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RECORD REVIEWS WINTER 2006/2007

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)

Thee Almighty Handclaps "Make You Mine" EP
From the sleeve to the band name, I figured this thing was a total turd. But I actually kinda like it. Maybe I'm getting too soft, but I'm willing to look beyond the superficial shit here and judge this thing on the tunes. Of which there are four. And three of which I really dig. Firstly, I like the instrumentation: drums, farfisa and fuzz bass. Fuck a guitar. Secondly, I really dig the recording. Real garbage quality in a good way, the fuzz-bass just sounds super blurry and bleeds right into the organ at times, yet with the vocals (girl/boy) and drums still somehow audible. Real fuzzy crap, not trebly lo-fi crackle, but loud and pretty obnoxious. Music-wise, they remind me a little of vintage Spider Babies at times, sans the misogyny, but wind up reminding me more of The Okmoniks. Both A-Side tunes work well, in particular "The Handclap Shake". Yes, It really does work. On the B-Side, they get one out of two right, with the title cut (which they rock out last for some reason) really getting the most of the recording non-quality. Simple and a little bit sloppy. Pretty damn good for garage. Bonus points given for being from Iowa. Scum stats: not sure how many, but mine was on blue vinyl with hand-stamped labels.(RK)
(self-released // theealmightyhandclaps-at-yahoo.com)

Armitage Shanks "Smash the Cistern!" EP
God, how I love the Shanks, and it's great to see that the rumors of them throwing in the towel may be a bit premature with this new release. At least I hope so, because it appears they still have something left in the tank. "Deny Me" is a classic Shanks mid-tempo clanger, somewhat bitter as usual ('cause they always get the shit-end of the stick, you know), but not letting it get the best of them. They'll still rock it out no matter what you throw at 'em. Dick's vocals are strong on this one and there's some delicious and crisp twang present on the guitar. Shifting songwriting mode to takin'-the-piss-style, they break out "Buzzcocks Mug", a name-dropping pot-shot aimed at the 'cocks themselves, crass commercialism, memorabilia collectors and coattail riders (from what I'm guessing), the sort of nudge-nudge-wink-wink joke these limeys are so good at. It's kind of sung to the tune of "The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle" as well. "Me and Yer Granny on Bongos" starts of sounding like "Shirts Off" but turns out to actually be a hilarious bit of deadpan spoken word cheekiness. Funny in that pleasant (and a bit Python-y) English way. "Chav Scum" closes, sort of a dirty boogie with Shanks in total rock-mode, tossing off another inside/Brit-centric joke I don't really get but am totally happy to guffaw along with. A splendid platter from a band I always like to think of as the Benny Hill of the UK garage rock scene. Stick around boys, please. Nice full color cardstock sleeves.(RK)
(Cock Energy // PO Box 8793, Chico, CA 95927)

Artificial Limbs CD-R
Washington trio consisting of the mind behind Leper Print, an ex-Girl, and a third member who's identity I can neither confirm nor deny. From the note accompanying this disc I am told that they are not very well-liked. I can't see why. Five song preamable to an upcoming seven-inch on the Tic Tac Totally label, a majority of this sounds like they staked out the ground between Lost Sounds and Digital Leather, angry synth-punk dynamics with screamed vox on some tracks. "Shower Curtain" is reprised from the Leper Print catatlog, and "Let's Get Inert" and "Subserviant" could be outtakes from 'Black Wave' without so much of the goth/metal edge. The last track, "Your Little Scene", then mixes things up and delivers some synthless pure-punk guitar heat. Defintely the rough ideas/mixes for a good single here. Pretty cool. (RK)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/aisforartificiallimbs)

Beat Beat Beat "Living in the Future..." LP/CD
To be honest, I had worries regarding this LP. There are few who loved their seven-inch from last year more than me (I own four copies if you need proof), but the CD-R that circulated sometime later didn't do it for me. It made me wonder if they could pull off a whole LP, or if the single just happened to be a fluke, as great as it was. After a good twenty or so listens (the first dozen or so on CD, the rest on vinyl after it finally appeared) I'm happy to know that my worrying was for naught. Beat Beat Beat have crafted a great record here, reprising two songs from the single and adding ten more, including a well-executed Fun Things cover. Their update of the Thunders/Heartbreakers sound touched with streaks of power-pop, Dead Boys, and even a little bit of classic UK-influence is done so well it becomes more than the sum of its parts. This sort of stuff can be done very wrong very easily, but BBB manage to keep things fast, well structured and hooky, avoiding the pitfalls any less-talented band with this mode of operation would certainly fall prey to. The Dave Carbona production on this is airtight with the guitars sounding spot on, drums are crisp, every thing layered just right. And speaking of guitars, I'm thinking Josh (doing double duty in The Carbonas) might be responsible for some of the hottest punk licks being spat out in this day and age. And this band's vocals, in my mind at least, are just the right combo of snot and slight hoarseness, delivered urgently and emotively without resorting to outright screaming or cornball vocal mugging/sneering. Song-wise I'm partial to "Don't Tell Me Now", "Hate Me" and "I'm A Disease", but there ain't a dud in this bunch. This thing charges out the speakers in a hurry, doesn't linger for too long, a concise effort that cements their place as contenders. These guys are creeping up on The Carbonas for the title in the ATL/Deep South Division. CD on Dirtnap, LP on Alien Snatch!(I'm guessing at 500 copies with 100 on color).(RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Chris Bell "I Am The Cosmos" LP
In case you didn't know, Chris Bell was one of the founding members of legendary Memphis band, Big Star. Along with Alex Chilton, Bell wrote some of the most classic American rock songs of the 70's, helping create the sub-genre which became known as powerpop. After Big Star's 1st record bombed, Bell quit the band but returned briefly to contribute (controversially, in some people's mind's) to their second record, "Radio City." "Back of a Car," arguably the record's best song, has Bell written all over it, yet he fails to be credited on the album. But, those who were there say he (at the very least) came up with the initial chord progression and vocal melody. The recordings on "I Am The Cosmos" definately lend creedence to this idea.
After the final split, Chilton took Big Star in a more sparse and almost experimental path for "Third/Sister Lovers" ("Holocaust" and "Kangaroo") while in '74 Bell quietly worked on some recordings which more closely adhere to the original sound of Big Star. The hooks, the crunchy guitars, the harmonies, it's almost more Big Star than Big Star. These recordings make up the bulk of this reissue, and it's pretty amazing stuff. These are radio-friendly pop songs and ballads, very much a product of their time, being performed by a severely depressed man. That's part of what makes it interesting. It's very warmth makes it all the more sad, because it's hopeful ("I Am The Cosmos") instead of destroyed (like "Holocaust.") Chilton was getting into Velvet Underground while Bell was getting (somehow) more into The Beatles. Yet there's definately a darkness here that's unavoidable.
None of these recordings (save 2 re-recorded tracks which came out on a single) were released while Chris Bell was alive. He worked at his parent's restaurant chain and toiled with recording demos in total obscurity until he wrapped his car around a telephone pole in December of '78. A Mojo article that came out a few years ago toyed with the idea that it was a suicide. I don't buy it.
I'll always remember this record as the one CD my friend Jay had in his music collection. He refused to have any CDs, but when Rykodisc (a CD only label) issued these recordings in the 90's, he had to have it. He even bought a CD player to listen to it at home. Finally these recordings are made available on vinyl. So, Jay, if you're reading this you can sell your CD player.(MS)
(4 Men With Beards // try www.forcedexposure.com)

The Birthday Party "Born Dead: The BBC Peel Sessions 1980-1981" LP
A vinyl bootleg of material otherwise available on a CD released, oh, a few years back. The performances on here are great, some of which arguably better than the studio versions. The Howard/Harvey chunk and scrape twin guitar attack is particularly good on here. An essential pick-up for Birthday Party fans that don't already have this.
The main point of this review: if the labels who put out this stuff officially bothered to make a vinyl press, Junk Yard from Hungary (yeah, right) would not have to go through the trouble. God knows Nick Cave needs the extra cash to buy more original Byzantine icons, but no, the money is going to the Hungarians (yeah, right) behind this enterprise!
I'll give the bootleggers credit, it does sound good...(MS)
(Junk Yard-Bootleg // ???)

Black and Whites "You're the Only Girl" 7"
Three songs of unabashedly nice-guy rocking from Talbot Adams, hot on the heels of his previous seven-inch (and CD-R and cassingle[!]). The title cut actually reminds me of "Suzy is a Headbanger" rewritten by the Real Kids, a really upbeat, light and upliftingly harmonious slice of good-natured pop-flavored rock. Really, the chicks must absolutely LOVE this guy. "Gonna Move All Night Long" displays some nifty and strong guitar garage moments with a honey-dipped chorus, and "Misled" (recorded with the Jenny Jeans I believe) would have to be called his "moody rocker". Honestly, this thing was a pleasure to listen to. I'd play it any time you have some ladies in the house, because I haven't heard a better tail-getting single yet this year. Scums stats: 75 copies on black and white vinyl, the rest on black. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)

Black Rose Band "Hot Box" 7"
With Katrina scattering NOLA's inhabitants, Black Rose Band has become King Louie's post-disaster outfit, with Kajun SS's members now spread across the South, The Persuaders back on the shelf and Kondor...well, I don't know what ever happened to Kondor. Or the Loose Diamonds. But I'm getting off track here. BRB are Louie's band right now, with other NOLA citizens who've stuck around including the guitar player from The Detonations (another band shattered by hurricane forces). Two cuts here, "Hot Box" on the A (a rewrite from the 10-4 Backdoor days), perhaps the finest classic rock ode to high-school smoking since Mountain's heyday. The B-Side of "Hoochie Poochie" is a humorous tale of getting pulled over while touring and finding a creative place to hide the drugs (hint: you should always have a girl in the tour van). Both songs really have a hot and sweaty Southern rock vibe with a devil-may-care 'tude, and Louie really elevates the material to upper deck status. The inclusion of lyrics on the back sleeve is a definite bonus. A must have for any Harahan Fats fan. Scum stats: 500 on black vinyl.(RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)

Black Time "Fever" EP
The rarest Black Time record yet (unless you're counting the metal-sleeved version of the "New Vague Themes" 12" or some other crazy P-Trash variant), and also their least essential. Four cuts: the title track, which is a standard BT shambler; a "version" of the title cut, sort of a dubby remix with some drum machine added, which they pull off well and is the best thing here; plus two sort of throw-away B-Side type things that you probably won't remember in the morning. They strayed from the nearly concept-record style of recent EPs and it turns things into a far less moving affair, excepting the dub version gimmick. Only hardcore fans need this, and even then I'd think twice about paying out the wang for it. Lemmy Christgau sez C-minus. Scum stats: 250 copies, UK import, black vinyl, meet-the-band style insert, Caution ramblings on both the rear sleeve and insert. Plus, the labels on mine are reversed, not sure if all copies are the same.(RK)
(Trakmarx // www.trakmarx.com)

Los Blankitos "You Make Me Drool" EP
Well all right. Retarded cover art of mutant-potato-squid monster being attacked by stealth fighters while it inexplicably grips a couple of orders of french fries in its tentacles...sure, I can get into that. These moron's morons probably aren't really Spanish, as if I'm spilling some secret here, but they are funny enough. "You Make Me Drool" is choice entertainment for garage-punk lovers, at least good enough that it could have come out on Boom Boom. Actually, these kids better watch it or the FFFums might slap a different title on this pup and release it as their next million-selling EP. This humdinger is followed by "My Own Worst Enemy", which is sadly just reheated greasy garage R&B. But hell, two out three ain't bad at all. And the B-Side delivers. Really delivers. "C.H.U.D." is not only about the Eighties B-horror classic, but also manages to pack in the entire Cannibalistic-Humanoid-Underground-Dweller phrase in the refrain. It's off the charts sloppy, with a wacko sax lead (where was this guy on the A-Side?), some sweet theremin work, and they just pummel one riff-beat to shit for the duration. Absolutely shit-tastic and tons of fun. Who sez I don't like any bands from NYC? Scum stats: 300 pressed, hand-numbered.(RK)
(Discos Chango // discoschango-at-yahoo.com)

Campingsex "1914 (Plus)" 2XLP
Great double LP reissue of little known (here in the 'States) material by the band that would become Mutter (also not very well known here.) The entire rare "1914" album, recorded in '84 and released in '85, is included here along with an LP of bonus studio material and snips from a live show in Montreal.
Campingsex seem to have had a lot more in common with the American underground of the mid-80's than the majority of European bands of the era. Melodic, throbbing basslines and droning, chainsaw guitars are akin to stateside contemporaries like Flipper, Scratch Acid and Killdozer, perhaps a little more singalong than those 3 bands, but barely. Definitely pick this up if that's where your head's at.
I can't find any biogrpahical information in English for these guys, and barely any for Mutter, who are still active today. The lack of info is my only (minor) gripe as far as the great packaging, it seems they used a distressed original sleeve in the packaging, which actually works really well. Ltd. to that magical number of 500.(MS)
(Vinyl on Demand // available at www.forcedexposure.com)

