Thursday, July 30, 2009


Back in the 1980s and early 90s me and my pals Grady & Jon took an interest in discovering what one of us, I’m not sure whom, termed “Stigliano bands”. These were groups that, to us, only existed in the pages of this guy Chris Stigliano’s 80s fanzines PFUDD! and, later, BLACK TO COMM – mostly raw, guitar-heavy 70s groups like Simply Saucer, The Plastic People of the Universe, Kongress, Hackamore Brick and others. Really lost-to-time, proto-punk stuff, and while some of the chases for the vinyl inevitably led down a rathole of mediocrity, there were certainly multiple times (like hearing the 1971 HACKAMORE BRICK LP) where this one individual’s hyperbole totally delivered, and was all the more impressive since he seemed to be the only one who’d ever waved the flag for these bands.

Now I wasn’t always impressed with Stigliano’s written shtick back then and later, and said so in a (long-deleted) post on my old blog. This particular gentleman was less than pleased about it and made a bit of a stink about it back in ‘04 on his former blog. Not sure where he went after that, but in the meantime, the HACKAMORE BRICK album got reissued on CD, perhaps thanks to the years of cheerleading led from the PFUDD! pages. I don’t know why it took so friggin’ long. My guess is that aside from a recent UGLY THINGS piece on it there just hasn’t been enough recent fanfare for it, and I want to make sure you get a chance to hear some of it. “One Kiss Leads To Another” – the album’s title - is fantastic, redolent of all manner of heroic bands that were actually around when they were active - and afterward. I feel embarrassed drawing this comparison for the millionth time, but the fantastic “Oh! Those Sweet Bananas” sounds like - yes! – a hippie Velvet Underground circa the "Loaded" era, somewhat like if they'd plied their trade in Santa Cruz rather than Manhattan. It motors with that chugging, propulsive Velvets sound that has been intoxicating music freaks for years. “Zip Gun Woman" is another great, guitar-freakout number that closes the LP, and sounds like the Patti Smith Group fronted by Edgar Breau. Much of the rest is laid-back rock and roll with a distinct sense of aggro when it's time for the guitar break, as well as first-rate vocals unmarred by any Brooklyn-ese (these guys were/are from Brooklyn).

Members of the band are recording under the HACKAMORE BRICK name now, with live shows and everything. Get connected to the original 1971 good-time mojo (taken from the LP, not the reissued CD) by clicking on the links below.

Play Hackamore Brick, “Oh! Those Sweet Bananas”

Download HACKAMORE BRICK – “Oh! Those Sweet Bananas”
Download HACKAMORE BRICK – “Zip Gun Woman”

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This is another bellwether 45 in my teenage musical education, and for a long time I felt like it was a record that only I knew about. While THE MO-DETTES’ 1980 “White Mice” single is fairly well-known now, I’d never met anyone in the 80s who’d heard it besides me and others who heard it played to death on KFJC in the early 1980s. It reached some ears when it came out on one of those Bomp Power Pop compilation CDs about 15 years ago; and when I saw the LONG BLONDES play live a few years ago I was floored when the between-band DJ played the song and people got up to dance to it en masse, like it was one of their well-known favorites. Who knows, in the UK this may have been a touchstone 45 for thousands of quote-unquote post-punk lovers, as it was for me.

“White Mice” arrives at the perfect intersection of rough English D.I.Y. and pure golden girl pop, and has one of the most lilting harmonies you’ll ever hear. Among the more charming aspects of the band were the garbled vocals of Ramona Carlier, she being of Swiss descent and a then-recent UK immigrant (which helps explains it). It’s hard to put a bead on exactly what she’s saying beyond the song’s chorus, which starts with the first-rate couplet, “Don’t be stupid, don’t be limp / No girl likes to love a wimp”, and contains a throbbing bassline that leads, rather than follows, everything else in the song. The guitarist is practically invisible throughout – her ineptitude in moving from chord to chord is part of what’s so special about “White Mice” and indeed, the small handful of other good tracks this band produced in their short life (like the B-side, “Masochistic Opposite”).

I also love the sleeve for this single, which is so awful I could have doodled it during a particularly boring Powerpoint presentation. Glad the single has reached so many ears the past couple of decades – I’d like to bring it to another 200 or so ears if I may.

Play The Mo-Dettes, “White Mice”

Download THE MO-DETTES – “White Mice” (A-side)
Download THE MO-DETTES – “Masochistic Opposite” (B-side)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


(Note: this is a re-post from 2007. The song had disappeared when my old hosting provider did, and I want to make sure you hear it.)

