Friday, March 31, 2006

Captain 9's & the Knickerbocker Trio / Fuckboyz - Most Small Fires

Captian 9's & the Knickerbocker Trio / Fuckboyz Most Small Fires 7"
(Heatpunch/Truth About Fonzie, 1992)

People speak of the cult of Hickey, but what about the cult of the Fuckboyz? This band had/has a madly frothing fanbase whose devotion extends far beyond their mere records and shows, veering into some nigh-Church of the Sub-Genius level of 'life organization'. At some point in the mid-'90s I only half expected door-to-door acolytes to start knocking on doors in the Mission asking if "we had heard the Good News? The Fuckboyz are playing tomorrow night!" Their records used to be everywhere, then by around 2000 they were NOwhere, as if the devoted had sent out fat-pursed purchasing agents to gather up all known Relics and return them to the mothership.

Anyhow, here's one of their tracks on an early split 7" with Stocktonians the Cap. Nines & the Knickerbocker Trio, who are surely one of those bands whose undeserved obscurity pretty much defines 'underrated'. On this record they play the role of Barabas, tacked up next to the Rock Stars but sharing the same fate. Both of these tracks are good, bouncy garage-level punk without any 60's affectations whatsoever. The 'Boyz have EPs dating back to the late 90's, and they were a great singles band, even spawning a tribute (!) 7". Cap. Nines have a bunch of good-to-great stand alone 7", especially the 'Hot Rails to Hell' EP, and their out of print LP on Rip Off would be one of the surprise finds of the mid-decade for many, sort of akin to a lost Fells LP. Seek, my children! -Ryan W.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lil Bunnies - s/t

Lil Bunnies s/t 7" (Moo-La-La, 1995)

It has come down this: The debut 7" of Sacramento's most fabled bands (and you thought that honor went to Tesla). According to the band, the Lil Bunnies is the result of a vivisection experiment gone awry. The scientists doing the experiment slipped up and the lasers they were using bounced off the bunnies they were cutting up and back at them. Somehow the scientists ended up as man rabbits with a hard-on for humanity, bent on destroying the world through music. Others argue that they are just a bunch of schlumps in pink tights, combat boots, pink stocking masks, bunnie ears and black sunglasses. Such is the nature of the Lil Bunnies that seeing one of it's (former?) members around Sacramento is akin to spotting a war criminal in Bolivia. You don't just walk up to one of them and say, "Hey, aren't you Klaus Barbie?" That being the case, you just don't ask them to clear up this mystery.

The Bunnies crashed an Easter parade and played 6 shows, the last of which was the infamous Gilman Street show, where they set a record for the shortest set played before getting the power turned off (5 minutes) for hitting some guy with a guitar. Other shows featured an entrance in a pink Lincoln with a sawed off top and bunnie ears attached to the front. And then there was the Easter Day release show for this record where they sat on the stage in lawn chairs and threw eggs at the crowd while playing the record on a fucked up Fischer Price record player.

This record was initially pressed in a run of 300, 200 of which were sold out of one store in Phoenix, Arizona, a feat which gave the Lil Bunnies number one slot in Rolling Stone's indie charts. Two pressings of 300 followed. All are on pink vinyl and in hand painted sleeves.

The Bunnies followed this masterpiece with the Unabunnie 7", Get Out of My Bunnie Hole 7", and 20 Children's Favorites LP, a record the label which put it out called the worst record ever made. Here you get four songs out of six. Three are originals. One is a cover of an Electric Eels song. Recorded by the Tiki Men's Micah Kennedy at The Loft. --Scott S.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ulan Bator Trio - Stereo Hi-Fi

Ulan Bator Trio Stereo Hi-Fi 7" (Discos Alehop!, 1996)

So I'm sitting at a desk late at night looking online for information on the Country Teasers, hm, which of their EPs do I lack? Slowly sliding the Mauser out of my mouth, I find the listing for their most recent 7" waxing, that weird paste-on-sleeved EP that came out on a Spanish label in 2004 and vanished overnight. Hm, the Discos Alehop! label, interesting, let's see what else they've put, a whole slate of bands I've only vaguely heard of or have never heard tell of at all. A band pops out, that's an interesting name, the Ulan Bator Trio, so a google search gives me a strange Spanish webpage with some of their MP3's. Wow, these guys were fantastic! A dirty, buzzing wall of feedback that sounds like someone shrinkwrapping a furniture set. The page subsequently disappears, taking the MP3's with them. Rats. My life is a little colder. I beat the dog.