Clockcleaner "Frogrammer" 7"
Sexy new platter from Philadelphia's only punk band. Yes, that A-Side is a cover of the Remo Voor tune. And they do wonders with it. It's not slathered in distortion and scuzz-bass as you might expect. No, it's more subtle, like a really muscular group finessing their way through a pop song. Still quite brassy, a little awkward at moments, yet very tastefully done. It's actually quite magical. You'll also be surprised to hear John-John actually sing a little bit on this one. On the flip side, fuck, it's back to business. "Early Man" is a stunner reprised from the full length and features these three savages flinging shit at the walls of their cave, drenched in delay and blood. Once again Clockcleaner proves why they are the highest paid touring band on the circuit. Scums stats: only a few, make sure to buy in bulk. Ask for the limited Richard Charles Jr. signature model. (RK)
(Testostertunes/Richie Records // testostertunes.blogspot.com)

Coreyfukinfeldman "13 Song 45" EP
Described as "crapcore" on the sleeve, I guess that's as good a tag as any for this stuff. I'm not so good with my genre-definers but this could be kind of grindy, maybe a little bit o' power violence of sorts? Thrashcore? I don't know, I'm no expert on these genres, so feel free to correct me. I imagine these guys weren't really following any strict guidelines anyway. Fast, borderline blast beat drummming and what sounds like a sludgy dual bass attack are the touchstones here, with lots of weird shit/sounds added in the mix, barely audible vox/yelling, and generally sounding like it was recorded on a walkman and mixed on a dollar-store karaoke machine. Actually, I think they actually did mix this on a karaoke machine. And honestly, from what you can make out, it sounds like it could be interesting. But the source material is just too far gone. Imagine this band was playing in a basement three houses away and you were listening to it while wearing earmuffs. That's what this record sounds like. This could contain some interesting basement lo-fi variations and genre-bending resulting from some kids just fucking around and jamming out. I guess we'll never really know. Plus, song titles about skating, thrashing and dinosaurs really make me wish I could hear what was going on. As it stands, I can't recommend it to anyone. Although, for about seven minutes, this was a lot more interesting than some of the boring garage shits I've been getting in the mail lately. I guess you had to be there, as the liners say. Perhaps of some interest to Wisconsin locals. (RK)
(Trigger on the Dutendoo Records and Shit // trigger.on.the.dutendoo-at-gmail.com)

Coughs "Secret Passage" LP/CD
Coughs, I want to love you. We had such a great first date with that Bent Babies EP. We've got this like thing, this playful flirting, a couple quick but meaningful glances. All my friends love you and they think we'd make a great couple, but I dunno. I dig the sounds you make: oil drum banging and sax bleating and guitar scratching and bass pounding, but I just dunno. That chick you got hollerin and screamin kinda turns me off. I need more than one dimension, more than one feeling, to really get off, y'know? You could look at some sort of equation, like: Savage Republic + Ebullition hardcore + Load Records dayglo-noise = Coughs. It almost fits my dating profile, but there's something missing. Songs? A more graceful touch? How's your bank account look? Just kidding, I ain't no gold-digger. I really like the double percussion thing, but sometimes lack of a kick-drum leads to lack of forward motion, and I'm sick of standing in place. I like long walks down seedy alleys. I like watching rats scurry about. Sounds like you might too, but maybe you just wanna screen-print T-shirts instead. I liked you in the flesh, but maybe we should wait until the next album to consummate our relationship. Sincerely, (EEK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

The Eat "Live at the Polish American Club" LP
Compared to many of their “KBD classic” peers, The Eat has a relatively solid track record with their releases. Not only is “Communist Radio” an all-time mix tape/cover band staple, but its follow-ups, “God Punishes” EP, “Scattered Wahoo Action” cassette (reissued on 10” by Kangaroo Records), and even their much later “Hialeah” EP from ‘96, are all full of great songs. Their bar-band with a punk attitude aesthetic is captured candidly on this recording from 1981. In between songs, the band converses with the audience with bits of Florida sports current events, pleads them to keep the venue clean, and engages in some Lee Ving-lite taunting. The 16-song set list is picked from their releases, plus covers of “L.A. Woman,” “Wooly Bully,” Zappa, and a couple more along those lines. The sound is a little better than the average Rave-Up release, and the record is packed in a nice paste-on sleeve with a flyer insert, a couple of baseball cards, and a stamped inner sleeve. In the end, the album is interesting as a view of the times, but ultimately, there’s little need to hear this version of “Nut Cop” (for example) if you’ve heard the released version. Some of the magic from the official recordings are lost here and the songs are a bit more pedestrian than I’d hoped for. It should be noted, however, that this release was an obvious labor of love, and I wish more labels would deliver the goods in such a nice package.(DH)
(Cherry Garcia Records // turning up at various mailorders...)

Ende Schneafleit "Twistin’ on the Tombstones (1981-1983)" 2XLP
Two LPs of a Dutch minimal, cold electro-pop band I’ve never heard of and it’s really, really great. I can’t listen to minimal synth shit all the time, and anyone who can is of a species completely alien to me. But, once in a while the coldness of this kinda stuff can be very appealing and welcome. That being said, there’s a lot of garbage in the genre as well as a lot of disposable, but interesting, listens. This is neither. This is every bit as good as The Normal or DAF, and is even somewhat soothing. Weird, right?
Five people were in this band, so you get a pretty full sound, mostly drum machines, synth (sometimes overdriven...yay!) and the occasional extra percussion/tape-loop or trebly/angular guitar that is ubiquitous with the time period. Then there’s tracks with a reverb/chorus drenched guitar straight out of 4AD or early Creation records shit. Vocals appear, sometimes through vocoders or delay pedals, which switch from Dutch to English pretty casually. There’s a tunefulness underneath all this stuff, something I need to get into this type of music, so there’s an immediate appeal there.
Plenty of variation in sound and theme from song to song, and this band was pretty fucking prolific. 2 LP’s compiled from various cassette-only releases. (What’s with these electro robot people and cassette only releases?) And it’s not even everything! I assume Enfant Terrible cherry-picked the best shit, which is a-ok by me.
Definitely one of the better reissues of this kinda stuff, along with LPD's Ancient Daze and Ceramic Hello, I've heard in a while....but I do have a stack of Vinyl On Demand records to go through...Ltd. To 500 copies. And pretty fucking expensive.(MS)
(Enfant Terrible // www.enfant-terrible.nl)

Everything Falls Apart "Escape" EP
Taking their moniker from an old Husker Du song, Buffalo’s Everything Falls Apart cram seven blasters (one per inch) on this debut record. Loaded with charged early 80s style hardcore-punk (the vocals--snotty shouting, give it a little extra ‘core, though)—EFA definitely show promise on this solid, self-released first record. Although they could have trimmed this one down to 4 or 5 songs...that’s not to say there are weak links.
The seven songs on "Escape" (no nods to the Journey lp) are quick and distinctive enough to keep things interesting throughout, and sound even better on repeated listens...not to mention they get a good recording to go along with it. It’s not rocket science by any means, but it ‘escapes’ being generic and is, instead, a promising debut from a young band. Also of note, is the handsome sleeve and ‘coke bottle green’ clear vinyl. Fans of Career Suicide, take note. 300 copies.(LB)
(self-released // www.everythingfallsapart.org)

Exploding Hearts “Shattered” CD
With their legacy already firmly supported by the legions of MySpace clones copping their moves (and not even coming close), one would simply hafta attribute this current power-pop revival we’re swept up in to The Exploding Hearts. Rightly so, I suppose. “Shattered” leaves no stone unturned, unearthing every unreleased gem this band recorded during their all too brief lifespan, much of which I’m sure the more sinister of you have had on your iPod for years already. Still, Dirtnap has assembled a package that pays fitting tribute to the band and those affected by their tragic end, including a ton of photos, enhanced CD live footage and excellent liners from Fred Vinyl Warning. Quite surprisingly, my opinion of the band has been bolstered big time by this release. Admittedly only lukewarm on them when they were actually around, I honestly hadn’t listened to any of their records in over a year prior to hearing “Shattered”, having had both their finest AND less-than-stellar moments drilled into my head at virtually every time I went to a show or party. But, the tunes I did love by the band, hits like “I’m A Pretender” (my absolute fave and their one true classic) and “(Making) Teenage Faces”, sound better than ever to these ears, proving that they are deserving of a helluva lot more credit than I initially gave them. The demos and alternate mixes are all fine and dandy, but the material that would’ve made up their final single (“Shattered (You Left Me)”) is the revelation here, now possibly ranking as their finest release (and scheduled to be pressed up proper in 2007). “Shattered” has replaced whatever little irritations I had with the material with a genuine appreciation for the great moments, all of which are presented here. Pretty cool! (MC)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

The Feeling of Love 7" EP
Feeling of Love (not to be confused with Tunnel of Love) is one man recording everything, from somewhere in France, with ties to the Normals/Cheeraks camp. "The Right Bitch At the Right Place" begins with the ping-ponging of some shitty drum machine, overwhich is laid some blues-based guitar shredding and another track of real live drums and some yelling and other noises. A savage cut. I'm hoping "Julie C." is a nasty song about Cafritz, but I can't really tell. Moving on to the B-Side of "Deluxe Archive". It's one of those songs that constantly sounds like it's about to take off..and then it just keeps you at that moment before launch, and repeats it over and over...and then never really takes of at all. Full of anticipation, but seemingly without actual payoff, and therein lies the rub. A neat trick at times, and here I think he owes a tip of the hat to Chrome via the ominous background feedback-hum and accompanying guitar scrabble. I like this one better than the recent Normals-related records. Sort of a weird-punk Jon Spencer thing goin' on...Scum stats: 500 pressed. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

The Fleshtones "Beach Head" LP
Remember back in the day when Peter Zaremba would host 120 Minutes? The days when MTV actually was somewhat cutting edge. I always thought Zaremba was a cool dude. Probably still is. I still dig early Fleshtones stuff. "Roman Gods" and "Hexbreaker" have survived many a purge. Their "Shadow Line" performance from 'Urgh! A Music War' was a revelation for the young me. Defintely my favorite Eighties-garage rock revivalists. About five years ago I went to see them play. I asked Zaremba beforehand to play "Shadow Line" and he jovially replied something to the extent that he'd forgotten they'd even written that tune. Still a real cool guy. But the show was a real drag, at least three hours of now very very stale garage-cum-bar rock, replete with chicken walking on the bar and other hackneyed nonsense. It was worse (and longer) than a (modern-day) Cynics show. So, while I have respect for these guys, obviously 'Beach Head' has little to offer anyone, unless you're looking for old dudes trying to revive their own Eighties-revivial. Me, I'd rather go back and watch them do "Shadow Line" on a grainy VHS tape and revel in their past glory. (RK)
(Nicotine Records // www.nicotinerecords.com)

Foot Village "Fuck The Future" CD
Foot Village are an LA-based collective that revel in lots and lots of drums and shouting ridiculous lyrics mainly about people and places, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peru, and the Isle of Man. This CD collects several different vinyl releases from the last few years. The instrumentation is all drums, played vigorously but not particularly well, and chanted male/female vocals. Sometimes it reaches an impressive density as multiple kits are beaten into submission. Sometimes it just sounds like rejects from the high school marching band getting revenge on their classmates. Broken-up freak-poppers Weirdo/Begeirdo stop by for what is probably the most engaging track, "World Fantasy," but just when you think it's going somewhere, the bus stalls, and you're stuck out in the desert without a glass of water or a pocket pussy. Life sucks, huh? (EEK)
(Deathbomb Arc // www.deathbombarc.com)

Thee Garagekid "Gits A Rekkid" EP
Pulling this out of a stack, you would immediatley think, "Aw fuck, more budget garage rehash crap from Europe." All the warning signs are there: pro-printed sleeves that they worked hard to make look like they were done on a hand-cranked circa-1972 mimeograph machine, luchador masks, pipe-smoking, requests for beaver shots, "funny" spelling, the presence of the word "Thee"...you just think it's gonna blow. Which makes it all the more pleasant (and befuddling) when it actually doesn't suck. Garagekid is one dude doing it all in the studio (whether he is actually a kid or not, I don't know) and it's well done. "I Need You" sounds quite large, a rote but but rocking piece of Headcoatitude. On "Give Me All You Got" he stuffs 10 pounds of echo into a five pound can and rattles the tinnitus right out of your head. He has a bit of an accent..I'm thinking Swedish..or German...that lends the vox a bit of character too. "The Rise and Fall of A Girl" has that lewd Caesars-cum-Mummies style, with vocals that sound as if they were recorded in an empty airport bathroom. A great sounding record with some well-written tunes for this style. Surprisingly worthwhile. Wild Billy Christgau sez A-. Scum stats: a split release between Squoodge Records and Bachelor Records (166 copies per label, with a different sleeve for each), hand stamped labels, hand-numbered with two small inserts.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

The Gee Strings "A Bunch of Bugs" CD
High octane rawk-und-rolling from Germany. The Gee Strings have been kicking around for some time, they play fast and tight and loud, and while that's all fine and dandy, I think this record is summed fairly well by the fact that I have to ask the question "Does the world really need another cover of 'Just Head'?" AGAIN this year...(RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

