Friday, February 29, 2008

Lesbian Grudge Match

I'm not the biggest fan of back-dated '60s-ish garage rock (shocking, I know), which made it all that more amusing when I somehow found my way onto the Get Hip promo list for a brief moment in 1997. Luckily, they sent me stuff that I mostly liked (a couple of Electric Frankenstein records and the Green Pajamas "Indian Winter" CD), until they wised up and stopped sending me free shit a couple of months later.

This one wasn't a freebie, however, having come out about 10 years before then. I probably bought it because it was only a couple of bucks and I thought the song title was funny; I tend to be goofy that way.

"Lesbian Grudge Match", despite having hit single potential written all over it, is actually the b-side to this gem, with the a-side being a cover of The Stooges' "Search and Destroy". Even with all of the garage rock trappings, "Lesbian Grudge Match" is pretty much a snarling Dead Boys-style punk rocker, with the added bonus that comes when you listen closely to the lyrics during the chorus and start giggling your eyeballs out, like I do.

Heretics -

"Lesbian Grudge Match"

(this file is now listen-only)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Look At All The Stupid Friends I Got

click for enlarged view

Out of all the brilliant bands to come out of the fertile Chapel Hill scene of the '90s, it would figure that the relatively straight-forward indie rock of Small (aka Small 23) would be among my favorites. I mean, I think the Replacements and M.O.T.O. are the pinnacle of rock all-time; I gotta be an idiot, right?

"Noodles" was the first Small record that I ever bought, and I would continue to buy more of their records as I went along, even braving their slightly more pedestrian latter-day Alias output ("Silver Gleaming Death Machine", for instance). If Squirrel Bait were so hot way back when because they supposedly sounded like Hüsker Dü with Paul Westerberg singing, then "Noodles" sounds like Hüsker Dü trying to play "Stink" but still managing to sound like crappy old Hüsker Dü instead, with a little bit of Moving Targets mixed in. In any case, to this day, "Noodles" is one of my favorite songs ever.

Soon aftewards I would discover a couple of local Waterbury bands, Nevertheless and Farmertan, who kinda sounded a lot like Small, and for a while it was like relatively straight-forward indie rock heaven.

Small 23 -


(this file is now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Got Access To Numbers

If I'd been reading junk like NME and the LA Times I would've known about the Coco B's already-- but as it is, it was Jim Testa who told me about them, in between writing posts about crappy former fanzine editors. And for maybe once in his life (or maybe twice-- gotta give him a little credit here), Jim is right on the money with this one.

If there's one band that Coco B's remind me the most of, it's Superdrag, although I hear a lot of other bands in them, also (Tommy Stinson's solo stuff, Marshall Crenshaw, even Spoon more than a little bit). If you're thinking, "Gee, why don't you just go post one of your Superdrag CDs then, since we know you've got some, you closet pop wussy," it's because everybody knows that a new band that hardly anyone's ever heard of is always better than the old band that everyone's heard, especially if they both sound alike. That's how backlash works, sucker.

I don't actually own the Coco B's CD yet (the local Starbucks doesn't seem to have any in stock), but here's a couple of songs that I illegally swiped off the internet. I hearby declare that this shit rules, so listen up.

Coco B's -

"Access to Numbers"

"Modern Lover"

(these files are now listen-only)

Monday, February 25, 2008

We Are The One

click for enlarged view

This is a split 7" that came free with Norm Arenas’ Anti- 'zine, a couple of issues after he changed the name from Anti-Matter. The Shades Apart song on this, a rippin' cover of the Avengers' "We Are The One", is so shit-hot that I must've played it about 50 times the first two weeks I had this record. Seriously, check this one out.

There's an awful cover of Minor Threat's "Out of Step" on the flip, with Ressurection making it sound like a crappy GBH song instead. I read an interview with them once where they said they intentionally mis-spelled their name, for whatever reason they didn't exactly say, and the whole thing is just so stupid that I'm not even gonna bother with them.

Shades Apart -

"We Are The One"

(this file is now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Strength Through Bowling

click for enlarged view

If you ask me, the Part-Time Christians EP is one of the few bright spots in Alternative Tentacles' otherwise dismal track record. Sure, early on there was the Butthole Surfers, and the first few records by the Dead Kennedys (whom I quickly lost interest in sometime around 1985 anyway), but other than side one of the first Crucifucks LP, I'll argue that Alternative Tentacles didn't really release anything that was all that great in the early '80s, or pretty much ever. I mean, how many stupid LARD albums do you really need, anyway?

