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RECORD REVIEWS MAR./APR. 2005

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)

A-Frames ďBlack ForestĒ CD/LP
About five minutes into the A Framesí set at the Comet Tavern in May Ď04, right after they had handed me my ass with the at the time unheard ďBlack ForestĒ and ďGalenaĒ, I realized I was watching a band that, at that instant, was perfect. Iíll never forget the moment. Admittedly, Iíve been praising everything the bandís done since the concise review of Jim at Underground Medicine convinced me pick up the ďPlasticaĒ single, but at the Comet that night, it was clear that the A Frames were simply ON, unlike any other band. And on this record, theyíve managed to distill, even further, their simplistic/robotic/hypnotic sound into an absolutely pummeling assault on the aural sense. At the same time, they incorporate a strong pop angle to many songs, with complexities that havenít been heard on any of their prior releases. No other band going can destroy you with songs as fiercely devastating as ďGalenaĒ and then follow it up with a song as catchy as ďDeath TrainĒ. Granted, there are a couple of songs here after the halfway mark that Iím not completely into, but the rest is so strong that although itís still early, I doubt Iíll hear a better record in 2005. Also, very few bands, after such an excellent start, with one absolutely killer record (#1) and one really good record (#2), plus all the incredible singles, manage to get better as the A Frames do here, and continue to do in a live setting. A few weeks ago, when once again my ass was handed to me at an A Frames show, they once again started their set with two brand new songs that, besides showing that the well is nowhere near being dry, also completely fucking destroyed. Anyone who claims that the jump to a much bigger label has somehow ďchangedĒ, ďsoftenedĒ or ďweakenedĒ these guys is full of shit. (JG)
Sometimes good things happen to good people. The new A-Frames record is on Sub Pop, ensuring endless supplies of coke and hot backstage hipster chicks presenting themselves Biblically on the snap of Erin's crafty fingertips. Now, min can finally buy that Bang and Olafson stereo system and Lars can afford a real haircut. But seriously, folks, I'm just glad they were able to pool their respective intellects long enough to come up with an actual title for this record (henceforth to be referred to as "A-Frames III"). They even liked the title so much that there are three different songs with the "Black Forest" (one-two-three) moniker.I don't think that the first LP can ever truly be surpassed, because it's already perfect, but this album (the album "III") certainly sinks the second one. There's a good amount of expansion off the basic A-Frames chassis, but like feedtime or the Oblivians, they couldn't sound like any other band even if they tried. The whole thing SOUNDS so fucking good, and "Death Train" is a classic up there with "Electric Eye" or anything else they've done. You're a persnickety bitch if you can't hear the greatness in these grooves, but I already suspected as much. Go Pigfucker, go! (TK)
(Sub Pop Records // www.subpop.com)

A-Lines "One Day" 7"
This band had Long Gone John's number the minute it was formed: all-girl garage band, PLUS two of them are ex-Headcoatees, and three of the four have been Billy Childish's wife at some point. So I'm sure the Anti-Mogul's soul would've burst into flames had he not released this record. And in all actuality, it really ain't bad. Obviously these girls are seasoned vets, and they have the all the necessary components in place: husky foreign-tinted vocals, quick and simple drumming from the Brand school of percussion, a nice bass sound and just enough fuzz on the guitar, and the A-Side is an undeniable winner. The B-Side is just that, an "exclusive non-LP track" which in this case means it wasn't good enough to warrant inclusion on the actual record. Goofy simpletune-age with the girls making animal noises and such. Yes, very amusing, for the one time I'll be listening to this side. I will say the A-Side is intriguing enough to make one think about the getting the LP if it provides more of the same, and the pedigree of the band speaks for itself to all you fans of the this genre out there.(RK)
Kind of a rip off, in that one song is on the album so yer paying 5 smacks (or whatever) for one short song, but it is a good one - "Heidi's Head" is annoying-in-a-good-way hypno-garage trash, so if yer all over the album, you may want this. For a few more bucks, you could (and should) grab the album, anyway. (TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry // www.sympathyrecords.com)

A-Lines "You Can Touch" LP/CD
Touted by an unnamed source (let's refer to him as "Snitch Turdwell") as the best thing since ever and certainly the best-ever Headcoatees-related yunk, I'd have to say it's really (really) darn good, with a classic tune (the wiry-jagged Messthetics-y "Nothing Personal") and an unexpected/unexpectedly great cover (Electric Eels' "Agitated"). Very charming overall, considering these 4 gals are probably closer to retirement than me, and they're blasting out a hell of a nasty-tough racket. Another full-length that woulda been top 10 2004 - hope you've been saving your nickels! (TK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry // www.sympathyrecords.com)

Antiseen "Thee From Parts Unknown" EP
For those who don't know, Antiseen actually kicked out quite a few good-to-great records in the late-Eighties/early-Nineties (the early EPs on Death Train and Ajax especially) before becoming the cartoonish redneck punk-rockers they are now. But I don't have a bad thing to say about Jeff Clayton, as he's managed to keep the band together for over twenty years now and create an entire cottage industry out of the whole Confederacy of Scum thing, all the while doing it his own way, in true independent fashion. They're a great example of a band who found their niche and made it work. I'm sure there are legions of Antiseen fans out there gobbling up the shirts, DVDs, books, and the well over thirty records they've released, as well as all the bands riding their coat-tails. A true underground success. They've become the NASCAR of punk rock. And I say good for them. It's not as if I've listened to any of their records since they ditched the semi-traditional punk approach and started really playing up the super-redneck/wrestling angle about ten years ago, but I certainly don't think they're doing anything too bad. It is what is: well played heavy-duty punk in a genre of their own creation (destructo-rock). I'd rather have to listen to these guys than the Hellacopters. At least they're actually from the South. And Jeff Clayton has bled more for rock'n'roll than all of us combined, Larry May included. Anyway, this EP is their dedication to masked wrestlers, and comes in a slick looking gatefold 7" package with all sorts of cool vintage pics. Masked Superstar, Mr. Wrestling, The Spolier, The Saint, Mil Mascaras, they're all there. I think I even see a shot of the Cuban Assassains! Now you know something bad was going down when those guys showed up ringside...oh yeah, the record: four songs, you know what you're getting into.(RK)
(Scarey Records // www.scareyrecords.com)

Badnads "Japanese Bloodbath" EP
Oh boy. Madman Pondo vs. Abdullah the Butcher cover art. Classics pics of some of all-time favorite heels: Stan "The Lariat" Hansen, the almighty Bruiser Brody, even a back cover shot of the original Shiek. Yes, another sweet looking gatefold 7" from Scarey. The music? I think you know what it sounds like already. Surprisingly, these guys are from the UK. I didn't think the ECW/destructo-rock schtick worked there. But who knows. Covers of The Killer and David Allan Coe, plus two wrasslin' themed originals. For those who spend a significant portion of their time and income seeking out bootleg tapes of Japanese death matches and are still pissed they missed the last Confederacy of Scum Supershow.(RK)
(Scarey Records // www.scareyrecords.com)

BBQ "Tie Your Noose" LP/CD
Mark Sultan is a rock n roll treasure. The man just doesn't stop churning out killer record after killer record and not even a lack of bandmates can keep him from touring and making said records. Case in point: his one man band BBQ latest and greatest effort 'Tie Your Noose.' There's a little more variety in the songwriting here than on his first LP, which really helps make a case for numerous repeat listenings. Mark just might be my favorite rock n roll singer living today, and it's nothing short of remarkable that he can sound this soulful while simultaneously both playing guitar and drumming. Hits include, "C'mon and Love Me", "Year Old Wine", "Shake Real Low",aw fuck it, the whole goddamn album is a nonstop party from the first song to the last. Word on the street is the King Khan & BBQ LP is even better, which is a pretty exciting thought as this is a really, really great album. Hey, what's with the Stones cover Mark? I thought the English were all twats?!(SS)
Conventional wisdom is that this BBQ record is better than the first, and that the BBQ-King Khan record is better than either. I'll agree, but I don't think that it has anything to do with inspiration - Mark just keeps writing them great rock 'n roll songs, and recording them with whomever is around at the time, be it a band or duo or him by his lonesome. What you get is another great set of no-bullshit rock 'n roll tunes, some of which are on that BBQ-King Khan record and one of which was on the Goodbye Boozy single. I say "pick 'em all up." What, you don't like pizza, beer AND ice cream?(TK)
(Bomp! Records // www.bomp.com)

The Black Jetts "Right on Sound" CD
Like their last record, not bad stuff...probably woulda' been required eating 7-8 years ago. I always picture tatts 'n dices 'n flying/sweaty hairlocks, all that Junk Rec stuff, ya know? You dig the Humpers? You'd dig this. (TK)
(Deadbeat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

Black Dahlias "Wednesday Night" 7"
Three songs, new band, good credentials: ex-Groovie Ghoulie/Zodiac Killer Matt Shrugg at the wheel, produced by Woodhouse, up-and-coming young label, nice looking sleeve. They play your standard-issue vintage power-pop stuff, and it sounds great. Shrugg proves more than capable on guitar/vox, and the songs should get you fans of this genre worked up enough to give the girlfriend the old Power Pearls necklace, if you know what I mean. Scum stats: coke bottle clear vinyl, quantity unknown. Dangerhouse-styled three-quarters-sleeve with insert.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Black Lips "Live at WFMU" LP
Hey, I can be wrong. I underestimated this band's greatness for a good while. Their Germs-into-BFTG "thing" is actually as neato-fly-whoah-nellie as most of you assholes were barfing on about over the last few years. Each record's improved on the past one, making LP #3 one of the most looked forward ta' releases of 2005. Another case in point (regarding wrongness) - I felt that live releases were pointless, as I figured that their in-the-flesh thing (noise and visual chaos) wouldn't translate without peepers, but this is a radio show with good sound and (probably) far less jumping about while piss-puking. Probably. It sounds good, though it ain't as great as "We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow." So buy that, then this. First release on Dusty Mistreater's Dusty Medical Records, and there's nowhere to go from here but sideways. (TK)
(Dusty Medical Records // www.dustymedical.com)

Born Losers "For Chicago Girls" 7"
When I saw these guys were from Alaska, I had high hopes. I mean, what the fuck is happening in Alaska? Must be some cool, weird shit. But those hopes were soon dashed on the rocks of mediocrity. Apparently they've now relocated to Portland, probably in hopes of expanding their fanbase to non-Eskimo peoples, and seem to think playing heavy-duty grunge rock is a good idea. Should've stayed in Alaska. I hear you can make a killing working on those fishing boats.(RK)
(Scarey Records // www.scareyrecords.com)