The Geeks “Too Fat Pig” 7"
The previous Geeks single on S-S was all kindsa loud and skronky, abrasive enough for listeners who simply NEED a little punk lean if their gonna venture outside their normal parameters. The new single doesn’t offer up such luxury, but is still unlike anything else you’re likely to hear this year (or see covered in TB). The overall vibe across both sides is jarringly creepy, with the only constant being the band’s willingness to venture across genres to create a mish-mash of sound. “Too Fat Pig” is a very tense tune, featuring whispered female vocals (courtesy of a teenage delinquent chanteuse) over free jazz that you keep waiting/hoping would explode, but never does. The uneasiness reaches its peak on the flip, with deranged beat-poetic vocals about California’s famed prison over shrieking horns and pounding percussion. It’s not pretty. I’ve spun this one upwards of 20 times and still can’t get comfortable...but do like it quite a bit. Fans of the other Geeks single shouldn’t have any trouble flipping over this one, but the more timid and/or traditional in our readership oughta steer clear. (MC)
(Ss Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Gentleman Jesse and His Men "I Don't Wanna Know" 7"
Power pop single of the year, hands down. Jesse from the Carboners (with Dave Carbona and a couple of other non-Carbona sideman) hits us off with three well-executed and well-written Rickenbacker-pop diamonds so surpringly good I almost wish he was doing this full-time instead of that other band. The title cut is something any one of the Nerves would have been proud to have penned, and is on my short-list for song of the year. Actually, it seems a bit more early Jam-like than any US act, and the band seems inspired a bit more by UK songsmiths like Lowe/Weller/Costello, which could be why a fairly non-powerpop guy like me is digging it so much. Not really wimpy at all, with a strong voice, nicely played and laden with hooks. "No Rest (For the Wicked)" is particularly reminiscent of early Elvis C., something I can always get behind. If I'd known how good this was gonna be I would've bought a dozen and given them out as Christmas presents. I give this one an eleven out-of-ten, an A+ and positive feedback on eBay. How can the Douchemaster possibly top this release? Scum stats: 75 only on white, the rest on black for the normal people without a record collecting disorder.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)

Ghetto Ways “Free Love” 7”
The last Ghetto Ways review I wrote for TB holds true with this new single as well, ‘cept this one’s a tad better. “Hidden Charms” is the killer on the A-side, featuring their tried’n’true soul-rumbling garage punk underneath dirty production. Seems like the kinda thing they could pull off with their eyes closed, but if you’re in search of a tune truly representative of their sound, this has gotta be it. The flip begins with a brief clunker in “M-O-V, I’m Movin’ On”, but is thankfully followed by “Tanny Girls”, an unexpected pop number channeling a girl-group in heat. Better than anything I heard on their last LP. (MC)
(Wicked Singles // www.wickedsinglesrecords.com)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Ghetto Ways "Winks & Blue Eyeshadow" 7"
I'm no fan of the Ghetto Ways. Their records are full of the cooler-than-thou NYC bullshit moves responsible for giving bands from the Big Apple a bad rap (for good reason). Average-at-best garage/soul strutting wrapped in hollow shells of pomposity. Big city street tough-as-nails-rock rehash. I'm loathe to say they might have made a good record here. At least these tunes have some backbone, actually sound semi-tough enough to go along with the image they're projecting. The recording is suitably loud and raw. If I were at gunpoint and had to recommend you buy one Ghetto Ways record, this would be it. Part of their Wicked Singles series, their ongoing scam to get unsuspecting labels to foot half of the bill to get their records out. (RK)
(Wicked Singles // www.wickedsinglesrecords.com)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)

The Go "Instant Reaction" LP
Sometimes Rave Up releases can be of little merit (see this issue's New Toys LP), and sometimes they unleash a genuinely great and surprising record such as this one by The Go. Comped on Powerpearls and known for their only record, the self-released "Instant Reaction" single, these Yonkers kids knew how to kick out the power pop jams, with a good mix of actual punk leanings and well crafted pop tunes and ballads. The four songs from the single kick this off in style (recorded by Ramones/Blondie engineer Rob Freeman), but it's what comes after that shines. After recording the seven-inch, The Go enjoyed a very fruitful period where they wrote and recorded some thirty-plus songs and recorded them all at home a a Teac reel-to-reel. The cream of those sessions is included here. The nature of the living-room recording inevitably draws early Shoes comparisons, but it's not so far off muscially either. There are definitely some Ramones stylings in evidence and even a bit of Mod influence as well, but bottom line, The Go just played great power-pop songs and somehow managed to capture them on tape while rehearsing/practicing. So why did this stuff never come out? Well, NYC is a big and fickle pond and the single probably didn't generate the buzz they'd hoped. And here's the classiest thing about this band: instead of changing their sound to accommodate the synthisizer-laden New Wave that was de rigeur at the moment, they simply decided to call it quits. These recording were sat on until recent interest brought them out of The Go's closet for release. Brief liners, no live filler, this is one of the better recent Rave Ups garnering at least a 7 or 8 on the 10 point scale. Power poppers take heed! (RK)
(Rave Up Records // www.raveuprecords.com)

Hans-A-Plast "1" and "2" LPs
These two LP reissues are my favorite records of the year, and I don't know whether that makes me some sort of sad-sack nostalgia artist way behind the times or if that makes these guys and gals way ahead of theirs. Let's go for the latter, as these platters sound as fresh as anything coming out of the underground these days, or any day. If I there were a computer program that could design your personal perfect band (a la' Weird Science), then, for me, I'm sure it would skip the bullshit and spit out a couple discs by these Kraut-punks. Mixed gender membership? Check. Raw punk guitars? Hell yeah. Bouncy, spastic rhythms? Of course! Caterwauling in a language I don't understand? No doubt. Songs about Humphrey Bogart and consumer goods? Sho nuff. Occasional forays into girl-group balladry? Yes! Random overdubbed found sounds? Duh. And to think I had never heard of this band until friendly local record store clerk (ahem, manager) Prof. Snipes threw this on with one of those smiles that says, "You will love this and you now owe me your soul." Well, he was right, and there must be a special place in Hell reserved for me, but that's OK, cuz in that fiery pit they are nonstop-rockin Kleenex, Slits, Abwarts, Essential Logic, and Hans-A-Plast, and that sounds like a great goddamn party. These punks set out to be disposable ("Hansaplast" means something like Band-aid), but, like Kleenex or Wire or The Mekons, they instead became touchstones for an approach to the Punkly Arts that is still all too rare in this homogenized world. It's pointless to name highlights, because both of these LPs are virtually flawless. The first one (from '79) is "punkier," but the second one (from '80) is just as great. The second LP comes with the "Sex Sex Sex" single ('81) tacked on as a bonus, and they both come with cut-and-paste zines that further your understanding/confusion. If you have a taste for any of the aforementioned bands, then you owe it to your eternal soul to purchase these reissues. (EEK)
(Re-Force // www.re-forcerecords.de)

Hell On Earth "Early Years: Hell Never Lets Go! Pt. One" EP
Raw as hell four-track demos from 1997-98 from this Wisconsonian metal band who tread the borderline between thrash and death (and early grind perhaps) from what I can reckon. Again, source tape limitations hinder this thing a bit, but some of it sounds great. Bloody screaming vox and some competent and lo-fidelity circle-pit worthy moves are contained in the audible sections of this thing. At other times the band just sounds like a miked up swarm of bees (which sounds pretty righteous in it's own right, but that's something else entirely). The opener "Pornstar of the Cemetary" stands out as does the organ-enhanced killer title track. This reminds me of some great times in the Nineties, when metal still ruled, and I knew a lot of bands like this, who thrashed out in attics, basements, garages, and the occasional all-ages gig at a VFW post or battle of the bands, and before nu-metal bands like Korn ruined everything. I wish TB would get more metal releases for review, and I have a particular fondness for rough demo-quality stuff, of perhaps one step above the sound quality on this. A nice little release that was a ton-o-fun to listen to, although 15 songs on a 7" got to be a bit much halfway thorugh the B-Side. Not recommended for pussies who can't handle metal. Best song title: tie between "Baked Inside A Cake of Vomit" and "Hanging By the Ceiling By My Testicles". I'm going to dig out my Cannibal Corpse demo tapes right now...(RK)
(Trigger on the Dutendoo Records and Shit // trigger.on.the.dutendoo-at-gmail.com)

Hibachi Stranglers "Our City Doesn't Stink All the Time" EP
The Hibachi Stranglers were #1 on my list of bands-I-have-heard-of-but-never-actually-heard for quite some time based solely on their name. Hibachi Stranglers. Ridiculous yet cool. And for once, I'm not disappointed when finally hearing a band off said list. "Parking Lot" contains some eerliy Saunders-ian sounding stream-of-consciousness voxing (with great lyrics), backed by some doofy "oh-oh-oh-oh"-ings, while the rhythm section tumbles out some primo lo-fi low-end and muffled drumming. Then some cranked guitar steps in every few moments and just cleaves the whole thing apart. Ace-sounding punk damage. The B-Side took a few listens to finally sink in, but is nearly as good as the A-Side. The Metal Mikey-esque yammering is replaced with some alternating gang-yells and a monotone chorus delivered deadpan-style whilst the guitar player goes onna slashing rampage and the bass grumbles even deeper than before. Not what I was expecting at all, and a whole lot more than I was hoping for, this provides some from-left-field sounds inna definite punk-type vein. Florida's Dying's finest release to date. A+ record, will listen to again. Scum stats: first 100 on red vinyl with blue sleeve, the rest on black with white sleeve.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

Howie and the Hotknives "Want It" 7"
Here we have some "PDX-RNR" (as labelled on the sleeve), with Howie being the sole dude in the fold and his Hotknives being a trio of chiackadees. What do they do? Greasy garage rock, cooked to a medium-well-fi doneness, which really ain't too shabby. The title cut is rather fun, with an unfancy and tasteful guitar solo, some tambourine shakin', a little bit o' the organ, and a nice "I want it Naaaaa-ow" cat-call refrain from the lasses. A good side. The flip ("Young Fun") is a tad wilder, the solo a little meaner, with some gratuitous f-bomb droppage. This ain't gonna get the dicks of all you weird-punk and too cool for school garage-haters hard, but this is a totally serviceable record for the genre. Meaning, I have a hundred or so that sound pretty similar to it, but this is still a fun party record. Scum stats: 250 copies, red vinyl, thick and nicely done screened sleeves. (RK)
(Felony Fidelity // felonyfidelity666-at-yahoo.com)

Human Eye "Dinosaur Bones" EP
Finally, some new Human Eye vinyl and not a minute too soon. I almost forgot who was the best and most interesting punk band in the US. There are some worthy contenders, to be sure, but no group is as simultaneously thrilling and mind-altering as these Detroit dudes. Throw away the comparisons to Chrome and the Electric Eels and Debris' and Simply Saucer, because Human Eye have entered their own time/space continuum and pay no tribute to no masters. "Dinosaur Bones" (brief aside: on the Gonerfest 2 DVD/CD there live track on the CD is billed as "Sly Glass Foam," but is in fact this number; also, how come no HE live footage?!) careens along recklessly, a frothing-at-the-mouth meditation on the future's past and the end product of self-extinction. It sounds like a vortex and should be playing over loudspeakers at the La Brea Tar Pits. The B-side was either printed wrong, or the sleeve is mislabeled, but, either way, it starts with a cover of the Urinals' "Hologram" that is different from the one floating around on the Human Eye demo a few years ago, and ends with "Shapes and Numbers," which rides a bi-polar sad/celebratory crescendo off into the sunset. Get. Now. (EEK)
(Ypsilanti Records // www.myspace.com/ypsilantirecords)

Intellectuals "Invisible is the Best" CD
Sadly, the recorded output of Italy's Intellectuals has been a study in diminishing returns. The debut 7" and their tracks off the split with RNR Adventure Kids were, and still are, top notch stuff, two-piece girl-boy garage interplay done with an interesting and energetic flair and great guitar playing. Then the LP on Hate limped out and was only good-to-middling. Last we heard of them, on the split with RCTL, they were fairly disappointing, and had a keyboard player in tow as well, much to my chagrin. Now they've snuck out their second full-length, and I can't say that it's very good. Not surprisingly, I don't think the keyboards help much, but I'm not a big lover of keyboards in my rock anyway. They perhaps add a little soul to the garage-blues formula they're utilizing, and flesh out/broaden the sound a bit. But the magic seems to be gone. I enjoyed it when they were just Drum Girl and Guitar Boy, seemingly playing songs to and for each other. It was kinda cute, and gave them a special sort of dynamic. Now all the weird and personal little edges are gone, and while the guitar sound and playing is still all well and wild, the songs themselves just blend into one another, including the VU and J&MC covers. They now sound like a dozen other garage-punk bands. The X-Ray Spex tune actually fits them very well and I have to enjoy any song called "My Brother Chorizo" at least a little bit, but overall, I find this really disappointing. Vinyl version on Hate Records.(RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Jerk Alert 7" EP
Nice little six-song EP from Bloomington, IN's Jerk Alert. Shows some promise, particularly on the nasty-punk "Nothing to Lose", which has a nice and fucked guitar sound, and definitely the best of this six-pack. The girl singing has a nice delivery, and she can get all shrill-city when she feels like it too. They chop and saw bits of modern rock as they go, with a 30-second bit of garage-style blast-beating, desparate sounding basement-punk ("The Girls from Monster Island"), and super-sonic fuckery ("Primitive Fucks"). They also have a ten-song CD, which most of this EP was culled from plus a few more. As I said, they show some promise, and although they're quite "there" yet, they're certainly on the right road. I'm gonna bet Jerk Alert are the best band in Bloomington though. Scum stats: 333 copies, 3/4 style foldover sleeve, thick full-size insert (and really nice looking labels).(RK)
(Eradicator Records // evilbobb2000-at-yahoo.com)