I once knew a woman in the early 90s named Sharon McKenzie who had just come off a college stint as a “disc jockey”, as had I (she at KDVS in Davis, CA; me at KCSB in Santa Barbara, CA and KFJC in Los Altos Hills, CA). She went to every show I did – and at that time we were averaging 2-3 per week – and when she told me she was starting a record label, I thought that was pretty cool. She stumped me with her first artist, though, telling me it was something by BILL DIREEN & THE BILDERS, and then getting a little annoyed when I didn’t know who that was. She was all, “You don’t know who that is?”, and I was all, “No”. So she goes, “He’s a New Zealand outsider pop legend”, and then I go, “Oh, well I haven’t heard of him”. So she’s all, “later”. Of course I bought Direen's “Alien/Skulls” 45 that came out a few months later on Sharon’s HECUBA RECORDS, and became a BILL DIREEN convert shortly thereafter.

His story is arguably the most unsung of the great New Zealand 1980s outsiders (I say arguably because there’s also THE KIWI ANIMAL and SHOES THIS HIGH, not to mention THE GORDONS), and you’d be well advised to pick up the FLYING NUN series of CDs that came out in the mid-90s that collected his early works. Direen still records music to this day and is a published poet of much renown; Hecuba folded up shop very quickly after this single; and I haven’t seen Sharon in a coon’s age (you can still say “coon’s age”, can’t ya?). I’m posting “Alien” because it’s my favorite of Direen’s many eerie, organ-heavy loner pop records, which always seem to be uplifting in their way but are full of strange stumbles down dark musical alleys. This particular version is a later (1990?) run-through one of his earliest songs, originally from 1981. It’s a good one, and you will like it.

Play Bill Direen & The Bilders, "Alien"

Download BILL DIREEN & THE BILDERS - "Alien" (A-side of 45)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This post is seriously cribbed from a review of THE LAZY COWGIRLS' masterpiece "Tapping The Source" that I wrote for my old blog, Agony Shorthand, back in 2003. The band - and this record - were seriously developmental stepping stones for me personally, and I believe that its profile is way too low in the world today. Therefore I'm going to post several tracks from it so you'll have no choice but to purchase the full CD or LP if you can find it. Here's what I said six years ago:

"You know how some people are always asking couples how they met? For these kindly inquisitors, all romantic beginnings set the full context for everything that followed (never mind what really happened as the couple came to truly know each other). I'm kind of the same way when it comes to music. It's mildly exhilarating to learn of individuals' discovery processes; those happenstance instances where their musical tastes experienced a tectonic shift, or when they were introduced to a band or genre that ended up setting their standards for years to come. You know; the older brother who played you the Velvet Underground for the first time; the time you stumbled into the Minutemen show; the Skip James track you downloaded because someone said you might like it. I love that shit.

I was very recently presented with a crisp compact disc version of the LAZY COWGIRLS' "Tapping The Source", the popularly-recognized best record from a truly formative rock and roll band for me. My over-involvement with them led to a real love for raw garage-oriented rock; the deep discovery of bands such as the MC5, NY DOLLS, RADIO BIRDMAN and even the SHIT DOGS; and a period in which I bought more 45s of this "sound" than anyone would consider healthy. Listening to it again inspired a torrent of insular words. The Lazy Cowgirls showed up at the right time in my life, when I was 18 years old and ready for a home-town band to rally around. In 1986 these newly-minted Los Angelinos played a bill in Santa Barbara, California with AGENT ORANGE, the MENTORS (yes! The Mentors!), AGGRESSION and at least 1 or 2 other horrid hardcore bands. I attended with hopes of hearing Agent Orange play "Bloodstains", but it was the Lazy Cowgirls who blew me clean away.

These guys were the most incongruous garage-based punk band imaginable; total Indiana hicks with farm boy accents as deep as you can imagine; a balding, slightly overweight frontman who was MC5-style energy personified; and a total steamroller approach to the "live event". This approach boiled down to revving up the audience to religious levels, bashing it out for 45 minutes, then wrecking everything on the stage after an 8-minute scream through "You're Gonna Miss Me"; (always, always the set closer). Before that show I knew of the band from their debut LP "The Lazy Cowgirls", which was mostly notable because it was produced by Chris D. of the FLESH EATERS, who were a godhead band for some of my influential peers at the college radio station I was DJ-ing at (and who at this time were in the process of becoming my "favorite all-time band").