Believe it or not, this record was portrayed as being a bit too "metal" back in the day by people who missed the whole point, but listening to it now, it just sounds like punk to me. Plus, this record's got some of the greatest punk lyrics ever, like "Religion on a Stick" ("Hypocritical businessman prick... stand in line to suck the preacher's dick"), or "Case" ("Case! Get off my case! Case! Get the fuck outta my face!"), or the all-time classic "Bonique":

Monique, the kinda bitch I seek!
Everytime I phone her, I pop a big hangin' boner!

Leave it to some punk rockers to put into words what Smokey Robinson was trying to say the whole time anyway.

click to enlarge

Part-Time Christians -



"Religion on a Stick"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view

Don Ho can sign autographs 3 times faster than Lars Frederiksen

Cartoon from Brushback #4

Her Final Decision is Perfection and Precision

click for enlarged view

The other day I'm watching some dumb VH1 show, "Music Videos That Rocked The World" or something, and they were talking about the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right" video: how important it was for the band because it was their first video, and how it was going to establish the image of the Beastie Boys with the MTV audience, and blah blah blah. And I'm thinking to myself, "Whaddya mean, 'first video'?" 'Cuz I've got a copy of "She's On It" that I bought a year before Licensed To Ill even came out, and it says right on it, "Sound track from the video"!! There's even pictures from the video all over the sleeve! I mean, unless the pictures are from that movie "Krush Groove" that the Beastie Boys were in, I don't know.

Freakin' VH1. Whatever.

Beastie Boys -

"She's On It"

(this file is now listen-only)

Josh Has a Crush on a Femme From Reed

"Off The Leash" is a live New Bad Things record (recorded for a California radio station--hey, no swearing!-- and also in London) on Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club, a label that had a whole slew of homemade-looking releases, almost all of which were impossibly limited pressings (150 to 300 copies, sometimes) and were usually one-sided vinyl with blank white labels, and jackets out of construction paper that had photocopies of handwritten track listings pasted on 'em.

As such, the source tape wasn't too great for this. Some of the songs were recorded very quietly, and there was an annoying hum on a few of the tracks ("Vic Chestnutt", "Cigarettes", and most of the way through "The Dirge") that I couldn't do too much to get rid of, though it doesn't sound as bad through speakers as it does through headphones. "Vic Chestnutt" is such a cool song that I just couldn't leave it off, but anyone who isn't a die-hard New Bad Things fan should probably start with one of the other tracks first.

If you're not a New Bad Things fan, then they've got some good stuff here... brilliant, messy pop songs with clever and sometimes very biting lyrics. I've got a bunch of New Bad Things records, and for the most part they're all pretty great.

New Bad Things -

"Intro", "Hospital"

"Death Hump, Puss and The Wussies"

"Goethe's Letter to Vic Chestnutt"

"Cigarettes", "The Dirge"

"Josh Has a Crush on a Femme From Reed"

"The People We Stayed With In London"

"Place We Used To Get Stoned"

(these files are now listen-only)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sucker State

click for enlarged view

It took them a few tries for 'em to get there, this being their third or fourth 7", but Creature Did hold down the spot for best piece of hard rock vinyl to come out of Danbury in the 90's, except for maybe that Jeff Leopard record, which wasn't strictly a Danbury record so it probably doesn't count. Unfortunately, this is also the record that got Creature Did linked to grunge, but Nirvana really fucking sucked so let's all admit that and move on, why don't we.

There was a story going around that one or two big shot-types came sniffing around because of this single, and a review in Flipside that predicted Creature Did were gonna be the next big thing or something like that, but nothing ever really came of it. Creature Did did end up demo-ing an album for one label, as far as I know, but then scrapped the recording and started from scratch with local recording wiz Sean Sheridan for a CD that they released on their own (hence the CD's eventual title, "Plan B"). I'll be posting the CD sometime in the future; it happens that I took the photo the band used on the inside of the booklet, so you know I'm really dying to get to it.

Since I'm not willing to admit that this is a grunge record-- a tag that's more the result of the time and place that this record comes from, and Kevin's self-described scratchy vocals-- I'll just say that this is a great big chunk of punkish, straight-up heavy rock. The flip ("Sucker State") is a bit speedier than the a-side, and overall these are probably Creature Did's two best songs, so what could be better than that?

