Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Detailed Twang readers, I’m in need of some help with a small, potentially made-up sub-genre of 1970s rock and roll. I unoriginally call it “bubbleglam”. Others might call it hard-rockin’ bubblegum, or even power pop. Me, I’ve never been much into power pop, and I don’t know anything much about the glam era outside of the “heavy hitters”. Yet when I hear songs like the two I’m posting for you today, I wonder if there just might be a whole rich set of treasure just waiting for someone to turn me onto it. I need you to please tell me if there is.

See, these two songs by FRIENDS and the WHIZZ KIDDS were discovered by me on mp3 blogs during the past couple of years. Totally love 'em. I want to hear more songs like them: hard-driving, harmony-laden, hook-heavy songs with guitars out front. I can just picture the white man’s afros and leisure suits on the guys in these bands, and it’s an image I’m liking. The FRIENDS song is a real mystery. I can’t remember at all where I got it from, and I’m wondering if it’s an original. I researched it last night and found that other bands have covered the song (even INXS!), leading me to believe that the “FRIENDS” themselves were covering it. If so, they made the thing their own – you know how you can sorta tell when something’s a cover, even when you’ve never heard its precedent? This is one of those songs – totally rollicking, hand-clapping good times.

I got the WHIZZ KIDDS track from the excellent Crud Crud mp3 blog a while back. He says it’s from 1977, though it has more of a ’73 feel to me. Then again, what do I know? I’m the one asking you for help, right? “Sweet Honey” is one of several smile-conjuring songs that, in the course of listing a woman’s positive attributes, mentions her skills as a cook (see The O’Jays’ “She Used Ta Be My Girl”). It’s very pre-feminism, but I’m sure these fellas were just being true to themselves. Good cookin’ is good cookin’.

Anyway, now that you’ve clicked on the buttons below and are playing (and perhaps downloading) these songs, can you please let me know of other obscurities that I might enjoy that sound similar to them? Are there entire compilations of this stuff? Or is there no ridiculous sub-genre of "bubbleglam" to wrap my downloading, 45-buying and CD-buying skills around?

Play Friends “Gonna Have A Good Time Tonight”

Play Whizz Kidds “Sweet Honey”

Download FRIENDS – “Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight”
Download WHIZZ KIDDS – “Sweet Honey”

Monday, December 29, 2008


(This is a re-post of our April 3rd, 2007 post)

Other than my copies of FORCED EXPOSURE, the one 1980s fanzine I intend to take to the grave with me is the 1982 issue of TAKE IT! magazine, with CHRIS D. and the FLESH EATERS on the cover & nothing but quality on the inside. The magazine perfectly captured the rock n roll zeitgeist of the post-punk, mid-hardcore era, with heavy attention to outstanding bands like The Flesh Eaters, Half Japanese, The Fall etc. & great reviews & columns by the likes of Byron Coley and Don Howland, along with publisher Michael Koenig. It emanated from Florida (!), and this is the only copy I've ever seen or owned.

This is a magazine that on at least two occassions arrived with a "flexidisc" inside, as was fairly popular at the time. This particular flexi is a marvel. It features one of the most crazed tracks ever recorded by TEX & THE HORSEHEADS, with Jeffrey Lee Pierce on guitar. It contains an incredible MEAT PUPPETS track, "Teenager(s)", which features the greatest opening two seconds in the history of music, and which perfectly positions the band between their berzerk-core debut album and their country-fried masterpiece "Meat Puppets II". Finally, a live FLESH EATERS track from the height of their powers, apparently when they shared the stage with DIE KREUZEN on their quote-unquote "Toolin' for Beaver" tour. All copyright 1982. I've taken the Tex & the Flesh Eaters tracks directly from the flexi, but you get the Meat Puppets one from the CD reissue of "Meat Puppets II" (with loads of extra tracks), because - believe it or not - it sounds better. Enjoy!

Play Tex & The Horseheads "Got Love If You Want It"

Download TEX AND THE HORSEHEADS - "Got Love If You Want It"
Download MEAT PUPPETS - "Teenager(s)"
Download THE FLESH EATERS - "River Of Fever" (live 1982)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Few bands represent the early 1980s England DIY aesthetic for me than ANIMALS & MEN, a now-reformed band who received little if any notice during their first time around 1979-82, but who stamped a huge mark on my brain by virtue of their classic 45 “Don’t Misbehave In The New Age”. Until it started coming out again on compilations like “MESSTHETICS” and the recent “Never Bought, Never Sold” LP of early Animals & Men singles and demos, the song was one of those whose name had been completely lost to me in the dim recesses of memory, but a tune I could hum & remember perfectly. It’s a remarkable slice of ramshackle, garagy UK DIY chug from 1980 with a scoop of "the new wave" on top. Listen to those clattering drums, which absolutely sound taped together. The echoey vocals are perfect, and the strange B-side “Machines” is outstanding as well. If I were making you a 78-minute CD of the best English crap from this era, you best believe “Don’t Misbehave” would probably kick the whole thing off, right next to "Prole Art Threat" and "The Medium Was Tedium". Check it out by clicking on the links below.

