Monday, August 31, 2009
It happens to everyone. Well, not everyone but you will get what I mean. You get into your music when you're younger. Then you get deeper into it. Sometime in high school or college you get yourself a turntable and raid your parents record collection to supplement your own, most likely just to make it look like you have more records than you actually do. But then you give them a spin and all of the sudden it seems like whatever you were into before doesn't cut the mustard anymore. You're growing up. You have a record player. For me, this happened on my 18th birthday. Stay with me, this has to do with The Velvet Underground I promise.
The classic rock revolution that comes along with your turntable sends you in all sorts of new directions. Maybe you already liked The Velvet Underground, maybe you didn't. But either way, now you LOVE The Velvet Underground. You're growing up. You have a record player. There are plenty of typical rites of passage like this, it happens like clockwork. The only VU records you ever seem to hear about back then are "Velvet Underground & Nico" and "White Light White Heat", and most people are content with this. Time passes, and you realize "Loaded" is the best VU album.
It's perfectly natural.
But what DOESN'T happen to everyone, or at least doesn't yet, is accepting "Squeeze" into their life, and their Itunes. Plenty of people probably never find out it exists. Lou Reed quit the band before the 1970 release of "Loaded" and Sterling Morrisson left to become some brainiac nerd. That left a pretty dubious lineup with some fill in scabs to tour in support of the album. They were touring Europe and somebody got the bright idea to actually record an album in this situation but their record company (Atlantic) thought better of releasing it and put out "Live at Max's Kansas City" instead because at least it still had Lou.
And not only are they going to do a record for the limping remnants of The Velvet Underground fronted by "The Guy Who Replaced John Cale", but their manager sent the rest of the band back to the states. Either to cut costs or to maintain control of the album. "Bring in some studio musicians and the drummer from Deep Purple, and let's do this shit!" So the album comes out, their manager deserts them at some point during their tour to support it, and Doug Yule bails when the tour ends. This album has never been repressed, never been released in the U.S., and is not considered a V.U. album by the official account of the band. Obviously, it is only in that the band's name is on the labels. This is a Doug Yule solo album. But people were so preoccupied by that fact that they couldn't realize that there was totally nothing wrong with listening to a Doug Yule solo album.
As much a disappointment to Velvets fans of the day as Smiley Smile would have been to Beach Boys fans waiting for SMiLE to drop and outperform Pet Sounds. But I think what the two records have in common is that these fans were too devastated by their initial disappointment to realize that even though it might not have been what they wanted, it's still pretty great in it's own right and deserves to be regarded as such. Rock critics of recent history has done some damage control for Smiley Smile but virtually none for Squeeze. And Squeeze is a great album.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
At the moment, it seems as if The Nerves are more recognizable than The Plimsouls due to the recent release of an LP compiling their only released recording, a 7" EP Supplemented with demos, and unreleased material. This record has since come to be considered a power-pop classic, by the people who decide that kind of shit I guess. Whereas The Plimsouls, a band who have seemed to fade away from our collective memories made a bigger splash in their day with their 3rd single "A Million Miles Away". It was picked up for play by Rodney Bingenheimer on KROQ and later included (along with the band) in the movie Valley Girl.
The Nerves were around in L.A. from 1975-78, obviously since you have access to the internet like the rest of us you already know that their claim to fame is inspiring Blondie to cover their tune "Hangin' on the Telephone" and I've made this double-post because Peter Case played in both bands. The Plimsouls existed between 1978-83 and had roughly the same idea as The Nerves but a bit more fully realized and refined. But they weren't the only band to come from the demise of The Nerves, Jack Lee went on to a successful career as a songwriter and solo artist. Paul Collins went on to form The Beat, and Peter Case ended the Plimsouls for his own solo career.
Both of these bands are represented on the great early-mid 90's Rhino Records power pop comps which you should look into.
The Nerves E.P. (1976)
The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away (1982)
Coincidentally, the blog Power Pop Criminals just posted the only demo recordings of the post-Nerves band The Breakaways, featuring Paul Collins and Peter Case. It's a great blog. Check it out.
Friday, August 28, 2009
(like you don't know,) PUNCH IN THE FACE were a Chicago hardcore band that lasted from 2001-07. They were mostly active during the years at which my interest in contemporary hardcore was at it's peak, this band was truly first-rate, separated by the hardcore classics by decades and releasing 2 7" e.p.s, a slew of compilation tracks, and a long awaited album that rank amongst the finest raging hardcore punk tunes ever commited to wax. Around the same time many of my friends stopped going to hardcore shows I found it somewhat difficult to make it out to them myself. I had less people to go out with and less people to let me know what was going on, so I missed out on a lot of shows that I might otherwise have gone to see, but I would go see PITF whenever I got the chance. And at that time, they were beginning to play less and less.
This band meant a lot to me, their lyrics spoke to me, and their music was as pissed off about the shit they were yelling about as I was about it, too. I never considered myself a part of the hardcore scene... But I imagine that's the way they feel about stuff they like. I fucking love Punch In The Face.
Dumb Hardcore E.P.
