Reviews from Blank Generation originally published in October 2001
Note: Images added to certain reviews for cosmetic purposes in 2013
Cuts "S/T" LP
Dobule zero psychedelica coming right at you with lightning speed.... The Cuts LP, FINALLY! When I first heard their debut 7" on Lookout Records a while back it really sparked an interest for this band in the ol’ noggin of mine. They seemed to have a sound that fit nicely into my burgeoning Neoteric Punk/Wave movement.... I could just see, in my head, their live set with a crowd of about 80% being bored out of their skull because they weren’t seeing The White Stripes and about the other 20% really getting off on what they heard. That’s the way it is… Playing music in a band isn’t about making EVERYONE happy, it’s about striking those few, the elite; getting the worthwhile off, and really just fucking with the rest. Fuck the rest.
So The Cuts decision to move closer to a psychedelic sound that seemed to bust out of them with their move to Texas might even have isolated even more fans from their sound, but fuck man, when you hear something rockin’, when you hear something that gets yer foot tappin’, when you hear something that makes you wanna turn up the fucking volume... THAT’S some good shit.
I’m seeing something, or rather noticing something - a resurgence in the psychedelica movement. I see it in my own hometown with bands like The Shams and The Greenhorns, and I see it furthered with the Cuts and bands unknown to my ears as of yet...
Last night, on the twilight of sleep I found that those five coke-a-colas I drank while watching Josie and The Pussycats really wired me up. I thought of a few points I definitely wanted to make about The Cuts and Rock and Roll Blitzkrieg as a label... I was worried that I would forget what points I was wanting to hit on concerning both BUT I was also NOT wanting to get out of the comfortable warm bed that had gripped me to write down a few notes to help my memory for the next morning... So I sleep through the night, each time I wake to urinate or whatever I ran through the points I was wanting to hit on in my head and by morning, believe it or not, they were still there. I did The Sleeper.
I wake from my slumber and turn on the TV. I mute the sound as I settle into a Teletubbies episode, place some headphones full of The Cuts on my head and just veg-e-tate. I listen to the music and watch the Teletubbies do whatever those crazy fucks do... Adventures and such… Real sureal shit… It seems to fit the music nicely. I have yet to see a band actually do a video using the Teletubbies set as a backdrop; like have the band set up their equipment and play in front of the Teletubbies bunker or something, but for some reason, despite me ever really seeing a picture of the band, I visually saw The Cuts ripping through a version of "Forgot the Question."
The Cuts are tough as nails. Their music is more 60-ish than the Lookout Records 7", but it’s really a pretty nice change. This LP is definitely Neoteric and at certain times when The Cuts seem to really brake out into some crazy shit, the band really shines. The Cuts sound is big, deep, layered and at the same time simplistic and devastating. "I Am The Spider", "Do The Sleeper" and the longer really out-there "Wind Up Bird Chronicles" are stand out tracks to me, but the other’s aren’t weak or anything....they are as up-to-par as one could imagine. The Cuts fucking cut!
This record is really a great release, a real treat to listen to. I have hit on several of those ‘points’ that I mentioned earlier but I have one more.... I am a big fan of Rock and/or Roll Blitzkrieg as a label; one of the few labels I really follow anymore... I saw this LP as a big hurdle for Rock and/or Roll Blitzkrieg as a label. It seemed with every release the RNRB mustered out, the Cuts LP was just held luminously in the back, waiting for its time, waiting for its moment. Delays... Delays... Delays... It all worked out for the best. The Cuts and RNRB took their time and delivered a FINE product! I felt that RNRB couldn’t move onward, in a ways of speaking until this LP was released. Well, that hurdle was overcome now. I feel NOTHING is holding RNRB back. It’s opened doors and smashed windows from here on out. Feel the cool San Francisco breeze baby. (SAB)
(Rock and/or Roll Blitzkrieg PO Box 11906 Berkeley, California 94712)
Defnics "Look At Me Mom I’m Not Dead" 7"
Just because you are a band featured on punk reissue series like Killed By Death and Back to Front doesn’t mean you’re fucking special.... Look at the Nervous Eaters; more importantly look at a "reunion" release of The Nervous Eaters... I am talking about the "No More Idols" 7" released by Penniman Records (with a Y2000 copyright) a while back. Something tells me I review
ed this 7" for Blank Generation but I am not that sure, nor do I feel like actually researching that fact. I made a conscious effort to glance at the other Penniman Records ‘Eaters re-issues and compared that to the Y2000 release and found that they share only one common denominator: Steve Cataldo. If you’re like me this means nothing to you. I’m not, nor have I ever been a real "researcher" about all those Killed By Death bands and such.... But alas, that fucking ‘Eaters 7" blew chunks!
