RECORD REVIEWS JULY/AUGUST 2005
Key: (LB: Lance Boyle)(MC: Mitch Cardwell)(JC: Jesse Conway)(MTC: Matt Coppens)(JG: Jeff Greenback)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(PH: Phil Honululu)(EL: Eric Lastname)(SSR: Scott Soriano)(SB: Steven Strange)
(TK: Todd Trickknee)
American Death Ray "Same Suit, Different Tie" 12" EP
DJ-style 12" maxi-EP, that features three different versions of the same tune. And a good tune it is, a nice slice of Mr. Ray's Velvets-era Lou Reed worship. Not too many worshipping at the altar of St. Lou anymore, so this would probably make Lester proud. Or throw him into a long-winded literary fit. Either way, you get two different mixes of the title cut, which don't sound all that much different except for length and one's maybe a little bit better-fi. The third track is a dub version, which I think is a great idea, and one not used this well since Generation X did a "Wild Dub" version of "Wild Youth". A nice little record, and further proof that Ben Blackwell is spending his Dirtbombs checks a little more wisely these days. Scum stats: 500 copies, 50 of which were a limited tour edition.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)
The Anxieties "Black Hole" 7"
This record is so punk that it should have a steamin' drunk photo of Coppens on the cover instead of the ubiquitous four band members leaning against a brick wall. The packaging and songs remind me of what Pelado was doing early on. Sorta. "Black Hole" and "You're Creeping Me Out" are similar to what would happen if you stripped the Sick Fits of their KBD/art privileges. Both are snappy, catchy, but ultimately nothing new or overly exciting. Not bad, though - I like the area they're kicking about in. The other song ("She Gets Me Drunk") is a throwaway. (TK)
(Infringement // www.infringementrecords.com)
Atomic Brains "Chains" 7"
New band from an ex-Eunuch or two, on the label that released one of the early Reatards singles. It's mid-tempo garage played pretty close to the vest. No wild, wild teenage basement-rock antics, this is more straightforward Nuggets-styled stuff. "Chains" is a catchy tune, but the other three tracks are a bit lacking in the hooks/balls department.(RK)
(Blahll! Records // firstname.lastname@example.org)
Azarashi "Uji hekokimushi no fukusyuu" MCDR
High speed punk with cooing female vocals that quickly turn sour as the men sneak up behind her to grunt out unintelligible Japanese. There's no high-speed thrash here, no raging Japcore, just straight-up punk rock with chorus intros that easily lead you into disaster. But what's this? The second track slows down and falls into the ocean with crooning vocals and a laid back vibe that would be at home on the beaches of the majestic Ocean Dome. The guitar trails off in the distance, the vocalist introduces herself, as if you're listening to a lounge act in a seedy bar in Sendai. Doubled-up vocals in the third track almost lend one to think of No Doubt, but the music kicks in quickly enough and you're back to the solid fast punk of the first track. Really though, the lush sounds of the final track tie this entire MCD together, even when they break into a Mancini-esque spy part. I could picture this as the soundtrack to a 007 movie just as easily as a night driving around town crashing parties. Consider it highly recommended for fans of punk rock with vocals you may not be able to understand. Purchasable from the almighty BASE or Punk and Destroy record stores. (JC)
(Bakuretsu Record // email@example.com - beware! not much english spoken - just order it from a store)
Beat Beat Beat CD-R
This tour-sold disc features five new songs from these Atlantans that were recorded in May and are reportedly a teaser of their upcoming full length. For the uninitiated, Beat Beat Beat usually get described as a ď Ď77 sounding punk bandĒ. Though I canít think of much from í77 that actually does sound like this, I am reminded of those great, early Stitches records that got the same description. More great music from a local scene that continues to impress.(DH)
Black Sunday "Tronic Blanc" LP/CD
A revised and expanded collection of most of the songs from Alicja's self-released "Pop" CD-R from last year, plus a few more. As she stated on that release, it was a bunch of tracks that weren't right for any of her other bands to play, and the songs are a fairly mixed bag. Power-poppy stuff like "Next Girl Detour" mingles with 80's NYC art-noise like "The Picture Looks So Small". The lyrics pick at difficult feelings like separation, loss, and betrayal, but for the most part she uses the melancholic mood to her advantage, on the garagey "Little Bird" in particular. A baker's dozen tracks, about half of which are quality. If you're a fan, you will find what you're looking for, whether it be her more indie-rock sounding stuff or Lost Sounds wave damage, there's a touch of everything on here. I'm a bit wary of her post-Lost Sounds alliance with Dirtnap Records, but we'll see what happens next before we start making snap judgements.(RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)
Black Time "New Vague Themes" 12"
One-sided concept 12", with the theme being French New Wave cinema, showing a predeliction for Godard. Now, I like the Black Time. I like New Wave films. So I obviously find this combination intriguing. A wonderful idea, really. Yet I'm still undecided as to whether it works. If the LP was trad-sounding (if that term can even be used to describe these guys/gal), then this 12" is them out on their furthest branch. As far as creative excesses go, this is their equivalent of Pussy Galore's covering of "Exile on Main Street" in it's entirety. But I like excess, so I'm repeatedly drawn back into this. The songs aren't so much songs as mood pieces, snippets of feeling stolen from the films themselves. Lost and loose, lonely and in love, empty feelings and complicated romance. The vibe is dead-on. If you want to tackle this for what it is, I think it's a rewarding piece of work. A lot people will call this just a shambling mess, and I can't argue that element is there. But it's that mess that contains the point of this record, or at least what I'm getting (or want to get) from it. Francophiles will be intrigued, but I fear even fans of the LP may find this a bit difficult. Me, I like difficult sometimes. Scum stats: 500 copies on 180 gram wax, 250 copies for each label. P.Trash edition is broken down as follows: 200 purple/black silkscreen on the dead wax side with purple screened sleeves. 25 with white silkscreen on the dead wax side with neon pink/black screened sleeves.AND the 'Full Metal Jacket Edition': 25 copies with silver silkscreen on the dead side, with screened METAL SLEEVES. Jesus christ. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Blowchunks "Hey Stupid" 7"
These guys are aqctually better than their name suggests. The title track is pretty good, kinda sounding like Fatals Jr. The other A-Side cut, "No Motivation", has a nice Baseball Furies like muscle. On the B-Side they lose me a bit with a little too much rawk-akshun. I'm still trying to figure out what "Bloodcamp Thatcher" is all about. Not bad, considering they're European. I mean, they could be playing that re-hash blues-trash I hate so much. Not real good either. They have a pretty cool website though: www.shakinnasties.com. Scum stats: 500 copies, with three different colors of covers screened with metallic inks. Gold/silver on black paper is the rarest. The graphic is a drawing by amazing fetish cartoonist Eric Stanton. Check out his Taschen books if you want to see some funny and well done stuff.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Les Breastfeeders "Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe" CD
Now this is something different. Solid Sixties rock-n-roll Francais from Montreal, with all the tunes sung in French. They have a huge line-up (three guitar players!), a smoky looking vintage French hottie on one of those guitars and some vox, and a swarthy looking frontman who looks cut from the Gainsbourg ungentlemanly-gentleman mold, and the best tambourine player I have ever heard. It's a nice blend of Sixties ye-ye, garage beat, Dutronc, Hardy, Bridgette Bardot, and even a little punk rock. Some of the tunes really sound mean, some are sweet little poppers you could find on a volume of Swinging Mademoiselles, and the whole thing is non-stop high energy. A step ahead and more interesting than a mere revival act, these Quebec natives make these vintage stylings sound vital and raw. Pretty impressive, I imagine they are monstrous fun live. Get past the name, and you're in for a treat.(RK)
(Blow the Fuse // www.blowthefuserecords.ca)
Brutal Knights "Not Fun" EP
Debut vinyl release from a Toronto band I've caught live a few times now and I'm not sure what to make of just yet. Not a "joke" band per se is what I'm getting, but they definitely are taking the piss in one way or another. It appears they're big with the hardcore crowd up in their region, as I've seen them play with Career Suicide and Fucked Up and are also on the same label as the aforementioned. But they aren't a hardcore band, if we're catagorizing using current methods. Quite honestly, they sound like the revved-up rawk of a Speedealer, or maybe even Gluecifer. So perhaps therein lies their joke. Are they going for the ironic association of playing a song called "Wet My Pants" in the machismo-rock style of Zeke? I don't know, you tell me. Overall, the EP a pretty lighthearted and high velocity affair that isn't as funny as you'd expect from a band with a lead singer that moonlights as a stand-up comic and a cute 5'3" bass player named Katie G. Warrior who I've seen playing in outfits consisting of athletic shorts, a bullet belt, a Misfits t-shirt, fishnets, kneepads, and thigh-high leather boots. Perhaps something is lost in translation from Canadian. But, I'd rather see these guys than the shit bands Toronto foisted on me for years every time I went to see a show there. If I had to sit through Cheerleader or The Sinisters or one of many other T-Dot shit-rock outfits one more time I was gonna shoot somebody in the face. So, bottom line on this one: if they come to your town, go check 'em out live, they put on a good show. Don't go actively seeking out this record though. Fun fact: center label on the record is an imitation of the old Volt Records logo (the label, not the band, stupid.)(RK)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)
Burka Band "Burka Blue" 7"
So a few years ago a German dance label went to Afghanistan and held a couple music workshops. During the workshops three Afghani women got together and with some help came up with a gem of a song called Burka Blue. The song starts with a really heavy, echoey drum beat, has amateurish sing-song vocals, and is suplimented by a synth and a very sparse guitar. There is a certain amount of novelty here, I mean, what do you expect, this the first all women band to come out of Afghanistan and the first rock and roll to emerge from there in 20 or so years. So you get some kitch, you get a couple parts that kinda suck due to production, and the remix on the b-side is just dogshit, BUT this is a pretty groovy single. If it was released in 1979, someone would call it punk or at least new wave. Nowadays it is just part of the musical landscape, but it is a nice oddity to have.(SSR)
(Ata Tak // www.atatak.com)
Candy Snatchers "Ugly on the Outside" CD
I've probably owned every Candy Snatchers record at some point during my record collecting life. I don't still have them all or listen to the ones I still own much, but I think they were a great band for what they were, especially early on. Larry May was never anything short of entertaining, and a super-nice guy whether bloodied or not. And I don't think Matt Odietus ever got the credit he deserved as a wicked axe slinger. And Sgt. Stash? Don't get me started...I will still go see them live anytime they play with an hour's drive. But, alas, the days of me listening to their records are over for the most part. This CD only comp (sanctioned by the Official Candy Snatchers Fan Club at www.drunkenblur.nl) collects a scant 14 tracks from the Snatchers massive discography, all from their last few appearances on comps and singles. This is far from the cream of the crop. Their cover of "Picture My Face" is OK, and there are a couple decent Snatchers trash-romps here ("Ugly on the Inside", "Moronic Pleasures"), but overall the "Color Me Blood Red" LP is a hell of a lot better as a representative Snatchers compilation than this, as it contains an entire side worth of a monstrous Andy Slob basement recording session which remain my fave Snatchers moments to this day. If you own the old records, this isn't for you at all. There's no unreleased tracks, no liners, no vinyl. If you're a trash-rock neophyte, and just getting into these dudes, you still don't need this. This is a compilation of stuff you don't even need to hear. This band made records much, much better than the ones comped here. And if you've never heard of these guys, this is nowhere to start. Why is the Official Candy Snatchers Fan Club endorsing a sub-par effort such as this? I need to talk to the president of my local chapter ASAP...(RK)
(Roulettes Records // www.roulettesrecords.com)
Catholic Boys "Hurt to Hate" 7"
The three tunes on this 7" are all up to the level of the songs on "Psychic Voodoo Mind Control", but just feel like they're missing some vital energy that being on that album granted all the other songs. Maybe it's the lack of material around them, or maybe it's the sound that Alicja & Jay gave them in recording that sounds just like that album except ever-so-slightly different, it makes me feel funny. Whatever it is, I haven't found it yet, just like my 3D glasses that I need to properly view the sleeve. Solid Catholic Boys material, but if this was the first release of theirs I've heard, I wouldn't go looking for more. (JC)
