Thursday, July 31, 2008


A few months ago Detailed Twang published a couple round-ups of 2008’s prime movers, bands that we feel are the ones moving sub-underground & raw, weird or tuneful rock music in new directions. I guess I was pretty proud that I had 10 different examples I could call up. Now I’ve got five more. This stuff is out there & readily available if you consult the right sources, and there are all manner of gatekeepers who do the real hard work for me. I’m not scouring record stores nor online catalogs quite the way I used to, but if you follow my five-point program for aggressive music discovery, you’ll be able to dig up, download, or purchase the greatest songs of the day in a matter of minutes.

Step 1: Download DJ Rick’s “Art For Spastics” show every week. This is a treasure trove of the best noisy, strange & very limited edition rock and roll out there right now. I swear the guy buys or gets sent every 45, CD-R and tape that matters. His tastes branch a bit further out from noise, so some pop & a little garage punk leaks in as well. It’s all good.
Step 2: Buy the Z-GUN print fanzine.
Step 3: Read Tom Lax’s SILTBLOG.
Step 4: Read the POPULATION DOUG blog.
Step 5: Listen to some of the shows on WFMU and KFJC online.

No need to trawl MySpace for music, just follow this program and you too will discover gems from RTFO BANDWAGON, MI AMI, ELECTRIC BUNNIES, METH TEETH and the ESTROGEN HIGHS like I was able to (all of whom were found through one of the mechanisms discussed presently). Who are these mystery children of the oughts? RTFO BANDWAGON are a fairly recent band from Columbus, OH, and their “New Jack” 45 and “Flagships” LP are a great, home-porch hybrid of muted garage skiffle and family-band folk music. The song “New Jack” is pretty much my favorite song of the summer thusfar. San Franciscans MI AMI have brought the wide-groove, big-ass 12” single back from its 1980s deathbed, and their screaming, syncopated debut harkens back to afro-punk warlords of the Lower East Side from around the same era. I totally dig it – but make sure you leave the light on.

The ESTROGEN HIGHS are the living definition of “unassuming”, but try to keep their simple, buzzing teenage 60s trans-punk tune “She Don’t Bother” out of your head this evening. This is the second blast straight outta New Haven from these guys; see what you can do to find one. METH TEETH? Ewww. These Portland, OR titans have impressed many a man with their debut EP on Sweet Rot records, including the man sitting at my computer this very second. It’s a strange and dissonant fog of low-fidelity noise and turns wrongly taken. It feels so right, don’t you agree? Finally, mining a very similar slipshod vein as the aforementioned Estrogen Highs are Miami’s ELECTRIC BUNNIES, sporting the sort of band name so awful it’s either clueless or highly ironic. An incredibly raw, catchy and infectious tune from a band that sounds like they’re about 17 years old. Love it. I guess 2008 is a good year like all those other good years.

Play or Download RTFO BANDWAGON – “New Jack” (from 45)
Play or Download MI AMI – “African Rhythms” (from 12”)
Play or Download ESTROGEN HIGHS – “She Don’t Bother” (from 45)
Play or Download METH TEETH – “Bus Ride” (from 7"EP)
Play or Download ELECTRIC BUNNIES – “Chewing Gum” (from 45)

Friday, July 25, 2008


Man, by the time this came out I was such a gone CLAW HAMMER fan they could’ve put out a one-sided lathe cut spoken word 45 and I’d have pronounced it a masterpiece. Good thing they kept putting out stunning 7-inch singles containing rock and roll music instead. This one, their third, from mid-1989, was one of the earliest Sympathy For The Record Industry 45s, a label that at least early on shared a strong affinity for the garage-based LA blues common to bands like the Lazy Cowgirls, Crawlspace (mach 1), and Claw Hammer. CLAW HAMMER were getting a little more dirty at this point, I thought, with two mid-tempo songs and no hard chargers like the previous 45, “Sick Fish Belly Up” or “Car Down Again” from their first single. The band that recorded this one is definitely more in a BEEFHEART camp than an MC5 camp, I suppose, and more resembled the debut LP that would come in the following year - but it also could’ve just been song selection. Vocalist Jon Wahl is in top vocal caterwauling form on “Drop”, and I totally love the abrupt punch-out that ends this song. What a great band. Check out and - hey, why don’t you just go ahead and download the first single here and the second single here?