After that "tectonic shift" of a show, I saw the Lazy Cowgirls, no kidding, at least 25-30 times; every time they played in Los Angeles from 1986-1989, I and a posse of similarly-oriented drinkers with fake IDs would head down to the Anti-Club or Raji's to watch them deliver. I think there were at least two caravans up to San Francisco/Berkeley to see full weekends of shows there as well. Sick! I'd tell anyone who asked that they were my favorite current band. New records came out, the lineup changed a bunch, the band soldiered (and continues to soldier) on, and I more or less forgot about them around 1995 or so. I hear they're now a "bar rock" band a la the Stones or Divine Horsemen. Might be worth checking out one of these days for shits & giggles, right?

So I listened to "Tapping the Source"; again this week, this time attempting to hear it with the ears of a man unencumbered by all the baggage collected in the previous paragraph. I have to say it still holds up! No, not in the sense that it's a life-changer, but it is still a drop-dead raw and searing 4-track punk rock record, with every single track cranked out in glorious shit-fi. "Goddamn Bottle" was the "hit", but this record also has the longtime show opener "Can't You Do Anything Right?", "Mr. Screwdriver", and my fave, "Bullshit Summer Song". If I was hearing it for the first time I'd probably call it a real good record, and would maybe pull it out for a spin every year or so. Subsequent four-on-the-floor bands such as the New Bomb Turks owe a huge debt to these guys, as it was the Cowgirls who did the Ramones/Stooges/Dolls hybrd first and certainly the best. It (strangely) sounds fantastic on CD, as well."

Play The Lazy Cowgirls, "Bullshit Summer Song"

Monday, July 20, 2009


(Note - this is a re-post "by request" of a song we put up here back in 2007)

This is a very classy proto-punk, metal-tinged scorcher from 1978 – an act called THE WEASELS set off all sorts of alarms with this number, the immortal “Beat Her With A Rake”. Word has it that they were 1977 contemporaries with & pals of both the nascent LA post-glam, pre-punk bands of the day (RUNAWAYS, IMPERIAL DOGS, BERLIN BRATS etc) and with VAN HALEN, who played the LA club circuit as openers for The Weasels on more than one occasion. It got a lot of airplay on KROQ, pretty much America’s first commercial station to play real punk rock, and caused a lot of (deserved) hemming & hawing. There’s no question that it indeed “rocks”, and I’ve long called it a favorite, though I'm not really certain why since it borders on doofus metal and has lyrics I’d hate for my mommy to hear. I can’t even remember the B-side. I’m not sure anyone does.

Play The Weasels, "Beat Her With A Rake"

Download THE WEASELS – “Beat Her With A Rake” (A-side of 1978 single)

Friday, July 17, 2009


Two more 1960s “ye-ye” tracks for you today, both as pretty as a poodle. “Le Chevalier” from JIJI is all raw, twinkling guitar and come-hither vocals, and I gotta admit it’s pretty irresistible as a slice of bold, vintage, innocent-girl pop music. JIJI only put out a lone four-song 7”EP in her brief career, this one from 1966. Her teammate in this edition of the ‘Twang is ANOUK, and the much louder “Jimmy Est Parti”. It’s a stellar thumper from 1965, with an ear-bleeding harmonica trailing across every slurred, sexy verse. I promised you I’d unload a bunch of these swinging mademoiselles on you, and I’ll try and throw some more up in a couple weeks.

Play Jiji, “Le Chevalier”

Download JIJI – “Le Chevalier”
Download ANOUK – “Jimmy est Parti”

Thursday, July 16, 2009


(This is a re-post from early 2007)

I missed the one and only LP from Boston's L.A. DRUGS when it came out in 2003 – it existed first as a CD-R and later was put out as a one-sided affair on Twisted Village. It has the potential to both anger and dazzle all comers, given that it’s simultaneously one of the most annoying and yet most crazed and unhinged, dirty, noisy, lo-fidelity records I’ve ever heard. I think they were around for less than a year, tops.

Obviously they found a lot of comedic value in early 80s LA punk (as we all do), given that the album is bookended with verbal clips from “The Decline of Western Civilization” (“I swear, I hate cops to the MAX”) and the Germs’ final show (“We’ll see you all at Oki Dog”). The singer has a bratty, whining tweener voice that she uses to fine effect on tracks like the ones I’m posting for you today – sorta like what one might have called a quote-unquote “riot girl” fifteen years ago, but even more annoying. The band exudes learning-to-play confidence, utilizing cheapo keyboards, fucked-up guitars, and all manner of crashing & bashing to get their point across. It sounds like a goddamn lights-out teenage pajama party with peanut butter smeared all over the floor and pharmaceuticals piled high in punchbowls. See what you think by clicking the links below.