Play Animals & Men – “Don’t Misbehave in the New Age”

Download ANIMALS & MEN – “Don’t Misbehave in the New Age” (A-side)
Download ANIMALS & MEN – “Machines” (B-side)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


(Note: this post was originally on Detailed Twang on August 20th, 2007 and is being re-posted today)

Nearly three years ago the first official PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS CD came out, packed with a crateful of lost extras (live tracks, home recordings) that in many ways outshone their officially-released stuff. I love it when that happens. Here’s a meta-meta-meta post, one that references both a 4/20/05 post I did on the band, and then a 1/23/04 post I did as well:

“…Taking the lazy man's approach to review-writing this time in order to herald the release of the official PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS CD. A year+ ago I reviewed a CD-R that had their live album + debut 45 on it -- this one takes out the 45, but adds an incredible batch of unreleased bonus tracks that are leagues better than their official stuff. In particular, a piercing indutrio-punker called "Glitter Kids" from 1979 rules the roost here, & sounds like everything you wished THE SCREAMERS had been, with a cranked-up metronome keeping time over scattershot guitars and screeching keyboard blips. Moreover, there's this hot, metallic, shards-of-sound number called "Casualty Ward" (1977!!) that approximates the URINALS' "U" and SPK's "Mekano" in barely over a minute. You'll flip. Here's what I said last year about the live album:

"....Among the lost artifacts of the late 1970s Australian underground that are now beginning to surface are recordings from Sydney’s
PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS, a polyrhythm- and experimentation-heavy synth-attack outfit who probably tilted closer to their outré countrymen SPK and the SLUGFUCKERS than to similar combos in the UK and US. After being wowed by their berserk “Pumping Ugly Muscle” on the Australian post-punk CD “Can’t Stop It”, I then had the fortune to become privy to a CD-R containing their debut 45 from 1979, “I Can’t Stop It / Do That Dance”, as well as tracks from their 1979 live album (recorded supporting the BOYS NEXT DOOR, aka the nascent BIRTHDAY PARTY). The whole package is decidedly not for the faint of ear; there are not a few moments where the band’s funky, African-influenced slop-rock breaks down into a maelstrom of raw electronic chaos and pure gibbering idiocy. And yet it’s not so messy that you couldn’t stack it next to New York’s leading “no wave” of the day and have it compare quite favorably. A little bravery, patience, and love of well-crafted, ultra-savage electronics will go a long way here. Aficionados of early industrial racket, the aforementioned no wave, or those still bitter over what PiL should have been should check out the Calculators...."

That sentiment has now been multiplied by the discovery of these lost tracks, with the aforementioned caveat and strong warning of bravery & patience. The live album is still not an easy nor consistently pleasurable listen, but the outstanding bonus crap certainly makes up for it…..”

Here’s some of that outstanding bonus crap!

Play The Primitive Calculators - "Glitter Kids"

Download THE PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS – “Glitter Kids” (1979 home recording)
Download THE PRIMITIVE CALCULATORS – “Casualty Ward” (1977 home recording)

Monday, December 22, 2008


A few months ago, right when I’d temporarily decided to pack it in and put Detailed Twang on hold for a while (I do that sometimes), I posted my favorite 7-inch single ever, PERE UBU’s “Heart of Darkness / 30 Seconds Over Tokyo”. Those files have since been removed by my provider, but man, a TON of people downloaded the thing, making me realize that these songs that I pretty much take for granted are still brand new to many folks. That suits me just fine – there’s nothing like hearing a song like one of those to absolutely alter your musical perceptions, scramble your brain, and perhaps change your life. I’d love to think I helped to facilitate that sort of "brain erasure" – even if for just for one child! One tiny, innocent, starry-eyed child!

THE ELECTRIC EELS’ 1978 posthumous 45 “Cyclotron/Agitated” is another one of those records. It might be my other favorite single of all time – and it comes from the same city (Cleveland) and the same year (1975). Wow. In 1997 I wrote the following piece in my fanzine “Superdope”, where I listed it the #2 greatest 45 of all time after the aforementioned Pere Ubu record. Astute readers will note that this is the second post in a week to mention Eric Stone’s “Strictly Disco” radio show on KCSB-FM, thus cementing its influence on my musical development. Wherever Mr. Stone is, I hope he’s smiling for once.

There used to be a fantastic radio show during the mid-80s in Santa Barbara called "Strictly Disco" which was hosted by a guy who owned just about every amazing 45 to ever hit the presses. One night he had Henry Rollins on his show to shoot the shit and spin some favorites. That's where I first heard "Agitated", and it was one of those "Holy Christ, what IS that?!!" moments. I immediately called the show to inquire. Turns out Hank had brought it down to the studio himself, and had long been enamored of the Eels and the raw power of this landmark 45. Who'd have thought?

