Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sunshine Super Scum - Two Reactions

Sunshine Super Scum Two Reactions 7" (Silt Breeze, 1996)

Ahhhhh, the joy of the one-off 7" EP. Sunshine Super Scum are from Nippon, but their music is from the center of the earth, molten fury played by angry art-brats on a mission. There is a great wildness on this 45, released on the always stimulating Siltbreeze label in the mid-90s (right in the middle of the 7" glut that has been referred to in other posts), a wildness born of several members' origins in the super-amoeboid musical organism commonly referred to as the Boredoms. Collecting the Boredoms many releases can be a pastime that would require you to not only attempt survival with only 2 liters of blood in your body, but to build that donated blood back up on a beans and rice diet. This 45, however, is not gonna break the bank to track down, trust me. These mere mp3s will not do it for you, either. We are talking one of the definitive examples of non-jerkoff mid-90s artpunk here, with a healthy dose of early 80s hardcore spazz, especially in that Ginn-flat guitar tone, oiu? Surprise! It was produced by Fink from Teengenerate.

I lied, the 'Scum have another 45 on the now-defunct Vinyl Japan label that is probably becoming alot more elusive than this platter, but I'll bet copies are all over the shops in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. What, you were planning on doing something else this weekend? -Ryan W.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rock 'n' Roll Class - s/t

Rock 'n' Roll Class s/t 7" (Hate, 1998)

Now, I finally get to disparage the Italians. What the fuck, dudes? What the hell happened after that early 80s punk and hardcore explosion, your entire country produced like five rock 'n roll bands that were any good over the next ten years and the only one that I can actually recall off the top of my head is the Starfuckers, so maybe it was just them. Fucking Yugoslavia produced more great rock during that time than you guys for chrissakes. FUCK!

But now it is time for Class. The Rock 'n Roll Class to be precise, one of the many Italian bands that started popping up in the mid-90s to rescue a national rep that had been bogged down under an avalanche of boomy industrial dance remixes, pop-reggae mediocrity and Amrep-styled riff bores wearing stupid spaghetti-western hats. These cats are channeling this One Band that immediately comes to mind: the Pack (kraut version). From the gravelly vocals to the primitive yet forceful guitar churn, this 45 exemplifies the return of a truly effective garage-level rock mentatlity to the Italian scene (and I don't mean all that limp noodling pansy-on-a-doily 60s psych 'garage' dressup stuff they were peddling in the early 90s). There are a bunch of other 45s that started coming out before and after this one, recs that will get the treatment later on. Let's just say that people who are on the fence about Taxi, well, their first 45 is a different animal.

I think this 45 is still available from the label that done released it, Hate Records in Italy, still very much alive and putting out some good reissues these days. -Ryan W.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Four Eyes - Hat Nerd

The Four Eyes Hat Nerd 7" (Sacramento, 2000)

The first time I heard the Four Eyes was on the way home from a Los Huevos gig in Santa Cruz. I forget which show it was, perhaps the one in which we met the fabulous Oliver Brown and then went to a movie theater to watch the GG Allin documentary. Sometime that weekend they gave us a copy of their tape, Rock & Roll. We listened to it on the way home and fell in love. Stupid songs about being a nerd, but not just stupid, very well done stupidity. The music was sloppy and poppy, very much in the sound and spirit of Sacramento bands like the Bananas, Nar, Horny Mormons, etc. These guys seemed like they were Sacramentans. Soon they were playing in Sacramento more than in Santa Cruz. And in 1997 or so they finally moved to Sacramento. Since then they've pretty much been looked at as a Sacramento band, something that I don't think they mind at all, and something that actually fits, being that they've been a Sacto band much longer than they were a SC band. They put out one 7" (1995) of songs from the tape. Unfortunately they rerecorded the songs. After Come Prepared, the Four Eyes gigged a lot but other than cover songs, few new songs entered their set. Then one evening at the Loft, they pulled out Hat Nerd. People flipped. The song was probably the stupidest song they had done to date - A song about a guy who collects hats. The sloppy poppy chorus had every "Loft Fag" singing to him/herself for weeks on end. The song saw vinyl thanks to Sacramento Records. The song also so some life past vinyl. I was told that some elementary school kids with a in-the-know teacher did a skit to Hat Nerd, to which the Four Eyes were invited. --Scott S.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Headache / TV Killers - Teenage Sapiens

