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RECORD REVIEWS OCT./NOV. 2004

Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JG: Jeff Greenback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(EL: Eric Lastname)
   (RS: Rich Dropkick)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SS: Steven Strange) (TK: Todd Trickknee)

The Assholes "Johnny and the Big Prairie Fire" CD
If you know the name Fresno, California, then you probably know that it is the raisin capital of the world. If you are really intimate with the city, you also know that it is a pretty fucking violent place. During the late 70s, Fresno was the murder capital of California. Its punk scene had a reputation of being ultra-vi. So it's no surprise that when a bunch of 15 year old punks got together to play music their primary goal was to piss off their peers.
Johnny and the Big Prairie Fire contains excerpts from the Assholes short-lived career. Lifted from practice tapes and their one performance in 1979, this CD is more than the pounding the band made during their existence. More than twenty years later, band members got together and mixed the sounds they made as teens with loops, cut-ups, samples, synthesized noise to create six long sound collages that recall cassette underground experimentation, plunderphonics, Shaggsesque jams, and anti-punk punk. By no means is this a clean our the vaults affair but rather an expansion on what was found in the vaults, filtered though a short life time. It is certainly a unique way of presenting one’s past and pretty damn listenable.(SSR)
(Titicacaman // www.marceloradulovich.com/theassholes)

Baseball Furies "Let It Be" LP/CD
The fact that the Furies have been together since 1996 and this is only their second LP says a lot about their quality control in this day and age when bands release double LP collections of their demos without batting an eye. Three singles, a ten-inch, two LPs, and a couple comp tracks are all we've gotten out of these guys in almost ten years. Shit, Martin Savage released that many records in just this calendar year. But I think this whole thing is about the Furies being perfectionists in a way, about having each record come out with the right artwork, on the right label, at the right time, with the right sound. It's about not compromising their vision of their band due to popular demand, or what labels want them to do. Most of this LP was recorded almost four years ago at the Funhouse in NYC by Jerry Teel, in the pre-Chicago, pre-Matt Williams days. It's taken that long to get on vinyl, for whatever reasons you want to imagine. But, it's a clear summation of the Furies vision to date. A pure and desperate slice of American rock-n-roll, and probably one of the best examples of no-bullshit punk rock of this year, if not this decade. Now don't think I'm saying all of this because I'm biased, because the Furies were once my hometown heroes. But they've come such a long way from the days of storming the stage dressed as their namesake gang from The Warriors to become true practicioners of middle-American punk angst and futility and rage. A modern day Dead Boys: loud, fast, snotty, and full of the dashed dreams and life in the gutter-slums stories that still exist in our modern world. An album about knowing your friends (covering hometown pals Trailerpark Tornados "Chinese White" to great effect, releasing this record on Big Neck when I'm sure every hip label in the world was drooling was to release it), and cheap thrills ("Hit and Run", "Curfew Breaker"), and low-rent living ("Stuck in the Slums...", "Limited Resources"), all tied up in a neat package called "Let it Be', which I think means exactly that. Forget musical labels, genres, secret clubs, trends, the next big things. Just let shit be what it is, in this case a true slice of desperate American rock-n-roll that we were starving for. (RK)
To tell the truth, on first listen I wasn't terribly impressed by this. The hyper-aggressive, blown out p-rock attack of "Greater Than Ever" (a record that seemed terribly underrated at the time it was released) hit me upside the head like a rusty tire iron when I first heard it, but with its considerably cleaner production and slowed down tunes this one initially left my ass feeling less than kicked. Upon further listens however, "Let It Be" proved to be the kind of record that insidiously sinks its claws in little by little, and before I knew it, it somehow climbed its way to the top of my mental jukebox. For the most part the tunes are slowed down a notch, but when the songs aren't zipping by at 100mph it makes the Furies' killer guitar playing and jagged hooks stand out in sharper relief than on their earlier material. There's also an increase in singalong melodies here, with "Hit and Run," "No Way to Win" and most of all the Trailer Park Tornados cover "Chinese White" standing out as shining examples of this. That's not to say they've gone soft or anything, there's still plenty of their trademark misanthropic attitude to be found here, but its just not as overtly aggressive as before. If "Better Than Ever" was the soundtrack to the party where you get way too drunk and end up making an ass of yourself, this is the record you play when you get home from said party and feel like contemplating what a jerk you are and what a mess you've made of your life. This is the sonic equivalent of a warm, yet filthy blanket that you just can't wait to curl up in at the end of yet another wasted day.(SS)
(Big Neck // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Bassholes s/t CD
Opening an LP with a scorching version of Blind Willie McTell's "Broke Down Engine" is something only Don Howland could pull off. The first Bassholes album proper since 1998's mammoth and ball-busting When My Blue Moon Turns Red Again (and discounting the live LP on SFTRI) finds Don & Bim in the expected fine form, and kicking out a superlative collection of new(er) material that chugs like a locomotive right out of the gates. This self-titled effort is probably the closest these two have come to sounding 'clean', but the better recording quality doesn't hinder the effort at all, and I think it actually makes Bim's time-keeping sound even more tight/powerful. Don sounds more contemplative on these songs, and the album as a whole might be brighter/lighter than any previous recording. That's not to say there aren't dark recesses ("Fascist Times") or all-out rocking ("Purple Noon"). The whole thing is just a bit less soul-wrenching than before, and I think it's a good thing. There's accompaniment from various friends, on harmonica, banjo, extra guitar, bass, and more, and it all adds to the the impromptu session magic of the Forties bluesmen Howland has often tried to replicate. There's an assortment of great covers including "Heaven & Hell", "Caravan Man", "John Barleycorn", and a lively and weird version of "Shortening Bread" that makes the Cramps stab at it seem pretty trivial. Howland also reprises two songs from last year's "Out in the Treetops" double 7", and revisits "Daughter" from the Deaf Mix LP. In short, this is a fine welcome back record from a duo I sorely missed, and makes even more of a case for Howland as a national treasure. (RK)
Don and Bim don't pull any new punches on their new alb, but hamfisted attempts at innovation aren't what attracted me to the 'Holes in the first place. The regular blues-print's always suited these guys just fine. Could be less antiseptic in production, though. At any rate, another decent release in a long line of solid albums. (EL)
(Dead Canary // www.deadcanaryrecords.com)

Bassholes "Broke Chamber Music" CD
Twenty-three tracks of prime Bassholes magic contained all on one shiny disc. Here you have the first six Bassholes singles which endeared them to us so long ago ('John Henry', 'Hey OJ', 'Lion's Share', and more), plus eight unreleased outtakes of songs back from the early Nineties when Rich & Don (these were the pre-Bim days) were recording on a four track in a funeral home (a lot of these songs ended up on Haunted Hill in different forms). Rickety and ramshackle and rough, yet full of hidden delights, sly humor, and unabashed fury; this comp makes a timely companion to the new album, if to only see how far Howland has progressed, without ever really changing his initial premise. Only on a Bassholes record can covers of both the Germs and Blind Lemon Jefferson not seem ridiculous. Howland is also the only man in sport who can make a cover of the "Hokey Pokey" sound totally awesome. Have I convinced you of Howland's majesty yet? Are you of the brain-damaged masses uninitiated to the Bassholes grandeur? Well, you should start here and don't stop running until you catch up, you small fool.(RK)
Much-needed comp of early Bassholes singles and unreleased gems that should tickle the fancy of any BH fan. Howland's been around forver, and he keeps the traditional blues shit lively with weird touches here and there -- that much was evident early on. If you're new to the 'Holes, I'd recommend you start with the "When My Blue Moon..." alb and work your way back and then forward again. If you're a longtime fan, you already have this. And you should. (EL)
(Secret Keeper // www.secretkeeperrecords.com)