The Electric Eels were a quartet of socially alienated nihilists from Cleveland in the mid-70s. Their inability to neither win friends nor influence people gave vent to a twisted, confrontational take on "art" that had more in common with guerilla theatre and urban psychodrama than with 70s punk. The fact that it was occurring in a cultural near-vacuum adds exponentially to their lore. Make no mistake, however, these songs are as primitive and high decibel as anything ever released. Obviously semi-live recordings, "Cyclotron" and "Agitated" have been mixed past the point of bleeding and are still a couple of levels in volume above any other records of mine. Electric Eels gigs often ended in violence, sometimes with imposing guitarist John Morton having beat up an audience (or band) member. The Eels vocalist was a developmentally delayed young man named Dave E., an idiot-savant with a genius sense of the absurd who put it to wise use in his lyrics ("Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead / Just like my cousin Fred"). Later he purported to start a record label called "Christmas Pets".

It's also worth mentioning that the drummer on these recordings is Nick Knox, who would soon keep the steady, primitive beat for The Cramps. The world's indifference to such brilliance initially kept these songs from the public, until Rough Trade released them in 1978 under the moniker "Die Electric Eels" & with all credits in German(?). A minor bone of contention I have with the outstanding posthumous Eels collections 'Having A Philosophical Investigation With The Electric Eels' and 'God Says Fuck You' is that both say they include the 45 version of "Agitated", while neither actually does. This record will live in infamy as an out-of-time, mindset-destroying masterpiece.

Good news, folks – the subsequent “Eyeball of Hell” CD on Scat Records contains both songs in their original, pristine, perfect versions. If you don’t have that – and you absolutely need to – you can get the songs right here.

Play The Electric Eels – “Agitated”

Download THE ELECTRIC EELS – “Cyclotron” (A-side)
Download THE ELECTRIC EELS – “Agitated” (B-side)

Friday, December 19, 2008


We were just talking about old 60s instrumental music in this corner just the other day, weren’t we? I dropped the name of one of my favorite lost artists from that era, THE NAUTILOIDS, reminding myself in the process that it would be real nice if I exposed their two amazing songs to the people. Now, I don’t own this 1965 single, and probably never will. A Nautiloids page on the www says that “only a few are known to exist”. Both tracks are minor-key, mid-tempo stompers, and they conjure up a contemplative, staring-at-the-surf mood without resorting to any surf music clichés. They might be my favorite instrumental songs of the era. I found them on an LP-only compilation called “CONCUSSION!!!” that came out in the early 90s. The band started up in ’64 in high school in Rockville, Maryland; played the requisite “Battle of the Bands” contests that were big among the teen rock combos of the day; lasted a little over a year and then packed it in. They left behind this surf-n-stomp treasure for you to listen to on your computer 43 years later.

Play The Nautiloids “Nautiloid Reef”

Download THE NAUTILOIDS – “Nautiloid Reef” (A-side)
Download THE NAUTILOIDS – “Nautiloid Surf” (B-side)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


(Note - this is a re-post of some songs that originally appeared on Detailed Twang on October 4th, 2007)

1984 in England. I get flashbacks to The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smiths, The Cocteau Twins and even “Red Lorry Yellow Lorry” and “Half Man Half Biscuit”. What about you? Under the indie radar and pretty much unknown in the US were a British act called THE SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE, named after three dead rock music icons. They were a loud-ass, short-lived British group who, on their first of only two singles, produced a hot, panic-filled "Batman"-like TV theme instrumental A-side called “Public Enemy Number One”, matched with an angry, sneering original on the flip called “Hup Two Three Four”. It was produced & engineered to be bleeding way, way, way into the red, and if memory serves me, it was released both as a 45 and as a 12”. (I have the former; I’ll bet the latter is even more damaged-sounding). On their next 45 they took on John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and totally nailed it, to the point where that’s the version I hear in my head during the rare times it pops to mind.

“Public Enemy Number One” was the intro music to a formative 1984-89 radio show on KCSB-FM Santa Barbara during my late teens called “Strictly Disco”, hosted by Eric Stone. Stone has the greatest record collection of punk, garage & indie 45s I’d ever seen to date, and I still possess a C-90 cassette I got to make of some of his singles that I heard for the first time either at his house or on his show: The Electric Eels’ “Agitated”; The Misfits’ “Bullet”; the Naked Raygun “Basement Screams” EP – and this one. Hopefully it’ll show up on some of your cassettes in the near future, now that you own it – or will when you click the links below.

Play The Sid Presley Experience - "Public Enemy Number One"

Download THE SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE: “Public Enemy Number One” (A-side)
Download THE SID PRESLEY EXPERIENCE: “Hup Two Three Four” (B-side)

Monday, December 15, 2008


VIRGINIA DARE were an early obsession of mine, from the time I stumbled upon them playing their first-EP record release party in 1993 in San Francisco for at least another near-decade. I don’t believe they’ve actually officially called it quits, either, and I suspect before this decade’s up I’ll get to see them play again. In ’93 they were a truly welcome anomaly – twangy, late-night-radio countrified pop, with an autoharp & a spastic guitar held together with baling wire and rubber bands. Just when you thought it was safe to get comfortable with Mary O'Neil’s sweet, lilting croon, you realized that these songs were actually (sometimes) about wrist-slitting, excessive drinking and all manner of bad behavior. Their current MySpace page calls it “songs for runaways, alcoholics and deep sleepers”. I'm on board with that description.

