Friday, May 30, 2008


This is probably miles from what you’ve come to this site for, so I’ll mention it this time and this time only. I enjoy yammering & running my proverbial mouth about a number of topics, and thought it might be fun to tackle that most subjective and opinion-laden of fields: politics & society. I’ve got a few bugaboos I’d like to tackle, and so given how cathartic writing for a blog can be (one can only rant at one’s wife, or at the newspaper, for so long), I’m announcing yet another blog in my media empire: FIRST PRINCIPLES. At the very least it will let me sleep at night.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A few weeks ago we talked to you about this amazing wife-n-husband duo we'd just discovered called BIG BLOOD, based in the wilds of Maine (Portland!). At the time, way back in early May, we'd only heard an incredible CD-R of theirs called "The Grove". Since then, a lot has happened. I friended the band on MySpace. They friended back (they totally have the internet in Maine!!). I got another of their many CD-Rs, this one called "Strange Maine 1.20.07". Guess what? It's even better than the one that got me all hopped up in the first place. 9 songs of different shape, hue and pattern, yet all keeping to a general "American folk" perspective - if your definition of "American folk" is as big as mine. Mine shoehorns in Skip James, John Fahey, The Charalambides and The Sun City Girls, and I think BIG BLOOD's does too. It's hard not to be taken in by the band's approach, either; despite the exceptionally high quality of their music, everything released to date is very purposefully on CD-R, created at home and at Colleen Kinsella's print shop, and sold individually as long as people keep asking for them. When not raising their daughter in a big 'ol house collective-style with many other musicians, they write songs, practice, create art, and live the life of true American folk artists. The duo are fiercely loyal to the state of Maine and their environment, and my joshing aside, they paint (in interviews) a picture of a place perfect for nurturing their sort of oddball, explosve creativity.

They even tackle what I'm told is a Sumatran pop song straight off of one of the "Sublime Frequencies" comps, which is so great I'm going to give it away for free for you here, along with one other mindblower from this great CD-R. Order it here, at least when it comes back into stock!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


We’ve been making our way through CLAW HAMMER’s early material here at Detailed Twang, our contention being that this LA-based band were vastly underrated during their early years and even more so now. In previous postings we gave you the keys to their first compilation tracks from 1988, and later their 1989 debut 45, “Poor Robert”. A few months later, this explosive guitar-heavy grease bomb of a band put out what I believe to be their best single, 1989’s “Sick Fish Belly Up / Moonlight On Vermont”, released on a local label called Trigon. This is the record where their MC5/BEEFHEART hybrid was most extant, made flesh in an A-side that absolutely scorches like Side 1 of “Kick Out the Jams”, and a killer B-side cover of one of the great Captain’s finest and most stomping of songs. “Sick Fish Belly Up” was always the one that got the already hyped-up crowd going completely bonkers, and watching Claw Hammer play it is something that still resonates in my nostalgia-heavy noggin. Help me relive the glory by clicking on the links below.

Play or Download CLAW HAMMER – “Sick Fish Belly Up” (A-side)
Play or Download CLAW HAMMER – “Moonlight On Vermont” (B-side)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The first 45 on the Datapanik label was a 1989 split single from Columbus, Ohio locals the BOYS FROM NOWHERE and TWO HOUR TRIP, both tackling songs from statewide legends Mike Rep & The Quotas and Peter Laughner, respectively. There was this totally hyperbolic Forced Exposure review of the 45, just way overboard about how mindblowing a single comprised of two friggin’ cover songs was, punctuated by the collector-scum rating of “C/U Entire Pressing” – meaning that the record was so amazing that, if possible, the editors would buy up the entire pressing of the record. Hey, I never even liked the TWO HOUR TRIP song, and frankly think Laughner himself is pretty overrated (his guitar in early Pere Ubu being a huge, huge exception). Anyway, The Boys From Nowhere were a pretty cool 60s-throwback band from the 1980s and early 90s with a great shouter/screamer of a singer named Mick Divvens. You have to remember, in the 80s most of the bands who were making any sort of general nods toward the 1960s garage-band sound kinda sucked. All those bands on Voxx Records, The Fuzztones, “The Marshmellow Overcoat”, that sort of malarkey – man, the Boys From Nowhere were a massive breath of fresh air. Particularly when doing a MIKE REP & THE QUOTAS song from 1975! Their other material – captured on a series of black & white 45s on their own Young Lion label - is at least worth looking at, if not falling in love with, if you catch my drift.