BBQ "Take a Message" 7"
Themed single from our man Mark, and it slays. Three songs, but this time it's less rock/R&B and more punk, and we know this guy only writes hits. Imagine if the Saints were a one man band. That's what this reminds me of. I like the direction Mark's going in here, so look for the LP on Bomp in the new year, and I'm sure you'll be rewarded. Scum stats: if it's on Goodbye Boozy, you know there's only 300 pressed. Buy or cry.(RK)
I'm of the opinion that there are three types of people in this world: those who love and miss the Spaceshits, those who need to hear the Spaceshits ASAP, and those with absolutely zero taste in rock n roll. This single will serve as a perfect remedy for those in the first group, an ample introduction to the genius of Mark Sultan for the second, and since those in the last group are a lost cause anyway, who gives fuck if they hear this or not? Both sides of this telephone-themed slab of wax mark a return to the more amped up punk rock approach of the early Spaceshits, and while I'm a huge fan of the 50's/60's stylings of Les Sexareenos and the 1st BBQ LP, this is the best Mark's sounded since "Winter Dance Party." All three tunes rock in a catchy, yet driving manner that brings to mind late 70's greats such as the Saints and Heartbreakers, but this sounds so fucking fresh and vital that it's like hearing your favorite bands all over again for the first time. Both sides are flawless, so it's impossible to pick a hit, but suffice to say your rock n roll life is over if you don't track this record down pronto! Desperately great.(SS)
Telephone themed rec ("Take a Message" & "Busy Signal" & "Hang It Up") from one-man crew Mark Sexareeno. I really dig Mark's voice & hooks, so I can't see not liking anything he does. I know there are a lot of y'all out there like me, so pick up a copy, because (like all Goodbye Boozy singles), it's limited. (TK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records // Villa Pompetti, 147, 64020 S. Nicolò a Tordino, Teramo, Italy)

Les Bellas 7"
Two straight Sixties-styled female fronted Nuggets from the Profet Records/Mighty Go Go Players camp. The A side, "I'm Going Down", is great and authentic sounding psych-garage. The B side is a slow fuzz and flowers hippie-love sounding number with lots of "la-la-las". The gals got a great sexy and French sounding voice, and like I said, the A side tune is a killer. Not at all like the Go Go Players or any of the other stuff you've heard from this area, so don't say I didn't warn ya. (RK)
(Profet Record // 11 Rue Mignard, 66000 Perpignan, France)

The Bill Bondsmen “The Swinging Sounds Of The Bill Bondsmen” 7”
Wow. I hate most modern day hardcore but when I saw these guys play in Detroit a few months back I knew these guys had that certain something that’s missing in hardcore and punk today and that would be a sense of humor and an understanding of what punk-rock is and how it should be played. “The Swinging Sounds...” is a 5 song punk/hardcore ep sounding like a perfect mix of Born Against and Zero Boys. Screaming vocals, sometime clever and sometime funny lyrics, and fast violent sounding music. Excellent production by way of Jim Diamond and Ghetto Recorders. These guys are quickly becoming one of my very favorite new Detroit bands along with Human Eye and Easy Action. Maybe they’ll stick around long enough to save that shithole of a city. Highly recommended!(MP)
(Fourteegee Profuctions// http://existentialista.com/bbm/bbm.htm)

Bob Burns and the Breakups "C-Store, Baby!" 7"
Since I've been disappointed in most new WI bands lately, and since I rarely make it down to Milwaukee basement shows anymore, I rely on trusted Band Sherpa Paul Reject to alert me to potential hotstuffs. His take on these guys was basically "Bob Burns and the Breakups are these kids from Stevens Point, and they're generic and all, but they're really good. Sorta' New Bomb Turks, great drummer." For once, he was dead-on. If you're still reading after the NBT namedrop, you'd probably dig this. They're a lot more raw and reckless than these recordings would lead you to believe (it inches towards Fat Wreck sound/mix too often for my taste), but the songs are good, and the band can really play. Bobby is still a teenager, and he probably lives out on a llama farm, so he can be forgiven for the "Destroy Oh Boy!" worship. Newer tunes are moving over to the Reds/Catholic Boys necksnap rhythm damage, and hopefully someone can get them to record a bit more appropriately next time. Six tunes, 300 copies. (TK)
(Dingus Records // 2407 N. Pierce St., Milwaukee, WI 53212)

Cactus 7"
No, not the Seventies post-Vanilla Fudge boogie band. These guys are Italian, and they play the sort of reverent early Eighties post-punk that the Geisha Girls do (think Gang of Four circa the "Damaged Goods" EP), although perhaps a little less proficiently. Two angular offerings on the A side, and the flip is actually a bit wilder, more in the vein of TVPs or The Fall than the Gang. If you dig this sound you may find it interesting (I do), and I'm very surprised there is an Italian band that sounds like this for some reason. Scum stats: this is Music for Haters Vol. 5, limited to 275 copies on black vinyl.(RK)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Carbonas “Frothing at the Mouth” 7”
I’m not so hot on the Carbonas earlier records, but this single (only 200, turkey tits!) makes up for any shortcomings of their past work. The title track is what an a-side should be: short, simple, and with a chorus more infectious than a needle full of smallpox. Reminds me of Jetpack. It’s also the most recently recorded song, which is a sign of good things to come, or so I’m told. The flip has “Sick Satisfaction”, which could easily be a Catholic Boys outtake, and an unlisted cover of “Walking Out on Love” that doesn’t disappoint. Recommended. (JG)
It is with a sick Southern sense of humor that The Carbonas release this record in an edition of only 200 copies. Three songs of Midwestern hardcore that coulda been on one of the Master Tape comps. Mitch was right, now where’s the new LP?(DH)
If you still weren't convinced that 2004 saw the triumphant return of the seven inch like a phoenix rising from the ashes of burned and discarded CDEPs, I offer for your consideration exhibit C: the new single from the Carbonas. The title track rips along with all of the fury of the Reatards covering early Registrators and is so catchy it enslaves unsuspecting ears on contact. It's a great song that's made even better by a killer guitar line that'll be buzzing in yer brain for days. The B-side has two tunes, "Sick Satisfaction," which is pretty good but definitely isn't in the same league as "Frothing," and an out of left-field cover of the Beat's "Walking Out On Love" that sounds mighty welcome to these ears. Anytime someone covers the Beat, it's usually a good sign. It's even better when said cover is not "Rock n Roll Girl!" With a miniscule print run of just 200 copies, it looks like we've got another insanely limited single that's bound to make some top ten lists this year. Also, collectors should note that this record is "douche one" as it the first chapter in what I'm sure will be the long and illustrious story of Douche Master Records. Wow, at least Shit Sandwich doesn't have to worry about having the dumbest name in punk rock anymore! Be sure to write them so the dude behind the label can have the pleasure of the mailman handing him a letter addressed to "Douche Master." Man, I thought I felt embarrassed getting packages addressed to "Steve Strange."(SS)
(Douch Master Records // dave@the-carbonas.com)

Career Suicide "Signals" EP
Toronto’s Career Suicide give us a sharp looking (Martin’s sleeve designs are among the best in punk) 4-song EP. This is, I think, the band’s standout release. The band writes short, fast, snotty hardcore songs that are played by obsessive music fans. That there is no singular influence makes Career Suicide different from many of their peers. So many bands set out to mimic Black Flag, yet these fellows have a more interesting record collection from which they steal. There’s some Flag, Jerry’s Kids, Angry Samoans, Gizmos. A fucking great record.(DH)
(Slasher Records // www.slasherrecords.com)

Cinecyde "Like a U.F.O." CD
I get sent a decent number of CDs in the mail. Because I don’t request them I don’t feel I am under any obligation to listen to them in a timely matter or, really, at all. With records, I listen to them pretty quick like. But with CDs, there has to be something to move me into action. Certain labels, word-of-mouth, or a band’s track record will get me to the stereo and convince me that the energy used in pushing the open button on the CD player is worth the effort. In the case of this CD, the name Cinecyde was good enough to warrant the strain on my finger. This Detroit band released a few semi-legendary 7”s back in the late 70s, punk rock that had a strange sinister twist to it. As far as Detroit punk goes, the early Cinecyde singles are the best, a good enough output etch on the band’s gravestone.
Now, god knows how many years later, I am presented with a Cinecyde CD made in 2004. Gone is the strangeness. Gone is the sinisterness. Gone is anything that set Cinecyde apart from the rest of the punk pack. Rather than follow the path of older punks like Dead Moon and the Styrenes, and create music that has an edge and is creative and still tries to be full of the vitality that makes for great punk, Cinecyde churns out well worn, radio friendly alt-punk, soulless mush-headed crud that could be any number of bands looking to get a song or two picked up for a Target commercial. If I would have known what lurked in this piece of plastic before I gave it a whirl, I would have left the thing sealed and walked it over to the local CD store and exchanged it for a pack of smokes or something. However, I listened to the fucking thing and it is so shitty that I can’t in good conscience let this go into circulation. Instead, I’ll bring it downstairs and let my neighbor use it to scrape the dried shit off her catbox next time she cleans it. Dear consumer, don’t waste your money, like I just wasted my time. Stay away. (SSR)
(Tremor)