Play or Download CLAW HAMMER – “Candle Opera” (A-side)
Play or Download CLAW HAMMER – “Drop” (B-side)

Monday, July 21, 2008


"Don't Give Any Dinner To Henry Chinaski" is hands down the best record of BILLY CHILDISH's most prolific career. I went hog wild scarfing up MIGHTY CAESARS vinyl in the late 80s/early 90s when the first Crypt best-of compilation turned me onto these guys, and at one point I think I had the entire discography before Thee Headcoats went off the deep end and tossed off onto the public every fart & titter committed to tape . This one from 1987, all 19 minutes of it, was by far the boldest and most raw thing this very bold & raw trio put to vinyl, featuring early wide-groove, near-45rpm versions of hits like "She's Just 15", "Devious Means" and "I Can Tell". This is when Childish & co. were deepest into their LINK WRAY fixation(s), so among the 10 tracks are incredible, hotwired versions of "Comanche" and "Run Chicken Run" -- the former is so booming & loud I'd venture to say I'd even take it over Link's version. Also features a thumper of a run-through of THE TROGGS' "I Want You" and several other fantastic originals that never made it to later best-of comps (to my knowledge), like "The Bay of Pigs" and my fave, "La-La, La-La, La-La-La" (easily one of the Top 3-4 Caesars tracks ever). This is a band it's not difficult to forget about sometimes, given their daunting discography and near vanishment from the historical record, but man, if someone was wise & precient enough to re-press this thing, I can think of a lot of ears that'd wanna hear it.

Download THEE MIGHTY CAESARS - "Don't Give Any Dinner To Henry Chinaski" (1987 LP -note: this is a .zip file)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


There was this one week around 1994 where this Arizona-based duo called DOO RAG swept into my town and pretty much owned it each & every night. Having heard their awesome debut 45, “Swampwater Mop Down / Engine Bread” on Drunken Fish, I made a date to see one of their shows – and proceeded to see them twice more that week, & interviewed them for the cover of my fanzine as well. DOO RAG mania was on. People were just dumbfounded when they saw these two fellas set up their contraptions on the floor of each club: a drummer (“Thermos”) who smacked cardboard boxes and tubs to keep the beat, and a guitarist (“Bob Log”) who played and sang out of this bizarre tuba/vaccum cleaner-like kit hooked up to pedals and mics and whatnot. I can barely remember, I was so young then.

I do know that ’94 was a good year for this band – their first three singles were all great; a furious, ultra-distorted 1920s delta blues stitched together with duct tape and baling wire, with vocals so loud and echo-laden they could’ve been in Urdu. They even put out a couple of cassettes long before there was an LP, and those made the rounds to lots of hosannas and praise. I think what we all liked about these two guys was their willingness to set up their gear anytime, anywhere – in bus shelters, on street corners, and in dark clubs filled with San Francisco hipsters. Their sound reflected that sort of bootstrapping, and they were a blast live. After a couple of years, they began to strike me more as a novelty than as a band I wanted to spend a lot of time with, and I tuned out. I believe they broke up around 1998, because I started seeing Bob Log play solo around that time, popping up on bills like at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival, where we showed up to see HASIL ADKINS and BOB LOG III was playing instead (the Haze was sick – I never did get to see him). I spun this debut 45 again the other day, and remembered again why Doo Rag Week ’94 was so much fun. If anyone knows where Thermos is these days, please let us know.

Play or Download DOO RAG – “Swampwater Mop Down” (A-side)
Play or Download DOO RAG – “Engine Bread” (B-side)

Monday, July 14, 2008


If for some reason you haven't, I figured it's old enough (seven years!) to enshrine it here on our calvalcade of first-rate rock and roll obscurities. Until about five minutes ago I thought this was their debut single, but if you believe S-S Records' discography section (and I do), it was beat out by about five minutes by "Plastica", their almost equally-ripping debut, in 2001. (note: correct that! Min from the A-Frames has set the record straight in our comments section. This one WAS the debut.) I actually discovered the Seattle band afterward, when the debut "A-FRAMES" CD came out as a split release by S-S and Dragnet records, Dragnet being the label that put out this incredible 7"EP.