All of this is important because like The Defnics, The Nervous Eaters were on Killed By Death Volume’s two and three back in 1990 when I first acquired those FINE chronicles of music HISTORY. I have said it before and I will say it again, those two records shaped my fucking vision of what was REALLY Punk-Rock (with the dash)! I spent all this time talking about The Nervous Eaters in a review about The Defnics because the Nervous Eaters on that Y2000 Penniman Release was a pale comparison of what the Nervous Eaters ONCE WERE. One could look at The Defnics and wonder the same. I even had Scott Stemple e-mailing me and ranting about The Definics asked him to reform with them and how good their very own reunion show went and how the Defnics are back and shit... I was even writing updates with the help of Steve in my own zine. I was hyped beyond all get-out, but also still I had my doubts. Penniman burned me on The Nervous Eaters and as much as I hated to admit it, Smog Veil and this new Defnics thing could do the same....
Well, rest assured. This all-new Defnics, returning with two original members; Robert ‘Bill" Conn and Bob Sablack, along with two other Cleveland punk pioneers rounding out the line-up, including the aforementioned Scott Stemple and Mike Sherwood, is sounding stronger than ever! I mean that. Scott was right about all the hype!!!!
I listened to side two first, it’s a live version of "51 Percent" recorded at a recent reunion show in Cleveland. I chose to listen to this track first because I could easily throw on the Killed By version to see if it held up. That wasn’t needed though, attacking like a cheetah, The Defnics fucking rip through the song at brake-neck speed making me wished that I was there. Hell, I should have been there! I would rather have drove to Cleveland and spent $26 dollars a ticket to see The Defnics than the fucking The Sex Pistols a couple years earlier. That’s the FUCK-ING truth....
So, with side two out of the way, it was only logical to turn to side one, featuring an all new track. Like it or not, things were getting a lil’ bit crazy. If The Definics were to really prove themselves, justify their whole existence, they would be judged from this new track. WOW! Once again, a blazer! This track, "Look at Me Mom, I’m Not Dead", is a tale of survival! It is also a studio track! Since I know no band, no matter how big nor small goes into the studio to record JUST ONE song, my mind is running wild with the prospects of MORE material out there, floating around.
I know for a fact that this 7" precedes a Smog Veil CD that will compile the rare Defnics tracks along with unreleased recordings and who knows, maybe more tracks or hell, at least some more of those live fireballs that were sampled on side two!
So, The Definics are fucking back! It seems that the same sorry state of ‘modern music’ is leading to a new resurgence in this decade, re-unions, re-issues, re-vivals... Re.... Re-Punk!
Hurry up and get your copy, red vinyl and limited to 500! (SAB)
Gene Defcon "Come Party With Me 2000" CD
This is a limited edition release, limited to 2000 copies. There’s 47 total songs, so this one is really packed with a lot of varied influences, but for the most part it’s like a modern mixture of early Beat Happening and Atom and His Package with humorous dark humor ALA The Dead Milkmen or The Minutemen. Warning, if you like rock and roll and the thoughts of one guy with drum machines, keyboards, guitars and god knows what else just REPULSES you, OR you can’t begin to comprehend that 1.) The person on the cover is a GUY (Eugene Defcon) and seems to have a near philosophy of ‘The Party’ worked out and talks about scoring with chicks LIKE ALL THE OTHER DUDED (but actually has respect for them) or 2.) One song actually talks about recreational use of ecstasy, then PLEASE stay away! This CD is very out there, very, very OUT THERE! I would be untrue to the Neoteric Punk/Wave itself if I was to ignore Gene Defcon as something OTHER than Neoteric. I mean, some may find it hard to see bands like The Piranhas and Gene Defcon sharing the trenches side by side, but I don’t.