Play LA Drugs, "High School"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It’s time for a rare look at the present tense here at Detailed Twang, as part of our ongoing series of tastemaking we call “State of the Kids”. Great 45s, LPs, CDs and one-off downloads keep coming out by the crateful, and I’m trying to keep up as best I can. As usual the most exciting stuff to my ears is happening in the rough-edged garage, pop & post-punk influenced worlds, but of course I’d say that. That’s what I’m seeking out online and elsewhere. First up today is the song of the friggin’ year, “Stick To The Formula” by EAT SKULL, kicking off their latest CD on Siltbreeze. Now we never really cottoned to these guys before this particular record, but when their new one came out I kept reading all these comparisons to The Clean and to scattershot lo-fi pop bands I luv & respect, and I said, “that doesn’t sound like the bucket of noise puke these guys have been coughing up to date”. And it isn’t. “Wild & Inside” is a strong record all the way through, particularly in its first one-third or so. This particular track is a total standout, and we sincerely hope you agree.

GRASS WIDOW (pictured) are a new all-female San Francisco band who skirt early UK angular, reverb-drenched pop music like they’ve been playing it together since 1981. Their new self-titled LP just came out and it’s going to be huge; so huge, in fact, it’s already sold out. We told you about THE BLANK-ITS a few months ago; they’re still bringing a robotic, uber-distorted chromium punk to the people from the Great Northwest; this is the A-side of their most recent single. WOUNDED LION are a Los Angeles five-piece who have their one and only 45 on the excellent S-S Records. The A-side “Carol Cloud” is total Archies/1910 Fruitgum Co. bubblegum dross for meathead garage dork nation. Try to keep your fingers from snappin’ during this one. Finally, just in under the wire is the new CD from TY SEGALL, a fellow San Franciscan who records for both the Traditional Fools and The Sic Alps. His new record “Lemons” is on Goner Records, and this 80s-style noise punk crack up called “It #1” is something pretty special. See, the good stuff is all out there – you just need to find a chair to park your tuchus in to figure it all out.

Play Eat Skull, “Stick To The Formula”

Download EAT SKULL – “Stick To The Formula”
Download GRASS WIDOW – “To Where”
Download THE BLANK-ITS – “Windows Are Dirty”
Download WOUNDED LION – “Carol Cloud”
Download TY SEGALL – “It #1”

Friday, July 10, 2009


Well, maybe you don’t – or more likely, you could care less. I rarely do any “cross-promotion”, but maybe once a year is OK, right? So these two blogs are called HEDONIST BEER JIVE and FIRST PRINCIPLES. The first one is updated with passion 4-5 times per week, and has been going nearly three and a half years now. It delves into the, uh, fascinating world of craft beer in all its forms. Not content to simply drink good beer, I’m aiming to foster the same level of beer dorkitude that I myself possess. It covers Belgian beer, American micros, and the places and locales where people – mostly me – drink them. This one gets about 100 visitors per day and has its own little ecosystem of readers going, which is awesome.

The second blog, FIRST PRINCIPLES – well, yeah. I posted my final post there today. Apparently beer and music writing is easy, but coming up with engaging political rants isn’t. It’s not the first time I’ve killed off a blog of mine – other past efforts include AGONY SHORTHAND and CELLULOID HUT – and it probably won’t be the last. But take a look at the final post and the archives if you get a second. I gave it a good thirteen months. If you need to grow a set of first principles of your own, you’re welcome to borrow mine.


When THE MEAT PUPPETS arrived less than fully-formed in 1980, their stock in trade was to play a blistering, art-damaged, wild-eyed sort of hardcore punk that enraged just as many punk acolytes as it did blow the other half away. I only caught on to them as a “fan” when they’d fully shed this early skin around 1984, and were playing their laconic, loping, sun-damaged country art music. When I bought their first LP “Meat Puppets” and even better, their first EP “In A Car”, rather than be propelled away, it only made me love them more. The music careened in strange, multimodal directions; the drumming was Charlie Watts-steady but at a hardcore tempo; the lyrics were incomprehensible, and when they were printed, were even more incomprehensible; and of course, Curt Kirkwood’s vocals were awesome. His was a mushmouthed, slurred, all-vowels delivery screamed into the microphone, and at times it almost sounded like he was about to swallow the thing. I can definitely see why some lesser-educated BLACK FLAG fans often pelted the band off the stage with garbage and loogies; the band’s approach was one that required more than a modicum of patience. Their closest compadres in this confrontational approach were FLIPPER, and if you were a fan of one, you were usually a huge fan of the other as well.

