Thursday, May 31, 2007


The most underrated GUN CLUB record in my book, and until the past few years one of the hardest to find, is the five-song 1983 “DEATH PARTY” EP. This record came after what many, including me, believe to be a very mediocre album, 1982’s “Miami”, which is a classic, textbook sophomore slump. After “FIRE OF LOVE”, one of the greatest debuts of all time and one of the finest American rock records of any era, expectations were through the roof that these Los Angelinos could turn in another ten songs of hopped-up punk rock bluesarama hellfire, but they didn’t even come close, opting instead to let the folks from BLONDIE (!) put their record out, and allowing them to water down the sound and fury considerably. That’s why a year later, when “Death Party” came out, it must’ve been a total slap in the face to hear the snarling, fire-and-brimstone backwater blues of the band back in place again. The EP itself came packaged in one of those thin 12” picture sleeves popular at the time, and I never remember seeing it around. I always thought it was an “import”, and until Sympathy put it out on CD with a bunch of extra live tracks in 2004, my copy was one of the only ones I’d ever seen.

Here’s the hellish title track, easily the best thing the band ever did outside of the ten masterpieces on “FIRE OF LOVE”.

Play or Download THE GUN CLUB – “Death Party”

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I know we must’ve converted at least a few doubting thomases last time we posted some of the greatest dubs of all time, so let’s give it another shot & see if we can haul in a few more true believers. Last time we gave you masterpieces from AUGUSTUS PABLO, GLEN BROWN & KING TUBBY and the IMPACT-ALL-STARS, and if you’re so inclined, they’re still available right here. This time I’d like to introduce you to a long scorcher from the late 70s, New York-based WACKIES collective, a group headed up by one Lloyd Barnes and a rotating cast of heavies. These guys recorded their dub 45s and 12” under a multitude of different names, includes BULLWACKIES’ ALL-STARS, WACKIES RHYTHM FORCE, and the plain-simple WACKIES. This one is the title track from a CD called “Nature’s Dub”, and it’s a total firebreather. Get the whole CD if you dig what you hear.

The second selection this day is from another madman/genius producer, JOE GIBBS. Gibbs worked his magic on a number of hit records from the sixties to the eighties, and he was there at the creation & blossoming of Jamaican dub in the mid 1970s. This track is taken from an outstanding collection called “No Bones For The Dogs – Dubs From The Mighty Two 1974-79” that needs to be on your must-buy list ASAP. Get your groove on in the name of the most high, seen?

Play or Download WACKIES – “Nature’s Dub”
Play or Download JOE GIBBS AND THE PROFESSIONALS – “I Am Not Ashamed (version)”

Monday, May 28, 2007


Yeah, “that’s what she said”, right brother? So sayeth JOHNNY HASH on this absolutely immortal 1993 single that came out on IN THE RED, and is still vinyl-only unless you search high & low for a Japanese CD that had a bunch of old singles from the label. I love the stupid-sloppy slide guitar, the drawly vocals, the “breakdown” guitar solo, and the general garbage-blues piss take of this whole thing. One critic of low renown called it:

Drunken, animalistic slide guitar blues, backed with precision cardboard-box drumming and barked vocals. A gnarly, no-fidelity blues trash masterpiece that still makes me weep with desire for the LP that never came from these guys.

It’s genius. In fact the 45 was actually called “Blues Is Depressing” , but I feel like it’s a joyous, rapturous celebration of life the way these yokels play it. Let me know if you agree.