Gene Defcon is adventurous. Lewis & Clark if you will… I will admit, not everything on this CD is right
up my alley… But mostly if you don’t like a particular song, chances are before you realize you don’t like it, its over and who knows what’s next. Out of the 47 songs on this CD, there are some real hits, one in particular I must talk about, it’s a song called "Punks and Skins." This song is quite honestly one of the best songs I have ever heard. A different version of this song appears on the K Records release "Have a Good Time" EP as "Extension Woes." What can I say? It just does the trick! In fact, all the song’s from the "Have a Good Time" EP are here in different versions and of the only other Defcon release I have, which is also on K Records, "Baby Hallelujah", only the title track (as far as I can tell, because I am still going through all the stuff as I write this.) is a repeat.
Talk is cheap. My balls are hairy. You like what you see from the post-riot grrl movement like Sleeter-Kinny, or more in the neighborhood of Le Tigre, and like what you read so far, give ol’ Defcon a chance. Me, I’m hooked… I am however going to ask you, the avid Blank Generation reader to do one thing for me, when/if you see Eugene Defcon, shake his hand and pat him on the back for me and say, "Shawn Abnoxious sez well done." and two, tell him that I HIGHLY suggest that he read Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K. Dick.... E’vrybody’s in the party!!!!! (You must read the book to see why it is imperative that Eugene learns of this, just pass along the message fuck-head). (SAB)
Goddamn Gentlemen "Sex-Caliber Horsepower" CD
Whiskey Fueled. Whiskey influenced. Voodoo. Black magic. Satan. Flames. Rock. Rock. Rock. Roll. Roll. Roll. Hot Rod Cars. Brill-Cream... I refer to every oldster hot-rod car I see at car shows or driving down the road as ‘57 Chevy’s despite their make and model or even brand. They are all ‘57 Chevy’s to me.
This is the second full-length for
these Chicagoans. Well they aren’t really from Chicago, the press release plainly states that they are from Portland, Oregon but I almost left it as so just to fuck with those who would be fucked with by saying something as such.
The Goddamn Gentlemen deliver thirteen (oh, didn’t see that lil’ bit of rock and ’or roll culture at first) tracks of rip, rockin’ garage-punk MADNESS.
How many of the five-man roster the Gentlemen field have tattoos including the number ‘13’ you think? I say at least two but no more than three. I will even go so far as to say at least one member has a leftist Anarchist tattoo of sorts, maybe the classic "Keep Warn Burn Out The Rich" logo....
All my jadedness aside, this isn’t a half bad CD. Imagine equal doses of rockabilly and 60’s rock mixed with The Candy Snatchers. There’s keyboards and organs and such, in one standout track in particular that I can almost guarantee will end up on my Blank Generation radio show (Coming Soon: SLAVE TO THE LOW WAVE), "Shark Attack"; there’s even some kick ass sax-o-mo-phone playing.... This release isn’t without its moments though, I see worthiness in the first track, "Odd Rod", and the last track "Duck, You Sucka", but what really got me off, other than "Shark Attack" was "Hip Snake Handler."
The Goddamn Gentlemen remind me first and foremost of a band I once knew very well here in Cincinnati called Waco A Go-Go. Cha-os!!!! Rock and Roll!!! Unfortunately the earth itself opened up and swallowed them alive.
The Goddamn Gentlemen: Rockin’ Roll enough for the Rockers and Rock-abilly enough for the Pompadours. (SAB)
(Uppercut Records 4470 Sunset Blvd. #195 Los Angeles, CA. 90027)
(K Records POB 7154, Olympia, WA. 98507)
Le Shok "From LA to NY" 6"EP
References to a ‘death-drug’ and paranoid delusions that someone or mayhap a group of someone’s from New York City are after them, Le Shok attack on 6"s of vinyl.
A release like this is really for established fans. What you have are three songs with what has come to be expected from Le Shok; frantic guitars, sturdy drums, deranged keyboards and up-front vocals. Neoteric punk/wave at its finest! Le Shok just don’t play music, they use it as their weapon.
After building up a rather impressive catalogue of releases now, Le Shok continue to be a band that delivers consistently great releases. This EP features three songs all recorded live on KXLU radio in Los Angeles.
The first track, a cover of the best band to ever live, The Screamers "hit" "122 Hours of Fear", which is broken into two separate parts on Screamers releases but on this release, Le Shok combine both parts with fucking precision. By covering The Screamers and doing it so well, it’s going to garner even more attention for this band. The second side features the last two live songs of the release which have previously appeared on their debut LP, We are Electrocution; "Gimmie Something, Help Me Please", and an intense version of "Do The Dramatic."
