’s stab at making a children’s cartoon for television, and the second song here, “We’re the Punkles” is the theme song. Like any good jingle, the song is a little annoying and way catchy. I like it, but if my 3 year old nephew started singing it non-stop it might get to me. As an added bonus, since the band re-used tapes, I am treated to Fiona’s duet with Kip Winger on the b-side. I don’t just like this thing, I like-like it.(DH)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/sneakypinks)
Spitzz "Touche Pussycats" LP
Twelve inches worth of action-punk rawk from the Boston area. Kinda street-punky, I see this appealing to the TKO recs crowd and US Bombs fans. Had some high hopes early on for a tune called "I, Meat", but was left in the lurch. I think these dudes were in Showcase Showdown, but I'm not quite sure that's a good selling point. While listening to this record I finished both the Cryptoquip and Word Jumble and almost got through the crossword before I had to throw in the towel and yell "No Mas!" Roberto Duran-style halfway through the B-Side. One can only take so much. I want to think that the "P.S. your a homo"(sic) comment on the one-sheet was directed at me personally, but that's just me thinking the world revolves around TB again...(RK)
(Tario Records // www.spitzz.com)
The Stoics "Stoic Romance" 7"
I was a big fan of The Last Survivors, so hearing that their members had a new band, I was eagerly looking forward to this 7". It starts off much more mid-paced than The Last Survivors ever were, but that harms it in no way whatsoever. The first track is a real concerted effort to bring more of a rock & roll sound to classic Japanese hard punk like The Stalin and LSD. Flip the record over and it sounds like Masturbation grew up listening to The Devil Dogs or something. It's hard to pinpoint specific influences for the sound because it feels like The Stoics pulled from all their favorite parts of punk to make a one of those records where everything sounds just right. Right up until the end of the B side everything is overwhelmingly listenable and enjoyable. Highly recommended for fans of any kind of punk! (JC)
(Statement Records // statement_records-at-hotmail.com)
The Strate Coats "The Savage Young Greg Ashley" EP
Believe it or not, before Greg Ashley became a renowned modern day psychedelic troubador, he was actually slugging it out in the late-Nineties Texas-garage-punk farm system with a couple of other teenagers in a band called The Strate Coats. According to the Mike Lucas penned liners and some internet research, these 1998 recordings could have been released back in the day on the Repent Records label, and they certainly fit in with coulda-been labelmates like Loli and the Chones, Count Backwurds, and fellow Texans the Distractors among others. Eight songs in under fifteen minutes, including a "Bummer Bitch" cover, all in the budget/Rip Off rock vein. Not quite as good as The Motards, but probably able to hold their own against a Young Losers or Cryin' Out Louds if necessary, due to some surprisingly deft guitar playing from a young Ashley and an energetic amount of punk-snot. Very likable. (RK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)
Sudden Walks demo
Considering the size of New York City and the counties surrounding it in upstate NY, Long Island, NJ, and CT it's remarkable that there are so few bands playing out. One could hope to see a different group every night without a repeat, but the reality it much more cyclical (this phenomena is not exclusive to any one type of music/scene). Sudden Walks give hope that there are plenty of bands living in the margins, as exciting as the bands that we see only without the contacts or reputation to get put on shows. With their second demo, the ‘Walks are beginning to hit their stride, as this 4-song CD exhibits. This is a guitar-at-eleven distorto-fuzz punk rager (a little Fun Things, a little Reagan Youth, so on...) and makes for an impressive demonstration. "My Nerves Are Fucking Shot" is my favorite here. It's got some great cymbal bashing, a perfect bad solo (my favorite kind), and some good riffage. It'll be exciting to watch these folks grow as a band and get some shows under their wings.(DH)
(self-released // ???)
