Lemmy Caution’s Guide To Underground Rock & Roll Pt2
Lemmy Caution’s Guide To Underground Rock & Roll Pt2
On the 7th day God commemorated the occasion by inventing the 7-inch vinyl single. FACT. There is no pop culture artefact of the 20th century more beautiful than the 7-inch single (granted a nuclear bomb makes a louder bang but it’s easier to dance to a 45 without getting your face blown off and clothes incinerated). In the last issue of Trakmarx I rambled on about the death of rocknroll and the continued underground resistance to this calamity by a small handful of savants scattered around the globe. Hereon we continue the exploration of weird and wild wax, narrowing down the field of study to the perfect format for transmitting sonic perfection from turntable to shaking hips, released on a handful of obscure imprints dedicated to warping the minds of susceptible degenerates. Lately I’ve been having a solitary record hop with the following discs, hit singles in an alternate dimension where Lux’n’Ivy have the same celebrity status as Posh’n’Becks and Darby never died…
Angry Angles – Things Are Moving 7” (Shattered, 2006)
Everyone seems to be wetting their pants stateside about the Angry Angles and on this evidence the hype is justified. Featuring 2 relative veterans of the punk rock scene despite their tender age, Jay Reatard (of the Reatards, Lost Sounds, Final Solutions etc) and Alix Brown (of the Lids) team up to play perfect 2-minute new wave pop songs with scratchy guitars, clattering garage band drums and distorted vocals. Stand-out track “You Call It Love” co-opts the hook from “Some Kinda Hate” by the Misfits to great effect, the other 2 originals on here are keepers and the e.p. is only let-down by a rather pointless cover of the Urinals’ “Black Hole”.
Ape City R&B – She’s Candy Coated (Jenasol, 2005)
Budget rock goodness from this Seattle 2-piece. Chris Von Curse and Kenjo lay down 2 dangerous sides of anguished soul on busted equipment. Primitive and fun – the spirit of the Gories and the Mummies possesses this though the Ape City boys have their own unique spin on retarded rhythm and blues.
Blood Safari – Everything I Touch Turns To Shit 7” (Rastilho, 2006)
New London band featuring ex-members of the Parkinsons and Penthouse, on a Portuguese label. Nevermind knocking us out of the World Cup – let it go brother. We don’t have a chance of winning it again until the year 2064 when we will have built an army of robot players who will kick the shit out the diving, cheating opposition. Sadly our penalties will still be rubbish. Blood Safari mainline the blues-punk template of ‘Fire Of Love’-era Gun Club and early Panther Burns. The production on this disc is pretty horrible to my ears – flat and boring with none of the visceral power of their crazed live performance. Despite that the brilliance of the songwriting shines through. “Everything I Touch Turns To Shit” is an instant classic – one listen and it will be rattling around your head for weeks.
Chinese Lungs – Get Yer Lungs Out 7” (Squoodge, 2006)
The Chinese Lungs pick-up where the Ulcers left off and take the point where ’77 punk had a direct connection to 50s rockabilly as the reference for their frenetic attack. Reminiscent of the Nipple Erectors and Vibrators as well as more recent Rip-Off records bands, these 3 tracks are rocking and eminently pogo-worthy. “Come On” is a smash-and-grab chase through the Chuck Berry song and the 2 originals provide the right levels of bile and mayhem.
Creteens/Buttercups split 7” (Florida’s Dying, 2006)
The Creteens is some 14 year old French kid who records angry punk ragers in his bedroom. This is fucking great – like a really pissed-off version of the Hipshakes. “I Don’t Wanna Be Educated” is the winner here and mainly features the title being repeated in a snotty whine. He follows this up by demolishing “Hound Dog” with as much reverence as a corpse-fucker in the Gracelands’ graveyard, which is funny but outstays it’s welcome by a couple of minutes. I don’t know nothing whatsoever about the Buttercups but dig the 2 tracks on their side. Kind of like a more juvenile version of the Rat Traps brand of brutal 3-chord disdain.
Hot Machines – Microphone b/w Can’t Feel 7” (Dusty Medical, 2006)
From the same label that recently put out a Black Lips live LP and a new Hunches 45 comes this slice of melody and panic. Miss Alex White (who’s done some of her own records on In The Red) and Jered form the Ponys team up with drumming superstar Matt Williams to lay down the action. The A-side kind of has the same sonic sensibility as the Angry Angles but on more of a Modern Lovers tip. The B-side combines jangly guitars with angst-ridden passionate wail. Dark pop songs to hum as you sit in yr room with the shades pulled down.
Knockouts – D-Zug 7” (Topplers, 2006)
Instrumental rocking from Luton oddballs the Knockouts. The ingredients are a full-on drummer, a guitarist playing with the treble all the way up to 10, a guy playing a tiny casio keyboard through a noisy amplifier and a percussionist (just like Bo Diddley and Gallon Drunk). The resulting musical cake tastes like Stereolab covering Link Wray as the soundtrack for a particularly sinister old Doctor Who episode. Nice. It’s quite strange how they manage to take primarily American RocknRoll influences and make it sound quintessentially English. Check out their ace side project CD “Sounds Like Luton”, a double-disc set of overheard conversations recorded in the kebab shops, pubs and shopping centres of their hometown.