(Bancroft Records // smashintransistors.homestead.com/BancroftRecords.html)
Chronic Seizure demo tape
Chronic Seizure is by far the best new band Iíve seen all Summer. They put
on the kind of unpredictable live show where you have absolutely no idea if
the band is going to kill you or kiss you. They keep you on edge. A
dangerous, chaotic, fast, drunken, Finnish-influenced punk-rock mess. They
manage to push the envelope as well as anybody Iíve seen in the last ten
years of attending punk-rock shows regularly and manage to excite, incite,
and alienate the crowd as well as anybody out there. As good as their live
set is this demo tape is just as good. Six pissed off fast tunes of
Finnish-influenced punk and/or hardcore. This is also by far the best demo
Iíve heard this year, and yes Iíve been counting. You should know by now
what youíre getting into here. Now all we need is for these guys to get
these songs put to vinyl.(MTC)
Clockcleaner "The Hassler" 12"
Gut-thumping 12" EP on 45 from a trio pf Philadelphia dudes who have listened to a few records that feature David Wm Sims on bass. Clockcleaner sound like Scratch Acid might have if they had been on a mean crank bender instead of the lysergic trip. Or perhaps they are reminiscent of what the Jesus Lizard could have sounded like had Duane Denison played guitar a little less like some jazz egghead. A winning fusion of latter-day Cleveland hardcore and classic Midwestern pigfuck. The rugged rhythm section is "locked in" as they like to say, while the guitar swtiches between murderous knife-in-the-amp squeal and hammerfisted riff pounding, occasionally just dropping out altogether allowing the bass and drums to thug it up a little. The singer has an unnervingly convincing Yow influence that some people are going to call him on, but I dig it. I mean, how else are you supposed to sing along to this? Seven longish tracks, a few of which could have benefitted from a few more minutes in the oven, but overall a pretty stunning debut from a band that seems sure to improve. Covers of both Remo Voor and Crucifucks on their demo have me convinced their hearts are in the right place, so I expect good things. (RK)
(Manic Ride Records // www.manicriderecords.com)
Clorox Girls ďThis DimensionĒ 7Ē
A two song, one-sided 7" released for their Euro tour, this guy's got the melodic punky sound that I love the Clorox Girls for, but it's too short! That's why I no longer have their first 7", just the 12". With such short songs, just two or three songs of their quality keeps you wanting more, which is why I think they should only be releasing 12"s from now on. Hopefully a real version of this will be released on Jonny Cat soon, with extra songs, but without the lock groove after "This Dimension" to facilitate some easy listening. The Clorox Girls just keep getting better, so I'm sure their next full length will be something to look forward to.(JC)
The title trackís probably the best thing the Clorox Girls have ever done. Recorded with Chris Woodhouse, itís a quick, noisy, anthemic blast that ends with a fucking insane sounding locked groove that has the potential to explode your speakers and/or your record needle and/or your head. The other track is just OK, but it earns bonus points for being a cover of singer Justinís dadís old band, the Defenders, who never had any official releases out, as far as I know. What a nice thing for a son to do, no? Scum stats: 200 Euro tour edition test presses with silk-screened red on white sleeves, 400 on clear blue wax (200 with diagonal red paper sleeve and yellow acetate, 200 with diagonal yellow paper sleeve and red acetate). All one sided pressings. Iíve heard rumors that a square yellow vinyl repress is forthcoming. Nuts. (JG)
(Jonny Cat Records // www.cloroxgirls.com)
Coughs "Fright Makes Right" CD
Coughs make a fine contribution to Now Wave (or Chicago no wave), with a record that would make their elders - Lake of Dracula, Dot Dot Dot, US Maple, etc. - proud. It is loud, abrasive, smart, arhythmic, and full of noises that are kinda hard to peg. However, for me to appreciate Coughs, I had to give this thing a couple listens. First time through the vocals -see: screaming, angry anarchist punk girl - grated. Though after a while, the screech subsided and then blended in and then started sounding a bit like the sheering vocals on Die Kreuzen's first LP. What also eased me into liking this was finding the band's 2002 demos on the web. On those recordings the vocals are boxy and buried, not as out in front as this new one. (The demos also have that nice boombox sound to them - worth tracking down.) The confused horns, radial saw guitar, and "man working his way out of a suit of armor drumming" are an easy hook for me. Once it all came together, this thing found a home in the CD player and I am now searching for the vinyl. Best lyric line: "Frank Lloyd Wright/You're all right/IM Pei/You're okay" from Starchitect. It's good these art school punks have a sense of humor.(SSR)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)
The Dangermen "Summer of Danger" CD
Sorta non-descript rockin' from Australia. The rhythm guitarist throws some pretty thick riffs down the groove-pipe, but nothing on here really snags me. Like, I don't know what song's what or anything, and I've listened a good many times. Another band that sounds like a pretty cool night out - this kind of Stooges/Heartbreakers/Stones-based drunken punk often is - but I don't know that I'll need to listen to this again. It's just missing that elusive x-factor, you know? (TK)
(Wild Eagle Records // www.wildeaglerecords.com)
Dean Dirg "...the Last Kid on the Block" LP
It turns out this is actually the Dirg's second LP, and third bigger-sized record, as they had a 10" out before this as well. I've also heard those records aren't nearly as good as this one. You've heard all the HFOS comparisons, and they're true, except DD wear their hardcore influence a bit more prominently on their sleeve. Their sense of humor is almost as good as Fiats, as evidenced on numbers like "$8.95", a paen to shoplifting ("8.95-I won't pay!"), "No Life Crew", and "Nailed to the Couch". They do the shout-and-response chorus stuff, and don't slow down once. Thirteen tracks in around fifteen minutes, just like it should be. This thing is nowhere to be found stateside, but Deadbeat is issuing a CD version domestically with the first 12" as a bonus. If you like Fiats, you'll like this.(RK)
(Stereodrive Recirds // www.greenhell.de)
Dean Dirg ďThe ChimpanzeeĒ EP
This record is retarded. From the hot pink and white artwork with the
chimpanzeeís head coming out of a zipper, to the bandís name, to the
chimpanzee on the actual record about to commit suicide via gunshot, to the
song titles, and right down to the actual record itself. Retarded. But awesomely
retarded, like the kid in Special Ed. who sat in the front row of your ninth
grade shop class who would do anything you told him to, whether it be grab
the hottest chickís ass in the class, punch the starting quarterback of the
varsity football team straight in the face, or tell the teacher to go fuck
himself. These crazed Germans play fast, furious rock & roll at a
hardcore/speed metal pace in a very similar vein to pre-ďThe Parallel
Universe OfÖĒ Henry Fiatís Open Sore, whom they actually did a split 7Ē with
on Stereodrive Records some months back. Six lightning fast songs done up
with a very strange and dark sense of humor. If you like your punk-rock fast
and fun and arenít afraid to actually have a good cheap laugh every once in
a while this record needs to be in your collection ASAP.(MTC)
Demonís Claws ďTomcatĒ 7Ē
Ever since catching Demonís Claws live, over six months ago, Iíve had this hypnotic song of theirs stuck in my head. I still hum the guitar part on a near daily basis. Pissed was I, when the song didnít show up on the album or on the accompanying single. Turns out it was ĎTomcatí, the title track on this, their latest single, courtesy of New Zealandís Perpetrator Records. Itís a great song Ė minimalist, repetitive, catchy, 60s inspired rínír, with nifty guitar riffs - but if there was ever evidence that these Montrealers sound better live than on record, this is it. Sure, itís clearly the top song on this single, but it doesnít jump out of the grooves and beat me into a trance like it did live. Hopefully their next record has better (or at least different) production than the ones released so far. The other two songs are "Blood From the Beating" off of the LP and an exclusive track "Hellshovel" which is rather forgettable. (JG)
(Perpetrator Records // www.demonsclaws.com)
Derek Lyn Plastic "Plastic Surgery" 7"
Hey, didn't the Reatards just do an EP with the same name? I forget, so many records these days...Derek Lyn Plastic I take to be a one man project, with some friends helping out in the studio, and it's a strange record. They (he?) sent me their first 7" along with this new one, and that first one was pretty bad. But this new one shows a big improvement in some areas. It's some werid shit, but not bad. Kind of like Operation S with a real bad goth fetish, or maybe the Cars go heavy metal at some points. "Vampires in Heat" scares me for the wrong reasons, and the interlude between the two songs on the B-Side should have been left out, but the first two cuts ("M.N.W.M." and the title track) are OK with me. The most interesting thing is trying to figure out which angle this guy is coming from. I mean, it's really goth. Creep-wave maybe? I dunno. Stay away from the first single. This one might be for you if you like the current Dirtnap Records roster, but want it to be "scarier."(RK)
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)
Deviation s/t CD
When I read the description of this four song CD it said "great anarcho-punk with folk influences. Despite their English name they sing in their native language." Okay, great. It's about ten bucks, I am gonna order some other stuff, so I might as well take a chance. You see, when it comes to international punk, "folk influences" means it either totally sucks or it is gonna be great. On the bad end you get some crust attack with a 10 second break of goat yodeling and there is your "folk influence." When you stumble into something great, you either have traditional songs played with punk energy and rawness or folk instruments playing punk songs or some kind of combination. For those of you unfamiliar with what I am yakking about, think of The Ex and how they blend traditional or folk music with punk. Belarus's Deviation is a band that combines the traditional with punk, in this case it means throwing a pretty wicked fiddle over some tasty Rudimentary Peni style riffs. The opening song is a seven minute piece of dirgy bliss. Then you get an nice acoustic thing. Some kind of Rudi Peni meets meaty Cle-punk meets weird wah wah/fiddle gobbley goo follows. And then we are back to straight Rudi Peni riffage. They sing in Belorussian with a slight growl (non-crust) that goes from passionate to bored. This, my friends, is quite a gem and will spend some time in the CD player.(SSR)
(Darbouka // http://monsite.wanadoo.fr/darbouka/)
Die Rotzz "Gluttony for Punishment" EP
Second single from this NOLA trash rock three-piece. This is miles better than their DSH single, which I thought was rather unremarkable. The B-Side ("What I Need") is actually a total monster of a track, with an amazingly dumb chorus and some heavy fuzz thrashing. "shes Got Hooks" sadly lacks a good one, though. I'll still be going to Kajun SS or Scrip+s when I need a fix of Louisiana rock, but this is a step in the right direction. Christgau says B- overall, but "What I Need" on its own is a solid A. Scum stats: 525 copies, great looking silkscreen artwork by Bongout, with insert that contains some random King Louie scribblings. (RK)
(Big Black Hole Records // www.bigblackholerecords.tk)
Dorotabou "Kyomu no kukan" MCDR
The first track starts you off on a march reminiscent of the hard punk of The Stalin and the second track doesn't relent, but turns the march to high gear with the only break the chants of "ASA! HIRU! BAN!!" with a high-pitched scream reminiscent of Yokai from Laukaus/Kruw on their recent recordings. By "Niku" (not a Stalin cover) the listener gets a chance to slow down and shuffle their feet a bit into the fourth track, a downward spiral into madness, only broken by shouted-out gang vocals. Picture a Japanese Igyy Pop with his throng of devoted fans pumping their fists and working themselves into a frenzy by the end of the song - that's how this one goes. After five tracks of solid hard punk, you're treated to an Aburadako cover ("Erusaremu no kutsujyoku") that's done quite well. This one is recommended for fans of Aburadako, The Stalin, SS, and other classic Japanese bands before Gism took over and turned punk on its ear.(JC)
(Seizon Funo Record // http://www.geocities.jp/dorotabou3/ - beware! not much english spoken - just order it from a store)
Easy Action ďFriends Of Rock & RollĒ CD
Despite the horrible title of the album and horrible title track this is a
pretty decent effort by some of Detroitís oldest and most notorious rock n'
rollers. Pretty straightforward punk/rock that would have me cringing and
slamming my own nuts in a drawer repeatedly if it werenít for John Brannonís
(ex-Negative Approach/Laughing Hyenas) signature growl/scream that still
ranks right up there with the best of them. This album continues along the
same lines as their self-titled 2001 release also on Reptilian, but with
more of a Laughing Hyenas feel on certain songs. Hell, if you dug the first
album youíll dig this album. They certainly wonít be alienating their
audience with this release, but neither will they be gaining any new fans.