Surfin' Matadors "Naughty Girl!" 7"
Traditional Sixties garage punk from France. "Naughty Girl!" has some nice harp playin'. The B-Side is a surfed-up sounding Violent Femmes cover. The whole single is suitably fuzzed-out and farfisa laden, so if this is your bag you could do a lot worse. Scums stats: I got a copy that's #ed out of 71 copies, but I'm assuming it's just a sleeve variant. I'd imagine in the 300 or 500 copies total range.(RK)
(Unrecording Records // www.unrecordingrecords.com)
Turpentine Brothers "Get Your Mind Off Me" 7"
Two songs on 45 from Turpentine Bros. (two fellas and one of the Mr. Airplane Man dames), and they're both actually not bad. I thought their full length on Alive! was a total snoozer, but they fire off two barrels of speed-limit exceeding garage rock here. This record actually reminded me a bit of Cococoma, just not quite as good or exciting. It also reminded me of the Ghetto Ways, but better and more exciting. The organ is buried on the mix just enough to make it sound good and the sweaty and furious pace of the songs combines with the just rough enough recording to elevate this to "good" status. Like, good enough to get filed in the main collection, but not great enough to stay in the "heavy rotation" stack next to the record player for longer than a day or two. If you liked their CD at all, you should love this. Scums stats: 500 on black, 100 on some other color, thick cardboard sleeves and vinyl.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)
U-Turns "The Death of Garage Rock" EP
I don't spend as much time buying/listening to Norton Records as I would like. Another case of too little time, too many records, and I always figure I can go back and catch up on their stuff when I need to. If you're like me in that respect, you need to take the time to pick this one up along with the Figures of Light seven-inch for a virulent dose of primitive shit music in all it's glory. These four U-Turns covers (Stones, Love, Kinks, Beatles), unissued home recordings from some 1967 (pre-?)teens, are awful in all the best ways: incompetent, barely recognizable at times, murkily recorded, totally trashy and inspired in some crazy way. Likeable for the same reasons The Silver, The Shaggs and Jumpin' Beans are. Their "Get Off My Cloud" has my head still ringing as I type this. Pretty far out, and one of those you-gotta-hear-it-to-believe-it things. For experienced listeners only.(RK)
(Norton Records // www.nortonrecords.com)
V/A Angry Angles/Digital Leather split 7"
One song apiece from each band on this tour single (and as a side note, I think the idea of pressing tour singles up to sell on the road is a great idea I wish more bands utilized, and is also one of the only good reasons to use the split single format). It's a bit brief, sure, but both bands contribute worthwhile cuts. The Angles cut ("In My Room") is perhaps their more traditional rock-sounding efforts, driven by a great bass/drum creep and accented with some claustrophobic guitar squeal on the chorus. Nice vox from Alix too. This band continues to up the ante with every release. The DL side is even more intriguing, a very Eno-sounding effort, moody but not as dark as some of his other material, with some disconnected talked-out vox and live (sounding at least) drums. Two tracks you really need to have if you like either of these bands, not just some throaway songs, if that's what you were suspecting. Well done. Scums stats: first press was 100 on red and 500 on black.(RK)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.net)
V/A DC Snipers/Tampoffs split 7"
Both bands contribute two songs on this split, with the DC Snipers side being far superior. "(Baby) Don't You Be So Violent" could very well be their best, a real Seventies-sounding guitar rock killer. Very contagious and a little bit sleazy. "Dirtbag" continues in the same vein, this song would definitely have a moustache and continually be asking you if you have any rolling papers if it came to life. Tampoffs side isn't as bad as I remember them being at the Blackout this year, but both examples of their fast and funny approach to punk found here sound fairly ordinary. This thing is worth the price of admission for the DC Snipers side and artwork though. Scum stats: 400 on black, 100 on pink.(RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)
V/A Die Rotzz/Carbonas split 7"
Die Rotzz, a band who always seem to be on the brink of being really good, stay the course on their side of this split and contribute two so-so cuts of their dirty "Tugboat-punk" (I didn't come up with that term, by the way) that are fun enough to listen to a couple times, but won't really have you flipping this over from The Carbonas side too much. 'Bonas give us two: their carbon copy of the Gyro...excuse me...Zero Boys' "Stoned to Death", which is remarkable for how honestly dead-on they nail it. It's uncanny. The hot original here is "Satisfy Me" which you might recognize from live sets previous. It's upper deck material all the way, especially dig how Greg drags out the refrain ("Sa-a-a-a-Tis-is-is-is-Fy-eye-eye-eye-Me-e-e-e") and Josh tosses off hot guitar licks as nonchalantly as someone flicking a cigarrete butt or some shit. Great band, great tune. Scum stats: no pressing info as of press time, but supposedly there are two different sleeves, one a limited Slaughterfest variant and an "official" sleeve to come. (RK)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)
V/A Giant Haystacks/Armedalite Rifles split 7"
Two from Haystacks, who sound like a lesser Au Pairs minus Lesley Wood on the first cut, and Gang of Funk on the second. Meh. Rifles go for more workman-like Uk punk sound, sort of Chelsea-ish, with sing-a-long choruses and garage leanings. Better than the Haystacks cuts, but the singer is patience-testing. Double meh. (RK)
(FDH Records // ???)