Singer/autoharpist O’Neil and doppelganger/husband Brad Johnson were the core of the band, and often they took their very-DIY, unplanned act on stage with just the two of them. The first time I saw them play, however, they had Paula Frazier from TARNATION and FRIGHTWIG on bass and Michelle Cernuto from WEENIE ROAST/SF SEALS on drums, and they totally sucked me in. Subsequent shows were often drumless and sometimes even bass-less. Virginia Dare were more of an idea centered around Mary & Brad anyway, and the amplification, never too loud to begin with, was brought down to the whisper level at times in order to propel the druggy, dreamy pop songs they made their stock in trade.

That “Six Songs” EP they were playing the time I fell upon them is still my favorite, very closely followed by the 1994 follow-up EP “Gone Again”. I’d like to provide you were a sampling from each, and then ask that you visit the band’s site and their MySpace to learn more.

Play Virginia Dare – “Girl King”

Download VIRGINIA DARE – “Girl King” (from 1993 “Six Songs” EP)
Download VIRGINIA DARE – “Liberation Day” (from 1994 “Gone Again” EP)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The 1980s and 1990s were veritable bounties of rare & obscure rock and roll/R&B reissues courtesy of CRYPT RECORDS and all of their pseudo-bootleg sub-labels. One guy – one guy! (Tim Warren) – was pretty much responsible for turning on thousands to savage 50s-60s sounds by virtue of incredible LP-only compilation series like “Back From the Grave”, “Sin Alley”, “Garage Punk Unknowns”, “Jungle Exotica”, “Las Vegas Grind”, “Teenage Shutdown” and “Strummin’ Mental”. If I ever got a surprise check – say, a rare bonus from my company, or a tax return, whatever – it never failed that a big portion of it would go to an order with Midnight Records or some other outfit who sold these comps. I was being progressively schooled on amazing, totally lost 45rpm sounds on forgotten labels that likely would never have been resurrected if not for Warren. You always knew when it was a Crypt compilation, even when the faux record label was “Strip” or “Link Wray Records” – there was always that font they used, and Warren’s over-hyperactive, trash-talking liner notes. No one’s ever put together compilations with a higher ration of hits-to-misses than this guy – no one. He’s still doing it now; I just picked up a CD called “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL, PART THREE” , and I want to let you in on it.

The “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL” LPs started coming into the digital era about ten years ago. Until I discovered this new one, I’d thought the series was finished being repurposed on CD; “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL” Volumes 1 and 2 on CD are totally essential collections of berserk instrumental rave-ups in the mode of The Trashmen, the Ventures and the Nautiloids. Some are surf-leaning; most are aggressive, guitar-heavy reverb monsters that speak more to the inner heartland of teenage garage escapades than they do the California coast. Tons of American (and international!) kids were entranced with Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Ventures, The Wailers, The Champs & other instrumental heroes of that ilk during the 1958-65 time period that these compilations cover; it might be nice if they still were. I guess that’s where comps like this come in. “STRUMMIN’ MENTAL, PART THREE” continues the raw lineage with 33 (!!) two-minute-long wreckers, most of which chug and crash and wipe out with the best of ‘em. A couple are total destroyers, even – most notably the two I’m posting for you today to give you a taste of the thing: LOS SHAINS from Peru, and the incredible “Shains-a-Go-Go”, along with the well-monikered REEKERS and their “Don’t Call Me Flyface”. Just awesome. I hope you agree. You can buy the CD here.

Play LOS SHAINS – “Shains-a-Go-Go”

Download LOS SHAINS – “Shains-a-Go-Go”
Download THE REEKERS – “Don’t Call Me Flyface”

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


(Apologies for all the re-posts - I'll have new material up soon - but want to make sure you scoop up these songs that disappeared from their original posts when I changed hosting providers. This one originally appeared 4/20/2007.....)

There was this band THE BUNNYBRAINS that made some strange noises in the early nineties, most of which were entirely unremarkable. Legend has it that this Danbury, CT outfit still won’t give up the ghost, and continue to be an active band with only one constant member. I’m too lazy to check into it. However, in 1992 I bought a 45 of theirs, one of their first, on a recommendation from a friend that just knocked me for a loop.

Of course that would be the one I’m posting for you here, albeit just one side, because the other side as I said was entirely unremarkable. “On The Floor Again” is pure, unadulterated FLIPPER action, but even better (save for “Sex Bomb” and “Love Canal” – nothing can touch those). Creepy-crawling bass riff, oceans of static-laden feedback, great vocals, and a chorus that you’ll be chanting on the floor with your significant other this whole weekend. I bought the next few records with eager gusto after this 45 came out, yet I never found the magic key in them that made this one so goddamn special. Hope you see this one’s bleary-eyed beauty the way I do, because it’s a total classic.