The Bunny Brains "Box the Bunny" 4CD/DVD Box Set
If you only have 20 bucks to spend and you are going by the Soriano guide of what to waste your cash on, make it this. As someone involved in flogging Lil Bunnies records, I can say with authority that the Bunny Brains are the best bunny band ever. They also were pretty much forgotten or ignored by all but total music geeks and college radio deejays (much like fellow 90s outcasts Monoshock). Loud, flippant, thuddish, obnoxious, monotonous, and full of humor (without being a joke band) is what you get on these 4 CDs, which cover all the vinyl and some unreleased stuff, and the DVD of live crud. There is so much stuff on here, it is difficult to sum it all up. Figure this: The Bunny Brains were one of the best non-garage punk bands of the 90s, one of the best bands ever to be influenced by Flipper, and they can pull off a psychadelic sea shanty. If that doesn't sell you, nothing will. Simply god-like. Narnack should close up shop, cuz it is doubtful they will ever top this.(SSR)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Catholic Boys "Actin' Stupid" 7Ā"
Appropriate label name here, as any label that charges over eleven dollars American for a single seems doomed to failure from the start. Luckily for Nanne there's plenty of fan boys like myself out there willing to hand over their scratch out of fear of being left out so he might just have a prayer for survival after all. "Actin' Stupid" starts off with a riff that sounds vaguely like a sped up version of "Latch On." It's a really good song, but it's over and done with before you know it. "Maybe Today" is where the real story is here, as it's a total sonic trouncing up there with the best things these guys have ever done. The two songs on the flip are both pretty good too. Not sure if I would advise paying ELEVEN DOLLARS for a brand new seven inch, but "Maybe Today" is a real monster and all, so I guess it's up to you to make the call.(SS)
(No Fuckin' Chance // www.nofuckinchancerecords.nl)

Chinese Telephones 7"
I've known Andy Junk for a long damn time. When he was in high school, he used to drive out past the farm fields up to a hill, where he could get reception on the punk show I used to do, and he called in requests from the payphone nearby. He ended up doing cool stuff with the Lookers and Fragments, and is now bassing in Holy Shit! Dan "Operaman" took over the aforementioned punk show after I moved, and used to write the classic "Non Secular" fanzine. Anyway, this 4-song turd really stinks, unless you're into "whoah-oh" poppunk filtered through Fat Wreck Chords or something. Nice guys, though! (TK)
(Dingus Records // 2407 N. Pierce St., Milwaukee, WI 53212)

Coachwhips ďPeanut Butter and Jelly Live at the Ginger MingeĒ CD/LP
Album number four (and thatís three in the past two years if my mathís right) doesnít stray too much from the basic formula that made ďBangers Vs. FuckersĒ such an enjoyable mindfuck. The overblown blues riffs and abrasive vocals still collide head on with the dimestore keys resulting in a satisfying wreck that your ears canít ignore. The Woodhouse production makes the drums sound better than ever, and although the overall result isnít quite as pummeling as the last record, itís still much better executed than most other bands of this ilk. If youíve been ignoring The Coachwhips up until now, itís time to stop. (JG)
This sounds as if it was recorded in a very tight box and the guitars often hum like angry pigs. Those are good things. And when the songs are good, the sum is great. There are a few moments of bullshit, but I kinda expected that going in. Last year's 'Bangers vs. Fuckers' was boring. This year's platter has Woodhouse twisting the knobs to a better set of songs. Dumb and wild and full of feedback, this thing is, and I like it.(SSR)
(Narnack Records // www.narnackrecords.com)

Deloreans "...are Your Girlfriend's Favorite Band" EP
Review zinger #1: These guys did a split single with the Atomsmashers, and weren't even the best band on that record. Review zinger #2: Reminiscent of post-Ass Cobra Turbonegro, except without the sense of humor or talent. Review zinger #3: Ciccolina is the only thing in Italy that sucks harder than this record. Review Zinger #4: If these guys really are your girlfriend's favorite band, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to fuck her. Pick your favorite and move on. (RK)
(Sonico Records // www.sonico.de)

Demon's Claws 7"
Three song 7" to accompany the recent full length. This outfit has the ability to grow on you, with its Montreal blues-punk with a hint of psych providing you with a nice coating of quality Canadian rock-stubble after a few weeks of listening. "Demon's Claws" is a different and faster version than that which appears on the LP, and manages to be the best of this bunch. "Space Freighter" sounds like the Scat Rag Boosters covering Man...or Astroman?, which is interesting for what it's worth. These guys seem to be mining the earth that exists between where the Mystery Girls are and the Golden Boys seem to be going. An interesting location. For those of you waiting for the LP version of the full length, it's now available on P.Trash as well. Scum stats: this one's really scummy. Bongout sleeve design in three different versions: 121 on clear wax with silver sleeve, 136 on blue wax with blue sleeve, and 301 on black wax with brown sleeve. This guy is getting out of control.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Dirt Shit ďRattenlochĒ EP
Dirt Shitís ďRattenlockĒ EP was released in Austria, 1979, in a reported edition of 200 copies. It is one of the most unreal, over the top artifacts of punk music I have ever heard (and is an all-time, top ten record). Here the record has been legitimately reissued for another 666 people to enjoy. The A-side of the record has three punk scorchers that make my hair stand on end every time. The abrasive guitar sound is lifted from a construction site while the producer was surely an idiot savant on an exchange program from Bedlam. The recording has fades and tape manipulations that add another layer to the songs. ďDiscoscheisserĒ and ďExitĒ are paint-peeling originals while the third song is a great take on the Rolling Stoneís ďJumpiní Jack FlashĒ. The flipside of the record is a weird, extended reggae influenced song that doesnít get spun often by me, but certainly makes the record even more interesting. The reissue does not have the hand colored sleeve or all of the inserts with the original, but is incredibly well done. This should be in everyoneís collection.(DH)
(Frontcore)

Dutchmasters 7"
Goner Records continues it's dominance of my turntable this month with the debut release from the oft-talked about Dutchmasters, a four-piece gang of merry men of which Eric Oblivian would be the most recognizable to those outside of the Memphis city limits. I don't know this Scott Rogers guy personally, but I'd like to shake his hand for writing "Radioactive", a triumph of a song that starts out sounding like the Rip Offs and ends up being one of catchiest pieces of Killed By Memphis fuzz-fi skag ever. An A-Side if there ever was one. The flip of this 45 contains two juicy punk wig-flippers from Eric O. himself. "Pleasure" breaks off into some blistering solo action that hits you like a splinter to the eardrum, and "It's Not Obvious" breathes new life into garage-punk riff #36A and then rides its regenerated corpse right into the part of your brain where catchy songs hang out. Was that some sax I just heard? Midheaven Mailorder has bequeathed the title "Mississippi Helicopter Shark Attack" to this single, and that pretty well sums up the stunner of a sleeve. A near perfect record. C/U 150. (RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

Thee Exciters "Johnny's Too Messed Up" 7"
Standard European garage rock, played pretty straight. Nothing real happening or overly offensive. Kinda Fleshtoney. Recommended for people who think Get Hip still releases exciting records.(RK)
(Delincuentes Records // www.delincuentesrecords.bravehost.com)

Fatals s/t CD
Mr. P.Trash has done all you late-comers a favor and comped all three of their singles on one easy to carry CD, with a bonus track from the first 7" sessions. But even this one is limited (500 copies or so), so don't miss your second chance to find out what the excitement's all about. Silkscreened tri-fold sleeve with the art from all the singles included. A handy little package for sure. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

The Feelers "Learn to Hate the Feelers" LP/CD
Some are already decrying the recent retro-KBD movement happening as a negative trend, but I personally have no problem with it. I like my records to sound like they were recorded on tape sometime in 1981 by a bunch of kids playing what they figured to be punk rock. It makes for some fast and frantic action, and when it comes to dishing out this variety of shinola, the Feelers are the jerks to do it. Moving quickly to the head of the class after planting their buzzsaw debut single directly between our eyes, these Midwesten 'mos are certainly deserving of any ear-time you throw their way. Fourteen songs worth of high-anxiety furor (fuhrer?) that kind of pick up the ball the Clone Defects dropped musically after their early singles, and crammed with copious amounts of full-throttle snot-bringing. Put this one on your "to do" list. (RK)
If you knew someone out of the loop who asked what was up with Midwest neuvo-sorta-artpunk, this is as good a place to start as any. From the snippet in/outros and design fonts (Catholic Boys) to the TOTALKBDMAN falling-downisms (Functional Blackouts) and broken rhythms (Human Eye/Aluminum Knot Eye), this is some bent and powerful shit that stings the nose like a paper mill. For some reason, it's not what I expected, but just as good as I thought it would be. There are also jaunts into Reatards territory (makes sense). Fave songs so far are "Get Out" and "Peasants and Lepers," but there's not a bad tune on here. Perfect soundtrack to your next Fecalware Party. (TK)
(Deadbeat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)

The Fevers "Love Always Wins" LP/CD
It shouldn't be hard to make a record like this. From the early days of the British invasion, on through the advent of more lightweight (yet no less great) groups like the Archies, to power pop bands like the Nerves and their progeny (Plimsouls, Beat, Starjets, and the whole Good Vibrations family of bands), history is rife with bands who wrote deceptively simple, yet eminently memorable, tunes that leave you with little choice but to chew out the rhythm on your bubblegum. In other words, bands that played simple pop songs capturing the true spirit of rock n roll: having a good time at all costs. The plethora of bands that have made records like this might lead one the conclusion that writing and recording a great pop album is fairly simple; at least compared with bands that opt for a more serious and "relevant" approach. It shouldn't be hard to make a record like this, but evidently it is, because no one has made a pop record that captures the feeling of all of those classic pop records as well as "Love Always Wins" does in years. The Exploding Hearts album came close, but what this record has over 'Guitar Romantic' is a healthy nod to pop's pre-76 legacy. Tunes like "My Iy Iy" and "Photobooth" are straight up bubblegum that would sound at home on a Buddha Records compilation. Others like "Bound to Cry" and the title track are sterling examples of the late 70Ā's power pop sound at its best. Then there's the surprisingly hard rocking tune called, appropriately enough, "Let Me Rock" which, like Firestarter's 'Livin' On the Heat' is a total affirmation of a life spent digging through discount bins for musical gold. "Let Me Rock" might be the only song that directly mentions record collecting, but all of these songs sound like they're being played by people with a real knowledge of, and love for, the spirit of rock n roll. "Love Always Wins" is a musical cocktail of the best of the past forty years of pop and rock history, and like any good cocktail it leaves me thirsty for another listen every time.(SS)
(Alien Snatch // www.aliensnatch.de)

Henry Flynt and the Insurrections "I Don't Wanna" CD
This guy is known (I guess) for some arty guitar hoo-hah and Lou Reed connections. These tracks were recorded in 1966, and supposedly represent his bent take on garage or sumsuch. There's a lot more bending than garaging, but you can certainly hear ancient rural Americana riffs and patterns being broken and tape-glued back together. The production recalls the big-sparse quality that resonated throughout all those old blues and hillbilly records, and you even get a taste of organ here and there for contemp-sakes. It rarely ever "rocks," and certainly never "rawks," but I can think of any number of folks for whom this would be a mind blower. I love the ramshackle fallapart aspects of this, and the guitar work is quite interesting (pip pip!), but I certainly won't be humming it in the shower. Instead, I'll be studying the Periodic Table. Rubidium wha? (TK)
(Locust Music // P.O. Box 220426, Chicago, IL 60622)

