Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nov 2002 FORMING

Absentees "Illegal Listening Device: 1979-2000" CD
Lately, the whole "I need to buy a new Killed By Death so I can hear some rippin’ punk rock" line of thinking has been rushing through my head. Low and behold, I find this CD in my PO Box. Yesssssss! This CD spans The Absentees’ output from 1979-2000, including the highly sought-after debut single. Then you are given a half dozen unreleased tracks...a treat indeed! Also included are the 1999-released "Firepower" CD and 2000’s "Neighbors Against Narcs" (which I reviewed a while back), both in their entirety. Up until the "Neighbors Against Narcs" material, The Absentees were sort of messing around with a sound similar to Angry Samoans or Wimpy-era Queers. However, the "Narcs" stuff shows them coming into their own…and it’s fucking great. Minutemen meet The Dead Milkmen, with an added theme of police brutality, not to mention pop sensibilities. I’m not saying "emo" because I don’t like that guy...He’s a narc! I’m not comfortable enough to do a LP like "Neighbors Against Narcs"…but The Absentees are...If I let it all hang out...If I let it all go...If I open up the gates...I may never come back. Don’t believe me? Just ask Sugar-Bear…Seriously, this CD is great. If you’re a fan of Killed By Death punk, this is a must. A MUST!!!! More. More. More. Yesssssss! (SAB)
(Artifix Records, POB 641 Moreo Valley, CA. 92556-0641,,

Bad Machine "Rip Your Heart" CD
This is pretty similar to The High Beams…except Bad Machine’s jeans are dirtier. Cowboy hats. Chain wallets. TRUCK STOP PUNK. Bad Machine is like a Skynard version of Turbonegro…Southern Fried Death-Punk. I don’t hear any Jam influence in Bad Machine like I heard with the High Beams. Bad Machine is big rock of a lesser degree. They’re solid and the songs on this CD are good. If they had been around in the mid-70s maybe you would see them on those commercial TV rock compilations. Like most of us, Bad Machine was born about 15-20 years too late. HOWEVER, you could look at them as being EARLY for the NEXT WAVE. Either way, there is a market for stuff like this. Unfortunately, it’s a big market, with lots of competition. One day, you will wake up and see bands like Bad Machine everywhere. All the majors will need one or two in their hand or they’ll walk around in their Armani suits feeling cheated.
Bad Machine is a band taking their knocks right now. I hope they continue doing their thing and make others work for them as opposed to them working for others. On "Rip Your Heart", I see a band that’s playing AT YOU, not FOR YOU. I respect that. Yeah, you can yell "Livin’ in a Freak Out World" out at a live set. If they hunker down and rush to play it for you, I’m wrong. If they do play it, that’s OK…they are still playing AT YOU. If they work it in JUST for you, I guess you missed the point. Just because you go and see a band doesn’t mean they are your fucking slaves! The Bad Machine: at you not for you!!!! You can’t buy advice like that from just anyone...come along with me to my secret evildoer
cave. (SAB)
(Deadbeat Records, PO Box 283, Los Angeles, CA.90078,

Blacks "Last" 7"
I seem to recall another band called The Blacks, although I‘m not sure they had ties to this The Blacks or not (there was another Blacks from Sweden - Ed.). Either way, this is a pretty damn fascinating single. The ‘A’ side, "Take this Town", is coupled with the shorter "Mutate Radiate" on the flip. For some reason, I approached this record thinking it was a garage-punk record. Well, it’s not. It’s better. The Blacks remind me of Circus Lupus, who liked grind a lot more. Need I mention a grind band? By saying some general term as "grind", I figure those who know it, know it. Those who don’t have to figure it out. Grindcore is something best experienced and decided upon there. Anyway, I don’t listen to grind, or much "heavy" music for that matter. However, when stuff like this comes along, I am glad it does. Both songs groove nicely, especially "Take this Town", which features long, noisy introduction that really got my blood boiling. The Blacks are thick and heavy, especially for a three piece. Their music is angular and jerky, which is present in "Mutate Radiate". That’s why The Blacks bring to mind Circus Lupus. Some bands you couldn’t nod your head to if your life depended on it. I like it when I have a rhythm going and BAM…the song’s tempo changes and I’m left readjusting. The band around right now that does this sort of thing best is Les Savy Fav, but The Blacks have just enough for me to say something. Yeah, I wish all hardcore punk was this fun. Unfortunately, it’s not…but those special few greats are finding me. One thing that TOTALLY sucks is that one member of the band died while on tour, or that’s what the insert sez (Chad Kerr). I mean, I wouldn’t put it past a band to print something like that as a joke of some sorts, like if maybe the guy left the band on bad terms or something. But, in this case, it sort of saddens me because I would love to get another 7" or a full CD of this band. I guess it’s still possible, but how many people out there would go as the World Trade Center for Halloween? OR joke about a band member dying on the road? I never do what I do for justification...I do it just because it HAS to be done. Good Record. (SAB)
(Chemical Valley Records, 205 E. Alturas, Tucson, AZ. 85705)