Play The Bunnybrains "On The Floor Again"

Download THE BUNNYBRAINS – “On The Floor Again” (from 1992 45)

Friday, December 05, 2008

THE NIGHTS AND DAYS: “These Days/Lookin’” 45

(Note: This is a re-post of a thing I posted here on Detailed Twang on 2/7/2007)

For me, the great fourth wave of punk rock washed upon the world’s shores in the very late 1980s and continued on well until the 90s. This of course was the era of the CHEATER SLICKS, THE GORIES, THE OBLIVIANS, SUPERCHARGER and all the sick young kids more inspired by the first wave (1965-67) than by the second (1976-79). With the possible exception of the Cheater Slicks, the bands most near & dear to my ears during this time were Rob Vasquez’s two incredibly unsung & lost-to-time bands THE NIGHTS AND DAYS and THE NIGHT KINGS. The latter got a little bit of attention for a few months when their album “Increasing Our High” came out on Steve Turner (Mudhoney)’s Super Electro label, a label that was itself an imprint of the larger Sub Pop records. But finding fellow NIGHTS & DAYS fans in the late 80s/early 90s was a fool’s game, particularly if one lived outside of the band’s hometown of Seattle, as I did. Only record-collecting lunatics knew about the band, and given that their two 45s on the Regal Select label were in editions of 500, until they get reissued, that’s likely to remain the case.

I’d like to do my part in helping move the NIGHTS AND DAYS revival along by providing you with an opportunity to hear (and download) their second 45, “These Days/Lookin’”. This came out in 1989 on Regal Select records from Issaquah, Washington. It is a full-blast wall of sound, with mammoth hooks and enough melodic tuneage (particularly in the case of “These Days”) to generate instant-anthem status. At one point in my life I published an entire magazine devoted to my favorite forty-five 45s; this barely missed the cut then, but would not now, with the benefit of ten more years of hindsight and critical filtering. I know that at some point that some label will rescue the compleat works of Vasquez from ignominy and issue a 2xCD that will knock your socks off your ass. Until then, please enjoy what I believe to be his many bands’ absolute peak.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


When THE GORIES ' first "real" 45 arrived in 1991 (the other was a promo thing from their second album), they were already easily one of my favorite bands going, but I swear this masterpiece completely cemented their reputation for good. I was floored by the raw, uber-primitive, soulful garage stomp as evidenced on their two LPs ("House Rockin'" and "I Know You Fine, But How You Doin'"), and this early single on In The Red was enough to make me wanna interview them & make sure as many people as possible knew of their genius. Screw The Mummies, this was the ne plus ultra of the scene at the time (damn, I've always wanted to use that phrase). I did a mail interview with Mick, Dan & Peg that same year that was published as the cover feature in my small-run fanzine of the time called Superdope.

I totally dug the Mod Squad look to the band, the clanking I-can-barely-keep-up drumming, and the fact that they appeared to drink even harder than I did at the time. And that's saying something. In short, I admired the general cut of their jib greatly.

"Here Be The Gories" features a stunning original called "Telepathic" with that awesome descending guitar riff that starts it off, as well as a 60s punk cover called "Hate" by THE STOICS. It would please me greatly if someone heard this with fresh ears for the first time right here on Detailed Twang the way I did 17 years ago. Write me if that happens to you, OK?

Play "Telepathic" by THE GORIES

Download THE GORIES - "Telepathic" (A-side)
Download THE GORIES - "Hate" (B-side)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I was going to post the B-side of the SUBURBAN WIVES CLUB’s great 1982 single, “Casual Cat In A Laundromat / Guru Eye” for you today, when I realized that the place that I actually heard this thing the first time still had the mp3 files up & ready for download, in addition to some great info about this early 80s Philadelphia punk/art/disco band. Now, the A-side’s not really my thing, but “Guru Eye” – whoa. A total thumping thud of Bush Tetras/Delta 5 style funk-n-raunch, the living definition of the arty downtown version of “panic rock”. I actually remember the advertisements for this 45 in the pages of "Trouser Press". You’d be forgiven for thinking this band as being from the Lower East Side; nope, they were from an hour away, and I bet that’s cost them major opportunities to get this one comped on Soul Jazz CDs and to make it into No Wave books.

So rather than post the outstanding “Guru Eye” myself, please head over to this link from the excellent LAST DAYS OF MAN ON EARTH blog, where both tracks from the 45 are resident.

Play Suburban Wives Club - "Guru Eye"

Monday, December 01, 2008


This long weekend I discovered two things tangentially related to Scott Soriano’s media empire that blew my mind. You’ll need to discover both of them posthaste. First, Scott posted heretofore unheard-to-me tracks from New Zealand’s GRAEME JEFFRIES, culled from his album “Messages From the Cakekitchen”, on his CRUD CRUD blog. The two tracks are incredible, moody, baroque Velvets-style mindflayers. It’s an album I believe I heard not too long after it came out in 1987, but probably wasn’t ready for at the time. Now it’s top of my must-find list. You can still download both the tracks here.

Secondly, this weekend I heard S-S Records’ XYX single, and it’s pretty much the hottest thing I’ve heard all year (sorry, Tilly and the Wall, your reign was colorful and brief). Total spastic sounds from Mexico, like a hopped-up TIMES NEW VIKING playing NOH MERCY's "Caucasian Guilt" with fried-out electronics and a crazy-ass drummer. Amazing. Scott, can you get this band to tour America, right away? The band says they still have some of these EPs available, and I promise you, you’ll thank me for this one. Click here to try and score one.