Frustration s/t 12"
I slapped this pup on the turntable, dropped the needle and, man, does this sound like The Leather Nun. Slow, thudding, and quasi-industrial, the vocals kick in "aaaaawwwwwwwwtttttttttiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssstttttttttttt......". Oh, shit it's on 33 rpm and its supposed to be 45. Okay, it actually sounded good at 33 but to listen to this proper I must bow to 45. This time it is a fast thud and quasi-minimalist art-synth-punk crud, which, again is fine by me. The vocals come in and they are good too, and then the song shifts gears. Wow! This is a keeper. Song two: another winner. Flip it over and the two songs on the B side are also cool. From fuzz damage to synth damage to KBD fundamentalism to that nice twist you get from French punk rock nowadays, Frustration has come up with a great debut. Definitely recommended.(SSR)
(Born Bad // bornbad@wanadoo.fr)

Hanna Hirsch 7"
It's really shitty when you get a record in the mail out of nowhere, and it looks pretty interesting, has some intiguing cover art, the note attached to it says "we listen to a lot of Blondie and Discharge", and then it turns out to be a FUCKING EMO RECORD. Scum stats: 300 of these exist, which should all be destroyed immediately.(RK)
(None of you need the contact info for this, trust me)

Heartattacks "Here Come..." LP
When I first looked at this thing I noticed how similar it looks to a Real Losers record. Really similar, right down to the pink vinyl. But The Heartattacks choose not to worship at the altar of Supercharger, but instead bow their heads in reverance to the rock gods known as Teengenerate. And when I say worship Teengenerate, I mean seriously sounding just like them. These guys more than one-up the Kidnappers for Fifi swipes. I think the singer is even openly trying to sing like Fifi, except with a Swedish accent instead of a Japanese one. Blown out recording. Full throttle garage-punk with some pop moves and extra-large hooks thrown in. The Teengenerate formula for success. On just the B-Side they have three songs with the word "baby" in the title. There are worse bands to imitate, I must admit. And they don't do a bad job of it. It's interesting listening, as they really do come frighteningly close to sounding like their idols and that's not something that's easy to pull off. Much better than their single, and much better than most imitative Swedish offerings. Mandatory ex-Blacks and Tokyo Knives members included. Scum stats: 153 on pink vinyl, 98 on white, and 300 on black, for a grand total of 551 pressed. This is getting ridiculous.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Helen Keller 2x7"
Never a "real band," Helen Keller was the creation of jingle writer Norman Durkee. Turned on to punk rock and into Captain Beefheart, Durkee got some of his studio musician friends together and cut a handful of songs. Two of them came out in 1978 as the "Dump on the Chump"/"Surfin'(with Steve and E.D. Amin)" single. That brilliant two songer has been on many a KBD want list and is one of those holy grails that causes people to max out their credit cards. Lucky for you, the fine folk at Deaf Ear have paired that impossible to find gem with two previously unreleased monsters. So why the fuss? Take Captain Beefheart, Yma Sumac, Slade, and a host of girl groups and mix it up. Add dumbness, primitives, and brutality. Stir in some humor and dada-style irreverence and you get this. In the sleeve notes, Ryan Richardson compares them to the Child Molesters. That's fair, but I'd also toss in Hubble Bubble, Chain Gang, and Black Randy & the Metro Squad - the thread through all those bands being smart people playing "dumb" music, which is really astonishing and very right on.(SSR)
(Deaf Ear)

Hot Machines "Hole in My Heart" 7"
Two comp tracks, two songs on the 2003 Chicago Blackout DVD, a crapload of praise from some trustworthy Midwesterners, and a lineup featuring members of some really good bands made this debut single very much anticipated. Is it better than the Ponys? No, but it does come close. The A-side is a slow moving ride led by Miss Alex Whiteís sexy voice that builds to a noisy ending and it sounds like it could be an outtake, albeit better recorded, from the Alex White/Chris Playboy single. The flip is my pick of the two, with Jered taking over vocal duties and, not surprisingly, his voice, plus Mattís frantic drumming, makes the song sound like a more aggressive version of The Ponys. Itíll be a shitter if they donít permanently end their current hiatus. More please.(JG)
Debut single from the band a lot of people think coulda been serious contenders had they stayed together. For those outta the loop, this is Jered from the Ponys, current Baseball Furies time-keeper Matt "Billiams" Williams, and the magnificent Miss Alex White. Only two songs here, and I have to warn you, you need to let this one grow on you. On initial listen I graded it at C+, but after about a half-dozen more spins it was quickly promoted to an A-. "Hole in My Heart" is a slow and seductive little skirt lifter, on which Miss Alex adds some extra sexy come-hitherness to her vocals. It builds and builds to the freak-outro where Jered lets loose with the psyched-out guitar crush which ties it all up nicely. Jered sings on the flip, "I Draw Your Face", a twin guitar treble-charged Ponys-gone-punk-like trip layered with swirling vox and fastened together by some Biliams backbeat. Good stuff. Scum stats: 500 pressed, black vinyl.(RK)
I'm always going around saying stuff like "yeah, the Ponys are great, but the Hot Machines were definitely better." Just on the quality of the live shows, the Hot Machines blew me away every single time I was lucky enough to catch 'em, and the Ponys have been great for the first half hour, after which I got a little sleepy and all that. I was hoping that this (possibly the only-ever Hot Machines record?) would go out of its way to prove me a smarty, but unfortunately it's only halfway there. Jered's song is great and makes this a mandatory purchase for Ponys fans everywhere, but they picked my least favorite Alex tune for the flip. Not bad, kind of a femsung early Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds noise-blues track...solid, but not her best work, either. Still a great record, but that live show Clif-From-Bloomington recorded still NEEDS a proper release. (TK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Kill-A-Watts "Circuit Breaker Love" LP/CD
After what seems like forever, or least more than a year, we finally get the Kill-A-Watts second and final full length. It's a fitting epitaph for one the best true punk-rock bands of recent years, showing off the catchier and tighter beast they had become, while maintaining their "Dig These Kids" energy and still sounding Rip Off, but not redundant. Packed with hooks, solos, choruses, short-sharp tunes, and solid Mechadrum-work, it's quite a few steps ahead of the first LP. There aren't many who can filter junk-music and junk-culture into great songs as well as Ryan Kill-A-Watt, and this features some of his best work to date. The title track and and the near-annoyance of "Fuckin' Guitar Shake" are my initial faves, and "Transform-her" and "Had Enough" might just be the best Melissa-sung tunes of their career. Listening to this will give reason to hope Ryan is holed-up somewhere in Wauwatosa working on a new band. Great back cover with a pic for every song featuring various Wisconsin types you might recognize, the funniest being Mechadrum reading hatemail addressed to "Mechafag, Gayland, WI". Yes, I still find shit like that funny, and it makes this record that much more likable. Another great release in Rip Off's ongoing series of LPs by bands that are either broken up or about to break up. I think Greg's on to something here...Scum stats: 500 LP's pressed, 300 on clear yellow/amber vinyl, which, as someone pointed out, actually makes the black vinyl the limited edition. Tricky. Supposedly only 500 CDs made as well.(RK)
If you're a fan, you probably know that this band broke up some time back. This was recorded near the end, when they were playing infrequent shows as a trio, and it's a lot more than a postscript. Sometimes maligned as a generic 3rd gen Rip Off rip-offer, the Kill-A-Watts were always blessed with great hooks and tons of nervous energy. The Real Losers can sing "baaaby" a hundred times, because they live in Leeds. Ryan Kill-A-Watt can get away with it because...he's Ryan Kill-A-Watt. I dunno, they just have their way with catchy tunes, and any cheese is an endearing part of the whole. This picks up on the "pop" tip displayed on the last single - not Exploding Hearts style power pop, just a little more attention paid to a catchy and well-written chorus. Great stuff, but you probably already knew that. (TK)
(Rip Off Records // www.ripoffrecords.org)

The King Khan & BBQ Show s/t LP
BBQ on his own is a true-blue garage-rock force to be reckoned with, but combined with the duckwalk-voodoo of King Khan, you have an explosive mixture of talents that has spit out what is probably the best LP released so far this year. From the absolute perfection of tunes like "Waddlin' Around" and "Fish Fight" to the downright filth of "Pig Pig", every step this duo takes should please any true believer in Old Testament rock'n'roll. Raunchy in all the right places, vintage sounding without being "retro", and prone to both fits of soul-n-blues and pure rock lunacy, the songs seems to roll off these guys' fingertips so easily you wonder why more records just aren't this genuinely entertaining and fun. A perfect example of great and simple songwriting done so well you only need two guys, two guitars, and a couple pieces of a drum kit pull it off. Insanely likable. If this doesn't make you sweat or move just a little bit, you're deader than I thought. Scum stats: this one's a little confusing. There's a Gonerfest press of the LP on clear vinyl, which I assume to be 200. Then there was a limited-edition printed tour CD-R with a bonus track. Regular Goner edition will be released domestically on LP/CD soon. European version, with different artwork and a different song, will be released by Hazelwood in the near future. (RK)
Rock 'n roll is one elastic animal. I mean, every time things get wiggly and you start seeing every shmoe from Portland to Paris unpacking synths and acting bored or dispossessed, along comes another wave of true grit that sounds just as refreshing as the initial fart-damaged lot seemed when the sub-UG was muddled in bar-bandisms. Simple and simply enjoyable records like this one and the Lids record are palette cleansers that'll hook you back so's you don't spin off into jazz or noise or yer old records that'll never be close-to-surpassed. So feel free to mope around filling your Depends and waxing re: yer dusty wax - the rest of us have a branny-new record to flip. (TK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

King Khan and His Shrines "Mr. Supernatural" LP/CD
Second official long-player from Khan & Co., and I like it a heap better than "Three Hairs..." The band sounds a lot more Stax/Motown on this one, and Khan comes off as more Curtis Mayfield than Screamin' Jay Hawkins persona-wise. "On the Street Where I Live" is a convincing stab at inner-city-can't-pay-the-rent funk/soul, and on "Destroyer" (and elsewhere) we get some hard JB's grooves and howling. "Stone Soup" and "Pickin' Up the Trash" are as fun as they sound, and they do another version of "Burnin' Inside" from the Dirtbombs split that does quite well. One slow number per side, outstanding performance by Khan, extra super tight playing and arrangements, and a live show that I imagine must leave the house in ruins. I have no qualms about calling this one a killer in every sense, and the ten pound vinyl helps too.(RK)
(Hazelwood Vinyl Plastics // www.hazelwood.de)

