Sunday, August 29, 2010

We Represent What You Most Fear

The first Breaking Circus record most likely comes across as the least rocked-out of their three Homestead releases to most ears, seeing as it features only Steve Björklund and a drum machine, plus one other guy. That shouldn't fool anyone into thinking that this thing doesn't have the hits, though, because underneath the somewhat fragile presentation lies some great friggin' songs-- a fact that became even more apparent once Flour and Todd Trainer were on board. Beyond what their records may tell you, as a live band Breaking Circus had the ability to take any one of their songs and turn it into a ruthless oi!-metal attack.

The disquieting "Knife In The Marathon" seemed like a throwaway to me the first time I heard it, but it became to be the centerpiece of "The Very Long Fuse" for most people, with its striking repetitive lyric unfolding like a newspaper article being read ("An unidentified third-world athlete was wrestled to the ground by security... they said he had a knife in the marathon"). As you dig in further past the first couple of tracks, other coolness reveals itself at every turn: "Morning", with its "ohh ohhh ohhh" refrain, is put together like an early "Basement Screams"-type Naked Raygun song, and the knock and the sound of the opening chords to "Monster's Sanctuary" is one of my favorite parts of any Breaking Circus record.

The indisputable masterstroke here, though, is "The Imperial Clawmasters' Theme", which is only one of the most hilariously-great songs ever written. "Stupid little zeros with the courage of a rollerskate, we represent what you most fear! 7,941 undefeated amateur bouts, and now we're turning pro!" "We've got a master plan and it goes like this: Gagne... DEAD! Patera... DEAD! Von Erichs... DEAD! Heenan... DEAD!" Twenty-something years later, and it still almost kills me every time I hear it.

Breaking Circus -


"Knife In The Marathon"

"The Imperial Clawmasters' Theme"

"Monster's Sanctuary"


Friday, August 27, 2010

I Spilled A Lot Of Blood To Get This Meal

Let me start off by saying that the packaging for this thing is a motherfucker: oversized hand-numbered folded sleeve, labels silkscreened on both sides, lyrics silkscreened onto a polylined dust jacket, in a limited pressing of 200 with an actual CD (not CD-R) included. Inappropriate Tough Guy Behaviour is two guys from Melbourne banging away on bass and drums "with the fuck you knob set to full", and if you're already into stuff like Big Business, Bloaryzed, and Sonorous Gale then you should have no problem at all liking this. Both guys are also in Fire Witch, another Australian band worth checking out, and if you hit up the label web site-- you'll find a few more insanely-packaged records from other like-minded and worthy bands.

I got one of the last copies that Wäntage had available in their distro (mine's actually #200/200); I think they might have one more copy for you if you bug them. "Deadline" is my vinyl rip, but because the CD bouncing around in the sleeve scuffed up the vinyl a little bit (whatever, this thing still rules), the other track I'm posting is taken from the CD.

Inappropriate Tough Guy Behaviour -


"If I Don't Shit Soon I'm Gonna Puke"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Fell Down To My Feet And I Saw They'd Bled

I've been digging Ol' Butch's cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" a lot lately, so much so that I figured I'd share. I love the Iggy-ish proto-punk snarl to the vocals on this one, plus Alex's stuff always sounded much better when he had a good drummer behind him. Like with a lot of the covers on "1970" and "Flies On Sherbert", Alex really knew how to crawl into the pocket of a song and roll around until he was filthy with it, something that was missing from his later solo stuff.

Alex Chilton -

"Jumpin' Jack Flash"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Kill Yourself So I Can Rock

Walk into any of the decent-sized pawn shops around here and you'll find a huge used CD section, stocked not with every Linkin Park CD as you might expect, but every low-level 90's indie rock band imaginable. I'm not talking just major label "modern rock" crap like Squirrel Nut Zippers and Tripping Daisy, either (although there's plenty of that too); surprisingly, I've seen a lot of actual independent-label CDs, like SpinArt and so forth, all for around 50 cents each. It's almost as if someone broke into Jack Rabid's house and took everything but the pink sofa.

One of the things I found at a pawn shop once is this Love 666 CD single, which I had to buy-- not that I'm a big fan of Love 666 or anything, but finding an Amphetamine Reptile CD at a pawn shop in East Hartford for 50 cents was too weird to pass up (I didn't even think AmRep had stooped to making radio promo-only CDs in the '90s, I thought they were still making just cool stuff like the Thrown Ups compilation). After listening to the CD, I realized that it wasn't even worth the 50 cents. The pawn shop where I bought it is now out of business, like it should be.

