Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Country Teasers - Against
Country Teasers Against 7" (Guided Missile, 1996)
Speaking of 'slow builds' alluded to in the V-3 post below, here we have the UK's Country Teasers flogging a thoroughly Soviet-style Ten Year Plan towards achieving their own AAA champeenship in indie punk. The Teasers have been all over the map stylistically through their many lineups, but listening to this mid-90s waxing sets the tone for most every other record they've put out: harsh lyrics with a real comic aftertaste that sticks to your craw, set amidst a shambling sonic stumble that veers from powerful to plain idiotic seemingly on whim. Bluntly, this band sounds like they were drunk or high during the recording on almost any track you can name in their lengthening catalog; even their choice of covers seems to be the sort of randomly inspired genius that only nerveless drunks can truly nail. It is your call as to whether they are merely swamping their talent or laughingly floating away from the wreck of the world on any given song. When people compare them to the Fall, this is what I think they are trying to reference, it's not the chord structures or the Northern (UK) accent, it's the feel they create akin to the early Fall records that a truly creative brain is battering against resistance (self or other) to create something meaningful to itself. If you get something from it as well... Art! Put on a CT record and read the 'Maakies' comics, it's better than bread and chocolate.
The Country Teasers catalog is largely still in print on the Crypt and In The Red labels, you can find their stuff down the street at your neighborhood record store, the one right around the corner from where you live, ya know? -Ryan W.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Jetpack - In Charge
Jetpack Throw Down 7" (Mortville, 1998)
When I was a kid, the promise of the future was jetpacks and moving sidewalks. Well, I have both a Moving Sidewalks 7" and a Jetpack 7" so I should consider myself blessed, especially since I have this Jetpack record. Four songs that are above average garage punk, especially Throw Down, which is a 90s punk classic.
Jetpack were from the college town of Moscow, Idaho - a little hideaway up in the panhandle and a couple hours south of Spokane. Because of their remoteness, I never saw them play but I did meet them when they drove up to Spokane to experience Los Huevos among a crowd of five. And then I got to hear the demos that resulted in this record. They were great and had I been putting out records by bands other than those from Sacto, I would have jumped on this fucker. As it was Toby from the Motards did and great thing because otherwise these guys might have been just another great band that never gets heard out of their hometown. In the late 90s, Jetpack moved to Portland and put out a split 7". Then they broke up, splitting into the Flip-Tops and the Pills. -- Scott S.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
V-3 - Monsters of Hollywood
V-3 Monsters of Hollywood 7" (Iron Press, 1991)
Ohio exports weirdly catchy artpunk as their primary source of trade credits these days (since the collapse of their laudanum empire in the 1970s), which thusly vaults V-3 into a sort of regional superstardom...sure. V-3 is Jim Shepard is Vertical Slit is one of 'those' indie-punk cult bands whose rep has slowly crawled up the Power Rankings over the last few decades, fueled by one obscurely confounding release after another. They put out a generous pile of 7" through the 90s, even managed an LP on a major-label imprint at one point and toured with some indie heavies as a result, but V-3 generally remains an aquired taste for many, perhaps due to the barking-talking-yelling vocal style of lead-avatar Shepard. Here is a slow-building track off one of V-3's earlier and harder-to-find EPs, make your own case.
V-3 ended with the suicide of Mr. Shepard, but not before he had produced some of the most boggling (and outrageously rare and expensive, like, a month's-rent-in-San-Francisco dear) records over the era 1977-2001 or so. Worth picking up in the 'actually findable' category would be his solo LP on the Siltbreeze label from the late 90s which sailed a might bit under the sonar screens at the time. -Ryan W.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sloggy - Need for Speed
Sloggy Need for Speed 7" (Hell on Wheels, 2000)
If you'd have thrown this in front of me and said, "Here, buy," I, upon looking at the sleeve, would've snarfed. I admit that it would have been a slightly elitist snarf, one that roughly translates to, "Jesus Christ, there's a fucking race car on the cover. Do you see me wearing a fucking flame shirt? Am I sporting mutton chops? Are my forearms inked with flaming dice?" Lucky me that I bought this sight unseen, tipped by a Carolyn Keddy review in Maximum Rocknroll. I don't recall what the review said, but CK is one of the few reliable tipsters at that rag and on this one she was right.
Sloggy is a brother/sister act before such things were both chic and faked. They are obsessed with race cars, particularly dirt track racing, and they are from Luxembourg. By that description, you might think, hell, I don't know what you might think. That is not a combo of things that you are likely to encounter anywhere else but in Sloggy-land.