Kazalok "Chandrasekhar Limit" 12"
Psychedelic garage-rock of sorts from a group that seems to be a part Memphis' next wave of bands along with names you may have heard mention of like The Barbaras and Boston Chinks. A lengthy six-song 12" that contains what could be one of the years' best tunes in "CIA", an amazing forward moving rocker that nearly seems out of place next to the rest of the tunes, which veer from the very Bowie-ish space rock of "Caspain Sea", to the VU/Modern Lovers-like pop influenced "White Devils" (except for the trippy jam-out segment). Easily likeable and sometimes Burma-esque indie-rocking that doesn't get too lazy on the tempo, with the mushrooms on the cover hinting at some palatable psych/Syd-like tendencies (but not like dirty patchouli smelling Dead-like hippie-isms, know what I mean?). Slap this on the turntable on a Sunday afternoon backed with Goodnight Loving and your hangover's practically gone. Garage-folk is go! Really though, this is a fantastic release...Scum stats: I think there were a hundred or so on colored vinyl, but the black ones should get you just as high. (RK)
(SYA Records // www.syarecords.it)

Leper Print "Coma" CD-R
For the past year Leper Print has felt like my secret little pleasure, via the previous CD-R I was sent and this one with six new cuts. One man bedroom synth-punk action from some guy, who I'm thinking is from Washington somewhere, and whose tastes lie in the area of Primitive Calculators, Sparks, Country Teasers, and more. He does a lo-fi Casio-carnival version of The Spits' "Black and Blue" (for some comp that I don't think has appeared yet) to kick this off, followed by "Phobia", a frenetic mix of distorted guitar/vox and coffee-can sounding drums. All the drums on this thing are "real", no lazy programmed drumbox shit, which really elevates this stuff to next-levelness. "Coma" shows off some Wallers influence (as does "Hats and Masks" which he honestly admits) and jams out lo-fi and loud between some start-stops. Overall, actually a bit hookier than the last release and a bit more cohesive. With a seven-inch forthcoming on the obscure Eat Records label, Leper Print is one of my early picks for "Hot Bands of 2007". I'm not the type to buy CD-Rs (or actual CDs for that matter) but I can honestly recommend picking all this guy's stuff up. Just the right mix of lo-fidelity synth work and lone-man-with-a-4-track oddness, and again, sort of remiscent of what The Wrists/Wax Museums troupe has come up with, perhaps minus the affable goofiness, or Destruction Unit ratcheted down quite a few notches and waaay less angry. Get on board now. (RK)
(self-released // www.myspace.com/leperprint)

Leper Print s/t EP
Here is the debut Leper Print vinyl I've been waiting for. A tale of two sides. A-Side is earlier works, two tunes from the first CD-R. Primitive lo-fidelity one-man bedroom work. A couple keyboards, drums, some guitar, loner vibes, an eerie feeling...Destruction Unit meets Primitive Calculators in a dank basement? Okay. Hand-written note says there was a mixing mistake on this side, but I think it sounds suitably strange. B-Side (with the stamped labels) contains later works, the recording and style are still definitely bedroom-fi, but a little more confident, a little more adept perhaps, and a bit more aggro. This side veers closer to one-man-Wrists territory, double synth lines, crash and roll drums, "Shower Curtain" gets mean and "So Useless" meanders in delightful circles. A sneaky little debut for all of you not buying the CD-Rs, I look forward to this guy continuing his self-recorded oddyssey. Scums stats: 200 pressed, some with white sleeves some with purple.(RK)
(Eat Records // www.myspace.com/eatrecordsmontucky)

The Maharajas "Weekend Sparks" EP
Stockholm-based pro-sounding garage pebbles with a Swedish pedigree of sorts (ex-Wylde Mammoths, Stomachmouths, Crimson Shadows, etc.) who got a little bit of hype from the true blue garageheads for their 'Unrelated Statements' LP a year ago. Me, I don't go for it. Sounds like a slicker version of latter day boring-era Nomads stuff. Meaning, sure it's authentic sounding and well played Sixties-planted garage rock, but why listen to this when you can just throw on a volume of Nuggets? They don't bring anything new to the table at all. The only thing "(Take A) Look at Yourself" inspired me to do was break out the Uriah Heep album. You know, the one with the refelctive mirror-like decal on the cover. That was a pretty cool record...one I always preferred to 'Demons and Wizards'. And the Heep's lead guitar player was named Mick Box. Awesome name. Honestly, just find a Uriah Heep record and spend your $4 on that. You'll thank me later.(RK)
(Crusher Records // www.crusherrecords.com)

The Makeouts "Worst Band Ever" EP
When a band is decidedly trying to be bad (in a "good" way), the results are usually bad (in a not very good way). The thing that made, say The Real Losers, to use a recent example, a good bad band, is that they didn't really sound like they were trying to sound that way on purpose so much...they just cranked shit up and rocked some tunes out, and that's how they sounded. The Makeouts seem to be doing all they can to sound shitty, and forced ineptitude just sounds...well, forced. The A-Side is unremarkable enough, then on the flip they make a mess of the Spaceshits' "Bad Luck Charm" and follow it with a 'shits soundalike number that is just as not-good. A misstep by the new and on-a-roll Bachelor Records label (Clorox Girls, Black Lips, Garagekid) who I hope bounce back with a couple of upcoming joints by the seemingly defunct Rock and Roll Adventure Kids and another Clorox Girls single. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Dan Melchior und Das Menace "Elev to Mezz" 7"
I've always struggled for words to describe Dan Melchior's music, as it's never easily identified as coming from a certain genre or defining influence. He cleverly manages to straddle fences betwixt garage, punk, folk, blues, psych, country, or whatever, and under the und Das Menace moniker (which is essentially Dan doing everything with an assist from his wife Letha) I have to admit the closest thing I can link it to is the Country Teasers and The Rebel, and I kind of kick myself for never fully making this comparison before. Perhaps it wasn't so musically apparent earlier, but Melchior and Wallers certainly share many characteristics: the loathing of "garage rock", the ability to sound both futuristic and primitive at the same time, the desire to be DIY with their material, the way their UK traits seep into their music without being overpowering, etc...I could go on, but I figure I should talk about the record now. The A-side/title track sounds half country half punk, with standard guitars/percussion mashed together with digital drums/sounds, but in a way that it doesn't necessarily sound modern or busy, but natural. His streaming lyrics move along in cadence to the quick clip of the tune, with his unmistakable vocal accent adding pleasant signature. Quite enjoyable. The flip starts with subdued "Gravy Train..." a jaunty and somehow focused blues-ramble of non-sequitirs rolling off his tongue offset with some subtle harmonica breaks and a strangely squishy synth sound. "Hippy!" closes and creates the most froth of any of these tunes, nearing punkitude in a gentlemanly fashion and holding some nice jags of guitar. Great record, and as much as I loved his work with the Broke Revue, this stuff just sounds so much more rewarding. So good I'm ordering the other Das Menace 7" on Bug House as soon as I'm done typing this shit. Scum Stats: 500 pressed, 100 on red 400 on black. (RK)
(Daggerman Records // http://www.myspace.com/daggermanrecords)

The Mojomatics "Songs for Faraway Lovers" LP/CD
I really, really liked the 7" these guys did on Alien Snatch! early in the year. Not kidding at all. It was one of the best honest-to-goodness rootsy-bluesy-countrified pieces of vinyl I'd heard from across the pond in a long time. Well played and not at all lame in their co-opting of traditional early American syles. On this, their second long player, they fall victim to the mistake of putting a little too much honky in their honky-tonk however. The single had the kind of energy and spirit that made you want to grab a lady and stomp out a little jig in the dirt yard while the Mojomatics ripped it up on your back porch. This one made me feel like I was listening to them play at the House of Blues while I nursed a seven dollar bottled beer. A bit clean/sterile and uninspired for the most part, at their best on this one they sound like Reigning Sound-lite ("A Fall on the Floor") and at their worst, they sound like skilled European musicians playing an awkward set of forcedly neo-retro sounding tunes. A damn shame. I still say you should buy that 7" though.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Morgen (Steve Morgen) LP
180 Gram vinyl reissue of this rare (originals fetch upwards of $300-$400) American psych record from ’69. The Probe label was a short-lived spinoff of ABC, but they managed to put out a few classics including the US press of the first Soft Machine record, and of course this guy here. Morgen is named for frontman Steve Morgen, and the guy has a pretty cool low voice and overblown guitar style shared with contemporaries like Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer. Tracks like “Welcome to the Void” and “She’s the Nitetime” will appeal to fans of heavy psychedelia, for sure. Bonus points for going for an Edvard Munch sleeve over something more colorful, pretty dark for ’69, Steve. You can count on Scorpio to provide good mastering and quality vinyl at a cheap price. (MS)
(Probe/Scorpio // try www.forcedexposure.com)

Mosquito Bandito "One Man Bandit" EP
The good thing about this Mosquito Bandito fella is that he doesn't really do the stompin'-good-time traditonal-garage OMB thing that bores the shit outta me for the most part. He's as punky as you can be while operating in this form. Four tracks here, one instro, and two of them actually get down pretty good in a lean and wild style. My man the Bandito just needs a little more personality, something a bit more unique attitude-wise to take it to the next level here. It's good that he's not just another mug aping Hasil, but he also needs to put some better spin on these sliders. Again, execution, execution, execution...it makes good ideas so much better. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

The Neins "Crybaby" EP
The Neins have been quietly cranking out the records up there in Portland, this being the fourth single (plus a full-length CD) in their discography that I've had chance to peruse. They're one of those bands that aren't blowing minds and shit, but operate with a workman-like determination and have some good-to-great moments. The title track of this EP is not one of those moments. Fairly bad C-grade garage rock. But things get better from there. "She Serves Love with a Knife" has a nice Childish-beat with a non-intrusive organ lick and likable chorus. On the flip, "Cut in Three" is the best this platter offers, recalling the angry garage sound of the mid-Nineties Crypt roster, with some wild yalping and slop-slinging guitar. They close with a spook-ified creep-out version of Big Maybelle's "Pretty Good Love". And once again I'm using the "pretty good" qualifier for this platter: it's not bad at all, but it's also standard garage rock stuff. Actually, you could piece together a pretty killer EP if you took the best of their four singles. Scum stats: 300 copies, black vinyl, unattractive cover art.(RK)
(Felony Fidelity // felonyfidelity666-at-yahoo.com)

New Toys "Better Late Than Never: NYC 1980 Punkrock" LP
You've probably seen the name Kevin K mentioned somewhere, probably on some C-grade compilation as Kevin K and the Real Kool Kats or the Kevin K Band or something, or perhaps as the Road Vultures. The guy has been releasing records for twenty-plus years under a variety of names, the (New) Toys being the first. According to the liners they were big in Buffalo in the late Seventies (and had an Aunt Helen connection), and although I assure you I was probably listening to my 'Sesame Street Live' LP at the time, people I know who were actually old enough to be punks then would probably say they more or less just happened to be around and play a bunch, not exactly being the guiding lights of the scene. Anyway, they moved to NYC to get big and forged out a niche aping the Ramones, Stooges and most importantly Johnny Thunders. Workmanlike at best, and certainly not close to mind-blowing, a career opening band. Twelve tracks on this thing from various sessions (some of which I think are more recent than 1980) two of which are live. Can't really recommend this thing. There are a few Buffalo punk bands that would be worth full LP archival treatment (The Enemies, The Jumpers, The Vores), and regretfully the New Toys aren't one of them. (RK)
(Rave Up Records // www.raveuprecords.com)