For a much better document of the band be sure to check them out live.(MTC)
(Reptilian Records// www.reptilianrecords.com)
The Fatals ďYeah Baby!!!Ē 7Ē
Man, the lead guitar part that comes on top of everything in the first track just makes this whole record for me. It's perfectly placed and just long enough to stick itself in my tiny brain for an entire weekend. The title track is a great belaboring stomper that seems to find its way onto every Fatals record in one form or another just to slow everything down before the remaining songs destroy your ears some more. This 7" is another great addition to the Fatals near-flawless distortography. Recommended! (JC)
After being outshined by The Evolutions on their recent split, The Fatals are back to true form on their latest slab of wax. This singleís right up there with the three records from last year - frantic, lo-fi, blown out, trashy, scuzzified, gutteral, etc., etc. Ė you know the drill. A definite must have. (JG)
I've always hated the "hype 'em up to shoot 'em down" mentality made famous by the British rock press, but this latest single by the Fatals leaves me feeling an unwelcome kinship with those limey twits who converge in a mass circle jerk over bands like the White Stripes only to discard them as if they were a jizz-covered cracker once the new trend hits. I mean the Fatals first three singles were a shot in the arm/crowbar upside the head packing the sort of kicks only the most depraved and savage rock n roll is capable of. This record, however, is more like a used rubber in a beer can. The lead off track, "Desperate" packs a decent enough wallop, but I find myself checking my watch during the more subdued "Yeah Baby" just waiting for a chance to flip to the B-side. What I find there is even slower and more plodding than "Yeah Baby" but at least it's got a serviceable-enough guitar riff. It sounds fine when I'm listening to it, but once the song is over it immediately falls out of my head and back out my ears like all of the algebra I learned in high school. Live they were killer, but here there's nothing for me to really sink my teeth into. I'm not ready to write my NME application in the form of a hatchet job on the Fatals just yet, but I'd save my money for that Zine record with the killer Lamps tune if I were you.(SB)
(Zaxxon Virile Action // www.zaxxonvirileaction.com)
FM Bats "Everybody Out...Shark in the Water" 12"/CD-EP
FM Bats are the latest outit to feature Hot Rod Todd Jacobs, the unmistakable voice who fronted Le Shok, Neon King Kong, and latter-day Distraction, and as rumor has it was the impetus for the demise of all of the aforementioned as well. This band also features some members of I'm Gonna Stab You, who released some completely unlistenable vinyl in their time. So, when I first heard of this band getting together I seem to remember them saying something about playing beach punk, which it turns out couldn't be a more fitting name for the aquatic-themed surf inflected punk they spit out. But I'm not saying it's all good either. FM Bats seemed to have a picked up a bad habit from The Distraction, and that is the practice of putting two really great songs on a record otherwise chock full of C-grade filler. But the good is really good. "All You Do is Jerk" is a superb mix of submarine bass, lazy Ventures guitar twang, and danceable catchiness. Seriously, a really great song that is wave-y in more ways than one. The only other good cut is "Cat Brat's Theme", a more Le Shok-ish thing, with Todd's irrepressible sneer riding over top of some off-balance bass plod and subliminal guitar scratch. But other than those two, the rest of the EP's five songs are unremarkable, a mish-mash of half-baked ideas and misplaced art-meets-punk ambitions. So, if you dig Todd's vocal stylings (which I do) and feel buying a seven-song twelve-inch on 45 for two exceptional songs (which I do) then this is for you. If you dig the guys other's bands, this is like The Distraction with a bit more balls and less of a new wave fetish or Le Shok if they replaced the keyboards with some quaaludes and lived in a shack on the beach. They have another 12" EP (and I think 12" EPs at 45rpm are the best vinyl format ever) due real soon on Sound Virus. Scum stats: I don't know how many copies total there are (500?), but only 200 are on yellow vinyl. (RK)
(Vinyl Dog Records // www.vinyldogrecords.com)
Four Slicks "Bye Bye Bye" 7"
Four piece from France featuring expatriate Jon Von and some other Parisian scenesters (ex-No Talents) playing tight and fast Fifties-styled hot-rodding garage. Four songs, with "Bye Bye Bye" and "Bad Girl" being the punk-est and therefore best, even though they sound startlingly alike. I had to check twice to make sure I actually flipped the record. These guys were made to release a record on Gearhead. Interpret that however you want. I'd rather see Von spending his time with Les Drageurs.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagerecords.com)
The Foxx "Instrument" 7"
Now, I know this band is going for an idealized early 70s where Big Star-styled power pop and glam reigned supreme, but they seem to have drug/dragged/drugged some unfortunate (real) baggage from the time period along. The A side honestly sounds like some anonymous record stamped "1972" that you picked up from a thrift shop or garage sale for a few nickels. Upon hearing "Come to Japan," someone remarked "this is like the worst possible song you could imagine the Mystery Girls recording." Now, I'm happy (nearly overjoyed) that someone out there is playing a type of rock 'n roll no one else is currently dealing in, and more than a little intrigued that they're from NEW MEXICO, but I dunno if this hits a spot I even have. I can imagine them being a good night at the bar, after some serious bongloads and a few whiskeys, but as much as I wanna give this the nod, it just ain't doing it for me. (TK)
(Vinyl Countdown // www.the-foxx.com)
Functional Blackouts "Raw Dawg, Raw Deal" 7"
First vinyl outing for the post-Nervous Brothers-era Functional Blackouts. Vocals are now handled by the three-man front section of Mac, Dr. Filth, and newest FB Rob Karlic (also of The Worst), but musically they continue to do what they do best. And that is wallow around in ugliness and weirdness and the street scum we see every day living in the city and reflect it back at us via some contorted version of punk rock. For openers, they offer a re-recorded version of "Raw Dawg, Raw Deal" that first appeared on the 'Pain in the Big Neck' compilation. "In My Vacuum" is a sound collage that sounds like it was done in a fun house. But one of those fun houses that are creepy in a bad carny kinda way. But the meat and potatoes number here is "Chemical Bath". If you've seen them live since the line-up shift, this is the tune they seem to be finishing with a lot, where they chant "Chem-i-cal, chem-i-cal, chem-i-cal" in-between blasts of punk skronk. Reminiscent of very early Piranhas; mildly irritating, absolutley reckless, and seemingly directionless until it turns around and hits you in the throat. With a saxophone.. A good start for phase two of this band, and I've heard a bit of the new LP and it's a real charmer too.(RK)
(Wrench Records // www.wrench.org)
Fuses ďEastern CitiesĒ CD/LP
Hereís my take on The Fuses. Band releases first album, the quite good ďI Wanna BurnĒ, which sounds like nothing else from 1998 with its fucked up, dual guitar attack and quirky songwriting. Album is mostly ignored and is quizzically lumped in with the whole 77/street-punk genre, possibly due to the label (American Punk Records) or the tough guy picture of the band inside. Two years later, the masterpiece ďAre LiesĒ hits, which takes the post-punk, Mission of Burma-esque weirdness that the first record had hints of, and distills that sound into a dark and haunting 12 song blitzkrieg of an album. Itís a perennial fave of mine and is a popular choice when trying to find stuff to lend out to friends, most of who agree that itís a killer. A couple of singles follow in the same mold, and are also top notch. Then, out of nowhere, comes the excellent ďSex CrimesĒ single on the then brand new Shit Sandwich Records, which throws fans for a loop. If you listen closely, you can still tell itís The Fuses, but the band no doubt takes a decisive turn towards injecting huge pop hooks into their otherwise ominous songwriting and opt for less guttural vocals. Now, five years after their last album, comes ďEastern CitiesĒ which is essentially an extension of ďSex CrimesĒ. Whatís the verdict? Itís a good album, but I canít get into it nearly as much as their earlier work. ďSex CrimesĒ is the best song and only a few others come close. I preferred it when the band approached each song with an urgency that made it feel like the world was about to end after it finished playing. Instead, the pop sound they go for reminds me of second or third tier Dischord band. It isnít particularly unique, and itís been done better before by others. The Fuses were about five years ahead of their time and now when the ďpost-punkĒ thing is in a big revival theyíll likely be ignored, as is often the case. Makes you want to shed a tear, eh? (JG)
(Shit Sandwich Records // www.shitsandwichrecords.com)
Ghetto Ways "solid Brown" LP/CD
The first song on this is called "Get Up". The second is called "Get Down on the Git Down". Yes, get down...on the git down. They have a number that introduces a dance step called "The Na Na". Their singer is the type that's prone to screaming things like "God Damn!" and "Yeah Baby!" a lot. Not to Jon Spencer levels, but enough. And Spence was in Pussy Galore so he got a pass. This thing kind of drips with that NYC cooler-than-thou arrogance and smarm that turns a lot off people off on bands from NYC. The do cover Solomon Burke and Thin Lizzy. But you know you're in trouble when versions of other people's songs are the best things on your record. I will predict, however, that they will be making an appearance on Little Steven's Underground Garage if they haven't already. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but Stevie will eat this hard edged garage with soul up and ask for seconds. Congratulations. My big question about this record is, how much did they have to pay Andrew Dice Clay to pose for the cover?(RK)
(Alien Snatch! // www.aliensnatch.de)
The Golden Boys "Scorpion Stomp #2" CD
Full length LP from James Arthur's latest project, although it shouldn't be billed as such, as James is behind the drum kit here, so those looking for the logical progression of Necessary Evils madness shouldn't be expecting that. This is loosely played and sometimes out-on-a-tangent country-punk, the type of stuff you imagined being played by some barefoot moonshine-swillers in a dirt floor basement. There's hard-rocking and harmonica wailing in parts, some acid-burns received from repeated Roky exposure, and even slow twang. Some tunes sound like the type of songs our beloved Greggy Cartwright might be writing were he raised on a Texas cattle ranch, some have a definite psych-edge, and others conceal some outsider pop. Raw and different, and definitely from Texas. Dick Christgau gives it a strong B+.(RK)
I first heard The Golden Boys on that Multiball comp - the weird, sprawling spaceroots track there barely carried a tune, but it was refreshing as hell rubbing clefs with the comparatively slick poppunk, rootsy and neu wave units throughout a good chunk of the CD. The single was kinda disappointing, but I'm happy to report that on "Scorpion Stomp #2," The Golden Boys prove that they can definitely birth a tune. In fact, on first listen just about every song on here coalesces in yer mind before it hits the end. The spacesprawl isn't quite as apparent, but this album breathes and kicks about on a shamblingly loose groove throughout. Way better than expected, but it's not like James Arthur often disappoints. The sequencing recalls the nugget spewed by the almighty Venom - "first you hit 'em with a fast one, and they're like 'whoah!' Then you slow it down, and then *BAM* hit 'em with another fast one!" Bow to your sensei! (TK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrookrecords.com)
The Hekawis "Intellectuals" CD
Six-teez Aussie garage with some slight psych leanings and a good bit of organ & harmonica. I'll admit that this wasn't exactly what I was desperately searchin' around fer, but this record at least doesn't have a log up its ass like most of its contemporaries. There's a good bit of the 80's revival in their sound, but they play it a lot more loose and off-the-cuff than most of those nevertreads. More in the general ballpark of DMZ than the Fuzztones, you know? Not bad. (TK)
(Wild Eagle Records // www.wildeaglerecords.com)
The Horribly Wrong "Bleeding for You" EP
Nice little five song blast from these Bloomington (right?) kids, played hard and fast in the trash-rock tradition of such other Midwestern "here today, gone tomorrow" faves like the Problematics, Brides, Mighty John Waynes, and others. "Do the Move", "Blood Up to my Waist", and "Aiming for You" are hits to be sure. Obscure and unheard shit that I'm glad to see get released. The most impressive thing here is that these guys sold 300 copies out in less than a week, which goes to show what you can do with a limited press single and a few well-placed message board posts. Looks and sounds great. More people should be doing this! Scum stats: 300 total, 100 on red wax with the "Am I Bleeding?" sleeve, and 200 on black wax with the "This reminds me of the Fun Things sleeve" sleeve. Nice hand-screened and hand-cut sleeves, with insert.(RK)
(Spin the Bottle and Eradicator Records // sold-out, check distros!)
The Hospitals ďRich PeopleĒ 12Ē
Has anyone else noticed that these limited Euro pressings have been getting harder to find over here lately? This thingís been out for a while, but I havenít heard/read much about it, which is a damn shame. ĎRich Peopleí is the lone song on the first side, but itís a keeper. Moody and bizarre, itís a sports arena anthem gone horribly wrong and it could be my favorite Hospitals song yet. The flip brings covers of The Fingers (great), The Who (ĎHappy Jackí which fucking kills), Homosexuals (nice and weird), Royal Trux (noise for noiseís sake), Harry Pussy (satisfying noise), and The Kinks (haunting and poppy). I wasnít sold on the Hospitals s/t LP, so the fact that they are actually covering real songs and not wanking for the sake of noise is much appreciated. (JG)
(Yakisakana Records // www.yakisakana.tk)
Hypstrz "Hypstrization!" LP/CD
Minnesota hasn't exactly been a hotbed of noteworthy bands over the past 30 years. Outside of the Suicide Commandos, Replacements, and uh, I'm sure there's someone else good (for the record the only thing good about Husker Du is that Bob Mould wrote scripts for WCW and was a huge wrestling fan.) but the fact of the matter is Minnesota, which was the shit during the Sixties, has a pretty sorry history from the 70Ā's on compared with, say, Ohio. Which is why it's appropriate that the best Minnesota band of the 70Ā's (yes, even better than the Suicide Commandos!) mined 60Ā's punk standards to come up with a sound invigorating enough to stand toe to toe with many greats of the era. Well, "mined" might not be the appropriate term, as every single song is a cover, but they're filtered through a 70's punk sensibility and played with so much gol' durn enthusiasm that at times they sound better than the originals. My first exposure to the Hypstrz was seeing them live with Nikki Corvette about four years ago or so and even 20 years removed from this recording they were incredible. "Hypstrization!" sounds every bit as incendiary as I remember that show being. If you haven't heard these guys yet, don't even think twice about picking this reissue up. Trust me, you'll thank me for it.(SB)
(Bomp! // www.bomp.com)
Icky Boyfriends "A Love Obscene" 2XCD
Iím not exactly sure where the party lines are drawn when it comes to the late great Icky Boyfriends, but I suspect that relatively few of us find value in their oft-misunderstood rumblings. For those unaware, Icky Boyfriends were a San Francisco band from the early 90s that had a sound that left no middle ground. Put simply, they are the epitome of a love-it-or-hate-it band.
My first contact with them came when I was 13 or 14 years old, tucked away nicely in an East Bay town notable only for high-quality methamphetamine and the ability to pick up good radio signals. My early teen years consisted of me sneaking my old manís Winstons and Coors into my bedroom and leaning my radio dial to the far left, hoping to pick up the college radio stations from places that were geographically very closeÖbut thousands of miles away from my teenage lionís den. I remember The Ickys getting a lot of play on some of these stations, and I remember being completely turned upside down every time I heard them. It was unlike anything I had ever heard at the time (it sort of still is!). This was long before I even heard of bands like Electric Eels or other off-kilter ilk, so for me, Icky Boyfriends were fucking IT, man.
I successfully managed to tape some of the tunes off of the radio and would routinely force friends to listen to them, often resulting in me being called a fag coupled with a desperate plea to put Can Of Pork back on. Every slug to the arm and wicked name I was called only made me like them more. It would appear that this form of ridicule is consistent with most Icky Boyfriends fansÖand probably The Ickys themselves. Doomed by my age and location, I was never able to fully dive into Icky Boyfriends until years later. My routine scouring of used record bins yielded a near-complete Ickys discography and I later struck gold with copies of Iím Not Fascinating: The Movie (Danny Plotnickís super-8 film on the band!) and their retrospective rarities LP, "Talking To You Is Just Like Being Dead."
Years later, the sound of Icky Boyfriends has proved to be just as room-clearingly brilliant and off as ever, making now the perfect time for reflection. Enter A Love Obscene, a mammoth 2xCD released by Menlo Park Recordings, compiling their entire recorded output on two dirty, dirty discs. Just as S-Sís Monoshock reissue did last year, A Love Obscene is sure to send a rabid pack of no-goods combing the depths for traces this nearly forgotten period of Bay Area PUNK, creating a mass of frothing-at-the-mouth Icky fans. HeyÖit could happen. Right?
To say that this band had absolutely no idea what they were doing would not be an uncommon opinion. They had a legitimately freakish look (much like the proto-punk kingpins they no doubt drew inspiration from) and the racket they made was abrasive and constantly on the verge of a complete cave-in. Itís immediately clear that the vocalist was a drugged-up maniac with a perverted eye for detail. It all seems so very wrong, but comes out sounding right.
Some fans and detractors might even agree that Icky Boyfriends sonically amount to little more than tuneless bashing over mongoloid poetics. Iím not of that opinion, but heyÖIíve heard it expressed. Thereís no need to over-intellectualize their attack to find value. Listen to the tunesÖthey were, in fact, a REAL band with a REAL sound! The fuzzy, inept pummel of each tune is underscored by a brilliant vocal performance, more often than not recounting the disgusting minutia of some train-wreck sexual experience or daily urban catastrophe. Bands from SFís Mission District have a long tradition of writing tunes about cats, burritos and junkies, but none did so as brilliantly, realistically or as disturbingly as Icky Boyfriends. Tunes like ďBurritoĒ, ďI WasÖĒ, ď22Ē and ďKing Of ZeitgeistĒ present an incredibly deranged view of a San Francisco that I never knew existed when I first heard the band. I also was clueless in the ways of taking out the ďSex TrashĒ and the buzz kill that is a mouthful of spermicidal jelly, but hey...thatís what growing up is all about.
