Reviews from Blank Generation originally published in February 2000 Note: Images added to certain reviews for cosmetic purposes in 2013
Absentees "Neighbors Against Narcs" LP
>>Begin Review Prologue:
It seems like it’s been ages since Dale Earnharts wreck that ended his life but it was just a week ago as I write this. I agree with Joe Domino, he did more for the sport than any previous Nascar Driver did. I agree with Joe, he really WAS a pioneer and it really is strange that his wreck didn’t really seem that serious enough to kill him. Just as Joe pointed out, just laps before some guy was flipping through the air like fucking sputnik and that bloke walked away without DEATH... and Earnhart hits a wall and dies? Joe has flooded my e-mail box with chatter about ol' #3... inviting me to memorial chat rooms and such. Sightings are already filtering in to various sources that say they spotted a very alive Dale Earnhart in very public places. Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, Auto-zone, Smittys Pussycat Shack off exit 47 on I-70 in Indiananna... Joe is eating that shit up. He won’t let go. He sez there’s a conspiracy and Dale is hiding out in the witness protection program. Just let go Joe. Just...let.... go man. Were all here for ya.
>>End Review Prologue
Wow. This record was first addressed to my zine, the Neus Subjex, for review, but fuck man, I have to spread the message, and where better? I’m adored and honored here at the Generation. I just knowing my reviews are read in their entirety EACH time there’s a review update. The Way I see it, if you sit through one of my reviews you’re really a music lover. You are searching (or maybe you’re bored). I try to be entertaining but as usual, I come off sounding like a crazy person.
Last night my fiancée told me she read something in this bathroom-reader book (a book we read while we shit) about Writers and how something like 70% have mental problems like schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorders and crazy shit like that. "Interesting", I told her. Bukowski. Dick. Carroll. Korine. Brunner. I can agree.
Artist too. The percentage was really high for artist. The percentage is up there in the high 80's. "Interesting", I told her. Dali. Warhol. Picasso. Da Vinci. I can agree.
Then she told me how nearly the same percentage of Musicians, which was just a tad higher than writers but below the artists, also suffer from mental disorders. "Interesting", I told her. The Monks. Gary Numan... Need I really give examples?
Then I got it. I consider myself all three of the above. So what is she trying to say about me my fellow Blanketeers? Wait, don’t respond to that; I think I figured it out.
I suppose that’s why when I get this record in the mail, that also came with a tape jam-packed full of more Absentees material (that is just as good as the LP), and several pages of writings that included two pages of license plate numbers (?!?)... And I really got into reading the writings and listening to the songs. I could see how possibly his neighbors WERE using a wide assortment of hi-tech weapons like Directed Energy Weapon Systems or High Energy Radio Frequency, or HERF guns, to disrupt his sleep, jumble his thoughts, make his ulcers bleed and diminish his ability to play piano. Fuck man, going from Bach and Chopin, to something simple like chopsticks or something; something IS wrong somewhere. Something. Somewhere.
What do you do when a room covered in LA Art (aluminum foil) fails to protect you? You dump your pockets of change and refrain from wearing metal... You go on a bus-trip to Yosemite National Park and are followed the entire way (that’s where the list of License plate numbers came from)... No escape. No surrender... RV's double in traffic, double in frequency and you know what? He's right. "Friends" who leave loose change behind after visiting (especially pennies) aren’t really friends because Copper really is a great conductor of electricity. No matter how you slice it. Don’t knock it until you tried it. As "crazy" as you say he is. I can see how he may be right. He may be dead on it. It would be too easy for me to belittle beliefs such as those that exist on this LP and the accompanied writings and dismiss them as paranoia. The United States of Rock and Roll America is just the place for some strange shit like this to occur because no one excepts a minority of musicians, artist and writers would POSSIBLY see how this could be a possibility.
And what about those who do zines, write for web sites, plays bass in a band, and does art think about this? Well, I have my opinions. You can probably figure them out but Monday I want to go to WORK not SHOCK THERAPY.