Dancing Cigarettes "The Gulcher Recordings 1980-1981" CD
P O P D O O R M A T!!!!
I’m going to open up a can of honesty here: The Dancing Cigarettes are probably one of the best bands I have ever heard. And the first seven tracks on this CD, all of which are studio, are quite honestly some of the best songs ever written. The Dancing Cigarettes. Remember them from the Gulcher Compilation Red Snerts? Total dislodged technology...The real dissonant break-wrist song? "Broken Windows"…The Dancing Cigarettes stood out on Red Snerts...This CD captures their first four song 7", the track from the Red Snerts compilation, and two outtakes from the same session as the first EP. Musically, The Dancing Cigarettes remind me of a mix between The Embarrassment’s pop sensibilities and Captain Beefheart’s avant-ness…maybe some Talking Heads monotone vocal styles, but closer to Pere Ubu on their studio work. Some AMAZING-AMAZING stuff. The remaining twelve tracks is a live recording of a bunch of songs that ended up on latter Cigarettes projects. They have a Devo feel to them, but are still fully capable of blowing my head off. I write this with my severed head directing my body from its perch on some shelves next to the desk. My head sits beside a hexagon fishing tank, which holds a Chinese Fighting fish named Scott. Anyway, the sound quality on the live stuff is decent…I’m getting off on it pretty nicely. Good visuals…No stomach pain. But man, the first seven songs left such an impression on me. The live stuff is good, but the real treat is the first seven songs.
It’s the uncovering and rediscovery of music like this that will move people like me to search for true meanings. Asking a lot of questions will bring you to a band like this. A sound like this. A noise like this. The Dancing Cigarettes are not JUST a band, they are sonic saviors. There’s something mentioned about a ‘mature’ Dancing Cigarettes sound in the liner notes. There’s also a blurb about a CD that came out in 1995 called The School of Secret Music on some label by a guy named Paul Strum called Turnstyle. All I have to go off of is a website (listed below). Travel with me. I see this CD to the "Secret Music" CD as Blister Pop is to The Embarrassments Heyday double CD...Together, lets uncover more of this so-called "Secret Music". Indeed! Lets leave all concepts of "modern music" behind! The Neoteric Punk/Wave tide is coming in. You can see it... Such pretty colors. Silver...Sonic art is what we want and we want it now! (SAB) (Gulcher Records,,

High Beams "Hallucination" CD
Hey...This is pretty damn interesting. Not fuzzed out, last cigarette Rock and/or Roll. This has more of a wave approach. In fact, around song three, I am hearing some definite Jam in there...It’s that good Jam too. Not the boring shit. I mean, let’s all face facts…The Jam isn’t known to be consistently good. Their debut was OK... Afterwards, they were hit or miss on much of their material. Some really good songs and some BORING songs. The High Beams remind me of the good stuff. Mid-tempo tunes with some edgy guitar leads sprinkled throughout. "Hallucination" hits hard to the savvy music listener. Lots of finger pointing at speakers saying "yeah" when this is playing at the party. The title track to this CD is SUPER!!! It makes me jittery. The High Beams have the slop. Like they don’t wash their hair or something...Greasy pork sandwiches out of a dirty ashtray. Sitting at a bar…drinking bottled water…

Solid. Solid. Solid.

A while back, I reviewed The Cunts from Chicago. If you got that; and liked it, then this is right up your alley. Not as spaced out in parts, but you gotta love the straightforward rock that The High Beams throw your way. I know I do and I’m a fucking new-waver. This CD fucked up my solid color shirt, single row spiked bracelet, pink and black jelly bracelets and barefoot, flame-footed ass! I’m a fan! The High Beams won me over. Music prevails!!!! Stay on the beam!!! Not JUST the Jim Beam either.......... Nipples: HIGH BEAMS!!!! (SAB)
(Deadbeat Records, PO Box 283, Los Angeles, CA.90078,