Play or Download JOHNNY HASH – “Pink Lunchbox”

Friday, May 25, 2007


I’m posting two lost tracks from the halcyon days of do-it-yourself bedroom recording in England, captured in large part by the MESSTHETICS compilations that roll off the presses a couple times a year. These two are uncomped, at least in CD form, and are favorites of mine that I’ve come to know in recent years. I thought it was high time that I shared them - because now I can! The first is a creepy haunter from a band called SUBVERSE. Finding any sort of information about it or them online is impossible, so I’ll tell you what I know. It comes from an LP compilation called “STARFORCE STUDIOS – COMPILATION 1”. I’m going to guess at a date of 1979. That’s when much of these lost sounds were being laid down, and that’s a year that will probably go down as being, on whole, the most depressing in England’s recent history. “Chance Romance” has the feel of being recording whilst looking out the window on a 40-degree, fog-shrouded day at dole queues stretched around the block amid a grim miners’ protest. Good times!

DEVIL’S DYKES (pictured here) are a wild-ass party by comparison. This jaunty holler of a number from a Brighton band was originally found on a 1978 comp called “VAULTAGE 78” , and if you like what you hear here, you can grab the whole compilation by clicking over to here (and ’79 and ’80 too). Just promise you’ll come back to Detailed Twang when you’re done.

Play or Download SUBVERSE – “Chance Romance”
Play of Download DEVIL’S DYKES – “Fruitless”

Thursday, May 24, 2007


A podcast you rock-n-roll luvahs might enjoy is one I finished listening to this very morning – the always-great NEST OF VIPERS podcast has a thing on touring bands, sharing their stories of car accidents, cop encounters, hotel fires and Philly cheesesteaks. Chuck Prophet (Green On Red), Anthony Bedard (Icky Boyfriends, Resineators, Gaping Wounds) and Gil Ray (Game Theory, Loud Family) join host Danny “Danny P” Plotnick for an hour’s worth of roadmouth. Great fun – download it here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


There was this compilation of mostly current Australian punk & art/noise I bought in the mid-80s called “WHY MARCH WHEN YOU CAN RIOT?”, and it was a mind-expander for several reasons. First, it featured three tracks from the Australian band X that are among the greatest punk rock songs ever recorded – “Hate City”, “Home Is Where The Floor Is” and “TV Cabaret Roll”. If you think “X-ASPIRATIONS” is a masterpiece, and I do – these tracks are even better. I’m going to post all three in an upcoming entry.

Alongside debut recordings from the HARD-ONS (whoopee) and lesser lights, there were also two tracks from Sydney’s fEEDTIME that blew me and many others clean away. fEEDTIME (the small f is deliberate) were a trio who played a propulsive, mechanical, wicked-fast, sometimes bluesy punk rock, sounding like a band of the 21st Century who just happened to be stuck in the 20th. I’d never heard anything like them before, and still haven’t since. A lot of us in the United States took notice pretty quickly, and they got a US distribution deal for their LPs, which were all over the place for a while there in the late 80s. Forced Exposure magazine were a particularly enthusiastic proponent. Me, I thought the LPs were good, but spotty and uneven. In 1987 a 45 came out with new versions of the two songs that were on “Why March When You Can Riot” – “Don’t Tell Me / Small Talk”. They were good, just not as powerful and angry & weird as the ones from the 1985 comp that I’m posting for you today. Listening to them now makes me want to dig out the fEEDTIME records for a reappraisal. Anyone have an opinion on how they’ve held up? In the meantime, here’s what I still think were the band’s finest moments.

Play or Download fEEDTIME – “Don’t Tell Me”
Play or Download fEEDTIME – “Small Talk”

(both from 1985 “WHY MARCH WHEN YOU CAN RIOT?” compilation LP)

Monday, May 21, 2007


A couple years ago the HYPED 2 DEATH label unearthed a boatload of 1980-83 archival recordings, many of them cassette-only, from a little-known UK band called THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS. I was fortunate enough to get one, and they had me at hello. The CD, with the compact title of "RICHARD, RODNEY, RASTUS, RAOUL, RODERICK, RANDY, RUPERT", has a smattering of home & studio & live recordings from this sometimes-tuneful workingman’s artpunk band, who practiced their rough trade at the intersection of early MEKONS and Detailed Twang namesakes THE DOOR AND THE WINDOW. I was a bit surprised, given my immediate enthusiasm for these resurrected simpleton masterpieces, how little attention they garnered, and how to this day I haven’t read a single word of praise about the band that wasn’t part of a sales page or on my own blog. Here’s what Hyped 2 Death themselves had to say by way of introduction:

Midnight Circus are known to a handful of fanatics from the rare Angst in my Pants compilation EP, but they put most of their energy into the cassette-only wing of the DIY movement. Nevertheless, they churned out vinyl-worthy DIY-punk tunes by the score, and unlike most bands that did make it to vinyl -who typically spent most of their money on pressing and printing-- the 'Circus were free to blow it all on recording.

C’mon folks, have a listen – here’s two killers from the CD, which you can purchase by clicking here.

Play or Download THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS – “Leather & Lace”
Play or Download THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS – “The Hedonist Jive”

Friday, May 18, 2007


When Ryan Wells & Scott Soriano, two gentlemen of my acquaintance, decided to start an mp3 blog called STATIC PARTY featuring rare 45s of what they call “punk’s third rail, 1990-2000”, I figured the thing would be pretty solid. What I didn’t count on was just how much terrific spazz/garage/noise/ punk these vaunted record hoarders were swooping up in those unheralded years, and how much stuff they had that I didn’t. STATIC PARTY, about once or twice a week, posts a 45 direct from these fellas’ hallowed stashes, and more often than not, the tracks are pretty friggin’ wild. They’re certainly unavailable elsewhere. If they weren’t doing it, not only would you (and I) not know about these gems, virtually no one else would know either – because I’ll bet dollars to donuts that virtually no one else owns such a dizzying array of garage-influenced punk rock vinyl from that age. I know you can say that about a lot of mp3 blogs (Soriano’s CRUD CRUD, for instance), but this microscene is territory that only Static Party is mining, and I’ve found a large bucketful of new favorite songs as a result of their labors.

Here are three stunners I downloaded straight from the site. All are from Seattle (a coincidence, honestly), and as of this writing, two are actually still available on Static Party itself. They won’t always be – most disappear after 3 or 4 weeks. THE STITCHES are a band I saw in 2003 up there – they put on monkey masks or something & jumped around like goofballs, and never in my wildest dreams did I think they were capable of balls-out raw power like this. (Correction, May 19th - I'm confusing "The Stitches" with "The Spits". I know nothing about either band, but I've been corrected in the comments below - The Stitches were a California band, and I assume they did not employ monkey masks). MAN-TEE-MANS – well, it’s a Rob Vasquez band, post-NIGHT KINGS, and I’m dumbfounded that I sold this 45 back after I bought it in 1994, despite featuring the Great Man and my pal Caryn to boot. I think I was burnt out on Rob’s tuneless “learning to play” bands, but this sounds like pure genius now, as simple and unadorned as the first URINALS single, and even more dumb. I saw STEEL WOOL a few times back in the 90s, but never did they sound as roaring and loose as they do on “Devil’s Night”, which out-Mudhoneys MUDHONEY. Check them all out below and at STATIC PARTY.

Play or Download THE STITCHES – “Cars of Today”
Play or Download THE MAN-TEE-MANS – “Man Tee Mans (theme)”
Play or Download STEEL WOOL – “Devil’s Night”

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Remember the early 90s surf revival boom? Sure ya do. There was this fella Mike Lucas here in the SF Bay Area doing his darndest to help it along, vis-à-vis a great instrumental surf combo called the PHANTOM SURFERS, some quasi-legit LP releases of old & rare 60s surf monsters, and various one-off projects like this one, THE LONE SURFER AND HIS SUPER PALS. Far as I know it, the band wasn’t really a “band” in the conventional sense of the word, more a conglomeration of pals from then-current acts like THE MUMMIES and THE TRASHWOMEN, among others, with Lucas at the helm.