Remember that chick that played Lois lane in the Superman Movies? She went batty and thought the CIA was out to get her. She disappeared and when she was eventually found it was discovered she knocked several of her teeth because she said that was the way they were tracking her and listening to her conversations.
One time on Cops they (the cops) were getting this big ol kick about this guy they found wandering in traffic on some California Highway who, when he was caught, said he was trying to do something to get arrested by the police because the CIA was out to get him. He was missing his teeth too.
One of my favorite authors, Philip K. Dick had his house broken into and his transcripts stolen. Despite his love of top-line stereo equipment on which he would blast Linda Rhondstat, it was all left behind, Only his writings were taken. He secretly accused the CIA and even wrote them several letters that basically said to them "I know it was you". You can read accounts of some of his "schizophrenia" which includes any more instances that could be "mistaken" for being crazy in his last novels Radio Free Albemuth and Valis.
I’m listening to this LP and a song comes on where they say something about reading the winning license plate numbers for some contest that don’t exist. At the same time I’m looking at what I then figured out was two sheets full of license plate numbers and just as the singer, Rocco Roll names off a certain plate number my eyes zero in on exactly the same number! Shield of Honestly. Sword of truth!
Ok, musically because I have to talk about music now. You don’t want to hear anymore examples of conspiracy theories or anything because Blank Generation is about music Right? About Rock and Roll Right? Well if you just sat through all of that then you should have developed a respect for songs dealing with the various mind boggling ideas that was thrown at you AND enjoy the Screamin Mee Mees minimalistic ability, Minutemen like in delivery, Electric Eels-ish in mental capacity. This LP is full of type KILLED BY DEATH punk fucking rock. Wait. Did I just say PUNK FUCKING ROCK?.................. Yep, I did. That sounds so fucking lame. The Absentees are worth your time. Open your minds, but not too far. Don’t let yer guards down. Watch out for those parked RVs. The winner of the contest is... (SAB)
(UV Records, No Address, Go Figure)
Blondie "X Offenders" 2XCD
This is pretty damn cool. One CD is 11 live tracks from the era of Blondie either just before Plastic Letters came out or just as Plastic Letters came out, I cant really tell and refrain from doing the necessary research to provide you with an answer. Deal with it. Just think of all the hardships Blondie dealt with... your such a crybaby! The other CD is a video CD that even I was able to figure out. If I can do it then you can. The live performance is some pretty damn good footage with various camera shots. The band is playing in front of a backdrop titled "Music Laden" which I would think is a German thing... I’m not sure but once again, it really doesn’t matter. I have recently rekindled a search for some of the more energetic Blondie performances that may be out there and have yet to reach me or my ears. I was watching VH1 and had seen some video footage where Blondie was really kicking some major ass. Their energy level was high and their sound was more like the way I think Blondie should sound. I thought this CD should have been more like that. Whereas this CD is pleasing, it’s still not what I had in mind. I will keep looking but after listening to this CD and watching the video I can now safely say I’m MORE of a Blondie fan. I hope in reviewing this I may have informed a even bigger fan of Blondie about something they may have yet to know is out there. Or, for you also searching for that energetic "more punk" Blondie that isn’t really exposed too much on TV that this may satisfy you while we tread onward. (SAB)
Johnny Moped "Basically..." CD