King Louie One Man Band "Chinese Crawfish" LP
With all the acclaim recently piled upon the Khan/BBQ LP, I kinda felt Louie and this record weren't getting enough love outside the Goner crowd. And while I am a huge Mark Sultan fan, and think his versatility and song writing prowess are unquestionably some of the best out there, King Louie's work is just as awe-inducing, and should command the same amount of attention. He sounds just as authentic pounding out the mud-caked scum-punk of Kajun SS as he does working solo as a rock'n'country one-man swamp-thing on this, his second KLOMB LP. There's plenty of throwback rockin' on this piece, some dirty, some really dirty, and some that even show off Louie's "tender" side. Obligatory doses of A-grade toilet humor ("I'm So Sick of Your Head Gear", "I'm 13 and Too Ugly To Live") blend with Kajun-ized "un-traditionals" ("Home In Louisiana", "Flat Foot Sam Meets Way Out Willy") and Haze-y gonzo one-man turbulence ("She's a Big Bopper", "I'm A One Man Band") to make up a long and interesting sixteen (or so) song trip. Kind of like going to the flea market, every time you listen to it you're bound to pick up some little scrap or nuance laying low in the grooves, the little things that make this record so charming. Like the way "Beat Up By A Girl" seamlessly blends into "Everybody in a Hurry", or the way Louie gentlemanly introduces his re-recordings of the tracks off his Therapuetic single because they're now unavailable but a lot of people have been requesting them at his "personal appearances", or when he slyly covers a bit of "Get Down On It" and then follows it with an original instro called "Heartbreak Habitrail", effectively and uniquely recycling the pop-culture trash. A welcome return, and an LP that that gets better with every listen from a truly original mind. Now someone needs to set up a BBQ/KLOMB tour, because that would be something to see. Scum stats: I think there were 200 copies of this pressed on clear vinyl for Gonerfest with glued on covers, with oversize (and appreciated) insert/lyric sheet. Regular CD/LP edition should be appearing shortly.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

The Krunchies ďIn De WinkelĒ LP/CD
The Krunchies are the sonic equivalent of a brutal beating. Thereís no need to overanalyze Ė itís simple call and response type songs with dual boy/girl screamers, slashing chords played at breakneck pace kept in line by ultra tight drumming (recorded perfectly by Jimmy Hollywood). And Amandaís voice is a weapon. Not since the days of Lorcaís screaming in The Drags has a voice commanded my attention like hers. Come to think of it, had The Drags decided to go hardcore they wouldnít have sounded too far off from this. Very much worth your while. (JG)
Let me tell you my number one complaint with the Krunchies: Kevin's (pseudo) moustache. What's the deal? Maybe that flies in Chicago, but whatever town I live in (right now, Austin, TX) has to say: Huh? That aside, the Krunchies LP is absolute brilliance. 12 (or moreÖ) tracks of pure hardcore a la the Baseball Furies or Comas early records (or, uh, any number of records circa '82). Fast, furious, pissed, and, hmmmÖ. danceable? I've had The Krunchies LP for 4 hours and have listened to it 4 times and lost the insert (thanks, alcohol) already. This is destined to be one of my favorite records of the year. Nonstop insanity, like all music should be. AWESOME!!!(DH)
In 1982, this would have been hardcore. In 2005, it still is, even though their Hozac connections seem to have some kunfoozed. Amanda's voice remains one of the most, I dunno, "brutal" instruments on the planet, and the production, play and songwriting is several notches about their (already good) single. Speedy sandpapered Angry Samoans/Black Flag noise that goes down like a pizza enema. Weirdly-good Shepherd's Heard cover ta' boot. Score another for Criminal IQ kingpin (and doobiescooter fanatic) Darius and company. (TK)
(Criminal IQ Records // www.criminaliq.com)

Lamps s/t LP
If you were to throw the entire In the Red discography in a blender, The Lamps are a close approximation of the puree you would end up with. Seemingly tough to choke down, but surprisingly nutritious, containing the recommended daily allowances of static, fuzz, garage, punk, and misanthropy. These guys manage to move in a direction similar to The Hunches in their caveman-like assault on the underground-rock of recent years, but where the Hunches take to the sky and seemingly fly above the proceedings in a maelstrom of fury and screaming feedback and calm-before-the-storm moments of near serenity, The Lamps go subterranean, prodding and plodding along at a base level and primordial shamble, dragging you along by the hair as if you were their cave-mate. The familiar Knox-ian backbeat is taken out of the formaldehyde once again and is put to good use, this time coated with a healthy slime of guitar and bass skull-pounding and homicidal vocal-cord mangling that would almost sound silly were it not for the truly unhinged and amusingly maniacal and rambling lyrics being spat out. All the pieces fit together well, and just to keep you off-balance they jab at you with some sharp sticks of guitar at unexpected moments. In other words, this thing's a lot of fun to listen to, and fittingly vinyl-only. Recorded by In the Red secret weapon Mike McHugh, and Christgau gives this thing an A-fucking-plus. (RK)
Over the past few years a plethora of bands have taken the Oblivians as a starting point. A lot of these bands have met with really great results (the Fatals come to mind immediately) but it seems what most of them draw upon is the aural bombast and accompanying blown out, filthy production Memphis' favorite sons were known for. What makes the Lamps stand out from the pack as refreshingly as a virgin high school girl in a bar full of washed up rocker sluts is the fact that they've somehow managed to suffuse the violence and skuzz typical of most bands coming from this angle with a groove more mesmerizing than anything I've heard this side of "Hey Mama Look at Sis" or "The Leather." These songs are insidious. At first they don't seem like anything that special, but before you know it they end up sneaking up on you from behind like a killer in the night and taking you completely unawares with a rhythm simultaneously as hypnotic as a troupe of belly-dancers and as pulverizing as a pit-fighter. There aren't any song titles on the back of the jacket, so since I haven't sat down and memorized the listing on the LP label (yet), I won't be able to tell you a lot about specific songs by name, but trust me when I say there's a LOT of fucking great tunes on here. Not the least of which is the stunning death march that closes out the album. Imagine a funk band full of serial killers trying to play a Big Black cover and you're almost there. Other favorites of mine include all of the full-bore rockers like "Hot Plate" and the slower tune that closes out the first side. Really though, this album isn't about stand out tracks or anything else like that. It's about surrendering yourself to its mesmerizing clutches and letting your ears be completely dominated for thirty minutes of pure aural bliss. Chalk up another winner for In the Red.(SS)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

The Litigators "Look Out for the Bottom Line" CD
Somewhere there is a beer commercial looking for a band.(SSR)
(Wreck & Wroll)

Lo-Lite "Gravity" 7"
Another European two-piece playing blues-trash-punk-whatever, this time the Netherlands are the offending country. It just seems like there are a ton of bands doing this shit, and none really doing it well. A-Side: nothing remarkable. B-Side: some jive bullshit. I blame The Oblivians. And Jon Spencer.(RK)
(Dull City Records // gt-john@online.no)

Mandarines ďMandarines E.P.Ē 7Ē
ďTrust YouĒ by the Mandarines is the best power pop song ever. Care to debate? Booted on Powerpearls Vol. 8, it was the only Mandarines song Iíd ever heard until I ran into a bootleg copy of this, their second, and last, EP circa Sweden 1978. The A-side starts off with the hit, featuring a perfect jangly, fuzzed out guitar tone with lyrics sung by two vocalists in a great hi/low harmony before exploding into whatís gotta be one the catchiest choruses ever. Itís all over in under a minute and a half. The weakest song is ďLose Your LoveĒ which closes out the first side and starts off with some wanky piano before redeeming itself with a decent last half. On the flip ďYouíre Telling LiesĒ and ďWhen I Do, I Will DieĒ invoke memories of a more aggressive Beat at their best. Both songs are first-rate power pop that youíll have a hard time getting out of your head. This boot wasnít cheap, but itís well worth tracking down if the popís in your blood. (JG)
(bootleg // for an mp3 check out punkmodpop.free.fr/mp3.htm)

Mr. Luggs "Tea Time Listening" CD
From Topplers, the torch-bearers of the modern UK DIY scene, comes Mr. Luggs, also of the Junkman's Choir. Pulling together Scottish ranting, bagpipes, and weird jams, while throwing out what one might consider a song, this Scotsman comes up with something that is certainly punk, in his determination to stand at the margins and wave his cock at the crowd. Maybe this is the demented stepbrother of the Country Teasers, a thing that owes more to Celtic jigs than the Fall. It is certainly not the ol' 1-2-3-4 with distorted guitar and backbeat. In fact, as a whole I really can't figure out what this is other than one guy's take on what his idea of music is. In that way, this totally fits into the spirit, if not sound of Mr. Luggs' DIY forefathers. Great while sober and I'd imagine even better drunk.(SSR)
(Topplers // www.topplers.net)

The MLB ďGet Lucky. Go to Hell.Ē CD-R
The MLB is a studio project from one Matt Biolchini. Who is Matt Biolchini? Guitarist for the Burning Hatreds, Coldwater, MIís scummiest rock & roll band. The Burning Hatreds tend to lean further in the bluesy/Oblivians-ish direction, whereas the MLB, though not too far removed from the bluesy trash rock of the Burning Hatreds, lean a bit more in the skuzzy/trashy/punk-rock direction that many fans of the Reatards might enjoy. Matt handles all instruments and vocals on all 6 tracks here and does a damn fine job of doing so. Itís obvious that Mattís not too happy with his surroundings in the crummy little hick town he calls home as these songs are full of spite, frustration, and discontentment, with song titles like ďKill ThemĒ, ďFuck It, Fuck YouĒ, and ďStatic BitchĒ wherein Matt professes ďI donít need your static you bitch! Come on!Ē Not a life altering release but certainly good enough and deserving enough to lend your ear to for a few repeated listens. My only real complaint would be that the production is a bit flat on most of the tracks, but the quality of the songs themselves make up for it. What can you expect from a kid twisting knobs in his parentís basement in Coldwater, MI? A lot more than I would have thought. More, please.(MTC)
(My Mom Hates Me Records// mbiolchini@cbpu.com)

Moneychangers "Missed Chords and Bad Vibes" EP
Newer gang of Portland toughs, including one half of 10-4 Backdoor and Mark Death from the long-forgotten Halfways, self-releasing some pretty decent seven-inch action. "Burnside Trash" is a very listenable piece of leg shakin' snot-garage, and "Lay Low" boasts some magnificent vocals that make the song twice as good as it should be. Reeee-tarded. Those two great sounding heaps make up the A-Side, which has more of Penetrators/Gizmos proto-trash feel to them. On the B-Side they get more Texas Teen Scene, trying to pull off a slow-psych number and another similar sounding pounder, and letting the organ player work it out a little more. They do a good job keeping the Farfisa shit under control though, and not letting it ride over top of everything. You don't really notice it's there, and when you do, it's not annoying. Tinny recording sound keeps it low-fi and (dis)tasteful, and the vocals on this thing carry it at points (Death sings on all except "Lay Low"), as they are of the so-snotty-sounding some of you pansies might call it annoying variety. Worth picking up for the A-Side alone. Bonus points awarded for having a bass player named Captain Sensitive, and for sending two copies, which more people should do. Scum stats: I'm sure there's plenty to go around. For now.(RK)
(Hate Street Records // jrsgang@yahoo.com)

Mong "The Sound of..." CD
Another of Topplers' very entertaing Value CDs, which means it is $4 to you and that is not too much to pay to check out the mysterious Mong. Sounding like some Cockney retard reared in a swamp, Mong digs the same ground that Southern Culture on the Skids did way back in their infancy, but with a drum machine, more punk determination, and less musical polish. In this case that is a plus. By one song title, Mong tells us that Captain Beefheart is to blame for Mong, but this is less "authentic" than Beefheart and more on the blaaaaarrrrghhhh side of things. Not brilliant or even mind-blowing, but certainly not a waste of your time.(SSR)
(Topplers // www.topplers.net)

