Friday, August 28, 2009


Without going into too much detail, the late 80s/early 90s, Oakland-by-way-of-Santa Barbara band MONOSHOCK were both personal friends and a favorite mind-erasing band of mine. Aside from the more classic local “garage” acts of 1993-94, it was my contention that they were the San Francisco Bay Area’s finest band when they were around – a total monster of fuzz, distortion and really inventive ways of blowing apart a conventional rock and roll song. I’ve told their story a couple of times and a couple of different ways – here at my old blog Agony Shorthand, and again here at Detailed Twang, when I posted the 45 of theirs I put out on my short-lived label. (I’ll re-post those songs again someday).

Not long after that first one, bassist Scott Derr’s Blackjack Records put out a second, “Soledad / Striking a Match in the Year 4007”. That’s when I knew these guys were for real, in a recording sense (live it was already a no-brainer) and had a pretty deep bench of material to pull from. This is when they were still a trio, mind you (I think some of the blood got sucked when they added sax & keyboards), and at the point where they were realizing how much noise and panic they could wring out of three guys and a batch of distortion boxes.

It’s been said before, but singer/drummer Rubin Fiberglass was absolutely born to rock. I can totally see him at the start of “Striking a Match...” - where they do a couple of piss-takes before getting into the song - with his sunglasses donned even at 11pm, lubricating his vocal cords with god-knows-what, and getting’ his Iggy on before switching over to “the voice” that he used so fetchingly on all their material. In fact “Soledad” is a pretty great study in vocals, when you pay close attention to it. All three fellas get their god-given turn at the mic, with Fiberglass leading things in the chorus and main verses. The whole stream-of-consciousness bizarro-world lyrics & vocals from guitarist Grady Runyan during the “break” were not only the inspiration for this post’s title, but also for the title of the band’s posthumous collection “Runnin’ Backwards From The Ape-Like Superman”.

These recordings came straight from my 45, and not from that collection, which has slightly cleaned-up version of all their 45s. Please do your best to secure both, and keep supporting goodtime rocknroll music.

Play Monoshock, “Soledad”

Download MONOSHOCK – “Soledad” (A-side)
Download MONOSHOCK – “Striking a Match in the Year 4007” (B-side)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When I got big into digitizing my vinyl, it extended my already-crazed obsession with creating personal compilations of music, which started off in the 80s as tapes for potential girlfriends (who didn’t do that, right?) and continued into self-loving compilation tapes for myself. Then in 2000 I bought a car with no tape player, but with a killer CD sound system. When combined with a long commute to work, and these new digitization capabilities, many new 78-minute compilation CDs were born.

One particular “C-78” that I made back in 2004 – the C-78 reference is a respectful nod to the C-60 and C-90 nomenclature previously reserved for blank tapes – was a response to Jon Savage’s article on post-punk in a 2003 issue of MOJO magazine. Savage made a pretty solid list of 1976-1981 songs that stood aside from punk by virtue of their general weirdness and/or instrumentation, or both, while still being very much informed by it. No one has ever seemed to have come up with a better moniker than “post-punk” for this music, ridiculous as that descriptor is, considering that many of the best post-punk tracks were made before or during what’s commonly referred to as punk’s heyday. “Post Punk” is meaningful only in the sense of being a catch-all term – i.e. those bands and artists who built upon 1977 punk with new instrumentation, song structure and a more “artful” approach while retaining the aggression or the experimentation inherent in the medium. I’m comfortable with it, even if others aren’t.

I made my own list of classic post-punk songs from the 1976-1981 era, then pulled out the vinyl and the CDs and made a 78-minute CD out of my pickings. In what will probably become a more frequent occurrence here at Detailed Twang, I’m uploading the whole thing for you in a .zip file, so you can download it and burn it into your own CD (or put in into iTunes or whatever it is you kids do these days). I’m strongly considering making a second volume soon that takes in some classics that I left out, like THE MISFITS’ “Cough/Cool”; RED TRANSISTOR’s “Not Bite”; the VIRGIN PRUNES’ “Twenty Tens” and SPK’s “Mekano”. In 2004, these are the songs that I thought would represent both my tastes, and the entire “post-punk” genre, the best.

Track list

1. PERE UBU – Street Waves
2. DESPERATE BICYCLES – The Medium Was Tedium
3. THE NORMAL – Warm Leatherette
4. GANG OF FOUR – What We All Want
5. MARS – Helen Forsdale
7. TWINKEYZ – Aliens In Our Midst
8. JOY DIVISION – No Love Lost
9. SWELL MAPS – Vertical Slum
11. THE FALL – Prole Art Threat
12. GORDONS – Adults and Children
13. URINALS – Black Hole
14. DOW JONES & THE INDUSTRIALS – Ladies With Appliances
15. DELTA 5 – You
17. METAL URBAIN – Panik
18. ANIMALS & MEN – Don’t Misbehave In the New Age
19. MISSION OF BURMA – Max Ernst
20. SEEMS TWICE – Salient Feature
21. TWO BY FOURS – Little Cities
22. SHOES THIS HIGH – The Nose One
23. FLIPPER – Sex Bomb
25. NEW ORDER – Everything’s Gone Green