There was one small-batch 45 of revved-up, reverb-dosed surf crunch from them, pressed up in 1993. It was called “Church Key/Horror Beach”, and it was recorded live at San Francisco’s Chameleon Club. I happened to be in attendance that night, but if memory serves me correctly, I left the premises before they got on as headliners (or perhaps as the mop-up act), as I missed the best part of the night. That was when the band started taunting a pal of mine, one Michael Ashby, who happened to have hair down past his shoulders and was thusly regaled as a “hippie”. As the tale was told to me, Ashby bravely and verbally fought back for a while as things became more heated, before finally being coaxed to the stage and actually PAID TO LEAVE THE CLUB by the band, for the crime of being a benevolent hippie in San Francisco. Different times, hunh? He actually left the club a few dollars richer, whereupon he came to the place we were drinking that night and told us the story (and hopefully bought us a beer with his new earnings). Much of their repartee is captured on this 45, posted here for your listening pleasure (there’s also a photo of Ashby being paid off on the cover of the single!).

Play or Download THE LONE SURFER AND HIS SUPER PALS – “Church Key”

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


That’d be “primitive sh** rock”, as discussed in this forum here and documented in amazing, glorious detail here. Well, my favorite PSR song of all time needs a fair hearing, too. This nasty, downer of a 60s garage track from THE MODDS came out on “American National Records”, but I’m a little unclear as to what date it came out – I’m guessing ’66. All you can hear is the scarily fuzzed-out guitar; slurred, I’ve-just-been-dosed vocals, and what appear to be maracas shakin’ in the background, but legend has it there’s actually an entire band lost in the murk there somewhere. What a friggin’ masterpiece. Deservedly resurrected by the CHEATER SLICKS on their “Whiskey” LP in 1991.

Play or Download THE MODDS – “Leave My House”

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


When I was a teen I had a habit of falling asleep at night with the clock radio on, only to wake up around 3 or 4am to turn it off. Most of the time I’d doze to KFJC, my local college radio station, and I was such an adept snoozer that even hardcore punk, screaming early industrial noise and The Birthday Party, three of KFJC’s specialties circa 1981-84, couldn’t stir me. I did get into trouble twice. Once some late-night program was playing a song called “The Boiler” by a spinoff band made up of members of THE SPECIALS. The song, as I remember, was fairly musically pedestrian but spooky ska number with a spoken-word tale of a woman dodging an attempted rape. At one point in the song she starts screaming, and that coincided with some hideous dream I was having, culminating in me awaking in total, abject terror. Good times!

The only other time I remember that happening was getting startled awake by a song I’m posting for you today, 1979’s “Caucasian Guilt” by a short-lived San Francisco duo called NOH MERCY. Ah, I recall it like it was yesterday, the mellifluous notes that floated into my slumber as vocalist Esmerelda Kent shrieked, “I didn’t put no JAP in a CAMP!!”. I didn’t hear the song again outside of 1-2 more times that year until an LP compilation came out in 2000 of rare, weird, ultra-DIY, 70s-80s artpunk noise called “I HATE THE POP GROUP” that had this track on it. It originally was part of another comp, a 7”EP from 1979 called “EARCOM 3” that I used to see around in the bins, and which had a handful of other noisy acts + two tracks from THE MIDDLE CLASS 45 (!). The other one from them on this EP – the only other song in NOH MERCY’s brief discography – is called “Revolutionary Spy”, and it’s nowhere near the caliber of “Caucasian Guilt”. I’m posting it for you completists.

This covers all the bases – drums, vocals, muffled sound, anger, screaming, alternately great yet often painfully lame lyrics, admirable socio-political statements, nasty words, and wonderfully bizarre echo-chamber recording techniques. I love it. I’m including a picture of the band playing live in ’79 at San Francisco’s MAB, courtesy of Steve Harlow, whose punk photo site you should check out. Bombs away!

Play or Download NOH MERCY – “Caucasian Guilt”
Play or Download NOH MERCY - "Revolutionary Spy"