There, we got all the discographic information out of the way. Why is this 45 so goddamn amazing? Hard to say, really. It's got a raw whoosh of power that carries it proudly as one of the first examples of a semi-unique "21st century punk". It contains a tinge of the cold metal automaton schtick that they mined pretty well on other releases, but only a tinge. You might not notice it if you're not lookin' for it. Guitars are frantic and all over the place; you can imagine the band cribbing a bit from the Dangerhouse collection. This is a good thing. Above all, it's one of the rare moderne rock records that has the potential to totally floor you on first listen. I hope it works for you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Not much tops getting your face melted off by some hot new jamz sent to you by your pals, and that’s what happened to me in 1992 when LH expressed me a cassette tape of Japan’s HIGH RISE, a trio I’d never heard nor heard of up to that point. It was a tape of their new second record, “High Rise II”, and to say I was pleased with what I heard does little justice to the emotion. I couldn’t believe how crazed the guitars sounded, how high these guys were setting a new bar for garage psychedelia, how feedback had never sounded so over-the-top before – and that was just the 1-minute opening track “Cycle Goddess”. The mystery of this band from Tokyo & their “psychedelic speed freaks” mantra was irresistible, so I got in touch w/ them & actually conducted a mail interview for my fanzine at the time. English being a second language for these fellas, the interview revealed little, but I was already hooked on as a fan for life & remain so to this day.

Still, all told, “High Rise II” remains their masterpiece. The debut record “Psychedelic Speed Freaks” was also insane & wild distortion overload, but it suffered from a SOLGER-like sound that was more akin to a boombox recording than something you’d wanna bang your noggin to; the 3rd record “Dispersion” was just fine but leveled out the chaos a bit and branched the sound into the great improvisational beyond. Others built upon that one, but continued to be a bit less frenzied and more expansive than the first few. But this one – look out. Any true “punk” worth his punker stripes should be getting down with this record in a jiffy, because it’s one of the all-time howlers. The solos are so over-the-top distorted and the drums are caked with so much reverb, it’s a total maddening echo chamber filled with the ghosts of Greg Ginn, Davie Allen, Sterling Morrison, Stacey Sutherland and Grady Runyan. Vocals are pretty much an afterthought, but they are present on just about every track, it’s just that they're buried under the dense layers. There’s a 13-minute “Sister Ray”-meets-“Mother Sky” classic on here called “Pop Sicle” that became a staple of their live show, sort of their own “Black To Comm” & a knockout wailer you’ve got to hear. But mostly it’s just fast, fast, fast and rawer than raw. A stone classic disc that I’d recommend to anyone with a pulse and a tolerance for maximum volume. Now you can download it for free.

Download HIGH RISE - "High Rise II" LP (this is a zip file)

Monday, July 07, 2008


In the early 1990s there was a fair amount of spew being spewed about a wacked-out Finnish label called BAD VUGUM. This crew, for a couple of years, were putting out some of the most crazed half-art, half-rock and roll going, and outside of Finland, there were a few dozen American record collectors and fanzine writers who got the cut of their jib. I was turned onto their flagship act, LIIMANARINA, by a couple of them. Once I bought their debut 7"EP, "Maailman Tylsin Vittumaisuus", and heard the the absolutely insane opening track, I was gone, baby. Here was first-EP Meat Puppets reborn as a "Calling All Girls"-era Half Japanese cover band. Aw hell, I already wrote my piece on these guys back in 2003 for Agony Shorthand. I'm just going to lift it for ya below. I'm also presenting you with a downloadable version of that debut EP, all for you. There were two more wild EPs that followed - maybe you'll get those someday as well......

