Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rock 'n'Roll Stormtroopers - I'm a Rebel

Rock'n'Roll Stormtroopers I'm a Rebel 7" (Incognito, 1999)

Hidden behind one of the worst record covers ever is one gem of an EP. Germany's Rock'n'Roll Stormtroopers put forth one of the most perfect matings of punk and glam, coming up with something that sounds one step removed from the great Hubble Bubble. Don't believe me? Listen to Shut Your Mouth and Bulldozers (On the Loose) and dig the Slade/Sweet goes punk rock and that jackhammer drumming and if it doesn't bring to mind Our Belgian Heroes, well, forget you! I don't know how many of these were pressed but I gotta think about a thousand, given that this came out at the tail end of Incognito's big vinyl push. I don't imagine that these are too uncommon. A combo of it getting released during the late 90s vinyl glut and the shitty sleeve makes me think it is sitting in hundreds of dollar bins everywhere. Do pick it up, the four songs on this one are all keepers. _ Scott S.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Splash 4 - Different

The Splash Four Different b/w Pink Dress (Rock A Rolla, 1996)

Ah, the Splash Four. The TV Killers may have gotten a record out first but it was the Splash Four (name picked up from a 13th Floor Elevators song) who were the first Frenchies to have any kind of profile with Ami record buyers. They seemed singularly devoted to popularizing then-totally obscured European punk songs in the French language; indeed, this here track Different is a Strychnine cover. It was certainly refreshing to have a garage punk band dipping into a whole 'nother bag of tricks rather than trotting out the umpteenth Fun Things cover. This was also the band that marked the 'return' of Lili Z to the ranks of the rockers, there being some inexplicable delay between the 'Four and Manisch Depressiv (see KBD #6). She really was unique amongst gurl guitarists in the 90s: She fashioned a different sound for her other band the No Talents and for her solo stuff as well, without much commercial impulse to do so. Just liked to play, wotta concept...

So this 7" is probably the hardest Splash Four disc to track down, I certainly grabbed it the one time it showed up on a wholesale list, so we give you both tracks. There was a Splash Four comp CD on a Japanese label with these tracks but since it is now out of print as well treat this as a teaser to push you into tracking it down on Soulseek. -Ryan W.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Clone Defects - Scissors Chop

Clone Defects Scissors Chop 7" (Tom Perkins, 1999)

A year or so ago, a smart ass at Terminal Boredom named Eric Lastname coined the phrase "weird punk" to describe everything from the Piranhas last work to what is currently going on in France. The weird in weird punk is what I like to think of as the number 5, in that weird punk bands know how to count past 1, 2, 3, 4.

We can debate who the first weird punk band was and I think 9 out of 10 people who care (very, very few) would give the honor to the Electric Eels and why not? The E. Eels pretty much sum up everything that is weird punk about weird punk: Aggressive, abrasive, creative, and not overly concerned with musicality. Since the Electric Eels, weird punk has been found in No Wave, in late 70s San Francisco, early 80s San Pedro, Chicago Now Wave, and now sprinkled around the United States and definitely in France.

So why rant about weird punk in a post about the Clone Defects? Well, if you are gonna peg the now surge of weird punk to one record, Scissors Chop is a good choice (you could also pick Crash Normal's EP on Royal). When I first heard Scissors Chop, I flipped. "How come there isn't more shit like this?" I asked myself. The answer to my question came fast. Though the Clone Defects weren't to get any more "weirder" (perhaps Timmy Vulgar saved the weird for Human Eye), it seemed like post-Scissors Chop, lots of strange, challenging, and very listenable punk bands appeared. I wouldn't say that the Clone Defects are responsible, but, rather, that they tapped into a vibe that was just starting to grow loud.

Scissors Chop is a great record. -- Scott S.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Cupid Car Club, M.P. - Join Our Club...

Cupid Car Club, M.P. Join Our Club... 7" (Kill Rock Stars, 1993)

This was one enormously popular 7" at the time of its release, enjoying props from both the garage rocker and Grrrl camps. The garage folks dug it for the hooks and the tunes, the Grrls for who was in the band, I guess. It's essentially a Nation of Ulysses (or the Make Up) lineup, with Kim Thompson of Delta 72 onboard. All the songs benefit from the tossed-off nature of the presentation, and since the Cupid Car Club wasn't intended to be anyone's 'serious' touring group there is a morbid playfulness on here that seems to be absent from NOU and their successor outfits. All the songs on it are, like, rad. So rad that KRS kept it in print continuously for almost a decade, so it shouldn't be too hard to track one down.

This was their only vinyl other than a song on the Rock Stars Kill comp. Usually there is some wicked rare cassette floating around with this kind of project...but nope. There is a fan site (!) for this band that you can visit if you are some kind of sickie: http://www.angelfire.com/bc/cupidcarclub/joinourclub.html -Ryan W.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Mulligrubs - Lil Miss Arthur

The Mulligrubs Lil Miss Arthur b/w Cadillac Blues 7" (Mullitone, 1995)

What a better way to swing in the new year than with a trio of white Silicon Valley teens trying to sound like a bunch of old Black men from Memphis, especially when they pull it off or at least create something that is highly listenable and very entertaining?

The Mulligrubs remain a mystery to me. This record came unsolicited to a volunteer run record store that I helped run in the 90s. It got put in a pile to price. I priced it and then I thought, well, it has a hand screened sleeve, maybe I ought to listen to it. Put it on & took it home. I was doing Moo-La-La Records at the time and was always looking to trade records so I wrote them once, thrice, five times and got no answer. Every once in a while I'd come across someone who had the Mulligrubs one and only single and we'd hype it to each other.

Both songs fit in with the 90s garage revival; however the Mulligrubs come at it from an angle honed by the Gibson Bros., 68 Comeback, and the Oblivions. A bit more good-timey than the O's and not as sleazy is 68C, the Mulligrubs try to conjure up the same greasy R&B sound that fuels both. Lil Miss Arthur is simple but really intoxicating. And though the ill-advised Negro jivin' at the top of Cadillac Blues, as well as the subject of the song, leave me shaking my head in a "What were they thinking" moment, the song is great. Funky, dirty and as dancable as any punk soul moderne, and these guys don't look a day over 17!

The sleeve says 500 of these were pressed in San Jose, California.

Happy New Year! - Scott S.

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