Das Pussyhound “Danger!” CD-R
Stumbling out of nowhere (ie. Vancouver) come Das Pussyhound who sound ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING like any other band in this fair city of mine, past or present. No slick techno beats, no tired alt. country crooning, and thank fucking Christ, no chuggin’ rawk riffs; just three chords (sometimes just two), a shit load of distortion, and a charming amateurish ability to barely hold it all together while teetering on the verge of complete aural destruction. The vicious screaming brings to mind The Reatards, the primitive drumming recalls The Gories, and the completely overblown shitcan “production” makes The Fatals sound like a goddamned tea party. For a band who’s been playing their respective instruments for a mere six months or so (their live set is a hoot) and who basically plugged two mics into a cheap four track, cranked everything to 10, and hoped for the best, I’m amazed. Also, comes in a very cool 5 ½ inch floppy disc sleeve. Complaints: A more leveled mix would benefit some of the songs and there are way too many covers (Sonics, Oblivians, Supercharger, Gories and Cheater Slicks). Minor gripes notwithstanding, still the best new band outta the ‘Couv, since I’ve lived here, by a fucking mile. (JG)
(CD-retard // daspussyhound@hotmail.com)

Demon’s Claws s/t CD/LP
Demon’s Claws are yet another fine band from Montreal, led by an ex-member of the Cut Offs (who appear on the quite rockin’ Sympathetic Sounds of Montreal comp) with Skip Jensen (aka Serge from Scat Rag Boosters) on drums. Although Skip has nothing to do with the songwriting, a lot of the songs do come off sounding quite similar to Boosters tracks. There’s a pretty big retro feel happening here – think Back from the Grave, replete with mucho guitar tremolo and vocal wails. My faves are the slower, plodding cuts like “When You Walk Down My Street” and “Lost in the Desert” which invoke thoughts of a more serious, less weird Black Lips. A worthwhile pick up, especially if you’re a sucker for the Montreal sound. LP forthcoming on P.Trash. (JG)
Gotta agree with Jeff on the Black Lips comparison. Sounds a bit like the Lips, yet a little more conventional and maybe folksy, but still a ragged and shambling contemporary take on Sixties garage. Lots of echo tossed about, and there really isn't anything 'punk' peeking it's head out anywhere, which makes it all more authentic and somewhat backwoods-creepy. No hits to speak of here (though the opener asks for repeated listening, but don't they always?), but as a whole it makes for good listening, perhaps while driving or running from that pesky sheriff. Christgau says B+.(RK)
Stomping '60s-inspired r'n'r that somehow ain't as stale as the apt description. There's a "twist" here that separates this alb from the pack, though I'm hard pressed to say what it is exactly -- could be Skip Jensen's real minimal drum thud that's bringin' me back for repeated listens. Could be the whole Scat Rag Boosters connection. Hell, I dunno. I usually hate this kinda shit, but I won't question it, and you shouldn't either. Vinyl on PTrash. Buy? (EL)
(Dead Canary Records // www.deadcanaryrecords.com)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Detonations "Spy You in a Magazine" 7"
The Detonations fall squarely into the "great live band, but you couldn't pay me to listen to their LP" category. They were awesome live at the Bloodfeast, so I went back and checked the LP out again, and regretably, it still sucked. I was hoping they'd do better on the seven-inch format, but I'm afraid not. The A side is exactly what is wrong with the LP: just boring, ham fisted garage/punk, lacking any semblance of a decent hook or anything to keep you interested. All bombast and little substance. And hey, I know not every song has to be catchy or have some sweet-ass break or refrain, but at least throw me a bone and don't bore the shit outta me. On the B-Side they do the unthinkable and attempt a Chrome cover, something I've only ever heard the Anal Babes/Titmen do well enough to walk away unscathed. Chrome is on my list of 'Do Not Attempt to Cover, Ever' bands. It's a fight you can't win unless you're some sort of Norwegian supermen. Pass this one over and get the Scrip+s or Kajun SS singles if you need to buy some New Orleans trash. Scum stats: pretty good cover art for a Big Neck release. On clear vinyl, I'm gonna guess Bart did at least 500 of these puppies. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Die Rotzz "Tugboat" 7"
I've heard lots of good things about this band's live show from lots of credible sources, but I think something's probably gotta be missing in the translation to vinyl. It's alright, but not up to the usual Die Slaughterhaus quality level. They do a kind of KBD punk thing with bad-ass southern redneck leanings (think Antiseen) on some of the tracks. I prefer the less conventional sound they throw down on "Knife Fight" the best - kind of a moody number that displays a lot more dynamics than the other tunes. I'll definitely be on the lookout for future releases and a hopeful tour.(TK)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)

Dirtbombs "Merit" 7"
The unrelenting Dirtbombs vinyl deluge just never seems to stop. This is what, their 37th single? Anyway, this one's actually OK. "Merit" is one of the better Dirtbombs tunes I've heard in a long while. On the B side they, now get this, do a dub version of a Romantics song (yes, that Romantics) they covered for an as yet unreleased split with that band. Great idea? Well, I'll give Mick credit for trying. Great song? Not exactly. But, I've been digging the dub lately, so I'm letting it pass. Scum stats: no specific pressing info, but there are 5 different colors of vinyl (black, red, blue, green, and purple) and each variant has foil stamps on the cover in the same color as the vinyl. Great Kapow packaging: thick cardboard sleeve, clear ink on white background graphic, the aforementioned foil stamping, and insert. First pressing already sold out. #10 in the "True Dirt" series. (RK)
(Kapow Records // www.kapowrecords.com)

Dirtbombs "Crashdown Day" 7"
If Mick started the Dirtbombs to be a singles band, well then he's certainly keeping up his end of the bargain. This is their second release in Corduroy Records' recorded live to acetate series of singles. Nothing remarkable, unless you want to hear these guys do a Flipper cover. I think you can imagine how it sounds. This record sheds no light on to the enduring mystery of why this band has two drummers. I also just saw a copy of this sell for like $20 on eBay. What the fuck is wrong with people? (RK)
(Corduroy Records // www.corduroy.com.au)

ERS s/t CD
It is no secret any longer that CDs cost pennies to make. However because of corporate greed, major labels have set unreasonably high prices for the format. This practice, coupled with inferior sales, forces independent labels to price their releases at similar, though often a bit lower, wholesale rates. But there are ways around this. The same technology that makes CDs possible also allows for a label to market them directly to the music lover and drive the price down. Topplers, a UK DIY label, is doing just that.
Packaged no frills, Topplers has a “value” series of CDs that run about $3 a pop. The one that just got popped out of my CD player is by ERS. Billed as “krautpunk with a strong Scottish influence,” ERS sounds like a bunch of dudes with a 4 track in their bedroom fucking around. The songs are punk in that loose DIY, anything is a song type of way. And most of this is as memorable as that. However ERS does a collaboration with the Deciders and the NoMen on the song "Teeth Like Needles" which will please any Tronics, Urinals, or Homosexuals fan and make this Value CD, well, valuable. (SSR)
(Topplers // www.topplers.net)