Their Lengua Armada LP is still available and if you like hardcore and don't have it you're kind of an idiot, remedy that by picking it up.
(insert the chorus to "my dear, i haven't learned a thing" here.)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
When this tape came out in 2004, a small group of crotchety old grouch punks shook their fists together in unison to show their disapproval. The backlash happened before the hype. (and, at least in Chicago, it didn't seem like there really was that much hype anyway.) These grumps alleged that other, similar old grouchy pudwhackers who'd outgrown their juvenile interest in punk rock in favor of more "mature" musical offerings were all championing WRANGLER BRUTES to make themselves feel like they still had an interest in punk rock. Seemed kind of petty to me then and it seems REALLY petty now when you compare them to Fucked Up. (I like Fucked Up, too.)
Anyway, Wrangler Brutes was composed of members of Born Against, Men's Recovery Project, Monorchid, Skull Kontrol, Nazti Skinz, Universal Order of Armageddon, and Young Pioneers. I saw 'em twice and they put on a great fucking show. Great tunes, great, really funny lyrics, fabulous McPheeters artwork... Fake, really negative record reviews, fake photographs. This band ruled. An old band of mine opened for them on their 2nd tour and Sam McPheeters told me he really liked us, I didn't care whether he was lying just to be polite or not... I was on cloud nine.
Years later I would hear a radio interview where he said he was never wowed by any band on their last tour and didn't really like any of it and was getting sick of music etc., confirming my suspicions. However, sorry Sam. What has said cannot be unsaid. Your taste will be forever tainted when I tell my grandchildren about the time Born Against said my band was good.
I played this tape so many fucking times in my shitty dodge neon on my way to and from schaumberg that it eventually broke and began playing backwards. it has since then enjoyed a number of different vinyl releases, one of which I have thankfully picked up. But I am pretty sure the well has dried up. Check it.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I saw this band for the first time on accident at the Fireside Bowl in, what I'm guessing, was 2000? I can't remember what band I was going to see, I think maybe the (at the time) Clash/Gang of Four worshiping Radio 4 (pretty good, went on to be rather horrible... but hey, whatever.) The point is, Selby Tigers opened up for whoever it was and I no longer cared about who I'd gone to see. The sparkling vintage guitars and amps, equally flashy vintage clothes, a girl wearing a beehive wig, the bass player constantly pretending to be (as their wikipedia entry so perfectly puts it) "the loveably clueless, stereotypical Frenchman Sammy G", wearing a leopard print scarf and light blue jumpsuit. I don't wanna bog this entry down with talk about what eras and genres the Selby Tigers were aping but I will summerize it by saying that it was as accurately and tastefully done as their previously mentioned clothes and gear. They sounded like a contemporary garage punk band that was inspired more by the B-52's than almost anything else. In their attitude, lyrics, and music.
I saw this band at every given opportunity until they broke up. They're all doing other shit now. The guitar players of the band were married during the time of the band but I was quite disheartened to hear they had a pretty messy dramatic divorce. But I can honestly say that I can count the number of good albums Hopeless Records has put out on one hand and what I am posting about here accounts for two of them. (the others are by Dillinger Four and Scared Of Chaka for those keeping score.) So I hope that you can get down with this shit if you're not already. You can probably still buy the CD's from Hopeless and I'm sure find the LP's in a used bin on the cheap someplace. And when you do, it will be a great find.
this is both LP's
This is one helluva record. The guitar and bass player were in Lake of Dracula and the drummer, Mario Rubalcaba has been in 1,000 great bands. Sea Of Tombs is probably the most nebulous of them all. They got together to hang out I guess, talked about jamming and talked about what they'd been listening to lately. (Which I read online someplace that Blue Cheer was unanimous, although this album seems to ape Sabbath way harder.) So they recorded these 6 songs on this here LP. Six... looooooooooooooooooooooooooong songs that is, after all, this is stonger rock we're talking about. And according to a source on the web they only managed to play one show during their time together and it wasn't even here it was in Michigan someplace.
Mario left back to San Diego to join Rocket From The Crypt and that, unfortunately for Sea Of Tombs but not for RFTC, was the end of the band. I didn't know any of that until today while I was scouring the internet for this record but I bought this album right around the time it came out (which, according again to the internet was 9/11/01) and I have loved it, championed it, and recommended it at every given opportunity. So, continuing in that trend... I am offering it to you greedy vultures right here on my blog. Think a dirtier recording of the first two Black Sabbath albums but without vocals. This record is really, really good.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
DETENTION's 1983 single "DEAD ROCK 'N ROLLERS" never gets old to me. I imagine if I was older than 1 year old in 1983 this was a record I'd have been flipping this single over and over again. However, I obviously first heard this band on Killed By Death #2 which I don't mind saying is one of my favorite punk compilations ever. That being the case, I do get a little let down at the end of "Dead Rock 'n Rollers" when it goes into "El Salvador" instead of The Eat's "Communist Radio". Not to say that El Salvador is a bad tune, not many songs could match DEAD ROCK 'N ROLLERS...
Nobody really reads this shit anyway, you vultures are only here for the link, which is just as well. Let the music of these deranged Jersey mutants do the talking.