The Normals "1978 Recordings" CD
Brand spanking new CD collection of material from NOLA's finest KBD-era punk outfit The Normals. For the unfamiliar, The Normals claim to fame is the seminal "Almost Ready" 7' (the only record they managed to release during their time), the title cut of which is one of the most perfect slices of punk with a pop edge ever committed to wax and immortalized on KBD Vol. 10. For those already familiar with The Normals' legacy, the question is "What does this disc offer that wasn't included on the "Your Punk Heritage" CD from a few years ago?" Well, the answer to that Jimmy, is plenty. While "Your Punk Heritage" contained some '79 studio sessions and demos and some live material padding from '84, this here disc is made up entirely of 1978 recordings. Meaning, the the original two songs from the 7", plus an entire seventeen track demo session from 1978 that seems to predate the recording from the 7". A couple of these appeared on YPH in one variation or another, but by my count only five of these tracks have been heard before. That leaves a dozen honest-to-goodness "new" cuts. How do they sound? Super fine, brother, let me tell ya. Roughed up but still perfectly presentable, a punker and snottier version of the band that appeared on the single. The unheard material has more of a lewd vibe as well ("Suzy Suckoff" "Eat Me Raw"), with "Schoolgirl Domination" and "Feelies" being my pick of the new litter. Did they write anything else as amazing as "Almost Ready"? Of course not. But these guys were far from the one-trick pony that many KBD-era bands turned out to be. This baby is well worth an investment, and honestly a superior compilation to "Your Punk Heritage". Contains brief liner notes from David Normal and lyrics to most of the songs (in Japanese and English) plus a few photos in the booklet. Well done. (RK)
(Nat Records // www.natrecords.com)

Nothing People "Problems" EP
Instead of trolling in French waters for the latest in weird-punk, Ss drops a line in his own backyard pond and hooks this whopper of a single. The mysterious Nothing People come from out-of-nowhere, CA with a distinct sounding four track EP of left-of-center guitar oriented psych-rock, perhaps sipping from the same jug as fellow mysterians Wooden Shjips. "Twinkie Defense" (and the EP as a whole) has a warm-sounding and strangely Californian vibe that Sonic Youth's 'Sister' LP tapped (think lonely stretches of PCH and Kem Nunn novels), with seemingly living and breathing guitar driving right through yr skull, like a termite through wood, destination nowhere. An auspicious opener that is followed by some even better shakes: the ominous dirge of "4 Miles High", the minimal-jazz backbeat laden with guitar/vox moan-drone of "Systems Failure" and the best-for-last closer of "Can't Find A Monkey", a subtly sinister compostion whose monotonous foundation is built up, broken down and rebuilt with a grim determination. Surprisingly great and far better than you're probably thinking it is. A Top Ten of the year contender. Scum stats: 500 pressed and moving fast. (RK)
(Ss Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Colin Potter "A Skeleton/Cupboard Situation" LP
I admit it, I'm really getting into this early home-recorded electro stuff. This release is definitely helping that out a lot. Holy shit. This is amazing. All 1978-1983.
Colin Potter, who would later produce stuff for Nurse With Wound and Current 93, had a (surprise, surprise) cassette-only label/recording studio in the early 80's called ICR (which still exists). Much of these recordings are from those cassettes, though he was inlcluded on an LP comp as well as a couple seven-inchers.
There's a richness to these recordings that is lacking in a lot of his contemporaries, lots of layered sounds and "warmth" to the synths. He even throws in a guitar now and again when he feels like it. Good idea, Colin, I'm glad you did. Those of you into Tubeway Army will find the tracks with guitar particularly gratifying.
The majority of these tracks are pop songs, including the amazing opener "I Am Your Shadow." And they really hold up to the synthpop of the era, but way fucking weirder and creepier. Colin kinda tries to part himself from these recordings, which (I'm guessing) differ greatly from his current stuff. The liners have some hilariously stereotypical English self-effacement. I'm glad he caved in and decided to let these recordings come out.
Great sound and packaging as always from VoD, quickly becoming one of the most well thought-out and interesting reissue labels around. Highest possible recommendation for DiY and synth fans.(MS)
(Vinyl on Demand // try www.forcedexposure.com)

Ptose "Early Recordings 1979-1983" 2XLP
Super-demented electro-psych never beeped so good. Ptose secrete 33 miniature slices of totally crazed genius over these 2 LP's. Considered by some to be the Residents of France, with somewhat good reason, these guys released a bunch of tapes, comps and singles (which all the material on here is taken from) before finally recording 2 (separate) LPs in '84.
It's pretty tough to describe this stuff. Throbbing Gristle with the playfulness of Beefheart. Vocals come in and out-many times sped-up or slowed down. There's seemingly thown up synthesizers, really fuzzed out noise (guitars?), and everything speeds up and goes through a jillion pedals. The earlier tracks are filled with experimental weirdness yet always melodic and fun. I think I'll call it rainbow-colored robot barf, but in a good way.
The later stuff (from 82/83) is a bit more structured, with some almost pop-songs.There's also a track that always repeats "Eat Your Fish!" with a heavy French accent. I'll take it! Ltd. to 500.(MS)
(Vinyl on Demand // try www.forcedexposure.com)

Pure Country Gold s/t LP/CD
Ten song debut full length from this Portland-based two-piece. Hot-jive rocking garage stuff here, similar to Gibson Bros or a rootsier JSBX or whatever. Not too much country. A wee bit o' gold. Sounds pretty good, nice and loud guitar sound, drumming is crafty enough, the tunes move pretty well. Probably quite stomping in the live setting. "King of Cortisone" is a great cut. Do you need it? Well, I guess it depends on your liking for this style. PCG do what they do fairly well, and the record is good and loud and suitable for dancing. You be the judge. Me? I'm not that excited about it. First 100 LPs are on gold vinyl.(RK)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Razor Fist "Razor Fist Force" CD
When I first heard of Razor Fist, The Mord (Port Huron’s headbanging, burrito eating metal expert) asked me my take on them. Then shortly after that, my buddy told me that I should check them out. The next thing I know Trickknee lands me a copy of Razor Fist's “Razor Fist Force”. I put in the CD and I knew that it was gonna get pretty serious. The opening track “Rage of the Black Blade” is pretty fuckin’ rockin’ and it made me feel like I was in high school blasting my metal tapes in my walkman. The next song “Razor Fist Force” is Razor Fist’s metal anthem which totally destroys. Other songs on the album like “Traitor in the Robe (Beware the Preacher)”, “Sex, Drugs, and Metal”, “Demon Christ”, and “Rally All Metal Forces” should feed yer need for heavy metal. Razor Fist reminds me of some of the classic NWOBHM bands along with great early 90’s thrash like Testament, Sanctuary, Meliah Rage, Overkill, ect. Just like Razor Fist I am a huge supporter of real true heavy metal. I for one am glad to see bands like Razor Fist bringing back the spirit that embodies heavy fucking metal. Deal with it.(RFA)
(Trigger on the Dutendoo Records and Shit // trigger.on.the.dutendoo-at-gmail.com)

Retainers “Teenage Regrets” EP
Uhhhhh...manic? Yeah. “Teenage Regrets” is my first exposure to Minneapolis’ Retainers and it’s an impressive outing for sure. I heard The Reatards being batted around as a reference point, which I suppose is common considering tape hiss AND screaming are present on this release. Beyond that, I don’t see it. Whatever. Four loud, sharp and short punk tunes here, capable of fulfilling the blast quota for any given record buying month. My favorite tune? Why, it’s the instrumental “Blue Jean Attack”, of course! Imagine The Feelers or Rat Traps going surf! Impressive enough to make me wanna hear more. (MC)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiots.com)

Rose for Bohdan "The everyone hugged "Racism is God"" CD
Brian Miller, he of the Deathbomb Arc label and many of its bands, is like some sort of art-chewing music-spewing man-machine. Not everything that comes out of this goose is gold, but ya gotta give him credit for working that ass. Rose For Bohdan is his "rock" group, meaning they sound like a bunch of art kids invading a Guitar Center, plugging everything in, and having a cross-store jam (well, this is something I've always wanted to do, but still). The electronics on here use some of the worst sounds you could possibly find on a synthesizer, but that may be the intention. The bass rides a sort of clean-tone/sloppy-math thing with occasional forays into amped-out feedback, while Miller's panicked vocals recall legions of West Coast screamo dudes, but it's tempered with some humor, as they don't seem to take things too seriously. There are songs here though. The first track, "Friends Forever," (an ode to the van-rockers?) constantly breaks down and jerks around, even quoting "Love Will Tear Us Apart" for no apparent reason. That's pretty much indicative of the whole record. Lots of engaging and even catchy parts followed by another part that doesn't make "sense" and is sometimes incredibly dumb. But sometimes those parts of kind of rad, even if they're fleeting. Total ADD Destruction. (EEK)
(Deathbomb Arc // www.deathbombarc.com)
(Olfactory // www.thesmell.org/olfactory)

Roue' "Totally Fuckin Totally" 10" EP
In this man's (not-so-humble) opinion, Roue' (basically French for Bastard or Rapscallion, or something to that effect) are the best band from Cleveland, OH, and have been for several years now. Their debut album, "The Upward Heroic Motive", while having some production issues, was a beast of epic proportions. One major problem with that record was....no vinyl! They have addressed this issue by self-releasing this four song 10". It opens with the Unwound-esque "Some Future, Some Despair," then jumps into "Soft and Easy," which starts hard and punishing, slides into a moody bass groove, then brings it home with one of their poppier moments. On the flip, "Totally Fuckin Totally" features the kind of full-throttle dissonant guitar melodies that Sonic Youth wishes it could still pull off. The last track "Spirit and Opportunity," opens with two full minutes of stargazing guitar before bludgeoning you with blast beats and anguished screams of "I need more power/bring me the water." Get the man a whiskey instead. (EEK)
(self-released // www.roue.org)

The Shanks "Cut Me" EP
Yet another band from Nebraska via the Boom Chick label to go along with The Terminals and Brimstone Howl. Who'd-a-thunk anything was going on there? Apparently the Crap Detectors laid some seeds that took their time germinating...anywaaaaay, this being their debut and all, the Shanks step up to the plate right away with "Cut Me", a nice rip of bad-mood punk-rocking double guitar (one on rhythm fuzz the other handling pinpoint attack) scrunch. "Homeless" struts pretty mean, but on "Ike Turner Blues" the fuzz guitar finally flies totally off the handle and things get all surly and shit. A decent debut. Things are happening out there in them hills it seems...Omaha Bobby C gives this a B. Scum stats: unknown quantity on gray-ish marble vinyl. And I should add that Boom Chick Records has a pretty sweet looking logo. (RK)
(Boom Chick Records // www.boomchickrecords.com)

The Shirley Maclaines "Hey Girls" 7"
Two-songer from this five-piece all "Veggie girl" band from Austria. Austria? Yep. On the A they sound like a younger A-Lines perhaps, peppy girls-in-the-garage style, and the live in someone's living room recording is charming enough. They get punker on the flip, a bit reminiscent of the No-Talents perhaps, except with far less...talent. But still, the better side of the single. The live-and-lo-fi recording makes it sound more interesting than standard garage fare, but Christgau sez this thing is a B-minus at best, maybe evn a C+. Scum stats: 300 pressed on black with color insert. (RK)
(Heads Up Records // www.headsup-records.com)

Sic Alps “Pleasures and Treasures” CD/LP
Another great atmospheric record from the Bay Area, this time from folks involved with the Coachwhips, Hospitals and Erase Errata. Alternating between dreamy psychedelic droners and completely strangulated noise bash-ups there’s stuff here that will appeal to fans of Gris Gris, early Floyd, Jesus and Mary Chain, and of course, the Hospitals. While there is a lot of experimenting going on with accompanying fuzzed out walls of sound and feedback bleeding through everything, the band manages to keep things tied together and the record never veers off to nowheresville. Released after the “Soft Tour in Rough Form” EP, but recorded before it (they’ve since lost two members) this is their “lost” album that is finally seeing the light of day and for that I am thankful. Also a must to check out is the video for “Semi-Streets”, my favourite song from the record here. (JG)
(Animal Disguise Recordings // www.animaldisguise.com)

Sic Alps "Semi Streets" 7"
Honestly, this is the first Sic Alps stuff I have ever heard. Honest. I'm a pretty traditional guy musically, and all this weird-noise stuff frightens me. But I honestly like "Semi Streets". A lot. It's a killer cut, and what I always wished The Hospitals sounded like. Repetitive psych-like riff repetition and dirty drum thud, a trance-like head-nodder that you really don't want to go away. The B-Side is three tracks, the first being the band leaving one of their mics on at what sounds like a bus stop bench, the last being some noise collage stuff, and the middle being the actual song that ("Brill Building") that is about half as intriguing and droning as the A-Side. But "Semi Streets" totally kills it, and makes this worth buying and playing twenty or thirty times (A-Side only though, kids). I will be purchasing a Sic Alps 12" based on this excursion. I'm hoping for more like the A-side of this, and I guess I can put up with more of the kling-klang shenanigans on the B-Side if I get more like "Semi Streets". A risky propostion, yes. I hope I'm not disappointed. Scum stats: 300 pressed.(RK)
(Skulltones // skulltones.com)

Skate Korpse "Discography" LP
Before releasing a trio of 7” singles and subsequently vanishing into thin air, Skate Korpse built up a rabid following in their home turf of Buffalo/Rochester (never committing to either shithole). Playing surf inspired skate punk recalling throwbacks like JFA and the Faction, Skate Korpse put their own twist on things and the resulting body of work was an armful of remarkable and catchy skate punk songs - quality material that was improving with each release — making their demise all the more frustrating. They hadn’t really reached their peak yet. This discography LP compiles those three singles on the A-side of this album, the best of which being the final, Mr. Ski-Mask recorded "Down" EP, where the songwriting took a step forward. Some of these sessions appear on the B-side (the obligatory, well executed covers of "Rumble" and "Pipeline") as well, which is an odds-n-ends collection of unreleased tracks and the original demo. A fine document of one of the area's better and more fondly remembered bands of the last few years. Several limited versions appear (shamelessly stamped LIMITED in huge, red letters on certain covers), but the only variation seems to be what is/isn’t stamped on the covers.(LB)
(Feral Kid Records/Punks Before Profits // www.myspace.com/feral_kid_records)