Live, Le Shok is even more dangerous. I can see that now. There’s a certain level of looseness that one could expect from Le Shok. As once thought and expected by me, they use this looseness to their advantage. Due to a high energy level that I can also see in their music, these songs are delivered with a newness not usually expected with live releases. I really wish maybe Kapow Records would release the rest of the set or some other label like Deadbeat or Rock and Roll Blitzkrieg would maybe step up... I mean, FUCK! For the greater good of The Neoteric Punk/Wave! Doesn’t my words mean anything these days?
I know that in the near future, meaning the next couple of months, Le Shok have several releases planned. Just in time for my Blank Generation 2001 summary! If you have yet to latch onto what Le Shok are doing, do yourself a fucking favor dumbass... (SAB)
(Kapow Records POB 1287 Lake Forest, CA. 92609)
Dialtones "Playing the Beat on the Radio" 7" EP
So what you have here is a three-piece Swedish punk band churning out three songs of blistering fast and snotty punk-rock with a nod to Killed By Death greats like The Nervous Eaters.
The title track is a scorcher, as well as the second part of a double A-Side, "All Night Long." The B-Side though, a Fun Things cover of "Savage", I see as less than lackluster because truthfully, I haven’t exhausted the store of forgotten 80’s New Wave. I’m not totally unfamiliar with bands like The Fun Things, its just that I haven’t gotten round to them as of yet. If the Dialtones did a cover of an Einstein’s Riceboys song or pushed out a version of "Oh Didn’t I Say" by Tubeway Army; THEN I could really discern the Dialtones ability to cover.... With "Savage" I am left wanting another original instead.
This isn’t the first time I heard OF The Dialtones and now that this 7" was thrown my way, I am keeping my eyes out for more of their releases, past and present. Overall, a great 7"! (SAB)
(Dead Beat Records PO Box 283 Los Angeles, CA 90078)
Smogtown "Domesticviolenceland" LP/CD
This, their full-length follow up to Furhers of the New Wave seems to be closer to the premiere Smogtown release (in my opinion), their Beach City Butchers 10". On Domestic Smogtown exhibit even more cynical approach to the life that surrounds them. Smogtown’s songs seem to be a saddening document of the further degradation of the American dream. They tell it like it is
. The truth is a valuable and rare thing these days. Smogtown acts as the antithesis to the vision and appearance of life as portrayed by The Beach Boys. Smogtown are here. Now.
Furhers was a good record, I would even consider it a great one, but it lacked in something that I and other music enthusiast blamed on production- blamed on production because it was easy, but no offense Mr. Peters because really, deep down, those same enthusiast knew that Smogtown were much, much better... They just weren’t showing it.
Then, after Furhers, the seemingly endless stream of Smogtown material in the form of 7" singles and EP’s stopped. It was almost as if Smogtown seemed to take a step back and re-group. A three song EP on Hostage Records was the sole release for Smogtown in 2000. In that 7" there was some liner notes alluding to a great Smogtown resurgence of sorts.... Then along cameDomesticviolenceland.
So, like the switch-blade new wave is back. The New Beach Alliance does not falter!!!!
This is a fucking great release! Smogtown keep the punk-rock (with the dash) flame alive. Some stand out tracks include "Neutron Blond", my favorite track; "Sneaking Out", "Breakdown Shakedown" the title track itself, "Domesticviolenceland" where Chavez sings, "This new development/ We’ll pack the robots in/Rows of printed houses/is the goal for them’...." Fucking eerie. Cutting like a modern form of DI in content, Smogtown’s music is the after effect of a movie like Suburbia.... If only Penelope Spherris would do a REAL legitimate sequel to Suburbia: 20 years after where we would find out what happened to the original cast lives and how they dealt with "growing up" and how some of them would interact with their children who would listen to bands like Smogtown...just a thought.
Really though, I knew I would like this CD from the first time I saw it. On the cover: A highly contrasted photo of the band that includes who I think is Chip Beef, Smogtown’s bassist, who is wearing a beret! Gear up!!!! Smogtown are back, but it’s like they never really left… Thank god. (SAB)
V/A "Deadbeat Records Presents: Viva La Vinyl #4" LP
For those of you that are new to this "punk-rock" thing; stumbling across a site like Blank Generation when there just isn’t any action in the Blink 182 chat room, or for those of you that are COMPLETELY in the fucking dark, Deadbeat Records Viva La Vinyl series features a slew of bands paying a homage of sorts to the vinyl LP format and donating one song each for a compilation that according to Deadbeat Records will not be available on a CD EVER!!!!
