Apr 27, 2007


Two bands from deep in the gut of Texas taking two songs a side. With members of the Fells and the Cryin' Out Louds in their line up the Deadly Companions make a grimy & drunk rhythm-n-blues peppered punk rock type of noise with vocals sounding like an Iggy/Jad Fair mixbreed that gargles with Old Crow for throat maintenance on "Midnight Soldiers" and a female orgasmic moans meets that's annoying kid from down the block whine on "Your House". Both songs twisted, thorny and horny enough to set them apart from some of the other bands around doing this kinda thing these days.
Steppin' Razors "Shoot Myself" starts out with the sound of an explosion. I remember ten or so years ago suggesting to, either Blaine from Nashville Pussy or Noel of the Hookers (I don't remember which one is was though now but I know it was one of the two...or possibly both) that on a upcoming record they should use such sound effects on each song. Being known as a smart ass whoever it I said it to gave me a "You are being a smart ass" look and that was that BUT the Hookers did use an explosion sound effect at the end of one on their songs on one of their singles (though I highly doubt it was because of my suggestion). Which one? I don't remember off the top of my head. Was it one of the tunes off the "12 Gauge Reaction" single? All my 45's are in a different part of the house and I don't feel like wandering over there at the moment to check and see right now. Maybe one of you can leave the info in the comment box...consider it your record geek trivia question of the day. Doused in a thick echo glaze "Shoot Myself" is a New Bombs Turks melted together with Motorhead in the deep south thud's in a while "Cut Me Deep (excerpt)" is one of those "Boy, I'm gonna have one nasty hangover tomorrow" type of blues numbers.

Apr 25, 2007

the ACHES s/t CD

Kind of an art-dance-punk thing going on. The singer got a nervous and angry thing going on. I'm thinking of things like like early Psychedelic Furs or X-Ray Spex and Romeo Void if they had a nervous and angry dude singing but that's only when the sax comes in really. I also think things like "Love" era Cult copping some of that Gang of Four guitar stuff but it's only for a few seconds here and there. I'm not quite hitting the nail square on the head in any of the above observations though.

Apr 21, 2007

TUFF BANANAS "Dance To Rock-n-Roll" 7in EP

With a line-up that includes Paul & JonE of the Teenage Rejects/Catholic Boys and Natalie of the Tears it's safe to assume that I'm gonna wave a banner in their favor even before hearing a record by 'em. I did get a demo or two of songs in the works by 'em landed on me but signed an agreement (not in blood but chocolate syrup) no to comment until a record was released for general consumption. Now I understand all the wants to keep it under wraps...THEY WERE PERFECTING THE FLAVOR!!! Like a day at the amusement park was for the Banana Splits (maybe the TB's chose their name as an homage) 'cept with tons more greasy french fries, chili dogs on the house, half the soda pop dumped out of it's paper cup-n-replaced with some kinda of on the cheap side booze and all it of turned up much, much louder. The rock-n-roll equivalent of a popping a couple of cherry flavored Zots in your mouth after at least a decade or two since the last time ya savoured one. Lip smackin' sour sweet hard candy outside that collides with it's fizzy innards.
When Kasenetz & Katz were to present Tuff Bananas svengali Benny Boonana keys to the dirty part of Bubblegum City he decided not to show up cuz it was learned that Arthur Resnick and Joey Levine were ran out of town a long time ago and he would not accept gifts from instigators of such travesties. The band showed up though, ate a lot of elephant ears, rode all the rides and puked all over the security guards shoes while getting tossed out. I can't tell ya which is the pick to click on this cuz all 3 are hits. Ya hear me, baby? HITS I SAY!!!

Apr 16, 2007

FLASCHEN "Treat Me Bad" 7inch

I recently saw the movie "Zodiac" and, of course knowing what it was about, the song the Rip Offs did by the same name was stuck in the back of my mind during most the film. I was talking to a friend about the flick and threw in a line or two from the song to emphasize a point it wasn't really trying to make and they said they read somewhere that Greg Lowery contributed to film. Yep, he's pretty well versed on the Zodiac Killer history (after all, it would seem a total retarded move to name you band after the guy and I have a feeling he knows a lot more Arthur Leigh Allen than Marilyn Manson knows about either Monroe or Charlie). He didn't know in what capacity Lowery had with the film but still figured it was a worthy piece of trivia.
"Good. I hope he made a little bit of money" I said "cuz he's at least one third responsible for a particular moderne rock aesthetic that hundred or maybe even thousands (especially when you factor in all the Euro fanboys) bands have been biting like a sandwich for a long time now and it and it ain't helping to pay his rent."
Count FLASCHEN in on the French Chapter. Two hissy and high endy songs here that don't hide their influences and probably don't give a shit if ya call 'em derivative cuz their such trash worshipping lunkheads they might not even know what the word means.

