Thursday, April 30, 2009


Take a listen to one of the most crazed rock and roll songs of the past half-decade, the 2005 track “Master Intellectual” from Seattle’s BLANK-ITS. This came out on a split 45 with a band called The Feelers, and it was immediately the most throat-grabbing slice of loud, echoey, blistering, malfunctioning robot rock of that year. I fear it will be forever lost to the sands of time should I not post it for you today. As a bonus, you’re also getting the band’s debut 45 from the same year, 2005 – “Johnny’s Tongue/I’m OK”. As I said about it and the split 45 on my then-blog:

“…Super panicky, up-tempo and razor sharp garage pop from a Seattle group who’ve come a ways since I saw them play up there a couple years ago. If Regal Select were still pumping out pressing-of-400 singles by the likes of THE NIGHTS AND DAYS and FALL-OUTS, it’s not at all a hard stretch to see the BLANK-ITS as their labelmates in slashing, well-informed & non-cliché garage moves. It’s like you either get it or you don’t, and unlike the Northwest bands who dress up in monkey suits, KISS masks or skinny ties, this crew certainly gets it. “Johnny’s Tongue” is live-from-the-basement stupito ignoramus rock, in the best sense of the term – just wind it up & let it fly fast, hard and waaay loose. “I’m OK” is like a sloppy DICKIES minus any cornball stupidity, just loud chords & solid action. Also highly recommended: their side of a split 45 with THE FEELERS; the Blank-Its' “Master Intellectual” is echoey, robots-taking-over-the-planet garage punk with phaser vocals……”

The band, who’ve been making it happen since 2003, are still around and creating dirty masterpieces for a variety of labels. Catch up with their recent stuff here.

Play The Blank-Its, “Master Intellectual”

Download THE BLANK-ITS – “Master Intellectual” (split 45 with The Feelers)

Download THE BLANK-ITS – “Johnny’s Tongue” (A-side of 2005 single)
Download THE BLANK-ITS – “I’m OK” (B-side of 2005 single)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


(This is a re-post from July 2008, "by request"....)

Behind my face tattoos, an obvious tough-as-nails exterior and a total punk-‘til-I-die attitude, I’m actually a sweet mewling kittycat when exceptional female-voiced pop music is put on the table. I know the good stuff is quite few & far between, and as a result, I don’t even know the first thing about seeking it out. I’m not talking about the generally mainstream stuff, it’s more like 60s-inspired and/or more thumping, vaguely garagey pop music, with big hooks & top-drawer vocals. Stuff like some of those LONG BLONDES singles from a few years ago ("Separated By Motorways" and their first 45). Those first couple LOVE IS ALL records. CAMERA OBSCURA. Stuff like the song I’m posting below, “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve” by a UK duo called JOHNNY BOY from 2004. That year & 2005 were years in which I did my greatest digging for the very few gems that exist in this quote-unquote genre, but since then I guess I just don’t have the patience. I want it brought to me. My hunch is that there are probably a half-dozen more great songs & bands, probably in England, maybe in Sweden, and maybe even here in the US that are mining similar territory. I saw a picture of the women in THE PLASTICINES and of course that & a description of their influences piqued my interest, but once I heard it, it was off to the recycle bin if you know what I mean.

Take a listen to this incredible JOHNNY BOY track below. Who else is making music these days with these sort of giant hooks, killer production & that sort of instant-classic feel you get from the best pop songs? Anyone out there?

Play Johnny Boy, "You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve"

Monday, April 27, 2009


(Note - this post was originally put up here on 3-28-2007...)

One of the many bands that sprung from the genius of Seattle garage punk legend ROB VASQUEZ were THE GORLS, a short-lived combo who recorded their own 45 for Vasquez’s Dope Records and then a minimalist (both in look and feel) split 45 with FLATHEAD. I’m not sure how I stumbled across the latter in 1993, but I’m pretty sure it was a blink-and-you-missed-it affair, probably pressed around the 200 mark or so. I love everything about this Gorls track – the mushmouth, strange, seemingly improvisational vocals; the way the song revs up slowly and winds down at the same speed; and of course, that patented Vasquez guitar sound that you, me or anyone could easily pick out of police lineup of stellar axemen. If you’re wondering who this Vasquez guy is, go here, here and here, and also download his late 80s band THE NIGHTS AND DAYS’ first 45 here, and second 45 here. You can also get an early single from his early 90s band THE NIGHT KINGS here.