Play XYX "Nunca, Nunca" (from "Sistema de Terminacion Sexual" 7"EP")

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Man, when these 1979 recordings came out illicitly in 1989, the hype-o-meter on CRIME was higher than Everest and off the charts; everyone I knew was just cottoning to “San Francisco’s first and only rock and roll band” because SONIC YOUTH had recently covered “Hot Wire My Heart”, and a bootleg compilation LP called “Year of the Rats” had just come out with that song and “Frustration”. That was the first place I heard those songs, and of course they blew my young mind. I knew that CRIME had only put out three 45s, and that the third one was no good – but I had visions of dresser-drawers full of old demos that would be every bit as savage & raw as their first two singles, and I totally wanted to hear ‘em.

Turns out that the band really didn’t have such material – or if they did, it still hasn’t been unearthed. Maybe on the long-rumored, don’t-hold-your-breath Revenant CRIME box set? What did come out in 1989 was a three-song bootleg 45 called “FIRST BLOOD” on the Punk Vault label, and when I saw it in the bins @ Zed Records in Long Beach, CA I tucked it inside my jacket and strode purposefully up to the counter, lest some budding KBD-punk enthusiast snatch it out of my hands. When I got it home and onto the turntable, I was – how you say – a little “meh”. It wasn’t quite the punk rock firestorm of “Frustration”, “Murder By Guitar” or “Baby Your So Repulsive”, but it was pretty good. This is a late 70s band I’d have wanted to see, but not the creators of two of the greatest rock and roll records of all time. Just listened to it again and I think I dig it now more than I did then – increasing age sometimes does that. Here’s what I dug up about “First Blood” on a Crime discography site:

Fifth release in this Forced Exposure/Byron Coley series which also featured releases by Bad Brains, Weirdos, Rocket from the Tombs and more. Three previously unreleased studio tracks from August 10th 1979, produced by Huey Lewis (pre Huey Lewis and the News fame) and Shaun Hooper. CRIME had 3 recording sessions at Different Fur, with known recordings surviving from 2 sessions. These are the only tracks to surface from these recordings.

So there’s two things I don’t know whether or not to believe: whether HUEY LEWIS was involved (definitely plausible, since he was part of the San Francisco “new wave” scene around that time and has been known to talk about the punk era with admiration), and whether or not Byron Coley was the guy behind the Punk Vault bootleg series. Years ago I would have been clued in to that sort of thing, but you know, life happened. Anyway, I thought you might be into hearing my newly-digitized “FIRST BLOOD” 45 – I don’t believe these recordings have ever been made available outside of this record. Take it away, Frankie & Johnny!

Play CRIME – “If Looks Could Kill”

Download CRIME – “If Looks Could Kill”
Download CRIME – “Rocking Weird”
Download CRIME – “Lost Souls”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


(Note - this is a re-post of a 45 we originally put up on 8/30/07)

This 45 from a late 70s New York group called the HAND GRENADES has been fooling “punters” for years who mistook it for a British DIY record from the same era, myself included. When I found out these dudes were from “the Apple” I was incredulous. I guess I still am. But here you go – a really great, lost-to-time stark and strange inepto-garage record from a band who have very pleasing elements of the Swell Maps, Wire and Steve Treatment. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008


So the other day my pal DP totally throws me the unexpected, and not entirely welcome, critical curveball: "What's your pick for album of the year?". Album of the year? How many albums have I heard this year? Could I actually muster up a "Top 10" or even a Top 5? It doesn't take much to fall out of touch with what the kids are doing, just some proactive curmudeonly ignorance, and a general line-in-the-sand intolerance for anything new. Now that I can do really well, and have been for some time - with exceptions (see here, here and here).

I struggled to come up with an answer. Should I play it safe and give him the cool & self-promoting answer, the SIC ALPS' excellent "U.S. EZ" on Siltbreeze? Or the record I actually listened to the most? "By album of the year, what exactly do you mean? Do you really mean something from 2008?". Affirmative. "Do reissues count?". Negatory. "Well, if I told you that my favorite record this year was by a band I've never seen live, who apparently feature a tap dancer who keeps rhythm with her feet in place of a drummer, and who are probably the most overtly commercial indie-rock band I've ever liked in the entire 25+-year history of indie rock, would that still count as my favorite album of the year?". I was assured that it would. I took a deep breath, I gathered my courage, and I let the truth be revealed: "My favorite album of the year is called "O", and it is performed by an Omaha, Nebraska pop band called TILLY AND THE WALL. There, I said it".

The passage of weeks since my brave admission has done nothing to dull my enthusiasm for this CD called "O" by TILLY AND THE WALL. Nay, I totally love this album - even the songs that sound like THE CARS, even the opening ballad, even the ones with obvious tap dancing in lieu of drumming (which is to say: all of them). The band is at once polished, anarchic, loud, sweet, funny, strange and bouyant, and I'd call them a 21st century of the MAMAS & THE PAPAS gone totally day-glo, high-energy and new wave. The main singer channels the ghost of Michelle Phillips in her singing, and she's got a voice to die for. Every song is good-to-great, and I can't get my favorite ones ("Cacophony", "Jumbler", "Blood Flowers") out of my head, even when I impose a week-long moratorium on listening to this thing, just so I can hear other music for a change. I suspect that well over half my regular readers will totally hate it. I bet the ones that can tolerate it will come to know and to love as I have.