Download “Detailed Twang Ultimate Post-Punk C-78” (this is a .zip file)

Monday, August 24, 2009


My favorite record last year by a mile was the debut four-song "Sistema De TerminaciĆ³n Sexual" 7”EP from Monterey, Mexico’s XYX on S-S Records. They make a big, loud, crazed, echo-chamber version of ’77-style no-wave with only two members – a woman (Anel) playing rough, throbbing bass guitar run through a ton of effects (she also twiddles knobs from time to time on a primitive synth of some kind), and a guy (Mou) who is an absolute spasmodic wild man of a drummer. I was ready to dream the impossible dream, and stay up past midnight on a Monday to see them live a couple of weeks ago, and I did just that when they played the El Rincon in San Francisco and blew the fairly small crowd away. Most of their songs are short, chaotic and splay in a zillion different directions while remaining shockingly tight. I’d seen this two wandering the crowd during the evening and figured they were just a couple of new wavers (like me, of course) out to enjoy a little goodtime partytime rocknroll. Then they got up on stage and totally went berserk. These are the times when one is thankful that earplugs have become so ubiquitous, and that I’d remembered to pack mine for the club.

Since this EP from last year is already out of print, I reckoned it would be appropriate to present it to you. I want XYX to be huge, bigger than the Stones & the Beatles. I bought their new edition-of-300 45 on Skulltones records as well, and while it has even more loud, ear-scraping psychedelic oomph than the one I’m posting today, I’d have to say the recordings sound more like stopgaps until the inevitable monster LP comes out. Until then, do what you need to do to see this band, own the recordings of this band, and feel this band. They’re Detailed Twang’s pick to click for the time being.

Play XYX, “Anel and Her Problem”

Download XYX – “Anel and Her Problem” (Side A, Track 1)
Download XYX – “Pan de Muerto” (Side A, Track 2)
Download XYX – “Nunca, Nunca” (Side B, Track 1)
Download XYX – “Microvibraciones” (Side B, Track 2)

Friday, August 21, 2009


(This is a re-post from mid-2008)

I discovered THE PRATS, a ramshackle, quintessentially-DIY late 70s/early 80s Scottish group, just this past couple years or so on the “EARCOM 1” compilation. We posted those tracks here (but we need to re-post them due to them being removed a while back - don't worry, we will). If THE PRATS retired right then and there, they could leave the world knowing that they’d given the globe a primer into how to make much more with much less – less money, less quality, less capability, and less talent. Well somewhere along the way they went out and acquired a little talent. In 1980 THE PRATS released a 7”EP called “The 1990s Pop EP”. Now a jagged, well-recorded, thumping sort of post-punk band, The Prats gave their masterwork to the people in the form of the song, “Disco Pope”, which I’ve discovered this year. Every year I seem to find a new couple of obscurities that become among my all-time favorite songs, and this is the one for 2007-08.

Play The Prats, "Disco Pope"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Around the turn of the 21st Century – that is, about nine years ago - I started seriously digitizing my vinyl collection, and even made a quick foray into hooking up my tape deck to a computer. I only actually successfully digitized one cassette tape, and for some reason I can’t remember where I got the tape from. It’s a bunch of 1960s Canadian garage-rock obscurities – I believe it was sent to me by a fellow DJ on the late 90s/early 00s ANTENNA RADIO (I hosted a pre-punk show called “No Count Dance Party”), but I swear I can’t remember the guy’s name, or even if it was he who sent me the tape. In any case, I called my CD-R “Canada Screaming”, and I was pretty excited to rediscover it the other day. There are some MONSTERS on there.

Take THE PACERS from 1965, and their totally slipshod “I Want You Back”. This is raw, learning-to-play amateurism at its best, and it’s a totally longing, clashing slice of early punk rock music from a Vancouver-area band. Or how about Toronto’s A PASSING FANCY and their fuzzed-out 1967 “I’m Losing Tonight”. You’ve been there, haven’t ya? Genius. My favorite of the three I’m posting for you is 1965’s plodding, minor-key psychedelic howler “She’s My Lover” by THE DEVERONS. Now I totally flipped for this song before I knew that the lead singer in the band was one Burton Cummings, later the frontman for THE GUESS WHO, “arguably Canada’s most influential rock band”. Whoa, more influential than SAGA? Than CHILLIWACK? This song needs to be digitally tattooed upon every hipster’s cranium from this moment forward; it’s as easy as clicking the links below you.

Play The Deverons, “She’s My Lover”

Download THE DEVERONS – “She’s My Lover”
Download THE PACERS – “I Want You Back”
Download A PASSING FANCY – “I’m Losing Tonight”

Friday, August 14, 2009


(Reposted by request)

I own exactly one record by a modern instrumental surf band (correction: make that two records), and it’s the raw-ass 1994 EP I’m posted for you here today by Sacramento, CA’s TIKI MEN. “Sneak-A-Drink With The Tiki Men” is as hot and loud and bothered as the best reverbed-out 1960s stuff, and outside of a few drunken PHANTOM SURFERS live shows, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a modern band capture the esprit of that sound as well as it is here. This record is so underground that even the venerable Grunnen Rocks database doesn’t even list it in the band’s discography, but I’m pretty sure this home-pressed job on “Secret Center” records was their debut. Covers appear to be run off at Kinko’s, but only on their best printers, naturally. A total lost slab of wave-shredding garage punk righteousness from the Capitol City, the camellia capitol of California, Sacramento C-A.