Play or Download THE BOYS FROM NOWHERE – “Rocket to Nowhere” (A-side of split single)

Friday, May 16, 2008


When I told you a few weeks ago we’d be posting some of the early SUN CITY GIRLS vinyl, that was before I knew about this great new CD that the band just put out called “You’re Never Alone With A Cigarette: Sun City Girls Singles Volume 1”. It contains some of those early 45s, plus tracks you & I have never heard before. It even contains both tracks from a 1990 single that came out on Majora also called “You’re Never Alone With A Cigarette”: “100 Pounds of Black Olives / The Fine-Tuned Machines of Lemuria”.

This is the SCG treading along their more mystical and Eastern edge, with some throbbing, low-fidelity bass muscle leading the way down the rabbit hole. I don’t know why it rocks me, but it totally does. Here’s the original 45 digitized from my collection – now get out there and get the rest of the sessions if ya can.

Play or Download SUN CITY GIRLS – “100 Pounds of Black Olives” (A-side)
Play or Download SUN CITY GIRLS – “The Fine-Tuned Machine of Lemuria” (B-side)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I was fortunate enough to recently be asked to contribute some liner notes to the 20th anniversary edition of MUDHONEY’s “Superfuzz Bigmuff” EP, now expanded into a double CD (!) featuring all the early singles, some demos and not one but two live shows. Whoa. It officially comes out on May 20th. My connection to the band began at this early juncture (Fall 1988) & pretty innocuously – I, twenty years old and fully smitten with their sound, asked them to play live on my college radio show during a day off they had on a west coast tour. They accepted & did the gig, and it’s now captured as bonus material on this 2xCD, straight from my original cassette tape. Twenty years later, I have to admit, it was kinda fun to look back at that music-obsessed young punk (me), and construct liner notes recreating how excited I was by Mudhoney’s raw “tidal wave of noise” (so coined by MOTORBOOTY magazine). If you don’t get around to picking up the reissue, well, fine – but I thought I’d deposit said liner notes on this blog for anyone who’d want to read them.

Oh, and the “lone girl” discussed herein should be called out and thanked on many levels – her name was and still is Linda Akyuz, and it is her voice that you hear on the KCSB-FM show on this reissue. Though I’d invited Mudhoney to play on my show, by the time they finished tuning & imbibing & whatnot, they’d actually bled over into Linda’s 10pm-Midnight radio show timeslot. I’m sure she’ll appreciate the shout-out. Here’s what I wrote and what you can read again by purchasing here.

There was a time when Mudhoney only represented a promise, a band that by virtue of its members’ past histories was purported to be an act that just might eventually amount to something. Far from inventing or musically defining the “Northwest sound” of the late 80s/early 90s, the band rose from other good bands that folks in the NW and elsewhere already dug. When this new band was “announced” – and early Sub Pop promotion was all about ridiculously over-hyping the talent – there was already a little “buzz”, if you will, among the color-vinyl collectors and dateless college radio DJs I ran with. I got a Sub Pop blurb on a press release or something about the upcoming debut single, the one that arrived in the mailbox a few weeks later as “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More” b/w “Touch Me I’m Sick”, and figured it’d be pretty good. I just didn’t know how good.