Headache / TV Killers Teenage Sapiens 7" (Total Heaven, 1995)

This record sort of functioned as my introduction to the modern French rocking punk scene, hidden in yet another split 7" rolling into MRR amidst the torrent of mid-90s 7"ers. You would not belive the sheer number of black 'n white sleeved two-band 45s coming in from Europe in those days, eeeeeh. My fellow reviewer Jeff Random got it for review, and I pulled it out of the stack as well and threw it on to give the French one more chance, more of a chance than they had been giving themselves for what seemed forever. The Headache side I remember as having one good song (here it is) but it was the flipside band who ruled. The TV Killers have a sort of floppy production take on this that robs the song of alot of its muscle-bound propulsive power, but it's that evisceration that enables you to hear the damn guitar, which is properly itchy and scratchy. Ah, mid-90s bands sure loved their wall-of-Ramones guitar wash, especially the New Bomb Turks, who perfected the sonic pummel that reduced alot of potentially good 45s into a soupy grey mush. It ruins the other two songs on the Headache side of this record. Here the TV Killers break the mold.

The TV Killers put out lots more records through the 90s and early 00s, most of which were cursed with terrible cover art that kept away possible converts, cie la vie. Their records, other than this debut EP and their first (really really good) LP on Total Heaven, are pretty easy to find. -Ryan W.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Millionaires - Return to the Island of the Robots

The Millionaires Return to the Island of the Robots 7" (Teen Patriot, 1995)

Welcome to the land of obscurity. You've been there already? Well, thanks for coming back. Here we have one of the Millionaires two 7"s. I've heard them both and this one is my fave. Meat & potatoes bar-chord punk of the kind slicked up by the New Bomb Turks. Take a bit of Saints, a lump of Misfits, shave off some talent, and run it through a wah wah peddel and you know the formula. While it's been done by many a bad band, the Millionaires are one of the few who chugged fine with it. One huge tipping point in their favor is their total lack of attention to high fidelity and perfection. This is rev it up and go of the variety that has nothing to do with Gearhead and everything to do with Fuck It.

I am told that when this came out there was a bit of a stir. Not because of the record or band, but because of the label. Looks like Team Patriot had the nerve/balls/lack of brains (depending on your political predilection) to announce that they were putting out a Johnny Reb 7" flexi. Johnny Reb is infamous for his racist rock & roll and country western and sings songs with titles such as Some Niggers Never Die (the just smell that way). Classy guy that Reb. Of course, sayigng you are gonna rub wax with a fella like Reb, even if it is a joke, will cause some distribution problems for a little label like Team Patriot, "The Leader in Post-Colonial Rock and Roll." The label pariah status probably explains why only 200 of this pup were pressed. Either that or they were cheap. --Scott S.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Blue - Cock Roach

Blue Cock Roach 7" (Bovine, 1993)

Man, look at that cover. The band name, the cheap paper, the bland cover art. Pretty much sums up a bargain bin 90s indie rock ep these days, on first take alone this could snuggle up in there with all the Buzzmuscle and Hula Boy and Buck 09 7"s that are all destined to get melted down to generate vinyl for the 16th pressing of a Shattered Records release. But Blue were not hoping to be just another 90s indie rock 'calling card' 45, this is a surprise punker bolt from beyond. These guys were operating in a vein similar to bands like Unholy Swill or Designer (see previous post), being a sort of post-grunge return to punk charged with the early 80s sensibilities of bands like the Nig-Heist. Now, I slagged on the poor 'ol Spider Babies earlier for their knuckle-dragging attempts at porn-punk, and some of the lyrical exercises from our friends Blue here are similarly tired, but there is something genuinely creepier about their take so I'll give 'em a pass. They could just be operating at max capacity here.

Blue have a couple of other 7" floating around on labels as diverse as ERL and Datapanik, but don't worry, their covers are as off-putting as this one (in different ways) so you should have no real competition in fishing them out of the 'gettin-yer-knees-dirty' understock boxes at the next swap. They have an LP I've never heard that is apparently more of the same, will report, over. -Ryan W.

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