Play The Tiki Men, "Tiki Torcher"

Download THE TIKI MEN – “Tiki Torcher” (Side A, Track 1)
Download THE TIKI MEN – “Swingin' Creeper” (Side A, Track 2)
Download THE TIKI MEN – “Black Cat” (Side B, Track 1)
Download THE TIKI MEN – “Incoming!” (Side B, Track 2)

Monday, August 10, 2009


(Note: I wrote the following on my old blog AGONY SHORTHAND in April 2003. Then I posted the song here on Detailed Twang in early 2007, using the exact same copy from four years earlier. Then I told and retold my same goddamn music discovery stories ad nauseum. Who cares, right? Now I'm doing it again, so you can hear this awesome tune):

I was 12 years old in 1980, and had had some limited exposure to what was then known as "new wave". Punk was still something I wasn't ready to fully tackle, given that the bands & audience actually spit on each other -- or so TIME magazine said -- but I was definitely extremely curious. Anything that might sound "punk" or "new wave" sounded it might be really fucking cool, so armed with a rudimentary knowledge of what it actually might sound like (having heard Devo and the B-52s, I was certainly an expert), I would tune in to various FM dinosaur rock stations and see if I could find any. These stations, which at the time normally played a mix of horrible AOR like Journey, Styx and the Eagles, were being forced by program directors to play some of this new shit, because everyone said it was "about to break". So you'd often hear some crap power pop trotted out as punk/new wave or my favorite, "modern music". And believe me -- and many others who've testified to this fact -- kids in my suburb, at least, used "punk" and "new wave" interchangeably and almost always as a negative, and the main epithet hurled at kids who dressed like funny new wavers or hardcore punks was ALWAYS "Hey, Devo!!".

So my plan was to write down the names of the performers and songs that sounded new wave or punk, and then I'd go look for the records at the mall. The first thing I heard that was definitely new wave to my 12-year-old ears was LOU REED's "Vicious", from the "Transformer" LP, but when I saw the cover at the Wherehouse or the Record Factory or whatever, I decided it probably wouldn't be any good. The wisdom of youth! It was a blast, though -- this was how I discovered ROXY MUSIC ("Virginia Plain" -- totally new wave), among others. But the big eye-opener was finding college radio. In the area south of San Francisco was (and still is) a great college station, KFJC. It was there that I heard new wave song after punk song after new wave song, but I'll definitely remember the first one I ever heard and loved: "Motorbike Beat" by the REVILLOS. Trouble was, I didn't write it down -- but the song stuck with me, and stuck with me, for years.

Once I found out it was the Revillos, sometime in the 1990s, their comedic image as "wacky space people with ray guns" totally turned me off (even though I like the REZILLOS first LP, and it's essentially the same band), so I never tracked the 45 down. An ill wind of nostalgia swept over me recently, though, and I bid for the 45 on eBay -- and won. And you know what? It holds up. It's a top-flight corker, this song -- ultra-frantic, rockabilly-tinged punk with dueling male & female vocals, squealing motorcycle sounds, and just a can't-beat-it FUN vibe that's not contrived or too loony to listen to. It was really nice to have it back, 23 years later, since I hadn't heard it since 1980. The flip "No Such Luck" isn't half bad, either! What about the rest of their stuff? That goofball space thing still has me pretty wary.....

(Here we are back in 2007, I mean 2009, again…) I since learned that most of their stuff was OK, but that this is still their crown jewel. Understand and accept that it’s probably closer to the B-52s themselves than it is to, say, The Cramps, and if you’re cool with that, then here’s the song for your listening pleasure.

Play The Revillos, "Motorbike Beat"

Friday, August 07, 2009


A couple of weeks back we posted the great 60s girly screamer "Don't Drag No More" by SUSAN LYNN and called it her "dead teenager anthem", before I realized that the guy in the song doesn't actually die. He just gets warned that he's going to die. It's still part of a very prevalent 1960s "meme" with the clueless gearhead boyfriend and his level-headed, pleading girlfriend, but we need to be accurate here.

Now, here's a total girl-pop masterpiece where the hedonistic youth speeding through life with the throttle wide open does meet his maker. It's a 1964 single from British chanteuse TWINKLE called "Terry". It was a pretty decent-sized UK hit at the time, and its B-side "The Boy of My Dreams" is almost as good. I even found a magazine ad for you. If you want to see the review I wrote of a posthumous collection of her singles, and I know you do, click on over here.

Play Twinkle, "Terry"

Download TWINKLE - "Terry" (A-side)
Download TWINKLE - "The Boy Of My Dreams" (B-side)