Monday, February 27, 2006

King Brothers - s/t

King Brothers s/t 7" (Bulb, 1998)

At some point in the late 90's I became a little jaded concerning garage-level punk, yes, it is true. One hyperventilating, God-fearing review after another over bands I just knew were patently mediocre had dulled the initial rush of liberating, innocent excitement that the early 90's scene had unleashed within me. For every Leather Uppers and Motards record, there was a Lipstick Pickups or Hellacopters turd floating in the bowl of someone's Top Ten in MRR or Hitlist. For every Teengenerate or Count Backwurds live show there was the counterbalancing ass scratching tedium of, I dunno, the Fiends or some local hack bluessurfsploitation outfit with about as much punk stomp as Eddie Gorme. Part of the problem was the deluge of "calling card" 45s alluded to in an earlier post, but "fake freakout frenzy" on the part of live bands was also a definite bringdownzzzz, merely a way to cover up for a lack of songs. "Please, pleeeeeeze suck our road-grizzled cocks pretty ladies, pleeeeze??"

When I was told that the King Brothers, a Japanese band touring the USA with zero rep, were 'fucking amazing' live, I yawned and expected another carefully observed exercise in paper tiger demolition. Uh, wrong. These fung-fu motherfuckers in white suits put on a contorted display of John Woo-styled Action Theater that had me thinking "These guys must be the stunt doubles for the King Brothers, but no, they're actually playing their instruments during this." That this show went down at San Francisco's Edinbugh Castle, whose interior bears a more than passing resemblance to the interior of the brothel where the Bride-Kills-Everbody in Kill Bill I, is only cosmically appropriate. Thank God I thought to bring my cattle prod along to the show in order to keep them off of me, or my limp would be even more pronounced then it already is. In brief, I think I gained a better understanding of what our grandfathers went through on Tarawa and Iwo Jima. It is worth noting that the blinding galactic forces these guys were channeling that night surely contributed to the spontaneous combustion of their tour van that occurred on a local freeway later that week; perhaps then they learned not to toy with such primal energies...

So, the band's round-eye squire Mr. Pearson was in charge of these "tour-only" 45s that had come out on on the Bulb label (gentlemen, please remove your hats for a moment of silence...thank you) and I gladly purchased one. The sounds transmitted below give an indication of what most everyone missed that night, but for a lucky few. They put out an LP on Bulb, then another on In The Red later, but this 7" is the most enneravating example of their glassy-eyed punk roq. And I started crawling out of my anti-garage punk rut...thanks Brothers. -Ryan W.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Budget Girls - Get in Your Ear

The Budget Girls Get in Your Ear 7" (Planet Pimp, 1996)

The best introduction to Toe Rag Studios and the work of Liam Watson would be an Armitage Shanks record. Unfortunately for this project and fortunately for you, the Shanks have been well served by a CD anthology of their 7"s, something we here at Static Party encourage you to invest in. We could also throw a cut by Thee Headcoats or Thee Headcoatees to you, but their work has also entered the digital age. That leads us to this great little piece of plastic, the debut 7" of the Budget Girls.

The story goes that these are two American ex-go go girls who stumbled upon some London garage punk lads and made a record. Perhaps so, perhaps not. It doesn't really matter. What does is matter is that this pup is a great sounding record. Raw, sloppy, and smart ass, it has all the earmarks of a Shanks record (who happen to play on it). It has the sound of a Damaged Goods record (the folks who released it in the UK) and the novelty factor of a slab from Planet Pimp, the wonderful label of Sven-Erik Geddes, San Francisco man about town and tastemaker.

I'd like to have more to write but I don't. I mean, what am I gonna add, that Teri & Kristen are two mega babes? You have eyes, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.

This record is very easy to find. --SS

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Seculars - Social Skills

The Seculars Social Skills 7" (360 Twist, 1998)

This Seculars EP is one of the records that fueled the creation of this here blog, being a 45 with a fairly generic cover on a label notorious at the time for putting out, frankly, mostly trad 60's b-team garage material. This EP was born to lose. This record is one of this label's few success stories, however, along with the odd Headcoats 45.

The Seculars have a relentless rushing urgency running through them that recalls some of the early amateur-hour hardcore bands of the very early 80's, just prior to the abolition of speed limits, that sound like teens (or post-teens) all fucked up on freedom and cheap, used equipment, bashing away into the small hours. The brief spoken bits that break up said bashing seal the deal.