As for the pic on the front, one or two scene locals were goofing around with some face paint while someone else had a camera and some software, and before you know it, instant picture sleeve! Then there's the label name ("Thirstin' For More"), which can be taken as reference to Thurston Moore's announcement that "Danbury is the next Seattle" during a Sonic Youth show in 1993, which ended up becoming a Rolling Stone quote and pretty much the kiss of death for everyone. If only it had been Brian Sinclair saying "Danbury is the next New Britain", then everyone would've ignored him and a bunch of bands would've probably stayed together longer, who knows.

click for enlarged view

Creature Did -

"Friends Are Hard To Bury"

"Sucker State"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Ain't No Weak Tit

click for enlarged view

Make a list of all the "retro pop punk" bands that first came to bear back in the early-to-mid 90's-- bands that all wore Chucks and gave more than just a passing nod to the Ramones-- and Head's claim to fame is probably that they had the dumbest lyrics out of all of them. That's gotta count for at least something, right?

A CD of all the early Head records came out on Evil Clown just a few months ago, but I have the original vinyl and CDs aren't punk, anyway, so fuckit, I'm posting it.

click for enlarged view

Head -

"Larry Tate"

"I Ain't No Weak Tit"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nobody Loves You

click for enlarged view

If I had to name my favorite Connecticut band from the 90's it would almost have to be Monsterland, though I realize I might be losing some people here. None of my fanzine buddies ever seemed to like Monsterland much-- maybe Scott Munroe did, I don't remember-- but the spot that their records took among my crates of 7"-ers was pretty hefty back then, even if time and wear have lessened that somewhat.

Noisy pop was a pretty easy product to bump into at the time-- I mean, you could close your eyes in a record store and still come out carrying literally handfuls of the stuff if you weren't careful-- but Monsterland took the whole wannabe-Britpop/shoegazer thing and turned the amps up on it, adding some metal riffs and a way more over-the-top approach while still retaining the melody and the more typical spacey, droney bits.

Although this is Monsterland's first stab at vinyl (after releasing a demo on TPOS called "Smile", which I don't have), it's still one of their best. "Nobody Loves You" kicks off with a slamming drum intro and then motors into a riff that sounds totally like a sped-up version of Blue Öyster Cult's "Godzilla", while "Used To Smile" uses the same stuttering guitar bit that I first heard (and loved) on Negative Approach's "Evacuate", though obviously not as harsh.

Post-Monsterland, Greg Vegas went on to form Explodee, and I got lucky enough to put their only record out. Meanwhile, Thom Monahan went on to play with Chappaquiddick Skyline and the Pernice Brothers, and he was also with the Lilys when I saw them play a fantastic show at Brass City Records around 1997 or so. I know, I'm just so fucking alternative.

Monsterland -

"Nobody Loves You"

"Used To Smile"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This ain't no heartfelt shit, this is Halo of Flies

click for enlarged view

A limited-run cassette, "Four From The Bottom" compiles the first four Halo of Flies seven-inchers ('85-'87), all four of which were pressed in ridiculously low numbers and thus disappeared quickly. Having released a bunch of really ace Halo of Flies records that all sold out in a matter of weeks and that nobody could friggin' find anymore, Am Rep's solution was to put them all together on inherently low-fi and flimsy magnetic tape in an even more limited edition (only 200 of these cassettes were made), tack on an MC5 cover as a bonus track, and there you go. Problem solved!

If by chance that there's anyone out there who hasn't heard Halo of Flies before, then dig in. For everyone else, I'll leave out the part about how Halo of Flies and Am Rep came close to ruining record collecting forever, by influencing hundreds of imitators and insuring that 70% of the indie 45s released over the next 5 or 6 years would be misanthropic noise in limited pressings of 300 or less. Hazelmyer's songwriting ability ranked head and shoulders above most of the field at that time, and that alone should be enough, I guess.

Since I doubt that my rips from a wobbly 20-year-old cassette are gonna take away much from the CD-quality versions that are available on "Music for Insect Minds", I'm gonna go ahead and put up a higher percentage of tracks here than I usually would (leaving off all but two: "Pipebomb", and the Creation cover, "How Does It Feel To Feel"). A couple of the tracks-- "Rubber Room" in particular-- even sound a bit to me like they were recorded for this comp from vinyl instead of the master tape, though that wouldn't be the first time that's happened (re: the semi-legendary Agnostic Front Example, in which my official Rat Cage cassette of "Victim In Pain" had been obviously recorded from the vinyl LP, and even had a skip in it. True story!).

click for enlarged view

Halo of Flies -

"Rubber Room"

"DDT Fin 13"

"M.D. 20/20"

"Richies Dog"

"Thoughts in a Booth"

"Can't Touch Her"

"Sinner Sings"

"Drunk (In Detroit)"

(these files are now listen-only)

click for enlarged view

click for enlarged view