V/A "Gonerfest 2: Electric Goneroo" CD+DVD
I'd like to personally thanks Eric for throwing one of these in with my last Goner order, as it's a really stunning package. I'm not such a huge fan of comps, live records, or videos, but this thing is so well done I'm nearly speechless. Featuring something from every band that played Gonerfest, this thing pretty much has me sold on going next year to be a part of what looks like an absolutely amazing event on par with any Blackout I've attended. First, the CD has amazing live sound, and is twenty-seven tracks deep, with lots to talk about. Highlights: Carbonas doing a Hubble Bubble cover, Jeff Evans and Ross Johnson serving up a heavyweight "Chantilly Rock", a surprisingly good power-poop number from Porch Honkees, great stuff from Lamps, Reatards, Angry Angles, Digital Leather (who I am now really pissed that I had to miss when they were on tour), Cococoma, Tokyo Electron, and even more. Even The Limes sound good on this thing. The DVD stuff is nuts too. Really well put together, with crowd comments, a few different camera angles, seamless editing, just really surprising how high quality it is. See Jay Reatard go nuts, not one but two knockout Carbonas tunes, great stuff from the Digital Leather/Tokyo Electron/Angry Angles axis, and my absolute favorite, a two-song bender from the Final Solutions of "This is Memphis Underground" and "I'm A Punk" that I watched about seven times in a row. I'd pay good money just for their entire set. Anyway, this is well worth the paltry $15 or whatever they're charging, just for the seventy-minute DVD portion. The CD is gravy.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
V/A Gun Grazy/Teen Cool split 7"
Two Texas bands, two songs per. Gun Crazy are run-of-the-mill sounding hard-guitar rawk produced by friend of ours Mariconda. The Teen Cool side is actually pretty good. A now defunct band featuring members of Texas B-listers such as The Ends, Ritchie Whites, Secret Lovers and more of the Mortville Records roster (and I don't mean that in such a bad way, I actually liked the Ritchie Whites and Secret Lovers' singles), they do two tracks of well played and structured raucous anthemic punk that you just might want to listen to a few times. The singer (whom I believe I've heard in some of the previously mentioned bands) kinda makes the songs here, as his emotive style fits the material really well. That being said, I can't really recommend buying it, although the Teen Cool side was not an unpleasant experience. (RK)
(Cutthroat Records // Cutthroatrecords-at-gmail.com)
V/A Ladies Night/No Feeling split 7"
Is it just me, or is the split single trying to make a comeback? Hate the format, really hate it. This one features two Vancouver bands. Firstly, I've had good yet brief experiences with Ladies Night in the past on the Zine:White and that 4-way split where they and Vancougar were the only good bands. So, I was pretty stoked to listen to their tune on this called "Nazi Tomb", and while it's OK in a Pussy Galore w/reverbed-out vox kinda way, I think they needed to come to the table with something better to go with a song title like that. Still, these dudes have moxie, and I'm looking out for future records. No Feeling, who I have no previous relationship with, come out reminding me of a Canadian Black Time, maybe a bit more fuzzed out. I dig them OK too, liked the girl-guy vox a lot on the first tune. This one gives you a nice little taste of each band, but not enough of either, which is my main gripe with the split single format anyway. Scum stats: 500 press, 100 on grey/marble vinyl, cool women in prison sleeve.(RK)
(Seeing Eye Records // www.seeingeyerecords.com)
V/A Live Fast Die/VCR split 7"
LFD get stupid with "Bang Its War" and "Lovedogs in Space" (which I don't think really has anything to do with the Australian punk film with kind-of-the-same name, but that's what it reminded me of...) on the A-Side, further cementing their reputation as one the most ridiculous bands in sport. Doesn't sound as great as the LP, but worth a couple spins and a couple laughs. The real attraction on this slab is the debut of Jersey teenagers VCR (Vice City Rockers), who throw down two good 'uns. "Christmas Calculator" is probably designated to be the hit, but repeated listenings have pushed "Goodbye Fun" into my top slot. Oh yeah, what they sound like...kind of like a lower-fi and more pop-oriented Black Lips, sloppy around the edges and nearly out of tune but somehow able to make it sound right. Word has it these kids are sixteen or seventeen, and that only makes it nicer. Scum stats: 500 on black vinyl, 100 on blue vinyl.(RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)
V/A The Nons/Live Girls split 7”
Continuing with the recent trend of Vancouver bands getting vinyl releases, comes this split single featuring two bands from this city’s burgeoning art/noise/punk scene, which seems to be getting a bit of outside attention (hi, DJ Rick!), and serves as the debut for both groups. The Nons are made up mostly of current and ex-members of the Riff Randells, but sound nothing like that band. Live, they are three super serious looking people that seem to go out of their way to be emotionless, with the sole exception of pint sized singer, Sadie, who does her best 80s cheerleader gone bad impression, dancing all over the place. For a while that on stage dichotomy made them my favourite local band to see, but they’ve been playing the same set for over a year now, so lots of the charm has been lost. Regardless, their side of this record is great. “Operators” has this creepy, Middle Eastern influenced guitar bit throughout it (courtesy of Justin who also plays in Mutators and knows how to wrangle some noise out of his instrument), which fits well with Sadie’s deadpan vocal delivery. Fans of “Kill Yr Idols” era Sonic Youth will likely dig. Even better is “Not Dangerous” a modern day mixtape staple if I’ve ever heard one, that reminds me of a female-fronted Germs. The prominent bass line is ridiculously simple, as is every other aspect of the song, but the execution on this track is flawless. The flip features Live Girls, who I don’t know much about, other than Jesse from Channels 3+4 is in the band. They seem to have a serious grunge infatuation going, from the fuzzed out, sludgy riffs right down to the Cobain-isms on the vocals, which usually isn’t a recipe for success to these ears, but the sheer viciousness of the delivery (which at times reminds me of Pissed Jeans) on both of these songs keeps me coming back for more. A pretty cool split, worth it alone just to hear “Not Dangerous”. (JG)
(Grotesque Modern // cassetteordie-at-hotmail.com)
V/A King Cole Younger/Bradford Cox split 10"
Somewhere between "here are three chords, now form a band" and "it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it" was an equally important lesson: "fuck studios, record it yourself." The 4-track bedroom studio revolution was perhaps the most proletariat step of them all. With the means to record instantly accessible there's no need for an engineer, studio, or even band members or songs. Artists were freed to experiment and discover new approaches that they may have previously never considered possible. This was an important innovation.