Mojomatics "A Sweet Mama Gonna Hoodoo Me" CD/LP
Italian two-man band taking a road trip through the American South is what this record sounds like. A whole lot of blues, a little bit of country, lots of talk about mojo, the devil, bad women and love. But it's pulled off a lot better than most European outfits that are trying to do the same thing. Lots of killer harmonica wailing, which is always a plus. The Mojomatics do it best when they're pining for women, laying down the lament on tunes like "How Long Babe?" and "Please Think About Me". A lot more Jeff Evans/Bassholes than Oblivians, with a bit of Scat Rag fuzz boosting thrown in the pot, but still managing to muster up a somewhat "original" sound, which separates them from the rest of the pack of similar European trash-blues mongers.(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)

Mutants "Timba Am Gaya" 7"
Yes, probably the thousandth band to christen themselves The Mutants in the history of rock. These dudes are an instro combo from Finland, who have come up with two songs acting as the soundtrack for what appears to be a fictional(?) Thai porn film. A-Side is the exotica track, heavy on the reverb and congas, and ending with a lengthy wah solo. B-Side is the spy-in-a-sex-club track, with some passable sax soloing/action. Fans of the Euroboys and Laika and the Cosmonauts, wherever you are, this one's for you.(RK)
(Dull City Records // gt-john@online.no)

Mystery Girls 7"
New one from the Mystery Girls, teenage heroes of many, and a band that I still don't understand what the big deal is about. I mean they're good, but not that good from what I've seen and heard. They open up a Foghat-sized can of boogie rock on the A-Side, and on the flip they do the Byrds/Dylan thing. And it just now occurs to me why Wisconsin loves these guys so much: they smoke way too much of the hippie love weed over there. Okay, the A-Side is actually pretty good. Foghat have their moments, but wish they would take it in a more "Tres Hombres"-era ZZ Top direction. B-Side smells like patchouli. The next LP better be a gatefold so Green Bay has something to roll bombers on. Scum stats: I'm gonna guess Benji pressed at least at least 1,000 of these bad boys.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

The Nazis From Mars ďSpace PebblesĒ 12Ē EP
As far as pseudo-novelty bands go, it doesnít get much better than The Nazis From Mars. Itís hard to believe theyíve been around and putting out their brand of self described ďtechno punkĒ for over five years. ďSpace PebblesĒ features six songs of 60s covers (a couple of hits, the rest pretty obscure) and is their best record since the first two singles. Vanyaís distinct vocals are a bit more restrained this time around and are sung more often than screamed which along with the choice of songs makes this The Nazis poppiest record. Four of the six songs are keepers, and hearing a sexy sounding Dutch girl sing in Spanish on two of the tracks makes it worth the price of admission alone. (JG)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)

Night Terrors "Feel Me" 7"
This is the Night Terrors record to get. More digestable than the LP, and more powerful than the previous single, this makes for good listening. "Feel Me" is one of the better songs off the full length, and "Ride the Skies" is a fulfilling B-Side full of sawn-off riffs and heavy-duty slabbage. Sagger's vocals sound like the devil drank all the drano, and this one is just a bit easier to get down than the previous stuff. Good enough to convert some of those who hated on the LP. Scum stats: 300? 500? Only Satan knows. (RK)
(Perpetrator Records // PO Box 68-984, Newton, Auckland, New Zealand)

Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Down" 7"
I'll do the lazy reviewer thing and title this single after the first song on it. But what a song it is! An excellent starting point for those uninitiated to the wild ways of young Mr. Novak, "Down" features Jeff basically screaming his fucking head off over some of the most furious OMB action you're ever gonna hear, picking up the musical baggage left behind by some his idols (Oblivians, Gibson Bros, Bassholes, King Louie, and more) and running with it straight into a brick wall. It's one of those instances where you can't believe it's one kid creating this much of a racket, and the clincher is the songs are all fucking great. After the searing opening track, "Don't Wanna Live Alone" boils just as good with some hot-lick soloing, and the flip is just as furious. "Get Out" is heavy on the overkill cymbal-hiss and slick slide-work, and "Rockin' Horse" is as good a closer as any. Quite an impressive vinyl debut, and evidence that not all the kids these days are fucked. Jeff's a genuine rock'n'roll lover with an incredible amount of energy, enthusiasm, and reverence for the music we hold dear. Don't believe me? Just call him, he lists his phone number on the sleeve. Call anytime day or night! Scum stats: 300 pressed supposedly, the copies are numbered, but without any "# out of so many" info. (RK)
(A Fistful of Records // afistfulofrecords@yahoo.com)

Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Stranded" 7"
Another bountiful portion of wild ass rocking from the kid from Hendersonville. Much like a young Jay Reatard, Jeff possesses the knack to write super-catchy and trashy tunes in a familiar mold without it sounding redundant, and with an ability that would seem well beyond his years. And it's almost a shame he doesn't have a band backing him up, because these tunes would then possibly stomp even more ass. But Jeff does a good job on his own, whipping out four more top notch heart stoppers. I especially like "I Got Eyes for You", a thick slice of primo Reatardation, and the rest of the bunch is top rate garbage-thump. Get on board with this kid now. He's got yet another single due soon on P.Trash and an LP entitled "Southern Trash" in the pipeline as well. Scum stats: 400 copies, Bongout screened sleeve. (RK)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)

Offensive Herbst 87 ďOH87Ē 2xLP
Although the majority of TeeBee Devotees are more concerned (and/or consumed) with locating the latest Douche Master and Solid Sex product, I humbly offer up this expensive collection of unknown German greatness for your consideration. OH87 functioned from 1978 to 1983 (a blow-by-blow account of the bandís breakfast on 6/27/79 is better left to cats like Warner and Kugelberg), a time precious to fans of international punk and unknown band compilations of dubious origin. Although their uncomped (to my knowledge) status surprises me, they arenít the sort of vicious, perfectly ugly stud pony that would fit next to PVC and their ilk. Using one of their song titles as a description, this is ďKreative AggressionĒ: in 48 (!!!) tracks, the band offers up primo thud, arty fun and charming DIY that never strays too far from being unmistakably PUNK. Unlike a lot of their countrymen, OH87 borrowed from the gob-free UK set, focusing more on bands like Wire and Television Personalities than their NME cover-boy brethren. While I can see this being too much for some, Iíd be shocked to find a Bloodstains, Hyped2Death or Killed By Death fan who couldnít find merit in these fine rumblings. All of you gloom-brains should remove the egg from your mouth and pay high import prices for this fantastic package. Itís something you can really chomp on. (MC)
(Phonomenal // www.phonomenal.de)

The Phenoms "Home Brain Surgery Kit" CD
I dunno, seem like nice folks, and they're obviously putting their guts into this stuff, but something's missing (again). I'll bet the Phenoms are a good drunken Saturday night out, but as with a lot of this bar band-y punk rock 'n roll, it isn't something I'd put in the player too often. Maybe yer diff? (TK)
(Beer Can Records // www.beercanrecords.com)

The Ponys "Celebration Castle" LP/CD
In a way, this is exactly what you'd expect from a band whose first album was kinda' overground hotshit and got recorded by Steve Albini, but hell...it's so goddamn good and goddamned catchy that the 80s teen movie prom-isms (see "Another Wound") are easily overlooked and perhaps enhance its overall impact. Sand-smoothly dark 'n bittersweet, Jered's tunes light it up just as well as on the debut, and Notjered's songs have risen up to par. I know a lot of you aren't going to dig this one, but I have to honestly say that this is my favorite Ponys yet. (TK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Popular Shapes "B-Ball Music Songs 2&4" EP
I'm far from the jerk who should be reviewing this sort of art-punk thing, but I guess I'm the only one willing to try. The Shapes fill in the blanks of their B-Ball Music song quartet here, with songs 1 and 3 being previously available on the split with Kurt, and "Song 2" is probably the best Popular Shapes I've ever heard. A throbbing concoction of a less pissy-punk Le Shok and less-British The Fall, it's good "art as music"; angular and complicated without sounding too detached or smug, and still possessing a dangerous and wild quality. I'll actually miss these guys now that they're gone. I was just starting to enjoy them. Scum stats: 10 test pressings on black vinyl with handmade covers; 835 copies on white vinyl with orange, clear and black spatters which looks absolutely amazing. Split release by interesting Pennsylvania labels White Denim and Hate the Eighties.(RK)
(White Denim // www.whitedenim.com)
(Hate the Eighties // www.hatetheeighties.com)

The Powerknobs "Turn On" CD
I've seen these guys and have heard demo-stuffs over the last year or two, and my conclusion is this - if you fall for the Gearhead garage angle, you'll be mighty pleased. More cartoonish and cheeseball than my personal sandline (Radio Reelers or Leg Hounds), which probably exists further down the beach than yours, so you'll likely wanna steer clear. If, however, you're all about post-D Dawg rock, this will give you a man-sized pup tent (or leg wash). Be sure to contact your doctor if it lasts more than 4 hours. (TK)
(Wildebeest Records // PMB 412, 5114 Balcones Woods Dr., Suite 307,Austin, TX 78759)

Princess Sweepstakes "I Love You in Case I Die This Christmas, Man" LP
Punk rock has two kind of smarts. I am attracted to what is the 'so-dumb-it-is-smart' current. Bands who subscribe to dumb-smart tend to be repetitive, primitive and simplistic. Tampax is a dumb-smart band. So are the Gordons. Forward to now, and the A-Frames are probably the best dumb-smart punk band going. To be dumb smart isn't an insult. In fact, it shows that a band has an insight into rock and roll and song writing that most smart-smart bands don't have. Smart-smart bands tend to think too much. Smart-smart bands have also been called prog-punk or math-rock. Victim's Family is is a smart-smart band. NoMeansNo is a smart-smart band. Idiot Flesh is a smart-smart band. Smart-smart bands play "complicated" music with odd time signatures and quirks. I don't like odd time signatures for the sake of smartness and I hate quirkiness. I also don't like listening to songs that sound like the band is counting how many times they play a part before they play another part. I like seamlessness and I like spontaneity. Tight, orderly punk rock is something I normally loath. However, once in a while a band will do smart-smart-smart punk rock and mix a bit of humor or chaos or some odd shit from god-knows-where or all of the above into their smart-smart punk and make it work. Recently, the Popular Shapes were able to do smart-smart punk without sounding like a physics project. And I think the Princess Sweepstakes also succeed. Their first and only record starts a bit stiff but as it rolls along, weirdness creeps in to the smarts and the songs slow down. Instead of herky-jerky let's get to a new part, things kind of mutate and melt. Its almost as if you replaced some of the noise on a Caroliner record with a tad of order or injected some grime into the grooves of Zappa's 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh', a record I can't figure out whether I like or I hate (but what a great cover!). I do think I like this record. I've listened to it several times and will listen to it again. I don't know if that is a recommendation to dumb-smart or smart-smart partisans, but this might be one to please the fence sitters. In any case, it is worth a chance, if only for the pretty swank hand screened sleeve.(SSR)
(Scenery 8 // www.scenery.i8.com)