Fat Day "Unf! Unf!" CD
My introduction to Boston’s Fat Day was in the early 90s when they played Sacramento. Live they killed so I bought their two 7”s and thought that they were great. As time went on and I revisited those records they became less and less interesting. I picked up their LPs and each time was disappointed. I pretty much gave up on them. Then Killed By Death #11 came, thinking it was another collection of rare punk rock and I dug it a lot. Then I found it was a spoof done by Fat Day, making me think, Hmmm I need to check these guys out again. So I bought another Fat Day record and....was disappointed once again. So I gave up.
A month or so ago, Unf! Unf!, Fat Day’s newest hit my hands. I looked at the song titles: "If Humans Had No Poops", "Black Fucking Flag", "Have You Got Cable?", "Boy Unit".... Cautiously, I put it on and was puzzled, the lead track was a tidy little synth number. Then chaos ensued. For the next 22 songs (making up all of 16 minutes), Fat Day spazzes out in quick, shape shifting, form wrecking blasts of punkery. Loud and a bit arty and a lot smart ass this new one once again has me looking at Fat Day favorably. Granted this won’t occupy the stereo for weeks on end but it will get pulled out when I need that slam of in your face art-thrash aggressive weirdness. And at 17 minutes it is the right dosage.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

Final Solutions 7"
Perfect.
I was watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special last night and the secret word was “Year.” I can tell that I’m not going to be able to avoid that word in writing these reviews in December. So bear with me and scream aloud when you read it. The Final Solutions released what very well may be my favorite LP of the year back in January (ok, ok, I know Mitch and the scenesters got it in December, but I don’t know a person in the real world who had it before January). I know many folks couldn’t handle the cleaned up production on the long player after being accustomed to the rough sound of their debut, but those folks are just being silly. There are some of the most interesting and addictive punk songs written in recent memory on that record.
To come full circle and remind us that the year was theirs, The Final Solutions have just released a brilliant follow up single. The songs call to mind old European and US punk with the best of the recent crop of bands. “Eye Don’t Like You” starts off similarly to The A-Frames “Radiation Generation,” then brought to mind a speedier Mad Virgins. The guitar solo here is the best I’ve heard in ages. The two songs on the flip are as good. The record has a simple but classic sleeve design on a silk-screened cover and is on the always impressive Shit Sandwich label. A great way to end the year.(DH)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrrecords.com)

Geisha Girls "Buckingham" 7"
More Anglo-angular sounds from these Californian post-punk fetishists. "Buckingham" is as good as anything on their 12", a solid serving of tension, detached vocals, and tight playing a la Warsaw. The B-Side is a bit of a throwaway. I dig these guys though, and this is half a great record. Scum stas: no idea on pressing info. People really need need to start numbering shit. Weird black vinyl with subtle white swirls that make it look waterstained. Screened foldover sleeves on thick cardstock.(RK)
(Backflip Records // www.geishamovement.com)

Golden Boys 7"
This is a strange record. It's not the Oblivians/Gories raunch or Necessary Evils/Feast of Snakes psychopathia you might expect from a band with James Arthur in it. The best description I can give is otherwordly country-blues that could only come from Texas. Two songs of no bass twin guitar weirdness, which on the A side sounds kinda spooky as the guitars materialize like apparations, then disappear, then reappear again throughout. The song seems to almost not be moving, yet still manages to summon some under the surface intensity. The flip brings in some moody keyboards over which sad guitar and underwater vocals meander. Really different and minimal and impossible to categorize. They have a tour only CD floating around right now that is more of the same, and contains some moments of actual rock, and which I'd recommend scoring if possible. More singles and an LP coming soon as well. Scum stats: only 300 pressed if I'm not mistaken. Or is it 500? Either way, it's still good.(RK)
(Perpetrator Records // P.O.Box 68-984 Newton, Auckland, New Zealand)

Green Hornet "Backlash" 7"
I listened to this record a few times and couldn't think of a single thing to say about it. As is often the case when I'm in a bind, I've no course left but to resort to necromancy. I now turn this review over to Special Guest Reviewer, the Ghost of Shane White. (Yeah, I know he's still alive…just work with me here…)
So I'm laying in bed with my boyfriend naked trying to make out while listening to this record but we're both just laying here…we tried kissing and stuff by this shit is so lame neither one of us can work up an erection!!!!!! Paint by numbers garage rock with the requite farfisa in the background…is this on Estrus? Fuck this shit is limper than Mitch Cardwell's cock!!!!! "Beat 'Em Up?????" Something tells me the only thing GREEN HORNET spends a lot of time beating is their own meat!!!!!! This is the sound of a band that hasn't gotten laid in years…maybe they need to loosen up and suck some cock…..c'mon guys just give it a try, okay??? My boyfriend and I listened to this entire record and neither one of us could work up even a semi erection!!!!!! What the fuck???? A rock n roll record that doesn't get my love juices flowing???? This record is as sterile as my last night in the sack with Todd Tricknee!!!!! Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!! (SW…er, SS)
(Kuriosa Records // kuriosarecords@yahoo.com)

The Intellectuals “Black! Domina! Now!” LP
The Intellectuals are Guitar Boy and Drum Girl, an amped up Italian two-piece who blast through 16 songs of raw rock’n’roll, post-haste. Most songs remind me of a poppier take on the Coachwhips sound, with lots of lo-fi blues licks and a farfisa showing up sporadically to nice effect. The boy/girl vocals also give the record some variety, as there’s only so much you can do with two people. A totally fun record that’s been getting repeat plays around these parts, it also has very cool Ramones and Angry Samoans covers, plus nice sleeve art, and some well done Punk magazine style photo comics on the insert, that cat lovers will dig. (JG)
Based upon both the band name and the album title, I was expecting this to sound like a bunch of Italian art school kids trying to ape the A Frames or something, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a rock n roll record pure and simple, no ifs ands or art-damaged buts about it. The Intellectuals are copying pages out of all sorts of disparate chapters of the RNR history book, but the results end up sounding surprisingly unique and fresh. At times it seems like they're trying to channel the spirits of the Ramones and Supercharger, but then they go and throw in a Headcoatees-like vocal here, a kitschy farfisa line there, and broken blues riffs everywhere. There are a number of really great tunes on here, with the goofy pop of "Homer" (it's a love song using baseball as a metaphor), the total (italics) "Day Tripper" rip "Fish 'n' Chips" (coming across not unlike a more immature and exuberant version of what Billy Childish used to do), and the retarded romp of "Super Ego Rollin' Stompin." They also do a cover of "Right Side of My Mind" that's almost as ripping as Teengenerate's version. The only place they really go wrong is on the a-side with back-to-back flops in the form of the tuneless slop that is "Soul Food" and an ill-conceived cover of "Commando" by the Ramones. Those two stinkers aside, this is a really fun record by the only good modern Italian band I can think of. That alone should be worth your hard earned scratch.(SS)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)

Kajun SS "$40 Quartet" 7"
Long awaited debut release from King Louie's Kajun SS klan. The A-Side is exemplary, proof positive that Louie knows how to write hits. Actually kinda sounds like an Exploding Hearts tune in a redneck disguise. The B-Side is an obscure cover, of which I've never heard the original. An excellent palate warmer for the 12". And worth the price of admission for the cover alone, which features Elvis/Louie sporting a Dangerous Toys headband! Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 of which are on pink vinyl.(RK)
The A-side, "German Kajun," is a first-rate pop tune smothered in heaping layers of hotsauce and swamp water. Maybe not the most appetizing thing to eat, but it sure sounds great! Great enough, in fact, to remind one that King Louie co-wrote almost all of the Exploding Hearts' best songs. Actually, take away the grimy production and southern-fried lyrics and this could pass for an Exploding Hearts tune easily. The flip, "Automobile" is a lot meaner and fast paced, but still pretty good. Awesome single, can't wait to hear the 12".(SS)
I'm basically a fan of anything King Louie does, but I have to admit that this is a bit of a disappointment. I think, coming from just about anyone else, "German Kajun" would be welcome, but for Louie, it's simply OK. I've never heard The Rings, but on the evidence of Kajun SS's cover of their "Automobile," I think I need to seek some out. Worth it, for sure, but not the killer I was hoping for. Funny cover mock-up of Kajun SS mugging as the Million Dollar Quartet. (TK)
(Die Slaughterhaus // www.dshrecords.com)