A Love Obscene is destined to do the job every great reissue should aspire to do: enriching the band for already-existing fans and seriously turning on new ones. Everything you need is right here, including biographical liners by drummer Anthony Bedard and a song-by-song ďanalysisĒ from their afro-sporting singer, Jonathan Swift. This really is one of those releases that you dive into and never come out off. I beg of youÖgive in to A Love Obscene.(MC)
San Francisco had itís boomtime, probably running roughly parallel to when a
lot of the readers of this publication were just discovering their musical
legs. The vast reverberations and influences of the, for lack of a better
term ĎBudget Rockí explosion, are still permuting the scene, and will for
quite awhile. In the Bay Area, and in quick succession, records by the likes
of Supercharger, The Mummies, The Phantom Surfers, The Rip Offs, The
Brentwoods, etc. were released, glowing reviews were penned, the Purple
Onion ruled the roost, and thenÖ Well, like other booms, it just faded away.
Lost in the shuffle, (they lacked the immediate notoriety of a band draped
in bandages) were The Icky Boyfriends. The Icky Boyfriends could be
confounding, a two piece that loosely chugs along and songs that
suspiciously and wonderfully sound like they are making them up on the spot.
The Icky Boyfriends could be grating, with Jonathan Swiftís vocal mannerisms
resembling those of the Electric Eelís Dave E. And, the Icky Boyfriends
could be great, in a way that sneaks up on you, and you sit there in front
of the stereo with the exciting realization that you are listening to the
product of everything just aligning that right way in someoneís spare room.
What do they sound like? Well, kind of like the Electric Eels, and this was
before the Eels were a well documented hip name to drop, but rather a
mysterious, hard to find single. The Ickyís have the same welcome weirdness,
sans the sheer level of menace. You can read between the lines and tales of
dry shaving and leap to the conclusion that Swift and Dave E. were, ahem,
cut from the same cloth, or you can take the similarities as something not
worthy of more in depth analysis within the confines of a 379 word record
review. Iím going to choose the later, leave it at that, and enjoy the
plodding blurt that still sounds fresh. I will rest my ears comfortably at
the ground zero between songs and free form improvisational whatzit. This
reissueís worth every penny of your record buying dollar. It stands out,
which is far more then most, and furthermore, itís really, really good. (PH)
(Menlo Park Records // (www.menloparkrecordings.com)
Jolly Jumpers "Suki Suki" 7"
Finnish band on a Norweigan label. Crazy how I end up with this stuff. Anyway, these guys contain a member of the Flaming Sideburns, and play country-tinged rawk-n-roll. Big fuzz bass, lotsa guitar effects, big time production. Kind of like if the Hellacopters really loved Neil Young and Crazy Horse instead of Birdman and Skynyrd. I don't hate this, as it's well done for what it is, but I won't recommend it either. Personally, I'd rather listen to Steppenwolf. You know what I do hate, though? These European records that come in nice cardboard sleeves, but have that crappy plastic inner sleeve that never fits back in properly once you've taken the record out once. That pisses me off.(RK)
(Dull City Records // http://home.online.no/~gt-john/)
Fern Jones "The Glory Road" CD
As I've mentioned before, back when I was a young pup, it was mandatory that any self-respecting punk have a James Brown record in their collection. JB wasn't the only non-punk must have. Just as important was the Hank Williams record. It really didn't matter which one. A greatest hits was fine. Whatever you got their was bound to be a country gospel tune on there. Normally the first reaction of a young punker was to yank the needle upon the first positive mention of "Jesus." However, the gospel thing was just part of the whole Hank picture.
When punk rock aged into the late 80s, other music got mushed into it. Dominant was metal and prog. As the decade ended, punk was in pretty damn bad shape. Sure, there were some good things, but they were isolated. One of those good things was actually a great thing, the best thing punk brought to the late 80s and that thing was the Gibson Bros.
The Gibson Bros. were certainly children of Hank Williams and dozens of other musicians we call roots music or americana (god, I hate that name). The Gibson Bros. took rockabilly, old country music, blues, and gospel and pushed it through a Columbus, Ohio bred "ahhhh fuck it." Like the Cramps before them, the Gibson Bros. turned many people onto real American music, however without the novelty angle. Also, unlike the Cramps, the Bros. ventured out of the secular. Their version of Thy Burdens are Greater than Mine is one of the best songs in recorded music.
I am not sure if the Gibson Bros. had any Fern Jones records, but I would not be surprised if they did. Jones's gospel country swing cum rockabilly is the type of music you can imagine hearing in whatever carpeted practice space the Bros. jammed in. It has the direct, sweet, melodic, heartfelt twang of the best country gospel. I'm getting ahead of myself here. Just who is Fern Jones and why does she warrant a reissue.
Jones was born in Georgia in the 1920s and married into the Pentecostal religion in the 1940s, With her husband, Ray, she traveled the country as the Jones Evangelistic Party, setting up in parking lots, preaching and singing religion to locals. She wrote dozens of songs, the most famous of which, I was There When It Happened, was recorded by Johnny Cash and others. Her debut album was released on a small label to almost no notice. It did, however, lead to her recording a record for Dot, on their short lived gospel label. She toured the country to support the record, but it flopped, leading her to retire from music.
While her career was over, country music and gospel fans have long searched out her records. The Numero Group has finally given them a nice reissue on CD. Dear reader, do not expect barn-burning gospel fury here. What Fern Jones does is entice you with a sensual Patsy Cline-style voice. There are moments when she turns on a little Wanda Jackson, such as on Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Strange Things Happen Every Day and the traditional Didn't it Rain. However, this CD is dominated by solid country swing. This is kick back music, lazy, hot Sunday afternoon BBQ music that has a little bit of God in it. So if you are feeling a need to have some kind of religious CD in your collection, just in case the American Talliban (read: Christian Right) comes a knockin on your door or you just want a nice chunk of America, you would do yourself well to pick this up.(SSR)
(Numero Group // numerogroup.com)
Karate Party "Black Helicopter" LP
Years ago, back when the A-Frames were just a whisper in the sub-underground and you could still find their singles in the UMed catalog for four bucks, I got to talking a lot about and with the guys in the band and how they came to sound like they sounded. Inavariably, at some point in these discussions the name of a mysterious (to me, at least) band called Karate Party would pop up. Being one who always tries to do my homework early, I discovered their recorded legacy consisted of one scarce seven-inch (300 press) and a comp track or two, and that was it. Hitting the books hard, I somehow ended up with a disc full of Karate Party material from an undisclosed source, and became sucked into their semi-legend. The dots started connecting: Chris Woodhouse was the mastermind behind the band, and was ex-Los Huevos, and had recorded the A-Frames, and then the whole connection with SS Records and Pretty Girls and Moo-La-La started to make sense to me. And the music was, well, phenomenal to say the least. A genreless beast this Karate Party was, made up of hardcore fury, art-punk leanings, post-whatever weirdness, crazy guitar noise, and a skewed sense of humor. It was immensely likable from the outset. Woodhouse utilized a choppy, almost deadpan vocal style, but when he screamed it brought everything right up in your face: the potent drumwork, the hypnotic bass thump, and the use of a guitar modified by something aptly named a "Curly Pedal", that sounded at times like an alien raygun from some sci-fi movie. It was aggro shit that had been tweaked by some SF avant-ness that had somehow wafted its way up to Sacramento. As the A-Frames popularity rose, so did that of Karate Party. The record began showing up on want-lists and became even scarcer than it was originally. Legend has it the A-Frames bought 100 copies themselves. I scored mine on a fluke through an obscure British mailorder for a pittance. Woodhouse himself stayed extremely busy, recording everyone with an amp on the West Coast and playing in the original incarnation of Pretty Girls and later forming the short-lived FM Knives among other things. So here we are in the present day, and it's as right a time as any for a Karate Party reissue. Of course S-S brings us this gem in the form of an LP sized replica of the original KP seven-inch (clear gold vinyl, clear plastic sleeve, small one-third size foldover "cover" strip) compiling all the tracks from the original single plus a heap of unreleased winners, all remastered for optimal ear-splitting fidelity. KP did the weirdo angular and loping punk cut as well as the A-Frames do now. For verification please check "1 2 3 4" or "She's Got Spawn", a tune the A-Frames have been know to cover on occassion, and then give me a call to tell me I'm right. My favorite moments with this band, however, and those face-peeling numbers that hit you right in the sternum multiple times. The ferocity and velocity (and intelligence) of tunes like "Pressure", "Trouble", and "Ball Game" (where the guitar noise sounds like it could cut steel) is something that doesn't come down the pike often. The Devo cover is just gravy on an already delicious knuckle sandwich. And, oh, that Curly Pedal. Sure, I could raise some minor beefs about a track or two not being included, but that would just be pointless blather from a terminal record fanboy with serious priority issues. As far as this thing goes, anyone who is interested in seeing where "it" was before the A-Frames and Intelligence brought it to wider audiences, you need a copy of this in your collection. And as far as Karate Party, the band, I think we should learn from their example and pay more atttention to what is going on now. What great band are we ignoring in our own backyards as we speak? For KP to go unnoticed for so long amazes, saddens, and pisses me off. Let's not let it happen again.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)
Killer's Kiss s/t CD
Frisco creeps filter the NY Dolls through a mass of feedback, a wall of sound, and a ton of slop. The band barely holds things together and that IS the saving grace here. This Thunders/Aussie rock and roll thing has been done so much and so badly that the only way it works any more is if it is about a beat away from an on-stage band fight. Killer's Kiss sounds like they are a hay maker away from disintegration. So, yeah, they pull it off....kinda. About midway through the band tightens up and things start sounding mighty pedestrian. Something sober is wandering out of my speakers and, oh no, it has a harmonica. I see a stick being gently inserted into the ass and, boy, is that posture perfect. Man, did someone shine these folks' shoes, muss their hair and pour them a round of Sprite? Or did one of the band come to practice one day and say, "Guys. It is time we got serious." Ak! For fifteen minutes I was in bliss. I felt drunk and I haven't touched the stuff in months. Now I feel the blinding light of the morning after. My advice, catch these guys live. Pour a few drinks into them before they take the stage and I am pretty sure you will have a blast then buy the CD and relive the glory of the evening (but save the last tracks for another day).(SSR)
Hook or Crook Records has certainly set the bar real damn high for themselves with debut albums by The Rebel, The Golden Boys and Killer's Kiss. If I had to pick a least favorite, it'd have to be this one, though only because of the high level of competition. It lacks the originality/personality, as well as the head-stickin' tunes of the abovementioned, but for hammer-down Stooges meets garage meets soul, this'll more than do. Ably produced by sudden Bay Area mavin Gregory Q. Ashley (who also adds harmonica and other toppers), this album could maybe use a kick here and there, but it serves very well as "merely" a good ol' rock 'n roll with a cool, screamin' vocalist. (TK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)
King Custer McCarthy & the Magnetix "Just Me, My Pleasure, and I" 10"
I thought this band was just named the Magnetix? If my last name was Custer, I would go by the punk name "Old Custer" and start a band called "Old Custer and the Rust Beetles." Our debut LP would be titled "Vamanos Amigos!" and we'd be the second coming of Rank & File. No joke ? I'd actually do that! OK, I'm stalling; down to the matter at hand. Wlad at Nasty Product sent me this awhile back, and I've been listening to it over and over hoping it would sink in, but unfortunately it's just not happening. To these ears all that's going on here is a bouillabaisse of noisy, tuneless slop that sounds more like a collection of glorified riffs than actual songs. I like everything else I've heard from this label (especially that genius Sonic Chicken 4 tune on the "Love Killed My Brain" comp) but I'm afraid the Magnetix are not my bag at all. However, if you can't get enough of bands who poorly ape the Oblivians, they might be yours. If the Oblivians were Screeching Weasel, King Custer McCarthy & the Magnetix would be the Invalids. Scum stats: 500 copies.(SB)
