Monday, March 31, 2008


I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, but there, sitting in the racks at Womb Records in San Francisco, was a pristine LP copy of an album – probably a bootleg, right? - called “SONGS WE TAUGHT THE CHEATER SLICKS” . Seems that some rogue figured out that a good chunk of the venerable Columbus-by-way-of-Boston band’s recorded works consisted of obscure-ass covers by a plethora of one-shot and never-were rock heroes, and decided to fill in the gaps of our collective knowledge by putting some of the best originals – i.e. the ones later covered by the Cheater Slicks - on an LP in 2007. Oh wait, you’re not familiar with the CHEATER SLICKS? All right, let’s start there.

From the late 80s on, and even continuing up to this very day, the Cheater Slicks were/are the foremost garage-influenced band on the planet. Their format was simple: guitar-guitar-drums, with two vocalists trading off duties. During the lean years of the early oughts, I even called them “the last rock band” (thankfully some new ones popped up a couple years later). Their recorded history includes some of the most savage, alive and feedback-drenched mojo-working ever waxed, from a mere trio at that (!). They played at such a maturity level beyond their peers, with restraint and gentleness when it was called for, and sheer gonzo guitar explosions often when least expected. They truly were light years ahead of the pack, incorporating controlled feedback, feral drum bashing, a double-play of raw, throaty, vocalists, and a demented 60s psych approach that has started to creep in and lord over the sound like an unseen, angry hand. Live, they couldn’t be touched. The shows I saw of theirs during the years 1991-98 or so were flat-out amazing, the kind where you leave with your jaw on the floor while speaking in tongues to anyone who’ll listen (and while dealing with some serious ear bleed to boot). My favorite band of the 90s? I think there’s a case to be made.

So anyway, “SONGS WE TAUGHT THE CHEATER SLICKS” has a King of Prussia, PA return address, but I’m guessing there’s actually no “1234 Main Street” in that town, either that or someone got really lucky with an address. Mine is #78/169, and comes on persimmon-colored vinyl, with “A Porky Prime Cut” scrawled on the inner grooves. The inner labels have no info, just pictures of clowns. And then on the back cover, in large letters right next to the track listings, is a single word: DUDE. That’s it! DUDE. I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, and get ya all 14 tracks right here. Why? Because Detailed Twang loves you, that’s why. Enjoy the original 60s and 70s versions of some of the greatest rock and roll ever made. You can play or download each track by left-clicking on each link.


Side A

1. THE HUNS – “Destination Lonely”
2. THE MYRCHENTS – “Indefinite Inhibition”
3. THE RIOTS - "I Can Go On"
4. HOLOCAUST - "Savage Affection"
5. MODERN LOVERS - "Walk Up The Street"
6. THE SAVOYS - "Can It Be"
7. THE MODDS - "Leave My House"

Side B

1. MAD MIKE & THE MANIACS - "The Hunch"
2. ALEX CHILTON - "Hook Or Crook"
3. THE MOODS - "Rum Drunk"
4. THE GESTURES - "Run Run Run"
5. THE LOST SOULS - "This Life Of Mine"
6. LEE HAZELWOOD - "Think I'm Coming Down"
7. THE MYSTIC TYDE - "Mystery Ship"

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Here's a new thing I discovered on the WWW this week - MUXTAPE. I made you a Muxtape of my own, which you can listen to on The Google or on The AOL whenever you'd like.

Track listing:

1. LIZ BRADY - Palladium
2. CLOTHILDE - Faillet Pas Ecraser La Queue Du Chat
3. SHEILA - Papa T'es Dans L'Coup
4. CLAIRE DIXON - On M'Appalle Petit Bout Du Chou
5. ALINE - Censure
6. PUSSY CAT - Les Temps Ont Change
7. ANOUK - Jimmy Est Parti
8. CHRISTINE PILZER - Champs Elysees
9. DANIELLE DENIN - Je Lis Dans Tes Yeux
10. CLOTHILDE - 102, 103
11. ARIANE - Tu Vondrais Que J'oublie
12. ARLETTE ZOLA - Mathematique Elementaire

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This 1990 single from New Zealand’s TERMINALS did more to excite me about the fount of wild, noisy, experimental rock bands around those parts at the time than any record save for THE DEAD C’s “Helen Said This” 12. Taken together, those two records stand as the exemplary pillars of the rock music the islands were putting out at the time. After a 1980s known primarily for immense contributions to their own special brand of skittering, Velvet Underground-inspried “pop” music, New Zealand bands, particularly those associated with the Xpressway label, took a more droning, darker turn. The TERMINALS’ debut 45, “Do The Void/Deadly Tango”, was just such a record. Low-fidelity feedback is scattered throughout the record, and a gentle hum of noise pervades both songs. “Deadly Tango” has a very 70s glam sheen to it, with trilling vocals that specifically recall Roxy Music (later on the band paid much more direct homage with a cover of that band’s “Both Ends Burning”). It’s “Do The Void” that still blows me away to this day. It’s an angry, swirling pool of bass-heavy grind, which explodes into feedback on multiple occasions. The band went on to produce a fine body of work in the years afterward, and they deserve their due as an innovator and an ahead-of-their-time leader taking rock music to new places at the dawn of the 90s.