Kajun SS s/t 12"
Jesus christ is all I can say about this one. Seven song one-sided 45 rpm 12" from King Louie's latest crew, featuring his ex-Persuaders mate Jason Craft and members of Scripts and Die Rotzz filling out the line-up. Sure, it sounds a lot like an even greasier and dirtier Persauders, with plenty of mean-ass Dixie-fried punk-chug and blistering Flying V soloing, and it contains Louie's absolute rawest vocals to date. And in my book, that's a good thing. I tend to think some people overlook Louie's gutter-genius, his ability to write some the scuzziest songs and lyrics, yet still make them catchy and funny and still somewhat scary because of the fact you have to think they are pretty autobiographical. The first five tunes on this one are full-throttle fucked-up anthems, one better than the next. The last two tracks are where the meat of this baby is. First, a cover of The Persuaders "Back in the Ring" that moves like jackboots through bayou mud. Hearing Louie totally shred his vocal chords screaming "Back in the ring!" just makes me incredibly happy for some reason. Then the capper, "(I Got A) Drug Problem", a slow pole-boat tour through the back alley swamps of King Louie's beautifully twisted mind. "Some more drugs I gots to gets"! You're fucking lucky this thing has a lyric shit, trust me. Totally fucking dirty and totally fucking incredible. Scum stats: 500 copies, with insert, the first batch of which had glued on artwork. The rest are screened.(RK)
(Therapeutic Records/ Jeth-Row Records // www.jeth-row-records.com)

Kung Fu Escalator "I'm Walking" 7"
This band features Marco and Flat of the Fatals, and its on Nasty Product, so I was expecting another shot in the arm of their special brand of sonic Oblivian, but surprisingly this sounds somewhat different from that aural drug the Fatals are known for peddling. Actually, Kung Fu Escalator might sound even more like that one band from Memphis than the Fatals do. The title track is as low down and dirty a punk blues number you're likely to come across these days. Truth to tell I wasn't super into this tune at first, but with repeated listenings the charms of its creepily sauntering pace and understated power eventually won me over. Both songs on the B-side are more uptempo rockers, with the primal, paint-stripping fury of "Gonna Loose" standing out as the cream of the crop, although the hypnotic groove of "Come Down" is pretty great as well. Dunno if Rich is gonna make with the Scum Stats with this one or not, but I'm sure it's destined to be OOP in a month, so hop to it!(SS)(Scum stats: 300 copies)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

Lamps s/t 12"
This platter brings back lil' tears of Crypt-like appreciation, what with the two-chord primal thud and Monty Buckles's ciggie-whiskey-razorblade vox and the general "feel" of that partic label from the mid- to late-'90s pissing all over the goddamn din. So, yeah, it's good, real good. My intial thought upon hearing this was that it reminded me of an alb's worth of Eric Oblivian outtakes, and I mean that in the best way possible -- it's like a rec fulla' "Drill"s, but still its own blownout romp. Pick this up, or next time I see you, I'm gonna push you down the fucking stairs, squares.(EL)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Manikin "M.4" 7"
In a city (Austin) where most of the local bands blur together and sound the same (generic), Manikin stand out. The three songs here are a good representation of the band. Without sounding at all cliché, Manikin borrows from both the Wire-Gang of Four-Joy Division and LA-Dangerhouse schools of punk. The Cheifs’ “Tower 18” is similarly written to the types of songs Alfonso is composing, though Manikin is more dark and mysterious. Two originals on the A-side and a great version of Warsaw’s “Shadowplay” on the flip.(DH)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)

MHz "Harness the Power" CD
The complete 2000-2001 recordings of MHz, Andy Claydon of Flying Bomb Records' musical outlet. I've had the pleasure of seeing them live a couple times, and I always liked them. They put out one single years ago that has pretty much languished in obscurity, which is too bad, because I think they could have made quite a few fans had they put out more records and/or played around more. They're a super-tight powerish trio with a kind of technological/futuristic angle. See song titles like: ".com On", "Remember DVD?", "Upgrade Me", etc. But they're not reliant on the gimmick, and can pound out the heavy-quirky punk rock, sounding at times like a more slugging version of Supernova sans the aluminum-foil goofiness. The songs are rife with off-kilter rhythms, the rhythm section is precise and fast, and Andy is the perfect dorky-guy/frontman. A little bit Devo, a little bit latter-day AmRep sound, and overall pretty good. There's what probably could have been one or two more great singles hidden in here. And of course, it's CD only, with a neat clear plastic insert covered in code.(RK)
(Flying Bomb Records // www.flyingbomb.com)

Mighty Go Go Players "If You Wanna Play…" 7"
Its official: France just might be the new Japan. Seriously, the amount of killer French bands coming out of seemingly nowhere is starting to show signs that France circa 2004 just might be this decade's equivalent to the pre-Chloroform Japan scene. Okay that might be a bit of hyperbole, but when I listen to a record as great as this, it just feels right (italics) to compare the 2004 French explosion to the halcyon days of Nippon punk. To continue the thread of asinine comparisons, the Mighty Go Go Players are the Registrators to the Fatals' Teengenerate. They've got the same killer filthy yet furious production as their now infamous label mates, which only makes sense as their singer Piero Go Go Man is the knob twiddler responsible for the Fatals' trademark sound. That's about as far as the similarities go however, as the Go Go Players are even more crazed and frantic than, well, just about any active unit I can think of at the moment. This single is a whirlwind of sonic destruction built on equal parts 60's garage riffs, punk rock aggression, and organ-powered art-damaged freakouts. If the early Piranhas recorded a single full of DMZ covers I reckon it wouldn't sound too dissimilar to this. Okay, if the above descriptions are too half-baked and oblique for you, let's break it down to simple arithmetic: completely insane + totally catchy + super original + desperately miniscule print run = 100% essential.(SS)(scum stats: 300 copies)
(Nasty Product/Profet Records // www.nastyprod.com)

MOTO "World of Fuzz" 7"
As I'm sure I've said before, I like me a little bit of the MOTO here and there, but I'm not falling for the Caporino-is-a-total-fucking-genius line some people are toeing. I think the entire MOTO discography (and there's a ton of it) could be compiled into one really good LP. That would leave about three hundred MOTO songs on the cutting room floor that no one would be any worse without. Anyhow, this four song offering is pretty lo-fi, and pretty fuzzy. Duh. So, just when I was getting ready to decide this record is completely unremarkable, I'm trying to fall asleep and what song is stuck in my fucking head but fucking "Catamaran." I don't know what to think anymore. Infectiously simple and catchy or just agressively annoying? I'll let you decide on this one. (RK)
(Therapeutic Records // www.motorock.com)

Motorama "Shy Girl" 7"
Motorama follow up their fantastic debut LP with this three-song single, and it delivers more of the same sexy and bold rock action. The line-up has been pared back down to a two-piece, but the sound is still loud and raw, eschewing the drunk blues most guitar/drums combos stick to and going for a more Stooges/NYC loud guitar punk sound. The A-Side contains two movers ("Shy Girl" and "Rich Man"), and the B ("Lazy Surf") effectively cuts and pastes some surf stylings (big reverb, a bit of twang) onto their sound to create a tastefully done rave-up that avoids any genre silliness. Along with The Intellectuals, these girls are the best thing to come from Italy since the Hitler SS/Tampax split. Scum stats: no pressing info, but two versions exist: one on deep pink vinyl, and a limited edition picture disc version.(RK)
(Vida Loca Records // www.vidalocarecords.com)

MC Monkey & Ape with Attitude "Human Zoo Pts. 1 + 2" 7"
Roy Oden and Brad X (of ex-Last Sons of Krypton Fame) shit out a sloppy, insane mess of repetitive Killed By Retardation that spans two sides o' one 45. I read a "UFO Dictator" comparison somewhere, and it makes total sense, 'cept this actually sounds like a coupla apes monkeyfucking around, like two amped-up primates frantically jerking off on top of a cowbell, a toy ray gun, a keyboard and a warped copy of the Tampax/Hitler SS split. Opens with a ferocious keys hook and collapses in total disaster. And it's great! Not for everybody, but the ones who "get it" will love it. (EL)
I'm not sure how much of my affection for this single comes from the fact that it was produced by Roy Kryptonite/Evolution/Oden and Brad X (Last Sons of Krypton), but this sounds so stupid and pointless to my ears that it achieves some kind of trash rock art piece presentation. I mean, think Mr. California or Jellybean and the Moustaches-level "why did they bother to put this on vinyl," add raygun blips and imagine a nutcase in a Manitowoc basement swinging his arms around and spit-screaming about ripping faces off and boredom. Part I is actually a great KBD-style tune that degenerates (by Part II) into calls for "more radar gun," horrified screams and various other noises, over the in-and-out beat/melody. Great record! (TK)
(Kryptonite Records // 1101 Yale St. Sacramento, CA 95818)