Snake Flower II "Turn Back Time" EP
Snake Flower is Matthew Melton, a guy you are already acquainted with even though you might not know it. He was in the Memphis Break-Ups (a band who released a really great CD-R a couple of years ago that deserved some vinyl treatment), did time in the original version of the River City Tanlines and played in the Bare Wires with Alicja and Jack O. (record forthcoming on SSLD). Plus, he took that cover photo for Jay Reatard's solo record that everyone loves so much. Snake Flower at one time included a member of label-mates Kazalok (Snake Flower version I), and version II is Matthew in San Francisco with some different accomplices. Fours songs, that at different times recall T. Rex/Bolan, pre-ambient Eno solo work, Dylan, early Floyd and some other Sixties semi-folky points of reference. Some tripped-put echo-laden psych adventures on the A-Side are complimented well by subtle rock-n-roll moves on the flipside tracks. The understated and ramshackle crooning of "Gypsy Child" is a favorite, along with "The Mind Plays Tricks" and its offhand rocking. A very nice companion piece for those digging the vibe of the Kazalok 12". (RK)
(SYA Records // www.syarecords.it)

Spider s/t 7" EP
If you’re anything like me, you loved the Spits at one point, but lost interest in them sometime between their second and third LP’s. I remember hearing “Fire” for the first time and flipping out – and later being just as impressed by party anthems like “Take Back the Alley” – but somewhere along the line the schtick just got played out for me. Maybe it was the elitist music snob thing where I saw – gasp – “commoners” getting into them (you know what I mean: people who don’t obsess over records and just want to have a good time with music) but somewhere along the way a line was crossed and the Spits fell off my radar. Seeing them live at the ‘04 Dot Dash fest was their nadir for me. The crowd loved it; but me? It all sorta ran together in my estimation.
When I first put the needle down this single by Erin from the Spits’ new band Spider, I thought I was in for more of the same. “Charlie” is an okay Charles Manson by way of Red Cross cover, but it’s nothing to write home about, let alone name the single after. HOWEVER, once “Charlie” faded out I was floored by the next tune, an original by the name of “Spiderlili.” Fuck, what a great song! It starts with an ominous bass line and whooshing keyboard noises that sound like a bat on weekend furlough from hell – well if hell was a cross between the movie Tron and a Nintendo RPG that is – and from there builds into a hypnotic maelstrom of driving fuzz guitar, a call and response duel between a sped up female (?) voice and Erin’s trademark “android on Vicodin” vocals, and thrift store keyboards that add an extra layer of understated malevolence that really sets this apart from the pack. On the flipside, “Witch Cookie” is a good bit easier to sing along to than the monotone chaos of “Spiderlili” but it’s no less sinister and addicting. If you still need me to spell it out for you: this is good stuff. I bet it would be a real hoot under the influence of what is known in Wisconsonian parlance as “wind” as well. Rumor has it this is already sold out and they’re repressing 300 more on red wax. As they say in Dundas Rock City, “GIT R DONE.”(SB)
Here's what the internet is saying about the debut 7" from Spider: "It's so good!"..."What a great record!"..."I can't believe it's this great!"..and other such nondescript fanfare. I'm sure these vague blurbs peppered on web-boards all over have already prodded you into buy-or-cry mode weeks ago, so what can I really say at this juncture? Perhaps you'd like to know what it sounds like? Well, we can make educated guesses as to whom this mystery meat of a band contains. One of the Wood bros. from The Spits maybe? Perhaps a certain sultry French vox-seusse air-mailing some contributions in? (Well, it sure sounds like her...and the song is called "SpiderLILI" after all.) That should point you in a general direction. Dum-dum male vox crossed with femme punkings. Then there's the Red Kross/Manson cover, served up lo-fi with a spritz of prickly guitar. Think mashed-out synth work that drones and whirls and bumps and wheezes when necessary. A guitar that sounds like a contact miked Tesla coil on "Spiderlili". A lengthy B-Side that sounds like a hot number from a dance party poolside at the Spahn Ranch with Helios Creed as the band leader. Weirded out, somewhat subtle and defintley worthy of the bucket of hype tossed all over it. Scums stats: the HozAc fellas outdid themselves...50 copies on gold with Mike Sniper cover, 50 copies on gold with armband covers, and the remaining 400 on black with artwork that looks like it's from the greatest private psych LP never made. Some copies seem to come with a sticker and/or "transform manual", not sure of the disbursement on those, but mine came with a black vinyl edition. (RK)
(HozAc Records // www.horizontalaction.com)

The Spits "2006 European Tour" LP
I got a little down on The Spits after the release of their third LP. I wasn't sure why at the moment, but now I realize it was just too much of a good thing. I had thought the formula was getting a bit tired, that they had given us too much too soon, that I had heard the joke one too many times. But now, having had time to let their discography marinate and sweeten, the release of this painfully limited and hard-to-get tour-only LP has fully revitalized my Spits mania. They were (and are) a phenomenon for a reason. That reason being they are one of the greatest modern punk bands to exist in this new century, the captains of the fun-loving party-down stoopid-punk ship. In reviewing this LP, the important question I feel I need to answer is this: Does this 12 track 12" of live recordings warrant you hunting down and dropping a fair amount of coin on another hopelessly limited P.Trash import? Content-wise, here's what you get: three (actually, four, as there's an uncredited take on "PCT" here) high quality recordings from a Davis, CA show of material from the first LP that translates the force of nature that is a Spits live set as well as one can possibly hope. Sounds great so far. Followed by three takes on KBD-classics from three different shows, the quality of which is a slight step down from the previous stuff (they cunningly pick tunes from Crap Detectors and Black Easter, proving there are some sharp minds at work here, followed by a bit more standard of a crowd-pleaser in The Kids' "No Monarchy"). Side B is comprised entirely of a pre-DotDash (Year One) WFMU set with Dave The Spazz, five tunes from the third record (plus "Remote Kontrol"), recorded impeccably as most WFMU sets are. The between song banter (on the A-Side as well), cements the fact that not only are The Spits a band you want to party to, but also really funny dudes you also want to party with. So, quality and song-choice-wise, this thing gets an A+: three unreleased covers, plus hits from both early and later records, all getting at least an 8 on the out-of-ten live-record-sound scale. Depending on your level of obsession with this band, the choice then becomes: do I mailorder this thing from somewhere in Europe if possible (it was only sold on the Euro tour and apparently sold out in seconds), or worse yet, pay out the nose via eBay or trade with some savvy collector. Me, I got it as the back-end of a trade with a Parisian friend, and I couldn't be happier that I cashed in those chips when I did. As I said, you can't ignore the greatness of The Spits even if you might have forgotten about it for a while. I've been spinning this regularly and happily for the past month, and have to rank it as one of the few recent P.Trashes you really do need. I hope it's not too late for you. And might I recommend, with the way the US dollar has taken a shit making overseas mailorder possible for only the independently wealthy, find yourself a European friend and just do some good old-fashioned record trading. Scum stats: 300 copies only, 75 of which have a different colored 'Spit-on-the-Pope' sleeve. Repress in the works. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

The Stapler "Metaphysical Haircut" CD
One of the best labels going right now, Columbus Discount is bringing back the shit-fi sound of early 90s indie punk in glorious fashion. One look at The Stapler's album art and you know they love early Pavement and Guided By Voices and The Grifters and Archers of Loaf and Superchunk and probably The Fall, too. This is all fine by me. Am I nostalgic for my younger years spent discovering these grimy but oh-so-delicious sounds? Probably. Is this retro? Maybe. Am I being too rhetorical? Definitely. This record is good. It kinda peaks with the first two songs, particularly "Subway Tunnel Charm Bracelet," which uses a keening violin to excellent effect. Sounds like they kidnapped a music student from OSU, fed him some Drixoral Cough and Congestion gel-tabs and told him, "Play this, and if you play it 'right,' we will kick the shit out of you." "The Calvary Lasers" is like hearing a classic Superchunk cut through layers of silt and garbage. "Temple of Fortuna, Part Three" throws down some sloppy punk angst that sounds like maybe they've been paying attention to fellow Cowtowners, The Feelers. But really, it's just an expression of the eternal FUCK EVERYTHING vibe of the best mid-Ohio bands, from Gaunt to Monster Truck Five to some band on Burnt Sienna that no one's ever heard. The album was recorded by Jared from Times New Viking and it has that 'as heard by the upstairs neighbor from a basement two floors below' feel to it, which is just fine; occasionally what might be some sweet riffs get a bit lost in the hiss and in-the-redness, but that's the trade-off you make for being real. I like haphazard pop music made by drug addicts (see fellow townsfolk Psychedelic Horseshit). If you do too, then get this limited to 500 CD. (EEK)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Sweet Rot "Drug Fiend" EP
No idea who these cats are or where they're from. Gotta be somewhere in CA. On the title cut, they sound like a surf band that takes a dip into mongoloid-punk waters on the refrain. It's actually quite interesting, with a nice hissy shit-fi recording and a singer with a really trashy and gruff voice. On the B-Side they sound a bit more Cali-punk than surf or garage, but still mixing the genres fairly well. The recording still sounds great, vox still sound good, but the songs get just a little boring and go on for maybe just a verse too long. The best parts are when they seem to stumble over themselves mid-song but eventually jump back on track. The surf-punk edges elevate it above garage-generica level, if they shorten up the tunes and keep up with the slop they could be onto something good. Robbie Christgau sez B- and he will check back later. Scum stats: 400 pressed , 316 on black and 84 on yellow, with neat clear insert.(RK)
(Square Wave Records // squarewaverecords-at-gmail.com)

The Terminals "Forget About Never" LP/CD
A sneaky little debut platter from the on-the-rise Nebraska contingent of modern garage-rockers of which The Terminals seem to be the most garage-sounding of (compared to the rock-action of Brimstone Howl and the punker-sounding Shanks). The recording on this (done by Andy from The Horrors) is fairly odd, kind of washed out and seemingly filtered through layers of gauze, not so much ghostly as strangely muffled souding, and it certainly lends quit a bit of character to what could be just standard garage doings. The guitars roar out of the distance at times and the organ playing is just wild enough and adds an integral element to the band's sound, instead of being simply an add-on as it is with many bands. Actually, these guys (and gal) are at their best doing an inspired Castaways cover (a really killer "Liar Liar", I shit you not) and revisiting a couple of garage-punk unknowns ("Ritual" from The Mods [from one of those Satan Records comps] and The Bryds' "Your Lies" [BFTG Vol. 8]). The originals follow the same line, with organ lines leading the way on most charges, aptly fusing the early Rip Off/Pre BS garage-fuckery aesthetic to the modern ITR static sound. Sexareenos meet The Hunches or some such shit. This gal can really hold her own on the mic too. Bobby Christgau stamps this one with an B+ and says after a half-dozen listens or so it really starts to make sense. LP contains a bonus track, nice Mike Sniper art. (RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

Terribly Empty Pockets s/t 12" EP
More Columbo musings via our pals, Columbus Discount, and, woah!, what do we have here? Anyway Records split-release?! That's right, Columbus' premier indie label from the 90s, purveyors of all things cracked and lo-fi, co-releases this extended EP. But be warned: This is not your older brother's Anyway band; Terribly Empty Pockets are super-polished pop-rock. They recall literate 80s New Zealand pop like The Verlaines, The Chills, and The Bats, but there's a certain X-Factor missing that made the best work by those bands timeless. "Good for what it is," but I can't see many TB readers jumping out of their socks for this one. (EEK)
(Anyway Records // www.anyway-records.com)
(Columbus Discount // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Bob Theil "...So Far" 2XLP
Vinyl riessue with bonus tracks of this very difficult to find UK psych/folk private press monster from 1982. 1982? Yeah, 1982. Bob, apparently oblivious to the musical changes from 1972 onwards, made this charmingly restrained record after 17 years of playing the UK folk troubador circuit, taking cues from Nick Drake, Roy Harper, Sandy Denny and Bert Jansch. It's as if hard rock, glam, punk and new wave never happened, I suspect Bob wishes they didn't.
Anyway, for acid folk fans this is pretty stellar stuff. The songwriting is great as is the guitar playing. The accompaniment can be, at times, a bit cumbersome. There's some misplaced synth and lead guitar parts that detract from the root of the song (for me, at least), but otherwise the arrangements are well done.
Bonus LP features '78 recordings of a couple of the songs from the LP plus some otherwise unreleased material.(MS)
(Guerssen Records, Spain)