(Nasty Product // www.nastyprod.com)
The Kung Fu Monkeys ďElectric Tangerine SmileĒ 7Ē
HEY YOU! Yeah, you, the cynical fuck whoís about to skip this review based on the band name Ė read on. Iíll be the first to admit that the Mutant Pop catalog hasnít aged so well (thatís being kind). Label CEO Timbo is perhaps the nicest man in the state of Oregon, but he did have a flair for really, really, and I mean really hyperbolizing when it came to MP bands. To my pop friendly ears, The Kung Fu Monkeys were the one band on the label that actually lived up to Timís hype. Of course, with a dozen or so KFM records released thereís going to be some stuff that ainít so hot, but their pop culture obsessed, retro rínír has produced more than a few instances of pop greatness over the years. Not having heard anything about the band in ages, I was very surprised to hear this new single (recorded piecemeal on both coasts) and to find out that it fucking kills, especially the a-side. ďAmerican Beach Party U.S.A.Ē sounds like you think it sounds, and the rawer than ever, lo-fi production that the band goes for completely works. Itís a smash, no doubt about it. The show-stopper, though, is ďI Dig the Way That You MoveĒ, which sounds like The Kinks joining up with The Monkees, and then getting blitzed on Sparks while jamming out a huge fucking hit in the garage. Iíd throw the song on a mixtape after a track from the first Fevers single and it would make perfect sense. The flip is totally different, and features two ballads. I prefer the Brian Wilson-esque ďSummertime in the DesertĒ, over ďWelshire Station ReverieĒ which sounds like an Everly Brothers slow one. The whole package comes in a nice sleeve, has liner notes from one time band member Mike Faloon, and comes pressed on both a blue 7Ē and a red 7Ē to mimic 3D glasses (?!) and it works about as well as you think it would. A surprisingly great record. (JG)
(Whoa Oh Records // www.whoaohrecords.com)
The Losiní Streaks EP
Superb three song stomper from Sactoís secret weapons. Though ďYardbirds inspired punkĒ should be a stale genre by now, this platter is fresh and exciting. Terrific Woodhouse production helps this jump through the speakers and capture some of the energy these guys have in their live sets.(DH)
(Dollar Record Records // www.dollarrecord.com)
Low Point Drains "Bottle Of Whisky" 7Ā"
I'm gonna just say it flat out: I fucking hate blues punk. If I hear one more band who wants to be the Oblivians, I'm going to hunt down Cartwright, Yarber, & Friedl and serve them with a lawsuit for the mental distress caused by having to review a legion of their clones. OK, Greg gets off for being one of the best songwriters alive right now, but Eric and Jack are gonna fucking pay for this shit! I can just imagine bands like Low Point Drains hearing 'Soul Food' for the first time and being blown away, which I can respect. Where they lose me though is when they start a band and try to sound JUST LIKE THE OBLIVIANS, which is about as bad as clubbing seals or peeing inside your girlfriend in my mind. Oh, but the Low Point Drains have a secret weapon that elevates them above the pack: they wrote a song about whisky! Who doesn't love whisky? And the Oblivians? Dude! These guys are onto something here! Seriously, if the Oblivians were Screeching Weasel, the Low Point Drains would be the Peabodys. HOWEVER, the singer does get a heaping wad of bonus points for sporting a New Kids on the Block t-shirt on the insert.(SB)
(Kuriosa Records // firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Meows "At the Top of the Bottom" CD
I ask you - when did garagerock become garagerawk? And where was I? This is mid-60s recreation, big time, but many times over the course of the album AC/DC pops up, schoolboy outfit and all. The garagerawk movement seems disproportionately large in Europe, so I'm just gonna go out on a limb and blame the popularity of the Hellacopters and their ilk. Well played and technically very good, the Meows ought please fans of both Puffball and the Evil Thingees. I prefer my rock 'n roll way more shitty and far less proficient, but then again, I'm a peasant. (TK)
(No Tomorrow Records // www.notomorrowrecords.com)
Miracle Men "Don't Hide Your Love" 7Ā"
Utterly unmemorable, yet totally inoffensive garage is what the Miracle Men dish up on this single. Instrumentally this sounds okay, but the vocals are too gruff for this sort of thing. The singer has a rough, almost 'street-punk' or 'punknroll' voice that doesn't quite gel with the (overly) traditional 60Ā's punk instrumental tracks. Closer inspection of the band's photo bears this out, as the rest of the guys have shaggy, almost mod, haircuts but the singer has a spiky look that reminds me of someone way into Social D or something. Hey I guess the first rule of bad rock journalism actually does apply for the Miracle Men: when in doubt, always judge a band by their hair. If these guys ditch the singer and get looser in the studio they might be on to something. As is I can't recommend it though.(SB)
(Kuriosa Records // email@example.com)
Modern Day Urban Barbarians "The Endless Retreat" CD
A deceptive CD here. From the front cover you might think you are getting something cool, by the back, something techno. The band's name gives you no clue, other than "This might suck hard." But plop the disc in the player and it becomes apparent that someone has been listening to the Bunny Brains. The guitar is kinda fucked up, the drums are certainly off, and the singing is being done by someone who can't sing. The lyrics are either incredibly earnest or extremely dry and sarcastic. I am not sure which. But the way the vocals approach them is just right. And each song stumbles along in a, what we would now call, American DIY punk type of way. Ten years ago, some of this might have wound up as a 7" on Siltbreeze and raved about in Banana Fish. Twenty years ago, a few of these songs would fit nicely on some regional comp with such huh? bands as the Slivers, Plebs, Chalk Circle, or the Slammies. While a full CD of this amateur sounding p.rock numbs you after a while, taken in small doses, it is a welcome pause from all the sound-a-like, punk-by-numbers stuff out there. Good CD which would have made even better 7"s.(SSR)
(South 6 // www.MDUB.com)
The Money "It's a Shit Business" CD
This is a live recording of an Aussie unit that's pretty much straight up barpunk. Covers of the Dead Boys and Teengenerate display targets, but they're off a bit to the right. The recording's good enough. I'll bet Strange would pop a valve over their treatment of "Gonna Feel Alright." (TK)
(Wild Eagle Records // www.wildeaglerecords.com)
M.O.T.O. "Raw Power" CD/LP
My honeymoon period with M.O.T.O. is officially over. I enjoyed the recent singles, about half of ĎKill M.O.T.O.í and a few songs off of that singles comp, but ĎRaw Powerí (talk about a title with balls) is far too generic, repetitive and predictable for me to get completely behind. I can handle these songs in small doses, but making it through this whole record in one sitting is a bit much to ask. I like simple, three chord pop songs but to maintain my interest over a whole album a bit more variety is needed or huge hooks should be present in most of the songs, instead of just a few (like the very awesome ďMeet Me By the FlagpoleĒ). These songs sounded fine when I caught M.O.T.O. live recently, but this record just isnít doing it for me. Pass. (JG)
After listening to this album a good dozen times, I was all set to dismiss it as sophomore slump, side-toss, contractual obligation or even worse - Paul's muse had shriveled and queefed its final, you know, queef. Good thing I listened to it again this morning, after a few weeks off, because it's actually pretty good. None of the instant first-listen classics from all the previous releases, obviously, but about half of it sounds about up to par with previous B material (which means there are some really great tunes on here). The rest still hasn't hit me, but I guess I need a few more listens in order to write 'em off completely. This is definitely not the M.O.T.O. release to start with, but if you've been following 'em for a bit, you'll find plenty to like. (TK)
(Criminal IQ Records // www.criminaliq.com)
Mutants "Drunk Mambo Outtakes" 7"
Two track single of sax-blowing instrumental stuff from Finland. "Ace of Spedes" is an instro of the "spy" variety, and is a tribute to Pertti "Spede" Pasanen who apparently was the Finnish Jerry Lewis. Good stuff. Side B, "Curse of the Drunken Mutants", is an instro of the "creepy" variety, and has some congas on it. If you like tightly played instrumental rock, then this, my friend, is for you. For fans of the Euroboys, Laika and the Cosmonauts, and/or Kare and the Cavemen.(RK)
(Wanton Records // www.wantonrecords.net)
The Nearly Deads "Portland's Own..." 7"
Boy/girl guitar and drums two-piece from, duh, Portland, who play fast and loose with their instruments and genres on these four charming tunes. They open with a cover of Esquerita's "Rockin' in the Joint" that is nice and Crampsified and leg-shakin'. The slow crooner "You Know It's True" follows and is seducing with its gonna-fall-apart-at-any-minute execution and back-up oooh's. Side B contains "PDX, OR, USA" which sounds like something the Drags would've spit out years ago, and "Sugar, Sugar" (not a cover) starts slow with only guitar and female vox, then sends it home with an explosion of primitive drum stomp and no-frills riffery. I like this one a lot. It's kind of innocent and charming in a lo-fi White Stripes way. (I hate to make that comparison, but what can you do...). Supposedly they're already broken up. Scum stats: 200 pressed. Yikes!(RK)
(Subway Star Records // www.subwaystar.cjb.net/)
Nihon Noen "Hong Kong Cafe" MCD
I remember when I read about Nihon Noen releasing a new MCD on their own label (too good for Mangrove? too big?) all the way back in May or so, I was pretty excited. A tape of their CD "Kuruizaki Saturday Night" was constantly being played in my car (the other side of the tape? The Young Ones CD) and whenever someone would ask what they sounded like, my response would almost always be a tape of their discography-to-date. Since I can't (won't) send tapes out to all of my devoted readers, I'll do my best to describe the sound of Nihon Noen. It's something akin to Chuck Berry walking in on one of his girls with a rockabilly bass player who's eschewed the black country and western shirts and flash tattoos for mesh tank tops with leather jackets and ties over top of them. Meanwhile, the Big Bopper is diddling himself in the right speaker while Teengenerate have to deal with the noise in the apartment below. Electric sock hop rockabilly punk? I'm telling you, it's fucking hard to describe!
From here on out, I'll just assume you're familiar with their sound. So how does it compare to the CD, or their earlier records? This MCD starts off with the fastestNihon Noen songs they've done. "Hong Kong Cafe", "Masturbation", and "U.ru.sa.i yatsura" are all barn burners in their traditional sound with guitars that never take a break and a bassist that walks a million miles an hour coupled up with Sakurada's wild howls and yelps. They break into a ballad-bopper at "100% no taikutsu" similar to the sublime piece on their full length. The fifth and final track takes a departure from their standard sound. A longer track that actually does give the guitarists a break and seems to focus more on the vocals and by the end, the creation of a really full, pop sound. Are they gunning for Pizza of Death or something? I hope not.
All in all, a release that can hang with their full-length CD and doesn't completely feel like out-takes from the album session (and it's not, it was recorded in 2005). More great art direction in the form of a digipack by the stellar Black Star Studio group.Recommended!(JC)
(Tokyo Night Fight Label // http://www.geocities.jp/bacillusbrains - order it from your favorite Japanese store or wait for Nice & Neat distro to maybe get it)
The Nix 7" EP
The legend is that The Bedpans saved up their returnable bottles to fund the release of their great EP, and inspecting the insert to the Nix record it seems these lads opened a cleaning service to bankroll their new band's vinyl. The one-sided platter serves up four snotty jams that prove that they've been studying their Queers (that is, before they reformed) and Insults records. It's a refreshing change of pace in the computer age to find a good record with a classical punk aesthetic: cut and paste graphics with white-out as a writing utensil. This has the feel of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it record, and something tells me these boys didn't cut it in the vacuuming industry, so I wouldn't put my money on a repress. Totally great.(DH)
(self-released, good luck with this one)
Jeffrey Novak One Man Band "Teenage Psycho" EP
doogie howser md posted this on Jul 09th, 2005 at 02:17:31 pm
How is this Jeffery Novak character? Is he your standard one-man band stomp?
His show this week is competing with Reigning Sound so I know where I'll be. I'm just curious what I might be missing.
Jesse posted this on Jul 09th, 2005 at 02:20:15 pm
Novak is a bit more electric than the other OMBs that are out there today. For one, I remember distorted guitar on his stuff, and he's pretty noisy like Memphis friends. It's a lot less traditional than King Louie, BBQ or King Khan, but still pretty solid. I'll be honest and say it did take a few listens to really get into though.
richie dagger posted this on Jul 09th, 2005 at 02:30:57 pm
Jeff sounds like the Reatards if they were a one man band.