The Oscars "Death to America" 7"
I heard a CD-r from these guys a year or two ago that sounded pretty good. That "American Idol" CD that came out earlier this year wasn't too good. Neither is this single. It actually left a bad taste in my ears. They have a good angle on anti-stupid American sentiment, but the music that goes with it is just...bad punk.(RK)
(Bootleg Records // www.oscarsindustries.com)

Pissed Jeans "Throbbing Organ" 7"
Heavy-fucking-duty Drunks with Guns style onslaught: visceral vocals/grunts, brutish guitar work, powerful drumming. Two slow churning and powerful tunes that remind me of cough syrup hazes, drunken blackouts, bad smells, and good Fang songs. There's an LP in the works right now, so get on board now or be left looking like a fool. There's not much more to say except you should get this as soon as you can.(RK)
(Parts Unkown Records // www.partsunkownrecords.com)

Los Reactors "Dead in the Suburbs" CD
I noticed that no one has reviewed this here at TB yet, likely because I'm the only one unhip enough to not already own the vinyl. Well for those of you who, like myself, slept on this the first time around, or are on the fence about buying this new CD version, allow me to make a final plea for Los Reactors greatness. Coming off at times like the early Angry Samoans trying to go new wave, Los Reactors played punk rock the way it was meant to be: super catchy and completely brain damaged. Unlike a lot of bands from the era that could only manage one classic single, there's more to this than just the killer title track. Songs like "Be a Zombie," "Get Out," and "Dying Persian Monarch" offer proof positive that Los Reactors had enough chops to make at least one killer album. They may not have gotten around to recording a studio LP, but this collection of their two singles and a bunch of live tracks is a testament to how great this quirky band from Oklahoma really was. If you haven't heard them yet you're really missing out, so get this, like, NOW!(SS)
(Rip Off Records // www.ripoffrecords.org)

Reatards "Bedroom Disasters" CD/LP
I believe just about everyone has had a chance to wrap the heads around this one by now, either through the CD-R version or this official release. Twenty-two tracks of primo Reatards, back from the days when it was just the teenage Jay and Ryan fucking shit up in the bedroom on a tape deck. The OOP singles are all here, and alternate version of some classics, plus a bunch of unreleased gems and a slew of fun covers. Absolutely essential, and further evidence that the Reatards may be one of the seminal acts of the late Nineties, and were definitely a hell of a lot more than mere Oblivians apers. Raw overdriven teen hate at it's pinnacle. There's also a rumor of another record's worth of rarities soon to surface on another label. Stay tuned. Scum stats: 100 copies of the vinyl are on red wax, available through mailorder only. (RK)
True confession time: Waaaay back in 1998 (or whatever year it was) I bought the first Reatards single, thought it sucked, quickly filed it away, and then forgot I even owned it. To make matters worse I never listened to any of the hype surrounding their subsequent releases, figuring it to be just that: hype. Fastforward a few years to 2001 (or whatever year it was) when an older, wiser me was knocked for a loop by "Black Wave." Figuring I must have been wrong about them, I went and tracked down some more stuff by the Reatards and was of course, knocked for a loop yet again. Which brings me to this record, a compilation of unreleased versions of 'Tards classics, some rare/unreleased gems, and a shitload of covers. Three fourths of their Goner single is on here, and hearing it again I can't believe that I didn't flip for this when I first heard it!!! "Fashion Victim" is a slice of idiot savant teen angst melodrama at its best, and the other two tunes also rule in a fifteen year old banging on buckets kind of way. The covers run the gamut from okay ("Listen to My Heart" and "Loretta") to downright killer ("Private Affair") with the rest falling somewhere in the middle. Actually, the best cover on here is "Stayce" but that's more of an amped up rip off of the Pack than an outright cover. Essential for fans, and a great introduction for those who still haven't heard what all the hype was about. Comes on KBD vol. 2 red wax!(SS)
(Empty Records // www.emptyrecords.com)

Reigning Sound "If You Can't Bring Christmas Home" 7"
I'm not a big fan of Christmas tunes, especially "punked up" or "rocked out" or "goofypants" Christmas records, but this is Reigning Sound, and this is good. A couple originals which are the opposite of goofy, and a fun live instro version of "Jingle Bell Rock." Certainly not up there with the albums, but what did you expect? Moody Greg O/C tunes that warm the belly during cold winter nights before the fireplace armed with cognac and cubans, and that's more than enough for this aficionado. (TK)
(Norton Records // www.nortonrecords.com )

Reverend Savage and His Holy Rollers "You Gotta Believe" 7"
Egad, Martin, what hast thou wrought? This record is quite terrible, and I mean terrible in a bad way. This project should've stayed in the can. I don't know what inspired him to do this, whether it was the Knight of the New Crusade, or that Reverend Beat-Man LP (which actually was OK), but this religious/preacher schtick falls flat on it's face. Two bad tunes. Please make more Locomtions records to make me forget this ever happened. Thanks. Scum stats: limited to 300 copies with hand-screened sleeve AND an even more limited edition of numbered copies with white print on white paper. (RK)
(Savage Records /// www.savagemagazine.com)

Scat Rag Boosters s/t LP
I'm gonna have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed when I dropped the needle on an actual twelve-ich record brandishing the Scat Rag Boosters name. It's been so long in coming. I remember way back in the days when they were supposed to be the next Crypt band before Tim Warren folded up shop temporarily (and trust me, the Crypt label would've been far better served by a Scat Rag's LP than that Little Killers bullshite), and I remember constantly wondering why no one ever bothered to pick them up for an LP. I've heard complaints of the type that the Boosters don't write the 'Hits', that they write a lot a lot of good songs but no really great ones. Some of this may be true, but in my mind these guys were never a band I expected the hits from. I listened to their records to hear their 'sound', that primitive blues mess that it seemed only they were doing justice to in the post-Oblivians world. Perhaps a little cleaner sounding than I was expecting, and maybe an LP by them would have had more impact had it happened sooner, but I am in no way disappointed by this. It's certainly not all-out mind-blowing, but it is good. Either you dig these guys or you don't, that's all.(RK)
Aw man…am I gonna have to go and summon Shane again?!?!?!?!? I'm sure to get a lot of flack over this (as though I needed any more) but to be honest this record doesn't really do it for me. It's not that it's actually bad or anything, on the contrary there are a few pretty swell tunes on here such as "Owe Money" and "Leaving Town," but as a whole all of the songs just blend together without any discernable changes in dynamics, not to mention pronounced melodies, and the results leave me feeling like I've wandered down to the crossroads and all the Devil's got left for me is a bouillabaisse of refried blooze riffs, room temperature Wild Turkey, rancid mayonnaise, and Blind Lemon Jefferson's man juice. At least I only had to part with ten dollars for it as opposed to my immortal soul!!! (SS, AKA King of the Run On Sentence)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

The Sermon "Volume" CD/LP
TB staffer Brian C. made a sorta' recommendation of this record, throwing in Catholic Boys comparisons and mentioning lineage (Fells, Dukes of Hamburg). It was intriguing enough to make me pick it up, but I'm afraid that the Mooney Suzuki smears I've heard from other quarters makes it all but unlistenable for me. I can't drop the needle on this record without thinking of squint-eye knees-bent axe-poses and assorted (other) histrionics. None of the tunes stick to my noggin, either. Played well, for sure, but so is Rush. (TK)
(Alternative Tentacles // www.alternativetentacles.com)