Thomas Function "Vanity Lights" 7"
Surprising stuff here from ex-Panic Buttons/Alabama Jihad dudes, who have traded in the sub-Rip Off garage growling for jangly and kinda downer guitar pop. Three songs of the type that don't blow your hair back on first listen, but later in the day when "Vanity Lights" is running through your head you realize you're looking forward to getting home laying the needle on this thing again. Sneakily good. There's not much to say about "I Kept You In A Pill Bottle" except it's a great song. The singer sounds a bit like a less medicated Jad Fair at times, and the musical moves have a nice VU/Modern Lovers aroma. "This Ain't No Hustle" is what I think all indie-rock should sound like these days, even though I know it doesn't. Shame. Defintely worth the four or five clams, you could probably even get your girlfriend to go in on half with you. She'll dig it too. Just make sure you call dibs on it when you guys break up. Watch out for another single on Tic-Tac-Totally soon. Scum stats: I'm told there a scant 300 of these gems, some with black-on-white sleeves, some with white-on-black. (RK)
(DNH Records // www.myspace.com/dnhrecords)

Thomas Function "The Insignificants" EP
Here's that second single from a band that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. "The Insignificants" is a hit of epic proportions, with attractive hooks (and more electric piano!) and poppy dynamics. From the cover art and band-name and such you get a sort of youthful, child-like vibe, as if they were the younger siblings of The Ponys or something, but then the complexity of their songs puts such simple notions to rest. The songs are somewhat light, yet not whimsical, containing a depth of feeling and a sort of dramatic quality. The B-Side cuts could easily be A-Sides, with "Conspiracy of Praise" even letting the guitars get some air. Really, really well done, these kids have done such wonders with these two singles I get excited to think what they could do with an LP. Scum stats: 500 on black, 250 on blue, another 250 on green.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

UV Rays "Rad Reputation" EP
Recorded “live” in the practice room, this one comes off loose and drunk sounding — which is probably the way the UV Rays intended it...a Rochester institution known for such things. Things start off just fine with “Flip Out”...and aside from an unfortunate breakdown part within this opening track (hardcore roots exposed!), its pretty much heavy guitar mid-tempo rock and roll throughout (albeit, a little familiar sounding). Four songs, all of which are catchy and rockin’ in varying degrees, give the impression the UV Rays have some cool songs and are a pretty fun band in the live setting - which they are. Hearing some actual studio stuff from these handsome fellas does them more justice on record, though.(LB)
(Razorblade Music // www.razorblademusic.net)

Vampire Can't "Key Cutter"LP/CD
Vampire Can't is Vampire Belt, Chris Corsano and Bill Nace's two man drums/guitar/electronics wrecking machine, and Jessica Rylan's solo noise joint, Can't, combining forces for maximum destruction. The two Vampire Belt homemade CDRs were two of the better "organic noise" (what I like to call noise that is made using actual instruments) releases of the past couple years. Now, to be completely honest, I would listen to anything Chris Corsano did, including a field recording of him taking a shit on the White House lawn or even in your grandmother's backyard, so, there's that. He is surely one of the most inventive and powerful drummers currently walking this earth. Kind of funny then how much of this album reminds me of Mindflayer, Brian Chippendale's (from Lightning Bolt) noisy-ass drum/tronics project with Matt Brinkman. There's not much to distinguish between tracks here, as most are just balls-out (apologies to Jessica) noise-meltdowns with Corsano flailing away in the background. Not bad, but nothing really sticks in the craw. The last track, "No Strings," stretches the proceedings out to better effect, but it's too little too late. (EEK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

V/A Book of Am LP/CD + Book
A few months ago when this was reissued, it created panic amongst psych collectors the world over. 500 editions of this huge 12x12, 112 page, hard cloth-bound book of writings and etchings along with the 2 LP's of music were sold out from all American and UK distributors. People in NYC were calling stores in Colorado to see if they had any vinyl copies. The CD version sold out soon after.
This was one of those instant rare records, except it was a reissue. And since it was sooo expensive for Wah-Wah to make, it would never be issued with that lavish packaging again. One of the reasons, is that originally there was no way for the band to afford the printing of the book along with the LP, so in many ways this reissue was the only true version of it.
The Book of Am was recorded in 1977 in the Balearic Islands, remote enough for true outsider psych to exist, but a hip enough place for people like Daevid Allen (Gong, Soft Machine) to contribute to it. The book was made first, and it's filled with beautiful illustrations and some esoteric hippy-dippy paganistic nonsense of poetry.
The music, however, is pretty extraordinary. Killer, desperate folk psych recorded very raw, but with layers of sounds coming from primitive synths, stringed instruments of every kind, and wailing ghastly female backing vocals. Some of the songs are sung by a guy with a thick Basque (Basque!) accent, only enhancing the otherworliness of the thing. It has the bizarre feel of Nico's Marble Index mixed with the earthiness of Meic Stevens.
For once, the phobics are right, and if you're into psychedelic folk, this set is as essential as it is expensive.(MS)
(Wah-Wah Records)

V/A “BIPPP – French Synth-Wave 1979-85 ” CD/LP
Very cool 13 song comp featuring just what the title says it does. Going into the record I had next to no knowledge of French electronic music from the time period covered and didn’t recognize a single name on the sleeve (not surprising, as most songs appear to have been originally released in runs of only 500 to 1000 copies), but after a few spins and reading the substantial liner notes (French only, sorry) I was hooked. Ranging from cold, robotic, and repetitive drone type songs to more upbeat, yet minimalist pop songs, there isn’t a weak one in the bunch, and while a full rundown would be a bit exhaustive, a couple deserve special mention like “Game and Performance” by Deux and “Polaroid-Roman-Photo” by Ruth, both of which are downright amazing. Synths definitely play the leading roll in most songs, but guitar, bass, and horns all pop up here and there for those that just need that sort of thing. This is probably the second best comp I’ve heard all year, after the S-S Records “Tete de Bebe” comp which captures the modern day version of French synth-wave and along those lines, I’d be curious to find out how much bands from that comp, like The Electric Guitars and Volt were influenced by the bands appearing here (personally, I hear the roots of the modern day sound way more here, than with, say, Metal Urbain.) Whatever the answer, this is a highly recommended pickup for fans of Devo, Silicon Teens, early Human League, and the like. (JG)
(Born Bad Records // www.bornbadrecords.com // www.myspace.com/bipppp)

V/A "Cassettencombinat 1980-1981 West Berlin" 3XLP Box
Maybe the ultimate musical document of underground West Berlin from 1980-1981, Cassettencombinat sounds as good as it looks. Kitty Citny of Sprung Aus Den Wolken created the Cassettencombinat label, in part, as a way to release his own bands recordings. It became a kind of home recording unit and label for a lot of like minded-bands within the city, like Einwegexistenz (also featuring Citny), Frau Siebenrock Combo, Out, Borsig Werke (w/ Hacke of Neubauten) and a host of others, all featured in this box. The main quality of this release is that it’s such a great peak into something so specific. It’s hard to think of many other compilations that are such a great document of a music scene at a certain place and time.
Musically, a lot of the bands veer down the path of noisy/proto-industrial post-punk that was so prevalent in Germany at the time. Can you blame them, really? Isolated in half of a city surrounded by the Eastern Bloc with the Cold War breathing down your neck, you’re probably not going to sound like the Soft Boys. But you also get bands on here like Lebund Und Arbeiten, who play a more organic style incorporating mostly live instruments. It seems as if whatever is lying around the studio at the time is employed by the band recording on that day. Tuned and detuned guitars, drum machines, synths, metal percussion seems to be frequently employed. Not to say that some of these guys couldn’t play, somewhere in this scene was at least one great drummer and a great bass player.
One of the big revelations for me was the inclusion of some tough to find releases by Borsig Werke. If any of you are familiar with the Neubauten documentary, you may remember the snippet of this really bizarre track called “Hiroshima,” not an EN track, but an earlier project of Alexander von Borsig. This is an amazing track. It’s like a transvestite Marlene Dietrich singing over a robot waltz played by the Residents. Actually, all of the Borsig stuff on here is amazing.
Vinyl On Demand are really coming through with their latest batches of reissues. Putting out a 3-LP box from a cassette-only label from the early 80’s does not sound like a money-making venture to me, especially considering the super-deluxe packaging and heavy vinyl employed in this release. This is expensive, limited (500) and great.(MS)
(Vinyl on Demand // available at www.forcedexposure.com)

V/A Cococoma/Turpentine Brothers split 7”
Instrumentation is the theme on this split: both Cococoma and Turpentine Brothers are guitar-drum-keyboard trios; it’s an atypical line-up that each group makes very different use of. With “Keep That Volume Down,” Cococoma makes a racket on their side of the record. The song, like most of their repertoire, is a high-energy affair with everyone-sing-at-once vocals, non-stop cymbal bashing, and some fine, fuzzy guitar work. With half a dozen released songs under their belt and a relentless live show (worth the price of admission alone to watch Bill’s Animal*-like drumming), these folks are firmly planted in the top tier of US punk bands. Around back, the Turpentine Brothers song tones things down. It’s more traditional in sound, a real rocknroller. They play the organ on this track not so differently from how Reigning Sound uses theirs, which isn’t so different from how their forefathers played theirs. It’s a decent track, but there’s not too much to grab onto and go wild about. (*Yes, the Muppet.)(DH)
(Sarah Mason’s Medical Records // misssarahmason-at-gmail.com)

V/A The Creeping Nobodies/Anagram split 12" EP
The last few years has seen Toronto's fertile hardcore punk scene rise to international recognition, but there is more going on in that city than young kids channeling the speed and rage of early 80s US HC. Take The Creeping Nobodies, for instance. The name is a Fall reference, but their number one influence is the long-running, genre-bending punk of Holland's The Ex. With two LPs, a few EPs (including last year's excellent Half Saboteur 12"), and several lengthy North American tours to their credit, Creeping Nobodies are steadily building a rep as makers of quality records and an intense live act. Their side on this 12" features two extended songs that work like mantras with dueling male/female vocals, rattling chains, alternately chiming/slashing guitars and rumbling drums. Not their best stuff, but very worthy regardless. On the flip, the unknown (to these ears) Anagram impresses with two tracks of menacing post-punk that recalls early UK coldbringers like Killing Joke and Zounds. Not too far removed from France's Frustration and just as good. "Mt. St. Capt. Doom" throws some subtle squawky sax in amidst the pulsing bass and monotone vocals. "Manic Indulgence" is even better, lumbering along like a death train intent on delivering its cargo. All aboard! (EEK)
(Blocks Recording Club/Dead Astronaut // www.thecreepingnobodies.com)

V/A Die Rotzz/Scrip+s split 7"
To get a taste for the aesthetic at work here, I feel I need to let you know this thing was mailed to me with the remainder of a Busch Light 12-pack as packing material. Possibly the pinnacle of dirtbag NOLA-punk is what we have in our hands. Jeth-Row mixes things up a bit format-wise, with one song from each band per side, and the A-side is just bursting with sack-punching ferocity. "Brassknuckles" is a bruiser, and undoubtedly the best thing Die Rotzz have committed to vinyl. Straight up cro-magnon thug shit. I'm also probably the biggest Scrip+s fan not living south of the Mason-Dixon line, so much so that seeing them live at DotDash two summers ago was one of the highlights of the trip for me. "Erase Your Face" is a heavy bad-trip buzz laced with a weird sax-like bleat that crawls out from beneath the murk every few moments. On par with the excellence of their 7" from last year. The flip has them rumbling through "Chopper City Casualty" with the subtley of a jailhouse shiv made out of a toothbrush and a Gilette disposable, and Die Rotzz one-up them on this side with the stop/start oscillation of "Uptown Ruler". As a fella who doesn't like the split format, I give this one the highest marks possible. Definitely contains some of the coolest song titles of the year, and the band has the (mutton) chops to back them up. Bring on Wizzard Sleeve! Scum stats: hand colored Mike Sniper sleeves, taped on labels, and "freebase your face" etched in the dead wax = A+ packaging. How many copies? I don't know, but most likely not enough for this world.(RK)
(Jeth-Row Records // www.myspace.com/jethrowrecords)

V/A Killed By A One Man Band 7"
Fifteen tracks on this pup, packing the grooves in tighter than a virgin's something-or-other. All OMBs (obviously) from around the world, some known, some you don't know, with mixed results of course. The songs are only 30 seconds to a minute-and-a-half max, and I can't imagine why this isn't like a double 7" package or a ten-inch. But hey, the Squoodge guy obviously ahd a vision on this one, so who am I to question his logic? The good/standard stuff: Beatman serves up his usual raw and uncooked savagery, Garagekid goes crazy on the echo with good results, Schooley serves up a stomper, Bloodshot Bill sounds like Jerry Lee as a OMB. The really good/weird stuff: Some dude named Martin Vylde (hey, I know of a guy named Martin from Sweden who makes a lot of records...) does an abridged version of the Reatards "Lick on My Leather" in Swedish ("Slicka Mitt Lader") that's ace trash, Killer(EA80) does some neat minimalist loop-trickery, Goussep Piss Artist turn in a real shit-fi blower and Urban Junior squeezes in a Volt-ish dancefloor synther that is just too damn short. The rest is pretty tradtional stuff that doesn't raise any eyebrows (including not one but two guys named Elvis). Just too much stuff to really get a grip on anything here, it could've been cut down to three or four top notch cuts really cuts easily. I'll give high points for a swell idea/concept, but this could've used some better execution. King Christgau One Man Army gives this one a B-minus. Scum stats: 500 copies on black, 100 on brown.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

