THE CONTINENTAL CO-ETS are one of dozens upon dozens of lost American garage treasures who surfaced during a brief British Invasion- and "Psychotic Reaction"-fueled rage of loud guitars, short songs, and bouncy choruses. But get this – they were girls. There’s that whole forgotten underbelly of all-girl or girl-led bands from 1964-67, celebrated on the GIRLS IN THE GARAGE compilations and perhaps best known and represented by the single track, “What A Way To Die”, by Leather Tuscadero’s PLEASURE SEEKERS. A few years ago I got wind of a couple of fantastic lost 45s by this Minnesota band, one of which had thankfully been repressed by Get Hip records. The other tracks are scattered among various hard-to-find compilation LPs and CDs. The Co-Ets have a really great, brooding, minor-key chug to their songs, with terrific young-girl vocals and choruses that it’s hard to excavate from your head once they get lodged in there. My favorite 2 of their 4 are the ones I’m posting for you here.
Like what we posted for you last week? Here’s a single from THE DESPERATE BICYCLES that I’m tempted to call one of the twenty greatest of the quote-unquote punk era, “The Medium Was Tedium” b/w “Don’t Back The Front”. It came out near the end of 1977, and was their second 45. It was certainly meant to be a D.I.Y. call to arms, and it’s hard to argue with the sentiment or its raw translation into action. I think I’m most taken with the squeaky keyboards and the strident, hectoring vocals that still sound smooth and comforting. You’d follow these guys into the trenches, wouldn’t you? Many did, and left a pretty impressive legacy in & around the UK around this era.
I hadn’t yet heard the DESPERATE BICYCLES when I published a fanzine in 1998 that contained a long piece on the “Forty-Five 45s That Moved Heaven and Earth”. Number one for me was (and remains) PERE UBU’s “Heart of Darkness / Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”; number two was (and remains) the ELECTRIC EELS’ “Cyclotron / Agitated”; after that I forget. Having only heard of the Desperate Bicycles in passing within the pages of Forced Exposure magazine, all I knew was that they were punk-era progenitors of the “D.I.Y.” aesthetic, that they were excellent, and that their singles were impossibly rare. Certainly their first two 45s, now that I know & love them, would have bumped a couple of ringers off the list if I were to do it again today.
“Smokescreen / Handlebars” came out in 1977, with both songs on one side. I have a very clued-in pal who told me he’d never heard the band before, and that made me realize that I might have an opportunity to blow at least one mind by putting them up on Detailed Twang. I don’t really have a ton to add about the band that hasn’t been already written about here, here and here, but let me add my voice to chorus calling these masterpieces among the most invigorating & exciting rock and roll records of all time. The second 45 is even better, and that’s also coming to a computer screen near you soon.
If that’s translated poorly, don’t blame me, blame Babelfish. My parents raised an English speaker. As alluded to in an earlier post, 2007 is the year that I discovered THE BRISTOLS and their new-solo vocalist, FABIENNE DEL SOL. I’m hooked. Fabienne herself has a new solo record out now, her second, called “BETWEEN YOU AND ME”. This French-native English lass skirts the brassy 60s pop of her homeland, and marries it to raw surfbeat, stomping garage rock of a decidedly “Mersey” bent, and full-blown sugartown pop music. This latest record is better than her very solid solo debut, “NO TIME FOR SORROWS”, and is probably as good as her BRISTOLS material (which is fantastic – all of it – start with the new greatest-hits collection). I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to ya. I’m crossing my digits for a US tour to see if what goes on in the studio will translate to a live stage, but after seeing Bristols clips on You Tube, I’m fairly certain that it will. Let me know what you think!
Once THE NIGHTS AND DAYS had broken up in the late 80s, word started filtering out of Seattle that Rob Vasquez had quickly put together a new, like-minded band called THE NIGHT KINGS, dedicated to raw, mono-fied, transistor-burst garage punk. When evidence finally surfaced in 1990 that confirmed said rumors, there was dancing in the hovels and houses of dozens record dorks countrywide, mine included. Salvo #1 was a sole track on a four-song compilation EP on Estrus Records called “TALES FROM ESTRUS”. The comp actually led off with THE NIGHT KINGS’ “Dirty Work”, and it was a glorious thing. Ninety seconds of crunch that brings forth Link Wray’s pencil-poked amps as played through by a ham-handed SONICS. And that voice – man, what a howler. Vasquez was back.
Salvo #2, maybe half a year later, was a split single with a short-lived (mercifully) Seattle band called YUMMY. The Night Kings’ side was called “Bugweed”, and it practically blew the grooves off the vinyl. Loud, overloaded, garage scorch with no precedent and no antecedent – something pure & unique and totally wild. I’m posting both tracks for you today. Soon the Night Kings would release an In The Red 45, a Sub Pop 45, some comp stuff and a full-blown LP. Here’s what they started blowing minds.
VENOM P. STINGER were an overpowering late 80s/early 90s Australian group who morphed out of one scorched-earth, rawer-than-raw hardcore noise band called THE SICK THINGS, and later again morphed into another thing completely: the lovely, edgy instrumental trio THE DIRTY THREE. In between were several LPs, a 45 and one 4-song CD-EP that it is essential that you hear. Nowhere have I heard a band so desperately trapped in their own skin. Their militaristic, brutally loud and often atonal punk rock was an ugly cousin to a lot of the American bands of the day, the ones that came out on labels like Amphetamine Reptile, Treehouse, Noiseville, Circuit and Adult Contemporary. Their singer, Dugald McKenzie, had the rawest mouth-rasp vocals imaginable, and not only was it difficult to imagine him singing without his neck veins popping halfway to China, it was difficult to hear his deep-accented wails and think him anything but Australian. Drummer Jim White usually sounded like he was stuck somewhere between drumming for the Daughters of the American Revolution parade and for later-period John Coltrane. Even when the songs didn’t fall together all that well – and their albums do have some filler – they never wavered from a mood that was dark, angry and ballistic. Even on the (rare) slow ones.
(Read Part One here). I don’t know what it is about SIN 34, and why I come back to their recordings every few years. They were perhaps the first speed/thrash/burn punk band that ever connected with me during my teenage late-night listening sessions with “Maximum Rock and Roll Radio”, even before Black Flag or Minor Threat. Generic-by-the-numbers early 80s LA hardcore, with the added curveball of female singer “Julie”, SIN 34 at times had this ability to leapfrog the genre & throw in some burning, stop-start hooks that got testosterone-fueled limbs flailing and bodies flying. I know that their name made it to Pee-Chees and Army surplus jackets even at my Northern California high school – but then again, so did “China White”, “TSOL” and “The Adicts”. In SoCal, they had a much higher profile, due to band member Dave Markey’s involvement with WE GOT POWER fanzine and friendly connections with RED CROSS and Smoke Seven records. Only one 7”EP and one (quite lame, save for 3-4 tracks) LP made it out, but I’ve cherry-picked the band’s winners for you. Read a whole lot more about SIN 34 here and here.