Play The Gorls, "Bongo Beat"

Friday, April 24, 2009


The "art" of ROYAL TRUX used to give rise to much hyperbole over their many musical journeys – back in the 1990s they were alternately outcasts, saviours, sell-outs and saints to the same talking head. Their most lavish praise, however, has generally been accorded to their work between 1988 and 1992, the bookend recording dates for this mind-bending 45. The record effectively serves as a marking point between periods, a time when the delightfully idiosyncratic duo were drifting from the drug-fueled bafflement of their double LP "Twin Infinitives" into the spaced-out but rock-structured sonic freedom of their third record. Linear thinking was only now becoming part of Royal Trux's musical vocabulary, and "Red Tiger", its actual pre-"Twin Infinitives" recording date notwithstanding, is their unequaled masterpiece.

Comparisons to past psychedelic warlords are futile, because Royal Trux were decidedly of their own time and place. As one pundit put it, "it is as if they compose their works in Esperanto". Theirs was not a universal language of the world, however; "Red Tiger" moves to a rhythm that is jagged, semi-improvisational, and yet ultimately rooted in rock. Its chorus is a distant chant, and its last minute is a slow, heavy-lidded fade into another world. One expects to flip the disc to hear a continuation, a "Red Tiger Pt. 2", For a band that until this time had eschewed cover songs, their take on Jefferson Airplane's "Law Man" is wonderfully in character. It fits in snugly with their sorta hippie-ish, sorta rebellious, we-oughta-be-busted vibe. They churn through the tune with great dual vocals (Neil Hagerty's voice was the duo's secret weapon) and a throbbing bass sound -- new equipment, new regimen, new attitude! Where they actually thenceforth traveled with that attitude is up for debate, but for a few years there Royal Trux were quite possibly among America's leading lights.

Play Royal Trux, "Red Tiger"

Download ROYAL TRUX - "Red Tiger" (A-side)
Download ROYAL TRUX - "Law Man" (B-side)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here’s the second of the two promised KRIMINELLA GITARRER 45s, this one from 1979 – the band’s third. This one is an absolute punk rock monster, with “36 Patroner” being one of the wildest punk rock songs of any era. It’s somewhere between a raw version of sing-along British “lads’ punk” and total art-damaged spazz. I know for a fact that I’m not the first individual to post this thing on the web, but the more the friggin’ merrier, don’t you think?

Play Kriminella Gitarrer, “36 Patroner”

Download KRIMINELLA GITARRER – “36 Patroner” (A-side)
Download KRIMINELLA GITARRER – “Svetsad” (B-side)

Monday, April 20, 2009


I think it’s high time for anyone who’s yet to hear the early 45s from Swedish late 70s punk heroes KRIMINELLA GITARRER to get their heads expanded. I’m going to do my part by posting a couple of them, starting with their second single from 1978 – “Silvias Unge / Hitlers Barn”. I think Sweden produced some incredible, raw and experimental punk from this era, none better than this particular band. Here are a few words I wrote about them in 2006 in the course of reviewing a compilation LP….

“…First got a load of the wild, raw/fuzzed early Swedish punk band KRIMINELLA GITARRER when I mailed off the first MONOSHOCK 45, which I was fortunate enough to have been allowed to release in 1994, to Tom Lax of Siltbreeze Records. I can't remember whom he paired the x with in "Monoshock sound like a cross between x & y", maybe it was Chrome or Hawkwind or the Lemon Pipers, but I do know the y was Kriminella Gitarrer. I said "tell me more, o wise one". He told. Right around that time the band's 1977-78 tracks began showing up on collector scum punk comps, most notably those excellent "Bloodstains Across Sweden" records, and I quickly added them to my internal pantheon of the most fire-breathing, raw, devour-you-alive punk bands of all time. I resolved to tell others the news. I played KG for the Monoshock guys and they couldn't see the resemblance, but what are you gonna do, right?

Kriminella Gitarrer released three 45s that are so over-the-moon killer & slashing, you'd have to be a Mountain Goats fan to stay away -- of course I'm talking about the records with the immortal "Silvias Unge" (whoa!), "Vardad Kladsel (wow!), and my favorite, an easy candidate for Top 40 punk songs of all time, "36 Patroner". Two, the guitar on these is like a rubber band rocketing off its hinges directly to your exposed eye -- totally wobbly & weird, but run through acres of distortion pedals so the cumulative effect is muy dense, and still incredibly fast & propulsive……”

Play Kriminella Gitarrer, “Silvias Unge”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


(Note - this is a re-post of a thing I wrote last year)

THE BRENTWOODS are so undocumented on the world wide internet, that outside of a couple previous posts of my own, I can't really find anything on them beyond what I've already written. In case you're wondering about this lost mid-1990s spin-off from SUPERCHARGER and the TRASHWOMEN (two 50s-inspired garage/"oldies" groups of some renown), there's this here and this here, and not much else. 1994's "Go Little Sputnik / The South City Shingle & Shake" is absolutely par for the course for this wild, rawer-than-gravel, ear-bleeding party band. They did more to improve the image of South San Francisco, "the industrial city", than anyone before or since. Welcome to their world. Please play LOUD.