V/A Brian Miller/Kevin Shields "We Had a Baby and It Will Die" DVD
Yeah, I wish it was that Kevin Shields, too, but it's not, it's some chick and the tireless Mr. Miller making some noise for 5 to ten minutes at a time. This DVD documents a West Coast tour of what looks like boring art spaces, which, un/fortunately, are the only kind of places you can get away with stuff like this. Give Miller some credit, though. His two main schticks at these performances are vaguely interesting. First, and best, is his "amp-as-instrument" tactic, which involves him slamming his two (assuming tube) amps together and throwing them around the room. This yields some cool sounds and keeps things visually stimulating. The other is him running around the room with a roll of duct tape and creating loops of stickiness to draw the audience in. Probably kinda fun if you're there. And this brings me to the real meat of the matter. Our world is becoming over-documented. Between the Internet and cheap methods of producing Artyfacts, we are destroying any notion of Time, Place, Moment, Present. You damn kids are taking this too far. When you document something that is purely meant to be "about the moment," you destroy what is inherently interesting about it. Instead of, "Yeah, I went to this noise show and this guy did [blank] and then he [blanked!]. It was fuckin nuts, dude!" Instead it becomes, "I went to this noise show. It was pretty cool. Hey, I'll send you a YouTube link and you can see what you missed." Maybe I am a cranky bastard, but we are all dying quicker then we'd like to think and I want to cling to the memories, embellished or not, and not have my life and what I may or may not have witnessed playing on some screen like a fucking Hollywood movie. Take back the means of production and dump them into the river. Do you think God watches YouTube? (EEK)
(Deathbomb Arc // www.deathbombarc.com)

V/A Potential Johns/Chinese Telephones split LP
According to legend (or at least Trickknee), there is a longstanding kinship between the rockers of Wisconsin and Denton, TX. How this unlikely pair came to be a couple is a bit unclear; I think it started with The Reds’ appearance on the otherwise all-Wisconsin “920 Blues” compilation, but is in full bloom with this newest split album between the cheesehead Chinese Telephones and longhorn Potential Johns. The ‘Telephones are pop punk, cut from the mold of Dillinger Four, right down to the seemingly arbitrary song titles (i.e. “I Tried and Failed and Cleaned Up Afterwards, so it’s Your Turn Now”). My tolerance for the style is admittedly low, so making it through the side was a bit of a chore. I believe the Potential Johns are, on this recording, just Jeff from the Marked Men flying solo, and the songs sound a whole lot like the ones he’s penned for that group. Curious as to why he’d record a side project so similar to his primary band, I searched around and found a Myspace page that explained that the Potential Johns were around, with a full line-up, for a few years starting in 1996. Later on, they reformed and fell apart again, but Jeff recorded some of the songs. Quality-wise, you could slide most of these songs onto any Marked Men album and a few might even be considered the hits.(DH)
(Cheeky Git Records // available at www.goner-records.com)

V/A "7" Up!" CD/LP
Last year, England's fantasticly-named Crippled Dick Hot Wax! label brought us a CD collection of (ex-Pop Group/Glaxo Babies) Maximum Joy's out-of-print vinyl output, now they present us with further diggings of the UK's once-vibrant post-punk scene. This comp covers similar territory as Hyped2Death's Messthetics series, and even though it is not quite as essential, it is still a worthy endeavor and a good purchase if the sound of disaffected Limey youth 25 years gone by is something that tickles your crippled dick fancy. Glaxo Babies' "This is Your Life," while not as innovative as their Nine Months to the Disco album (CDHW! please reissue this!), is still weird enough to please. Contact's "Constant Beat" is even better, with a great chorus only an art student from Manchester could come up with, while I Jog & The Tracksuits recall Tronics with their fey, home-recorded oddity, "Redbox." Gerry and The Holograms continues the creepy weirdness with their theme song, sounding not unlike Danny and The Dressmakers. Side 2 opens with They Must Be Russians' snarky STD-educational "Don't Try to Cure Yourself" (also on Instant Pop Classics). It's followed by Ireland's Moondogs, who, according to the informative liner notes, had both Ray Davies and Todd Rundgren slated to produce them plus their own Monkees-like TV show, Moondogs Matinee. Their track, "Imposter," is great power-pop as good as anything by The Undertones. Thomas Leer sounds like Howard Devoto covering Another Green World, Cult Figures get goofy and sarcastic like Black Randy and The Metrosquad, and Henry Badowksi is like a synth-driven Television Personalities on domestic ode "Making Love WIth My Wife." I think I just talked myself into loving this comp, and maybe you should too. (EEK)
(Crippled Dick Hot Wax! // www.crippled.com)

V/A "Shakedown! Original Brisbane Punk 1979-83" CD
Dropkick Records continues fighting the good fight in reissuing early Aussie punk rarities with this collection comprising the entire catalog of Savage/Shake Records, the seminal Brisbane label which has since given many a collectorscum the hot-sweats due to their tendency for pressing singles in editions of 300 or less and some even more painfully limited cassette-only releases. The label roster consisted of essentially three bands: Just Urbain (and offshoot Section Urbane, which was basically the JU guys with Ed Kuepper's brother on keyboards) who released three singles and a split cassette, The Bodysnatchers who managed to muster only one remarkable single, and the legendary Young Identities, who released two singles under that moniker, then changed their name to The Kicks and released another single and some stuff on tape. Twenty-six tracks comprise the entire catalog, sequenced chronologically, and it's some essential lesser-known Aussie punk. Just Urbain would perhaps be the weird-punk facet here, with creative and somewhat arty concept tracks backed with some actual punked-up numbers. A particular fave is "Everybody Loves" supposedly about Radio Birdman and their acolytes. But you can't miss with any of their singles. The lone Bodysnatchers single is a wonder of lo-fi punk thud. Young Identities records are certainly some of the more sought after Aussie vinyl jewels, and rightfully so. Their trebly punk charges are equally snotty and sloppy, real wild and abiding by no rules. The "New Trends" EP is a Top Ten Aussie punk record in my world. Then they decided they'd had enough of being of young drunk rabblerousers, changed into The Kicks (and the label name changes to Shake) and started churning out grimmer post-punk sounds on "Return of the Action Men". Sandwiched by Just Urbain singles, who had the honor of being both the first and last releases on the label (although the first three Savage singles were all recorded on the same day in the same studio), this disc not only provides the handy all-in-one-place service but also provides a snapshot into the beginning and end of a scene and the evoltuion of the bands therein. Great liners from two Just Urbain members (who ran the label along with a Young Identity, and actually funded the Leftovers single before starting the actual label) and pics are also included making this a necessary release for both completists and for those who are looking for the next step after the Murder Punk and Where the Birdmen flew comps.(RK)
(Dropkick Records // www.dropkick.com.au)

V/A "The Tomorrow People - Original Television Music" LP/CD
In some weird dimension, Delia Derbyshire is like Mozart or Beethoven…or at least Walter/Wendy Carlos. Delia Derbyshire created the theme music to Doctor Who. Which is maybe the creepiest/most futuristic recording of the 60’s. But WAIT, that was in 1963. Sixtyfuckingthree, not ’67, ’68 or ’69. While the world (rightfully) loves Silver Apples, how much further did they go with poor Delia’s blueprint in 5 year’s time?
Anyway, a lot of the music on here is created by Delia, but also Dudley Simpson, David Vorhaus and Brian Hodgson. Some are highly regarded electro-experimentalists, some aren’t. They were all contracted to create music for the Tomorrow People from 1973-1979. This was Thames TV answer to BBC’s Doctor Who. In an effort to get that show’s audience, the theme and incidental music is generally in the same vein as the BBC’s show, therefore it’s pretty fucking cool shit to listen to.
The theme, composed by Simpson, is a bizarre electro Ennio Morricone styled thing, very sparse with touches of warm almost organic “guitar” line. From there, it veers from the structure into more concrete type stuff, the sure antidote/bum-out for a listening party of cokeheads and more interesting (to me, at least) than any of Eno’s ambient stuff. (MS)
(Trunk Records // www.trunkrecords.com)

V/A "A Tribute to Cash Money Records" CD
This is just fucking stupid. I'm sure somebody will get a laugh out of it, but (here we go) a huge pet peeve of mine is arty, hippy, punky kids digging on shitty hip-hop in an ironic fashion. No, calm down, I'm sure these people truly enjoy a Master P side as much as any wanksta out there, but nobody needs a 70 minute CD of ironic covers, interpretations, and appreciations of the Cash Money steez. What's next, a garage-punk tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan? Maybe an idea that cracks you up drunk at 3 AM, but one that need not be realized. And, I wouldn't be hatin if any of the music on here was worth a damn. It's just a bunch of "projects" and a couple bands you might recognize sitting at home with some shitty computer program I don't know the name of making the limpest beats you've ever heard, some truly terrible, truly "white" "rapping" (like a Fruity Pebbles commercial, but worse), and the occasional dip into noise. I don't think there is one minute of redeeming music on here. It's fine that you dig the crunk and the Dirty Souf and drinking sizzurp and rollin witcha posse and I like big booties, too, believe you me, but just keep it to yourself, please. (EEK)
(Deathbomb Arc // www.deathbombarc.com)

Vegetative State s/t 7"
Three-songer debut from Columbus, OH kiddies Veg. State, proteges of the Feelers and released on their Death By Noise label, and it's a treat. Full of the sort of retardation and glee that can only come from a bunch of kids who aren't old enough to legally buy liquor yet, this thing forcibly stabs classic California punk in the face and laughs while doing so. "Cracker" is reminiscent of the best Skulls/Controllers tracks, with a grip-it-and-rip-it solo, solid circle pit break and lyrics pondering the ever-looming wigger epidemic. They follow with the classically-themed (TV evangelism) "As Seen on TV" and the B-Side filling and epic "Laguna Beach Rules". This record puts me at ease, knowing that there are still some kids out there who know what the definition of punk is, and are staying away from the puffy-jacket and hair-flip MTV2 parody of real music. Darby Christgau gives these kids an A. Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on banana yellow vinyl. (RK)
(Death By Noise // www.myspace.com/deathbynoise)

Volt s/t 7" EP
I think I may have mentioned this before, but I'm growing weary of French weird-punk. Not that it's all bad, but I just don't flip over all things French as I used to. Yet, I can't help but sweat a little bit when a new Volt record arrives in the mail. Because for me, Volt are by far at the head of the class of this Glue Wave scene, as it appears to have been dubbed. I dig their dark and icy approach (with a touch of sex), and no one can serve this dish up colder and better than this trio. These four tracks are home recordings done with just Jack and Lili (but don't worry, FX is still in the fold), and they obviously aren't sounding as luxurious as their previous twelve-inch output. Reminiscent, of course, to Lili's solo stuff, the A-Side is particularly effective, a rougher and more grinding sounding pair of tunes, with mechanical synth and drums warmed up a bit by edged guitar. Lili just seethes like a mean girl should on "Not You". Not exactly demo-sounding material, but certainly showing off a more minimal bedroom-recording facet of a band I hold in high regard. Near industrial cold wave that is exactly what I think synth-punk should sound like these days. Scum stats: 100 on gold vinyl (78 with alternate cover, 22 with regular cover) and 400 on black. (RK)
(HozAc Records // www.horizontalaction.com)

The Wax Museums “Introducing…” 7”
Debut release from these Texas miscreants (who also serve time in The Wrists) and it’s a doozy. “Mosquito” could be the shortest a-side to a single I’ve ever heard and it comes off sounding somewhere between The Urinals and The Sneaky Pinks, which is obviously retarded and great. The flip has the ultra classy “I Eat Vomit”, another two chord lesson in retardation (you’d be surprised how easy it is for “I eat vomit, I eat puke” to get stuck in your head all day) and “Worm”, a driving, minimalist blast perfectly executed. While this record has the band as a two piece, with only a guitar and a drum machine, their upcoming HoZac Records 7” has them sounding a bit more beefed up with the addition of a bass player and a real drummer. Add another band to the “must buy” list. (JG)
(Rehab Records // www.rehab-records.com)


Some other shit that's out that we haven't had a chance to review yet: Shop Fronts LP/CD on Rip Off...Jazz Music That Kills/Quest for Fire split 7"...Blowtops Tribute 2x7"...Rot Shit 7"...Tunnel of Love "Rockin Rollin Bitches" CD reissue...Hipshakes LP...Demon's Claws "Satan's Little Pet Pig" CD/LP...Time Flys "Rebel of Babylon" CD/LP...Clorox Girls "Double Mao" 7"...new Brainbombs 7"...new SIDS 7"...new Bayonettes 7" on Deranged...new Brutal Knights 7" on Perpetrator...Eddy Current Supression Ring CD...The Vicious CD/LP...and a shitload more...

To read past reviews go here.


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