This split record pairing Bradford Cox and Cole Alexander is an exercise in home recording at its finest. Few of the songs on this record could exist within the confines of a traditional band, or, at least, they'd likely be radically different if they did. The opening one-two on Cox's side are mellow and understated gems. His acoustic strumming and minimal percussion are complemented with lush vocal melodies. Others have mined the same territory (Pavement, for instance) and it is done here as well as any. The following two tracks play more with feedback and distortion, making for a challenging yet rewarding listen.
Cole begins with "In My Mind," a punk popper with Urinals-level instrumentation and a top ten solo. From there the songs are more experimental, and play with the medium and process of recording. "Fry Fry Fry" and "Garden of Eden" are built with layers of instrumentation and noise, and "drone" on beautifully. The album ends on a more upbeat level with "I Drunk it Down," a foot stomping anthem for stoop drunks and "(Ode to Half Moon Rising)" which is closer to what one would expect from Cole given his other bands. Listening to this album for the past few weeks, it has become one of my recent favorites, and a brilliant example of home recorded genius.(DH)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
The Vaticans "Digital World" 7"
Second single from Shane White's current band, and goddamn, it puts a smile on my face to know there are still singles being pressed on the Pure Filth imprint. The Vaticans are two girls, one on vox one on guitar, with Shane on bass and another bald guy on drums. They play two White-penned numbers on this, with the A-Side being more of a Mod-sounding cool rocker. The flip side of "Little Jimmy" is a Northern Soul-ish dance floor shaker, with a nice drum/bass break towards the end. I find this one a little more memorable than the first, but the sleeve isn't as neat. Now, about that Fingers compilation LP...(RK)
(Pure Filth // www.midheaven.com)
Vilent Lover's Club "N.B.S.N.C." 12"
Odie from Baseball Furies' solo-outing, with an all star band: Wild Mid Wes (Clone Defects/Red Orchestra/Luxury Rides) on guitar, Jeremy from Busy Signals/Carbonas on bass and Christian Mistereater on drums. Six-song 12" at 45 rpm, showcasing Odie doing some mean streets down-tempo guitar rock, and he really throws his balls on the chopping block with this one. Those expecting Furies style rocking will walk away disappointed; this is Thunders-esque junkie-balladeering with maybe a little bit of sleazy Bolan-glam sprinkled on. The guy can do this kind of material well, and he certainly hams it up a bit, with his slurring and sneering vox fitting the music perfectly; and the music itself has a nice quiet dynamic that maintains a hardened edge, with Wes providing electric contrast to Odie's acoustic. It never sounds 'soft', even when it's just Odie and his guitar doing "A Ballad for Bitches". I guess the story here is in the lyrics, seemingly built of non sequiturs and random words at times, that leave you struggling to keep up. It's hard to ignore, especially when the vox are so prominent and are being spat out and enunciated so oddly at times you have to pay attention. Not that it really matters, but decipher this: "Split my little lover split/split my halo/lover dine, I won't speak/she took my halo/set off hail a/lover bound to split/set on on/we throw down for keeps/said, I'd buy a million buys for lose/let it out - lets not save/what is found at wedding's wakes then done..." Depending on which way you look at it, it's either exemplary beat poetry or just ridiculous rambling. I guess it gives the tunes a certain something, a cryptic quality...you get the whole bad-luck/bad-women/lousy-world vibe sure enough, but the whole thing sounds a bit cold, too cool and aloof. If you can handle the vox and lyrics, the songs are actually pretty good, and fairly different from a lot of stuff out there.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)
Vilently Ill "Where is the Next Wave?" EP
Vilently Ill is one man named Andrew Lersten from Michigan, who arms himself with a drum machine, guitar and a mic and proceeds rock it tough (using his own words). Think smash-n-crash programmed drums smothered in some heavy duty riffage with some nutzo loner dude spitting out mostly hilarious lyrics and you have this record. 13 songs on seven inches, but a good portion of these tunes actually kill! "Three Chord Brain", "It's All Top 40 To Me", "Lame Ass Pop Punk Shit", "Where is the Next Wave?", this dude has something to say, and I'm fucking listening. Take "Turn It Up": "I'm all messed up/plug in my axe/turn it up/start kicking ass/stay louder faster/three chord cloud/stay concentrated/rock the crowd". Short, simple, stupid-smart-funny, and the tune actually shreds! Really, this isn't some unlistenable Mr. California stuff (which was what I was fearing when I saw what label this was on..), but real songs, real rocking, and some genuinely hilarious moments. This dude is doing a better job by himself than some other "funny" joke bands out there are doing with three or four members. Apparently he's released a previous LP and maybe more, which I'll have an eye out for. File under: demi-metal bedroom rock, this thing is solid entertainment for at least a month or so. Scum stats: 300 on orange vinyl, with great foldout lyric sheet/insert.(RK)