My feeling – and I know I’m not alone in this one – is that for all the play & worldwide attention several Seattle-area bands got during the 1988-92 period, at the end of the day (and even at the time), there was Mudhoney - and then there was everybody else. Because the band never delivered anything even approximating a hit single or an FM radio monster, and never tried especially hard to write one, popular historical accounts of the era have, and will have, them lumped in with the mass of undistinguished but famous longhaired touring bands from the NW that “almost saved rock” for a few years. Yet you know what they say – “but the little girls understand…”. Carry that a little further to me, you, and most everyone who was paying close attention to underground rock music during those years, and Mudhoney still sound like the undisputed kingpins of roaring, surging, fuzzed-out punk rock music. These first recordings were so life-affirming upon their release, connecting everything great about the sixties (biker movies, fuzzboxes, old guitars, three-minute songs) with the frothing punk rock early 80s, that a whole new “style” of music was born. They called it grunge, but to me it was amped-up, clear-the-room ramalama rock that exploded like Nagasaki live, and it was about as joyous & as fun a noise as anyone’d heard in years. Around Seattle and certainly wherever Mudhoney toured, they became the band du jour, one that you’d have to see live as many times as humanly possible. The pictures certainly tell the story even without the sound: get up front, throw back a drink or three, flop around, pass around a few stagediveing hair farmers, and sweat yourself silly. That’s certainly what the band was doing, so all sense of internal decorum was canceled from note one.

My first personal interaction with Mudhoney came at the height of the obsession. “Superfuzz Bigmuff” had just come out in late 1988, and up to that point, all they’d released were that first incredible single and one killer compilation track (“Twenty Four”). I lived in California, and was
going to school in Santa Barbara, but it was well worth it to fuckin’ blow off school and drive up to the Bay Area to see them on a Monday (Santa Clara) and a Tuesday (San Francisco), opening for Sonic Youth on a brief west coast tour. Knowing that Mudhoney had a day off before the Southern California leg of the tour, I asked Arm if they’d play on my Wednesday night radio show, and was humbled and “stoked”, as we’d say, that he instantly accepted. The band totally ruled on the air, and they were perfect gentlemen upon crashing on my floor that evening around 4am - but man, what a crew. They timelessly epitomized how much fun it must be to get out on the road when you’re the shit-hot new band & you’re blowing minds every night, and our whole little American college town totally fell for them, just by force of personality alone.

Dan Peters was the band’s young’un, and took the rest of his band’s merciless ribbing with the utmost in dignity and class before going hog wild “on the skins” at night. Matt Lukin – well, if you remember Matt Lukin’s unparalleled stage persona from around this time - the unasked-for non-sequiters, the drunken rants, the Mott The Hoople hair – said persona was ripening into a blossoming cherry at this point. Steve Turner was basically lost in our record collection, though admirably he was easily the last one standing after much alcohol-fueled mirth & merrymaking. Manager Bob Whittaker was perhaps the funniest person I’d ever met up to that point, a total clown prince of rock and roll tour management, brought along by the band at least initially solely for “comic relief” (or so they said). Mark Arm kept his “frontman” standing so much in check that I was, and remain, totally impressed with how down-to-earth and so unfull of himself he was. Just another yahoo rock and roll soldier drinking beer & talking rock history with the fans – another reason why his band connected even then with so many people, and perhaps why they never once took a dive down the dumper in search of cheap rewards.

We curious Santa Barbarians asked Turner & Arm why they, grown heterosexual men descended from punk, wore little strings of beads around their necks, as they do on the cover of “Superfuzz Bigmuff”. The masculinity-affirming answer came back without shame and in a hurry: “I guess it was to score with hippie chicks”. Fair enough. In a bit of tomfoolery endemic to 20-year-olds of the era (or perhaps to just me), I later emulated my new heroes for one night, at one party only, and after being mercilessly mocked by a lone girl for my “Mudhoney necklace”, it was buried in the trash by the time my first beer was consumed. I always liked hearing Arm’s explanations for why he’d split from the glammed-up Green River, having heard his bandmates repeatedly profess admiration for Jane’s Addiction and LA’s Sunset Strip (anathema for all right-thinking punks in 1987-88). For Steve Turner, even that later Green River stuff was one toke over the punk rock line, and he’d bailed out a couple of years before Arm did. It was futile trying to engage Turner in sharing in the refracted glory of his former band – he’d have none of it. Mudhoney had the world by the balls, it seemed, and every subsequent single or comp track bore that out.