Lost Sounds "Rat’s Brains & Microchips" CD
I guess you can say I live in my own world. IF this is a problem that’s YOUR problem...
The Lost Sounds. A band that I have liked from the start. I mean, shit! Keyboards! If ever a band really shook up anything in the past 5 years, there’s no other band that can say they did what The Lost Sounds have. The Lost Sounds have changed perceptions of what music is to a lot of people…not just in my reality, but others! In some ways, I see The Lost Sounds as a band that was in the right place at the right time...It had to be someone, so why not them? You’re either WITH US or your planet is on my list for invasion! I mean, The Lost Sounds are at that point in their career, and I surmised this after hearing "Blackcoats/White Fear": The Lost Sounds are like the Germs. You either LOVE them or HATE them. Your either flipping their records one right after another or your not flipping them at all…I guess what I am saying is that The Lost Sounds are one of the best bands to ever inhabit my reality. I’ll even step things up a notch: The Lost Sounds are one of the best bands EVER. I say that NOT CARING WHAT YOU THINK. It’s true! I’m just bringing all of this out now, right here in the open, so in 10 years you can look back and say I was right. I will be dead by then, so I won’t really get to enjoy you eating shit, but that’s OK. I have not only accepted that I will die (soon), but I have come to look foreword to it...
This disc plays like sonic platinum! Rat’s Brains shapes scenes or maybe SHOULD shape scenes. Forming planets around suns.... Shit yeah! Thirteen songs...Some of the best songwriting I have ever heard. Everything sounds TIGHT and solid, with every thing in place perfectly. Rat’s Brains is what happens when you get a focused band behind a red-light. Everything just clicks. I have already mentioned "Blackcoats/White Fear", but there’s so many great songs on here..."Total Destruction"…"Energy Drink & The Long Walk Home"..."Rats Brains & Microchips", which starts off with cellos…depth... like the deepest part of the ocean. It sets off the whole release. "Total Destruction" should be the song that’s played when Monday Night Football comes on..."Read a Requiem Mass for Me" sounds like something from the Breaking Glass soundtrack. Trademark male/female vocals splatter the disc like any other Lost Sounds release. This time around they have a full five piece with guitars synths...The whole 9 yards. The Lost Sounds are Neoteric Punk/Wave, no doubt about it.
Anything goes with The Lost Sounds and they know it.
Crimson Sweet.
Kill The Hippies.
The Spits.
Radar Secret Service.
The Lost Sounds
These bands rock my planet.
You should really do yourself a favor and pick out your three favorite LPs. Take them and trade them in for as much money as you can. Then go and get this record, a pack of the cheapest batteries you can find and as much beer as the left over money will buy. Put the record on. Wash the batteries down with the beer. Its called Alkalizing…and I just made it up seconds ago. I don’t know what will actually happen IF you do this, so be sure to let me know. It’s all I got right now. The best records propel your own creativity. The Lost Sounds just did it with mine. Really, the best records make you feel like dying. I know what I am talking about. I have the case studies to prove it. You could come over to my house and see that, simply playing a series of certain records, you would leave my place ready for death. It’s a completion thing.
As a musician, I can’t compete with a band like Lost Sounds. As a person, I don’t deserve The Lost Sounds. As a music critic, I despise The Lost Sounds, if only because I can’t say anything single bad fucking thing about them. They rule! Bands like Lost Sounds are in a class of their own. ALL OF YOU LISTEN TO ME! You, over there who just got done flogging your meat to computer porn. In this world and this reality, we don’t deserve PHENOMENAL records like this, but we’re the only audience they‘ve got. We’re the luckiest fuckers alive. (SAB)
(Empty Records, PO Box 10234, Seattle, WA 88012,