There you have it, punkers: album of the year: "O" by TILLY AND THE WALL, bringing the noise from Omaha to your PC.

Play TILLY AND THE WALL - "Cacophony"

Play TILLY AND THE WALL - "Jumbler"

Download TILLY AND THE WALL - "Cacophony"
Download TILLY AND THE WALL - "Jumbler"

Friday, November 21, 2008


This “Rat Bait” song from 1979 by the SWIMMING POOL Q’S is so gnarly I need to make sure as many good Americans & residents of the globe hear it as possible. It’s from this venerable band’s first 45, and a quick glance at their web site and at descriptions of their music is enough to assure you that they’re not quite making ‘em like “Rat Bait” anymore. Built around a wicked secret-agent spy riff & enough throbbing blues guitar to sink a pirated Saudi tanker off the coast of Somalia, the song was introduced to me as a freshman in college by my next-door dorm roommate. He had all sorts of weird American underground records, and in 1985 it was enough for me to propose that we both become college radio DJs together & host a wacky tag-team show. The pairing didn’t last long, but we played the smokin’ “Rat Bait” a lot. It’s subsequently been comped onto an early one of Hyped2Death’s “Homework” compilations, and it’s pretty much my favorite Dixie-fried bluesy spy punk song of all time.

Play Swimming Pool Q’s – “Rat Bait”

Download THE SWIMMING POOL Q’S – “Rat Bait” (from first 45)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Two new volumes of the life-affirming MESSTHETICS series of late 70s/early 80s English DIY series arrived in the mail not long ago, and boy were we psyched beyond belief. In this day & age of cheap music and supremely easy gratification, the CDs that Hyped2Death keep putting out give one reason to spend money again, and are the antidote to the download. The liner notes are meticulous and bursting with rare photos, flyers and lost information; the sound quality is amazing considering the source material; and of course the material itself can be jarring, perplexing and exhilirating from track to track. I've discovered some all-time favorite songs via these collections - collections that do for this scene what "Back From The Grave" and "Killed By Death" did for theirs.

The new ones are called "MESSTHETICS GREATEST HISS" (a comp of tracks from UK bedroom cassette-only releases that I'm still trying to adjust my radar to) and MESSTHETICS #106, an all-Manchester edition, circa 1977-1982. I am really taken with the Manchester edition. It’s comprised of compatriots of THE FALL and JOY DIVISION, and most of the 45s have almost never been heard outside of Northern England back in the day. Most art-leaning punks during those years and in that town aligned themselves with “the Manchester Musicians’ Collective”, a pseudo-communal collection of like-minded souls who put on shows together, released each others’ records and sometimes swapped members. As I said, the liner notes tell you just about everything you’d ever want to know about the scene and the era. I picked two tracks that are my faves so far to “represent”, as it were, from lost bands ARMED FORCE and GODS GIFT. Take a listen, and order the full CD here.

Play ARMED FORCE - "Popstar"

Download GODS GIFT - "Discipline"
Download ARMED FORCE - "Popstar"

Monday, November 17, 2008


This is a re-post of a song I put up on 3/12/07....

I stumbled across this bootleg SCIENTISTS single many years ago & reckoned it was an official release, all the more so when I took it home and promptly christened it one of the top Scientists records ever, right up there with “Blood Red River” and “This Heart Doesn’t Run On Blood....”. “There’s a Monster in Me”, the song, is among this early/mid-80s Australian group’s high-water marks – total screeching swampland gutter blues – and why it never made it to an official release is a mystery for the ages & the sages. The B-side is a barely-different version of “You Only Live Twice”, but it wasn’t anything special so I’m refraining from posting it here. Friends who saw the Scientists last year in England at the All Tomorrow’s Parties fest reported that it was like a 1983 Perth punk rock picnic come to life, like 20-some-odd years hadn’t passed or nothin’. And what’s this I hear about the BEASTS OF BOURBON touring the US this year?Anyway – dig this squealing bit of god noise, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


CRÈME SODA were a Milwaukee-based band of proto-hippie punks who flitted around the edges of just about every sub-genre inherent within “rock and roll”, even those that hadn’t really been codified yet. Their 1974 single “(I’m Chewin’ Gum)” is a stone-cold masterpiece – a frantic, trashed-out slice of echo-slathered, goofball rockabilly that’s at least two-three years ahead of its time. I’m beside myself with the opportunity to present it to you today.

Here’s what I wrote about the band in 2005 not long after I’d heard this 45 for the first time, in the course of reviewing the band’s lone LP, “Tricky Zingers”:

“….I sure had never heard of this private-press proto-whatever LP until Ugly Things' "Primitive Shit Music" feature a few months back, and even then it was only trumpeting the 45 "(I'm) Chewin' Gum / Roses All Around". I searched around a little & found that single and a whole lot more -- which was this LP, the band's only contribution to the canon in their brief lifespan. First, let me second and third the dimwit majesty of the song "(I'm) Chewin' Gum" -- a manic, echophonic, hopped-up rockabilly number all methed up & ready for a greaser knife fight. 1975?!? Are you kidding me? It's immediately top of the charts for 2005 discoveries, and what's more, it's nearly 100% at odds with the rest of the record. The vocals tell me it's the same band, but jeez, I don't know.