A year later I win the EP that we've posted here via the Very Evil Ebay website (Don't Smoke Either, Kids! And help Muhammad Ali Fight Tooth Decay!) and now I can somewhat duplicate that page of MP3's from 2004 or so. For any American types out there, can any of you honestly say you had heard of these guys, I mean, really? I am fully aware that the '90s were not exactly a great era for alot of continental garage-punk type bands; for every Crash Normal or Cave Dogs there were a dozen Italian surf-psych records or a dozen muscle car droolers (badly) aping the New Bomb Turks; and I used to regularly bait the Euro inadequacy in MRR reviews, so skipping the whole area's output could have been excused as an exercise in musical and collecting self-preservation. Because of that terrible bias, I had to wait until I was nearly 70 years old to hear the Ulan Bator Trio.

Here they are, three tracks from the "Stereo Hi Fi" EP, and they have another EP and an LP as well, as it turns out. And they made their own guitars out of junk, and I think their drummer played with animal bones, it looks like. And the internet continues its relentless assault on parochialism, shining some light on a cult scene band from Spain. -Ryan W.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Paska - Hetrosapiens

Paska Hetrosapiens 7" (Human Wreckords, 1997)

You would think that twenty years down the road there would be no question that punks could either count past four or had no need for numbers whatsoever. But that isn't the case. In punk rock there has always been a punk rock orthodoxy, whether it shows itself as political or musical, it is there. I am sure someone somewhere will listen to this one and think "This is not punk rock." Yup. Next thought.

Paska is a one-man band from Finland. He plays one instrument, his mouth. With his mouth he makes a hell of a lot of noise. His first record came out in 1989 on the legendary Bad Vugum label. This one is his fourth. He has played with tons of bands and continues to perform today. For more about him see this. -Scott S.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Chinese Millionaires - White Collar Criminals

Chinese Millionaires White Collar Criminals (Punkity Rockity, 1995)

Nineteen ninety-five was still mostly treble-central in garage-punk circles, so this first record by the Chinese Millionaries really came out of the blue with its bass-heavy, raw-throated attack. You got a sense that there was a big pile of humanity behind the microphone, a vision that was finally realized when I saw them play in San Francisco. All four songs on this thing are damn fine aggro Detroit punk, but the two covers (not here, get cracking) were especially well chosen: that bass really adds a gut rumble to their take on the Real Kids' 'Reggae Reggae'. Not many bands can pull off this type of sound, as you usually end up with head-nodding tedium with this sonic approach (see: later Hookers), but these guys had it down.

This EP was reissued by the fine folk at Demoltion Derby some years later, which was a good thing as even in the late 90's the original press was pretty hard to track down, especially since (like the Motards first) there was no address anywhere on it. The C. Millionaries joined the Rip Off stable and got an LP out before the End. Some member(s?) ended up in the Metros before long. -Ryan W.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Persuaders - Van Ride

The Persuaders Van Ride 7" (Royal, 1998)

There ain't a lot more you can say about Van Ride other than it is one evil sounding song. The fucking thing creeps up on you like a stalker and drags you into the woods for a night of wickedness. Produced by Jack Oblivion, one of New Orleans' greatest punk bands ever pounds out three great songs, the best of which is the aforementioned monster, Van Ride.

The Persuaders were Shaggy, Jason Craft, & King Louie. Formerly of the Royal Pendeltons and soon after doing his one man band thing, as well as Bad Times and Kajun SS (as well as stints in the Exploding Hearts and others), Lou is the heart and soul of this scuzz black mob, a gang that has two Flying V guitars as its weapons.

This is another excellent release by Royal Records. I believe it was a 500 run, though if I am wrong I am sure some French creep will correct me. The Persuaders released a LP on some Swedish label, which isn't quite as good as this pup. They broke up before they overstayed their welcome. - Scott S.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Kirks - Get Out

The Kirks
Get Out 7" (Cup O'Knowledge, 1997)

Just some straight ahead punk bashing from our new-old friends the Kirks, who hailed from the state of New Hampshire if I'm not mistaken. If they are from Vermont, I am deeply, deeply sorry. You can hear the New Bomb Turks on this record, dontcha think? I think they were trying to be totally 'garage', well, they end up totally 'punk rock'. This was their first EP, which came out on this emo-ishly named record label whose only output was this single single. The Kirks barely toured outside of their home state, but I think that's just par for the course for a garage-punk singles band circa 1997. A shame, they could've been bigger than...the Gimmicks?