This 2005, 5-song ear-pillager from San Francisco’s semi-active CURSE OF THE BIRTHMARK was the electro-zap my ass needed to get the foam coming out of the mouth again when I first heard it a little over a year ago. “Welcome To The Hard Times….You’re Late” is the sort of dark, aggressive “industrial rock” I used to envision in the early/mid 80s whenever I’d read about TEST DEPT. or EINSTURZENDE NEUBAUTEN or whatever, whom invariably let me down. C.O.T.B. did not let me down; on the contrary, this EP is full of frothing, electronics-filled no wave guitar, some absolutely thumping drumming, and enough bleeding ear tones to keep you in the isolation chamber for hours afterward. There’s a rabid, mysterious churner at the end of Side 1 called “Too Many Ministers” that I have not been able to stop playing for a year. They put out one other 45 that’s also quite good, and I think they’ve maybe played one live show in the past 365 days. I couldn’t go – I think I had to wash my hair or something. See if you’re up to the challenge by clicking on the links below.
So it looks like the most popular post in the short history of this blog was the first BANGS single that I put up about a month ago, which warms the cockles of my dark heart. Perhaps we can best that with a related, and even more rare, love offering – an excellent demo version of “Getting Out of Hand”, one recorded before their 1980 single, and a bonus photo of the band in miniskirts, stolen right off of the internet from this site. At some point in the near future I’ll get the 5-song IRS EP up for you as well. Enjoy.
I guess I sort of took a layoff from paying close attention to new bands, lasting roughly four years, from about 1998-2001. When I came roaring back, one of the first bands to catch my attention were a just-springing-out San Francisco band called NUMBERS. Their robotic, off-tempo, patterns; angry, stabbing guitar, and overall metronomic sound was totally intoxicating, and those first few live shows I saw of theirs – usually about 15 minutes each – were totally friggin’ great. As I understand it, they are still a band, but I have not “scene” nor heard them in about three years, disappointed as I was by their second CD, “In My Mind All The Time”. For a short period, though their first record “NUMBERS LIFE” was, in fact, my life. It holds up to this day, and then some. See if you agree by downloading the tracks below.
1984 in England. I get flashbacks to The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, The Cocteau Twins and even “Red Lorry Yellow Lorry” and “Half Man Half Biscuit”. What about you? Under the indie radar and pretty much unknown in the US were a British act called THE SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE, named after three dead rock music icons. They were a loud-ass, short-lived British group who, on their first of only two singles, produced a hot, panic-filled "Batman"-like TV theme instrumental A-side called “Public Enemy Number One”, matched with an angry, sneering original on the flip called “Hup Two Three Four”. It was produced & engineered to be bleeding way, way, way into the red, and if memory serves me, it was released both as a 45 and as a 12”. (I have the former; I’ll bet the latter is even more damaged-sounding). On their next 45 they took on John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and totally nailed it, to the point where that’s the version I hear in my head during the rare times it pops to mind.
“Public Enemy Number One” was the intro music to a formative 1984-89 radio show on KCSB-FM Santa Barbara during my late teens called “Strictly Disco”, hosted by Eric Stone. Stone has the greatest record collection of punk, garage & indie 45s I’d ever seen to date, and I still possess a C-90 cassette I got to make of some of his singles that I heard for the first time either at his house or on his show: The Electric Eels’ “Agitated”; The Misfits’ “Bullet”; the Naked Raygun “Basement Screams” EP – and this one. Hopefully it’ll show up on some of your cassettes in the near future, now that you own it – or will when you click the links below.
Detailed Twang’s in need of an mp3-posting breather, so here’s an ordered list of 100 records to go out & get in the next five minutes. Astute readers will recognize similarities to the Agony Shorthand 100; since publication of that list, there’ve been a few reshufflings and a couple of substitutions near the bottom. The quality level remains!
1. FLESH EATERS – “A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die” 2. VELVET UNDERGROUND – “The Velvet Underground and Nico” 3. ROLLING STONES – “Exile on Main Street” 4. THE STOOGES – “Funhouse” 5. VARIOUS ARTISTS – “Yes L.A.” 6. GUN CLUB – “Fire of Love” 7. VELVET UNDERGROUND – “White Light/White Heat” 8. DREAM SYNDICATE – “The Days of Wine and Roses” 9. BIG STAR – “Radio City” 10. THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS – “Easter Everywhere”
11. COME – “Eleven : Eleven”
12. THE FALL – “Hex Enduction Hour” 13. ROLLING STONES – “Beggars’ Banquet” 14. PERE UBU – “The Modern Dance” 15. MODERN LOVERS – “Modern Lovers” 16. THE STOOGES – “The Stooges” 17. BLACK FLAG – “Damaged” 18. DIE KREUZEN – “Die Kreuzen” 19. WIRE – “Pink Flag” 20. FLESH EATERS – “Forever Came Today” 21. MEAT PUPPETS – “II” 22. RAMONES – “Ramones” 23. RED CROSS - "Born Innocent" 24. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND – “Trout Mask Replica” 25. VELVET UNDERGROUND – “The Velvet Underground” (3rd) 26. MISSION OF BURMA – “Vs.” 27. THE FALL – “Slates” 28. THE CRAMPS – “Songs The Lord Taught Us” 29. NEIL YOUNG – “Zuma” 30. GIBSON BROS – “Big Pine Boogie” 31. THE GERMS – “(GI)” 32. SYD BARRETT – “The Madcap Laughs” 33. SUPERCHARGER – “Goes Way Out!” 34. CIRCLE JERKS – “Group Sex” 35. FLESH EATERS – “Hard Road to Follow” 36. ROLLING STONES – “Let It Bleed” 37. VELVET UNDERGROUND – “Loaded” 38. NEW YORK DOLLS – “New York Dolls” 39. DINOSAUR – “You’re Living All Over Me” 40. MINUTEMEN – “Double Nickels on the Dime” 41. JOHN FAHEY – “The Legend Of Blind Joe Death” 42. TELEVISION – “Marquee Moon” 43. PINK FLOYD – “Piper At The Gates of Dawn” 44. THE SONICS – “Here Are The Sonics” 45. FLESH EATERS – “No Questions Asked” 46. MC5 – “Kick Out The Jams” 47. TALES OF TERROR – “Tales of Terror” 48. WIRE – “Chairs Missing” 49. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND – “Safe As Milk” 50. ROXY MUSIC – “Roxy Music” 51. THE STOOGES – “Raw Power” 52. UNION CARBIDE PRODUCTIONS – “In The Air Tonight” 53. THE SAINTS – “Eternally Yours” 54. RAMONES – “Leave Home” 55. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND – “Mirror Man” 56. NEIL YOUNG – “Tonight’s The Night” 57. X – “Aspirations” 58. MISSION OF BURMA – “Signals, Calls and Marches” 59. THE FALL – “Grostesque” 60. HAMPTON GREASE BAND – “Music To Eat” 61. ROXY MUSIC – “For Your Pleasure” 62. BIRTHDAY PARTY – “Junkyard” 63. CHEATER SLICKS – “Whiskey” 64. THE FALL – “Perverted By Language” 65. THE AVENGERS – “The Avengers” (White Noise EP) 66. LOVE – “Forever Changes” 67. PATTI SMITH GROUP – “Radio Ethiopia” 68. CAN – “Tago Mago” 69. THE KINKS – “Something Else” 70. THE GORIES – “I Know You Fine, But How You Doin’” 71. JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS – “L.A.M.F.” 72. MINUTEMEN – “The Punch Line” 73. JOHN FAHEY – “The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death” 74. THE DONNAS – “The Donnas” 75. GUIDED BY VOICES – “Alien Lanes” 76. GIANT SAND – “Glum” 77. ROXY MUSIC – “Country Life” 78. WORLD OF POOH – “The Land of Thirst” 79. THE SCIENTISTS – “Blood Red River” 80. VARIOUS ARTISTS – “Tooth and Nail” 81. THE CLEAN – “Boodle Boodle Boodle” 82. BRIAN ENO – “Here Come The Warm Jets” 83. NEIL YOUNG – “On The Beach” 84. YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS – “Colossal Youth” 85. SONIC YOUTH – “Sister” 86. CAN – “Soundtracks” 87. HUSKER DU – “Everything Falls Apart” 88. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND – “Strictly Personal” 89. LAZY COWGIRLS - "Tapping The Source" 90. FAITH/VOID – “Faith/Void” 91. THE KINKS – “Arthur” 92. THE BANGLES – “The Bangles EP” 93. NIGHT KINGS – “Increasing Our High” 94. SWELL MAPS – “A Trip To Marineville” 95. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD. – “Metal Box” 96. THE FALL – “Room To Live” 97. CLAW HAMMER – “Claw Hammer” 98. HIGH RISE – “High Rise II” 99. NEIL YOUNG– “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” 100. STEREOLAB – “Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements”
This one just floored me when I first heard it, which occurred the same month or so that I bought THE DWARVES’ “Toolin’ for A Warm Teabag”, an EP that to this day rivals the first RED CROSS 12” for over-and-done punk rock godhead. I was just getting over the first show of theirs I’d seen in late 1988, which I’ll recount for you in a second, but when I got their ‘88 “Lick It / Nothing” single (a UK-only thing on Ubik records), I knew the DWARVES had been total superstars for at least a year following their loud-psych period (represented in the LPs “Horror Stories” and the earlier SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE record). I may not have been present at the creation, but I hooked on early & rode the violent wave for dear life. This single in particular still totally rules. That the band is still alive more than two decades after their birth is a musical abomination, though I certainly understand payin’ the bills.
Here’s what I wrote about the band and this era a few years ago:
Among the top 10 rock moments of my life was the first time I saw THE DWARVES in 1988 at San Francisco’s Covered Wagon Saloon. The band was in full bloom from their transition from horror-splashed 60s-inspired garage band to raging hardcore-inspired 30-seconds-flat punk rock band, but I didn’t know that yet. Expecting a heavy dose of angry, keyboard-driven psychedelia, I instead got a ballistic six song, five minute set with so much crazed misanthropic energy that the small crowd was driven into the nether regions of the club, fleeing singer Blag Jesus with a mixture of terror and shit-eating glee. Jesus would announce the song title (“This one’s called “Motherfucker”, or “This one’s called “Fuckhead”), and it was 1,2,3, panic for the next forty-five seconds. The whole band was totally nuts, but from this day forward my favorite Dwarve – nay, my favorite rock and roller – was bassist Salt Peter, who affected the most ridiculous bad-ass leather-jacketed rock poses you could imagine, a combination of the exceptionally effeminate and the Hell’s Angel-style ugly. I can’t do it justice in words, but the memories are strong. Needless to say, I was more than hooked, and I proceeded to attend pretty much every show they played in SF up until about 1991 or so, when they had convincingly passed into mediocrity and self-parody.
The band’s whole blood/sex/violence shtick was, I maintain, just that: a shtick. Sure, they might have been violent, hateful losers in real life as well, but there was a real tongue-in-cheek spirit and hidden intelligence there that was hard to locate on the surface. When I wrote the band a fan letter the next month, politely enquiring as to where I could find their “Lucifer’s Crank” cassette, I received a very friendly, conversational handwritten note back from Blag, patiently explaining their discography and thanking me profusely for my fandom. He then signed off with a “PS – Go Fuck Yourself”. The next year that amazing “Toolin’ For a Warm Teabag” 12”EP came out, still an absolute high-water mark for screaming, socket-bursting, in the red punk rock music. It approximates that first live show I saw quite well: 6 tracks, about 6 minutes, and every last one of them a killer. Soon thereafter the rest of the world began to find out. When Mudhoney came to town in 1990, a drunken Mark Arm couldn’t stop shouting “The Dwarves! The Dwarves! Fuck you up and get high!” to the crowd throughout his own band’s set – seems The Dwarves had made their Seattle debut a few days earlier, and secured their Sub Pop deal in the process. They also were playing their best new song since “Let’s Get Pregnant” or “Sit On My Face” – the masterwerk, the uber-genius, the supremely rarified “Fuck You Up and Get High”. Unlike so many of the fake-“dangerous” bands of the era (COWS, HELMET, HOLE, BASTARDS etc.), the 1987-1991 Dwarves stand up tall even today. I’ll advance the proposition that they successfully took punk rock as far as it had been taken up to that point, and subsequent blaze-punk bands like the Zodiac Killers are only basking in the mid-period Dwarves’ considerable shadow (good as they are). For reference, I wholeheartedly suggest the 39-track “Free Cocaine” retrospective CD; the out of print “Toolin’ For Lucifer’s Crank” CD, and the incredible (and incredibly rare) “Lick It / Nothing” 45, a thrilling encapsulation of their psych-to-punk transition that finds them right smack in the middle of the operation.