Mexican Blackbirds "Ain’t Got The Time" 7"EP
Some major fucking earthshaking here...Out of nowhere: The Mexican Blackbirds!!! I remember exchanging e-mails with the lead voice, Chris Trashcan. He mentioned ‘something’ about being in a band that had a Motards type sound. But man, I never realized...He is a fucking titan!!!! The Mexican Blackbirds are not JUST another band that should be on Empty Records. The Mexican Blackbirds are a band that should make a label like Empty drop EVERYTHING (except the Lost Sounds) and begin to build a new label sound centered on bands like this one. The fucking Blackbirds aren’t JUST a band, they carry a fucking torch! They’re keeping it alive!!!!
Random thoughts…four songs. Texas punk in Washington. Ripping new holes punk rock. Sloppy. Gritty. Knife sharp guitar hooks...Four-more-beers-garage-punk that makes me miss the Motards. Stuff that, without rushing to my record collection, brings to mind some EV Records/Ryan Richardson type punk. Really Red. The Mystery Dates. This is some great shit. Each song is the shit by far...Tough as Nails. I see a good thing here. Everyone reading this should look into getting a copy. Fuck the Catheters. THIS is the stuff. The good STUFF. This is top shelf "Chuck-Yeager-should-have-been-an-astronaut" type stuff. I mean, in today’s garage-punk market there is PLENTY out there. It’s up to people like me to sort through the stuff and tell you, the avid music listener, what IS and IS NOT worth your time. Shawn Abnoxious……….Favorite TV Show: X-Men Evolution………Favorite Movie: "The Big Lebowski"……….this is me. SHAWN ABNOXIOUS!!!! It don’t get no more real than this…than me!!! Your reading something I wrote, and that means that you are BELOW ME. Hungry? Well, I fucking got Rock and/or Roll here and the mustache to prove it...Wait, that didn’t sound too good...Oh well. The Mexican Blackbirds are DEFINITELY worth your time. Now, back to MY blackout! K-kaw!!!! I’m awaiting my Mexican Blackbirds armband. K-Kaw!!!! K-Kaw!!!! Love you too. (SAB)
($4ppd to: The Mexican Blackbirds, PO Box 7569, Tacoma, WA. 98406,

Ultra Maroon "Lifeless like Blood" CD
Well, I am pretty sure that back there in that Blacks review the deceased band member wasn’t a joke. This CD is dedicated to his (Chad Kerr’s) memory. This CD in fact features an ex-Black, Dick Solomon who played drums in The Blacks. Dick teamed up with Mike Pierson to create, at least this version of, Ultra Maroon. This is a two man act that’s pretty damn tight. Musically, it reminds me of The Minutemen or Firehose, except the songs are mostly instrumental-- something I am getting more and more use to, with minimal self-described "vocals". Ultra Maroon impressed me but man, with the right vocalist and lyrics they could have been a band that really changed my perception of music. It’s THAT good…or rather, Ultra Maroon have THAT MUCH potential. They know not of their possibilities until low-lifes like me fucking drool...What’s more to say? With mostly all instrumentals, I feel HALF the journey is complete. I mean, I’m a person that understands the internal workings of bands. It’s difficult to describe! The whole deal and all. If anything it’s getting harder and harder for bands to form, gel, and retain a working relationship for the years it takes most bands to reach their potential. I bet for Mike and Dick, it’s no different. I can’t escape the feeling that what I heard on "Lifeless Like Blood" is just a starting point for this band. Sure, with something like this under their belt to throw out there, they will probably find some people to join in, like that vocalist and stuff. I dunno. I’m just babbling really. I see so much of what CAN BE. The Ultra Maroon could be kings of Arizona or something in my eyes.
I see...shrouded images of a music community where we all sit huddled together in the center of an abandoned town with makeshift fires burning in 55 gallon drums...The Ultra Maroon show up and they are greeted with hugs instead of hellos…Kisses to the cheek instead of looks from the meek. Let me share my oxygen!! "Welcome home," we all say. The complete tribes...Omaha to Normandy and back...Gold...Welcome to UZA! (SAB)
(Star Time Records, PO Box 43091, Tucson AZ 85773,