Reatards "Monster Child" 7"
Publicized as two new and two old tunes from Jay Jay, I really have no background info on these songs, when they're actually from, or who is playing on 'em. Of the new ones, "I Will Die Alone" sounds like something written for the Lost SOunds, but played without the keyboards, and "Monster Child" has some nice hooks and healthy dose of self-destruction/loathing. The older tunes are more in line with the feel of 'Teenage Hate', icluding a different take of "Tell A Lie On Me". For those whose appetites were not sated by Bedroom Disasters, this one's for you. Probably the least essential of all Reatards records, which means it's still better than most of the crap out there. Just a little bit less than the greatness this band was/is capable of. Another single from the 'Tards is soon to be released on Shattered Records, along with another album of outtakes, plus a brand new full length. Scum stats: First press was 500 on black vinyl. Already sold out. Second press is 500 on red vinyl. There were some test presses being sold on eBay as well, which went in the $70 range before this thing was released. Reatarded.(RK)
I hate Jay Reatard. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing personal. I don't think we've ever exchanged more than a few words after a show one time, and he seemed like a pretty nice guy. No, my anger towards Jay stems merely from the fact that he makes me feel like a total pud. When I was sixteen years old my days were filled with unsuccessful bids to get ugly girls to sleep with me, sitting around drinking Coke with my friends, reading MRR, playing Motley Crue's 'Crue Ball' on my Sega Genesis, jerking to the cover of that Elastica LP (hey, I hadn't heard the Wongs tune that would later teach me the proper object of record cover inspired onanisim), and filming the action-figure motion picture epic "Star Wars Episode Nine: The Revenge of Dark Lando" (get it, cause Lando's BLACK he joined the DARK SIDE. How did I ever end up getting laid again?). I also played guitar (and I use the term "play" in the loosest possible sense) in a basement noise band called "Dictaphone Nation." Among our best efforts were tunes like "The Pirate Song", "Ganja Man", and a cover of Iggy's 80Ās smash "Butt Town." Contrast this to Jay Reatard, who at the same age was writing and recording tunes like "Teenage Hate" that people are still going to remember twenty years from now. As if this wasn't bad enough, it turns out the 'Tards previous singles and two LPs weren't the sum total of Jay's underage recorded output. Despite the fact though these tunes have sat in a box somewhere for the past six years or so, this record doesn't sound at all like leftovers or outtakes. The three unreleased tunes on this single are all fucking great, and the alternate take of "Tell a Lie On Me" only further serves to illustrate what a rock n roll savant 'ol Jay Jay really is. And get this: supposedly there are two more singles and an LP's worth of unreleased Reatards material coming out this year!!! Man, I hate Jay Reatard. Then again, with records as great as this, being made to feel like a loser never felt so good.(SS)
(Zaxxon Virile Action // www.zaxxonvirileaction.com)

The Rebel ďExciting New Venue for Soccer and Execution of WomenĒ 7Ē
Rich gave this a good review a few months back, but I felt I owed this chunk of wax a few words as itís logged so many miles bouncing around France, the U.S. and Canada in a mailmanís bag (big thanks to Lastname for moving). Like Rich, Iím a bit of a latecomer to appreciating the genius behind #1 miscreant, Ben Wallers (aka The Rebel), and his Country Teasers. Itís just over the past year or so that the Teasersí back catalogue has been completely doing it for me. As a result, this single (which refines the weirdness of the Teasers into four discreet bursts) has been getting heavy spins around here with its DIY bedroom take on the early Rough Trade sound. If youíre into that sorta thing or newer bands influenced by Benís writing (like The Intelligence) youíll dig. (JG)
(SDZ Records // www.sdzrecords.fr.st)

River City Tanlines "Time 2 Get Right" 7"
A-Side sounds to me like a Dictators rock-inspired anthem as interpreted by Alicja, including a brief, yet wailing, guitar solo. I find myself enjoying its subtle power more with each listen. "Gimme Whatever" is more in line with what you're probably expecting, a faster/punker song with a choppy little chorus, lyrics about a self-destructive man/boy, and a bass solo. Yes, I just said bass solo. And it's a good one at that. Better than their first single, in that I find myself becoming more drawn to this band the less they sound like Lost Sounds ultra-damage. It's nice hearing Alicja in a more convential rock setting, and her voice suits the material just fine. Bonus points awarded for not sounding like it was recorded at Tape Hiss is Good Studios. Clearer/crisper recording works for this trio. Mastered by some dude named Jay Lindsey. Never heard of him. And if not for the Dutchmasters sleeve, this record would be front-runner for 7" artwork of the year. Scum Stats: Goodbye Boozy, 300 pressed, don't act like you weren't warned.(RK)
Okay, I tried to avoid making the clichť girl band comparisons, but with this song I just canít help it: ďTime 2 Get RightĒ sounds like the Riff Randellsí tougher, older sistersí best attempt at writing a Joan Jett-esque, mid-tempoed rock anthem. If thatís something similar to what Alicja was thinking when she wrote this song, Iíd say she pulled it off fairly well. The B-side, however, is by FAR the stronger of the two songs here. ďGimmie WhateverĒ is a desperately catchy tune about an eternal rock n roll problem: a lack of action and the quest thereof. This tune is easily the River City Tanlines finest moment to date in my humble opinion, and itís right up there with some of Alicjaís best work. You should already know by now what a complement that is. (SS)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy@tin.it)

Sexaphone 7" EP
Bizarro two-piece action side-project from Janie of the Black Time. Self-released and very much in the tradition of English DIY, although I get the feeling Sexaphone ended up there by chance. Bedroom recordings/antics, super-primitive in style and substance, and at times very similar to the art-punk shamble the Black Time lay down. An interesting four-song exercise in lo-fi outsider-ism, and a challenging yet playful listen. Scum stats: 300 pressed, so act quick if you want one. (RK)
(Heart Out Records // midnighttosix@hotmail.com)

Sir Henry Fiat's Bastard EP
Sir Henry has left his Open Sore to fester a bit, and has assembled a band of similar minded no-counts from the south of Sweden for this six song EP. Of course his Sirness (?) still gets top billing, and it's certainly his show. The usual deviant lyrical content (covered topics include Nazis, George Bush, and your Mom among other things) is spat out over music which lacks some of the hardcore oomph of HFOS, but is pretty similar nonetheless. Pretty damn funny. Scum stats: the first 500 of this one come with a poster folded into an outer sleeve, and a nice printed inner sleeve as well. The rest I assume come with just the inner sleeve. How many total? Shit, I dunno. A few.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)

The Sirens "Hellraiser" EP
Really nicely done sleeve/label design, in a cake frosting motif. Three covers of Sweet songs from this all-chick Detroit combo who I think might actually do nothing but glam covers. These girls are somewhat hot, and the drummers name is Double D, which scores points using sexist formula for girl-band evaluation. Some sort of link to the Gore Gore Girls exists. The lead singer is Dan Kroha's sister, and she actually looks a hell of a lot like Margaret Dollrod. A-Side sounds like an outtake from the Rocky Horror soundtrack. They do competent versions of "Wig Wam Bam" and "Fox on the Run" on the flip. I had more fun looking at the sleeve though. I bet those outfits were really expensive.(RK)
(Wiped Out Records // www.wiped-out.net)

Sloggy "Jalopy Music" EP
This one is from a couple years ago (as are a few of the other Dull City releases reviewed in this issues), but promo copies are promo copies, no matter how old. This and the Cosmic Psychos trib EP are the ones you should seek out. Sloggy are a brother/sister duo from Luxembourg (!), who would fit neatly into the electric-punk (sorry, I can't think of a better term) coming from France lately. The opener on this four song EP is the worst track, a silly Nazis from Mars-ish cartoon of a song called "Picnic in Space". But things pick up from there. "Squeeze Me" is a sexy little piece of electro-bubblegum that sounds like Volt recorded underwater perhaps. Blown-out drumbox and heavily tampered with guitar slathered with sweet girl vocals. On to the flip, "Swampbuggy" is an AmReptilian instro, with a neat lo-fi muscle that reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe early Boss Hog? "Voodoo Queen" closes out this thing with some creepy-ish Cramps-gone-electro hijinks. A fun record, and one I'd recommend picking up if you see it around.(RK)
(Dull City Records // gt-john@online.no)

Solger "Live at Wrex" 7"
Solger were Seattle's finest, the best punk band from that town's early 80s hardcore scene. Nowadays most record geeks concur, but back in their day, Solger were overshadowed by the Fartz, The Accused, and even The Rejected. And while those three bands had their moments, in the grimy, warts-and-all school of punk rock, Solger was it. Their first and only official 7" was long hunted after and one of the only repressings that seminal Seattle punk label Bag of Hammers reissued. There are copies of that still floating around for $10 or less and I encourage you to hunt it down. There you will find a punk rock that is reminiscent of the great late 70s/early 80s San Francisco scene, something that fits nicely between Crucifix's first 12" and Sick Pleasure. On this two song live bootleg - recorded in November 1980 - Solger pushes that point a bit further. While the recording quality (okay, but not great) and songs (good but not mind-blowing) don't measure up to their debut, you do get a good idea of the teetering-on-the-edge part of the band that their first record only hints at. This is definitely not a way to be introduced to Solger; however, if you are a fan, you might want to start tracking this pup down.(SSR)
(bootleg)

Street Brats "You'll Never Walk Alone" 7"
No bands should be allowed to have the words Street or Brats in their name anymore, and definitely not both. I guess this is what is called 'street punk', but I have no idea what that really means anyway. Sounds like the Goo Goo Dolls trying to cover Slaughter and the Dogs. Probably the most grueling listening experience of the past couple months, but I'm sure Razorcake will be interviewing them soon. And the fact that MRR gave this record a good review depresses me. And they're from Chicago, of all places.(RK)
(Full Breach 77 Records // www.fullbreach77.com)

The Suspicions "We're All Wrong" 7Ā"
Do you have this single already? If not, you're missing out on as charming a record as you're ever likely to hear. The A-side is a totally infectious pop tune that brings to mind the likes of the Lids' "Something to Do" and Candygirl's "Oh Jacky Boy" with its three chord riff, handclaps, backing vocals on the unforgettable chorus, classic lyrics, and perfect lo-fi production. Seriously, I've listened to this song ten times in a row before and never once gotten sick of it. If in the year 2025 there are such things as Powerpearls type comps and this song isn't considered a classic of the genre I'll eat Brian from the Fevers' stocking hat. The B-side ain't no slouch either, with vocals that remind me of a more lo-fi, jangly version of the early Muffs. This is a perfect record in every sense of the term. Buy or cry.(SS)
(Nerve Wracking Records // www.thesuspicions.com)

Tristess "Vad Ska Vi Bli?" LP
Debut LP from another great band from Umea, Sweden, on the always great Cage Match Federation Records. Like the brilliant Knugen Faller EP from last year, Tristess are another example of the Swedish kids drawing influence from their countryís rich punk history. Any fans of old Swedish punkóor the new crop of bands playing that styleówould dig this. This is an all around solid record and soon to be classic. Has a cover of ď1000 PunksĒ by Grisen Striker.(DH)
(Cage Match Federation // cmf.umeahardcore.org)