Anyone who’s heard THE BRENTWOODS’ 1994 LP “Fun In South City” – and there aren’t many of us, unfortunately – is still trying to get that ringing sound out of their ears & get that leg to stop twitching. I figured it was high time that I posted a few tracks from that album; no full LP from us – what do you think we are, some sorta illegal Rapidsharing site? I wrote a little bit about this on my old blog – so here’s what was said:
THREE CHEERS FOR THE LOST 1990s “OLDIES” SCENE!....Anyone out there remember a San Francisco Bay Area 1950s teen-sound combo called THE BRENTWOODS, who were active just over a half-decade ago? Their profile was so low, despite an impressive pedigree (Darin and Karen, ex-SUPERCHARGER + an ex-TRASHWOMEN & more), that even those of us who were living here pretty much missed them (I had to order their wildly underpressed LP “Fun In South City” directly from the band, who lived about 8 miles from my house). I just digitized their entire 1994-98 ouevre minus one single I could never find, and the whole package is quite a hoot. Comprised of five 45s and an LP, the Brentwoods' work is not for the audiophile nor for the easily annoyed. Their m.o. was flat-out, full-contact dance party rock, with a heavy tilt toward a mongrelized farfisa-drenched garage punk/good-time oldies mix, all recorded more or less live and on cheap equipment to boot. Lots of screams, yelps and hollers, and you certainly have to love the chutzpah of a band that puts its woefully inept female singer (who sounds like she might be about 15) front and center, and then encourages her to yell herself raw.
The band had an inexplicable attachment to their hometown of South San Francisco, a blue-collar suburb with a decaying bowling alley from which the band took their name. A good two thirds of the songs have references that only an upper Peninsula maven could figure out, including many that mention the cryptic “Buri Buri”, which I believe is a So. SF neighborhood & which The Brentwoods have made into a teen dance of their own. Listening to each stomping, screaming 90 second track, it’s clear there’s really not a lot to figure out here – The Brentwoods were an oldies band, they thoroughly enjoyed going to parties, and they planned to take the USA by storm with dances like “The Bug” and “The Doofus Stomp”. Another key draw here are the frequent vague jabs made at thin-skinned ex-Supercharger guitarist Greg Lowry and his then-band the RIP OFFS. The LP’s cover art alone is one long cartoon about how the Brentwoods and their fans could easily beat up the Rip Offs (cleverly cloaked as “The Riff-Raffs” here) in a street fight. If you loved the calculated no-talent genius of SUPERCHARGER, and it would be hard not to, you just might be able to handle this. Now the trick is getting Radio X (Darin’s label) to get back in business, put it together and push it out to the kids. Good luck!
BRENTWOODS : “GO LITTLE SPUTNIK / SOUTH CITY SHINGLE & SHAKE” 45....I professed my undying devotion to this near-mystery mid-90s rave-up party band last year in the pages of Agony Shorthand, and included a veiled whine about the 45 of theirs I was missing. Well what do you know, vocalist Patty up & sent me the one I was missing (autographed!), this after I called her a “woefully inept” singer “who sounds like she’s 15”, She knows and you know I meant it in the very best sense of “woefully inept”. The 45 that escaped me is as pepped-up bonkers & go-go-go as their other ones – quick, bursting with energy and teen screams, and recorded so on the cheap that I’ll bet the session’s donut run cost more than the "studio time". It also includes the band’s usual array of unfunny but nonetheless charming skits and spoken tomfoolery bookending the two songs. I’ll take it! Hats off to Patty and her crrrrrrazy 90s shenanigans!
If you visit frequently enough, and download every infrequent dub track I post here (at the rate of about two tracks every three months), then sometime late into 2008 you’re gonna have yourself one hell of a compilation CD. For the first two editions of the Brain-Erasing Dub series, please click here and here. They represent the finest in drop-out, shimmering, echo-filled 70s Jamaican dub. This round I’ve got one from BLACKBEARD’S ALL-STARS that I procured from the “Trojan Dub Rarities” 3xCD box set. The only information I can glean on the web about this here gem is that it can be found on said box set – that’s it. Blackbeard, are you out there? Come home and tell us about yourself. The other is a killer from MORWELL UNLIMITED & KING TUBBY, from the excellent “Dub Me” CD on Blood & Fire. Track one, even! The whole CD’s great. More for you in November.
There was this compilation that came out, jeez, I don’t know, I want to say 1987 (?), called “IT CAME FROM THE GARAGE II”. It was a bunch of Detroit-area garage bands, most of them extremely raw & quite more fulfilling than anyone else at the time who sought to connect 60’s raunch with CRAMPS-style lurch-n-roll. Even THE GORIES made their debut there, and they, along with ART PHAG, were the ones that made the most immediate impression. (I seem to remember an ode to porn stars by SNAKE-OUT that started with the line, “Hey Ginger Lynn / What’s on your chin?”, as well as a hideously racist song by someone going by the nom de plume of JERRY VILE. Classy!). ART PHAG’s contribution was equally distressing – a two-minute, bottom-feeding sludge-o-rama of the most guttural garage sounds imaginable called “Golf”, interrupted by occasional angry rants from a guy yelling at his girlfriend for messing with his golf clubs, followed by the sound of her screaming in sheer terror as he goes on a rampage. Like I said, tre classy.
So a couple years later the ART PHAG album comes out. It’s got a spray painted cover, each one handmade – you know the way every Tom Dick & Harry noise band does it this century. Kinda cool back then. “Golf” is on it, and all the politically incorrect DJs at my college radio station rush to be the first one to play it. But hidden in its grooves are other songs – much better songs, I thought – that proved that ART PHAG weren’t a one-trick pony, and that they engaged in a primitive level of subdued raunch as well as anyone else going - sounding very CRAMPSian for sure but also with nods to the Panther Burns and 60s punkers of all stripes. I’m posting two of the best from the LP – oh yeah, and “Golf” – as testament to a band undoubtedly lost to time if not for the Interweb.
Here's a fantastic recent track from a double 3"CD (!) from Vancouver's SHEARING PINX, one of the better debuts I've heard in a great long while. At times abstract noise, the grande majority of the release finds the band pummeling a tight-ass riff into the ground, with lots of skittering, creepy noises making the nature scene around it. Take for instance my favorite, the opening, "New Gospel". You're gonna get glimpses of funkier early 80s acts like Pylon, The Pop Group, PiL and Gang of Four here, whereas a good chunk of the rest of the discs veers off into avant-noise territory of recent vintage. I say it's all good - and this one's the best.
Perhaps one of the most “developmentally delayed” - and yet paradoxically miles ahead of the pack - releases of the go-go late 70s would be the three tracks from THE PRATS that made it to the EARCOM 1 record on the Fast Product label. These Scots helped redefine shambling, spasmodic, inepto-rock. Their primitiveness to me almost comes off as a bit forced at times (“Inverness”), but damn me if I still don’t totally dig listening to their joyous mess when I get the gumption. It defines the learning-to-play-on-the-job ethos of late 70s Britain, and a period that generated some of finest 45s of any era. The EARCOM 1 12” compilation was a collection of “up and coming” bands from the British Isles, and also included the BLANK STUDENTS, the much-underrated FLOWERS and others. EARCOM 2 came out a year or so later, and had legendary eardrum rippers from Americans like the MIDDLE CLASS and NOH MERCY.