Jesse posted this on Jul 09th, 2005 at 03:03:01 pm
hey richie, stop writing my reviews for me
The Jeff Novak OMB assault continues, this time in a form of a three song seven inch from New Zealand's enterprising Perpetrator Records. The title cut is a hypnotic a bit of Crampsy juvee-groove that Jeff screams over loud enough that you think he's about to puke. The B-Side contains the shithouse rat stomper "Pine Box Rock!", which borrows just a little from "The Crusher" but still wins you over on sheer enthusiasm, and the misanthrop-rocker "Leave Me Alone". Yes, another fucking winner. After hearing four singles and a few hours worth of CD-Rs from this kid, I am still amazed he sounds so destructive as just a one man band. And that his live performance is just as ferocious as his records is something I find incredible. The recording deluge should continue, with the "Southern Trash" LP and a 10" on Perpetrator still forthcoming. Dammit Jeff, you need to slow down or you're gonna blow an o-ring. Plus, look for some Rat Traps singles soon. Scum stats: 300 copies, black vinyl. (RK)
(Perpetrator Records // )
Orphans "Electric S" EP
I've tried hard to like this band more times that I like to remember, based on people whose opinions I tend respect saying they were awesome live. So therein lies the rub. Supposedly a great live band, but on record they suck it. Pretty hard, too. On the positive side, I didn't want to whip this out the window halfway through like I did their LP. On the negative side, it's really boring Avengers-citing female-fronted punk rock the likes of which The Triggers did a lot better, faster, and more creatively. And I liked some Triggers records and songs quite a bit, but I still wouldn't say they were more than a B-list band at best. So that makes the Orphans like D-list. Yes, it's that bad. Oh, but wait, I hear they're great live...Scum stats: 200 pressed on blue vinyl with alternate blue cover, the rest, how many of which there are I don't know or care, are on black vinyl with a different cover in green.(RK)
(Vinyl Dog Records // www.vinyldogrecords.com)
Penetrators "Basement Anthology" CD
Most of you already own the majority of this stuff on the "Kings of Basement Rock" LP, but for those who slept on that, allow me to get you quickly up to speed. Like the Gizmos, the Penetrators were a bunch of weirdos who got together and knocked out some brain-damaged, off-kilter basement rock that went on to achieve classic status amongst record-nerds the world over. This shit is the perfect synthesis of DIY attitude and rock n' roll sensibility. Or as the liner notes to this CD succinctly state, "The Rolling Stones on Cheetos and beer instead of heroin and blowjobs." While the majority of this ranges from good to great, a large number of tunes, with "Teenage Lifestyle", "Shopping Bag", and "Drive Me Crazy" being just a few examples, are total basement rock godhead. If you haven't heard this yet, you're missing out on one of the real gems of era.(SB)
(Swami // www.swamirecords.com)
Pissed Jeans "Shallow" CD
If eight songs constitutes a full-length, then this is Pissed Jeans' debut long player. "I'm Sick" opens up this twisted collection with a mighty whallop of demi-metal sludge; bowel tickling low end, a pin point drum attack, and thrasy and discordant guitar interspersed with screaming noodly parts make up the attack. The singer combines an unsettling Yow-like babbling intensity with some straight on hardcore-ish emoting to punctuate these tales of self-loathing and make them that much more uncomfortable. This really rages (and skulks) for the first five songs. "Boring Girls" is them murdering one five second chord/riff for three and a half minutes. Gruellingly good. "Ugly Twin" breaks the seven minute barrier and throbs like a festering boil. Then you get the absolute killer on the disc, "Ashamed of My Cum", a quickish bludgeoning that sums up the ethos of this band quite succintly. Then you have the hammering "Closet Marine" and then the intensity dips for a couple of tracks before finishing with the Buttholes-meets-Drunks with Guns fuckfest that is "Wachovia". A quality record for those into heaviness, Stickmen with Rayguns, anti-social behavior, and the ugly side of things. Vinyl forthcoming, for now it's CD only. Booo.(RK)
(Parts Unknown Records // www.buycrime.com)
Pointed Sticks ďPerfect YouthĒ CD/LP
The legit re-issues of early Vancouver punk continue with this, the Pointed Sticksí one and only full length. (Sorry to those of you who picked up the recently booted version, as I heard it was expensive and played a bit slow.) Undoubtedly the best power pop full length to ever come out of Canada, ďPerfect YouthĒ could be a much better listen than it is. Why? Two words: Bob Rock. No shit, Bob ďI produced Metallica, Skid Row, and Bon JoviĒ Rock, got his start at Vancouverís quasi-legendary Little Mountain Sound. I can picture it now. ďHey, you guys know those excellent pop songs from your earlier days like ĎReal Thingí, ĎOut of Luckí, and ĎThe Marching Songí? I have some ideas to sass them up a bit. Like play them way slower, with way less energy, and with way more Ďprofessional soundingí parts. Itíll sell. Trust me.Ē Unfortunately the band listened and the album suffers as a result. Iím probably being a bit harsh here, but if youíve heard the singles and all of the unreleased gems on Zuluís sadly out-of-print ďPart of the NoiseĒ comp, you likely agree that the Pointed Sticks could have done much better. Crappy production notwithstanding, this is still a record full of fantastic songwriting and is well worth tracking down. The title track alone is worth it. The CD version comes with four bonus songs Ė ďSomebodyís MomĒ from the first single, a different mix of ďAmerican SongĒ, ďDestituteĒ and ďAngelineĒ, all four of which appear on the Zulu comp. Limited LP on blue vinyl. (JG)
(Sudden Death Records // www.suddendeath.com)
The Ponys ďAnother WoundĒ 7Ē/CD-EP
Limited edition Ponys 7Ē pressed for the bandís recent Euro tour. The title track is from ďCelebration CastleĒ and the exclusive b-side is a cover of "Good Good Things" by the Descendents. On paper, that might sound like an odd choice, but the lo-fi recording (done by the band themselves) and the slowed down tempo that they opt for make it work. If youíd never heard of the Descendents youíd never know it wasnít a Ponys song. CD version comes with four other previously released songs. (JG)
(Sweet Nothing // www.theponys.com)
The Pope "Society of Friends" CD
A Southland two piece of very busy guys. When I write busy, I mean that you might as well call the bassist Mr. Nimble Fingers and the drummer Mr. Whirly Bird. There is a hell of a lot of "musicianship" going on around here and that isn't always good. I am from the tribe that has "Thou don'test havst to playest everything thou knowests." These gents are not. Normally, a band like this straying into my hunting grounds would be shot like a wildebeest and dressed for the spit. However these yuks mostly pull their tweedling off. Why? Because they have dunked the bass in a swamp of distortion, coating every pluck (and there are a lot of them) with enough sludge to even up the sound. And then they do a little knob twisting and throw in some horns at the opportune moment. I am betting that these guys have some kind of screamo background and were raised on the Melvins and Mr. Bungle. I am sure that their crowd is mostly college kids. Had they been doing this stuff 10 years ago, they would be playing for a bunch of drunks and this would be on one of David Hayes's labels. Take that however you want. Fans for prog punk, math rock, or even Load Records style rockisms might wanna check this out. If your bag is primitive stuff or 1-2-3-4, I'd take a pass.(SSR)
(Satellite City // www.satellite-city.org)
Raised By Wolves "Motorcycho" EP
When a normally respectable label releases something as bad as this, I relate it to stepping in dog shit. Accidents happen. Sometimes you're just not paying attention and you wind up with a hot shoeful of canine dung. Or you wind up releasing a record called "Motorcycho" (sic) by a band from Vancouver with imitation Coop artwork and a sound that should've perished in the Estrus warehouse fire. Watch your step Ken ROck! I'd hate to see you step in another steaming pile such as this. More Brainbombs and HFOS please. (RK)
(Ken Rock // www.ken-rock.com )
Los Raw Gospels "El Fantasma" EP
Six song EP from an English band (including a Black Time member) on a Norwegian label. Los Raw Gospels go for the old three piece blues-trash sound, with a little shambling country thrown in to the lo-fidelity mix. They do it fairly well, with enough energy and recklessness to put them ahead of many similar-sounding European acts that have beat this genre to disgustingly unlistenable pulp. Tunes about drinking, guns, desperate times, and more drinking. "Goodbye to Rye" and "Fryin' Brains" are the keepers of the bunch. Not a bad investment if you're still digging this genre. Better than, say, El Zombie or Low Point Drains, but not as good as any of the bands they're aping. (RK)
(Dull City Records // http://home.online.no/~gt-john/)
Real Losers "Gimmie Action" 7Ā"
Fug. It's no secret that among a scene such as ours, where musical virtuosity is eschewed in favor of one-four-five bursts even a trained chimp could play, the Real Losers are right at the top of the list of bands that strip rock n roll down to its simplest, rawest, and most primitive form. Despite a slight pop-turn on their most recent album (if you don't own it yet what the fuck are you waiting for?) the Losers are best known for keeping the Troggs/Stooges/Supercharger anyone-can-do-it (but really hardly anyone can pull it off right) primal rock flame going. This single might just be the best example of that I've heard to date. Fug, this record sounds like it was recorded by goddamn CAVEMEN!!! "Gimmie Action" charges ahead with all of the simple-minded fury of a Neanderthal stalking a piece of Neolithic-ass. Shake sounds like he's possessed by the spirit of every bored teenager who ever lived as he shouts "Gimme Action! Instant Reaction! Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie Gotta Gimmie Some Action Tonight!" It's the sort of impotent fury that can only be mustered up by a sixteen year old who has spent many a night sitting around drinking coke and playing videogames while waiting around for his buddies to pick him up for what inevitably turns out to be another futile quest for pussy, booze, or kicks of any kind, only to return home and spank it to the jungle bushes starring in the copy of "Titty Slickers II: The Legend Of Curly's Snatch" he stole from his dad's stash. Backing up Shake's superlative teen-angst vocals is an instrumental track so primal it leaves me a wreck every time I hear it. The Hand just mangles his guitar as he forces out a solo that sounds more like a thug trying to beat protection money out of some poor sap than it does the product of a guitarist playing his instrument. Hot Dog pounds out the beat with such simplistic aggression it puts me in a hypnotic trance. Then, with a squall of feedback reminiscent of the scream of a dying woman in a horror movie, it's over. I feel like I've just undergone a sonic mugging, but there's no time to rest as it's time for round two in the form of "Dum Dum Baby", a tune that lives up to the potential inherent in its title. A basic, nonsensical chorus and thunderous rock n roll beat are what this song offers up, and that's a combination I go ga-ga over every time. On the B-side we get to the gimmick aspect of this record (a cover of "Rejected at the High School Dance" which is on every b-side this label puts out) but, FUG!...I'll be damned if this ain't even more of a crazed freakout than the two songs on the A-side put together!!! This single is retarded rock n roll done right, and I feel confident in the future of Jolly Ole as long as there's someone there doing it caveman-style.FUG!(SB)
(High School Reject // firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reatards "Not Fucked Enough" CD-R
Jay is really cleaning out the vaults these days, perhaps a cleansing in preparation for the Reatards second coming, and I couldn't be happier. Even the demo tape table scraps taste delicious. This one starts out with a live "Saturday Night Suicide" from back in the day, and then we get a few tracks that sound like they were from some early bedroom sessions, including a great cover of the Compulsive Gamblers' "Sour and Vicious Man." Is this stuff from the early tapes he and Ryan made? I have no idea. How about some liner notes once in awhile, Jay? You get a few unheard of until now early tracks and demo versions of classic material, all with differing fidelity. The best thing on this is towards the end, where there are crazy versions of "Sick When I See" and "You're So Lewd" (called "I Like Your Titty" here) that are played about half as fast as the versions we know and have this hammering synth sound and slow pounding drums and just sound like maybe Suicide as a full band. Well worth it just to hear those two takes. If there are actually people who just think the Reatards are OK, then you won't be impressed. If you're a fan, you'll eat this shit for dinner. Scum stats: 100 limited copies on printed CDs.(RK)
(Shattered Records // www.shatteredrecords.com)
The Rebel "Kit" CD
When I pulled this from the mail, my first instinct was "Jezus fuck, how much Ben Wallers does the world need?" The Country Teasers Live CD just left the player. I've got piles of other things by the guy sitting around. I am still waiting on some god damn Frenchies to send me the fucking The Rebel 7" I traded them records for, but more Wallers? Also seeing that it is Wallers under the name The Rebel also made me wince. I saw "The Rebel" open up for the Country Teasers and it was dismal. A guy and his game boy and some mumbling in a mic. God knows if there were songs or not. Scott knows that it was fucking boring to the point of confrontational. So that is the baggage that I come to 'Kit' with. So I take it out of the case and slip it in the CD player and, well, I guess the world can use another Ben Waller CD. If you know the Teasers or The Rebel than you pretty much can guess what you are gonna hear: Bedroom born songs played on a variety of instruments, all of it sounding like a good way to pass the day and very DIY. And like plenty of Waller's stuff over the last few years, 'Kit' is good. If you've been interested in Ben's non-Teasers stuff or just want something that isn't all rawness, speed, distortion, and attack but still have a hankering for something punk, The Rebel's "Kit" is be a good place to go.(SSR)
I've always thought that the concept behind the Brit DIY/Messthetics kitchenpunk weirdness was a good one, but actually sitting through that stuff always tries my patience. It's partially my fault (no real attention span), I'm sure, but doesn't a lot of that stuff sound like insincere farting around by emotionally distant trying-too-hard-not-to-try-to-harders? I dunno. I do know that I loved The Rebel 7", and I really like this album. Could be that my already-fandom of Ben Wallers (who is "The Rebel") via his Country Teasers led me down a road I don't often travel, like every donkey says about Reatards-to-Lost-Sounds and all that, but I think that in reality this is just plain better. There are bits of "Duck Stab" era Residents and Flying NunX-Pressway New Zealand isolationism (Peter Jeffries often comes to mind), but this most reminds me of some eccentric Brit in his room playing around with weird blips and wacked tunes. He forces you to pay attention through the more formless sections, because any minute there could be another great off-kilter hook or typically acerbic one-liner, and you don't wanna snooze it. Another Hook or Crook winner! (TK)
(Hook or Crook // www.hookorcrook.com)
Regulations s/t LP
These Swedes took alot of people by storm the past year or so, and had many a garage-head revisiting their hardcore youth. Their reverential take on First Four Years Black Flag and their LA contemporaries appealed to listeners across all spectrums of the underground, and for that they deserve some credit. Personally, I probably wouldn't be buying 'hardcore' records again were it not for their past single re-igniting that flame in me. But I'm stretching their influence here a bit, I imagine. But they are a great band, and this LP cements that fact. From the opener, "Anna's Eyes", to the closer, there isn't a weak track to be found. "Police Sirens", "I Don't Need", and more are rousing anthems, and while I still feel a bit silly about the lyrical content at times, the visceral impact of the songs allows for overlooking such matters. One of the best of the year, no doubt, and look for them on a US tour this fall.(RK)
The Regulations' "Survive in the City" 7" was almost shockingly good - 'twas hardcore that aped US '81 (especially prime-era Black Flag), sure, but with a shit-high level of aggression. The production was great, and the tunes stuck in yer head like nobody's beezwax. The prospect of an album fulla' fist-pumpin' aggro like "I'm Going Nowhere" had me pre-ordering from Havoc, something I never do. So yeah, while it's not the equal of the singles (aggression, production, and tune-consistancy are down a notch overall), several tunes coulda' fit right on the shorties without pause, especially "Police Siren," which will be on the greatest hits record some day. The political stance is apparently 100% sans irony, as they refused a Horizontal Action interview due to the dirty pics - that's stickin' it to them pornographers! So yeah, it's a great record to come home to after a long day of smashing the state and all that. Some bands just got it, and the Regulations are one of 'em - no more explanation necessary. (TK)