(Peer Pressure Zombie // 5 Roberts Pl., Reading, MA 02136)
Vulcan "Meet Your Ghost" LP
First, this is not a new reissue, ia reissue from 1985. Recorded in 1978, released in a tiny number in 1982 and then this issue in 1985. Or, maybe it is a new boot. Whatever it is, Forced Exposure has it in their catalog in recent updates and you should buy this. In 1978 Lyle Steece aka Vulcan recorded a monster psychedelic punk record in Iowa. It’s dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, it sounds NOTHING like Jimi Hendrix. He was probably aiming for Hendrix, but luckily for us, landed somewhere far away. No disrespect to Mr. Hendrix, it’s just he’s had enough copycats. No, Vulcan belongs in the same outta-nowhere psychedelic basement rock of Debris, George Brigman, Twinkeyz (if they were more into Hawkwind and Sabbath instead of early Floyd) and the more “rock” oriented Chrome tracks from “Half Machine Lip Moves”.
Every track has the most blown-out fuzz guitar you can imagine, overdriven bass and manic vocals. It seems that Steece played all the instruments himself, either that or the other musicians are uncredited, somewhat typical of this music for some reason. I dunno how many of these are left but it’s pretty affordable. If you’re into any of the above bands, get the fucker. If you hate it you can sell it for probably more dough than you paid in a year or two.(MS)
(13 Records // available via www.ForcedExposure.com)
The Witch "Lazy Bones!!" LP
I've seen ads that lazily compare this record,
originally released in Zamibia in 1975, to other
contemporary African acts like Blo, which is an
injustice in a way. There's nothing wrong with the Blo
reissue (also on Shadoks), in fact, it's quite good.
But Blo is an Afro-funk band that have a slight rock
leaning. The Witch were a stripped down
inspiration-over-ability psychedelic rock n' roll
band. And a good one, at that! They have more in
common with early Love than any funk record, in fact
the lead vocalist, at times, does recall Arthur Lee in
sound and lyrics (all in English).
The arrangements are basic and inspired, with great
non-indulgent lead guitar parts played over a solid
rhythm section. The limited resources of recording
equipment are an unforeseen positive quality of this
record that would probably "make it" for TB readers.
The standout track for me "Strange Dream" reveals a
certain underlying "African-ness" to it, not in an
obvious way, i.e. African instruments or lyrics, but
in the arrangement and feel. It feels outside the
western rock n' roll canon, but certainly played and
probably written to fit within that. A pretty
extraordinary track that shits in the face of rock
acts, like Santana, trying to sound "African" by using
congas. Fuck you. This is an above-par psychedelic
reissue that could also appeal to fans of "oustider"
rock and roll.
If you're unfamiliar with the Shadoks label, then a
few words of warning are in order. Shadoks LP reissues
are outrageously expensive. The CHEAPEST you will find
this reissue is for $40.00. And on top of that, it's
limited to 450 copies, adding to the "get it before
it's gone" paranoia-inducing mentality is the fact
that many Shadoks reissues gain value once they go OOP
VERY fast. Now, that being said, an original of this
is impossible to find and Shadoks have the best
possible sound quality and packaging. If the mere
mention of "CD" doesn't leave a bad taste in your
mouth, it will probably be available for about $17.00
in that format once the vinyl runs it's course.(MS)
(Shadoks // try Fusetron or Forced Exposure or Aquarius)
The Wrists "Freak of Natures" EP
Finally, The Wrists on vinyl. A cherry-pick of their best stuff from the CD-Rs you hopefully already know and love, but if not, it's total basement-synth damage with dual bass action living the lo-fi dream. The songs sound pretty much untouched from the versions on the 'demos' or whatever you want to call them, and it's ok with me. "Livin' in the Eyeball" should be on everyone's Best-of-2006 mixtape and the other three cuts are right behind it. Nasty, rumbling and rabid stuff that never slips into any sort of slick, retro-sounding sinkhole that derails most synth-punk shit from sounding truly dirty, this record is lean and mean enough to carve a hole in your head and stay there. You'll never even notice there are no guitars on this. In the running for Top Ten of the year shits, for sure. Scum stats: 200 on black, 100 on white? Something like that, handstamped with three different inserts as well.(RK)
(Die Stasi // www.myspace.com/diestasi)
SOLID SEX LOVIE DOLL ROUND-UP:
It's that special time of year again! This time around Mr. Z has out done himself with eight new releases, with at least six being bonafide gems. Freddy seems to have caved in to the anti-collector-scum lobbyists however, as this batch contains 500 of each record (give or take a few) with only two sleeve variations for each, assuring the johnny-come-latelys and lazy buyers a chance at copies of these babies. Personally, I say fuck 'em. If you can't get in on the ground level and stay on top of this shit, then cry your way over to eBay. But I guess it's better that more people get to hear these, than to let dickheads like me hoard all the copies. Boo hoo.