Gutter punk. No, I didn’t say Gutter PUNX, that stuff is bullshit. I said Gutter PUNK. P-U-N-K!!!! Never P-U-N-X!!!! Surfing the border of delf-destrictivness and complete insanity, bands like Johnny Moped were indeed a RARE breed...Coming off like a mix of Peter and The Test Tubes and The Dammed, maybe closer to bands like Cyanide. Johnny Moped seemed to be the basic DIRTY denominator of the three. Their songs are humorous, their songs are clever. Their songs are fast and powerful. Peter and the Test Tube Babies were mistaken as a Oi band ALOT, as were the Sham 69... they weren’t dirty enough in some meanings (but in MINE they are still PUNK bands). Something like this couldn’t happen with the Moped's. They are too dirty. They are the stray dogs in your neighborhood that seem to survive despite the danger; they don’t thrive on anything because the dogs look sickly and disgusting, but non-the-less SOMEHOW "make it." SURVIVE. Johnny Moped ARE dirty enough. Brash. Assaulting. Leather vest with a Buzzcocks pin and no shirt! The Sex Pistols had "Roadrunner" but Johnny Moped picked "Lil' Queenie". See what I’m sayin'? Lots of memorable songs on this CD, "VD Boiler", "Maniac", "Darling, Lets Have Another Baby", "Incendiary Device".... They also do a harp version of "Somethin' Else". MEAN LIKE SHARKS! Don’t let this one escape your sights. Zero in. Zone out. (SAB)
(Ace Records/Chiswick Records 46-50 Steele Rd. London NW10 7AS
Le Tigre "S/T" CD
I’m not supposed to like this am I? Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Sleeter Kinny, this music isn’t for me right? Because I’m a heterosexual white male right? I’m the devil aren’t I? They’re all men haters right? No to all of the above. I like Bikini Kill. I like Bratmobile. I even like some of Sleeter Kinny’s new ones, even through I don’t own any of their stuff...YET. I also like what I hear on the radio (yes, I said RADIO because here around Cincinnati we have a independent radio station that plays stuff like every band I mentioned in this review. They also play some kick ass stuff that I have yet to hunt down by bands like The Hives, The Gossip, and Spoon). Seen the 'Kill a few years ago when they played in Dayton. They kicked some ass... I got this CD because I heard "Hot Topic" a few times and liked what I heard. Amongst all the OTHER stuff, I got this CD because I wanted something DIFFERENT. I got it and I love it. Now I don’t know the history of anyone in Le Tigre except the Kathleen Hanna...nor do I really care. I’m not going to get out all my Kill Rock Stars records and find out the history of everyone. Let’s let them stand on their own; past be dammed.
Onward! I can see everyone comparing this to Bikini Kill like a motherfucker. Not me. I do hear some ‘Kill in the Le Tigre sound – minimal shrieking. Ms. Hanna really is a great singer; I’m not afraid to say that because I believe that. I’m also hearing just as much Bratmobile as The 'Kill. Even more Minimal. Raw, simplistic bleeding sound destruction. Le Tigre's drummer: WOW! Amazing. Carries songs. Keyboards. Drum beats. I wanna dance you motherfuckers! Disco be dammed. Learn the lessons and blow the bridges to cut retreats. Like the similar way ESG pounds, Le Tigre pounds. Like the way Beck just gets your body moving to the grooving, Le Tigre groove (see "My My Metrocard" or "Friendship Station"). Electronic. Le Tigre are doing what they do without fear. Passing boundaries. Passing go and not giving a fuck about the $200. Sampling.
Le Tigre may be the soundtrack to a magazine like INDEX. I like that magazine. In the past two issues they're been the pictures of Harmony Korine, one with a banjo, the other with Cloe Sevingny. Now any publication that would cover two different photographers that see artistic value in someone like Mr. Korine is all right by me. New wave of the new wave? No. Neoteric? I can deal with that. Le Tigre sees the hypocrisy of "Punk Rock" and are taking what they’ve learned and taking it to levels that they want to take it to. Cool be dammed. Do it if you want to. Adaptation is survival in some rat races but isolation lets you be you. Don’t work on creating your own island; create your own nation. Phanta!!!! (SAB)
(Mr. Lady PO Box 3189 Durham, N.C. 27715)
Queens of the Stone Age "R (restricted)" CD
Me and the Domino, as in Joe Domino our fearless commander, correspond via e-mail and talk about all kinds of crazy shit. One of the conversations we had that didn’t have anything to do with the recent debut of the XFL (hey, Joe is the one who steers our discussion toward the XFL, not me). We were talking about how we are becoming, I don’t know if you want to call it BORED, or even disfranchised, maybe disgusted or better yet just plain ol' let down with punk rock and found that a retreating back to our Pixies tapes can sometimes be enlightening.