Sightings "Arrived in Gold" CD/LP
If, ten years ago, someone would have asked me what I wanted punk rock to sound like in the 21st Century and I happened to have Arrived in Gold at my disposal, I would have handed it them. With this new release, Sightings have smashed punk rock upside the head, throwing away routine structure but still retaining songs. Some of it is done through banging out a beat on contact mics, on others it is by torturing guitars until they make noises they never were designed to make. This doesn’t fall into noise because what Sightings does here are songs. What Sightings does is use noise as an element in songwriting. And they are able to do it in a compact and sometimes quite catchy way. While some songs are quite long, they rely on repetition and a primitive dumbness that is actually smart. Will your average punker dig this record? If they are looking for something poppy, have got their uniform ready for tomorrow, or still can’t count past 1-2-3-4, no. But if they like a challenge or don’t confine their notion of punk to the many safe sub-genres it now inhabits, Arrived in Gold is very recommended.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

Sonic Chicken 4 "(I Had) Too Much to Drink (Last Night)" 7"
Last but not least in this month's Nasty Product triple threat assault comes the debut single from the Sonic Chicken 4, and it's another goodun. If you're expecting the blown out, retardo bashing of the Fatals or the Mighty Go Go Players, check those expectations at the door 'cause this is a more sonically restrained outing that deftly straddles the line between dirgy psyche and bubbling pop. My personal bias is towards the latter, and the near perfect jangle garage pop bliss of "Right Side of Woman" stands out as a sterling example of this. I wouldn't be surprised if this gem ends up on some 2025 Powerpearls-type of comp. This is the kind of record that's hard for lazy reviewers (or those who always wait to the last minute such as myself!) to accurately describe, but I've never been one to opt out of a shortcut. So allow me to take the easy way out and say the Sonic Chicken 4 sort of remind me of the French answer to MOTO in that they're approaching things from a charming, totally unique slant compared to what's in fashion at the moment, and the results are fantastic. By now you should know the drill on all of these hopelessly limited edition European singles: buy now or ebay later. If that doesn't whet your appetite, maybe this will: features Billy Wrong on xylophone!(SS)(Scum stats: 200 copies)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)

The Sores "Play 6 Songs of Despair and Frustration" 12"
Cool blues-meets-artpunk sludge that culls the best elements of both genres and violently slaps 'em together (for the fuckin' fuck of it) 'til they're no longer recognizable. The production's both eerie and aggressive, so whoever turned knobs (Woodhouse?) knew what they were doing -- Black Cats exploding in a tin can for the bashers, brooding and reverberating cave echo for the slower dirges. Easy comparison would be the Hospitals, but that's neither hither or tither. Regardless, unless you're a dense art kid or a trad blooze purist, this one's worth your time. (EL)
Greenback reviewed this last issue, but I felt as though I needed to chime in again. Sure, this is tuneless, difficult, song-longed garage trash from a Mr. Martin Backslider (yes, the guy on our forums who makes 12.5 fistfucking allusions a fortnight), but despite the fistfucked long-songed atonal scuzz (who am I kidding? Because of all the aforementioned things), I love this record. It's lo-fi broke-dicked blues with no redeeming qualities, really, but the whole thing is so hypnotic and "off" that it's sure to be a big hit at your next pee party or box social. (TK)
(Borox Records // www.thesores.com)

The Sores "Wormwood" 7"
More slide-guit weirdo mess from these Oakland troublemakers, but this is more, uh, slide-guitary and weirdey and messy. Though it's still interesting in spots ("Shootin' Mama"), new initiates should bury their nose in the 12" thing. Izzat really a microwave on Side A? Shit. (EL)
A bit more conventional and concise than the mini-LP, but no less annoying (in a good way). I think I prefer the more drawn out opium-laced hypno-stuff on the LP, but you probably wouldn't. I give it 4.5 fists. (TK)
(Kryptonite Records 1101 Yale St. Sacramento, CA 95818)

Spamchords "Bingo Revival" 7"
Jagged Euro art garage. I dunno, it's OK, but it ain't no Cheeraks. Either the background schematics elude me or there's no plan, Stan. A pleasant listen in terms of sound, but overall it's mostly empty calories. "Byemyside" is a good tune, though. (TK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakanarecords.tk)

The Spits "Spend the Night in a Haunted House with..." 7"
OK, so it's two or three holidays later, and we finally get the Spits Halloween single. I imagine this was a real labor of love for Miss Alex, as this record was originally supposed to have a toy with it, which due to financial unfeasibility I imagine, became a sucker instead. You gotta give her credit for trying something so impossibly ambitious. The good news is, this single is a killer. I think the Spits are at their best on the seven-inch format, (I'm a firm believer that the 19 Million AC EP was their finest hour) as the last two full lengths got a bit boring. Both songs on the A-Side are great cuts, you know how it's done: sub-KBD guitar sounds/fuzz, brutally simple and goofy vocals, one-two bashing, the ususal. But it's done very well, especially for a holiday-themed record. The B side is one long freak out over a beat with some girls screaming and giggling profanities in the background. Just weird. Definitely a good record, and not just holiday-themed schtick. Scum stats: 500 pressed on clear green vinyl, all of which come with a sucker glued to a spot on the back that says 'Eat Me!" (I hope she didn't have to hand glue 500 of these things). Inscription on sucker: "Happy Halloween Suckers! The Spits/Missile X Records 2004". I'll be selling my extra copy with sucker still attached for $250 on eBay in a few years if you miss out. Hey, how many sucker flavor variations are there?(RK)
(Missile X Records // www.missilex.com)

The Suspicions "We're All Wrong" 7"
I love it when great records come out of nowhere. I have no idea who The Suspicions are, and I still don't. They won't answer my e-mails. Maybe I came on too strong. But I couldn't help it. I am actually in love with this record. It's just two songs, but it's such charming lo-fidelity catchy-hooky stuff that you can't help but be smitten. Reminiscent of the Lids or Tie Reds in it's simplicity and endearing near-ineptitude, but way more power-pop than either of those bands. This isn't going to come roaring off the vinyl and grab you by the collar. It will just melt into your ears and make you wish you had a whole LP worth of the same. For awhile I thought the B side ("Memory") was the winner here, but after a few dozen listens I'm now convinced the A side is just as sweet. Handclaps, harmonies, great girl vox, it's all here. Instantly likable and a lot of fun, and one of my faves of the year.(RK)
I'm not a big power pop fan, and I'm especially not a fan of most of the revisionist wave going on right now, so this took a few spins before I really got into it. Its best quality is probably how charmingly inept it is. There's a warm basement appeal that keeps the pop hooks from giving you a toothache, and the tunes are catchy and sorta' Trend-like. I'm not sure if they're really young and all that, but it sounds like it. Good stuff.(TK)
(Nerve Wracking Records // www.thesuspicions.com)

V/A Feelers/BlankIts Split 7"
A short and obvious review: the two bands who released the best singles of the year team up and do a split. It’s outstanding. The Feelers contribute two more songs that add to their legacy as best band in the country. It’s a great style; Oblivians meets Killed By Death sound with subtle melodic overtones to make things more interesting and catchy. The Blank-Its only get one song, a robotic and repetitive, simple and angry classic. I’d prefer if this release had been a split LP so I’d get to hear a few more tunes from both bands. Other than that, I have no complaints at all.(DH)
Dream split from two bands that caused some serious head-turning this year on the basis of releasing one great single. I'm not saying either of these bands aren't good, I just need some more proof before I'm ready to get excited about them playing the Blackout. This split is a step in the right direction. The Feelers, the band I'm more enamored with of the two, deliver two crazed blasts of what Lastname would refer to as "total KBD destruction". Hardcore velocity, off-kilter melodies, great paranoic vocals that course through the tunes like infected blood. These guys play like they're being pursued by a maniac. Great stuff. The BlankIts, who I'm really not that enamored with, give up just one tune. "Master Intellectual" is similar to the the stuff on the single: swirling guitar feedback/fuzz, steady rhythm pounding underneath the surface, girl vocals that actually remind me a bit of Alicja's at times. It's a good song, but I don't think I'd be booking them for the Blackout just yet. I still need to hear a little more. The Feelers, however, can pass Go and collect their $200 which they should immediately invest in recording an LP. Scum stats: 500 hand numbered copies all on coke bottle clear vinyl. (RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)

