Thursday, April 27, 2006

Designer - Boyz from the Woodz

Designer Boyz from the Woodz 7" (Black Forest Breed, 1994)

From the forests of Switzerland howl this sludge-noise punk quartet. Influenced by Flipper and trodding the same sodden path as the Brainbombs, Designer made a handful of really noisy 7"s, some of which are still in print. Unfortunately this sound wandered into a cannabis cloud and morphed into heavy stoner rock. Great if you didn't grow up in the 1970s. Useless if you did. That, though, is a different post. Here you get two from an ep of three. --Scott S.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Retardos - Come On Back

Retardos Come On Back 7" (Super Teem!, 1995)

Definitely one of the weirder-looking groups that passed through garage circles in the 90s were these Retardos, a singles-only outfit that graced a few stages in the middle of the decade. The singer was a real Tallee, so much so that he probably got dusted with a little snow a few months back if he's still a California resident these days. Another member looked like an extra from Deep Space Nine, I can't place the specifics, just Local Color. That guy in the shades, he was in the Fevers later on. The lads and lasses are playing on this with a fully stacked 'early-90s edition' garage deck, which means they haven't blended in any of the early 80s-ish punk raging that was starting to muscle into the 'garage' scene courtesy your Registrators, Problematics, Pleasure Fuckers, etc., nor any of the late 70s stuff that was obsessing your Stitches or Humpers. Which made them retro-1991 rockers in 1995.

This was on the then-new Super Teem! label, as Darren transitioned his music empire from the Radio X moniker and was releasing the early Donnas 45s as well. I can't say these Retardos deserved a triple LP or anything, but their two 45s on Super Teem! are mid-90s garage at its meatiest. -Ryan W.

Friday, April 21, 2006

God is My Co-Pilot - How I Got Over

God is My Co-Pilot How I Got Over 7" (Ajax, 1992)

Here's a few from this New York City queer art punk skronk collective. GMCP wasn't alone in making free jazz influenced racket. Chicago had a pretty tasty scene going on under the name Now Wave and supported by Skin Graft Records. How I Got Over features John Zorn on sax & vocals. Not only is the squeal pretty distinctive you can also hear Zorn's grind obsession, something that also rules his Naked City. For reasons beyond my comprehension, GMCP records are pretty easy to find cheap. Puzzling given that they are 1. good, 2. not much different than what you hear on contemporary labels like Not Not Fun, Load, and White Denim, and 3. they were made by one of queer punk/homocore's pioneers. --Scott S.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tonight - 1978

Tonight 1978 7" (Freaked Out Frequencies, 1997)

Tonight were yet another fantastic Japanese band, and one of the more underrated punker bands working the Registrators-Teengenerate vein. They only ever put out 7"ers and some comp tracks, which means that they get a little overlooked as the years mosey by. There's not alot to say about this, it's just a powerhouse punk single (with an amazing Bags cover) on a label that has never put out a bad 7" ... it's just that they only released one every two years or so is all. The difference maker for this EP is the production; many Japanese bands are utterly sabotaged by unsympathetic studios that suck the guts out of their sound, as most infamously displayed by the Registrators' 'Terminal Boredom' LP. C'mon guys, I like that LP as much as anyone, but it has no 'ass', no bottom end. If Tonight had put out a full-length like this ...

We give you all 3 tracks for this one. Rock. -Ryan W

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lili Z. - Let's Go

Lili Z. Let's Go 7" (Polly Maggoo, 1998)

Whats ya wanna know bout dis one? Lili Z. is for Zeller grew up among chocolate and cattle way up high in Switzerland. That cow-country couldn't contain this miss so she packed her bags and headed to Paris. What she brought to Gay Pairee was a nice satchel of noise.

Released in 1998, Lili's debut was recorded in 1990. Lili recorded it in her bedroom on a four track, she playing all the instruments. Soon after she joined the No Talents, an excellent punk rock group in their own right. Did some more home recording which resulted in a great 10". After the No Talents, she started a band with a nogoodnik named Jacques (aren't they all) and a couple thugs. They called themselves the Splash Four. The Splash Four released some great records. Moving on, Lili and that Jacques character took the brutish FX from S4 and became VOLT. Sometime after that she did another solo 7" for S-S Records which is now out of print. Here you get two from Lili's debut. One is an original, the other is a cover of a classic by The Urinals. No many were made. Good luck finding it. -Scott S.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spider Babies - s/t

Spider Babies s/t 7" (Rat City, 1994)

This is a band that is far from obscure amongst garage punker types; I think these cats must've put out as many records as almost any other 90's band you could mention, other than the New Bomb Turks. Their sound slightly changed over time from bad-assed roller-rink punk (featured here), to a more 1979/80-referenced punk take padded with graphic sexual references galore ala a less coprophiliac GG Allin, which is what the band is best known for. I think all that laid-on-thick sex stuff, which was eye-rollingly DOA at the time, will age just fine like most punker stuff does once potential audiences are a few scene 'generations' removed from it. I mean, lots of scenesters back in the day thought the Dead Boys sucked ass, were like a WWF version of punk, panderers, etc. ... it all worked out in back catalogue land. This 'Babies track, their 'theme song' from their debut ep, is a fine example of how bands were updating the more directly 60s-obsessed garage stuff of the very early 90s with a dash of modern punk energy, especially in the guitars.

Membership in the Spider Babies mutated over time, some of the Exploding Hearts serving honorably at one point or another. As mentioned previously, the Spider Babies have lots of records floating around, some rarer than others. I would assemble the complete collection now, as there probably ain't ever gonna be a reunion phase for this Portland, OR institution. -Ryan W.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

VA - Suburban Underground: Conspiracy Kids

Various Suburban Underground: Conspiracy Kids 7" (SUCK, 1997)

For the rock & roll archaeologist nothing is better than a regional compilation.
Keeping in mind that the compiler often is telling the story as the way they see it (a notorious example is Brian Eno's distillation of New York's no wave scene to just 4 bands, ie No New York), good or bad, they give one a view of what was going on when and where. The best regional comps tend to be ones that originate from a bunch of excited bands or fans who want to show the world what they are doing (the worst tend to be ones what are put together to market a scene and induce major labels to take a look-see at the local talent). Today's 7" is one of those youngsters-needing-to-tell-the-world comps and the thing that is oh so important to these kids is the Palo Alto, California punk scene. This comp showcases four bands from the Palo Alto area: Jacob Ham (Redwood City), The Dimes (Mt View), The Babysitters Club (PA), and the most excellently named The Smelts (PA). None of these band turn in technically proficient tunes. None are going to blow your mind with something differant, but all four present themselves with a couple buckets full of enthusiasm and a some good noise. Here you get two of the four. The Babysitter Club have that garage sound that draws from early Red Cross and Supercharger. The Smelts sound like they were the teen girlfriends of the Prats. - Scott S.

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