Well, I’m hoping to help kick up a cloud of PRATS mania, since it turns out there’s a new compilation of their compleat works now out called “Now That’s What I Call Prats Music”. One of their songs even turned up in the remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” that no one saw. Lots more to learn & do over at their site, but in the meantime, here’s those Earcom 1 tracks.
One of my top 2007 finds (and perhaps yours as well - the word is most definitely out) is a young band from Huntsville, AL called THOMAS FUNCTION. Reminscient in so many ways of a stripped-down, keyboard-augmented, less grandeur-bound TELEVISION, two of their three 45s are among the finest & most deceptively catchy records of our aging decade so far. (I say 2 of the 3 because I haven't heard the new one yet - the label says it's "in the mail"). I think the main guy's vocals come off as so much more real than others looking to recreate a pre-punk history for a post-punk world, and THOMAS FUNCTION are the sort of band that's going to appeal equally aging record dorks like myself and the new gaggle of teenage hipsters. Apparently the garage punk congnescenti dig 'em too. See you what you think by downloading two of their best so far.
In the limited universe of 1980s garage-revival bands who’re any good, THE MORLOCKS are the ones that stand mophead-&-slumped shoulders above the rest, on this single EP’s merits alone. “Emerge” is a total monster, a record that pre-dated the hallowed early 90s let-it-rip garage punk by almost a full decade. It’s the razor’s edge of that overloaded, screaming 60s punk made famous on “Back From The Grave”, updated for 1985 stylings by a gaggle of cretinous San Diegans who absolutely lived 1965 in every way, shape and form. Most of the time bands that dress the part just blow. The Morlocks did not. “Emerge” is easily their high-water mark, and it’s a stone drag that the only other full-length LP they put out was a live record. We hate live records! (Though rumor has it that it was a fake live record – it sounded like dog dribblings nonetheless). I also don't care much for the GRAVEDIGGER 5, the loins from which the Morlocks sprang. But that's me. This guy Leighton, the lead Morlock, with bangs obscuring just about everything save his chin, was quite a mod/punk scene hero among the mod/punks I met around & after this time. I heard lots of Leighton drug and Leighton drinking stories -- in fact, the San Francisco house I moved into in 1989 was said to have been recently vacated by The Morlocks, who did in fact move to SF after this record to do more drugs and toughen their sound, as if that was possible. They died there as well -- figuratively -- and I never found out if Leighton was truly shagging birds in what later became my bedroom.
"Emerge" has some covers of 60s punk staples that stack up extremely well against the originals, and given that the originals -- MURPHY AND THE MOB's "Born Loser", THE ESQUIRES' "Judgement Day", "By My Side" by (I forget) -- are some of the most ferocious rock firebreathers ever, that's not half bad. But it's an original howler called "In The Cellar" that made this band's rep in 2 minutes flat -- an overmodulated, fuzz-filled catastrophe that goes way, way beyond "in the red" and into something very deep crimson. It's really ugly, and I mean that as the highest of praise. If you crossed some of the Japanese fuzz/noise bands of relatively recent vintage with, say, THE SONICS, you might get a sense of how boss this is. Hopefully someone will get busy and put this 8-song 12"EP onto a CD, and dig up any other hot Morlocks tracks that never made it out during this era. Hey, how about you?
PS - I know they're actually still playing music under this name, but I'm a curmudgeon. What they did 22 years ago is just enough for me.
I can dimly recall the kerfuffle this particular fake-o xenophobic stomper generated back in the early 80s, thus proving how successfully the joke was employed. WHITE PRIDE - now there's a name to get the typewriters tapping - were roundly criticized for the "Peace My Ass" EP in the pages of Maximum Rock N Roll and virtutally everywhere else, and taken literally, that's understandable. My take is that the knuckle-draggers responsible for this, who included amongtheir number Mike Doskocil (later of DRUNKS WITH GUNS), probably were very anti-PC before their time, and chose to "make mirth" with the concept by going ridiculously over the top, all the better to stir up the hysteria of the anti-Reagan left so stridently strident at the time. A bonus is that the song itself is funny - at least to a humorless reactionary like myself. It's also a meatheaded punk/metal romp somewhat reminiscient of POISON IDEA as they slowed down, with barked, eye-bulging vocals that are a gutbuster in & of themselves.
Then again - covering myself here - if it was serious? Well, it's just too stupid for words, as are most current commentaries of the subject. As a supporter of "the money machine", I say: Tear down the walls, baby! Let 'em in!
Certainly it’s not news that there are new live CDs out from THE FALL, even when they’re from the hallowed 1979-1983 period. I certainly can’t keep up with the flood of releases, but I’ve been buying some of the live discs from this era, along with the “repackaged” versions of old LPs, complete with alternate versions, demos, live tracks and the like. Remember when the only live FALL stuff you could get from the glory years were the “Totale’s Turns”, “A Part Of America Therein” and “In A Hole” LPs? Man, I paid a pretty penny for those last two as well, but then again, THE FALL are one of those half-dozen key bands in my musical development. Once I locked in with them, they earned their place in my head as the single greatest & most influential British act of the last thirty years.
So here are two previously-unknown-to-me live tracks that made their way onto the 2xCD reissue of “HEX ENDUCTION HOUR”, which as I’ve stated before, is the finest of all FALL records. Don’t believe me? Just listen to it. “Session Musician” and “Jazzed Up Punk Shit” are certainly not of the caliber of anything on the original LP, but as stand-alone extras – and as songs that never got waxed into studio versions – they’re great, and are “must-haves”, as they say.
I don’t think I’ve come across a single better track from swinging 60’s France than “Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat” by CLOTHILDE, a beautiful, complex, uplifting baroque pop masterpiece. I heard it being played at a French bakery last year and I actually asked for the manager to compliment him on his excellent choice in customer ambiance-setting. CLOTHILDE released a mere two EPs, but as I’m coming to find out, several of her eight wonderful songs (they’re ALL fantastic) were re-sung in different languages for other European markets. Such is the case for “Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat”, which I’m posting for you here in its original form and again as “Sopresa!”, a Spanish-language version of the same tune, with a quicker fade-out toward the end. You judge which is the sexier language– I know who I’m voting for. If you’re like me the first time I heard this song, you’ll be playing it five or six times straight, telling everyone you know about Clothilde, carving her name in your arm, stalking her on the Internet, and naming your firstborn son after her. Thanks again to JA for turning me onto her way back then.