Apr 14, 2007

MAASTER GAIDEN "Like It Never Happened" CD

Quite a intemperate rock-n-roll affair that reminds me of the New Bomb Turks in their heyday, Zeke still keeping the speedfreak tempo but having more in common with the Sonics & the Wailers than Motorhead as well as a more agitated Marked Men (that might have something to do with MM dude Mark Ryan having his hand in the recording process) listening to 'Walk Among Us' for a week straight. This Texas two piece (though they recently added a 3 member to their gang) race through 12 songs in around 20 minutes, leaving a huge dust trail, some hearing loss and smoldering remains behind.

Apr 13, 2007

ROCK-n-ROLL MONKEY and the ROBOTS "Detroit Trauma" CD

A bedroom/basement fidelity agglomeration of new wave, indie rock's prime time, garage punk and all purpose DIY quirk. The robotic psych of "Destroy Everything", the Pastels in an American thrift shop feeling of "Dean Of Denver", "Toss It Back Like Kerouac" bad attitude 60's meets 80's beat, the Ramones meets Sparks theme park summertime bubblegum punk feeling of "James Dean Was Jerk", Modern Lovers riding around with Wire in some goth kids mom minvan gurgles of "Call It A Horse" and the Pixies meets the Normal skittish menace of "Buick City" are all prime candidates for mixtapes I might make over the next couple of months. Actually, most the stuff here works on some level or another with the only things really leaving me cold being a couple of bromidic blues punk numbers and a slight overuse of soundbite material before & after some of the tunes.

Apr 10, 2007

HIBACHI STRANGLERS "Our City Doesnt Stink All The Time" 7inch

Durable punk rock riffs. Lots of drop out outs where it's just distorted bass and the singer. Every city has their favorite punk rock band that no one else has heard. Something better to do than anything else going on in a usually shitty town on any given night. None of them realize that everybody else in a million different cities have a favorite punk rock band that no one else has ever heard too. It's the same everywhere. The Hibachi Stranglers have a 45 out. Not a just CDR or some songs you can check out on myspace. They're ahead of the game.

