Saturday, January 30, 2016

Watch Who You're Calling Space Garbage, Meteor Mouth

I didn't know "Lolita Nation" was being re-issued, like, next week, which shows me for not paying attention to "Black Friday"/"Record Store Day" re-issue labels and their ilk, I guess. Hence, my incentive to pull this out now and give it a listen. Stuff like this was way too college rock for me back when it first came out, but like John Brannon says, "Maybe I was too hardcore at the time to like some shit, but I can appreciate that shit retroactively." Definitely a weird pop album from one of the weirdest "pop" bands -- a bit too precious and indulgent at times, at other times like Alex Chilton singing "Sgt. Pepper's" after Doug Gillard and Matthew Sweet re-wrote all the songs. If that sounds like a good idea to you, then no doubt you should pick up the re-issue (just google "Black Friday Record Store Day Labels", I'm sure the list won't be too long).

Game Theory -

"Kenneth -- What's The Frequency?"/"Not Because You Can"

"Go Ahead, You're Dying To"/"Dripping With Looks"


"Last Day That We're Young"

"The Waist and The Knees"

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I Ain't In A Slump, I Just Ain't Hitting

Of all the Boston Crew-type HC bands that went metal back in the '80s (which was pretty much all of 'em), I think that Jerry's Kids ended up making the best "post-XClaim!-era" record with "Kill Kill Kill", which in some ways has a sound that isn't all that separated from "Is This My World?" --- sure, some of the lyrics are dumber, and there's a bigger "metal" sound to the drums and guitars, but the songwriting in general tends to fall back onto straight hardcore thrash and a few of the songs on "Kill Kill Kill" wouldn't have sounded at all out of place if they'd been recorded back when "Is This My World"?" was being made. The F.U.'s, on the other hand, not only changed their name (to Straw Dogs) but changed their sound entirely, and "We Are Not Amused" is pretty much a straight-up commercial metal/hard rock record with barely a trace of punk to be found at all, other than Sox' vocals of course. It's not a great record all the way through -- the quality level really drops off after the top four or five songs -- but the guitars pack way more of a punch than any of the rock slough released by SSD or DYS (for instance), and it also has some of the best drumming I've ever heard on a hard rock record. I say that there's not much punk involved, but I suppose it takes a punk to take pot shots at all the phony "sign of the devil" Mötley Crüe crap and hit the target as dead-on as "Carnival In Hell" does. I'm not exactly sure what the slags against John Sex Bomb and the Anthrax Club on the thank you list/lyric sheet are all about, but I'm guessing it probably has something to do with a show that the F.U.'s tried to play at the old Stamford Anthrax years ago. At least, I think I read about it in a book somewhere.

Straw Dogs -

"Carnival In Hell"

"The Hunger"

"In Deep"

"Trigger Finger"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I Don't Know Right From Wrong

I bought this as a present to myself for $2 because it's Peter Dayton, frontman for Boston monsters La Peste, being helped out by members of the Cars (Ric Ocasek, Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes); I mean, there's no way that could not be great, right? If you've heard the studio tracks at the end of the La Peste collection that Matador put out a couple of decades ago (a couple of which Greg Hawkes also played on, if I remember correctly) then you kinda already know what to expect from this. If you haven't, then nod your head and just go with it. La Peste's "Skin Tight" gets re-made as a new-wave power-pop song and is the top of the class here; it probably would've made for a nifty KBD-styled 7" 45 had it been released with "Perfect Wave" -- somewhat of a surf instrumental -- on the flip. The other two songs on here aren't anything special, although the extra-flabby ballad "Stuck on The Same Refrain" is probably what set this 12" up as probably nothing more than a resume for a record deal. If you don't own any La Peste stuff then try to track down the "Better Off Dead" single, it was recently re-issued twice and thus is fairly easy to buy online.

Peter Dayton -


"Perfect Wave"

Saturday, January 2, 2016

If You're Gonna Be An Artist You Gotta Draw The Line Somewhere

 photo BigDipperCrapsCaption_zpsj8mbycuk.jpg

One of the things that I find amusing about the legacy of Big Dipper is that they're now being portrayed -- or, at least, back when all the reissues were coming out -- as this sort of whimsical underground band that no one had ever heard of, when in fact they were a favorite band of a lot of people back in the '80s, myself included. I guess "unknown band" these days (post-internet) is shorthand for "the college sophomore intern at PopMatters never heard of them", which -- in this case -- makes me wonder what those people would think if they ever somehow stumbled upon an Embarrassment record. "Wait, there's a band that's even older than Big Dipper, with some of the same songs and even one of the same guys in it? That's it, I quit." Don't even think about the Volcano Suns, jesus.

I'm pretty sure that I saw Big Dipper at least a couple of times while they were still around, although the only time that I remember was at TT's in Boston, where Peter Prescott was in the audience, standing in the back of the room and glaring towards the stage with a "you stole my band" look on his face. Actually, Peter was there, but I could just be making the 'glaring' part up. Anyway, enough of me talking -- do you want to hear some songs from Big Dipper's third record, "Craps"? It's a fairly excellent album, if I say so myself. I think it was maybe the next one that was kind of bad.

Big Dipper -

"Ron Klaus Wrecked His House"

"The Insane Girl"

"Stardom Because"

"Hey! Mr. Lincoln"

"The Bells of Love"

(files have now been disabled)