One of the great under-the-floorboard artifacts of the late 70s flowering of UK bedroom post-punk is this four-song EP from Camden’s STEPPING TALK. Low-key and aimless to a fault, it illustrates perfectly that special rainy, damp, cold leftist/labour D.I.Y. sound that encapsulates barely-pre-Thatcher Britain in 1979. As I understand it, the band were drinking pals with the early SCRITTI POLITTI, with whom they share that shambling, agitprop-infused approach. The “Alice in Sunderland” EP employed the two-concurrent vocals trick popular at the time, where one guy sings and a girl tells a totally unrelated story on top of him. Weird horns float in, out & around a thumping but lackadaisically-played bass. The excellent “Common Problems” sounds as if the band, attempting but failing to play in unison for most of the song, had a piece of carpet pulled from under them midway through & scrambled to keep playing in spite of it. The form and construction of these little set pieces owe something to jazz, but more likely there were a very deliberate attempt to pull off something jazz-like by playing particular instruments in sequences exactly backward of what one would expect from the rock music of the day. The instrumental “John’s Turtles” is the most experimental of the bunch, and sounds like a strange & frightening tribute to some peculiar British-created white man’s dub. It’s a really cool period piece from an era in which it seemed like 20 of these warped, provincial slices of indie vinyl came out every week in the UK and US.
I guess a few months ago some too-lazy-to-write-critically switch flipped inside and I started exclusively posting mp3s here at Detailed Twang, saving myself from having to exhaustively describe the rockin' in favor of letting the music do the talkin'. Did you know that since the January 27th, 2007 post we've almost exclusively posted mp3s, sometimes up to 4-5 times per week? Did you know that every song from that date forward is still available for download? Did you know that every one of these handpicked treasures totally rules? So that I may take a break this week in favor of trying to learn the ropes at my new place of employment (don't fret, alcoholics, Hedonist Beer Jive's still posting - that's even easier to pen than this one), here are a few favorites you might have missed:
If I "collect" any band, it's THE FLESH EATERS. Any time I get any new unearthed rarity of theirs, I'll share it here. Previously I posted some live tracks of theirs from a December 1982 KPFK radio session, a video of the "Minute To Pray..."-era Flesh Eaters from YouTube, and their incredible live version of "River of Fever" from a flexi included with a 1982 issue of TAKE IT! fanzine. The show that gave us the latter song was recorded on July 17th, 1982 at a Detroit punk club called Clutch Cargo's, home of many a Negative Approach and Die Kreuzen show. The Flesh Eaters opened for Chicago melodi-punks THE EFFIGIES, and almost certainly blew them out of the water.
Wait, you can actually hear it for yourself, because I have procured top-secret access to the entire show. Here are three tracks from that night in Detroit in the balm of a Michigan summer - listen and learn as the "Forever Came Today"-era Flesh Eaters show a generation of punks how it's done.
The rightful heiress to the spirit of Neutron Bomb/Babylonian Gorgon Los Angeles punk of the late 70s probably doesn’t even know she’s directly descended from it, but oh my friends – she is. Chicago’s MISS ALEX WHITE AND THE RED ORCHESTRA now have their second excellent CD under their belts with the release of a new one this year called “SPACE & TIME” on In The Red. For about the first eight or nine songs, it’s hands-down one of the best records of the year, then loses a little steam before finishing up in the Top 15 nonetheless. It’s a little more varied than the first CD of theirs – which I wrote about here – in the sense that tempos are all over the proverbial map & straddling all manner of punk styles. Kinda like a lot of those wacky Masque punks of Darby Crash’s day – your UXAs, your Metrosquads, your Howard Werths, your Controllers - even your early punk-era GO-GOs (check the bouncy girl-group pop of “She Wanna” if you don’t believe me). I saw them play a few of these songs live last year and knew it’d be a good record, but it’s even better than that. I’m going to post a couple for you here, but you might want to think about skipping that and clicking here instead.
You want to hear two total killers from late in the first punk era? Right here, right now? OK, first I’ll grant access to THE VAMPS’ “Carving Knife”, a great NY Dolls-like stomper from San Antonio in 1980. It missed all the Killed By Death comps somehow but it’s as raw & unhinged as anything on there. These guys opened for the Sex Pistols at “Randy’s Rodeo” down there – remember those scenes from “D.O.A.”? Second up is “Amateur Surgeon” from Buffalo, NY’s THE VORES, a 1978 high-tempo scooter with some nutty lyrics about medical accidents. Both unheralded classics. Download them for your homemade “KBD alternates” CD-R comp.
Man, the laffs I’ve had over the years making fun of CIRCLE ONE, a second-wave Los Angeles hardcore band famous for being one of the very first bands to inspire their own gang. I mean gang as in Surenos and Nortenos, as in Bloods and Crips. As in the LMP’s, the FFFs and the Suicidals. Then I put on their hit song “Destroy Exxon”, and all laughs are temporarily ceased. What a ripper! This 1981 classic came out on Smoke Seven records comp LP called “Public Service” (pictured), a collection that also featured RED CROSS and BAD RELIGION and a couple of lesser lights. This is ripped-jean, muscle-flex bandanna hardcore of the highest order. Of course it’s still totally ridiculous – but you’ll learn to love it!
It won’t be hard to tell you much about this incredible 45 from 1966 Texas psych/garage band KNIGHTS BRIDGE, particularly when I can cut & paste their entry from “Answers.com”! :
Made up of sophomores from high school in Odessa, Texas, Knights Bridge was an astonishingly adept and hard-edged garage band. They were signed to Sea Ell Records of Houston in 1967 and cut a debut single, "Make Me Some Love" b/w "CJ Smith," that oozed punk defiance on a level that would've been more appropriate to a group five years older. The record only ever had a few hundred copies pressed, and reportedly changed hands for prices of up to $500 in the 1980's. In 1994, both sides of the record, plus a demo of "C.J. Smith" and a fourth Sea Ell-recorded track, "I Need Your Love," turned up on Collectables Records' History of Texas Garage Bands In the '60s Volume 1: The Sea Ell Label Story. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide
Sophomores! Correct me if I’m wrong, but sophomores typically are 15 or 16 years of age. Whoa. The 45 has been comped many other places as well, most notably on an amazing CD series called “Texas Flashbacks”. It’s absolutely one of the great ones, and now you get it for free.
Years from now or even minutes from now when someone, say a potential employer, does a search on my name in Google or whatever, there’s the distinct possibility that one of the results that will come back will be the one I’m typing presently on the CHILD MOLESTERS. Such is the Faustian bargain that one must strike with the Information Age. I’d like to make it known that I only endorse said band’s name for its potential, probably now past, to shock and confound the bourgeoisie – which I’m certain was its aim when these Los Angeles-based art cretins launched it on the world in the late 70s. Possibly by now you may already have a sense of the band; Forced Exposure magazine brought this punk-era combo new life in the late 80s with a slavishly adulatory series of articles, soon followed in the early 90s by reissues of their work both legitimate and illegitimate. I bought them all. Some aged better than others, but the one track that still slays me is this one from their posthumously released “The Legendary Brown Album” called “Snake-Eyed Donkey, Fish-Eyed Snake”. Chugging Beefheart worship drives this rambunctious bit of mouth-breathing, remedial, low-down dirty blues, and I get the heebie jeebies every time I play it. Likely recorded in the early 80s, as the band ceased production in 1982. This is some real late 20th century black snake moan, and I invite you to hear it or own it by clicking the link below.