V/A "Music for Haters" 7"EP Series Volumes 1-4
NOTE: The package that contained these singles was retrieved at the post office by a Moody Blues fan with a handlebar mustache…
I suppose this is the beginning of a new thing with Hate Records, which has really grown to be one of my favorite labels. Hate Records is getting the mark of consistency with me, releasing one great record after another. A Singles Series started by folks who this good of an ear is great news. I just wonder if there is a subscription or anything. There was no promo sheet with any of these records giving me the lowdown on what exactly Hate Records is doing, so sorry for the vagueness. Inconvenience!!!! IN THE DARK!!!! I do know that the first two volumes are limited to 250 with some of each pressing appearing on colored and black vinyl with the third and fourth volumes being limited to 500. Colored vinyl on these? Your guess is as good as mine on this one. Each volume is hand numbered with one and two appearing cosmetically similar and three and four sharing design likes...Logistics aside, these are all rrrrrrrrrright up my alley!.
Single #1 features THE INTELLECTUALS...WOW!!!! This band is really hard hitting. Four songs from an apparent two piece, even though some elements of a "mystery piece" are witnessed. Keyboards sprinkle a couple songs here and there. YEAH! A Guy playing frantic blues charged chords clean and choppy with a gal hitting drums. Sounds familiar don’t it? I m’ not going to say anything more, but this duo is better than the other one that comes to mind, trust me. Hate really found a winner with this band. I want more of this and reading the insert I can see that The Intellectuals appear courtesy of Cactus Records. Singing songs about sex, drugs, sex and more drugs, I didn’t get bored once while listening. I feel good.
Single #2 is PUNKIDS.S., who along with The Intellectuals are from somewhere in Europe (I want to say they both are from Italy but I dunno). Gosh darn…we have a new wave of RE-Punk (revivalist punk) right here in the new millennium! PunkidS.S., whose name strikes me as odd and one that I figure MUST translate into something cooler sounding in some sort of native tongue, looks like a pop punk band, but rage like The Broken Toys...Great guitar sound!!!! This 7" is a hard hitter, the hardest out of the series. Four songs of snotty, minimal, bouncy old school punk like Jolt or Eater or the aforementioned Broken Toys. This is the type of record you play for your friends when they come over and they are immediately jealous that they don‘t already have it. This 7" shows a ray of hope for the new kids. I’m definitely looking out for more PunkidS.S stuff.
Single #3 begins a change in look and format in the series, with a color cover and just a straight 45. The Flakes! The A-side features "First I Look in the Purse" which, along with the flip "I’m Movin’ On", sound like cover songs. The Flakes are either SO GOOD that their original music feels familiar or these tunes are actually covers. I COULD research this, but that’s for losers. This 7" is good. It fits in nicely with the series, but since tit only has two songs, you get into some real ethics over pricing argument. I know these records are going to be sort of expensive here in the states. They are imports, after all. At my local store, it wouldn’t be uncommon for a import 7" to reach prices close to $6. I‘d be much more willing to drop $6 bucks on 4 tunes rather than 2. THAT‘S MY DOPE MONEY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT! Either way, expense is expense.
Single #4 features a band I actually know something about: THE KILL-A-WATTS! I am pretty sure The ‘Watts have a recent LP and 7" on Rip Off Records. The three songs on this 7" was my first exposure to them. Not bad either. I think they would benefit from a better recording, but it’s pretty ripping just the way it is. The first song on the B-side had female vocals and reminded me of Kill The Hippies to boot. The second song on Side B is a cover of "Primitive" by The Testors. That’s it! The ‘Watts win my heart! Any person in any band that even know of The Testors wins points in my book. That person either has first hand knowledge of The Testors OR knows someone with the knowledge meaning they have good taste in those they pick as band mates. The fact that they chose "Primitive" really shows a serrated edge to this band and totally makes me want to check out their other stuff.
The "Music for Haters" Series is undoubtedly for the die-hard singles freaks, so I don’t know how it will play out. I hope I get future volumes to review for free so I can hear some more Moody Blues while I am waiting to sign for a package at the post office. Hate Records is making an even bigger name for itself by sending me review material. Ciao! (SAB)
(Hate Records, via S.Giovanni in Laterano, 194-00184 Roma, Italy, {Intellectuals}, {Kill-A-Watts})

Walking Ruins "Fall of the House of Ruins" CD
Man...I remember this band. This CD is a re-issue of sorts. Like the inside sez: Originally released on Ruined Records in 1996...For some reason I want to think that I seen an ad for this way back when in an issue of MaximumRockNRoll and put it on a list of wants...After all, I bet what interested me was the Bloomington Address...IF my memory serves me correctly...Wow, funny how stuff like that works out.
The Walking Ruins are one of those matter how new they are to you, you’re somewhat familiar with them. Bands like The Walking Ruins are the bands whose rosters are full of punk scene veterans that always seem on the edge of breaking into something bigger. They can seemingly play anything and, through the years, just meander through bars, basements, and UAW halls, one right after the other, never seeming to get the respect they deserve...These bands are everywhere in most scenes. Which one is yours? In Cincinnati, it’s The Slobs. The Slobs are a fucking phenomenal band, the kings of Cincinnati Punk. They’ve been around since 1990 or so. They have influenced EVERY band and fan in the city to some degree. They have released records and did short tours, even opened up for the Vibrators when they came through recently...They should be doing LONG tours. Coast to coast. Living the Rock and/or Roll lifestyle 24-7. New CD every year. EPs...the works. But, here they are STILL in Cincinnati. The best thing about it all though is that they STILL are at it, on their own terms, after all these years. Sometimes these bands "make it", other times they "make it" in other more important ways.
I have a feeling The Walking Ruins and The Slobs share some similarities. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. Still, after all these years writing, playing and listening to music, I use bands like The Slobs and The Walking Ruins as my personal meter stick, checking myself in comparison to them before moving on. I do what I do on MY terms as much as I can…but fuck! I’m still learning! Me, calling the shots!!!! I learned it from guys like The Walking Ruins. (SAB)
(Gulcher Records,