Limes – RocknRoll Heart 7” (Nasty Product, 2006)
This is a record I’d heard bad stuff about but I’m really enjoying. An all-star line-up of Memphis garage luminaries including members of the Oblivians and ’68 Comeback. I might change the name of this feature to ‘Records by bands you’ve never heard of featuring members who used to play in bands that you might have heard of’. Brief pause whilst I punch myself in the face. Narrggghh. The Limes – come on, pay attention at the back! – THE LIMES, I’m telling you, take the Velvet Underground sound circa ‘White Light/White Heat’ and utilise it to pound through some obnoxious, kerb-crawling country-garage shit stomps. The instrumental tune on here, “Boogie Sound” is brilliant. Sounds like the theme tune to a children’s show where the puppets behead each other.
MC Monkey & Ape Attitude – Human Zoo Pts. 1 & 2 7” (Kryptonite, 2006)
You think I’m making these records up don’t you? This here is some ugly, degenerate music played by ugly, degenerate people. If the John Belushi character from ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ had overdosed on a diet of ‘Born Bad’ compilations and cheap speed, this might be the record he would have made. I particularly care for the bit where the arcade machine noises come out of nowhere for no clear reason into the midst of the 60s trash-garage freakout. Reminds me of those dub records where you get a recording of a space invaders machine dropped into the cavernous mix. Demented.
Monitors – Rotten Body Clean-Up Crew 7” (Goodbye Boozy, 2006)
More celebrities from the sub-sub-sub-sub-underground micro garage scene – this here features Ryan from the Kill-A-Watts and Wendy from the Lookers (no, seriously! These are real people!! I think…). Someone recently told me this was a really, really shitty band that made shitty records. Maybe there is something defective with my ears (almost certain) but I like this record. It does have a kind of novelty factor and I can’t imagine giving it tons of spins, but I’ve got a soft spot for novelty records so what the hell. Bleepy synths, punk rock bass and drums and alternating girl/boy vox deliver spastic herky-jerky sci-fi themed songs like a hardcore take on Devo. There’s actually 2 compilations of early Devo demos called ‘Hardcore Devo’. Oh god, why is all this useless shit in my brain? If I didn’t know who the bass player from, say, Crime was, maybe I’d be a rocket scientist or something. Nevermind. He was called Ron the Ripper if anyone is still reading. Which you’ve got to admit is a cool punk rock name.
Partyline/Spider & The Webs split 7” (Local Kid, 2005)
A souvenir from their European tour last year – Washington DC’s Partyline feature Allison Wolfe from the seminal outfits Bratmobile and Cold Cold Hearts. The 2 tracks here prove her brat girl spirit and knack for a catchy tune haven’t dimmed over the years, delivered over a backing of inspired guitar thrashing and someone beating the traps good style. Spider & The Webs feature Tobi Vail from Bikini Kill and the Frumpies and Chris Sutton from Dub Narcotic Sound System and is in more of an angular indie-rock vibe than Partyline. Think early-80s DIY punk popsters like Kleenex and Delta 5 crossed with 90s riot grrrl-inspired soundz like Comet Gain and Slant 6. The kind of bands that would have inspired someone to make a cool xeroxed fanzine a few years ago. What do they inspire nowadays? A weblog? I dunno. I’m writing this for an on-line zine anyway so I’ll just shut up.
Sunday Sinners – You Child 7” (Perpetrator, 2006)
Canadian co-ed garage gospel outfit on a Kiwi label. This is really simple but really great. Top notch songs played by a band that really swings, and sung by a girl with a sassy and soulful voice that fits the sound just right. Kind of reminiscent of the Detroit Cobras but with a more lackadaisical back porch rockin’ thing going on. Features Work With Me Annie from Les Sexareenos on Farfisa, who played an amazing set of 50s/60s-inspired dance party classics at the Buffalo Bar here in London a few years back. They also demonstrate the good taste to cover a song by ace girl group icon Sugar Pie De Santo (of “Hi-heel Sneakers” and “Down In The Basement” fame). How could anyone called Sugar Pie De Santo not be great? They couldn’t, it’s just impossible. There’s a new Sunday Sinners record coming out on US label Bancroft soon. In the words of Ann Magnuson at the end of “Nick Cave Dolls” – “I WAAAANNNNNNNTTTTT ONE!!!” Yeah, I know, sometimes I geek myself out.
Teenage Panzerkorps – Gleich Heilt Gleich 7” (Skulltones, 2006)
7-songs over 7-inches of black plastic. Spooky weird basement skulking from these German/American reprobates. Elements of ‘Dragnet’-era Fall (I’m thinking the part of the LP recorded in a haunted Manchester warehouse), Einstürzende Neubauten and Chrome can be heard in the dissipated crackly grooves. Songtitles like “Burma Crawl” and “Christian Gender” might give you an idea of where these scary kids are coming from. Sounds like something that would have been sent as a demo to Industrial Records or early Rough Trade back in the day, though a healthy dose of punk raging stops it disappearing down a well into no-fi art bullshit. Nihilistic and obtuse but strangely fun.
Maybe there will be some more reviews next month, maybe there won’t…I’m kind of running out of ways to say “I like this record”. On one hand I think your lives will be exponentially improved by hearing these records and want to provide the public service of spreading the good word, but on the other hand most of these records come out in editions of 500 or less on small badly-distributed labels and seem to sell out more or less instantly so you’ve got next-to-no chance of obtaining a copy anyway. Who is buying them all? Maybe the FBI is buying up job lots and storing them in a big warehouse like Fort Knox ready to unleash vinyl warfare on the Iranians, or maybe it’s the bass player’s mum. Anyway, if you want to try and track down any of these releases I recommend the following distro/mailorder places, which can be found on-line with a quick internet search:
Agent Lemmy Caution – tMx 25 – 07/06
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