Play The Brentwoods "Go Little Sputnik"

Download THE BRENTWOODS - "Go Little Sputnik" (A-side)
Download THE BRENTWOODS = "The South City Shingle & Shake" (B-side)

Friday, April 10, 2009


(This one's being re-posted by special request from Elisa. Originally posted last August.)

Me, I like a taste of the new wave every now & again, and what better new wave record of the past five years than the debut 45 from Sheffield, England’s LONG BLONDES? “New Idols / Long Blonde” is sharp, somewhat danceable stutter-pop that plays well in both the raw DIY and “alterna-rock” ghettos, and is certainly the most low-fidelity and unpracticed of all their records. It came out in 2004 on Sheffield Phonographic Corporation in the anachronistic “vinyl 7-inch” format. I heard the band’s second (and latest) CD, “Couples”, a couple of weeks ago, and it’s almost an entirely different sound than what they were putting out 2004-06 – very mersh, very dancefloor-centric, and very, very lame. Predictable, I suppose. These pop bands don’t start raw, get less raw, and then go deep into the underground again once they taste success. Doesn’t happen. I actually saw the band live last year and swear to christ, it was one of my favorite shows I saw all year, embarrassing as it almost feels to admit. I’d have to vote for “Separated By Motorways / Big Infatuation” as their best 45, but this one’s right up there, and hasn’t been heard much to date.

Play The Long Blondes, "New Idols"

Download THE LONG BLONDES – “New Idols” (A-side)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Until this month I couldn’t really tell you a whole lot about Cleveland, Ohio’s HUMAN SWITCHBOARD, a band active from 1977-1982 who made it to the semi-major label IRS in the early 80s and floated under most folks’ radars even then. I remember getting a flexidisc of theirs in my Trouser Press subscription when I was a teenager, and “recycling” it when I found it to be middle-of-the-road new wave college rock. At least that’s what I thought then. In my head these guys & gal were lumped in with those American half-power pop, half-new wavey rock bands that got snapped up by bigger labels in the great late 70s/early 80s feeding frenzy – your Holly & The Italians, your Robin Lane & The Chartbusters type of groups. But what did I know.

Then SH emails me a link to this MIKE REP guest-hosted radio show from a station in Columbus, Ohio this past January. Rep was the special guest on PAT RADIO, and he did a set of D.I.Y. rock and roll in Ohio through the years. There were a couple of revelations for me, and I heard some amazing stuff for the very first time, including a fantastic track from the HUMAN SWITCHBOARD’s 1977 EP called “Fly-In”. This is probably the best new discovery I’ve heard in a good year – a dark, simple sort of skeletal proto-indie rock, firmly rooted in the nascent Cleveland D.I.Y. aesthetic, and something that would stand tall on any of the HOMEWORK compilations that feature “too weird for punk” obscurities from that era. Absolutely love this song, and I’m proud to unearth an mp3 copy to share with you today.

As it so happens, that whole David Thomas (Pere Ubu)-produced first EP is outstanding. There’s another total ringer on there called “San Francisco Nights” that I’d like you to hear. I can’t quite put my finger on the band they ape so successfully here; jeez, it’s on the tip of my proverbial tongue. If only they employed some more of the vocal and tempo-building mannerisms of that band, whoever they are. Maybe you can help me figure it out.

Play The Human Switchboard, “Fly-In”

Download THE HUMAN SWITCHBOARD – “Fly-In” (from 1977 debut EP)
Download THE HUMAN SWITCHBOARD – “San Francisco Nights” (from 1977 debut EP)

Friday, April 03, 2009


(Originally posted on April 19th, 2007)

I once remarked in the early 90s that if I ever had to rip off the record, film and pop culture ephemera collection of one single individual, I’d have chosen Larry Hardy’s – Larry of course being the wunderkind behind IN THE RED RECORDS, for many, many years one of the world’s finest rock and roll record labels (still is to this day). I said this not because Larry’s vast holdings were necessarily more valuable than anyone else’s (of course I’d truly go into Joe Bussard’s basement first), but because he seemed to have every cool record that I wanted that had just gone out of print, and because he always seemed to get that edition-of-100 7” single that I always found out about one minute too late (from people like Larry).