For anyone who was vaguely familiar with hardcore punk history – and remember folks, at that point it had aged less than half a decade – the late eighties Mudhoney had all sorts of insider clues to bring you back. I myself found it quite hilarious when Arm announced in Orange County that the band was going to “return for an all-Adolescents cover set tomorrow night as ‘The Kids of The Black Hole’”, or when he muscled some meathead off the stage in San Francisco, exhorting him to “trash a bank if you got real balls”. They didn’t have any real problems with metal or hard rock – Lukin was certainly big into 80s speed/thrash, Dan Peters willfully admitted he was diggin’ a little “Bad Co.”, and I’m pretty sure Motorhead jackets adorned every member of the band at one time or another – yet all the punk, metal, psych and full-bore 80s noise was rolled up into this intoxifying sonic stew that even had buoyant pop elements (“You Got It”, “Need”), enough so to keep all manner of boys & girls worldwide totally hooked.

Given the times, my age, and the music itself, it was probably as excited as I’ve personally ever been about rock and roll. Mudhoney were the flagship band for large cross-sections of excitable youth over those first few years, and both the band and their fans continued this relationship well into the 21st century. These recordings are perfectly primed for a twentieth anniversary release, and now that the pump’s been primed, ought to come out in special money-grubbing “reminder” editions every half-decade thereafter. It would be the Sub Pop way, wouldn’t it? I leave you with a story that was told to me by the aforementioned Bob Whittaker that epitomizes the mark Mudhoney made with these early recordings. Whittaker was sitting around playing records with the members of “Cat Butt”, a late 80s Seattle band of some renown at that time, when he put on the just-released “Touch Me I’m Sick” from Mudhoney’s debut 45. After absorbing the 2 minute, 35 second distorted glory of this whomper of a song, the shocked Cat Butt clan sat in silence for several moments. Finally one summed up the new state of things with, “Well, I guess this means Mudhoney aren’t going to be opening for us anymore”. And so it came to be!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


As mentioned in our previous post, it’s Detailed Twang’s semi-informed opinion that NYC’s HONEYMOON KILLERS put together two very outstanding 45s during their near-decade in action, surrounded by a supporting cast of lesser singles and LPs. In addition to “Get It Hot / Gettin’ Hot”, posted here, there’s the excellent “Vanna White (Goddess of Love) / You Can’t Do That”, released in 1991 on Sympathy for the Record Industry records. Sympathy often got the bottom-rung material from an artist’s catalog, given as the label was to putting out a half-dozen or more new records every single month. Sometimes there just weren’t that many good songs to go around, but Sympathy kept putting out records anyway. This Honeymoon Killers scorcher was obviously one of the label’s better efforts, and the band’s as well. See what you think by playing or downloading both sides.

Play or Download THE HONEYMOON KILLERS – “Vanna White (Goddess of Love)” (A-side)
Play or Download THE HONEYMOON KILLERS – “You Can’t Do That" (B-side)

Friday, May 09, 2008


THE HONEYMOON KILLERS were always one of those bands that got lumped in with Pussy Galore, the Laughing Hyenas and that ilk simply because they were “skuzzy”, they were “raw”, and they kinda looked like mean Lower East Side asskickers. They never really got to that level of “ill” in their music, and almost sounded to my ears as far more jokey than actually bothered. Their fount was certainly THE CRAMPS and all manner of sick, twisted splatter and exploitation films, along with some demented rockabilly thump and riff rock of all stripes. I always liked them, but never got to see them live – the one time they came out to Los Angeles in the late 80s, I found out about it the next day. They had this long (in relative terms) career before anyone I knew ever really talked about them – three full-length records on a French label called FUR from 1984-86, all notable for their awful, thin production. Their stride started hitting around the time of the “Turn Me On” LP from 1987 and especially this 45 from 1989, and right at the very end of their career they were actually something pretty special.