The Two Tears "Les Deux Larmes" 7"
The latest from Piero GoGo Player's Profet Records, and probably my favorite so far. Two Tears is ex-Red Aunt Kerry Davis on guitar and vocals and a couple of French gentlemen on drums and second axe (I'm assuming it's usually just Kerry and the drummer making up the 'two' in Two Tears, and Piero is guesting on this). On "One Black Glove" the guitar-swarm goo-goo-mucks it up with a brief yet Eur-appealing sprinkling of femme vox, and it's better than you think it is. Good and loud. "Oooo, I'm Blue" on Side B is the better of the two, since it has this huge fuzz-monster sound they must've used a tugboat to lug through the song, while the sharper guitar flits around with a second and more fulfilling helping of Davis' voluptuous voice. A noise burlesque of sorts, that implodes on itself at the end, and manages to be moody and dark and uplifting all at the same time. Very intriguing, much like that pretty brunette you made eye contact with on the train platform, who was gone by the time you worked up the stomach to approach her. Stats: 300 pressed, mine came with a Two Tears zine as well. Will yours?(RK)
(Profet Records // www.profetrecord.com)

Tyrades "On Your Video" 7Ā"
I'm really getting sick of giving rave reviews to Tyrades singles, but it seems to be unavoidable these days. Another three songs of punk-punk-punk, including a cover of City X's "Cover Boy", which is a perfect example of why the Tyrades are so far ahead of the game. Jim Hollywood's record-listening habits are pretty dead-on, and the bits and pieces he and the band peel off here and there from different genres and time periods (Wire/art-punk, Bloodstains Across Denmark, Dicks/Texas punk, Dangerhouse, etc.) make the Tyrades a tornado of influences that's pretty hard to beat. Even when they take the velocity down a notch, as they do here, the end result is ferocious. There aren't many better ways to spend $4 these days than on one of their seven-inches, and that's a fact.(RK)
I'm sold. My first exposure to the Tyrades was their LP, which I thought was 'good' when I first heard it. Then I saw them live and was knocked for a loop like I'd just gone one hour with pro-wrestling's stiffness machine Samoa Joe. After that I was even more amazed by the "I Am Homicide" and "Incarcerated" singles. With this single the Tyrades have convinced me that they can do no wrong. Really, there might not be a better singles band going today. While the title cut lacks the velocity and catchiness of their previous singles, it nevertheless doesn't fail to get stuck in your head (the way a good A-side should) thanks in no small part to a surprisingly heavy, slow burner of a riff. The two songs on the flip (what no Wire cover?!?!?) feature plenty of the angular aggression that these guys are known for, with the rapid fire attack of "Cover Boy" standing out as the best of the bunch. This might be a touch below their previous two singles and the LP (which I've since upgraded from 'good' to 'killer'), but it's still better than 99% of what passes itself of for "real" punk rock these days (or any other days for that matter). I shouldn't need to tell you how necessary this is.(SS)
(Smart Guy Records // www.smartguyrecords.com)

V/A DC Snipers/Shop Fronts split 7"
This tasty little record could have been made in 1977, 1982, or 1995. Two bands with four songs of straight ahead punk rock that have the sound you associate with early Damned or late 70s Los Angeles punk rock. Guitar, bass, drums and hooks - or sped-up, raw pop songs played with so much aggression and enough who-the-fuck-cares that it is punk rock. Yeah so these folks aren't doing anything new - I mean I've been in bands who strummed similar chords - however when the songs are good and played with this much energy, I take my desire for some sound new & unheard and file it under "Lighten up, you fucking old man." Three thumbs up and the cover art makes this one even better. Recommended.(SSR)
The DC Snipers thankfully have jumped back on the "name your band after recent tragedy" p-rock bandwagon (not to mention a tune about Richard Speck), and turn out some dirty & damaged punk. The Shop Fronts have a great pedigree (ex-Tie Reds, Zodiac Killers, F-Hole and Tom Dash, NYC promoter extrordinaire), and play their p-unk a bitt closer to the vest. A couple zippy/catchy numbers about boredom and, uh, moles or something. I do think that the thin production lets both bands down a bit, but this is solid stuff. Great cover art by Mike Sniper. (TK)
(Your Permanent Records // www.theshopfronts.com )

V/A Dirtbombs vs. King Khan & His Shrines "Billiards at 9:30" LP
A six-pack from each band on this split LP, out on Sounds of Subterrenia, one of the harder to find European imprints. The Dirtbombs fall victim to the old "song titles are better than the actual songs" trap. "I Had to Chew My Own Leg Off" sounds like a killer, but it's not. "The Size of Ottawa" is the shortest and best of the bunch. I think I read somewhere this was their stab at psych, and I guess that's as apt a description as any. Is this the Troy Gregory influence seeping it's way in? There's some extended free-form jazz freakiness on "The House as a Giant Bong" that I really didn't need hear, and I'm justifying this outing from Mick by hoping it's being done tongue-in-cheek. And I'm through with Ben Blackwell jokes. I wonder what Tom Potter is doing right now? Khan & His Shrines fare much better on their side. "Sweet Tooth" is a mile-a-minute ass-shaker, and one of their best songs. They continue bringing the party home throughout all six tracks, with "Killer Diller" and "Burnin' Inside" standing out. Probably their best set of songs since the outfuckingstanding "Spread Your Love... Like Peanut Butter!" 10". Final Score= Khan & the Shrines 287, Dirtbombs 12. On super thick vinyl vinyl, if that makes any difference to you.(RK)
(Sounds of Subterrania // www.soundsofsubterrania.com)

V/A "Forth Worth Teen Scene!" (Volumes 1-3) CD
I'd rather gobble a turd than be forced to listen to another '66 comp with barrel-scraping "Louie Louie" retreads and (maybe) a great lost tune buried in the murk, but I felt it my duty to inform anyone who is a BFTG or Teenage Shutdown fan that this series is actually consistent and good at the same time. Many of these tracks have already been comped on the aforementioned series and others, but as a regional complilation from this time period, these CDs are probably unbeatable. Makes you wanna fire up the Delorean and hang out on the A-Go-Go circuit for a few months. Then again, most of these bands played the same basic covers with a sprinkling of a couple-few mongoloidial attempts at a hit record original, so you're probably better off blasting those originals (and scattered rough covers) included here. Instead, take the Delorian to a future where all the members of Korn have rotted away, but be sure to bring your CD boombox - in the future, they only have record players. (TK)
(Norton Records // www.nortonrecords.com)

V/A "Not Psycho Enough?!" 7"
A tribute record dedicated to Australian beer lovers and AmRep staples, The Cosmic Psychos. Being a hardcore AmRep devotee during the early Nineties, I do in fact own more than one Psychos record, and I always thought them as quite enjoyable. While I wasn't sure I was exactly ready for a tribute to them however, I dove into this with some trepidation. Opening track is a cover of "Alright Tonight' by a band called The Mormones, who turn out to be way better than a band called The Mormones should be. Huge bowel shaking low-end sound, this one stuns you into submission. Some might cry rawk on this one, but I say Houdini-era Melvins sludge. Couldn't say if it's better than the original, because I don't remember ever hearing this song as done by the Psychos. But either way, it's good. Next, the Bad Preachers offer some pretty standard fare. A big let down after the having the wind knocked out you by the first track. On the flip, a duo by the name of Sloggy do a great take on "Lost Cause". Primitive drum machine with distorted guitar sounds, female vox, and assorted other junk tossed about. Sounds good, in a lo-fi Volt meets the Crash Normal kind of way. Rounding out the single are none other than Superhelicopter Ltd., who do a completely demolishing version of what was always my fave Psychos tune, "Down on the Farm". Really, really brutal brain-busting stuff, just brimming with scuzz-power. This one really makes this record worth owning. With a 3:1 hit-to-miss ratio, this is actually a great record, whether you liked the Cosmic Psychos or not. Tribute records usually suck hard, but this one is the rare exception. While we're at it, let's make this rule: any tribute record should be a four song 7", and that's it. No LPs, double CDs, or even 10" EPs. Four songs, one 45rpm 7", should you feel it necessary to release a tribute record (and you really shouldn't feel it necessary). Trust me, you won't fare as well as this record did.(RK)
(Dull City Records // gt-john@online.no)

V/A "Le Nouveau Rock n Roll Francais..." CD/2XLP
From this day forward, anyone who makes a crack about the French not knowing how to play rock and roll is an ignorant asshole. I've known for quite a while that France has thrown off the death shroud known as Telephone, but with this comp floating around, there is no excuse for anyone who considers themselves in the know about rock and roll to make another "The French can't Rock" crack again. Though the 22 tracks here are not all stellar (how many comps are flawless?), at least 50% of this is damn good and 75% worth a couple listens. While I already know The Cheeraks, Blutt, Operation S, Lili Z., and Volt (and all of them perform as expected: Great!), the thrill is in the bands I don't know. The Prototypes, AS Dragon, The Film, Electrocat, The Magnetix, Thundercrack, & Flytrap all turn in some good tunes. And even the bands that don't fare so well...slap on a girl vocalist singing in French and who am I to complain? Though the bands names say grunge, the fare here runs from garage to electropunk to psych to powerpop to new wave. If I have one complaint it's the French tendency to distort their vocals. In 2005, it is a gimmick that has gone stale. But that is a minor error, and one only a handful of these bands commit. A very worthwhile listen.(SSR)
I've never understood Francophiles. Now I'm a Japanophile, and some might scratch their head at that, but people who obsess over France always seemed to me to be one of three types: 1) dorks who recite Monty Python lines ad nauseum and go to the Renaissance Fair in hopes of scoring with fat chicks, 2) people under the impression that France is romantic, or, by far the worst of all, 3) pea-brains who think that Sartre, Foucault, and their post-modern ilk (the shoddiest thinkers and shrewdest con-men of the past 200 years) are so goll-durn brilliant that they want to read them in French. I'm sure France is a fine country and all, but at the same time it's hard not to hold them responsible for such blights upon humanity as mimes, berets, and "Being and Nothingness." Against such a background, it is perhaps easy to understand why this all-French scene compilation came as such a shock to me. Simply put, this is some of the most refreshing stuff I've heard in ages. There's a definite 'thing' going on here, with lots of keys, sequencers, sing-songy choruses, and synchopated rhythms standing out as unifying themes. While I'm not sure how good a lot of these bands would sound over the course of an entire album, as a compilation this works really well. There are a few previously released tracks from "name" bands on here like Volt, the Magnetix, and Operation S, but what makes this record stand out are the likes of Prototypes, the Film, Genau, Barth, Gomm, Flytrap, and Mono Taxi. I'm not sure if it's been previously released or not, but there's also a Lili Z song on here ("I Wanna Make Noise") that's a thing of beauty.(Ed.: You can find it on her Polly Maggoo 10" as well) I'm now really interested in hearing more from the bands I mentioned above, which last time I checked, is what comps are supposed to do. Highly recommended for those looking for a change of pace.(SS)
(V2 Music France // www.v2.fr)