WHO'S FINLAND'S BEST BAND OF ALL TIME?.....Bet you haven't thought about that in a while, have ya? For my money it's LIIMANARINA. I have been associating Finland of late with great hockey players more than I have bands -- my own San Jose Sharks have Teemu Selanne ("The Finnish Flash"), Miika Kiprusoff ("The Kipper") and Vesa Toskala ("Vesa Toskala"). But last weekend I pulled out the Liimanarina 45s from the early 90s, and I had to declare it right then and there -- this is Finland's hottest rock and roll band ever, folks. Yes, better than EPPU NORMAALI and better even than TERVEET KADET, hard as that might be for some of you to fathom. Who are Liimanarina? They appear to be essentially one guy, Olli Pauke, and a cast of revolving charcters who are subordinate to his demented vision. Their early 90s singles are noisy, totally off the wall and out of control early HALF JAPANESE-style lunacy, with a hint of THE FALL and first-LP MEAT PUPPETS (you know, the crazy lo-fi artcore record). The big standout is the first track on their first single,"Kuinka Aku Ankasta Tehdaan Poliisi" (which translates as 'How To Turn Donald Duck Into A Policeman') -- such hilariously anarchic rock and roll is rarely realized. I first heard about them via raves about Liimanarina and the Bad Vugum record label in Forced Exposure and Siltbreeze magazines & then tracked down the 45s. I believe Long Gone John at Sympathy put out a Bad Vugum compilation EP with two great Liimanarina tracks, and then there's their only LP/CD "Spermarket" on Drag City from 1995 that I still have not heard. Someone needs to pull those 7"EPs together for a real good time and get that Liimanarina revival happening!

PS - Since I wrote this, all three of the Finnish players on the Sharks were lost to free agency. All are still in the NHL at varying levels of stardom. Oh, and I heard the Liimanarina LP, and I don't like it much.

"Maailman Tylsin Vittumaisuus" EP - 1989

Side A

Kuinka Aku Ankasta Tehdään Poliisi (2:01)
Turistit (2:08)
Naapurin Pojat Puisine Lintuineen (1:09)

Side B

600 Uusnatsia (2:45)
Piitles (2:45)
Mari Nainilan Maria I. Linnaa & Irina Manilaa Koskeva Nana L.A. Riimi-tyylinen L. Naamariini-kysymys (Ari L. Imi Annaa) (0:08)

Oh, and I just realized that my description of early Meat Puppets and early Half Japanese may fall flat for people who've never heard those versions of the bands, considering how both acts smoothed out any rough edges during the 80s and 90s. It would be quite exciting for me to know that your first time hearing said bands would be by clicking the links below. Maybe you'll even see how Liimanarina possibly ingested the influence of both.

Play or Download THE MEAT PUPPETS - "In A Car" (from 1981 debut 7"EP)
Play or Download HALF JAPANESE - "Calling All Girls" (from 1977 debut 7"EP)

Friday, July 04, 2008


I made this online "MUXTAPE" a while back and for some reason it disappeared, so I'm resurrecting it for your listening pleasure. It's a bunch of 70s/80s thumping post-punk, or as I put it earlier, "features 12 numbers from the 1979-82 period (what a surprise, hunh?) – with a couple of outliers from later years - all of which, with the right sort of libational prodding, might even convince some of you to hit the floor and show off your moves".

3. GOD AND THE STATE – Art For Spastics
4. SIMPLE MINDS – Changeling
5. DELTA 5 – You
8. ANIMALS & MEN – Don’t Misbehave In The New Age
9. HALF JAPANESE – Girl Athletes
10. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD. – Death Disco
11. THE FLOWERS – After Dark
12. NEW ORDER – Everything’s Gone Green

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


(Video removed 3-7-2009 - sorry! Read the story anyway if ya want....)

Here’s one last self-referential post, only because I’ve lately been hooking up my beat-up old VCR to a computer to see what transpires. What transpired recently was me getting some old tapes up onto YouTube, like the UMBILICAL CHORDS MOVIE we shared with you a couple weeks ago. Continuing that theme, I’d like to present you with the poor-quality, 1989, one and only 4-song performance of WE GOT POWER, a faux hardcore punk band that I happened to be the frontman for. The band itself consisted of SD (bass), Grady Runyan (guitar) and Rubin Fiberglass (drums), all then and later of MONOSHOCK. Those nine minutes were pretty much the highlight of my brief and uneventful musical career. See, there was this thing that used to happen every spring in Isla Vista, CA, the incestuous little Potemkin village next to UC-Santa Barbara. It was called “The Battle of The Bad”.