And what is Sloggy land? It is the tip of the second generation of drum machine/electro punk, re-pioneered by Euros like Lili Z., Nazis from Mars, and this duo. If you need any convincing, point and click Grand National and you will hear one great intro, if you want to call that awesome lurch forward an intro. A great hollowed out/Chrome-style guitar anchors it, some cool vocals and a restrained scream of a guitar lead sits atop. Rather than treat you to another great original, instead you get a faithful but great cover of the Dave Starky 5's Hey Everybody, the original comped on a later Back from the Grave. - Scott S.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Various - King Kong
Various King Kong #3 7" (King Kong, 1994)
The early 90s, pre-garage rock revival, could be a pretty dire slog for younguns lookin' for riffs 'n kicks. Alot, ALOT, of bands chose two paths. One: either super-duper serious, ponderous and full of themselves (and really, really drugged out), or two: goofy-tunes punkeroos who mixed shitty hardcore-emo with quasi-personal political lyrics. Oh, and the ongoing worshipping of late-period Husker Du, that would about cover the rest of what you could actually find at a store. The Brainbombs (from Sweden) could have fallen into that first camp, the super-serious sloggers except they pulled themselves free of the sludge-trudge with the magic of RIFFS. And 'Funhouse'-era skronking chaos. And a perverse GG Allinesque obsession with street whores and big sharp knives as a ready substitute for their cocks...so over-the-top despondent that it achieves for this correspondant a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card due to the fact that the band itself is so so alive and exciting that the heavily-accented vocals just act like another dissonant aspect of the sonic mix, ie; I don't pay close attention to them. Really, I don't think the misogyny of this largely studio-bound bunch of Scando miscreants will add one single dollop of actual misery to the world.
Enough apologia. There is a singles comp of these guys on the Load label (oh, they mastered one 45 at the wrong speed on that, aaaaaaah) that somehow missed this track from 1994, with our antiheroes the Brainbombs doing a nifty little Chrome cover for this Euro mag-with-7' EP series called King Kong. For those of you who acquired the Load comp, here's the missing piece of the puzzle.
Our Scando friends the Brainbombs are going through a little namedrop-revival these days, based partly on their insistance on releasing really good new records, partly on the continued discovery of the keeno-nesss of their past early 90s efforts, which are currently out of print but not too difficult to find as of today (the full lengths anyway). Here's hoping that someone muscles up and reissues their magnum opus, the 'Burning Hell' LP, which has more sheer nauseating riffs than Amrep managed as a label for the entire 1990s. -Ryan W.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Bend Sinister / Kent 3 - split
Bend Sinister / Kent 3 split 7" (Vague Vinyl, 1999)
Listen close to Bend Sinister and you can hear the seeds of the A Frames and there is a good reason why, subtract one member of Bend Sinister, give them a year, and, tra la la, the A Frames.
Wrinkles the Clown has the smart dumb song writing that the A Frames were to perfect, but it also has a relentlessness that you rarely hear in the A Frames. This is one riff pounded endlessly until it is time to end the song and then, four minutes in, some new chords and the thing falls apart with little flair. Wrinkles is a gem of a song and well worth tracking down. --Scott S.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Stilluppstypa - s/t
Stilluppstypa s/t 7" flexi (Gallery Krunk, 1992)
Now here's a 90s obscuro that exists wrapped in a fog of the band's own creation. These experimental chubs from Iceland released a small pile of records thru the mid-late 90s on a variety of labels, and those are the records you are likely to run across in bins or online; they are a resolutely noise-first concern, lots of biff-bang-thud-type randomness and clatter. S'kay, 'spose, but not of interest to us here. This, their debut disc, is a strange hybrid flexi made out of sterner stuff than the usual flexi but yet not quite as sturdy as a mid-90s United Records pressing (which is one step up from a flexi). Anyway, this thing was fished out of the legendary MRR-rejects dump of 1996 (when Tim Yo excised all the "non-punk" from the collection, a purge that targeted mostly grind and noise and emo more than anything else), most of which landed at the ol' Epicenter Zone collective store in Frisco-town.
So, this isn't like Stilluppstypa's other records at all, this is a pure post-Amrep riff churn with a real bite to it the likes of which wouldn't resurface at this potent a level until the A Frames began walking the Earth years later. In fact, that one track sounds like an outtake from that band's first LP, ya think? World Music Brain at work, since there is no way the men of the A Frames ever heard this thing, and since I never saw release info for this anywhere at the time it came out, I would wager a copy got sent to MRR for review and then...that was their defacto total USA 'distro'. In any case, a great slice of 90s aggro art-punk that I would liken to an updated modernist take on the Amon Duul aesthetic. Grows hair outcher ears. -Ryan W.