Each volume features a different set of bands and at the time of releasing, Deadbeat urges each band to donate an unreleased track making the compilation even more eventful.
Somewhere just after the second installment and the third, The Viva la Vinyl series began to get noticed not only as a great compilation but as a sampler of what the current US of A punk scene is all about. Personally, I didn’t like EVERYTHING I heard on each installment including this installment too, but the whole thing is that there’s something for just about everyone on here. Besides, I think its a good thing if someone can listen to a Viva la Vinyl and NOT necessarily like everything they hear. This would mean that they are being exposed to something different and new than what they’d NORMALLY listen to... Yeah, I might not really like Bonecrusher’s track on Viva #4 or anything, but at least I heard them and know sorta what their about for future references.
I mean FUCK, this past weekend I had an excursion to an outlet mall in Jeffersonville, Ohio. I know, I know…how SQUARE, right? I have a uncanny knack for making the most seemingly safe and square task at hand, and putting a sinister twist on the subject and really turning such a simple thing as going to an outlet mall in middle-Ohio...fun!
I made the most of this weekend. Besides ripping the crotch out in my only pair of black pants (I like to lead a simplistic lifestyle) and STILL wearing them all weekend long, I had a rather interesting trip to a regional flea market where I saw three sets of parents threaten to leave, or beat their children into submission in the time span of an hour and a half. I even ended up getting in a car chase with some local yokel whose bangs were cut uneven... The fuck was riding my ass on I-71 Northbound despite me going 80 to pass a train of slow moving vehicles. I flipped him off as he passed me. After an exchange of him frothing at the mouth making punching gestures with his hands while driving, and me just laughing at the ability of me to make someone so damn angry, he urged me to follow him off a random exit for a rumble. At the last minute when he realized that I wasn’t going to follow him I executed a rather impressive move and exited the freeway. I drove around the exit’s mini-city of sorts for a while and made sure he continued Northbound. After several minutes I continued on my journey and when I got to the outlet mall, low and behold (!) there he was. I did observe as he passed me several large bags in his passenger seat so the way I saw it, since I seen the guy coming out of a store he had some sort of business at the same Outlet Mall. The yokel followed me and confronted me and called me names and a coward and tried to get me to fight him, but I just laughed him off and went to The Gap. I ended up moving my car several times in anticipation of him leaving to get reinforcements and coming back with some good ol’ boys to kick my camouflage shirt wearing ass, but everything was OK.... You see, I can make something so square like going to an outlet mall worthwhile!!! Well, while here I found a Music Discount store selling closeout cassettes for 99 cents. I don’t want to give it all away what I purchased because I want to do a Blank Generation radio show featuring tracks from my 99 cent cassettes, but one of the tapes was a metal tape I initially thought I would get for a friend who seemed to be favorable to bad-metal, but after listening to the self-titled release from Tyranny a couple of times I became partial to their Ozzy Osborne meets Rush meets Judas Priest sound. You see, despite not being into Bonecrusher NOW, one day, with thanks to a compilation like Viva la Vinyl, I might.
This volume features 15 tracks from the same number of bands with The Cock Spaniels, TV Killers, The Geriatrix (a local Cincinnati band; it was my idea to end their spelling of Geriatrics with an ‘X’), Gee Strings and The Dialtones peaking my interest, but also includes Puffball, The Hellbenders, the aforementioned Bonecrusher, The Valentine Killers, Snake Charmers, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, The Vultures, Hellride, Nikki Sudden (of Swell Maps fame) and last but never least; Flash Express.
Like I said, I wasn’t blown over by every band or anything... But at the same time, I really enjoyed listening to it. I think a lot of times the punk community as a whole really takes labels like Deadbeat and its Viva la Vinyl series for granted. In all the reviews I have read of the past volumes, I have yet to see one thing said to Deadbeat that’s in very much need of saying.....Thanks. (SAB)
(Dead Beat Records PO Box 283 Los Angeles, CA 90078)
(Smog Veil Records 774 Mays Blvd. #10-454 Incline Village, NV 89451)