V/A ďPower For PassionĒ CD
I donít think Iím overstating anything by saying that this is the best compilation of old punk material since the ďNo One Left To BlameĒ comp came out a few years ago. The subtitle of this comp is ďFile under: Power Pop 1978-85,Ē which sums up the content, but says nothing of the quality. The record starts out with a cut from Connecticutís finest, The Reducers. Though no one seems to care, at least no one outside of Japan, The Reducers are still going strong, and are one of the best American power-pop bands of all time. They have two songs here, both of which are on the Reducers debut LP, which, at least a few months ago, is still available from the band. If youíve heard the Matcheads single then you know itís deserving of classic status. If you havenít, well, this is your chance to hear ďPearl Harbor.Ē Following up that track is ďThe DispossessedĒ, from The Reactors. Itís a decent cut, but canít match the brilliance of their EP. Then again, not much does. Chicagoís Headaches released a top notch, and tough to find, power pop single in 1981. Itís a want list staple for collectors, and both tracks are here for everyone to check out. Other highlights include Ft. Worthís The Ejectors and their insanely catchy, ďFade with the summer;Ē LAís The Silencerís, who are post-Shock (ďThis Generationís on VacationĒ); Dennis Most; Glasgowís The Nips, and many more. ďPower for PassionĒ is certain proof of compiler Keith Graveís passion for power-pop. It is remarkable that this comp is legit, complete with updates and contact for all of the artists.(DH)
Dionysus sure is getting their money's worth out of the KBD-era Mass. singles they have sitting in the vaults. I like the fact that this one settles on a sound, because the "Guillotined At The Hanger" series was a little too scattershot for me to wanna listen all-through. I know, often I complain about homogenous sounding records, but I think comps need common ground, and besides - you just can't please me. Most of this stuff is more "catchy punk" than power pop, and not all of it's from the 'chussettes, but those details don't really matter. Some pretty good tunes, not any total stinkers that I can recall, and most of you have your noses so far up this dubious genre that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, nohow. Nips, Foreign Objects, Silencers, Ejectors and even Dennis Most "pop" their (his) head(s) in here. (TK)
(Bacchus Archives // www.dionysusrecords.com)

V/A "Sympathetic Sounds of Montreal" CD
Long awaited compilation focusing on the currently shit-hot Montreal scene (with Toronto's Deadly Snakes in tow). A song or two from most bands we already know and love, some we've heard before and some not. Two unreleased Sexareenos gems, including a duet between Mark and Jena from the Sunday Sinners, who kick in some tracks as well. Other standouts include the wild "Kukamonga Train" from the now sadly defunct Del-Gators, a previously unheard outfit called the Cheating Hearts featuring Roy/Choyce that fall in the sonic-space between CPC Gangbangs and Royal Routes, and a great "Big Bird" as done by the Deadly Snakes that should make Greg Cartwright proud. The best of the bunch for me are the two CPC Gangbangs tracks, "Suicide Ride" and "Gone Black", which has some completely mind-erasing over-the-top soloing from Roy. Whoever thinks these guys are too "rock" are smoking it. BBQ, The Cut Offs (pre-Demon's Claws), Stack-O-Lees, Scat Rags, and Royal Routes also make appearances. Well worth your time, even if it is a CD only release.(RK)
(Sympathy for the Record Industry // www.sympathyrecords.com)

V/A Suave Motherfuckers/Small Hole Adapters split 8"
How's this for retarded? Band presses up 25 copies of a square, see-through plexi-like 8" record, via some New Zealand record "plant." It's possible Brad (check below email) may have a few left, so I thought I'd mention it, even though the likelihood of this showing up at the local record store is nil. Both bands are BradX/his fiance/some other dude on different singplay instruments over differing time periods. The Suave Motherfuckers' side is great trash worthy of members' previous output (Last Sons of Krypton, Evolutions, Smuts, etc.). Three great & catchy trash punk tunes followed by what sounds like the blues-instro track left off the Frantix "My Dad's a Fucking Alcoholic" single. The Small Hole Adapters side is most noteworthy for the first track (recorded a week after the incident) making fun of September 11, and a totally blown-out inepto-version of "Pill Popper" (pts. 1 & 2). "Blackout" steals from Gary Numan's "Cars." Cool record...good luck! (TK)
(BradX // braddaugs@yahoo.com)

V/A ďVancouver ComplicationĒ CD
Originally released in 1979 in three pressings totaling 4000 copies ďVancouver ComplicationĒ was initially intended to be an 8Ē flexi made in response to Stiff Recordsí ďAkron CompilationĒ, but soon morphed into a 21 track LP documenting the burgeoning punk/wave scene in the city. Out of print for over 25 years, this comp, one of the best ever (seriously, no joke), has been reissued (CD only, unfortunately) by Joey ďShitheadĒ Keithleyís Sudden Death Records, and the swell chap is giving all proceeds to charity, which certainly feels better than giving your money (and lots of it, likely) to some wank on ebay. Keithleyís D.O.A., represented here with two killer tracks from the bandís heyday in 78/79, is the name that most likely pops to mind when people think late 70ís Vancouver. But if thatís all you know youíve been duped. Those more clued in will usually know the Pointed Sticks, Subhumans, Modernettes, and maybe even The Young Canadians, U-J3RK5, and the Dishrags if theyíve really been paying attention, but all of the aforementioned, with the exception of D.O.A., have releases that have been criminally out of print for ages (why Zulu doesnít keep the Pointed Sticks, Modernettes and Young Canadians anthologies in print is a fucking mystery). This comp does a phenomenal job of highlighting all of these bands (minus the Modernettes who formed a bit too late for inclusion) with some huge hits (ďThe Marching SongĒ, ďDeath to the SickoidsĒ, ďI Hate MusicĒ, and more) plus a slew of lesser-knowns, many of which have some of the better songs on the record, like Active Dog (Modernettes/Pointed Sticks members), Private School (who come off sounding like a poppier version of the Suburban Reptiles), and Exxotone (kind of like The Fall + Devo). Vancouver at the time was a city completely overlooked by the majors, and while many of the bands likely resented this, thereís no doubt that the resulting isolation allowed bands to progress naturally, rather than copping whatever trend was big at the time elsewhere. As a result, ďVancouver ComplicationĒ does jump all over the place sonically, with poppy-punk burts butt-ending fucked up DIY art-punk numbers, but it results in a cohesively strong listen for its entire duration, thanks in part to the same studio being used for many of the songs. Running through each and every highlight would be too exhaustive, but suffice to say that the large majority of songs are in the fucking great to really good category, with only a few being merely OK. Highly recommended. (JG)
(Sudden Death Records // www.suddendeath.com)

V/A Ulcers vs. Manikins split 7"
Standard format split pressed for their European tour. Three songs each, two originals and one cover of the opposing band, with nice cartoon band face-off artwork by one of the Ulcers, the style of which you've seen previously on The Mummies vs. The Wolfmen and countless others. For the unfamiliar, The Manikins are a hot young Swedish outfit playing Devil Dogs-cum-Rip Off Records styled hyper-pop-punk, and The Ulcers are a bunch of British lads playing first Damned LP-cum-Rip Off Records trash-punk. If you liked either of these bands LP's you won't be disappointed, and the covers are actually the best part,a s they have the good sense to cover each others' best tunes. I give this contest to the Ulcers by a hair, just because Manikins trip coming around the second turn by playing a slower number, if even they do finish with a bang-up cover of "Electric Love". Scum stats: 302 on yellow wax which were tour & mail-order only and another 205 on black wax. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Volt s/t 12Ē EP
Ten years ago I was a young punk, just discovering my soon-to-be favorite record distros and, though them, realizing that the world was full of folks passionate about the same music that I was. It was a profound discovery, one that made me feel a bit less isolated in my small town and in my high school full of folks who had no interest in the new world that I was being pulled into. I found an interesting listing in an Underground Medicine catalog (still the worldís best distro) for a French band, The Splash Four. The records were unrealójust what I was looking for. They became one of my favorite bands, and I snatched up all of their releases, as well as all of the releases from any related band (there was a lot of incestuous behavior as far as bands were concerned in their neck of the woods). As always happens, The Splash Four called it a day and members moved on to other projects. I most closely followed guitarist Lili, who has a vision of punk music that is inspired, interesting, raw, and historically grounded without coming across as rehashed or routine. Her 4-track (or was it 2-track?) solo recordings were some of my favorite stripped down punk rock records of the last few years. Liliís next band was Volt, whoís first 12Ē had a surprising change in style than her previous recordings. The feel of the songs and recording was consistent, but the instrumentation was not. Volt was based around a synthesizer and guitar with a drum machine and no bass. The band was immediately embraced as the next ďitĒ band by many, but I didnít get it. I wanted another Splash Four, and thatís not what Volt was about. I filed the record and forgot about it. I may have passed up Voltís second 12Ē if I hadnít noticed the lyrics for the first song, ďSex Five Nun,Ē were credited to Kyle Nixon/Solger. The Solger EP is a no-fi, fucked up classic, and ďRaping Dead NunsĒ is the standout song for me. Voltís take on the song was not the harsh, maniacal blur of the original, but was, indeed, an interesting tune. So I kept listening. My tendency is to want bands that are based around the synthesizer to sound like The Screamers, but thatís not Volt. The music is more upbeat and danceable, and isnít pulled from the mold of a single band or genre. You can tell that Volt is into Metal Urbain, Mopo Mogo, Solger, 13 Floor Elevators, as well as dance clubs, and because of that it doesnít sound like typical dance club music. If you can get past the instrumentation here, the songs will hold your attention for multiple listens. This is not a record for punk rock purists, and in the end I probably wonít listen to it that often, but it is fun and challenging. (DH)
Parlay voo fuck fuck fuque! Retarded electronic fucked-upness stripped down to the essential and existential meaningless mess of some French dude in a pink shirt and white shoes mumbling over his lady's fuzz. A synth, a drum machine, a guitar and some vocals: Simple and fucking good. (SSR)
Bippity drum machine bops w/ Euro pop anguish sheen ain't my element, I'll admit. I like drinking beer out of an aluminum can while scarfing down a butter burger, right? I live in the goldang Midwest sticks, honey, where high art is smoking some bongers and smashing some mailboxes. But hey, I can definitely get behind this record. I mean, the first song is a Solger rip, ya know? This is relatively similar to the Lili Z stuff, which makes sense because she's half of this. Probably a bit less insular (duh) and a bit more non-rock (darn) in intent than Lili's solo output. Someone mentioned Trio, and I'll bite. The songs stick in your head in a non-annoying way, and it's sexy in a way that melts the cold foundation they've laid down. Four good songs that satisfy just fine. At least it ain't power poop. (TK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Johnny Vomit & The Dry Heaves "Thanks For The Ride" 7"
Triumphant return of the makers of "Chokin' on a Lude", in the form of a three song 7" to go along with their first-ever live performance at Gonerfest. I would imagine this record captures the live show well, as it kinda sounds like they're making the songs up on the spot, the lyrics gotta be ad-libbed, and it's sloppy and shambling in a pleasantly drunken kinda way. Everybody's having fun, I'm sure. "Piss on Your Show" is the song to beat there, utilizing a hypnotizing beat-strut that they have both the audacity and good sense to re-use on the flip side, "Where's that Band from North Carolina From?". Pretty funny. Shit, I'd let 'em play my birthday party.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)

El Zombie "Stinky" 7"
Dutch guitar and drums duo playing your standard bare bones blues-trash. Four songs, one of which is an instro with harmonica called "Stinky" that is the only thing here worth listening to more than once. The rest is so simple and stripped down and mediocre that you barely notice it's there. Attention Europe: we do not need any more bands attempting this shit. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(A Fistful of Records // afistfulofrecords@yahoo.com)




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