CREME SODA's album has got some very pleasant psychedelia and laconic folk rock throughout, with good choruses and a laid back guitar hero ringing away in the background. Without knowing when the record was from, I'd have pegged it as a late 60s thing rather than pre-dating punk by a year. "Tonight", "Keep It Heavy" and "Give It Up (Man)" are the best tracks from that Creme Soda; the one that created "The Beat Song", a backward-looping, "Tomorrow Never Knows"-style droner are another beast entirely. So it's not hard to pass along kudos to such a virtuoso band of 1975 heshers & recommend this for those into the private-press US basement hippie psych navel-gazer sound. Moreover, you get "(I'm) Chewin' Gum", one for the goddamn ages!”

On the B-side of the 45 is “Roses All Around”, which might well have been recorded by an entirely different group. Such was the Jekyl/Hyde nature of CRÈME SODA. You can find a cool in-the-moment 1974 interview with the band here as well.

Play Creme Soda - "(I'm) Chewin' Gum"

Download CRÈME SODA – “(I’m) Chewin’ Gum” (A-side)
Download CRÈME SODA – “Roses All Around” (B-side)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I not only had never heard Nottingham, England's FAT TULIPS (1987-1994) until this year, I'd never even heard of 'em. Those aforementioned years were likely my most musical-obsessed, and I vainly & snobbily prided myself during this time for knowing everything about everything. But not this excellent pop band, who were a mix of stumbling, fey twee-garage and overamped feedback & whine. It was like they turned on one persona or the other from record to record, depending on moods, or new equipment, rain or shine, or whatever. It's not like they were ever a particularly "challenging" band in any way - though you may find the rush of "Deadhead Baby" a bit of an ear-bleeder at first - but they were certainly an act I should've known something about. Tim Hinely should have told me, and he didn't.

I've been making my way through all of their material now that I found out about them, and I have to say that most of it's great, with a few plodding exceptions (the final LP/CD "Starfish" is the latter; most of their ten 45s, the ones I've heard, are the former). The Fat Tulips released an EP in 1992 called "Nostalgia" that's my favorite by far, and no, not just because it's the loudest one (I'd next recommend the "Where's Clare Grogan Now?" 45 from 1989). All 5 songs are aces, with highest marks to the sucrose rush of "Last To Know" and the whooshing "Deadhead Baby". If you can't dig these, dad, then you've got no soul. No soul at all. I've decided to present the whole thing to you here, since I'm pretty sure it's gonna make your week. Meet the FAT TULIPS, folks. British pop from the 90s. You know you love it.

Play "Deadhead Baby":

"Nostalgia" EP

Download FAT TULIPS - "Nostalgia"
Download FAT TULIPS - "Deadhead Baby"
Download FAT TULIPS - "Last To Know"
Download FAT TULIPS - "Into Space"
Download FAT TULIPS - "Copper"

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is a re-post of the Mike Rep & The Quotas posthumous 45 that Detailed Twang wrote about on 3/2/07.....

I plopped this on the turntable this past weekend and was again blown to friggin’ kingdom come by its glory. These 1975-76 recordings from original recipe proto-punk space teleporters MIKE REP & THE QUOTAS were lost to the wilds of history until Jacob Olausson's Sverige Age Records in Sweden brought them to life again in 2002 – and you know what? These two tracks are every bit as raw, wild & grimy as Rep’s original legit 45 “Rocket To Nowhere” – and if you know that one, you know it’s an all-time freak-rock knockout. Both of these tracks are mono, shit-fi productions before there was any cachet in such a thing, but Rep pretty much wrote the book on making ends greatly exceed the means, starting here. So when you listen to “Mama...” you hear drums that are every bit as heavy and echoing as Bonzo’s – and louder. The force of a thousand amps projecting simple, screaming chords into space is as alive as any other punk, pre-punk or proto-punk whatsis of the 70s. I guess the real true heavy metalloid music of the era was being created in places like Hamilton, Ontario; Chickasaw, Oklahoma and REP's Columbus, Ohio - not NY, SF and LA.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


This is a pretty short post, but I’m so enamored with this sole spastic art-punker from Massachusetts’ TWO BY FOURS (aka the 2x4’s) from 1980 called “Zipperheads” that I wanted you to hear it. Last March we posted their one and only legit 45 along with a bonus track, and due to the recent purge of my files, those are no longer available. Don’t worry, I’ll give them to you another time. That’s actually one where we got a congratulatory thanks from a guy in the band – John Horvorka, who was the prime mover behind this lyrically & musically inventive/crazed/artastic band. Wish I could have seen them. “Zipperheads” is from their unreleased LP that Horvorka has now released. It’s excellent. You’ll see what I mean in a second.

Download THE 2x4'S - "Zipperheads"