Bassholes "Jack at Night" b/w "New Rose"
Perhaps the best record of the batch, American treasure Don Howland gives us two songs that are as good as anything he's done. "Jack at Night" sounds like "Gimme Shelter" twisted up and spit out again, a hammering piece of haunting roots-garage. And yes, the flip is a Damned cover, and there are few who do covers as well as Howland (see his take on "Raw Power" or "The Hokey Pokey" if you don't believe me...) As usual, he makes this one his own, reshaping the original to suit his own needs. If it weren't for the lyrics you'd have a hard time figuring out it was "New Rose". Recorded live at the Beachland in Cleveland, with Bim on drums and Buddy Akita adding leads. Double Personality Edition (258 copies) and Quiet Distortion Edition (with insert)(257 copies), both of which look good. (RK)
Candy Apple Killings "Leather for Liquor" b/w "Somersault" 7"
You can't set your hopes too high when the people in the band are known more for being great photographers (Canderson) and editors of once-great magazines (Todd Killings) than they are for their musical prowess. And even though Miss Alex White is along for the trip playing Meg White-style drums and singing, I guess you shouldn't expect much. Sounds like it was a lot more enjoyable to make than it is to listen to, as I imagine it was just a for-kicks side-project for those involved, but hey, at these prices you can't afford to take chances. For completists only. The A-Side is the more interesting of the two, mainly due to a weird moaning sound the guitars are making. The B-Side...notso interesting. They're no Haircuts, let me tell ya. Two versions, one black and unstamped with insert and one white with stamp. 282 of one, 227 of the other. They both look OK.(RK)
CPC Gangbangs "Mechanical Man' b/w "Drivin' Me To Habit"
More of the cream from this crop. CPC Gangbangs haven't made a bad record in my book, and they are my favorite band from the Montreal area right now coming off the spectacular "Teenage Crimewave" EP. "Mechanical Man" is song they've had in the bag for a while, as I've heard them whip this one out live a couple of times. Sort of a heavy meth-punk rewrite of "Iron Man", a tale about a robotic man's existence ("Pussies of steel and hearts of chrome..."!), it stews for the verses and erupts into "Fuck You!"'s on the chorus and even includes a little bit of roboto backing-vox. The flip side is a rocker about a bad girl, and is both dirty and catchy. Recording sounds suitably nasty, and if their upcoming LP is full of stuff that sounds and kills like their singles, my head will probably explode. Vice Girl Edition and Groove-and-Tongue Joint Edition (with insert), with the edge going to the sultry Vice Girl Ed. 262 copies of each.(RK)
Haunted George "Shotgun in My Mouth" +3 7"
A quadruple helping of more HG creepy crawl, with the title/first cut bringing the dysfunction pretty heavily. Creaky and croaky, it's followed with "The Lone Wolf Club", a nice and less weirded-out sounding rock-ish cut. The darkly humorous story-telling of "What Kinda Tracks Are Those?" leads off the flip, and it's backed-up by "Electro Raga Death Machine" a neat looped-out collage that sounds like evil energy on wax or maybe just something from the Phantasm soundtrack. The first tracks on each side are available on the 'Bone Hauler' CD, the other two are unavailable elsewhere. If you dig this guy so far, this is more of the same weird-western stuff. Black Man Draft edition (with insert)(257 copies) and No Name edition (258 copies, unstamped it appears?). Hmmm.(RK)
Lamps "Fred Astaire" +2 7"
The Lamps contribute another winner to this batch, starting with the double-quarter-pounder that is "Fred Astaire", a real blown-out style A-Frames-like interloper, with some slidey axe-shun and vocals that get choked out by the din. A real beast. "Bile" starts off the flip with some buzzbomb guitar and more distant vox. I can picture the amps smoking as I listen to this. "Rock Hard Pt.II" might be my fave though, it kinda sounds like frat rock as played by a trio of humpbacked lab assistants named Igor. Electrofized and dripping with unleashed energy. Definitely in the top three for this group of SSLDs. Memphis Street Lamps Edition (preferred) (257 copies) and Tangle Tape Edition (256 copies).(RK)
Dan Melchior "Span of Attention" b/w "To The River" 7"
