Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Styrenes - Silver Daggers

The Styrenes Silver Daggers 7" (Thermionic, 1997)

I can't think of a punk rock singer with a better suited voice for the romantic, on-the-skids side of punk than Mike Hudson. Known mostly for his band The Pagans, Hudson had a "second act" with longtime Cleveland legends, The Styrenes. In the 90s, they did this 7" and an astounding album (We Care So You Don't Have To). Both are exactly what "adult" punk rock should be, musically and lyrically smart, something a bit more than I Hate This or I Feel Like Shit About This. Silver Daggers is a story book of all the crap you think about when the girl that you want slips through your fingers, that night, that time that seems so perfect and bam she's gone and all that is left is the memories, all those details you hold on to because you never really wanted it to end and the question, "Whatever happened to the letters that I sent her? Are they sitting in a box in somebody's basement?" Ever had one of those? - Scott S

Monday, October 23, 2006

Spoiled Brats - Rich Kid

Spoiled Brats Rich Kid 7" (Real, 1995)

We put up the Supercharger 45 a while back, here is another early 90s Bay Area club classic, the last 45 from the Spoiled Brats released on some weird UK label. In general, you didn't hear much of the Bay Area first wave garage on 45s outside of the USA, this and the Rip Offs split with Teengenerate on Wallabies being exceptions. I always thought this record, along with the Fingers 45 on Bag of Hammers, was one of the most underrated 90s garage punk 45s. Elka, formerly of the Trashwomen, really cuts loose here on Rich Kid with the singin' and wotnot, and it also sounds like someone broke the piggy bank and fed quarters into the producer's soundboard like crazy because this thing is most definitely not lofi. Those are real, actual guitars bearing down on you!

This 7" originally came as a bonus with the Sooprize Package zine, we'll have a podcast of us reading the whole thing cover to cover so you can have the complete digital read on this package, sure, in the near future. Elka Zolot, where are you now, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you...-RW

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jumpin' Beans & the Moustaches / Somebody & the Somethings

Jumpin' Beans & the Moustaches / Somebody & the Somethings

Outta Peanut Butter / Long Haired Genius! 7" (no label, 1999)

I got hooked on Jumpin' Beans sometime in the mid-to-late 90s, when a flood of 7"s started coming out of a label called Ball, from Gardner, Maine. First there was Jumpin' Beans & Willie, then Willie got demoted to a Moustache and that's when Jumpin' Beans & the Moustaches started making records. Ball seemed to be a label exclusively devoted to Jumpin' Beans mania and then came a John Schooley record and one by Jumpin' Beans main man, Hasil Adkins. The Jumpin' Beans sound is pretty simple: Turn up the guitar and have some guy pound on the drums. Capture it all on a 4-track with everything pegged in the red. Do some covers like Memphis, Strychnine, and Born in the USA, along with Adkins inspired originals about hamburgers, milkshakes, and peanut butter. I devoured these 7"s and still think that Jumpin' Beans is one of the '90s lost gems. So much was I into Jumpin' Beans that I sent off to England for this split 7". Turned out that there were only 100 of these made, the songs hand written on the label, in ball-point pen. I've got no idea of Somebody & the Somethings are, but they do turn in a pretty great song. - Scott S.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Various - Standing with His Back to the Door

Various Standing with His Back to the Door 7" (Fringe-Weird, 1997)

Way back in 1998 or so I got a 7" for review at MRR by a band called the Spin Age Blasters, buncha tracks of warpy arty yelping and twanging, and gave it a smartass backhanded review because the band dared, dared!, to name themselves after an Electric Eels song. 1998 was pretty much the Year of the Eels for me and lots of other folks. Insufferable. That 45, which sounds alot better to me now (of course) is from the same twisted little Portland, OR, mini-scene that birthed this oddity, a multi-band comp EP that features lots of incestuous band-hopping amongst its contributors. That there is a KBD-esque feel running thru most of these tracks is obvious, but it ain't your momma's Freestone-style KBD they are mining, this is more like Peter Laughner worship at its most sincere, an unconscious proto-punk fumbling that comes off like mid-70s psych as much as anything else. A flag-waving garage aesthetic informs all these efforts, draping itself over both the art and the punk. The Stepford Wives most successfully channel the 'Eels Feel' here, definitive strum-n-stop, while the other bands modulate their volumes as they will, some of them being a tad more recognizably indie. There are three other tracks on here, sorry, get to work. I would've liked to have heard a stand alone 45 from most of the bands on here...alas.

The Fringe-Weird label didn't put out much, but it's all at least interesting. The guy behind these projects (who shall go nameless) later attempted his own terminal velocity experiment on one of the many local river-spanning bridges. The answer was No, you merely bust your legs. -Ryan W.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gnu - Skalp

Skalp 7" (Scrape, 1996)

That we've barely touched on Eastern Europe has more to do with our ignorance and lack of vinyl in hand than any kind of prejudice against those Moe headed foreigners. There was and has been a thriving punk rock world in the former East Bloc, even when it was still behind the Iron Curtain. Took the fall of the wall to get much of it onto vinyl and even then things like sketchy economics and the Balkans War kept a lot of the records out of casual reach. So there is our excuse (please apply it to any other country or region of the world we have neglected).

Gnu is one of those Eastern Euro bands. From the Czech Republic, they started in the early 90s and first found vinyl with this pup. By the proto-sludge metal sound it should be no surprise that they followed this up with a split 7" on Amphetamine Reptile. I think the early '00s promised them a full length. I am not sure. Anyway, here is Gnu. Expect more E. Euro stuff as we dig it up. --Scott S

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ape Lost - Drag Baby

Ape Lost Drag Baby 7" (Bad Vibe, 1994)

This is our first return visit to a previously posted artiste, and I have no problem at all with that being a Rob Vasquez-led band. Ape Lost were yet another of his short-duration bands that peppered the 90s, the Gorls being another worthy project for example (see you in 2007!). Ape Lost are perhaps the most blooze-soaked of his 7" from the 90s, a stutter-stop-stagger affair that reeks of Sunday morning hangover puke in the sink and a girl sitting on the couch who thinks you are taking her out to breakfast. You ain't. Now, this type of blues-grungy-punk style has been copied to death by Euro hacks on numerous toss-away 7", so you kind of have to peel off any residual memories of those efforts that you've been (over)exposed to in order to get at this kernal properly, kind of like Home Hacked Aesthetic Surgery. Don't cut too deep or you'll become immune to the Gories, you just want to be able to forget that stock distortion one-man band from, what was it again...? Yes, excellent!

Ape Lost managed just this one 7" and it is still floating around out there in the 'bins', yes 'bins', not 'crates'. -Ryan W.

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