Monday, July 30, 2007

VAMPS VS. VORES

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.

Play or Download THE VAMPS – “Carving Knife”
Play or Download THE VORES – “Amateur Surgeon”

Friday, July 27, 2007

RIDICULOUS HARDCORE, PART 1 - CIRCLE ONE

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!

Play or Download CIRCLE ONE – “Destroy Exxon”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

KNIGHTS BRIDGE - BOTH SIDES NOW

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.

Play or Download KNIGHTS BRIDGE – “Make Me Some Love” (A-side)
Play or Download KNIGHTS BRIDGE – “CJ Smith” (B-side)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SNAKE-EYED DROPOUT BOOGIE

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.

Play or Download THE CHILD MOLESTERS – “Snake Eyed Donkey, Fish-Eyed Snake” (from 1994 LP/CD “The Legendary Brown Album”)

Friday, July 20, 2007

THE AGITATED MAJESTY OF SHOES THIS HIGH

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.....”

Here’s the entire EP for your listening pleasure.

Play or Download SHOES THIS HIGH – “The Nose One”
Play or Download SHOES THIS HIGH – “A Mess”
Play or Download SHOES THIS HIGH – “Foot’s Dream”
Play or Download SHOES THIS HIGH – “Not Weighting”

Thursday, July 19, 2007

STROKE BAND – “FICTION/NON-FICTION”

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.

Play or Download THE STROKE BAND – “Fiction/Non-Fiction”

Monday, July 16, 2007

YOUR ROADMAP TO THE WORLD OF POOH

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.

Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Stones of Judgment” (from posthumous EP “A Trip To Your Tonsils”)
Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Owl Business” (from posthumous EP “A Trip To Your Tonsils”)
Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Playing One’s Own Piano” (from “The Land of Thirst” LP)
Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Laughing At The Ground” (from “The Land of Thirst” LP)
Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Strip Club” (from a Bananafish comp CD of some kind)
Play or Download WORLD OF POOH – “Drucilla Penny” (from a Bananafish comp 7” of some kind)

Friday, July 13, 2007

SACCHARINE TRUST – “DISILLUSION FOOL”

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.

Play or Download SACCHARINE TRUST – “Disillusion Fool”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

DRUNKS WITH GUNS – “ALTER HUMAN INDUSTRIAL FETISHISMS” EP

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 na├»ve, 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.

Play or Download DRUNKS WITH GUNS – “Zombie”
Play or Download DRUNKS WITH GUNS – “Leprosy”
Play or Download DRUNKS WITH GUNS – “Enemy”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

VKTMS – “100% WHITE GIRL”

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).

Play or Download THE VKTMS – “100% White Girl” (A-side)
Play or Download THE VKTMS – “No Long Goodbyes” (B-side)

Friday, July 06, 2007

MIKE REP’S TRUE BELIEVERS – THEIR CROWNING (& ONLY) GLORY

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!

Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Accept It!” (Side A)
Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Gusto Hungry” (Side B, Track 1)
Play or Download TRUE BELIEVERS – “Death By Freezing” (Side B, Track 2)

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"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

ELECTRIC MANCHAKOU – “SHE SAID”

Here’s some wacked-out, electro-propulsive garage punk at least five years ahead of its time from some French fellas based in London in the late 80s/early 90s called ELECTRIC MANCHAKOU. Julian Cope wrote a big thing about the band here, and it’ll have to be the definitive history on the band until someone does him one better. I wrote previously that,

"Hey" in particular reminds me of a 60s-inspired CHROME or METAL URBAIN, while the other two tracks (on their “Hey” 7”EP) "rawk" but not quite as aggressively. One of the fellas on the sleeve had an outstanding white man's 'fro, which is perhaps what got my wallet out of my pocket back in the day.

Well actually I got my song titles mixed up and the one I really dig & described thusly is called “She Said”, and it’s posted for you here. Right now. Below.

Play or Download ELECTRIC MANCHAKOU – “She Said” (from 1989 three-song single)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

METROPAK – “OK LET’S GO”

Perhaps no song epitomizes the late 70s rain-sogged UK “Messthetics”/D.I.Y. sound for me as much as METROPAK’s “OK Let’s Go”. This 1979 single was the first of three from this Scottish band, who to my surprise have a great MySpace tribute site up right now where you can download even more, look at photos, watch a video and all that. The distant, delicately strummed chords; the out-of-place keyboard bleeps; the pointless chug and sputter tempos; and the general ennui that pervades this thing make it as much a candidate for this era’s hall of fame as “Redbox” by I JOG AND THE TRACKSUITS and “Smokescreen” by the DESPERATE BICYCLES, to say nothing of “Chance Romance” by SUBVERSE that we posted a few weeks ago.

Play or Download METROPAK – “OK Let’s Go” (from 1979 single)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS - A “COSMIC KAZOO MEDICINE SHOW”

It’s only been a couple weeks since I got acquainted with the absurd & joyous music of Nashville’s ramshackle folk collective CHERRY BLOSSOMS, but I’m a convert for life. They’ve been playing around since 1991, with a core of John Allingham and Peggy Snow writing, plucking and hollering around what sounds like a cast of dozens. There’re the jew’s harp guy, the kazoo lady, the ukulele weirdo in the corner, that one girl shouting in the back, an acoustic guitarist tripping on mushrooms, etc. Or who knows, maybe it’s only four or five folks. I’ve only heard one other modern band going for this vibe, whatever it is, and they’re called VALLEY OF ASHES & they’re pretty neat too.

THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS decided to put out a proper record in 2007, an LP, and it’s imaginatively called “The Cherry Blossoms”. I can’t find an image scan of the cover to load up for ya so you get a band photo instead. The record is a wild one – songs start up organically, musicians join in, people start shouting, tape hiss fluctuates here and there, and yet it’s not an improv or a weird-America record, really. It’s truly got the feel of long-ago Americana played by worshippers of the pre-WWII form, but who’ll play it their demented way & their way only. It’s a blast! They have a CD-R with our heroine JOSEPHINE FOSTER out now too so they’re really revving up the hype machine this year, hunh?

Play or Download THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS – “Charlie Prim”
Play or Download THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS – “The Mighty Mississippi”