The goal was to be the lamest band in Isla Vista, and if not that, at least the most audacious or most funny or whatever. I was proud to compete in it three years in a row, but WE GOT POWER was by far the best entry I had any hand in. "Battle of The Bad" competitors over the years included a Jewish Supremacy band; a hideous improvisational Devo cover band called STEVE GARVEY’S HAIR; a band who did a rock opera out of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”; a new wave cover band long before “new wave” irony had hit the public consciousness; a band called the BR’S that had members whose real names were Brian, Brett, Bruce, Brig and Bryn, and who did songs with titles like “Brrrrrr!”; a party band who lasted well beyond the competition called THE MYSTIC SULTANS OF BEN-WA and whose signature song had the chorus, “Bounce me, trounce me, 40-ounce me / I’m on fire and nude!”; etc. That sort of thing. It was into this atmosphere that WE GOT POWER stepped, and made its one and only appearance.

The inspiration, of course, comes from the 1983, forty-song hardcore compilation “We Got Power” on Mystic Records, which was inspired by Jordan Schwartz’s fanzine of the same name. I have always teetered between loving this comp and laughing at this comp. Certainly the yuks are a-plenty if you listen to the entirety of this snapshot of lowest-common-denominator punk, though excellent bands like Red Cross, Tar Babies, Nip Drivers, Mecht Mensch and others do make fine appearances. When the 4 of us decided to enter a band into “Battle of The Bad” competition in 1989, the goal was to do all 40 songs in quick succession, and to affect the most ludicrous, over-the-top “punk” personas we could conjure up. A lot of that idea was stolen from the ANARCHY 6, who were a short-lived Redd Kross spinoff and who had a great cameo in the “Lovedoll Superstar” film. We naturally couldn’t learn 40 songs, so we chose a mere 4, and decided to lead with the worst material on the album – though, other than “New Wave Homos” by CRANKSHAFT, I actually still kind of dig the other three songs. We additionally decided that we’d blend some classic onstage hardcore personas into our own magical blend: the homophobic FEAR from “The Decline of Western Civilization”; the late-80s hardcore/speedmetal bands who’d introduce their songs with a big, “Okaaaaaaaaay!” and unintentionally say as many ridiculous things as possible in the course of explaining “this next song”; and of course the extreme hatred of hippies. We even had a hippie “plant” within the crowd who deliberately harassed us after the third song, WILLFUL NEGLECT’s “E.M.S.& D.”, and though the camera misses the actual stagedive I did onto his shoulders, you do see a great fake punks vs. hippies melee take place on the warm spring grass.

I do want to emphasize to my son, any current or future employers, and any would-be guardians of propriety that this was a complete and total joke. As lame as we were, we did not even win, place nor show in the ’89 Battle of The Bad. That’s why this needs to be seen again, and that’s why my inner fire for this magical day still rages.


1. “I Hate Cops” – The Authorities
2. “Count The Odds” – Ill Repute
3. “E.M.S. & D.” – Willful Neglect
4. “New Wave Homos” - Crankshaft

Endnotes & Explanations of Stage Patter

1. “OK, we’re fucking We Got Power, we’re from fucking Oxnard” – Oxnard, California was the home of the mid-80s “Nardcore” phenomenon. Nardcore was essentially a grouping of retread, semi-metal-influenced hardcore punk bands from the Oxnard area. Prime examples were Ill Repute, Aggression, Dr. Know, and The Grim. Because Oxnard was only 45 minutes from Isla Vista, and because so much bad punk came from there, we decided to make that our faux home.

2. “This is 1989, man. Can’t you afford to get a fucking haircut?” – ca. FEAR, from “The Decline of Western Civilization”

3. “This next song’s for the I.V.F.P” – Isla Vista foot patrol, local streetwalking cops on the beat.

4. “We got arrested the other night at Club Iguana for playing ‘punk rock music’, or being nuisance in publics or something. Anyway, this one’s for them” – ca. BLACK FLAG, from “The Decline of Western Civilization”, with our local “Club Iguana” replacing “Blackie’s”.

5. “Okaaaaay! This next song’s about Reagan” – Reagan was no longer president, but his contribution to hardcore punk will always live.

6. “We’re dedicating this to our buddies in Threatened Hope” – some lame Isla Vista hardcore band from that time, who were most definitely not our friends. I wouldn’t have even remembered them had I not just watched this again.


We’ve pretty much been an mp3 blog since January 2007, and given our obsessive drive to share the Detailed Twang record collection with you, there’s been a hell of a lot of posts since then. I’ve never willingly taken an mp3 down since we started, so all songs are still available. Here are a few that you may have missed.


SCIENTISTS bootleg 45
X (Australia)