Naturally it was Larry who turned me onto this 1986 scorcher from THE WORKDOGS on “King Dog Bisquet” records. This two-man, lo-fidelity, crazed blues/comedy band have played with many heavyweights over the years, but back in ’86 they were just starting to build their mythos and put their raw sounds out directly to the people. “Funny $” has a riff that will claw its way into your cranial lobes and never leave, which I assure you will be crazy-making for most folks, but me, I’m happy to have it bouncing around in there. It’s a marathon workout by “garage punk” standards, too – at least six or seven minutes, right? For fun, here’s the phonus-balonus liner notes they included with the single way back then:

The Workdogs are the hot, new blues sensation that has all of New York on it's ear. A two man rhythm unit employing the services of a third - replacable - instrumentalist, the Workdogs have cut a wide swathe across the contemporary music scene. Equally versed in rock, jazz, trash and noise as well as their acknowledged mastry of the blues idiom; the 'dogs are in high demand - not only for their legendary live performances but also as New York's premier rhythm section for hire.

In spite of the Workdogs' phenominal popularity, little is actually known about Robert "HiRex" Kennedy. His name appears on the 1980 census three times - aged twenty seven - residing in Los Angeles, New York and Helena, Arkansas. Sources in these cities describe him variously and contradictorily.

It is thought that Kennedy spent his teen years following the fabled "Dumb" John Gomer (Cosmar) who apparently was his first and only teacher. Gomer would play the blues but he would (or could) not sing them; perhaps this accounts for "hiRex's" idiosyncratic vocal techniques. Likewise his lyricism, in which verses have little logical sequence and may - as rumour has it - flow directly from his subconscious mind. Besides these many intangible nuances his work is spiked with vocal asides, topical references and other special effects that suggest the buffoonery of the Workdogs' live performance.

Of Scott Jarvis we know considerably more. Jarvis' North Carolina Piedmont background is well documented. He himself often speaks fondly of his maternal great grandfather who is still something of a Piedmont legend for his drumming at most major local sporting events - especially baseball games. This, apparently, is the inspiration for Jarvis' sobriquet: "Blind Frothin' Baseball."

Sometime during his twenties, "Frothin" became acquainted with J.F. "Peck" Curtis and subsequently taught him everything he knew: the "controlled skid", the "hesitation recovery", the "stop immediately" and the "blues waltz" to name a few. Listening to his playing, one might think that he had set out deliberately to develop a style that could never be reproduced by machine - an all too common practice at the time. in fact, first person accounts confirm Frothin' Baseball's obsessive - some say superstitious - distrust of the newfangled technology.

Perhaps this explains the Workdogs' shunning the recording studio in favor of live performance. It is said that the 'dogs will set up anywhere, anytime and do virtually anything to hold an audience's attention. Numerous stories and hundreds of "bootleg" tapes attest to this fact. Yet these two sides are currently the only Workdogs material available anywhere in print, a sorry situation that King Dog Bisquet hopes to soon rectify.

Play The Workdogs, "Funny $"

Download THE WORKDOGS – “Funny $” 45

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


When I was in high school in the early 80s, a DJ named Ransome Youth on college radio station KFJC in the San Francisco Bay Area used to give up an hour of his slot every week to a “guest DJ”. In order to be considered, you had to submit a list of 10 songs you might play. I was 15 years old, but I knew what I had to do to get considered – pick the coolest, strangest stuff out of KFJC’s current programming lineup that I actually dug, and tell them that I’d play that. I remember leading my list off with “Aspirin” by GREEN ON RED, a wheezy, druggy psychedelic pulse-rusher from a new Los Angeles band that was getting a lot of press at the time as being part of some “paisley underground”. I got the gig, and I think my lead track actually helped out quite a bit. (For what it’s worth, other songs I remember playing were “Happy House” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "The American" by Simple Minds and “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps). I listened to a tape of the show a while back and it’s a hoot. Nervous, jittery high-voiced fifteen-year-old rushing through his back-announce just to get off the air as soon as possible. Maybe someday I’ll post an mp3 of the thing.

That first six-song GREEN ON RED EP on Steve Wynn’s Down There records from 1982 is still my favorite record of theirs, though they had a pretty good run of drunken Americana records up into the 1990s. That first one, though, is a cool trip through a flickering, late-night Los Angeles where speed is plentiful and troubles come in bunches. Chris Cacavas’ keyboards are put way up in the mix and are just dripping with treble, and the result is that wheezy, carnival-like soporific psychedelia that stands proud to this day. I figured I’d post a couple of tracks from it, ripped straight off my 80s-vintage vinyl, so that you could hear it.

Play Green On Red, “Death and Angels”

Download GREEN ON RED – “Death and Angels”
Download GREEN ON RED – “Aspirin”