If anyone hates the garage "tag" or genre more than Ben Wallers, it's Dan Melchior. His disdain for the "scene"/categorization seems even more vitriolic than Ben's at times, and I can't really blame him. "Span..." is minimal rock, perhaps a little post-punky, that works out well. A lot of his stuff reminds me of Subway Sect/Vic Godard. The flip is a dandy country-folk number with great lyrics and some tape effects entering towards the end. As usual, a very solid and steady offering from DM, who would hate this review were he to read it, I'm sure. And in all reality, this sounds little like "garage rock". The inserts/sleeves with these are the best of the bunch, both with artwork by Dan himself. The Smoking Face Edition contains an insert with a rant from the artist, spieling about the futility of today's 'popular rock scene'. Very entertaining and scarily truthful. The Screaming Face Edition has an insert with pics of Dan's wife and Mr. Z's girlfriend (who are dead ringers for each other) with the caption "What's the Deal?". Funny enough, but the real entertainment comes from Dan's rant on the sleeve which he dedicates to "all the locals" (by which I'm assuming he means NYC) and in which he berates the local noise scene and the 'panda eyed jabba godfather' who trades in "B-52s impersonators" and "post-music". I have no idea what he's going on about exactly, but he's so pissed and displeased you have to like it. 254 of each edition.(RK)
This Damn Town "Victim" +3 7"
Yet another great release in this group. This Damn Town are Alex Cuervo's newer project (they've released a single and a half so far I beleive) with other members from Riverboat Gamblers, Jewws, Gospel Swingers and a dozen other Tex-bands, and this is the best stuff I've heard from them. Really well crafted and adept garage-psych with a moody and somewhat dark desert-edge. All four songs are worth hearing, but "Ghost Train" is my fave, probably due to my predeliction for harp playing. Cuervo's vocals are deep and evocative, and with the band bring to mind what Danzig might have done were he obsessed with Roky and Peckinpah instead of Marilyn and Romero. Chains of Heaven Edition (250 copies) and Cursed Town Edition (249 copies), both of which look good.(RK)
Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves "Running in a Rat Race" +3
Another for completists only entry in this batch. Other than "Chokin' On A 'Lude", the whole Johnny Vomit thing seems like a better idea on paper than in action. The records are amusing once or twice and pretty much filed and forgotten (at least for me), and I think they are more or less coveted for the Jack O affiliation than anything else. This one here was actually scheduled to be SSLD08 years ago just now seeing the light of day. Recordings from 1984 before Jack was an Oblivian (or a Compulsive Gambler) and before Bart Barf was a Squirrel Nut Zipper. Badly played and badly recorded, "..Rat Race" almost succeeds but is undermined by severe ineptitude, "London's Bridge..." actually sounds like a decent pisstake on UK punk, "She's A Punk Rocker But She Goes Out With Dicks" falls victim to the 'title-is-the-best-thing-about-the-song' pitfall, and "Little Drummer Boy" is forgettable at best. For those who need everything Jack Yarber related and dorks who need to keep their SSLD discography complete. Psych Synth Punk Edition (which is kinda nice in its simplicity)(272 copies) and Bad & Drunk Edition with actual picture (221 copies). (RK)
RAVE-UP RECORDS ROUND-UP:
Jim Basnight and The Moberlys "Pop Pleasure" LP
Most notable to KBD-douchebags for probably his only punk song, "She Got Fucked", a B-Side which made an appearance on Hyped to Death #5 (and which isn't on this LP, haha), Basnight has been operating in the Seattle area since the early Seventies tossing off happy power-pop tunes like there's no tomorrow. This LP compiles 18 tracks from the Seventies through the Mid-Eighties, from various sessions that made him a coulda-been-a-contender, always one step away from that elusive big record deal. A lot of stuff reminiscent of The Beat and Plimsouls or a Yankee Elvis Costello, sharp songs from a couple of his singles ("Live in the Sun", the truly great "Sexteen" and "I Wanna Be Yours") and plenty more with Basnight being the only constant with an ever-changing band of Moberlys. Well written and proficiently played stuff aimed at the Top 40 that is plenty sweet. Really extensive liners documenting the early years (a story which includes cameos from Tomata DuPlenty, Penelope Houston, El Duce and more...) through his various unsuccessful bids at a major label success and forays into the NYC scene. Pretty entertaining, all top notch tracks, no live filler. (RK)
The Ejectors "Hydrohead" LP