Play or Download THE TERMINALS – “Do The Void” (A-side)
Play or Download THE TERMINALS – “Deadly Tango” (B-side)

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I've gone on record against THE POP GROUP and all they stood for in previous blogs of mine; I hit them with an "overrated" stick perhaps because 5-6 years ago the band was riding a wide of critical hosannas that I felt was undeserved, given the track record. I really dislike(d) the slow-dying-hyena vocals, the faux agitprop lyrics etc. - in fact I coughed up this rant in 2003:

"The snarky, wheezing vocals....are grating enough, but each track is so unstructured and atonal that it’s honestly hard to discern where the pleasure lies. You certainly can’t dance to it, unless you just finished smoking a giant bowl; it’s not clever enough to rank with the true pioneers of dub or even of white boy funk; and when rated against the explosion of British rock and roll creativity and boundary-pushing during this time period, the POP GROUP are decidedly minor players, if that."

Then a couple years ago my pals Mark & Brian played me "3:38", a rare B-side on the 1979 "She Is Beyond Good And Evil" 12"EP. I totally dug this tense, wound-up PIL-ish instrumental. I now wonder if maybe I need a reeducation campaign, or if this was the lucky shot that hit the target. Lemme know what you think, because this one totally rules.

Play or Download THE POP GROUP - "3:38"

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Getting any information on these 1979 recordings from THE FLOWERS, part of the vaunted “Earcom 1” compilation of UK stumble-and-crash DIY bands, has proven to be difficult. What I’ve managed to find through a number of complex search term combinations is that the band were Scottish, were fronted by a woman named Hillary Morrison, and that these two tracks were their only recordings for the Fast Product label. Later that label mutated into one called Pop Aural, and THE FLOWERS put out two 45s on that label in the year to follow. One web denizen compared them to Siouxsie and the Banshees. Others have called them “great”. Some have bemoaned the difficulty of finding their recordings. Me, I’m going to try and help right those wrongs by letting you in on their two excellent jagged tracks from “Earcom 1” (PS – you may remember that we posted THE PRATS’ tracks from this same EP right here). “After Dark”, in particular, is a thrilling thump of a song, very much in that slightly danceable but highly aggro style popularized in the UK around the same time by the DELTA 5 and the AU PAIRS, and it and its counterpart “Criminal Waste” has the shambling amateurism of fellow Scots THE MO-DETTES as well. Great stuff, and yours to enjoy.

Play or Download THE FLOWERS – “After Dark”
Play or Download THE FLOWERS – “Criminal Waste”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


To my way of thinking, bands that cover songs penned by other bands typically fail at about a 9-out-of-10 ratio. Having been in several far-worse-than-mediocre bands myself at certain points, I can attest (as can anyone in a band) that playing a cover song is not only the easy way out, most of the time it’s also 100 times more fun than struggling to come up with your own material & lyrics. Actually listening to covers, though, particularly when you’re well-acquainted with the original, is often excruciating. So imagine my surprise when I got the new MONKEYWRENCH CD in the mail and saw that track #2, was (gasp) “Pray ‘Til You Sweat”!! The FLESH EATERS’ “Pray ‘Til You Sweat”, that is – likely the best song on my favorite album of all time. The surprise wasn’t that they’d covered it – I knew that Mark Arm was a big Flesh Eaters fan, and in fact we’ve bonded in person about the band – but that they TOTALLY pulled it off. I’m especially impressed that no attempt was made to recreate Chris D.’s unparalleled vocal histrionics, and instead the band play a more “subdued”, twangy version of the song that totally smokes in every way. I think it might be the best cover performed ever. Or at least this century (for a list of my other favorite covers, click here). Oh, and the new MONKEYWRENCH CD “Gabriel’s Horn” is quite tasty beyond the cover song as well – as you knew it would be. Recorded in 2002, and just out now on the Birdman label, it’s distorted, dirty, psych blues that arrives halfway between 80’s Seattle and 60s Texas. I’m posting an original from it as well.

