Friday, July 28, 2006

Twinkeyz Tribute

Mike Rep & the Quotas / Screamin' Mee-Mees Twinkeyz Tribute 7"
(New World of Sound, 1996)

No, I'm not gonna show you my membership card from the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, booster though I may be. Besides this record's subject band is Sacramento. It's participants come from elsewhere. Blah Blah Blah.

Ask most Sacramentans what the top three Sacto bands are and they are gonna tell you Tesla, Cake, & the Deftones. Some joker might say Night Ranger or Timex Social Club, but for the majority of the morons here the big three are T, C, & D. Fuck that. The top three Sacramento bands are Public Nuisance, Tales of Terror, and the Twinkeyz (if we wanna get technical I could claim Blue Cheer for Sacramento, though that would start a border war with Davis and these days peace is what we need).

The Twinkeyz were pretty much two guys - Donnie Jupiter and Tom Darling. Donnie was the song writer and the brains behind it. Tom was the acid casualty/guitarist who drew some terrific guitar lines. An important part of the band who wasn't a band member was David Houston, formerly of the aforementioned Public Nuisance. David recorded all the Twinkeyz stuff. They also had a drummer who hates to be reminded that he drummed for "that stupid band," so fuck mentioning his name. And there was some dude who was in the band for a bit and got thrown out because he was an asshole, but not before he penned and recorded their worst song. The Twinkeyz only played a few times but they record enough to release 2.5 7"s and an LP, all compiled (and remastered) on a great CD collection (now out of print) put out by Karl Ikola.

The Twinkeyz sound is lazy proto-punk rock informed by glam, psych, freak rock, and 100+ degree Sacramento summers, as well as old comic books and a helping of dope. In other words, perfect territory for Mike Rep & the Quotas and the Screamin' Mee-Mees to cover. If you were to ask me to come up with two bands to make a Twinkeyz tribute record, I might not have picked these two (just cuz they don't pop into my head immediately), but I can see why NWOS did. What a great idea!

So here you get one of two songs. The Screamin Mee-Mees doing the Twinkeyz' Cartoonland. Cartoonland is the b-side of the Twinkeyz second (and a half) 7" and the Mee-Mees do it mighty justice. (We will do a proper Mike Rep & Mee-Mees entry in the future.) -Scott S.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Liimanarina - Lantinen Pornokatu 25 B 13

Liimanarina Lantinen Pornokatu 25 B 13 7" (Bad Vugum, 1991)

I'm a big Fall fan, one of my five favorite bands ever really, even made sure on a trip to the UK (pre-ebay, friends) to go out of my way to secure minty copies of the early 45s on Step Forward at Portobello Road prices, even willing to offer limp apologies for Mark E.'s continuing assault on Human Decency (which makes liking the Country Teasers easier as well, its like I'm bombing that part of my brain with anglophiliac poisons). Having said that, the Fall from about 89-93 suck. Suck like Madchester sucked. Beep-boop digitalis and Mr. Smith make for lumpy gravy, and I'll stick to the meat. Into this temporary void in the World Sound leapt Liimanarina. These heroes fashioned a caveman-level Finnish take on the chopped-line, mussed-hair, skeletal-rockabilly-period Fall that everyone goes glassy-eyed over, the 80-83 period. Liimanarina came out with their first EP in 1989, and followed up with two more that are all indistinguishably great. The Scando lingo adds alot to the "indistinguishably" part of that assessment, of course, but since I barely listen to lyrics 90% of the time (thanks indie rock poets with lyrics that only mean something to the three people involved) I couldn't care less.

Liimanarina are one of the bands that kick-started the idea of doing this blog, a totally primal punk band that people either missed because of the deluge of 7" at the time, ignored because of the name/country/lack of industry buzz or just couldn't find due to the rather hit-n-miss American distribution of their record label, the now-legendary Bad Vugum. Since all of their 7" are hot poop, I may try to bend the rules of time and space to allow the inclusion of their debut platter in later days, despite the late 80s pub date. That thing didn't really register with too many ears over here till 1990 at the earliest anyhow. Well, Tom Lax heard it, but we mere mortals...

So, they got an LP out on Drag City eventually, a record that the band apparently hated, but sounds fine to me (and everyone else). Liimanarina, who were essentially just one guy and whoever he could bribe to play with him, subsequently retreated back into the cave for another 2000-year sleep, waiting for conditions conducive to world domination to re-ripen I 'spose. If anyone has a copy of their rather elusive live tape, send it on over, I've got a perfectly good kidney with low mileage, available for trade. -Ryan W.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blatz / Tribe 8 - Bitches -N- Brew

Blatz / Tribe 8
Bitches -N- Brew 7" (Lickout, 1992)

Not sure how I wound up with this 7". Never was much of a fan of East Bay punk and my interest in Tribe 8 ended after seeing them live (don't like cock rock regardless of who plays it). HOWEVER I got it and I am glad I do because Blatz's Roadkill is one great song. Not only is it a story song, it is one of the few that I've heard that pulls off both a Patti Smith and X influence.