I knew I’d be posting this one sooner or later, and I suspect it’ll be one of the more popular entries on Detailed Twang to date. Which is good, ‘cause I’m going on vacation for a few days anyway so you’re in good hands with this agitated post-punk masterpiece ‘til I return. Here’s what I had to say about 1980 New Zealand-based act SHOES THIS HIGH on an earlier blog of mine:
“.....Think it was all whimsical happy-go-lucky goofball pop music down there in New Zealand twenty-some-odd years ago? Songs about sheep and fish and heartbreak? You gotta hear SHOES THIS HIGH, a quick-lived 1980 Auckland-by-way-of-Wellington quartet who are by far one of the best lost post-punk bands I’ve had the pleasure of finding out about. Think a more jagged Minutemen, The Gordons, Seems Twice, Pere Ubu, some Beefheart-like deconstructed stabs at atonality – or, as Gary Steel’s liner notes for the reissued 7”EP exclaim, “killer-riffing-angry-in-your-guts-avant-garde-pin-pricking punk funk". The lead track on their sole four-song single, “The Nose One”, has a real spastic stop/start structure which successfully masks some great weary, disengaged vocals. Guitars chime in and chop out of all four tracks, some of which are pretty biting and aggressive (hence the GORDONS comparison). The greatness of this thing again reminds me of the strong influence of The Fall in NZ, where “Totally Wired” went actually into the Top 5. Not that Shoes This High sound much like The Fall, but there’s gotta be a hook there somewhere. Recorded December 1980, released in 1981, reissued on Raw Power records in 2002. Please do yourself a favor and begin a tireless, unyielding quest for the Shoes This High EP forthwith.....”
THE STROKE BAND were a Valdosta, Georgia combo who put forth one 1978 LP and a 45 in their brief time on earth and no more. The long-playing record is called “Green And Yellow”, and there’s talk of getting a reissue going. Myself, I’ve never heard it, but I have heard and own a track from it called “Fiction/Non-Fiction” (courtesy of an old CD-R from the “Homework” series), and it’s one of the most killer slices of punk-era pop I’ve ever heard. Velvet vocals, strange time patterns, and plenty of bold moves that presage much of the Southern pop that would flow like so much wine in the years to come. Don Fleming, later of many DC-area bands like the Velvet Monkeys, was a member of this band, as was a guy named Bruce Joyner whose name I know from somewheres. Give this song a download and let’s start the reissue campaigning going so we can hear some more.
It makes me happy to see references to late 80s/very early 90s outsider nervo-pop act WORLD OF POOH online, and yet chagrined that the band is still such a goshdarned secret to so many. Granted, I was lucky enough to be a free-spending, heavy-drinking, club-hopping early twentysomething San Franciscan during their heyday, and so I got to see the band live about half a dozen times. They were about my favorite band going for about six months – and then they broke up. I’ll never forget the last show of theirs I saw (which was either their last show ever or their last San Francisco show), at the Blue Lamp bar, in which guitarist/bassist Brandan Kearney smashed a sand bottle on bassist/guitarist Barbara Manning’s head, causing the entire crowd to gasp, and then chuckle with relief. Me & my pal Tone EB always talk about the show in 1989 where they played with The Melvins & The Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, right as the latter had arrived from a sweaty first-US tour and blew everyone away, as being among our favorite rock n roll experiences ever.
If you look at old issues of WIRING DEPT. magazine (not that you have any lying around), there are references to a pre-Manning, pre- Jay Paget World of Pooh in which the band sounds like a more dark & strange beast with keyboards & noises & whatnot. Around 1987, with the arrival of recent Chico State college grad Barbara Manning, legend has it that they morphed into the jagged, oddly constructed New Zealand-meets-100 Flowers-meets-second album Wire pop trio they became marginally known for. I was a college radio DJ when I heard 1989’s “The Land of Thirst” LP at our station, and that’s when I knew there was this small treasure in my own backyard that I didn’t even know about. The record went out of print very quickly, where it remains. Rumors have persisted that it will be compiled onto CD with much or all of their other work, and Kearney himself has told me and others that a multitude of failure points have kept this event from actually happening. So they had those final six months or so, and poof – were gone. Manning presently went on to quite a career of her own, amassing a body of songs that are or should be the envy of singer/songwriters everywhere. Paget too didn’t miss a beat, and joined those aforementioned Thinking Fellers right away. Kearney went deep into experimental music and absurdist comedy – here’s a good interview with him if you want to know more.
One booster and friend of the band from day uno was Seymour Glass’s BANANAFISH magazine; I’m posting two tracks that the band put out with him from freebie comps that came with the mag – “Strip Club” (100 Flowers) and “Drucilla Penny” (The Carpenters). Both are fantastic, with the former being among the best cover songs I’ve ever heard. I’ll also include two tracks from “The Land of Thirst”, both with a Kearney vocal, as this is an excellent record top-to-bottom, and needs to find a new legion of devotees starting right about now. Finally, World of Pooh put out two 45s after they’d broken up, both of which were great. There’s “G.H.M./Someone Wants You Dead”, and there’s a 4-song EP on Kearney’s Nuf Sed label called “A Trip To Your Tonsils”, which has some of the best non-LP songs they were playing live up until their dying day. I’m giving you a healthy smattering of my favorites here. Anyone with stories or contributions of any kind is invited to share them by clicking the comments button.
No time to write anything about this 1982 scorcher from SACCHARINE TRUST today – I suggest you click over to this previous post I put up with another creepy-crawler one from them called “Hearts and Barbarians”. This one was ignominiously placed at the end of a compilation album called “LIFE IS UGLY SO WHY NOT KILL YOURSELF?”. It’s one of my favorite things the band did outside of their excellent first two albums.