Play or Download THE MONKEYWRENCH – “Pray Til You Sweat”
Play or Download THE MONKEYWRENCH – “That’s What You Get”

Friday, March 14, 2008


THE 2X4’S (or, if you prefer, the TWO BY FOURS) first came to my attention via the first HOMEWORK compilations on the Hyped2Death label – the pseudo-illegitimate ones, the ones made on CD-R before the operation was turned into something slightly more on the level. (To be fair, the label, to my way of thinking, has always been on the level and run with the utmost of respect for the artist). The band were instantly my favorite new discovery along with the TRUE BELIEVERS, and the tracks they put on there, “Little Cities” (the B-side of their one and only 1980 single) and “On The Iron Line” (an unreleased track), are fantastic. Written in a herky-jerk, moderately robotic, monotonic style, the band’s songs both musically and lyrically reflect the decline of the Industrial age.

JOHN HOVORKA, the band’s vocalist, guitarist & leader, apparently was a great admirer and employee of the mills and lathe shops of the Northeast, and even made frequent trips to Rust Belt cities to observe his passion more closely. His band played about one step away from “new wave” (or “modern music”, as we sometime called it back then), enough that modern-day discriminating punks & DIY fans love the band, yet hewed close enough to some of its conventions that their only 45, “Bridgeport Lathe/Little Cities”, picked up a ton of Boston-area airplay at the time.

I’m going to post the 45 for you here, along with that bonus track. There’s now a full unreleased 2X4’S album from 1980 available on Hovorka’s web site, which you can buy here. I just bought mine. Keep in mind that “Bridgeport Lathe” is kind of a “funny” song that might have driven me mad if I hadn’t heard the other tracks first – so maybe start with the other ones when you do your playback. OK?

Play or Download THE 2X4’S – “Bridgeport Lathe” (A-side of 1980 45)
Play or Download THE 2X4’S – “Little Cities” (B-side of 1980 45)

Bonus TrackTHE 2X4’S – “On The Iron Line”

Monday, March 10, 2008


I get the sense that in 1978 there were only a handful of punks who truly took IGGY & THE STOOGES seriously, to the point of learning their lessons and applying them appropriately. The Stooges might have been name-checked a bunch, but I don’t think there was a real post-breakup Stooges groundswell going (and the sort of popular recognition they deserved) until the mid-80s, when Australian bands and US garage punk bands began covering them & playing like them in an ape-like fashion. One band that will never be accused of passing on a chance to do tribute, however, were Rochester, NY’s DISTORTED LEVELS in 1978. Their sole 45, “Hey Mister/Red Swirls” is one of the all-time ludicrous rock classics, so insanely over the top that it’s at least ½ comedy. I guess it all depends on how you look at things. On one level this is the bottom of gutter-scraping primitive shit rock, and I certainly say “bottom” in the best sense of the word. All screams, grunts, overloaded socket-squealing guitar, and the like – somewhere between “Raw Power” and ½ JAPANESE’s “Half Gentlemen Not Beasts”. On another level, it’s almost poseur-ish in its intentional amateurism, yet I’d probably have to dismiss that claim outta hand with the “1978” trump card alone. In 1978, with thousands of kids picking up guitars and drumsticks for the first time, we hasn’t really yet graduated to “ironic, intentionally amateur” stabs of rock and roll. Anyway, this single totally rules – and now it’s yours.

Play or Download DISTORTED LEVELS – “Hey Mister” (A-side)
Play or Download DISTORTED LEVELS – “Red Swirls” (B-side)

Saturday, March 08, 2008


This 1979 track from legendary Texas punk compilation "ARE WE TOO LATE FOR THE TREND?" has gotta be in someone's - maybe my - Top 100 punk songs of all time. I'm concerned that perhaps it hasn't reached as many ears as it should have, and thus I'm posting it for you today. Many of the Mach One Texas punk bands that get rounds of applause don't do it for me at all - Nervebreakers, Bobby Soxx, Bodysnatchers et al - I'm more partial to The Vamps, Huns, AK-47 and these guys, THE INFANTS, a one-song band who'd mastered the art of the raw-ass hook, and could therefore retire batting 1.000.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


There was a time when I declared the first 45 GRAVE record, 1981’s “Black Cross/Wax”, to be punk’s finest single to date. Granted, I was 18 years old at the time, and hadn’t yet heard Pere Ubu, The Pagans, The Bags nor most of the rest of the canon. I had a bit of “the goth” in me, despite appearances, and thought this one was about as ripping as ripping could be. 27 years after its release (!), I’m still pretty favorably disposed to it. Here’s a summation I wrote previously about this record and the posthumous LP “Autopsy” in 2005:

There was a brief period in my life, quite early in my punk fandom, when I declared to the world that the greatest 45 in the history of punk rock was this band's "Black Cross / Wax". I once stumbled onto college radio three sheets to the wind and pronounced it so, and proceeded to emit a ghoulish, gurgling on-mic scream along with Dinah Cancer during "Black Cross"'s crucial break. Only after years of ridicule and subsequent therapy can I make my fragile peace with that godforsaken evening. I bring this up because I've seen very few fans hold this band up for much of anything in the intervening years, except as one of many cool early 80s bands trolling for gigs in Los Angeles during a period in which there were plenty. Goths haven't really fully embraced them, least not last time I checked, given 45 GRAVE's -- or at least this album's -- fast, screeching, near-hardcore tempos. These tempos and the sheer power & speed of the delivery on this fine record mitigate a whole host of problems, not the least of which is the lyrics and all the bat/cave/crucifix/coffin tomfoolery they were peddling.