Where you know them from: Bloodstains Across Texas, on which the title cut appears. This track and it's B-Side ("Little Johnny") were released on the legendary Texas VVV label in 1981, and are polar opposites (psychotic punk on the A, pop-punk on the B), and made up their only really "official" release. They also popped up on the "Live at the Hot Klub" LP and the "Sacred Cattle" compilation EP. Aside fron the 7" cuts, the other ten tracks are vintage stuff from '78-'82, much of which was supposed to be for their unreleased LP. It's surprisingly good for the most part, more or less a competent punk band feeling their way around the early pre-hardcore punk scene, stabbing at Ramones-y bop ("Napalm Hop/Slam Dance") and Damned-like chaos ("It's Not the Way") with the always strange Texas-punk influence rearing it's head every so often ("George Jetson", "The Unknown"). A nice addition to the Texas-punk archives. Good liner notes/pics, no live filler, 7" tracks sound great, the rest suffer slightly from bad source material (a trashed copy of the master tape which was restored), but very acceptable quality overall. Recommended. (RK)
The Hollywood Squares "Hillside Strangler! (Restrangled)" LP
Where you know them from: they did the second best song called "Hillside Strangler" on KBD #1 and the "Feel Lucky Punk" compilation. That song and the B-Side from its single ("Hollywood Square") are the cornerstones here and are definite A+ classic material. The A-Side compiles those two cuts, plus three more studio numbers: a Jam cover and two songs that sound more classic rock than anything nearing punk territory. The B-Side tacks on four tracks recorded live at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in 1978: "...Strangler", a punky original ("Destruction"), and covers of "Hey Joe" and "Street Fighting Man". Brief liner notes tell the short story of a band that hit the wall after recording one great punk single.(RK)
Rubinoos "Hurts Too Much" LP
Sixteen tracks of super-slick Beach Boys/Beatles-like power-pop from The Rubinoos, material for what was supposed to have been their third album that never materialized after two LPs on Beserkley. Great sound for "demos", and more than a few catchy numbers here, and plenty of stuff that will appeal to fans of either of their first two LPs. Brief liners, all studio tracks with no live filler.(RK)
63 Monroe "Hijack Victim" LP
Where you know them from: "Hijack Victim" appears on KBD #10. These London (Ontario, Canada, not the UK) punks released a 12" as NFG in 1980 which is considered by some to be one of the better Canadian punk records. They continued banging it out through the Eighties, releasing a couple more singles and an LP, dipping into more proto-metal territory and LA-styled glam-punk, and never really achieving the traces of true punkitude found on that first release. 14 tracks here documenting the 1980-1985 versions of the band from three different recording sessions, no live filler, brief liner notes. (RK)
Tot Rocket and the Twins "Televison Rules" LP
Where you know then from: "One More Eviction" appeared on Back to Front #4 (and a couple H2D appearances). Connecticut punks who relocated to the greener grasses of NYC and actually did fairly well (three singles, one on the Whiplash label) instead of being swallowed whole and dispappearing like may other punk hopefuls. Probably the most solid release of the Rave Up records reviewed here, it's basically a compilation of those three singles, with two unreleased tracks at the end from a live televison appearance which sound pretty good. Really catchy NYC punk with a very palatable UK punk influence from 1980-1981, twelve tracks total. Short liner notes that don't mention that Robert Poss later went on to form Band of Susans(!), but do make mention of the fact that they hired an electronic composer to remix their material for an LP in 1984, which sounds like a really bad idea. This record does just fine by itself.(RK)
Some other shit that's out that we haven't had a chance to review yet: Shop Fronts LP/CD on Rip Off...two more Ghetto Ways singles from the Wicked Singles Series (co-releases with Savage and Alien Snatch Recs.)...reissues of both Thought Criminals seven-inchers...Hank IV LP (with CD included)...another Black Sunday single (Misprint Recs)...a new Top Ten single (Classic Bar)...Kidnappers CD reissue of their first album (Aline Snatch!)...Jack O & The Tearjerkers "Flipside Kid" CD only (SFTRI)...Black Time "Fever" 7" (Trakmarx)...a gazillion Fucked Up records...Black & Whites cassingle (Hiss Lab)...Movie Star Junkies 7" (A Fistful of Recs)...Turpentine Bros./Cococoma split 7" (Medical Recs)...Defect Defect 7" (Clarence Thomas)...Feeling of Love 7" (Yakisakana)...All Night Drug Prowling Wolves 7" (Rob's House)...a new 7" from The Go (Cass)...Kazalok 12" and Snake Flower II 7" (SYA)...Makeouts "Worst Band Ever" 7" and repress of the Black Lips "Hippys" 7" (Bachelor)...Jazz Music That Kills/Quest for Fire split 7"...The Eat "Live at the Polish-American Club" LP...and a shitload more...
To read past reviews go here.
PREVIOUS PAGE HOME NEXT PAGE