(Havoc Records // www.havocrex.com)
River City Tanlines "Devil Made Me Do It" 7"
Third single from Alicja's RCTL, this one a short two-songer, with one original and one cover. The original, "Devil Made Me Do It", is a sub-dude little rocker that works up a nice BFTG guitar driven garage froth before slipping in some weirdo effects-squealing bits at the end. The flip is The Alleycats classic "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore", which I have actually been waiting for Alicja to cover for some time now. Really, I predicted this one, and it fits her to a tee. Brevity aside, it's very likable, even moreso if you're a big fan. I think it's about time for an LP now...Speaking of which, all the singles are being comped on CD by Dirtnap Records, with a few bonus tracks thrown in any day now. Scum stats: 500 pressed on red vinyl. The first few copies have one-of-a-kind hand made covers, the rest have regular B&W copied sleeves.(RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)
Rotten Fruits "Abomination" EP
Whooooo boy, what a stinker we have here. As if the cover art alone wasn't embarrassing enough...Really, it looks so bad I have to purposely stick it back on the bottom of a pile every time it surfaces to the top of a stack of records just so no one sees it. Words really can't do this one justice. Queer punk from Chicago that is annoyingly and cloyingly British accented (in vocals and style). I can only assume this is the reason Darius at CriminalIQ released it, since he's from Wales or something and it probably reminds him of home. So ridiculous they even do a ska tune about "Skinhead Boys". Not funny or entertaining in the slightest, which is saying something because we here at TB are way into gay jokes. The photo of pink donuts on the back cover just adds insult to injury. Too embarrassing to even attempt to trade in. Stay far away from this one. (RK)
(Criminal IQ Records // www.criminaliq.com)
Screemin' Mee Mees "Live From the Basement" LP
Any KBD aficionado worth his original pressing of "Just Head" can tell you that the Mee Mee's "Hot Sody" is a bonafide classic slice o' incompetent basement punk rock. Unfortunately, like a lot of bands that have risen to fame after being comped, they didn't have a good LP's worth of songs in them. The tunes from the original "Live From the Basement" EP still hold up, but the rest of this LP is pretty weak. It feels like they were purposely trying to be esoteric and bizarre rather than just ending up that way out of sheer incompetence. For me that's about two doors down from crap like Zappa, and I can only take so much of stuff like "Too Young To Shave" and "Pull My Finger" before I take the needle off and put it back down again on "Hot Sody" or "Struckout." In other words, there's nothing here worth paying import prices for if you already have KBD #3. Try to track down a copy of that Epicycle reissue instead of plunking down $15 for this. Hey, I wish someone had told me that before I bought the damn thing! I want my money back!(SB)
(Hate Records // www.haterecords.com)
Shady Lady "Raving Mad" LP
According to Horizontal Action, Shady Lady just might be America's first glam band. While this distinction alone makes them noteworthy from a historical perspective, the sounds nestled between the grooves of this record make a case for listening to them on a regular basis. Shady Lady wrote songs suffused with the classic glam formula: monster riffs that call to mind T.Rex and the Dolls (who Shady Lady precedes) coupled with swinging rhythms and Jagger-copping vocals. On first blush the "hit" is the rowdy sing-along "All Night Long" but there's plenty here to sink your teeth into if you've ever had a hankering for putting on some platform shoes and shagging a Sable Starr look-alike. This ain't no Epicycle (which for those of you keeping score is the greatest reissue I've heard in eons and a record that should be an automatic purchase if you're lucky enough to come across one this late in the game), but then again not much is. What we've got here is equal parts historical artifact and kick ass rock n roll album.(SB)
(Rave Up // email@example.com)
Shakin' Nasties "Victim of Time" 7"
Stitches/Briefs styled punk rock blasts from Germany. They cover three semi-obscure punk tunes by The Cravats, Fruit Eating Bears, and Elton Motello. Loud and clean production. Points given for Fruit Eating Bears cover, and for covering a band I've never heard before (Cravats). Points deducted for unoriginal sound. Christgau says C-. Scum stats: 107 copies on clear wax, 141 copies on dark purple wax, and 317 copies on black wax.(RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)
Shop Fronts "Don't Quit" 7"
I really wish every member wasn't credited with vocals on this release, because I really need to know who lets out the, "Hey gurlllllllll" in "Just Don't Know" because it makes me giggle everytime it happens. Shop Fronts haven't matured too much since the split with the DC Snipers, but that's not a bad thing - they were doing the straight-ahead punk rock sound right in the first place. The A side seems bland at first, but after a few listens you start to notice some extra guitar parts that fill out the sound and turn it into a great tune. The Outcasts cover is solid and well, I already spoke my piece about the other tune. (JC)
(Rapid Pulse Records // http://www.undergroundmedicine.com/rapidweb/index.html)
Shop Fronts "So Sick" 7"
These guys really grew on me. After two and a half singles, a split CDR, and a couple live shows I am ready to officially anoint them best current NYC band, but now it appears they're all done. At least for awhile, as it seems Jami Wolf has fled NYC. They do the plain-jane Rip Off styled punk thing with a huge amount of charm. Man, Lowery should have released one of these singles. "So Sick" is a great punk shit, but the B-Side really pours on the affability, with "Shop Front" which isn't so much a theme-song as it is about calling someone a shop front, apparently a piece of slang not yet in my vernacular. Paddy, please explain. "Polish Hammer" totally makes this record worth your money, a sharp blast that I don't think is dedicated to former WWF superstar Ivan Putski, but wins me over anyway. Warning: both songs contain wicked guitar solos. Scums stats: official press not know as of yet, but there are 25 test press copies with photo-copied sleeves that were sold at Dot Dash Year 3. Rule #1: check the merch tables before you get shitfaced and you won't miss this stuff. Me, I got records AND I got wasted.(RK)
(Noma Beach // www.nomabeach.com)
Slowmotions "Dial o mawase!" CD
This collection of all five Slowmotions singles starts off with "Omae no muchu", which I presume is a new track. It follows in the feel of the last two singles, as a herky-jerky punky song that makes you want to sing along even if you can't understand the lyrics. To be honest, I've had a hard time deciphering who the Slowmotions have been over the years. Five singles, right? Okay, first three have Kuro on vocals. Fourth has Izumi, who sounds a lot like 133 who is credited for the fifth single and the new song. Well, regardless of the vocals, the first five songs on this CD have a hi-energy pop punk feel with a bouncy bass and authoritative drums. I swear, at one point during "Yes, Future!!" the drummer plays the true d-beat. Sugoi. So okay, you reach track six and the vocalists change. You go from a higher voiced guy to a more raspy vocalist who suits the music as well, but gives everything a different feel. I want to say it feels like the ill-fated swing revival of the late 90s, and I may not be wrong, but it's not bad, just different. The music is still boppin' beat punk, just with a much gruffer feel. The best part about this compilation is that it's an easy way to get all the Slowmotions singles you missed out on for a very cheap price, along with all their liner notes and small pictures of their covers in the tray cards. (JC)
(HG FACT // http://www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact/top.html - beware! not much english spoken - should be available from BRICKWALL in the States)
The Sultanas "You're the One" 7Ā"
After apparently going to the well one too many times with the Dutchmen, forcing them into a messy break-up/custody battle, and with the Fe-Fi-Fo-Fums having spent their LP advance money synthesizers and effects pedals, Big Boss D. Ferducci was desperate for a hit to capitalize on the ever-growing Boom Boom fanbase. In other words, he needed a record to suck more money out of the kids before they forgot about his label. So what does he do? He turns to the prolific Blackwell/Ladd songwritng tandem (surely the Boyce and Hart of our time), and has them pen two energetic teenage hits ready for instant chart-climbing action. But who to sing them? Somehow he dragged three hookers, er, I mean lookers off the streets of some isolated Pacific Northwest burg, teaches them to harmonize, makes them some matching outfits, and puts them out in front of a band of hot shit studio session players/mercenaries (including none other than ex-Statics time keeper Donnie Hilstadt and Boom Boom ace-in-the-hole Ian Barnett on bass). The result? Two delicious and sugary girls-in-the-garage tracks ready to cause a sensation across the country. "You're the One" is destined to be the soundtrack to many a lost virginity, and the flip might be even sexier. Just fucking splendid. Sounds like if The Delmonas were hot young jailbait instead of homely English broads. Look for The Sultanas to be tearing up the county fair circuit this summer, and buy this slice if you have any sort of a clue. This could be the best Boom Boom release yet.(RK)
Boom Boom of Renton are gaining a reputation as something of a "hit-machine" and with records like this it's easy to see why. "You're the One" is a frickin' PERFECT slab of femme garage-pop that brings to mind the likes of the Headcoatees and the 5678Āfss but manages to sound 100% fresh and original. With its fuzzed out guitars, manic pace, and saccharine vocals this song is a hit if I've ever heard one. The B-side, "Move On Now", ain't no slouch either. The Sultanas sound better than the A-Lines at their very best; in fact off the top of my head I can't think of a band that's mined the 60Ā's girl group/garage sound this well in ages. Get this!(SB)
(Boom Boom of Renton // www.boom-boom.net)
Surfin' Matadors "Drive Me Crazy!" 7"
Despite having one of the more awful band names I've seen in months, France's Surfin' Matadors actually manage to rock quite a bit. Overall they remind me of a slightly less maniacal Mighty Go Go Players, but this is still very energetic and enjoyable shit. It's organ drenched 60Ā's punk, but with enough spunk to keep things from delving into limp-wristed "garage revival" territory. Fans of the current wave of French bands, especially stuff like Les Bellas and the Go Go Players should definitely check this out.(SB)
(Unrecording Records // www.unrecordingrecords.com)
Swimmers "We Swam as for Behavior Our Behavior" CD-EP
Hell, these guys sent me a note which reads like a review. I quote "Swimmers are 'spastic, farfisa laden prog rock cut and paste.' Seattle Portland collaboration ala Algebra Mothers, Tuxedo Moon (sic), Intelligence etc. Thank you, Swimmers." I'd leave it at that but though they might listen to the A-Moms, Tuxedomoon, & the Intelligence, they sound more like Popular Shapes stuff that was meant never to see the light of day. Throw in a teen diet of Monorchid, NOU, and a dozen or so other white belt bands and you get this. Doesn't help that this is the third CD this week that I received that sounds like it could have came from the same band. May that collective unconscious stay unconscious. Boring and pretentious (the CD title and songs titles like: "Domicile, Where I Live" and "If I were an Action...". Who the fuck do these guys think they are? David Byrne?). Avoid.(SSR)
The Telepathys "Game izu Over" MCD
I saw The Telepathys last December in Nishiwaki. Great fellas. They played waveish punk and this official CD release remains somewhat true to their demo CD. Imagine the Registrators (a common comparison, I know), with a bit less speed and you've got the Telepathys. "Ikenai Vibration POP" brings an organ into the mix to push the tunes into the pop stratosphere, instead of the punk world that we're used to. While the pop overwhelms the CD, there are definitely some blazing guitar solos and catchy tunes (especially "Teenage Tension") that make the CD a winner, no matter what the price. (JC)
(Rose Records // http://rose-records.jp - available from all your favorite Japanese record stores)
Terror Visions s/t CDR
Best listened to when you think the volume is "too loud", this is an eight song CDR of Jay Reatard & friends' probing into the electronic realms of each other's brains. Starting off with a moving track reminiscent of the Destruction Unit EP, the mood quickly changes throughout the length of the CDR. If you're familiar with Jay's songwriting throughout the years, this will sound like some of the better cast-offs from LOst Sounds albums, various experimentations with new equipment, and maybe even a lost track from The Faint's "Blank Wave Arcade". One or two songs abort in unexpected places, but the other songs more than make up for whatever shortcomings you'd perceive from that. Basically, this shit is hot and I'm looking forward to more output. Highly recommended for fans of the Memphis recording style and Jay Reatard style songwriting. (JC)
(Shattered Records // http://www.shatteredrecords.com)
Tractor Sex Fatality "Peel and Eat" CD
The debut full-length (by default) from the entitiy that is TSF. This one was actually recorded after the record that should be out any day now on Big Neck, and features a stream-lined four-piece line-up. "Peel and Eat" is a song Scratch Acid might have written. And speaking of them, TSF pull one of the ballsiest moves in recent memory and attempt to cover "Cannibal". And they actually come out of it OK. It's a fairly respectful version, and obviously fits their M.O. There's a lot more going on on thsi record though. "Drumbrake" is straightforward punk covered in slime. On "Marco Polo" they utilize the old Gibby Haynes' "I'm-having-a-conversation-with-myself-through-a-megaphone" as vocals trick quite effectively. "Stain" lurches around with a Killdozer-ish muscle. And the finest moment might be the closer, provacatively titled "The Woodsman", that takes jazz structure and blows it up real good. I like this one a lot, as it is punk without being "punk", and of course I was reared on the early-Nineties sludge this stuff hearkens back to. The busy drummming keeps the somgs in what seems like a constant state of flux, and Rob has the perfect vocal demeanor for this stuff: harsh when it calls for it, but not too overwrought, and just wild enough where it doesn't take away from the music. He's not one of those "Hey, look at me!" gimmicky nutcase types, but the type of guy that lets the music create the spectacle as he writhes on the floor. The only things that could make this better: a lyric sheet and a vinyl version.(RK)
(Dead Beat Records // www.dead-beat-records.com)
Tunnel of Love s/t CD/LP
HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! Flying completely below the radar of the average punk record geek, comes this record, which is so utterly fucked up itís perfect. This is brutal, ear splitting and juvenile on so many levels, itís certainly a candidate for the best LOUD record of the past few years. You only get six real songs, but all of Ďem kill including ĎOh No (Yer Time Is Gonna Cum)í, which is fucking insane. Distil the raunch of The Oblivians, multiply it by ten and mate it with the loudness of a band like The Dipers and youíre getting close. Songs like ĎTroglodyte Bluesí and ĎCry Cry Cryí show that the band can pen a catchy tune and bring to mind similarities to the weirdness of Aluminum Knot Eye and the depravity of Pussy Galore. You also get debauched takes of ĎHey Joeí and ĎPaint It Blackí, which will leave you feeling like you just got fist fucked by a barrel full of knives. Donít pass on this one, cow tits, itís a keeper. (JG)
(ECA Records // www.ecarecords.com)
Unholy Swill "Legacy of Stupidity" CD
One of the great punk songs of the late 80s is Unholy Swill's "I Wanna Be God" and that is not because the late 80s are a semi-wasteland. Nope. "I Wanna Be God" plunges into existence with snare and fuzz guitar/fuzz vocals that both sound like they are recorded a thousand miles away. The drums start sounding like a drum machine and you start to think you are in some filth ridden rock and roll spaceship. Well, "I Wanna Be God" opens up this look at Yonkers, New York's punk idiot savants. For a little more than an hour you get a tard car worth of mileage, a cruise through terrain also traveled by GG Allin, Stick Men with Rayguns, Rancid Hell Spawn, & the Lil Bunnies. At its best ("I Wanna Be God", "Basketcase", "No Generation", "Hellgoat") it is punk rock that will stand next to anyone, anywhere, anytime. At its worst, it is mass stupidity and a questionable choice of covers (The Jeffersons Theme, "Why Don't We Do It In the Road"). And at its weirdest, it is suburban meltdown ("Bad Yams", "My Dog Ain't Got No Legs", "Satan Swill Santa"). Recommended? Sure, like I wrote, there are undeniable classics here. And the half an hour you are gonna hear maybe once isn't bad. It is just not essential. In other words, this would have made perfect 30 minute record.(SSR)