When "Autopsy" came out posthumously in 1987, a lot of us were truly floored, because outside of "Black Cross" we'd never heard 45 Grave play so fast. They'd made their mark up to that time with an awful dirgy metal tune called "Party Time" that was on the "Return of the Living Dead" soundtrack, a film soundtrack notable to me in high school because, like "Repo Man", it had PUNK on it!!! But "Party Time" blew, as did the majority of the band's only official LP, "Sleep In Safety". What I didn't know until In The Red put out that fantastic CONSUMERS LP was that the early 45 Grave were a direct outgrowth of that blazing Phoenix punk band's 1977 recordings, and that the "Autopsy" recordings were 45 Grave at their very earliest, ripping it up in fine full-fidelity style like THE MISFITS and THE BAGS. Since they featured not only Paul Cutler from The Consumers but Don Bolles from The Germs & Rob Ritter from The Bags, the tear-it-up pedigree was highly refined & practiced in the legend-making punk rock dark arts. And Cutler was bold enough to swipe most of his best songs from The Consumers, and then re-record them with a female singer & his hot new band = 45 Grave.

Granted, the horror BS was/is a little much, but like The Misfits, it was a gimmick that could mostly be shunted aside if you pretended you'd recently had a partial lobotomy. Only "Dinah Cancer"'s banshee vocals and some select atrocious lyrics still make my skin crawl, now that I've mentally removed my frontal lobes. This collection nets you that wild-ass "Black Cross" 45, certainly one of the top 197 punk 45s of all time, a large batch of 90-second howlers, the novelty "Monster Mash"-like "Riboflavin Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood" and even an early "Partytime" that almost doesn't suck. I wasn't even sure this even made it out to CD until I read here that it's one of the rarest CDs going, selling on eBay for $268. Now how do you figure that? I busted the LP out last week and gave it a full-bosom nostalgia listen, and I can say that the center still held. Check your local auction listings and keep that wallet stuffed!

In the meantime, here’s that first 45 in all of its blood-curdling glory.

Play or Download 45 GRAVE – “Black Cross” (A-side)
Play or Download 45 GRAVE – “Wax” (B-side)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I'm going to tell you something - but just you, OK? I was part of that early group of luddites that resisted CD players because we'd totally cast our lot with vinyl - and as long as there were no CDs coming out that weren't on vinyl, that's how things were gonna be. I was certain around 1990 and 1991 I was going to be playing records, and records only, for at least another 10 years. There was this problem, though. This killer noise/psych/spacerock band called MONSTER MAGNET had a new record out, their first album, and it was only on CD. It did have this godawful cover art, but then again, these were the guys who were playing weirdo, fuzzed-out sonic destructo rock better than anyone, at least on their first two singles (all I'd heard to that point - so how could I have known??). I bought the CD player. Then I bought that first CD of mine - my first CD ever. I sold said CD back to a proper "record" store within a week, because of course, if you've ever heard anything from MONSTER MAGNET outside of those first two 45s, it's a load of meathead bong-hit metal crap.

This 45, though - it came out in '89 on a cool (and very briefly-lived) label called Circuit, and it blew me away when I first heard it. Only MUDHONEY, at the time, had tapped the inner fuzz-vein so well, and I thought these guys were the tits. You'll undoubtedly see why when you download the entire 45 from me right here.

Play or Download MONSTER MAGNET - "Lizard Johnny" (A-side)
Play or Download MONSTER MAGNET - "Freak Shop USA" (B-side)

Monday, March 03, 2008


There are few moments that compare to hearing a song from your misbegotten youth again after twenty years - well come to think of it, there are plenty of moments that beat it hands down, but I know I was pretty excited to hear this track again seven years ago after not hearing it since I was a wee small man of 15. ANIMALS & MEN's "Don't Misbehave In The New Age" is a lost, recently recovered slice of ramshackle, garagy UK DIY chug from 1980 with a scoop of "the new wave" on top. I totally dug this song for years when it would get played on college radio, and yet I never got the name of the band in the back-announce. I got Siouxsie, I got Bauhaus, I got Simple Minds - but Animals & Men I totally missed. Totally forgot about it, too, until it came out on an early "MESSTHETICS" compilation at the dawn of this century. Here's something I wrote about the band earlier. And right below you is their proverbial coup de grace.

Play or Download ANIMALS & MEN - "Don't Misbehave In The New Age" (from 1980 45)