The Kirks put out a couple more 45s on Euro labels like Royal, any one of which would be suitable fare for this blog. In fact, I think we'll do another in the future. -Ryan W.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hali Gali Halid - Vo-Zdra

Hali Gali Halid Vo-Zdra 7" (Listen Loudest, 1991)

What do you get when you cross a smart ass with a knowledge of Turkish folk music with a Croatian garage punk band? Hali Gali Halid's Vo-Zdra 7" is what (yeah, I know, you saw that coming from a mile away). HG Halid was the singer for the Croatian garage punk band Majke. He also knows his Turkish music. So when a wave of trendy commecialized faux-Turkish folk music swept up Yugoslavia in the early 90s, Hali decided to make a record mocking the trendies, using Turkish melodies backed by a hapdashed punk band. His pal Zdenko pressed up 500 copies of this four song 7" on his Listen Loudest label, which released a wealth of music documenting the Croatian punk scene prior to the Civil War. Zdenko released a CD of Hali Gali Halid, which sound less experimental and more like a Turkish Hawkwind. Supposedly another Halid CD is in the works. (At this point I should disclose that I have a small stake in this record, having bought many copies to sell through S-S Records.) Enjoy a sound that you've never heard, unless you have already heard this. One of four songs. -Scott S.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cockscratch - s/t

Cockscratch s/t 7" (Needle, 1996)

With records like these you can really start to pick up the quite apparent Registrators influence going through the Japanese scene by the mid 90's, as opposed to Teengenerate. All three tracks by this here Cockscratch are purely in the vein of that band's pre-'Terminal Boredom' singles; fast (but not a blur), scratchy and completely illegible. Their 'Janglish' is best understood on the last track, a spot-on cover of the mightily underrated Models (UK) 'Man of the Year' 45 from 1978, probably because they are trying to annunciate in a propah English accent, 'roight? This was a 300 press that sold out very quickly and was veddy tuff to track down at the time, I had to depend on a UK-via-Japan source to get this copy into my trembling mitts. No sleeve issued, but it came with a big fold-out insert to tape up on the wall in your rabbit-hutch Tokyo apartment, but you'll have to take something else down first, hm... This band also has tracks on the superlative Chloroform compilation, which is probably the single best representation of 90's garage-kbd-styled punk from the Japanese scene. Every home etc.

Cockscratch also was the first record put out on the not-quite-notorious-yet Needle Records, apparently a side project hobby label for a member of fast power poppers Radio Shanghai (sic?). This label seemed to take several years off before exploding with a rush of great new records around 2003-4, which is remarkable as labels almost never come back from a fallow period, that's usually the end of the line. Here's hoping they don't sink back into that bear cave for another five year snooze. -Ryan W.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Young Ones - Era of Hopeful Monsters

The Young Ones Era of Hopeful Monsters 7" (Punk Before Profits, 2000)

My pet peeve regarding 90s punk isn't Green Day making it big. It isn't mosh metal hoodies making terrible noise. It isn't even ska-punk. Nah the thing I hated about the 90s punk scene was the overuse and misuse of the word "kids." I guess I could go back 30 years and blame Sham 69, but for 30 year olds referring to themselves as kids?

Nah, that is a 90s thing. Whether punkers want to admit it or not, the "kids" fixation is just another facet of American youth worship, uhhh actually American youthfulness worship. Between you and me, Americans really don't like kids. They might say they are doing all these wonderful things like the War on Terror and the War on Drugs for the children, but it is just cover. Americans hate kids. Even the Americans who refer to themselves as kids hate kids. They hate kids because kids remind them of a time when they didn't have to work or pay bills or get in adult fights with your wife or see a therapist or look in the mirror and say "Okay, now what?" They look at kids as being carefree and full of play. But it is all bullshit. Ask a kid, what it is like being a kid and that kid will tell you it sucks and they can't wait to grow up. "Stay a kid," you plead and they look at you like you are crazy.

Take the Young Ones here. These Young Ones are not to be confused with the Japanese band of the same name, as Our Subjects For Today are from Ellicottville, New York, which I believe is Upstate. For these kids, life sucks. Want proof? Listen to them, "Right now I'm living hell / All the good things seem to repel / Open my eyes and lower my head / All that I see is civilized dead / 17 years of life down the drain / Nothing will ever change / Nothing is adoring / I'll be damned I'm born with a story."

And don't think these guys are fooling around. According to Ryan, the guy that put out this record, "I think the one thing about this band that I really love is the true love for music they have, and how honest and true they live their lives. I sat in on a couple of practices, and the heart alone fills the room. Alex doesn't even use a mic he just screams the words. Jesse plays the bass with all his head, and even if Steve never talks you know he loves what he is doing."

Chuckle if you must, but these kids really do mean what they sing. And as sloppy and haphazard as their songs are, do believe that every note is played with passion. Alex might think his 17 years are little more than "civilized dead" and that he is living in hell, but his misery is full of so much life and so much youth that it is enough to make someone like Dick Cheney start a war just to kill him off.

This record is all about youth and youthfulness and being a real kid. It has much charm and, as Ryan told us, a hell of a lot of heart. And for you cynical fucks: Only 250 made. --SS

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