(Noiseville Records // www.noiseville.com)
Upstab ďSomebody threw a gallon jug of Thunderbird wine at meĒ 7Ē
Some months back I ran around squawking at anybody within my line of vision
that I was sick and tired of garage punk, blues riffs, melodic punk, art
punk, KBD wannabes, and really just anything anybody else had been telling
me was good. I wanted something harder. Something faster, crazier, more
pissed off, and something that just all around kicked more ass. Something
that would kick my teeth in, rip my tits off, piss down my throat, and butt
fuck my great grandmotherís corpse while pouring sugar into my motherís gas
tank. I got many suggestions from many people but of course all the
suggestions were way off the mark. That is until Rich Kroneiss, the editor
here at the offices of Terminal Boredom posted on a message board about a
band he said sounded exactly like what Iíd been looking for called Upstab,
and goddamn was he right. Fronted by Chris Erba of the now legendary H-100ís
and Ruiners comes one ass ripper (or ďRaperĒ as the band says) of a record
if Iíve ever heard one. Six fast pissed off offensive as all hell Japanese
and early American influenced hardcorepunk-rock songs straight out of
Cleveland, OH that literally smash your face into the wall and donít stop
until the needle stutters to a stop at the end of the B side (or Backside in
this case). Great artwork features what appears to be a Taliban soldier
using his M-16 assault rifle as a skateboard. Certainly not for the
politically correct or the easily offended, but fuck those human shit
stains, anyway. Looks like Iíve found myself a new favorite band.(MTC)
(Way Back When Records// firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Even Worse Records// www.geocities.com/evenworserecords)
V/A "Alternative Animals" 2XCD
Billed as "An interactive documentary on the Australian punk scene 1976-79", this collection comprised of a CD of music and a CD-ROM is so exhaustingly researched and detailed it is truly mindblowing. Firstly, the music disc. Fifteen tracks from a who's who of Oz luminaries, a lot of which you'll have heard before, like some live '77 tracks from The Saints, and standard cuts from The Leftovers, Psychosurgeons, Chosen Few, X, and others, but some actual rare stuff, like two live Rocks tracks, an unreleased Boys Next Door demo ("Sex Crimes"), and some not so common stuff like Manikins, Whirlywirld, and Babeez. A nice primer for people who don't voraciously listen to records like most of us, but still interesting enough in the few unheard tracks to make it worth owning for collector scum. The mindblowing part comes in when you dip into the CD-ROM. Now, I've seen some CD-ROM packages, and I'm not a big fan. Usually, they're not worth the time it takes to stick in the drive, so I was apprehensive about this one. But goddamn if this isn't the coolest fucking thing. It's an intensely detailed and superbly designed package that is just incredible. It opens on an interactive menu that allows you to pick from six different categories: Bands, Family Trees, Fans, Venues, Releases, or Fanzines. And from there it's just crazy. Clicking on the Bands link brings up the five big cities in Aussie punk: Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne. Then clicking on of those cities brings up a menu with the bands (usually five to eight or so) from that particular city. Then clicking on the band brings up another screen that will contain interview clips, live performances, music clips/songs, pics, you name it. It's just stunning the amount of info that is included. The Family Tree section offers up line-up changes for every band ever mentioned in the annals of Aussie punk. The Fanzines section includes scans and info about fanzines from all the cities included. The Releases section is made up of sleeve scans and info on most Aussie punk records, rare or not. The amount of options and info contained for each band/city/scene will seriously have you overwhelmed. I spent about three hours with this thing one night and only got maybe halfway through it. Every one is covered: Primitive Calculators, Razar, Chosen Few, News, Victims, and more, plus other not so famous acts alongside the big names like Birdman, Saints, Scientists, etc. You can click on the Adelaide section and hear about great unknowns like The Dagoes, Sputniks, or Accountants. You can click on The Victims section and hear James Baker talk about how great a Victims LP could have been had they lasted that long. Click on the Boys Next Door and see Cave/Howard interview footage from 1978. And that's just a minor sampling of the interactive options available for each band. Live video for everyone from The Saints in 1977 to Whirlywirld's first rehersal. Hear Kim Salmon reminisce about The Scientists. Interviews from at least forty Aussie scene-makers, including Kuepper, Younger, Tek, Bailey, Harvey, Mark Razar, Rod Radalj, Ed Wreckage from The Leftovers and tons more. The menus are full of pics and details and I'm not even touching on the extreme amount of shit on this disc. On a whole, just overflowing with information, and a must-have for anyone interested in the history of punk in general, not just the Australian kind. A true documentary in interactive form and just an incredibly well-done package, and something I wish we would see more of. I don't how this is getting distro'd stateside yet, but if you see it, you're a fool not to get it. (RK)
(Shiny Records // www.shinyrecords.com.au)
V/A "Dead Heat Disco '05 Tour" Video
This tape was sold during The Basements, Nihon Noen, & The Slowmotions' tour only, so unless you were there or had a friend get you a copy (like I was fortunate enough to have happen), chances are you might not be able to get your hands on this that easily. If you're a fan of current Japanese garage rock, this might bum you out a bit, because it features some of the finer bands currently playing the style! There are two videos from each of the three bands and between each band is an interview with the guys who run their labels, Pogo 77, Mangrove & HG:Fact, respectively. The Basements' 7" on Pogo 77 has a more moddish feel over anything else, I think, and their two videos are probably the most laid back of the bunch on the tape. Nihon Noen's videos feature one song from the upcoming MCD ("Hong Kong Cafe") and one from their demo cassette. While the videos feature their great live show, they're edited in such a way that it's kind of tough to get a feel for the experience by watching the video. The two videos by The Slowmotions are my favorites of the tape, as they actually feel like music videos, instead of just edited live footage. Lots of computer graphics that would've been in place during the 1980s, simple video tricks and excellent wardrobes make these videos the ones I'll be showing everybody who asks what's on the tape. The interviews with the various label heads cover questions such as why they started their labels, how they choose bands, why they liked the bands that are on the video, etc. It's a nice look into the mindset of DIY labels in Japan, which face much different criteria than DIY labels in other countries, I think. Unfortunately, if your Japanese isn't that good, you might not be getting much out of the interviews! So, for those that have this video, it's a really cool documentation of some excellent current bands and an explanation of why they're being helped out by the various labels. (JC)
V/A Dean Dirg/Henry Fiat's Open Sore split 7"
Super-hot record from two of Europe's finest. They do three songs each, with one of the three paying a tribute of sorts to the other group. The Dirg out-HFOS HFOS on their side, do "Don't Make Fun of Henry Fiat's", two other tunes about getting stabbed in the head or something equally funny, and sound a lot like "Idiota Hyperactiva"-era you know who. Great. On side HFOS you get "The Dirg Never Sleep", which has a big-time chorus, "Invasion of the Name Snatchers", and the freaky "Germans in Outer Space", which sounds like them doing The Who (kinda), with guitar solo and oooh-ooh chorus-y parts. A different sound from these dudes, maybe more punk and less hardcore, with even a little poppiness creeping in? I like it regardless, and anxiously await more from both of these bands. Great looking neon sleeves too.(RK)
(Stereodrive/Green Hell Records // www.greenhell.de)
V/A The Evolutions/The Fatals "Pathetic Split" 7"
Both bands are from the needles-in-the-red, 1-2 stomp school of writing and recording, but I'm going to have to give The Fatals both of my ears on this release. The Evolutions side is no slouch, but none of the songs have an actual direction like The Fatals tunes do. How square to limit yourself to enjoying things with beginnings, middles and ends, right? I'd much rather watch an end shaking to a Fatals tune than something off the flipside.(JC)
Two tracks each from a couple of bands who have slung the sludge and trash as well as anyone in past years. Now, I love the Fatals, and their two tracks are great and slow-grinding, but this record should have its place in history cemented by the inclusion The Evolutions' "Me & Lee Harvey", an absolute monster of garbage-rock brilliance. Mid-tempo garage-quagmire served up hot and stinking. It will fuck up your mind and the needle on your record player. Their other track, eh, not so great. But "Me & Lee HArvey" will make it worth tracking down, trust me. Sceum stats: 300 copies, long gone. Try eBay.(RK)
(Kryptonite Records // burning in the fires of Valhalla?)
V/A "Get Outta Philly" CD
The compilation game is a tough one to play. There's one, maybe two, worthwhile ones released per year, maximum. But that never stops people from trying. This one is billed as a collection of "Rock and Roll from the City of Brotherly Love", which immediately raises a red flag, as Philly has never been known for its deep wellspring of good bands. But again, things like this don't stop people from trying. I guess it is admirable in a way, but that doesn't make these comps sound any better. So, I'll fall back on my patented "Sergio Leone Method" for reviewing comps. The Good: the Bad News Bats are probably the most interesting of the bunch, playing some off-kilter sci-fi garage/punk/instro stuff, sort of a female Man or Astroman, even going so far as to do a song called "Torgo" that pays homage to the walking-impaired henchman from the MST3K immortalized film "Manos: Hands of Fate". It's pretty good, and so is their other track, "Mother Brain"; Thee Minks, who I've heard before, do some acceptable sleazy garage; Misteriosos one song is a nice twin organ soaked trip, even if their guitar player has deemed it OK to call himself Jelly Roll. The Bad: bar band sounds and bad name from Jukebox Zeros; bad Junk Records garage metal and Iron Maiden font usage by the Party Wreckers; bad stab at indie rock melodicism and not-so-clever song titling from Dragon City; some sort of fucking awful techno-nu-metal by Econocaste that made me want to stab myself in the face. The Ugly: Toothless George and his One Man Band...who's actually not that bad in a traditional OMB kinda way. Final SLM rating: I give it one-and-a-half Lee Van Cleefs out of five. (RK)
(Tick Tick Tick Records // www.tickticktickrecords.com)
V/A Heartburns/Frankie the Damage split 7"
Rawk-and-fucking-roll from Finland. Three songs per band. Heartburns are by-the-numbers generic/melodic punk with buzzsaw guitar. Dullsville. Frankie the Damage go for a more early Turbonegro death-punk vibe (meaning they rip off Poison Idea), but do a song called "Fuck You", that actually isn't that bad. I also give them points for the promo blurb "Dope, guns, and fucking at the hot dog stand". I have no idea what they mean by it, but I like it. It's cool there's rocking and shit happening in Finland, but you know, I just wish it was a little bit weirder. We have plenty of boring American bands playing this stuff already.(RK)
(Wanton Records // www.wantonrecords.com)
V/A The Real Losers/The Illegal Movers ďBeat Your Heart OutĒ split 7Ē
ďBeat Your Heart OutĒ by The Zeros is one of the best songs ever, right? I canít be alone here. That song plain rules. Iíve heard covers of it before, and theyíve always sucked giant cock. On this new split, both bands cover it and surprise, surprise, The Illegal Moversí version sucks giant cock. When the singer says ďoh, bay-bee nowÖĒ right before the first chorus, I feel like injuring small animals. The Movers donít fare so well on their original track either, reminding me of Gas Huffer or some other band equally as lame. But wait, the flipside rules! I canít get enough of The Real Losers lately - they seem to be doing everything just the way I like it. Their version of ďBeatĒ is the best cover I can remember of any song in recent memory. Everything sounds perfect Ė the vocals are spot on snotty, the bass is pummeling and unrelenting, the guitar fuzzes along and then wails when itís supposed to and the song is a perfect vehicle for Hot Dogís trademark cavewoman beat. Their original is ďOh Oh Yeah!Ē and itís a keeper, too, as is everything The Real Losers have done lately. If at all possible, try to track down the more rare, one-sided version featuring just The Losersí songs. Scum stats: 500 copies of the actual split, 100 copies each of the band's individual sides on one-sided vinyl with see-through artwork.(JG)
(Ken Rock Records // www.ken-rock.com)
V/A "Staring Down the Barrel" LP
The title seems a reference to the fact that we're looking at the bottom of the barrel as far as unknown punk records are concerned, but whoever was responsible for the digging that unearthed these gems certainly struck some gold. Most of the sixteen records comped here are sleeveless, and the few others have horribly un-punk sleeves (Ducky Boys being the exception though I guess the Exit sleeve isnít too bad) which, along with low pressings, helps make sense of how these tunes remained under the radar for so long. Astute collectors may recognize The Grackles, whose name has been popping up on want lists in the last few years, but their appearance here is the first chance for most to actually hear the record. "Who Needs Wildlife Anyway" is a solid addition to the canon of "KBD classics"ófrom Albuquerque, NM, far from anything close to a punk scene, the tune is cluelessly over the top with lyrics to match ("Who needs wildlife anyway? / All they do is eat oats and hay / All they do is run around and play"). It's a shame that the MP3s I heard of the other songs didn't compare. The biggest surprise on the comp is Mind Games, who haven't been spotted on any want lists (until tomorrow). Their classically SoCal punk homage to "Get Smart" leads me to believe that those guys currently spend many hours watching Nick at Nite. Perhaps my favorite song on the record, and the one that I'll end up chasing down until I own, is the Ducky Boys' "Hooked on Junk." It's an undeniably possessed track that's young, loud, and snotty enough that it makes the Dead Boys sound like Stiv's solo records. Yow. Other winners include Chicago punk thuggery by JT IV; a great Damned-influenced track from Neck Tie Party; and The Ones, yet another great punk-edged basher in classic Milwaukee fashion. The record is not without fault: the Principles track sounds like a Cheech and Chong outtake (funny the first few times but a regular Ďskipperí); Scarecrows is a failed attempt at humor and lacks any remarkable tune; and I still don't understand why Screaming Sneakers haven't landed a spot on one of these compsó pop or not they smoke the Psychotic Frogs. All in all, "Staring Down the Barrel" is a great comp that should shut up anyone who thinks that all the great punk records have already been discovered.(DH)
(boot; try your favorite punk mailorder or distributor)
Weekenders "Any Place Else" 7"
Cutesy girl group poppish-punk from NYC. Nothing exceptional. Not musically proficient enough to be good, not amateurish enough to be interesting. I think...uh...zzzzzzzzzzzzz...zzzzzzzzz...huh? What? So boring even writing about it is putting me to sleep. Remarkable only in it's mediocrity. Cute girls, though. (RK)
(Baby Killer Records // http://www.myspace.com/babykillerrecords)
El Zombie "Amongst Nobodies" 7"
God damn it Europe, please get this blues-trash jones out of your system already. Or at least try to do something new with it. This is the second single from El Zombie, a Dutch two-piece who cornhole the ghosts of Oblivians, JSBX, Bassholes, Jeff Evans, and anybody else in the world who ever played the blues-trash card and toured Europe. These guys sound as if they didn't even work up a sweat after playing these tunes, all four of which will test your tolerance for flaccid interpretations of already played-out genres. Blech.(RK)
(A Fistful of Records // email@example.com)
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