Man, were me and my record geek friends excited when all that DRUNKS WITH GUNS vinyl started pouring forth in the mid/late 80s. Exceptionally rare, exceptionally raw noise of a sort I’d never heard before, totally rooted in FLIPPER-fied sludge but taking the evilness and gutter-scraping depravity to a new low. It sounds pretty wack in this day & age, doesn’t it? Years ago I tentatively rendered a posthumous Juke Box Jury verdict on these guys as INNOCENT, with this commentary:
“Could be a real easy one for most to dismiss without actually listening to their late 80s output, as their shtick revolved around way-“heavy” topics like blood, guns, deviant sexual behavior etc. All well and good when you’re in the naïve, blossoming flower of youth, but it doesn’t wear so well on a 35-year-old. But St. Louis’ Drunks With Guns, who barely released anything back in the day that you could actually find without resorting to extreme ninja record collecting tactics, mitigated all of their youthful stupidity with the most flattening, bottom-heavy creepy crawl THUD that moved well beyond the benchmark set by FLIPPER into new realms of heavy ugliness. I listened the other day to some of their achievements, and tracks like “Drunks Theme” “Hellhouse” and, uh, “Dick In One Hand” still have it. They also were blessed with a terrific vocalist (Mike Doskocil) who “sang” with an affected miserable, angry white trash drunkard’s voice, and actually pulled it off. Many lesser lights have tried, and for all their raw, chapped vocal cords and belligerent posturing, their bands’ records are sitting in the 99-cent bins today (Iowa Beef Experience or god forbid, TAD, anyone?). Meanwhile, Drunks With Guns vinyl changes hands for $50+ for each of those impossibly rare 45s. JUKE BOX JURY VERDICT? Never mind the rarity – for their bloodthirsty music alone, I call DWG INNOCENT.”
A few years so, and I’m actually going with the 1987 “Alter Human Industrial Fetishisms” (whatever that means) 7”EP as their high-water mark. 500 copies on Dental Records. This was the last record with guitarist Stan Seitrich, who went on to form the tasteful and refined Strangulated Beatoffs (who were a lesser version of DWG by far). If pressed before a jury of my peers, I’d admit that this stuff is all pretty silly at the end of the day – but ah, the memories of more simple, less judgmental times. Here are all three songs for ya.
My first favorite punk songs in the early 80s were all female-throated: “The American In Me” by THE AVENGERS, “100% White Girl” by THE VKTMS and, uh, “Nuclear War” by SIN 34 (don’t get angry, but a major SIN 34 post is coming to the ‘Twang in the near future). It was likely the incongruity of raw, ripping female vocals over raw, ripping punk rock music that hooked me in – and so I went searching for these records in my youth, primarily at Rasputin’s in Berkeley, CA. As mentioned previously, I saw a 45 called “White Girl” with a great sleeve and bought it – took it to my grandparents’, waited ‘til they’d exited the premises, and then plopped it on at full blast. What a letdown! I had bought X’s “White Girl” 45 instead of THE VKTMS’ – and I totally hated it (love it now, as I do the first two X singles).
It took a while, but I finally got my own copy of the “`100% White Girl” 45 by San Francisco’s VKTMS. It’s a straight-up screamer in the late 70s style, released in 1980. There’s a lot more information on the band located both here and here. If I’m not mistaken, I’m actually the third person to post this to the world. Now you truly have no excuse to own these ones & zeros (by the way, the B-side's lame, as was almost the entirety of this band's output beyond 2-3 songs).
MIKE REP & THE QUOTAS you probably know a thing or two about; they were one of 1975-76’s original recipe proto-punk space teleporters, playing savage, ear-flattening freak punk before there was any cachet in such a thing. Their sound, which can be approximated as the force of a thousand amps projecting simple, screaming chords into the cosmos, is as alive as any other punk, pre-punk or proto-punk whatsis of the 1970s – and the man didn’t stop there. The Quotas have resurfaced several times in many guises through the years – including a mere two years ago - and if you want to learn some more about it, you can start with the interview I did with Mike Rep upon his most recent visitation.
One of the prime movers in the QUOTAS then and now is a guy named Tommy Jay. Once he started writing songs for the group, a name change was in order, and the TRUE BELIEVERS were born at the end of the 70s. Here’s what I cut-n-pasted from the web:
A few years later Tommy and Mike and Tommy's brother "The General" formed a live performing group, calling themselves TRUE BELIEVERS. "True Believers became a media buzzword after the REV. JIM JONES GUYANA MASSACRE for anyone belonging to a weird cult", says Hummel, "That group was in essence The Quotas reborn and renamed, just like good reborn cultists should be. Plus we were playing Tommy and The General's songs too by that point and so a new name seemed appropriate". In 1980 the critically acclaimed True Believers "Accept It!" 7" EP was released on Hummel's fledgling NEW AGE RECORDS label, and actually sold 1000 copies, "quite a feat for a domestic band on an unknown label at that time".
If you believe everything you read (I do), and this time I’m quoting directly from a website partially maintained by one Nudge Squidfish, the Columbus, OH-based TRUE BELIEVERS were:
GEN. ROBT. E. LEE - BASS & VOCALS MIKE REP - GUITAR & VOCALS TOMMY JAY - DRUMS NUDGE SQUIDFISH - GUITARS & KEYBOARD CARLA LUST - VOCALS & KEYBOARD
So they had one moment, and it is this, a three-song 7”EP released in 1980 on Rep’s New Age Records, later changed for somewhat obvious reasons to Old Age/No Age Records. I think it’s one of great buried American underground recordings. Perfectly off-beat, well-crafted heartland folk punk, with droney keyboards, a sense of dread & foreboding, and even a weird playfulness that makes a terror tale like “Death By Freezing” totally goddamn funny. The whole 45 needs to be immortalized and on every world citizen’s iPod this summer. So let’s do this!
Note - On Sunday 7/8 we received some excellent clarification on some True Believers mysteries by none other than Mike Rep himself. Here's what he told us:
Hi Jay! Just saw The True Believers EP posting - I was going to comment but I don't have a Google account / password - The band lineup given was the T.B.'s last incarnation (Aug.'80 to Jan.'81) and instrumentally was their then 'live' lineup (excluding the erroneous Nudge keyboard credit). There are many recordings of this version of the group which may sometime see the light of day (?) ..... On the 7" EP itself, recorded in early 1979, the lineup is a Trio; TOMMY JAY Drums, Acoustic Guitar throughout & Lead Vocal on Accept It! & Gusto Hungry) THE GENERAL: Bass & Lead Vocal on Death By Freezing) / MIKE REP (Electric Guitar & Keyboards on Accept It, Acoustic Guitar & backing vocs. on Gusto Hungry) - Nudge Squidfish had not yet joined the group, but did record the EP (mixed by Rep). Nudge never played Keyboards in the T.B.'s, only Electric Guitar, and along with Carla Lust appears only on as-yet unreleased material. Carla joined in the summer of '80 played keyboards & sang (and wrote) some songs also. Her presence greatly added to the band's live popularity (a hottie who could ROCK!) Both "Accept It!" and "Gusto Hungry" ill be among six BONUS TRACKS that will appear on the CD version of CDR's reissue of "Tommy Jay's Tall Tales Of Trauma" (due out in August) no other "True Believers" material on that release though..... Just some fine fact tuning for anyone that cares - later my friend, "Rep"