Every copy I've ever seen of this thing has been promo-punched. The label went under just a few months after this EP's release, which means there must be a bunch of these things moldering in a garage somewhere. Re-release! -Ryan W.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Cave Dogs - The Hellraisers Vol 1

The Cave Dogs The Hellraisers Vol. 1 7" (Kill Yourself Punkarrecords, 1998)

Way back in 1998, I was still dumb enough to trade records with record labels that I knew nothing of. I would go by the label's description, trusting that "eclectic, high energy punk rock" was something like The Ex, not the ska-punk it turned out to be. The hit/miss ratio was so weighted toward miss, I gave up trading records. Though the misses were many, there were a few hits and the Cave Dogs' The Hellraiser's 7" is one of them.

You wouldn't know how damn good this thing is by looking at it. The cover is a cliched graveyard cartoon. The label really didn't put out any exceptional records (other than this), and pretty much the same can be said of the label it morphed into (Rockin' Bones). The band that followed, Killer Klown, is nothing special. It is from Italy, a country whose punk rock high occurred between the bands of Tampax and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, so 1977 - 1983. BUT, never judge a record by the cover. Drop the needle.

This Cave Dogs (I believe there was also a mediocre alt. band of the same name) is great! From Torino, they existed from 1991 to 1994 and are considered, by some, to be the fathers/mothers of Italian garage punk. This two girl/two boy band never released anything while they were alive and are credited with only this after-the-fact release and a comp track. Too bad. This stuff is great. Full bore garage punk that sits nicely between Stooges and Mummies type of noise. Strip the Italian accent and throw on some fuzz and the Cave Dogs would not be out of place in then mid 80s Aussie/Kiwi scene. No bass on this, just a raw organ in its place.

666 made. -SS

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Raydios s/t

The Raydios s/t 7" (Target Earth, 1998)

These guys sprang phoenix-like from the barely-cooled ashes of Teengenerate, and the general anticipation was that their next band would probably be roughly more of the same hearty gruel, just as Teengenerate were a general continuation of the immediately preceeding American Soul Spiders minus all the Rawk! jizz. Surprise, the Raydios took that restless power and channeled it into this EP full of hooky buzzsaw powerpop, one of the best examples of Pure Pop Moderne of the decade. Most every other 'punker'-type band that was attempting to fuse their Ramones fixations with diabetes-inducing sugar frosting (see the Lookout! catalog roughly 1995-2000, most notoriously the Queers) was not only digging for water in the desert, they were burying themselves in the process (MOTO notwithstanding, there are others...). The Raydios actually managed to recreate everything that is great about a crackly Jolt or Protex 45 without fixatedly aping their influences in the process.

The Raydios turned out to be a stopgap band that was destined to evolve into Firestarter, the true realization of the 'New' new wave-meets-powerpop project that these guys were dedicated to finishing. These Raydios also have an LP on the Screaming Apple label (distributed by ebay) that has these tracks plus a batch of others just as great. This 45 also marks an unfortunate trend dating from about this time: the gradual disappearance of Japanese bands playing this type of stuff on American-label releases, or even as findable vinyl imports. I noticed that I had somehow missed a Japanese 7" release by the Raspberries-luvin Tweezers, why hadn't it shown up via the usual 'circa '98' mailorder channels? Japanese metallic hardcore? No problem, here's a phone book full of Ami distros with the required imports. But catchy punk on a garage level? Poof, learn Japanese, fool ... The situation has calmed somewhat in 2006, but you now have to order these types of 7" direct from Japan about 98% of the time, and you have to move fast, like, the week of release. Aaaargh. -Ryan W.

There will be more of these annoyingly elusive 90's Jap press 45s in future posts. -Ryan W

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Copout - s/t

Copout s/t 7" (Team Murder USA, 1993)

Within hours of the Yah Mos's arrival home from their first US tour, Sacramento was covered with Copout stickers. The young lads had played with Copout in Memphis and returned as Copout misionaries. A few months later, Copout came to town and played a house show with the Yah Mos and Audios Gringos. After a very heavy set by Audios Gringos, the Yah Mos came on and burned through a half hour. Then it was Copout's turn. Big amps and big guys and within 60 seconds, Copout had destroyed the Yah Mos, something that never ever happened. Usually it was the Yah Mos killing all the bands they played with, but not that night. Thirty minutes of bludgeoning hardcore punk later and I was ready to join the Copout cult (and I am not a hardcore diehard).