I remember when this came out it created a minor stir, not so much because the bands are Out, as in Gay. Rather that feeb Larry Livermore of Lookout Records got bent out of shape because the label called itself Lickout. Ooooooo. - Scott S.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Couch - New Friends 99

Couch New Friends 99 7" (Insignificant, 1995)

Nowadays, everyone who is digitally so-inclined can have their very own personal Top 40, all you have to do is suss out what you've played the most on the ol' handy hip-pocket mp3 music simulator: just toggle that switch. And with podcasting and other venues such as myspace its become a tad easier to get more exposure while the iron is still hot. But waaaaay back in the past, like the mid-90s, personal Top 40s were not so easily quantified. There was this element called chance, which is similar to hitting that 'shuffle' button, newbies. So when my friend A-Tone is constantly warbling "New Freeeeuuuunds ... uh, ninety-niiiuuuun!!!" at my place circa 1997 or so, I know I've got a closet Top 40 hit on my hands. Turns out it's this band Couch, a hot new act on the Bulb Records label, a band whose records I had casually flicked past at yer odd swap or indie store without snaring (back then there used to be good records coming out every week, it was a real challenge to stay focused). So I grab one pronto, and it gets some heavy rotation in my SF-standard 12 x 15 apartmental bedroom box. Now, it is your turn World, simply shove this into your Portableness and rock it at your cafe job over the sound system the day before you quit, perhaps you can continue the chain reaction. The goal is to make New Friends, and irony is OUT.

Couch had a couple more records, EPs and a split LP, and there was a handy comp CD floating around on the aforementioned Bulb label that is now sadly OP (as they say in the biz), since the label itself is now on 'extended hiatus'. The members served (and continue to serve) boldy in a number of other outfits, merely google "Marlon Magus" and "Velocity Hopkins" for more information there. Do NOT be fooled by "Couch of Eureka" on Lookout, they are headbutt-central BAD. -Ryan W.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Splayed Innards - s/t

Splayed Innards s/t 7" (Splayed Innards, 1996)

'twas sent this record unsolicited right when it came out. I figured the Splayed Innards guys sent it to me because they liked or were interested in Los Huevos so I sent them a Rebel Kind. I fell in love with this record the first time I dropped needle on it. It had a smart ass quality that spoke to me and the music sounded like these guys ingested that classic slab of early 80s Midwestern hardcore, Master Tape Vol 1. Listen to Social Retard and tell me that isn't so. Hell, listen to Social Retard and tell me these guys ain't fucking geniuses. "All girls hate me / And I'm really not a cool guy" is a great lyric when it is sung with the lack of energy that the Innards vocalist gives it. The guy has accepted his lot in life. So disinterested is he that the songs melody is never exactly the same. Finally, frustration kicks in and he feels his social retardation. Take Social Retard and mate it with five more songs of near equal greatness and you have one of my top ten 7"s of the 1990s. If you ever lay a hand on the record, check out the thank you's. They too have the same smart assness as the songs.

A year after I got the record, I started trying to track them down. Letters went unreturned. The internet was no help. There was one mention of them playing at an Iowa City record store, which no longer existed. It wasn't until my top ten of the 90s appeared in Maximum Rockandroll (along with a bunch others, in a feature put together by the other half of this blog) that I was to hear from an Innard. By then, most of them had moved out of Iowa City and on to other bands (for more on the band see Dave Hyde's piece in Terminal Boredom). I was able to get ten copies of the record, all of which I promptly gave away. -Scott S.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Yah Mos - Off Your Parents

The Yah Mos Off Your Parents 7" (Recess, 1994)

For the longest time this Sacramento punk rock 'institution' were slagged off as a mere blue-collar low-rent take on the Nation of Ulysses' staggering genius, they being the DC band who married a sound similar to this with lots of expensive clothes and wowed a very narrow slice of a certain generation that shall go nameless (post-X, pre-Y, eh...). Well, no one outside the Beltway cares about NOU anymore so let's just freshen the take on this EP's achievements just on its face, shall we? All these tracks are bashing away with brainy, wreckless abandon, yet they are held together by a sinewy rhythm section that never allows the songs to fall apart into jerkoff/spazz/mess/hardcore. Channeling and controlling this seething energy (in other words, making it accessible) without sounding tight-assed or self-conscious or devolving into a prog-punk-core band (with its nice, safe, mathematically derived lego-piece song construction aesthetic) is very tuff I says. Previous SP post Cop Out managed it. The Yah-Mos do it on this EP.

This particular EP carries the odd distinction of being released on one label (Recess) and then getting reissued right afterwards on another (Moo-La-La), which usually means the first label has disappeared, which as we know with Recess is certainly not the case, alas. The covers of the two pressings are slightly different, so for those of you who 'collect 'em all!'... One of the overlooked punk LPs of the mid-late-90s is the Yah Mos' own effort, mainly because it took years and years for it to find eventual issuance via the Gern Blandsten label. Seek and enjoy. - Ryan W.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Teengenerate - Sex Cow

Teengenerate Sex Cow 7" (Estrus, 1993)

Oh you know this one? Well, you fucking better. It is not only thee best Teengenerate 7" (based on the title song alone) but one of the top ten punk singles of the 1990s. It is for those reasons that this prime piece of puss is being posted. We will assume that you know the ways and whys and whats of this band and editorialize about just one thing: The completely fucked up sound of the lead guitar. The songs starts up and guitars riff away dirty and grindy, not grindy in a grindcore way but grindy as in grinding. The lead rips one off and drops out. A whole layer of sound disappears and when the lead comes back in you realize that the guitar sounds about three steps from death. Excellent. --Scott S.

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