Apr 9, 2007


Outside of the standards y'all hear on the "Good Times-Great Oldies" type stations and some records I liberated from my folks collections as grade schooler my first real lessons in, for the lack of a better term, 60's garage rock came when I was 16 years old thanks a show called "Psychotic Reaction" that aired on our local community college radio station. I imagined the host, "the Electric Outsider", with his cool, hipster-like banter and slew of tunes I never heard before as some guy my folks age who was "keeping it real" instead of denying that they once had fun and we're "cool." I pictured the studio having 100's of 45's splayed all over the studio as the guy eyed them up waiting for the spontaneous inspiration of what to play next but not someone who was stuck in the past cuz he'd play the occasional song by the Cramps, or the Jam along with some of the "Paisley Underground" stuff that was going on at the time. I pictured Beatles boots, Andrew Loog Oldham shades, shag haircuts, the smell of espresso, rye whiskey (I didn't know much about whiskey at the time really 'cept my grandpa preferred rye) and a little grass in the air. One evening he was on I was doing a little shopping downtown (this is still when we had still places that 16 year olds would shop downtown not to mention places other than bars that were open past 5 pm there) I had over an hour til the last bus north so I ambled over to the campus into the building that housed the station in hopes that I could shake hands with the guy and thank him for turning me on to the "roots of the shit I'm into." I knock on the door and a guy feathered hair about 4 years older than me, dressed in Dockers & a pastel colored polo shirt answers the door. "Hi, my name is Dale" I tell him "I just wanna thank the Electric Outsider for his cool show and maybe shake hands with the man."
"It's nice to know someone is even listening" he says as he extends his hand "My name is Mike. You wanna come in a see where it all happens."
I assumed that Mike is his assistant and he's gonna introduce me to the dude that's got "two hours time to blow your mind."
"Yeah. That would be cool."
Walking down the hall I picture more things. Maybe some cute girl in white boots and a Jeanie Shrimpton haircut sitting on a chair with her legs crossed adding some sassy inspiration to the festivities. Maybe a strobe light...At least a black light illuminating all the stacks of records the host was pulling out and putting on the air.
We get into the booth and it's lit like any other room is in an institutional building. Regular fluorescent tubes overhead. There were a few records out but it was a cassette that was going over the air. No one else was in the studio. I start to ask Mike a question but he interrupts "Hang on for about 3 minutes" then sits in on the stool behind the mic. I start to think that maybe there's a second studio where the Electric Outsider does his gig and Mike's gonna check with him to see if it's okay for me to meet him.
He throws the switch on and the somewhat reedy speaking voice he had while talking to me dropped an octave as he everything he said was read off a note card he was holding in his right hand. I know I let my imagination run a little bit wild but was really, really bummed out when I saw what was behind the curtain. I learned that the Electric Outsider went away to a 4 year university but wasn't quite ready for it so moved back home into his folks house to "start the higher education thing back at square one." While away he taped a lot of stuff off their radio station and the music from them made up about 75% of his show as well as a lot of the stuff he'd say on the radio borrowed form the original programs hosts.
Forward ahead about 20 years. Rhino releases "the Children Of Nuggets" box. I had no plan on buying it but wanted to see the song list so I headed over to the local big box store (cuz that's all we have around here anymore) to get a gander. Who do I see grabbing on off the shelf with nothing more than a glance and heading straight to the cash register? You guessed it..."the Electric Outsider". His feathered hair much more thinner, the waist line in the Dockers much more wider...the pastel polo was replaced with a button down color denim job though. I started to peruse what the "experts" picked to go on the box. It didn't take long for my eyebrows to start rolling. "If a person was deeply interested in checking this stuff out" I thought "How many would be dissappointed after dropping 60 bucks on this?" Then I thought about Mike and if he had still had a show he'd probably play a disc of this each show...either that or he'd tape the Underground Garage weekly syndicated show and just dub his voice over whatever "cool" chat Little Steven said in a word for word tribute. If nothing else he would recite the liner notes about whichever songs he played that week.
"So where does all this lead up to the Larksmen?" you ask.
Hang on! I'm getting to it.
It took me a couple of years after my first visit to that college station to first hear things like the Sonics and the Pretty Things and a couple of years after that before I really had a chance to stumble across the Pebbles, Back From The Grave etc collections but once I did it planted all kinds of wild seeds in my head. Because of that one of the most defining factors of "garage rock", to me, is a wild abandon. It's gotta stomp! Hell, You're fuck ups! Don't hide it and let it blare, spew and howl. Sure, things like the Knickerbockers and the Castaways are cute and catchy (and sound cool when you hear them on the oldies station but even that's a rare occasion anymore cuz a handful of Motown hits, 8 Beatles songs and maybe 4 from the Stones constitute a certain segement of the playlist cuz they gotta make room for crap like Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" these days) but I wanna hear teenage blues! I wanna hear lust & desperation! I wanna hear instruments bought out of a Christmas wishbook or purchased on a payment plan at the local music store! I wanna hear voices grunt, scream, bellow and croon! This is where the Larksmen lose me. They're good players and know how to put a song together but they lack at some kinda grit.
Maybe it's like the Woogles curse where ya gotta see them live to "get it."
Maybe it's the way the singer sounds.
Too much attempted British affections, crooning and 2nd tiered 80's garage rock revival band (and for the most part the majority of the first tier bands from that "scene" weren't all that super awesome either) emoting...not enough (hardly any actually) wailing and grunting!
It sounds like they're really into what they are doing but at the same time just don't "get it."
Sean Bonniwell does the vocals on two tracks though. He almost saves the day in that department. I won't bag on him-After all he was in the Music Machine. He could sound creepy and degenerate up with the best of 'em but that was 40 years ago. He can still cut it as a bluesy rock singing legend these days and if I could get him to sing on a record I was doing I wouldn't say no (cuz like this band I would be sure to let everyone with a passing interest know that he was on the record) but the regular singer should go back and listen to the old Music Machine records for ideas on how to deliver a lyric so on occasions like the other evening when I played this record while I was having a beer with a couple of friends one of them won't say "Is this Smashmouth on some kind of garage rock tribute CD?"

Apr 7, 2007

HEROES & VILLAINS "Play Themes From the Dark Pink Circus" CD

Immersed in cool blue water lit in vibrant pinks-n-greens Detroit based Heroes & Villains further propel the label this is on, X! Record's, into "the most interesting label based out of the Mitten state in some while" territory. I've gotten into plenty of debates with people that "Interstellar Overdrive" is one of the most logical destinations surf music would've/should've ended up had it not painted itself into a corner well before psychedelics crashed many a musical party. Plenty have people have looked at me like I am way offbase on making such a statement and that if anything the original Pink Floyd were ANTI-surf. Growing up in a total midwest hicktown other's have said "That first Pink Floyd record is for fags. The only cool thing that guy did for the band was inspire the movie 'the Wall'" (not an exact quote but a close approximation of a conversation I once had with a couple Mountain Dew quart swilling grits who loudly proclaimed themselves as the town's "true Rock-n-Roll experts" to me everytime they'd walk into the record store I was manning). Once in a rare moon someone would say "Maybe you have a point" but as said-it was very rare. I've never talked to any of the guys in H&V before (Hell, I haven't even seen them live but hope to soon) but if I ever did strike up such a conversation with them-they might fall into that last camp. Now before I continue I must stress that I am not trying to fall back on "Rock Journalism Made Easy: Lesson One" by saying this band sounds like "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" meets the Chantays or anything though. Elements of both; reverbed discordance & wiggly raga licks are part of the stew but so are pieces of fractured pop "Is this art?" Swell Maps appreciation, moments where it sounds like John Cale rejoined Velvet Underground couple of months before they recorded "Loaded" along with some Kraut Rock tension.