V/A "Meet Me in the Time Tunnel" CD
First off, the subtitle: Obscure Powerpop from The Land of the Lost 1978 - 1985. Two things jump out there, the word “powerpop” and the date 1985. Perhaps this is a warning. I know powerpop is all the rage among some folk and I like a fair amount of it, but the big difference between powerpop of yore and punk rock of the same time is that, at least in the US, punk rock bands didn’t taper their music for the market, hoping that tweaking their sound would score them a major label deal. And those who did alter their sound became power pop or “new wave” bands. What these major label aspirations meant is that LOTS of power pop is little more than compact, middle-of-the-road rock with a little bit more pep than something like Foreigner, and often sounded not much different than Bruce Springsteen’s "Lonely Heart" or Rick Springfield’s "Jessie’s Girl." Punk rock had its formula for sure, but there are very, very few punk songs from the late 70s that sound a strum away from Top 40 guitar pop.
Now the time period this covers. 1978 to 1985 is a pretty long time when you are talking rock and roll, especially a subgenre like powerpop. It is a snapshot that can’t really give one a coherent look at any style of music, especially if the compiler just wants to present the music rather than create a historical overview of how that genre morphed over time.
The compilers of this collection chose to present the listener with what I am guessing they think is great, yet obscure, powerpop. The problem is with a genre which tried soooo hard to achieve commercial success, obscure, more often than not, means shitty. Thus a fair number of bands on this collection outright suck. The Stratford Survivors, The Reducers, Butch Minds the Baby, The Zips, TV Neats, and The Spliffs either totally blow or are so boring that they are barely worth mention. Another three or four bands do good songs but nothing that anyone but an absolute diehard, must-have-everything collector of powerpop will be interested in. And even the standout cuts (by The Dunderheads, The Silencers, The Matcheads, and the Foreign Objects) are second tier and are more punk than powerpop. If this comp was successful, it would send me on a hunt to track down the 7”s the songs came from. As it is, I’ll skip the time tunnel meeting and head to the stacks for some Power Pearls. (SSR)
(Wizzard in Vinyl // www.wizzard-in-vinyl.com)

V/A "Pick a Winner" DVD/CD
Intellectually, I’ve always been partial to experimental punk/neo-noise/extreme electronica - whatever it is you call things like Wolf Eyes, Neon Hunk, and the various other weirdniks who dress up in day-glo crab suits and jump up and down on effects peddles while some chick wails away on a saxophone. However as much as my mind can get around that sort of hee haw, I don’t find myself slapping on a Forcefield album at the end of the day or to start the evening. It doesn’t always grab the ears.
The fine folks at Load Records have solved my problem by matching a bunch of experimental filmmakers/animators with the aforementioned Wolf Eyes and Neon Hunk, plus Pink & Brown, Gerty Farish, Thee Hydrogen Terrors, Black Elf Speaks, and a few other noise makers and blippophiles. For 17 film/songs, weird cartoon images, wacked animation, fucked up video footage and other visual strangeness expands on the noises wiggling from the speakers. There are a few cartoons that attempt to tell stories - albeit in a surreal, absurdist fashion - however most of the screenage expands on the sound, giving one more dimension to the bands’ music. Packaged with a music only CD and a deck of cards, Pick a Winner is pretty astounding. It is able to mate music and film in a way that doesn’t stink of music video or boring art-school twiddling. Not only is it recommended as a great view/listen, but it should serve as a template for others who want to try a similar assemblage. (SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

V/A "Rather See You Dead: Houston Punk 1978-79" 7"
I don't actually think this is 'new' at all, as I think I've seen/heard of this before, but wither way it's a cool record. 3 bands, 4 songs, all that were unreleased at the time this came out. Really Red cover "Downtown", which is great, one track of vintage trash from The Hates, and two gems from Legionaire's Disease ("Who Killed Martha Mitchell" and "Hypocrasy"). Good to great sound quality on all four tracks. If you know your K-B-Ds at all, you know this is a pretty great four song salvo. Scum stats: Nice sleeve with lots of pics and insert with liners and more pics. My copy is on clear red vinyl. I have no idea on the numbers; perhaps the same as the Vex record, 50 black and 500 color? Shouldn't make a difference either way, this is the good stuff.(RK)
(Hotbox Review // hotboxreview@hotmail.com)

Vex "New Words for an Old Revolution" EP
Subtitled 'Houston Punk '83-'84', I think that gives you a good idea of what's going on with this slab of unreleased material. Vex were part of the second wave of punk, following the likes of Houstonian punks like AK-47, Legionaire's Disease, and most specifically Really Red, from whom they inherit a fondness for politico-punk and a tendency to blur the lines between punk and hardcore. Plus, the title of this EP sounds pretty similar to 'New Strings for Old Puppets', Really Red's 1982 EP, perhaps in some sort of tribute. Anyway, music-wise Vex definitley sound like a political hardcore band from 1983. Idealistic songwriting, fast tempo changes, and even guitar solos mix into something that Alternative Tentacles probably would have flirted with putting out at some point. One or two of these tunes could pass for decent second-tier filler on any KBD LP. Probably much more meaningful if you remember these guys or were/are from the area. Or if you're just a KBD-type nutjob who has to have everything. Otherwise, you probably don't need this. Scum stats: solid packaging. Cardboard sleeve, insert with liners/lyric sheet. 550 copies pressed, 50 on black and 500 on a sweet shade of see-through grape/purple.(RK)
(Hotbox Review // hotboxreview@hotmail.com)

Wangs "...Pour Surfeur Seulement" 10"
Formulaic spy/surf instro record: iron cross graphics, matching get-ups (ski masks), movie sound clips interludes (in French). Completely unnotable, except for the fact that one of these songs is a dead-ringer for an instro version of Los Huevos' "Bike Thief". Passable if you still play those Man or Astroman? LPs I sold you on eBay a lot.(RK)
(Wild Wild Records // BP 55, 92123 Montrouge Cedex, France)

Zuby Nehty "Best of ...& Rarity" 2XCD
One of my big pleasures in life is bumbling across great bands that I didn’t know existed. It doesn’t matter if they are contemporary or from long ago, but it certainly increases the glee when they are from a time far off and a land far away. That is the case with Zuby Nehty. Zuby Nehty started out as an all women, high school punk band in Czechoslovakia 1979. They called themselves Plyn, recorded one authorized album (which was lost), and played for their hop collective. They were blacklisted in 1983 and changed their name to Dybbuk. They recorded a couple of 7”s and in 1986 shuffled band members and became Zuby Nehty. This double CD collection covers all three bands.
For readers of this zine, Plyn & Dybbuk will be the big thrill, though Zuby Nehty certainly holds its own. The two early bands have a rougher edge to them, sounding smack dab between Kleenex/Lilliput and the Dog Faced Hermans. The 10 or so tracks that were recorded in the early to mid 1980s are prime thinking persons punk. The girl's voices are great, the playing good and the songs as good as anything Rough Trade was releasing at that time. Also the Czech language works really well for rock and roll, something that shouldn’t surprise any fans of Czech avant rock.
As the band matures into Zuby Nehty so do the songs. The edge is not as sharp and the musicianship is better. The band still puts itself on the outside - their aim is not to make radio friendly pop. Instead, they fit rather nicely in the tradition pioneered by Plastic People of the Universe, a world that melds art and folk traditions (like gypsy music) with rock and roll. Of course, that mating is pretty damn iffy. When it works, the sounds are very cool. When it doesn’t, it sounds like people who know far too much putting far too much in their music, stuff your average chin-scratcher enjoys while he fixes himself a cappuccino but nothing that would make my cup of joe. Zuby Nehty bops between both those poles. And even when it becomes too “smart” for me, I appreciate that they don’t cling to trends nor try for what is commercial.
The first disc is songs, one to three minute tunes by all three bands. The second disc is all Zuby Nehty doing soundtrack work. Personally I prefer the first disc, though I don’t have anything bad to say about disc two. Because this was produced in the Czech Republic, it is not a cheap buy for those outside of Europe; therefore I have a difficult time recommending it to those with tight wallets and/or who do not already dig Czech rock or the bands I mentioned. However, if you have the cash and like the quirkiness left in the wake of Plastic People, there are far far worse ways to spend your money. (SSR)
(Indies // www.indiesrec.cz)




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