Love 666 -


"Ball & Chain"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maybe In The Future There'll Be A Cure

Breakfast Without Meat was zine put out in the '80s by Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger, Zip Code Rapists) and Lizzy Kate Gray, and was sort of a precursor to zines like Chunklet and The Cimarron Weekend, or if an issue of Chunklet was co-written by Rusty Smetanka and the guy from Swan Fungus maybe. Their coverage was generally centered on outsider stuff like Caroliner and Sun City Girls, with frequent nods to '60s/'70s fringe pop artists like Jimmy Webb and Richard Harris. Sometimes you couldn't tell if some of the things in the zine were totally fake (the Jimmy Webb interview is riddled with answers like "I have looked at Penthouse with lust in my heart. Sometimes I've even drawn moustaches and warts and moles and such on the pictures"), and pretty much everything in the zine was written from a totally skewed/exaggerated perspective, right down to things like the record label ads that were supposed to be serious.

My favorite issue was the "Breakfast Guide to the Movies", which was basically pages and pages of acidic one-liners pretending to be movie reviews; I used to xerox my favorite pages and write letters on the back of 'em whenever I'd answer my mail. Breakfast Without Meat's record reviews were done in a similar one-and-out manner; the only issue of that I have a copy of right now-- issue 14-- gives one-line reviews like "We were going to take this into the used record store and turn it in for credit, but it was more satisfying to put it under our truck wheels and drive back and forth over it for half an hour", or "There were 2 holes punched in the LP cover, inspiring us to take it out back and use it for target practice", or "By the time we'd gotten to this record for review, we'd lost patience with young people."

Issue #14 included a bunch of cartoons by Derrick Bostrom of the Meat Puppets-- a frequent contributor-- as well as an 8" flexi disc featuring Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club), The Easy Goings (one of Gregg's other bands, covering the Beach Boys' "Johnny Carson", written by Brian Wilson no less), and a somewhat-okay fake-infomercial thingy. I was going to post just the Mark Eitzel track, since it's the only credible thing on here, but then I figured, fuckit, the whole thing's meant to be a joke anyway so why not include all of it. Plus, as flimsy as flexis are, this could be the last playable copy in existence, and the history of bad Brian Wilson covers/ficticious hair-replacement ads needs to be preserved.

Mark Eitzel -

"Crystal Always Knows"

The Easy Goings -

"Johnny Carson"

Breakfast Without Meat -

"Paid Programming"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Almost Clean

I took out my copy of the "From Twisted Minds..." compilation last night, and it reminded me that I own this single. If there's any reason at all why I would own this record, it's because Mike Doskocil (Drunks With Guns) played drums for this band, though you'd be hard-pressed to find anything resembling Drunks With Guns here. If I had to guess, I'd say this record probably sounds more like Mighty Sphincter, and the only reason why I can even guess what Mighty Sphincter sounds like is that I used to get promos from Placebo. Mighty Sphincter also played the Anthrax Club once, and the guy who made the flyer spelled their name "Mightey Sphincter". Think about that: he knew how to spell Sphincter, but didn't know how to spell Mighty.

I've picked the one song that sounds the most punk to post here, but both sides of this single are horrendously bad. I'm almost amazed at how the singer managed to keep all of the words in his head as he was singing, since each song is over 4 minutes long with interminably stupid lyrics like "his god has left his heart unkept/oh beautiful sin/ forgiven over me I cannot breathe/oh don't drown me", or whatever the fuck he says. Sometimes I can just picture bands like this playing one of their endless songs, goth props and candles placed all around the stage, the singer posing and twisting around in a frilly shirt making "my life is such pain" faces, and then at the end of their godawful 5-minute song two people politely clap and the band says "thank you" to dead silence. And then they load their amps and shit into the Toyota and go off to the Bess Eaton drive-thru or whatever it is that they do.

Bootbeast -

"Heart Head"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All I Need Is Somewhere I Can Get Away

I first found out about Sperm Wails when Gerard Cosloy gave them a hefty push in an issue of Conflict; not long afterwards I stumbled upon this 7" at a record store in Waterbury, and snagged it right up. I don't remember what Gerard's line was about these guys anymore, but this was still two or three years before every other band started sounding just like this, so it was a lot easier to be impressed. If I were to describe Sperm Wails now (which I sorta have to), I'd probably say they sounded a lot like Head of David but with a sense of humor, or Pain Teens if they tried a set of all Brainbombs covers and then gave up.

Part of the appeal of this 7" is the oddly great packaging, since it includes a 24-page fanzine about the British "Carry On" movies, which apparently were a bunch of low-budget comedies back in the '60s. Oh, and the a-side is a locked groove, can't have too much of that ever.

Sperm Wails -

"The Golden Age of The Carry On"

"The Golden Age of The C.A.S.U.A.L."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adding To The Nails In Your Coffin

CT's finest purveyors of crushing sideways mutation rock, Brava Spectre, released their "Cuss Tongue" 7-inch on One Hundred Year Media earlier this month. Besides being Brava's first-ever vinyl release, it's hand-numbered and hand silkscreened inside and out (remember, hand silkscreened = not ugly), and the b-side ends on a locked groove (shit yeah). You can buy a copy of the vinyl here, or you can download both of the songs at Brava Spectre's bandcamp page here. Or, you can check out my own vinyl rip of the a-side down below.

Brava Spectre -

"Cuss Tongue"

photos: Jason Malouf