This single, “Get It Hot / Gettin’ Hot”, was a Sub Pop Singles Club pick for November 1989. It, and another single I’ll be posting in the near future, are their high-water marks – great thumping riffs; distorted, spastic guitar; and an allegiance with 60s garage punk and Crampsian decrepitude that they reached at their peak right here.

Play or Download THE HONEYMOON KILLERS – “Get It Hot” (A-side)
Play or Download THE HONEYMOON KILLERS – “Gettin’ Hot” (B-side)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I’m totally taken with this CD-R called “THE GROVE” from a band called BIG BLOOD whom I discovered just a few weeks ago. After a bit of research, I’ve discerned that BIG BLOOD are a husband-and-wife team based in Maine, and that their modus operendi is the CD-R, at least seven to date, each of which is studio recordings based on live sets they’ve done. Or something like that. I’ve yet to figure out exactly what those CD-Rs are, or when (or if) their vinyl/”official recording” career will begin. And hey, who cares? That sort of talk is for grandpa and his generation, right? BIG BLOOD, on this CD-R, are a wonderfully weird riddle, wrapped in plucked backwoods adornment & straddling a strange line between the Velvet Underground and the hard-knock blues. At times they remind me of the strange but practiced naiveté of THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS, other times like the ghostly goth-folk of MARISSA NADLER, and other times like record- and music-hoarding heathens gone totally bonkers.

The lead track on “The Grove” is a total knockout, one of the best tracks of the last couple year, “The Grove Is Hotter Than An Ocean’s Oven”. Singer Colleen Kinsella has a soaring, operatic voice a la JOSPEHINE FOSTER, and she sings her friggin’ lungs out with sheer, gutsy, I-totally-know-what-I’m-doing confidence. This track is what pulled me in, and the rest of the disc kept me there, including these two spaced-out twanged late night blues riffers that are obviously fraternal twins: “Low Gravity Blues” and “No Gravity Blues”. Something tells me this couple is going to be attracting their deserved attention within the year, and there are at least three new CD-Rs slated for 2008 to help said attention along. Get started on the BIG BLOOD tip by playing or downloading these three here.

Play or Download BIG BLOOD – “The Grove Is Hotter Than An Ocean’s Oven”
Play or Download BIG BLOOD – “Low Gravity Blues”
Play or Download BIG BLOOD – “No Gravity Blues”

Monday, May 05, 2008


We don’t do a whole lot of dancing here at Detailed Twang, but if we did, we might put on some of the records included in this “Muxtape” I made for you to listen to on your computing device. Detailed Twang’s Art-Thump Muxtape 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. As you look at this list of art-thumpers, I request that you not chortle nor guffaw when you see the names “Simple Minds” and “New Order”, only that you listen to the songs with open ears. Then you can certainly have a laugh at me.


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

Friday, May 02, 2008


Another In the Red 45 that showed up & went out of print with minimal fanfare was this excellent nihilist spasm of a record from LA’s SAWDUST CAESARS from 1996. “Fuck You / Shoo Fly / World War II” is an artastic gravel-voice punk rock bomb of a record, strange in its dissonance and the way it sorta aims to marginally annoy rather than to out-and-out “rock” you. I’ve never met anyone who saw this band nor who knew much about them, save for the fact that one of the band’s prime movers was Brian Doherty, a guy I’ve been acquainted with – though not in person except for a brief 2006 conversation – since well before this record due to his involvement as a Libertarian journalist and later as an editor at REASON magazine. Why, this month I’m reading his tome on the history of American libertarianism, “Radicals For Capitalism” and am thoroughly enjoying the wild ride. If anyone ever told you that fans of the free market couldn’t shake a tail feather, then shove this record up their piehole & tell them to get bent!

There’s an entry for the SAWDUST CAESARS in the Grunnen Rocks garage punk database that shows two other 45s, but I think this might be bogus & that these records actually belong to some UK band. Anyone know the god’s honest truth?

Play or Download SAWDUST CAESARS – “Fuck You”
Play or Download SAWDUST CAESARS – “Shoo Fly”
Play or Download SAWDUST CAESARS – “World War II”