There are hardcore purists who shine Copout. "It's no His Hero is Gone (the band that followed Copout)," they say. To which I reply, "Yes and I am glad." I love the straight ahead, relentless pounding of Copout. It is loud, angry, no frills, barebones hardcore punk rock, with enough Greg Ginnisms to set it apart from their peers.

Here are four cuts from Copout's 1993 debut 7". I love all these songs, but I would put Chained in my top 50 hardcore punk songs. This record was followed by a split 7" and then the band was no more. ---Scott S.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Leather Uppers - Pantsuit Party

The Leather Uppers Pantsuit Party 7" (Famous, 1992)

Two piece bands may have currently captured the hearts and charts of wide-eyed drunks across the planet, but back in the early 90's there were but a few hardscrabble pioneers who insisted on the Less is More philosphy; your nascent Bassholes for one, and these Canuck bashers for two. These guys were one of the funniest bands to come out of 90's garage-punk, and take that in the right spirit folks, I'm not talking about Frank-Zappa-funny here. These guys were 'seriously funny', like, the Mayor of D.C. getting-caught-smoking-crack-funny. I would draw an aesthetic parallel to a certain LA punk band of the early 80's, but you listeners can make the call yourselves. This is their debut disc, released just prior to their emergence as a full-fledged three piece that is their best known incarnation, that being the lineup that ripped off the 'Ok, Don't Say Hi!' CD masterwork whose genius necessitated an 8-years-after-the-fact VINYL reissue. People who like 'riffs' will certainly enjoy this debut platter as well, seeing as how it is bringing off a fine balancing act between trebly punk and arty garage. This 'Pantsuit Party' Ep is their hardest vinyl to track down and the other tracks we're leaving off are great too, especially 'Plastic Hassle', so hop to it, they are currently only available on this slice of colored vinyl.

The Uppers
, rejuvenated by the response to the 2002 LP reissue, are apparently active again at their O.G. playing weight. Hope you all made their Feb 3rd show with Career Suicide. Yup. Punks. -Ryan W

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Motards - s/t

The Motards s/t 7" (Motards, 1994)

Steering away from the less known and hard to find, this time we are gonna focus on a record that is impossible to ignore. The Motards self released debut is the 7" that finally "broke" low-fi. While others (The Mummies, Supercharger, The Gories, The Oblivions...hell, Link Wray) had been doing low fi punk recording before the Motards, it was this Texas five piece that made THE low fi record. Yes, you could argue that there are better low fi 7"s (I can count a few by the Oblivions and at least one Teengenerate), but this was the 7" that started to make people think of low fi as something other than a raw, dirty, and/or technically inept recording. It was the first record I heard where all the sludge and fuzz and shit melded to perfection. And it influenced a hell of a lot of bands, recordists, and labels. Low fi as a movement? As a lifestyle? Hell, why not.

I remember when I first heard this record. I had mailed out a stack of Los Huevos's second 7"s to bands and labels that I thought might dig it. I included a note asking them to trade me their record if they liked what they got from me. One person responded. Dave Head from the Motards sent me their first. I went home and put the record on and was floored. Here was a band that tapped into the sound that I was trying to get. From the opening fuzz filled riff to the last thud, I knew I knew this band. This record became the record that I measured others, including the ones I made and released.

The band was from Austin, Texas. They kicked around for a year or so and then record and released this 7". I wasn't the only one who went ga ga over it and, soon, they were mobbed with request by labels. They ended up putting out nearly a half dozen 7"s and a few LPs. To my ears, this one and the King of Blues 7" are their high points. They broke up toward the late 90s.

So here you go, a cut from one of the most important 7"s of the 1990s. - Scott S.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Robot Assassins - Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Robot Assassins
Beneath the Planet of the Apes 7" (Total Sound, 1997)

This self-released Ep out of Oakland, CA, showcases a much-missed influence that started to overtly seep into the garage-level punk scene at the turn of the decade: minimalized art punk riffs. And not Cabaret Voltaire or This Heat or LAFMS or whatever, but the more skeletal guitar-riff-oriented bands that have been loosely lumped into the 'UK Diy' genre in the last ten or so years, yer Reflections or the varied Fuck Off label artistes. Certainly the Urinals influence immediately jumps out at you, especially on 'Smash', but it's just grin-inducing the way these cats slot it into their shotgun and hit 'play'. As it is, they come off like a more attitudinal A Frames, and indeed they just preceeded that band's rise to global domination.

This was their only official (and half-heartedly distributed) release, although at least an LP's worth of demos that are as excellent as these samplings is floating 'bout. -Ryan W

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