So when the “LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR” soundtrack album came out in 1986, long after the MEAT PUPPETS had slowed down and become a quieter, more tame sort of indie rock band, it was a fantastic shock to hear the band taking on BLACK FLAG’s “No Values” in that early who-cares style. Better still, I’d argue that their version - which is what I believe one might call a “piss-take”, or “taking the piss” – is just as good as Black Flag’s. It’s great! The soundtrack is a good snapshot of SST Records around that time, along with some fellow travelers in the barely post-punk rock world. The Meat Puppets dared to regress about five years, and with all their newfound playing chops, actually did a version of this song that totally slays. Here, see what I mean by clicking the links below.

Play The Meat Puppets, “No Values”

Download THE MEAT PUPPETS – “No Values” (from ‘86 “Lovedolls Superstar” soundtrack)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I've written too many times of how smitten I am with female French pop of the 1960s, and I've posted a few songs on this blog to boot, including one of the single most popular posts I've ever done, the complete works of CLOTHILDE. If you want to read some more, click here or here. I've really only scratched the surface, though. There are at least three dozens total classics from this era, and as long as this blog continues I'm going to make it my life's work to make sure you hear them.

Three of my very favorites are posted for you today. I'm not going to go too deeply into my CD/record collection to figure out where I got them from, but dollars to donuts they came from the "Swinging Mademoiselles" or "Ultra Chicks" compilation series. First up is ARIANE and "Tu Vondrais Que J'oublie", just perfect booming pop music. Next is the somewhat kittenish CLAIRE DIXON and "On M'appalle Petite Bout de Chou", which is something like "My cute little cabbage". At least that's what someone who took high school French told me once. Finally, CHRISTINE PILZER's "Champs Elysees" is a great ode to a place I've never been, but no doubt some of you world travelers have.
Play Ariane, "Tu Vondrais Que J'publie"

Sunday, July 05, 2009


(Note: this is a re-post from earlier in this blog's life, back in 2007. I know it will squander a great deal of goodwill I've built up since that time)

One of the strangest records I’ve ever heard, and one of the most oddly compelling. A friend of the distant past bought this solely for the cryptic cover; check out the back cover and inner labels pictured here – we had NO IDEA who this was by until I sent out a plea on my old blog back in 2003, and was told that it was PETER BLEGVAD, a member of the avant-rock band SLAPP HAPPY. Is this from 1972? Or 1980? I know the 45 pictured here is from ’80 but the track may be from much earlier. It may have only existed as a bonus one-sided 45 that turned up with the reissue of a Slapp Happy LP called “Sort Of” in 1980. Regardless, it’s totally fried and out of time, the sort of oddball madness that sucks you in & makes you watch/listen, rather than turn you away in horror. Well I guess that’s really for you to decide, isn’t it?

Play Peter Blegvad, "Alcohol"

Thursday, July 02, 2009


There are some 60s punk tunes that are still hard to track down, even when all veins have been tapped, every compilation LP has been bought, and everything’s been electronically scattered to the great digital jukebox in the sky. One of my favorites of all time is “I’m Not Talkin’” by Chicago’s THINGS TO COME, which, as I understand it, is a song they learned from the YARDBIRDS. These guys absolutely revved it up into a primal, adrenaline-fueled, gut-it-out punk rock monster, and created one of the great sloppy, snotty masterpieces of the 1960s.

Tom Mirabille of the THINGS TO COME wrote into this web page to talk a little bit about the song, and had this to say:

“It seems like so long ago. We really were not keen on cutting a cover on "I'm Not Talking" as it was exceptionally well done by the Yardbirds on one of their albums. Dunwich's A&R, Bill Trout, had just had great success with The Shadows of Knight with a cover for "Gloria" by Van Morrison. Bill liked to search English albums for songs that didn't get A play and cover them. Thought that he could have a repeat of the success he had with "Gloria." Our group thought that the tempo of our rendition of "I'm Not Talking" was too fast and that it wasn't a single release. Oh well, "I'm Not Talking" was released to tepid airplay.”

Yes, but it’s an immortal, godlike slice of teenage garage punk abandon, too. What radio station in the world was gonna play this thing, even with “Psychotic Reaction” at #1? See if you would’ve done the Popeye or the Hully Gully to this one back in ’66 by clicking the links below.

Play The Things To Come, “I’m Not Talkin’”

Download THE THINGS TO COME – “I’m Not Talkin’” (A-side of 1966 45)