Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Leather Uppers / Icky Boyfriends - s/t

The Leather Uppers / Icky Boyfriends 7" (Famous, 1993)

A lot of virtual ink has been spilled on account of San Francisco's Icky Boyfriends in the last year or so, most of it spurred by the release of a double CD retrospective on the Menlo Park label in 2005, a release that caught a lot of people by delighted surprise. Who were/are these guys, and why were they neglected for so long? Don't ask this correspondent, my Icky's Sooper-Trooper Fanclub card is number 00047 (Carolyn Keddy's is 00026, does anyone have a lower number please email???? Doug Pearson???). Live they were a delightful mess, a shambolic controlled catastrophe, yet their studio recordings, shockingly, managed to deliver the goods with a 'precision' bordering on elan. I think there were so many kookoo-for-cocoa-puffs outfits treading the boards in the early 90s; gettin' nekkid, painting themselves orange and pooping themselves, that the hysteria the Icky's were offering got overshadowed by the apes hanging off the chandelier. In 2006 the Icky's songs, loaded with their malevolent intelligence, have won out over the long-forgotten poopy-pants brigades.

The Leather Uppers, on the flip, presented the lighter side of what is now known as 'panic rock'. We covered the Uppers early on in this blog, just hit the archives for the early take, which hasn't changed, only ripened.

The Leather Uppers will apparently see some more reissue action in 2007 courtesy the Goner label, while the Icky's can continue to rest easy on their laurels. Although, hmmm, anyone out there feel like reissuing their I'm Not Fascinating LP as a stand alone item? There seems to be some pent-up steam out there for it, based on its continued non-appearance on the 'Bay. I don't think anyone who has one of that original and only 500 press feels like letting go. -Ryan W.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back to today

The Z-Gun review's today's sounds...

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Erotic Narcotic - s/t

My Erotic Narcotic s/t 7" (Nouveau Cliche, 1993)

Back to Seattle we go and once again another slinky, drugged out, fuck it all. What is shocking, at least to those of us in the Rob Vasquez Appreciation Society (AKA Static Party), is that Rob V. has nothing to do with this one. No matter this is still a really cool single.

We debated for about 2 minutes whether My Erotic Narcotic was "punk" enough to make it on Static Party or whether I should slap it on Crud Crud. Fuck it, it is dark enough, primitive enough to wind up here and there is an idiotic brilliance that says, to us at least, punk rock. Before you say otherwise, give these a full listen. The songs get better as they go (or at least more absurd). And listen to them a few times because they are growers. Beside how can you pass up lyrics like "Take you for a ride/down my slippery slide/to the surface of Venus/I'll show you my penis"?

I know nothing about the history of My Erotic Narcotic, though I do know that Ted Narcotic (AKA Ted Higgins), the vocalist, hosts a Seattle public access show, drives a cab, and suckers cute Asian girls to sing his songs. Bassist Kelly Kristjanson fronts a band called the Cunning Hounds.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Countbackwurds - Play Rip It Up

The Countbackwurds Play Rip It Up 7" (Sumppi Werthimer, 1994)

I think people kind of take the Rip Offs for granted these days, just another early 90s garage band with lots of canned 'attitude'. "They were good but not as good as 'fill in Band X here' was." It's all a reactionary pose, the Rip Offs were probably better than 95% of the competition on any given night, and in their 1993 prime they were rocking a righteous mixture of 60s and 70s punk influences that was, oh wait for I couldn't listen to 'em afterwards for a long time due to burnout, but a recent relisten still nets a solid 'two dicks up' review, to paraphrase Shane White.

Live, the Count Backwurds were better than the Rip Offs, and listening to this EP reminded me of that fact. They had a great front man in Peeping John and a lunatic named R. Quan on the kit, so the fix was in. They played 90% covers (hell, it was probably 100% and I just didn't recognize the rest) and if fun is what you want from a live band they delivered in aces and spades. Just brainless, hyperactive, gorilla-time hilarity. For me, they were/are the definitive Purple Onion band. They didn't release a whole hell of alot when they were around, and this is their only proper stand alone 7". That other one you 'see around', the 'Double Decker Bus' one? That's actually the Trashwomen with Russell bouncing around in the background. They've got some cuts on one of the Repent-label comps as well, just buy them both to make sure, and you're set. This sole EP came out on Russell's, uh, short-lived Sumppi Werthimer label, whose only other release was a Teenie Cheetahs 45 that's also SP-worthy.

The Backwurds sort of evolved over the years (and intervening bands) into the Flakes, who trod the boards of several continents today. If you can picture them all in pirate outfits and push their influences back about five years, you can recreate the CB experience for yourself. Except for the elusive Tom Guido Factor. -Ryan W.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Invisible Men - s/t

Invisible Men s/t 7" (Estrus, 1994)

Listening to the Invisible Men reminds me of a time when you could buy any Estrus record and there was a 98% chance that it would be pretty good, if not an absolute smoker. Raw, catchy garage punk was the rule of the roost, the cock of the cafe, the big egg in the little hole. Then one day, the music took a second seat to packaging and the slide started. It was the Cocktail comp box that started to make me shy away from Estrus. That and the never ending Monomen records. Ah but I've come here not to bury Estrus but to praise it. Yup, smoking hot it was and one of those odd little burners was this Invisible Men 7".

Filthy Rich Kronis tells me:

Regarding the Invisible Men: There were two different bands using that
name around the same time. One made up of Zack and Donnie from the
Statics and one of the Fall-Outs (I'm pretty sure) and another that was a
few of the Bomboras dudes. The Invisible Men with Zack were the ones that
did the Estrus 7" you guys have on Static Party and the one on Rat
City, and that was it. They were just a fuck-around band while Zack found a
new bass player for the Statics after Diane left. The other (and far
inferior) Invisible Men did the records on Dionysus and other C-list
garage labels.
Stripped down, Billy Childish influenced garage punk is what you get here. No frills. Just shitty attitude and some fuzz. This was the second of three Invisible Men 7"s and probably the easiest to find. -Scott S.

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