That’s why I bought this CD. I liked the two tracks I heard from this CD ("Feel Good Hit of The Summer" and "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret") and whereas this is sometimes the farthest thing from the garage punk blast that many are accustomed to that read Blank Generation, I want to be the first to say that there is a lot that I hear on my local Alternative station that I like. If I like it there’s no reason why I shouldn’t buy it. And I likeed what I heard from Queens of the Stone Age so I bought it! It’s as simple as that. Come to find out, those two tracks I heard are good but others rock me even harder. I listen to Queens of the Stone Age and hear some really great fucking songs. "Monsters in the Parasol", "Leg of Lamb", "Quick and the Pointless". I like it. I like it! I’m not a punk rock purist. I’m glad to admit that. I’m glad that I’m not lock and biased in my taste. Kenny Rockaction, as he is known, almost exclusively listens to rap nowadays. He isn’t joking about that. Expansion in kinds of music can only make us appreciate music that much more. I can respect a band like Queens of the Stone Age. Maybe it’s the musician in me that really brings it out. I put on this CD and then I might spin Back to Front Volume two or MURDER PUNK!!! It’s not uncommon. Queens aren’t for everybody... They have a heavy "grooving" element to their sound and have many layers in their songs. Percussion. Horns. Layered. Jazz-like in its approach. I got this disc used. Eight dollars down the drain? Nah, just something to break up the monotony of all my Killed by Death Volumes.
My favorite pie is Coconut Cream pie. Its what I order whenever I’m in the mood for pie. Sometimes though there is no Coconut Cream Pie around. I get apple or Chocolate. It’s a decent change. Something new I can appreciate and respect. If you, like Joe and me have a punk-rock history that started out with bands from college/alternative radio then try going back and giving some of that stuff another spin. I never wanted to grow up to be a "debaser." But man, that was a great fucking song. (SAB)
Registrators "Velocity" CD
We had a quality meeting at work. In the one and a half years of employment we never had one so I figured some major shit was going down. I have a co-worker, his name is Gary; a pretty nosy fellow, he even admits it. I was feeling quite inspired last week and still reveling in the fact that I got to witness the emergence of The Detox Police, the might of Kill the Hippies, furthered witnessed the greatness of The Crimson Sweet, and even got introduced to a new set of Midwest missiles, the Radar Secret Service...
Anyway. Everyway. Gary had seen me jotting down lyrical ideas all week long and one day, while he said he was bored, he made his way to snooping in my notebook where I was jotting down my ideas. Yeah, I know. What a dickhead. Nevertheless, I allowed him a look into my mind. He read the working verses I have developed for "Inflated Monster" and when he was done looked up at me and asked, "What’s this?" Instead of answering what I should have, which would have been something like "None of your fucking business asshole", I Just simply responded, "A Song".... [side note begin] "Bunnies" by The Electric Eels is pure art [side note end].
Well after Gary was done snooping around my tool box and notebook to see what I was writing down every so often; he wanted to make sure I wasn’t taking notes on him to badmouth him when our manager gets back from medical leave… Well, Gary ask me what this meeting we’re supposed to be having is all about. Apparently he hadn’t heard it was something to do with Quality so I told him it was a party for me. He didn’t believe me. He inquired why there would be a party for me. "I’m cleaver" I told him and worded following sentences in a way where he agreed. "Cleaver people have parties thrown for them all the time" I told him. He got mad. I could tell he got mad because he is from Louisiana. People down there don’t hide their emotions to well. I have never met someone who was born and raised in Louisiana worth one fuck. I lived there for almost a year and it sucked. The only people who were even halfway decent were the GM transfers from up north. Anyway, I let my co-worker Earnie in on the "party" too. Gary made his way over to Earnie and asked him where our Department head was going and what the surprise meeting was about all in one sentence. "John" (he is our department head) is going to get Shawn a cake and some ice cream for the party." The meeting turned out to be pretty lack-luster. Apparently some of the screws from the New Britain side are developing a nasty middle taper and are very hard to work into existing parts. We were told to mic (measure) and gage our parts more. No problem.
