Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gibson Bros. - Who's Black & Who's Not

Gibson Bros. Who's Black & Who's Not 7" (SFTRI, 1991)

There ain't anything I can tell you about this band that hasn't been written before. One of the only great punk bands to come out of the late 80s and, to me at least, the best thing to be born from the bowels of Columbus, Ohio. If you haven't heard either one of their first two albums, it is time for you to get hopping. Along with the Cramps, the Gibson Bros. are the best fusion of early rock & roll, "roots" music, and punk rock done yet, responsible for countless imitators, none of whom have ever come close to the godliness of the Bros.

Here main Gibsons Jeffrey Evans and Don Howland are joined by post-Pussy Galore Jon Spencer on noise guitar. A nice addition before Spencer's descent in jackass-dom. Also here is the best version of the Avengers' White Nigger ever done and that counts the Avengers version. For some strange reason hearing the words come out of the mouth of guys who have actually held shitty jobs and not a teenage punk debutante gives the song a little more heft (and before you soil your mittens, I'd have no one but Penelope sing America in Me or We are the One...)

Also count this as one of the best singles Sympathy for the Record Industry released. -Scott S.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Arch Villains - We Hate Your Ugly Face

The Arch Villains We Hate Your Ugly Face 7" (Sigma Phi, 1996)

In an earlier post below, I alluded to the "200 bands" that were utilizing the Supercharger stencil on their garage-punk sound to varying degrees of success. Well, here's a gang that used the equally paint-stained 'Mummies stencil', and to great effect sez I. Everything about this discus, from the raw-knuckled attitudinizing to the cheapo organ sound to the 'wham-wham...Whamwhamwham' drumming is pure 1990-era Mummies. So where is the bootleg volume of "Songs the Mummies Taught Us"? No point, since the Mummies primarly traded in taking quasi-known 60s garage songs and smashing them into their own template. The true Mummies 'schematic' is thusly a shoplifted bottle of Maker's Mark, pal.

The Arch Villains EP here is a numbered edition of 250, very hard to track down until I finally found it for $2 on my last road trip up to the NW. These guys were from Olympia, WA, according to the address on the back. I shows it my girlfrendo, an Olympian local yokel from way back, with a casual query as to where the street was located in town and she snorts "Psst, that address is out in the Evergreen College dorms, these guys must have been students." This dovetails nicely with speculation by other 90s garage sexperts that these clowns were actually operating on the belief that 90s garage was merely a Beeg Joke (unlike, ya know, 'real' bands like Butterglory or Scenic Vermont or Dead & Gone or Goober Patrol or what have you), and this is supposed to be a demonstration that 'anyone can do this stupid shit'. A putdown concept EP. Sort of like the tossed off b-side to a certain Freestone 45 titled "Bummer Bitch" that also seems to have handily subsumed the authoring band's contempt for their own creation. Takes all kinds, even slumming trust fund posers. All hail rock 'n roll! -Ryan W.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Rondelles - s/t

The Rondelles s/t 7" (Rondelles, 1996)

My first encounter with the Rondelles was by chance. Los Huevos was on tour and were passing through Albuquerque. We didn't have a show but Scared of Chaka arranged for us to stay at some punk house they hung out at. Sometime after taking us to food, Dave took us to a very large club to check out a band that "we had to see." The band was the Rondelles and they were opening for Trans Am.

The club was empty and it was four dorks from Sacramento and Dave standing in front of a very big stage watching the cutest band on earth rip through a set of girl group meets garage pop punk rock. After the show I got a record, we watched a song of Trans Am (all I can remember is that they had a clear drum set), and then went to the punk house to drink & crash.

After that I paid attention to the Rondelles, loyally picking up their newest record and setting up shows for them in Sacramento. They were a band worth following. Their singles and first LP showed them to have a knowledge of girl group bands as well as garage punk classics. They had the smarts to filter that through a lo fi aesthetic. Their playing ability was good enough to pull off their ideas and wise enough not to stray from the simple. And the drummer doubling on Casio keyboard, playing it while drumming and as a percussion instrument, gave them a sound no one else had.

These songs are from their first 7", my favorite of the bunch. The 7"s that followed are also good and worth picking up, as is their first album. However, after the debut LP, they moved to Washington DC and somehow got infected with the suckiness that infests that town. They never got bad, just the Albuquerque charm was replaced by East Coast hip. They broke up a few years back and I haven't followed the former members endeavours. -Scott S.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Supercharger - Icepick

Supercharger Icepick b/w Want It Bad 7" (Pre- B.S. Records, 1992)

Supercharger, the Holy Ones. Like the Motards post earlier, not much to say that ain't been said elsewhen. Just one of the best garage-punk 45s of the 90s, and really, what could you do to improve this? Play faster, no. More no-fi, no. Smarter or dumber lyrics, nah, you leave it alone. Oh, and about 200 bands put out singles trying to take some or all of this formula and graft it onto their garage take with varying levels of success (see ebay for how that played out in the end). I think Supercharger as, uh, *cough*, songsmiths, are quite underrated...

Supercharger got a couple of fantastic LPs out (their debut, released before they ever played a gig, is one of the five best of the whole 90s garage/rock 'n roll/punk thing/scene/clusterfuck) to bookend their 45s, which thankfully were not so plentiful as to ever allow for a dropoff in quality; they are all either good or great, buy them all. This here 45, like all Pre -B.S. label 45s, comes in both 'cut-out'-clipped and non-shorn editions, the snippers being the more plentiful on the ground. Bendover. -Ryan W.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Charm City Suicides - Green Blood

Charm City Suicides Green Blood 7" (Baths of Power, 2000)

Have you ever been to the Charm City? Don't know what it is? Baltimore. I am sure it has its charms for the folks who are willing to give it a whirl, but for the casual visitor, it is a nightmare. Take the downtown exit and you wind up smack in the middle of a ghetto. The streets are bare: Boarded up and fucked up house mixed with the corner liquor stores and check cashing joints. Hanging out on the corner are unemployed men of all ages. The poverty is Black as is most of the city. Go to the harbor and you will find a tarted up tourist district which is utterly charmless. The place is fucking depressing. Even the trendy college kids area seems bleak. No surprise these four miscreants named their band Charm City Suicides and front the kind of twisted noise that only pissed off, dead end youth are able to do. Plus it has the kinda thrown together quality that fellow Balto's Half Japanese mastered AND a touch of Saccharine Trust/New Alliance sound. This Suicides 7" came and went pretty fast. I believe only three hundred were pressed. A full LP followed, good but not as striking as this gem. --Scott S.

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