I leave work and go to the post office. BAM! Registrators CD! All the way from Japan just as Joe Domino had promised! Nine songs. Apparently this CD is some sort of Major label thing over in Japan. It’s from Japan, but it is all in English. It’s amazing what a couple atom bombs will do... Japan is (still) one of the most powerful nations on Earth and they have a military that does pussie shit like make ice sculptures (I read about that in the paper). Some of the best punk rock in the last 10 years has come from Japan; and it only took two atom bombs! What would have happened if we dropped three? Fuck, if dropping nukes is the answer to musical problems then we should drop more. Two for England. Two for Germany. Two for Italy. Lets give France three just because their France... Let’s give the US two per coast. Living in the Midwest I would say we don’t need a nuke persay but we could definitely use a nasty Saran Gas attack or something to toughen up all the pop-punk bands.
The Registrators! DO! NO! WRONG! I listened to the Zodiac Killers after reading that kick ass interview of them in the new MRR then listened to The Reds because they are wanting to come to Cincinnati and do a show and I’m trying to figure out who to put on the bill with them... Fuck, both of those bands are better after being exposed to the Registrators! I think when it’s all said and done, The Registrators "Terminal Boredom" LP may be one of the most inspiring LP since The Sex Pistols "Never Mind...". When the Registrators released "16 Wires" people had to take a step back. The Registrators had moved on. They made a leap from what they were into what they are becoming. It was a step so drastic that not even Guitar Wolf or Teengenerate and their self-evolutions would prove so daring. The Raydios were DARING. The Wolf's "Jet Generation" was both DARING and DANGEROUS. But "16 Wires from the New Provacate" was/is DARING, DANGEROUS, EXPLOSIVE, and HANDLED WITH CARE. "Velocity", the new sampling from The Registrators is an expansion of what they were doing with "Wires". Listening to the nine tracks, two of which were released as a single by Snuffy Smile/Broken Rekkids, "Velocity" is comparable in feeling, in theme, and in nature to what Poly Styrene and The X Ray Spex were to the 70's punk scene. Poly Styrene wrote most X Ray Spex songs in one fucking year. They serve as a look into a particular time period and its hopes, dreams, nightmares and accomplishments. On "Velocity" the Registrators do the same. The Registrators look at things differently and aren’t afraid to go thru with their feelings. The Registrators embrace their inner vision by making thoughts and ideas into realities despite what is expected or asked of them. Will Rip Off Records release this domestically like they did with the Registrators last release? If they do I will have even a greater appreciation for Greg Lowery than I do now. The Registrators - Neoteric Pioneers. The Registrators - Neoteric Martyrs.
Last Friday night I was interviewed in connection with my work on The Neus Subjex. Someone was doing a piece for the University of Cincinnati Record, the student newspaper. We sat in Matt the Junglecat’s blue station wagon for the interview. My foot space was shared with a half drank 12 pack of Milwaukee’s Best. The interviewer asked me what punk rock was. I pointed at a piece of trash lying on the ground in front of the car and told her that punk rock was many different things to many different people. To me punk-rock was the sound of that piece of trash on the ground. The Soundtrack to the sidewalk cracks. The Dirt. I watched the 12 pack and wished I had the immunity in my system to be able to deal with a good drunk (but lord, I don’t if I was to get drunk I would probably fucking end up dying and Joe don’t want that). My eyes were affixed on the piece of trash that I originally pointed out to the interviewer. I hear "Still Bored" in my skull. I hear "Kick Out Next Door" in my skull. That piece of garbage; it was the Registrators come to pay me a visit. Godbless. Brought to you by: The Lastrum Corporation! What a kick ass company name! (SAB)